Archive for Tips and Tricks

Forcing Internet Explorer Compatability Mode within HTML for SharePoint 2013

internet_explorer_9_icon_svgIf you work in an environment that has multiple versions of Internet Explorer and trying to support SharePoint 2013, you will need to add a simple HTML tag to your master page/custom master page in order to be truly backwards compatible especially if you have IE 8 or IE 9 in your environment.

Place this tag in your <head></head> section in your start page.

<meta http-equiv=”x-ua-compatible” content=”ie=edge”>

This will help with forward and backwards compatibility.

Please TEST in your test/development environment(s) first before applying to your production site.

 

 

 

PowerShell Commandlet – Compress-Archive to create zip files

folder-compressed-300x225

As I am constantly dealing with log file management on my servers, I have always relied on batch files to use PowerShell commandlets to move log files. And then I had to run other processes to manage the log files in a destination area.

 

 

I found this handy PowerShell commandlet called Compress-Archive.  You will need PowerShell version 5.0.

The link to the official documentation.

Anyway, this little routine has saved me some steps and with my log file management issues.

I simply zip files with and have the destination path in the same line.

I used example #3.  (This is not my exact script that I wrote, just showing the example.)

Compress-Archive -Path C:\Reference\* -Update -DestinationPath C:\Archives\Draft.Zip

 

I hope this tid-bit helps all of my fellow techies out there.

~Tony Maddin~

 

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Needing a way to manage and track your time? Try Toggl

Toggl LogoI am trying to bring balance to the force.  Well technically to bring balance to my own work life.  Like everybody else in the working world, I am trying to juggle tasks and priorities in an every changing business world.

However, I wanted to go beyond a basic Outlook calendar.  Yes, I can block out time.  But within that block of time; what did I really accomplish?

Also, I continuously to find productive time to keep on top of my professional career development.

I am a huge fan of Trello (http://www.trello.com) to manage tasks and status of tasks.  But I want to way to manage where my time goes during the day.

My good friend, Michael Czarnecki, mentioned awhile back that he uses Toggl.com (Yes, the “E” is dropped at the end.)

Here is Toggl’s website.  http://www.toggl.com

Michael Czarnecki’s twitter address:  @jerzakie

I have been experimenting with it this month.  (May/2014)

I have to say, this tool was exactly what I needed.

Pro’s

  • You create tasks and associate it with a project.
  • A stop and start clock.  Love it!  Especially when I get interrupted during the course of a day. I don’t mind to help.  But I do want to see concise time my given tasks.
  • Reports – Yes, yes, yes!  To see how I managed my time to tasks.  A great, simple built-in light weight business intelligence tool set where you can drill down in the data.
  • Integrates with your Google account.  (You have to love OAuth!)

Con’s

  • Currently, no integration with Trello.  I have to rebuild projects and tasks.  But it quick to create.
  • The free version is good, but the paid version is tempting with the advance features and mobile apps.

Overall, Toggl is meeting my expectation as a precise time tracking to task tool set that I need to go beyond just scheduling blocks/chunks of time slots to work on tasks.

Here is Toggl’s website.  http://www.toggl.com

I recommend it and wanted to share my thoughts.  As always, I welcome any feedback.

~ Tony Maddin ~

 

CamStudio OpenSource – Free Streaming Video Software

CamStudioLogoI am a visual learner.  I love CBT’s.  I am more engaged when I see a topic come alive.  This year, I plan on expanding my blog site to have more video-based blogging so I can remember some of my own tips and tricks.  😉

I recently tried out CamStudio as an video recorder alternative to Camtasia by TechSmith.  Do not get me wrong; Camtasia is a great tool set.  I highly recommend it to anybody that has a budget.

However, CamStudio is a great alternative if you want to produce a basic video recording that can be exported to .AVI, .MP4, and/or .SWF file types.

