David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small.  

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  • Things that have fixed peoples problem running Office on Vista

    From the blog entry I published on How to get rid of the installer / configuration dialog when running Office 2007 and Office 2003 on the same system - for Vista and other versions of Windows I still get people e-mailing me with problems. While I have not been able to solve them all, but here are some solutions that I have seen success with: Problem: POP3 e-mail starts sending then gets stuck/hangs/stops: I have seen your blog at uksbsguy.com and it seems you are my only hope. Brand new laptop, small sized PST file, Vista Home Premium, Outlook 2007 Ultimate. I set up an account in Outlook 2007 to my bog standard POP3 account that has always worked. It starts to download my first email and slowly reaches 3 or 4KB then just hangs . Surprisingly I can sent (SMTP) absolutely fine. If I use another internet connection (dial up modem) instead of LAN then I can receive POP3 as well. But the same LAN connection works for my old laptop (XP/Outlook 2003) all settings same. I also tried the netsh command and the result is...
  • Partner Perspectives : There's a new breed of Web Solution partners

    If you work in the ISV / developer end of the market then there is a chance you will have met Katy already, however here is a person who is passionate about people who design and deliver solutions. When I first sat down and "worked" with Katy (rather than chatting several times previously) it was when I was new to the ISV team and Katy was a beacon of information. Once we had the ISV "bit" done we then spent a considerable amount of time looking at what designers and web developers needed in life. Now, as if by magic she now has a new area of focus... read more at Partner Perspectives : There's a new breed of Web Solution partners . Oh, and yes, it is about Silverlight, Expression Web and more!! There's a new breed of Web Solution partners Katy Hamilton's got something up her sleeve. It's a new brand of partners - the Web Solution partners. The move towards next-gen web applications such as Silverlight and web tools such as Expressions has opened up a whole load of new opportunities...
  • Susan B's article that just made me smile or I like to think of it as "how much money is being spent to help competition for no user benefit"

    I've been ranting a bit recently about wanting everything for nothing and then I saw Susan's article - http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2007/11/29/so-how-much-money-has-been-wasted.aspx - and it just goes further to say how much time is spent not moving forward, but going backwards. I thought I would add to the list with the Microsoft-EU debate about Windows Media player. As a Microsoft employee, to comment directly would be very, very bad - apparently the press might think I was expressing a Microsoft opinion and then either me or my employer could be in hot water. So I won't really comment except to state some already published facts and that a huge effort went in to build a version of Windows without Media Player. That is definitely spending money for the user to get less, but if that is what the user wants, then it should be built..... however it was announced that this version has sold well ... 1 in every 15,000 copies of Windows. That version that has cost millions and was the centre of...
  • Download the "How to Sell, Deploy, and Build Business with Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SBS 2003 R2" now

    I have been asked about this loads of times, but for those of you who want to know more about using WSS v3 and SBS 2003, the guide is finally here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=59acc518-023e-43c3-b8f3-378c5e387461 . How to Sell, Deploy, and Build Business with Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SBS 2003 R2 Partner tool to create solutions using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. File Name: Selling_WSS_and_SBS_Kit.zip Date Published: 11/15/2007 Overview A new partner enablement tool helps you create solutions using Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2. Access the toolkit’s resources—including a process cookbook, technical documentation and marketing materials—to learn how to build your business by selling and deploying customized solutions. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , SBSC , WSS v3 , WSS , SharePoint , Windows SharePoint Services
  • Is Vista really that bad or do we have rose tinted glasses - How well was Windows XP accepted in the early years

    I have had a bit of a rant with Vlad over at Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3 Performance Stats: Flawed Samples or Market Reality? and the comments are good - the communication is very worthwhile, but I thought I would share some of the "what was it like with Windows XP" reality. That does not excuse the issues people see, but rather highlights the fact that with XP, it took some time for things to bed down and hopefully what you are seeing with Vista is a more responsive Microsoft and partner eco-system. Complaints about Whistler (Windows XP and 2003) come in the form of performance, adoption rates, application compatibility, relevance - all things people are complaining about today with Windows Vista. I will say it again - ONLY DEPLOY VISTA IF IT MAKES SENSE FOR YOUR BUSINESS. What is more, only deploy Windows XP on new machines if there is a compelling reason to NOT deploy Vista . Remember that if you buy Vista Business / Ultimate and downgrade you can then re-load Vista at a later date without having to re-buy...
  • Action Pack - you now have to take an exam to qualify ... so do so!

