2 Dec


Have you ever wondered where you can set up automatic logon to Windows? No? Just me then. This panel used to be available in Windows XP, but has gone missing in Windows 7 – but it’s actually still there:

Start, Run, netplwiz (or control userpasswords2)



30 Nov


BT have been dicking about with their spam filters…again. Now I can’t send anything to anyone on BT because I am seen as a bulk sender:-

550 Message rejected for policy reasons ( – Please refine your SPF record using best practice. Guide for bulk senders www.bt.com/bulksender

Mark472423 Nov 28, 2016 at 4:07 PM knows what I’m talking about:-

Turns out that after 4 years, BT no longer liked the +all at the end of my spf record.  Changed the spf to ~all and everything is going through again.


29 Nov


No, I don’t mean with your customers that are old, I mean with email clients like Outlook Express and Outlook 2003. You’ll most likely get the error: “[AUTH] Web login required: https://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?answer=78754”. What you absolutely have to do is set “Less secure apps” in the domain management area, Security, Advanced security settings:


16 Nov


MDaemon – 100 Users $1015 Score: 9/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility or IIS, POP3 collection. Webmail looks good – several different themes. Windows console for admin and also good web interface, AV, AS, greylisting, archiving of email as it arrives, live monitoring of queues, SSL support, stores email in folders. Overall a great product that stands up to a good deal of bashing.

FTGate – 100 Users £660 Score: 8/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Webmail looks good, similar to Outlook, no Send/Receive but Refresh, can’t use Delete key to delete a mail, have to use X on toolbar, easy to configure, AV can be integrated, archiving of old email, bayesian AS and greylisting. Looks more modern than Mailtraq but is configured through an HTTP interface. Good monitoring utilities. POP3 collection can’t connect to user’s remote mailbox.

Mailtraq – 100 Users £540 Score: 8/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Webmail looks ok, similar to Outlook, no Send/Receive but Refresh, can’t use Delete key to delete a mail, have to use X on toolbar, easy to configure, AV can be integrated, archiving of old email, bayesian AS and greylisting. MMC console snap-in for configuration. Enhanced Webmail interface if using IE. SSL support, stores email in a proprietry file.

Axigen – 100 Users €340 Score: 8/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. No Windows console for admin, but good range of features. Free version for 10 users available, stores email in a proprietry file. IMAP syncs between users immediately.

Ability Mail Server $200 Score 6/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Webmail functional, auto-responders, anti-spam, anti-virus via command line, no archiving facility, very minimal live monitoring, SSL support, stores email in folders. IMAP syncs between users immediately. Had a few issues with IMAP through Outlook. Free 5 user version.

Mailenable – Professional 100 Users $349 Score: 6/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, Webmail needs IIS, POP3 collection. More complex options and broad range of settings but let down by webmail issues (unknown user and host headers not configured). Good monitoring of services. Migration from legacy email servers. SSL support, stores email in folders. Free unlimited users version available.  IMAP syncs between users immediately but doesn’t always see read/unread.

Winmail Mail Server (Magic Winmail) – 100 Users $499 Score: 6/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Webmail looks good, traditional webmail look, Receive button, can’t use Delete key to delete a mail, have to use Delete button, easy to configure, AV can be integrated, archiving (copying) of email, greylisting, live monitoring, stores email in folders. IMAP doesn’t sync between users immediately but other than that this program is amazing. Has fallen over a couple of times when bashed by a lot of email.

HMailServer – 100 Users £Free Score: 6/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, POP3 collection. Max 20MB email size is a shame, lots of configuration options. Stores email in a database.

ArGoSoft – $59 Score: 6/10
.NET required. POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, Webmail needs IIS, POP3 collection. SSL support, stores email in folders.  IMAP syncs between users immediately but doesn’t always see read/unread.

AA Mail Server – $168/year Score: 5/10
POP3, SMTP mail server, NO IMAP, Webmail needs IIS, POP3 collection. Anti-spam, no archiving. No SSL.

EVO Mail Server – 100 Users $799 Score: 5/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, no webmail facility. Simple to configure, fewer options.

