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Archive for the ‘I.T.’ Category

How to Configure Your Windows 8 Phone to Get Your Google Mail

Posted by robkraft on December 17, 2012

I have several e-mail accounts hosted by Google, which is fortunate because it helped me solve this problem.  I had set up my organization’s email account, hosted on Google, using the settings I used in my Windows 7 phone.  Those settings looked like this, but did not work on my Windows 8 phone:

  • User Name:
  • Server:
  • SSL: Checked (Yes)

But to get that to work on my Windows 8 Phone I had to switch the account to the IMAP settings.  To do this, delete your account settings on your Windows 8 Phone because you need to set them up in a way that allows you to choose IMAP4.  Create a new account with these settings:

  • Account Name: really doesn’t matter
  • Email address:
  • Incoming email server:
  • User Name:
  • Outgoing (SMTP) email server:
  • Outgoing server requires authentication: Checked (Yes)
  • Use the same user name and password for sending email: Checked (Yes)
  • Advanced settings:
  • Require SSL for incoming email: Checked (Yes)
  • Require SSL for outgoing email: Checked (Yes)

When you do this on your phone:

  • Pick “add an account”
  • Pick “other account (POP and IMAP)”
  • Enter the Email address and Password and click Sign In.  It will fail.
  • Click “try again”.  It will fail again, but then you will get an “advanced” button where you can enter the information above.

I do not have all of my google/gmail hosted accounts configured the same way on my phone.  My primary gmail account is set up simply using the “google” option and looks like this:

Simple Google Settings that work for me

Simple Google Settings that work for me

Simple Google Settings that work for me

Simple Google Settings that work for me













For the emails that needed the IMAP4 settings, my configuration looks like this:

Part 1 of 3

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Part 3 of 3


Posted in I.T. | 20 Comments »

Make Time to Learn from the Free Microsoft Security Assessment Tool

Posted by robkraft on August 16, 2012

Today I discovered the Microsoft Security Assessment Tool.  Although the tool came out nearly three years ago I still discovered it to be very useful in helping you to identify the security areas in which your organization or software development shop may be weakest.  It also provides a lot of links and useful recommendations to assist you with improving security.  Security should be near the front of every developer’s mind as the world moves toward cyberattacks that are increasingly more damaging to businesses and people.

Download the free tool here:

Expect to spend 30 to 90 minutes answering the questions.   You must first answer all the Business Profile Assessment questions, then you can move to the more interesting “Defense In Depth” assessment.  Follow that with generating a report of the results and if you’d like, posting your results to Microsoft and see how you compare to other organizations.




Posted in Free tools, I.T., Process | Leave a Comment »

Carbonite Backs Up Well, But Does Not Restore Well

Posted by robkraft on July 23, 2012

I started using Carbonite in mid-June to back up all my important files on my PC.  Just a few weeks later a failed device driver installation began causing my PC to blue screen and I was unable to fix it.  Fortunately, I run inside a virtual machine, Microsoft Virtual Hard Drive (VHD), so I restored my VHD from my last VHD backup made at the end of June then went to Carbonite to download all the files that had changed since my end of June VHD backup.  That is when I learned what you may consider troubling truth about Carbonite.

While Carbonite is good at backing up your files, it is not so good at restoring them.  My first attempt at restoration, which required about 20 hours to restore 28,000+ files (an acceptable amount of time) appeared to work on the surface, and it even gave me a report showing all the files that it had restored.  But when I looked at my important files, none of them had newer date timestamps on them, and when I looked at the contents of the file they were not updated.  To make a long story short, after slowly spending 4 to 6 hours going through every tier of Carbonite support I reached the top tier who told me that, “Carbonite does not overwrite existing files.”  Apparently it only gives one the illusion that it does.

Now this restore solution may work fine if you have bought a new PC, re-installed the OS, and are looking to re-acquire all of your music and pictures, but if you are just restoring over some existing files and hope to get the latest version, you need to pick a new restore strategy.  Personally I think there are two flaws (three flaws) here:

1) Carbonite documentation and first three levels of support were not aware and could not convey to me that a full restore will not overwrite any existing files.

2) The report generated by the full restore indicated that a file had been restored.  The report should have said, “Can not restore over existing files when doing a full restore.”

3) There is no option to restore over existing files.  I understand the risk, so make me click four or five confirmation prompts first, but at least give me the option.

My recourse was to restore everything to a different set of folders, then hunt through all the restored files for files I cared about that had a datetime newer than my local version, and then manually copy the files into the new locations.

Posted in Home Tech, I.T. | Leave a Comment »

How to temporarily fix mouse cursor suddenly becoming extra large

Posted by robkraft on July 23, 2012

I am running Windows 7 and I have two monitors and occasionally the mouse cursor on one monitor turns into an extra large size.  While still functional, I find it annoying.  Apparently this caused by a flaw in some video drivers from ATI.  My PC is using ATI Radeon HD 4550 drivers on ViewSonic VA2226w-11 Monitors.
To resolve this problem, I run the magnifier tool built into Windows 7.  Just starting that, and leaving it running, causes the enlarged mouse cursor to go away.  A reboot will also usually fix the problem.  To run magnifier, simply type magnifier in the search box off the start menu.

