Friday, December 19, 2008

The CSS Corner: Alternate Style Sheets

As publishing and layout standards for web documents, HTML 4.01 and CSS 2.1 define relatively few user experience requirements for browsers. One of them, however, mandates the ability for end users to switch among a set of mutually exclusive document styles defined by the author.  This feature is known as alternate style sheets. Significantly, the end user must also be able to turn off all styling.

Check how it works from the W3C’s alternate style sheets example page (IE8 only).


Source :

Windows Live Solutions Center: a better way to interact?

After rolling out a new version of Hotmail only to be deluged with complaints ranging from the somewhat petty (I want the old version back!) to the pretty serious (my folders are gone!), and having to wade through hundreds thousands of comments on the Windows Live Wire and the Hotmail blogs, Microsoft has decided to take action.

Source :
Link :

The North Pole – A Virtual Earth 3D Christmas Experience

Have a look at Santa’s Village at the Noth Pole in 3D. It’s Cool, really cool.

Microsoft Virtual Earth and MSNBC have created a very nice place to visit.


Check it out directly form this link or find more info about the application on Virtual Earth blog

How To Enable Polygamy In Windows Live Messenger

Many of you will have several WLIDs, and want to sign into Messenger with more than one of them. Until now you had to seek refuge in a patch or add-on to be able to do so. Not anymore! Microsoft’s John Weisenfeld just shared a little trick with me to enable this, which I’m going to share with you.

Source :

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Microsoft’s hidden diagnostic tool unlocks Vista startup secrets

Not new, but great post by Ed Bott about Windows Vista boot performance diagnostic.

Did you know that Windows Vista records many events about poor performance and boot up sequence ?

Just follow this path in your Event Viewer :

Applications and Service Logs

Thanks Ed,

Read more :

SQL Server 2005 Database Mail in cluster (updated)

I have updated my post about SQL Server 2005 Database Mail in a cluster. You should check it.

Microsoft Office Outlook Connector 12.1 is here!

After 2 betas I’m glad to announce the release of the Microsoft Outlook Connector 12.1 – the add-in that puts your Windows Live Hotmail data in Outlook. Outlook Connector 12.1 provides a great synchronization experience with e-mail, contacts, and the free Windows Live Calendar service. Download it now!

As part of the 12.1 release, we have also made improvements to the e-mail and contacts synchronization that make this version of the connector faster and more robust. Thank you to everyone who contacted us and gave us feedback and suggestions during the beta period of the release.

Source :

Announcing December Cumulative Update for Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

We are happy to announce that December Cumulative Update for Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is available now. Despite the fixes and improvements, this new update package is also an effort to create a more convenient way for SharePoint administrators to keep all files in their SharePoint installations up-to-date. In this post, we will guide you on how and when to update, and the background of this new update model improvement.

Source :

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Microsoft Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer (Beta)

From :

This new Microsoft site lets you test you Exchange 200x remote connecttivity. You can choose the following tests:

  • Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync Test 
    This test will simulate the steps a mobile device uses to connect to an Exchange Server using Exchange ActiveSync.

  • Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync AutoDiscover Test
    This test will walk through the steps a Windows Mobile 6.1 device (or another AirSync licensed device) uses to connect to the AutoDiscover Service

  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 AutoDiscover Connectivity Test
    This test will walk through the steps Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 uses to connect to AutoDiscover

  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 RPC/HTTP Connectivity Test
    This test will walk through the steps Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 uses to connect via RPC/HTTP

  • Inbound SMTP Email Test
    This test will walk through the steps an Internet e-mail server uses to send inbound SMTP email to your domain

Announcing the WSRP Toolkit for SharePoint

Today, we are excited to announce the release of the Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) Toolkit for Office SharePoint Server 2007.  The WSRP Toolkit for SharePoint provides sample code for producing WSRP conformant data from SharePoint lists and libraries.  External portal platforms (e.g. BEA AquaLogic Portal, IBM WebSphere Portal, SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Portal etc.) can then render SharePoint data natively through their WSRP consumer portlets.  The Toolkit is available now for download from the MSDN Code Gallery.

Source :

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My blog is now IE8 friendly

Well, not really, I have simply added the following tag in the header as a quick fix :

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=7" />

When I will have some free time I will look why does my blog look so bad in IE8.

Windows in the cloud - First impressions of Amazon EC2

Excellent series of article from Michael Pietroforte about Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) :

Here’s some of Michal’s views :

It never took me so long to set up a server.

The price structure is quite complicated and so I was unsure how much it would actually cost me

I am sure that Amazon’s cloud will expand over time. But, in my opinion, at the moment it can’t be considered as an alternative to on-premise servers.

Windows Live Essentials new beta released

You can download a refresh of the beta version (the last before final release) of the Windows Live Essentials – suite of downloadable programs for your Windows PC, including Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Writer, Toolbar, and Family Safety.

You can get the latest betas from:

SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 3 Released

Service Pack 3 for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 is now available.

