Fixing TEL links with Lync 2013 on Windows 8 with Chrome

If you run both Lync 2013 and Chrome on Windows 8 you will find that TEL links open with Chrome instead of the Lync client.  TEL links are hyperlinks used by Lync for one-click dialing.  For example: tel:14155551212

Here’s how to fix it:

  • Open an elevated CMD prompt and run the following command:

reg add “HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Lync\Capabilities\URLAssociations” /v TEL /d “callto”

  • Now you are able to change the TEL protocol association to Lync 2013.  Press the Windows key and type “Default Programs” to open the Default Programs utility.  Then click “Associate a file or protocol with a program.”

  • Scroll to the bottom of the list and select TEL under the Protocols section.  

  • Click the Change Program button and set Lync (desktop) as the default program.  You will now see that Lync is the default program for the Tel protocol.

  • Click the Close button and close the Default Programs utility.

Now Lync 2013 will open when you click a TEL link in Outlook or from a web page.

UPDATED Blistering Fast Hyper-V 2012 Server – Parts List and Video!

Over a year ago I wrote an article detailing how to build a Blistering Fast Windows Server for about $1,000 USD.  At that time “Windows Server 8” hadn’t even been released yet, but I wanted to build a server that would work with “future generations” of Hyper-V.  The article proved to be extremely popular and paved the way for many fellow technologists to build their own lab servers.

Now that Windows Server 2012 has been out for a while I wanted to update that article to incorporate newer technologies, like 3rd generation Intel processors and faster DDR3 RAM.  I also made some tweaks to my initial server over the year, adding another SSD drive for active VMs and enabling sleep mode on my physical storage hard drive to save more power.  I’m including those items in this build, while maintaining the same price point as over a year ago.

Lessons Learned
I modified a few things since I built the original lab server I documented in January 2012.  Here are the lessons I learned:

  • If RAM is king, IO is queen.  The two most important things for a Hyper-V 2012 server are RAM (VM capacity) and IO (VM performance).  IO becomes even more important as you add more concurrently running VMs, which you can easily do with 32GB of RAM!
  • SSD = IO. My original design used a single SSD for the operating system and binaries.  I soon learned that VM performance was pretty poor running off a traditional mechanical hard drive, even though I was using a fast SATA III 6Gbps drive.  I ended up buying another 250GB SSD drive to host my active VMs.
  • CPU isn’t as important as I thought.  It’s important to have enough cores to share with your VMs, but most of the time my CPU is idling at 10% utilization even with 8 VMs running simultaneously.
  • Deduplication is amazing! You can increase the VM density on an SSD drive using Windows Server 2012’d built-in deduplication feature.
  • You can never have enough SATA III ports.  My first build used an Intel motherboard with two SATA III 6Gbps and two SATA II 3Gbps ports.  I ended up having to buy another SATA III controller when I added the other SSD drive.  Better to have at least 4 SATA III ports to begin with.

My Design Requirements
This build has an emphasis on cost.  Even though my budget is the same as the earlier build, I have to make it work with two SSD drives instead of one.

  • Minimum of 4 cores
  • Windows Server 2012 capable.  Hyper-V for Windows 8 requires hypervisor-ready processors with Second Level Address Translation (SLAT).
  • 32GB of fast DDR3 RAM
  • Must support SATA III 6Gb/s drives
  • Must have USB 3.0 ports for future portable devices
  • Low power requirements
  • Small form factor
  • Budget: Under $1,000 USD
As before, the RAM requirements drove most of this design.  Interestingly, I found that the newer technologies (3rd generation Intel Core I5 Ivy Bridge and DDR3 1600 RAM) actually cost less than the 2nd gen I5 and DDR3 1066 RAM in my last build.

Unlike last year’s build, I discovered that Amazon usually has the lowest price for everything.  This makes it a  lot easier to order and receive since all the components come from one place.  This should also make it easier for my European friends since they can source it all from Amazon, as well.  Another big bonus is that I have Amazon Prime which gives me free 2-day shipping on all the components.  I could even choose to spend $3.99 more to get it next day!  I love this service!

Here’s the entire parts list for this server:




Intel Core i5-3470S Quad-Core Processor 2.9 GHz 6 MB Cache LGA 1155 –

This is a 3rd generation Ivy Bridge Intel processor. It includes Intel HD 2500 graphics and runs at a low 77W. 3 year limited warranty.


