Windows Live Domains Migration

Over the last two years, Baby-Green and the other domains that I host have been using the email service provided by the hosting provider. This worked fine because it allowed for inbox access via POP3 using Outlook or any other client, allowed us to connect via mobile devices using POP3 and allowed us web access using a rudimentary web access client which I don’t really think any of us used.

WindowsLiveHotmailNew[1]About six months ago, I discovered a service from Microsoft called Windows Live Domains.
This service allows you to use Hotmail and associated Windows Live services under your own domain branding, so in my case, allowing me to use the functionality of Hotmail but with a Baby-Green email address.

The setup of this is fairly simple. First off, you need to register at http://domains.live.com. Once you are registered, you can associate your domain names and begin configuring the DNS records.

The configuration is simple – You need to as a minimum add a CNAME record and an MX record, however you can optionally create a TXT record and some additional CNAME records for other services. In my implementation, I produced a total of seven records per domain, however the whole process took no more to complete than five minutes.

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Hotmail Adds Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) Support

It’s been on the cards for a long time, however Microsoft on Friday last week, US time enable the global rollout of Exchange ActiveSync for Hotmail accounts on mobile devices.

For users of Outlook you will still need to use the Outlook Connector as Exchange via Outlook will not connect.
EAS for Hotmail allows Hotmail users to have over the air syncing of emails, calendar and contacts from your Hotmail account to your phone.

This is great because this gives you all the features of a corporate Exchange server with your own personal email.

When using the Outlook Connector for Hotmail in Outlook which does real-time syncing and updating of the inbox, calendar and contacts and the EAS features on Windows Mobile you can now fully live the two screens and the cloud mantra of Microsoft, with your notebook or desktop, your mobile device such as a Windows Mobile or iPhone device and the Hotmail web experience all fully synced with none of this IMAP or POP3 rubbish.

Android is not being officially supported by Microsoft due to on-going testing, although some users are reporting successes with it.

If there is a flaw to this momentous occasion for Hotmail users it is that as a Windows Mobile 6.5 user, I can still only sync one Exchange account which means I’m stuck using the existing Windows Live application until Windows Phone 7 is out allowing multiple Exchange accounts as I need to sync my corporate email via EAS already – For me its ok though because I find the email syncing of the Windows Live application acceptable.

Connecting to Hotmail EAS is simple:

Server Address: m.hotmail.com
Username: Your Windows Live ID (Email Address)
Password: Your Windows Live Password
Domain: Blank

For more detailed instructions and the gotchas on some devices follow the link to the Windows Live page for configuring Exchange ActiveSync for Hotmail: http://windowslivehelp.com/solution.aspx?solutionid=46bd910c-ed99-497d-80d7-ab8b11237ed0

Windows Live Sync Beta to Become Window Live Mesh

10db07c0-f90a-4a0f-9f4b-936303ed18ef[1]About two and a half years ago, maybe even three, I started using a free and beta service called Windows Live Mesh. At the time it was totally unrelated to any Windows Live services, and was in fact an incubation product and vision of Ray Ozzie, Chief Architect at Microsoft.

Live Mesh was a beautiful thing. You installed the client application on your Windows PC, Mac computer or Windows Mobile device and configured synchronised folders on each device. Live Mesh would then replicate the files from point to point using a peer-to-peer technology, but whilst also transferring copies of the first 5GB of data to the cloud in a page called the Live Mesh Desktop and the desktop was available from any internet enabled PC.

About three months ago, Microsoft as part of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 Beta 1 announced the closure of Windows Live Mesh and that a service which had been around but extremely under-used, Windows Live Sync was taking it’s place with new features. The primarily benefit of the Live Sync service instead was it included the syncing options for Internet Explorer favourites and also Outlook settings such as Signatures and Quick Steps.

Within a day or two I was used the Live Sync service and syncing all of the available applications and it was working great, however it was limited – The web based portion of storage which although I rarely use, it a great feature was limited to 2GB although the SkyDrive account which powers it has a capacity of 25GB.

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PDF Icon in SharePoint 2010

After successfully upgrading from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010, I noticed that the icon for PDF documents was missing from my Document Libraries. As part of the installation process, SharePoint 2010 installs itself to a folder called 14 to designate its version number as SharePoint 2007 used a folder number of 12. It was apparent that nothing was migrated from the 12 folder as as a result any modifications will be lost.

  1. Download the PDF icon. Visit http://www.adobe.com/misc/linking.html and download a copy of the small 17×17 PDF icon.
  2. Copy the icon to Drive:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedWeb Server Extensions14TEMPLATEIMAGES
  3. Open the DOCICON.XML file in Drive:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedWeb Server Extensions14TEMPLATEXML
  4. Add the following line to the DOCICON.XML file:
    <Mapping Key="pdf" Value="pdf16.gif"/>
  5. Save DOCICON.XML
  6. Open a Command Prompt and type iisreset to reset the IIS Application Pools

You will now have beautiful looking PDF icons in your document libraries in SharePoint 2010.

