Tuesday, 24 December 2013

content.outlook folder

At work we run an RDS environment and the main C drive was running low on space.

I used Space Sniffer to see what I could free up and I noticed that each user profile had a folder called content.outlook within Temporary Internet Files.

What is content.outlook? It's basically a folder where Outlook temporarily stores attachments that are opened within it.

Every time an attachment is opened, a randomly generated folder name is created and the attachments dumped in there. It's just temporary working space, nothing more. The attachments still exist inside Outlook in your Exchange mailbox.

No index is kept so it is safe to just delete everything inside content.outlook and free up some valuable space!

1/8 g2 autoldr drive wr

We have an HP LTO tape drive at work we use for backups, I think it uses LTO-3 tapes.

Anyway, I noticed today that there was a message on the LCD display saying:

"1/8 g2 autoldr drive wr"

I looked up the message and it basically means that the tape is still writing. I wasn't sure if it was perhaps rewinding but I guess the "wr" is a giveaway.

RDS Logon Prompt Twice

At work we run Windows XP in an RDS environment (Server 2008 R2).

One of the big problems is with some XP machines going to the Server 2008 R2 logon screen and after logging in they make you log in a second time.

In fact, my own machine had an even more severe variation of this where my first logon attempt would get "rejected" as bad user/password combination.

It turns out that this is because by default XP will logon to the connection broker and then again to the chosen RDS host (chosen via load balancing of course).

The solution is to enable SSO (single sign on)/NLA (network level authentication) which is present in Windows XP but not on by default.

This is a good link on it:

But basically, you need to make sure you have RDP version 6.1 minimum, and then add two entries to the registry:

  • Go to: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
  • Double click "Security Packages" and add "tspkg" to the bottom of the list
  • Go to: HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders
  • Double click "Security Providers" and add "credssp.dll" to the end of the list. Remember to use a comma!
  • Restart the computer (this part is ESSENTIAL!)
After this, you can access RDS with NLA which means that the server never has to load up the logon screen. Instead, your own computer gives you a popup and prompts for login details before sending them at the same time as the logon request. Most importantly, you'll only have to log on once!

Alternatively if you don't want to edit the registry, you can instead just click on this Microsoft "Fixit" and have it all done automatically for you!

Ping Test Batch File Windows

We got a report at work of a connection between two international sites being slow.

I needed to run some tests. I know how to run ping and tracert but running these alone in their default state doesn't yield all that much useful information.

I wanted to run more extensive tests and to save the results. I figured that someone out there had probably already created a batch file (.bat) to do this and I was right!

You can get a great one here:

This batch file runs PING and TRACERT

====== snip ======
@echo off

echo Run PING to  %1  with small and large packets
echo Run TRACERT to  %1
echo Write output to c:\pingrpt.txt
echo Open c:\pingrpt.txt for editing
echo Optionally delete c:\pingrpt.txt

if "%1"=="" echo No remote host was specified... terminating.
if "%1"=="" goto end

echo Working . .
ping -f -n 10 -l 1464 %1 > c:\pingrpt.txt
echo Working . . .

echo ======================================================== >> c:\pingrpt.txt

ping -f -n 10 -l 12 %1 >> c:\pingrpt.txt
echo Working . . . .

echo ======================================================== >> c:\pingrpt.txt

tracert %1 >> c:\pingrpt.txt
echo Working . . . . .

edit c:\pingrpt.txt

del c:\pingrpt.txt /p

====== snip ======

By the way, it turned out that the connection was not slow but the user was running a great deal of extraneous applications. As soon as he started his computer, updates started to download, DropBox started to synchronize etc.

Windows Update Problems: error number 0x8024d001, checking for the latest updates etc

error number 0x8024d001

I had an absolutely torrid team recently when trying to get a freshly built Windows XP machine to run Windows Update.

It kept coming up with this error: "error number 0x8024d001".

Even when I overcame this, I still had a ton of problems.

It seems that many people are getting similar problems running Windows Update on a brand new build.

In the end, I reinstalled the Windows Update agent. You can use this link for that.

