Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oulook 2007 and Sharepoint document libraries sync.

This subject is poorly documented and a bit of a "black art", however Ive found a Microsoft quick ref card here.

Note Outlook behaves differently if the library is greater than 500Mb. If less then it sync everything, otherwise it syncs only headers and you have to manually sync documents. I cant find any way to alter this functionality.

I also find some interesting training slides from TechNev on the subject.

Microsoft's office page for this subject is here

Saturday, May 10, 2008

64 bit pdf and onenote printing problems

Whilst MS is pushing 64 bit for everything, using 64bit Vista on my HP laptop continues to be a frustrating experience.

I had deadline and needed to print from MS Project to PDF. Even though I have a professional version of Acrobat 8, I cannot seem to print to PDF and the machine even locks and crashes Project. As a workaround I tried printing to OneNote, but again you cant seem to do this on a 64 bit machine. In the end I had to screenshot what I needed in OneNote and then creating the PDFs from that which is very annoying. These sort of issues along with my being unable to use Groove shared folders on 64bit workstation makes me feel that we are still a good way off from being able to adopt 64bit workstations for mainstream.

A few days after the deadline I found this product which seems to work well Free PDF Creator - Convert to PDF from Any File You Can Print - PrimoPDF

64bit Print PDF troubles

Free PDF Creator - Convert to PDF from Any File You Can Print - PrimoPDF

Friday, March 28, 2008

Excel -- Comments -- Programming

I needed to extract addresses from a comments field in an Excel spreadsheet. The following had some really helpful code to manipulate the comments:
Excel -- Comments -- Programming

Thursday, March 06, 2008

No more /console switch in RDC 6.1

Remote Desktop Console "/console" connection switch has been disabled in Vista SP1 and Windows 2008.

It has been replaced by "/admin". This is a huge problem for server administration if you didnt know about it!

It looks like it will be implimented in XP sp3 as well.

The following article shows more detail Ask the Performance Team : MSTSC.EXE - no more /console switch in RDC 6.1

TimeSnapper - make timesheets a snap

An interesting screen shot utility for use when you need to remeber what it was you did !

TimeSnapper - make timesheets a snap

SharePoint 2007 Post SP1 hotfix woes

We have a 6 server SharePoint 2007 Enterprise Farm which we were having a number of memory errors and timer errors on. We had hoped that SP1 would address these issues, however the timer errors and other problems are still arrising.

A MOSS Post SP1 HotFix was made available on Feb 25th and we tried to install it today, but as with most things it didnt go according to plan.

There are no pre-install instructions, however based on the SP1, you need to install the binaries on the Administration server first, then run the Sharepoint Products and Technologies Config Wizard, BUT only to the point it warns you to install the patch binaries on the other servers in the farm. Once you have installed the patch on all the other servers go back to the Administration server and click ok to continue with the Sharepoint Products and Technologies Config Wizard.

All was going well until step 8 which gives an upgrade error and refers you to a log file. There are no helpful messages and the only possible information is the following:


Has anyone else seen this issue ? and what is the resolution ?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Crawling SharePoint sites using the SPS3 protocol handler

When setting up MOSS Index crawls I noticed an odd prefix of SPS3:// and the following article explains why it should be used for index crawling to improve performance, especially over the WAN: Jose Barreto's Blog : Crawling SharePoint sites using the SPS3 protocol handler

Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog : SharePoint SDK Downloads Now Live with SP1 Updates

After wetting our appetite with MOSS SP1 at last 1.3 MOSS is here. (Note the new intellisense xml file)

Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog : SharePoint SDK Downloads Now Live with SP1 Updates

Indexing PDF content in MOSS Sharepoint 2007

Out of the box, MOSS only indexes the meta data of a PDF and not the Text inside it if it is available. To index the full content you need an iFilter which is explained well here Steven Van de Craen's Blog.

We have used Foxit's ifilter as it has an x64 version which our MOSS servers are running on.

After getting this installed I was still having trouble with some files not indexing and found that out of the box MOSS will only index 16Mb files. You can up this using a registry setting on the server - documented here. This works fine except you should be mindful of possible server index time out errors. Mindsharp say that you can increase the timeout value here, but I havnt managed to find this setting in MOSS enterprise yet.

(There is an interesting article on custom Sharepoint Searches here)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

SharePoint Surveys - Finding the Results in the Database « Jack of all that is Microsoft, Master of None

Creating a sharepoint survey is easy, however getting sensible data from it to analyse the results is not. This article shows how you can get to the database behind the scenes.
SharePoint Surveys - Finding the Results in the Database « Jack of all that is Microsoft, Master of None

Sunday, January 13, 2008

VMWare ESX 3.5 crash introduction - in at the deep end!