Here is the website if you want to download and try it out.  Also, there is a PortableApps.com version of it.

http://camstudio.org/

~Tony Maddin~

 

To leverage Windows Server 2012 R2 Deduplication feature prior to uploading documents into SharePoint

Win2k12LogoTo have SharePoint take place of a file share is a logical choice.  One of the many pillars of SharePoint is enterprise content management.

 

SharePoint robust features can be offset of bring the mess from a file share/shared drive and just simply bringing a new environment without cleansing the documents first.

Windows Server 2012 R2 has a great feature to help tackle the information explosion prior to migrating all your documents into SharePoint called Data Deduplication.

Data deduplication will allow your organization to help cut down on the number of “like” versions that can be scattered across numerous folders.

As a result, you get down the “single versions” of the truth with your primary documents.  Then you can take full advantage of search, records management, etc. within SharePoint to help your organization save money with regard to storage and time to search for vital information.

Here is the article on how you can use data deduplication in Windows 2012 R2.

http://redmondmag.com/articles/2014/03/13/data-deduplication-in-windows-server.aspx

 

Setting up a SMTP service in Microsoft Azure

sendgrid_logo

 

I am part of a project team that is building a custom Windows 8 application that is leveraging Microsoft Azure.

 

 

My project role is multi-tenant infrastructure architect.  This role curtails:

  • Infrastructure as a service design.  To maximize performance while balancing cost in Microsoft Azure.
  • To perform a detail security analysis on all points of data in motion and data at rest.

One of my task items on the project is to come up with a SMTP solution.  My first thought as a system administrator is to leverage a virtual server and enable SMTP as a service.

However, my thinking is changing with the times.  J  Now there are apps for system administrators.

So I looked in the Azure store and found SendGrid.  After doing some internet searches; there have been positive comments about this SMTP application.

SendMail1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have activated this application in my Azure subscription. Below are my steps.

Open up the Azure Dashboard, click New, select Store and then choose SendGrid from the App Services Add-ons list.

SendMail2

 

 

 

 

 

SendMail3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will not be sending over 25,000 emails a month so the free subscription will fit our current business needs.

SendMail4

 

 

 

 

 

 

The subscription will be tied in with your monthly billing.

I welcome any feedback.

~ Tony Maddin ~

 

Great SharePoint Online Features Comparison Matrix

Office365I found the holy grail of comparing SharePoint features against the latest plans for #Office365.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj819267.aspx?#bkmk_FeaturesOnPremise

Windows 8 Backup Tool – File History

My laptop is my lifeblood as a consultant. SkyDrive, Google Drive, etc. are good locations for cloud, offsite backups for documents.

However, time is money. To have reliable backups of laptop, software system setting to restore in a timely fashion is a must so I do not have to take the extra time of installing software.

The previous versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems always had a native tool set labeled, “Backup.” To align with all the new changes in Windows 8 and everything now being named, “an App.”  It cannot be found without an internet search.

I was happy to find on the Windows 8 help website the app is called, “File History.”

Here is a link to the video and information for configuration.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/how-use-file-history

Trello – Fantastic, free web-based project management tool

 

Trello-Free-Organization-Tool-Easy-to-Use

A former colleague, Jason Coffey (click here to view his LinkedIn profile), showed me a great, free project management tool set called Trello.  Trello has a fresh approach to organizing tasks in a visual manner so you can quickly put your arms around a project.

The company has stated the tool set will always be free. So I have assurance that I can use it without the fear that I may get the hammer of going pay for use route with other great products I have used in the past.

They have a great demo/tutorial that I highly encourage you to look at to understand this new concept. But once you start building your project plan; you will understand why this tool set is popular.  It’s easy.  You can visually see and understand the stages of tasks in the entire project.  I love it!

www.trello.com – It’s now listed under my RESOURCES section.

WinMerge

WinMerge

WinMerge is a great, open source tool that can run on the Windows platform.

How does this help you with SharePoint Administration?  An example is to compare web.config files.

The tool can highlight what line or lines of code are different between the files in comparison. 

There are any other uses.  Please visit the website www.winmerge.org for more information and free download.