Download and infos :

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Failover Clustering & NLB in Windows Server 2008 R2

New Failover Clustering features in R2:
  • Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) – A distributed access file system optimized for Hyper-V allowing virtual machines and their disk resources to reside be on any cluster node
  • Live Migration – Move virtual machines between different physical machines while keeping them running and maintaining client connections
  • PowerShell Support – The scripting language of the future which will gradually replace cluster.exe
  • DFS-Replication support – Configure members servers in your replication group to be highly available for uniterrupted and failure resilient replication services
  • Remote Desktop / Terminal Services support – Make the Connection Broker highly available ensuring that clients are reconnected to their same session or virtual machine within a server farm
  • Network Prioritization – Plan your internal cluster network for efficiency, giving the fastest network the highest priority for internal traffic (heartbeat, CSV & Live Migration traffic)
  • Read-Only APIs – This security enhancement allows admins to query the state of the cluster, but not perform any actions, making it ideal for first-level triage who "can look, but not touch"
  • ETW logging channels – New Crimson channel makes cluster-wide events easier to manage
  • Performance Monitor – Clustering counters allow the user to monitor the cluster and tweak it for optimal performance
  • Enhanced Validation – Improvements to the functional test tool with additional tests which execute on production cluster nodes to ensure they are running optimally, with best practices deployed
  • Migration – The clustering upgrade path now supports more workloads and configurations and offers detailed information about what will be migrated and any additional steps required by the user
New Network Load Balancing features in R2:
  • Extended Affinity – Ensures clients are reconnected to the same node to retain cached information if they are disconnected
  • PowerShell Support – The new NLB scripting language which will gradually replace nlb.exe and wlbs.exe

Source :

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Windows Server 2008 R2 new features - the complete list

Michael Pietroforte wrote a super serie of articles about Windows 2008 R2 on 4sysops blog. A must read. thanks Michael.

Oxite - Open Source Content Management System

Oxite is an open source, standards compliant, and highly extensible content management sample that can run anything from blogs to big web sites. We know this because it runs MIX Online.

This CMS is based on ASP.NET.

Source :

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Compatibility View Improvements to come in IE8

The next public update of IE8 (for Windows Vista- and Windows XP-based operating systems as well as the Windows 7 Beta) includes improvements to Compatibility View that help end-users when they visit web sites that are not yet ready for IE8’s new, more standards-compliant defaults

Read the article :

Reality is finally setting in at Google

So, the Utopia that was Google (supposedly, the reality has never been what their PR people have made it out to be) is finally understanding how the real world works.  After missing 4 quarters of profit projections in a row and having over half of their products in perpetual beta (which means they never have to guarantee reliability, functionality, or even product viability) Google is finally cutting back and organizing to function as a real company.

Source :

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

How to query a WINS server

Every time I got a NetBIOS or WINS name resolution problem I hit google and search for a way to query a WINS server. And every time loose many minutes looking for a tool.

Well, this time I decided to blog about it so next time maybe my blog will show up in my search.

Actually the answer to the question «How do you query a WINS server ?» is pretty simple :

Use NBLookup from Microsoft.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Search Server 2008 Express and WSS

Nice post by Tim Allison from C/D/H about installing Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express on Windows Sharepoint Service 3.0

Link :

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

3D modeling for FREE !

Yesterday Google released a new version of their free 3D modeling software : Google Sketchup 7

I didn't tried the package yet, but it looks very cool.

Microsoft is also offering a free 3D modeling software with Microsoft TrueSpace.

Sources :

Friday, November 14, 2008

Google Docs Users Spend Only 5 Minutes per Month on the Site

Google Docs had arround 4.4 million unique visitors in september (2208), it's a very large user base. But does all thoses users really use Google Docs to do realy work ?

Well according Amit Agarwal from digital inspiration, that may not be the case. Looks like all those users only spent 5 minutes each mount workging on Google Docs

Source : Digital Inspiration

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Announcing SPDisposeCheck tool for SharePoint Developers

The tool, called SPDisposeCheck, will open your custom compiled assemblies recursively and validate them against the Microsoft published guidance. The output from the tool will contain messages that may indicate the SPSite and SPWeb Dispose() methods guidance are not being followed in the customers source code

Looks cool, unfortunately the tool will not be available until winter.

Source : Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog

SQL Servers Blogs

There is a list of all blogs related to SQL Server at Microsoft. You will find it at Technet.

RML Utilities for SQL Server

Do you know which databases or applications are using the most resources on your server? How will a service pack upgrade, configuration change or application change affect your production SQL Server? The RML Utilities for SQL Server provide you a set of tools and processes to answer these questions and much more.

Downloads :

25 GB of storage for FREE !

Yes you read it wright. In the next upgrade, SkyDrive is going to offer 25 GB free. When will that be ? soon.

Read all about the next upgarde of skyDrive here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Find Programs Connecting to the Internet

If you like to know out about all software programs on your computer that are connecting to the Internet, here’s a simple tip.

Type "perfmon" in the Windows Vista search box to run the "Reliability and Performance Monitor" utility. Next click the Network tab in the right pane to expand it.


Source :

Get Quick Feedback on your Blogger based Blog

Blogger today launched "Reactions", an instant ratings feature for individual blog posts. So unlike the start ratings system where people express their opinion (poor to excellent) on a scale of 1 to 5, here you can customize the scale.

Source :

Windows Services Optimizer (WinServicesOptimizer.vbs)

Disabling unnecessary Windows services can result in significant performance gains for production machines and virtual machines.  This script helps you manage and share templates for services optmization.  Some templates are included.

Source :

How to Debug Kernel Mode Blue Screen Crashes (for beginners)

Perhaps the largest call generator for the Core Team is for us to determine cause of a hard system crash that generates a Blue Screen and memory dump file.  Commonly called a "Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)."  The vast majority of these memory dumps could be analyzed by Administrators in just a few minutes using the latest debugging tools.  These tools do most of the work for you, once they're set up.  Kernel mode debugging is a pretty specialized skill, with experienced debuggers throwing around lots of imponderable terms.  But it's really pretty simple and I'll point out the gaffe's you'll want to avoid as a beginner.