    I suspect that you will have seen this everywhere before, but just in case, see below - notice that SBSC and Web Developers, designers and agencies get an even more valueable kit: Enhancing the value of Microsoft Action Pack Subscription In response to feedback from our partners, on 30 November 2007 we will unveil a new renewal and subscription procedure, as well as launch two new special edition kits. This is all part of our continual effort to enhance the value of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS), our quarterly toolkits of software and resources that help our Registered Partners stay competitive, meet their sales goals and grow their business. Essential courses and assessments Starting 30 November, new MAPS subscribers must take an online course and pass an assessment (with a score of 70% or higher). From 1 March 2008, those partners that would like to renew their subscription will also be required to take an online course and pass an assessment. Most courses run for an hour, while our straight...
  • Glass/ translucent Toast and balloons in Vista from Tweaking with Vishal

    I got a mail from a MVP asking me to link to his site. This is not that uncommon an experience, but often I can not find anything in common, however Vishal's request is different. I found lots to link about. Added to this is the fact that Steve Clayton recently blogged on something I covered ages ago (Steve's was at Change your Vista logon screen and mine at Vista enhancements and utilities (changing the screen savers, adding extra search functionality , but I've just realised he's not got me on his blog roll!!) The 1st link is how to go from the "new" opaque balloons translucent ones ala early betas of Vista Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista From this To this: GlassToast Download link and more at Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista | Tweaking with Vishal ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Aero
  • Microsoft Releases Another SQL Server 2008 CTP

    I've seen plenty of blog entries saying this has not yet shipped, but I've just been to the download site and SQL Server 2008, November CTP is definitely there: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3BF4C5CA-B905-4EBC-8901-1D4C1D1DA884&displaylang=en There are several people talking about it, such as SQL 2008 CTP5 First Glance , however perhaps the best item I saw was from Steve Lamb who was offering " Would you like with free technical support to help you deploy Windows Server 2008, System Center ". I think that would be a yes :-) Microsoft Releases Another SQL Server 2008 CTP This third update includes compatibility with Windows Vista and the upcoming Windows Server 2008. "SQL Server 2008 running on Windows Server 2008 provides customers with trusted and secure access, high availability through revamped failover clustering, and simplified scripting through Powershell," Francois Ajenstat, director of product management for SQL Server, told eWEEK here at the TechEd...
  • Data recovery for small businesses by true professionals

    A while back I had the pleasure of working with some guys in one of the UK's largest and probably most capable data recovery companies. They did everything from simple recoveries to physically broken media recovery and proved that the excuse "the dog ate my homework Mrs Teacher" could be proven and recovered from. Well, that was then. Now a group from this company, including Justin who I worked with have broken away to create their own small business and they continue to offer a huge amount of experience and are keen to work with SBSC partners to build their network and solutions. They offer 8 people each with years of experience from one of the leading recovery vendors Clean blench facilities for handling all levels of hardware related data recovery from all storage media. No fix no fee and trade pricing from less than £200 [ed: they did name a price, but I decided you could go talk to them to learn more] . Flexible service options. Standard services turnaround in an average of 2-3 days. Computer...
  • How to start a VPN automatically on boot with Windows

    My dad was asking me about a branch office solution where clients connected to the AD controller, but needed to VPN to get to the AD. My preferred option is to either have a VPN on the router or a DC in the branch office, but failing both of those, perhaps this is the answer? Starting a VPN automatically on boot with Windows XP I recently needed to figure out how to make a Windows XP machine connect to a particular VPN automatically on reboot, before anyone logged into the machine. I eventually managed to assemble bits and pieces of information floating around the net into a working solution to the problem, but it wasn’t completely addressed in any single location, so I thought I’d stick the details in my blog for other people to Google and use (if you found this blog entry useful, please add a comment and let me know!). The first thing I tried was to look for a property I could set on the VPN network connection to tell Windows that I wanted this connection to start automatically when the machine boots. I couldn...
  • Do you need a Windows server solution for people with 50-250 users? Have you heard of "Centro"? Well, Windows Server Centro is now the Windows Essential Business Server and you can now participate in the beta!

