Saturday, May 21, 2011

Reparing Startup in Windows 7

The best and fastest way to repair startup in Windows 7 is to use the Startup Repair tool available on the install DVD. This tool automatically scans your system, finds the cause of the problem, and repairs the problem without user interaction. I've only ever had to run this tool once to repair a system, but I've read in some blogs that depending on the exact nature of the problem, it may take up to 3 Startup Repair attempts to completely fix the problem.

Generally speaking, if Windows 7 won't start, it is likely this tool will help. It can perform tasks such as:
  • replace missing boot files
  • update the master boot record
  • update the boot sector
  • repair the boot configuration database (BCD)
Things this tool will not do:
  • repair driver issues
  • remove invalid operating system files added by malware
  • remove faulty services
To access Startup Repair, you need to:
  1. Boot from the Windows 7 DVD
  2. Click Repair your computer.
  3. Click Use recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows.
  4. Click Startup Repair

You can manually perform some of the same repair tasks by using the Command Prompt option and the Bootrec.exe tool. You can use Bootrec.exe to:
  • Fix the MBR without losing the partition table (bootrec.exe /FixMbr)
  • Fix the boot sector to load bootmgr (bootrec.exe /FixBoot)
  • Scan disks for Windows installations (bootrec.exe /ScanOs)
  • Add all Windows installations to the BCD (bootrec.exe /RebuildBCD)
To perform tasks where you need to go back to a previous state, using System Restore is your best best. This tool restores Windows 7 system files (OS updates, registry, and drivers) and programs back to the time of the restore point that you select. It does not affect data such as documents. System restore points are created periodically and each time updates are installed. This tool can be useful for removing malware if you can identify the approximate date of installation.

You can perform a System Restore from inside Windows 7. Or, if the system is too unstable to perform a System Restore from inside Windows 7, you can boot from the Windows 7 installation DVD and perform a System Restore from the same menu as a Startup Repair.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Troubleshooting 0x8004010f in Outlook

If you are reading this post, I assume that you are experiencing error 0x8004010f in Outlook when syncing the address book to Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010. This is a result of the client computer not being able to contact the web service providing the offline address book.

The most common reason this occurs is that autodiscover is not configured properly. If autodiscover is not configured properly then the URL for the offline address book is never passed on to non-domain joined clients. This error is not typically an issue for domain joined computers because they locate an SCP object for autodiscover in Active Directory and the query the autodiscover service for the correct configuration information.

Non-domain joined computers locate the autodiscover service based on a DNS name or SRV record. The two URLs used for locating autodiscover are:
  • https://myemaildomain/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml
  • https://autodiscover.myemaildomain/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml
Using either one of these options requires you to an SSL certificate on your server that supports multiple host names. These certificates tend to be quite expensive. So, if you're cheap like me, the other alternative is to create an SRV record that points to the autodiscover service instead.  You can use this to point at the DNS name already in your certificate. The following is a screen shot of the SRV record I've created in our DNS hosting at GoDaddy (click it to see the whole thing).

A client recently had another issue with this error being received on a single domain joined Windows XP computer. Because the error was affecting only a single computer, it was quite puzzling. It turned out to be proxy settings that were pushed out as registry changes. The proxy was not visible in the IE Internet Options. However, you could view it by using the Proxycfg.exe tool. This tool is depreciated in Windows 7 and it is now recommended to use netsh instead (