Synchronize time with external NTP server on Windows Server 2008, Server 2008R2

Here’s how to synchronize time with an external NTP server on Windows Server 2008 (R2).

Posted on 16 November 2009 by Marek in MicrosoftWindows Server 2008Windows Server 2008 R2

Time synchronization is an important aspect for all computers on the network. By default, the clients’ computers get their time from a Domain Controller and the Domain Controller gets his time from the domain’s PDC Operation Master. Therefore the PDC must synchronize his time from an external source. I usually use the servers listed at the NTP Pool Project website. Before you begin, don’t forget to open the default UDP 123 port (in- and outbound) on your (corporate) firewall.

  1. First, locate your PDC Server. Open the command prompt and type: C:>netdom /query fsmo
  2. Log in to your PDC Server and open the command prompt.
  3. Stop the W32Time service: C:>net stop w32time
  4. Configure the external time sources, type: C:> w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /manualpeerlist:”0.pool.ntp.org, 1.pool.ntp.org, 2.pool.ntp.org”
  5. Make your PDC a reliable time source for the clients. Type: C:>w32tm /config /reliable:yes
  6. Start the w32time service: C:>net start w32time
  7. The windows time service should begin synchronizing the time. You can check the external NTP servers in the time configuration by typing: C:>w32tm /query /configuration
  8. Check the Event Viewer for any errors.

How to show and hide a Windows Update or Driver Update from Windows 10

Recently I’ve had an issue with Windows Update where it wouldn’t install a particular update.  It would crash and make Windows boot screen stay in a perpetual startup or “Welcome” screen.  I was able to cancel the update by restarting which rolled the computer back to a time before the update, then it would re-download the update and crash again.  Unlike Microsoft Windows updates of old, there is no place natively to view updates and stop them from installing.  I found the following steps from the Microsoft article on how to prevent a driver update from reinstalling to be helpful.  In particular downloading the wushowhide.diagcab file did the trick for us.  We were able to hide the update and the system hasn’t been in a reboot loop since:

For Windows 10 Version 1607 (Anniversary Update)

  1. Start Device Manager. To do this, press and hold (or right-click) the lower-left corner of the desktop, and then select Device Manager.
  2. Locate and right-click the device that has the problem driver installed, and then select Properties.
  3. Select the Driver tab, and then select Roll Back Driver.

For Windows 10 Version 1511 (November update)

Important If you don’t have Version 1607 installed, we recommend that you update now. You can use Windows Update to get Version 1607 or go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10, and then select Update Now.

  1. Start Device Manager. To do this, press and hold (or right-click) the lower-left corner of the desktop, and then select Device Manager.
  2. Locate and right-click the device that has the problem driver installed, and then select Properties.
  3. In the Confirm Device Uninstall dialog box, select the Delete the driver software for this device checkbox, if it’s available.

To temporarily prevent the driver from being reinstalled until a new driver fix is available, a troubleshooter is available that provides a user interface to hide and show Windows updates and drivers for Windows 10.

The following troubleshooter is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center (note, file will begin downloading once you click):

Download icon Download the “Show or hide updates” troubleshooter package now.

Microsoft scanned this file for viruses. Microsoft used the most current virus-detection software that was available on the date that the file was posted. The file is stored on security-enhanced servers that help prevent any unauthorized changes to the file.

When you click the download link, you’re prompted to open or save wushowhide.diagcab.

open or save wushowhide.diagcab prompt

To run the troubleshooter, open wushowhide.diagcab, select Next, and then follow the instructions in the troubleshooter to hide the problematic driver or update.

Getting files to show up in Network folder

Remove the following registry keys

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\NoRemoteRecursiveEvents
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\NoRemoteChangeNotify
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters]

“DirectoryCacheLifetime”=dword:00000000


Restart explorer and try again!

