About this blog

This blog was created for anyone with an interest in the Avaya IP Office. As a user,you will find tips and information,as an installer,you will find ideas to help you do your job more efficiently. The causal maintainer will find helpful information to manage your phone system. For the sales person,there is information on what solutions work well for different circumstances.

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Travel Advisory:Extended Stay America –Norcross Georgia @ 7065 Jimmy Carter Blvd

I travel a lot for business. I rarely travel otherwise. There is only one or two other blog entries I have made in this otherwise dedicated to technical stuff blog. But my experience at this location was so bad,I have to write this up. For those not familiar with this area,I hope this article gets to you in time to NOT book reservations at this hotel.

I have stayed at this chain’s location many times and would do so again,so,Extended Stay America,this is not a complaint about you. Nor is it a complaint about the room. It is clean and everything works fine and the staff is very polite.

Now,the root of this article is the basic reason most people book hotel rooms,and that is to get a good night’s sleep. My stay here was for 12 days to attend a technical training session. It’s the third day and the third time I have not been able to get any sleep due to the extremely loud disturbances from the guests staying here. Yes,I called the police. Yes,they said that disturbances along this street are common.

If I could give negative ratings,like –5 stars,or a zero for this hotel I would. I am now looking for another hotel to stay at. Probably won’t book one until I can talk to someone at the training center for a recommendation,or perhaps other classmates that are also staying at a hotel.

Again,if you want a decent night’s sleep,look elsewhere,I am not spending any more time at this location and will be working to get a refund if possible.

Who is logged into that computer?

It’s really handy to know what user account is logged into a computer. There are several commercial tools out there,you can enable a global policy to make this happen. I prefer simple and instant. This is the method I used that worked for me.

First,I ping the computer name to make sure it is on line. Then,if it is active,I can use this method to see what account is logged in. You will need to do this with an account that has domain administrator access.

Open a command prompt and ping the computer’s name. After a good reply,continue on with the following

wmic /node:”computer name”computersystem get username

The return result is:

UserName
Domain\Username

Very nice indeed and very simple.

Turning off the screen lock on Windows Server 2012

Microsoft has outdone themselves…things that used to be easy now require an act of Congress (as in con = against,and gress = progress).

Open RegEdit and change the value of this key from 1 to 2 (hex).

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power\PowerSettings\7516b95f-f776-4464-8c53-06167f40cc99\8EC4B3A5-6868-48c2-BE75-4F3044BE88A7

Go into Power Options,select the plan settings. Choose advanced settings,expand display and you will see the ‘console lock display off timeout’. Default is 1 minute,change it to 0 turns it off,other values let you set it to more realistic times.

Time services –IP Office and Windows

We focus a lot of articles on the Avaya IP Office. Time standards are something that keep cropping up. Fortunately,getting the IP Office to keep the right time isn’t too difficult. One of the main things to keep straight is connectivity to the Internet and correct DNS resolution. To telecom techs still struggling with the data side of things,DNS stands for Domain Name Server. Essentially,this service translates an intelligible name like www.yahoo.com to its public IP address. This address can vary from time to time because servers go up and down based on load and a whole array of other factors.

NTP is short for Network Time Protocol. Public NTP servers are accurate to milliseconds. The really fancy ones are run by the DOD (Navy,I believe) and use a cesium clock that’s stupid accurate. The likes of us cannot subscribe to their service directly. What’s important to find is an NTP service that you can grab the correct time from. Not all of them allow connections,some require passwords and other authentication. Fortunately,for the likes of us schleps installing phone systems,there are services that we can connect to without any grief.

So,where does DNS and NTP come together? One of the time sources I use is time-a.nist.gov. When you enter this FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name),into the appropriate spot in the IP Office configuration,it has to resolve that name (FQDN) to an IP Address –hence,using DNS,requiring a connection to the internet. So,two more things needed –an IP route to the internet gateway on your network and at least one DNS name server address in the DNS tab. Now,I can’t give you your gateway address,that is unique to your or your clients’network. Ask the IT administrator if you can’t find it. A good DNS server,now that’s something I can give you. Google isn’t an entity that is going away unless something really shakes up the Internet,so I like to use their DNS server address 8.8.8.8. You can also ask the IT admin what the local ISP DNS servers are,if you don’t want to use Google’s. I just like them because they are really easy to remember.