Image of Magnifier

Posted in I.T. | Leave a Comment »

Use the Free Problem Steps Recorder Tool Built Into Windows to Record and Playback

Posted by robkraft on June 10, 2012

I just recently learned that Microsoft included a new tool called the Problem Step Recorder (Psr.exe) in the release of Windows 7.  This handy and simple tool allows a user to record the steps taken and then send a script of those steps, including screen shots, to a support assistant.  The tool does not record video, so it avoids some of the complications that arise with video recording tools.  When you stop recording the screen captures and text are zipped up automatically, then you can easily email the resulting .zip file to your IT Support.  A screen capture occurs every time the user clicks on something and the screen capture highlights exactly what was clicked.

If you ever provide IT support for Windows 7 users, give the tool a try on your Windows 7 pc right now to see how easily it works, or watch a short demo of the tool here:

Screen Cap of partial results of PSR Recording

Screen Cap of partial results of PSR Recording


Posted in Free tools, I.T. | Leave a Comment »

Use to see if you can browse IPV6 web sites. IPV6 Day is June 6, 2012!

Posted by robkraft on June 5, 2012

Tomorrow is June 6th, 2012, and that means it is world wide IPV6 day!  Hooray!  Yippee!  Hurrah!

But what does that mean to you?  Probably not much.  Hopefully not much.  For most of the world it will be as uneventful as Y2K and all those dates that already passed on which the world was supposed to end.  But for the major entities responsible for keeping our Internet alive and functioning it means they are flipping a switch to begin support IPV6 addresses in addition to the traditional IPV4 addresses.  And they are doing this because the Internet is running out of IPV4 addresses.

As stated, this does not affect anyone, at least not immediately.  But soon we will really run out of IPV4 addresses and someone will have to start using IPV6 addresses, and only IPV6 addresses to put their web site on the Internet.  Only web browsers capable of communicating with IPV6 will be able to go to those web sites.  Computers running older software like Windows 95 won’t be able to go to IPV6 only web sites.  Neither will computers going through old network equipment that doesn’t support IPV6.  Can you get to IPV6 web sites from your browser on your computer?  You can find out by going to

Posted in Free tools, I.T., Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

Online spreadsheets, the best of Excel and Google combined in

Posted by robkraft on April 15, 2012

I like Excel.  Excel is a great tool when I am the only person working on the information, but when I want to collaborate on a spreadsheet, I often reach out to Google Docs.  The advantage of Google Docs online is that several people can update the same spreadsheets at the same time.  My team uses several Google spreadsheets to manage tasks, but it lacks the feel of Excel.  But recently I discovered what may be the best of both worlds.

EditGrid looks a lot like Excel (so much like Excel that I’m a little concerned they will get shut down at some point).  It is online and free.  There is a version you can pay for with more features, but I have just started using the trial version and haven’t looked into what the paid version adds that I may desire.

EditGrid provides me the following features I wanted in an online spreadsheet:

  • Multiple users can edit the document at the same time
  • I could upload a document from Excel as my starting point
  • I can restrict allowing edits by requiring a password to do so
  • It does not require my fellow collaborators to have a @live account, @gmail account, or any other specific type of account
  • It is free
  • It looks great and works pretty well

If you have a account (a Microsoft account), then you can create and share Excel documents online via your skydrive account.  The sharing options are a little more limited than the free options EditGrid provides, but they are sufficient.  The only thing not to like about the free sharing of Excel documents via skydrive, is the requirement for the account.

No matter what online spreadsheet you use, you should back it up regularly if the content is important to you.  Our google sheets are important to us and we back them up weekly.  We once had a problem (years ago) that required us to scrap the current sheet, and replace it from a backup.  We also have had a few occasions where the document was inaccessible, which is a risk for any online information.

Finally, I don’t recommend any of these products if your data needs a lot of security/protection.

But I do recommend you give EditGrid a try if you are in the market for a free online spreadsheet.

Posted in Free tools, I.T., Web Sites | 1 Comment » provides a nice set of free tools for analyzing your web sites

Posted by robkraft on March 23, 2012

I just discovered the free web site analysis and testing tools available from I recommend you check them out at if you are looking for any of the following:

  • How fast is your site across two different browsers?
  • How fast is your site compared to other sites?
  • How well does your site render on different mobile devices?
  • How well does your site perform under a heavier load/lots of users?
  • How good does your site look on mobile browsers?
  • How fast is your site on mobile devices?

Posted in Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

How to fix a black or blank RDP (Remote Desktop) Screen

Posted by robkraft on January 29, 2012

This is a repost of a post I made on Microsoft forums, but several people have found it useful so I’m spreading the fix.

My RDP screen was black.  So I tried CTRL-ALT-END.  Then I hit cancel, then I closed RDP.  Then I re-opened RDP and I had my desktop back! YAY!!!

Posted in I.T. | Leave a Comment »

Don’t let Hackers Configure Your Router, Turn off UPnP

Posted by robkraft on October 23, 2011

Add this step to hardening your home and work networks against attacks from the Internet:

  • Turn your router’s UPnP off.

I previously thought that making sure all ports on the router were closed was sufficient to block attacks from the Internet, but it is not.  If your router supports UPnP, which most do now, you should disable this feature as recently reported by Daniel Garcia at

If you can disable UPnP on the WAN side of the router, do so.  If this isn’t possible, disable UPnP completely on the router.  UPnP is rarely needed by most users, but online gamers may benefit from UPnP to more easily connect to online gaming networks.

This article shows how to turn off UPnP in common Linksys routers:


Posted in Home Tech, I.T. | Leave a Comment »