Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How to increase the Exchange SP2 storage limit to 75 GB

I had a question last night on how to increase the Exchange Storage limit for Exchange 2003 SP2. The You Had Me at EHLO blog has the details. The short form is:

  1. Figure out how big you can make your store on your server based on hard drive size

  2. Browse to HKLM\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Services\ MSExchangeIS\ {SERVER NAME}\ Private-013e2e46-2cd7-4a8e-bfec-0e4652b94b00
  3. Create a REG_DWORD called "Database Size Limit in GB" and enter the DECIMAL value (ie switch the input to DECIMAL) in GB you want to use from 1-75

  4. Restart the Exchange Store service

You should read the actual blog posting by the Exchange team, it's much more complete and provides more configurable options.

Then what I did, was divide the amount you alloted for the whole store, by 75 max users to find your new quota/user. If you're never going to go that high, then do the math differently, just don't forget the quotas when you're adding new users.

From experience, a corupted Exchange store is not fun, especially when it happens on Thanks Giving Day at 5pm.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Have You Sorted Out Your Power?

Just the other day, my router died because of a slight power outtage. I'm not too bent out of shape over it, because it was on the fritz anyways, but it got me thinking, I should have better power management setup in my house. I dropped by Circuit City and got me a relatively cheap UPS from APC. Boy was I impressed when I plugged the USB connection into my server.

It just showed up as a battery for my system! Just like my laptop!

So while that was cool, I noticed I could run apps as things died. Wouldn't it be great to get notified of a power outage? and have the server shut itself down?. Well, you have this handy tool called Microsoft Exchange Server on the server, which just so happens to excel at sending mail!

So, I decided I wanted to have the server send me mail when it dropped onto battery power, and again, just before it shut down, so I toyed with the alert bars, and built some VBScripts to get just that working!

As you can see, I wrote two different scripts (they were both small, and it beats trying to figure out what alert level we're at!) for each alert level. I was struggling to write the scripts, so my man Adam came through with some help. Here is what my script looks like {email address changed to de-spam the innocent}. I just have a file called PowerOut.vbs, with the following content:

Dim MyMail
Set MyMail = CreateObject("CDO.Message")
MyMail.From = "administrator@fqdn.com"
MyMail.To = "externaluser@fqdn2.com;phone#@smsaddy.com"
MyMail.Subject = "Power Outtage for YOUR DOMAIN"
MyMail.TextBody = "Power Outtage for YOUR DOMAIN"
MyMail.Fields("urn:schemas:mailheader:X-MSMail-Priority") = 0
Set MyMail = Nothing

Then, I just configure the program to run as the .vbs script. Note that it's expecting a .exe or .com file, so you'll have to change it to all files to be able to see the .vbs file when your choosing which program to run.

You'll also notice that I put in my SMS address, which works well in North America because SMS addresses are emailable directly from the Internet, some countries/providers do not offer this service. :(

Also, keep in mind that I'm not a Microsoft dev, and I've tested this on my own home server, that's it, so use at your own risk!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Death in the Networking Family.

Thanks for all the kind words of those of you who want to drive by my house to pirate my wireless network. I appreciate the fact that I have some fans out there.

However, there are two things preventing you from doing this. (1), I haven't told you where I live, or which SSID is mine, and most importantly (2), my router got fried tonight, and as a result, I no longer have wireless at my place. My backup router is in place, and my wired connections is all I have.

Yes, this means no music downstairs and no XBOX LIVE tonight.

So, to those of you who are parked outside. Try another night. Sorry to disappoint. ;o)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Securing your Wireless Network with WPA

I can't say that I have a complicated home network, it's actually really simple, but it's very wireless

When I was the backup Program Manager, I went out and dropped $300 on an external USB harddrive, when I was the client deployment PM, my network became completely managed by Group Policy (until of course, I had to take my Media Center Edition out of the domain for my externers to work). Now I'm the networking PM. I suppose you think that I should swich my machine into a dual-nic box, run premium, get to know ISA. Well, I might end up there, but I'm not there yet, I believe in simplicity, and besides, things are working now anyways, and I don't need to track my movement on the web. ;o) I know where I've been!

