Who Am I?

I am a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, an MCP, an MCSA and a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). I am also A+ and Network+ certified. I have been working in "IT" for about 15 years now. There is never a dull moment and there is always more to learn.

Web Site: http://www.riguy.com [points to new Azure-based site]

MOST POPULAR POSTS (opens below)

December 2, 2014

Exchange Server Mailbox Quotas

I am not sure about other Exchange Server Email infrastructure administrators, but I find it challenging to come up with reasonable mailbox quotas AND implementing them in a time efficient and coherent manor. The goal is to set maximum mailbox size quotas that work for all involved: I.T. Departments and various employees and respective departments. All of this needs Managerial or Exec approval, of course! If quotas are not set (and enforced), then typical modern employees will have huge mailboxes. We live in a world of HTML-based emails and sometimes large attachments. Over time, it all adds up. Also, implementation of quotas should be done efficiently. Although employee mailbox quotas CAN be set individually, this can be very time-consuming and cumbersome as time goes on.

The long-term goal is to get thee to a Cloud mail service, in my opinion. Being a Microsoft systems Engineer, I would favor Office 365, which incidentally has a baseline of 25 Gigabytes maximum PER USER mailbox size as of late 2014. Nice! But for most companies and organizations, cloud services are either a project in the making or not in the picture yet for whatever reason. Some may be worried about security or simply not be willing to change just yet, or some may be waiting for pricing to come down.

Whatever the reason, for those hosting Exchange Server on premises or at a Datacenter, reasonable quotas are the way to keep storage (disk space) costs reasonable. Solid RAID'd SATA drives, for example are not like a home PC hard drive (anyone still using?), which can be bought for a small price. I am referring to small to medium sized companies here, so if assuming hundreds or thousands of employees, you can see how costs can grow immensely for server-level or SAN drives.

Exchange Server can house numerous mail 'databases'. Each database can house hundreds or thousands of user mailboxes. Now, Mailbox quotas can and should be set at the database level and therefore filter downward. Individual Mailboxes can override this as needed. So databases can be set up according to department needs, or employee classification. An Executive or owner obviously gets more space than an entry level administrative assistant. Simple example, but useful. The challenge can come over time, as employees transition in-house, get promoted, get approval for a quota override of the Database quota. Mailbox Database design changes over time, as a reflection of organization growth or shrinkage.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the Exchange Management Shell to implement a top level scheme:

'Set-MailboxDatabase -Identity YOURDBNAME -IssueWarningQuota 1900 -ProhibitSendQuota 2000'

This sets the warning for the quota to ~ 1900 MegaBytes as the employee approaches the actual quota itself, @ 2000 MegaBytes ('2 Gigs').

December 1, 2014

Interesting Microsoft Purchase of Windows Phone App Maker

I normally get what is needed from my Windows phone Outlook, but some searching and sorting type of improvements would not be turned down.

Microsoft Acquires Email Startup Acompli to Give Outlook a Mobile Advantage

"Microsoft has acquired the mobile email startup Acompli, the tech giant announced today on its website.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the tech news site Re/code reports that Microsoft paid over $200 million.
Acompli makes an email client for Android and iOS designed to make common but sometimes complex tasks—such sorting messages, sending typical responses, and finding attachments—much easier to accomplish on mobile devices. But even though it runs on devices from competing companies—Google and Apple—the app seems like a good fit for Microsoft. The product has long been focused on selling software to large companies—Microsoft’s bread and butter—and it already plugs into Microsoft’s primary email server software, Exchange."


November 19, 2014

XBOX Live, Azure Experience Outages

This is not the best news, as I am embarking on some Azure based projects at work. Come on now, all you expert Microsoft Engineers - make it happen (work / fix)!

Btw - What about all that redundancy? ;>

"Xbox Live Goes Down Again: Second Major Outage This Month [Updated]"


November 4, 2014

VMWare 4.x Version Still Offers Windows 3.1

I miss the Windows 3.1 days! ;>

Ok, so I realize that this version of VMWare is about 5 years old but Windows 3.1?? Really? Even in 2009 that was a bit ... outdated?

