Monday, June 29, 2009

Start a Microsoft Office 2007 program in Safe Mode

This is really simple, and can help diagnose issues and problems you may be having with Microsoft Office products, such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook. In order to start the application in safe mode, simply hold down the Ctrl key when selecting it from the Start menu (Start->All Programs->Microsoft Office, then pick the icon of the program you want to open). You will be prompted asking if you want to start the application in safe mode, so assuming you do, select yes to continue.

Microsoft has this posted here

"Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook" error

I had a user report that she could no longer get Outlook 2007 to open and was getting the error "Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window." dialog box, as seen below.

I wasn't sure what was causing it, so I started my troubleshooting. I first tried opening Outlook in Safe mode, but that didn't help. I knew she has installed some Windows updates early today so I tried a system restore, but that didn't work. Then I turned to thinking her mail files were possibly corrupt, so I used scanpst to check them for errors and repair what it found. That didn't work either. I was stumped, so I turned to Google. It was then that I ran across what ended up solving my problem.

It was an Outlook switch I had never heard of before. resetnavpane, and it worked like a charm (thanks d-pabs). Here's how to fix it, and I'm going to assume you're using Outlook 2007. If you run into this issue while running Office 2003, the only difference is the path to the Outlook.exe file should be Office11, not Office12 as shown below

1. Go to Start->Run
2. Type cmd and press OK (alternatively, open a command prompt window however you'd like)
3. In the command prompt window, type "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\Outlook.exe" /resetnavpane and press Enter. Make sure you actually type the quotation marks with the path in this instance since it is required in order for the command prompt to recognize the path to the Outlook executable since there is a space in it.
4. This should start up Outlook and you should be able to get into your email again

Thursday, June 25, 2009

napclientprov.mof error during Windows XP install

First, I'm going to guess that you either tried to slipstream Windows XP SP3 onto your install CD, or you have an install CD that is supposed to contain service pack 3. This isn't a bad thing, but from what I've read, the problem is related to CD's slipstreamed with service pack 3. Anyway, on to the fix.

The good news is that at this point of the install, napclientprov.mof should already be installed on the machine. You can click on Browser, then navigate to C:\Windows\system32\WBEM. You should see the napclientprov.mof file there, which you can then select and click OK to get the installer to continue. I don't have much more of an explanation than that, but it solved the issue for me so I'd expect it to do the same for you.

If you don't know what slipstreaming is, it is when you package Windows updates on your install CD so you don't have to go through all the updates post-install. It can save a lot of time if you have multiple machines to install Windows on, and it's pretty easy to do using a free program called nLite. To read more about how to slipstream updates, check out one of my earlier posts here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

iPhone not recognized in iTunes on Windows XP

I had a user who got an iPhone, installed iTunes (8.2), but couldn't get the iPhone to work in iTunes. It is a 16GB iPhone 3G. I took a look and couldn't quite figure it out right away either. I uninstalled/reinstalled iTunes, checked device manager and saw the iPhone recognized as a digital still camera, and kept getting an error from iTunes saying that it detected an iPhone but it wasn't recognized properly and needed to be unplugged then plugged back in. That didn't help. I finally seem to have figured it out, and came up with what I expect caused it to begin with.

First off, I belive the cause of the problem was that the user had first plugged the phone in to the computer while talking on it. This caused the OS to have issues recognizing the phone correctly, which then carried over every time the device was plugged back in. The reason I believe this is because I got it to work, then the user plugged the phone in while talking to me and it stopped working again. Luckily the same fix worked both times, and is quick and easy.

