Updating Office 2013 on Surface RT

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.11.2012 at 21:40

The Surface RT device ships with pre-installed Office 2013 Home & Student Edition Preview software. Being a preview, there are some issues that need fixing.

Thankfully, an update is available, which fixes all problems and removes the “Preview” tag from the application splash screen.

The update is available via Windows Update. If you do not see the update in Windows Update, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Search option on the charm bar, and type “update” in the search box. Press ENTER.

2. Choose the “Install Optional Updates” from the search results. This will fire the desktop version of Windows Update.

3. Under optional updates, select the update for Office 2013 Home & Student Edition (586 MB) and install it.

Windows Phone 7 update released (March 2011)

by Shijaz Abdulla on 23.03.2011 at 05:57

image

Microsoft has released an update for Windows Phone 7, and below is a (long) summary of what’s included in the latest update as per the Windows Phone website:

OS version: 7.0.7390.0

  • Copy & paste. You asked for it—now it’s here. Just tap a word and drag the arrows to copy and paste it on your phone. You can copy text from emails, text messages, web pages, and Office Mobile documents, and paste it anywhere you can type. To learn more, see Copy & paste.

  • Faster apps and games. Nobody likes to wait. That’s why we’ve whittled down the time it takes for apps and games to start up and resume. It’s all part of our focus on getting you to the things you love, easier and faster.

  • Better Marketplace search. We’ve streamlined Marketplace search to make it easier to find specific apps, games, or music. Press the Search button in the Apps or Games section of Marketplace and you’ll see only apps or games in the results. Press Search in the Music section of Marketplace to search just the music catalog.

  • Other Marketplace improvements. We’ve improved the stability of Marketplace while you download apps. We’ve also improved the experience of downloading apps larger than 20 megabytes, upgrading from trial apps to paid apps, using a credit card with an address outside the United States, sharing links to apps via email, sorting Xbox LIVE games by release date, and creating an Xbox LIVE account from within the Games Hub.

  • Wi-Fi improvements. We now display your phone’s Media Access Control (MAC) address in Settings. (You might need this info if you try to connect to a Wi-Fi network that uses MAC address filtering. To learn more, see Connect to a Wi-Fi network.) We’ve also removed the limit on the number of Wi-Fi profiles that you can store and reduced the time it takes to start your phone if you’ve stored lots of Wi-Fi profiles.

  • Outlook improvements. We’ve improved the experience of viewing iPhone photo attachments you receive from a non-Exchange-based email account (such as a Google Mail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail account), using the Global Address List (GAL) when connecting to Exchange Server 2003 using Exchange ActiveSync, and working with email display names that contain brackets (for example, "David Alexander [Contoso]").

  • Messaging improvements. We’ve improved the experience of receiving Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages if your phone uses a PIN-locked SIM.

  • Facebook integration. We’ve improved the experience of syncing Facebook accounts.

  • Camera improvements. We’ve improved the stability of switching between camera and video modes.

  • Audio improvements. We’ve improved the experience of using a Bluetooth headset to make calls when you’re playing music or videos.

  • Other performance improvements. This month’s update also includes software from several phone manufacturers that improves the performance of specific models. Naturally, if you don’t have one of the affected models, we won’t install this portion of the update on your phone.

[above information obtained from the Windows Phone website]

Windows Phone 7 is a remarkable breakthrough in Microsoft’s foray to the smartphone space. I’ve been using an HTC HD7 which runs Windows Phone 7 for a few weeks now and I am already in love with it. I especially like the blazing performance and responsiveness of the phone, the integration with social media and bringing all that I care about right here on my phone, and above all – the intuitively re-designed interface. For those of you who haven’t seen Windows Phone 7 yet, and have only seen previous versions of Windows Mobile – be informed, this is nothing like what you saw before.

Etisalat’s Blackberry – Suddenly it’s a privacy issue!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 15.07.2009 at 21:17

Day before yesterday, I wrote about the Blackberry update that caused device batteries to drain out on a UAE telco’s Blackberry subscriber network.

A later report in the Gulf News has revealed that the fateful patch, distributed by Etisalat, contained what is called an ‘interceptor’. An interceptor is basically a program that can potentially send a copy of each message on the device back to the service provider – which I would call – a serious privacy issue.

Quote from the Gulf News:

After a confirmation is successfully sent by the BlackBerry device to
etisalat, the device waits for a message from etisalat to activate the
interceptor software.
…if and when the command is received, the software sends every subsequent
opened message to etisalat.

…the software was also designed to protect itself from removal. It tracks changes to the system configuration and if it detects any, it uninstalls then reinstalls itself.

