Moving on!

By Magnus Björk on January 3rd, 2014

I would like to thank all of you who have been following my blog!

For me it’s time to face new challenges. I have had the pleasure of working with my favorite product Exchange for many years, in fact it has been eight different versions that I have got to know during the years. It’s not a secret to anyone that the future for Exchange is in the could and therefore I have made the decision to go “all in” with the cloud as well!

Today I’m starting a new company, Altitude 365, and I’m so pleased to say that I will do it together with what I consider a dream team! Together we are two MVP’s, one MCSM and the best guy available for migrations from non-Microsoft platforms. Please feel free to visit our website, our Facebook page and find out more about us!

All content will remain on this blog but new content will be added to our new blog, please add it to you favorites, I can promise you a lot of great information!

Once again a big Thank you!

Magnus



OWA logon hangs "loading" after logon

By Magnus Björk on December 3rd, 2013

Today I had a interesting case with a customer! a user tries to log on to Outlook Web App, after a successful authentication the “loading page” just sits on the screen and nothing happens, see screenshot.

The user in question had been using OWA earlier without issues! But now it did not matter how long I waited, what browser I used or from what type of computer I tried the user was always “stuck” on the loading page and nothing happened. The strange thing was that if I changed the URL from /OWA to /ECP I was able to access the ECP part as the user. That ruled out authentication issues. So I started investigate the mailbox with PowerShell, nothing strange there, the user had  OWA enabled and so on. After a while I thought that some settings must be wrong within OWA itself so I decided to click through ECP as the user and suddenly I realized the issue. Time and date format!

As soon as I went to Settings, Regional in ECP I got this warning (the user has Swedish settings so part of the message is in Swedish but see translation below)

Date format M/d/yyy isn’t valid for current language settings sv-SE. Valid formats include: yyyy-MM-dd, yy-MM-dd

The Timeformat h:mm tt isn’t valid for current language settings sv-SE. Valid formats include: HH:mm, H:mm, kl H:mm

After I changed the time and date format the user could successfully log on again!

So I tried to replicate this in PowerShell and it turn’s out that it’s being validated before it’s set so I have no idea how the user ended up in a corrupted state but he mentioned to me that he had changed the language before.

Hope this can help someone, please respond if you come across this and have and idea about how it can happen.



Moving the blog!

By admin on November 4th, 2013

I’m moving this blog to Azure and I had problems with exporting some of the content from my former ISP but I will try my hardest to get everything migrated over!

If you were a user before (one of the 4723) I’m afraid you will have to register again since I could not export users at all.

Stay tuned and thank you for your patience!

 


Phishing attempt by “Microsoft”

By admin on September 27th, 2013

I have been asked by a number of people lately about the following email from verifications@email-domain-administration.com:

Attention;
In compliance with the email upgrade instructions from Microsoft Corporation and your email domain host, all unverified email accounts would be suspended for verification.
To avoid suspension of your email account, and also to retain all email contents, please perform a one time automatic verification by completing the online verification form.
Please CLICK HERE for the online verification form.
As a confirmation of complete and successful verification, you shall be automatically redirected to your email web page.
Please do this for all your email accounts.
Thank you.
Email Support Team.
© 2013 Microsoft Corporation.

NO – this is not from Microsoft!

NO – your account will not be suspended (not because of this anyway)!

YES – You will get in trouble (probably) if you do respond and fill in the form.

I have said it before and I say it again, if you have not called Microsoft, they won’t call you! And they will NEVER ask for you credentials.


My very own thoughts on killing MCM

By admin on September 2nd, 2013

My very first contact with what became MCM was a rumor about something called the Exchange Ranger program. I remember I looked it up but I couldn’t find very much accept for a document I got from my boss at the time. But I found one thing, a comment that got stuck in my mind ever since. This comment was made on a forum where someone asked the same question as I did, what is this Ranger thing?

“If you ever happen to come across one, be aware they are pretty damn hardass”

I realize that this could open to many interpretations but it was said with great admiration to this persons skills.

So why tell this old anecdote now?

