Good-to-know troubleshooting in Outlook *shrug*

Have you ever heard of Kurgan? The evil Highlander Immortal of the movie Highlander? I don’t know why but troubleshooting certain… applications… makes me think of him, maybe it’s the thought of splitting the laptop open with a giant sword.
I like troubleshooting when the process is automated with Powershell or graphic tools with charts (like WSUS reporting or other stuff) that lets me take a quick overview of what could be wrong… So I thought a good-to-know-tool for Helpdesk is OCT Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool 2.0 which scans your profile and checks for issues regarding everything from configuration errors to missing hotfixes (or service pack for that matter)

So downloading, installing and running OCT will give you this start page

msocat

And then you select Start a Scan and enter a scan label (name the scan) and if necessary enter the credentials if you need to run the scan for another account than the one you are logged on with.

ocatstartascan

Then it takes around 2 minutes (said 9 minutes but for me it took 2 minutes ūüôā for the scan to complete and then you can click View a report of this configuration scan

ocatscanningreportviewchanged

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Good-to-know recovery in Windows 8

If you haven’t started to play around in the snow yet (in Sweden at least) and you’re stuck inside because you’re sick (like me) you can always do things like back-ups (and no I’m not talking about the exercise), and other file cleaning things…. and in Windows 8, why not create a recove Wim-file with recimg?

If you run cmd as administrator and execute

recimg /?
Configures the recovery image Windows uses to refresh your PC.
RECIMG.EXE <command> <arguments>
The recimg.exe command line tool lets you configure a custom recovery image for Windows to use when you refresh your PC.
When you create a custom recovery image, it will contain the desktop apps you've installed, and the Windows system files in their current state. 
Recovery images do not contain your documents, personal settings, user profiles, or apps from Windows Store, because that information is preserved at the time you refresh your PC.
When you create a custom recovery image, recimg will store it in the specified directory, and set it as the active recovery image. 
If a custom recovery image is set as the active recovery image, Windows will use it when you refresh your PC. 
You can use the /setcurrent and /deregister options to select which recovery image Windows will use. 
All recovery images have the filename CustomRefresh.wim. If no CustomRefresh.wim file is found in the active recovery image directory, 
Windows will fall back to the default image (or to installation media) when you refresh your PC.
Note that you cannot reset your PC using a custom recovery image. Custom recovery images can only be used to refresh your PC.
The following commands can be specified:
/createimage <directory>         Captures a new custom recovery image in the location specified by         <directory>, and sets it as the active recovery image.
/setcurrent <directory>         Sets the active recovery image to the CustomRefresh.wim file in the         location specified by <directory>. Windows will use this image when you
refresh your PC, even if a recovery image provided by your PC's         manufacturer is present.
/deregister         Deregisters the current custom recovery image. If a recovery image         provided by your PC's manufacturer is present, Windows will use that         
image when you refresh your PC. Otherwise, Windows will use your         installation media when you refresh your PC.
/showcurrent         Displays the path to the directory in which the current active recovery         image is stored.
/help, /?         Displays this help text.

So! Away we go, and might I suggest you place the recovery wim file on a different drive than your windows drive ūüôā

recimg /createimage e:\recimg

If you navigate to that folder you will see that windows will create a CustomRefresh.wim file.

When it is complete execute recimg /showcurrent to view the settings.

AND if you got a little bit over excited as I did with the cleaning up files and what not’s and you tried to refresh your Windows 8 machine with Windows Recovery by pressing Shift and F8 while booting…
but all you got was “The drive where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again”
Refresh your PC

Well have no fear you probably just messed upp BCD so press cancel, go back to Windows Recovery, select Troubleshoot, Advanced Options and then Command Prompt and execute

diskpart

and then

list volume

And note which volume letter (Ltr) that¬†has the operating system files for Windows 8 – you better know the size of the partition ūüėČ

then execute the following where you replace D: with the drive letter of your Windows 8 partition.

bcdboot d:\windows /s d:\

And if THAT fails you need to find out the GUID {identifier} for your installation and use that information with bcdboot to repair it.

bcdeditwin8

And then use that information instead (with the driveletter of your volume as explained in the previous steps):

bcdboot d:\windows /m {2980d3a5-1dfc-11e2-a3bb-2c768ae43499}

Good to know’s – Remote Desktop (Terminal Services)

So I got the Halo 4 collectors edition…

Got an awesome Halo 4 necklace and everything – but I couldn’t play at all because of some crazy ants in my wrists…. ūüė¶

So

Remote Desktop previously Terminal Server?
I like big changes and small features. If you want to know about the big changes you can always find everything you need to know about What’s new in Windows Server 2012 by visiting Technet.

