Vol. 22, #15 - April 10, 2017 - Issue #1126

Fixing Outlook 2013 reminders

Deep Packet Inspection for Quality of Experience Monitoring

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Editor's Corner

In this week's newsletter your Editor tells how he stumbled across a way to finally make reminders work properly in Outlook 2013, something that had been driving him nuts for months. We also have some other tech news items and lots of tips, tools and links both educational and fun, so enjoy!

Have you ever had a co-worker who drove you nuts? Or maybe you enjoy driving your colleagues nuts! Here's a tip from Dilbert on how to push the envelope further:


Ask Our Readers - Mac automation in the enterprise (new question)

Our Mac vs PC TCO discussion in Issue #1120 and Issue #1122 seems to be a hot issue with many of our readers given the amount of feedback it's generated. Questions still continue to trickle in on this topic, and Kevin who is an IT Director for a company that supplies contamination monitoring systems and airborne particle counters would like to ask our readers if they have any additional wisdom or insights they can share regarding automating the management of Apple Mac computers in the enterprise:

I would like to find out how other companies manage Macs on a corporate network with lots of VLANs and lots of identical printers. I'd also like to find out how Apple manages Macs and sharing of files & printers, as I don't see them having Windows servers, and there are probably no PC's outside QA testing.

Can any readers help Kevin with his request above? Email us at [email protected]

Ask Our Readers - Any ConfigMgr email lists or online groups? (responses)

In last week's newsletter we mentioned that James, a Technology Coordinator in Minnesota, USA had sent us the following request:

Hi Mitch, I'm wondering if you know of any email lists or online groups that deal with SCCM? I'm thinking of taking the plunge this summer and want to lurk in some groups to see what is being discussed. Thanks!

Several readers helpfully weighed in with their suggestions of SCCM lists/forums:

Adrian from Australia: The Shavlik patch Management list covers nearly everything


Michael: Sunbelt, who I believe was your predecessor with the WServerNews, also ran a number of mailing lists. After they changed ownership, the mailing lists were transferred to myITforum, who still runs those lists. There are mailing lists for Exchange, SCCM, Windows, and many other topics. We would always be happy to have new members! The lists-of-lists and information about each list is available here:


Charlie who works in Windows Engineering Application Packaging for a company in North Carolina also suggested the forums on myITforum:


Ask Our Readers: WServerNews has almost 100,000 subscribers worldwide. That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at [email protected]

And now on to the main topic of this week's newsletter…

Fixing Outlook 2013 reminders

Outlook 2010 was a staple of our business for half a decade. But when we finally bit the bullet and decided to migrate our machines from Windows 7 to Windows 10 we also decided it was time to move from Office 2010 to Office 2013. While we've generally been quite pleased with Office 2013 and its various new capabilities, one thing has absolutely been driving us nuts since the migration: pop-up reminder notifications don't work properly in Outlook 2013.

The Problem

What I mean is this. For some users of Outlook 2013 when the time set for a reminder arrives, a reminder box appears but is displayed *behind* the Outlook UI instead of on top of it. Well, for us it's been even worse for some reason: no matter how I set a reminder, it *never* displays as a popup! In other words, the Calendar section of Outlook 2013 has been absolutely useless to me compared with how it worked flawlessly in Outlook 2010.

After putting up with this for some time and hoping that Microsoft would release a hotfix to resolve the problem, I searched around and found this thread in the Microsoft Answers community:


This led me to another thread that offered a workaround:


But when I read through the details of the workaround and how it involved creating a new Outlook profile, I thought "Ugh!" and went back to writing my appointments on sticky notes and putting them on my office wall.

A partial fix 

Then after some time had elapsed I tried searching again for a solution and came across this little nugget on Shayatik.com:


This solution only involved creating a VBA macro and generating a digital certificate, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Sure enough, it worked--more or less--since the result was that every time a reminder triggered a dialog box would appear saying "This is a friendly reminder about an upcoming meeting" and when I clicked the OK button in the dialog box the actual Outlook reminder for the meeting would then pop open.

But besides the annoyance of having to click OK just to open the reminder dialog, there was also the issue that in order to run the macro I had to configure Outlook to allow all macros to run (see Step 11 in the procedure in the above article) which of course is more than a bit risky given what malicious macros are able to do to machines running Microsoft Office.

So I wondered, hmm, might it be possible to somehow enable this particular macro to run without having to allow *all* macros to run on my Windows 10 laptop?


