Carl's blog

How to rename (change username / user logon name) in Windows XP/Vista/7 Home edition

by on Nov.16, 2012, under Computer Stuff

Changing the actual username, i.e the username that gets automatically sent to file servers, is not straightforward in Home edition at all.

Required for network logons without password prompt. If the username and that user’s password matches what is on the server, then there is no pop-up prompt for username/password.

Renaming in User Accounts only changes the display name.

Start -> run -> “control userpasswords2”
(no quotes)
then choose properties on the user, and change the username there

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Mikrotik to the rescue again

by on Oct.01, 2012, under Computer Stuff

This time, an RB751G-2HnD is acting as a wireless station (client), and a PPTP VPN client, allowing a Polycom SoundPoint IP phone to work from a remote location, through a VPN, wirelessly.

The Mikrotik connects to the WiFi in the house, and then it makes a PPTP VPN connection to the remote office. The Polycom phone then connects to the office via this Mikrotik. In effect we are adding WiFi & VPN functionality to a Polycom SoundPoint IP 430. Sweet!

The Mikrotik is making use of a simple road-warrior PPTP connection (Microsoft RRAS). It is performing NAT over the VPN connection’s single IP address.

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Office 365, Outlook 2010 horrible performance, shared mailboxes, calendars, slow, hangs and freezes. Connection to Exchange server unavailable.

by on Sep.25, 2012, under Computer Stuff

(I just copied my post from the Microsoft forums here). Original thread: http://community.office365.com/en-us/forums/160/p/62614/261211.aspx

This problem was due to the number of concurrent HTTPS connections used by Outlook-Anywhere, especially in the case of shared calendars, shared mailboxes, and delegated access. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that users are randomly placed at different server locations (various servers within Dublin and Amsterdam for EMEA users). I opened a case to try to get all the users put on the same mailbox sever/cluster, but that wasn’t possible. I began re-creating uses repeatedly in an attempt to get them all in the same location, but I realised I was probably not going to get things improved enough anyway.

The issue was that the broadband, provided by the serviced office building, could not handle those concurrent connections (8 or 9 concurrent HTTPS connections per Outlook client), or was attempting to load balance them or something. I tried and tried and tried to get the building’s “IT lady”, and their IT contractors, to look into restrictions in the number of concurrent connections, or load balancing/proxying, or whatever was wrong at their router/firewall, but I had no joy. They just kept offering more bandwidth, lower contention (1:1), and telling me that there were no restrictions.

Well, in the end, to solve the problem, I bought a hosted-VPN account (£3.99/month PPTP account, as used by people who want to hide/change their location on the web), and configured a Mikrotik router to route all Microsoft destinations through this PPTP service. The customer was delighted at the results. Up until this point, I don’t think they believed me that it actually “normally worked quite fast”.

I set the Mikrotik to establish a connection to the hosted PPTP VPN service, and route the followng CIDR ranges through that tunnel:

65.52.0.0/14

70.37.128.0/18

94.245.64.0/18

111.221.0.0/16

132.245.0.0/16

157.54.0.0/15

157.56.0.0/14

157.60.0.0/16

207.46.0.0/16

213.199.0.0/16

I had to route just Microsoft stuff through the VPN, instead of the easier option of routing everything through the VPN (default route to VPN), because it became apparent that quite a few websites didn’t work via this particular VPN provider. I guess they might get blacklisted, or they are low-maintenance (you get what you pay for..). Anyway it was easier than trying other providers, or opening more support tickets, etc.

What this means is that there is only a single connection going out through the broadband for Office 365, for the entire company, thus overcoming the problem.

While it is clear that the broadband is at fault (it is a serviced office building – the customer can not install their own broadband or telephone lines), I think Microsoft should look at either providing VPN access to the Exchange severs, in the same way most of the world used to access Exchage in the pre RPC/HTTP days, or they might look to optimize the number of connections that are used. 9 connections per client is quite high in my opinion.

p.s. Mikrotik = super.

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Linksys SPA / PAP ATA firmware upgrade – stack around variable ‘strnc’ was corrupted.

by on Jul.30, 2012, under Computer Stuff

Firmware upgrade fails.

Remove your user & admin passwords from the unit, and try again.

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Linksys / Cisco PAP2 / SPA8000 not recognising UK DTMF sometimes

by on Jul.20, 2012, under Computer Stuff

Linksys SPA8000.
Trouble with DTMF on outgoing calls.
Played with DTMF transit types – AVT is the type we want (RFC2833), but some digits are not being picked up. In particular, the number 2 is very rarely being picked up.

The solution: reduce the FXS input gain (on the System tab at the bottom). It was on -3. I set it to -5 and it looks perfect. The tone signal must have been clipping.