Apparently the battery drain was caused due the device waiting on an open data connection to send confirmation to Etisalat for the interceptor.

Unlike Blackberry devices, Windows Mobile devices are not managed by the service provider or telco. They are managed by the organization that owns/administers the devices, and hence there is a more complete degree of control on what software gets installed on these devices. All communication between the Windows Mobile device and the Exchange servers (email servers hosted within the organization’s premises), happens through a secure, encrypted SSL tunnel between the device and the server over the 3G/GPRS network. The operator only provides simple internet connectivity for the device, and can’t do much to intercept or tamper with email data getting sync’d with the device.

However, some organizations refrain from going the Windows Mobile way, the common reason being the ability to have consistent monthly data charges with the Blackberry. However, based on a recent survey with Windows Mobile users, we found very compelling results:

Windows Mobile 6.1, coupled with Exchange Server 2007 provided a major improvement in bandwidth utilization. For a heavily active user profile, Windows Mobile 6.1 used only 388 KB per day to synchronize with Exchange Server!

What’s more?

  • A single Exchange 2007 Client Access Server can handle more concurrent connections on similar hardware when compared to Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES).
  • Windows Mobile is of lower cost and complexity
  • Windows Mobile is more secure and is highly manageable through System Center
  • You get a wider choice of applications and devices.
  • Familar and open development environment fosters development of exciting tools/add-ons

Trouble with Blackberry update – Etisalat

by Shijaz Abdulla on 13.07.2009 at 15:35

image Etisalat, a leading telecom provider in the United Arab Emirates, has stopped a “performance enhancing” patch for its Blackberry subscribers after it was discovered that the update caused excessive battery heating and drainage.

Subscribers have complained that the battery drains within an hour, after the patch has been installed.

News of the patch gone seriously wrong has made it to the front page of Gulf News. Research In Motion (the company that makes the Blackberry) did not respond to the newspaper for a comment. The carrier Etisalat has not confirmed if the fault lies with the carrier or with RIM.

Attention: Important Information on SharePoint Server 2007 Service Pack 2

by Shijaz Abdulla on 23.05.2009 at 20:32

We at Microsoft take product quality seriously and make every effort to avoid and resolve issues that adversely impact our customers.  Unfortunately, a bug with MOSS 2o07 Service Pack 2 (SP2) has been discovered that affects all customers that have deployed it for SharePoint Server 2007.

During the installation of SP2, a product expiration date is improperly activated. This means SharePoint will expire as though it was a trial installation 180 days after SP2 is deployed. The activation of the expiration date will not affect the normal function of SharePoint up until the expiration date passes. Furthermore, product expiration 180 days after SP2 installation will not affect customer’s data, configuration or application code but will render SharePoint inaccessible for end-users.

Microsoft is working to release a hotfix to automatically fix this issue. A manual work-around is currently available and involves customers re-entering their Product ID number (PID) on the Convert License Type page in Central Administration.  For more information and detailed steps please read this KB article.

Microsoft wishes to assure their customers that this issue does not impact data integrity or their SharePoint deployment in any other way.

The team apologizes for any inconvenience this issue may cause you.

Q &A

Which products are affected by this?
Applying Service Pack 2 to any of the following products will result in this issue: Office SharePoint Server 2007, Project Server 2007, Form Server 2007, Search Server 2008 and Search Server 2008 Express.

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is not affected by this issue.

What can I do to fix it?
To work around this issue customers will need to re-enter their Product ID numbers (PID) on the Convert License Type page in Central Administration.  Please see this KB article for detailed steps.

Customers can also wait for the hotfix (available for free from http://support.microsoft.com) to resolve this issue.

Product ID numbers (PIDs) can be retrieved by logging into the Volume Licensing Service Center.

Note: For Search Server 2008 Express the only way to resolve this issue is to apply the hotfix.

What is Microsoft doing to fix it?
Microsoft is working on a hotfix and public update for the product. We will update this blog post with details and a link to the hotfix as soon as it is available.

Do I need to update all of the servers in my farm?
No. The Product ID number only needs to be entered once.

What if I haven’t installed SP2 yet but want to? What should I do?
You can continue to plan for and install Service Pack 2 for SharePoint Server 2007 with the additional step of re-entering your Product ID number after the installation is complete by following the instructions in this KB article. (The KB link is not currently active, it will be available within the next 48hrs)

Does this issue impact anything else?
The issue only activates the product expiration date. The activation of the expiration date does not affect the normal function of SharePoint up until the expiration date passes, at which point SharePoint will be inaccessible for end-users. This issue does not affect customer’s data, configuration or application code.