A solution

Some more digging around took me to this post on Remko Weijnen's Blog where he explains how sign Word macros with self-signed certificates:


I reasoned that if this worked for Word then it should also work for Outlook. So here's what I did:

First, I opened the MMC Certificates snap-in and found the self-signed certificate I had generated previously using Shay Atik's procedure:


Next, I exported the certificate as a .CER file on my hard drive by right-clicking on the certificate and selecting All Tasks | Export as described in Remko's article.

I then imported the exported certificate file into my Trusted Root Certification Authorities folder as shown here:


At this point I decided to test things, so I fired up Outlook and set a reminder to a few minutes before the current time. But instead of Shay Alik's dialog box appearing, a VBA error message was displayed. I can't remember the exact words of the error message but I think it said something like "Certificate not found" or something similar.

So I went back to Shay's procedure and opened up the macro in the VBA editor and repeated Step 9 to sign it once again using the same self-signed certificate which was now also a trusted root CA for my user account on the machine.

I then set another reminder a few minutes before the current time, and voila--the Outlook reminder dialog popped open! Yes that's right--Shay's custom "Friendly reminder" dialog box did *not* appear; the actual Outlook reminder dialog itself was displayed. Zowieee!

Wait a minute though--I still had that security problem since Outlook was configured to allow *all* macros to run on my system. But now I have a *signed* macro that ran as intended (though for some weird reason it didn't actually display the dialog box it was supposed to display) so I thought, Let's see what happens if I allow only *digitally signed* macros to run on my system.

So I clicked the File tab on my Outlook 2013 ribbon and selected Options. Then in the Options dialog, I selected Trust Center and then clicked Trust Center Settings. Then finally in the Trust Center, I selected Macro and selected the safer second option shown here instead of the fourth one chosen previously so that only digitally signed macros would be allowed to run on my system:


I closed Outlook, opened it up again, set a reminder a few minutes away, and the Outlook reminder dialog popped open for my reminder, and I'm happy as a lark since Outlook 2013 reminders are now working the way Outlook 2010 reminders worked. Yes, I solved it--I am invincible!!


Except I have absolutely no idea why the "Friendly reminder" dialog created by the macro doesn't display. But who cares? I didn't want it to display anyways, I just wanted my reminders back.

Got any cool Outlook tips or hacks of your own to share with our newsletter readers? Email us at [email protected]

Microsoft is shutting down CodePlex

Brian Harry has the news on his MSDN blog:


Personally I find it discouraging how often over the years Microsoft has jumped on bandwagon after bandwagon and barreled ahead full-tilt for several years only to suddenly hit the breaks and jump off to head in a different direction. Sometimes I think why bother getting involved in anything Microsoft is doing if they're just going to drop it after they lose interest.

The Supreme Court and toner cartridges

If you live and work in the US and you try to save money for your business by buying third-party toner cartridges for your printers then you might want to take a look at the following article from the Comsumerist:


Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]

Recommended for Learning

Updated Information Protection Poster for Office 365

The Information Protection for Office 365 poster has been a popular resource for tracking capabilities we recommend customers use with Office 365. The latest update includes:

You can download the poster in PDF and Visio format from the links in this post on the Cloud Adoption Advisory Board blog:



Microsoft Virtual Academy

Windows Server 2016 Breach Resistance for Your Operating System and Applications

Watch this free, on-demand course to learn how to best utilize Windows Server 2016 in your datacenter security. Explore common attack timelines and scenarios, as well as attacker access. Learn how data security professionals can get the time needed after an attacker's initial breach to detect, respond and get rid of the intruder. Discover how Credential Guard can protect against pass-the-hash attacks, and how Device Guard can lock down your server. Don't miss this brief but powerful enterprise security course.


Factoid of the Week

Last week's factoid and question was this:

The fear of Friday the 13th is sometimes called friggatriskaidekaphobia which comes from Frigg, the Norse goddess of wisdom after whom Friday is named, and the Greek words triskaideka, meaning 13, and phobia, meaning fear. What's the weirdest name for a disorder that you've ever come across yourself?

Several sick readers (sorry, that's a joke--couldn't resist) sent us the following responses to our question:

Aibohphobia is the fear of palindromes, which is intentionally a palindrome itself. This, however, is yet another made up phobia created by computer nerds in the early 80s. --Don

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability. --Mark

One of my own creations - you know how one person yawning induces yawning in another person? I coined the term "Narcolepathy", a combination from the Greek "narke" (numbness or stupor) and telepathy. OK, so sometimes I do have too much spare time in my head. --Jim

Now let's move on to this week's factoid:

Fact: Peter Ackerman wrote a children's book in 2010 called "The Lonely Phonebooth" about one of only four remaining outdoor phone booths in all of Manhattan.

