Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Job = New Angle

So I transitioned jobs in June. Actually June 11th was my new start date. Due to this then I don't have access to the old equipment that I found fixes for in reference to my posts(ie Windows Server EBS 2008 and Avaya IP Office). I mention this because if someone asks me about that stuff I can't really help out there, except from memory. This is part of why there has been a drop in the number of posts I put here. Also this comes from the fact that I have less time with the new job and doing school.

With that in mind than I will try and post information that I find useful at home. Now my new job will also allow me to share helpful information on different products, but I will have to be a tad more vague due to the sensitivity of my new job. I also may post information that describes best security or network practices.

I hope to begin posting useful stuff again soon.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Best Buy $1000 Gift Card Text Scam

I was recently contacted by someone regarding a text they got from Best Buy. It said the following: "Your entry last month has WON! Goto" They were asking me if it was a legit offer. Well it wasn't much longer tell I received the text myself later. Here is a picture of it:
The Scam in text form
At first appearance it may look like a legit link. Sadly that is not the case. The first sign of this being bad is that at the tail end of the link you see: Sadly someone has registered and then created a subdomain to add the info in front to make it appear as if it was from bestbuy. You can look at the whois info by following this link:
The above picture is a screenshot of the scam intro. Here you are supposed to put in the winning code. Another bad sign though is that you can actually type in whatever code and it always says that you have a winning code and then takes you to another link. This one is, so another sign to stop, even though it shows the BestBuy images below:
I put in a a fake GMail account and random zip code info. If you proceed past this then you get a pop up and some additional offers. It also forces you to sign up for two different offers. At this point I stopped. At this point it is obviously a scam. These guys should be dealt with since our phones shoud be a sanctuary from scam, but guess it was only a matter of time.

Bottom line this  is a SCAM

Note: It says the call is from: 1 (310) 849-7742. Hopefully someone stops them.

UPDATE 5/4/2012 - I noticed the scam they used in the text they sent me for the scam no longer works, either it got pulled down or the server did. Either way I am sure they have rebounded and using new domains and/or servers. So even though it may not match the URL everything else should still apply. Be Safe

Friday, April 13, 2012

Remote Assistance, VNC, and UAC Prompts

Many of us as tech professionals are quite busy and reducing time doing unnecessary tasks is necessary so we can still complete the ever growing tasks being asked of us. One of the ways to do this is remove travel whenever it is possible. When someone has a problem and you need to resolve it then often we run down to do it ourselves.

Luckily Microsoft has us covered by including remote assistance and for some the preference or need means VNC. Both of these programs allow us to complete tasks remotely without leaving our desk. Many of us also follow LUA, aka Least-Privileged  User Account, meaning most of our users run as limited users. Because of this when you connect to a computer using the two previous methods you would have to use various "Run As" methods to remotely change some settings or install software.

With Windows XP this wasn't a problem, as long as you knew the various ways run as methods to get into various control panels, software installs, and other tasks that you might be called upon to complete.

With the advance of Windows Vista and 7 came UAC and "secure desktop." These things were great but when you wanted to use Remote Assitance or VNC then anytime something deemed that administrative rights were required you would get a blank screen with a Pause symbol on Remote Assistance and with VNC I believe it turned everything a pink color and in both cases you lost control. The user than would be displayed a prompt to put in credentials.(In Group Policy it may not be set to display credentials so your behavior may be slightly different.

This effectively reduced the functionality these tools brought us quite heavily to the point that trips were sometimes made instead. The reason this was happening is that UAC was set to display only on "Secure Desktop." For a good article on this behavior you can read a Microsoft Article here.

Security settings can be changed on the computer to fix this issue. Remember though you are loosening some the settings so read up on the changes and determine if you are fine taking the associated risk. If you are using Group Policy this makes life a lot easier. If not you can change these locally on the computer by going into "Local Security Settings" and deploy this using various methods.

Under Group Policy\Domain then you will take the following path:
Computer Configuration>Policies>Windows Settings>Security Settings> Local Policies>Security Options

Under Local Security Policy:
Local Policies>Security Options

Remote Assistance
If you are using Remote assistance then you will need to change the following settings to Enabled:
User Account Control: Allow UIAccess applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop

This will allow Remote Assistance to disable "secure desktop" for UAC so you can also see the prompts allowing for you to do what is needed. For information on this setting click here.

