Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to install PST Capture Agent on Windows XP

This post shows you how to get the Microsoft Exchange PST Capture Agent running on Windows XP.  It is important to note that Microsoft does not officially support the PST Capture Agent v2.0 on Windows XP clients.  This article shows you how to do it anyway - and it works!

Before we go any further you must have the following prerequisites installed on the Windows XP machine:
  • Visual C++ Redistributable
  • Windows Installer 4.5
  • .NET framework 3.5
After you install these prerequisites when you run the Agent setup you will most likely receive the following error message:

Microsoft Exchange PST Capture Agent Setup Wizard ended prematurely because of an error.  Your system has not been modified.  To install this program at a later time, run Setup Wizard again.  Click the Finish button to exit the Setup Wizard.

There is no way to get around this error message with version 2 of the PST Capture Agent.  However version 1 of the PST Capture Agent works great on Windows XP and also has no issues talking to a version 2 PST Capture server - we have tested this!  Unfortunately Microsoft has removed the download links for the old version of the PST Capture Agent however I have put this file back online to be used only in this scenario with legacy Windows XP machines.  Please download the old version of the client from the following URL:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lepide Exchange Recovery Manager Product Review

In this post we will be having a look at Exchange Recovery Manager from Lepide software.  Lepide is an extremely powerful Exchange recovery and data collaboration tool which allows companies to perform a data recovery and manipulation tasks on a variety of data formats.

Exchange Recovery Manager is one of the leading tools on the market for dealing with Exchange data recovery.  It is important to note that Exchange Recovery Manager is not a backup solution and does not allow administrators to configure automated backup jobs.  It is designed to work with an existing backup solution to perform enhanced data recovery capabilities.

How It Works

Exchange Recovery Manager has two main components, the source and destination. Both source and destination must be specified before proceeding any further with the product.

Exchange Recovery Manager provides support for the following source formats:
  • Offline EDB File
  • Offline OST File (Cached Exchange Mode)
  • Outlook PST File
  • Live Exchange
Exchange Recovery Manager provides support for the following destination formats:
  • Existing PST File
  • Create New PST File
  • Live Exchange (Single Mailbox)
  • Live Exchange (Multiple Mailboxes)
  • Live Exchange (Public Folder)
  • Office 365
Once you have added both a source and a destination, Exchange Recovery Manager will lay the source and destination out in an easy to use interface.  The source list is added on top and the destination is added below.  In the screenshot below we have added an offline Exchange database file as the source and a PST file as the destination.
Exchange Recovery Manager allows users to drag and drop individual items or entire folders from the source to the destination.  You don't have to drag an drop from the source to the destination if you don't want to, the product also supports right click export functionality on almost any item such as entire mailboxes or individual items.  For example if you want to export a mailbox from this offline EDB to a PST file, you can simply right click and select "Export Mailboxes".  If you select multiple mailboxes using the CTRL or SHIFT keys, you can export multiple mailboxes at the same time.
From here you are able to easily select whether you want to export the mailboxes to PST, to a live Exchange server or perhaps Office 365.
You can also right click and select to export individual messages to commonly used formats.  This is done by simply right clicking on a message and clicking Export Message(s).
In the Export screen you scan then select what format you want to export to including the popular MSG and EML message formats for email messages.
Due to the way the Exchange Recovery Manager is designed, you can transfer data between any of the source to destination formats.  For example you can use Exchange Recovery Manager to perform any of the following tasks:
  • Convert an Outlook OST file (source) to a PST file (destination).
  • Use an OST file to restore data back into a live Exchange server in the event the users mailbox has experienced corruption and you haven't configured Exchange native data protection configured.
  • Upload an OST file into an Office 365 mailbox
  • Migrate data from one Exchange server to another Exchange server (in different forests).  Whilst this is possible using native mailbox moves it is requires advanced Exchange knowledge with scripts such as PrepareMoveRequest.ps1 required for Cross Forest Mailbox moves.
  • Import PST files into Exchange Mailboxes
  • Use Exchange Recovery Manager for uploading mailboxes from on premises Exchange deployments to Office 365 deployments.
Much more...  I'm not going to go through every combination of source to destination data migrations possibilities, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Database Corruption

Exchange Recovery Manager is a very powerful tool which can deal with servery corrupted Exchange EDB files and Outlook OST/PST files.  Exchange Recovery Manager is able to extract data from EDB files in which the Exchange Information Store service is unable to mount, or PST/OST files which are no longer accessible by Microsoft Outlook due to corruption.

