Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to get Lync Control Panel to Remember Password


Whenever you launch the Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Control Panel you are prompted for credentials, even if you select the check box to "Remember my credentials".

You can easily make Lync Control Panel remember your username and password by adding the Lync Server pool FQDN to your Local Intranet site.  Here's how:

  • Make note of the Lync Server pool FQDN listed in the Windows Security dialog box (in the example above, LYNC1.theguillets.com).
  • Open Internet Explorer and go to https:\\<Lync Server FQDN>.  You'll probably get a "HTTP Error 403.14 - Forbidden" page -- don't worry about that.
  • Click Tools | Internet Options in IE.
  • On the Security tab, click Local intranet and then the Sites button.
  • Click Advanced on the Local Intranet dialog box.
  • Add the Lync Server FQDN to Local intranet, as shown below:
  • Click Close and OK twice.  Then close Internet Explorer.
Now Lync Control Panel will use the credentials of the logged on user, using Windows Authentication.  If you want to logoff and use another set of credentials, click "Sign Out" in Lync Control Panel and then "Sign in as a different user".

Exchange DAG Cluster Service Terminated with Error 7024

I ran into an interesting issue at a client site yesterday on an Exchange 2010 SP1 DAG member.  One DAG member's databases would not mount (even Public Folders) and the Cluster service would not start.  The DAG is configured as a three member stretched DAG, with two nodes in the main site and another in the DR site.

The event IDs logged were:

Log Name:      System
Source:        Service Control Manager
Date:          10/23/2011 12:07:44 AM
Event ID:      7024
Task Category: None
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      EX03.domain.local
Description:
The Cluster Service service terminated with service-specific error Log service encountered an invalid log block..

Log Name:      System
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-FailoverClustering
Date:          10/23/2011 12:00:43 AM
Event ID:      1177
Task Category: Quorum Manager
Level:         Critical
Keywords:     
User:          SYSTEM
Computer:      EX03.domain.local
Description:
The Cluster service is shutting down because quorum was lost. This could be due to the loss of network connectivity between some or all nodes in the cluster, or a failover of the witness disk.
Run the Validate a Configuration wizard to check your network configuration. If the condition persists, check for hardware or software errors related to the network adapter. Also check for failures in any other network components to which the node is connected such as hubs, switches, or bridges.

Log Name:      System
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-FailoverClustering
Date:          10/23/2011 12:00:43 AM
Event ID:      1135
Task Category: Node Mgr
Level:         Critical
Keywords:     
User:          SYSTEM
Computer:      EX03.domain.local
Description:
Cluster node 'EX02' was removed from the active failover cluster membership. The Cluster service on this node may have stopped. This could also be due to the node having lost communication with other active nodes in the failover cluster. Run the Validate a Configuration wizard to check your network configuration. If the condition persists, check for hardware or software errors related to the network adapters on this node. Also check for failures in any other network components to which the node is connected such as hubs, switches, or bridges.

Log Name:      System
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-FailoverClustering
Date:          10/23/2011 12:00:43 AM
Event ID:      1135
Task Category: Node Mgr
Level:         Critical
Keywords:     
User:          SYSTEM
Computer:      EX03.domain.local
Description:
Cluster node 'EX01' was removed from the active failover cluster membership. The Cluster service on this node may have stopped. This could also be due to the node having lost communication with other active nodes in the failover cluster. Run the Validate a Configuration wizard to check your network configuration. If the condition persists, check for hardware or software errors related to the network adapters on this node. Also check for failures in any other network components to which the node is connected such as hubs, switches, or bridges.
The cluster failed when two of the three DAG members (EX01 and EX02) went offline at 12:00:43 AM due to a network failure in the active site.  For some reason, this corrupted the CLUSDB.BLF file on the member in the DR site which prevented that node from coming online when the network came back up.  CLUSDB.BLF is a CLFS Base Log File used by the cluster service which contains metadata that is used to manage access to the log data. 

To correct the problem, navigate to the %WINDIR%\Cluster folder and rename CLUSDB.BLF to CLUSDB.BLF.OLD.  Then restart the Exchange server.  The cluster service will generate a new CLUSDB.BLF file on restart.  The cluster service will be able to start and the databases will mount.

