Feb 13

Edit and/or remove messages

I know this works on Windows, but it may also work on Mac, however I haven’t tested this on Mac.

You can right click on message in a chat window to edit or remove the message.  This is helpful when posting the wrong message to the wrong person (you can remove it) or you can edit a message when you made a typo.

The edit last message sent, simply click the up arrow on your keyboard, edit the message and press enter to re-post the updated message.

Sign Into Multiple Skype Accounts

Source: http://www.howtogeek.com/173448/7-skype-tips-for-power-users/

Unlike some messaging programs, Skype doesn’t allow you to easily log into multiple accounts. Try to launch the Skype shortcut once you’ve already opened Skype and it will just bring your already-open Skype window to the front. But you may have multiple Skype accounts — perhaps you have one for work and one for personal use.

Rather than open Skype as another Windows user account, Skype has a hidden option you can use to open a new Skype instance.

To do this, press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog. In the Run dialog, enter the following command if you’re using a 32-bit version of Windows:

“C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe” /secondary

On 64-bit versions of Windows, enter the following command instead:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe” /secondary

Skype will open a second Skype window, which you can log into as another Skype account. If you wanted to use this frequently, you could create a new Windows shortcut that opened Skype with the /secondary switch.

Share you screen

You can share your screen with someone on Skype – useful to do presentations etc. withouth expensive software such as WebEx or TeamViewer.

When on a call (group or individual call) click on the + icon and then on “share screens”.

IRC Style commands

You can also enter commands by prefixing them with a forward slash (/) – This way of interacting should be familiar for folks who used IRC back in the day…

The commands available differ on the amount of people in the chat – i.e. is this a group chat or a one-on-one chat.  For one-on-one chats the only available commands are:

/me [text]
/add [skypename+]
/alertson [text]

The last command (/help) will show a list of available commands.

Full command listing:
(Source: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA10042/what-are-chat-commands-and-roles)

Command Description
/add [Skype Name] Adds a contact to the chat. For instance:/add alex_cooper1 will add that member to the chat.
/alertson [text] Allows you to specify what needs to appear in a chat for you to be notified. For example,/alertson London will only alert you when the word “London” appears in the chat.
/alertsoff Disable message notifications.
/clearpassword Removes the password security.
/find [text] Finds specific text in a chat. For example,/find Charlie will return the first instance of the word “Charlie” in the chat.
/get allowlist Details people with access to the chat.
/get banlist Details people banned from the chat.
/get creator Details the person who created the chat.
/get guidelines See the current chat’s guidelines.
/get options Details active options for current chat – see /set options below for a list of the options available.
/get password_hint Get the password hint.
/get role Details your role in the chat.
/get uri Creates a URL link that other people can use to join the group chat.
/golive Starts a group call with other participants of the chat.
/info Details number of people in chat and maximum number available.
/kick [Skype Name] Eject chat member. For instance,/kick alex_cooper1 will eject that member from the chat.
/kickban [Skype Name] Ejects chat member and prevents them from rejoining chat. For instance,/kickban alex_cooper1 will eject that member from the chat and ban them from rejoining.
/leave Leave current group chat.
/me [text] Your name will appear followed by any text you write. For instance, /me working from home will cause the phrase “working from home” to appear next to your name in the chat. You can use this to send a message about your activities or status.
/set allowlist [[+|-]mask] .. Sets the members allowed in the chat. For instance, /set allowlist +alex_cooper1 will allow that member to join the chat.
/set banlist [[+|-]mask] .. Sets which members are banned from the chat. For instance, /set banlist +alex_cooper1will ban that member from the chat./set banlist -alex_cooper1 will allow them to rejoin it.
/set guidelines [text] Set a chat’s guidelines. For instance, /set guidelines No spoilers! These can be returned to be viewed in the chat by the command /get guidelines.
/set options [[+|-]flag] Sets options for this chat. For example: /set options -JOINING_ENABLED switches off the JOINING_ENABLED option, while /set options +JOINERS_BECOME_APPLICANTS will switch on the JOINERS_BECOME_APPLICANTS option.
The available flags are listed below:
HISTORY_DISCLOSED – Joiners can see the conversation that took place before they joined. The limit that they can see is either 400 messages or two weeks of time, depending on which is reached first.
JOINERS_BECOME_APPLICANTS – New users can join the chat, but cannot post or receive messages until authorized by a CREATOR or MASTER (see the table below for more information on roles).
JOINERS_BECOME_LISTENERS – New users can receive messages but cannot post any until promoted to the USER role.
JOINING_ENABLED – New users can join the chat.
TOPIC_AND_PIC_LOCKED_FOR_USERS – Only a user with a CREATOR role will be able to change the topic text or accompanying picture for the chat.
USERS_ARE_LISTENERS – Users with a USER role will be unable to post messages.
/set password [text] Create a password (no spaces allowed).
/set password_hint [text] Create the chat’s password hint text.
/setpassword [password] [password hint] Create a password and password hint for the chat.
/setrole [Skype Name] MASTER | HELPER | USER | LISTENER Allows you to set a role to each chat member. A description of roles is given in the table below.
/topic [text] Changes the chat topic.
/undoedit Undo the last edit of your message.
/whois [Skype Name] Provides details about a chat member such as current role.