The keys didn’t exist for me, but I added them as DWord with a value of 0 (zero) and restarted Explorer and it worked.

http://www.teamas.co.uk/2012/02/windows-2008-r2-shared-files-do-not.html

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/947489ae-dc86-45f0-ad5e-463a62e1d59f/files-not-showing-up-in-networked-drive

Group Policy Settings for Personalization

Group Policy

Preventing users from changing their personalization settings

The following Group Policy settings prevent users from making changes:

  • Prevent changing theme
  • Prevent changing visual style for windows and buttons
  • Prevent changing window color and appearance
  • Prevent changing desktop background
  • Prevent changing desktop icons
  • Prevent changing mouse pointers
  • Prevent changing screen saver
  • Prevent changing sounds

Preventing users from changing personalization settings locks them to their current settings. If you want to force specific settings, you can apply a specific theme for new users by using the following Group Policy setting:

  • Load a specific theme
Note
You should carefully consider if this policy setting is appropriate. People with disabilities use several personalization options. For example, high-contrast modes are applied by using the themes and the Window Color and Appearance features in Personalization in Control Panel.

Using the screen saver to lock the system when it is not being used

It is possible to enforce a system lock after a defined interval. This requires the following two policy settings:

  • Password protect the screen saver
  • Screen saver timeout

When you change these policy settings, the system locks after the time you define, no matter what screen saver the user has selected. In Windows 7, even if the user selects the screen saver labeled None, the system locks at the specified interval. If you want to enforce a specific screen saver, you can use the following policy setting:

  • Force specific screen saver

Group Policy settings introduced in Windows 7

The following Group Policy settings to control personalization are added in Windows 7.

The full path of this node in the Group Policy Management Console is:

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization

Available policy settings:

Name Explanation Requirements
Prevent changing mouse pointers This policy setting allows you to prevent users from changing their mouse pointers.

If you enable this policy setting, the Change mouse pointers link in Control Panel does not function.

At least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2
Prevent changing sounds This policy setting allows you to prevent users from changing system sounds.

If you enable this policy setting, the Sounds option in Personalization in Control Panel does not function.

At least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2
Load a specific theme This policy setting allows you to apply a specific theme when the user logs on for the first time.

If you enable this policy setting, when the user logs on for the first time, the theme you selected is applied to that computer.

Note
This policy setting does not prevent the user from customizing their current theme or selecting another theme. To lock a specific theme, see Preventing users from changing their personalization settings.
At least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2

Changes to legacy Group Policy settings

In Windows 7, many legacy Group Policy settings have been removed or located so that domain administrators can find all of the relevant options in one place.

The full path of this node in the Group Policy Management Console is:

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization

Available policy settings:

Name Explanation Requirements
Prevent changing color scheme This policy setting is removed in Windows 7.

If you enable the Prevent changing window color and appearance policy setting, you can prevent users from changing the colors and system metrics of your windows.

Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP
Prevent changing theme This policy setting allows you to prevent users from selecting a different theme or saving any of their customized themes.

If you enable this policy setting, the theme gallery in Personalization in Control Panel does not function.

At least Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 family
Password protect the screen saver This policy setting allows you to lock the system.

If you enable this policy setting, the system locks at a user-defined interval. This policy setting is effective even when no screen saver is selected.

Note
If you want to control the time interval, use the Screen saver timeout Group Policy setting.
At least Windows 2000 Service Pack 1
Screen saver timeout This policy setting allows you to specify the amount of idle time that must elapse before launching the screen saver.

If you enable this policy setting with the Enable screen saver policy setting, you ensure that the system lock will work even when no screen saver is selected.

Note
The system will lock at a user-defined interval. If you want to control the time interval, use the Screen saver timeout policy setting.
At least Windows 2000 Service Pack 1

Update group policy CMD

c:\>gpupdate /force

Java Update Fails with Error Code 1603

We have discovered a high likelihood that Java updates installing Java 8 over Java 7 will fail with error code 1603.  After running the Java updater on 5 computers, the Java updater failed with error code 1603 on 4 of those computers and completed successfully on the remaining 1 computer.  The error persists when taking the following approaches:

1. Running the Java updater on a system with a previously installed version of Java, and
2. Manually downloading and attempting to install Java 8 from the Java.com website, and
3. Manually removing all previous versions of Java and then following step 2.