So,now on to Windows…chances are you won’t need to do this if all you are doing is installing a phone system,however,it may come in handy to know how to make all the systems in the Windows network synchronize their times also. This only applies if the systems are using Active Directory…

Log into the computer that is the Active Directory Domain Controller and open a command prompt with elevated permissions.
Enter the following -
1. C:>net stop w32time (this stops the time service)
2. C:>w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /manualpeerlist:”0.pool.ntp.org,1.pool.ntp.org,2.pool.ntp.org” (configures the system to use external time services)
3. C:>w32tm /config /reliable:yes (makes the domain controller the reliable time service for the workstations)
4. C:>net start w32time (start the time service)

You are done!

You can check the external time servers by entering C:>w32tm /query /configuration

Finally,if you are impatient like I am and you want your workstation or system to now synchronize properly to the newly appointed time authority on your network,time in the following…

Open a command prompt with elevated permissions…

c:>net time \\AD server name here /set /yes

VOILA!!

Voicemail to Email –supplemental info –setting up hMail

More often,I am asked to connect a voicemail system to an email server that requires an encrypted connection,and I’ve covered doing some of that in a previous blog. However,just recently,I used a 3rd party tool called hMail to accomplish this. If you look deep enough,there is a writeup by Kyle Halladay (sorry if I’m misspelling your name). He used to have a website called http://www.ipofficehelp.com,but it seems to have disappeared. There were a lot of good tips there and I was able to put my hands on one for setting up hMail. Some of these tips are being hosted from http://www.redtelone.com,but I’m not sure how long they will be active.

So why use a 3rd party email program when you can configure the SMTP service within Windows? Frankly,sometimes it doesn’t work. I don’t have a good explanation for it,but I don’t like bashing away at something for hours and getting nowhere,even if I was getting paid hourly. Clients want results,not excuses.

Note:If you are using embedded voicemail,since 9.0 sp 3,there is an option to use StartTLS in the SMTP tab. You won’t need to use this solution because it has finally been added to the system. However,Voicemail Pro is still in the dark ages and you will need to use this,or some form of it,to connect with a system requiring secure authentication.

Step 1: Download the software from http://www.hMailServer.com

Step 2: Run the setup package and select Full Installation –Server and Administrative tools

Step 3: Select the default database server type (Microsoft SQL Compact)

Step 4: On the Connect window,select localhost and make sure Automatically connect on startup is checked,then click the connect button.

Step 5: In the Welcome section,select ‘Add domain’

Step 6: When filling this out,be careful not to make it the same as the customer’s actual email domain name,set it to be a sub domain. For example,if someone’s email is bob@xyzcorp.net,set the domain name to be phone.xyzcorp.net.

Step 7: Expand the Domain section and you will see a sub folder labelled Accounts. Select it and add a new account. Don’t put any limitations on size or  maximum limits. Administration level set to user is fine. Click the save button.

Step 8: Under Settings,open up protocols and uncheck everything except SMTP. Click Save.

Step 9: Under Settings|Logging,enable it,and select Applications,SMTP,TCP/IP and Debug. Click Save.

Step 10: Under Settings|Advanced|IP Ranges,click the Add button. Find out what range of IP addresses are in your subnet. If you’ve got an unusual subnet mask,use a subnet calculator to get the range of addresses. I use http://www.subnetonline.com/pages/subnet-calculators/ip-subnet-calculator.php. It is simple and works well.

Step 11: Put in your Lower and Upper IP ranges. Uncheck all the boxes under Other and Require SMTP authentication. Select only SMTP from Allow Connections and select all items under Allow Deliveries From. Click Save.

Step 12: Expand Settings|Advanced|TCP/IP ports. Select the 0.0.0.0 / 25 / SMTP and change the port to something like 2525 or another unused port.

Step 13: Move to the top of the options and under Status,select the logging tab and click start.

Voicemail Pro

Step 14: Open the client software and navigate through the menus to Administration|Preferences|General.

Step 15: Select the email|SMTP Sender tabs.

Step 16: Mail domain:localhost,Mail Server:<ip address of system you have hMail on>,Port Number:2525 or whatever port you chose in Step 12. Sender:email address created in Step 7. Click OK. and exit out of these menus. I always do a Save &Make live and close the vmPro client.

Step 17: Go to windows Control Panel and launch IP Office Voicemail Pro (32-bit). On email settings,put in the email address from step 7. On the SMTP Email Settings tab,put in localhost for mail server and the port number from step 12,in this example 2525. Click apply. The service will automatically try to test the connectivity to the SMTP server. It should be fine,however,if it does give you an error,check the IP address ranges you put in on Step 10.

Step 18: Stop|start the Voicemail Pro service.

IP Office user configuration

Step 19: In the manager application,choose a victim (user) and go to the voicemail tab. Add their email address and select copy. You could use forward,but if the tests don’t work at first,they won’t get messages the normal way. Save the changes.

