Solutions Through IT

March 22, 2017

“Demoticating” Outlook aka Stopping Outlook from changing text to Emoticons

Filed under: Outlook, Outlook 2016, Rants — solutionsthroughit @ 12:34

Sick of Outlook changing your 🙂 into Smile?  Want to stop the smiley faces from looking like you’re on a chat program instead of Outlook?

Whilst a smiley in an email isn’t as professional, swapping out text for image is less professional IMO, so I’d like to stop doing it!

The procedure to do this is (sort of) simple.  Hover your mouse over your recently Frankensteined smiley image.  See that blue line?  Hover over that.

You’ll now get a drop down menu image.  Click on that.

Now, you’ll have to select  Stop Automatically Correcting image and it will stop correcting for that particular smiley type.  You’ll have to rinse and repeat for all the permutations of the smileys that you use.

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May 20, 2016

Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Rollup Package

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 13:36

Thankfully, this update has finally arrived.  This package will install the hundreds of individual updates required to patch a Windows 7 machine, that will typically take many hours to complete, in a significantly shorter period of time.  Download links below and integrated into this article.

However, there are two pre-requisites that aren’t immediately visible.

If you don’t have Service Pack 1 installed, follow the link to download and install.  The second requirement is the April 2015 service stack update.  If either of these is not installed, the rollup will not work.

Direct Download links:

Windows 7 Service Pack 1: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=5842

April 2015 Service Stack Update

WIndows x86: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=5db13554-a6d3-40ec-9159-a5a86e85998b

Windows x64: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=5fc4e80d-e1e6-4ea3-9677-5a5f7907d143

Server 2008 R2: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=760438c1-0a7c-479f-8cc1-c888e6f610c0

Using Internet Explorer ONLY – the link to the actual rollup is here – http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/Search.aspx?q=KB3125574

April 21, 2016

Android–After a month

Filed under: Android, Mobile, Nexus — solutionsthroughit @ 12:48

I wrote about my initial review of Android, and it would seem that the update process isn’t always a good one.  There are a number of pages that suggest a hard reset will increase performance.  After ensuring that I had my phone set to backup, I bit the bullet and performed a hard reset.

Simple enough process, and moderately quick.  Went through the setup and restore process, which also seemed quick and simple.  Only one issue – the backup function is effectively USELESS.  No text messages.  No MMS.  No app-specific data.  Nada.  You basically get a list of the apps you’d previously had, and the wireless networks.  Nothing else is restored.  Bluetooth device?  Nope, you’ve got to re-pair them.  Texts? Hope you saved all the information that you still wanted in your texts (I didn’t!).

The phone is now chewing through battery, and routinely won’t make it 10+ hours without requiring a period of time on charge.  Not necessarily a bad thing, from a timing perspective – 5-15 minutes gives it a good chunk of charge, but still a pain for a modern device.

Microsoft really need to extract a digit and get the Lumia platform rolling.  Hell – do what they did years ago with Visual Basic.  Make a development engine so easy to use, everyone can and will use it  Yes, we’ll have 30,000,000 calculator apps.  And “browsers” that just use an IE window.  We’ll have people developing spaghetti code nightmares that should not exist, but we’ll suddenly have heaps of developers wanting to develop good apps to monetise them.  And suddenly, they’ll have market share.  The Lumia hardware is absolutely the smoothest and most consistent I’ve experienced (and I’ve used all the OS variants).

March 10, 2016

Review of Moving to Android from Windows Mobile

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 00:16

With three weeks of android under my belt, with almost an entire week on my own Nexus 5X (I borrowed an older Nexus 5 for a trial run) I’m somewhat happy.  I’ve finally got the business information that has been so important to me – full access to call history – along with some rudimentary automation to replicate some of the functionality of my old Lumia 920.  I’d been called a fanboi for the Lumia before, and I wouldn’t argue to strongly with that.

Now that the shine and appeal of the new technology and restrictions of apps has been started to fade, I thought that it would be a good time to pause for some reflection, and bang out a Pros and Cons list.

Pros

  • APPS!  Gone from about three apps on the Microsoft store to EVERY APP.  Seventeen million versions of every APP!
  • Some of the apps are actually good.  The two noteable below
    • Banking App does paywave.  You’ve got no idea the number of people that are amazed, baffled and amused by the fact that I’m paying for purchases by waving a phone at their EFTPOS machine.
    • IFFT automates things.  I’m using this to generate a log of call history to a spreadsheet on my google drive, complete with caller information from the contacts in my device, duration, call direction and a date/timestamp.
  • OK Google – largely better than Cortana, which is better than Siri IMO
  • Better device integration – significantly faster Bluetooth connections, caller ID on FitBit
  • Better version of Office suite (Outlook/Word/Excel) than on a native windows device.  This one still blows me away.  Microsoft have their own platform, and even THEY don’t release their own apps on it.  This still confuses me.