Chat roles depend on whether you started the chat or were assigned a role by the chat creator or host:


Role Description
Creator The member who created the chat. There can be only one creator per chat. Only the creator can promote other members to masters.
Master Also known as chat hosts. Masters cannot promote other people to masters.
Helper A semi-privileged member. Helpers will not be affected by the USERS_ARE_LISTENERS option. Helpers cannot promote or demote other members.
User A member who can post messages into the chat.
Listener A member who can see messages but not post into the chat.
Applicant A member waiting for acceptance into the chat. Note: once accepted into the chat, members cannot be demoted to applicants.


Jul 23

On BlackBerry devices with a keyboard you can press the following keys: left shift, alt and H


On newer or other devices, please reference BlackBerry Knowledge Base Article KB05026: (Details below for ease of reference.)

To locate the personal identification number (PIN), International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, electronic serial number (ESN), or Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) number on the BlackBerry smartphone, complete the following steps:

For BlackBerry devices running BlackBerry 10

  1. From the Home screen, click Settings
  2. Click About
  3. Click on Category/General and choose Hardware

For BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry 6 to BlackBerry 7

  1. On the BlackBerry smartphone Home screen, click Options
  2. Click Device
  3. Click Device and Status Information

For BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry Device Software 5.0 and earlier

  1. On the BlackBerry smartphone Home screen, click Options
  2. Click Status

Note: The Options icon might be located in a different location on the Home screen depending on which theme is in use, or whether the icon has been moved to a different folder. If the Options icon is not visible on the Home screen, it might be located in the Settings folder.

The PIN and IMEI can also be found on a sticker underneath the battery on the BlackBerry smartphone.

How to change your Windows Password

posted by Sam Ravenscroft
Mar 8

How to change your password on Windows XP (domain)

If you are working on a company computer and your company has a server then most likely you need to use the domain method.  (Domain username are usually in the form of DOMAIN\username or username@domain)

It is always a good idea to think of a password before attempting to change your password.

Please take the following into account when changing your password:

  • Choose a password that is secure
  • Choose something that you can remember
  • Never give out your password to anybody else
  • Never write your password down
  • If your organization employs password policies, ensure that your password complies to the length and/or complexity requirements of the password policy.
  • Passwords cannot be the same as your username, e-mail address or first/last name.

Usually the minimum password requirements entail the following:

  • At least 7 characters long
  • Must contain numbers and letters (alpha-numeric)
  • Must contain both upper and lowercase letters
  • Must contain at least one special character (e.g. !@#$%^&*().<> etc.)

Whilst logged on (with your own account):

  1. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL keys simultaneously
  2. In the window that appears (Windows Security), click on “Change password”.
  3. Put your current password in the “old password” box.
  4. Put your new password in the “new password” and “confirm new password” boxes.
  5. Click “ok”

The system will then confirm that your password has been changed or if it could not be changed a reason will be provided.

How to change your password on Windows XP (workgroup)

Use this procedure to change the password you use when you log on to Windows if your computer is a member of a workgroup, and is not a member of a domain.

  1. Open User Accounts in Control Panel.
  2. Under “or pick an account to change”, click your account.
  3. Click “Change my password”.
  4. Type your current password in “Type your current password”.
  5. Type your new password in “Type a new password” and “Type the new password again to confirm”.
  6. You can type a word or phrase to use as a memory aid for the new password in “Type a word or phrase to use as a password hint”. (Do not type your password in this box.)
  7. Click Change Password.