This is very useful in emergencies when dealing with corrupt databases with Microsoft Exchange.  In the scenario where a company has a corrupt Exchange database which does not mount, the company would either need to begin repairing the database file using the Microsoft isinteg.exe and eseutil.exe command line tools or recovering the Exchange database from backup, a process which can take hours and result in extended periods of productivity loss. 

With Exchange Recovery Manager you can have the company back online in minutes.  This is done through the process of performing what's known as a Dial Tone Recovery in Exchange.  This works by renaming the corrupt EDB database then mounting telling Exchange to mount the database.  Exchange will automatically generate a new blank database providing users with empty mailboxes.  The administrator can then open the corrupt database with Exchange Recovery Manager and begin recovering all readable information from the corrupt database back into the empty database.  Data imported will automatically merge in with the new production mailboxes.  This allows users to be up and running and sending and receiving emails within minutes.

As you have probability guessed, corrupt PST files can be repaired with Exchange Recovery Manager.  Simply enter in the corrupt PST as the source and specify a new PST as the destination.  Any content which is readable and has not been effected by corruption can be extracted to the new PST file.

Unfortunately OST corruption cannot be repaired with Exchange Recovery Manager as the application does not support the capability to add OST files as a destination.  OST corruption can be repaired only if the OST is exported to a different format such as PST or to an Exchange Mailbox.  This is not seen as an issue as in most cases if an OST file becomes corrupt help desk generally deletes the OST file on the users workstation and lets Outlook re-cache the users mailbox from the Exchange server.

What is Supported?

Exchange Recovery Manager supports all versions of Microsoft Exchange including Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000, Exchange 2003, Exchange 2007, Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013.  It also supports integration with Office 365.

Exchange Recovery Manager also supports all versions of Microsoft Outlook including Outlook 2000, Outlook XP, Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.

Exchange Recovery Manager runs on the following versions of Windows including Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 2008, Windows 7, Windows 2008 R2, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

Exchange Recovery Manager runs on both 32bit and 64bit operating systems.  When installing Exchange Recovery Manager, the setup installation process will automatically detects the architecture of Microsoft Outlook (if its 32bit or 64bit).  In the event Outlook 32bit is installed, Exchange Recovery Manager will automatically install itself as a 32bit installation.  In the event Outlook 64bit is installed, Exchange Recovery Manager will install the 64bit version of itself.  In the event no Outlook is installed, Exchange Recovery Manager installs itself as 32bit.  Microsoft Outlook is required on the same Windows computer as Exchange Recovery Manager because Recovery Manager uses the API's from Microsoft Outlook to work with PST files.

It is not recommended running Exchange Recovery Manager on the same machine as the Exchange Server.  Performing recovery operations in Exchange Recovery Manager can be resource intensive and as a result can effect the performance of a production Exchange server.

Backup Integration

Exchange Recovery Manager has the capability to extract EDB files from backup images taken from popular backup applications including NT Backup, Symantec Backup, Veritas Backup and HP Backup.  This allows companies to utilise Exchange Recovery Manager to export individual items, folders or entire mailboxes to a destination format such as PST by extracting the information directly from a backup file.

To do this simply select the Extract Backup button on the toolbar.  The screenshot below shows an EDB file located inside a HP Backup Image.

The following screenshot shows where you select the backup file which contains the Exchange EDB file.

Exchange Recovery Manager needs to Extract the EDB file from the backup file to a location on your computer before Exchange Recovery Manager can work with the offline EDB file.  As a result make sure you have sufficient space free.

Product Licensing

Now that we understand how Exchange Recovery Manager works and it is important to cover how the product licensed and the costs associated.  There are two main flavours of Exchange Recovery Manager which are most popular, Standard Edition and Professional Edition.

Professional Edition allows you to perform all functionality documented in this article as well as the additional functionality which was not covered in today's post.

