Slow opening office files

If you are like me, every day still have to deal with office 2003 or 2007, then you will surely come across this.  Some time the user complaints that it takes long time to open up a file, however it opens up perfectly fine with the guy sitting next to him… not happy user.

Give this a try if you care, this work for me.  The Microsoft article here

In summary, the office file validation is taking a long time to wait for validating the file, sometime it will even fail or time out.  If you are confident that the files they used are always from valid source, then just apply this registry hack to disable the validation.  Once disabled, the problematic files will open up fine.

keep the user happy.


Problem deploying software installation from Active Directory

I’m trying deploy Teamviewer client installation from Active Directory Group Policy, out of 120 computers only about 50 of them received from the new group policy.  After many researches, here’re the few things I found that would stop the software from installing.  (Hint: Always use GPMC.MSC or RSOP.MSC to review the result).

1.  firewall

2. slow link detection and network wait

3. disable Media Sensing feature in registry

Event ID 2017, Source SRV


After several days of backing up clients to a windows 7 machine acting as a BDR, the clients are no longer able to connect. Rebooting the BDR resolves the issue for a few days.

Looking in the System Event viewer the following entry will be shown.

Error 2017

“The server was unable to allocate from the system nonpaged pool because the server has reached the configured limit for nonpaged pool allocations.”


Windows 7 is not designed to handle the large traffic generated by backing up multiple clients.


The following registry keys can be adjusted to help windows 7 manage the high traffic.

Set the following registry key to ‘1? (default value is 0 – zero):

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\LargeSystemCache

Set the following registry entry to ‘3’ (default value is 1):


A restart is required after making the changes.

Windows 7 should not be used as a backup destination.  Windows 7 is a workstation OS and not intended by Microsoft to be used as a file server.

Reclaim space from your Virtual Hard Disk on VMware Workstation

I am running a Windows7 VM on a 120GB SSD, and I am running it for Internet and converting video files.  One day I noticed that the disk is about to fill up, but hang on the usage only show 70GB of usage, where is the 50GB gone??

Then I realised that it is similar to its brother software VMware vSphere, it needs to manually claim the spaces back, however in a much easier way.

I am running VMware Workstation 9, and here is the link to it’s official explanation

Select the virtual machine in the library.
From the menu bar, select VM > Manage > Clean Up Disks.

Workstation calculates how much space can be reclaimed, and either the Clean Up Now button becomes available or a message appears, explaining why the command is unavailable.

Click Clean Up Now to start the process.

A dialog box reports the progress of the clean-up process.

Once after the clean up, my host shows 70GB of usage, plenty of free spaces left again.


Creating System Image in Windows 8

Remember how you can create a system image in Windows 7, so it can be used to restore your entire system back to normal.  Since Windows 8 has moved things around, this tool is now kind of hidden from us.  Here’s the tip to find it.

Press “Windows+Q”, search for “system image,” no results come up. Search for “backup” and Windows 8 brings you to its new File History feature (which itself is pretty neat for saving copies of your files, “Previous Version” they use to call).

So where is the system image tool?  Search for “file recovery”, You will find the “Windows 7 File Recovery” link under Setting from the right side menu. It’s not a very intuitive name, because it sounds like you’d be recovering Windows 7 files, but that’s where the legacy backup tools are.

From there, you can set up a backup as you might have in Windows 7 and also find the “Create a system image” and “Create a system repair disc” options.

Choose “Create a system image” to clone your entire computer to another drive (or DVDs or a network location). Or, in the previous screen, choose to “Set up backup” and Windows will create both a system image and backup your data on a schedule. That’s the best of both worlds: you’ll have the option to recover individual files and folders (in case they’ve been accidentally deleted or overwritten) or restore the whole system (in case the whole thing crashes).



Error activating office 2003

I know what you are thinking after reading the title, but it is what I have to deal with, no other option.

Right.  Today, I’m having problems when trying to activate an office license.  When I tried to do this over the phone, it tells me that activation error at the end, and I will need to speak to one of the customer service operator.  That’s fine, this is not the first time anyway, so I waited for 10 mins… and someone from India pick up the phone.  I explained to him what I want to do, and given him the installation ID, so that he can try at his end.  unfortunately he gets the same problem, and this is where the problem starts.