    From the http://blogs.technet.com/kevin_beares/archive/2007/11/07/windows-server-centro-is-officially-unveiled-and-has-a-new-name.aspx a small amount about Centro and the tech beta. This is produced by the same team who build SBS 2003 R2 and SBS Cougar. More on those next year. Windows® Essential Business Server is the new Microsoft server solution for small to medium businesses, with 50 to 250 client computers in their organizations. Windows®Essential Business Server offers a standardized server configuration that is designed to meet the needs of most midsize businesses. The configuration is optimized to meet the currently recommended practices for networking, security, collaboration, and remote access. The tightly integrated Windows Essential Business Server simplifies setup, migration, and licensing for Microsoft infrastructure server products that a midsize business uses most frequently. Most network services and resources are managed through a single Windows®Essential Business Server Administration Console...
  • Office Accounting Professional 2008 ships in the UK ... download the free Express version, buy or try the Professional version for extra features (Multi user, SQL support, sales order, purchase order etc) and also sign up for online services (Paypal, BACS

    Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2008 It is finally here!! There are 2 major versions - the free version and the paid for version, plus a number of add-on services you might want to buy too. You can get lots of information at http://www.msofficeaccounting.co.uk/default.aspx and if you are an accountant then the Microsoft Professional Accounting Network is for you ( http://accounting.microsoft.com/mpanuk.aspx ). You can download the Express Version here: You can Download Free Trial here It says about itself: Microsoft® Office Accounting Professional is an easy to use, comprehensive accounting package that works with other Office applications you already know. Easy to learn and use Works just like Word, Excel and Outlook Get started in minutes with wizards that import your data Save time managing everyday tasks Share and reuse data across Word, Excel and Outlook Manage customers, suppliers, employees and stock Pay bills, track expenses, send invoices and bank online Get a complete view of your business Run...
  • An update from Vijay on the SBSC PALs Quarterly Conference Call and further evidence that Microsoft might sometimes be slow to react to feedback, but it does react and the results are often good

    I saw this post of Vijays ( » SBSC PALs Quarterly Conference Call ) and thought it was worth highlighting some of it: Michael Risse, VP of the Small and Midmarket Business Group has issued an open letter to SBSC Partners about the issues with Solution Finder. Demo Showcase 2007 will be available to all SBSC Partners, shipping this December. I clarified that it will be the Virtual Server Images and not just the canned simulations and Andrea said it will be the full versions. The Managed Newsgroups are now 24 hour in the UK and other selected countries from last week. Special Edition Toolkit will ship in December provided you are a SBSC Partner before 30 November. You will get Vista anytime upgrade to Ultimate from Business, eval of Forefront for Sharepoint/Exchange, Demo Showcase 2007, Brand Tools, Viral Videos, Licensing Guidance, printable Small Business Guide. Customer Campaigns around the following areas (hopefully call to action will be go to a SBSC Partner but depends upon how Microsoft UK implements them...
  • Microsoft Small Business Community Blog : What is going to be in "Cougar?"

    I thought I would repost this as it is a very often asked question. Eric who posted this has said as much as can be said today. I hope to be able to break silence soon on more :) The statement for me that has the most interest as many partners don't think about it is " Embracing Live Services". I can honestly say I don't know the details here, but for all those nay sayers about online / live / Software plus Service etc, this is another loud gong that the world is changing! Also, just one of those side notes, Exchange 2007 does not include Outlook anymore (Exchange 2003 did), so your customers must buy Outlook / Office to use Exchange outside the web based views. What is going to be in "Cougar?" There have been a few questions floating around about "Cougar," the next version of Windows Small Business Server, and what it will include and be based on. I thought I would post some of the information that is publicly available to help address some of these questions: Based on the...
  • Windows Server Division Blog (and Windows Server 2008 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Update and TS vs Citrix)

    Another blog to add to your list of blogs worth reading - the Windows Server division blog - http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver . As an example, here is a snippet about how WSS and Windows Server 2008 will be allowed to follow different timelines and paths by NOT being shipped on the same DVD, or how to choose between Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008 and Citrix Windows Server 2008 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Update As we’re getting closer to release, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is returning to how it was previously available to Windows Server 2008 customers. Specifically, we are going back to making it available as a separate download that is available to customers at no additional charge. This is how Windows SharePoint Services was available to Windows Server 2003 customers (pre-R2). With the beta and RC0 versions of Windows Server 2008, we offered it in the Windows Server 2008 software. Starting with RC1 and going forward, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 will have to be downloaded separately...
  • Office Rocker! : Ecma Open XML real world stories