Mar 8

  • Do not use words or phrases that have personal significance.
  • Mix letters, numbers and symbols, and use case sensitivity (upper and lower case letters). This mixture is known as “pseudo-random alpha-numeric combination”; using this, it is almost impossible to “crack” somebody’s password. (i.e. instead of “password,” try “pAsS34%(6*2woRd,” etc.)
  • Find a good way to remember. A good way to do this is to choose the first letters of a sentence that you will remember. e.g. “I have 2 dogs called Rover and Fido” gives: Ih2dcRaF
    • Use punctuation to your advantage. To incorporate a colon into the previous example, remember the sentence as “I have 2 dogs: Rover and Fido”, which would give: Ih2d:RaF
  • Try to memorize the password, and avoid writing it down. Somebody could very easily find the slip of paper that the password is written on.
  • The longer the better. Don’t make a password that’s less than 8 characters. Anything less can easily be deduced from brute force software.
  • Take the street you grew up on, and your first pet/something hard to guess from your past, put a number sign in between, substitute some letters for numbers, and, voila! A great password. For example: Bill grew up on Ocean Avenue, and his first pet was Rocky. His password would be: 0c3an#r0cky You can add random capitals to make it more secure.
  • Do not use the same password for everything. If someone finds this password, they would have access to everything. At the very least, make at least one password for sensitive things (i.e. online banking, etc.) and one for everything else (AIM, email, etc.). Here is an example:
    • Let us suppose you have 5 email accounts, 3 operating system passwords, 3 bank accounts (each with user name, password, extra security pin), 10 internet forum user/passes, 1 cellular phone (uses 2 to 4 pins). (If you are a programmer or db administrator, multiply the total by 3). Say for each of these, you chose a variation of “pAsS34%(6*2woRd,”. Try to memorize 20 of those gibberish sequences! It’s quite difficult, but if you make your sentences relevant to each situation, it will be easier – for example, for banking, your sentence could be “I want to have 1 million pounds every day” (Iw2h1m£ed), and for your emails it could be “I hope no one reads my emails or hacks in!” (Ihn1rmeohi!).
    • Use something you see whenever you need this password to generate the password. Federal Security Bank might lead to FsBmA3456.
    • Use a telephone keypad or 10 character phrase (i.e. blackstump) to encode numbers as letters or vice versa.
  • Another way is using just numbers, but with an algorithm. You could take your birthday, for instance. For a random birthday, let’s use 23/4/87. 2+3+4+8+7=24. 2+4=6. And so your password is simple. now, take 6 and…. 2x2x2=8 4x2x2=16. 1+6=7. 7×7=49. 49×49=2401. This way, you have a password,(2401) and a way to crack it if you forget it!
  • Change your passwords. You should change your password at least every 30 to 60 days. You should also not re-use a password for at least a year.
  • One other way is to use a word, for example, wikihow, and move your fingers up one row on the keyboard. Wikihow becomes 28i8y92.
  • One more way is to create a random syntax (eg. 2 numbers, 5 letters, 1 punctuation mark and 2 more numbers) and randomly populate it with the characters you have said – 94IdmTg;66 could be a password created in this way. The downside of this method is that it is often difficult for most people to memorise passwords created in this way, but if you use it often enough it should become easier over time. This method is only really useful if you believe other people may overhear/attempt to find out your password, as computers will not find such a password any harder to crack than a password holding some meaning!
  • You could also use an entire sentence as a password – including spaces an punctuation.  (E.g. “My computer is Secure as at 2013!!”)

Some Microsoft applications (notably Windows Server Update Services aka WSUS and Windows Sharepoint Services WSS) utilise the Windows Internal Database.

This database can be accessed using either command line tools (such as OSQL and SQLCMD) or Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.  The Express version of Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio is free and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center.  The easiest is just to Google for “Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express download” – one of the top results should link to a Microsoft webpage.  I recommend you only download this from Microsoft.

Once you have installed the Management Studio open it up.

NOTE: When working on Server 2008 and newer you will need to run Management Studio express as an administrator.  Right click on the icon and then select “Run as administrator”.  This is to ensure that UAC does not cause any problems.

Management Studio might show you the MICROSOFT##SSEE database in the dropdown list, however you won’t be able to connect to it. You must use a named pipe.  So paste this into the server field:


Then used Windows Authentication and voila you should now have access to the database.

In an Exchange environment you can view your mailbox size and free space from within Outlook.

Start Outlook and click on File:


You can also enable a status indicator that always shows:

In the main Outlook window (i.e. the Home tab) right click in the bottom left corner where it shows the Item and Unread message count.  Ensure Quota Information is ticked on the menu that pops up:


Should your space be low there are a couple of things you can do to free up space or to increase available space:

  1. Depending on your corporate policy you could ask your Exchange administrator to increase your mailbox space
  2. Delete old and/or redundant mails
  3. Use the Mailbox Cleanup wizard
  4. Archive mails

Note: that when you archive mails and you don’t have an online archive that the mails will be archived to a local PST file on your hard disc drive.  If your computer is lost or stolen or breaks then you will lose the archived mails, unless you have a backup of the PST file.