Read the complete article :

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Technical Library in Compiled Help format

Now there is a downloadable CHM version of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 content on TechNet. Cool !

Download :

Monday, November 03, 2008

Convert Scanned PDF Documents to Text with Google OCR

Here's a great trick Amit Agarwal to convert your scanned documents (in PDF) to Text with Google OCR for free.

Link :

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Announcing Windows Server 2008 R2!

First sneak of pre-beta Windows Server 2008 R2 :

  • 64-bit only !
  • Physical to Virtual migration (live migration)
  • PowerShell 2.0
  • And more

Source : Windows Server Division WebLog

Monday, October 27, 2008

Announcing Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the 2007 Microsoft Office System

We’re pleased to announce that Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the 2007 Microsoft Office system is expected to be released in the near future.  Although we aren’t yet announcing the exact release date, it will fall between February and April of 2009.

Source :

Friday, October 24, 2008


In June of this year, we released a beta version of UrlScan 3.0, which can help mitigate SQL injection attacks. Today, we’re happy to announce the final release of UrlScan 3.0 for Internet Information Services (IIS).

UrlScan 3.0 is a security tool that restricts the types of HTTP requests that IIS will process. By blocking specific HTTP requests, the UrlScan 3.0 security tool helps to prevent potentially harmful requests from reaching applications on the server. UrlScan 3.0 is an update to UrlScan 2.5 and requires IIS 5.1 or later, including the latest IIS 7.0 on Windows Server 2008.


Source :

Microsoft Web Application Installer

The Web Application Installer Beta is designed to help get you up and running with the most widely used Web Applications freely available for your Windows Server. Web AI provides support for popular ASP.Net and PHP Web applications including Graffiti, DotNetNuke, WordPress, Drupal, OSCommerce and more. With just a few simple clicks, Web AI will check your machine for the necessary pre-requisites, download these applications from their source location in the community, walk you through basic configuration items and then install them on your computer.

Download and infos :

Microsoft Web Platform Installer Beta

The Web Platform Installer Beta (Web PI) provides a single, free package for installing and configuring Microsoft's entire Web Platform, including IIS7, Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition, SQL Server 2008 Express Edition and the .NET Framework. Using the Web Platform Installer’s simple user interface, you can select specific components or install the entire Microsoft Web Platform onto your computer. To help you stay up-to-date with product releases, the Web Platform Installer always contains the most current versions and new additions to the Microsoft Web Platform.

Download and infos :

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Windows Server 2008: Access Based Enumeration

Last week during a community meeting I was talking to Kurt Roggen about all the cool new features  in Windows Server 2008. While talking we came to the discussion if Access Based Enumeration (ABE) was still implemented and if we had a GUI to enable it.

Excellent post by Alves Arlindo about Windows Server 2008 and ABE on

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Clustering Videos on the Web

Hi Cluster Fans,

We have some great webcasts to share with you created by one of the team’s Most Valuable Professionals (MVP), John Savill. (What is a MVP? Visit: John has shared some of his clustering work from website,

Announcing August Cumulative Update for Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

The Microsoft Office team has changed the way that it delivers hotfixes for reported problems. This change comes in the form of cumulative updates and critical on-demand hotfixes.

The detail of August Cumulative Update (CU) for Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 can be found here:

Source :

Core Configuration Console (CCC)

Excellent post on 4sysops blog about CCC. This tool (in fact it’s a batch) can help you configure Windows Server 2008 Core.

Could be also an alternative to CoreConfigurator (great GUI tool) witch is no longer available.

Sad day for formula one’s fans in Canada !


Yesterday we learn that the Canadian’s Grand Prix was not on the calendar for 2009.

As a Formula one fan and a Canadian Grand Prix lover for more than 20 year (grandstand 34) I’m really sad.

Read article «why the Canadian GP was cancelled» to learn more.

I really hope that someone would come up and save «my» Grand prix.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Slimming down the bloated iTunes 8 installer

So, how do you wrestle back control of iTunes so that you’re not installing unneeded and unwanted junk?

Excellent post by Ed Bott showing how to get rid of the uneeded junk.

Source : Ed Bott's Microsoft Report

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Network Monitor 3.2 has arrived!

I’m so excited about this release I had to commandeer Paul’s blog for the day and write about it. My name is Tawanda Sibanda and I am the lead program manager for Network Monitor. The team put a lot of effort into this version, adding many of the requests we heard from our customers, while simultaneously fixing bugs and stabilizing the product. We hope you enjoy this release! Please feel free to leave feedback on Paul’s blog or participate in our Network Monitor survey

Now, let’s deep dive into some of the details of Network Monitor 3.2

Source :

VMC to Hyper-V Import Tool Available

Matthijs ten Seldam has produced a very cool tool that enables you to import your existing virtual machines from Virtual PC and Virtual Server in Hyper-V

Source :

Monday, September 15, 2008

SharePoint Best Practices Resource Center on TechNet

The SharePoint Best Practices Resource Center on TechNet highlights the different best practices for IT Professionals and Developers and helps you navigate through the resources. IT Professional topics include Operational Excellence, Team Collaboration Sites, Publishing Portals, Search and My Sites. Developer topics include Common Coding Issues, Using Disposable Objects, Search SQL Syntax Queries and Customization Best Practices. We will continue updating and publishing new Best Practices based on real-world experience.