Tony Maddin

Cincy SPUG February 2012

Mike Smith Photo

Mike Smith (picture on the left) a MCT, SharePoint MVP, many other acronyms along with the Cincinnati SharePoint User Group committee once again put together a great learning atmosphere for the monthly meeting at the Cincinnati SharePoint User Group.

I am using one of the items I learned from the meeting.  It’s called, Windows Live Writer from Microsoft.  It’s an online editor that can tie into various types of blog websites.

My blog runs on WordPress and I have to say it was really simple to connect and use.  I have now used the tool to clean up formatting issues I had with my other posts on this blog.

The meeting’s theme was Lightning Talks with audience participation.  I left the meeting with a few more tidbit and tricks.

Please visit Mike Smith’s blog for information and buy his book!

http://techtrainingnotes.blogspot.com/

Dropbox.com

Dropbox

The Dropbox.com toolset has been around for sometime for public and commercial use.

This toolset if fantastic in my opinion.  While working with clients and client workstations I may not have all the physical computer options such USB, FTP, etc.

This website and toolset is a great alternative so I can transfer various files from my laptop to my client’s network to continue conducting business to completion.

The website and toolset is free to sign up and use.  The free use is up to 2GB of storage on the dropbox.com website.  However, you can pay a monthly fee to expand it.

I will add this toolset to the TONYMADDIN.COM resources area.

Another must have SharePoint admin tool – ULS Viewer

As many of you are aware, reviewing log files are a necessary practice in our information technology industry.  But your standard NotePad on a Windows Server just cannot keep up when it comes to reviewing log files.

This tool has been around since 2009.   However, I when diagnosing a SharePoint 2010 farm, it was the tool of choice to help find the problem.  Here is the link.

Must have command for your system admin toolbox – GPRESULT

I was in need of getting detailed network information in a development/DMZ environment with heightened security.   In particular, Domain Controller information.   I did a lot of NSLOOKUP’s and PING’s to the gateway and dns servers to see what name(s) returned.  I got zero results.  (Very tight security.  🙂 )

 

 

[box type=”info”]My buddy pointed me to the command GPRESULT.exe. It’s a built-in executable for Windows operating systems.

I was able to get a detailed report of the NIC card and the network settings.  A great tool to use![/box]

[box type=”info”]Click here for the Technet article on how to use it. [/box]

[box type=”bio”]Another special thanks to John Chism on his advice.[/box]

Tip: How to speed up a slow Virtual Server

If you have virtual servers (VMWare, Hyper-V, Virtual Box, etc.) running Windows operating system that does not have Internet connectivity; you will see the operating system services run slow. An example is opening up PowerShell command prompt. This could take up to 30 seconds at times. Open Internet Explorer. Then open an internal website. This could take some time.

Want to know why?

[box type=”info”]Here is the answer:

It’s a known issue with Windows. It’s trying to check certificates to see if they have been revoked. However, it slows down the operations within the operating system until the check times out. [/box]

To avoid this issue, you can fix the issue a couple of ways. Manual or script it with PowerShell.
[box]

Internet Explorer:

Go to Tools => Internet Options =>Advanced tab =>  Under Security: uncheck  “Check for Server Certificate Revocation(requires restart)[/box]

PowerShell Script:

[box]Set-ItemProperty -Path HKCU\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\internet settings\ -Name “CertificateRevocation” -Value =”0″[/box]

[box type=”bio”]A special thank you to John Chism and his team for coming up with this solution.[/box]

Overcome Test-SPContentDatabase “Database too old error message”

Ok, I was thinking that I could quickly take a SharePoint 2007 content database, apply the minimum Service Pack 2 for WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007, and then perform a database attachment within SharePoint 2010 in minutes while basking in the glory of the easy process.   I should have known this is SharePoint and everything is earned in this world.  🙂

I rebooted all the web front end servers and application servers just to make sure my little SharePoint 2007 world had the right build number of 12.0.0.6421 within Central Admin.   So I did a backup of the database and then moved the BAK file to the SharePoint 2010 Database instance and performed a simple restore.  For extra incentive and I was the DBO in the environment, I placed the SP Farm Account DBO to make sure the attachment goes ok.