If the Quota Information option is not available then it most likely means that your quota is unlimited – i.e. there is no quota and your mailbox can grow in size as much as there is available space on the server.

Remote desktop won’t maximize

posted by Sam Ravenscroft
Aug 5

A frustration that I have been having with Remote Desktop (mstsc.exe) on Windows 7 is that sometimes a window (remote session) just won’t maximize to full screen.  It will maximize, but then have scroll bars on the right and/or bottom and not the usual blue bar at the top.

To alleviate the problem I have been starting all my remote desktop sessions via Start -> Run:

mstsc /v remote.example.com /f


The “/f” at the end forces a full screen.  However I sometimes click on the “Restore Down” button by accident, instead of clicking on the “Minimize” button as intended, and try as you might, when you maximize the window, it just won’t go to full screen mode.

The solution is to press the CTRL-ALT-BREAK keys simultaneously.  This key sequence toggles between “windowed” and full screen mode.

I hope this helps you as this was really driving me up the wall!!!

I recently tried installing Dell Appassure Replay Core on a client’s server and received this error message:

Installation failed with error: 1. Bad state (invalid stored block lenghts)


At first I thought this was going to turn into a nightmare and I was about to phone Appassure support, when I Googled the error message.  I couldn’t find any information about this error pertaining to Appassure, but I did find a solution.

This seems to be a generic Windows Installer error that indicates that the installation media is corrupt.

I simply downloaded the installation files again, and hey presto it worked.

So if you get this error message I would suggest that you just try downloading the installer again.

I recently logged a call with Quickbooks South Africa (4th of Jan 2012)  with a problem I had getting my Quickbooks 2010 company file to upgrade to Quickbooks 2012.

After being advised to uninstall and reinstall the program and a whole string of other problems they came to the conclusion that they cannot assist me.

Thereafter I contacted the Quickbooks UK offices.  I advised them that I had spoken to the local Quickbooks office and that they could not help me.  They again took me through the same procedures of uninstalling and reinstalling the product.  Still no resolution.  I then waited about a week before they got back to me.  A support representative connected to my computer and redid all the diagnostics steps that had already been tried, including uninstalling .NET etc.  Still no resolution.  He then took a copy of my company file and advised that it could take up to 2 weeks before they got back to me.

Last night I received an e-mail from them:

I am writing to you regarding the QuickBooks Version 2010 Release 4 Company File send for review and received on Jan 17th, 2012.

As I understand it, you are unable to upgrade your QuickBooks version 2010 Company data file to version 2012 as it crashes during the upgrade process.

I have reviewed your file. I am able to upgrade the file to version 2012 if I shorten the business number.

The business number you have entered is 16 characters including numbers, alphabets, special characters and spaces. If you shorten it to 15 characters you should be able to upgrade it to version 2012.

Open the file in Version 2010, Go to the Company Menu and choose Company Information.

On the Company Information window, Click on the Business Number and shorten it by a character. I had removed one of the slash. You may want to remove some other character. But please make sure that the Business Number is not longer than 15 characters including numbers, alphabets, special characters and spaces. Click on OK to Save the Change.

Go back to the Company Menu and go to Company Information to ensure that the change was saved.

You can now upgrade the corrected file to version 2012 and it should upgrade without any issues.

I did as advised and my company file has been successfully upgraded to 2012.

I’m very happy that the problem has been resolved, it’s just horrific that it took a WHOLE MONTH to resolve such a silly problem.  One would think that the programmers would have been able to put some sort of validation in the software to prevent this type of data validation issue.

Need a quick and dirty way to check the size of all users’s Deleted Items in your Exchange Mailbox Database – here is a nifty powershell script I concocted from a variety of other scripts on the net.

C:\Windows\system32>Get-Mailbox -ResultSize unlimited | Get-MailboxFolderStatistics | where{$_.FolderType -eq "DeletedItems"} | Select-Object Identity, {$_.FolderAndSubFolderSize.ToMb()}, ItemsInFolderAndSubFolders | Export-Csv c:\deleted_items.csv

It exports the data to a CSV file on the root of the C: drive (deleted_items.csv).

You can open this in Excel and easily use the SUM function to get a total of all the users’s Deleted Items folders.

(I wrote this on an Exchange 2010 server, it should work on Exchange 2007 also, but I haven’t tested this on Exchange 2007.)