Category : Technical

Cannot create Edge Subscription file

Edge subscription file import and export process

This is a pretty obscure gotcha..

I was trying to export an Edge Subscription XML file from my Edge Transport server (a demo Exchange 2010 environment)
There is no GUI for this in Exchange Management Console, so you have to use the Exchange Management Shell.

Opened up EMS and entered the command :

New-EdgeSubscription –Filename “c:Edge.xml”

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I kept getting an error saying that “When running this task inside the organization, the Filename parameter must NOT be set.” Also, Google told me that a bunch of other people had experienced similar issues but had not found a solution.
A little investigation into why it thought I was ‘inside the organization’ uncovered that I had set the primary DNS suffix the same as the domain name. Changing this to something else, rebooting the server and trying it all again worked a treat.

Now… back to that Edge Subscription…

 

GEO 51.4043388366699:-1.2875679731369

Outlook Web Access – Document Access

It seems that ‘Document Access’ from Outlook Web Access (OWA) is no longer supported in Exchange/OWA 2010.

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http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998911.aspx#Disc2007to2010

imageHowever, the way this element of ‘Discontinued Features and De-Emphasized Functionality’ is worded (“Can’t use…”) makes me think it is more of a known issue than a conscious decision they have made – where is the reasoning and/or alternative solution ? no mention…

Also, all of the configuration functionality for this feature still exists in Exchange 2010 Management Console.

Smells like they just didn’t get the Outlook Web App finished in time. I wonder if this will be in SP1 – it was a pretty neat feature after all – or will SP1 remove the configuration elements in the Management Console ?

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Enabling virtualization when booting from VHD

imageI ran into some trouble with Hyper V the other day – I had booted from a VHD into Windows Server 2008 R2 and was trying to start a VM – I got the usual  ‘The virtual machine could not be started because the hypervisor is not running” error.
I had just had a BIOS failure on the machine so I figured it may have switched hardware virtualization support off in the BIOS when it reloaded the defaults.

Checking the BIOS, I found it was switched on – strange. I Googled a bit but everything seemed to be around flipping the setting in BIOS, when I knew to be correct.
Some further investigation around the boot environment and BCDEDIT settings I found the parameter “HypervisorLaunchType”, thinking this could well be connected, I set the parameter to “auto” in the BCD configuration:

BCDEDIT /set {big-long-guid} hypervisorlaunchtype auto 

This fixed it !!
So now all my BCD configurations go like this:

BCDEDIT /copy {current-or-guid} /d "New Boot Option"
BCDEDIT /set {new-guid} device vhd=[V:]vmimage.vhd
BCDEDIT /set {new-guid} osdevice vhd=[V:]vmimage.vhd
BCDEDIT /set {new-guid} detecthal on
BCDEDIT /set {new-guid} hypervisorlaunchtype auto

GEO51.4043502807617:-1.28752994537354

Exchange 2007 Access Denied when installing Mailbox Role

Yesterday as I was trying to install Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition, I got a pretty strange issue.

imageEverything worked well up till the ‘installing mailbox role’ phase – it seemed to fail pretty quickly when it got there. Subsequent retries also failed (quickly) with exactly the same error – ‘Access Denied’

A little bit of Googling uncovered that the ‘Setup’ for Exchange 2007 had to be run in ‘Compatibility mode’ for it to work correctly. Crazy I know, but it works.

Open a Windows Explorer to the DVD, right click on the setup.exe file and choose the Compatibility tab, then set it to Vista Service Pack 2 – now run it, and it should all work as expected.

 

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Dual Boot is Dead – Long Live Boot from VHD

imageIt is official, dual booting is now dead – Boot from VHD is the new king.

On my flight to BoS2009, I was inadvertently reliving some nostalgic milestones from the past 10 nay 20 years.

I had my Windows 7 laptop, booted from a VHD (see Scott’s great post for some easy instructions on how to configure this) – the OS I had booted into was Windows 2008, I had installed the Hyper-V role and was running an install of Windows XP on a virtual machine at the same time was running a command line install of Exchange 2007.

