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 26, 2012

SkyDrive, Outlook, Photos

I am really enjoying saving files, like photos, to the Cloud. In this case I am referring to SkyDrive. It is awesome. A great starting point on this for me was to get a Windows 8 phone (a Lumia 920). SkyDrive is basically a way to save your files off the phone. This is good in case something bad happens to the phone (is stolen, for example), or if quick access to these files is needed from another computer. Another way to see the benefits of this (somewhat) new Cloud based service is Outlook.Com. This is or was Hotmail or Live.com email. Hotmail can be converted to the new Outlook.Com interface. I recommend this. It may take a few minutes to get used to but it works very well.

Once in the web based Outlook, you can easily navigate amongst these items:
Mail, People, Calendar, SkyDrive

The secret is in the upper left hand, specifically at the arrow. Once the arrow is clicked, you will see these options. My recently taken photos show up automatically in SkyDrive. From here, they can be seen at any computer. Very nice!

Microsoft's SkyDrive Introduction

Microsoft and The Cloud

Well, everybody and their dog has heard all the hype about "The Cloud" lately. And it is for good reason. Sooner or later, much or all of your content will exist in the Cloud. What is "The Cloud"? The Cloud used to be known as off site backup. For businesses or most medium to large organizations, this has been critical for many years or decades now. Systems Administrators (like me!) have fought long and hard to get Owners and CEO types to approve datacenter or colocation contracts. This is basically rented rackspace for server storage. You connect your office to this leased or rented rackspace, and voila, you have colocation. It is more complicated than this, in no small part due to networking considerations. Moving large data chunk can be a challenge.
Some organizations do not have servers onsite or in their office. They connect to a colocation facility from the get go. This is a good and safe way to set up infrastructure, but a very solid connection between the 2 sites is required, as applications, email, and databases will require this in order to be used. Also, not all datacenters are created equally. Some are more natural disaster proof and have 24/7 security, while others do not. Some organizations only use colocation for backups. Their servers are located in offices and backups are done nightly or so to the colocation. This is a decent way to do business, but if a floor or power outage takes these servers out, then there better be colocation backups available and ready for use! Another common scenario is a mix of the above. More and more organizations are moving not just data but applications to the Cloud. But it takes careful  planning and analysis.
I have installed Windows Server 2012 beta. It is very much a product of the modern age. It is heavily geared towards The Cloud and Cloud Services.

Heavy Duty Information on MS Server 2012 Cloud Services

December 20, 2012

Lumia 920 Windows Phone Will Not Connect to Laptop

I spent a few hours trying to connect my new Lumia 920, Windows 8 to my laptop. I had Zune installed and working with the previous Lumia 900 (Windows 7) series phone. I was able to synchronize pictures, music and contacts. However, when connecting the new phone, Zune did not recognize it whatsoever. I tried uninstalling Zune, then reinstalling, but that did not work. Research with coworkers and online showed that the specific USB cable that came WITH THE PHONE must be used and also that Zune appears to be on the way out for synching purposes.

So, even though another phone connector will actually plug into both the phone and the laptop correctly, it will not synchronize. It may charge via the USB, but that is all. I was keeping the connector that came with the phone in my laptop carry bag as a backup. I had a spare connector from the previous phone. That was the culprit.

Once I used the proper connector, my phone was immediately recognized and there was a link to the Windows Phone App for the Desktop.

December 18, 2012

Bing Takes on Google Ads

Maybe I should not be posting this on a GOOGLE Blog, but hell, it sure is interesting! Microsoft is using the term, "Scroogled" in order to compete with the mighty Google ad network.

"In the beginning, Google preached, "Don't be evil"—but that changed on May 31, 2012. That's when Google Shopping announced a new initiative. Simply put, all of their shopping results are now paid ads.
In their under-the-radar announcement, Google admits they've now built "a purely commercial model" that delivers listings ranked by "bid price." Google Shopping is nothing more than a list of targeted ads that unsuspecting customers assume are search results. They call these "Product Listing Ads" a "truly great search."
We say that when you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled. For an honest search result, try Bing.
Don't get Scroogled this holiday season. Watch the video Vent
Warn your friends now

December 14, 2012

Nokia Lumia 920 Gets Hot with Maps

I noticed my Nokia Lumia 920 with Windows 8 gets VERY hot sometimes. It becomes so hot on the backside, that I need to turn it off. It does not seem to be a deal breaker. In other words, it does not stop the smart phone's functionality. It is the same as with many laptops, Windows or Macs. After much use, they sometimes can actually heat up noticeably on the bottom. This is especially true when dealing with heavy video editing or other heavy duty multimedia usage or work.

