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30Jun/101

Force address book update

All Exchange administrators will eventually come to a point where they have to forcefully update the Exchange offline address book (OAB). However this is not as straight forward as one would hope. The following steps have to be taken to force an update.

  • In the Exchange Management Console go to Organization Configuration and select Mailbox.
  • Go to the Offline Address Book tab
  • Right-click the address book that you want to update and select Update

That much was quite straight forward. Now to have the OAB be available right away you'll have to restart the Microsoft Exchange File Distribution service.

All of this can also be done in powershell by running the following commands.

Get-OfflineAddressBook | Update-OfflineAddressBook
net stop MSExchangeFDS && net start MSExchangeFDS

28Jun/103

USB 3.0 – Specs

I was just looking into the stats of USB 2.0 for a printer problem, when I just happened to see some stats for the USB 3.0 standard. I thought that it would be nice to compare the two briefly and to find out why I should buy USB 3.0 devices instead of USB 2.0.

 

USB 2.0

USB 3.0

Speed

480Mbps (320Mbps in real world)

Up to 4.8Gbps

Signal

Half-duplex (polling)

Full-duplex (asynchronous)

Cable Length

3 meters (low speed) 5 meters (high speed)

3 meters (maybe longer when optic cables can be used in a future spec revision)

 

Most of the changes are in the connector of course. The connector now has 8 wires (power, ground, 1 pair for differential data, and 2 pairs for differential signals). The last 2 pairs were needed for the SuperSpeed USB target bandwidth requirements, as the dual wire differential signals of USB 2.0 weren't enough.

The power output has been upped by 50% for unconfigured or suspended devices (150 mA up from 100 mA). For configured devices the power output has been upped by 80% (900 mA up from 500 mA). Which might mean that you're gonna be able to lose some of those big nasty power adapters and battery powered devices that are charged by USB power (iPhone for example) can be charged more quickly. Like all other devices USB 3.0 is going green with improved power efficiency.

If you want to know more about USB 3.0 you might want to visit this link. Most of the data above has been compiled from this page and some others. They also have some data on how USB 3.0 compares to other competing interfaces.

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28Jun/100

Unreliable printing due to long USB cable

Recently I had a problem with a printer that didn't print most of the time. Sometimes it would print, but then the print would stop half way through the process. As the printer was located remotely I wasn't able to view the setup.

After updating the drivers of the printer, motherboard (USB host bus drivers) and removing the drivers completely and reinstalling the newest version, the problem remained. It wasn't until I heard that they wanted to try a different cable that they told me they were looking for a cable that was 6 meters in length. After checking the maximum length of USB cables I found out that USB only supports cables up to 5 meters (16 feet 5 inches) for high speed USB and up to 3 meters (9 feet 10 inches) for low speed USB. When the extension cables were removed, the printer was functioning properly again.

This is one to keep in mind for a possible next time!

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22Jun/100

Search in Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 doesn’t return any results

I recently had a problem with Outlook 2010 which didn't return any results when performing a search. Since all search functions in Office 2010 are using the Windows Search Indexer, this had to be the problem.

If you go to Control Panel -> Indexing Options and press the Advanced button you'll see a button Rebuild. When you press this button the current index database will be deleted and Windows Search Indexer will rebuild the index. This will most probably solve the problem with the Outlook 2010 search.

I've also seen some computers that are indexing for days, but never complete the indexing action. This can cause the computer to become really slow and might even take 100% of the CPU. Rebuilding the index might help in situations where the Windows Search Indexer is causing the 100% CPU.

22Jun/100

Microsoft Office 2010 customization tool

To create a patch file (.MSP) for Office 2010 you have to run the following command:

setup.exe /admin

After running this command a window will be presented where you can select which product of your Office 2010 deployment you want to customize (only if you have Visio, Project or other installation sources combined).

After making the selection you'll be asked if you want to use a different default file type. Some companies use Open XML or OpenDocument formats to be able to use the documents with other software like OpenOffice.

After selecting the file type you'll see the deployment settings window. Here you can customize the settings for your Office 2010 product deployment.

Afterwards you'll have to store the .msp file by selecting the Save or Save As option in the File menu.

To use the .msp file during the installation you'll have to specify it in the command line. The following command will start the setup with a .msp file that is located in the same folder as setup.exe.

Setup.exe /adminfile "office-install.msp"

You can also use the .msp files to remove a portion of the Office 2010 installation, then you'll have to sequence the uninstall after the complete install. This way you can automate the exceptions in a corporate environment as well.