VNC (Other Viewers such as TeamViewer should fall under this settings)
Now if you installed VNC as a service than the later version may work by just changed the above settings. If they are installed as an application, or if just changing the above setting didn't work then you need to Disable the following setting:
User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation

This will disable "Secure Desktop" for all prompts. I recommend again reading the first link mentioned in this article so you can determine for yourself if you are OK with the potential security risks. For more information about this setting you can also read this article here.

Taking the above step might also require a reboot. After the appropriate setting is changed though you should now be able to use your favorite tool to complete and RunAs remotely.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Java 1719 Uninstall Error

The Problem
So I had a computer I was cleaning up for use by another and was uninstalling unneeded software. There was an older version of Java, Version 6 Update 7, that wouldn't uninstall. It would error out with the following error. I looked around and everyone recommended various fixes by starting up and stopping services, or checking the registry.

The Solution
After looking at a couple than I tried my own fix. I went to filehippo, one of my favorite places for downloading files for multiple reasons, and downloaded the same version 6u7. I ran it and it asked me "This software has already been installed on your computer. Would you like to reinstall it?"

Go ahead and click "Yes." Eventually it will come up with the normal Welcome setup box that we are all used to. Walk through the setup like normal. When it is done hit "Finish."

Now, try uninstalling it again. It should let you uninstall it now.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Windows Update Failing with Error 80243004

The Problem
I have 8 computers that due to the software they have on them I must some and update them manually once a month. Upon doing this I had three that failed with the error to the right. The Screen sat with the status "Preparing to Install" for quite a long time then all of them failed with the error 80243004.
I had one of the computers "Try again" with no avail it just failed again. After doing that I ran around the Internet searching for a solution. I found the following thread on Technet and in it my solution here.

The Solution
The solution is strange. It has to do with the notification area of the taskbar. See by default the notification area in Windows 7 and Server 2008 hide most of the notification icons in an area found by clicking on the skyward pointing white arrow shown to the right. Well if you look at this area after this error you will see the notification area is huge with tons of blank spaces. If you are seeing this then the solution to your update problem follows below.
Right-click on some blank space on the taskbar and select "Properties" about half-way down the screen you will see a button that says "Customize...", click it. On the next screen you will see the option displayed in the picture below: "Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar", place a check by it and click "OK" to close out that window and do it again for the notification properties window as well.

 It will then display all of the notifications now in the taskbar as you see in the picture below. Go ahead and have Windows Update "Try Again" now. It should complete successfully. After that you can revert your notification area back by going back and unchecking the setting you see in the picture above.

You should now be good to go. After checking the Windows Update Log located at C:\Windows\WindowsUpdate.lob I found the following error lines:

Can not perform non-interactive scan if AU is interactive-only
AU setting pending client directive to 'Install Complete Ux'
WARNING: Pending directive, 'Install Complete Ux', is not applicable
Successfully wrote event for AU health state:0

Now I was installing these updates under a standard user account and I know from UAC group policy a standard user is also referred to as "interactive-only" in some policies. I don't know if it was trying to display something to me and choked, hopefully Microsoft finds out. Either way thanks to all in that thread who discovered this wierd fix.

I found that changing this setting while Windows Update is displaying "Preparing to Install" seems to actually kick start it so if the above solution doesn't work for you try checking or unchecking that setting and mousing over the notification area while windows update is displaying "Preparing to Install." 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Primary account cannot be removed from Outlook

The Problem
I was remotely setting up a new user. Instead of resetting up everything under a new user we just re-use the existing user setting up new email and changing relative information like the username. After I had setup the new users email account for exchange, I tried to remove the old account and got the following error:"The primary account cannot be removed unless it is the only account in the profile. You must remove all other Exchange accounts before removing the primary account." So I couldn't remove his unless I deleted the account. That wasn't really a path I cared to take.

The Solution
Open up the Control Panel and click on "Profiles." Then click on "Add..." It will ask you for the information for the new exchange email account go ahead and put this info and step through the wizard.

Remove the old profile which has the old email account by clicking on it and then on the button labeled "Remove." Click on "OK" when done to close out the mail dialog box and then open outlook

You now only have one email account in the account settings.

Bottom Line
Outlook 2010 doesn't like removing the first Exchange account setup under a profile. At this point I have seen no way to get around this. The best solution  when removing the account and/or adding another exchange account is to remove the old Outlook Profile and create a new one.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Windows Folder too large - The cause CSC and Offline Files

No Room
The Problem
Well we use folder redirection for the "My Documents" and "Desktop" folders point them to a server. One of the computers had ran out of space recently and I had spent about 2 hours removing stuff and freed up enough space. This computer was running Windows XP.

