Mar 21

Use WebDAV folders to manage Sharepoint Libraries in SBS 2008.

Microsoft Sharepoint is a powerful product that allows companies to collaborate using a web based medium. It is installed when you deploy Windows Small Business Server. It can be used out of the box by employees and members of an organization. I’ve deployed Windows Small Business Server to most of my customer’s networks, and they love using Sharepoint.

One of the features Sharepoint has is Document Libraries. You can upload, modify, and mange documents right in Sharepoint, and it becomes a really powerful and efficient tool when you use it right. Working with folders and files from within Sharepoint can be cumbersome and inefficient when you are used to the usual “Windows Explorer” that comes with all versions of Windows. Wouldn’t it be nice to work with Sharepoint libraries using this familiar interface? Well, it is possible. Sharepoint supports a technology called Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV).

WebDAV makes it possible to modify and work with documents in Sharepoint libraries as if they were on your computer.

Here’s a Wikipedia description of WebDav:

Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning, or WebDAV, is a set of extensions to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that allows computer-users to edit and manage files collaboratively on remote World Wide Web servers. RFC 4918 defines the extensions. The group of developers responsible for these extensions was also known by the same name and was a working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

The WebDAV protocol allows interactivity, making the Web a readable and writable medium, in line with Tim Berners-Lee’s original vision. It allows users to create, change and move documents on a remote server (typically a web server or “web share”).

Microsoft didn’t make WebDAV available on all versions of Windows by default. So make sure your version supports it. Also, Microsoft released an update that fixes some issues with WebDAV folders. You can get this update here

Download and Install the update before proceeding.

The following steps walk you through configuring web folders for Sharepoint libraries:

  • First, click on the start menu, right-click “computer,” and click “Map Network Drive.”
  • On the Map Network Drive Window choose a drive letter, type in the path to the Sharepoint Library (http://companyweb/<library name>, in this case http://companyweb/workorders). Make sure the “Reconnect at Log On” option is checked. Then click the “Finish” button.
  • A window asking for credentials will show up. Type in your domain credentials in the format DOMAIN\username and your password. Click OK.
  • After doing this, the Sharepoint Libary will show up in “My Computer” as if it was a drive. You can work with folders and files as if it was a drive on your local computer. Any changes will show up in the library when you browse it in Sharepoint.

This procedure assumes you are working on a computer with local access to the Sharepoint server. In Windows Server 2008 you can access the Sharepoint Website from a remote computer. To access the Sharepoint Library from a remote computer type the remote path to the library instead of the local path. The remote path may be different depending on how it was setup by your network administrator. The path is usually https://remote.<yourdomain.com>:987/<library name>. You enter this path in the map a network drive window.

There you have it. This will make it easier to work with Sharepoint Libraries in your organization.

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Mar 14

Creating and using a password reset disk in Windows 7

It happens to all of us. We forget our passwords. Whatever the reason is, forgetting your password isn’t pretty. If you forget your Windows password and you have no other accounts on the PC that can reset your password, you have no way of accessing your account other than resetting the password.

Depending on the network  environment your computer is on, the password reset process can be simple or complicated. If your computer is part of a domain, and the account you lost the password to is a domain account, then your Network Administrator can reset the password for you.

If your account is a local computer account and there are no other accounts on the PC with administrator access, the process gets a little bit more complicated.

There are third party utilities that allow you to reset the password in this situation. The most effective utility I’ve used in these situations was ERD Commander by Winternals. This utility allowed you to boot on to a disk and attach your self to the Windows installation. This effectively allowed you to run certain tools and utilities on the installation. This was useful when you wanted to troubleshoot boot and other ralated issues. There are other free utilities similar to ERD commander that allow you to do just this, but I haven’t used a lot of them. the ones I’ve used haven’t been very successful. I may write an article in the future about these other utilities.

Winternals was acquired by Microsoft back in 2007. Microsoft made most of the utilities offered by Winternals available free of charge. They stopped offering ERD commander as a stand alone product and started offering it under the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. They also changed the name to Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT). The only problem is that they made this software available only  under the Software Assurance program or to holders of an MSDN or Technet subscription. This means that most end users who may have this problem don’t have access to these tools. I may write an article about creating a DaRT boot disk and using it to solve specific issues in the future.

Now back to what this article is about. Microsoft made it simple for an end user to get out of a lost password situation if the necessary steps are taken. Windows allows you to create a password reset disk. Most versions of Windows have this option, and the process for creating the disk is similar in Windows Vista and Windows 7.  I will focus on Windows 7 in this article. If you want a guide for older versions of windows, email me or post it in the comments, and I will create one.

A password reset disk allows you to recover your password if you forgot it. It is a simple process to create and use, and everyone should have one.

What do you need to complete this process?

  1. Windows 7 Installed on your PC
  2. Removable Media – a USB flash drive or a Floppy Disk. I recommend a USB flash drive.