The solution to the problem, once it starts happening, is to update the Apple Mobile Device USB Driver. To do this, follow these instructions:

1. Right-click on the My Computer icon and select Manage
2. In the left tree-view column, click on Device Manager, which is under the System Tools section
3. On the right, expand Universal Serial Bus controllers which is likely towards the bottom
4. You should see Apple Mobile Device USB Driver there. If not, make sure your iPhone is plugged in. Assuming it is there, right-click on it and select Update Driver

5. Choose to allow it to install the update automatically, which should be the default, and click Next
6. It should appear to be doing some searching, then act as if it's installing something, then it will say it is finished. Click the button to close
7. Now try opening iTunes again and see if your iPhone is recognized correctly. Hopefully it is, and you can go on using your iPhone like normal and synchronizing it with iTunes

Once I updated the Mobile Device driver it seemed to work fine. Then the user plugged it back in while talking on it, and the same error started appearing again in iTunes. Again, a quick driver update and the problem was gone. If you're having the same problem and run across this, hopefully it takes care of it and you can stop stressing out over your phone. Good luck

Update: If this doesn't work for you try resetting your phone, then uninstall iTunes, reinstall iTunes, then plug your phone back in. It sounds like a hassle, and it is, but if it'll fix your phone then it'll be well worth it. To restore and reset your phone, check out my previous post. If you can't reset using the normal method you may have to use recovery or DFU mode, which are covered in previous posts as well. Once the phone has been restored to factory defaults (which means you need to choose to set it up as a new iPhone during the restore process), then go ahead with uninstalling iTunes. To do that, follow the uninstall directions in the Apple KB. Once you've uninstalled iTunes, go ahead and reinstall it while making sure to restart your computer in between the uninstall and reinstall. Once iTunes has been reinstalled, plug your iPhone into your computer and let the computer recognize and install it. If this works properly then you can go ahead and use iTunes to restore your phone to the most recent backup of the old settings. If this doesn't work then I'd suggest going right into a DFU mode restore if you didn't have to already, then trying to plug the phone in again. If that still doesn't work then I would say it points at a hardware failure. Be sure to verify your connection cable is working correctly before completely giving up, but if that's not it either then you're stuck relying on the warranty (if you still have one) or using the iPhone as a paperweight.

Show or hide icons on your Blackberry phone

I've seen this happen to people many times, but sometimes icons seem to disappear from their Blackberry menu and they don't know how to get them back. Sometimes it appears to be completely random, and other times it's probably the user clicking too quickly. Either way, it's easy to hide or show icons. Here's how:

To hide icons
1. Highlight the icon you want to hide
2. Hold down Alt, then press down on the select button
3. Scroll down to Hide and press down on the select button

To show icons
1. On the menu screen, hold Alt and press down on the select button
2. Scroll down to Show All and select it
3. Now you should see all the icons, with the hidden icons looking mostly transparent. Highlight the icon you want to show
4. Hold down Alt, then press down on the select button. Hide should be checked
5. Scroll down to Hide and press down on the select button to uncheck that option

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

iPhone Lite on Verizon's network

I just got out of a meeting with Verizon rep, and in talks with the rep I asked about the likelihood of Verizon getting the iPhone. According to the rep, the iPhone Lite is slated to be released yet this year (2009, but no definite date), followed by the full iPhone on the Verizon network in early 2010. They're also working on their EVDO upgrade, which will be known as LTE (long-term evolution) and that's expected to be implemented in 2010 as well, but this has already been reported by various sources. The iPhone Lite will be a slightly smaller than the current iPhone models, and will also have less memory. For those of us who really just need a phone for calls and email, it'll probably be a good fit rather than the overkill we get with the current iPhones. Tethering was also mentioned, and the rep expects it to be allowed on the Verizon network. From the conversation we had, I'd say AT&T needs to watch out because their reign on the iPhone may be in jeopardy soon.