About three weeks later it was out of space again as you can see as well from the picture on the right side. This time I quickly checked the size of the windows folder and it hit over 100GB. I knew this was my most likely culprit. After setting explorer to allow me to view Hidden & System files/folders then I looked around and found out my CSC folder was chewing up over 103GB.

I had actually dealt with this problem before with another computer that had the same issue. The following link is what I ended up using before and is what I used this time:

NOTE:Don't try deleting files or folders from the CSC folder. This can really hose it. I don't have experience from this but that is what gets mentioned in fine print on the KB article and across the web by others.

The Solution
Folder Options
Microsoft recommends re-initializing the Offline files cache and database. Apparently sometimes they can become corrupt and this is what causes the folder to grow so large. One hint that is recommended is to not be logged in as the user or users that usually uses the computer. For me I used the Domain Admin Account. To start open up "Windows Explorer" or "My Computer." Click on "Tools" and "Folder Options." Then go to the "Offline Files" tab.

Folder Options/Delete Files
Then while holding down the CTRL + SHIFT on the keyboard click on "Delete Files..." If you did this right than you should get the box displayed below. Click "Yes".
Re-Initialize Offline folders and data

You should then click the "OK" button on the Folder Options Dialog. It will then pop-up the following box telling you should restart. Click "Yes"

After logging back in over the course of about 5 minutes my free space kept climbing until I had 103GB of free space. I then checked the size of my CSC folder and it was now 2.76MB. Over time as my users start to use this folder again it should grow but hopefully will stay in the preset limits now. Also remember to re-hide the hidden and system folders/files again if you unhid them earlier. Hope that helps.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Xerox ColorQube Immediate Job Overwrite Failed. Perform an On Demand Overwright.

The Problem
I received a ticket saying that our Xerox ColorQube was giving an error and they didn't know how to fix it. Apparently they were still able to copy but wanted to get rid of it. After arriving I saw the message to the right. It was saying "Immediate Job Overwrite Failed. Perform an On Demand Overwrite immediately."

It is pretty self explanatory what the problem is. After every copy, fax, and scan job the copier overwrites the portion of the hard drive where the document was stored temporarily. The reason for this is to keep someone from being able retrieve documents off of the device at a later time. Apparently one of the times it went to overwrite the job it failed. To keep the documents safe it wants you to perform an On-Demand Overwrite which wipes the whole drive.

The Solution
Log-in to the copier as the admin. After doing this press the Machine Status button to the left of the screen. Then click the "Tools" tab which is the most right. Then select "Security Settings" 
Then click on the "Image Overwrite Security" folder. This will open up to the screen below. 
Before clicking on the "On Demand Overwrite" know that it will take about 40 minutes depending on your machine. 

When it is done it will restart the machine. After it is done though the error will be gone. Good Luck.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fixing the "ExSec32.dll is incompatible with Microsoft Outlook" Error

The Problem
I had a user who the the following error on the computer "The file ExSec32.dll is incompatible with Microsoft Outlook. Install Outlook again." We actually had installed this version of office recently because we had a spare license and would allow them to use a more familiar version until their computer was replaced. This popped up when they tried to do anything with Microsoft Office's Outlook 2007. The user said he wasn't aware of what had gone wrong. It had worked good for awhile and after one reboot he had started getting this error. I tried a couple of troubleshooting methods and actually looking around the web didn't provide me a good answer.

I then went to the Control Panel>Add or Remove Programs and did a repair install of Outlook 2007. While waiting for the repair to finish then I noticed the hard drive was filled to the brim with only a few hundred megabytes left. I freed up some space and since the computer would be replaced this year I left it for the time being, expecting the amount I freed up to be enough. After about a 3-4 weeks the user started experiencing the same problem again.

The Solution
The thing that led me to my solution was they told me though this time that the computer was wanting to install updates and after the reboot it started  popping up the error again. I then saw that the Office 2007 Service Pack 3 was pending to install. So I told it to start hoping that something in it would resolve the issue. During the update the computer complained about being really low on space. I then quickly freed up about 3GB after which it left me alone and the update completed. I rebooted and upon reboot the software was working fine.

I believe that the Service Pack 3 for Office 2007 was only finishing partly until the system ran out of space. Somehow it was was then causing the above error. So make sure you have enough space, check for Microsoft updates and apply all the latest. All the above will hopefully cause your problem to be resolved.