AS Rock PRO4-M LGA1155 Intel H77 Quad CrossFireX SATA3 USB3.0 A V GbE
MATX Motherboard H77

I chose this LGA 1155 Micro ATX motherboard over Intel because it has 4x SATA3 and 2x SATA2 connectors. It also uses the Intel H77 chipset, supports RAID 1, 5 and 10, has 4 PCI-Express slots, USB 3.0, and has a great BIOS. See the video below. 3 year limited warranty.


Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

240 pin dual channel RAM with built-in heat spreaders.  Lifetime warranty.  Latency is 10-10-10-27.  Each package contains 2x 8GB sticks (16GB).  Be sure to buy two packages.


Kingston SSDNow V200 128GB Bundle SV200S3B7A/128G

SATA3 SSD used for the Windows Server 2012 operating system. The package includes the drive and SATA3 cable, an external enclosure, and cables. 3 year warranty.


Samsung MZ-7TD250BW 840 Series Solid State Drive (SSD) 250 GB Sata

SATA3 SSD used for active VMs (the VMs I normally have running, like a domain controller, Exchange servers, Lync servers, etc.). Super-fast drive. 3 year limited warranty.


Kingwin 2.5 Inch to 3.5 Inch Internal Hard Disk Drive Mounting Kit

Metal mounting kit for 2.5″ SSD drives. Holds two SSD drives, stacked on top of each other.


WD Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, SATA III, 64 MB Cache –

2TB Western Digital Green (low power) SATA3 drive. Used for storing ISOs, seldom used VMs, base images, etc. I usually configure this drive to sleep after one hour to save even more power. 2 year warranty.


Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive – Bulk –
IHAS124-04 (Black)

Great quality DVD burner. It’s cheap, too. I connect this to one of the SATA2 ports on the motherboard. 1 year limited warranty.


SATA Data Cable (2pk.)

I need 4x SATA3 cables for this build. The ASRock motherboard comes with a black one and the Kingston 128GB SSD comes with another read one.


Rosewill 40-In-1 USB 2.0 3.5-Inch Internal Card Reader with USB Port /
Extra Silver Face Plate (RCR-IC001)

This is just a handy cheap addition. It slides into the floppy drive tray of the case and adds another USB 2.0 connector, SD card reader, and lots of other reader slots to the front of the computer.


APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case USB/Audio/Fan

Mini ATX tower case for Micro ATX motherboards, like the ASRock. It includes a carrying handle and 2x USB 2.0 ports and audio jacks under a small door on top of the case. It comes with a fairly quiet 80mm rear case fan and clear instructions.


Rosewill Stallion Series 400W ATX 12V v2.2 Power Supply RD400-2-SB

Dual 12V rails. Nearly silent 120mm fan and mesh cable sleeving. Includes 4x SATA power connectors and 1x PCI-Express. 1 year limited warranty

Click the video below to hear a description of the parts I ordered for this beast:

It took about 90 minutes to assemble everything and take these pictures. The following slideshow shows how I put it all together:

Once assembled, I updated the BIOS online (very cool – see the video below) and installed Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition.  Installation took only 4 minutes, 50 seconds!  Amazing.

Windows Server 2012 recognized all but two of the computer’s components, but some required updating so Windows Server can use their advanced capabilities.  Do NOT install the drivers using the setup program on the included ASRock H77 Pro-4M DVD.  The ASRock setup programs will BSOD the server since they are written for a different OS.  Instead, open Device Manager, right-click the following devices, and update the driver software using the ASRock DVD.

Here are the devices that need to be updated, in this order:

System devices

  • Xeon(R) processor E3-1200 v2/3rd Gen Core processor DRAM Controller – 0150
  • PCI Express Root Complex (Becomes “PCI bus”. Requires a restart)
  • Intel(R) H77 Express Chipset LPC Controller – 1E4A (Requires a restart)
  • Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family SMBus Host Controller – 1E22
  • Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 8 – 1E1E (Requires a restart)
  • Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 6 – 1E1A
  • Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port 1 – 1E10

Universal Serial Bus controllers

  • Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller (Becomes “Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller – 1E26”)
  • Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller (Becomes “Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family USB Enhanced Host Controller – 1E2D”)

Other devices

  • Unknown device  (Becomes “Intel(R) Smart Connect Technology Service”)

Sound controllers

  • High Definition Audio Device (Becomes “Realtek High Definition Audio”)
  • High Definition Audio Device (Becomes “Intel(R) Display Audio”)

Network adapters

  • Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller

IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers

  • Standard SATA AHCI Controller (Becomes “Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller”. The DVD drive will probably change drive letters after this update.)
  • Standard SATA AHCI Controller (Becomes “Asmedia 106x SATA Controller”.  This one is tricky.  Restart and press F8 to boot in Safe Mode. Restart again into normal mode. You will now see new “ATA Channel 0” and “ATA Channel 1” controllers.)

