What do Ctrl+C and USB connectors have in common?

Nothing, except that I had a major revelation regarding each of them recently. It’s almost embarrassing to admit this, but here goes:

Ctrl+C copies the text from a dialogue box to the clipboard

This feature has been a part of Windows for a long time, but I have not known about it. Whenever a message box is displayed, pressing Ctrl+C copies the entire text from the box, with formatting, to the clipboard. What a tremendously useful feature!

USB connectors should always have the USB logo pointing up

It’s always a hassle plugging in USB devices. I always try to insert the connector the wrong way the first time, without fail. I have always been amazed that the USB group didn’t come up with a better system for this, given the popularity of USB. Turns out, they have. Every USB device is required to have the USB logo on its connector, and that logo should always be pointing up when inserting the connector. If the socket is mounted vertically, the logo should always be towards you. After learning about this I quickly discovered that a couple of my devices were non-compliant and did not feature a USB logo at all. I’m not the only one that wasn’t aware of this requirement, apparently.

So there you have it. Two incredibly useful bits of information, and I didn’t know about either of them. I’ll go and hide now…

Slow performance in Outlook Web Access when published through ISA Server 2006

I recently had a strange experience at one of my customers. Suddenly the performance of OWA when accessed through their ISA 2006 server was horrible. Using OWA to read messages was possible, but creating a new message with an attachment was impossible. The operation would hang with the message Uploading you attachments indefinitely. After a looking at all the logs, the ISA policies and the IP settings I checked the speed and duplex settings on the NICs. We had recently switched the NICs in this server to troubleshoot another issue. We switched the Internal NIC for the External NIC, by switching the IP addresses and the cabling. I had evidently forgotten about the speed and duplex settings on the NICs, because the Internal card was now set to 100Mbps/Full Duplex and the Extrenal was set to Auto. The settings should have been switched with the rest of the config. After I set the Internal card to auto and the External card to 100Mbps/full everything started working again. Funny how a setting like this can have such an impact. I thought that once the speed and duplex settings were negotiated with the switch it was no longer relevant. There are known issues with mismatched speed/duplex settings.

Recovering hidden items in ExBPA

The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer is a great tool to check your Exchange setup. You get a lot of excellent guidance about various aspects of Exchange, presented as items of different severity. In the results list of a scan you can select to hide items that you do not want to be alerted about the next time the tool is run. A couple of times I have pressed the wrong choice in that list and subsequently hidden items I wanted to investigate. I could not find a UI to recover those hidden items and that prompted me to try to find out by myself. Turned out it was very easy.

The items you have suppressed are stored in the registry. The path is:


The key is called SuppressionData and has a string data type. All the items you have suppressed are listed in this key and you can recover them by deleting individual ones or all of them. The values are comma separated.

Here is a sample of the data in SuppressionData (data modified for readability):

C:>reg query HKCUSoftwaremicrosoftexchangeexbpa /v SuppressionData


In the ExBPA you can select to hide an item for a particular instance or for all instances. The choices in the UI are “Do not show me this item again for this instance only” and “Do not show me this item again for all instances” respectively. Which choice you make is reflected in the registry by appending the name of the instance you were working with to the name of the item. In the above sample the fDisclaimerWithoutException value will hide the disclaimer exception item for all instances, while the fMaxMsgOutgoingNotSet item is hidden only for the TEST-ORG organization.

After you have manipulated the SuppressionData value in the registry you have to restart ExBPA for the changes to take effect.