Aug 01

Microsoft previews email.


Chris Jones Introduced email preview on a blog post yesterday. is Microsoft’s new cloud email offering for the general public. It has a much cleaner interface following in essence what they’ve done with their Windows OS and phone offerings. It’s also integrated with Skype, Microsoft Office Web Apps, and SkyDrive. I haven’t played with most of the new features, but so far I like the ability to edit and view Office documents on the fly. is also tightly integrated with most social networking sites. connects to your mobile phone or tablet using Exchange Active Sync. So you should be able to synchronize mail, contacts, and calendars without issues.

You can sign up and create an account by going to If you have an existing Hotmail Account you can upgrade to an account by clicking the “Upgrade to” option under the “Options” menu (located on the top right of your inbox). You will be able to keep your old account but will be using the email. As with most free email services, you can also create more email aliases by going to “Create an Alias..” option under “More Email Settings.” The aliases can be,, or as long as no one else is using them.

People have reported a few issues after upgrading their accounts to so tread carefully. Since my Hotmail personal account isn’t really that important, I’ve upgraded it already, and so far I haven’t had any issues.

Microsoft will eventually upgrade every user of to They will also do away with the service. All users will  be allowed to keep their existing email. I am not sure if they will still allow you to create aliases that include and We’ll have to wait and see.

Let us know what you think if you’ve already upgraded or created a new account.


Jul 19

Windows 8 to be available on October 26th

That’s right, Windows 8 will be available this next October 26th. Users will be able to get Windows 8 on new PCs or upgrade their existing computers to Windows 8 starting on that date.

I’ve been playing with the customer preview releases of Windows 8 and Server 2012 for the past few months, and I am starting to like a few of the features. I am still not a big fan of the new Metro interface though, but I am sure I will grow to at least tolerate it as time goes on.

Microsoft also announced the release timeline for Windows Server 2012. It will be available to hardware partners in August, and customers can buy equipment with Server 2012 sometime in September.

Microsoft is starting to invest a lot of energy and money in the tablet and phone markets. So much so that this next release of Windows has a user interface designed around these touch screen devices. We’ll just have to wait and see how that works out for them.

Jul 07

DNS Changer Malware. Make sure you don’t lose internet access on July 9th 2012.

The DNSChanger Malware was a Trojan Virus that infected millions of computers from 2007 until 2011. Once the malware infected a computer, it changed the computer’s DNS configuration to point to some rogue DNS Servers.  The rogue servers redirected certain websites to advertisers, injected advertisements on most websites, and, among other things, blocked access to antivirus software websites or sites that helped with the disinfection of the computer.

Last year, in November 2011, the FBI seized these rogue DNS servers. The FBI was concerned that millions of people would lose internet access if they just shut down these servers. So they obtained a court order allowing them  to contract with the Internet Systems Consortium to install some interim servers that could handle DNS requests from infected computers.

The FBI intends to bring these temporary DNS servers offline on July 9th 2012. This means that any computers still infected with the DNS Changer Malware will not be able to reach a DNS Server to resolve names, and thus will not be able to reach any websites. More information can be found on this FBI.Gov page.

To detect if your computer has been infected with the DNS Changer Malware see the information on the following Link.

Alternatively you can visit the following site

If you think you are infected, the information on the following link will help you clean your computer

What’s worked for me in the past is a combination of Kaspersky’s TDSSKiller and Malwarebytes. If you are infected, you probably won’t be able to download the tools. So you may need to get those tools using a computer that isn’t infected. Once you get the tools, boot into safe mode and run TDSSKiller. Once the computer restarts run Malwarebytes.

If you encounter problems or need help removing the infection, let me know, and I may be able to help.

Until next time.


Oct 05

Steve Jobs Dies at 65.

Today, Apple’s co-founder and former CEO passed away. He was a visionary man and an inspiration to many. He revolutionized the way we use technology and will not soon be forgotten.

He will be missed.

Today, Apple’s main site shows only a black and white picture of Steve.