Mercury/32 Mail Server – 100 Users £195 Score: 5/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server with HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Antiquated install and program look. Configuration options are all there but looks dated. No uninstall routine.

Microsoft Exchange – 100 Users £4000 Score: 1/10
Everybody knows Exchange is the top-selling mail server for business, but why? It is so unbelievably terrible and terrifying that I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot barge pole, having installed, maintained and taught it (in my training days) for years at various client sites. You would have to be completely off your rocker to go anywhere near this product. The main problem is that it stores email in one file, Priv1.edb, so you are absolutely guaranteed a failure and catastrophic loss of all email at some point during the life of your Exchange server, unless you have a backup – from which it would take days to recover. It does, however, have every conceivable feature that a mail server might need, but you’d better have a pair of brown trousers handy when it all goes wrong.

16 Nov


If you have a Google Mail account (G-Suite or gmail.com) you can take advantage of Google Drive to share files within your organisation. Download the program here:


and configure it with your gmail address. An icon appears in your system tray and will allow you to drag files over, at which point the files will be copied to the cloud. They are synchronied as well, so any changes will be replicated in the cloud. Other users can also download and install the Google Drive software to access the files and make changes, add new files etc.


16 Nov


I have been recommending to my customers that they move to the gmail platform to host their email, you keep your own domain (you don’t have to be @gmail.com) but you benefit from their unbelievably good antivirus and antispam controls. It’s £3.30 per month per user so a bit more than brightnet, but you get 30GB of space per user, which is much more than I offer. You also get a calendar, you can share each other’s calendars too, and the gmail mobile app makes things easy for mobiles and iPads.

Eventually, I am planning to move all my customers off the brightnet server which is getting more and more spam, so let me know if this sounds sensible for you. I have migrated around 8 of my customers so far and all have said it’s much better.

p.s. Aliased accounts are FREE, so you can reduce your costs by creating aliases that forward to personal email acounts, or by eliminating mailboxes that are seldom used.


14 Nov


Ability Mail Server has a free 5 user version, so for a home or small office sharing a small 1GB mailbox like that offered by BT, this could be ideal for you. It would also be good for a company that wants to make their email available “offline”. The setup would go something like this:

  1. Install the mail server and configure domain and users on a PC that is always ON
  2. Configure “POP3 retrieval” of incoming email from your ISP
  3. Configure your ISP as smarthost to deliver outgoing email
  4. Connect users to your local mail server, using IMAP (or POP3)

You could also use Mailstore Home to archive really old email into a fast, searchable database.



12 Nov


So now you can use a free piece of software (or purchase if you are archiving regularly) to EXPORT your emails from a PST, GMAIL, EXCHANGE OR IMAP and then search them quickly.

MailStore Server is one of the world’s leading solutions for email archiving, management and compliance for small and medium-sized businesses. Trusted by over 35,000 organizations in 100 countries. MailStore Home lets you archive your private email from almost any email source and search through them extremely quickly. You will never lose emails again. FREE VERSION FOR HOME USERS.




9 Nov


It’s been years since I looked at AWS and cloud-related services from Amazon, but happily I took a look recently and can report some good news: You can use the very nice “O-Drive” product as an interface to Amazon and you’ve got yourself a nice Dropbox alternative. Download and install the two necessary files after signing up for each service:

odrive2 odrive3

Now, right click a folder you want to upload and off you go!


7 Nov



If you get this error it is most likely a “mailing list” as the receiver and the mailing list is closed to outside recipients.

The mail system <clsh@thecapitolgroup.co.uk>: host[] said: 550
5.7.1 steve@brightnet.co.uk (headers) may not send mail to
clsh@thecapitolgroup.co.uk (in reply to end of DATA command)
Original-Recipient: rfc822;clsh@thecapitolgroup.co.uk
Action: failed
Status: 5.7.1
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 5.7.1 steve@brightnet.co.uk (headers) may not send
mail to clsh@thecapitolgroup.co.uk

6 Nov


You can create PDF files really easily from other types of documents by simply dragging and dropping onto an icon on the desktop using PrimoPDF which is FREE.