If only I had brought my Windows 3.1 diskettes with me I’d have had a straight flush…. here’s how it looked…

installl-capture

 

 

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Exchange 2010 Store Compression

logo-header-e2010 One of the things I (for I read we) have been working on recently (at my day job) is looking at the ‘Store Compression’ feature in Exchange 2010.

Store Compression is a new feature in Exchange 2010 whereby some of the content of an email object is compressed as it is inserted into the Exchange Information Store (and decompressed on the way out – when it is being displayed to the user). The reason we were looking at this was we initially thought it might compete with our MaX Compression product – a seriously fab product that transparently compresses and uncompresses attachment data in both Outlook/Exchange.

Anyway, this isn’t a sales pitch – so…

clip_image002I had one of the QA guys do some testing and a side by side comparison. From the results it seemed that our MaX Compression product still gives enormous savings – as significant as it did under Exchange 5.5 – Exchange 2007, so given the general perception that Store Compression compressed the whole email, I wondered whether the feature was actually implemented / enable in the Exchange 2010 beta. Checking with a few MVP colleagues it seems they had been assured it was… so a bit more digging was required.

After speaking to some contacts on the Exchange team at Microsoft, it seems that the Store Compression feature is in the beta (MVPs are never wrong ;-)), but the feature does not compress the whole email object, as many people think – it just compresses some elements of the email object.

It turns out that, as you would expect, compressing and decompressing the whole email object (including attachments etc) as it goes in/out of the Information Store is way too processor intensive and in fact the design goal of the feature was not storage footprint reduction anyway – the original design goal was to reduce I/O throughput to the store so that the (bigger ?) goal of being able to use secondary storage for Exchange could be realized.

So, Store Compression actually only compresses the email headers and any text or html body text. This apparently gave sufficient reduction in the I/O to allow effective performance with secondary storage; it also gave a good balance of I/O optimization against CPU usage (for the overhead of compressing data).

This chart shows the kind of reductions that can achieved with MaX Compression (or any other method of compression attachments), even with the Store Compression feature of Exchange 2010 in action. The two products/features actually work hand in hand, each compression a different aspect of the email object.

More details of MaX Compression and Exchange 2010, how we tested, the results and conclusions can be found here or on the C2C Website.

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Windows 7 and my Windows Mobile phone

logo_windows WindowsMobileDeviceCenter After upgrading to Windows 7 on my laptop I found that I could no longer sync with my Sony Ericsson X1 (Windows Mobile 6.1) Phone. It didn’t even seem to be charging (over USB).

Looking in the system Device Manager I found a missing driver for the ‘Generic RNDIS’ device.

A bit of goggling uncovered that this was something required for syncing mobile devices. Although there are comments around that Windows Mobile devices are not supported on Windows 7 beta, and a number of people seem to be having the same problem, the good news is it does actually work.

I simply downloaded the Windows Mobile Device Center 6.1 for Vista (from Microsoft), installed it and everything was rosy.

It installed the driver for the ‘Generic RNDIS’, I connected the phone, it was recognised a Microsoft USB Sync device was installed and it all started working as expected.

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Windows 7 Sticky Notes

logo_windows StickyNotes I am loving the Sticky Notes app in Windows 7. The only issue I have with it is the dreadful font it uses – well my issue is not the font, it is the fact that you cannot change it to something more ‘normal’.

I mean, I can easily change the font for Outlook Notes. I know, I know, you want it to look like handwritten notes that you would stick on your fridge at home, but hey – this isn’t my fridge at home, it’s my PC at work (and unfortunately there is no cold beer inside it !!).

Eileen Brown confirmed for me that there is no way to change it right now (in the beta – build 7000), but there may be a ‘Non UI’ way of changing it in the official release…

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Kameleon 8040 aka One For All 4 in 1

kameleon1 I bought one of these about 4 years ago – initially loved it, but it chewed through batteries at an incredible rate, so after a few months of use and another instance of needing fresh batteries (and none being available) it sat in a drawer for some (considerable) time.