Display adapters

  • Microsoft Basic Display Adapter (Becomes “Intel(R) HD Graphics”.  The screen flashes during installation.)

Install Intel Management Engine Components from the ASRock DVD
  • Run <DVD Drive>:\Drivers\ME\Intel\(v8.1.2.1318_1.5M)\Setup.exe
  • Accept the Intel Manageability Engine Firmware Recovery Agent license agreement
  • Check for updates. This takes a few minutes.
  • This will fix the unknown PCI Simple Communications Controller device.

I also recommend that you update the Samsung SSD 840 firmware, which includes better TRIM support:
  • Download and install the Samsung Magician 4 software.
  • Click Firmware Update and Update. Reboot to finish the firmware upgrade.

Finally, run Windows Disk Management to initialize, format and label your Samsung 250GB SSD and Western Digital 2TB drives.

Here’s a video of the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V server in action:

I hope this article, slideshow and videos are helpful to you in your quest to build the perfect Hyper-V lab server.  This is a great investment in your IT career!

Special thanks to my ExtraTeam colleague, Aman Ayaz.  It was his need for a new Hyper-V lab server (and his Visa card) that made this article possible.  đź™‚

Unacceptable WebEx Password

This is hilarious!

The password I am trying to use is: Ihatewebex2!  This meets all the requirements except – “Should not be easy
to guess”.

Note:  The curse word I used last week was accepted.

"Active Directory operation failed… the object already exists" when installing Exchange 2013 CU1

You may get the following error when installing Exchange 2013 RTM Cumulative Update 1 (CU1):

“Folder Hierarchies” object already exists.

This error may occur during Step 1, Organization Preparation, in CU1 setup.  Chances are it will only happen in production, not your test lab, as explained later.

If you run from the CMD line, you will find that you can successfully extend the schema using the following command: /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

But when you try to prepare AD using the following command you get get the following error:

C:\2013CU1> /PrepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms
Welcome to Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 1 Unattended Setup
Copying Files…
File copy complete. Setup will now collect additional information needed for installation.
Performing Microsoft Exchange Server Prerequisite Check
    Prerequisite Analysis                                                         COMPLETED
Configuring Microsoft Exchange Server
    Organization Preparation                                                      FAILED
     The following error was generated when “$error.Clear();
        install-AdministrativeGroup -DomainController $RoleDomainController
” was run: “Active Directory operation failed on The object ‘CN=Folder Hierarch
ies,CN=Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT),CN=Administrative Groups,CN=contoso,CN=Mi
crosoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=com’ already exists.”.

The Exchange Server setup operation didn’t complete. More details can be found in ExchangeSetup.log
located in the <SystemDrive>:\ExchangeSetupLogs folder.

Unfortunately, the C:\ExchangeSetupLogs\ExchangeSetupLog.log file doesn’t offer any other details on why the operation fails.

This happens when the Public Folder tree object has been manually deleted from Active Directory using a tool such as ADSI Edit. In some organizations it becomes impossible to remove Public Folders properly from a legacy Exchange org and admins resort to using brute force to remove them.  However, there are lingering attributes in AD that are still pointing to the deleted PFTree, which causes CU1 setup to fail.

It is important to note that this is not a CU1 setup problem, it’s a problem with the Exchange topology caused by hacking out the PFTree manually.  If you still have a legacy Exchange 2007 or 2010 server you will get the same error message above if you try to create a new Public Folder database.

The workaround is to manually create a new msExchPFTree object in the Folder Hierarchy and set the msExchPFTreeType value to 1.  Here’s how to do that:

  • Run ADSIEdit.msc on a domain server with the AD Directory Services Tools (RSAT-ADDS) installed.  Your Exchange 2013 server should do fine.
  • Expand the following path:
    • Configuration [<domainController>]
    • CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=com
    • CN=Services
    • CN=Microsoft Exchange
    • CN=<OrganizationName>
    • CN=Administrative Groups
    • CN=Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT)
    • CN=Folder Hierarchies
  • Right-click Folder Hierarchies and select New > Object.