My Windows 8 Lumia 920 last night became extremely hot after using the Nokia Maps version 3.0. The good news is that the Nokia Maps app is awesome. It not only shows directions, it actually vocally points you in the right direction via voice. I love it. And it is free. I just wish it did not get so hot!

December 13, 2012


Ok, so it's not really related to Windows technologies per se, and I'm probably too old to like this song, but Thrift Shop is a great song!

It is actually very creative. The video has a Delorean in it. How cool is that? The song mentions  jammies, honky, RKelley, grandpa style, velcro sneakers, Gucci, 99 cents, fur fox skin, Goodwill, mamie, and poppin' tags. D'oh!

Wait, Macklemore is from Seattle, Washington, very close to Redmond. Now this makes sense!

Warning -  this song has multiple cuss words ;>

Macklemore Thrift Shop Video

Windows File Servers and Samba Server

Speaking of Samba Server, I once implemented it in a Windows environment. I made a Windows domain completely inter operate with a Linux system. It was great fun. I am sure the Samba version 3 or version 4 releases are much easier to work with, as the one I worked on was a little tricky in parts.

I documented a Red Hat Linux and Windows Domain Samba Server set up completely.

Windows File Servers and Samba

It looks like a new Samba Server version is coming out. Samba has never been for the faint of heart. It is basically a technology or software used to bridge the gap between the Windows world and the Unix (Linux, really) world. Of course, it functions fine on its own, but many Administrators use it in mixed OS environments. It provides for similar functionality as Active Directory - in other words, user accounts and LDAP type of stuff. It utilizes the SMB Protocol to facilitate common file sharing as well.

"The Samba 4.0 file server contains an initial implementation of SMB3, which will be further developed in later Samba 4 releases into a fully-featured SMB3 clustered file server implementation," the Samba team wrote. "Future developments of our SMB3 server and client suite, in combination with our expanding number of SMB3 tests, will keep driving the performance improvements and improved compatibility with Microsoft Windows that Samba users have come to expect from our software."
Windows server with AD has been around since 2000 and the installed base is massive. While Samba will help enterprises deploy Linux as well, there's no way Linux will immediately displace Windows out of the gate given the massive installed base and investments in the Active Directory infrastructure.
The availability of Samba 4 is a direct offspring of Microsoft's antitrust settlement, which required the company to disclose specific protocols that the Samba team used.
But Microsoft went far beyond just releasing the protocols and has been helping the Samba team throughout the process -- though slow and laborious as it was...."

The ZDNet Article here

Possible Dropbox Danger

More and people are looking to services like Dropbox as a way to quickly share documents. But there are dangers. Beware of security dangers!

"An example of such an exploit came to light this month, owing to a Dropbox employee having stored an unencrypted document on the service that contained Dropbox users' email addresses. An attacker logged into the Dropbox employee's account, using a password that the employee had reused on another--compromised--site, obtained a copy of the document, then used the email addresses to unleash a flood of spam at Dropbox users."

This Information Week article spells it out.

Read About Dropbox

December 11, 2012

Print to PDF without Adobe

I am so tired of all Adobe software! Argggg.
It is bloated software and constantly has ongoing updates. It is not even an operating system and I am pretty sure it has more security and patch or enhancement updates than even Microsoft or Linux systems! Anyway, I was in need of some printing to PDF.

What is "printing to PDF"? For those who do not know: certain PDF related software is used to literally add a printer icon to your workstation. This software is installed and an icon is set up in your Printers folder so that you can "print" to it. Except it has nothing to do with printing. It just outputs the file to a .PDF. You pick where to save it. Pretty cool.