I ran the PowerShell commandlet Test-SPContentDatabase to verify the database.  Then I got the error.

[box type=”warning”]Category: DatabaseValidation Error: True UpgradeBlocking: False Message: This database [SSPBeta] is too old and cannot be upgraded. Remedy: Upgrade this database to Windows SharePoint Services Version 3, SP2 or later. [/box]

[box type=”info”]So after I read multiple blogs, forums, etc.; I wanted to think outside-of-the-box. I tried an idea. “Maybe the commandlet needed a build number newer than 12.0.0.6421?”

So I got the April/2009 Cumulative update for WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007. So I applied these two CU’s to the SharePoint 2007 Environment.

I verified I was on build number 12.0.0.6504. [/box]

Just like washing your hair.  Rinse and Repeat. 

So I did a backup of the database and then moved the BAK file to the SharePoint 2010 Database instance and performed a simple restore.  For extra incentive and I was the DBO in the environment, I placed the SP Farm Account DBO to make sure the attachment goes ok.

I ran the PowerShell commandlet Test-SPContentDatabase to verify the database.

 [box type=”shadow”]Then Poof!!!   The Test-SPContentDatabase command liked this minor build update.[/box] 

 Resources for review:

I welcome any feedback.

Internet Explorer 9 Compatibility View

There are times where I need to view a website but the website is not ready for Internet Explorer 9.  But how can I change Internet Explorer 9 so that I can view it in compatibility mode?

Well in Internet Explorer 9, the location is buried.  So I am writing this blog post so I can reference it.  I am sure there are other fellow technologists out there that need the same information.  I hope this helps people out.

[box]1. Right Click on the sprocket on the top-right hand side.

2. Checkmark Command bar. (You should now see the command bar.)

3. Choose Tools ==> Then Compatibility View Settings.

4. Then Kapow! You are now view it in other IE settings. [/box]

Open Source eMail Server

 

I found on a discussion thread on a great, open source email server to install in a development enviornment.  This is nice to have so you do not have to become a Microsoft Exchange guru.

http://hmailserver.com/

 

How to connect Access to SharePoint 2010 if the feature within a view and/or list is missing.

Anyway, when I went to list view; the button to “Open with Access” was greyed out. I went into my settings and tried to create a new view with Access. It wasn’t there either.

Steps below:

  • So I opened up Access 2010.
  • Then chose the OPEN feature.
  • What is cool is in the drop down area; there was a item called, “SharePoint Foundation Services.”
  • I copied and pasted the URL to the SharePoint calendar that I needed to update…….

And then *POOF!* *MAGIC!* I can then update data via Access.

Happy SharePoint-ing!

Tony

SharePoint 2007 Error Message and Fix

Exception from HRESULT: 0x80040E14 error appeared on my SharePoint 2007 environment this weekend.

There are a variety of blogs I have found that fixes this issue.  Each one stating the same thing.

[box type=”info”]1. Check the drive space for the SQL server logs for SharePoint. Clean out the space.

2. Check the drive space for the SQL server data files for SharePoint. Clean out the space.[/box]

This fixed my issue.  I just wanted to pass along to my SharePoint community.  🙂

Extending your Windows 2008 Activiation in a virtual environment

I live and die with my virtual servers on my local computers to test proof-of-concepts; PowerShell scripts, backup/recovery scenarios, and many other important aspects to my job as a Web and SharePoint Administrator.

But one aggrevating thing is the Windows 2008 Activation feature that creeps up if you do not manage it.

I found a great TechNet article on how to extended the grace period in Virtual Environments.  This will work with VMWare Workstation, VirtualBox, Virtual Server, and Hyper-V.  In theory, it should work in other virtual enviornments.

Here is a link to the entire article.