Friday, October 21, 2011

There's a New MCM in Town


I just learned this morning that I passed the qualification lab and I am now an Exchange Microsoft Certified Master!

I have the rare distinction of being both an Exchange MCM and MVP in an already rare group.  I can only think of two others worldwide.

This has been the most challenging, humbling, and intense experience I've ever had in my career.  If you are interested in entering this program, I strongly recommend it.  I’ll be happy to share information about the program that doesn’t violate my NDA.

It's great to work at a company that differentiates itself in the marketplace with highly qualified technology professionals. Our Microsoft practice has four MCMs on staff, three for Exchange (one double for OCS) and one for Lync. It stands to reason with all this experience you are in good hands with us.

Now to update my Outlook signature with some more alphabet soup...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fix for "You must close all dialog boxes before you can close Exchange Management Console" in Exchange 2010

I've been covering this issue for a very long time here.  With Internet Explorer 9 installed on a computer with the Exchange 2010 management tools, you cannot close the Exchange Management Console. When you try to close it, you get the following message:
You must close all dialog boxes before you can close Exchange Management Console
Well finally! A fix is now available for this issue.

Here is the direct link to the Microsoft download page for the hotfixes. There are two versions, one for Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Vista SP2 or Server 2008 SP2 and another for Internet Explorer 9 for Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2.

See "A fix for the interoperability issues between Exchange 2007 and 2010 EMC and IE9 is now available" on the Exchange Team blog for more information about this hotfix.  The article tells you to call Microsoft Support for the hotfix.  I'm posting the direct link, above, to save you that step.  You will need to supply your email address and the tool will email the hotfixes you select to that address.

 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Siri Easter Eggs

Here are some fun questions to ask Siri from you new iPhone 4S:

* How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

* What is the meaning of life?

* I love you. Will you marry me?

* What's the best phone? (ask repeatedly for different answers)

* Open the pod bay doors, Siri (keep asking)

* Where can I find a good Scotch?

* Which is better, AT&T or Verizon?

* Who's your daddy?


and finally, try telling Siri:

* I need to hide a body.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Is Siri not working on your new iPhone 4S? Here's the fix!

"Sorry, I'm having trouble connecting to the network."

"Sorry, I'm not able to connect right now."

"Sorry, I don't have a network connection."

These are the only three replies I got from Siri, the new digital assistant, on my new Apple iPhone 4S.  I see quite a few people are also having the same problem.  The fix is really simple:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap General
  • Scroll to the bottom and tap Reset
  • Tap Reset Network Settings, as shown below.


The phone will reboot.  Go back into Settings > Wi-Fi and reconfigure your network settings.  All is good!

It seems this is affecting people who upgraded their iPhones with a new iPhone 4S and restored from backup.  Apparently the restore operation is not restoring network settings as it should.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How to unblock port 25 traffic on AT&T U-verse

It's simple, really.  Just call them! 

The technical support phone number for AT&T Uverse is (800)288-2020.  When the automated attendant answers, give your Uverse account number and ask for "Agent" until you get a real live human being.  I simply told them that I'm an AT&T U-verse customer and I would like to have port 25 unblocked.  They had to transfer me to Tier 2 support, which took just a minute, and then they immediately unblocked it.  Kudos to AT&T for the quick an easy resolution on a Sunday morning.

It's common for ISPs to block SMTP port 25 traffic from their DSL, cable, and other high-speed networks.  Most customers would never need to allow outbound port 25 traffic, and blocking it prevents all sorts of malware from propagating.  For those of us who run networks from home, it's great that AT&T can quickly and easily remove this block with no questions asked.

