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.  

David Overton's Blog

  • What to use to replace FrontPage (Expression Web or SharePoint Design) and get a free trial

    I asked my mate James Akrigg what to do for all those people who use FrontPage 2003 today to edit web pages and wish to progress - here is his response: If I am not modifying SharePoint sites then I would suggest Expression Web .. I have been using this for creating simple sites and creating Vista gadgets. It’s bang up-to-date with all things webified And so if you do have SharePoint then use SharePoint Designer .. without a doubt... At first glance Expression Web and SharePoint Designer look very similar.. but there are some subtle differences, the good news is that it is very easy to use both applications. For more information on SharePoint Designer go to http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/FX100487631033.aspx . You can get a free trial at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=BAA3AD86-BFC1-4BD4-9812-D9E710D44F42&displaylang=en For more information on Expression Web go to http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/expression-web/default.mspx . You can get a free trial...
  • How UKSBSGUY.com and DavidOverton.com use Dynamic DNS and why it broke the site … anyone have a better provider?

    Hi, My site is hosted by me on the end of a dynamically changing IP address (well, it could change, but has not for about 18 months). To get round this I have bought a number of domains, but they are all changed and updated by a magical piece of software that sits on my server that updates the DNS records for my domains whenever they change. This would be great, except for the fact that having had network/ISP trouble I now have Dynamic DNS trouble: When it works it is great, when not, it is very poor. In this case my provider is http://www.deerfield.com and I use their DNS2Go service – I’ve not found anyone better, so if you have a recommendation, let me know. One nice feature for these guys is that the 1 tool updates 5 domains ( http://davidoverton.com , http://uksbsguy.com , http://ukvistaguy.com are the main 3). If this all sounds a bit wondrous, here, in pictures are the steps: My basic architecture consists of my server, the Dynamic DNS provider, my Domain Registrar, you and the software provided: To set...
  • Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers

    Last night I was at the Merseyside Partner group in Liverpool and once question that got asked again (and was in TPV and London too) was around downgrade rights from SBS 2008 to SBS 2003, so I dug for about 30 seconds and found these items on the Licensing FAQ site Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008 : Q: What are downgrade rights? How do I exercise them? A: Downgrade rights, in general, means that you can use an earlier version of the software acquired. For Windows Small Business Server, this means you are allowed to install and use Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Premium Edition instead of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition, which is what you purchased. You can also install and use Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition instead of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard Edition. At any time, you can install the software you purchased and cease to use the earlier version. If you obtained your server with Windows Small Business Server preinstalled from a partner...
  • How to get great moving Aurora background on your Vista desktop today

    There is a benchmark / system test tool in Vista called WinSAT. You can test all sorts of things and those of you who want to poke around in it you can. However I found a less than used feature and it gives you an expensive Aurora backdrop in Windows. To make this work, open up an elevated cmd prompt and type the following: start /B winsat aurora & net stop uxsms & net start uxsms This will set the winsat tool running and give you a nice backdrop and re-enable aero on your desktop. You may need to press the Windows key to see yoru task bar again. Please note WinSAT is a test program, not designed to be a backdrop displayer, but it does look very pretty. ttfn David
  • Its not often I get a comment that makes me respond on a personal level, but here is one. Action Pack, life expectance of Microsoft and your business

    I got this comment recently on one of the blogs and decided to respond to each part as it covers so many topics. It seems you have some useful info, albeit widely available, info here, thanks. MS raised its action pack pricing by 50% a few years back. And yes, if you were to use the various server licenses, it would be a fair value. I choose the word fair intentionally, as the intent is, or should be, for IT companies to become experienced with its product, in order to do what?… sell it! The action pack is all about generating sales. We should get it free. The info here is available in other places, but people were having trouble finding it, so I brought it all together in one place. With regard to the Action Pack being free - I completely disagree - If you are selling almost any other product (in any industry) - you might get demonstration items, one or two people might even get the odd free item, but many people will not be able to run their business of of it. You can get eval copies of Vista & Office -...
  • Remote Desktop Connection (mstsc) always has the wrong domain name, IP address or always prompting me about security - here are the fixes

    One of my UK SBSC partners asked me how to do a couple things in Remote Desktop using the new Vista RDP v6 client as they were bugging the hell out of him and others (I asked him how Vista was going). Since he admins a number of SBS boxes, these were his top (valid) gripes: Stop putting in IP addresses for the domain name Stop the pre-prompt for credentials when TSing to another system Stop the statement about security every time I try to remote admin into things The good news is that much of this has been documented else where. Stop putting in IP addresses for the domain name Problem is that you fill in a screen like this and get a prompt as below. Notice it has the domain name as the IP address? The quick answer is to type the username as <domain>\<username> - eg abusiness\administrator. This will change the domain name. Stop the pre-prompt for credentials when TSing to another system Now the pre-prompting for credentials is the process we have just seen above. This is required in domains where Network...
  • How to add external contacts to the GAL (global address list or the list of names found by default in Outlook) by adding them to Active Directory

