Solutions Through IT

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


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


March 21, 2013

Windows 8 and Office 2013–First Thoughts

Filed under: Microsoft, Office, Outlook, Ramblings, Review, Windows 8 — solutionsthroughit @ 18:01

I’ve setup my standing desk with Windows 8 and Office 2013, and am starting to get back into using it again (~16 hours in two days standing!).  Configuration is a Pentium E6300, with 4GB of RAM, and a GeForce 8800GTS.  It benches at 5.9 because of the non-SSD HDD, otherwise it would be at 6.2 (RAM/CPU).  So it’s not bleeding edge, but still fast enough!

Overall, I’m happy with the response and general usability, it will take a little time to get used to the new way of doing things, both good and bad.  Certain things, such as the new start menu (the tiles that you see everywhere) can be cumbersome to setup (right-click options are at the bottom of the screen) but once these things have been setup properly, you don’t have to change them often.

I’m not sure if this is going to be good for a “normal” user.  I’m fairly confident that I know how to get around a computer, so I don’t know if this is intuitively easy, or I can just “think” Microsoft better.  There will be a learning curve, but I think it will be down to the end user to decide how steep it is.  I think the basic Windows premise is more than present, the “OMG ITS DIFFERENT” aspect will be the biggest hurdle.

Office 2013 is a different story.  It’s mostly Office 2010, so if you’ve been using that for a while, you should be quite comfortable with using 2013, however, the colour scheme and menu’s take some adjusting to.  I REALLY don’t like the white, slightly darker white or a little bit more whiter as the only options for a colour scheme.

More to come.

February 16, 2013

Telstra Mobile Firmware Updates Estimated Schedules

Filed under: Microsoft, Mobile, Telstra — solutionsthroughit @ 15:04

This site is the best site that I have found so far that regularly updates phone firmware / OS release dates, as per the carrier (Telstra).  For Microsoft products, apparently the dates listed on the site are when they’ve been approved by Telstra, and that Microsoft will typically add further delay to the release.

Incidentally and supposedly, by the 18th of February 2013, I should have my 7.8 update for my Nokia 610.  Looking forward to seeing this!

(Putting this up for when I need it next :)! )

June 29, 2012

Microsoft CAL Licensing Explained (the Hilton “meatbag” Travis way)

Filed under: Administration, Exchange, Microsoft, SBS, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 — solutionsthroughit @ 14:58

First and foremost, I’m attributing this solely and wholly to Hilton Travis, who coined this explanation many, many moons ago.  I’m re-writing/blogging it, because I can never seem to find it when I need it.  This may be somewhat paraphrased, and I’m sure any corrections will be pointed out by Hilton and applied to this article rapidly :),  Hilton’s original explanation referenced users as “bags of meat” and devices as “bags or wires and parts”.  I’m not going to do that, I’m just going to staple post-it notes onto computers and foreheads.

The easiest way to work out licensing is to imagine each license that you buy as a single post-it note.  You can purchase Yellow Post-it notes (User CALs) or Blue Post-it notes (Device CALs).  The rules for using the post-its or CAL’s are as follows:

  • If your post-it notes are colour-free, you must choose a colour for them.  This choice is not changeable once you have made it.  The included CALs with some products (typically OEM) are non-specific as to device or user.  You must choose to allocate them as device or user, and this choice must be retained. 
  • Each post it note must be stapled or (almost) permanently attached to it’s recipient. You can not pass post-it notes around from person to person or device to device.  You can transfer them if someone leaves or a device is replaced, but they can’t be used as a pool of licenses, or you can’t grab a post it as you walk in the door for your shift (This means no more concurrent licensing.  Microsoft haven’t had it for years, but people either still remember it, or understand that this method is more cost effective for them).
  • Yellow post-its can ONLY be stapled to a person.  With this post-it stapled to their forehead, the person can use 1 or 1,000 computers, devices, phones, widgets or interfaces to connect to the server or service that you have a CAL for.  These CAL’s are typically used where staff have multiple methods to access services.  In a SBS environment, you may access from your desktop, your home computer (OWA / RWW) and your mobile phone.  This is three device CAL’s or one user CAL.
  • Blue post-its can only be stapled onto a computer.  With this post-it, 1 or 1000 users may use the device to access the server/services.  This would be typically used in an office or call centre where multiple staff access the same computer, or where multiple shifts of staff work in the same area.  These staff will typically not access via mobile phone or remote computers.  This way you can have two or more users on a device or computer for one device CAL.
  • You can use Device or User CALs through your licensing, in any form or mixture that you require or desire (as long as you don’t exceed maximum licensing – e.g. SBS has a 75 user hard limit).

