Why Do I Keep Getting Asked for My Password by Outlook (or Outlook Express)?

If Outlook keeps asking you for your user/password, there are 7 common reason why:

  • Invalid account id (make sure it is correct)
  • Invalid password (try the right one, check capslock)
  • Your account settings are not pointing to the server where your account is (check tools/accounts and each of your email accounts
  • To many invalid attempts (wait 30 minutes for server to stop blocking it)

Asterisk: The PBX for the Rest of Us

For the last few months, I've been getting to know the Asterisk PBX software and Digium hardware. The idea was to develop and build a reproducible, custom phone solution for clients that need more than a traditional small business phone system and less than a full-blown PBX.

Asterisk allows you to build a complete solution that includes all of the features of a closed system, costing 10's of thousands of dollars, for the cost of some COTS hardware, a few specialized PCI cards, and a little script customization.

IBM Drive Settlement

IBM has reached a settlement agreement for a bad batch of deskstar hard drives. These drives had a comparatively high failure rate. I have a bunch of systems that were affected. For some reason, I hung on to the old drives and didn't dispose of them as I normally would have. Sometimes you just luck out! Each bad drive is worth $100! (Each good drive that hasn't failed, yet, is only good for some free CDs and other swag.)

g4u Harddisk Image Cloning for PCs

g4u is an open source disk image/clone/ghosting program that makes it easy to build an image of a system configuration and duplicate it to other systems.

I was interested in using it because I've been unhappy with the licensing policies and hardware support of my current solutions.

Hubert Feyre developed g4u as an alternative to ghost and some of the other imaging programs because he wanted to be able to run the server part under Unix, wanted to support most any filesystem, and didn't want to deal with DOS-based bootfloppies.

Addonics SATA - IDE/ATAPI Converter

I found a nifty solution to a problem I've been running into lately. I really like SATA drives and related technologies. However, some of my nitty-gritty software tools don't recognize them. For instance, I wanted to image an IDE/ATA drive over to a SATA drive. The motherboard on the system I was using could talk to both drives, but the image software could not.

I ordered the ADSAIDE Addonics Technologies SATA - IDE/ATAPI Converter from www.cdw.com for about $32 as a workaround. This nifty little mini-board connects to your SATA drive to an IDE controller. Now my image software sees the drive as a typical IDE drive and can go ahead and image the IDE drive.

From the 'Why did I buy this motherboard?' dept: DFI K8M800-MLVF

I wanted a low-cost SATA/LAN/VGA motherboard for use in almost-embedded systems. What I got was a disappointment.

The K8M800-MLVF is a nice enough micro-ATX SATA (RAID 0/1) board. I installed XP on it with some hassles getting the SATA drivers working, but it eventually worked. But the XP test was just to make sure everything worked before I tried to set up a 'production' system with it.

The trouble started when I installed Fedora Core 3 on it. That part went fine, but when I went to reboot, GRUB would not load the operating system. It would stall and hang at 'GRUB loading stage2...'. Endless googling left me with nothing of use. I eventually found a few other users that had attempted to get the same motherboard to work and been unable to get a GRUB boot off the SATA drive. I could reboot with the FC3 CD #1 in the drive, enter linux rescue, chroot /mnt/sysimage, then run the system fine, but I could not get past the GRUB stage2 failure.

Recovering Data from a GoBack Disk

A friend's system died and he wanted to recover what he could from the hard drive. I installed a new drive and XP, but couldn't get XP to assign a drive letter to the old drive. It turns out that GoBack was installed and that makes the drive unreadable by any normal OS including Linux, DOS, XP, etc. Here's how I recovered the data.

  1. I installed XP on a new 80gb drive (with a few problems; the cards needed to be reseated, memory needed to be reseated, dust removed, etc.).

Moving the Linux Console to the Serial Port

These are the steps I used to convert a fedora core 3 dedicated-use server to be able to run headless (use a serial port console instead of mouse, keyboard, video).

It was taken from this Linux Journal article and skinnied down to what I needed (what applied to me).

The steps are:

  1. Tell GRUB about the serial terminal in /etc/grub.conf
  2. Tell inittab about the serial terminal in /etc/inittab
  3. Tell the system root can log in on the serial terminal in /etc/securetty file
  4. On Redhat/Fedora, stop the color status messages from messing up the serial terminal in /etc/sysconfig/init

I use GRUB, so the first thing was to change the /etc/grub.conf file:

XP is Stuck in a Logon/Logoff Loop

This is usually caused by one of two things: 1) the registry is corrupted where the logon information used by the system is, or 2) you have spyware installed (then uninstalled) that has left behind a reference to a startup file that doesn't exist (see #1).

How do you get around this?

Well, the trick is to be able to get to the registry and fix the problem, but how do you do that if you can't login? A "parallel install" of windows won't help because you can't edit the registry from there. Here's how I got to regedit using a variation on an old hacker's trick for getting past the administrator's password.

  1. Insert XP install disk and reboot (you have to be able to boot from CD on this system)
  2. Get to the point where you can start the install, but instead, take the option to press R for repair
  3. Select the installed copy of windows you want to work with
  4. Enter the Administrator password (which is probably blank).
  5. You should now be at a C:\WINDOWS or similar prompt and running the repair environment
  6. cd \windows\system32
  7. rename logon.scr logon.old
  8. copy cmd.exe logon.scr
  9. exit
  10. reboot
  11. You'll be back on your logon screen, but don't do anything. Wait until the screensaver kicks in. When it does, you'll see a cmd.exe command prompt window.
  12. Now you can start regedit to begin repairing what you can of the registry.
  13. If the problem was due to BlazeFind not correctly uninstalling, look for:

Slow Shutdown in Windows Server 2003

Why does it take Win2003 forever to shutdown? Exchange server is holding things up! A simple registry setting will help speed things along.

To resolve this problem, change the value of the WaitToKillServiceTimeout registry entry to two minutes. To do this, follow these steps.

Warning: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. I cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

  • Start Registry Editor. To do this, click Start, click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
  • Locate and then click the following registry subkey:

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