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Welcome to the new aento.com blog

Welcome to the new aento.com blog.  We’re going to be moving some posts from our old blog over here in due course and sharing information on an on-going basis on what we’re up to at aento.com.

So, if you’re interested in online technology and the cloud, web design, e-commerce, internet marketing, Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft Office 365 or anything internet, visit us here regularly for insights into how we view the technology landscape.

The mix of posts we’ll be publishing here will range from end-user tips and tricks on how to use the various products we’re involved with, e.g. Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office 365, WordPress, nopCommerce, Umbraco, etc. through to detailed technical articles on programing, web design, internet marketing, and more…

Comments on anything we post are always welcome.

Cheers

Nick (aento.com).

Posted in blog admin

Windows 8.1–Return Of The Start Button

As expected, Microsoft officially announced the release of Windows 8.1 at the annual Microsoft Developer’s conference in San Francisco.

A preview version of Windows 8.1 can be downloaded and installed now (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/download-preview) with the update being officially rolled out to windows 8 users (and for sale) later this year.

The big news for business users is that windows 8.1 will re-instate the sorely missed windows start button and provide an option to boot directly to the desktop.   This should ease the pains Microsoft has had convincing corporate customers to upgrade to the latest version.

Much as we love Microsoft products and technologies, removal of the start button and obscuring of access to the desktop was a brave move but ultimately a mistake in Windows 8.  (Although strangely, essentially the same interface in Windows server 2012 seems to work well and be extremely comfortable to use).  It’s been a common experience for people buying windows 8 laptops for business use to re-install the operating system with windows 7 (if possible) or to use third party add-ons to provide a more windows 7 like experience.

Other new features in windows 8.1

The lock screen will feature a cloud powered photo-frame that will show photos stored either on the device or on SkyDrive.

An improved search function that will allow users to search for documents, apps, or items on the internet from a single search location.

Ability for users to see all of their applications immediately in a grid view.

New personalisation options for tiles.

Easier user customisation of the start screen, controlling what apps appear and how they are displayed.

Possibility to open two windows simultaneously,

Inclusion of Internet Explorer 11

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Posted in Windows 8

aento online backup for small business – Livedrive Software Version 1.13.2 Released

A new version of our client Livedrive software has been released.  The new version is 1.13.2.  You will be prompted automatically to update your software in a few days or you can update immediately by going to your web portal and clicking on the download software button.  The new revision incorporates the following changes:

Built in Windows Restore Program

Previously, windows users have had the option to download a separate Restore program to transfer their files back to their PC.  From version 1.13.2, the restore software is included into the main Livedrive client software. If you click on the Livedrive icon in the taskbar at the bottom right of your windows screen, you will see the new option to “Restore Backups”.

Improved Manage Backups Screen

There is now an improved interface for handling file type exceptions (i.e. defining file types that should not be backed up).  By default, this will now automatically stop EXE, ISO and temporary files from being backed up and will reduce the time it takes to complete a backup.   If you need to backup these file types, you can simply go to the settings screen and uncheck the file types you want to backup.  Equally, if you have other file types that you do not want to backup, you can also add them from the settings screen.

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To get to the new Manage Backups screen please do the following:

Windows Users

Click on the Livedrive icon on your taskbar at the bottom right of your screen, select “Manage Backups” and then select the “Settings” tab.

MAC OSX Users

Click the Livedrive icon on your taskbar at the top of your screen. Select “Manage Backups” and then select the “Settings” tab.

The “Manage Backups” screen now contains a list of the most commonly backed up file locations, i.e. “My Documents”, “My Music”, “My Videos”, etc. for windows and “Documents”, “Music”, “Videos”, etc. for MAC OSX.

Improved Firewall Compatibility

Some small security improvements have been included to give Livedrive a better performance behind corporate firewalls.

By default, all transfers between your computer and the backup servers are now encrypted.  This can be turned off if required (not recommended) by going to the Livedrive settings screen and clicking on the “Bandwidth” tab.

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Important Note: Once you’ve updated your software, please check the Livedrive Status panel to confirm that backups are uploading.  The change to the default encryption setting may, in a few cases, mean that firewalls and/or anti-virus programs may need to be re-configured.

The easiest way to check that backups are uploading is to place a new file in one of the folders that is being backed up.  Then check later via the Livedrive Status panel and/or your web portal that the file has been backed up.

If you are concerned that backups may not be uploading please contact aento support at support@aento.com

More details of aento’s online backup for small business can be found at our web site www.onlinebackup.aento.com

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Posted in online data backup

Enable Ping Responses on Windows Server 2012

By default, you are not able to ping a server running Windows Server 2012.  This has caught me out a couple of times now so I thought I’d make a note of how to enable ping replies on Windows 2012 server.