Source :

SQL Index defrag and maintenance tasks for Search

Hi all, this topic is an area that has caused me much pain and work.  My goal for this was to follow the recommended SQL guidelines while minimizing the impact that these maintenance jobs have on Crawling and Queries.  We know from the SQL Monitoring an I/O post that Search is extremely I/O intensive .  As it turns out so is all of the regular maintenance that SQL recommends, so finding the right balance between the two is an interesting scheduling task.

Read the complete post :

Thursday, August 21, 2008

SQL Server : error detaching msdb

I received the following trying to detach the msdb database in SQL Server 2005 :

Cannot detach an opened database when the server is in minimally configured mode

I was trying to move msdb according to kb224071. I finally found why.

When I opened my query in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) I was connecting to msdb database by default. Event if I do a use master; after that, it was too late, I always got an error doing a sp_detach_bd 'msdb';

So here's the trick :

  • Click new query on the tool bar of SSMS
  • Click on the Options >> buton in the Connect to Server dialog
  • Select the Connection Properties tab
  • Type master in the Connect to database field
  • Click Connect

Et voilĂ  ! You will now be able to detach the msdb database.

Note : Of course this will only work if you follow kb224071 and start SQL Server with the -c -m -T3608 startup options.

Can't logon to SQL Server 2005 Cluster in single-user mode

Last night I spent a few hours trying to follow the kb224071's instructions to move the MSDB system database but was always getting the following error trying to connect with the -c -m -T3608 startup options :

Login failed for user '******'. Reason: Server is in single user mode. Only one administrator can connect at this time. [CLIENT: *.*.*.*]

But nobody else was using the database !

Seems that I was wrong. When I looked again at my error log I saw this line :

Login succeeded for user 'NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM'. Connection: trusted. [CLIENT: *.*.*.*]

Then I tried the same thing in virtual without a cluster and everything worked fine, so I got a little suspicious about the cluster service.

So here's what I've done and it worked :

  1. Put all SQL Server resources offline in the cluster (except the storage of course).
  2. execute :
    NET START "SQL SERVER (instance)" /c /m /T3608
  3. You will now be able to connect to your database in single-user mode.
  4. When your finished, execute the following command and restart all SQL Server resources in the cluster :
    NET STOP "SQL SERVER (instance)"

I'm not an SQL engineer but it looks to me like the Cluster Service opened a connection to the SQL Server.

Hope this could help someone else.

FastCGI Extension - RTM

I misted that news, but looks like FastCGI has bean released to manufacturing.

Read more and download :

But Wait – There’s More! IIS 7.0 Extensions.

So far, we have made available 12 different Extensions as CTP, Go Live, or RTW releases. Each one is completely free and integrates fully with IIS 7.0. We even released versions of the FTP and WebDAV extensions for IIS 6.0, although you’ll see us do that less often in the future because we feel strongly that IIS 7.0 should be the Web platform of choice so that’s where we’ll concentrate our efforts. Here’s the full list:




Request Handling

Content Publishing

Media Serving

Source : Windows Server Division Weblog



Cool ! lot of Tv shows about IBM technologies.

Check it out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

SQL Server 2005 Database Mail in cluster

Updated in december 2008 (see at the end)
I've been playing with Database Mail in my SQL 2005 Cluster for a few days now. I always get the following errors :

Database Mail Log:
Log Database Mail (Database Mail Log)
Last Modified By sa
Message : Activation failure.

EventViewer Application Log: Event Type: Information
Event ID:   9724
User:       N/A
Description: The activated proc [dbo].[sp_sysmail_activate] running on queue msdb.dbo.ExternalMailQueue output the following: 'Error executing extended stored procedure: Invalid Parameter'
Last night I found a solution and I though it would be a good idea to share it.
As you know SQL Server use an external program to process mail : DatabaseMail90.exe. As I understand it, when SQL launch DatabaseMail90.exe it connect to the msdb database and look in the system tables for it's configuration and for messages to process.

First Problem : DatabaseMail90.exe connection

Looks like DatabaseMail90.exe is trying to connect to SQL using Localhost or ComputerName as it's SQL Server name. In a cluster you can't do that, you should use the Virtual SQL Server Name as define in your Cluster resources. Can we change that ? Not really.
But there is a workaround. Microsoft added a new feature in SQL SP2 to allow you to send mail from a remote server. We are going to use that feature to make DataBaseMail90.exe connect to the Virtual SQL Server (Cluster).
First we have to create the text file DataBaseMail90.exe.config in the \MSSQL\Binn folder of your SQL Instance (ex: \Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Binn). with the following content :
        <add key="DatabaseServerName" value ="VirtualServerName\InstanceName" />
        <add key="DatabaseName" value ="msdb" />
Replace VirtualServerName\InstanceName by the valid names from your environment.
Don't forget your are in a cluster, so you should copy that new file on every node of your cluster.
Next we have to modify the DatabaseMail config to tell SQL Server to use the new file. We'll do that by running the following code in SQL Server Management Studio :
USE msdb;
INSERT INTO [msdb].[dbo].[sysmail_configuration]
   ,N'Send mail from mail server in configuration file'