Standard Edition has some limitations.  It only allows you to work with offline Exchange database recovery and does not let you connect to live Exchange servers.  It also does not let you perform granular item recovery of individual email messages.  You can however perform folder level recovery or entire mailbox level recovery of data.

Professional Edition will set you back $799 US Dollars where as Standard Edition will set you back $499 US Dollars.  These are prices "as of the date" of this publication and are subject to change.  For the latest pricing it is recommended you request a quote from Lepide Software website by visiting the following URL:

Both Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition come with 6 months support absolutely free.  Additional support can be purchased based on 20% of the product cost which needs to be payed annually.

The prices listed above are lifetime licenses which means if you do not require ongoing support once purchased your organisation will not encore ongoing expenses.

For more information regarding Exchange Recovery Manager please visit the official website:

This review was an independent review of Exchange Recovery Manager created by Lepide Software Private Limited.  Microsoft Exchange MVP, Clint Boessen is not affiliated with Lepide Software in anyway nor was this review a paid exercise.  All opinions and statements of Exchange Recovery Manager documented above are those of Clint Boessen and not of Lepide Software Private Limited.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Troubleshooting Windows 8 Modern Application Installation Issues on a Corporate Network

Windows 8 modern applications are great on home laptops and devices however on a corporate network there are a number of elements which can cause issues.  In this blog post we will cover some of the problems with Windows 8 modern applications can experience on a corporate network.

Modern Application Installation Issue #1

Most companies utilise Microsoft System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) or Windows Software Update Server (WSUS) to distribute updates to workstations on an internal network.  These internal update servers are configured through a corporate Group Policy Object using the "Specify intranet Microsoft update service location" policy as shown in the following screenshot.

When a workstation receives this group policy setting to use an internal update server, the workstation is automatically configured to not utilise public Windows Update servers outside of the corporate network through a registry DWORD value called DisableWindowsUpdateAccess.  This DWORD is configured under the following registry key:


Windows 8 installs Modern Applications available in the Windows App Store from online update servers.  Applications available in the App Store are not available on internal WSUS or SCCM servers.  This DisableWindowsUpdateAccess DWORD value prevents the Windows 8 App Store from downloading applications and triggers the following error message:

Your purchase couldn't be completed.
Something happened and your purchase can't be completed. Error code: 0x8024002e

To allow Windows 8 modern applications to be installed you must allow Windows 8 to contact the public update servers to retrieve the application.

If you set the DisableWindowsUpdateAccess registry key DWORD value to 0 and reboot the machine, you will then be able to download applications from the Windows 8 Application Store.


Modern Application Installation Issue #2

Another problem which catches out enterprise organisations and is much more difficult to solve is the use of proxy servers or transparent proxy servers.  If you experience the following error it is due to a proxy server which Windows 8 Modern Applications have difficulties dealing with.  These difficulties will be explained below and there is no easy resolution as you will find out.

Something happened and this app couldn't be installed. Please try again. Error code: 0x8024401c

We are now going to look into why this is occurring...

Windows 8 has two proxy APIs which communicate with network proxy servers to provide internet connectivity to applications.

The first API which is used by most desktop applications and Internet Explorer is the WinInet library.  More information on this library can be found here:

The second API which is used by Windows 8 modern applications is the WinHTTP library which is documented on MSDN here:

The WinHTTP library is very limited in terms of functionality compared to the WinInet library.  Significant limitations include no NTLM authentication abilities and the inability to automatically prompt users to enter proxy server credentials when attempting to authenticate against the proxy server.  The WinInet proxy API automatically prompts users to enter their proxy server authentication details when trying to authenticate against a proxy server.

As Modern Applications use such the limited WinHTTP API, the only resolution is a complex work around:

"Setup another proxy server running on the local machine which allows WinHTTP to connect unauthenticated then authenticate with the corporate proxy server with the local proxy server installation.  Configure the WinHTTP proxy using the netsh utility to use the local proxy server running on"

Yep, not easy is it?

If you are desperate to get Modern Applications working through your corporate proxy server or transparent corporate proxy server, please refer to the following TechNet form which contains instructions on how to configure this:

Clients not appearing in a new Windows Server 2012 WSUS Server

I just implemented a new WSUS Server running on top of Windows Server 2012 called "ADM-WSUS-01" and configured clients to connect to the WSUS server using the group policy setting "Specify intranet Microsoft update service location".  After a few days I checked back and noticed no clients had yet reported to the WSUS server.

