Tag Archive | microsoft

Office 2013 error: “Sorry, we are having some temporary server issues” – fix it by clearing a key in the registry

Update 27/02/14: Microsoft have released Service Pack 1 for Office 2013, and still does not contain a fix for the below issue.

Recently we began using Office 365 accounts with the Office 2013 desktop suite, and during a roll-out session for staff, almost everyone in the room got this error message when trying to load the sign-in screen for their Office 365 account for the first time:

Sorry, we are having some temporary server issues. Try again. Cancel.

“Sorry, we are having some temporary server issues.”

The error occurred even before asking for any login details, and a quick check of our Internet access logs revealed that Word wasn’t even attempting to contact a server. I hadn’t seen this during testing, and we couldn’t work past the error when we encountered it, so the roll-out session was a bust. To say I was irritated is somewhat of an understatement.

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They will then are assessed

Not for the first time, Word 2010 grammar checker demonstrates it is about as much use as a chocolate heatsink:


Goodbye SCE – I never liked you anyway

Last summer, I started using Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010, primarily for its software distribution functions. Aimed at small- to medium-sized networks, it’s ideally placed for use in school. Like almost every System Center product I’ve used, it wasn’t the simplest thing in the world to set up, but once working, it works reasonably well.

Well, except for…

Deploying Windows Live Essentials 2011

On Thursday, Microsoft release ‘Wave 4’ of Windows Live Essentials, otherwise known as the 2011 version. Though primarily aimed at home users, there are a couple of applications that are great for schools, particularly Windows Live Movie Maker. There are a couple of gotcha’s: first, only Vista and Windows 7 are supported in the latest version, and a lot of schools are either too scared or too poor to upgrade from XP. Secondly, it’s not the easiest bundle of application to deploy over the network.

This is a technical article which is light on judgemental ranting, so try to keep up.

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Chocolate don’t make you fat

I hate the grammar checker in Word. It’s a horrible piece of technology that is riddled with inaccuracies.

Call me a pedant, but I wouldn’t want to ship a product that only half works. When a grammar checker can read the sentence

“Chocolate don’t make you fat.”

and claim that there is nothing wrong with this grammatically, there is something very wrong. Word has done this in every version since the grammar check was introduced, and still does it in Word 2010. I’d be embarrassed by this if I were on the development team. On a personal level, I am also dangerously irritated by the fact that it frequently spits out a ‘semicolon use’ message whenever I (correctly) use a semicolon in a way it can’t quite understand.

I get that natural language grammar rules are complicated to automate, partly because they have so many exceptions. Spelling is easy because each word is treated in isolation. Education observers have decried the rise of the spell-checker as a catalyst for the decline of pupils’ personal abilities to spell correctly, despite the fact that I can personally attest to the fact that much of the spell-checkers job is checking for poor typing, not poor spelling. However, none to my knowledge have examined the fact that pupils relying on the grammar checker as a crutch may not only be unable to form sentences themselves, but will go around believing such monstrous constructions as the one above to be correct. At least by relying on a spell-check, the end result is still correct spelling.

The torture of installing System Center Essentials 2010

Last week I decided to add System Center Essentials (SCE) to my network, having decided a little while ago that the full System Center Configuration Manager and its associated sister products were slightly overkill for my network. This opinion was not helped by the fact that a 3-day attempt to get System Center Configuration Manager 2007 installed a few years ago resulted in nothing more than a near mental breakdown and 3 days of my life wasted that I will never get back. So, SCE seemed like it might be a less stressful choice.

Like hell it was.

Little did I know that within minutes, trying to install this on my WSUS server (since SCE cannot be on a different server from WSUS) would fail dismally when it tried to move the WSUS database from the Windows Internal Database system to a proper SQL Server instance:

13:10:36:CreateShareForBackup: Failed to create the share for the WSUS backup.: Threw Exception.Type: Microsoft.SystemCenter.Essentials.Configuration.Common.EssentialsShareException, Exception Error Code: 0x80131500, Exception.Message: Failed to create the share.
13:10:37:StackTrace: at Microsoft.SystemCenter.Essentials.Configuration.Common.ReadOnlyTemporaryShare..ctor(String shareName) at Microsoft.SystemCenter.Essentials.SetupFramework.HelperClasses.MoveUpdateServicesDatabase.CreateShareForBackup.Execute(MoveUpdateServicesDatabaseItem item)
13:10:37:SystemCenterEssentialsPreinstallProcessor: SUSDB move failed.
13:10:37:ProcessInstalls: Running the PreprocessDelegate for SCE failed.... This is a fatal item. Setting rollback.

That log snippet very quickly led me to a post titled “Upgrade from WSUS to SCE 2010 fails, Cannot move WSUS DB“. The process by which the author arrived at this error was slightly different, but the resolution was the same. Despite that last line talking about a rollback, the installer doesn’t completely undo all of the actions it’s performed up to this point. If you want to try again, you have to remove the sceWsusBackupShare yourself. In fact, there is so much that doesn’t get rolled back that the developers added a tool to the System Center Essentials 2010 Resource Kit called Essentials Server Cleanup Tool, which apparently does the job that the hopelessly installer always should have.

Of course, doing this is no guarantee the damned thing will then work the second time around. My install failed again almost immediately, again while trying to move the WSUS database onto an SQL Server instance. This time the logs only spoke cryptically of a server timeout.

“Sod this for a game of soldiers,” I thought. I knew how to perform this migration myself, having several times consulted the TechNet documentation on Migrating from Windows Internal Database to SQL Server. I tried the procedure, only to be denied because something was locking the database open. Suspecting that once again the SCE installer had not relinquished its vice-like grip on the system. I rebooted, and was met with success the second time around.

Once done, the SCE installer continued unabated, and everything ran smoothly.

Well, apart from this about 20 minutes later:

I suppose I should count myself lucky that I spotted this early and was still at a point where a reinstall was even remotely palatable. However, it didn’t help dismiss my consistent opinion that most of System Center is too damned complicated for its own good – especially when all I really wanted from it is the ability to be able to deploy .exe files, since the Microsoft Office team decided they were too good for GPO deployment ever since 2007…

1, 2, 3, Many

In Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, trolls count in a base 4-like system whose main cardinals are One, Two, Three, and Many (there is also Lots, which is equal to 16 in decimal).

It is a little known fact that Windows Server Update Services counts in a similar fashion, only it uses a much simpler system with only two numbers: Some and Many.

Observe this amazing numerical system in action:

Log Name:      Application
Source:        Windows Server Update Services
Date:          05/08/2010 12:50:30
Event ID:      13021
Task Category: 6
Level:         Warning
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      updates.angrytech.internal
Some client computers are not reporting their inventory. 1 have been detected so far.

Log Name:      Application
Source:        Windows Server Update Services
Date:          05/08/2010 14:30:36
Event ID:      13022
Task Category: 6
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      updates.angrytech.internal
Many client computers are not reporting their inventory. 2 have been detected so far.

This is why whenever I look at the Role Health Summary page, I get a dirty great red × next to WSUS; apparently just two computers not checking in counts as ‘many’.

So, if someone would someone please teach the WSUS developers how to count higher than 2, I would be very grateful.