  • Select the msExchPFTree class object and click Next.
  • Enter any value for the cn (Common Name) value, such as PF.
  • Right-click the newly created msExchPFTree object and select Properties.
  • On the Attribute Editor tab, click msExchPFTreeType, and then click Edit.
  • In the Value box type 1, and then click OK two times.
  • Exit the ADSI Edit tool.
Wait for AD replication to complete and you should be able to complete setup of CU1 successfully.  You will need to retain the msExchPFTree object in AD for subsequent CU installations.  If you delete it, you’ll run into the same problem later.

New Features in OWA 2013 RTM CU1

Exchange 2013 RTM Cumulative Update 1 (CU1) makes some really good changes compared to Outlook Web App 2013 RTM.  Here’s a list of most of them.

New Options

  • Users are now able to change their display settings in OWA 2013.
    • The message list can be configured to show sender name on top, subject on top, and show or hide preview text.
    • Conversations can be configured to show newest message on top, oldest message on top, and whether to show deleted items in conversations.
    • The reading pane can be configured to show the reading pane on the right, at the bottom of the screen, or turned off entirely.  This can be configured for each folder individually or apply to all folders.
  • Better visuals.  
    • Buttons are now displayed as blue with white text, rather than pale gray with gray text.
    • Text word wrapping now works better on smaller displays.
    • Some icons are larger, such as the A..B..C.. letter separators between contacts in the People tab.
Public Folders

  • Users will now have rudimentary access to Public Folders from OWA
    • To add a Public Folder to OWA, users right-click their Favorites menu and click Add Public Folder.  They then browse for the Public Folder they want to add.  Rinse and repeat for each PF they want to add.
    • Adding a Public Folder to Favorites also affects the Outlook 2013 client. They will show up there, too.
    • Only “modern” (Exchange 2013) Public Folders can be accessed. There is no way to view legacy versions of Public Folders.
    • Only mail Public Folders can be added to Favorites.  You cannot view Public Folders that contain calendars, contact items, etc.
    • At this time users can view, reply, forward, and delete content in Public Folders, but you cannot add new content from OWA.


  • Help in OWA has been improved by displaying help in a pop-up window, rather than taking over the whole screen.  The help window can be moved and positioned, but note that it is not “always on top”.

Mobile Devices

  • In what I consider to be a downgrade, users are no longer able to block mobile devices from syncing with ActiveSync like they could with OWA 2013 RTM.
  • The icons have also been changed from their more colorful OWA 2013 RTM versions to the stark monochrome versions in OWA 2013 CU1.

Right-Click Functionality

  • You can now right-click messages to delete them or set a flag.  The Move dialog has also been improved to remember your last folders.
  • You can add an Outlook shared folder to OWA 2013 CU1 by right-clicking your mailbox and select Add Shared Folder.  The person who’s sharing an Outlook folder must have already configured sharing of the folder in Outlook 2013.

The Small Stuff

  • If you configure OWA to show week numbers in the Month view, you can now configure when the first week of the year is (first day of the year, first four-day week of the year, or first full week of the year).
  • More “sort by” options for folders.  They now include To and Type.
  • The search bar now clearly shows that it will search both Mail and People.  It always did this, but it didn’t clearly indicate that it searches both folders.  The search box is also now more visible.
Nothing here is groundbreaking, but it does show that the developer team is continually working on the fit and finish of OWA 2013.

Exchange 2013 RTM CU1 Stops Transport During Prerequisite Check

I was hoping this issue would be resolved before Exchange 2013 RTM CU1 was released, but apparently not.  This only affects upgrades from Exchange 2013 RTM to RTM CU1.

During the installation of Exchange 2013 RTM CU1, setup runs a prerequisite check on the Exchange 2013 RTM server.  Among other things, setup checks to see that required Windows features and rolls are installed.  If they’re not, setup cannot continue and you need to cancel the installation to install the necessary prerequisites.  The prerequisite check stage is also the last point where you can cancel the installation for any other reason.

Unfortunately, setup stops the Microsoft Exchange Transport service during the prerequisite check and does not restart it if you cancel setup to install the prerequisites.  This means that email flow is affected prior to installing CU1.