Install from http://filehippo.com/download_primopdf


Drag your document onto the PrimoPDF icon:-

and voila, a new PDF is created:-

The PDF is created automatically and saved to the same location as the original document, in this case a Word doc. Now, how cool is that?


4 Nov


If you have an Android or iPhone, you can “cast” movies to your TV via sites like Putlocker. I’m not sure of the legalities of certain films, but for free movies and shorts it is certainly possible and quite easy to do. First, go into the Google Play Store and find an app called Web Video Cast:-


Install and launch the app and look for putlockers.ch, for example. Now within putlocker find a movie or tv show and cast it to your Chromecast, DLNA-compatible, Roku or other TV or device. You may need to scan or re-scan to find the device first.

4 Nov


With Mdeamon mail server you can add a personal signature, domain signature or server signature so that a standard message or disclaimer can be added automatically to the footer of all emails sent out from the server but you can also do this via the Content Filter and doing it this way gives you much more control over the standard default signature feature. In this real example below, an HTML-based logo and disclaimer is being added but if the email has “RE:” or “Re:” in the subject, or if the recipient happens to be “WHSMITH” then the processing stops and no disclaimer footer is added. You can even sort your mail users into GROUPS and then control which groups the footer is added on to. Cool!

contentfilter1 contentfilter2

3 Nov


If you have a Windows service you want to be able to stop and start easily, then you can create a DOS batch file that sits on your desktop and is easy to launch. First, find out the name of the service – sometimes this is not the same as it’s display name. For example, Print Spooler is actually “spooler”. Get the actual service name from the service Properties page:



Now create a text document on your Desktop containing the following code:

net stop spooler

and save as *.bat or *.cmd (change the file extension). If there are spaces in the service name, add quotes around it:


You can now double-click the cmd file to either stop or start the service:


This could be useful to reboot Exchange, iTunes, or a dodgy Print queue (as you probably know if you’ve ever owned an iPad or Laserjet, Apple and HP software is a joke).


31 Oct


If you are forwarding email to Gmail on your Exchange or MDaemon Server, etc, and you have IPv6 ENABLED in Windows, you now need to create a PTR record for IPv6 addresses — what are known in the biz as AAAA records.

First, before the record exists:-


Addinig the AAAA record:-


After DNS has propogated:-


Or you can just DISABLE IPv6. This seems crazy to me because Google are effectively punishing you for using IPv6, when they should be encouraging you to use it. Don’t forget most ISPs and registrars don’t allow you to alter the PTR records of the hosting server you are using because most ISPs suck. For example if you want the IP address (v4 or v6) to report back to any calling server that you really are xxxxx.com or whatever, good luck with that! Real spammers must be laughing all the way to the bank.

26 Oct


If you get a socket error 10060 then outgoing port 25 is being blocked. So there you are, sending an email and it will just not go. What’s happened? I tell you what’s happened, your ISP has just flicked a switch and blocked you on port 25. Give them a call/email/chat and tell them, they will hopefully come back to you within the hour to tell you “it’s our policy to block port 25” but they’ve now enabled it for you. Oh, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Somewhere a toilet flushes.

26 Oct



By now you probably know how important your gut health is to your overall health. If not, you need to! 80 percent of your immune system is in your microbiome, your body’s bacteria, which help your body with just about every process, including helping you to digest your food, think clearly and even maintain a healthy weight.

The good new is that you can change your gut microbiome. You see, the average lifespan of a bacterium in your microbiome is 20 minutes! So you have the opportunity every time you eat to begin to change the population of your gut microbiome. This is good news because it means that rather than having to subscribe to theories, such as the Paleo diet, which assumes our genes evolve so slowly that we all need to eat like cavemen, we can begin to change our gut microbiome (and thus it’s genes) one meal at a time, and even achieve a healthy gut very quickly.


Here are my suggestions for following the 4Rs and improving your gut microbiome starting today:

Eat the Right Foods. Your gut microbiome responds to what you feed it. When you regularly eat a variety of healthy, non-processed foods, your microbiome becomes programmed to work for you. The more varied your diet, the more flexible your microbiome becomes, allowing for that occasional dessert.