Installing SharePoint Server 2007 Updates

As a SharePoint Administrator, you will see a plethora of updates released overtime to resolve numerous issues as well as add new functionality, however SharePoint does not make patching very easy or intuitive for a newcomer.

Patches for SharePoint Server 2007 are actually two-fold although you will find it hard to locate a source which tells you this definitively. SharePoint Server 2007 is a combination of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). When you come to patch SharePoint installations, you need to install updates for both components, and you need to install the WSS updates first.

The second thing to note is that all SharePoint updates of late are cumulative – You can jump straight to the latest and greatest without needing to install previous updates, so long as you have a service pack installed. All of the recent Cumulative Update packages from Microsoft have a minimum requirement of Service Pack 2 for WSS and MOSS.

You can download Service Pack 2 for WSS and MOSS from the following links:
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) Service Pack 2
Microsoft Office Servers Service Pack 2

At the time of writing, the most recent Cumulative Update for SharePoint 2007 and WSS 3.0 is the June 2010 updates which you can download as follows:
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) June 2010 Cumulative Update
SharePoint Server 2007 June 2010 Cumulative Update

As a side note, for those planning an installation of SharePoint 2007 on Windows Server 2008 R2, you must slipstream the Service Pack 2 components of WSS and MOSS into the DVD media to be able to complete the installation otherwise you will receive reports of an unsupported operating system and will not be able to proceed with the installation.

This time next week, I will hopefully be blogging about my experiences performing a SharePoint 2010 upgrade, so keep yourself posted.

Cisco SCCP IP Phones Displaying Incorrect Time

In our office in the little old place known as England, we use Cisco 7941 and will soon to begin using 7942 Cisco SCCP IP Phones . The company uses Cisco Call Manager 6 or CUCM for those in the know. In our local office we are using a Cisco technology called SRST or Survivable Remote Site Telephony.

This technology, SRST allows our IP handsets to fallback to operating with a locally situated CME or Call Manager Express device so that if our Internet connection to our corporate head office fails then we still have limited telephony functionality.

One issue that has always plagued us here is that our phones would show the US time and date from our West Coast, San Jose based CUCM. Although only a minor issue it meant that call logs didn’t show the time you would expect nor did the phone if you wanted to look at the time.

When speaking to our IT department they couldn’t put their finger on a fix, so after researching online initially I suggested to them that a Device Profile be created on the CUCM to force the handsets to use United Kingdom locale instead of the US one. The change was implemented but the phones still show the US time, so what gives?

Upon reading some more information online today, I discovered that the key is the SRST device: A Cisco 2801 Integrated Services Router in our case. When a phone is associated with an SRST device, the SRST registers itself as an additional CUCM on the phone. For me, this appears as a third Call Manger as we have an Active and a Standby Call Manager in a cluster in our US office. When using SRST, the phone knows that the SRST device will always be closer geographically to the phone than the CUCM, hence the whole point of having SRST and once this is established, the phone will always learn the date and time from it’s local device.

Using the following command on the router I was able to see the problem that when the router was configured by our US colleagues they left the time zone setting on the router to Pacific by default, which would seem normal for them:

uk-srst#show clock
05:01:44.254 PST Fri Aug 13 2010
uk-srst#

This means that the time zone on the SRST 2801 needs to be changed to GMT for our country, England, correctly. This is done using two commands – The first command sets the time zone to GMT. The second command enables summer time or daylight savings as some call it, and uses the BST or British Summer Time variant of daylight savings:

uk-srst#config t
uk-srst(config)#clock timezone GMT 0
uk-srst(config)#clock summer-time BST recurring
uk-srst(config)#end
uk-srst#
uk-srst#show clock
13:01:44.254 BST Fri Aug 13 2010
uk-srst#

As you can see from the IOS output above, after entering the two commands, the clock is now using BST for British Summer Time. Saving the running configuration and then rebooting all of the effected SCCP IP Phones will apply the new date and time zone settings accordingly.

FTP 7.5 Upgrade for Windows Server 2008

Well I’m not entirely sure how I managed miss this one? Perhaps it was through a haze of Windows Server 2008 R2 release excitement, but I recently discovered that Microsoft have a patch available for Windows Server 2008 to upgrade the existing FTP 7 to FTP 7.5, the version found in the R2 release of Server 2008.

This is good news for users of Server 2008 because it adds support for the biggest feature on FTP for years gone by – FTP over SSL (FTPS). This means that your previously plain-text unencrypted FTP transmissions can now be protected by the same certificates and public keying process and your online banking transactions.

You can get the download from the Microsoft Download Center in both 32-bi and 64-bit versions:

Microsoft FTP Service 7.5 for IIS7.0 (x86)
Microsoft FTP Service 7.5 for IIS 7.0 (x64)