Second problem : the 'sp_sysmail_activate' stored procedure

'sp_sysmail_activate' is the procedure that launch the DatabaseMail90.exe process. Normally when you updated your SQL Server to SP2 that procedure got updated to support the new DataBaseMail.exe.confg file. Don't ask me why but when you are in a cluster this is not the case (thanks FreemanRU for the tip).
So you'll have to update it by yourself. I have taken a copy of the 'sp_sysmail_activate' procedure from a working SQL server (non-cluster) SP2 with CU8 (build 3257). You can simple run the code in SQL Server Management Studio :
USE [msdb]
/****** Object:  StoredProcedure [dbo].[sp_sysmail_activate]    Script Date: 08/13/2008 11:59:49 ******/
-- sp_sysmail_activate : Starts the DatabaseMail process if it isn't already running
ALTER PROCEDURE [dbo].[sp_sysmail_activate]

    DECLARE @mailDbName sysname
    DECLARE @mailDbId INT
    DECLARE @mailEngineLifeMin INT
    DECLARE @loggingLevel nvarchar(256)
    DECLARE @loggingLevelInt int  
    DECLARE @parameter_value nvarchar(256)
    DECLARE @localmessage nvarchar(max)
    DECLARE @readFromConfigFile INT

    EXEC sp_executesql @statement = N'RECEIVE TOP(0) * FROM msdb.dbo.ExternalMailQueue'

    EXEC @rc = msdb.dbo.sysmail_help_configure_value_sp @parameter_name = N'DatabaseMailExeMinimumLifeTime',
                                                        @parameter_value = @parameter_value OUTPUT
    IF(@rc <> 0)
        RETURN (1)

    --ConvertToInt will return the default if @parameter_value is null or config value can't be converted
    --Setting max exe lifetime is 1 week (604800 secs). Can't see a reason for it to ever run longer that this
    SET @mailEngineLifeMin = dbo.ConvertToInt(@parameter_value, 604800, 600)

    EXEC msdb.dbo.sysmail_help_configure_value_sp @parameter_name = N'ReadFromConfigurationFile',
                                                  @parameter_value = @parameter_value OUTPUT
    --Try to read the optional read from configuration file:
    SET @readFromConfigFile = dbo.ConvertToInt(@parameter_value, 1, 0)

    --Try and get the optional logging level for the DatabaseMail process
    EXEC msdb.dbo.sysmail_help_configure_value_sp @parameter_name = N'LoggingLevel',
                                                  @parameter_value = @loggingLevel OUTPUT

    --Convert logging level into string value for passing into XP
    SET @loggingLevelInt = dbo.ConvertToInt(@loggingLevel, 3, 2)
    IF @loggingLevelInt = 1
       SET @loggingLevel = 'Normal'
    ELSE IF @loggingLevelInt = 3
       SET @loggingLevel = 'Verbose'
    ELSE -- default
       SET @loggingLevel = 'Extended'

    SET @mailDbName = DB_NAME()
    SET @mailDbId   = DB_ID()

    EXEC @rc = master..xp_sysmail_activate @mailDbId, @mailDbName, @readFromConfigFile,
    @mailEngineLifeMin, @loggingLevel
    IF(@rc <> 0)
        SET @localmessage = FORMATMESSAGE(14637)
        exec msdb.dbo.sysmail_logmailevent_sp @event_type=3, @description=@localmessage
        SET @localmessage = FORMATMESSAGE(14638)
        exec msdb.dbo.sysmail_logmailevent_sp @event_type=0, @description=@localmessage

    RETURN @rc
There's only one final step, you should restart the mail process with the follwing SQL command :
EXEC msdb.dbo.sysmail_start_sp;
You could always restart the SQL Server if you prefer.
You should now be able to send a test email from the Database Mail object in SQL Server Management Studio from your SQL Server 2005 SP2 in a cluster.

December 2008 update :

I missed something, in the ‘Second problem :’, ‘sys_mail_activate’ is not the only stored procedure that you have to update. There is a few others :
  • dbo.sp_ExternalMailQueueListener
  • dbo.sp_RunMailQuery
  • dbo.sp_send_dbmail
  • dbo.sp_sysmail_activate
  • dbo.sysmail_delete_mailitems_sp
  • dbo.sysmail_delete_profile_sp
  • dbo.sysmail_update_account_sp
  • dbo.sp_ProcessResponse
  • dbo.sp_validate_user
I’ve created a script to update those procedures to the same level as SQL Server 2005 SP2 with Cumulatives Updates 8. You can download my script here.
May I suggest you backup the msdb database before playing with dbmail procs.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Windows security rendered useless? Uh, not exactly

Oh dear. The Chicken Little contingent is out in full force. Break out your Kevlar helmets, everyone, because the sky is falling on Windows! At last week’s Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, researchers Alexander Sotirov and Mark Dowd presented a paper that outlined some new attack vectors they had discovered targeting some security features introduced in different versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista. It’s a fascinating paper, rich in technical detail and hewing to the Black Hat tradition of providing clues that others can follow to discover, exploit, and ultimately fix vulnerabilities in widely used computer code.

Read Ed Boot's article at

Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths

As a tech writer, one of my biggest pet peeves is the plethora of bad advice littered across almost every web site dedicated to system tweaking. Besides the tweaks that simply don't work, some of them will actually cause your computer to run even slower—or worse. Let's examine some of the most offensive myths out there regarding PC performance tweaking, and debunk them once and for all.

Read the complete article at

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Application virtualization : advantages & disadvantages

These days application virtualization is a hot topic. Michael Pietroforte form 4sysops blog has produce a list of advantage and of disadvantage for the new technology :

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Error 8024400E When Trying to Download Updates Via WSUS?