I recently ran into a situation where I needed to print to PDF. The catch? The need was on a server. I did not realize that you cannot use Acrobat Reader in order to print to PDF on a Windows Server 2008 (R2) system. Adobe Forum elders make it clear this has something to do with Licensing terms. As this was a test database server, I was not going to put a full licensed version of Adobe on this server. Only absolutely required software should go on a server, even a test one. After all, servers are not toys. So, I had to go somewhere else, away from the Adobe machine.

I remembered from several years ago that I used a very useful freeware piece called BullZip software for this very task, albeit on a standard PC. So I typed in bullzip.com to research and sure enough, it is still there. There is other software offered as well. I cannot vouch for the other programs, but BullZip PDF Printer is top notch. Not only is it still there, but I installed it on the server, tested it, and it works great. The download site let me know this freeware also works on Windows 8 and Server 2012. It appears they are forward thinking. This tells me they will be around for a long time!

Use and Support BullZip!

Outlook.Com Free Upgrade

If you are a Microsoft Hotmail user, then you will be seeing solicitations in your Inbox to upgrade to "Outlook.Com". Basically, this is a new interface that streamlines some services, for example, SkyDrive, Calendar, Skype (coming soon). But really it is a harbinger of things to come or things that are already here: Windows 8.

If you have used Windows 8, as I have, then you will notice that Microsoft is merging the Metro styled interface across the board: on tablets, on PCs, on laptops, on phones, and ...online.

Go directly to Microsoft's Outlook site for any questions

December 10, 2012

Windows Phone for 1 Cent

I do not mean to seem like an AT&T advertisement, but this is a really good deal. It is a Windows based phone that costs 1 Cent. Here is the catch: it is refurbished. That should be pretty self explanatory, but if you are looking to get an essentially free Windows based phone, then this is the time. It is a web only offer, and of course, you need to sign up for a voice and data plan with AT&T.

Hey, it is at least worth investigating and comparison shopping.

AT&T Store for 1 Cent Phone

Windows Apps in Cloud

It looks like developers will are able to essentially save their custom built apps to the Cloud. This is intriguing for Developers across the Microsoft spectrum.

From ZDNet:

"One of the new development concepts introduced with Windows Phone 8 is compiling applications in the cloud. But what does this mean, exactly?
Among the hundred-plus developer sessions that Microsoft execs presented at the company's Build 2012 conference (and which are now viewable for free by anyone, not just conference-goers) was one touching on Microsoft's cloud-compilation strategy.
The Softies first mentioned intentions to provide compilation in the cloud in June 2012 -- when Microsoft first opened up about some of the features coming in Windows Phone 8. Details were scarce, other than the fact that Microsoft, and not individual developers, was expected to be the one doing the compiling of apps once they were submitted for approval. Up until last week, Microsoft officials declined to say anything further about how cloud-compilation would work for Windows Phone.
(One thing we did know is that cloud compilation is/was part of Microsoft's strategy to insure that existing Windows Phone 7.x apps work well on Windows Phone 8.)
There's now more publicly available information. In addition to the aforementioned Build session, a new Microsoft Channel 9 "Going Deep" episode digs even further into cloud compilation, which Microsoft is advertising as enabling "really fast startup of Windows Phone 8 .Net apps."

ZDNet Article

December 5, 2012

Microsoft Surface RT Sales

Microsoft Surface sales numbers higher than tought? Interesting opinion ...

"If Microsoft's tablet has a sales problem -- and let's strut that I-F again -- distribution is the reason. The product isn't overpriced or flawed. Microsoft only sells Surface through the company store; that's online and (by my count) 66 retail shops. Sixty stores are in the continental United States, five in Canada and another in Puerto Rico. There are only a limited number of places anyone can buy the tablet, which limits how many the company can sell. What matters more is how many Microsoft sells per store. Pundits crying "fail" are nincompoops of the nth degree. If any of them bothered to look at Apple Store, they would understand."

BeatNews Article

November 28, 2012

Windows 8 Phone HTC versus Lumia 920

Regarding my previous post on the Lumia 920 freezing up, I have a coworker who has the latest HTC: same Windows 8 Phone OS. The HTC was chosen by him because it was slimmer and a bit lighter. Some would say it looks better. Personally, I prefer the beefier Lumia 920 and also I was used to the same sized 900, so he chose HTC and I chose Lumia 920.