Again, of the 5 computers that were tested, the Java installer failed on 4 of them and succeeded on 1 of them.

According to Java.com, the developers are aware of the issue and are still working to determine its cause.  We suspect they will have the issue fixed in an upcoming patch release.  Here is the report from Java.com:

https://www.java.com/en/download/help/error_1603.xml

According to the report, this error effects the following versions of Windows:

– Windows 7

– Windows 8

– Windows Vista

– Windows XP

and the following versions of Java:

– Java 7

– Java 8

The article states the following as the cause:

“These errors, seen during the installation process, indicate that an installation did not complete. The root causes of these errors are under investigation.”

Again, we expect a future patch release of Java to fix this issue, but it is good to be aware that this issue exists and that it is being worked on.

How to Stop Duplicate Sent E-Mail Items in Outlook with Gmail or G Suite

We had an issue today where Gmail was duplicating e-mails in the sent folder of Outlook and Gmail.
Resolution:  Check the box “Do Not Save Copies of Sent Items” in Outlook.

Found a great article on duplication of e-mails with Outlook and G Suite today at http://www.pstrepairtool.org/blog/prevent-duplicate-sent-items-gmail-outlook.html.  We were able to solve the issue with the top information.  Outlook seems to be saving the e-mail in the sent folder, then syncing the duplicate to Gmail through IMAP or G-Suite Sync.

In Microsoft Outlook 2016 and 2013 Versions

To turn off this option in MS Outlook 2013 and 2016, follow the steps below:

1. Open “Microsoft Outlook” >> Click on “File” tab >> “Info” >> “Account Settings” >> “Account Settings”

2. Select Gmail account >> Click on “Change…” >> Click on “More Settings…” >> Go to “Advanced” tab.

3. Go to “Sent Items” section >> Check “Do Not Save Copies of Sent Items” options.

For Microsoft Outlook 2010

To turn off this option in MS Outlook 2010 version, follow the below steps:

1.  Open “Microsoft Outlook” >> Click on “File” tab >> “Info” >> “Account Settings” >> “Account Settings…”

2.  Select Gmail account >> Click on “Change…” >> Click on “More Settings…” >> Go to “Advanced” tab.

3.  Click on “Sent Items” tab >> enable “Do not save copies of sent items” option.

For Microsoft Outlook 2007

To turn off this option in MS Outlook 2007 version, follow the below steps:

1.  Open Microsoft Outlook 2007 >> Go to “Tools” >> “Account Settings…”

2.  Select your Gmail account >> Click on “Change…” button >> Click on “More Settings…” >> Click on “Folders” tab

3.  Enable the option “Save sent mail in the Outlook Sent Items folder”.

hit account settings in Outlook 2016

select gmail account

Check the Option

For Microsoft Outlook 2010

To turn off this option in MS Outlook 2010 version, follow the below steps:

1.  Open “Microsoft Outlook” >> Click on “File” tab >> “Info” >> “Account Settings” >> “Account Settings…”

2.  Select Gmail account >> Click on “Change…” >> Click on “More Settings…” >> Go to “Advanced” tab.

3.  Click on “Sent Items” tab >> enable “Do not save copies of sent items” option.

click account settings in Outlook 2010

Choose Gmail account

Check the option

For Microsoft Outlook 2007

To turn off this option in MS Outlook 2007 version, follow the below steps:

  • Open Microsoft Outlook 2007 >> Go to “Tools” >> “Account Settings…”
  • Select your Gmail account >> Click on “Change…” button >> Click on “More Settings…” >> Click on “Folders”tab
  • Enable the option “Save sent mail in the Outlook Sent Items folder”.