UPDATE 10/28/2009 - As most of you already probably know, recently Verizon released new iPhone attack ads because of the upcoming release of a Google Android phone on the Verizon network. At this point, it is unlikely that Verizon would do this is they were planning on getting the iPhone themselves, so I think it is safe to say that iPhone users are stuck with AT&T even longer. The good news is that with Google gaining momentum and increasing the availability of their Android phone selection to more providers, Apple won't have much of a choice but to open up the iPhone to other carriers in order to keep up. The problem is that it likely won't happen soon, and the newest thought is that Verizon will be looked at for the iPhone only after they've finished deploying their upcoming LTE network.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quickbooks Pro 2009 error 15203 73952

We decided to use Quickbooks for a company setup at work, but after installing and getting to the final step to create a new company, we kept getting an error code 15203 73952 and Quickbooks would close. We couldn't get a company file created because of this and without one, there was no point in having the software. The machine was a fresh install of Windows XP Pro, so I turned directly to Intuit's Quickbooks support. The solution, according to them, is to open one of the sample company files installed with the application. Once the sample company file has been opened, go to File->New Company... and set up your new company. It should take you through the Wizard/Interview process again, but this time it should complete correctly at the end. However, this means that if you've already filled out the information from before, you probably will need to do it again. Apparently there is some glitch with the new company setup which can be bypassed by first opening the sample company file and then choosing to create a new company file from there while the sample company file is open.

It sounds like a quick software update would fix that, but maybe the issue isn't causing problems for many other than me since I didn't really find any other information about it on the web. If you're having the issue and find this post helpful, leave a comment and let them know that this is something they should really take care of. If this workaround fixes it for everyone, great, but it's still a programming bug that is a nuisance.

Weird magnifying glass view in OS X

If you've ever been using OS X and ran into a problem with the screen being magnified around the mouse, you're not alone. I get asked about it every now and then by panicking designers thinking that something went really wrong. It's actually a built-in system feature, and is very easy to turn on or off. Go to your System Preferences, then under the System section select Universal Access. You should see a setting for Zoom, which should be turned on. Change that to off and the magnifying glass view will go away.

How to backup or restore and iPhone or iPod touch

I'm working on transferring information from an iPhone 3G to and iPhone 3G S and needed to find out how to backup the information from the iPhone 3G and restore it to the 3G S. It turns out that Apple already has an article written for this, and the process is very simple. It's really just a matter of changing a radio button. Rather than write it all out here, the link to the Apple article is This would also cover how to restore settings to an iPhone that stops working like normal, assuming you can still get a computer to recognize the device. It also has instructions for how to update your iPhone, which may be useful with the recent release of the iPhone 3.0 OS

If you're wondering how to change the iTunes account associated with your iPhone, check out this other post.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sharepoint report dashboard access denied error

If you try accessing a dashboard you've created, but instead of getting data you receive an Access Denied error that looks like this

you can fix this by adding the site responsible for holding the data source to the reporting site's trusted locations. To do this:

1. Log in to the Sharepoint central administration
2. From there, go to Application Management
3. Under the Office Sharepoint Server Shared Services section, click on "Create or configure the farm's shared services"
4. Click on SharedServices1 (or whatever you named your shared service process instance)
5. Under the Excel Services Settings section, click on "Trusted file locations"
6. Click on "Add Trusted File Location"
7. Fill out the information listed, directing it to the Sharepoint library you would like to use for your data source. The settings have descriptions and should be self-explanatory
8. After you have your trusted location setup, go back to your reporting page and refresh. Your KPI's, reports, and whatever else should now load correctly since the site can access the data at this point

For the TechNet article, you can find it here

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sharepoint Designer 2007 for FREE!

Microsoft has made Sharepoint Designer 2007 free to download now, apparently trying to get more people to jump on the Sharepoint bandwagon. It's a customization tool for Sharepoint sites, without the need to have Visual Studio. It does have some limitations compared to Visual Studio, but is made to be more user-friendly so you don't necessarily need to be a programmer or developer to use it. If you're interested, the direct link to the download page is right here. If you want to learn more about Sharepoint Designer, check out the main page

MOSS 2007 Shared Service Providers stuck on Provisioning in Progress

This was a really annoying glitch during my setup process of Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007. I have a two server farm that I was upgrading to the MOSS 2007 trial (free for 180 days) and was getting stuck while going through the initial setup process when it came time to create a shared service provider. Luckily, after I got frustrated enough, I turned to Google and was able to find an easy solution that fixed my problem right away.