    So you may remember the call for help that led to the article How to add public folders to the list of contacts in Outlook : We currently have several public folders which contain email address and contact information for people outside of our company that we want to keep up with. I would like to put these in the All Contacts list on the server, so everyone can open it and reference it when sending email. The only thing I can find it to put them in Active Directory so they can be on the list. Surely there is another way to get this done, but how. I also am not opposed to manually typing them in (and weeding out old contacts), but don't feel very comfortable putting 800 outsiders in my AD. Having proposed the solution in the above link, I then got back the following reply: Thanks David for the reply. I have some address books in the public folder that I have done that to, but was trying to move away from the public folder and have the addresses included in the "All Contacts" under the "All Addresses" section for...
  • How to open Office 2007 (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007) files on Office 2000, Office XP and Office 2003 by downloading the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for File Formats

    I get asked this question quite often, so I thought I would point out the download location for the tool to make files work between Office 2000, XP, 2003 and 2007. Just to cover off some details - Office 2007 can save in Office 97-2003 file format as well as the new Open XML and PDF file formats. Using this download, files can be opened and saved in Office 2007 format in Office 2000 and later. Of special note is that if you are using Microsoft Office XP or 2003 you MUST install all High-Priority updates from Microsoft Update before downloading the Compatibility Pack . Also, if you don't have those Office programs, but you have the viewers (Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Excel Viewer 2003, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003) then you can use the pack to view files saved in these new formats. For more information about the Compatibility Pack, see Knowledge Base article 924074 . Also Note: If you use Microsoft Word 2000 or Microsoft Word 2002 to read or write documents containing complex scripts, please see http://support...
  • How to configure SQL Server 2005 to allow remote connections on Windows Server 2008 (Longhorn) / Windows Vista

    Just a quick one - I was playing around with SQL2005 on my Longhorn server and I could not connect from a remote machine - Ahh I thought, the firewall is in the way, but it turned out I had to do 3 or 4 things to get things working. The Microsoft KB article that pointed to the light was How to configure SQL Server 2005 to allow remote connections which covers how to enable the firewall for the 2 programs you need and so on. When you try to connect to an instance of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 from a remote computer, you may receive an error message. This problem may occur when you use any program to connect to SQL Server. For example, you receive the following error message when you use the SQLCMD utility to connect to SQL Server: Sqlcmd: Error: Microsoft SQL Native Client: An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server. When connecting to SQL Server 2005, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. This problem may occur...
  • We listen to you - changes that you have requested for Action Pack and where we are with them

    People often wonder what happens to the feedback provided through the blog and the Regional Support Centers, so I thought I would give you a quick update. Below are some things that you have asked for and the current status of them. I know not all the answers are what you want to hear, but at least you know we are working on things Things we have solved Problem Answer Business Contact Manager was not included in Action Pack Product will be included (probably from July) Lack of 64-bit Windows Server Shipped as a special shipment and will be standard from July pack Damaged Actions Packs and missing CDs We apologise for this and ask you to contact the regional support center for replacements. At the moment we are not getting too many complaints about this, but will monitor Can I have 64-bit Vista Hopefully this will be shipped in the next kit Things still in progress (the light is closer for these items than the 2 items in the last section) Problem Answer Downloads for AP subscribers – when will this be generally...
  • Fix for Excel 2007 and Excel Services calculation errors

    I know that a few people had the pleasure of throwing a few pies at Microsoft when this was discovered, but a fix is now available. Description of the Excel 2007 hotfix package: October 9, 2007 This hotfix package fixes the following issue that was not previously documented in a Microsoft Knowledge Base article: When you perform a calculation in Excel 2007, the following behavior occurs: The result of the calculation is a number from 65534.99999999995 to 65535. The calculation is performed correctly. However, the result is incorrectly shown as 100000. The result of the calculation is a number from 65535.99999999995 to 65536. The calculation is performed correctly. However, the result is incorrectly shown as 100001. To resolve this problem, apply this hotfix. After you apply the hotfix, recalculate the spreadsheets that are in manual calculation mode. When you do this, the values in the spreadsheet will be updated to the correct values. Excel 2007 Download the Excel 2007 hotfix package now. ( http://download.microsoft...
  • Where to get lots and lots of information on BCM (Business Contact Manager) 2007

