Master & Cmd-R

How Windows Azure Heals Itself

Great discussion with Mark Russinovich about how Windows Azure heals itself when it’s sick – this is the magic of Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): it all happens behind the scenes, and you usually don’t even know that it’s happened!

022114_2243_HowWindowsA1.png

(click on the image to be redirected to the WindowsAzure.com for the video)

Delegated Access & Sent items

Keeping sent items in the correct mailbox is a common problem for Exchange users who have delegated access to a shared mailbox, or even Send As permissions on another user’s mailbox. Thankfully, there is a solution to this problem, and it works the same whether your Exchange is on premise, or in Office 365.

The Problem?

Any email that a user sends ends up in their own sent items, and not the sent items of the shared or delegated mailbox. This makes it hard to share a mailbox, as you are forever wondering whether an email has been replied to, and you don’t have the conversation history to go back to – very frustrating!

The Solution:

Note that for this to work, Outlook must be in cached mode – if your email is in online (or non-cached) mode, this fix won’t work.

For Outlook 2013:

Edit the following key in your registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice15.0OutlookPreferences

Create a new DWORD Value:

 



Name it DelegateSentItemsStyle and set its value to 1.



This fix will also work with older versions of Office, just use the key appropriate to your version below:

For Outlook 2010:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice14.0OutlookPreferences

For Outlook 2007:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice12.0OutlookPreferences

For Outlook 2003:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice11.0OutlookPreferences

Also, if you’re in Exchange 2010, you can set this setting in PowerShell, so that it will take effect not only in Outlook, but in OWA as well. Check this link for more information, but you basically use the cmdlet Set-MailboxSentItemsConfiguration to specify where email is saved once it has been sent. I’m not sure why they removed this from Exchange 2013, because it would be nice to have this globally applied, and not just on a per machine basis, but there you have it… hope this helps someone!

Use PowerShell to find email aliases

Something I run into all the time is trying to figure out who is holding a specific email address or alias – it can get pretty easy to lose track of aliases, as they don’t show up in your list of users either in the admin center, or in the Exchange Control Panel.

I found this great PowerShell command from the Office 365 Community Forums that allows you to generate a list of all email addresses tied to the mailboxes in your tenancy – here it is:

Get-Mailbox | Select-Object DisplayName,@{Name=”EmailAddresses”;Expression={$_.EmailAddresses |Where-Object {$_ -LIKE “SMTP:*”}}} | Sort | Export-Csv C:\email-aliases.csv

** Note that this script runs against mailboxes, so it will show you the addresses for shared and resource mailboxes, but it won’t tell you what email addresses are used for your distribution groups.

And here is how you run it:

Open PowerShell – the Windows Azure Active Directory Module is required for managing any Office 365 tenancies, so make sure you have it installed:


Log on to your Exchange Control Panel: I’ve found that when trying to manage a tenancy that you have delegated administration rights to, it’s still easiest to log on as the tenant admin (or at least a global admin account), rather than trying to use your delegated account – trying to make the connection jump from your credentials to a client’s never seems to work well for me.

Authenticate: $LiveCred = Get-Credential

102713_1934_UsePowerShe2

Connect to ECP:

$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://ps.outlook.com/powershell/ -Credential $LiveCred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection


And then initiate your remote session:

$importresults = Import-PSSession $Session

Once it connects, you can run your script to generate your list of email aliases:

Get-Mailbox | Select-Object DisplayName,@{Name=”EmailAddresses”;Expression={$_.EmailAddresses |Where-Object {$_ -LIKE “SMTP:*”}}} | Sort | Export-Csv C:\email-aliases.csv

 

** Update **

If you have more than 1000 users, you’ll need to include the “ResultSize Unlimited” switch to your command, like so:

Get-Mailbox -ResultSize Unlimited | Select-Object DisplayName,@{Name=”EmailAddresses”;Expression={$_.EmailAddresses |Where-Object {$_ -LIKE “SMTP:*”}}} | Sort | Export-Csv C:\email-aliases.csv

You might want to change the path that you’re saving to, depending on how your system is configured – if you don’t have permission to write to the root of your C:, then just change your path to c:\users\yourusername\desktop\email-aliases.csv

Disconnect your session – when you’re finished, either run the following command, or just close your PowerShell Window – the session will time out and end after a while, but it’s always best practice to close the door when you leave:

Remove-PSSession $Session

That’s it – enjoy!