First go to Server Manager>Dashboard and click on the “Tools” menu.  From the drop down menu select “Windows Firewall with Advanced Security”.

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Click on “Inbound Rules” and scroll down through the list of “inbound rules” to find the one titled “File and Printer Sharing (Echo Request – ICMPv4-In)”.  Right click on the entry and then select “Enable Rule”.  By default, the rule will then be enabled for all firewall profiles.

Close the “Windows Firewall with Advanced Security” window.

Now try to ping your server again and it should work.

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Posted in Windows Firewall, Windows Server, Windows Server 2012

HyperTerminal on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8

Many of us who still, from time to time, have to communicate with hardware products via serial port or telnet may have been dismayed to see the ubiquitous HyperTerminal applet dropped from Windows vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

There are a number of free and paid for alternatives to HyperTerminal available but, if you still like the simplicity of a tool you’ve always used, it’s still possible to run the old Windows XP version of HyperTerminal on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

To do this, make a folder somewhere on your hard drive called HyperTerminal.  Download the zip file from here: http://aentocorporate.onlinebackup.aento.com/Item/23899169 and extract the two files to the folder you’ve just created.  The zip file contains two fil

To run HyperTerminal, simply double click on hypertrm.exe. Obviously, you can create a short cut to hypertrm.exe and save it to start menu, desktop, etc to make access more convenient.

One caveat.  I’m not sure of the licensing issues related to using the HyperTerminal application on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. HyperTerminal is still available as part of the XPMode virtual machine that is available with certain versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 so I would think that any machine having windows XP mode installed or capable of having windows XP mode installed would be covered for licensing.  XPmode is not available in Windows 8, however, so the situation may be different there.

Anyway, I’m sure not many of us need to use a terminal emulator application very often these days, but on the odd occasion it’s necessary, it’s nice to know our old friend HyperTerminal can still be pressed into service.

affordable online data backup for small business

web design in the UK

Microsoft Sharepoint Consultants

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Posted in Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista

Using Jquery to improve Internet Explorer “disabled” text formatting

Don’t know if you’ve noticed but when certain elements such as “Select” are disabled, Internet Explorer always uses a fixed font styling that can be difficult to read on some monitors.  For some reason, IE defaults to using a font that is a light grey colour with a shadow effect.  In other browsers, you can change the the font style but for IE you cannot.

One way to work around this in IE is to use Jquery to hide the “select” element and in its place show a simple <div> that contains a copy of the text from the hidden element.  This <div> can then be styled as required.

The basic code to do this is as follows (note this code would need to be wrapped inside a $(document).ready function.

   1: $("Select:Disabled[title='Current Status']").each(function(index)

   2: {

   3:         var thisLabel = $(this).children("option").filter(":selected").text();

   4:         var parenttd = $(this).parent();

   5:         $(this).hide();

   6:         $(parenttd).append("<div>"+thisLabel+"</div>");

   7: })

In this example, we’re finding disabled select elements that have a title of “Current Status”. You can obviously modify the JQuery selection criteria to find whatever elements you need to replace.  You could also expand the code to style the <div> you have added.

Nick (aento)

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Posted in Jquery

Stopping a running windows server backup

We run a windows 2012 server that hosts a number of virtual machines running under Hyper-V.   We have a scheduled windows server backup job setup to backup the entire server including VMs once per day.  Those backups are then offloaded to our online data backup service.

We run the backup job in the middle of the night and typically it completes fairly quickly and we don’t see any issues with it come the next morning when everyone is back at work wanting to use the VMs.

However, we recently experienced a situation where the backup locked up.  The symptoms were that no-one could gain remote terminal access to the hosted VMs and the web sites running on the web servers were not as responsive as usual.   Looking at the host server Hyper-V console, we could see that all the VMs were locked in a “Backing Up” status.

We therefore, needed to force the backup job to stop.

The windows server backup GUI does not provide an option to stop a running backup but fortunately, windows server also provides backup and recovery functionality from a command prompt.

The way to stop a running windows server backup is as follows:

Open an elevated command prompt on your server.  (If you’re running windows server 2012 you can do this by going to the start screen.  Then typing “Command” anywhere on the screen.  A list of matching applications will be displayed.  Right click on the “Command Prompt” entry.  This will display a ribbon at the bottom of the screen with further options.  Now click on “Run as administrator”.

Inside the elevated command prompt type the command:

wbadmin stop job <ENTER>

The backup job will now be stopped.  This may take a few minutes so be patient.

The command line for windows server backup provides a number of other useful options.  A full reference to the windows server backup commands is available here: http://bit.ly/12iinSe

Nick(aento)

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Posted in Windows Server

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