When you click on this picture you are taken to an obituary that reads: “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been furtunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

May 14

Add multiple backup destinations to Windows SBS 2011 when not all backup devices are available (onsite).

The Small Business Server 2011 backup usually works pretty well. It meets the basic backup needs of most small businesses, and, in my opinion, it is an improvement over the SBS 2008 backup. It is usually pretty straight forward to set up and configure. Most end users should have no problems configuring the backup schedule and setting up the backup with an external USB drive.

If you want to add multiple backup destinations, it is also simple as long as you have all backup destinations connected to the server. There are certain situations when this may not be possible or ideal. You may not be able to connect more than one backup device to the server at the same time, some backup devices may not be available (they are stored off site), or you simply may not want plug in every single backup device just to add another backup destination.

Whatever the case may be, if you try to add a backup destination when not all the backup devices are connected to the server, you will get an error message, and you will not be able to complete the procedure. This behavior is by design. When the wizard completes, it verifies the currently listed backup disks. If any of the disks are missing, you will receive an error message, and the operation will not complete.

To add multiple disks when not all disks are available or connected to the server you will have to use the command line. Plug the hard-drive in to the server. Log in to the server using an account with administrator privileges. Click on the start menu, click on All Programs, click on accessories, right click “Command Prompt” and click “Run as Administrator.” This will open an elevated command prompt. On this command prompt type the following commands:

  • wbadmin get disks <—- use this command to determine the Disk Identifier of the new disk. Examine the output and locate the disk that will be added to the backup schedule. Make note of the disk identifier.
  • wbadmin enable backup -addtarget:Disk Identifier – make sure you include the brackets <— This command will add the new disk to the scheduled backup.

Once you run the last command you will receive a series of prompts. Type Y to accept all of them, and you are done.


Feb 01

Problem Spotlight: Cannot Start Microsoft Exchange System Attendant and Event ID 9157 is Logged in the Event Viewer

Two weeks ago, I got an emergency call on a Friday afternoon. A local Scottsdale Arizona business was having issues with its email server. They stated that their Microsoft Exchange Server was down. When I arrived onsite, the business’ IT support personnel filled me in on the issue and what they had tried to fix the issue. The server apparently had gone down the previous night after it was rebooted to install OS updates. They had been trying to fix the issue for most of the day.

After inspecting the server, I realized that the Information Store was dismounted. They were running Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. After closer inspection, I found out that the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant service couldn’t start, and the event ID 9157 was logged in the Event Viewer. The following is a description of that event: “Microsoft Exchange Server computer system attendant does not have sufficient rights to read Exchange Server configuration objects in Active Directory. System attendant will try again in approximately one minute.” This was, obviously, a problem.

The Microsoft Exchange System Attendant is critical to Exchange Server’s stability and performance. Its components and sub components work together to facilitate Active directory communication from and to clients (Outlook) and Exchange Services. Also, many Exchange related Services will not function without it. If the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant is not running, many services will not run including the Information Store. This was the reason their Information Store was dismounted, and their Exchange Server was down.

Based on the error message, instinct would tell us to start checking and troubleshooting permissions. Fortunately, I had seen this problem before and was able to find a solution quickly without wasting much time troubleshooting. It turns out that when the Microsoft System Attendant service starts, it looks for certain groups ONLY in the default Users Active Directory Container. The groups the System Attendant service looks for are the following:

  • Exchange Services
  • Exchange Domain Servers
  • Exchange Enterprise Servers

If any of these groups have been moved to a different container, the System Attendant service will not find these groups and will not start. To fix this problem just move these groups back to the default Users container and restart the System Attendant service.

That was all I needed to do to fix my Customer’s issue. It turned out they had hired a “Network Engineer” to maintain their network a week before. This person started to “clean” Active Directory. One of the things he did to “clean” Active Directory was move all the contents of the default Users container to an Organizational Unit created by him. Then a week later the server was restarted and the System Attendant Service did not start. I was called in because he wasn’t able to fix the problem.

Well, there you have it. It was a simple fix. Until next time!