One thing I do want to change is my wireless security. Right now I'm using WEP encryption on my network, 64-bit. I was wondering one day what WEP actually stood for, and when the first hit that came up was Tom's Hardware Guide on how to crack WEP securitiy. Hrm, when something is as easy to crack as WEP is, it comes up on a search prior to the definition. Time to change your security algorithm.

Now if I was a business, I'd probably be installing and configuring Radius, but for me that doesn't work. I have people over all the time, and creating a domain user account for folks to just get Internet access kind of sucks.

So, I'm moving to WPA-Public Shared Key, but first I needed to make sure all my devices supported it:

  • Linksys Router - firmware upgrade was needed

  • Linksys Bridge - new enough that it was included

  • Tablet PC - New drivers for the Wireless card were needed

  • PDA - Pocket PC 2003, ok

Ok, so here goes, first step is to come up with a shared key, I picked "SBS is Cool". (haha! just kidding, I'm not going to post my shared key to the web!). So I picked a Super Secret shared key and configured my router.

Next I configured the bridge with the same shared-key, and then my laptop, then my PDA.

After upgrading the drivers on my laptop, I decided to get started. My first problem was I lost the CD to setup my wireless bridge. Lucky for me, Linksys support works on a Sunday and a typing feind named Jesse told me to set my wired LAN address to, I was able to get to the bridge ( and notice that the version of the firmware that I had didn't support the "#" character. I changed my Pre-Shared Key to something else without that character and everything started working.

And for my PDA, it would seem I need to get Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition to support WPA.

At least now I can feel more confident that my neighbours aren't on my LAN ..

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Changing the Email Format in Outlook

This may seem trivial to most people, but it seems to bother me more than it should when you toss an attachment into the email and it doesn't appear at the top in the attachment window, but instead, inline, amidst all your text that you've so carefully put together.

One of our brilliant developers, Leszek, managed to point out that it was inline because I was sending in "Rich Text" instead of "HTML". Of course, Outlook (and by default Word) is defaulted to send new messages in HTML, which is great, but what happens if you reply to a message that's already in Rich Text?

You can change it with the bar at the top of the window:

I hope that gets rid of some frustration. I know it has for me. I only like to send in HTML format.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Customizing the Office "Save As..." Dialog ... Or Otherwise known as "My Places"

As you can probably tell from the lack of posts, Billy-G has been putting us to the grind these days. I'm in the middle of writting specs, updating specs, reviewing specs, reading specs, etc. Basically my life consists of specs, specs, specs. And what comes with specs? The over use of a unknown little program called Microsoft Office. :o)

I was saving a particular spec today, about a BAZILLION times, and it occured to me, I haddn't posted this little tip on how to have fun with the Office "Save As..." dialog.

So here is my customized "Save As..." dialog, notice anything different?

I'll give you a hint, take a look at what is selected. CompanyWeb! How cool is that, you can put links to any folder in here. SharePoint folders, or UNC/SMB paths. I bet your just itching to know how.

It's easy:

  1. Open Word, or Excel, and choose File, Save As...

  2. Browse to the folder you want on the quick bar, for me I typed in http://companyweb and hit enter

  3. In the top right hand courner of the dialog, drop down the Tools menu and choose Add to "My Places"

  4. Now the folder is added to the bottom of the list, but it's inconvenient because it's off the bottom of the dialog

  5. Simply right-click the item and choose Move Up, and shift all of the items around to your liking

Now if that's not a time saver, I don't know what is. You know what else? You could even add this to your employee's computer to promote the use of SharePoint, you know make it easy!.

I use this non-stop when I'm writing specs, I'm sure once you do it, you'll find it handy too.

Keep in mind that this only works for Office Applications, if you're ambitious and want to change it for programs like MSPAINT or NOTEPAD (two of my favourite applications btw), you'll have to get the Tweak UI Power Toy and change it there. Keep in mind in Tweak UI, it's called "The Places Bar". (dang naming conventions, or lack there of will get you every time!)

Now that's some low level customization, but if you're in the same spot all the time opening or saving, these tips might save you, or your customers some time!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Let's all fight spam together

Yes, I'm still on my banter against fighting spam... There is a lot of it. Things like Exchange Service Pack 2 and the IMF filter improvements drastically help, but we need to reduce spam together.

SPF is something I'm just learning about. Here is an overview of SPF to get you up to speed. Wouldn't it be nice if no one would get spam from your domain name, because you are the only one who can control the source of that email?

Gotta love that!