Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Outlook will not remember password for Exchange (revisited)

I blogged about this issue a couple of weeks ago. Initially, the solution I described in the article worked for me on my two computers running Windows Vista.

Recently I had a need to do a similar setup on different machines, running different OS versions. Unfortunately, it did not work.

After googling for a while I found a solution and I started using a free Outlook AutoLogin tool from Gabriele. I never had a problem since. The tool can be downloaded at his website It works with Outlook 2007 and I tested it on Windows Vista as well as XP.

German DevCon 2009 in Frankfurt Am Main

DevConIt was November in Frankfurt again. The traditional time and place for another year of the German Visual FoxPro and SQL-Server & .NET developer conference.

Just as every year, there were many proven German speakers as well as foreign ones, bringing the news from abroad. Among the well known foreign speakers who accepted the invitation for this year were Ken Levy, taking the Keynote again, Doug Henning, Craig Berntson, Kevin McNeish and Rick Schummer. There was also a new speaker from Holland, Boudewijn Lutgerink, a nice guy I have already had a chance to meet at the conference in Prague earlier this year.

Again, there were three days full of sessions. They started in the morning and continued to the evening in the form of late night sessions. As usual, there was plenty of choice available as there were always four sessions running in parallel.

Unfortunately, there has been an inter-annual drop in attendance of 12%. That is a smaller drop compared to the last year, however still quite a high number. The cause of this is apparent. The usage of Visual FoxPro is thickening worldwide as well as the present cost cutting in many companies affects the number of conferences their employees are allowed to attend.

As for the next conference, it will again take the whole three days, but instead of the four tracks, there will only be two. The first one will be targeted primarily at Visual FoxPro development, while the second one at the surrounding technologies and new trends. At certain times, there can be three sessions running in parallel, while those will mainly be the vendor sessions.

As the number of the tracks goes down to two, there will no longer be a guarantee of an English session running at any given time in the schedule. This in fact means that if you understand only English and would like to attend the conference anyway, there might be times to take a break and get some snack for example.

The conference tracks will take a form of a kind of “deep dive” sessions, meaning the given topics will be divided into more consecutive sessions. This will allow the speaker to grasp the topic in a much deeper detail. At the end of the conference, each attendee will also receive a certificate to confirm they have has undergone the given sessions.

Now, coming out of the next year conference topic, Rainer Becker, the organizer of the event, announced that a Visual FoxPro road show is being planned. He also revealed names of the cities. The road show will stop in Hannover, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and possibly also in Zuerich and Wien.

The German user group will also undergo changes. Its name will change to dFPUG.NET. The two conferences, the VFP and the SQL & .NET conferences will merge into one, the 17th year conference.

There were many interesting and inspiring sessions at the conference and I have very much enjoyed being around again. To learn more about the event, please visit its official UT Coverage report, I have had a pleasure of writing again this year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Outlook will not remember password for Exchange (Windows Vista)

A couple of years ago I started using Exchange hosted email service. The primary motivation for me was the ability to synchronize all the contacts, calendar and task with my new PDA as well as have the instant email push service.

My Exchange server is part of a different domain and I am always connecting to it through the internet. Therefore every time I start Outlook it always asks for the credentials to the Exchange server. I could not find any option to remember the password so I kind of started living with it and supplied the password each time Outlook asked me to.


Yesterday, for some reason, I started figuring out how to get rid of this. And I found a solution.

Basically, there are two types of authentication - a Basic authentication and an NTLM authentication. If your Exchange provider supports only the Basic authentication, there is actually no way of forcing Outlook to remember the credentials. The only workaround I have found is to create an application that would fill in the password for you once the credentials dialog shows up. Cumbersome, but it works. When searching the web, I found a couple of such programs, so you can use those if you like.

If you can use the NTLM authentication, you are a bit closer to a “cleaner” solution. When you use it, you will notice that the credentials dialog has the Remember password option. There is no such option with Basic authentication. Nevertheless, it does not work as one would expect. If you enter your credentials, tick the Remember password option, Outlook will prompt you again next time you start Outlook anyway.


Why? Well, the explanation lies with the fact, that the exchange server basically has two sides. It is the front-end server side, communicating with its clients over the internet and the back-end server side, being in the internal domain. You have to have to be authenticated to both, but sadly, the credentials you entered, and Windows saved, belonged only to the back-end server.

