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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MS Office XP - Word does not display a document

We have a client that uses Office XP throughout their organization. I know, Office 2011 is the latest. They also have Windows XP. We have had intermittent issues with Microsoft Word.
Now that we have had repeated success in solving the problem I wanted to document it here in hopes it will help someone else.

Symptom: When you double-click a Word document or open a document as an attachment from Outlook, Word will open but just displays a blank document and not the one you wanted. However, if you first open Word, and then click File, Open, you can select a document and it opens correctly.

The Fix: Make a change on the command line in the File Associations Menu.
  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Click on Tools, Folder Options, and then select the File Types tab.
  • Go to the DOC extension and click the Advanced button.
  • On the list of Actions, select the Open action. Then choose edit.
  • Refer to picture below, but you will add "%1" to the end of the command line.

After saving this change you should be able to double-click a document and open it. If you are using Roaming Profiles, be sure to log off from Windows to save these changes.

Comments: We have yet to figure out what causes this problem to occur. In researching the issue we think it could be having Word as your default editor in Outlook. So as we encounter this issue we are changing the option in Outlook to NOT use Word as the Editor.

Another odd thing, is that if you install MS Office XP fresh on a user's profile, the command line above does not have a "%1" and yet it works fine. - Great Service

I had something interesting happen to me today. Well, interesting to me. Starting last night I was having trouble syncing my favorites/bookmarks with Xmarks. This morning the problems continued. I looked around on their website to see if they had announced any issues. I found a post in their forums that a handful of other people were having issues as well. I sent a Tweet (on Twitter of course) about the fact that I was having problems. I didn't send it to them mind you, I just tweeted to the world and then also shared it with my co-workers who also depend upon Xmarks. To my shock this afternoon I received a direct tweet from Xmarks acknowledging that there had been a problem and they resolved it. Wow! Now I'm still relatively new to Twitter, and maybe this happens frequently, but this is awesome. Wish I could Tweet about high taxes and then have my Congressman respond telling me my worries are over. Xmarks was already at the top of my favorite software but this kind of great customer response is something I wish all of my vendors would take note of. Thank you Xmarks/LastPass for such great products.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

offline changes not synchronized

Had a user that kept getting messages about "offline changes not synchronized". You could see that the server was online, but no matter what would not sync the changes.

This is Windows XP SP3 and connecting to Server 2003.

Found this Microsoft Support article that fixed the issue. Used the "Fix It" button, applied and rebooted.

Apparently the User's Offline Files (CSC or Client Side Caching) cache and database was corrupted.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cannot print from Adobe Reader 9.4.2

A user called saying they could not print from Adobe Reader. They could print to their local printer but not to their network color laser printer. When they tried it acted like it sent it to the printer, but nothing showed up in the print queue.

I found this is a known issue with Adobe Reader 9.4.2. I updated it to 9.4.3 and it corrected the issue.

Outlook will not open hyperlinks

Worked on an interesting problem today. A user called me and she could not open any website by clicking on a link in her email. She is using Windows XP Service Pack3, Outlook 2007, and Internet Explorer 8.

When she clicked on a link from her email, Outlook gave this message:

"This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer."

As it turned out this was not an Outlook problem at all. It was a problem with Internet Explorer. We first reset it to defaults but that didn't help. Then I noticed that if you saved a website address to the Desktop and tried to open it, Windows would ask you which program to open it with. In other words, there was no default web browser.

To fix it, I opened Firefox and let it be the default web browser. Then I opened Internet Explorer and when it asked, said it could now be the default web browser.

Then we could open links from Windows and Outlook normally.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Active Directory Sync problems

Last Thursday evening and into Friday morning I worked on a server that had a hard drive crash. Another annoying example where a mirrored drive did no good at all. At any rate, spent most of the night restoring from an image backup.

The next morning I had calls that some users could not login to the domain. On one computer I unjoined and rejoined the computer to the domain and it worked, but not so for others I tried. No user account could login to these machines. I logged in as local admin and could see in the error logs it was complaining of Kerberos errors.

This environment has two domain controllers and both are Server 2003. The server that crashed was a secondary domain controller. On that server I could see lots of various error messages in the logs and it was incredibly slow. The master domain controller complained the name of the secondary controller was invalid.

I didn't record all of the errors I found but here is the one that stood out and ultimately led me to the fix.

Note: So as to protect the identity of my client, let's refer to the Master Domain Controller as PARENT and the Secondary Domain Controller as CHILD.

Had this error on CHILD:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: NTDS Replication
Event Category: Replication
Event ID: 1864
Date: 3/18/2011
Time: 2:51:22 AM
Computer: CHILD
This is the replication status for the following directory partition on the local domain controller.

I went here to download the Windows Server Support Tools for both the PARENT and CHILD servers. Although I appreciate Microsoft for providing these tools, as important as Active Directory is, I don't understand why they do not provide the same functionality as repadmin and netdom in the Windows GUI.

Ran this command on both servers: repadmin /showreps

On CHILD it said authentication failure (meaning it could not authenticate to PARENT).

On PARENT is said "Target Principal Name is Incorrect" (meaning it could not find the CHILD server).

Ran this command on CHILD:

netdom resetpwd /server:PARENT /user:customerdomain\administrator /password:adminpassword

This basically reset the kerberos encryption key to allow them to start talking to each other.

Kept running this command again every few minutes on both servers: repadmin /showreps

After about 10 minutes they both began talking to each other again and all errors disappeared. After rebooting the client PCs that were having trouble we could then login to the domain normally.