Friday, March 13, 2015

Windows could not connect to the System Event Notification Service service

On some HP laptops you randomly get this error message at logon time and the Aero themes are disabled.

Microsoft has a fix at but it does not fix anything.

I finally found the the culprit was the Intel HD 4600 video driver from HP. I downloaded the latest driver from Intel (at time of writing it is version from .

You have to "force install" the driver from the Device Manager. It won't install with the installer because it complains that the driver hasn't been certified for this computer.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

HP EliteBook & ProBook - how to remove the BIOS password set by HP ProtectTools

Here is the scenario:

An employee was fired from the company some time ago and his old laptop has a BIOS password set by HP ProtectTools. Here is the procedure to remove the password and completely remove BIOS security. It assumes you can still login to Windows on the computer with a user with admin rights.

  1. Download the current version of HP System Software Manager (SSM). As of October 2014 it is version in SoftPaq 66796 and can be found here.
  2. Run the sp66796.exe file and accept all defaults.
  3. Go to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Hewlett-Packard\SystemSoftwareManager folder and extract there the file with 7-Zip or another compressed file manager.
  4. Double-click the HpqPswd.exe file
  5. Choose a new BIOS Administrator password (minimum 8 characters), type it in the 2 Password fields and type the name of the password file (I use pass.bin) and click OK.
  6. Download the current HP BIOS Configuration Utility (BCU). As of October 2014 it is version in SoftPaq 65619 and can be found here.
  7. Run the sp65619.exe file and accept all defaults.
  8. Copy the pass.bin file created in step 5 to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Hewlett-Packard\BIOS Configuration Utility folder
  9. Open a Command Prompt and go to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Hewlett-Packard\BIOS Configuration Utility folder.
  10. Type this command: BIOSConfigUtility64.exe /nspwdfile:pass.bin .This will set a new BIOS Administrator password.
  11. Restart the computer and enter BIOS setup (F10 on most models).
  12. Select user BIOS Administrator and type the password you chose in step 5.
  13. In the Security Tab click the User Management option.
  14. In the HP PROTECTTOOLS USERS section select all the users one by one and and click Delete Account.
  15. Go back to the Security Tab and click Change Password
  16. Type the password you chose in step 5 and press Enter 3 times to select a blank password.
  17. Exit the BIOS setup and save the changes.
  18. To make sure that it worked enter the BIOS setup and you should not be asked any password.
Credits: the above procedure is an adaptation from this post to use the available versions of HP SSM and BCU.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Exchange 2010 SP1 Limits the Number of ActiveSync Devices You Can Synchronize

By default Exchange 2010 SP1 limits the number of ActiveSync devices you can synchronize to 10.

The solution is this PowerShell script:

Set-ThrottlingPolicy –EASMaxDevices 50 –Identity DefaultThrottlingPolicy_hex_string

See this excellent blog post by

Monday, November 19, 2012

The request contains no certificate template information

If you want to secure Exchange 2010 with SSL you can have your own Enterprise CA issue a certificate.

However when you try to issue it with the CA MMC, you may receive this error message:

Certificate Request Processor
The request contains no certificate template information. 0x80094801 (-2146875391)

The trick is to use the certreq command-line tool instead. Here is a example of the syntax:

certreq -submit -attrib "CertificateTemplate: WebServer" WebServerCertReq.txt

where WebServerCertReq.txt is the name of the request file from your Exchange certificate.

Thanks to David Rawling and his excellent "Deliberations from Dave" blog. Here is a link to his original post:

To generate a CSR from openssl on Linux use this command line:

openssl req -new -newkey rsa:2048 -nodes -out csr_request.csr -keyout privatekey.key -subj "/C=CA/ST=QC/L=MONTREAL/ OFFICE/"


csr_request.csr: the name of the CSR file generated
privatekey.key: the name of the private key file generated
/C= : country code
/ST : state or province code
/L= : city
/O= : Organisation
/OU= : Organisational Unit
/CN= : The URL you use to access the web server

Monday, May 7, 2012

Search Server 2010 vs SQL Server Express 2012

If you install the free "Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express" using the free "SQL Server 2012 Express"  as the back-end database, MSSSE 2010 still thinks that the database size limit is 4 GB even though it really is 10 GB with this release of SQL Server Express.

The trick is to add an undocumented registry key on the MSSSE server and set it to 10 GB:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office Server\14.0\Search\Global\MaxSearchDBSizeMB of type REG_DWORD and set the value to 10240 (decimal).

MSSSE will now be aware that the database limit is 10 GB.

Thanks to Trevor Seward (MCC) of the TechNet forums for pointing me in the right direction !

Link to the forum thread where you can see the offending SharePoint code:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How to delete or modify an Adtran softphone license

The Adtran softphone does not delete the license file from a computer when it is uninstalled.

The license is in the file "%systemdrive%\ProgramData\ADTRAN\IP SoftPhone\config.cps"

To delete the license simply delete the file. To change the license edit the file with Notepad in administrative mode. VoilĂ  !

Friday, December 2, 2011

Reset a Cisco Router to Factory Default

If you have console access:

router#configure terminal
router(config)#config-register 0x2102
Erase the current start-up configuration on the router with the write erase command.

Reload the router with the reload command. When prompted to save the configuration, DO NOT save.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cannot mount an Exchange 2010 database after a dirty shutdown

After a power outage, our Exchange 2010 server could not mount the mailbox database with an error about corrupt or missing log files.

I found the solution on the excellent blog of Mike Pfeiffer.

Here is the link:

In short I used "eseutil /r /l /d /a" to replay the logs into the database and "eseutil /mh" to make sure that it was in a "Clean Shutdown" state. After that I was able to mount the database again from the EMC.

After the repair, my backup software, ArcServe v.15 could not backup the Exchange mailbox database. It failed with the "AE9708 Check integrity failed. Check the Exchange server status." error message.

However, the "new-MailboxRepairRequest" PowerShell cmdlet did not detect any corruption on the database.


Disable integrity check !

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

SonicWall CFS blocks SEPM 12 LiveUpdate


Just to share that on my SonicWall TZ200, enabling the Content Filter Service blocks the LiveUpdate from the SEPM 12 server.

The easy solution is to add an exception for the server IP address in the CFS configuration page on the firewall.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

HP Proliant server - Multiple Logical Drive Creation with single R5 array

I got a new HP ProLiant DL160 G6 server to replace my aging ML150 G2 file server. It is equipped with the Smart Array P212 controller and 4x 1 TB SAS drives. The OS is Windows Server 2008 R2.

I had to create 2 logical drives (LUNs) from the usable 3 TB RAID 5 array because the disk where Windows is installed must be a MBR disk, which is limited to 2 TB. By having 2 LUNs (100 GB for the OS and the rest for storage) Windows sees them as separate disks, so you can configure the bigger volume as a GPT disk, bypassing the 2 TB limit.

When you press F8 at boot time to access the P212 setup program, you do not have the option to create logical drives inside your RAID array. To enable this function, you must boot on the provided "Easy Set-Up" CD, and access the ACU there.

After that you install the OS on the smaller volume. When Windows is installed, you can convert the second logical drive as a GPT disk, with full access to the disk space.

Thanks to gregersenj from HP ITRC forums for pointing me in the right direction !

See his post at