Quicken and Vista

I struggled for quite a bit this evening trying to transfer my Quicken 2007 over to my Vista workstation and get it up and running. I encountered two issues that several other people have also encountered, but the solutions were not always exact or correct.

The two main problems I encountered were:

1. After installing Quicken, every time I would start it up it would give me a pop up window with the error message: “Quicken is unable to complete the unlock process”. The popup window kept appearing no matter how many times you closed it, and eventually I had to go into Task manager to close Quicken

2. After restoring my Quicken data from backup, I noticed that my Price History for Stocks was missing

The solutions are as follows:

1. First, a reminder: make sure you install Quicken by right clicking on the downloaded Quicken .exe installation file, and select to ‘run as administrator

2. As to the “unable to complete the unlock process”, the solution that worked for me was to open up IE7 and select to delete cookies. Trust me, I tried everything, including uninstalling and reinstalling Quicken four times before this trick solved the problem.

3. As to the missing price history data? When doing a backup within Quicken, the price history is stored in a separate (.qph) backup file. The tricky thing is that the ‘date last modified’ for the .qph file is not set to today’s date (when you did your backup), but rather it’s set to the date you last edited or updated any stock price history. In my case that was about a week earlier.

So when I went to copy over the Quicken backup files to my Vista workstation, I only selected those Q files with today’s date, thus missing the .qph file.

Hope this helps someone else down the road!


iPhone not ready for Business prime time?

This comes from a recent Sunbelt’s WServerNews e-letter, but the remarks are similar to what’s being said all around the web:

Just Say NO to iPhone

You are going to be asked (or already have been) to hook up the iPhone to your network’s email system in some way. The problem is that the only protocol the iPhone supports is IMAP and that just does not cut it. The iPhone cannot work like a RIM BlackBerry or Windows Mobile. There is no built-in sync with Outlook that is secure enough. It does not work with Lotus Notes either. I think that is a major omission of Apple’s part and they should know better if they want to sell to the business community.

For the moment the iPhone is is an attractive, expensive consumer device. Keep it out of your networks until Apple licenses software from either RIM or Redmond to act like a Blackberry or Windows Mobile. Another major drawback is that an iPhone user needs an iTunes registration, which means a music directory on the user’s desktop (or lord forbid on the network share). That’s a disk space problem and legal can of worms as which of these songs are stolen or violate copyright? Apart from all the above, block any other access because these things can slurp down a good chunk of corporate confidential data. Just say no.

Reducing size of Office 2003 documents

It’s a known fact that Office documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) very often get bloated (in file size). And if your company creates and stores lots of documents on your SBS server, especially documents with lots of graphic images, you begin to eat up a lot of disk space.

Until now, your choice was to zip those large documents. I recently stumbled over a tool called NxPowerLite that will compact Word, Excel and Powerpoint files (either in-place or create new versions of each file), primarily by compressing the embedded graphic objects in the file. The compacted file can still be opened, read, and modified by Word, Excel or Powerpoint.

I downloaded the trial version (they also have a free version) and converted three files each, and the results were fairly dramatic:

Document 1: from 665kb to 662kb (text only, no graphics)
Document 2: from 3,756kb to 1,058kb
Document 3: from 9,635kb to 445kb

Worksheet 1: from 82kb to 32kb
Worksheet 2: from 252kb to 56kb
Worksheet 3: from 287kb to 252kb

Presentation 1: from 2,532kb to 1,563kb
Presentation 2: from 6,894kb to 2,175kb
Presentation 3: from 8,632kb to 6,707kb


Microsoft Security Assessment 3.0 released

Just saw that version 3.0 of the Microsoft Security Assessment Tool (MSAT) was released. The prior version was released back in 2004.


MSAT is a risk-assessment application designed to provide information and recommendations about best practices for security within an information technology (IT) infrastructure.


It walks you through a long series of multiple choice questions in the areas of Infrastructure, Applications, Operations and People. It generated a 43 page report for me when I completed it – complete with best practices, findings and recommendations.