Disclaimer This article is provided for loose instruction and a way to get your head around the way Microsoft currently do their licensing.  The ONLY source for advise on Microsoft Licensing, is Microsoft.  Please contact them via their website or for Australians, 13 20 58.

Update – Hilton finally put it back up, mere minutes after I called him out – his post is available here (

May 8, 2012

SBS Monitoring Failure

Filed under: DRP (Disaster Recovery Planning), Microsoft, SBS, SBS 2008, SBS 2011 — solutionsthroughit @ 14:48

So I’ve jumped onto a server, and the monitoring had stopped functioning.  Corrupt database no less.  Having read up about this before, I whipped out a few trusty URLS.  They were in two places, plus I’ve added a twist at the end (which I believe is configured as part of the re-create step, but I’ve included it as it can cause problems).

Step one was here, to recreate the SBS Monitoring database and downloaded the file.  Extracted this, and fired up a powershell console, making sure I right-clicked and selected Run as Administrator.

If your system is default/secure, you’ll need to change your policy.  Ensure that you check the policy before you relax security, so that you can return it to the same setting.


Navigate to the directory you extracted the zip file, and execute the script.  This will recreate the database for you.

Once this is completed, I navigated over to here, to get a copy of the SQL to reduce the cleanup period, and create some indexes for performance.  I’ve taken the liberty of adding the last step, to ensure that the databse is in SIMPLE mode, reducing the SQL log file to the smallest size, on a system that is backed up correctly.

USE SBSMonitoring

UPDATE [SBSMonitoring].[dbo].[Settings] SET [Value] = 30 WHERE [Name] = 'CleanupPeriod'

EXECUTE [SBSMonitoring].[dbo].[CleanupDatabase]


CREATE NONCLUSTERED INDEX [_SBS_BLOG_index_Reports_5_K2_K3_1_4] ON [dbo].[Reports] ([ConfigurationID] ASC, [DateGenerated] ASC) INCLUDE ([ID], [Data]) WITH (SORT_IN_TEMPDB = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF, DROP_EXISTING = OFF, ONLINE = OFF) ON [PRIMARY]


CREATE INDEX [_SBS_BLOG_index_Alerts_8_7_] ON [SBSMonitoring].[dbo].[Alerts] ([DefinitionID], [ComputerID]) INCLUDE ([DateOccured])

CREATE STATISTICS [_SBS_BLOG_stat_WMICollectedData_5_1_4] ON [dbo].[WMICollectedData]([WMIInstanceID], [ID], [WMIPropertyID])

CREATE STATISTICS [_SBS_BLOG_dta_stat_WMICollectedData_4_1_5_2_3] ON [dbo].[WMICollectedData]([WMIPropertyID], [ID], [WMIInstanceID], [DateCollected], [StatusID])

CREATE STATISTICS [_SBS_BLOG_dta_stat_WMICollectedData_5_1_3_4] ON [dbo].[WMICollectedData]([WMIInstanceID], [ID], [StatusID], [WMIPropertyID])

CREATE STATISTICS [_SBS_BLOG_dta_stat_WMICollectedData_5_4_2] ON [dbo].[WMICollectedData]([WMIInstanceID], [WMIPropertyID], [DateCollected])

CREATE STATISTICS [_SBS_BLOG_stat_WMICollectedData_2_1_5] ON [dbo].[WMICollectedData]([DateCollected], [ID], [WMIInstanceID])

CREATE STATISTICS [_SBS_BLOG_stat_WMICollectedData_1_3_5_2] ON [dbo].[WMICollectedData]([ID], [StatusID], [WMIInstanceID], [DateCollected])


April 12, 2012

Setting up a Windows Live ID

Filed under: Microsoft, Windows Live ID — solutionsthroughit @ 11:10

I had to setup a Live ID for a customer the other day.  It was a “fun” experience.  Long story short, REALLY hard to find the URL to sign up – the link Microsoft provided 404’ed.  To setup an account using your own (or a MSN Hotmail) email address go here.

Just for added fun – I was setting up an account called  Turns out you can’t use ANY word with “IT” in it as part of the password.  Kitten / Hospital / thispasswordissolongitssilly.  Smart.  Really smart.  abababab is perfectly acceptable but $iTx0($!k5 is not good enough because it uses “IT”.


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