Lync 2013 Test Drive

Found this excellent post by Benoit Hamet – Microsoft has provided a complete Test Drive environment allowing you to set up a Lync 2013 Lab for testing and evaluation purposes:

This download comes as a pre-configured set of VHD’s. This download enables you to fully evaluate the Microsoft Lync 2013, Microsoft Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, and UC developer platform APIs including the Microsoft Lync 2013 SDK, the Exchange Web Services Managed API 2.0 as well as the Microsoft Lync Server 2013 SDK and the Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0. Also, Lync Server

From <http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40266>

This is great for testing various environment configurations, including Unified Messaging and different Office 365 Hybrid scenarios. Get ’em while they’re hot!


Google slims down, Chrome gets toned

Now, I know that Google isn’t reading my blog posts… but low and behold, several days after blogging about why I’ve left Google for Microsoft’s tender embrace, Google pushed out an update to Chrome (still my favorite browser, mind you) that streamlines the interface – somewhat.

Ok, got it…



One big clean homepage – recent location thumbnails have shrunk, and they’ve cleaned up a huge chunk of bloat that used to be along the top bar, and the overall effect is quite pleasing.



Where’s the rest?

Clicking on the little grid in the top right corner gives you access to the Google Cornucopia:




Sadly, however… Gmail still has the same old cluttered look and feel – maybe more updates coming down the road? While I’m more than willing to agree that my ex has lost some weight and is looking pretty sweet, Outlook and Office 365 have still captured my heart – plus, Outlook uses Segoe UI!

Sweet, sweet Segoe… <3

Edit PDF content in Word

File this under a new feature I didn’t know existed… you can now edit PDFs in Word 2013!

The converted document might not look exactly the same (formatting might be off by a little bit, or a lot) depending on how much image elements are in the document, and it obviously works a great deal better with documents that are mostly text. However, I opened a document that had been a Word document saved as a PDF, and it was completely perfect, so your mileage may vary.

Once you’re done editing your document, you can use Word to export it back to PDF, by simply clicking on File, Export, then Create PDF/XPS, like so:


Don’t have the latest version of Word? Office 365 has several options that include the latest version of Office, and it will always be current and up to date, which means that you get new features like this one when they come available!


The one where I break Word

I was editing a template today and trying to get some Quick Parts in Word 2013 to automatically update and populate data from the document properties – this ensures that certain fields would automatically be filled in when creating a new document based on this template, which works really well for fields that need to be filled in like Author, Date, Client name, and so forth.

At any rate, I was messing around trying to get these fields to update from the document properties on a SharePoint library without having to close and re-open the document, and all of a sudden, my document fields were replaced with curly braces and a bunch of weird code… like this:




I restored a previous version of the document, I rebooted, I even did a repair of Office but nothing would fix it… I broke Word! Thankfully, all was not lost – if you’re reading this and you’re in the same spot as me – here’s the answer:

Hit Alt-F9!

Turns out there is a key combination that shows the code view in a Word document, and I found it… boy, did I find it! Just press Alt-F9 again, and all is right with the world once more.



That will teach me to try random key combinations to see if I can auto refresh a quick part field!

Presto Wireless printing



I installed this recently for a client, and was pleasantly surprised to see how well it worked – and how easy it was to set up!

The latest upgrade to Collobos Fingerprint wireless printing software has a visual upgrade, as well as some really cool advanced features for printing in an Active Directory environment. They’ve also moved from a one-time purchase and making it an annual subscription of $20 / year for the SOHO version, and $340 / year for the Enterprise version. The Enterprise version includes the Security /Active Directory support, cross subnet printing, as well as premium support from Collobos.

