[SOLVED] Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Management Studio Crash when opening a new query window

At times, when opening a new query window, or selecting top 1000 rows, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Management Studio would crash with the following error message “SQL Server Management Studio has stopped working“:

SQL Server Management Studio has stopped working

SQL Server Management Studio has stopped working

When I click on the “View problem details” link, we can get a few unhelpful details about “CLR20r3“, “ssms.exe“, “Microsoft.VisualStudio.Platform.VSEditor” and “System.NullReferenceException“, thank you very much.

After much googling with Bing, all solutions pointed to restarting the machine. Well, I wanted to avoid that, as my server is in production.

I thought, well, let’s be smart and delete a few folders in my %AppData% directory. It can’t get worse and might solve the issue.

It did get worse. I couldn’t even start Management Studio anymore, and a friendly error message “The directory name is invalid” mentioning “mscorlib” as the source of the problem.

I deleted the whole local profile, it solved the “mscorlib” issue. But my original “CLR20r3” was still there.

And then my eyes wandered in the bottom right corner of the screen, and noticed a weird asterisk (starlike symbol) in the language preferences tray:

Language Preferences Dialog

Language Preferences Dialog

Mmm, let’s switch that to “ENG“. Start SQL Server Management Studio again and … tada! It works! Problem solved!

Wonderful. No idea where this asterisk comes from, and why the editor crashes because of that.

I hope this will help someone out there.

Posted in SQL Server, Tip, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

[SOLVED] SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services Report Viewer – The parameter does not default to NULL

I came across a weird behavior with reports today. I was trying to add a new parameter with NULL default value to an existing report in SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services, and when viewing the report, the “NULL” checkbox would not be checked by default:

Report Viewer Default NULL not checked

Report Viewer Default NULL not checked

This happened even though I made sure the setting “Allow null value” was applied in the Report Builder:

Report Builder Parameters Properties

Report Builder Parameters Properties

I binged a bit and found this post on MSDN forum, answered by Charles Wang, and his tip worked. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to your Report Manager, find your report and select “Manage“.
  2. Click on the “Parameters” tab on the left panel.
  3. Check the box “Has Default” for your parameter and click the “Apply” button.
    Report Manager Parameters Properties

    Report Manager Parameters Properties

  4. Voilà ! Now the box is checked in the Report Viewer:
    Report Viewer Default NULL is now checked

    Report Viewer Default NULL is now checked

I hope this helps,
Emmanuel

Posted in Computer, HOWTO, SQL Server, Tip | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SOLVED: Export-Mailbox Error -1056749164, MAPI or an unspecified service provider

I use PowerShell to backup or archive mailboxes to PST files at work, and I use the command Export-Mailbox on a client computer to get the items from Exchange 2007. My aliases are in a CSV file so that I can export in batch.

But yesterday I had an unusual error for one of the mailboxes (yes, the big boss mailbox). The exact error, which doesn’t tell much (you can find it in the log here: C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\Logging\MigrationLogs), was this:

MAPI or an unspecified service provider. ID no: 00000000-0000-00000000, error code: -1056749164

After some searching, I figured out it was due to some permissions settings and I was able to get a list of them by running the following PowerShell commandlet: Get-MailboxPermission.

In the list, it was obvious that some “Deny” permissions were taking precedence over the “Allow” permissions. I ran the Remove-MailboxPermission PowerShell commandlet on the mailbox, but the error was still there:

Remove-MailboxPermission -Identity <mailbox user> -User <admin user> -Deny -AccessRights FullAccess -InheritanceType All

Since the “Deny” permissions were inherited, I had to break the inheritance first, and that was a bit more tricky than I thought. Thanks to Jesper Bernie for providing a detailed answer on MSExchange.org forum:

