Installing Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 from USB Drive

One configuration that I’ve recently ran into is installing it into a machine with no CD drive of any means. I know I could carry around a USB-based DVD drive but instead, I wanted to have a USB drive to install it from. After some research, I found that it was relatively easy to create such a tool!

  1. Either mount the ISO or insert the DVD for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 into your computer (assume it is D:)
  2. Format your USB drive to FAT32 (assume it is E:)
  3. Run the following commands at a command prompt:
          D:bootbootsect.exe /nt60 E:
          xcopy D:*.* /s /e /f  E:

At this point, you should be able to boot off of your USB stick (pending proper BIOS settings on the machine you’re booting up from) and it will install Windows off of the USB drive.


Resetting a Polycom Phone to Factory Defaults

Sometimes when you get a used Polycom phone to save a few bucks you need to reset it to the factory defaults.   You can try to format the phone to see if that helps clear out any old settings.

  1. Press the phone’s Menu button.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Advanced.
  4. Type in the password 456 and press Enter.
  5. Select Admin Settings.
  6. Select Reset to Default.
  7. Select Format File System

That will typically do what needs to be done.  If you are still stuck, please contact us and we will try and help you get the phone running.

Adobe Distiller/Acrobat Issue – Cambria not found, using Courier.

Ran into a weird issue printing emails today to PDF format.  Once the PDF was created it was actually just a text file that has some text that looked like this:

Cambria not found, using Courier.
%%[ Error: invalidfont; OffendingCommand: xshow ]%%

Turns out this is a fairly well known issue and one workaround that enabled us to print was to change an option in the Printing Preferences of the Adobe PDF print driver.  All you need to do is to uncheck the “Rely on system fonts only, do not use document fonts”.  We have not fully tested the impact of this yet, but at least we were able to get our job done.

32-bit Adobe with 64-bit Outlook

Trying to use the Send Email… option in Adobe Reader or Acrobat but you have 64-bit Microsoft Office installed?  After dealing with this issue for many months I finally got tired of it and found a solution.  It involves editing the registry so you have to be careful, but once you are done it will work like you think it should.

Add the following to the registry



and to set the Default Programs Association


That should do it.

Here is a screen shot of the registry editor and what it should look like and this is the screen shot of the second part of the changes you need to make

Quick way to generate a partially random string in T-SQL

Had a need to generate a partially random string in a SQL proc today.  Came up with the following that is pretty short and sweet:

CAST(CAST(newid() as varchar(40)) as varchar(8))

Idea was originally inspired from this link:

and the post by robvolk…

Tired of “Outlook blocked access to the following potentially unsafe attachments: ….”?

Below is a simple way to get rid of that error.  This was primarily taken from a Microsoft knowledgebase article (

Follow these steps to modify the registry and alter Outlook’s attachment security behavior on your computer.

  1. Exit Outlook if it is running.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run. Copy and paste (or type) the following command in the Open box, and then press ENTER:
  3. Verify that the following registry key for your version of Outlook exists.
    Microsoft Outlook 2000

    Microsoft Outlook 2002

    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice10.0OutlookSecurityMicrosoft Office Microsoft Office Outlook 2003

    Microsoft Office Outlook 2007


    Outlook 2010


    If the registry key exists, go to step 5.

    If the registry key does not exist, follow these steps to create it:

    1. Locate, and then click the following registry key:
    2. Under Edit, click New, and then click Key.
    3. Type Office, and then press ENTER.
    4. Under Edit, click New, and then click Key.
    5. For Outlook 2000, type 9.0, and then press ENTER.
      For Outlook 2002, type 10.0, and then press ENTER.
      For Outlook 2003, type 11.0, and then press ENTER.
      For Outlook 2007, type 12.0, and then press ENTER.
      For Outlook 2010, type 14.0, and then press ENTER.
    6. Under Edit, click New, and then click Key.
    7. Type Outlook, and then press ENTER.
    8. Under Edit, click New, and then click Key.
    9. Type Security, and then press ENTER.
  4. Under Edit, click New, and then click String Value.
  5. Copy and paste (or type) the following name for the new value:
  6. Press ENTER.
  7. Right-click the new string value name, and then click Modify.
  8. Type the file name extension of the file type that you want to open in Outlook. For example:

    To specify multiple file types, use the following format:

  9. Click OK.
  10. Exit Registry Editor.
  11. Restart your computer.

When you start Outlook, you can open the file types that you specified in the registry.

Note We recommend that you enable only the file types that you have to have. If you rarely receive a particular file type, we recommend that you give Outlook temporary access to the file type that is in question. Then, reconfigure Outlook to block the file type by undoing the changes to the registry. For more information about how you can configure Outlook to block attachment file name extensions that Outlook does not block by default, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

837388 How to configure Outlook to block additional attachment file name extensions

Active Directory domain controllers out of sync

We ran into a problem with one of our domain controllers that was not connected for an extended period of time where it could not sync changes properly when available again.  There is a solution from Microsoft to resolve this issue.