Select option

Turn Desktop Alerts on or off

A Desktop Alert is a notification that appears on your desktop when you receive a new e-mail message, meeting request, or task request. Desktop Alerts are turned on by default. This article explains how you can customize the appearance of Desktop Alerts as well as turn them off.

In this article

Information that Desktop Alerts display

The information displayed in a Desktop Alert varies depending on the item that you receive in your Inbox.

  • E-mail message: The alert displays the name of the sender, the subject, and the first two lines of the message. A Desktop Alert does not display the contents of an encrypted or digitally signed message. To view the message, you must open it.
  • Meeting request: The alert displays the sender, subject, date, time, and location of the meeting.
  • Task request: The alert displays the sender, subject, and start date of the assigned task.

    Desktop Alert example

If several items arrive in your Inbox at the same time, you won’t necessarily receive a Desktop Alert for each item. If you receive a large number of items within a particular period of time, Microsoft Outlook displays a single Desktop Alert to indicate that you received several new items. This prevents your desktop from being crowded with alerts that could potentially interfere with your work and temporarily obscure a portion of your desktop.

You can use Desktop Alerts to process your incoming items without opening your Inbox. When a Desktop Alert appears, you can perform several actions that normally require you to open the item. For example, you can set a flag on a message, delete a message, or mark it as read — all without opening your Inbox.

If you are using a Microsoft Exchange account or a POP3 e-mail account, a Desktop Alert is displayed only when a new item arrives in your default Inbox. If you want to display a Desktop Alert when an item arrives in any other folder, or when you receive items that meet specific conditions, you must create a rule. You must also create a rule if you want to be notified when you receive a new item in an IMAP e-mail account.

TIP If you want to keep a Desktop Alert visible so that you can take more time to read it, place your pointer on the alert before it fades from view.

Turn Desktop Alerts on or off

Desktop Alerts are turned on by default. There might be times when you want to turn Desktop Alerts off and then on again. For example, if you are making a presentation to a public audience, you might not want Desktop Alerts to appear on your screen, revealing information that you prefer to keep private. Although Microsoft Outlook will not display Desktop Alerts when you are running a Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentation, the display of alerts will resume if you switch to another program or a Web site during your presentation.

Turn off alerts

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Preferences tab, click E-mail Options, and then click Advanced E-mail Options.
  3. Under When new items arrive in my Inbox, clear the Display a New Mail Desktop Alert (default Inbox only) checkbox.

    Note: To suppress other notifications such as playing sounds, changing the mouse pointer, or displaying an envelope icon in the notification area, clear the Play a sound, Briefly change the mouse cursor, or Show an envelope icon in the notification area check box, respectively.

Turn off alerts from a Desktop Alert

  1. When a Desktop Alert appears, click the down arrow on the alert.
  2. On the Desktop Alert menu, click Disable New Mail Desktop Alert.

    Desktop Alert

    1. Click to open the Desktop Alert menu.

    2. Click to turn off Desktop Alerts.

Notice also that you can do other things from the Desktop Alerts menu, such as open, flag, or delete the new message, mark the message as read, or open the Desktop Alert Settings dialog box, where you can specify how long the Desktop Alert should remain visible on the screen and how transparent it should be. See the next section for details.

Turn on alerts

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Preferences tab, click E-mail Options, and then click Advanced E-mail Options.
  3. Under When new items arrive in my Inbox, select the Display a New Mail Desktop Alert (default Inbox only) checkbox.

Change the appearance of Desktop Alerts

You can customize the appearance of your Desktop Alerts. You can have them remain visible as briefly as 3 seconds or as long as 30 seconds. You can also adjust their transparency to make them more noticeable or to keep them from blocking your view of documents and other items on your desktop. Finally, you can change where your Desktop Alerts appear by dragging one of them to a more preferable location on your desktop.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Preferences tab, click E-mail Options, and then click Advanced E-mail Options.
  3. Click Desktop Alert Settings.
  4. Under Duration, drag the slider bar to the number of seconds for which you want new Desktop Alerts to remain visible on your desktop.