  1. Remove the sugar and processed foods from your diet. Refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods get absorbed quickly into your small intestine without any help from your microbes. That means your gut microbes stay hungry so they begin snacking on the cells that line your intestines, causing what we call Leaky Gut. Your intestinal lining is meant to be a strong barrier between your gut and the rest of your body. When your intestinal wall becomes leaky, particles of food enter your bloodstream, causing your immune system to attack them, and ultimately your own tissues. This leads to inflammation and whole cascade of conditions, including autoimmunity. Sugar also feeds organisms like Candida Albican, which also attacks your intestinal wall and can lead to a systemic Candida infection.
  2. Get your carbohydrates from vegetables and low-sugar fruits. Eating a lot of leafy green vegetables will help plant your gut with healthy and diverse bacteria. Dr. Kellman also recommends eating radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, jicama, asparagus, carrots, and, of course, garlic and turmeric. Be sure to get a balance of healthy fats and protein with each meal as well.
  3. Include fermented foods in your diet. Fermented foods seed your gut with healthy bacteria. Eat sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir, yogurt (not processed), and kombucha. These foods are rich in prebiotics.
  4. Try a food elimination diet to determine if you have any food allergies. Do you often have cramping, gas, or stomach pain after eating? You may have a food sensitivity or allergy. The most common food allergies or sensitivities are to cow’s milk, soy, peanuts (nuts), corn, eggs and wheat (gluten). Some people find they feel even better if they eliminate all grains, including oats, quinoa, and spelt. But start with wheat at the very least. Do this for a few weeks and see if your symptoms improve. Also stay away from artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and coffee!
25 Oct


Suddenly, you can’t click links in Outlook but it was working fine yesterday. Have you recently installed Chrome?? If so, set Firefox, Maxthon or IE as your default browser, test those hyperlinks again in Outlook. Working now? Set Chrome as default now and it should work OK now.


25 Oct


Whenever you buy, install or upgrade to a Windows 10 machine you should do this…

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy


…from an administritive command prompt, then F8 will be available at boot time should you ever need it. As standard, the F8 boot option is disabled. They’ve done it to shave 2 seconds off the boot up time so that people think new systems boot faster than old systems.

25 Oct


Are you fed up with finding the attachment location you have specified every time when launching Outlook? In this tutorial, we will show you how to change the default attachment location. After that, the specified attachment saving folder will be opened automatically every time you save the attachments even though you restarting the Outlook. Go to this location in the registry (using regedit) and add DefaultPath, then set it to “C:\Attachments”, or whatever.


Shout out to https://www.extendoffice.com

21 Oct


You can extract a full quality image out of any YouTube video, if you know how. Say you wanted to grab this picture of Keely Hazell:-

1) Press: CTRL + U (Don’t be alarmed, you will get a page of code)
2) Press: CTRL + F
3) Typ: thumbnailurl


21 Oct


Bit of a strange one — and a reboot was required to get it working, but basically, the Start Button and Taskbar were not responding to being clicked, left or right and the user could not shut the PC down without a hard reset.

17 Oct


So, what’s happened about nasty TRANS FATS?
Trans fats are banned in Europe and gradually being phased out in the US.

So they’re not safe?
Imagine boiling veg oil for 3 hours and passing hydrogen bubbles through it under high pressure. Does that sound safe to you?

So they’re gone now, yeah?
No, they are only banned in shops, not restaurants. And products that make trans fats are still out there too. Also, the food industry has renamed some trans fats as emulsifiers, side stepping the ban.

Like what products?
Any polyunsaturated fat or oil e.g. spreads, veg oils that you can heat. When you fry things in them, trans fats are created.

I thought polyunsaturates were good? 
They are when you eat them in fish, eggs, olives, nuts etc. They are broken down into essential fatty acids that carry out important bodily functions.

Why are trans fats so bad?
Because they look like normal good fatty acids and your body incorporates them into bodily functions that now go badly wrong. A bit like a bug in the software.