He has actually had his phone for 2 weeks longer than I have had the Lumia 920. He has had absolutely no freezes at all. This is interesting, and leads me to believe the Lumia 920 screen freezing issue is more hardware related than OS related. It is not a major issue becasue a reboot should resolve. Hopefully, there will be a fix for it regardless. Of course, this is not very scientific, it is only anecdotal.

As stated, overall I love the Lumia 920. The AT&T cellular data is 4G and fast. The phone connections are reliable and the Windows Apps store is really starting to grow. I love the integration with Zune, SkyDrive and my Windows desktop. Also, software updates are very easy to accomplish when connecting the phone to the computer via USB.

November 27, 2012

Lumia 920 Freezes

I had this problem too with my brand new Lumia 920 (AT&T service). I was getting a completely frozen phone, with the Lumia logo on the screen along with the black background. This was very bad, as I actually use this Windows 8 phone for work! OK, I use it for play as well, but I really need it for technical alerts emanating from my Windows servers and overall network infrastructure. I read on a Microsoft forum that using a certain button combination may help to restart it. And indeed holding the Volume button along with the Power button at same time eventually worked.

But wait, there is more ...

Many are already having this issue, it seems, as I found on various Microsoft and Nokia forums. The primary recommended solution, however, either confuses people or does not work. So, the other solution given was "take it back to the store for replacement". No, save yourself the trouble. Read on.

The first time I tried holding the volume button and power button simultaneously, I held the upper (top) volume part along with the power button. This did nothing, the screen was still frozen stiff. For some bizarre reason, pressing the lower (decrease) portion of the volume and power simultaneously did work, but not the upper (increase) volume. It is probably coincidence, but I am not certain. Also, the recommended 10 seconds hold did not work either, so for good measure, I increased the time: Hold both lower Volume (decrease) AND power buttons for a full 20 seconds. You should get a vibration from the phone. Trust me, this is a good sign. HOWEVER, give it an additional 10-20 seconds to refresh before you start panicking.

One last thing: to troubleshoot, I had removed my SIM before trying the above solution. I was hoping for some sort of miracle cure by doing this, but it did nothing. So, even after the above restart of the Windows 8 phone succeeded and a correct reinsert of the SIM Card, I got a "no SIM found" type of message. What now? I could see the screen, internet (WIFI) worked, the Apps all worked, so ... reboot. Yes, I held the power button for a few seconds then slid the screen downward to restart. Voila, now the SIM card is recognized and everything is working well.

My Lumia 920 has been good since this all occurred.

Before using this Lumia 920, I was using the Lumia 900 for about 6 months. I never encountered this particular freeze or total lock up of the phone. I love this Lumia 920 phone, and love Windows 8 but I hope this particular Lumia 920 or Windows 8 screen freeze issue is patched soon! I want this phone to succeed.

November 26, 2012

Windows Update Issue 0x80071A90

I had a Windows Update installation failure that lasted 1-2 months. I never had time to really try to fix the issue. I did remove my ESET Anit Virus, but that did not help. The updates would cycle through (15%, etc), reboots would ensure, and all would look good. Then after a few minutes I would get a note from the updater that updates had failed. Sigh ...

The updater offers a tool to fix this, but it did not work.

Try this, it worked for me. (instructions are per Microsoft):
"Click the Start button, type msconfig in the search box, and then click msconfig.exe. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
On the General tab, remove the checks for "Load Select Services"; also, go into Services and remove the check for "Hide all Microsoft Services". Then "Disable All". Click OK, and then click Restart ...
[After Reboot]
In the left pane, click Check for updates, and then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your computer.
If any updates are found, click Install updates.  If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
Once updates are installed, restart your computer. Click the Start button, type msconfig in the search box, and then click msconfig.exe.  If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
On the General tab, click Normal startup (also verify the Services are all enabled again), click OK, and then click Restart.
If you continue to see this error, see this automatic troubleshooter on the Microsoft Support website, or go to the Microsoft Answers website for more assistance.