    NOTE Although Desktop Alerts eventually fade, the new e-mail notification icon remains in the Outlook status bar until you open the new item or items in your default Inbox.

  5. Under Transparency, drag the slider bar to the transparency value that you want.
  6. To check your settings, click Preview.

    NOTE These settings also apply to the Desktop Alert that can be specified as a rule action.

Move the Desktop Alert to a different location on your screen

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Preferences tab, click E-mail Options, and then click Advanced E-mail Options.
  3. Click Desktop Alert Settings.
  4. In the Desktop Alert Settings dialog box, click Preview.

    A sample Desktop Alert is displayed on your desktop.

  5. Drag the Desktop Alert to the location that you want.

TIP: You can move the Desktop Alert to a different monitor if your desktop spans more than one monitor.

Disable Reading Mode and Protected View in Word 2013

I know it’s there for a reason, but I can’t stand the Reading View and the Protected mode in Word 2013.  I don’t like the layout of Reading View, and I feel I’m smart enough to open documents I know are safe :)

image

To disable the Reading View. Go to File – Options – General.  Uncheck “Open E-Mail attachments and other uneditable files in reading view”

image

To disable Protected Mode. Go to File – Options – Trust Center – Trust Center Settings.  Select Protected View, then clear all the checkboxes.

image

There, free and clear to open and edit documents without Word telling me what to do! :)

Turn off Work Offline mode in Microsoft Office 2007-2012

Microsoft Office can go into “Work Offline” mode when it is disconnected from the internet abruptly.  It happens especially when one has a direct connection with a server through IMAP, MAPI, Google Apps Sync, or Microsoft Exchange.  If you suddenly get a message which states you are in Work Offline mode, here is what you should do to fix it.

Microsoft gives the following solution:  https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Switch-from-working-offline-to-online-2460e4a8-16c7-47fc-b204-b1549275aac9

Switch from Working Offline to Online in Microsoft Office

If the status bar at the bottom of your Microsoft Outlook window shows Working Offline, it means Outlook’s disconnected from your mail server. You can’t send or receive email until you reconnect.

Outlook status bar with Working Offline status

The first thing to check is your Internet connection by trying to connect to a website. If your Internet connection is working, try reconnecting to the mail server. Here’s how:

  1. Click Send/Receive.

Notice that when Outlook is set to Work Offline, the button is highlighted.

Work Offline command on the ribbon indicating Offline is on

  1. Click Work Offline to return to working online.

After you reconnect to the server, the Work Offline button has a plain background:

Work Offline command on the ribbon indicating Online

Still no luck? If you can use that email account with a website, such as Outlook.com, see whether you can receive and send new mail using that site. If you can’t, call your technical support or your email service provider for help.

If you can get and send mail on the website, the mail server’s fine. But Outlook might need updates or there might be a problem with the mail account settings. If you’re using an Exchange account, check for updates and install any required ones. (It’s always a good idea to keep current with updates.)

Desperate? Maybe your email account needs a fresh start. Try creating a new mail profile.

When you might want to work offline

When you work online with Outlook and your mail server, you receive new mail as it arrives, and mail that you send is sent immediately. However, there can be times when working online isn’t practical. For example, maybe there’s no network connection available. Or maybe there is a network available, but you don’t want to connect to it because you’ve exceeded your data plan or will be charged a fee.

In Outlook, you have the flexibility to choose whether you want to work online or offline, and you can do so either automatically or manually. If you elected to work offline, but are ready to manually start a send/receive operation, just click Send/Receive > Send/Receive All Folders.

Outlook Ribbon Image

Work offline with a Microsoft Exchange Server account

If you’re using a Microsoft Exchange Server account, your messages are saved in your mailbox on the server. When you’re connected to the server and you work online, you can use all of the functionality in Outlook, such as opening items, moving them between folders, and deleting items. However, when you work offline, you lose access to all items on the server. That is when offline folders, which are saved in an offline Outlook Data File (.ost) on your computer, are useful.

