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
https://github.com/gwatts/pinfinder/releases/download/1.4.0/pinfinder-windows-64bit-1.4.0.zip

Just spotted that there's an updated version, that seems to show some more useful info
https://github.com/gwatts/pinfinder/releases/download/1.6.0/pinfinder-windows-64bit-1.6.0.zip

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:

1)
PSEXEC \\ CMD
   to start a command shell running on the computer called but displaying locally

2)
WMIC BIOS GET SERIALNUMBER
   to retrieve the serial number of the connected computer

3)
EXIT
   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\



Monday, 3 July 2017

1and1 Cloud Virtual Server outgoing smtp email blocked

Got a new VPS hosting server with 1&1, its one of their Cloud Virtual Servers based on SSD, nice and speedy. Obscure problem with the first WordPress site which wouldn't send outgoing email using phpmail.

Went through all the firewall policy, server settings, Plesk, OS, WordPress - nothing obvious. All you can see is emails queuing in the outgoing queue in Plesk. Look under Tools & Settings > Mail > Mail Server Settings > Mail Queue.


Clicking on the email shows it received by the host.

After double-checking all the settings, again, turns out its an overriding outgoing port 25 block set by 1and1. You have to phone support and get the outgoing block taken off port 25 - it doesn't appear in the control panel(s) or the firewall policies. Good luck finding a first line tech that's heard of it too :-)

Friday, 23 June 2017

Dell Optiplex 7040 Realtek clicking popping audio sounds

Looks like the latest audio driver from Dell has fixed a sound problem where you could hear clicking and popping, sometimes interference, sounds whilst playing music or adverts. It was most obvious on Spotify. This is using the built-in Realtek Audio hardware.

Previous driver was 6.0.1.6111 dated 12 Aug 2016 and the update is 6.0.1.6117 dated 19 Dec 2016, listed as Dell revision A07. Download Audio_Driver_RT1XX_WN32_6.0.1.6117_A07.EXE 

Worth noting the Dell Command Update utility (v2.3.1) for checking if updates are available, didn't list this particular audio driver update for download. We only spotted it when manually checking the Dell support website.


(Just for completeness - we'd also loaded BIOS 1.5.10 dated 9 May 2017 at the same time, but don't think that was relevant. There was mention of a LAN driver possibly causing audio interference, this system was already on the latest Dell download 20.4 A01 with driver 12.13.17.7 dated 5 Oct 2015 for Intel l219-LM. Intel have a newer release 22.3 ProWinx64 with driver 12.15.25.6 dated 19 Mar 2017. Hyper-V and VMware virtual adapters were present)

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Draytek Vigor 2760n dial-in VPN update

Just spotted a useful firmware update from Draytek for their Vigor 2760 / 2760n / 2760Vn range which adds an important VPN feature.

In a previous article on the Draytek 2760 I mentioned that although the early revision of the hardware (which uses firmware 1.x) has dial-in VPN support (PPTP, L2TP) the later hardware revision with firmware 3.x didn't provide dial-in VPN. Got caught out by that change before!


Guess what Draytek fixed with the 3.8.2.1 firmware - they've added support for SSL VPN Remote Dial-In user connections. Excellent news - will be testing as soon as I get opportunity.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

SBS 2008 Best Practice Analyzer (SBS BPA) out of date, error ocurred trying to access the web

The Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) for Small Business Server 2008 (SBS2008) reports 'An error occurred trying to access the web' when it tries to update.


If you click on the 'About the Best Practices Analyzer' link you might see an older update than Configuration File version: 2.1.60.0






[ We had an SBS 2008 server that blue screened and had to be restored using a SystemState backup and SFC system file check - somewhere along the way we ended up with an old configuation file version of 2.1.5.0. When run, this threw up an error about WSUS 3.0 needing SP1, when SP2 was actually installed. ]

You can manually update by copying a newer SBSBPA.CONFIG.XML file into the C:\Program Files (x86)\SBSBPA\en directory. You can find a copy here; sbsbpa.config.xml version 2.1.60.0


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Sage 50 Accounts: Email Invoice / Purchase Order / Statement and save in Outlook Inbox not Drafts

When sending an email copy of an invoice or statement or purchase order from Sage 50 Accounts v22 (2016), the customer wanted the email to be held in Outlook before dispatch. That allowed an extra check and for them to be certain it was transmitted.

In Sage, under Settings > Email Defaults, you can specify for each type of attachment (Invoice or Sales order or Statement or Purchase Order or Remittance) whether the Sending Option should Save to Mailbox or Send Immediately.

They also wanted the email to be held in the Inbox of the Outlook 2010 client, not in the Drafts folder. This is an Outlook setting, not a Sage one. Look under Outlook > File > Options > Mail > Save messages > Save to this folder: Inbox

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