For a few days I'm not able to check for new updates from my WSUS server, I always get an error 8024400E. Strangely if I check for updates from Microsoft Update I've got no error.

A few computers (and servers) at my location got the same problem.

Today I've tired the workaround published by Cecilia Cole (WSUS Program Manager) and it WORKED !

Many thanks Cecilia,

Source : Client/Server Synchronization issues

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

IBM's Visio collection


IBM's Official Visio collection including front and rear physical shapes of servers, disks, storage systems and workstations.

It's FREE !

Link :

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Windows Server 2008 to Workstation Manual


If you don’t want to configure all options to convert Windows Server 2008 to a Workstation manually, sawo now made it possible to use a tool for this. He has done a great job by creating this converter to automate all steps of the manual!

Source :

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

eToolz - GUI for ping, traceroute, WHOIS and more

eToolz is a nifty GUI tool that allows you to perform a number of network queries: DNS, ping, traceroute, WHOIS, mail-check, HTTP-header, time (NTP), Google pagerank, top level domains and port numbers.

For some of these queries, you would usually go to the command prompt in Windows; for example, the DNS query would be just nslookup. eToolz allows you to query for A, PTR, NS, MX, and SOA records. The Ping tool offers the options pause, bytes, timeout and count, and traceroute lets you configure the number of hops and the timeout. Even though eToolz is a standalone program (it doesn’t have to be installed), it will store the IP addresses, host names, etc. that you enter, so the next time you want to ping a certain host, you can just select it from a drop-down-list. I think, in most cases, you will be faster with eToolz than with the command prompt tools because it can save you some typing exercises.


Source :

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Application Virtualization products - the complete list

Michael Pietroforte has an excellent series of post on 4SYSOPS blog on Application Virtualization.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TCP/IP Fundamentals for Microsoft Windows

This online book is a structured, introductory approach to the basic concepts and principles of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocol suite, how the most important protocols function, and their basic configuration in the Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 families of operating systems. This book is primarily a discussion of concepts and principles to lay a conceptual foundation for the TCP/IP protocol suite and provides an integrated discussion of both Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

Download :

Monday, June 16, 2008

WebCast: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Failover Clustering on Windows Server 2008

This Support WebCast focuses on how to plan, implement, and administer a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 failover cluster on Windows Server 2008. This session provides step-by-step instructions about how to install SQL Server 2005 clustered instance on a Windows Server 2008 cluster. It also discusses the options you can use to move SQL Server 2005 failover cluster from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008.


Webcast Link:

Source :

Announcing the Failover Cluster Configuration Program (FCCP)

So you want to build a Windows Server 2008 Cluster, but don’t know what hardware to use or if it will work? Well with the FCCP we will make clustering even easier

Source :

Friday, June 13, 2008

Announcing open source Podcasting Kit for SharePoint - the power of social media for the enterprise

... announcing the Podcasting Kit for SharePoint (PKS), available as an open source project at The PKS is an accelerator for social media, using podcasting and social networks to deliver the next generation knowledge management solution. Built on top of SharePoint Server 2007 and using Silverlight 2, the PKS delivers an integrated experience with a wide variety of devices including iPod, Zune, Windows Mobile phones, and other podcast capable devices. The PKS follows the same model and approach to open source community contributions and support as the Community Kit for SharePoint.

Source :

Thursday, June 05, 2008

How to troubleshoot performance issues in Outlook 2007

Here's a very interesting knowledge base article about Outlook 2007 that may answer a few problems?

Source :

Search Protocol Handler .NET wrappers

Protocol Handler.Net is a set of .Net wrappers for the protocol handler interfaces that enable developers to create and deploy protocol handlers for SharePoint search and Search Server. Developers can index data and documents from any system they can connect to.

Much of the complexity and time around the development of protocol handlers, such as COM interoperability, are reduced and hidden in the wrappers themselves letting developers just concentrate on code to connect to a content source and pull data.

Protocol Handler.Net makes it possible to develop protocol handlers in C# or VB.Net and simplifies the handling of security, metadata, streaming content, deployment and management just to name a few things. It also comes with a help system and sample project to further help developers.

Chris Gomez

Source :

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Web Page Error Toolkit

Why not display a search page instead of the traditional 404 error page. Microsoft released the Web Page Error Toolkit to do that. It is a ASP.NET application that replace your error file in IIS. There is a lot of customization possible.

Source :

IE8 Beta 2 Coming in August

I’m happy to announce that we’re on track to deliver IE8 Beta 2 this August when you’ll get a chance to see what we’ve been up to in these areas.

Source :

Windows Search 4.0 released

Today Microsoft released Windows Search 4.0 and the Multilingual User Interface Pack (MUI) for Windows Search 4.0.

This update include de following improvements :

  • Support for indexing encrypted documents of local file systems
  • Reduced affect on Microsoft Exchange when you index e-mail in online mode, and there is no local cache (.ost)
  • Support for indexing online delegate mailboxes
  • Support for client-to-client remote query to shared indexed locations
  • Improved indexing performance
  • Faster previewer updates for Windows XP
  • Per-user Group Policy settings
  • Windows software updates for Watson errors
  • Support for new enterprise Group Policy objects

Source & download :

Google Search Inspired by Unix Command Shell

google shell

Goosh is brilliant. You can execute Google search commands in the browser just like using the Unix shell and the results get displayed inline. You can even search for feeds with Google just like MSN. Thanks Philipp.