  1. Go to the Start menu on your Exchange Server and in “Search Programs and Files” type in “ADSIEdit.msc“.
  2. Click on ADSIEdit.
  3. Choose Action -> Connetc to …
  4. In the Connection point area, click ‘Select a well known Naming Context’ and choose ‘Configuration’ from the Drop Down Menu.
  5. Hit OK
  6. Browse down to Services\Microsoft Exchange\<Name of your Exchange Organization>\Administrative Groups\Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT)\Servers
    From there you will find your Exchange Servers and below them all of the databases. Since we don’t know where the initial security setting is added, we need to do some investigation.
    What you’ll need to do, is to right click on, let’s say the “Server” object, and choose “Properties”. Go to the “Security” tab and locate the User which permissions you want to modifiy.
    If the check boxes are grayed out it just means that the permission setting is inherited from somewhere above. If so, then hit the “Advanced” button. Luckily ADSIEdit shows you from where by looking in the column “Inherited from”. Go to that location and alter as needed.

Those setting were set when we were still on Exchange 2000 a long time ago and have been carried on to Exchange 2007, but were invisible in the graphical user interface (Exchange Management Console). I can now export to PST successfully.

I hope this helps.

Posted in Exchange, HOWTO, PowerShell | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Solved: Windows Live Mesh not synchronizing some folders anymore

I’ve been running the PortableApps.com Platform “Next” Pre-Release (you should too!) and I found it useful to install it once on a PC, and use Windows Live Mesh 2011 to replicate the whole PortableApps folder. That includes the platform itself (the launcher and the updater) plus all my favorite portable apps. Now why you ask? Because this new suite (which is quite stable already despite the Pre-Release warning) automatically finds and installs apps updates at launch. That way, I automatically get all new software updates (Chrome, Firefox, Notepad++, etc.) on all my sync’ed PCs (laptop, home desktop and work desktop, all running Windows 7) in one single click (yes, you can pin the PortableApps Platform launcher to the taskbar!).

Now after a recent platform upgrade (might be the latest 4.2 or the previous one), my portable apps would not be replicated anymore. After some binging, I found a solution:

  1. Copy the path of the PortableApps folder which does not replicate. For me, that’s “C:\Users\Emmanuel\SyncedPortableApps\PortableApps”:image
  2. Start a command prompt: Windows key + R + cmd:image
  3. Type “attrib –s ” and then paste the path you copied previously (or type it of you don’t know how to paste in a command window) and finally press the Enter key. In my case, that’s “attrib –s C:\Users\Emmanuel\SyncedPortableApps\PortableApps”:image

It turns out that some PortableApps folders (another one is the Documents folder; you can do the same procedure by changing the path) are tagged as “system” and therefore are not replicated by Windows Live Mesh. Marking the as non-system makes the replicable again.

If, on the other hand, you wish NOT to replicate some folders on your Mesh’ed folders, apply the “system” attribute to them: “attrib +s Folder_Path_Not_to_Replicate”.

I hope this helps.

Posted in HOWTO, Tip, Windows, Windows Live Mesh | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solved: streaming media (music) not showing anymore in WHS 2011

I encountered a problem today when my music would disappear from Windows Media Center clients and the list of songs in the media streaming section of remote web access would be nearly empty (just a few dozen songs would be listed).

It happened after I upgraded MonStor software (rebranded DriveBender storage pool technology for TranquilPC home servers) on the server. I had to recreate some of my server shared folders, and I guess the Windows Media Player service on the server didn’t like it and got corrupted somehow.

I binged for solutions and found this support forum post which resolved my problem:

  1. May not be necessary, but it doesn’t hurt: perform a server reboot
  2. After reboot, connect to your Windows Home Server 2011 server using Remote Desktop Connection (Windows key + R + “mstsc.exe servername”) using Administrator credentials
  3. Launch the Dashboard, click on Settings and turn off media streamingimage
  4. Open the Services management snap-in (Windows key + R + “services.msc”) and stop the “windows media player network sharing service”: image
  5. Rename the “CurrentDatabase_(number).wmdb” file in “C:\Users\MediaStreamingAdmin\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player”: image
  6. Back to the Services management snap-in, start the “windows media player network sharing service”
  7. Turn on media streaming from server dashboard. Immediately, the database file is recreated and starts filling up (it might take some time to recreate the whole database depending on your media library on the server).

I hope this helps.