The hang/error is apparently caused by the Sharepoint Timer service, and in order to fix it you must remove the timer service files. This process needs to be repeated on all servers running the Sharepoint Timer service. Here's how to do it:

1. Stop the Sharepoint Timer service. To do this, go to Administrative Tools->Services, then scroll through the list to find it. Select it and choose Stop

2. Now to delete the configuration files for the Sharepoint Timer service. Navigate to %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\SharePoint\Config\GUID using the Start->Run box (or whatever other method you want to use to traverse the folders). GUID will be a long, random string of numbers, not literally the text GUID.

3. DO NOT delete the cache.ini file, but delete all the other .xml files you find, leaving the cache.ini file intact

4. Right click on cache.ini and choose Open With. Choose to open it with Notepad and change the number value within the file to 0 and save.

5. Restart the Sharepoint Timer service. This can be done very similarly to how you stopped it in step #1, but by clicking on Start this time instead of Stop.

Now you should be able to successfully create a Shared Service Provider. If you already had one that was stuck on "Provisioning in Progress" it should finish at this point since it continues to retry every so often.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Transfer browser favorites (IE and Firefox)

If you're an Internet Explorer user, the Favorites folder is in a different spot, depending on whether you use XP or Vista. In XP, go to C:\Documents and Settings\your username\Favorites. If Vista, then C:\Users\your username\Favorites. Take that whole folder from your old computer, then put it in the necessary location on the new computer. Make sure you use the locations listed depending on what operating system each of the computers are using.

If you use Firefox, go to Bookmarks, then Organize Bookmarks. You should see an option for "Import and Backup" here, which you can then use to backup your bookmarks to a file, then move that file to the new computer and repeat the process but import rather than backup

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Outlook invite time is different in Hotmail or Windows Live

I had a user ask why someone responded to their meeting request asking why the time was so different and had to do some research. My user uses Outlook, and was sending the request to a Hotmail user. The Hotmail user was seeing something similar to this:

From: Offline This Guy (
Sent: Wed 6/03/09 3:08 PM
When: Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 9:00PM to 9:30PM
Location: Test site

When: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 4:00 PM-4:30 PM (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada).

Where: Test site

Note: The GMT offset above does not reflect daylight saving time adjustments.

Notice that there is a When and Location field in the subject displayed in Hotmail, and then there is a When and Where within the body of the message. The body shows the correct time, while the subject section has a time that is 5 hours later than when the meeting is meant to happen. After thinking about this I believe I figured out the answer.

When the appointment is sent to Hotmail, it must use Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) rather than your current time zone setting. Also, since I'm currently located in a place that is in Daylight Savings Time (DST), our time zone is one hour different than it normally would be. I'm in the Central time zone, which is 6 hours earlier than GMT normally, and 5 hours different currently thanks to DST, which would mean a meeting I schedule at 4pm would appear as 9pm in GMT.

I thought this same issue affected Gmail appointments that originate from Outlook too, but after testing it the correct time did seem to be showing in my Gmail account. I'm not sure of any workaround, but submitted this information to Hotmail to see if it's a known issue (support ticket #1103641366). At least this should explain why it's happening for any of you who may have noticed but couldn't quite nail it down.

UPDATE 6/10/2009: This issue is still pending, but I've been working with Windows Live Support to try to solve it. The problem is that I've received emails from 4-5 representatives and have had to practically start over with each of them. The last was them asking for the ok to access my account, which I believe they did today, so I'm hoping to have some type of resolution, or at least acknowledgement soon. If you're having the same problem leave a comment so I can use it to help prove that it's not limited just to my accounts, because that's what they've tried hinting at.