October 20, 2014

Server 2012 Virtual Machine Start Fails

Hyper-V Manager within Windows Server 2012 (Datacenter Edition) can sometimes produce an odd error when attempting to turn on a typical virtual machine or VM after it has been shut down:


This error might make sense if the user is not logged in as an Administrator, but really what organization gives Windows 2012 Datacenter Hyper-V access to a standard user? In other words, the error indicating "the user has not been granted the requested logon type" makes little sense because the Administrator account normally has full control of everything. On the other hand, there are a variety of logon types that MIGHT not be granted even to an Administrator account within the server world. A quick workaround for the above is: open Services MMC and restart Hyper-V VM Manager [NOTE: this does NOT restart all the other VMs, if any, but only the service itself!]:


The VM that is shut down will turn on automatically once done. Or it can be turned on manually. This depends on how the automatic start up settings of the VM are configured. There is a full 'fix' for the 'logon type' matter, but this resolution takes under 5 seconds so it works for me, seeming as most VMs are not normally placed in a non running state - why have them around if that is the case?

Create a Linux Virtual Machine on Azure in Minutes

Wait ... what does a Linux virtual machine have to do with Microsoft? Well, in the Microsoft Azure world, virtualization is all encompassing: the idea is to support the business's or organization's overall needs through cloud and virtual technologies. Microsoft recognizes that Windows is not the only game in town when it comes to operating systems. Many, many organizations utilize Unix or Linux as well. And in Azure, a Linux virtual machine can easily be set up within minutes.

For those who remember setting up or installing a 'Nix operating system over a decade ago, this process is almost incomprehensible with its ease of installation. You certainly do not have to grapple with the once common graphics or network card driver issues ;>

Quick tutorial video from Azure on installing Ubuntu in the Azure Cloud:


October 8, 2014

Windows Server 2012 ISO Mount

I want to thank Microsoft from the bottom of my heart for automating and completely cleaning up the mounting of ISO images! ISO's are the de facto standard for Operating System (or SQL Server, Office, and others) installs these days. From the perspective of bits and bytes, ISOs are efficient, sleek, compressed packages. But in years past, they were sometimes ... cumbersome to deal with.

In the virtualized world, it is important to have an ISO 'mounted' automatically. What does this mean? It means you click the ISO and within a split second the ISO transforms itself into a standard combination of installation binaries, or files and folders that are needed to perform an installation. The mount appears as just another 'on-the-fly' drive created in Explorer. From there you click the .Exe or .Msi and begin.

Back in the 'old days', Systems Administrators had to rely on 3rd party freeware or paid software to properly handle ugly ISOs. These did not always work as promised and frequently offered separate challenges. But this is no longer needed. For example: let's say there is a need to install Windows Server 2012 Standard with Datacenter edition. No, I do not mean do an install while visiting your Datacenter, I mean installing a virtual machine (server) within the virtualized Windows 2012 Datacenter edition, the host. [as an aside, the ISO for Standard Edition and Datacenter Edition for Server 2012 is same].

Once, the OS is paid for and downloaded, then within the Hyper-V Manager, the new virtual machine process can be pointed to the ISO. It is transparently handled behind the scenes. And, mainly for demo purposes, the ISO for the server OS ISO can be double-clicked and mounted as well. Automatically the mount produces the needed "Setup" file. The below can also be done for Windows Deployment Services (WDS). The files below would look different, but WDS needs to have Windows 7 or 8 ISOs, for example, mounted so that the WDS server can pass needed images.

October 1, 2014

Windows 10 Preview Release

Windows 10 Preview is available. You must sign up for it, but remember this is EARLY, pre-release. You are essentially a guinea pig. Expect bumps.

But it can be fun to do betas [putting it on an old spare PC or laptop is best, provided you have nothing to lose on it]!