Now that I am a (proud ??) owner of an Xbox 360, I wanted to rationalize all our disparate remotes – my suggestion of buying a Harmony One (currently £88 on amazon) was met with “What! we already have one of those – that blue thing that lights up” from Sarah…

She’s right  (of course) so I dug it out and brought it back into play – reprogrammed the devices for the new HD TV and DVD player, it still had the Pace Twin PVR programmed and bingo it  worked again.
I wanted to be 100% sure it would do everything I needed (I guess I was looking for an excuse to buy a Harmony), so I looked at all the functions available and programmed – I found that the PVR button (which should bring up the recording library) didn’t work correctly, but a bit of googling sorted that (Key Reprogramming – code 00536) and then I started considering the Xbox.

There is a little info around about getting a Kameleon working with your Xbox. I tried this advice for the 8060 (6 in 1), but it didn’t work (apparently the 4 in 1 does not have the modem programing capability), so eventually I emailed One For All support.
A pretty quick response indicated that yes it could support the Xbox, but would need sending back for reprogramming (at a cost of £10, as I was outside the first year of purchase / warranty). This seemed like a fair price so I have just sent it off.

I’ll post on the ‘richness’ of the Xbox support (and the best code) when I get it back.

 

Codes that might be useful :

  • Vistron 32″ HD TV – Model VIS032HDID   : 0587
  • Yamada DVDSlim 5520 : 0665
  • Xbox 360 : ????
  • Pace Twin Freeview Recorder : 1423(with PVR key reprogrammed to function code 00536)

 

GEO 51.4043197631836:-1.28760504722595

Xbox 360 Networking

xbox360 So before Christmas I bought an Xbox 360 (60GB HDD version). Reasoning was “it will be good for the kids hand eye coordination” which in reality was a thinly veiled “I want one and the kids might like it too” (as it turns out they don’t)…

Anyway, one of the first tasks was networking it -linking it to the home PC and DSL router. I read a bunch of stuff online about the Xbox wireless adapter being over the top and the same could be done with any old wireless router that you had lying around around – so, having an old WRT54G lying around that was my first step.wrt54g

It was pretty successful in that I already had reflashed it with DD-WRT firmware and it was pretty simple getting the wireless side acting as a client to my Linksys WAG160N and the unit bridging connections from the LAN side. Now this configuration requires that you set the LAN side side up on a different subnet to the existing (wireless) network – otherwise the routing gets screwed up. i.e. The LAN side might be on 192.168.2.X while the existing router is on 192.168.1.x (this is what routing is all about – Xbox gets an address of 192.168.2.x and a default GW of 192.168.2.1, the router bridges any data sent to 192.168.2.1 over to the wireless side which has an address of 192.168.1.xxx and a default GW of of 192.168.1.1 that then bridges it over to the WAN side of the DSL connection that then routes it to the Internet…

This worked fine initially, I could connect to Xbox Live and the like, but where it fell down was on the connection to the Media Centre PC – for some reason any Media Centre PC must be on the same segment as the Xbox (which is not the case here as Xbox = 192,168.2.x and MCPC = 192.168.1.x). It does this to make ‘discovery’ of the MCPC easy fro an Xbox, but I am surprised (read disappointed) that there is not an advanced / manual setting that allows the user to specify the IP address. I reckon this is around needing a good quality network connection between the devices (which is generally the case if they are on the same subnet, but not always when on different subnet’s), but a simple disclaimer could have sufficed…. It forces users into either running an Ethernet cable, buying a wireless adapter or living without media centre capability.

xbox360wireless Anyway I caved and bought an Xbox wireless adapter, but the speeds are still not up to streaming HD TV, so now I’m considering powerline adapters (Homeplug) – be glad to hear of any experiences you have with this…

 

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