Posted in Computer, HOWTO, Tip, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Convert Microsoft Photo Story 3 WMV videos to other formats

I’m usually using HighSlide JS to create and share slideshows of pictures on our website. But sometimes, colleagues would like to create their own photo slideshows and they would create and publish them with Photo Story 3, a free tool from Microsoft (validation required). Photo Story 3 was made for Windows XP, but I’ve read that it would install and run fine on Windows Vista and Windows 7 as well, although you might prefer to use its replacement called Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 on these latter platforms.

A couple of days ago, we wanted to put one of these videos created by Photo Story 3 on the website, and I wanted to convert the WMV file to the FLV format, so that it would play fine on all visitors’ browsers through JW Player. I put it through my favourite video converter, Freemake Video Converter, but the resulting FLV video was blank. I put it through my second favourite (still free) video converter, Any Video Converter, and there I would get an error message:

Could not open required DirecShow codec wmvadvd.dll… Cannot find codec matching selected –vo and video format 0x32505657”.

After binging and googling on the net, I realized that the WMV format produced by Photo Story 3 is not “standard”, or I should say is not “common”. It uses a special compression format called Windows Media Video Image (version 9.1), which can be played fine in Windows Media Player (and probably others), but is not commonly supported in many (most?) video converters, especially the free ones.

Edited on May 29th, 2012: Sothink Media’s Dree Movie DVD Maker has made some changes since my post was published and the feature (codec?) is not available anymore. After searching for some alternative solutions, I found this is the best: Convert video to MPEG-2 from Online-Convert.com. The reasons:

  • It’s completely free: you don’t need to create an account, provide an email address or other tricky ways to get your personal details
  • It’s online: use the tool from anywhere in the world without installing anything on your computer
  • The speed and the quality of the converted video is just perfect

After some more searching, I finally found a free solution. I downloaded and installed Sothink Media’s Free Movie DVD Maker, and used their conversion engine without burning anything. Here is how I did it:

  1. Drag-and-drop your WMV file created by Photo Story 3 onto the main grid, modify a couple of settings on the right pane (optional) and hit “Burn”. The application will warn that there is no DVD media in the burner. Click “Ignore”:
    Convert PhotoStory3 WMV to other video formats - Capture 1
  2. The video gets converted to MPG in the background, and the temporary file (which would be subsequently burnt to a DVD but we are not) is located in a temporary folder.
  3. When the software indicates the message “Creating disc structure”, your temporary MPG video is ready to be copied somewhere safe. Indeed, when Movie DVD Maker is ready to burn the disk (successfully or not), it would delete this temporary file!
    Convert PhotoStory3 WMV to other video formats - Capture 2
  4. At this point, it is very important not to click on the “OK” button, otherwise the temporary MPG video would get deleted:
    Convert PhotoStory3 WMV to other video formats - Capture 3
  5. So where to find the file? Copy this text: “C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Temp” and paste it in any Explorer window (or press the Window key on your keyboard and then R). Your MPG file would have the same name as your WMV file, and the timestamp would be one of the most recent, so you can view it either by name or by detail (then sort by modified date):
    Convert PhotoStory3 WMV to other video formats - Capture 5
  6. Copy the MPG file and paste it to somewhere safe.

If you need the MPGEG2 video file in another format, as mentioned earlier, try my favourite free video converter: Freemake Video Converter. It’s free, beautiful and functional.

I hope this helps,
Emmanuel

Posted in Computer, Free, HOWTO, Tip, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Like one color but don’t know other matching colors? Use the free online tool Color Scheme Designer

I was creating an About.Me page (http://about.me/EmmanuelDurand) and you’ve got some options to set the colors of you background and texts. Web pages can become rather ugly when colors don’t match, so I wanted to have a nice color palette from one color I particularly like (orange).
I found the free online tool Color Scheme Designer (http://colorschemedesigner.com, no registration required) very simple, quick and easy to use. Just pick a color you like on the palette on the left, click on the “Complement” discus above and voilà! You’ve got three matching colors with their hexadecimal values that you can use in you design.
Bookmarked!

The free online tool Color Scheme Designer is simple, quick and easy to use

Posted in Design, Tip | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment