Thursday, 6 June 2019

Outlook 2016 with Gmail keep getting prompted for "Sign in with your Google account" IMAP

Outlook 2016 loads up with a Google Gmail or Googlemail account configured and imediately prompts with a Sign in with your Google account prompt. It happens as soon as the Send/Receive runs to download new messages.

You might see error 0x800CCC0E Outlook cannot synchonize subscribed folders.

If you login, it prompts to authorise Microsoft, which you can do. It just doesn't seem to retain that setting and keeps prompting. Everything looks ok and correctly authorised if you look at

The account is an auto setup from the Outlook 2016 email wizard when you Add Account, which configures IMAP with servers and outgoing as

In fact the same setup worked perfectly on another computer. Recreating the profile, the account, checking OST, etc would not fix the problem.

In the end, the fix was found to be related to the account having previously been a account. If you manually change the servers to be:
   *      Incoming server:
   *      Outgoing server:

the problem is fixed and your Gmail in Outlook will work normally.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Bootrec rebuildbcd or scanos - total identified Windows installations: 0

We've just had a Windows 8.1 Lenovo laptop that stopped booting. It reported attempting Automatic Repair and kept failing and rebooting through the same cycle.

The advanced options after that has failed also gave you you a startup repair option. That wasn't able to fix the fault either.

The usual fix under those circumstances is to go into advanced options, choose command prompt, then load Diskpart. From there you can fix the drive letter order if its got changed, remove unnecesary drive letters. Then fix the boot table using the bootrec command - often a chkdsk followed by deleting/renaming the existing Boot folder, then running bootrec /fixmbr, then bootrec /fixboot, and bootrec /rebuildbcd, will do the job.

The error reported was Total identified Windows Installations: 0

In the end the fix was from the command prompt option, but we had to go into C:\Windows\System32\Config and rename the registry files (Default, Sam, Security, Software, System), eg. default.bak. Then copy the replacement files from the Regback subfolder where there is a recent backup.

The laptop rebooted with no bootrec tweaking needed.

NOTE - Looks like since Windows 10 version 1803, Microsoft are no longer creating a backup in Regback. You can still recover registry files from a Shadow Copy. See this article for details

Sunday, 9 December 2018

0x800F081F can’t install Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 in Windows 10

Had a few instances of installing specific business software or older programs that get a prompt in Windows 10 that .Net 3.5 will be required. They'll either try and add it and fail or you'll attempt to manually install it from the Windows Features section of Control Panel > Programs.

Often you get error 0x800F081F saying that the source files could not be found.

We've regularly seen this in a Windows Small Business Server environment, eg SBS 2008 or SBS 2011. The key fact here is that there's an on-site WSUS server providing local Update Services. Unfortunately it doesn't have the download available for .NET 3.5 for Windows 10 Pro.

There are several recommended fixes involving using a Windows 10 USB installer or downloading the Windows 10 ISO - not always practical on a remote support session - and they don't always seem to work. The best fix and the simplest option we've found to be effective is s asmall registry change, which tells Windows to contact Microsoft directly for Features and Repairs, and not use WSUS.

Use Windows-R for a Run box or type directly into the Cortana Search or Start menu,
which should let you Edit Group Policy, see image above.

Look in Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System, for the setting 'Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair'

Turn it to Enabled and tick the box 'Download repair content and optional features directly from Windows Updates instead of Windows Server Updates Services (WSUS)'

You might need to start a CMD prompt (use Window-R again) and type 'gpupdate /force' to get the new setting to be applied immediately.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Buffalo DriveStation backup error on SBS Server 2008 (msexchangeis 9782, error code '2155348010')

Attaching a new Buffalo Drivestation 3TB Velocity USB 3.0 backup drive (HD_LXU3) to an old Windows Server 2008, which is part of Small Business Server 2008, reminded us of an error we'd not seen for a few years.

The standard Windows Server backup failed to run within a couple of minutes, despite having been configured for the new drive.

The Event Log showed an Exchange error from source msexchangeis with event id 9782. This was a little misleading, because all the exchange esetuil diagnostics and repairs will show no fault. A little further on in the event viewer you might also see an error that the backup failed with following error code '2155348010' and event id 517, which is a little more useful.

The fault lies with the fact that the Server 2008 Backup doesn't support larger capacity drives with the newer Advanced Format using 4096 byte sectors. It will only backup to a drive formatted with 512 byte sectors. Note that this is referring to the drive format sector size, not the volume or partition sector size.

If you're lucky, the USB drive you've bought had a download that will allow you to reformat the drive. Western Digital (WDC) have the WD Quick Formatter utility. More background detail and a link in this thread

Buffalo have a similar utility, but its not available on the UK support page! Instead, if you head over to their Japanese support page and download the DriveFormatter2 program (its in English), you can reformat with 512 byte sectors. Select the correct drive and choose option 2: NTFS (Win 8, 7, Vista)

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Avastclear gives error 'stub cannot run installer / updater ...'