Error codes this applies to:

November 25, 2012

ASUS VivoTab with Windows 8

These ASUS VivoTab units look real sharp. And they are now available for preorder, per this article.

"The $800 Asus VivoTab TF810C runs Windows 8 and features an 11.6-inch Super IPS+ screen set at 1366 x 768 resolution."

November 18, 2012

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

This Windows 8 Laptop, as seen in this CNET Video review, looks stellar. It is a hybrid tablet and/or laptop. In other words you can put this system into Touch or Tablet mode, or just use it as a laptop. It is nice to have these options. Windows 8 is going hard for the new generation Tablet (Touch) market. And with this Microsoft and Lenovo combination, they have hit a "laptop" home run.

Good review of the Lenova IdeaPad Yoga

Entry Level Windows 8 Laptop

An interesting Widows 8 Laptop, entry level. This inexpensive Acer laptop screen is TOUCH SCREEN!

Acer Laptop

November 13, 2012

Search All Outlook Folders for an Email

On the surface, Outlook 2010 (and other versions) seems to not have a very robust search feature. For enterprise Exchange Server 2010 using Outlook 2010, searching is easy.

If you have no sub or custom folders created under your Inbox, then default searching works well enough. Look for the Search Inbox (Ctrl + E) box. You can enter any keyword to locate emails with said keyword. But I have seen employees in companies who have created dozens and dozens of folders under their Inbox. This is done for organization purposes. I have seen some custom folders nearing or topping 100!

The advanced Outlook search feature is needed in this case, as the default Inbox search only looks within the Inbox itself, and not the sub folders. For advanced searching, try this:
Within your Outlook Home, Inbox, click the Search Inbox (Ctrl + E). Don't enter anything, just single click in it. Then open "Search Tools" near the top, and then "Advanced Find". Then in the "Look for" box, change the default selection to "Any Type of Outlook item". Enter some key words or names, and search all of your sub folders. There are a few other custom parameters to experiment with.

Windows Apps are Growing

Windows Apps are coming!

"Good news for everyone who bought a Windows RT tablet or Windows 8 PC: the apps are coming!
A lack of apps has been one of the big complaints for Windows 8, particularly the RT version, which doesn't run Windows 7 apps. (Full Windows 8 PCs will run any app that works on Windows 7 mode.) No one thought this would be a permanent problem even though Microsoft failed to make its goal of 10,000 apps in the store by launch day. Windows 8 officially went on sale on Friday.
However, it came close at 9,029 apps of which 88% (or 7,940) are free, according the blog, WinAppUpdate.com."

Apps are Coming!

Microsoft Surface Sales

There have been 4 Million Windows 8 download sales so far since initial release, according to Mashable.

But what about the Surface Tablet? It is not selling super well. Or is it?

"Both Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface have been on sale for more than two weeks, and the big question is: How are they doing? Although Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has already revealed the company sold 4 million downloads of Windows 8 in its first weekend, the only thing he has said about sales of the Surface is that they’re “modest.” "

But then this clarification a little later:

"Update: Microsoft contacted us after this story was published and offered the following statement: When asked about Surface, Steve’s use of the term “modest” was in relation to the company’s approach in ramping up supply and distribution of Surface with Windows RT, which has only been available via our online store and Microsoft retail and holiday stores in the U.S. and Canada. While our approach has been modest, Steve notes the reception to the device has been “fantastic” which is why he also stated that “soon, it will be available in more countries and in more stores.” "

The Mashable Surface Tablet article

Windows 8 Tablet Images

Wow, take a look at these Windows 8 Tablet images. Makes me want to buy one!

November 3, 2012

Reimagining Microsoft

Interesting ... new image reconstruction under way for Microsoft. I see how Windows 8 on the phone and on hybrid tablets/laptops can integrate into their many Server systems and applications nicely, especially considering their huge Cloud services offerings. Also, throw in the impressive Dynamics CRM, and you have a winner.

I like this Microsoft blog.


November 1, 2012

Windows 8 Phone Wireless Charge

The new line of Windows 8 Phones are capable of being charged wirelessly. Some manufacturers are about to release these models. That is correct: the battery can be charged wirelessly. I know, I know, you are going to miss locating those USB cables, and buying replacements all the time.
AT&T has already released the Lumia 920, which can charge wirelessly.

