As part of the annual review of our clients systems, I have been tasked to generate a list of all Users in Active Directory and also find out if any accounts have not been accessed for 30 days or longer. Luckily both of these can be achieved quite easily using the Active Directory Users and Computers and Powershell consoles. Here’s how it’s done! Continue reading
I have been setting up several client PCs with Outlook 2010 so they can get the best out of our Hosted Exchange 2010 system.
Some of these systems still use Office 2003 and as it’s only Outlook we need to upgrade we needed to leave the rest of the Office 2003 suite on the PC. Some install without issues, but several times I have been hit with the following error: Continue reading
Almost 15 years ago, the world was informed that it was heading towards the ultimate apocalypse. Planes were going to fall from the skies, nuclear missiles would launch themselves and the Amstrad e-Mailer would gain conscious thought.
The cause? Continue reading
Just a quick post about a problem we have been investigating for a client who is on our Hosted Exchange system.
We received a report that mail was sticking in the Outbox of Outlook 2010 and new mail was taking a while to arrive (compared to OWA where it appeared quickly). We tried several things including: Continue reading
Over the last few months, we have had a number of clients experience problems with their email systems. From issues with their servers being slow, through to emails being bounced back and recipients not receiving them. After thorough investigation by the team, the reasons behind all these issues were the same. The clients were sending mass emails from their own email server. There are many reasons why sending mass mails from your own system is not a good idea, both technically and ethically. Below are some of the reasons and some solutions to those issues.
Everyone in business needs to write emails, reports or content for websites, but often they’re badly written. There are two things I see time and again – jargon or management speak, and using too many adjectives, superlatives and intensifiers.
Jargon isn’t necessarily bad, in technical and scientific industries it’s essential to convey a specific meaning. Management speak, though, is a type of jargon more often used to cover up wooly thinking or attempt to make the author sound clever. It rarely works.
We recently took on a new client with an old SBS 2003 server hosting an EPOS database in SQL 2000. The client went to their outgoing support provider for handover details (usernames/password etc) and the next morning they came in to find their EPOS database had data from several key tables deleted. Coincidence? Quite possibly, who am I to comment. Continue reading
We’re as excited as anyone about the possibilities of cloud services for small businesses, but it can sometime be difficult to compare the value between in-house and hosted systems. We crunched some numbers to try and help you understand the differences between running Windows Small Business Server with Exchange vs. Orbits’ Hosted Exchange.
How many users do you have?
The more users you have the more the balance tips towards running your own server, but when you have less than 20 mailboxes it works out cheaper, without even taking into account any of the non-financial advantages of moving to the cloud.
Subscription vs. Buy-to-own
One of the reasons people find it hard to evaluate whether cloud services are a good option for them is that the pricing model is different. The pricing for Orbits’ Hosted Exchange is simple – £5 per mailbox per month. The price you pay for running your own system includes large upfront costs for server hardware and software, installation and support, but the incremental cost of adding another mailbox is negligible.
So to compare the two options we need to make some assumptions:
- The lifetime of the server is 5 years. You can of course keep systems running longer, but this is a typical replacement interval. If you run the system much longer, support costs will increase and you will be at an increasing disadvantage compared to the hosted system as this will always be running on modern hardware using the latest software.
- You will need support for your server. We have included a support charge at Orbits standard rate, we are not the cheapest, but we are far from the most expensive. Support for the hosted email system is included in the monthly price.
So how much can I save if I have 10 users?
The short answer is £2,940! The calculation goes as follows: Continue reading
As many of you may have heard Microsoft’s next operating system (Windows 8 ) is nearly ready for release. As I have a keen interest in IT I very much look forward to looking at the latest technology this being hardware and software.
Jim asked me to do some research on Windows 8, I found out some facts and also that a release preview is available for download through the Microsoft’s website. Jim said go ahead and see if we can get it working on the server in the office. I downloaded the ISO image of the preview of Windows 8 and installed it using Hyper V which is a virtualization system.
I created a new virtual machine; this included setting a set amount of disk space for Windows 8 to use on the server. I named this ‘Win 8 Test’. After selecting the ISO from the server , Windows 8 set up screen appeared.