Can’t your body see they’re bad?
No, because trans fats are man made and new to us. We have no defence against them yet. There are natural trans fats in animal produce but they are thought to be inert.

What problems do they create?
Many problems have been linked to man made trans fats…diabetes, arthritis, insulin resistance, multiple sclerosis, inflammation, metabolic syndrome eg heart disease, damage to blood vessels to name a few.

So what should I do?
Use animal fats instead e.g butter, lard, dripping. The fatty acids that they contain are not used for bodily functions, only energy, so even if you could create trans fats they can’t hurt.

I thought animal fats were unhealthy?
Not at all, humans have always eaten some animal fats. Even chimpanzees are partially omnivorous. Animal fats deliver vitamins too because many vits are fat soluble.

But what about animal fats and heart disease?
There’s no link, its becoming clear we got it wrong. Google “Ancel Keys”. Human breast milk is full of saturated animal fat (think about it). Cholesterol is NOT a contributory factor to heart disease either.

So how do I avoid them?
Cook your own food at home with animal fat, never eat deep fried food out, don’t eat crisps, biscuits, crackers or anything with mono or diglycerides or emulsifier (labelled as E472e) found in cheap bread. Use proper butter for spread and gentle fying and eat fish, eggs, olives and nuts.

What about omega 6?
That’s vegetable oil. Avoid. You want to eat omega 3 (e.g fish, nuts, olives, eggs)

My doctor says I shouldn’t eat saturated fat.
He’s one of the 70% of GPs that still doesn’t get it. He probably prescribes statins too, another travesty. If 1000 people took statins for 3 years, only 2 will be prevented from suffering a fatal heart attack, so over 99% will not benefit but have all the dangerous side effects including joint pain, neuro-degenerative diseases, etc. And remember, a 20 minute walk per day will protect you from heart attack without side effects.

I’m nearly 50, isn’t it a bit late for me?
No. If you are still feeling healthy then your immune system has been mopping up well. Steer clear of trans fats from now on.

Butter can’t be spread from the fridge.
Don’t keep it in the fridge. Buy a butter dish and leave it out.

It goes off too quickly.
Keep only half of it out of the fridge then.

Why do restaurants still use veg oils?
It’s cheap! That’s all there is to it. You can bet they don’t change their oil very often, either. And they probably don’t know trans fats are being created.

When will restaurants go back to animal fats?
Probably never, they’re far too expensive. Remember, veg oils are cheap. The public would have to boycott all restaurants to make a change, just like some of us boycotted trans fats in the shops. By the way, Rick Stein, James Martin, Heston Blumenthal, Mary Berry and many other well-known cooks and chefs are using dripping now! Dr Carina Norris, the nutritionist on Channel 4’s Turn Back Your Body Clock, says: ‘Now that we know sugar and refined carbohydrates are worse for us than we thought, it’s a good time to reassess the old-fashioned foods we have dismissed. ‘We need fats to help our bodies absorb vital vitamins, including vitamin A, which helps the digestive system, vitamin D for bone growth, vitamin E, which aids the immune system, and vitamin K, which helps blood to clot.”

17 Oct


This is a link to a review I found online, having tested the following online backup solutions:

The Best Cloud Backup – 30 Services Compared

10 Oct


In order to stay safe on the Internet and to guard against being hacked, please:

  • DON’T accept a phone call from Microsoft
  • DON’T accept a phone call from Google

Also, please:

  • DON’T call Microsoft on the phone
  • DON’T call Google on the phone

If you ever feel like you need to call them because your computer is running slowly, or there’s something not working, DON’T. Google do not offer phone support and Microsoft don’t speak to the public via telephone. Google or Microsoft will never offer to “remote into your PC and fix it

6 Oct


What to do if Windows Update is not working. Excerpts are taken from this article:-


The new method involves downloading some updates from the Microsoft Update Catalog and seems more reliable but you must use Internet Explorer to download the updates. If you visit the Microsoft Update Catalog with another browser these downloads will not work. To access the Microsoft Update Catalog you must use Internet Explorer. In Control Panel, choose Windows Update, Change Settings and set to Never Check. Open Internet Explorer and copy and paste this URL into the address bar: http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/home.aspx The first update to search for is KB3020369, then search for the second update KB3172605. Restart your system, the go back to Control Panel, Windows Update and choose to Check for Updates. Wait patiently…  The Microsoft servers are also very busy after Patch Tuesday (the second Tuesday of every month) and several days after that as millions of systems around the world are being updated.