Cons

  • Live tiles.  So much information lost.  I can’t even get an unread message count on text messages or number of missed calls.  I can’t glance (pun intended for those in the know, if not – Microsoft has a feature called glance).  Really miss the lack of active information!  By far, the biggest negative.
  • No standard method for doing things.  One app might have a hamburger menu in the top right corner, another in the left.  Another might have the “More Options” ellipsis happening.  Whilst there are discrepancies on the WM platform, they’re usually the exception, not the rule.
  • APPS!  There are so many apps, that it’s difficult to find a good one.  Most of the time it relies on people telling you about good apps, or them just assuming that you know about them (2-4 people though I’d figure out that the stock android camera app was rubbish – I didn’t until I complained about it).  At this stage, I’m going on the theory that if it doesn’t have at least 4.4/4.5 rating in the play store, it’s probably not good – too early to tell yet!

In Summary

Would I switch still?  Yes, but I’d consider Apple a little longer (but doubt I’d switch) purely for the fact that I can have a little number showing me the number of calls/texts/emails that I need to deal with.  Android users just must have more spare time to constantly check their devices than I’m used to! 😉

(Would love to have any feedback with tips and tricks for squeezing more out of an android device – leave a comment below!)

August 17, 2015

Product Review: HP 8 G2 (The Android iPad Mini 3 equivalent?)

Filed under: Android, HP, Review — solutionsthroughit @ 16:19

Should you buy it?

Yes – if you factor in the considerations below (if you want a cheaper iPad mini sized device). 

A little more detail …

At the moment, with Android 4.4.2 this unit is a competitor to the iPad mini 2/3, however, it is a compromise.  The screen resolution is half that of an iPad Mini 2, the cameras are 1/2 the MP of the iPad and the battery life is about 1/2 as well.  Compared to the iPad mini 2 directly, it is clearly the lesser of the two products.  However, most people don’t use tablets side by side.  During my review, I was satisfied with the screen for playing games and Facebook / internet access through Chrome or Firefox.  My only issue is that the battery life is somewhat limited, and requires you to be close to power if you want to use it for long periods of time.

Pros

  • Price is cheaper – I managed to get this on special for less than 1/2 the price of an iPad mini 2
  • It’s Android (if that matters) and opens up different opportunities to the Apple store
  • Customisable – If you’re not used to Android, you’ll find that almost all the parts (keyboard/screen saver / browsers) are upgradable or changeable.
  • Most apps are indistinguishable from the iPad equivalents, performance wise (resolution aside).
  • No fingerprint reader to exploit!
  • Expandable storage – you don’t have to pay exceptionally higher costs for storage.

Cons

  • Battery life is limited.  With heavy use, expect only 3-5 hours, especially if you are using Wi-Fi
  • Screen does dim as far down as other devices.  The lowest brightness setting is still quite bright.  Not great for night usage.
  • Out of the box, it needs tweaking.  I had to replace the default keyboard and launcher before the tablet was ‘snappy’ enough to be usable.
  • No update on when or if Lollipop or Android “M” will be released for it.
  • Buttons are set further back than the iPad mini’s, and if you are used to this location, you may have to re-learn the position of the buttons

Product Specs

  HP 8 G2 iPad Mini 2/3
Processor (SOC) Quad-Core A33 (1.2Ghz, 32Bit) Dual Core A7 APL0698 (1.3Ghz, 64Bit)
GPU ARM Mali-4000 MP2 (2 Cores) PowerVR G6430 MP4 (4 Cores)
RAM 1GB DDR3 SDRAM 1GB LPDDR3
Internal Storage 16GB eMMC 16/64/128GB
Wireless / Bluetooth Yes (b/g/n) / Yes (4.0LE) Yes( a/b/g/n) / Yes (4.0 LE)
Battery / Life 4000 mAh / Up to 7 Hours (~4 hours with moderate use) 6470mAh / ~10 Hours (~4-8 with moderate use)
Display 7.85” IPS, 1024×768 (163 ppi) 7.9” IPS, 2048 x 1536 (324 ppi)
Camera (Front / Rear) 0.3MP / 2MP 1.2MP / 5.0 MP
Expandable Storage Yes, SD to 32GB No
GPS GPS (no other tracking assist) GPS / A-GPS / GLONASS
Connectors USB 2.0 / 3.5mm Apple proprietary
Wireless Charging No No
2/3/4G No Yes, at additional cost / different model

August 12, 2015

Configure Windows Explorer to open the way it should. (Used to).

Filed under: Microsoft, Windows 10 — solutionsthroughit @ 21:48

Open an explorer window using your favourite method (Windows + E / click start / File Explorer / etc.)  Then Click View and Options

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Change the drop-down to This PC, press OK and you’re done!