    I found this blog and realised several things. 1) The Brelsford family (no, they are not related) are very good in the small business space. 2) I now have a BCM 2007 hero. Who am I talking about? Bill Brelsford - http://blog.rebarbusinessbuilders.com/about.html - who says "For the past 20 years, I have been working with and for small businesses in a variety of roles." I love BCM and here are some of the things he has written about BCM. It is worth noting that Bill does not just write about BCM, but many things including marketing and many other issues that a small business would face. BCM: Setting Up Marketing Campaigns in BCM Tracking Customer Anniversary Dates in BCM Getting Started Managing Suspects in BCM Small Business CRM It has to be worth a look. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Business Contact Manager , BCM , Small Business
  • "Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products" announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the "family" section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . To help small and midsize organizations improve business efficiency, increase productivity and drive growth, Microsoft Corp. introduced the Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products, built on Windows Server 2008 and the newest Microsoft server technologies and services. The company also unveiled details about the newly named Windows Small Business Server 2008. The Windows...
  • Microsoft job cuts: thousands of UK staff at risk - ComputerWeekly.com - What a load of old rubbish

    [updated post MS announcement on 22nd January 2009] I hate bad journalism and this is a really good prime example. Microsoft job cuts: thousands of UK staff at risk Author: Cliff Saran Posted: 11:08 05 Jan 2009 Rumours are spreading on the web that up to 3000 staff at Microsoft UK could face redundancy. Up to 30,000 jobs worldwide could be at risk, as the company battles with the economic crisis, which has led to businesses spending less on software Microsoft like any other business is facing financial pressure, so I'm sure there will be a squeeze, but there are less than 3,000 employees at Microsoft UK, so cuts of 3,000 staff would remove Microsoft UK from the map. Maybe someone lent on the keyboard too much and put an extra zero or two on the end. I'm absolutely not in the know, but this is clearly (I hope) bull writing at it's best. New people join and others leave Microsoft all the time, just like any enterprise. In the past the balance has been tipped so that more people join than those who want...
  • Using Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) to share documents and ensure everyone is up to date by using Outlook shared attachments

    So we have great documents, but as soon as often they are shares, they get out of date. Examples of this are price lists product information shared resources list To get over this we are going to look at Document Workspaces in CompanyWeb and Office 2003. Let’s start at the beginning, no matter what I tell people, they do not like going to a web site to load, upload a file etc. Also, setting user permissions is a nightmare and they might even just start passing round usernames and passwords. The most obvious answer for most people is to use e-mail. The very process of creating an e-mail with an attachment and marking it as a live attachment creates a document workspace. It is secured to only those people that the e-mail goes to and the document knows where it came from, so will try ot update the site or get updates from the site when saved and loaded. This ensures that any document sent this way, or using a document work group will auto-update. Documents stored on SharePoint sites like to auto update. Each time...
  • Auto-reply tool for Windows live Messenger

    Simple tool - allows for automatic (a bit like out of office replies) to Windows Live Messenger. http://www.frameworkx.com/Frameworkx/software.aspx?id=205 ttfn David
  • We came, saw, listened to the feedback and now Office 2007 will work with Open Document Format documents to enable interchange

    So, what we are not doing is throwing away the excellent Office Document XML standards as these make accessing information inside a document a dream compared to other standards, however we are ensuring interchange can happen. Darren has more info on his blog . One thing, if you don't believe me about the two XML formats, create a document in both and see which is easier to extract the info from :-) ttfn David
  • SBS 2003 R2 delay and what people are saying baout it - especially Vlad

    Sometimes you have to shout about when you think things are right while others are putting it down. SBS 2003 R2 - I have had sooooooo many conversations over the last 9 months about why this feature is in or out. I ended up being very blunt, saying, this is the 2nd release of SBS 2003, it has a bunch of new features ala Windows Server 2003 R2, yes, it might not have everything in we wanted, but the "Green Check" and SQL 2005 are significant enough that NEW customers and existing customers should look at it. Now, here we are, having just releases SBS 2003 R2 and we are pulling it back in due to bugs, before it has reached the shelves for most people. I was expecting flak, but instead I see comments like this at Vlad's site saying thanks for us actually being bold enough to fix the problem. It is also worth going to his site to see the video!!! This is why I love the Small Biz community - we can be honest with each other. At the Small Biz Blog we were able to say that there is a quality issue and we...
  • Microsoft software for Charities in the UK

    OK, so once upon a time I used to give out software for charities, but those days are gone. However, there is a fantastic deal available for charities via the Charity Exchange. The software is donated by Microsoft (and others) and then an administration charge is added. There are various criteria to be met to use the Charity Technology Exchange, but the overall pricing is VERY good for charities - and of course, if the software is discounted as this is the right thing to do, perhaps so should the services too ;-) Anyway, the site can he found at http://www.ctxchange.org/ctx/browse_products/microsoft/default.asp and the prices include software assurance, so the Office 2003 and Windows XP prices entitle the charity to Office 2007 and Windows Vista Enterprise (as it is a Volume License). An example would be a 50 seat SBS Premium solution with Windows XP and Office 2003 (both upgradable - also note that a previous Windows OS is required on the PC to load the Windows OS - it is an upgrade, not a version that can be...
  • Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager and Small Business Accounting 2006 - Update for Vista and Office 2007 support