For once because the thought of doing a rotation has always been with me, it’s the ultimate challenge to any Exchange/Lync/SharePoint/SQL/Active Directory pro! I have had the pleasure of taking part of some parts of this training on occasions and can tell you it’s hard!

My second reason is all the MCM people I know out there. Dedicated, skilled and very very passionate about “their” product.  Because that’s probably what it’s like to them just as it’s to me. You can’t pass a MCM without great preparations and you wouldn’t dream of spending that amount of work, besides your normal work probably, if you didn’t have the passion. Passion that is spread to the community and to customers!

My third reason is the one I’m most “sad” about! As a business owner and a consultant for many years now I realize that all decisions can’t be “nice”! I also realize that some decisions will hurt! But the most important lesson I have learned during my years is that everything can’t be translated to numbers. Passion is one of those things. Dreams are in the same category. So decisions lately that have been so upsetting to people in my way of seeing things have these things in common. I’m talking about killing TechNet software, not allowing access for Windows 8.1 RTM bits and of course the decision to terminate MCM, the highest level of training for anyone with a Microsoft focused profession. If you take away the possibility to test things in labs, doesn’t share bits with the people who want to contribute you might not get as many people to dream about one day be mentioned as a “hardass”.


Book review: Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 PowerShell Cookbook: Second Edition

By admin on August 29th, 2013

Let me start this review by saying a few things I normally ask my self when I read other reviews. No, I did not get paid to write this, I got a free e-book copy, Yes I know the author, I even helped him out with some technical questions during the writing of the book.

Ok so with that done I want to get on with the review. This is probably not a book you will sit down and read from cover to cover, my suggestion would rather be to know a bit about what’s in it and when ever you face a problem go get the pages that describes that solution. If you where to read if in one go you would get the basic stuff in the beginning and quite soon you will see that the level raises. The book is very solution oriented with some background to features and functions in Exchange 2013 and sometimes even with the differences to older versions.

The book has the following structure:

Topic (for example: Sending SMTP e-mails though PowerShell

How to do it… (Explains the syntax and the features used for this topic)

How it works… (Explains what components that are used and so on)

There’s more… (Goes beyond the simple stuff and in this example it could be sending and attachment from PowerShell)

The structure makes it’s really easy to find a solution to different challenges and I would say that it’s obvious that the author has experience with Exchange because the topics are well chosen.

So who is this book for? There is really a bit for all of us Exchange geeks in there but I would say that this is not the first book to read if you want to learn core Exchange 2013 stuff, neither do I think that was the authors intention. But if you are an Exchange 2013 administrator and sometimes find yourself  in a situation where you could need help with PowerShell or even ways to solve something, this is the perfect book for you! I can personally say that I found new and more effective ways to solve challenges that I have faced many times before.

Summary: I recommend this book to Exchange administrator and to people who has basic to expert Exchange knowledge.

More information about this book can be found at PACKT Publishing.


Exchange 2013 RTM Cumulative Update 2 released

By admin on July 11th, 2013

Yesterday Microsoft released Exchange Server 2013 RTM Cumulative Update 2. As always I recommend you to read the release notes (witch are not available yet but will be found here) and the great info published on the Exchange Team blog but there are some things I want to call out.

Build number for Exchange 2013 RTM CU2 is 15.0.712.22

I have installed (fresh install) and upgraded from CU1 it without any problems on a server running both Client Access and Mailbox role.

Since there are schema updated you need permissions to update the schema before you can install. To prepare your Active Directory for CU2 run:

setup.exe /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

and

setup.exe /PrepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

To upgrade an existing installation you can run:

setup.exe /m:upgrade /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

There are multiple enhancements in CU2 but the top two are OWA Redirection and the per server maximum number of databases.

OWA Redirection

If you have deployed Exchange 2013 RTM or CU1 in coexistence with Exchange 2007/10 you have probably seen the double logon prompts you get, these are now gone and Exchange 2013 CU2 provides a single sign-on when Forms Based Authentication is used on both source and target OWA vDir.

Per-Server Database Support

Exchange 2013 RTM and CU1 supported 50 databases per server in the Enterprise Edition, this number has now been increased in CU2 to 100.

Download Exchange 2013 RTM Cumulative Update 2