    I don't know how many of you read the Office Rocker blog from Darren Strange ( http://blogs.msdn.com/officerocker ), but I did like this entry given all the recent discussions about Open XML. At the end of the day the discussion is not who's standard it is (ISO, ECMA etc) although there does appear to be a pecking order, but more about what people can do once it is in use. Darren has highlighted some people who are actually using Open XML to extend their business. Ecma Open XML real world stories This afternoon I was presenting at the Office Business Applications architects council with the good looking chaps on the right here. I was talking about some of the stories I've come across from our customers and partners who are using Ecma Open XML in their solutions. I have 4 stories published recently about Ecma Open XML that illustrate what I think are 3 significant categories: 1. Integrated add-in Fractal:Edge have a great visual concept for representing the drill down on data using what they call a...
  • Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups

    I feel very close to this team... they sit just down a bit from me :-) All good stuff, plus go to the website if you have something you think could be a candidate. Microsoft lends a tech hand to U.K. startups Microsoft's Startup Accelerator Program will help startups use software technology such as Silverlight and Live Services</WEBTEASER _extended="true"> By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service Microsoft will assist U.K. startups in using its software technology under a program launched on Monday by CEO Steve Ballmer. The Startup Accelerator Program will include technologies such as Silverlight , Microsoft's multimedia browser plug-in, and Live Services , a group of Web-based applications. Microsoft will also offer assistance in business development, marketing, and sales. Microsoft stands to gain momentum if startup companies are successful in building applications based on its technology. The program could also put Microsoft closer to key startups with technology that Microsoft would rather...
  • Microsoft gets official open-source blessing from OSI for two of its licenses

    Many times Microsoft has been barracked for its "anti-open source" stance, which quite frankly has never existed. However, since we have always made software available under various licenses, it was decided that it was time to get these officially recognise by the people behind the dreaded GPL (that is my humour btw). Not everyone is happy about it as can be read at http://robertogaloppini.net/2007/10/18/open-source-at-microsoft-microsofts-licenses-get-approved-by-osi/ . Microsoft's desire to protect what it considers to be its intellectual property is seen as a threat by some in the open source world. However if you look at MSDN, it has, I suspect, millions of lines of code for people to borrow, use and then sell. I would call that open source of one type as well as codezone for another. In fact, as I have always understood it, Microsoft does not care how you develop or release you code, providing you do it legally! I think Microsoft gets official open-source blessing from OSI for two of its licenses...
  • Microsoft Passes OpenAjax Alliance Interop Tests

    More evidence that Microsoft is playing very nicely with its "open" buddies. The Open Ajax Alliance has confirmed that Microsoft has passed its interop tests. Microsoft Passes OpenAjax Alliance Interop Tests By Darryl K. Taft Microsoft joins several other companies and open-source projects in meeting OpenAjax guidelines. Microsoft has passed the OpenAjax Alliance's suite of interoperability tests to prove that its software can interoperate with other parts of the OpenAjax ecosystem. On the eve of the AJAX World Conference and Expo 2007 West taking place Sept. 23-26 in Santa Clara, Calif., Microsoft officials said the Redmond, Wash., company's software passed the OpenAjax InteropFest 1.0 tests and is interoperable with other AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) components in the OpenAjax ecosystem through the OpenAjax Hub. The OpenAjax Hub is a set of standard JavaScript functionalities defined by the OpenAjax Alliance, with strong focus on being small and fast. Brad Abrams, a project manager...
  • A SBS Blog to watch - Girish's Graffiti : How to use Performance Monitor Wizard (PerfWiz) on SBS

    This is just one example of the many blog entries on this blog that is again worth watching. Is it also worth mentioning that Girish supports SBS? Go to Girish's Graffiti to see lots of good stuff. How to use Performance Monitor Wizard (PerfWiz) on SBS You can download PerfWiz from here; http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=31fccd98-c3a1-4644-9622-faa046d69214&displaylang=en Many times when you have performance issues on your server you can use this tool to simplify creating performance counters. This will benefit you in the following way; you don't need to do this one by one manually and this would be a head start before you call for support. Because for most performance issues you may find that we would want to collect this from your system. So here is a step by step on how can do this More information at Girish's Graffiti : How to use Performance Monitor Wizard (PerfWiz) on SBS ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS , Blog , If you only read one post today
  • Be there or be square - Westcoast Small Business Forum - 29th November, Reading