    Service Pack 4 for Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update and for Small Business Accounting 2006 fixes the following issues that were not previously documented in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: Application compatibility with Windows Vista Application compatibility between Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update and Office Accounting 2007 Source: Description of Service Pack 4 for Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update and for Small Business Accounting 2006 ttfn David Technorati tags: BCM , Business Contact Manager , Small business , CRM , Service Pack
  • How to remove those spaces before, after and inbetween paragraphs in Word 2007 (Part of Office 2007)

    I got this mail on the blog today, so decided I would post a solution: 2007 Vista Student and Office Edition does not allow me to create one line spacing in Address Headings but okay within the body of the letter, is this a glitch. I have never experienced this in my former Word Programs. In the dialog box it does specify single spacing. Any advice would be appreciated I have created a simple document and you might notice that there is a big gap between each sentence. This is caused by both line spacing and space before or after the paragraphs. I will walk you through the process I went through to make things look less spaced out. To do all of this I will be using just one icon on the ribbon bar - the one circled below If I hover over this, you can see it is for line spacing. The 1st thing I did was highlight my text and try setting the line spacing to 1.0 - you can see the result is that the text is slightly closer together. Next I clicked the "Remove Space Before Paragraph" option and you will notice...
  • Trial Software Kit for Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2

    I was recently asked how to get a trial of SBS. You can't download one, but as a customer you can order one here. Note that if you go to the international pages you might have to scroll around a bit to find the right bit of information. If you are a partner and wish to give them to use them with your customers then you only need one copy as you can re-use the key we provide you and you can get it from the Partner Marketplace For customers: Trial Software Kit for Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 North America – Order your CD package here. Other Locations – The SBS 2003 R2 Trial is not generally available outside North America. Please select your country from the SBS Worldwide page to determine whether the trial software is available in your location. For Partners: Partner MarketPlace - eg Market - Partners - Microsoft UK You searched for items of collateral related to the Small Business Server (SBS) group. To add items to your order, select a quantity from the drop down box. Description Type Audience Price...
  • Action Pack subscription changes - you should know about them, but they start on 1st March

    I know that this has been well sign-posted and people have discussed the merits etc in the past, however this is a reminder!! As I’m sure you’re aware, from March 1 st all subscribers wishing to renew must pass an assessment. This is what you need to know: 1. We’ve made available on the Partner Portal an enrolment and re-enrolment guide, which will help people with renewals (see: www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/actionpack and https://partner.microsoft.com/UK/40049696 ). 2. The portal also contains all the info that those interested in MAPS need, however if anyone is experiencing issues renewing, we do want to encourage them to call the Regional Support Centre (RSC) for assistance. In the UK that number is: 0800 917 3128. Also if you have any questions regarding your current Action Pack subscription, please call 0870 60 70 700 (press option 1) thanks David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Microsoft Partner Program , SBSC , Action Pack
  • Simple items in the SBS 2008 Console setup

    The Console setup process ( Once SBS is set up, how to do the basic configuration through the management console ) has a few items that are just one or two screens, so rather than dedicating a separate post to them, here they are by themselves: There are then the following steps that took me about 20-mins to complete: 1. Read the document on how to use the SBS console 3. Accept the Customer feedback option 5. Adding a trust certificate (I don’t have one, but I’ll show you the screen shot) ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , SBS , Tips , SBSC , Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , Community , Partner , Console
  • Server line-up for small businesses (and home) is increasing in options (or complexity for some) - SBS 2008, Home, Foundation, Windows Standard Server or BPOS - how do you choose?

    This is a long running question that people ask me - how to position the various server options from Microsoft for small businesses. The more choice Microsoft offers, the more complex it can become if you do not have a starting point to find the right product for a customer. So, Home Server, Foundation Server and SBS - what is it all about, especially when you look at something like Windows 7 or BPOS too? N.B. To get a detailed feature comparison between SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 have a look at the excellent work of Sean at http://sbs.seandaniel.com/2008/08/what-different-between-sbs-2003-and-sbs.html . Well, in the home or the smaller sized business market (think sweet spot of 1-7 users IMHO) there are a number of MS products that could fit the bill… Windows Client PC as a server (don't do this for businesses) Windows Home Server Foundation server Windows Server Small Business Server Online solution Server Options I suspect people know the options here, but here is a very short run-down on each and why...
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(c)David Overton 2006-20