He starts telling me this is a 10 years old product, it is out of warranty, he cannot help me unless I’m willing to pay $80 for technical support call.  Come on, if I’m willing to $80, I might as well going to get a new copy of office, and he did suggested that.  I tell him that I don’t want a new copy of office and I just need Microsoft to activate my software, I don’t want technical support.  This gentleman starts losing his temper, he starts putting me on hold or not speaking anything (I can hear background talking tho!).

Cut the long story short, deleting a file as shown below

  1. Click Start, click Run, type C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataMicrosoftOfficeData, and then click OK.
  2. Right-click the Opa11.dat file, and then click Delete.

    Important Do not delete the opa11.bak file.

  3. Close the folder.
  4. Start an Office 2003 program to start the Office 2003 Activation Wizard.

This works for me, simply as this… doesn’t cost $80, doesn’t need to listen to their rubbish.


Cloning a larger hard drive into a smaller hard drive

I don’t know where I got this idea from, but I always have the impression that I can use imaging software (e.g. Acronis True Image) to clone any size of hard drive to other any size of hard drive, of course, as long as the content has to fit in the destination capacity.  Well, I’m wrong.

Today, I want to upgrade the hard drive on one of the senior staff laptop, he has got a 500GB SATA disk but only used 100GB, so I went to the computer shop, I bought a 250GB SSD disk and happily go back to do the operation.

I ran a full backup of the original hard drive first, just in case any thing goes wrong.  For the operation, I have physically connect the SSD drive via USB.  I started with booting up into Acronis, it detected both hard drive without any issues, I went through all the steps as usual, I used the manual method so that it shrinks the disk size to fit the new capacity (I thought it will 🙁 ), when I begin the process, I failed.  Although everything looks fine, it won’t let me do it.

I tried a few more times and also a few different tools, none of them works.  Go straight onto Uncle Google for doing some researches, surprisingly there are many results came up and found this is actually a known issue.

Cut the long story short, no typical imaging tool will do this job, and I found out this tool from one of the guru friend – Macrium Reflect Free Edition (

It lets you clone the disk partition by partition, but it also let you reduce the disk size as decided.  Compare to Acronis, it actually does reduce the size, not only shows the size changes.  once everything set and completed, I have got the new SSD hard drive working like a champ!!!

Note that, before you run the tools, you must 1) run a full backup of the original hdd.  2) run a checkdisk.  3) run a defragment.  Otherwise there are chances that the reduction might chop the valid data blocks.  So use with CARE!

Reset Password on Windows Server 2008 R2

No sure what was happened, one of the Windows Server cannot be logged in with any domain admins account, YES!  including the local administrator account @_@

Luckily I have came across this article from How-To Geek, and I managed to reset the password and logged back on.  The original article is from

The idea is to replace one of the accessibility tool with the command prompt at the logon screen, like this one.

You boot off the Windows installation disk or recovery cd, and select “Repair your computer” option.

follow through the screen until you see a screen like below

So first, you will need to run a command to backup the original “utilman.exe” file, the command should be like

MOVE C:WindowsSystem32Utilman.exe C:WindowsSystem32Utilman.exe.bak


Secondly, you will then need to make the “cmd.exe” as “Utilman.exe”,

COPY C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe C:WindowsSystem32Utilman.exe

(Note:  one of the challenge here is to find the correct drive letter for the “Windows” directory, because in my situation the drive letter was on D drive instead C drive.  Therefore you will need to use DIR command to make sure you are working on the correct drive letter.)

Now, if everything goes under the plan, then you can go ahead and reboot your machine.

When you see the logon screen, click on the Ease of access icon , hopefully the command prompt screen is now opened for you 🙂

To change the user password, we will use the normal Windows command, replace username with the user name you need to reset the password for.

net user username *

Once changed, you should be able to log into the machine, yeah!!!

Don’t forget, you need to change back the “Utilman.exe” back to the original one.  Since this is actually an in use file, thus you might not be able to change it back in Windows Explorer.  You may use special tools to overcome this or just simply do the previous steps again to revert the file.

I hope this help.  One last little suggestion, wherever possible, don’t let too many people to have the admin login privileges, especially don’t share one “administrator” account within the team, otherwise it will be difficult to tell who mess it up.