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Finding Fixes to Just About Anything and Everything

Archive for November, 2009

Outlook Prompts for Credentials from Previous Account

Posted by Russell Wright on November 18, 2009

I had a 1and1 Exchange account for a short period of time and after I switched to SherWeb, I continued to get prompted for some credentials to log on to the 1and1 Exchange server.  I used Fiddler to look at the http traffic and noticed that it was still attempting to perform an autodiscovery query against the 1and1 server.  Each time it did this, I received a logon dialog.

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I scrounged around the registry and found the AutoDiscover key in HKEY_CURRENT_USER.  It looked like it could be the source of the issue, since it was pointing to my SharePointRx domain. 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\AutoDiscover

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The AutoDiscover entry was pointing to an XML file called redirect.xml located in the “Documents and Settings\User\Application Data” folder.  This XML file did indeed contain an entry that pointed to the 1and1 Exchange server.

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I deleted the registry entry and am no longer getting the 1and1 security dialog prompt. 

In case you’re wondering, I moved from 1and1 to SherWeb because I could never get Outlook to stop hanging when it accessed the 1and1 Exchange server.  I messed with it for a couple of weeks and lost several hours of productivity waiting form Outlook to stop hanging.  I thought I had an Outlook problem.  I did a bunch of traffic tracing with Fiddler and found that it always seemed to hang at the time it was accessing the 1and1 servers, so in desperation, I switched Exchange providers.  Never had a problem with SherWeb…everything worked like a hose from day one.  I did get a support person at 1and1 to indicate they had a problem they were working through Microsoft, but I couldn’t wait for them to get it resolved.  It had already sucked the life out of me!

Posted in Computer Software | 1 Comment »

Windows 7 Suddenly Won’t Boot – Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device or Insert Boot Media in Selected Boot Device and Press Any Key – Repairing the Windows 7 Bootloader

Posted by Russell Wright on November 15, 2009

I had just walked away from my Windows 7 desktop after initiating a download of some VMWare software.  When I came back to it about an hour later I was presented by a boot screen that said,

"Reboot and select proper boot device, or insert boot media in selected boot device and press any key."

This was all very interesting because I hadn’t done anything to reboot the computer.  No power failures or anything like that had occurred.  I’m not even sure what caused it to reboot.  I seriously doubt that downloading the VMWare player had anything to do with my problem.  🙂

My computer is a home built tower with an ASUS P5Q-EM motherboard which was purchased on 2009-10-04, so it’s not very old!  I was thinking “infant mortality failure” but I didn’t want to give in to a hardware problem just yet.  I run a RAID 1 array using two Seagate ST3750640NS drives with Intel Storage Manager.  I’ve been very pleased…until now!

From a h/w perspective, I went through several iterations of disconnecting disk devices on the inside of the tower to eliminate each device as a potential invalid boot source.  I disconnected my CD and DVD drives, two external hdd trays and my USB card reader, just to make sure it wasn’t trying to boot off an invalid device.  I also made several changes to the boot order to insure something weird wasn’t going on there.  Same error.

So, I got the Windows 7 DVD and booted from it and went into the repair mode, which seems to be very similar to what Windows Vista offers.  I let it perform the automatic startup repair.  It reported to have found the problem and fixed it (no valid boot partition), but upon rebooting I was left with the same error.  So, I started digging…

I first started by using the bootrec command line tool to attempt to repair the boot records.  The process most people suggest is:

Bootrec /fixmbr
Bootrec /fixboot
Bootrec /scanos
Bootrec /rebuildbcd

If it doesn’t work, reboot, repeat the above steps and add

Bootsect.exe /nt60 all /force

and reboot again.  This did not work for me, either.  Additionally, the /fixmbr switch reported it worked correctly, but the /fixboot switch reported “element not found.”

This led me to the Nuclear Holocaust recovery process documented in the Neosmart wiki.

I then proceeded to go down the road of creating a new Boot Configuration Data file, which I had never done before.  It seems like this is the replacement (since Windows Vista) for the boot.ini file and you need a special command line tool (BCDEdit) to modify it.  That’s certainly easier…NOT!

Start by deleting the original bcd file (mine wasn’t there to begin with; neither was the \boot directory).
del C:\boot\bcd

I had to re-create the boot directory.
md boot

Create a new temporary bcd file.
bcdedit /createstore c:\boot\bcd.temp

Add an entry to it.
bcdedit /store c:\boot\bcd.temp /create {bootmgr} /d "Windows Boot Manager"

Now, import the temp file entry into the "real” BCD file.

