zaterdag 31 maart 2012

Lync Online Dial-in conferencing updates for Office 365

In one of my previous blogposts I mentioned updates to Lync online..
The Presence privacy mode and Mobile phone notification were new at the time.

Now, there are some new features within Lync online.
The changes are within the Lync Online user settings.
Before, you only had the ability to set file transer and audio / video options.
You could also enable federation and  public IM.

PrtScr capture 

Now, we have some new features!

Edit user settings - Windows Internet Explorer provided by Wortell

Within the options, you now have the ability to enable call recordings, a nice new feature!.
Completely new is the Dial-in conferencing tab.
The decription already reveils what the settings do, so I do not need to explain any further.
How to configure Dial-In conferencing settings can be found in the online help.

There also have been some updates to the user filtering and search user interface.
I do not remember filtering options within the Lync Online Control Panel at all. Maybe I did not noticed, but the Dial-in conferencing filter is definitely new.

Lync Online Control Panel - Windows Internet Explorer provided by Wortell

You now have the ability to set filter criteria for the enabled settings of the user. Very handy!

Lync Online updates for Office 365 - Windows Live Writer

Also new is the ability to export users lists and import user configuration files.
The export is very handy if there are too many users to manually update the Dial-in conferencing settings / numbers for the users. The export process exports user settings to an XML file. This will be downloaded from your browser.
The XML can then be forwarded to the department that has al the dial-in number information.

Once the XML is up to date with the latest dial-in information ( Dial-in number, conference code and personal identification number ) for the users, the import user configuration file option can be chosen. After the import these users are able to schedule audio conference calls integrated with Lync Online meetings.

vrijdag 9 maart 2012

Windows server 2012 Active Directory Administrative Center

Some of you may already know the Active Directory Administrative center from Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2.
AD Administrative center can be used my administrators in addition to AD users and computers.
Administrative center has an enhanced experience for admins and a rich GUI.

You can use Active Directory Administrative Center to perform the following Active Directory administrative tasks:
  • Create new user accounts or manage existing user accounts
  • Create new groups or manage existing groups
  • Create new computer accounts or manage existing computer accounts
  • Create new organizational units (OUs) and containers or manage existing OUs
  • Connect to one or several domains or domain controllers in the same instance of Active Directory Administrative Center, and view or manage the directory information for those domains or domain controllers
  • Filter Active Directory data by using query-building search
In Windows server 2012, the home screen looks like this.
In the home screen you can instantly change a password for a user by entering his / her username and the new password. You can also search for objects from the global search in the right column.
In the left column, you can browse through your ou's. You can either choose a tree view or a menu view.

If you search for a user and you found the user, the basic tasks show up in the right column.
It is easy to perform administrative tasks for the user, or simply add new users.

If the properties of the user are opened, all the user data is shown in one screen. Here you can manage account information, as wel als organization and member of information. ( first image )
Information that cannot be shown in this screen can still be managed at the bottom of the screen in a tab like view. ( second image )

In the top right of the sceen it is still possible to choose manage administrative tasks such as moving, disabling, deleting or resetting password.

It also allows you to choose the different section you want to show.
If admins only change account and organization information for example, you can easily hide the other sections.

Above is pretty much the same as the 2008 R2 version.
But, now comes the improvement.
Powershell history....

I think this is a really nice feature.
This actually shows exactly what powershell cmdlet is used to make the changes to a user.
You also see the history of all changes.
In the above example I have changed my home Phone number two times.
The history shows the exact cmdlet, and the timestamp when the data has been changed.

Very handy tool for first line support desks that only change passwords, memberships and user / organization data.
Especially because of the change history and timestamp. This means you don't get blamed for mistakes you did not make, and have the ability to prove it! :-D

donderdag 8 maart 2012

Windows Server 8 pre-release documentation available now!