As a developer and for systems testing I have used VMWare workstation and VMWare Server for some time, however Ive felt that I needed to get to grips with ESX server to really take advantage of virtualisation. It should be pretty similar to VMWare Server shouldn't it - errm well no...

Firstly you can download a 60 day eval of ESX 3.5 server and other components from VMWare. This gives you a chance to learn but I didn't realise the curve would be quite so steep.

I created a boot disk, booted onto an 8Gb server taking most of the default options and I was impressed how fast it loaded. It asked me to enter a base IP address and gateway which I put it a standard 192.168.x.x address (I thought it would be easy to change after) and rebooted.

ESX booted fine, but just gave me a Linux prompt - no GUI, no friendly interface, just a command line. I haven't worked on Unix since University over 20 years ago so this was a shock.

The first thing you need to do is a connect a browser from another machine on the network and download the "VMWare Infrastructure Client". From here you can carry out quite a lot of admin.
BUT here was my first problem, I had made a mistake on the initial IP address configuration and couldn't find any way to change it to DHCP or anything else !

It turns out that to change an IP address on the ESX server is quite complex, needing to use the system console to deleting a configuration file, re-create it and then update the gateway using the vi text editor somewhere else! My thanks to Damian Murdoch for his article on how to do this. But although I followed this I couldn't find how to switch it to DHCP, so I bit the bullet and installed ESX server from scratch for a second time, this time choosing the DHCP option.

Now I could talk to the ESX server from the "VMWare Infrastructure Client", so I created a new "Resource Pool" and created a new "Virtual Machine" so I could build a Windows 2003 server.

I had a Windows 2003 ISO on my machine with the Infrastructure client but I could find any way of linking the new "Virtual Machines" CD drive to this ISO - except by using the "Connect to CD/DVD" button. This button only works once you start your new VM - so you have to be quick to click on it and connect it to your ISO whilst your VM is booting. Trouble is that the VM boots so fast that it ignores the CD boot and just tries a DHCP network boot and gives up.

Transferring files and ISO's to the ESX Server
I could have burnt a CD from the ISO and put it in the ESX physical server, but I was working remotely and so thought I'd just copy the ISO on the the ESX store and link the new Virtual machines CD to it.

Again a problem. If you are only running ESX Server you seem to need to access the ESX using a form FTP Server. I found a Free Utility called Veeam FastSCP 2.0 which seemed to answer my problem really well, so I loaded it up and tried to log in. As a rookie I tried to login as root but got an access denied error. Searching support forums told me that FastSCP would not login as root except if you check the elevate to root check box and enter the root password. Well this doesn't seem to work on ESX3.5 so I had to create a new user using the Infrastructure client. (You select the ESX Server Icon on the LHS and there is a Users and Groups tab).

Using this new user login, I could access the ESX file system and create Folders, however whenever I tried to copy and paste a file I received a timeout error. I tracked this down to a tightening of the ESX 3.5 firewall. FastSCP uses ports 2500, 2501... but these are now locked down in ESX 3.5. The option is to open the ports which FastSCP uses by using the ESX console command "esxcfg-firewall -o 2500,tcp,in,FastSCP", however you need to do this for 2501, 2502... etc An alternative is to open the firewall whilst copying the files using "esxcfg-firewall --allowIncoming" and then closing it aftewards using "esxcfg-firewall --blockIncoming" - source discussion on "Transfer timeouts" here.

This worked well and I could transfer my ISO file to the ESX store. One forum suggested transferring ISO's to the /vmimages folder, however this seems to be mounted under /dev/sda2 which only had 5Gb of space. If you right click on the properties of the connected server in FastSCP then it will list the devices with space. I ended up using /vmfs/volumes/xxxx.

Now having the Win2k3 iso on the ESX file store, I could edit the new Virtual Machine settings to point its CD to the ISO on the ESX store. (Remember to check the enable the CD device tick box as well as connecting it to the ISO).

Thus this is the story so far. I have a Windows server running on ESX after a weekend of head scratching and searching blogs and forums!

I know that the ESX platform is a very very powerful suite, but for beginners with simple requirement it seems rather tricky to get started!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Vista shortcut to Network Connections

After a few months I'm warming to Windows Vista, however I use VPN network connections quite a lot as well as updating network settings. This is one area where Vista has made things much more complex than XP. However thanks to TweakVista you can create a shortcut to the old XP interface in Vista - Hurrah!

Create a shortcut containing "explorer.exe ::{7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E}"

Full article source here : TweakVista.com - Create a direct shortcut to Network Connections