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Exchange 2010 GAL problems. address book service will not start – not compatible with the version of windows you’re running.

by on Jul.18, 2012, under Computer Stuff

How very bizarre.

Migrating from Exchange 2003 to 2010 SP2. Somewhere along the way – after uninstalling Exchange 2003, we started having directory / GAL problems. New Outlook profiles could not be set up, and the GAL could not be downloaded into already-working Outlooks.

After some exploration (and fixing some Public Folder related issues ( http://clintboessen.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/exception-active-directory-user-wasnt.html ) I noticed that the Microsoft Exchange Address Book service was not started. I tried to start it, and found Event ID 7000 from the service control manager, with description

“The Microsoft Exchange Address Book service failed to start due to the following error:
This version of Microsoft Exchange Address Book is not compatible with the version of Windows you’re running. Check your computer’s system information to see whether you need a x86 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) version of the program, and then contact the software publisher.”

I looked at the executable path, and went to check out the properties of the file (“C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\bin\Microsoft.Exchange.AddressBook.Service.exe”), and I noticed there were no PE properties / attributes, and also, that the file was only 2kb in size. Actuallly the same size as the .config file alongside it. Weird. I thought I’d take a look inside.
I opened up Notepad, and drag’n’dropped the EXE file into notepad, and sure enough, the .exe file was actually the same as the .config file.

It seems that one of the updates has incorrectly modified the wrong file. It has overwritten Microsoft.Exchange.AddressBook.Service.exe with what should instead be in Microsoft.Exchange.AddressBook.Service.exe.config.

The server started out as Exchange 2010 RTM, then it had SP1 applied, and then SP2. This problem was noticed shortly after SP2.

I dug out the correct .exe file from the SP2 extracted files, under setup\serverroles\common, and replaced it, then started the service. All is now well again.

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Linksys / Cisco SPA8000 VoIP gateway and multiple channels/lines with a single SIP account.

by on Apr.24, 2012, under Computer Stuff

Linksys / Cisco SPA8000 VoIP gateway. Multiple channels/lines with a single SIP account.
It’s not possible, but here’s a great solution.
The SPA8000 is designed to be fed by a VoIP PBX. It’s not designed to be fed by a multi-channel SIP trunk from an ITSP. The scenario for which the SPA8000 was designed is a corporate environment where you want to support a number of analog devices, but use your SIP PBX. e.g. say you want to have 8 DECT cordless phones on your system, without having lots of ATAs.
The solution: put an Asterisk PBX in between the SPA8000 and your ITSP.
The perfect candidate for this job is the Atcom IP01 Blackfin based device. They’re less than £100.
You should then set each line of the SPA8000 to connect to an extension (701, 702, 703 etc.) of the Asterisk PBX. You can set up the hunt/ring groups from the Asterisk PBX.

Note: firmware 6.1.3 adds support for “Trunks” and “Trunk Groups”. I beleive this should achieve what is desired, however I like the flexibility of the Asterisk box, and the customer is enjoying the voicemail features provided by it.

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O’Grady’s Technical Services.

by on Mar.13, 2012, under Uncategorized

O’Grady’s Technical Services are Gas Safe registered (what was CORGI) gas/heating/plumbing/boiler repair engineers in Eccles, Manchester. My associate just did them a simple website with WordPress and I’m here making this post to try to help promote it on Google.

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SBS 2008 / 2011 automatic backup to RDX / RD1000, without CIFS/SMB/Shared Folders.

by on Dec.01, 2011, under Computer Stuff

The scheduled wbadmin backup to \\server\rd1000 stopped working, so I looked into things a bit more and have now changed my servers to backup to the drive directly. wbadmin behaves as if it’s backing up to a DVD or something, and we have to pipe some input into it.

It goes something like this:
Make a file called c:\unattend.txt, which contains:

C
Y

(C on one line, and Y on another). This will be piped into the wbadmin command’s input, because wbadmin prompts us to “press C to continue”, and “press Y if you’re sure”.

Then the backup command looks like this:

wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:d: -allcritical -quiet <c:\unattend.txt >>”C:\Company Shared Folder\BackupLog.txt”

The -quiet is important because we are relying on very specific behavior/prompts, to which our unattend.txt file responds. i.e. without the -quiet, we’ll not get the “C” and “Y” prompts and so our unattend.txt would not be providing the correct input.

In the above case, the RDX drive is D:

The output, for logging purposes, is appended to C:\Company Shared Folder\BackupLog.txt

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pctrades2011 FAKE COUNTERFEIT SOFTWARE! pctraders2011@yahoo.co.uk fake Office 2003 Pro eBay alert! PayPal name Tom Smith from Bromley.

by on Nov.16, 2011, under Computer Stuff

Dirty lying scammer. Sells fakes / counterfeit software and refuses to refund.
See here: http://www.css-networks.com/fakeoffice

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