Recently, documentation came available for Windows 8.
You will find new information about the following:
  • What's new and changed in Windows Server “8” Beta. 
  • High-level technical overview of the new and improved features in Windows Server “8” Beta.
  • Describes several new, key scenarios for Windows Server “8” Beta. IT pros can use this end-to-end content to evaluate, design, and deploy these new scenarios.
  • Information about how to install, deploy, and migrate to Windows Server “8” Beta. This collection contains detailed information about security features to help IT pros securely design, deploy, and maintain Windows Server “8” Beta.
  • Known issues in Windows Server “8” Beta
  • Information to design, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot technologies in Windows Server “8” Beta.
  • Windows PowerShell® modules included with Windows Server® “8” Beta and Windows® 8 Consumer Preview. 
  • The Windows PowerShell modules in the list support automating the features of those operating systems and provides links to the cmdlet references for each module. These modules enable you to use Windows PowerShell to administer, maintain, configure, and develop new features for Windows Server® “8” Beta and Windows® 8 Consumer Preview.
  • Tools that help IT pros manage remote computers that are running Windows Server “8” Beta.
Below is a quote from Technet with all the url's to the topics mentioned above.

Windows Server "8"

Published: February 29, 2012
Updated: February 29, 2012
Applies To: Windows Server 8 Beta
[This topic is pre-release documentation and is subject to change in future releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders.]
Welcome to the Windows Server “8” Beta Technical Library.
This library provides the core content that IT pros need to evaluate, plan, deploy, manage, troubleshoot, and support servers running the Windows Server® “8” Beta operating system. To find the content you need, browse the content listed below, or use our search feature. If you need help with using Windows at home, seeWindows Help and How-To.

Lync collect logs button explained

I know this option has been around for a while, but it cannot be explained enough in my opinion.

By enabling the collect logs button in Lync, you can easily get diagnostic information regarding issues on the client side.
This button can only be enabled by an administrator.

So why do you want to enable the button?
If a user tries to call someone, and the callee does not hear the caller, or the line goes dead, the user normally gets frustrated and just tries to call again.
But, if the collect logs button is enabled the user can instantly collect logs for this issue and send those logs to an administrator. The user can even specify what went wrong, provide screens and even an audio recording!

How does it look like, and what can it do?
Once it is enabled, the button shows up in the bottom right corner of the Lync client.

It also shows up in every IM or call window in the left bottom corner.

Once clicked, the tool opens up that allows a user to describe the issue.

Below you will find some detail information on what the tool does an what kind of information the user can provide.
There is a dropdown where a user can choose any of the following common issues.
  • The call did not connect
  • The call ended unexpectedly (dropped)
  • I observed audio or video quality issues during the call
  • Others observed issues in my audio or video quality during the call
  • I see an audio quality issue notification but didn't experience any issues
  • Other – please explain
Depending on which issue you selected, you can then add more specific information by choosing an item from the Select issue details dropdown.
And regardless of the issue, the user can always provide additional details under the "Describe the issue" section of the tool.

There is also a section where the user can choose if he or she saw a notification about poor quality.
Usually when users have a bad connection ( wireless for example ) the Lync client shows a message.

The best options are saved for last, you can even include a sample voice recording of your latest call and include a scheenshot of your desktop.

The sample voice recording option saves 30 seconds of audio from the last call.
A thing to keep in mind is that is only captures your audio, and not anyone elses audio.
This can be handy when someone else in the call noticed you had a robotic like voice or some glitches in your audio.

The screenshot is also a great option, this allow admins to see if there were any warnings generated by the lync client.
It can also show if the user is running other programs that might interfere with the Lync client.

All the gathered information is stored in the %userprofile%\tracing folder.
You will find a file here starting with "medialog". This is an auto generated CAB file which contains all the information gathered by the collect logs tool.

Enought talking about how it works, how can you enable it?
The logs button is actually part of the client policy.
By adding a new policy entry in the client policy, the collect logs button shows up after logging in to the client.

