ActiveX Filtering for Java

We had a strange issue today where a third-party site that requires Flash would work under one user and not work under  a different user.  We first attempted all sorts of uninstall/reinstall, which did not fix the issue.

See blue icon showing that something was blocked

Eventually we found out that ActiveX filtering was turned on.  This is a new feature in Internet Explorer 9.  Supposedly it is off by default so the user must have turned it on somehow.  You can either click on the little blue icon and turn it off for that website, or go into Safety Options and turn it off altogether.

Option 1: Turn off ActiveX Filtering on current website

Option 2: Turn off ActiveX Filtering on all websites

This is one of those UI issues where Internet Explorer should let the user know a little more obviously that a control has been blocked (similar to a popup blocker notice).  I don’t like any of the notifications that IE does, the URL bar is too hidden and it’s frustrating to have the bottom of my browser taken up by a hovering notification bar.  Bring back the top notification bar!

The other issue I have is that the popupbox makes it sound like you are turning off all filtering when you are actually only turning it off for a particular website.

Here is some more information from Microsoft on ActiveX Filtering:

How to use Tracking Protection and ActiveX Filtering in Internet Explorer 9

About ActiveX Filtering

July 25th, 2011 | Leave a Comment

The inevitable death of Windows XP

Microsoft reminded us this week that there are now (less than) 1000 days left of extended support, expiring on 4-8-2014.  It truly is amazing that Microsoft has had such a stable operating system with Windows XP (after a few service packs), which I believe is one of the main reasons why businesses are hanging on so tightly to it.

The other big reason is our economy.  It is difficult to rationalize purchasing new equipment when the budget is tight.  Many companies hold on to the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” line as well.  Unfortunately, there is also plenty of third party software applications that do not officially support Windows 7.

However, the wake-up call is here.  You do not want to be running a computer that is running an operating system that will not be supported by Microsoft anymore.  While many will argue that they should continue to support it, we are talking about a 10 year old operating system that will be at least 3 versions behind the current operating system come 2014.  It is unreasonable to expect a company, no matter the size, to support a product in perpetuity, the cost is too high.

Many small businesses do not have a computer refresh cycle.  Now is the time to visit this concept to avoid having to purchase all new computers in one year.  Start your cycle this year if you can and break it up into thirds.

The reasons are not all doom and gloom, either.  You should see an added benefit of increased employee productivity with a faster computer.  Newer computers can be configured to be much more power efficient.  We also have a greater ability to keep the computers secure.

July 15th, 2011 | Leave a Comment

January release of KB2412171 is still causing problems in Outlook

Microsoft released a patch in December for Microsoft Outlook that caused serious issues with Outlook’s responsiveness, switching folders was very slow, auto-archive broke, and other possible errors.  They pulled the update a few days later, then re-released it on January 11th.

This new version of the patch will now cause many people to have continuous password prompts.  Some computers can’t get into Outlook at all, some can hit cancel and get in, while others have to enter domain\username to get it to work.  I tried to work in IIS and get permissions to a point where Outlook would not complain, but then that would break other items.  Finally we just decided that this update was still not primetime.  We removed it from those networks that got it installed, and have advised all customers to not install it.

Common threads are Exchange 2007, SBS 2008, Outlook 2007 & 2010

January 25th, 2011 | Leave a Comment

Windows 7 BETA: Disk usage

So far I am happy with disk usage.

I have a 20GB partition on my C: drive.

  • The windows directory currently is using almost 8GB of space.
  • I had to turn off hibernation to recover 2.5GB of space (Run CMD as administrator, then type “powercfg -H off”)
  • The computer automatically configures the pagefile at over 3GB since I have 3GB of RAM.  I can tune that down if I need to reclaim more space.
  • When I installed iTunes I accidentally moved my music (~4GB) back into my profile.  I moved this back to another partition.
  • I moved my outlook OST file (was 4GB on my Vista machine) to another partition as well.

Currently have more than 8GB free.  Let’s see how that holds up.

January 10th, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Windows 7 BETA: Great updates to the start menu and taskbar

I love the start menu and task bar.

First, the start menu is snappy.  Browsing through and clicking items is mostly immediate, what a wonderful change from Vista.

The task bar is great, I love the new Desktop preview.  When you hover over an item it sets up previews for that group side-by-side, then you can hover over those windows and preview them (it creates placeholders for the other items and shows the live window).

The systray, or notification area, has great improvements as well.

January 10th, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Windows 7 Beta: Encountered an Assertion Failure

In on day one for using Windows 7 (Build 7000) on my Optiplex GX620.  I’ve been getting a lot of “Encountered an assertion failure” all over the place.  Since it’s just now in public beta, I was not expecting to find anything on a Google search, which I did not.

I’m not sure if this is a driver issue, yet.

I tracked down one of the biggest issues that would make this happen.  On Internet Explorer 8 I had switched my search provider to Google.  The errors would popup whenever I would start typing and I tracked it down to Suggestions being enabled. If you click on Manage Search Providers (which would give me an assertion failure), then right click on Google and click Disabled Suggestions, it works pretty well.

I am running almost everything in firefox now though, as Internet Explorer has crashed on me quite a number of times.

I also get assertion errors in other locations, such as changing the location to My Music.

I would give screenshots of the assertion error, but it’s not letting me browse my computer when attempting to upload an image.

January 10th, 2009 | 6 Comments

Installing Windows 7 Beta

I waited until the Beta was released to the public to download and install Windows 7. I had a bit better luck through our Partner technet site than others had downloading it; I got the 2.2GB package in under 90 minutes on the super Comcast highway.

I first attempted to upgrade my existing Vista installation (running on a Dell Optiplex GX620).  This failed since I had only 2.2GB of space left on my 20GB C: Partition (Gotta love Vista’s bloatedness).  There were a couple of other reasons as well, one being the build that my Vista machine was on (which makes no sense to me).

So I threw my profile into another partition and performed a fresh install.  I didn’t time it, but I’d say about an hour later I was ready to use Windows 7.

The display looked a bit funky at first, which was not surprising.  I switched to an older Intel driver for Vista for my 82945G Express onboard video card. It helped a bit, but once I switched from the Windows 7 theme to the Landscape theme, the colors were much more appealing and I loved the look.

The sound card, Soundmax Digital Audio, did not install.  I grabbed a number of drivers, non of which seemed to work.  The frustrating part is that Dell never released any Vista drivers for my machine.  Eventually, I found the Soundmax drivers for Vista (Dell Support Site) from another blog.  The first time installing failed, but once I rebooted the drivers installed.

First impression: It’s definitely a beta, but I already love it more than Vista, which is not saying much.

January 10th, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Using a list control from another site in Sharepoint

Today I attempted to insert a list web part from the parent site on the default.aspx page on a child site.  I followed the direction located at: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/HA101191181033.aspx#1

I added the site by choosing the Connect to library option. As a side note, after adding the connection, when I clicked the plus sign to expand the site it took such a long time (over 2 minutes) to populate I thought I did something wrong. However, it eventually showed all of the lists that were on that site.

I dropped the control in a web-part zone and was surprised to just see unformatted html, not the web-part that I was expecting. I tried another control and received the same thing.

So I did a quick search on google for “Insert Data Source Control” and quickly came across a very helpful post by Jackie Bodine (Displaying a list on another site). Once I clicked Show Data, chose my fields that I wanted, and selected Insert Selected Fields as “Multiple Item View”, the control was there and fully formatted.

June 27th, 2008 | Leave a Comment

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