Source: http://www.wservernews.com/go/t250w7gn/

Question: When was the last time you saw a phonebooth? And when was the last time you *used* a phonebooth? Share your gritty urban stories by emailing us at [email protected]

Email your answer to us at: [email protected]

Until next week, 

Mitch Tulloch


Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Disaster recovery orchestration tool for the Enterprise. Beta now available. Easily execute, test and document disaster recovery (DR) plans.


WsDisplaySettings is a command line tool to save and restore Windows display settings to and from file:


Netwrix Change Notifier for Active Directory tracks changes to Active Directory (AD) users, group memberships, OUs, permissions, and provides visibility into what's happening inside your AD:


Portainer.io is a fully functional UI to manage Docker containers on Windows:



This Week's Tips

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]

Remote administration - Secure tool for

A while back I wrote an article called "7 best remote login tools" for our new Techgenix.com website and a reader commented on Splashtop one of the tools I had recommended:

Splashtop has two factor authentication, in fact I think is the more secure of all remote admin tools. You have to be logged on with your splashtop account in order to access a client's system. This means now one can login, unless owns the email/pass of your splashtop account. Then you have two additional options you can apply to the above.

So we could call it two factors and a half authentication.

Can any of our newsletter readers recommend any other remote admin tools other than those I mentioned in my article? Email me at [email protected]

PowerShell - Listing installed patches

The Scripting Guys have a tip on how you can use PowerShell to get a list of all the security patches installed in the last three months:


Windows 10 - Warning about "Reset this PC" option

There's an interesting thread in the Microsoft Answers community forums that's titled like this:

"Reset this PC" with the "Remove everything" option may fail when the Get Office app is installed


Definitely worth reading if you think the scenario may apply to you.

Events Calendar

Microsoft Build in May 10-12, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.


Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 9-13, 2017 in Washington, D.C.


Microsoft Ignite on September 25-29, 2017 in Orlando, Florida


Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

New on TechGenix.com

Under the hood: Microsoft Exchange 2016 deployment architecture

Exchange Server 2016 brings with it significant changes in its deployment architecture. Here's a look the newest version of the popular mail server.


Slow downloads? Make sure your Window (Scaling) isn't broken

If your download speed is slower than you'd expect, perhaps something is breaking your TCP Window Scaling. Here's the fix.


Product Review: MailStore Server 10

MailStore Server 10 continues to be relevant in a world filled with large mailboxes in the cloud and user expectations for unlimited mailboxes, even within on-premises Exchange Server.


Citrix XenApp Essentials release plan and what you need to know

Citrix XenApps Essentials is going live soon -- and here's what you need to know about pricing and its associated services.


Tips for the pro: How to strengthen Windows 10 security

Microsoft has added tools and functionality that make it easy to strengthen Windows 10 security. Here the some settings you need to change or tweak.



Tech Briefing


PingAccess for Azure AD: The public preview is being deployed! (Enterprise Mobility and Security Blog)


Configure PowerShell for running Azure Cmdlets (Benjamin Perkins)


Enterprise IT

Step-By-Step: Enabling Advanced Security Audit Policy via DS Access (CANITPRO.NET)


How to get all Active Directory users account last log on time and export Excel (OneScript Team Blog)



How Do I Open Ports with PowerShell? (Tim's Blog)


How to find the SDN gateway local address for BGP peering in Windows Server 2016 (Networking Blog)


Office 365

Troubleshooting Office 365 ProPlus patching through System Center Configuration Manager (Ask PFE)


New multi-factor authentication for Office 365 Test Lab Guide (Cloud Adoption Advisory Board)


Windows Server

Building a KMS Host on Windows Server 2008 R2 (Ask the Core Team)


What’s New in Windows Server 2016 Remote Desktop Services for On-Premises and Cloud Deployments (Keith Mayer)


WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Moscow Pizzeria Introduces Pizza Delivery By Dogs

On April 1, 2017, Imperiya Pizza in Moscow launched the World's first pizza delivery by dogs, using a sophisticated GPS based navigation and steering system:


Japan's Supermarket Of The Future

This is what Japan’s supermarket of the future looks like:


Amazing Billiard Trick Shots By Florian Kohler 2017

Florian Kohler is a master of billiards trick shots with an almost magical quality:


Best Of The Month March 2017 - Edited By Zapatou

Video editor Luc Bergeron (Zapatou) returns with his latest installment of 'Best Of The Month' - a compilation of 64 amazing video clips from March 2017:



WServerNews - Product of the Week

Deep Packet Inspection for Quality of Experience Monitoring

Read this whitepaper to get a detailed description of packet analysis techniques to measure high network response times, network delay, server processing times, client processing time, traffic distribution, and overall quality of experience.

Download Now>>


WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his  outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.