We've had a few license warnings for Avast Business Antivirus Cloudcare recently. Usually when upgrading, eg from Cloudcare 4.2.x to 4.3.0. To fix the licence warning you usually need to uninstall the current version, reboot and reinstall the latest. Even then it doesn't always work and using avastclear, the official uninstaller program from Avast / AVG is the way to go. Note that this should be run from Safe Mode.

When you run avastclear you might see the error shown in the diagram here.

"The stub cannot run installer / updater executable 'c:\users\   \appdata\local\temp\
\instup.exe' (code 0x10b)"

Took a while to work this out - you need to be logged into Safe Mode as the local administrator, not a domain admin account.

Then the uninstall will run and reboot.

15/10/18 Update - also seen this warning with some sort of permission issue, had to move the avastclear program to another directory, eg c:\temp or c:\windows\temp
 9/12/18 Update - Permission issue if you downloaded as the domain user then switched to local, try making a copy of avastclear and run that instead

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Update: Lost or forgetten iPad Parental Restrictions PIN code

A quick update to a popular post from a couple of years ago. We talked about recovering the Apple parental control restrictions PIN from an iPad backup file.

Just had to repeat the exercise on another iPad. There's a newer, more useful article at igeeksblog that links to a Windows program called pinfinder.

You can download pinfinder from here

Just spotted that there's an updated version, that seems to show some more useful info

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

How to remotely read a Dell Optiplex Tag number (serial no) via command prompt

There are plenty of management tools that will gather the data for you, but if you're on a domain network and just need a quick way to gather some serial numbers for known computer names, try this method using the command prompt shell.

Dell support have a useful document telling you how to use the command
WMIC BIOS GET SERIALNUMBER to retrieve the Dell serial number, aka Tag Number.

Often that command is blocked by firewall and security settings if you try to run it remotely using the /Node option. Similarly for PowerShell commands using the Get-WmiObject command. I also couldn't find any useful info in the registry either via regedit, so no quick shortcut with Remote Registry service.

By far the quickest and simplest way was to take advantage of the Sysinternals PSExec command. This allows you to run a remote command shell from a local computer.

So on your server or PC logged into the domain as an admin, you'd start a command prompt and run the commands:

   to start a command shell running on the computer called but displaying locally

   to retrieve the serial number of the connected computer

   to close the remote command prompt and return to your local prompt

Thursday, 25 January 2018

ACT spell check cannot be performed

An ACT Premium v19.2 user logged into a new PC couldn't run the spell check on a letter created in ACT with one of the document templates. They got the error shown below;
Spell check cannot be performed because the main dictionary was not found
In ACT, look under Tools > Preferences > General. Then under Locations change to Spelling Dictionary, to see the folder where the dictionary was expected to be located.

Its likely to be something like C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Act\Act Data\Spell. Now go and check that directory and you'll probably find a CUSTOM1.DIC file, but no MAIN.DCT file.

Back at the top level of Users do a search for MAIN.DCT - we found it in C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\Act\Act Data. Just copy (not move!) the file over to the correct location, identified above. So it should look like this;

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Can't type username in ACT Premium Web login (greyed out)

We had an ACT v19.2 client unable to use the remote internet login via ACT Premium Web access. When they got to the sign-in screen for ACT it showed the database name correctly, but the username and password prompts were greyed out. You weren't able to type anything in those fields and consequently were unable to login.

At first we suspected some Microsoft updates to .NET that had been loaded on the server over the weekend. However it turned out to be less obvious, the Protexis Licensing V2 service that is located on the ACT server had stopped and failed to restart. Once this was started again, the ability to type username and password in the browser was restored.

Friday, 17 November 2017

3 PCs missing from AVG Avast Cloudcare Console

Strange problem at one site with AVG CloudCare v3.6.4. Only one of 3 particular PCs would ever appear in the console at once. Lets call them PC26 (Maint), PC29 (Chef) and PC31 (Accts). This week PC29 was listed, status ok, updates ok. It even had the correct label name against it showing that is was Chef's computer. I tried reinstalling PC31 which succeeded, but it appeared on the list with the name Chef rather than Accts - and PC29 dropped off the list. I relabelled it to Accts, then PC29 came back on the list instead but with the new label.

Took me a while initially to realise that all three were essentially sharing one database entry and the last change/install took precedence as far as the console list was concerned.

Also tried removing AVG CloudCare off all three PCs at once and using the AVG Remover tool, rebooting, then reinstalling each one. And the same again but with the brand new 4.0.2 release of Avast Business Cloudcare. No chance.

In the end, after 25 mins online with tech support, we used the 'setup.exe -b' command to re-register the clients to the CloudCare database and reset registry keys. This cleared the problem and all clients came up normally.

To use setup -b, start a command prompt with Admin rights. Then change to the appropriate directory, depending upon client and 32 or 64 bit, eg
C:\Program Files(x86)\AVG\CloudCare   or
C:\Program Files(x86)\AVAST Software\Business Agent\

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