If you overcome this error and end up with "checking for the latest updates for your computer" stuck and not apparently moving then BE PATIENT.

It seems that fresh XP machines (even with SP3) still need a ton of updates. It can take up to 3 hours or more to get past this stage, just to list the updates.

And when it does, clicking to download and install the updates can also take a long time, and at times will appear to be doing pretty much nothing! BE PATIENT! It may say "the updates are being downloaded and installed" but nothing happens, but in reality, something is happening!

Here is a really helpful link if you still have problems:


edit: 13th Jan, I found a really easy way to get past these dumb errors on the Windows Update page.

That's it! After that you'll be able to easily update!

pci ven_14e4&dev_167a&subsys_3029103c

I was working on rebuilding a desktop PC HP DC 5850 small form factor at work.

I forgot to check the drivers installed before I wiped it and reinstalled the OS.

Anyway, Device Manager showed this:


I traced it to the network card type Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit.

You can get the drivers here:


Friday, 20 December 2013

Clear Windows Update Cache XP

I recently had a lot of problems trying to get Windows Update to work on a totally fresh build of XP using an XP plus SP3 iso downloaded from the Microsoft web site!

I tried a ton of things, I'm not sure what fixed it, but one thing I did was to clear the Windows Update cache.

Basically this is the place where all the updates are downloaded to before then being installed. It is the folder: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.

You can safely delete the contents of this folder with no ill harm to your PC.

Before you do that, you must stop the Windows Update service using this command at a command prompt:

net stop wuauserv.

Use this command then delete the contents of that folder (you can delete the entire folder itself if you want). Then restart the service with:

net start wuauserv.

Now go back to the Windows Update site and try again.

Exchange 2003 Turn On Out Of Office For Another User

In Exchange 2003 it is very easy to turn on out of office for another user (or even a department mailbox, for example), so long as you have the rights to.

If you simple add the mailbox to your existing profile then it won't work. That's because the Out of Office settings is always for the primary account, in this case your own.

Instead, you need to change the primary account to the one you want to change. The easiest way to do this is to create a new profile via the Mail icon in Control Panel. When creating this profile, enter the Exchange server name and email address/username for the account.

After that, Outlook will open as if you were the person the mailbox relates to. Simply go to the Out of Office menu and enter whatever message is appropriate.

Monday, 9 December 2013

How To Find Windows Server 2003 Server Uptime

I discovered the other day we still actually have some old server 2003 servers in our environment!

Now on later versions I am used to simply right clicking the taskbar, pulling up Task Manager and there is the server uptime.

Saves trawling through Event Viewer logs.

On Server 2003 this doesn't work, but you can still easily find the server uptime.

Just open a command prompt and type:

systeminfo | find "Up Time"

That's it!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Outlook Meeting Default Behavior/Settings

Someone asked me the other day why some meetings she sends out show as tentative and others do not.

After some research, I discovered the following:

  • If the recipient is online then the meeting automatically shows as tentative, to stop someone else booking the same time.
  • If they are not online then they can return to their desk, open Outlook and see one or more meeting requests all at once and decide there and then which to accept and which to reject.
  • The default behavior as mentioned above is Tentative. But a person can set it on their Outlook application to auto accept all meetings. This is a bad idea though as people may assume a booking and then when you decide to reject it it will annoy them. In effect, you gave your commitment immediately and then let them down. At least "Tentative" means you had not confirmed it yet.

Internet Explorer Error Message: The Current Webpage/Website Is Trying To Open a Site on Your Trusted Sites List. Do You Want To Allow This?

Internet Explorer Error Message: The Current Webpage/Website Is Trying To Open a Site on Your Trusted Sites List. Do You Want To Allow This?

I had this the other day and had never seen it before in my life.

The guy did not even have a trusted sites list and the settings were pretty much default. This was in an RDS environment but I don't think that matters.

It basically happened whenever a site tried to load content from another site e.g. Facebook, Google Plus buttons, widgets etc.

Anyway, in the end I used the Reset button under Tools, Advanced and it worked a treat. No idea why it happened in the first place though...

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