Step 20: Go back to the hMail administration tool and click on status. You can also watch the messages queue (fourth tab over) and see the voicemail come through as an email message. The status may have to be started again.

Step 21: Leave a voicemail message (must be longer than 3 seconds) and watch status. You will see the entire transaction between hMail and the other email server and be able to observe any error messages.

Possible error messages

I came across these two trying to get this working on an Exchange email server.

- 421 4.3.2 Service not available,closing transmission channel

This was because the IP address of the voicemail pro was not configured in Exchange. This is the Exchange server flat out refusing traffic on port 25 from this device.

- SMTP –AUTH not accepted from server:504 5.7.4 Unrecognized authentication type.

We ended up turning on Anonymous authentication for the Exchange connector. Note:this does not make the Exchange server an open relay (that would be bad). See this link.

After this,we were successful.

OpEd part (sorry,I can’t help myself) Now you can remove the excess cotton wadding from your nose. Really,go clean up your face. Avaya,you guys are better than this. Please add TLS authentication to Voicemail Pro. It would be nice. Please.

OK,I’m shutting up now.

 

 

 

Windows 10 initial installation

I am never a person to jump into the deep end before water is in the pool –namely trial and beta versions of Microsoft operating systems. So,it is just now that I am migrating some systems to Windows 10 pro. This entry will cover some of the things I encountered and also some of the new things I am learning to do with Windows 10. I’ll continue to add to this entry as I move forward working with Windows 10.

Note: I am using the Pro version of Windows 10.

2016-02-09

1. Installation woes - I have two systems that I have worked on,both laptops. Both have upgraded memory to 8GB,one has a new SSD,the other an existing W8.1 installation. I have as much fondness for W8.x as I had for Vista,so only one sacrificial lamb was used just so I could see how horrible it really was.

I burned a disk from an ISO image and proceeded to upgrade. The process went fine up until ‘getting files ready for installation’reached 63% of the files copied at which point,it stalled and errored out with error code 0×80070017. Both systems guilty of the same thing. I did some searches for this error code and didn’t find much other than –try new media,where did you get your media,etc. So,I re-imaged the ISO onto another disk,this time selecting 4x for the speed and ran a verify which checked out without any issues. Everything worked fine from that standpoint all the way through the installation.

2. Joining a domain/renaming computer - my network has an Active Directory domain,so my next task is to get the systems on to that so I can run my login scripts and connect to my resources. As always,MS loves to change everything,so the process to join a domain is a little different than in Windows 7. W10 has a handy search option that you can type things into and it will show you different locations on where it finds things. So far,I haven’t found this to be too annoying,however naming it ‘Cortana’reminds me somewhat of the paperclip help figure in the old MS Office days. So,in the search box,I type in ‘join’and before I get any further,the hints include ‘rename or join a domain’. Be sure to choose the selection under ‘Settings’or else you will be looking at a web page. After that,it’s pretty simple. Click the button ‘Join Domain’. A box will pop up prompting for credentials,and you are ready to go.

3. Creating shortcuts –I’m an old fashioned guy and some of my users are the same way. They want shortcuts on the desktop. Ever since Vista,creating shortcuts has taken a turn for the more confusing. Some of the ways are easy,however,creating one for a ‘universal app’like Edge or some of the X-Box games are more tricky. To do this press the Windows key and R at the same time. This will pull up the familiar ‘run’dialog of yesteryear. Type in shell:AppsFolder and press enter. A view with the icons of applications installed on your computer will show up. Right click on the icon and select create shortcut. A popup will say Windows can’t create a shortcut here. Do you want to create a shortcut to be placed on the desktop instead? Click yes and you are done.

Using SoftConsole-Receptionist

Soft Console is an application that has been around for the Avaya IP Office since its inception many years ago. There are a couple of things that you will need to know to get things working correctly.

1. Since the release of 9.1,the softconsole is version specific. In other words,the softconsole app for 9.0 and earlier will not work with release 9.1.

2. For a while now,in order to use the softconsole application,you will need to check the Receptionist check box for the users who need this application.

3. Another useful feature of softconsole is the ability to change the user status in the directory listing. This is disabled by default. In order to make this work,you will need to go into security settings,select the system,unsecured interface tab and check both TFTP boxes.

4. In order to install this application,sometimes you have to copy the sc.exe file to the local hard drive of the computer. Also,you may see an error box saying it cannot install to a certain temporary folder. Just point it to a folder you have permissions to and the msi package will unpack to the appropriate location and start the installation process.

5. Remember that softconsole does a network broadcast to find the IP Office control unit,so if you are in an environment that routes to different subnets or VLANs,you will need to manually enter the IP address of the processor in the login box.

