Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Windows Explorer's GUI is really bad at long file names and folder structures - Don't trust it!

I am actually in a bit of shock at this one - I've hit the long file name problem in Windows a few times in the past, but it has never been that much of an issue.

A client came to me with a project to move a huge Dropbox repository (Millions of files, about 150,000 folders) to a new server. During this project and moving a few folders, I got the standard Windows long file name problem:

I've only ever come across this when I really thought I was at the limitations - however, I took a step back and tried to understand this.

My client used Dropbox - the location was originally "c:\users\username\dropbox\xxx\yyy\...[lots]...\zzz\file.doc" and the new location is "c:\temp\xxx\yyy\...[lots]...\zzz\file.doc"

Thanks then to a few people in Server Fault chat, it seems that the Windows GUI just lies and doesn't handle this at all well.

In fact, if I look at a folder that has ~750 folders and ~450 files, I see the following:

Moving the files with xcopy or robocopy works fine, or even using Terracopy.

In addition, some tools such as winmerge also fail at comparing looking at the large folder structure where as Beyond Compare was able to do it fine.

Luckily I decided to take extra care and manually verify these files - granted I have never dealt with so many large files on a single job before, but, I have always trusted the Windows property box and this has been a scary lesson for me.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Exchange Management Console Initialization failed upon opening

So, been messing around with SSL certificates trying to renew all your Exchange certificates and you have this as a side effect? Or, you just open Exchange Management Console and get Initialization failed message?

For the sake of people Googling:

"The following error occurred while attempting to connect to the specified exchange server

The attempt to connect to using "kerberos" authentication failed: Connecting to remote server failed with the following error message : The WinRM client sent a request to an HTTP server and got a response saying the requested HTTP URL was not available. This is usually returned by a HTTP server that does not support the WS-Management protocol. For more information, see the about_Remote_Troubleshooting Help topic."


Simply open IIS and make sure your default site has an additional host header setup that matches in the error above.

I have no idea why this is caused - the default site on the machine is set to listen on all interfaces/ips and is the default site, and server name resolves to the machine - however, specifically putting the FQDN of the server in a host header fixed the issue instantly.

If you are not sure how to do this - you open IIS, go to the default site, click bindings then add and type the server there:

Hope this helps you.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

How to activate Windows 10 after a reinstall on (Tier 1) OEM licensed hardware

I've recently been buying a lot of Dell hardware for my clients, then performing aftermarket upgrades as it is very cost effective. After installing a new SSD and reinstalling Windows, it reports as not activated.

To fix this, run the following command:

wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey

It outputs the key straight away, and you can copy/paste this to the regular activation window.

And done - this is ridiculously simple and I am not at all sure why Windows doesn't do this automatically.

(I usually install from a ISO acquired from VLSC. I have not tested using a Dell branded disk, or even a standard OEM edition)


I had a client purchase 10 machines that were upgraded - 9 worked fine, then the 10th said that the key had already been used (I did the above steps each time, didn't reuse once).

The solution was to go to the (elevated) command prompt and type "slui 4"

I then did the old phone activation which went through fine.

I have no idea why 9 were successful and 1 failed.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Office 2016 problems

After many months of Office 2016 being available on Office 365 to some customers, it was finally added to mine and I finally upgraded around 2 months ago.

With a single exception being a really nice feature in Outlook where the attach file button shows the most recently edited files, I have yet to see any killer feature or improvement in day to day usage.

To start, my start menu keeps losing associations with all the Office programs.

Doing a repair install seems to fix this temporarily, but, give it a few hours and it breaks again.

The biggest annoyance I have at the moment is that Excel and Word just seem to be so buggy - it is unreal.

I have been trying to do various accounting work for the past 2 days involving having two spreadsheets open. I worked for 2 hours, making various marks on the spreadsheet - and when I clicked save, absolutely nothing happened.

I then tried to highlight to do copy and I got a weird out of memory warning (despite having ~40% free on a 16GB system). I tried so many things, but, it was, in official terms "buggered". Upon restarting, the worst thing was there was no auto recovery.

This has unfortunately happened so many times now that whenever I am doing work, I find myself saving a lot more often than I previously used to (after each row sometimes) and just restart the moment I see an error.

I wish I could say it was a failed installation, but, I have the same on my home machine and two of my laptops (I don't use any out of the ordinary add-ons).

There was an Office 365 addon today - running it fixed the file associations for about 6 hours - but, they are broken again and I have already had the Excel bug a few minutes ago.

It was a very similar bug (freeze on saving) that got me to leave my year long experiment with OpenOffice many years ago - I wonder how that or Libre Office is coming along?! I just can't put up with this much longer - or, maybe I should just go back to Office 2013.

Years on, I've sold so many Office licensing deals to companies because it is the right thing to do from an IT standpoint (deployment/growth etc. is so much easier), but, the IT cynic in me wonders if people are just best off buying boxed copies/OEM with the huge release cycle Microsoft seem to have - and how lackluster the improvements seem to be in every version.

... Still waiting for the version of Word that can type a dissertation or other long document for you!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Migrating Gmail to Office 365: MigrationPermanentException Error with user name and password

Have you been pulling your hair out for the past few hours (or days?) and not found anything online that can help?

Yep... Same here - been driving me mad! I've checked, double checked, triple checked all username and passwords which are all correct, but every migration comes up with the same error:

"Error:MigrationPermanentException: We had trouble signing in to this account. Please confirm that you‎'re using the correct user name and password."

Well, after a bit of digging, this is actually an easy one to fix -

1. Login to Gmail as the user
2. Go to account options (as of writing, click the name in the top right corner then "My account").
3. Click on the big "Sign-in & Security" button
4. Go to "Connected apps & sites"
5. Turn on "Allow less secure apps"

And, try the migration again - please note, you will have to delete any other migration in progress that has the same mailbox, or, it may skip over it without giving feedback.

I hope this helps and saves you hours of time!

If it does and you do not currently have a partner, please add EZPC Limited as your partner of record (the ID is 612026) for your Office 365 account and we will be happy to assist you in the future!

To anyone else thinking of signing up to Office 365, here is a link to a no obligation 25 user, 30 day trial:

Too Long :(

It's been over a year since my last blog post :(

Where has the time gone - and wow, what a year! There has been some very big changes which I'm sure I'll be blogging about later!

I just want to say a big thank you to all my friends and ex-coworkers for the support you continue to give.

That you to the people who have been answering comments left by others, and sorry for all the spam here :( I thought Blogger was better than this - I've cleared well over 1,000 entries, but there is loads more to do.

Anyway... I've been adding topics to my todo list and I'll get around to blogging regularly again soon!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Getting an "Error Verifying Request Signature or Signing Certificate" message on Windows Server (0x800b0101 (-2146762495))

I went through hours of trying to fix this, without finding anything on Google... I hope this gets rated high on the search results for the terms :0x800b0101 (-2146762495)

The short story is simply, don't try to renew an already expired certificate - just issue a new one in the same name.

You can only renew non-expired certificates, otherwise you get the message:

 “Error Verifying Request Signature or Signing Certificate. A required certificate is not within its validity period when verifying against the current system clock or the timestamp in the signed file. 0x800b0101 (-2146762495).”

... Sorry if you have just had to run through tonnes of useless patching that hasn't fixed it!