Be aware, however, that some block lists include the IP subnets associated with DSL, Uverse, cable, and other highspeed networks.  They do this with the errant idea that no one should be legitimately be sending SMTP traffic from these networks.  For this reason, I configure Exchange to smarthost my emails to the AT&T SMTP servers for ultimate delivery.  In my case, I asked AT&T to unblock TCP port 25 so I could configure Domain Secure connectors.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

If it was easy, everyone would do it

Well, I got the results of the Exchange MCM qualification lab today, and I didn't pass this time.  As I mentioned to David Bjurman-Birr, the Exchange MCM Program Manager, I almost would have felt disappointed if I DID pass, given my self-evaluated performance on the lab.  The fact that I didn't just get a pass is a testimate to the difficulty and value of the program. 

This program was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, and you have to be 100% all the way to the end.  For some reason, my mind went blank soon after we received our first "two hours done, four and a half to go" notification and that was my undoing.

I've already confirmed that I will retake the lab next Thursday.  I'll be spending my evenings and weekend reviewing PowerPoint slides, notes, and labs to ensure a much better outcome on Thursday.

I'd like to congratulate Markus Hengstler (Switzerland) and Kashif Awan (Pakistan) on becoming two of the newest Exchange Microsoft Certified Masters!!  I hope to join your ranks next week!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Exchange MCM Training Comes to an End


My work area
My 21 day straight Exchange MCM training ended yesterday with the infamous qualification lab.  The lab is 6 and a half hours where each of us is given a complex virtual environment and we have multiple scenarios that we must accomplish.  The environment is full of all sorts of problems that Microsoft has seen in actual customer engagements.
I'll find out the results of the qual lab sometime next week (fingers crossed).  I did find out that I passed the written exam that was given the day before, so that was a relief!

During my three weeks here in Redmond my schedule was pretty much the same every day.  I would arrive about 7:30AM and review notes or work on labs until instruction began at 8:00AM.  Instructors would teach until usually about 6:00PM, but nights went as late as 8:30PM.  After instruction we would work on hands-on labs until about 11:00PM (one night we worked until 2:30AM), and then we'd head back to inn for some sleep, a quick shower, and start all over again.  For 20 days straight - no weekends or time off.  It was quite intense.


Microsoft Building 40
The instructors were all really great and gave fabulous presentations.  They are comprised of product team managers, senior escalation engineers, and consultants.  They are the best of the best on their topic and it was amazing to have subject matter experts at your disposal for questions and clarifications.  The general topics covered over the three weeks were transport, client access, unified messaging, mailbox, high availability, operations, RBAC, and Office365.  The Exchange Online and Office 365 content was a new addition to this rotation.  We covered O365 in detail for three days and did some really awesome labs.  David Bjurman-Birr is the Exchange MCM PM and says this training will probably be a future add-on for existing Exchange MCMs.

We each had a host computer with two nice size monitors connected side-by-side with a fully articulated arm.  For labs you would use one monitor for the decks or lab materials, and the other for access to your virtual lab environment.  Each of us had our own forests and domains, and both the host machine and labs had Internet access through TMG so we could do real world access testing.

One of the many drink coolers in Building 40
For those interested in logistics, there is a cafeteria between buildings 40 and 41 which serves a number of lunch options.  The options change day to day, but repeat every week.  A couple of days we walked over to the commons near building 92 where there were more (and different) lunch options.  David stocked out training room with Cliff Bars, Kashi bars and packages of nuts.  Drinks are free and plentiful all over the Microsoft campus.  Markus Hengstler, one of my rotation colleagues from Switzerland, was introduced to diet root beer and became quite a fan.  Of course, coffee was always popular throughout the day.  I know I drank several gallons myself.

My best friend

The entire experience was quite humbling. I thought I knew Exchange pretty well, having worked on all versions since MS Mail.  I think I've increased my knowledge of Exchange by orders of magnitude.  I've met new friends and have a new community to bounce ideas off of.

Microsoft gardeners replaced some trees with these pretty pink ones overnight early this week
I'm looking forward to coming home now that it's over.  I barely had time to call my family during my time here.  Still, I'm so happy that I was able to do this.  I can't stress enough how much knowledge you will get if you are able to attend.  Please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below if you have any questions.  Obviously, I can't tell you any more about the content than what I've said above (we're all under strict NDA), but I'll be happy to give you any help I can.

My plane is here, so it's time to back away from the computer for a while.