If you do cancel installation for any reason after setup runs the prerequisite check, make sure you manually restart the Microsoft Exchange Transport service.

The Last Missing Piece – Exchange 2013 RTM CU1 Released!

Exchange 2013 RTM CU1 was released to the web today, finally allowing customers to upgrade from Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010.  You can download Exchange 2013 RTM CU1 here.  As you probably know, there is no direct upgrade path from Exchange 2003 — You must upgrade to 2007 or 2010 first.  Read the release notes here.

The Exchange Team blog has an excellent write-up about the changes in RTM CU1, including much anticipated information about Planning and Deployment.  I’m providing a short summary about CU1 here:

  • Exchange Server 2013 CU1 includes both bug fixes and feature improvements.
  • Setup takes 20 minutes or more per server, depending on your hardware.
  • To upgrade from Exchange 2007 all servers must first be upgraded to Exchange 2007 SP3 Update Rollup 10.
  • To upgrade from Exchange 2010 all servers must first be upgraded to Exchange 2010 SP3.
  • If you are upgrading Exchange 2013 RTM note that CU1 (and all future cumulative updates) are build-to-build updates.  CU1 setup will uninstall Exchange 2013 RTM before it installs CU1.  Any customization you may have done for RTM may be lost.
  • CU1 requires AD schema updates, enterprise AD changes, and AD permissions changes.  Therefore, it requires setup /PrepareSchema, /PrepareAD, and /PrepareDomain topology updates.  The GUI setup of CU1 will do all these steps automatically. Because of these additional steps, setup will take longer on the first installation.
  • If you have not installed Exchange 2013 RTM yet, you can install Exchange 2013 CU1 directly from the CU1 update from the web.  No need to install RTM first.
  • If your environment does not include Exchange 2010 servers, you will not be able to add any 2010 servers after installing 2013. If you plan to have any 2010 servers you should deploy a 2010 multi-role server first.
  • When you deploy the first Exchange 2013 Mailbox server in an existing Exchange organization, a new default Offline Address Book is created. All users perform a full download of this new OAB when Outlook is launched.  To prevent this, assign the current default OAB to each database before installing 2013.  The methods to do this are detailed in the blog post above and the release notes.
  • You can deploy multi-role (CAS and Mailbox) server(s) or separate CAS and Mailbox servers.  Due to the fact that CAS proxies all web requests, you will be unable to manage a Mailbox server until there is at least one 2013 CAS in the environment.
  • It no longer matters which role you update first. If you have dedicated CAS and Mailbox servers you can upgrade either role first.
  • You can no longer uninstall a single server role (i.e., you cannot convert a multi-role server to a single role server).  You can only uninstall all Exchange 2013 roles and redeploy.
  • Mailboxes moved from legacy Exchange versions to 2013 will appear to increase in size an average of 30% due to more accurate space calculations. User quotas may need to be increased to account for this.
  • An Address Book Policy Routing Agent has been introduced in CU1 to provide Address Book policies (different Address Books, depending on group membership).
  • With Exchange 2013 RTM CU1 groups can once again be owners of groups for membership management, as was the case in Exchange 2007.
  • Exchange 2013 CU1 includes rudimentary access to “modern” Public Folders (the Exchange 2013 variety) using OWA.  Users must add a specific Public Folder to their Favorites in OWA.  This is only for 2013 Public Folders and only provides access to existing Public Folders — users cannot add or delete 2013 Public Folders in OWA 2013.
  • The Exchange Administration Center (EAC) has been enhanced and now includes Unified Messaging management.
  • Exchange 2013 CU1 will support the Exchange Server 2013 Management Pack for System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), due at a later date.
I’ll be posting an article about OWA 2013 and EAC enhancements shortly.

I’m a Five Time MVP Award Winner!

I’m pleased to say that Microsoft awarded me the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award for the fifth year in a row.

Dear Jeff Guillet,

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2013 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Exchange Server technical communities during the past year.

The Microsoft MVP Award provides us the unique opportunity to celebrate and honor your significant contributions and say “Thank you for your technical leadership.”

Mike Hickman
Community Engagement

I’m honored to be in league with other notable IT professionals.  I’m also proud of the fact that I’m one of the few Microsoft Certified Masters with MVP status in the world.

A large part of this award goes to all the readers of this blog, which celebrated its 2 millionth visitor last week.  Thank you!!

I feel GREAT!