This license is based off the number of servers you install it on, so if you have one server hosting and sharing a bunch of printers, you’ll only need to install and license it once.

All that said, if you have a wireless network, and users who would like to be able to print from their mobile devices, this great little utility can be your new best friend!

Download the installer from their site and install it – no real options were required, just next, next next. When the program starts up, it will detect the printers you have installed and automatically start sharing them – unless you have any advanced requirements, this is all you’ll need to do.



The advanced options have to deal with specifying different domains or network proxies – neither of which were things I needed to make any changes to.

This little print server now begins to broadcast your shared printers via Bonjour, Apple’s sharing technology. It’s also compatible with Google Cloud Print, so you should be able to set up Android devices with it, as well as remote printing through your Google account – I haven’t tried that part, so your mileage may vary!

Here’s how you print from your iDevice:

From a document, webpage or email, tap on the arrow icon:


Tap Print:


Tap Select Printer:


Pick whichever printer you’d like to print to – you’ll notice that it detects all available printers on this server and makes them available to me (and yes, this screenshot is from a different system than the first screenshot)


Select your options, and tap Print:


And off it goes!


Presto installs on any version of Windows from XP to Windows 8, and Server 2003 – Server 2012. Presto also allows you to create virtual printers for printing to PDF, Dropbox or OneNote. Advanced documentation is available from their website.

Missing folders in Outlook 2013

Microsoft has confirmed that one of the latest security updates for Office 2013 is faulty, and one of the symptoms that it causes is an empty Outlook 2013 folder pane:


Thankfully, the fix is simple – you just need to uninstall KB2817630 and KB2810009, and your folders return in all their glory!

You may find, (like us) that you have multiple copies of the KB’s showing up in Installed Updates – simply uninstall all instances of the offending KBs, and you’ll be fine.


One other thing to note – if you’re using Intune to manage your devices, you’ll need to pull the update out of your Approved for Update list, or your users will get notifications to re-install it as soon as it’s uninstalled.

Here’s how you do that:

Log in to your Admin Console, and click on Updates:


Do a search for the updates you want to pull out of your previous approval:


Select your updates, and click Decline:


Yes, yes… we want them gone:


No more update!



4 reasons why I’ve left Google for Microsoft

4. No more Google Reader

No more Google Reader

While not an email related function, Google Reader was my go-to for news feeds and an awesome RSS reader. The day they announced it was closing, I started looking around for a replacement (Feedly is awesome, by the way). Once Google was no longer my one-stop shop, it was only a matter of time before I started looking at Outlook.com

3. New Clean Interface

Even with the latest upgrades to their interface, Gmail still feels cluttered compared to what you see when you log in to Outlook:

Gmail clutter

vs.

Outlook options

and:

Outlook new message

Controls are hidden until you need them, and then appear in a clear, smooth and logical interface.

2. Email Aliases

It’s the year 2013, and Google still doesn’t offer email aliases for your accounts – instead, they suggest you open a new account and set it to forward to your existing email address.

Gmail aliases

Outlook, on the other hand, allows you to create and delete email aliases at will, and it’s a simple as typing it in:

Outlook Alias

And, the number one reason why I’ve left Gmail behind forever is…

1. Exchange Active Sync

Earlier this year, Google decided to drop its support for Exchange Active Sync connections, meaning that email accounts could only connect through Exchange’s uglier cousins, POP and IMAP. This was the death blow for me, as I expect to be able to have full synchronization of all my email, contacts and calendars, including whether or not it’s been read or replied to. Even before this, you couldn’t set up an Exchange account in Outlook, but had to use Google Sync, which was fraught with problems, and was not a good experience to begin with.

Outlook.com gives the same experience regardless of if you’re using webmail, Outlook, or a smartphone – it’s clean, full featured, and a joy to use. Maybe I’m just becoming a Microsofty, but there you have it – Gmail, you’re dead to me!