Friday, 22 April 2011

Happy day off UK

What a lovely day for a bank holiday, just thought I would share a problem we have had with you in case you suffer it too.

If you use Supportworks for your helpdesk software you may have come across a problem recently. It is where you cannot write an email unless you switch from HTML to plain text, and even then if you are replying the body of the previous email is missing.

We noticed this happened after the huge amount of Windows updates lately and managed to pin it down to Internet Explorer 9. Removing IE9 fixes the problem and Hornbill say this problem will be fixed in the next release. Until then roll-back Internet Explorer and your problem will be fixed.

Also, in case you missed it, Linux is 20 this year (link), Firefox 5 is scheduled for 21st June, Firefox 6 is scheduled for 16th August (link) and Teachers TV is being got rid of by the Department For Education (link) on 29th April.

I don't always have the time just recently to write about all the IT news effecting the education sector, so keep up to date with my blog's Twitter feed here.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Troubleshooting Windows 7 - Live Blog

This evening I will be attending a troubleshooting Windows 7 for advanced users seminar. I will post the interesting points and comments here and on the site twitter feed ( - sorry about the lack of hyperlinks but I am blogging from the Blogger appp for android which lacks some functionality).

*Excuse the writing too, it is going up at speed.

Just met a writer of Microsoft books, it is weird talking to people in real life that you follow on Twitter (even recognised him from his Twitter picture).

No Microsoft jackets or free copies this time, but FREE OFFICE PENS!

Cool, we get a free ebook too.

Started off talking about users. The problem steps recorder is a handy tool left over from the beta after the glowing reviews testers gave it (type psr into the search box). It takes screenshots of what the user does, annotates and provides system info that can all be saved in a file.

The system file checker is a handy tool but if you have installed a service pack sfc will not work with the original disc and you must slipstream the service pack using something like RTSe7enLite (

Talking about the bootrec command and the uses of BCDEdit (exporting and importing boot files) to fix a PC that won't boot.

Then went on to talk about driver problems. In device manager there is the option of going to view then show hidden devices as there are a lot of hidden drivers that could be causing problems.

In advanced boot options can disable auto restart on BSOD so you can see the error. 3 things useful to read on BSOD: the error name, stop error name and service/device name.

Power utilities: can attach tasks to events to create pop up alerts or send emails when a particular error occurs in event viewer.

WEVTUTIL: useful, can output system info as a file.

Talked a little about Windows 8. Could have a second ISO file when installing with WinPE to image an OS from inside the OS.

Then a discussion about manufacturers not shipping Windows discs with new computers/laptops and the problems it causes. One guy with Vista 'won' a copy of Windows 7.

Short but sweet, time to catch the train.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Grrrr 2 of the day - ISP's

ISP: We are upgrading customers to ADSL2+, if your exchange is enabled raise a ticket and will upgrade you for free.

Me: I see you are upgrading customers to ADSL2+, my exchange is already upgraded to 21CN and ADSL2+ can I be upgraded please? Thanks.

ISP Agent 1: Can't upgrade you to 21CN, kind regards.

Me: Sorry? Do you mean I will never be upgraded or just not in this current rollout?

ISP Agent 2: Sorry, the previous agent gave duff information you are already on ADSL2+. Please don't hesitate to get back in touch if you require further assistance.

Me: Thanks for getting back to me. I checked my router modulation and it is currently G.992.1 and I believe it should be G.992.5 for ADSL2+ and also the maximum line limit is 8mb rather than 20mb. Can you confirm the router modulation and any settings that may need to change to enable ADSL2+?

ISP Agent 3: I am afraid you have again been mis-informed. You are still on the up-to 8mb service. I will ask our provisioning team to place the order.

What is annoying is that most people would have given up or believed what they were told by the first or second helpdesk agent. It is only because I have some understanding of what I am doing that I bothered to log in to the router and check the settings and had some idea of what I was looking for. For the general ISP customer they would have believed what they were told by the 'experts' and stayed on the old service whilst paying top prices.

ComputerBites Android App

NOW AVAILABLE! An android application for my blog. You can download it by scanning the QR code below:

You may need to allow installs of non-android market apps by going into 'Settings' > 'Applications' > 'Unknown Sources'.

I made this app with Beta



Yesterday the asbestos team put a red sticker on our comms room door and changed the lock. Today the whole cabinet is off and unreachable. It could be the power, it could be the switch stack, we don't know and we cannot get access to the room to have a look.

Unfortunately this cabinet feeds nearly a whole building (last year C floor was refurbished and now goes to another cab). We tried to get access wearing an asbestos suit and accompanied by an asbestos expert but the contractors are refusing to go in as there has been no risk assessment and they do not have a pump to do an air test.

So it could be off for 2 days until the asbestos contractors can go in. This will have a serious impact on the teaching in this department.

While it is excellent news that something is finally being done about asbestos issues in our rooms it is proving to have a serious effect upon the services we provide. It is taking a fair amount of time to do moves and fix faults in these areas... and WE get the blame. We get told by one person that it is safe to go in and told by someone else that it is not. One person that you need a risk assessment and another that you do not. Also a 'green' area one day cab be a 'red' area the next. What a mess!

Friday, 1 April 2011

A round-up of the week...

I have been on a course this week so not much work stuff to talk about. However, there has been a few tech stories around this week so, in case you missed any, here is a quick round-up:

Microsoft Windows 8 not as far away as you may think? Link

Google gets up to more April Fools tricks. Link

Amazon launches free 5GB cloud storage service. Link

Firefox 4 was launched, and was quite popular. Link

The UK sees PlayStation games arrive in the android market. Link

The BBC website went down. Link

The clocks changed on Sunday (here in UK) and a few iPhones had problems. Link

There was a major BT broadband problem that had a knock on affect to other ISP's too. Link

Microsoft Vs Google. Fight! Link

and finally...
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