DeepFreeze your kiosk/traing room computers

I recently configured 12 computers for a training room for a client. One goal was to be able to secure the setup of each computer. My objective was to be able to reboot the computers and have them automatically restored to a known good state.

The solution I settled on is a product called Deep Freeze from Faronics. Right now, I’m using the Deep Freeze Standard version, but I can see where their enterprise version would be very helpful down the road. The product works exactly as its advertised. Users can delete programs or icons, add new programs, download files (even viruses!), run WU/MU — and immediately upon rebooting, the computer is instantly restored to its known, good baseline state.

This blog post is not intended to promote their product, or any product, but simply to let people know of solutions that work for me. Perhaps someone knows of a better solution than Deep Freeze. If so, I’m all ears!

Was it only 10 years ago?

Do you remember what happened in 1996/1997?

  • Corel buys Wordperfect (I still miss WP5.1 DOS on a floppy)

  • The original Palm Pilot was released

  • Netscape Navigator 2.0 was “the” browser

  • Windows NT 4.0 made its debut

  • Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 3.0 for free

  • Office 97 is released (come on, admit that you still like Office 97, and that you have people still using it!)

  • Altavista releases BabelFish

  • Microsoft released the Intellimouse — a wheel mouse

  • And finally, MSNBC went on the air

Happy memories!


Revisiting MX and A records

> As my saga to setup OWA continues, I have been asked by the ISP:
> what is the mailserver hostname to use for the MX record and what
> would you like us to set the preference to?

Well – that really has nothing to do with OWA specifically. Your domain’s MX
record is how the rest of the world finds the server which hosts mail for
your Internet domain name.

Whomever hosts the domain’s public DNS (which may not be the same as the
ISP; that term generally mean “the company I pay for my Internet
connectivity) will needs to set up:

1. An A (address) record, such as mail.mydomain.com – which specifies
your/the correct public IP
2. Your domain’s MX record then specifies that A record, at the lowest
cost/highest priority

Once this is done, and you’ve got inbound traffic on TCP port 25 forwarded
to your Exchange server’s LAN IP, *and* you’ve got @mydomain.com in your
recipient policy via the CEICW you ran, you will be hosting your own mail.
http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/MF002.html explains how this works.

Then – since you’ve only got one Exchange server, and you’ve already got a
nice easy-to-remember A record for it, you can forward TCP port 443 to your
internal IP – and your users can use https://mail.mydomain.com/exchange (or
/remote…) if you’ve enabled this in the CEICW.
> Do we just ask them to setup a fictitious name like
> “johnzwebmail.john.com,


> or do we need to use an actual registered web
> name?

Domain name, yes. You don’t have to, but you won’t be able to do much in OWA
without that….you’ll just have internal / intra-office mail.

> if our domain is www.ourdomain.com

Well, the above isn’t a domain – the domain there is ourdomain.com. www is a
host on that domain (it’s an A record).

> , do we need to register the
> domain name mail.ourdomain.com and then point the MX record at that?

You’d register a domain name, then have its DNS configured as per the above.

> or is this question asking what the machine name (or IP address) of
> the mailserver is?

Not sure I understand….but I think, no.

> Thanks for any and all help.

> One thing I am still unsure about from #1 below: do I need to
> register the domain name “mail.mydomain.com”

No. As said before, mail.mydomain.com is not a domain name – mydomain.com is
a domain name. “mail” is a host on that doman.

mail.mydomain.com needs to be created as an A record (not a CNAME/alias) in
mydomain.com’s  public DNS.

> or since I already have
> a domain name can I just add the word “mail” to it?

Whomever hosts your public DNS will do this. Unless you have access to a
control panel of sorts, that is. Given that you seem not to have much
experience with DNS, it would probably be safer to work with the company who
hosts the domain’s DNS to have them do it.
> So if the domain name I ahve is johnzdomain.com, do I also need to
> register mail.johnzdomain.com?



correct, forget about the function of the machines (www, mail, FTP,
whatever). DNS is just a way of allowing names to access IP’s.

