Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: Windows 7

Using Outlook 2010 with More than One Exchange Account Crashes Regularly

I quite liked the idea of a new feature in Outlook 2010, the ability to use more than one Exchange account at a time. People have been asking for this for years and it looked promising, in the past there was a work-around using virtualization but it was very resource intensive for most people’s machines. Since I ditched Office for Mac 2011 and went back to a Win7 VM on my Mac I thought I would give it a try as I hadn’t tried it out since the early beta builds of Office 2010 – sadly it seems things weren’t much better in the RTM build.

I have a corporate Exchange account, but my own personal email is also hosted on an Exchange server with Fasthosts – who as an aside I can’t really recommend anymore as they are still on Exchange 2003 and don’t seem to have any plans to upgrade the service to 2007, let alone Ex2010 althogh the service has been pretty reliable in the last 4 years I’ve used it.

However, I’ve found using Outlook in this dual-mailbox mode to be incredibly unreliable, it sets up fine – but within a couple of minutes Outlook locks up and becomes unresponsive – this seems to happen mainly when switching between inboxes – I’ve deleted and re-created profiles, .ost’s .pst’s – everything but I just can’t get it to work reliably.

I wonder if anyone out there has managed it – I’m using Windows 7 x64 with Office 2010 x86 (not the x64 version as per MS recommendations) they don’t seem to make much noise about this new feature – maybe this is why.

**Note: your corporate security policy may explicitly say you can’t do this – this is quite reasonable IMHO – I’ve done a lot of Exchange work in the past and whilst the Outlook security model is massively better these days a MAPI-savvy bit of Malware that you bring into Outlook via an external account could still potentially do bad things – remember the ILOVEYOU worm?**

If you want to try it out for yourself you need to totally quit Outlook (it won’t work if you have it open), go into Control panel and find the “mail” control panel applet


Click E-Mail Accounts



Click new, and follow the setup wizard, you’ll then have two Exchange accounts in your profile.

Fire up Outlook and once it’s finished “preparing your mailbox for first use” you’ll see two Exchange accounts with calendars, inbox etc. in the folder view of the UI.

However, in my experience that’s as good as it gets.. it locks up shortly after, shame as Office and in particular Outlook 2010 are pretty damned good otherwise – feel free to post your experiences..

Cannot Access Shared Folder vmware-host Shared Folders My Desktop


I encountered this error when a Windows 7 VM running under Fusion logs on, VM tools is mapping a drive to your OS X home directory and results in the following Windows error message

Cannot Access Shared Folder \\vmware-host\Shared Folders\My Desktop

I hit this error after I used Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my OS X installation from a SATA disk a new SSD drive and then decided to move my home directory back onto the SATA disk (I’m using one of these to mount 2 disks) to save space on the SSD (info on how to do that here), so the underlying file-system path had changed.

To fix this open the shared folders settings for your VM in Fusion (Virtual Machine/Settings/Sharing.


  1. Un-check each item in the “Mirrored Folders” section.
  2. Log off the Windows 7 VM (you will get a prompt for this inside the VM)
  3. Log back on to the VM
  4. go back into Virtual Machine/Settings/Sharing and re-check each item
  5. Log off the Windows 7 VM (you will get a prompt for this inside the VM)
  6. Log back on to the VM and it should now be resolved and the mirrored folders show up as actual folders in Windows Explorer


Hopefully that helps someone else out there who is scratching their head

Windows 7 Remote Desktop Client – Nice Touch


You can download and install the new, updated RDC 7.0 client for free for any OS from Windows XP SP3 and later (it ships with Windows 7) known issues here and detailed feature comparison per OS here and downloads for various client OS’es are below

Update for Windows Vista, x86-based versions

DownloadDownload the Update for Windows Vista for x86-based systems package now.

Update for Windows Vista, x64-based versions

DownloadDownload the Update for Windows Vista for x64-based systems package now.

Update for Windows XP, x86-based versions

DownloadDownload the Update for Windows XP for x86-based systems package now.

A nice touch that i discovered by accident is that you can move the top title bar along the top of a full-screen RDP session by clicking and dragging, this is really handy if you work on multiple full screen RDP sessions inside another RDP session – for example a jump-off box to a protected subnet or when you have a full-screen application.



AkA Terminal Services client, Remote Desktop Protocol Client, RDS Client, Remote Desktop Client, RDC, RDP, RDS 🙂


Installing Windows 7 from a USB Flash Drive and Multi-Boot from VHD


This is a useful tool which I haven’t come across before  – Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool – it will create a bootable USB flash drive which you can use to install Windows 7


Combine this with a boot from .VHD setup and you have a very flexible multi-boot solution, it also seems to work with Windows 2008 R2 if you need to install Hyper-V on your laptop, and then combine this with virtualized ESXi in VMware Workstation (or boot ESXi from USB) and you have an excellent hypervisor demo machine and general Windows laptop.

Installing VMware Workstation on Windows 7

You may recall I previously posted on problems installing VMware Workstation 6.5 on Windows 7, this problem seems to have been resolved with the upcoming VMware Workstation 7 which adds support for Windows 7 as a guest and as a host.