So, now, when we know where the problem is, how do we fix it? To force Windows to remember the password for both servers, you have to enter them manually. Just go to the Control panel -> Users and there you should see an option Manage network passwords (sorry for not being exact, I am translating from Czech Windows).

Once you get there, remove the previously remembered password for the back-end server and add a new entry. The entry should look as *, DOMAIN\UserName, yourpassword. Now, if the domain of your back-end and front-end servers is the same, that is, Outlook will never ask for your credentials again!

You can find more information about this issue on;en-us;820281.

Installing Windows Vista from a USB flash drive

To be able to install Windows Vista from a USB flash drive, you need a bootable USB stick formatted to FAT32 with sufficient capacity (4GB) to hold Vista’s installation files. Let’s take a look, step by step, on how to create such a flash disk:

  1. Using Windows, format your USB drive with FAT32 file system.
  2. Get Vista’s installation DVD and copy the Boot directory directly to your C:\ drive.
  3. Start a command prompt, go to the Boot directory on your C:\ drive and type Bootsect.exe /nt60 E:. This will make your E:\ USB drive bootable. Do not forget to change the drive letter to the one on your computer. You should not be using your USB drive anywhere else, i.e. opened in an explorer window, in order for the Bootsec.exe to get the exclusive access to it.
  4. Copy everything, including the hidden files, from the Vista’s DVD directly to the USB drive.
  5. Restart your computer. If you have your BIOS setup correctly, you can now boot from the USB drive.

Please note, that not all USB sticks can be made bootable. From time to time, you can find one that has problems. Also, a functional USB disk sometimes won’t boot a specific PC. That is just that you know nothing is ever perfect, right!

Creating a Windows XP bootable USB flash drive

For this, you will need an empty USB flash drive, Windows PC (not Vista) and a HP formatting tool. The steps are relatively straightforward:

  1. On your Windows PC, install the HP formatting tool. You can download it from
  2. Run the tool, select your USB drive and that you would like to copy system files to it.
  3. Find the system files supplied with the HP formatting tool and start the formatting.
  4. Your USB flash drive is now bootable. Restart your computer. If you have your BIOS setup correctly, you can now boot from the USB drive.

Please note, that not all USB sticks can be made bootable. From time to time, you can find one that has problems. Also, a functional USB disk sometimes won’t boot a specific PC. That is just that you know nothing is ever perfect, right!

ASP.NET Development Server shows error page for localhost

The operating system on your computer is getting slower and slower and all the old software clogging it eventually forces you to reinstall everything from scratch. Does it sound familiar to you? I bet it does!

Even though I like the feel of a fresh installation, I personally hate spending so much time actually doing it. Sadly enough, in my case this literally means spending an entire day carefully satisfying my meticulous thinking to have even the slightest detail configured exactly the way I like.

Nevertheless the time has come and I had to do it again. I did not expect any major problems as I was mainly installing the software and drivers I have already been using for some time now and they have been working very well. In the beginning everything went on pretty smooth, but then, there comes the Murphy’s laws. I arrived at a problem.

After installing the Visual Studio 2008 with Service Pack 1 together with the SQL Server I wanted to test it on some of my projects. Basically that everything builds, runs and works fine. The problem came when I tested the ASP.NET projects, where the ASP.NET Development Server was being used.

As usual, hitting the F5 or CTRL+F5 in Visual Studio started the server on a random port number and fireed up the Internet Explorer pointing it to http://localhost:someportnumber/somedirectory. All of this happened, but then, oops - the page cannot be displayed!

I have been trying everything, but nothing seemed to work. I had no antivirus software installed nor used any other than Vista’s standard firewall. The problem appeared in IE as well as in FireFox. I could not find the cause.

A few hours later, I found out, that the page will display itself, if I use instead of the localhost. That led me to more googling as well as finally getting on the right track.

In the end, the best fix for this problem I have found, is to make a modification to the hosts file, located under windows\system32\drivers\etc directory. There I found this line:

::1          localhost

By adding one more colon, I changed it to:

:::1         localhost

And yes! That made all the difference in the world! The localhost started working perfectly in both browsers.

I am not sure, why I have not come across this problem earlier as I was also using Visual Studio 2008 and Vista on my previous installation, but this is what I did to fix it. If you are having the same problem and eventually found your way to this blog, I hope it was of help.

Please drop a comment, if you found it useful.