Microsoft to Skip Windows 9, Going Straight to Windows 10

Microsoft will skip version 9, and will instead go to straight into version 10 sometime in the next year or so. This is very interesting, and one wonders: what COULD have been with Windows 9?! Not really, it's just a number after all. But this is interesting, given the dramatic shifts away from PCs over to tablets or "phablets" [assorted phone devices + tablets] or more importantly, hybrid style laptops that can be adjusted to become a hand held tablet. Microsoft will need to be extremely aggressive in order to maintain any sizable chunk of business sales in any future workstation, hybrid device, and smart phone markets, given the enormous success of Google and Apple lately.

This woman does a nice simplistic overview of Microsoft's announcement in this YouTube video.

September 23, 2014

Microsoft OneDrive now at 10 Gigabytes of Storage

I just received this email from Microsoft:

"We’re excited to announce that you can now upload files up to 10 GB from desktop, mobile, and the web! Our goal with OneDrive is to provide a single place for all your files, and we don’t want you to be limited by file size.

The OneDrive Team"

10 Gigabytes of Storage - yikes, I don't know if I have that much. ;>

If you do not know what it is, "OneDrive" used to be "SkyDrive", and it is a Microsoft Cloud based storage area. You can upload pictures, videos, files to OneDrive either as your main working space (as opposed to saving to the Desktop, for example) or it can be a backup area. Either way, this is free disk space essentially ...

September 5, 2014

Wordpress 4.0 is Out!

In another world [Windows Azure], I am using WordPress. I really love WP - it is not only the top blog site software these days, it is the top CMS as well. Put the acronyms aside - WP powers millions of sites worldwide and is basically at the tops of all the charts.

The new + always improved WordPress (4.0) is out!
I always like the 'under the hood stuff', as opposed to 'bells and whistles' stuff ;>

Straight from WP:

Under The Hood


  • Performance and effectiveness improvements to wptexturize()
  • Ensure custom post types nested under top-level menu items get the proper classes
  • Added a src parameter to the embed shortcode
  • Fixes for handling nested shortcodes
  • Make default 'template' argument of the_taxonomies() and get_the_taxonomies() translatable
  • Remove a redundant condition for comment feeds from WP_Query::get_posts()
  • The Customizer now properly honors theme support defaults for background images
  • Installed Themes search now shows a proper "no results" message
  • Improved, more consistent styling for HTML5 input elements
  • Post previews now redirect to the permalink if the post has been published
  • Email and URL input types have been implemented where appropriate in the admin
  • Most uses of extract() have been removed from the core code
  • 3gp mime type support was added
  • wp_handle_upload|sideload() logic was consolidated
  • Remove dead and unused code from dashboard.php following changes in 3.8
  • The operator argument now case-insensitive in tax queries
  • Now possible to disable drag and drop functionality in wp_editor() instances
  • Trigger _doing_it_wrong() when a registered post type or taxonomy slug is too long (20 characters max)
  • Widgets management in the Customizer to leverage the new Panels API.


  • Heartbeat API "experimental" labels have now been removed
  • Improved inline documentation for Media Views
  • Forces an autosave on switch from Visual to Text editor

Bug Fixes

  • Fix a notice with media attached to non-existent post type
  • Fix expanding and collapsing the admin menu on small screen sizes
  • Fix a bug where multiple Add Media buttons shared an ID attribute
  • Fix get_the_ID() not checking for a proper post object
  • Fix current track highlighting in audio playlists
  • Fixed bug with audio player not properly floating around images in the editor
  • Fix a bug where bulk actions would be performed upon clicking the Filter button in some circumstances
  • Fix remove_all_filters() always returning true via has_filter() in some scenarios
  • Fix a notice in wp_reschedule_event
  • Fix paragraph tags not being converted in PressThis for the Text editor
  • Fix get_the_excerpt() not always checking $post->post_excerpt
  • Introduce caching for oEmbed responses
  • Fix an issue where attachment display settings didn't work for galleries
  • Leverage iframe sandboxing for audio and video, allowing arbitrary scripts to be loaded
  • Ensure all plugins have an accurate oEmbed provider list by loading them "just in time"
  • Fixed several problems with formatting of curly quotes, square braces, non-breaking spaces, and related performance issues.