Just run these powershell commands on your Lync server:

$x = New-CsClientPolicyEntry -Name EnableDiagnosticsLogsCollection -Value 1
( This adds the new client policyentry to memory )
Set-CsClientPolicy –Identity global –PolicyEntry @{Add=$x}
( This actually sets the client policy with the data from memory )

Confirm the policy entry by running the following command:
Get-CsClientPolicy -identity "global"

Output should look like this:
PS C:\Users\adm_tiel> Get-CsClientPolicy -identity global

Identity                               : Global
PolicyEntry                            : {Name=EnableDiagnosticsLogsCollection;                                    Value=1}

Make sure the policy entry is shown, if not then check your commands.
I you log off your Lync client and log on again, the Collect Logs button should be added to the client.

If the collect logs button is made available to you, Always collect the logs when reporting an issue to you administrator. This can save the admin a lot of time!
Good Luck! 

Direct Access Connectivity Assistant in Windows 8

When browsing through Windows 8 I noticed the Direct Access connectivity assistant was built in there.
So no need to install the tool after deploying Direct Access in your organization, in Windows 8 it is ready to use out of the box.

The tool can be found under networks, when you click the network icon in the right bottom corner.

The "Corporate Connection" is the new DCA tool. When working from home the Corporate Connection also shows it's state ( Connected or Disconnected ).

When opening the properties, the known options pop up. These are actually the same as the assistant for Windows 7 except for the "help portal" option, this is missing from this version.

Functionality is also the same. The collect logs button collects the needed information for an administrator to troubleshoot your Direct Access connection.
You can view the logs yourself by clicking the view logs link, or e-mail the logs to an administrator by clicking the e-mail logs link.

No big news, but a nice new feature of Windows 8.

zaterdag 3 maart 2012

Microsoft releases Lync Cumulative update 5 ( CU5 )

Last night I noticed CU5 for Lync 2010 got released!As far as I can see now, it only has bugfixes and no major new features as in CU4.We will probably update soon, so I will describe the process and possible issues I come accross.
Issues that this update fixes

This update package fixes the issues that are documented in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) articles:
  • 2672922 ( ) The typing status message is not displayed when you use an IME to type double-byte characters in Lync 2010
  • 2672924 ( ) Text that is typed by using the right-to-left reading order is displayed by using the left-to-right reading order in the sent message pane in Lync 2010
  • 2672944 ( / ) A contact is displayed with an incorrect picture and incorrect presence information in Lync 2010
  • 2666324 ( / ) The Windows logoff process is delayed when Lync 2010 is started
  • 2666702 ( / ) The time stamp that is displayed in the IM conversation windows is truncated in Lync 2010
  • 2666704 ( / ) You cannot use client policy to exclude a folder from contact search in Lync 2010
  • 2672933 ( / ) A global client policy in which the "EnableExchangeContactSync" parameter is set to False does not work in Lync Server 2010
  • 2666340 ( / ) A RTF header is displayed instead of the conversation history in the Conversation tab of Lync 2010
  • 2661952 ( / ) A user whose display name is in Korean cannot be found in Lync 2010
  • 2666709 ( / ) An update is available for RCC enabled users to make video calls or conference calls in Lync 2010
  • 2644148 ( / ) A server rejects the INFO request from a client by using a "401 Unauthorized" response in a Lync Server 2010 environment
  • 2666343 ( ) The department field in the contact card of a user is empty when the card is retrieved by a UCMA 3.0-based application
  • 2666338 ( ) A customized Lync 2010 Help URL does not work in Lync 2010
  • 2672945 ( / ) Double-byte text is transparent in desktop alerts on a computer that is running Windows XP and that has Lync 2010 installed
  • 2665270 ( / ) The "Lync New Online Meeting" button in Outlook does not work in a Lync Server 2010 environment
  • 2670467 ( ) Large increases in load on the OrgID service because of recurring authentication requests from Lync 2010
  • 2637105 ( / ) "Please verify your logon credentials and try again" error message when a user signs in to Lync Server 2010
  • 2672943 ( ) A user cannot add a custom location to their contact information by using an application that is developed by using Lync Server 2010 SDK
  • 2664812 ( ) You receive a System.UnauthorizedAccessException exception when you disconnect a call in a Lync 2010 SDK-based application
  • 2681509 ( ) Users have to manually input the user name every time that they sign in to the Lync 2010 client
Downloads and documentation:
Server download:
KB documentation :
Lync 2010 client hotfix here x64
Lync 2010 client hotfix here x32:
Lync 2010 phone edition for Polycom CX700 or Nortell IP phone 8540 : 

vrijdag 2 maart 2012

Refresh your Windows 8 pc without losing personal files

In Windows 8 there is a new feature called refresh your pc.
This feature should only be used when your pc is not responding or if you have unexpected errors.