Found a bug…Avaya Voicemail Pro

I found a bug and it’s a doozie. Since about 8.1,I have had an on-going fight with setting voicemail pro to do voicemail-email. This used to be the easiest task in all the world,even with the documentation provided by Avaya not being quite right. Anyway,I digress.

I was just setting up a system for a client,they have a hosted Exchange server and wanted port 443. Nuttin’doin’bud! Note:so when Avaya are you going to put in TLS authentication in VMPro???? WHEN WHEN WHEN WHEN WHEN WHEN WHEN ? OK,I digress again. Tantrum over. Yes,I know some of the alternatives,but haven’t been getting much luck with them either –setting up SMTP on server and enabling TLS,etc,etc. Been there,done that,tried that and it doesn’t always work. See my post on GMAIL.

So,since I have a third party hosted email server which offers many ways of authenticating,I thought I would give it a try. I put in all the credentials required,being somewhat skeptical that it would work,but try I did. No dice there either.

It just so happens last week that I set up a system in my lab with 9.1.4 and matching vmPro. Right off the bat,I set up vm to email,again. Am Ia sucker for punishment or what? IT WORKED!!! OMG!!!! HOLY FRIGGIN COW!!

Fast forward to today and current client. I am digging through the debug log for voicemail pro and I see this weird error - VMRegistry –Decrypting SMTPPassword failed. That doesn’t make any sense at all. So,I go looking in the registry and find all the SMTP settings there –correct –mind you,in plain text –not real happy about that.

First thing I do is google (duckduckgo –I don’t like Google being nosy and this is an anonymizer,just in case you didn’t know) and filter for Tek-Tips.com because this is ultimately the best site for IP Office help. One hit and the suggestions were to re-install vmPro which worked for one reply. Tried that on my production 9.0 system and still no dice…aaaargghhh!!

Desperate to find the reason,I dig into the registry on my 9.1 system and find under \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Avaya\Voicemail Pro\VPIM the password value is…wait for it,wait for it…. ENCRYPTED!!! Holy smokes Batman! I jump into my 9.0 system and look in the registry and,wow,that’s encrypted also,but not the same. OK,could they be using a different encryption based on the machine name or some other thing. What the heck,cut and paste hashed key from working system to non working system. Restart VoicemailPro on 9.0 machine and KABLAM!!! it is now sending voicemail to email correctly. So,will this work on an entirely different system? Let’s see!

OK,I rest my case. Replicated the fix on a second system,completely across on the other side of the country,etc.

So,ultimately,what does this mean for you,the tech on site who is stuck not getting the darned thing to work? If you don’t have a working system with an encrypted password,time to open up a case through your distributor,or if you have IPOSS,a case with Avaya directly. Let’s get this thing fixed please!

How long has it been since the last Windows reboot?

It’s a handy bit of information to know when the system was last rebooted.

On Windows Server 2008R2,you can find this in the System event log. Open up the management console and go to Diagnostics.

Open Event Viewer|Windows logs. Click on the filter option on the right-hand menu. In this this box,there is a criteria box that says ‘All Event IDs’. Type in 6013 and click OK. The 6013 event ID is something that will appear every 24 hours and will report the number of seconds the operating system has been running. All you have to do is enter that number in your calc program and divide by 3600 to see the number of hours since the last reboot. If it is still quite a large number,divide by 24 to get the number of days.

Backing up Voicemail Pro the old fashioned way

OK,so I’m full of complaints and I do thing the old-school way because that’s how I learned it and I know it works. Hmmm,so what crawled up my…?

Avaya added a nice tool to back up Voicemail Pro. My only complaint is it does not give you a status as to what it is doing. OK,so it also saves it to a format you can’t easily dig into if you just want one part. So,here is my old-fashioned explanation of how to back things up the manual way.

First step:Export the call flow using the Voicemail Pro client application. Give the file an .mdb file extension to back up the entire call flow database.

Second step: Copy the Accounts,Names and Greetings folders from the c:\Program Files(x86)\Avaya\IP Office\Voicemail Pro\VM directory.

Third step: Copy the WAV files from the folder c:\Program Files(x86)\Avaya\IP Office\Voicemail Pro\VM\WAVS. Note:Do not copy any of the sub folders,such as en and enu (English and English US –for the English speaking world),as these are system folders and will be re-built if you have to do a re-install.

If you want to really save your bacon,copy these files to an external drive or a flash drive if there are not too many voice mails.

Fourth step: If the client is doing voicemail to email,check in the Voicemail Pro client menu Administration|System|General. Go to the email tab and make a note of the settings in SMTP Sender and SMTP Receiver. Passwords will not be visible,so be sure to check with your on-site IT person for any clarification.