Source : Digital Inspiration

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Windows Server 2008 Domain Functional Level - Features that make it worthwhile to raise DFL

The four new features discussed in this post require upgrading to Domain Fonctionnal Level (DFL) Windows Server 2008 :

  • SYSVOL Distributed File System (DFS) replication support
  • Advanced Encryption Services (AES 128 and 256) support for the Kerberos protocol
  • Last Interactive Logon Information
  • Fine-Grained Password Policies

Read the complete post at

Sysinternals Tools Live !

This news is cool, really cool !

The famous Sysinternals tools are now accessible online thanks to this new service : Synternals Live.

Simply enter a tool's Sysinternals Live path into Windows Explorer or a command prompt as \\\tools\<toolname> or view the entire Sysinternals Live tools directory in a browser at

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Community Clips help video recorder

Microsoft Office Labs has released a free screencasting software using which you can capture all your desktop activities with keystrokes and audio. When you install Community Clips, it adds buttons providing options to Office Ribbon and also to System Tray. Its a simple , basic screencasting software and very easy to use for preparing demo or help videos.

Source : meraTechPort
Download :

Microsoft breaks silence on Windows 7; No new kernel!

There is a lot of rumours over the net about Windows 7, from new features to why Microsoft is so silent.

Today Chris Flores, Director at Microsoft working on the Windows Client Communications Team publish a few straighten a few things on Windows Vista Team Blog :

With Windows 7, we're trying to more carefully plan how we share information ...
Contrary to some speculation, Microsoft is not creating a new kernel for Windows 7.
... we're still on track to ship approximately three years after the general availability of Windows Vista.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack SP2 will be a True PDF Writer

Here’s a quick summary of upcoming changes in Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 with regards to document formats:

  1. With Office 2007 SP2, you will be able save documents to Adobe PDF format without requiring external plug-ins.
  2. Microsoft Office 2007 will still not be able to read content from your PDF files so Adobe Reader is safe.
  3. Like PDF, Office 2007 will also let you save documents in ODF format which is used by OpenOffice and is supported by almost every web office suite.
  4. Unlike PDF, you will be able to open OpenOffice documents in Office 2007 for reading and editing.
  5. Office 2007 customers will get an open to set OpenOffice as the default document format. That means when you hit Ctrl+S inside Microsoft Word, the first choice will be .odt.
  6. The expected release date for Microsoft Office Service Pack 2 is 1H 2009.

For details, check the press release or tech analysis by Matusow and Doug Mahugh.

Source  : Digital Inspiration

Kong version 1.1.0 Released


Kong is a freeware top-down shooter game featuring monkeys with a thirst for blood in a full 3D environment. The rules are simple, pick up as many health/armor packs and weapons as you can before blowing your enemies into smithereens. The game currently features three game modes including deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag with plans to introduce a number of new game modes. Computer controlled bots are provided as target practise but the real fun comes from playing in multiplayer over a local area network or the internet.

official site :

New computer game deal for F1

F1_logoFormula One is to have its first official computer game in more than two years next season following the capture of a new official licencing deal with British gaming company Codemasters, can reveal.

The new game should be based on the 2009 season and should be available in 2009.

If you'd like to give you ideas on the game there is already an official forum.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Free first person shooter games

If you like to play first person shooter games on Windows here's two free games :

Have fun.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Installing Ubuntu 8.04 under Microsoft Virtual PC 2007

Great post by arcanecode ! This is a step by step guide to successfully install the new Ubuntu 8.04 on Virtual PC 2007.


Source :

PowerShell on Server Core

Dmitry Sotnikov posted a great step-by-step instruction on installing Windows PowerShell on Windows Server 2008 in Server Core mode.

Note that these are in no way official or supported by Microsoft. Microsoft is working on official version of .NET and PowerShell for Server Core installations, so eventually you will be able to get this fully supported. Until then below are the instructions you can use at your own risk, etc., etc.

Source :,

Monday, May 19, 2008

Virtual PC SP1 and Virtual Server update

Microsoft released an update for Virtual PC and Virtual Server to support Vista SP1, Windows 2008 and XP SP3.

You can download the updates at :

Don't forget to upgrade the Virtual Machine Additions on each Virtual Machine to the new version 13.820

Enhanced Forums on SharePoint

If you are looking for more features in the builtin forum webpart in in SharePoint you may want to look at thoses alternatives :

Note : I didn't try any of those webparts (you'll have to try them for yourself), some are still in beta and there may be more Forums WebPart on the net.

Posters for SharePoint Stsadm command line parameters now available

Following popular demand, Kirk Stark from the SharePoint User Assistance team has created a set of useful posters that show the Stsadm command line parameters for MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0.

Source :

Friday, May 16, 2008

Does your AMD-based computer boot after installing XP SP3?

Don't be too fast to complain about Microsoft. It Looks like some OEM (like HP) have shipped their INTEL and AMD based computers with the same Windows XP image. This is not a recommended config.

Jesper M. Johansson as an excellent post on his blog about this problem and how to fix it.

[May 19, 2008] Microsoft issued a technical note about this problem :

Monday, May 12, 2008

Windows Server 2008 Clustering Documents, Whitepapers, Webcasts, Groups

From  Microsoft's Failover and Network Load Balancing Clustering Team Blog :

We’ve had a lot of requests for a centralized website to find clustering and high-availability information and…it’s coming soon. J But in the meantime I’ll post some great resources from Microsoft’s Clustering and High-Availability team.