The offline Outlook Data File (.ost) file is a replica or copy of your Exchange mailbox. When you are online, this file is automatically synchronized with the server so that both copies are the same, and changes made in either copy are made to the other. You can configure Outlook to automatically start offline if a connection to Exchange cannot be established. You can also manually switch between the online and offline connection states and choose which Exchange folders are kept up-to-date locally on your computer.

If you use an Exchange account, it is recommended that you use it with Cached Exchange Mode. Most of the reasons to work offline are eliminated when you use Cached Exchange Mode. The lack of a network connection is virtually transparent to you because you can continue to work with your items.

By default, Cached Exchange Mode creates and uses an offline Outlook Data File (.ost) and then downloads and maintains a synchronized copy of the items in all folders in your mailbox. You work with your information on your computer, and Outlook synchronizes it with the server.

Whether you are at the office, at home, or on an airplane, network changes or availability are transparent to you. When your connection to Exchange is interrupted, you can continue to work with your data. When a connection is restored, Outlook automatically synchronizes changes, and the folders and items on the server and on your computer are once again identical. Outlook manages your connection to the server and keeps your data up-to-date. There is no need to switch to working offline and to keep trying to reconnect to the server — it is all automatic.

Cached Exchange Mode also frees you from having to set up Send/Receive groups because it chooses the folders that you want to be available offline and keeps those folders synchronized.

The only time when you might still choose to work offline is when you want greater control over what is downloaded to the local copy of your Exchange mailbox. This can include situations where you are using a connection device or service that bases the charges on the amount of data that you transfer. Cached Exchange Mode keeps everything up-to-date. Working offline allows you to use Send/Receive groups to refine the type and amount of information that is synchronized.

What if you aren’t using an Exchange account? Many people use a POP3 or IMAP account from their Internet service provider (ISP) or a Web-based account, such as Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail).

The fastest way to work offline is to use the default Outlook settings. If you want to customize the settings, including where to save the offline Outlook Data File (.ost), use the Customized setup instructions.

Quick setup

  1. On the Send / Receive tab, in the Preferences group, click Work Offline.
  2. To set up an offline Outlook Data File (.ost), click OK.

    By default, the Prompt me at startup so I may choose to work offline or online checkbox is selected. If you want Outlook to always work online when a connection is available, clear this checkbox.

After the offline Outlook Data File (.ost) file is created, when you exit and restart Outlook, you must synchronize your Exchange mailbox with the new file. The fastest way to do this is as follows: On the Send / Receive tab, in the Send & Receive group, click Send/Receive All Folders.

Customized setup

If you want to customize the offline Outlook Data File (.ost) settings, such as where the file is saved on your computer, do the following:

  1. If you have not already done so, create an offline Outlook Data File (.ost).

    Create an offline Outlook Data File (.ost)

    1. Click the File tab.
    2. Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.
    3. On the E-mail tab, select the Exchange Server account, and then click Change.
    4. Click More Settings.
    5. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Offline Folder File Settings.
    6. In the File box, type the path to the file that you want to use as the .ost file.

      The default file name is Outlook.ost. If this file already exists, you are prompted for a new name.

  2. Click the File menu,
  3. Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.
  4. On the E-mail tab, select the Exchange account, and then click Change.
  5. Click More Settings.
  6. Do one of the following:
    1. Always start Outlook offline: Click Manually control connection state, and then click Work offline and use dial-up networking.
    2. Choose whether to work offline or online each time you start Outlook: Click Manually control connection state and then select the Choose the connection type when starting checkbox.
    3. Always connect to the network: Click Manually control connection state, and then click Connect with the network.
    4. Outlook automatically detects whether a connection to the server is available: Click Automatically detect connection state. If Outlook is unable to connect with the mail server, it starts in offline mode automatically.

      NOTE: To specify the amount of time to wait for a response from the server before you are notified to retry or work offline, type a number in the Seconds Until Server Connection Timeout box.