You can download the Workstation 7 RC build here Release Build here and see the full features list, I can confirm it installed perfectly on my Windows 7 Ultimate x64 machine.

image (Screenshot from RC build, see above link for RTM build)

Some new features include official support for Windows 7 *with Aero support!* (shown below)


And best of all – it now provides "official support for ESX as a guest VM under Workstation (my previous posts on workarounds for Workstation 6.5  here)


As an aside I’m running Windows 7 on a machine with a 64-bit SSD hard drive, I’m hoping to make use of the linked clone functionality to save disk space as I often run VM’s which are built from a common base OS template (see this post here for more info on how I’ve managed linked images in the past)– performance so far has been great both for host and guest as I/O doesn’t get as bogged down as it does with traditional spindle based disks.

**UPDATE: ah, the perils of the scheduled post – as this article went live the final RTM build of Workstation 7 has been released, I’ve updated the links in this post**

Windows 7 and the Intel 855 video driver problem


Judging by the several hundreds of hits that this post on my blog gets every day since January I would say there is a *serious* demand from the general internet community to use laptops with the Intel 855 family video chipset with Windows 7, and it’s not even been released to the general public until now!

Whilst this may be an “older” chipset; in reality those laptops aren’t beyond serviceable life – and if anything the performance increases in Win7 will make them more usable and extend their life a bit further.

Nobody realistically expects fantastic 3D/Aero graphics from this combo, but a driver that supports the panel’s native resolution would be more than adequate for browsing/word processing etc. no doubt these ex-corporate laptops are being cycled around family members/students for some time to come rather than forcing people to squint at standard VGA.

There are ways to get the Vista driver bodged into Win7 (see this post and it’s comments), but it’s far from ideal or stable

Please Intel/Microsoft – surely you must be able to produce a basic/compatible driver by today! otherwise I’m sure some of the Windows launch parties could be something of a disappointment!

if it goes by way of evidence – this is the number of hits my original blog post about this problem has had in the last 10 months, it will be interesting to see what it does from launch day onwards!


Problem Installing VMWare Workstation on Windows 7


I have tried to install the most recent build of VMWare Workstation (6.5.1 build 126130) on my Windows 7 beta (build 7000) machine, and it fails with an error 1935 An Error occurred during the installation of assembly component {0BAE132A2- etc. etc. etc. HRESULT: 0x8007054F

 image image


Ah well, it’s still beta – guess there will be an updated build from VMWare at some point. This will prevent me from running Windows 7 on my main machine without some dual-booting 😦

Works perfectly the other way round (Windows 7 running as a VM under VM Workstation) so that will do for now.

Windows 7 and the Intel 855GM Video Driver "Solution"


I’ve been playing about with Windows 7 in a VM for a while now in a VM, but now the beta is out I wanted to install it on a physical machine, I’m not ready yet to upgrade my main laptop to Windows 7 (although I have a cunning plan to p2v my Vista install and convert to a VHD so I can dual-boot that way which is a neat trick)


I have a Dell Inspiron 510m laptop that I use for testing things (I used it for my Patespin series) that I wanted to install Windows 7 on, it still gives pretty good performance and has 2Gb RAM – the installation itself went smoothly and quickly – less than 45mins from format to finished 1st boot, but it doesn’t detect the wireless or video card.

In my experience this isn’t that unusual for a Dell, although video did surprise me as Vista had a default driver for the Intel 855GM on-board video that worked well, there is no built-in driver in Windows 7 it would seem.

So, a bit of a problem – I’m stuck with 640×480 VGA mode which isn’t much use.

I tried several ways to hack the Vista version of the driver into my installation, all without success – it always defaulted back to the default VGA drivers, some discussion here if you are interested

In the end I came across a post suggesting that I use an application called DriverMax – this is capable of exporting and importing installed drivers, I’d not tried it before but decided to give it a go, I know Vista had a working 855GM driver so the plan was to export it from there, and import it into a Windows 7 installation as I was unsure of how to extract it from the Vista installation media.

This necessitated a format and reinstall of the Dell 510m with Vista, which was painless enough as I had an auto-install DVD that I’d previously built

Once Vista was installed there was a working video driver running – I used DriverMax to export the working driver from the running OS – no source or driver CD required via a couple of clicks in the UI to a .zip file on a USB drive.

I then formatted and reinstalled Windows 7 again and on the laptop and installed DriverMax again.

then I simply imported the driver from the .zip file

image image

Note – it knows the driver I saved was a default Windows driver


Summary screen – important to note it can install unsigned drivers if required


After a reboot the Windows 7 installation is running with a working (full-res) video driver.

I did find one slight problem with DriverMax that I had to work-around, with the default VGA video driver the buttons on the dialog boxes were inaccessible and I couldn’t resize or hot-key around it to progress, so in the end I had to do the process via remote desktop to the Win7 machine from another machine on my network over a wired LAN connection!

It’s not an ideal solution as you have to have a working Vista installation to extract the driver from and is probably totally unsupported, this is essentially Windows 7 running a Vista video driver – but it’s a beta anyway, hopefully MS or Intel will ship an 855GM driver again when Windows 7 goes RTM.

My initial impressions are that Windows 7 seems a lot more responsive than Vista, although to be fair it’s a vanilla installation thus-far. I have high-hopes for the beta, by my reckoning the change in the code-base isn’t as fundamental as it was between XP and Vista so it’s more focused on incremental features and performance improvements. I ran beta copies of Vista on my main work machine from Beta 1 through to RTM without too many problems, maybe I’ll be confident enough to do that again this time around – the VHD booting feature is certainly compelling for what I do.