After investigating I discovered in Server 2012 Microsoft changed the default WSUS port to 8530.  WSUS port by default was always port 80 in Server 2003 and Server 2008.

Changing my group policy to point workstations at HTTP://ADM-WSUS-01:8530 resolved the problem. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Force Windows Media Player DNLA Server to Refresh Media

Windows Media Player has a DLNA server built into it provided through the "Windows Media Player Network Sharing" Windows service.  This allows DLNA clients such as TV's, Playstation's, xBox's, Apple TV's and more to play media from Windows over the network.  To enable this under the streaming menu in Windows Media Player (version 12) in this writing simply select the Stream menu and allow devices to stream media.

Under more streaming options you can select specifically which devices can stream media from Windows Media Player.

One problem which users often experience is the Windows Media Player not refreshing media fast enough.  Windows Media Player often rechecks for new movies/music on your computer hard drive however sometimes when you download something new and go to a DNLA device such as a TV to play the media, it might not appear.

It is possible to force Windows Media Player to refresh media, this can be done by selecting "Apply media information changes" from the Organize menu.

This process often takes a while depending on the amount of media on your computer.

To configure Windows Media Player where to look for new media, go to Organize, Manage libraries then select the library you wish to modify.

In here you can select which folders or drives on your computer containing media will be available to DLNA clients on the network.

I hope this post has been informative for you and I would like to thank you for reading.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Complete WSUS Installation - Fatal Error: Illegal characters in path.

Setting up a new WSUS server on Windows Server 2012, when I entered the content path as E:\ and clicked Run I received the following error message:

Log file is located at C:\Users\clint.boessen\AppData\Local\Temp\tmpE3AA.tmp
Post install is starting
Fatal Error: Illegal characters in path.

Turns out you cannot specify root partitions, you need to specify a directory such as E:\WSUS.  Changing the path resolved the issue.


Monday, July 15, 2013

WdsClient: There was a problem initializing WDS Mode

Tonight I wanted to deploy a bunch of Windows Servers from a customised WIM file for my home lab environment running on VMware Workstation - need to test something for a customer tomorrow :).  In minutes I had built a new WDS server with DHCP and PXE boot services, however when I went to boot my first VMware machine from my WDS server, the PXE boot went through fine however I ran into the following error.

WdsClient: There was a problem initializing WDS Mode

After a good 10 minutes trying to figure out what was going on I ran services.msc on my host physical Laptop.  The darn VMware DHCP Service was running!

The virtual machine was booting of the WDS DHCP Server after booting it went to obtain a second IP address which was the VMware DHCP Service!  Ahg!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Changing Home Page for Internet Explorer 10 through Group Policy

Changing Home Page for Internet Explorer in the past was simply a matter of modifying the Internet Explorer Maintenance settings under User Configuration --> Windows Settings as shown in the following screenshot.

However in Internet Explorer 10 all configuration options under the Internet Explorer Maintenance section no longer effect the new web browser. Microsoft has published an article entitled Replacements for Internet Explorer Maintenance which can be found on the following URL link provided below.  This TechNet article explains the alternative policy configuration setting for each of the Internet Explorer Maintenance policies applicable for Internet Explorer 10.

For changing the home page Microsoft recommends using the Internet Settings policy settings which can be found under Group Policy Preferences for User Configuration.  This presents a problem however if you're running Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) on Window 2008 R2, Windows 7 or any previous operating systems.  The problem with these operating systems is Group Policy Management Console does not support Internet Explorer 10 group policy configuration.

The following screenshot was taken on a 2008 R2 domain controller in Group Policy Management Console.

To configure Internet Explorer 10 you must run Group Policy Management Console on either Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012.  Only then will the correct configuration options be available.

Simply configure the home page for Internet Explorer 10 along with any other options you want configured.