Failure!!!
The store import operation has failed.  The requested system device cannot be found.

bcdedit /import c:\boot\bcd.temp

More searching revealed that I should try setting the partition on which the bootrec exists to ACTIVE.  Following the advice here, I used DISKPART to set the active partition.

—————————————Additional Actions————————————-

From cmd prompt:
DISKPART
LIST disk
SELECT disk #
LIST partition
SELECT partition #
ACTIVE (<< Marks the partition as active)
EXIT (Exits DISKPART)

—————————————Additional Actions————————————-

Then I could continue from the previous procedure of creating the BCD file.
bcdedit /set {bootmgr} device partition=C:
bcdedit /timeout 10 del c:\boot\bcd.temp

Now we have a clean, working Windows 7 bootloader. But we need to add a Windows 7 entry to it:

bcdedit /create /d "Windows 7" /application osloader

BCDEdit should return a message with a GUID (the big, ugly unique identifier in bold) for the newly-created entry, something like this:

The entry {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} was successfully created.

A word of advice.  Use the copy/paste features in the command window to copy the GUID assigned so you don’t have to type it over and over in the next steps.  Do NOT use the GUID displayed here for representative purposes!

Again, you’ll need to use the value that BCDEdit returned, along with the drive letter for the drive that Windows 7 is installed to, and substitute those values into the BCDEdit commands shown.

bcdedit /set {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} device partition=C:
bcdedit /set {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} osdevice partition=C:
bcdedit /set {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
bcdedit /set {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} systemroot \Windows

 

And, last of all, tell the Windows 7 bootloader to boot the new entry by default:

bcdedit /displayorder {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008}

After completing all these steps and rebooting, I still ended up with a problem. 

“Bootmgr is missing”

To repair this problem, I again booted from the Window 7 DVD and went into the repair mode.  I allowed it to automatically repair the boot problems.  The repair tool reported that the “boot manager is missing or corrupt” and attempted to repair the problem.  After rebooting, it worked!  Everything was back to normal. 

Hope this helps others out there!

Posted in Computer Repair | 95 Comments »

Outlook 2007 Hangs on Startup, When Replying To or Creating Emails, and Whenever Something Important Needs to be Done

Posted by Russell Wright on November 2, 2009

I just set up a new Exchange account through 1and1 internet (I know, I’m taking my chances) and started having problems with Outlook 2007 performance.  I actually added a second Outlook profile with its own Exchange account.  After adding this new profile and account, starting Outlook would sometimes take 5 or 15 minutes.  Once started, I almost hated to do anything because it was likely that, when I clicked on New or Reply, Outlook would hang…possibly indefinitely.  Once it had stabilized, however, it was usually responsive…except for the time(s) when you had to quickly send an email.  It was like the proverbial copy machine that goes down whenever you need to make copies in a hurry.  I did all the things that most people suggest, the main one being disabling all the COM add-ins in the Trust Center (Tools | Trust Center | Add-ins), but still no Outlook love. 

I’m a fan of Google Desktop, but have had problems in the past with Google’s desktop search hampering Outlook.  So, I uninstalled it again.  Miraculously, the next time I started Outlook it started with no hesitation…faster than it has started since I set up my new Outlook/Exchange profile.  In the past I’ve been successful with reinstalling Google’s desktop search product and having Outlook be happy again.  I really like the product…when it doesn’t interfere with me working!  Perhaps I’ll install it again, but not tonight!

An Update

Well, it looks like the Outlook startup problem was resolved, but my latest experience seems to indicate that it is still hanging when clicking Reply or Forward.  Hopefully I’ll find a simple answer to this problem.

Update 2009-11-5

This is a great article that summarizes lots of ideas you can try to attempt to make fix Outlook performance problems.

Update 2009-11-8

I have two accounts that I connect to in Outlook; an Exchange account with 1and1 and a POP account with Verizon.  Between the two accounts I have an OST file, and a couple of PST files in which I store emails.  My PST files are between 500 and 1000 megabytes.  I’ve never experienced any problems with the size of them being an issue.

Update 2009-11-15

Best I can tell, this was all a result of using 1and1 hosted Exchange.  In desperation, I switched from 1and1 to SherWeb and, knock on wood, haven’t seen any hanging issues.  I did a lot of http tracing using Fiddler, and that seemed to indicate that Outlook was waiting on responses from the 1and1 Exchange server for long periods of time.  Not sure what was going on there.

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