I’ll try to update this list when we get a few more. We have several coming out in the near future (including Active Directory considerations).

Check the list at

Friday, May 09, 2008

Active Directory Reporting Tool


Active Directory Reporting Tool (ADRT) allows you to sort user objects depending on a couple of important attributes: disabled, locked, expires, never expires, expired, password expires, password never expires, password expired, and never logged in.

This product is currently free and 100% functional!

Source :
Download :

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Announcing the First Release of the Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit

It's with great excitement that I get to be the first to announce the initial release of the Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit!

this first release contains two very useful tools which are both supported on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

The first tool, called "Batch Site Manager", adds new functionality through Central Administration.  From the new "Move, Lock, and Delete Site Collections" page on Applications Management you can schedule bulk operations against site collections in the farm—including moving site collections between content databases

The second tool is actually a new command in STSADM called "updatealert". This command will refresh all alert URLs in a specific site collection, which is extremely important should you change the URL of a web application or after an upgrade

Source :

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Look at Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP)

The Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) interface.

This month, Microsoft updated its Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), a suite of desktop management tools that are currently offered only to the company's Software Assurance (SA) customers. As with earlier versions of MDOP, this suite is a must-have collection of valuable utilities--many of which originated at startups since purchased by Microsoft--and an obvious and tangible benefit of Microsoft's subscription-based enterprise licensing program. If you're not taking advantage of MDOP, it's time to take a look.

Read this great review of MDOP by Paul Thurrott.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Searching the Office 2007 Ribbon


I confess: I love the Office 2007 Ribbon. But I know it’s a source of pain for some people. And truth to tell, even I sometimes have trouble finding a command. Which is why I was so pleased to see the new Office Search Commands add-in

Source :

Thinkpad x300 vs Macbook Air

Hilarious !


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DVD Playback Pack for Windows Vista

If your are lucky enough to have a Windows Volume License for Vista Enterprise you should know that you can download a DVD Playback Pack for free. With this pack you will be able to play DVD, MPEG-2, and Dolby 5.1 content.

Source :
Download :

Monday, April 28, 2008

Use Consolas font in your CMD.EXE Windows


Consolas is a great fixed-pitch font developped by Microsoft for the developpers (Visutal Studio), but it makes a great font for your CMD.EXE windows.

To make this work you have to play a little bit with regedit but it's all worth it. There is an excellent article to learn how to do that on the IEBlog.

Source :

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

IIS 7.0 PowerShell Provider Tech Preview 1

Finally, IIS 7.0 has a PowerShell Provider!

The IIS7 PowerShell Provider allows you to

  • Create Web-Sites, Web Applications, Virtual Directories and Application Pools
  • Change Simple Configuration Properties on Web-Sites, Application Pools, Web Applications and Virtual Directories
  • Add and Change Complex Configuration Settings
  • Query Run-time Data (Web-Site State, Application Pool State, Currently Executing Requests)
  • Execute Advanced Configuration Tasks, Scripting, Integration with other PowerShell Snap-Ins and features
  • Search and Discover Configuration Settings

Source :

Windows XP SP3 Release Dates

Seem's that had managed to get their hands on the internal schedule for the release of Windows XP SP3 :

  • April 14, 2008: Support is available for the release version of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP
  • April 21, 2008: Original Equipment Manufacturers, Volume License, Connect, and MSDN and TechNet subscribers
  • April 29, 2008: Microsoft Update, Windows Update, Download Center
  • June 10, 2008: Automatic Updates

It looks like the real thing (I think we can trust NEOWIN), the news was also publish by

Friday, April 11, 2008

Indexer Status Sidebar Gadget for Windows Search


Brandon Paddock, who works on the Windows Shell Team here at Microsoft, wrote a Windows Sidebar Gadget that displays the status of the Windows Search Indexer.

Download the Indexer Status Gadget here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why Windows Vista only sees 3GB memory in a PC with 4GB RAM and how Vista SP1 fools its users

Memory is getting cheaper every day. This is one reason why more and more people are equipping their PCs with 4GB RAM or more. Modern desktops often support up to 8GB. So it happens quite often these days that a proud owner of a new a PC wonders why Vista only reports about 3GB RAM even though he bought 4GB. I have been asked this question by several people within the last weeks. Some of them were IT pros, so I thought I should post something about it here. The things I say in this post mostly apply to Windows XP as well.

Read this post at

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

VMRCplus 1.7.0 on Microsoft Download Center

An update to VMRCplus 1.6.0 has been released and is now available here.


This release contains several fixes and minor enhancements.

It has been tested on Windows Server 2008 as well.



Source :

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Staging Changes in Windows Server 2008

On Windows Server 2003 R2, the staging area is contained within a folder under the replicated folder itself. Basically, there is a hidden sub-folder called ‘DfsrPrivate’ under the root of every replicated folder.


On Windows Server 2008, the ‘DfsrPrivate’ directory has been moved under the ‘System Volume Information’ folder on the same volume.

Source :

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Windows Vista SP1 Released to Windows Update

Windows Vista SP1 is released to Windows Update ... as an optional update (since march 18th). It should be available as an automatic update around mid-april. The Windows Vista Team explained all that in there blog.

If you have a WSUS server in your organisation you could deploy SP1 now by importing the update from Microsoft Update Catalog. The WSUS team has a post describing the procedure in there blog.

You should however note that you can't import an update in WSUS from the Microsoft Update Catalog if your server is setup as a downstream server. You will receive an error number 80131509.