Category Archives: 13188

Great New Free Utilities from Microsoft

Microsoft has released a number of great new utilities designed to make administration easier, especially in the Exchange space.  Most of these have been released in just the past three weeks.



  • Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator BETA2 (link)

Helps reduce the risks involved in Exchange Server network bandwidth planning.  The Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator has been designed to help anyone planning an Exchange Server deployment to predict the network bandwidth requirements for a specific set of clients.  The prediction algorithms used within this calculator are entirely new and have been derived after significant testing and observation.



  • Log Parser Studio (link)

Log Parser Studio is a utility that allows you to search through and create reports from your IIS, Event, EXADB and others types of logs. It builds on top of Log Parser 2.2 and has a full user interface for easy creation and management of related SQL queries.



Anyone who regularly uses Log Parser 2.2 knows just how useful and powerful it can be for obtaining valuable information from IIS (Internet Information Server) and other logs. In addition, adding the power of SQL allows explicit searching of gigabytes of logs returning only the data that is needed while filtering out the noise. The only thing missing is a great graphical user interface (GUI) to function as a front-end to Log Parser and a ‘Query Library’ in order to manage all those great queries and scripts that one builds up over time.

Log Parser Studio was created to fulfill this need; by allowing those who use Log Parser 2.2 (and even those who don’t due to lack of an interface) to work faster and more efficiently to get to the data they need with less “fiddling” with scripts and folders full of queries.

  • Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool (OCAT) (link)

The Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool provides a detailed report of your current Outlook profile. This report includes many parameters about your profile, and it highlights any known problems that are found in your profile. For any problems that are listed in the report, you are provided a link to a Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article that describes a possible fix for the problem. If you are a Help Desk professional, you can also export the report to a file. Then, the report can be viewed in the Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool on another client computer where the tool is installed.



  • CalCheck – The Outlook Calendar Checking Tool (link)

 The Calendar Checking Tool for Outlook is a command-line program that checks Outlook Calendars for problems. To use this tool, the Outlook calendar must reside on a Microsoft Exchange Server. The tool does not work with IMAP, with POP3, or with other non-Exchange mail servers.



The tool opens an Outlook profile, opens the Outlook Calendar, and then checks several things such as permissions, free/busy publishing, and auto booking. Then, the tool checks each item in the calendar folder for problems that can cause items to seem to be missing or that might otherwise cause problems in the Calendar.



And last, but not least…








  • Microsoft Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell Beta 1 (link)

Helps scripters find Windows PowerShell scripts, snippets, modules, and how-to guidance in online repositories such as the TechNet Script Center Repository, PoshCode, local or network file systems and Bing Search Repository.

 



 

 

Tabbed Conversations for Microsoft Lync 2010

Microsoft released Tabbed Conversations for Microsoft Lync 2010 today. Tabbed Conversations is an application that provides a tabbed Lync 2010 conversation window to allow multiple instant messaging (IM) conversations in a single window, as shown below.





This is a separate application from Lync 2010 and must be launched after the Lync 2010 client is launched.  If you close Lync, you’ll need to launch it again.  See the Tabbed Conversations for Microsoft Lync 2010 Getting Started Guide for more details.



Once you start the application and you start an new IM for the first time, Lync briefly opens a normal IM window and then replaces it with the Tabbed Conversations window (above).  It then works exactly as the normal IM conversation window, with a few additions.



You can start a new tabbed conversation by clicking the “+” button at the end of the row.  This will pop-up the Send Instant Message window for you to choose a new contact.  You can also detach a conversation from the tabbed interface by clicking the up arrow icon in the tab.  This will open the conversation in the standard Lync IM window.  You can bring it back into the tabbed application by re-adding that contact as a new tab.



As expected, you can only do one screen share per tabbed IM conversation at a time, but you can have multiple contacts in that conversation.



It would be nice if the integration was a little smoother.  I don’t like having to open the application after I launch Lync, and the way it briefly shows the normal Lync IM window before it kicks in is a little annoying.  But overall I like the way that it decreases the surface area of Lync, especially on smaller screens.

Lync Tools: Stress and Performance Tool and Capacity Calculator

Microsoft released two new Lync Server 2010 tools to help you in your deployments.

The Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Capacity Calculator is a spreadsheet for calculating a user’s hardware requirements based on information that the admin supplies about number of users, types of communication, and expected traffic.  It includes a Microsoft Word document explaining the tool and how to use it.



