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Outlook: Cannot Send This Item

Published on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 in ,

A customer of mine was struggling with the following error in Outlook:

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Microsoft Outlook: Cannot send this item

It started appearing after they introduced a new Exchange 2010 infrastructure and had migrated some pilot users from their Exchange 2003 environment. At first the repro we found was: start a new mail, type some random stuff in it and then wait. After some time (10 – 15’) hit send and see if you get the error. Now that was really lousy to reproduce…

On the internet we found a workaround: whenever the error would popup, you can choose the “Format Text” tab en switch between HTML and Rich Text. Then just hit send again.

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We weren’t satisfied though, because of this formatting workaround we were suspecting a problem with the html of the signature in the mails. We found a hotfix regarding GIF images and outlook but that didn’t seemed to solve it. Besides that, our issue wasn’t always reproducible and time seemed to be a factor… So we shifted away from the formatting issues and looked further.

After some network tracing, lots of coffee and patience we seemed to have found the culprit. By clicking right on the outlook tray icon (while holding ctrl down) you can view some connection statistics:

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And:

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The picture is a bad example as I’m actually disconnected, but you get the idea. What we were seeing was that we had quit some failed requests. However this wasn’t really noticeable in the Outlook from the user point of view. Now we could reproduce our problem by opening several mails and just waiting until a failure popped up in the statistics. After such a failure we couldn’t send any of those mails we had open.

Once we learned this, we involved some networking guys to check all involved devices: firewalls, load balancers, … and they found out some device was malfunctioning (dropping packets).

Summary: if you are hitting the “outlook cannot send this item” error. Don’t go for the easy workaround by learning your users to change the format back and forth.  In stead do some troubleshooting and check the health of your network, at least if you are seeing connection failures in the statistics…

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Exchange 2010 SP1: Split Permissions

Published on Monday, October 24, 2011 in , ,

This evening I was installing an Exchange 2010 SP1 in a Lab environment which didn’t had Exchange before, and when going through the installation wizard I came across a checkbox I hadn’t seen before:

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If I read the documentation correct, this could be an answer for those environments where Exchange management tasks are performed by an other team than the typical AD user management tasks. Here’s some TechNet info on the subject:

This might come in handy whenever you are designing your delegation model for an Active Directory environment.

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Win 8 Client (Dev Preview): Manage Wireless Networks, Where Art Thou?

Published on in

When I started using Windows 8 I wanted to manually define a Wireless Network to connect to. Win 8 really does it best to make this as dummy proof as possible. One of the options I was missing was an overview of all networks I had been connected to in the past. In fact this is what I was looking for:

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I might be missing the obvious, or It might be hidden somewhere in the new shiny Metro UI, but I didn’t found it. Here’s how you can start it:

just copy paste “explorer.exe shell:::{1fa9085f-25a2-489b-85d4-86326eedcd87}” in your start – run or a command prompt.

If I ‘m correct, I believe in Windows 7 you can find a shortcut to this in the Network and Sharing Center.

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Windows 8 (Dev Preview): Install A Domain Controller

Published on Saturday, October 22, 2011 in ,

As I’m curious what might have changed in the Windows 8 Developer Preview I decided to promote a server to a Domain Controller. As I’ve done plenty times before I just did “start – run – dcpromo”:

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However this time a message pops up that we can no longer do this and have to use the Server Manager experience. Fine by me.

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So off we go: the Server Manager has been revamped and extended. Just click add roles.

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There seems to be a scenario-based installation,but that’s just for Remote Desktop Services.

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Some fancy server selection options.

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Just Check AD DS

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Required features to be added

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Now this is convenient: you get the choice to add some additional features on your way out

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Next

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Install

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Tumdidum

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Ready

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Back in the server manager we will see a message saying we now need to execute the domain controller configuration part.

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Click it, you’ll see an overview of pending tasks.

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Scroll to the right and click “Promote this server to a domain controller”
Choose a name for your root domain

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I just picked the new Windows Server 8 DFL/FFL

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Defaults for my lab or just fine

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Now we are presented with an overview of the settings. Read carefully, it says: “The NetBIOS name of the domain: automatically calculated”. Often this might be just fine, but whereas in the past you could specify it in the GUI when following the advanced route, now we will have to go command line.

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And very nice: the view script button shows us the outcome of our clickings in the equivalent PowerShell script:

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When clicking next some prerequisites are checked. The outcome was red, I didn’t saw that one coming. It seems to be complaining about the DFL I picked…

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Back to the DFL selection I lowered it to Windows 2008 R2 and went forward again.

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All is fine now.

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However I backed out the GUI as I wanted to try to PowerShell script:

#
# Windows PowerShell Script for AD DS Deployment
#

Import-Module ADDSDeployment
Install-ADDSForest `
-DatabasePath "C:\Windows\NTDS" `
-DomainMode "Win2008R2" `
-DomainName "addict.local" `
-DomainNetBiosName "ADDICT" `
-ForestMode "Win2008R2" `
-InstallDNS:$true `
-LogPath "C:\Windows\NTDS" `
-RebootOnCompletion:$false `
-SafeModeAdministratorPassword (Read-Host -AsSecureString -Prompt "Enter Password") `
-SYSVOLPath "C:\Windows\SYSVOL"

I could have set "RebootOnCompletion”, but I wanted to see the result of the command.

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After rebooting I decided to check the DFL/FFL raising again:

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So I guess we will have to wait for that. In the near future I might be adding additional postings regarding Windows 8 Server. However this is all pretty early and stuff might be left out in the final version of course.