Sunday, April 26th, 2009
I ve just heard that there is a new user group forming in Sydney. Starting in May, the Sydney Windows User Group will get off the ground. They are focusing on everything Windows client related, and plan to demo Windows 7 RC at their first meeting. There first meeting is on Wednesday May 13th, at Microsoft North Ryde office. Here s the link to their website http://www.windowsusergroup.com/
Monday, April 20th, 2009
If you ve gotten the message below on your SBS 2008 server, then be sure that you have installed the Hotfix from Microsoft that you can get from this link. http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=961775&kbln=en-us
I blogged about this some months back but I forgot to install the patch myself on a client machine and it gave the error below which I did not expect.
Sunday, April 19th, 2009
Last week my accountant called me with a problem. He was having problems printing anything to the Kyocera printer . He has a Kyocera Mita KM-1650 KX printer connected to his SBS 2003 Server via the network. All users print to this main printer as their default printer.
I asked him over the phone exactly what that meant and in typical client fashion he told me that anything I try to print to the printer won t work . Ok he s just around the corner so I thought I ll drop in and see what the problem is.
I arrived onsite and he was not there, so I was left to my own investigations. Here s how I tackled the problem.
Question 1 When did the problem start? According to the secretary, he s had the problem for a while, but they are not sure when the problem started. Ok this is good but not definitive.
Question 2 Does the problem affect all users or only this one user? Again the secretary says that the problem only affects this one person. All other users can print just fine.
Question 3 Given the problem only affects one user, is it with all applications or only one or two? At this point the secretary is unclear, so it s time to get onto the computer and see for myself.
First thing I did was to try to reproduce the problem. On the users desktop, I went into Printers under Control Panel and printed a printer test page. This worked just fine. Therefore I figured it had to be an application level problem.
I opened up Word 2007, typed in =rand(10,1) and pressed enter. This is a cool shortcut that will generate a page of text. You can play with the numbers and get more text, multiple pages and so on. Anyway once i had a page of text, I hit the print button and waited. The page printed just fine.
I opened up Excel 2007 (no cool shortcut there), typed in numbers in a few columns and hit Print again. Again the page printed just fine. Ok so two key apps work fine.
I opened up Outlook 2007, opened an email and hit Print. Ok it sent the print job to the printer and the printer displayed Print Mode Error on the LCD screen and locked up. I had to power the printer off and back on again to get it to respond. Looks like we have a problem then with Outlook 2007 printing to the printer. Ok so first thing was to check the printer properties for anything strange.
Ok so I had to have a hard think about this. What was different about printing from Word 2007, Excel 2007 and Outlook 2007? The answer was the Page Setup. I checked the page setup from without Outlook 2007 and got the dialog on the right. You can see that the paper type and size is set for Letter. Ok that should not cause a problem really but given we are using A4 paper, I decided to give that a shot and change it to A4.
I then hit print again in Outlook 2007 and was surprised to see that it printed out just fine. Ok so was it just the paper setting that did it or was it something else? I hate to resolve a problem by accident, so I decided to set the paper back to Letter again and test it. If this was the problem then for sure it would fault again with the Print Mode Error.
Sure enough it did. Cool I had found the problem. I reset the Page Setup in outlook for the emails to A4 and tested one more time. Worked fine and I was done! All up the entire problem took less than 5 minutes to investigate and resolve. In fact it has taken longer to write this blog post than it did to resolve the problem. I hope that the solution helps you but also that the methodology that I used to investigate the problem is of some use to you as well.
Saturday, April 18th, 2009
Ok so now I ve finished testing it, there is one downside that I ve found that might make it a little more difficult for me as an IT Pro. During testing I ve found a few times that the Windows Live Family Safety Filter will prevent me from doing some basic testing (Pings etc) unless it is signed in. Now given I am administrator on my laptop it s not an issue for me to circumvent this when I need to. however now that I ve done my testing I decided that I want to remove the Windows Live Family Safety Filter. The only problem was that I could not find it in my programs list. After much digging I found it buried under the Windows Live Essentials option.
To remove Windows Live Family Safety Filter on Windows Vista, go to Control Panel > Programs and Features > Windows Live Essentials, and right click on it to select Uninstall/Change
The select Uninstall from the Windows Live screen.
Select Family Safety to remove it.
Once it s all done you get the following dialog box. As a precaution, I decided to reboot my computer even though it did not ask for it.
Saturday, April 18th, 2009
I ve been trialling out the Windows Live Family Safety Filter so that I could have it running on the computers for my kids. I ve got a teenager and a soon to be teenager, and I need to monitor both and block some of the less than desirable web sites from their computers. My kids often take their computers to friends places and therefore I needed a solution that will work regardless of where they are. I also needed a solution that will allow me to unblock legitimate sites if I need to.
So I installed the Windows Live Family Safety Filter on my laptop. So far so good I tested it over the last few weeks and it works fine for me. I can via the website see where I ve been and my wife and I can both use it to monitor and block access as required. Below you can see the initial control panel where you can select what level of blocking you can select on a person by person
You can then drill down into the Activity Reporting section and see the websites that have been accessed by the child along with how many visits the child has done to the website. You can also elect to see only the blocked activity if you wish.
On the right hand side, you can choose to Change Setting this will allow you to block the site either for this user or for all accounts in your management domain. Note I don t normally go to www.playboy.com but did so to illustrate what you can do with this. If you select the arrow to the left of the website, you can expand all the pages on the site that the child has visited (I didn t here as there were some VERY adult articles there).
Furthermore, you can then see what applications are accessing what websites on the Other Internet Activity tab. Below you can see that Outlook.exe has accessed a number of sites this is for the images in emails that I received.
All in all this is a great free tool that you can use to monitor and manage the web surfing activities of your children and therefore provide them with additional protection. Naturally, I m not relying on this alone. I am also working on educating the kids so that they will more readily recognise bad stuff and avoid it.