Help Desk Support

Unable to Create Signatures in Outlook 2010

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We came across a strange issue recently regarding users who were unable to create signatures in Outlook 2010. Anytime a user would open “Signatures and Stationery” and click New, nothing would happen. Resolution of this issue was a high priority as affected users included the executives of a managed company. The environment was relatively straight forward. Our users used Outlook on Windows XP x64 and Window 7 x64 systems. Their application data was redirected to a common file share.

There were multiple complaints across the internet regarding this issue and few helpful suggestions for resolution. Downgrading to Outlook 2007 or moving to 64bit Office were not options for us. We determined that finding the cause of the problem and developing our own solution was the best way to go.

We discovered from a Microsoft KB article that when a user created a signature, Outlook's editor created files for the signature in the user's application data folder at \appdata\Microsoft\Signatures. As mentioned previously, our users' appdata folders were redirected to the common file share. Users had full permissions for every level of their own redirected folder. However when the Signatures folder was generated by Outlook, the permissions on the folder did not inherit from the parent folder, Microsoft. The Creator/Owner was allowed full permissions for subfolders and files of the Signatures folder, but was given no permissions for the folder itself. Without the permissions on the folder to create files, the Signature files would not create. The workaround was to manually add permissions at the folder level for Signatures. This was not the optimal solution considering multiple users had this problem, but this served as a workaround until the issue in Outlook 2010 could be fixed.

Need assistance with this issue or others? We’re here to help.

Excel Documents Slow to Load: Office File Validation

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We all try to follow conventional wisdom by pushing out security updates and new features for our application. However, what do we do when one of these updates causes our application to slow down or even hang? This type of issue caused a little bit of a headache for some of our Microsoft Excel 2003 users.

Recently, IT Vizion pushed out Office File Validation (OFV) for Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 per Microsoft KB2501584. For improved application security, OFV checks a file for expected behavior prior to opening the file. This feature was already built into Office 2010, and we decided to include this functionality for users who have not yet upgraded to the latest Office version. Soon thereafter, IT Vizion also pushed out Microsoft update MS11-021, a fix for Excel that resolved multiple security vulnerabilities.

Taken separately, nothing appeared to be wrong with installing these updates. However, we later determined through research that OFV was causing a specific problem for some of our users.

When attempting to open Excel files from a network share, users were waiting several minutes for the files to open. The files were between only 3-5MB in size, and they were being worked on from an available network share over a fast ethernet network. This problem became annoying as we were able to eliminate multiple possible causes including antivirus scanning and network bandwidth issues.

We were able to determine through research that this was being experienced by other support groups and users across the internet as well. Some had suggested uninstalling MS11-021 as a simple fix, but this did not seem to resolve the problem for us. Fortunately Microsoft released an article on this specific issue soon after first report of the problem. Article 2570623 provided both an automated and manual fix. We found that the fix worked, but required administrator access to the machine. Given that the fix alters the HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry hive, the fix is per user and of course most of our supported users are not local administrators. The best solution was to include in user logon scripts a check for the version of Office and install of a registry file for making the necessary alterations using administrative credentials.

For the explanation and fix from Microsoft, please see the article mentioned above at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2570623.

Windows 7: All Devices in Network Connections default to a “Public” network type

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Introduction
This is a fairly common problem when you allow employees to use their personal Windows 7 laptops on a corporate network. This occurs due to a misconfiguration when a user is selecting their network type whereby they select the option “Treat all future networks that I connect to as public, and don’t ask me again”

Symptom
When connecting a new networking device to your computer, the Operating System defaults that device automatically to “Public Mode” and does not allow that devices network type to be changed.

Resolution
There are two ways to address this problem.

Fix 1:Automatic Fix
The automatic fix is located on Microsoft’s website at http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9779407

Fix 2: Manual Fix

1. Access Device Manager and Disable all the Network Adapters
2. Enable the device you are trying to change
3. Go to Network and Sharing Center, choose the option “What is a network location”
4. Select the type of network you would like that device to use

Leave a comment if you have any issues and we’ll try to help you. Interested in a long term expert provider to help you when needed most? Contact us.

I’m Infected, What do I do?

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In the field of Information Technology there is one thing that everyone dreads, but few seldom escape and that is the computer virus. Viruses and those that create them have become evermore proficient when it comes to infiltrating and compromising corporate network and the intellectual property held therein. With the computer virus being so dangerous, what do I do if I get one.

There are several steps that you must take to ensure that your company remains protected in the event of a computer virus. Below I will identify universal steps that you can use to detect, identify, and remove a threat to your corporate computer.

• Disable Network Access
• Identify the Threat
• Remove the Threat

Disable Network Access:
Disabling an infected computers access to your corporate network is paramount. A virus is designed with two objectives in mind. These objectives are survival and delivering its payload. While a infected computer is connected to the network it is a potential conduit in which your company can loose intellectual property. If you Disable that connection then you have in effect limited your exposure to that one computer.