Verizon is about to do the same.

Verizon’s HTC Windows Phone 8X to support wireless charging

"In today’s smartphone world especially in the Windows Phone ecosystem, the smartphone-buying population has a lot to look forward to. After all, Microsoft has already made the big announcement regarding the bevy of new Windows Phone 8-powered devices that are scheduled to hit the market. For the high-end category, we have the Nokia Lumia 920 which will be an exclusive with AT&T while Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer boasts of the HTC Windows Phone 8X which will be released by Verizon in US shores ...

When talking about wireless charging, it is only right that the Verizon version of the HTC Windows Phone 8X should offer the feature. After all, the Nokia Lumia 920 from AT&T will also have the feature. Though Big Red is also slated to launch the Nokia Lumia 822 which has that functionality, the handset is from the midrange category and it is only expected that its high-end offering to have this feature as well."

Sleek Windows 8 Products

The home PC offerings for new WIndows 8 machines look awesome. They are sleek looking, and for those who insist on pointing to and indeed touching their monitors .... these are touch enabled.

Windows 8 Product Line

Windows Server 2012 Products Available Today

Microsoft is really working on integration of all devices into a new server and cloud ecosystem. Heavy stuff!

"Microsoft's MDOP 2012, Windows Server 2012 Essentials available for download"

"On November 1, Microsoft made generally available both its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2012 tool bundle and its Windows Server 2012 Essentials small-business server.
MDOP 2012 is a bundle of six virtualization and management products aimed at business customers who have Software Assurance licensing contracts or Windows Intune subscriptions. Microsoft officials say they've sold 44 million licenses of MDOP to date.

New to this version of MDOP is User Experience Virtualization (UE-V). UE-V allows users switch up their devices but retain their settings without needing to reconfigure their applications or desktop settings each time they login to Windows 7 or Windows 8."

Good ZDNET overview

October 26, 2012

Windows 8 has arrived!

Windows 8 arrived today, and there's lots of hype about the latest operating system from Microsoft. The interface has changed dramatically, using tabs instead of the typical GUI view of WIndows XP or Windows 7.

But one of the coolest uses of Windows 8 I'm reading about so far is the dual screen on certain notebooks or tablets! I am not referring to 2 monitors. This is actually using BOTH sides of the screen!

Check it out!

Read about it!

September 22, 2012

Magellan GPS Software Update

I just took a long road trip, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and back again. I love my Magellan RoadMate 1440 GPS. However, there were at least 2 occasions when the maps and directions were incorrect. I am guessing that is due to all the changes with roads and freeways and all those highway funds flowing from Washington DC!

What to do? What if the CD that came with the product is lost? What if there was no CD? Use the USB connector that came with the GPS to connect to your Windows Vista or later system - ignore any of the plug and play type prompts so you can do it right by going through the software.

Download the Magellan software, it is called Content Manager. Try this page:

You install the software, register (yes, another registration), plug in your Magellan and voila: you are interconnected between PC (or laptop, or Mac) and GPS.
The software is very simple, but it works well. There is a big link to "Check for Updates". That is exactly what is needed. It turns out that there are many software and road map updates! I had software version 1.12 on my GPS, and the latest update is version 2.22! I also had a 1.5 GIGABYTE road map upgrade available! Note this is an upgrade, not an update. So I am proceeding slowly on this one ...

I have only installed the software so far. I will try to check back later about the mammoth maps upgrade!

Oh, and there is no charge for these updates. Happy GPS -ing!

January 2, 2012

Microsoft Security Essentials

I have been trying the MS Security Essentials for some time now. I am not sure how astute it is in finding computer viruses (as apposed to the competition, i.e. Norton, McAfee, Sophos), but so far, so good. I am very conservative in my searches and general web browsing, so maybe I am not the best tester. However, the interface for the free Microsoft anti virus software is very nice and simple to use, so if you are on a tight budget, it may be worth a look.

Microsoft Security Essentials
"The anti-annoying, anti-expensive, anti-virus program"