The refresh option "refreshes" the OS and keeps all your personal documents, pictures and video's.
It is recommended to create a back-up of your applications before doing a refresh.

To use the refresh option, go to the start menu and choose settings.

From the settings menu choose "More pc settings".

This brings you to the general settings window.
From here, choose "general" in the left pane.
The option to "refresh your pc without affecting files" your pc is listed in the right lower corner.
Click get started.

When you click get started you will be asked one last time to continue. Click next.

Once you do this, you will see a boot screen telling it is preparing to refresh your pc.

Once this is completed, your pc will reboot and show you it is actually refreshing your pc.

Once this is finished you will get the logon screen.
The default apps and widgets are present.
Restore a back-up of your application if needed.

This is a nice feature to speed up or get rid of issues on your pc without losing your personal files.

The new and improved Windows Explorer in Windows 8!

There have been some major improvements in the new Windows 8, one of them is the ribbon in Windows Explorer.
I will explain some ribbon features below.

When opening Windows Exporer you will not notice a difference immediately, until you click the arrow in the upper right corner. At that point, the ribbon folds out.

In the below screen, "My conputer" is selected.
The ribbon directly shows the available options to choose from, very handy!

The "view" tab allows you to set the viewing options for the folders and files.

You probably noticed the purple tab where "Disk Tools" is shown.
In the navigation pane the C drive is selected and therefore the options for that drive are shown.
It allows you to directly choose from the most common options that normally were hidden in several context menu's.

This highlighted tab changed according to the folder or file that is chosen in the navigation pane.
If I select a picture for example, a different tab is highlighted with a different color with different options.

For folders it is a little bit different.
With folders a new tab with the name "Share" shows up, but not highligted.
It lets you share folders instantly.

Pretty cool!
If you only use the most common options for files and folders, you probably do not have to right click anymore. Definitely an improvement!

Windows 8 Picture Password

Since the Windows 8 Consumer Preview came out i've been using this version on my corporate laptop.
As far as I have tested, it works just great! No issues at all!

One of the new things I noticed was the picture password.
These are a set of gestures in relation to points on the image that you would repeat to sign in.
These gestures will take into account the shape, the start and end points, as well as the directionality. However, the shapes and gestures are limited to tapping and tracing a line or circle. Microsoft found that limiting the gestures improved the speed of sign-ins by three times compared to allowing freeform methods.

This feature is mainly used for tablets, but can also be used on laptops.
Instead of a finger, the mouse cursor can be used.

Microsoft claims it is a safe replacement for a password, but the gestures can be easely remembered by colleagues standing next to you, so I have some doubts this will actually be used on other devices than tablets.

So, how can this feature be enabled?
In the user settings you are able to choose "Create a picture password" under Sign-in Options.

When choosing this option you first need to enter your password before you can continue.

Next, you will be asked to choose a picture.

Browse to the picture you want to use for the picture password.

In my case I used a demo image for cloud based routing :).
In the left column you can choose to use the selected picture or choose another.

The wizard lets you input three gestures.
When making the gestures an arrow is shown in the screen ( not the black ones on the image but a light grey one ).
I just followed the arrow on the picture.

To confirm the password, you need to make the gestures again in the same order.
Click finish to make your picture password final.
The next time you want to log on, or lock your screen the image you have chosen will be shown.
To gain access to your machine you need to make the gestures you entered during the wizard.

Cool feature for tablets but I think it's not a replacement for a corporate password.
But it's cool to play with :).