Adding public holidays to Outlook 2013

Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Other

Maybe it was just me that didn’t know about this nice little hidden option, but in Outlook 2013 you can automatically add public holidays to your calendar. Normally I’d have gone online and found a public holidays calendar for this calendar year, downloaded it, imported it and fiddled about with in (inevitably importing it in to a new calendar by mistake or something). However, this is built in in Outlook 2013. To activate, simply click: File -> Options -> Calendar Click ‘Calendar Options’ Click the ‘Add Holidays’ button From the list of available countries, select any countries you are interested in. For me this was just United Kingdom Click OK. Outlook with them semlessly import all these directly into your primary calendar and you’re done. Nice little trick – if only I’d have...

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Enabling PowerShell remoting to an Azure VM

Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in Azure, Other

I recently had the need to run some PowerShell scripts against a new VM created in Windows Azure using PowerShell Remoting. I thought this would be a simple enough job (and in truth, it is), but you need to know a couple of things. By default, PowerShell uses active directory to identify and authenticate users, but of course standalone Azure VM’s aren’t part of a domain. Therefore you’ll need to add the public IP address of the VM to the trusted hosts on your client. From the Azure portal, open port 5985 for PowerShell (the portal should open 5986 by default). To do this, go to: Virtual Machines > YOUR VM > Endpoints > ADD. Complete the resultant dialog: From the client machine, start PowerShell and type Set-Item -Path WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts -Value '' 1 Set-Item -Path WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts -Value '' Obviously substituting the IP address of the Azure VM you obtain from the Azure Portal If you already have trusted hosts, use –Concatenate to avoid overwriting the others. To be sure, Get-Item -Path WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts 1 Get-Item -Path WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts Should show you the entry you just created. Now, to connect to the Azure VM and start the PowerShell session: Enter-PSSession -ComputerName -Credential\USERNAME 1 Enter-PSSession -ComputerName -Credential\USERNAME Substitute in the username you created in the Azure portal when creating the VM (or any user you’ve since set up on the box with the relevant permissions) and you should be presented with a login box to confirm the password. Once that is done, your PowerShell session should be active. Happy...

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Adding a mail disclaimer in an MS Exchange environment

Posted by on Jun 11, 2005 in Other

One of the biggest and most glaring omissions from Microsoft Exchange 2003 is the facility to add an enterprise wide email signature. This popular choice which as recently become a legal requirement in 2007 has caused tremendous headache for those operating with Exchange. Of course, traditionally not everyone liked the use of E-mail disclaimers, and although it has been proven in some cases that the content be legally worthless they have now become a necessity for most. In the UK at least, law dictates they must be present – hence this page looks at means to deploy these disclaimers. Alas, a number of options exist, each of which has its merits and drawbacks, as shown below: Use your Anti-virus software Perhaps the simplest (if not the most elegant method) would be to use the feature provided by many anti-virus solutions at append a message to all outgoing mail. While this would normally be some template text along the lines of “This message was checked by such a program version x.x”, many enterprises opt to change this to include the legal speil necessary for such a disclaimer. Advantages of this approach are that everyone has company-wide anti-virus (they do, don’t they?) and it’s a no-cost addition. Add to this it can be centrally managed and it seems like a lossless situation. The only conceivable drawback is that some AV solutions do not offer the feature and thus alternate methods must be found. Transport Event Scripts (Using VB) MS KB Artice Q317680 discusses and demonstrates the use of a VB event script that will append your message to each outgoing email. While a relatively simple process to follow, there are a good number of pros and cons, some of which will be noted below. The most significant being it’s a free/no-cost solution (+), adds little overhead to the server (+) and can be updated as frequently as you like (+). Conversely, and the killer for most people is that it does not work with MAPI clients (meaning the 99.9999% of people on using Exchange will also be using Outlook or another MAPI client). Client Side signature appendage OK, if server-side is proving costly or problematic, why not apply it at the client side? Well, if you have hundreds or even thousands of users it becomes an administrative nightmare. Users cannot be entrusted to apply the signature themselves, so some method of centrally pushing the signature and enforcing it client-side is needed. That’s where a quick Windows 2003 logon-script can come in handy. In just a couple of lines of code you can push your signature out to the users machine and set the client to append the signature. How? The first thing you need to do is copy the signature files over to the client side application data folder (nothing more than xcopy /d \\servername\path\to\sig.txt %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Signatures\) making sure you copy over...

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