The Lync Server 2010 Stress and Performance Tool (LSS) can be used to prepare, define and validate performance targets of user scenarios offered by on-premise Lync Server 2010 deployment. LSS includes multiple modules and can simulate simultaneous users on one or more Lync Servers.


Both of these tools will be instrumental in any successful Lync deployment.

Introducing LyncAddContacts!

The Office Communications Server 2007 Resource Kit Tools featured a nifty tool called LCSAddContacts.  This WSF script allows you to add contacts to LCS or OCS (but not Lync Server) using WMI.  I was hoping to see a version of this tool for Lync Server, but no such luck — So I wrote one myself.

I’m surprised to find that there is no PowerShell cmdlet that allows you to add contact groups or contacts, and since there are no WMI classes for Lync Server anymore, I needed a way to do this — so I wrote a tool myself.  I leverage the DBIMPEXP utility from the Lync Server DVD to import and export contacts. 

The purpose of LyncAddContacts is to add the same contact groups and contacts to multiple users programatically.  For example, you may want to import a contact group called “Company Contacts”  that contains contacts for everyone in the company.  Here’s how it works:
  1. Create a template (source) user in Lync with the contact groups and contacts that you want to export.
  2. Run the LyncAddContacts tool to export the source user’s contacts
  3. Run the LyncAddContacts tool again in import mode and target the user or OU that you want to import the contacts to.
Prerequisites:
  • The tool must be run on the Lync server from which you will export/import the data.
  • You must be a member of the CSAdministrator security group to run this tool.  This group has rights to export and import contact groups and contacts to all users.
  • You must copy the DBIMPEXP.EXE tool from the \Support folder on the Lync Server 2010 installation media to the same folder where the LyncAddContacts tool will be run.
  • You must have read, write and execute rights to the folder where the LyncAddContacts tool will be run.
Note: This tool must be run under the CScript host due to the amount of output generated.  You will see a syntax pop-up window if the tool runs under WScript.

Usage:

First, you must export the source user’s contact groups and contacts.  The following example exports this information from a user named “Source” on a Lync Standard Edition server:
where source@domain.com is the SIP address of the user you want to export.
CScript LyncAddContacts.vbs source@domain.com
The following example performs the same export on a Lync Enterprise Edition server:
CScript LyncAddContacts.vbs source@domain.com sql.domain.com
where source@domain.com is the SIP address of the user you want to export and sql.domain.com is the SQL server used by the front-end pool.

Second, you import the contact groups and contacts to either a single target user or a target Organizational Unit in your domain.  The following example imports the data to a user named “Target” on a Lync Standard Edition server:
CScript LyncAddContacts.vbs /import target@domain.com
where target@domain.com is the SIP address of the user you want to import the contact info to.  For Lync Server Enterprise Edition you must add the SQL server used by the front-end pool, as shown above.

The following example imports the same contact groups and contacts to all the SIP enabled users in the Users container in Active Directory:
CScript LyncAddContacts.vbs /import CN=Users,DN=domain,DN=com
Again, for Lync Server Enterprise Edition you must add the SQL server used by the front-end pool, as in this example:
CScript LyncAddContacts.vbs /import OU=Lync Users,DN=domain,DN=com” sql.domain.com
A nice benefit of this tool is that contacts will not get a notification that so-and-so has added them to their contact list.  This is really useful in preventing unnecessary pop-ups from the Lync client.


Download LyncAddContacts.  View the source code here.


Disclaimer: I hope that the information in this blog is valuable to you. Your use of the information contained in these pages, however, is at your sole risk. All information on these pages is provided “as -is”, without any warranty, whether express or implied, of its accuracy, completeness, fitness for a particular purpose, title or non-infringement, and none of the third-party products or information mentioned in the work are authored, recommended, supported or guaranteed by The EXPTA {blog}. Further, EXPTA shall not be liable for any damages you may sustain by using this information, whether direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential, even if it has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

Download the Image Resizer Powertoy Clone for Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2

One thing lacking in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is a native picture resizing tool.  I find this surprising since Windows 7 is chock full of image and video eye-candy.

Thankfully, there’s an easy to install image resizer for all versions of Windows available on Codeplex.com.  The tool is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.  Image Resizer 2.1 allows you to resize any image by simply right-clicking the image(s) and selecting Resize from the context menu, as shown.


Then you can choose the size and options for the pictures, as shown.


You can perform bulk resizing by selecting more than one photo and resize them.  Can’t get much easier than that!