Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Outlook 2010 Contact Card hover over pop-ups... How to disable?

I don't know about you, but I don't always find the newest features in software to be that helpful, or really even necessary.

One example is the new Outlook 2010 contact card feature, especially the pop-ups when you hover over a name. I'm sure someone out there finds it handy, but to me it was mostly annoying. Yeah, I occasionally used it, but I could just as easily right-click the person and go to see their properties that way too. However, most times, I would manage to just ever so briefly do a hover over a name and then the pop-up appears and wouldn't always go away nicely. That is what I found annoying, not that it would pop up, but that it often required a click to go away.

I finally decided I wanted to turn it off. So I start going through Outlook settings to find where to disable the feature. But I don't find the option to do so. A quick search on Bing (or Google, take your pick) does, however, turn up some complaints from others that this "feature" is not only annoying, it is crashing Outlook. Yet nobody had any good answers to what was going on or how to disable the pop-ups...

Delving into it a bit deeper revealed a TechNet article discussing how to enable or customize Office 2010 features using the Office Customization Tool (OCT) and Group Policy. This did confirm it was possible to disable the hover over pop-ups. Following some links in there lead to the download page for the Office 2010 Administrative Template files and Office Customization Tool. There you will find an .XLS file with all the available settings along with the corresponding registry entries for those settings...

Ok, I know you're only reading this if you really want to disable the pop-us, so here's how:
  1. While logged in as the user you want to disable this feature for, go to the registry.
  2. You will need to go to the following key (NOTE: you may have to create some keys in this path): HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\ContactCard
  3. In there, create a new DWORD Value of: TurnOffHoverFunctionality
  4. Set the value to: 1
  5. Restart Outlook and the pop-ups will no longer appear when you hover over a name!
Now, to me, it would seem that something as invasive as pop-ups should be configurable through the normal menus. I don't know why MSFT didn't expose that in the options. But, if you want it turned off you now have the means to do so...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Change your Windows 7 default logon background...

In Windows 7 it is possible to change your default logon UI background image. This can be done by following these simple steps:
  1. On your computer, open regedit. (proceed at your own risk...)
  2. Find the following key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background
  3. In there look for a value named: OEMBackground and set the value to 1. (It may or may not be there, if it isn't just create a new DWORD value with that name and set a value of 1.) Close regedit.
  4. Browse to the following path in your Windows directory: %windir%\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds (note: you may need to create the 'info' and 'backgrounds' directories)
  5. Drop in your desired image file and name it: backgroundDefault.jpg (NOTE: the file size must be less than 256Kb for it to be used)
  6. Now hit CTRL-ALT-DEL or WIN-L and you should see your new background!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Enable Remote Desktop... Remotely!

Have you ever installed a new server, either locally in a server room or perhaps even in a datacenter far far away, and only later realized you forgot to enable Remote Desktop?? I hate it when that happens... So how can you enable Remote Desktop connections without having to get out of your chair and go to the console?

Use this simple registry modification to make it happen:
Disclaimer: Don't mess up your registry, or you will hose your server!!! This is a blog, not a support service, so if you follow my advice here you do so at your own risk!!! That being said....
  1. Make a remote network registry connection to the server you need to enable it on.
  2. Once connected, browse the remote machine's registry and find the following key: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server
  3. In there, find the following value: fDenyTSConnections.
  4. Double click it to edit the value, and change the setting from 1 to 0.
  5. Disconnect from the remote registry and close regedit.
  6. You should now be able to successfully connect to the server in a Remote Desktop connection!
And with that simple change you can save the long walk into the server room, or the embarrassment of having to call someone at the remote location - again...

Is there anybody out there?

Hey you... I know what you must be thinking about my blog: "Nobody home... This blog has died and now is just waiting for the worms..." Right??? I must admit, I had become comfortably numb regarding it - as evidenced by my making only a single post for the year. And perhaps even now you're wondering if I'm really back - in the flesh?? Yes, I am... I know my repeated neglect must put me on the thin ice, but all I can ask of you is: Don't leave me now... Please don't think of my absence as just empty spaces, but as another brick in the wall... But now, I truly realize that the show must go on! I will do better, even if takes shameless "re-blogging" just to get something out there. I guess to sum it up, the best way to express what I'm trying to say is: Wish you were here....