    What can I say - an amazing line up of presenters, plus a chance to throw pies at me as I do a song and dance for 1 hour. Seriously though, look at the agenda and wonder how you survived without it!! Westcoast Small Business Forum Get yourself booked onto our Small Business Forum which takes place on November 29th at Microsoft’s Thames Valley Campus. Spaces are limited (unless you’re happy to sit on laps?!) so get yourself booked on now. First come, first served. Full details are available by clicking here . We’ll be updating it with a few more events that are coming up this year in the UK that we think you’ll be interested in. Look forward to seeing you there! Oh, and guess who’s also found another site to blog on… UK SMB Girl » Westcoast Small Business Forum ttfn David Technorati Tags: If you only read one post today , Small Business , SBSC , Community , Westcoast , Event
  • A SBS Blog to watch - Moloy Tandon's Blog - Ask Me

    This is just one example of the many blog entries on this blog that is worth watching. Is it also worth mentioning that Moloy supports SBS? Go to Moloy Tandon's Blog - Ask Me to see lots of good stuff. Upcoming Events: Small Business Server 2003 Webinar We've arranged three Small Business Server webinars to cover topics that we think you may be interested in. You can watch these webinars from the comfort of your own PC and there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions at the end. But hurry! Spaces are limited so ensure you register as soon as possible. The Small Business Server OEM pre-installation kit Join us for the first of our three-part webinar series, focusing on Microsoft Small Business Server. We'll be looking at how to: Automate the build process - using features such as auto-unattend Centrally manage your installations - by using network-based deployment Incorporate third party drivers - and pre-install additional applications Add unique customisations - to promote your company and...
  • From the Official SBS Blog - SBS now has a Best Practices Analyzer!

    You have seen the Exchange, SQL, Security and Windows best practice scanners, well now we have all that SBS expertise wrapped up into an SBS scanner - enjoy!! SBS now has a Best Practices Analyzer! The Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices Analyzer examines a server that is running Windows Small Business Server 2003 (Windows SBS) and presents a list of information and errors that administrators should review. The Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer examines the server and collects configuration information from many sources including: Active Directory Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Registry Metabase After collecting information about server configuration, the Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer verifies that the information is correct and then presents administrators with a list of issues sorted by severity. The list describes each issue and provides a recommendation or possible solution. System Requirements Supported Operating Systems: Windows Small Business Server 2003 (Any version...
  • Training for users on SharePoint 2007

    From the SharePoint product team: Greetings, Looking for end user training for WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 ? The product team has released the SharePoint End User Training Kit - http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2007/10/11/sharepoint-end-user-training-kit-now-available.aspx . The SharePoint Server 2007 Training includes interactive demos, videos, and articles. You can customize the training to match your site look and feel or use it as is. The SharePoint End User Training Kit will also have a standalone deployment option, which can be installed on a PC and used by an individual. This version of the kit will be available within the next few weeks. For more information about the kit and instructions on how to obtain it, please go to the end user focused " Get the 'Point " blog. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SharePoint , Training
  • How to save money when offering licensing to small businesses in the UK at the moment

    [updated to remove some inaccuracies about Susanne's microspeak - sorry Susanne] There are always special offers of some form or another from most companies and Microsoft is no exception (well, except in August when we are still in post financial year clean up :-)). Anyway, the UK SMB Girl aka Susanne Dansey at Westcoast has listed a couple of these.: N-3 Open Value Subscription Offer Promotion ends: 31 December 2007 Programme: OV Subscription Up-to-Date Discount (UTD) is a 50 per cent discount in OV Subscription for the first year invoice for any licence for the current (N) or previous (N-1) version of the selected Small Business or Professional Desktop platform products. For the OVS N-3 promo eligibility for receiving the 50 per cent discount is granted to N-3 versions of Office licences (back to Office 2000). Promtional SKUs are identified on the price list by the word ‘Promo’. Future proofing Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Here’s a heads up to all Microsoft Partners thinking about licensing...

(c)David Overton 2006-18