Small things need to know that has been around for some time is Remote Desktop (Terminal Services) Protocol 8.0 that is available for Windows 7 SP1 (and Windows 8 of course)
And again, there are a number of great pages where you can read more, I suggest you visist the remote desktop services blog and read more about the Windows 7 update.

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When you connect using the desktop version of remote desktop Connection (mstsc.exe) in Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012, you can right-click at the top bar and click Smart sizing to automatically expand the remote desktop session window so you won’t need to (elder) scroll¬†to navigate.
Though it seems that mstsc for Windows 7 SP1 with the 8.0 update doesn’t show the option Smart sizing in the navigation pane for some reason…? And if that is the case you can¬†configure smart sizing by running¬†mstsc, click Show Options, select Save As, navigate to your saved .rdp file, select open with notepad,¬†and add smart sizing:i:1¬†at the end of the file and save it.

 

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And then there’s the Windows 8 Remote Desktop application!

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It’s a nice little application (WWAhost.exe) if you want to log on to two or three more servers remotely (… if you need to manage more than three servers, say 42, you should use Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 instead.) But if you are using vdi, remoteapp etc and you are using a tablet-surface-Windows 8-touch-device it’s great.

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PLUS (and trust me, with all that short-cut-keying and app switching between fullscreens) you can use the new Remote desktop application in snap mode so that you can run either more Windows 8 applications or desktop applications with your sessions listed on the right side of the screen:

Windows 8 Remote Desktop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in Remote Desktop, if you right-click a Recent machine and select edit

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you can view the settings for each machine if you switch the setting to apply for all machines to off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

User data migration with USMT – where what how

I don’t like long explanations, directory locations or long talks on the phone. I enjoy long walks in the forest or long concerts.
So if you want to use USMT version (while I am writing this) it’s version 6.2.9200.16384 *version 5.0) there is a pretty Technet blog post¬†that explain more about¬†USMT 5.0 vs 4.0 etc… but wait, it says USMT 5.0 in the blog post title,¬†but¬†the¬†post¬†refers to USMT 4.0
Then there’s always the User State Migration Tool (USMT) Technical Reference¬†or 113000 hits on google containing the words USMT and Video.

So¬†you don’t really need this just-another-blog-post do you ūüôā
I just want to tell you TWO THINGS about USMT that I wanted to know:
1. Where the hell is the commandline USMT located
2. How do I extract a .mig file (usmt.mig)

Well, the command line version of USMT is installed in the following folder when you download and install Microsoft ADK

USMT location after installing ADK (Assessment and Deployment Kit)

…and I¬†don’t won’t to call usmtutils.exe from
C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Assessment and deployment kit\User State Migration Tool\amd64… *phew* every time SO I copied the necessary files from¬†C:\Program Files\Bla\Bla\Bla\User State Bla\amd64 to C:\USMT instead.
After doing that there will be a usmtutils.log file in C:\USMT when you run the command usmtutils.exe /? and a short explanation is displayed in the command prompt.

Needed dlls when copying usmtutils.exe to other locations

So now I can extract an usmt.mig file with usmtutils.exe by executing the following

msutils.exe /extract c:\usmt\mig\USMT.MIG C:\usmt\extract

Need to know shortcuts in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012

Ok, so you don’t want to scroll around forever looking for shortcut keys in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 – these are my top three:

1. Windows key + i to find the Power options

Windows key + i

2. Windows key + X to find the administrator shortcuts

Windows key + x

3. Right click CMD to find options such as Run as administrator
OR
simply press CTRL + SHIFT and left click CMD to send Run as administrator to cmd,
OR with CMD selected just click CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER
Works with task bar pinned legacy applications as well….

Run, run, run as admin

….So, those are my Three favorites amongst many.

How to make users ask for permission to access folders the Windows 8/Server 2012 way

-“I can’t access this folder”
-“What’s the name of the folder you are trying to access”?
-“I don’t know… G something”
-“…Ok… can you tell me the name of  a colleague who’s got access to the folder”?
-“Yes! There’s Peter, but I don’t know his last name”
And thus the interrogation continues…

But wait! With Windows 8 and Server 2012 we configure Access Denied Assistance Message and let the user click a button to provide us with the information we need when managing access to folders.
How neat isn’t this:

The configured message on the Windows 8 Client
What the mail function looks like on the client

 So basically, the user can request permission, you have configured a folder owner e-mail adress, what information the mail will contain (such as folder path etc) for a shared folder, and voila, no communication needed from either side ūüôā

Where to configure Request Assistance message for a share

The customized message specified for a share

And of course you can configure this with Group Policy to apply if for all files and folders.
Computer configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\System\Access-Denied Assistance 


Anyway, there are a LOT of more (and I dare say it) awesome features that makes it easier for both the user and the administrator when it comes to file and resource management, but that’s another day and another blog post. ūüôā