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December 16, 2014

Dell Fingerprint Security Part two (Windows 8.1)

Filed under: Biometrics, Dell, Security, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 — solutionsthroughit @ 11:41

Last year I wrote a typically cynical post about how to get the fingerprint security working with Windows 8.  I upgraded to windows 8.1 in place, so didn’t have to worry about re-installing the software.  However after a slow SSD crash (that corrupted system files significantly enough to have very ‘wonky’ data) I chose to re-install rather than attempt to recover the backups (yes, the one backup set that I didn’t test was for my own laptop!).  Here’s a very quick rundown on how to get things rolling again.

For non-domain computers, you can simply install the software as per normal.  Download the 32 or 64 bit installers, drivers and firmware.

Upgrade your firmware first.  Do not re-install the firmware if the versions match.

I installed the ControlVault driver next, despite my previous post specifying that the driver should be installed last.

Finally, I installed the Data Protection Access and rebooted.

For Domain connected computers you either have to add a domain group policy or set a local group policy. 

SNAGHTML341ade

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November 25, 2014

Error 800c0019 on Windows Mobile 8.1 when trying to synchronise Microsoft Account

Filed under: Windows Mobile 8.1 — solutionsthroughit @ 01:28

When attempting to synchronise my Microsoft account, I’ve experienced error 800c0019 on a Windows Mobile – Lumia 520 to be specific.  This occurred after the installation of a SD memory card (possibly unrelated) but with the phone missing the SIM card.  Resolution was to install a SIM card into the phone, and I was able to proceed as per normal.  After removal of the SIM card, the account was able to again synchronise.

October 14, 2013

Windows 7 and XP Profile Won’t Load. Profile status set to Backup

Filed under: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows XP — solutionsthroughit @ 10:22

I’ve had this issue twice in one day, and have seen it at least once before.  User profile will not load (Windows 7) or user profile appears to be blank/temp (Windows XP).

When I have checked the profile status (Advanced Computer settings, User Profiles) the profile is set to Backup (instead of local / roaming etc.).  In theory, you should simply have to reboot the computer and this will work.  If you’re reading this, then I’m guessing the first, second and seventeenth time you tried this, it didn’t work.

Standard Disclaimer: Backup your computer & data, don’t try this at home without professional supervision, Errors and Exceptions Omitted, I am not an astronaut, you do this at your OWN RISK.

The following steps are taken from KB 947215, which also has additional steps for recovery – see below in references, although these are recovery, and not repair as per the process below.  Read everything twice, before making changes, and screen capture / take notes of what you change so that you can change it back if you get it wrong.

  1. Click Start, type regedit in the Search box, and then press ENTER.
  2. In Registry Editor, locate and then click the following registry subkey:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

  3. In the navigation pane, locate the folder that begins with S-1-5 (SID key) followed by a long number.
  4. Click each S-1-5 folder, locate the ProfileImagePath entry in the details pane, and then double-click to make sure that this is the user account profile that has the error.

    2705065

    • If you have two folders starting with S-1-5 followed by some long numbers and one of them ended with .bak, you have to rename the .bak folder. To do this, follow these steps:
      1. Right-click the folder without .bak, and then click Rename. Type .ba, and then press ENTER.

        2493038

      2. Right-click the folder that is named .bak, and then click Rename. Remove .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.

        2493039

      3. Right-click the folder that is named .ba, and then click Rename. Change the .ba to .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.

        2493040

    • If you have only one folder starting with S-1-5 that is followed by long numbers and ends with .bak. Right-click the folder, and then click Rename. Remove .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.
    • If you have two folders starting with S-1-5 followed by some long numbers and one of them ended with .bak, you have to rename the .bak folder. To do this, follow these steps:
      1. Right-click the folder without .bak, and then click Rename. Type .ba, and then press ENTER.

        2493038

      2. Right-click the folder that is named .bak, and then click Rename. Remove .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.

        2493039

      3. Right-click the folder that is named .ba, and then click Rename. Change the .ba to .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.

        2493040

    • If you have only one folder starting with S-1-5 that is followed by long numbers and ends with .bak. Right-click the folder, and then click Rename. Remove .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.
  5. Double-click the folder without .bak in the details pane, double-click RefCount, type 0, and then click OK.

    2493045

  6. Click the folder without .bak, in the details pane, double-click State, type 0, and then click OK.

    2493046

  7. Close Registry Editor.
  8. Restart the computer.
  9. Log on again with your account.

References:

The Micro IT Blog pointed me in the direction of the Microsoft KB article.

October 7, 2013

Connection string for WSUS Server Access–Now with WID / Server 2013

Filed under: SQL, WSUS — Tags: , , , — solutionsthroughit @ 11:05

(Quick and dirty post – may clean this up later)

To connect to the WSUS database on Windows Servers, enter \\.\pipe\MSSQL$MICROSOFT##SSEE\sql\query in to the management application (Management Studio) and you will be able to configure memory/other options as required.

Update: To connect to a WID (Windows Internal Database) you can enter \\.\pipe\MICROSOFT##WID\tsql\query into the SQL Management Studio, to configure and manage the WSUS database on server 2013.

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