UPDATE 7/2/2009: After many, many emails back and forth with Windows Live support, with them having me repeat the same troubleshooting steps over and over so they could try to blame my time zone settings, I finally received this message:

We receive a feedback from our product team with regards to your issue on time zone. They mentioned that it is by design that the time zone in the event details came from the time zone of the exchange server. While the time zone in the calendar view appears correctly. Windows Live Calendar shows the event in the event time zone.

Apparently that means that they couldn't figure out how to program Windows Live Mail to change the time zone to match that of the Windows Live Calendar settings. Gmail does it, so why doesn't Windows Live? Looks like it is because they don't want to. All appointments are going to be sent out in GMT in order to make sure there is some type of consistent time zone setting. That way the receiving end can look at the time, then reconfigure for their specific time zone settings since everything is based off of GMT anyway. Regardless, it looks like this one was put to bed with a result of Windows Live Mail acknowledging the problem, but then stating it's functioning exactly as designed.

One sidenote to anyone who happens to read this far and is involved in tech support in one way or another. READ an entire question before starting to answer. Sometimes a person just may be smarter than you think, and may have tried their own troubleshooting related to the problem. That can save a lot of time, but only if you bother to read it. I run into this all too often when I am trying to get questions answered by tech support at various places. I know there are a lot of people who don't have a clue out there because I'm in tech support myself, but assuming everyone is clueless makes it very frustrating for those who know what is going on and actually have a legitimate issue with whatever you are supporting.

Problems with Suitcase X1 and Adobe CS4 products in OS X

We recently started an online development group and hired a web designers, so we purchased Adobe Web Premium CS4 to get her started. She complained about issues with Flash crashing and Dreamweaver going really slow right from the start and it took a while for me to figure it out. Then she eventually ended up getting a lot of font errors, whether Suitcase was running or not. I did the usual permissions repair and tried cleaning the font caches, but had no luck. I suspected Suitcase, but wasn't sure. She was running OS X 10.4.11, so I upgraded to 10.5.7, but that didn't help. I had noticed  in the Activity Monitor when Dreamweaver CS4 was opened, Suitcase X1's processor usage spiked and stayed high for quite some time. It also listed Suitcase X1 running in PowerPC mode, even though this was an Intel Core2Duo 2.66GHz Mac Pro. Upgrading to Suitcase Fusion fixed the problem and I haven't heard any complaints from her since. There must be some sort of compatibility issue between CS4 and Suitcase X1, whether it's strictly software related, or if it has to do with Suitcase X1 not running natively on an Intel Mac. Either way, upgrading Suitcase is relatively inexpensive and solved the issue right away.

I haven't heard about any issues with Flash CS4 since then either, however I did run across what appears to be an official Adobe developer blog that says they're working on some updates to fix some problems they're seeing. I don't have the exact link anymore since it was a few weeks ago, but if you search the Adobe Forums I'm sure you'll find it eventually:

Monday, June 1, 2009

How to tether a Blackberry Curve 8310 on the AT&T network

AT&T has a pretty good guide for this here. You can also go here for more information. Really, all you should need to do is install the Blackberry Desktop Manager software from the CD that came with your phone, or from Blackberry's website, and also install AT&T Communication Manager. The Blackberry Desktop software installs the device drivers for the phone, and AT&T Communication Manager works to setup the device as a modem. Then just launch AT&T Communication Manager and click Connect, and away you go with Internet access through your Blackberry.

Make sure your plan is setup to have tethering access, which is typically about $15 more a month. Without it you may still get this to work for a while, but you'll end up with a surprise in a bill at some point and are better off just shelling out the extra $15.

If you somehow found this page and are looking for tethering software for the Verizon network, download the VZ Access Manager from That is what Verizon uses for tethering. Again, make sure you call Verizon and set yourself up with a tethering plan first.