You own a domain, domain.com.
Host or “A” records in the domain point to IP addresses. The A record for
the SBS public IP can be any word, ‘mail’ makes sense only because you will
be using it for such, it could be ‘office’ (office.domain.com) or ‘location’
(location.domain.com) or ‘ahugestringofgobbledegook’

AN MX record points to a name, normally a host or ‘A’ record but this is
also not the only choice. The name simply needs to resolve to an IP address.
Of course, if you use the name for the MX record it’s necessary to have a
mail server working on whatever IP that name addresses.


….actually, an MX record *must* specify an A record – not an IP address,
and not a CNAME …. as per the RFCs…


If your hosting your own SMTP mail server then you need a mx record that
points to your mail server within your organization. A machine name is not
required for an mx record. Most companies will use something like


You will usually use the same name as your company. The IP address they are
requesting is the external IP of your network. So when some sends an email
to joeblow@yourcomapnyname.com it will be sent directly to your Exchange

The preference thay are referring to I beleive a better term is the
“priority”. Some companies have more than one mx record so setting the
priority is essential as to which mail server it goes to first. Myself we
use our mail hosting providor as a backup. So my mx record has a lower
priority than their mail servers. What this means is that if my mail server
goes down then it will route it to the next priority which is their backup
mail server and will stay there until my mail server comes back online.


In addition to A and MX records, you should/must have a “PTR” record, aka
“reverse dns”.  Many ISPs, and the list is growing, will not allow mail to
enter their system unless they can trace it back to its point of origin.
There is also a SPF record, but their use is not universal as of yet.

Have a look at www.dnsstuff.com.  Put in some real names, and some phony
names and you will get the idea.  Although the big button in the middle ask
you to pay, there is a free registation below and to the right.

Larry Struckmeyer

Thank God for Image Backups!

Two years ago I decided to invest in some USB external hard drives and appropriate software, and then on a routine basis, go around and make a full image backup of each workstation and laptop in the office.

[Routine defined as “whenvever I have a chance” which means “maybe twice a year!”]

My primary reason for this was for disaster recovery purposes. Here in Florida, if a hurricane is coming, I can grab the USB drives and know I could restore data or complete systems. I’ve been using both Acronis TrueImage and StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect. Both do a good job, and give me a different look on the data.

So, my boss comes in from a weekend trip and proclaims that his laptop is dead. I’m feeling pretty good because I had just ordered a USB-to-SATA/IDE cable kit last week and had just arrived. So I popout the drive from the laptop, and hook it up to the USB cable converter , and … NOTHING. He’s right, it’s not mostly dead, it’s all dead!

I overnighted a new hard drive for the laptop. After it came in and I installed it, I booted up the laptop using my Acronis Bootable CD, connected my USB backup hard drive to it, ran the restore software, and 30 minutes later the computer is ready to give to the boss.

But, I learned a long time ago that if you do something quick, people will expect that same turn around for future problems. So I let that laptop run for another two hours (burn in time for the new hard drive), and then with some accurately placed drops of water on my forehead, I brought the laptop to the boss and told him it was a tough job, but the laptop was now up and running (even though the old drive is still deader than a doornail).


Dealing with duplicate tasks / contacts in Outlook

Cell phones are great (when they work), and even better when they sync up with your email, contacts, tasks and calendar items from Outlook/Exchange. However, recently I had to resync a phone, and I’m still not sure what I did to create this situation, but afterwards I found that most of my task items were duplicated (and sometimes in triplicate) within Outlook.

I was not looking forward to deleting each of these tasks by hand. So a quick Google search got me to the Mapilab web site http://www.mapilab.com/ where they have a nice collection of Outlook and Exchange tools and add-ins, including their Duplicates Remover tool — http://www.mapilab.com/outlook/remove_duplicates/.

 While there, you may want to also check out their Exchange tool for server-side rules.