6 Oct


Servers used to hinge everything together in the office computing environment of the 90s and 00s including files, email and remote access, but now with the advent of high bandwidth Internet you no longer need that single point of failure sitting there all noisy and waiting to go wrong or be hit by the latest crypto-virus because you can now spread your system out across the web like a hero with the likes of Google, Microsoft, Dropbox and cloud server providers like 1and1. Let’s take a look at Google’s “Drive” offering.

First pricing:-


£1.59 per month sounds like a bargain for 100 GBs, £7.99 also great value for a whole TB. Access to the drive is via web browser, PC application (Google Drive Sync) or smartphone app. You can simply copy files to the cloud by dragging and dropping via Windows, or uploading through the web interface. The drive appears in your system through Explorer, or you can access via an icon in your system tray.


Once you have your files up there, you can share them with your team using the drive app or web interface.


Google Drive is by far the easiest of the file storage programs out there, but you need a google account and the sync isn’t the fastest — I would say Dropbox is the quickest (but there again it absolutely kills your PC due to the heavy processing requirements, even when not syncing). SpiderOak’s Group Hive is a good alternative but although it has zero-knowledge encryption it is very fiddly to set up. PCloud is more like Dropbox but it can exhibit file conflicts.


Download the Google Drive software using the cog icon in the web browser.

29 Sep


Counts the number of visitors of your blog and shows the traffic information on a widget. TSW shows the number of visitors / hits / unique IPs in the past 24 hours, 7 days and 30 days. It also shows the number of users currently online. It provides a robots filter, but the automatic traffic could also be considered. Traffic Stats Widget offers language support and automatic log deletion.


27 Sep



“360 Total” might sound like a toothpaste but it happens to be a damn good, free anti-virus, anit-malware solution that I have been using for several years. One of the great features is that it is low on system resources so it can be used on even the oldest and slowest PCs and laptops.

23 Sep


For the past few months, I have been in the process of moving over all my customers from cPanel email hosting to either Microsoft Exchange Online or Google Apps. I have read a lot on the web about people’s experiences of these technologies and the ones that choose Microsoft must be fully paid up, card carrying members of the Bill Gates Fan Club.

There is absolutely no way that any sane person would choose Exchange over Google Apps, once you’ve tried both…and I’ve used both these technologies for years. The simplicity and compatibility of Google, not to mention the awesome spam and virus controls, are incredible. I can only assume this comes from building a system from scratch later on in life as opposed to using an old technology like Exchange that was built over 20 years ago, when the name “Exchange” was actually the name of the mail client we used, before it was re-appropriated for the server product and the mail client was renamed to Outlook.


The DNS entries alone for Exchange give you a clue to the complexity you are going to be faced with in the months to come, let alone the service packs and updates required just to get Outlook working.

12 Sep


It’s obviously now a “thing” because the new batch of budget HP and Lenovo laptops all come with a hybrid UK/US keyboard, essentially a US keyboard but with the £ and @ swapped round into the UK configuration. That means it has a small Enter key and a large left hand Shift key, plus the backslash “\” is not next to the Z, but near the Alt Green.



9 Sep


A big thanks to Joseph Styons on StackOverFlow.com who suggested a way of creating tables in MySQL from within Access. Prior to this, I was  creating the tables manually!

You should be able to do this by setting up an ODBC data source pointed at MySQL, right-clicking on the Access table, and hitting “Export”.


5 Sep


If you get a stuck Parallel’s 2X Client, maybe because you are out of connections on the server, server is unreachable etc:-


then all you need to do is “Disconnect” the session from the Parallel’s console:-


You don’t have to go into Task Manager and end the session.