Provisioning Windows Mobile phones

Similar to the previous post regarding provisioning iPhones for Exchange servers, the same can be done with Windows Mobile (though I don’t yet know how this will changes with Windows 7 Mobile).  I haven’t found a nice utility to do this, so your relegated to hand coding a .xml file, but it’s no biggie.

If your situation is similar to mine, you have many remote users with mobile phones.  There are times when they need to replace the phone while traveling or something else happens that requires resetting up the phone to connect to your mail server.  We require our self-signed certificate to be installed on the phone, coupled with needing to know all the settings it can be frustrating to help setup a phone, over a phone.

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Removing Windows XP from a Windows 7 dual boot system

I’ve made the switch to Windows 7 on one of my machines.  It’s time to wrap my head around this new beast.  I installed Win7 x64 on a second hard drive and was dual booting the system for some of the tools I needed.

Now that Windows XP mode is up and running and documents were transferred, I decided it was time for XP to go, cutting the cord.  Unfortunately it’s not as easy as just removing the hard drive and calling it good, though the process isn’t all that hard. NOTE: Do at your own risk; I’m not responsible for damage.

  1. Start the machine in Windows XP
  2. Show hidden files and folders if they aren’t already and copy the “boot” folder and the bootmgr file to the Win7 drive.
  3. Shut the machine down, remove the XP drive and boot off the Win7 DVD
  4. Enter the System Recovery mode after the machine boots and click “Next” to enter the Recovery Toolbox
  5. Click “Command Prompt” and type:
      "bootrec /fixmbr"
      "bootrec /fixboot"
  6. Reboot into Windows 7 and open a command prompt. Run the following command to remove the other second boot option:
      "BCDEdit /delete {ntldr} /f"

More information if you installed on a second partition can be found at: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/window-on-windows/?p=1751&tag=leftCol;post-1306

Fixing HP’s Credential Manager

First of all, I neither support or condone the use of HP’s credential manager.  It’s fine in theory, but the amount of times I’ve had to fix something with it is getting ridiculous.  The latest issue occurred when the user logged into Windows using credential manager, the user had to swipe their finger again to log into credential manager to get the passwords to work.

To fix the issue of having to log into credential manager twice, rather than once, you need to find which part has is corrupt.

  1. Open HP ProtectTools Security Manager
  2. Click ProtectTools in the left hand column and then “Backup and Restore”
  3. Follow the prompts to make a backup of the current identity.
  4. Click “Credential Manager” after the backup is complete and click “My Identity”.  Then click “Clear Identity for this Account”  NOTE: Make sure you have a backup first
  5. Create a new identity.
  6. Log out and log back in to see if credential manager also logs in.  If it does, continue on.
  7. You can then restore the backup from the same spot you backed it up.  At the last window where you can pick which parts to restore.  Restore the SSO piece and it will most likely fail again.
  8. Now the fun part comes in finding which application entry in SSO is causing it to break.  In my case, after removing the ActiveSync entry and another one it worked.  Do step 6 after each entry removal to find when it starts working again.  I started by looking for entry’s that were applications other than web pages.

Or, you can just go to add remove programs and remove credential manager.

Fixing Microsoft’s Remote Assistance…

So a few posts ago I described how to setup the “Offer Remote Assistance” feature for a domain.  It’s been working just fine, until yesterday.  When trying to connect to a specific computer in our network a “Message: You do not have access to logon to this session” message would pop up.  It was usually followed by an EventID: 5270 in the event logs.

After much searching and trying various stabs at the solution, one was finally found.  For some reason, still unknown to me, one single registry entry was different that broke Remote Assistance on the computer.  On the computer that isn’t working, check out HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControl Set\Control\Terminal Server\fInHelpMode On the broke computer, it was set to 1, where working computers was set to 0.

I first tried just setting the entry to 0, but it still didn’t work, so I removed the key and restarted the machine.  Working.

If your seeing this issue, hopefully this post will solve it quick.

Using “Offer Remote Assistance” for support

I would venture to guess that Microsoft’s “Remote Assistance” feature is rather underutilized; first, because it’s a pain to actually find, and walking a client or user through the request process is cumbersome too.  Remote Assistance actually works fairly well and alleviates the introduction of which ever flavor of VNC you choose.

We are in the beginning stages of rolling out a new ERP system that no longer uses Citrix, shadow sessions are out of the question now and deploying VNC wasn’t an option.  Enter “Offer Remote Assistance”.  By enabling a GPO settings, tech’s can now initiate the Remote Assistance session and the users just needs to accept it.

The setup is rather easy:

  1. Open Group Policy Management and create a new policy or edit an existing one
  2. Expand Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System and click on Remote Assistance
  3. Double click “Offer Remote Assistance” and choose enabled
  4. In the “Permit remote control of this computer” section, choose “Allow helpers to remotely control this computer”
  5. Click the “Show” button and add the users or groups that will be allowed to remotely connect.  You must use the domain\user or domain\group format.
  6. Close all the windows

The group policy is now setup.  Because getting to the “Offer Remote Assistance” section in Help and Support is also a pain, create a new shortcut on your desktop and give it the following path:

"hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Redmond,S=Washington,C=US
/Remote%20Assistance/Escalation/Unsolicited/Unsolicitedrcui.htm"

Now when a user needs support, just double click on the shortcut and type their IP or computer name.  The user will be prompted asking for permission.

NOTE: This is really only good for users within your network.

Outlook quits opening .msg files from the desktop

Had an interesting issue today where all of a sudden Outlook quit opening .msg files off the users desktop.  Come to find out, the computer was missing the [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\msgfile] key.  Why?  I don’t know, but running a detect and repair fixed the issue.