Identification and Removal of the Threat:
Just like in the weekly crime dramas on TV in order to catch a criminal you must first know who he is. This being the case, how can you tell which virus is which? The first and easiest way would be though the use of your companies’ virus detection software. This software is designed to scan every file on your computer and search files for matching virus characteristics. This process will be able to identify the virus and remove it 85% – 90% of the time. If the scan completes and nothing is found this does not mean that you are not infected. If your computer is still exhibiting symptoms and your computer either found and removed or did not find anything at all, then you can proceed to our second recommendation. This would require the use of another virus detection application.

Need help?  Count on IT Vizion to help you prevent infections and assist in removing them when needed. Contact us at 877-488-4946 or use our online form.

Unable to send test message

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If you are currently running Outlook XP/2000 (Microsoft Office XP Small Business) and are trying to configure a connection to either Gmail or your Google Apps account, you may run into this problem:

Send test e-mail message: Unable to send test message. Please verify the e-mail address field

To resolve, simply patch your Office installation with Office XP Service Pack 3 (SP3). You can either run the Microsoft Update utility or click here for the download page.

Check SQL Server 2000 Version

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To get the SQL Server 2000 Version and Service Pack installed, from Query Analyzer run the following:

SELECT @@VERSION
GO

or alternatively, you can use:

SELECT  SERVERPROPERTY('productversion'), SERVERPROPERTY ('productlevel'), SERVERPROPERTY ('edition')
GO

The returned value should be similar to this:

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 – 8.00.2039 (Intel X86) May 3 2005 23:18:38
Copyright (c) 1988-2003 Microsoft Corporation
Standard Edition on Windows NT 5.2 (Build 3790: Service Pack 2)

No SP (RTM or Golden) SP1 SP2 SP3 / SP3a SP4
SQL Server 2000 8.00.194 8.00.384 8.00.534 8.00.760 8.00.2039

Alternatively, you can follow Microsoft’s Article ID: 321185

Desktop Management Services

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Desktop management services (learn more) from IT Vizion is very important to our customers.  Therefore, I thought that it would be worth mentioning a few standard and optional benefits that make-up our desktop management services package.  Should you have any questions, please do contact us.

Anti-Virus Protection:  Through our integrated anti-virus solutions, PCs are kept current with the latest anti-virus definitions through weekly proactive updates and immediate critical updates.

Critical OS and Software Updates: Critical Microsoft® patches and periodic upgrades are tested and automatically distributed to your user community.  Most critical patches are released within 48 hours.

Anti-Spyware & Patch Management: Through the SpyBot solution, PCs are kept current with the latest anti-adware/spyware definitions through weekly proactive updates and immediate critical updates.

Asset Tracking: PC hardware, OS versions and applications are tracked throughout your environment — with reporting available via our web-based Dashboard whenever you need it.

Software Distribution: Software deployment packages are developed, tested and distributed throughout your environment.

Remote & Secure Log In (Optional): Users can remotely and securely log in to their PCs from anywhere using the Internet.

PC Backup (Optional):  PCs that utilize this service are backed up daily utilizing the Connected Backup Solution—creating the ability to quickly restore either individual files or entire systems.  Individual files can be restored in minutes, while an entire PC can usually be restored within a few hours.

This is a brief introduction to IT Vizion’s Desktop Management Services.  Interested in learning more?  Contact us.

Beware of Antivirus 2009 Spyware

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As an IT professional, I was yet again amazed to see how far these spyware programs will go to make you think that you “need” them.  In this short blog, I’d like to warn you of Antivirus 2009 Spyware.  Because it presents itself in such a sneaky way, it’s very easy for a typical computer user to go ahead and get infected.

The first screen that you should look out for, is a pop-up from a website (in my case, I was simply searching for a driver to download, and the site name/keywords looked like it was what I was looking for).  The pop-up may look something similar to this:

Antivirus 2009 - First Prompt

Whether you click on Cancel or OK, the Browser will redirect you to their “scan” page.  If you can, close your browser session to terminate this (File -> Close) or if you clicked Cancel or OK, it’ll take you to the following page:

Antivirus 2009 - First Prompt

Don’t despair!  You are most likely not infected by any of the mentioned viruses/spyware.  Simply Close the browser down (File -> Close, if Internet Explorer) and do not proceed with ANY sort of install, as the next prompt will have you do:

Antivirus 2009 - Third Prompt

 

Once you close the browser, you will most likely get one last attempt from Antivirus 2009 to make you download it, with a prompt such as this:

Antivirus 2009 - Third Prompt

Go ahead and Close the browser (File -> Close, if Internet Explorer). If you’re an IT Vizion managed services customer, please contact technical support immediately.

I hope you’ve found this information helpful.