If you do not have a virtual machine to test different opearating systems, Microsoft offer a Windows Disk Image Burner that allows the ISO to be converted, this will then act as a bootable disk that can be saved on to a memory stick and allow installation that way.
Windows 8 – Setup
A personalise screen appears allowing the user to set up a colour scheme for that paticular user.
The setups basically the same as previous Windows operating systems. A screen appears during setup asking for you to assign an email address to the computer. I’d imagine this is used for syncing documents, calendars an emails to different Windows devices.
Sign in to PC screen
An express setup screen appears allowing the user to choose the express settings for setup, this makes it easier for the user to setup Windows 8.
Settings for Windows 8
After Windows 8 is setup it asks for a username and password for the user, this is very similar to previous operating systems from Microsoft.
Last step! – User account setup
Windows 8 will then configure the user account and a screen will appear which will be known as Windows 8.
Start Screen – All Apps
This is Windows 8, it looks very different from previous versions of the operating system but not to worry as a tool can be installed to allow it to look similar to Windows 7.
The blocks you can see are known as applications, these are also referred to as tiles. The main tiles you can see allow the user to have full screen applications running. The weather tile will be able to be used as a live tile when Windows 8 is ready for public release, this means that the tile you will see on the display will show weather conditions for the location that has been set by the user, this can also be set by using location services.
Internet Explorer – Full screen application
Weather – Full screen application
As you can see from the start menu, you have the choice of viewing the desktop, this looks the same as Windows 7 except it has no start button!
Windows 8 Desktop – No Start Button!
As the above image shows Windows 8 desktop screen doesnt show a start button, Microsoft would like users to use the new screen to select applications by using the different tiles.
As many users of Windows dont like change an application has been developed by Stardock called Stardock Start8. This application is free to download and can be installed on Windows 8 this will show a start button.
Windows 8 Desktop – Start button thanks to Stardock
Windows 8 looks different from previous operating systems, I think that Windows 8 will perform well on touch screen devices for example Microsofts tablet computers. The new Windows 8 screen will be easier to use with hand gestures rather than an input device such as a mouse.
Many users won’t like the new layout of the operating system, thanks to Stardock Windows 8 can easilly look like previous Windows opearing systems (Vista & 7). I think getting use to the new menu won’t take long and I look forward to eventually using it on a tablet PC.
When I look into Windows 8 further I will add more screen shots of what it is capable of doing and what cool features are hidden away.
For years, Windows has been one of the most widely used operating systems among consumers, so it should be no surprise that the vast majority of people are anticipating ‘Windows 8′, Microsoft’s latest work.
According to the latest information, Windows 8 is currently going through the very last stages of its development cycle, which involves tasks such as checks and verifications. According to popular tech blog, ‘‘TheVerge’, the final build of Windows 8 will be 9200.16384.WIN8_RTM.120725-1247 (or, 9200), as opposed to 8888, which was previously being reported. According to TheVerge, this information was gathered from their own sources, as well as ‘Win8China’.
Approximately nine days ago, ‘WinUnleaked’ released a few leaked screenshots of the latest RTM* build. The new build includes new wallpapers, the absence of Aero Glass, user interface changes for Internet Explorer 10, and a brand new, albeit very minimal, boot screen. Win8China has released two wallpapers from the latest build and will, apparently, act as the default lock screen and desktop.
Excluding the lock screen’s wallpaper, the official wallpaper for Windows 8 has been revealed by ‘Techit’. One pleasant surprise is that the wallpaper lacks any form of official branding, which I welcome with open arms.
In any case, Windows 8′s release date has been set for October the 26th and while many are looking forward to its release date, I do not think that I will jumping onto the band-wagon on this one. Windows 8 certainly has some interesting new features, however, to me it just feels like a re-hashed version of Windows 7. In addition, I have no doubt in my mind that the first release of Microsoft’s new OS will be bug-ridden, and contain many gruelling error messages that would make the average consumer wish that they had stuck with Windows 7.
* RTM – It is an acronym for ‘Release To Manufacturing’. It is the final build of a piece of software that is tested before being released to the public.