To create the password reset disk follow the next steps:

  1. Insert your USB flash drive or Floppy disk in the computer.
  2. Go to user accounts by clicking on the Start Menu > Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts.
  3. Click “Create Password Reset Disk” on the left pane to open the Forgotten Password Wizard.
  4. Click Next on the Welcome to the Forgotten Password Wizard Page.
  5. On the next window select your removable media and click next.
  6. Type in your password on the next window and click Next.
  7. On the next window the wizard creates the reset disk. Wait until the progress bar reaches 100% and then click next.
  8. Click Finish on the last window and you are done. Store the flash drive in a safe place.

To use this flash drive to recover your password click on the Reset Password link that appears after you enter the wrong password on the Windows Log In screen. Insert the password reset disk and follow the instructions on the screen to create your new password. If you lose this password again, you can use the same reset disk to reset the password. There is no need to create a new one.

I hope this proves useful. If you have any questions feel free to email me or to post a comment.

Until next time.

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Mar 12

Newegg admits to have sold fake Intel CPUs.

In a recent article, we posted that the e-tailer Newegg.com had shipped to some customers what appeared to be counterfeit Intel CPUs.

Newegg originally stated that the CPUs were demo units that were accidentally shipped to their customers, and they quickly took action to fix the issue by shipping real CPUs to their affected customers.

HardOPC wrongly reported that the “demo” CPUs were provided to  Newegg by D&H Distributing. This statement prompted D&H to threaten HardOPC with legal action for libel.

This last Monday, Newegg published on their Facebook page a statement indicating that the CPUs were indeed fake and blamed one of their providers, IPEX, for the fiasco.

Here’s what Newegg had to say:

Newegg is currently conducting a thorough investigation surrounding recent shipments of questionable Intel Core i7-920 CPUs purchased from Newegg.com.

Initial information we received from our supplier, IPEX, stated that they had mistakenly shipped us “demo units.” We have since come to discover the CPUs were counterfeit and are terminating our relationship with this supplier. Contrary to any speculation, D&H Distributing is not the vendor that supplied us with the Intel Core i7-920 CPUs in question.

Newegg’s top priority is to proactively reach out to all customers who may have been affected to ensure their absolute satisfaction. We have already sent out a number of replacement units and are doing everything in our power to resolve the matter promptly and with the least amount of inconvenience to our customers.

We have always taken pride in providing an exceptional experience for each customer, and we apologize for any inconvenience to our valued customers. We take matters like this extremely seriously, and are working in close cooperation with Intel and the appropriate law enforcement authorities to thoroughly investigate this incident.

Newegg solved the issue promptly with their customers’ satisfaction in mind. I didn’t expect less from them, but the thought remains in my head. How were these CPUs able to go unnoticed until they reached the end user? Newegg will obviously have to look into their QA practices more closely after this.

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Mar 09

New Vodafone HTC Magic phone contains malware – Mariposa botnet and Conficker.

It is interesting how many reputable companies these days are providing malware infected devices or software to their customers. They need to have a serious talk to whoever is in charge of doing QA at these places.

Vodafone now joins the list of vendors who provide malware free of charge to their customers. A Panda Labs Gal apparently received a new phone with malware installed in it. You can read more about it in the Panda Research Blog.

This just shows what I’ve been telling my customers all this time isn’t just me being paranoid. I always tell them that the first line of defense against computer attacks is them. I tell them to trust no one, not even their grandma, on the internet – ask questions first and click later.

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Mar 09

Cisco announced new Core router, CRS 3, that will support the “Next Generation Internet.”

This morning, at 8:00 AM PST, Cisco announced something they say will “forever change the internet.” The announcement was a new core router; an upgrade to their existing CRS 1 line of core routers – the CRS 3. This new core router, they say, will lay the foundation to support the next generation internet. The next generation internet will consist of Video, Collaboration Platforms, and Distributed, virtualized architecture.

This new router, CRS 3, triples the capacity of its predecessor, CRS 1, by providing a bandwidth of up to 322 Tera bits per second. This is, Cisco states, 12 times more than their nearest competitor.

From their press release:

With more than 12 times the traffic capacity of the nearest competing system, the Cisco CRS-3 is designed to transform the broadband communication and entertainment industry by accelerating the delivery of compelling new experiences for consumers, new revenue opportunities for service providers, and new ways to collaborate in the workplace.

Here’s a Video about the CRS-3:

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Mar 08

Cisco to make major announcement that will “forever change the internet”

Cisco says that it has “a significant announcement [...] that will forever change the internet and its impact on consumers, businesses and governments.”

Speculations abound through out the internet and blogosphere about what this announcement could be, and Cisco’s market share gained 3.65 % to close at $26.13 on Monday.

I’ve received the invitation, and I will be present at the live webcast event tomorrow March 9th at 9 AM Arizona time. I will post an update as soon as the webcast is done.

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