I can’t find/don’t know my original PID, where can I find it?
Product ID numbers (PIDs) can be retrieved by logging into the Volume Licensing Service Center.

Office 2007 Service Pack 2 released

by Shijaz Abdulla on 03.05.2009 at 10:34

Office 2007 SP2 was released just a few days ago. Some of the significant improvements are:

Office 2007 SP2 benefits :

  • Speeds up Outlook with Startup, Shutdown, Folder view and switch, and more!
  • Improves Outlook performance with using the MS Word editor (default editor)
  • Outlook Search reliability – Improves search reliability when you use SP2 with Windows Desktop Search 4 (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/desktopsearch/choose/windowssearch4.mspx) .
  • Improves the method by which Excel prints graphical content, especially when it prints to PCL printers
  • Improves SharePoint sync functionality with OneNote. This helps reduce the load on SharePoint servers, and it helps produce fewer sync errors.
  • Provides faster file resaves with PowerPoint
  • Improves image quality after files are saved in the .jpeg, .png, and .gif formats.

You can download Office 2007 SP2 from the Microsoft Download Center or get it installed via Windows Update.

Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP 2

by Shijaz Abdulla on 07.03.2009 at 14:22

The 32-bit and 64-bit release candidate versions of Windows Vista Service Pack 2, and Windows Server 2008 SP2 are available for download on the Microsoft website.

Below are some of the enhancements that are available with SP2:

  • Support for Bluetooth v2.1
  • Ability to write data to Blu-Ray discs
  • Includes Windows Search 4.0
  • Provides Hyper-V as a fully integrated feature of WS08, including one free guest OS with WS08 Standard Edition, 4 free licenses with Enterprise Edition, and unlimited free licenses with Datacenter Edition.
  • and more

ExTRA crashes when you try to restore a mailbox

by Shijaz Abdulla on 26.01.2009 at 09:24

January 26, 2009

On Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Exchange Troubleshooting Agent hangs/crashes after you mount the database in the recovery storage group and begin the actual ‘merge or copy mailbox’ process with the following (or similar) crash information:

Problem signature:
  Problem Event Name:      APPCRASH

  Application Name:            ExTRA.exe
  Application Version:         8.1.240.3
  Application Timestamp:       47342a91
  Fault Module Name:           migbase.dll
  Fault Module Version:        8.1.240.5
  Fault Module Timestamp:      47427ba1
  Exception Code:              c0000005
  Exception Offset:            000000000006741e
  OS Version:                  6.0.6001.2.1.0.274.10
  Locale ID:                   1033
Operating System: Windows 2008 Server
Time Zone: (GMT+04:00) Abu Dhabi, Muscat
Alternate Language: en-US
Support topic(s): Tools/ExTRA

The solution would be to install Rollup Update 5 on Exchange Server 2007 SP1.

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Server service not starting: “Access Denied”

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.11.2008 at 09:15

Recently, I noticed that many of the computers running Windows Server 2003 SP2 had the Server service in the stopped state. When I tried to manually start the service I got an Access Denied error. A restart of the server didn’t help.

The Server service is critical because file sharing depends on it. If the service is stopped, shared folders and administrative shares on the server cannot be accessed. This is especially critical on file servers, and on domain controllers for replication/access to SYSVOL folder for group policies.

The problem got resolved when I installed all the latest updates from Microsoft Update and restarted the machine. This is a security vulnerability listed in the security bulletin MS08-067 released by Microsoft this Sunday.

CAS running an ‘older version’ of Exchange?

by Shijaz Abdulla on 22.11.2008 at 21:18

Outlook Web Access is not currently available for the user mailbox that you are trying to access. If the problem continues, contact technical support for your organization and tell them the following: The Microsoft Exchange Client Access server that is proxying the Outlook Web Access requests is running an older version of Microsoft Exchange than the Client Access server in the mailbox Active Directory site.


If you have set up Exchange Server 2007 Client Access Servers in a CAS-CAS Proxy scenario, where the CAS server in the main site is exposed to the internet and the CAS servers in other remote locations depend on the internet-exposed CAS to proxy requests to them, users in the remote site may get the above error when they try to access their mailboxes via Outlook Web Access.

The cause is very simple. The Client Access Server in the remote site may have the latest Update Rollup for Exchange 2007 installed on it, while Client Access Server in the main site is still having an older Update Rollup.

I noticed this problem when the Client Access Server in the main site is running with Update Rollup 3, while the remote site has already got Update Rollup 4 installed.  A quick install of the latest Update Rollup on all servers solved the problem.

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