We have repeated the knowledge base article here just in case it is not available on Microsoft’s site.  The original article can be found here

Microsoft’s Article is shown here:

This step-by-step article describes how to use Netdom.exe to reset machine account passwords of a domain controller in Windows Server 2008 R2, in Windows Server 2008, or in Windows Server 2003.

Each Windows-based computer maintains a machine account password history that contains the current and previous passwords that are used for the account. When two computers try to authenticate with each other and a change to the current password is not yet received, Windows relies on the previous password. If the sequence of password changes exceeds two changes, the computers involved may not be able to communicate, and you may receive error messages. For example, you may receive “Access Denied” error messages when Active Directory replication occurs.

This behavior also applies to replication between domain controllers of the same domain. If the domain controllers that are not replicating reside in two different domains, look at the trust relationship more closely.

You cannot change the machine account password by using the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, but you can reset the password by using the Netdom.exe tool. The Netdom.exe tool is included in the Windows Support Tools for Windows Server 2003. The Netdom.exe tool is also included in Windows Server 2008 R2 and in Windows Server 2008.

The Netdom.exe tool resets the account password on the computer locally (known as a “local secret”) and writes this change to the computer’s computer account object on a Windows domain controller that resides in the same domain. Simultaneously writing the new password to both places ensures that at least the two computers involved in the operation are synchronized, and starts Active Directory replication so that other domain controllers receive the change.

The following procedure describes how to use the netdom command to reset a machine account password. This procedure is most frequently used on domain controllers, but also applies to any Windows machine account.

You must run the tool locally, from the Windows-based computer whose password you want to change. Additionally, you must have administrative permissions locally and on the computer account’s object in Active Directory to run Netdom.exe.

Use Netdom.exe to Reset a Machine Account Password


  1. Install the Windows Server 2003 Support Tools on the domain controller whose password you want to reset. These tools are located in the SupportTools folder on the Windows Server 2003 CD-ROM. To install these tools, right-click the Suptools.msi file in the SupportTools folder, and then click Install.
    Note This step is not necessary in Windows Server 2008 R2 and in Windows Server 2008 because the Netdom.exe tool is included in these Windows editions.
  2. If you want to reset the password for a Windows domain controller, you must stop the Kerberos Key Distribution Center service and set its startup type to Manual.Notes
    • After you restart and verify that the password has been successfully reset, you can restart the Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC) service and set its startup type back to Automatic. This forces the domain controller that has the incorrect computer account password to contact another domain controller for a Kerberos ticket.
    • You may have to disable the Kerberos Key Distribution Center service on all domain controllers except one. If you can, do not disable the domain controller that has the global catalog, unless it is experiencing problems.
  3. Remove the Kerberos ticket cache on the domain controller where you receive the errors. You can do this by restarting the computer or by using the KLIST, Kerbtest, or KerbTray tools. KLIST is included in Windows Server 2008 R2 and in Windows Server 2008. For Windows Server 2003, KLIST is available as a free download in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. To obtain the tools, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
  4. At a command prompt, type the following command:
    netdom resetpwd /s:server /ud:domainUser /pd:*

    A description of this command is:

    • /s:server is the name of the domain controller to use for setting the machine account password. This is the server where the KDC is running.
    • /ud:domainUser is the user account that makes the connection with the domain you specified in the /s parameter. This must be in domainUser format. If this parameter is omitted, the current user account is used.
    • /pd:* specifies the password of the user account that is specified in the /ud parameter. Use an asterisk (*) to be prompted for the password.

    For example, the local domain controller computer is Server1 and the peer Windows domain controller is Server2. If you run Netdom.exe on Server1 with the following parameters, the password is changed locally and is simultaneously written on Server2, and replication propagates the change to other domain controllers:

    netdom resetpwd /s:server2 /ud:mydomainadministrator /pd:*
  5. Restart the server whose password was changed. In this example, this is Server1.

Fix Outlook Web Access (OWA) on Windows 7 and Vista

There is an issue using OWA on Windows 7 and Windows Vista which makes Outlook Web Access (OWA) unusable.  To fix this requires a hotfix to be installed on the Exchange Server.  The details of this hotfix can be found at the below link:

Interesting feature within Windows 7

Windows users are excited over the discovery of a hidden “GodMode” feature that lets users access all of the operating system’s control panels from within a single folder.  In order to enable this feature all you need to do is to create a new folder and then rename the folder to the following:


Once that is done, the folder’s icon will change to resemble a control panel and will contain dozens of control options.

I think most of these options are available elsewhere, but this provides a simple, easy-to-use method to access all of them.

Mail Merge from Microsoft Outlook

Created a short video about how to do a Mail Merge from Microsoft Outlook using the Categories option for Contacts.

See all the details here