Okay, for those of you who aren't die-hard Pink Floyd fans, I do want to acknowledge that the previous paragraph might seem a bit odd, as I was trying to use as many song titles from their "The Wall" album in that paragraph (as well as the post title) as I possibly could... NOT that there is anything weird about "The Wall" itself... ;-) But there at the end I broke from it and used the album title (and song too for that matter...) from "Wish You Were Here"... Yeah, I know - it was a real stretch....

In all seriousness, however, I am fully aware this is not the first time I've said I'd do a better job of keeping up with the blog. So no more empty promises on that front - just action! So stay tuned! Good stuff coming up. (I hope...)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Picked up some new letters the other day: MCITP

On December 30, 2008, I finished up on my testing for MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator for Exchange 2007. As with most things, I put it off much longer than I should have, and I'm glad to be done with it. But for anyone contemplating going through it, here's my take on it:

Exam 70-236 for MCTS on Configuring Exchange 2007 - This was by far the hardest exam of the three required for MCITP. Of course passing just this one gives you MCTS, so that's something. But hopefully without giving away too much to violate any NDA's, I'll say that when you sit this one, you need to know where you do things in Exchange, what permissions you need to do it, and know your Powershell cmdlets in the Exchange Management Shell.

Exam 70-237 for MCITP on Designing Exchange 2007 - To me this seemed to be the easiest of the exams. If you have working knowledge of what it takes to setup Exchange 2007 and what the roles do and why you need them, then this one shouldn't be too difficult.

Exam 70-238 for MCITP on Deploying Exchange 2007 - I thought this one was a bit tougher than 237, however I scored the highest on this one. It really expanded on what was included in 237. It seemed to require you to think through the questions a bit more.

Of course, with Microsoft exams, not every question will always make perfect sense. That is just the way it is. Overall though, I didn't think these exams were half bad. Just wish I hadn't put it off for so long...

As far as study materials go, I used the following study guides:

MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-236): Configuring Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
Orin Thomas, Ian McLean, Microsoft Press, Hardcover, Bk&CD edition, Published November 2007, 896 pages, ISBN 0735624100

MCITP: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Messaging Design and Deployment Study Guide (70-237 and 70-238) Rawlinson Rivera, Sybex, Published 2008, Bk&CD edition, ISBN 047018146X

For the most part, I would recommend either of these books. Both had a lot of useful information, and were good as review material. There were some minor errors here and there, but nothing to really throw you off for the exams.

Now on to Microsoft Certified Master. If only....

Time for my yearly post! Blogging again...

No, I'm not even going to talk about how long it's been since I posted something - anything for that matter. I know, I'm a horrible blogger... I would say I'd make a resolution to do better, but I've already got my New Year's resolution: 1920x1200. Get it? Resolution, as in display settings??

I saw that somewhere, the exact location now forgotten, and had to use it. Sorry. I'll try not to make lame jokes like that again. But maybe you can understand why I'm in IT based on my prowess as a joke teller. I don't expect to be able to quit my day job any time soon...

Ok, onto a real post....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Has it really been this long?! Renewing Exchange Certificates...

On a couple of fronts there has been some passing of time... First, I admit that, yet again, I've sorely neglected my blog... I'll truly try to start doing better! :-)

It's also been around a year since I installed Exchange 2007. As such, I started to get MOM notifications about the certificate on my Hub Transport server expiring. So, I dig around and find a couple of blogs from others that cover the subject to start reading up on it. Then I head to the Exchange Help to see what it has to say. Ultimately, I come up with the following:

In this instance, my certificate renewal deals only with the certificate for SMTP services on the HT server. This is the original automatically generated certificate from the install. (Side note: My CAS server has a cert I installed from our internal CA, and it's good for another year.) So, from my reading I determine that I need to renew, or more specifically, replace, by running the following cmdlet in the shell:


This prompts me to confirm that I want to overwrite the existing default SMTP certificate, which I do. And that pretty much does it...

Except... I now start to notice my outbound edgesync queue starting to grow. Once that initial "Oh crap!!" feeling passes I start to investigate why this is occuring. That leads me to my Edge server which is reporting that it doesn't have any information about the certificate now in use on the HT server. So, I decide to go back to the HT server and run a quick Start-EdgeSynchronization. So the sync runs (successfully!) and the configuration information is updated on the Edge server. As soon as that takes effect, my queue clears right up!!

Job done.