IMPORTANT: Before clicking OK make sure you press "F6" on the Home Page dialog box to ensure it goes green in colour.  If it has a read dot below it, the policy setting will not apply.
The screenshot below shows the green line after pressing F6 to confirm the data.
I hope this post has been of value to you.
Also I would like to note, it is also possible to configure the home page using the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK).  This requires deploying the configuration changes to workstations in MSI format.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Exchange 2013 Certificates and Encryption

Exchange 2013 like previous versions of Exchange requires digital certificates to encrypt traffic between Exchange clients such as Web Access, Active Sync and RPC over HTTPS.  Certificates can also be used for additional services such as Unified Messaging, TLS SMTP connections and legacy POP and IMAP protocols.

In previous versions of Exchange such as 2007 and 2010, certificates were installed on the Client Access server role to provide encryption between Exchange and Clients.  In Exchange 2013 certificates now reside on the Mailbox and Client Access servers.

The Client Access role is the only role in which you as an administrator are required a certificate.  It is recommended the new certificate be obtained by an external certificate authority such as DigiCert to ensure the certificate is trusted by external devices not joined to the Active Directory domain such as mobile phones.  The certificate can be installed using the new web based management tool Exchange Administration Console (EAC).

As the Client Access server role now only provides authentication and proxy/redirection logic and does not process any rendering of content a certificate is also required on the mailbox server to ensure communication between the Client Access and Mailbox remains secure.  Exchange 2013 automatically installs a self signed certificate on the Mailbox server as part of the installation process.  The Client Access server automatically trusts the self-signed certificate on the Mailbox server, so clients will not receive warnings about a self-signed certificate not being trusted, provided that the Client Access server has a non-self-signed certificate from either a Windows certification authority (CA) or a trusted third party.

It is very important you do not delete self signed certificates on the mailbox server, doing so will break your Exchange environment!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wheres Modify Extra Properties in MFCMAPI?

MFCMAPI is an advanced MAPI Editing tool used for manually editing MAPI property tables.  To Exchange experts it is known as the ADSIEdit for MAPI.  If you are not an Exchange Developer/Expert you have no business in MFCMAPI - do use this program unless you are following strict instructions from either Microsoft or a product manual.  If you do have a requirement to utilise MFCMAPI and you are following a document, first of all you can download the MFCMAPI application from codeplex on the following URL with the latest version being 15 as of this writing:

With the new build of MFCMAPI a few things have been moved around.  One common one which gets a lot of administrators is "Modify Extra Properties".  If you are following a product manual and it has asked you to select an object then "On the Property pane menu, click Modify Extra Properties" you are properly scratching your head.

The "Modify Additional Properties" field has now been renamed to "Additional properties...".  Simply select this instead then follow the rest of your instructions as normal.

The next screen is the same as previous versions of MFCMAPI.

Follow your documentation from here as normal.

The purpose of this article is to clarify this step in existing documentation.  MFCMapi is a dangerous tool and if administrators do not know what they are doing they can cause serve damage.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Changes in Exchange 2010/2013 Global Catalog Communication

Last week I published an article "Find out which Global Catalog server Exchange is Using" which lets administrators identify which Global Catalog server their Exchange server is currently utilising.  This week I wish to continue exploring Exchange Global Catalog communication by talking about changes in Global Catalog communication as of Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013.

In earlier editions, Exchange server would direct Outlook to contact a Global Catalog server for user specific global catalog communication.  In Exchange Server 2010 onwards, the Microsoft Exchange Address Book Service on the Client Access Server (CAS) hosts the NSPI endpoint.  The Exchange Server 2010 CAS provides address book and related services to the Outlook client instead of referring Outlook to a global catalog server.

What does this mean?  More Global Catalog communication from the Exchange server!

If you are still planning your Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 migration, make sure you factor this in especially if there are many users in remote sites.  Users in remote sites will communicate with their local Global Catalog servers, when moving the users to Exchange 2010 these global catalog calls will no longer be distributed across the remote sites, all global catalog calls will hit servers in the same Active Directory site as the Exchange 2010 server which in large deployments can be a significant overhead especially when dealing with 10,000+ users.

As Exchange load balances its Global Catalog communication across all Global Catalog servers in the same site as the Exchange server as explained in my previous article "Find out which Global Catalog server Exchange is Using", the solution for this increase in Global Catalog communication is to simply deploy additional Global Catalog servers in the same Active Directory site as the Exchange server.