Outlook macros and self-signed certs on Windows 7

If you are trying to get some custom macros to work with Outlook as outlined, for example, here and here, you may be befuddled to discover that that your macros fail silently; usually after restarting Outlook. This is because Outlook is quietly disabling all macros because it hates youI mean, because it doesn’t trust you.  That is to say, it doesn’t trust your self-signed cert.

In Windows 7 it appears as though self-signed certs have to first be copied into a “trusted” group before they can be used. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Run certmgr.msc as an Administrator.
  2. Open the “Personal” tree node in the left pane.
  3. Open the “Certificates” node under the Personal node.
  4. Note that your self-signed certificate appears in the right pane.  It may have a red “X” through it.
  5. Double-click the certificate in the right pane to see instructions about copying the certificate to the “Trusted Root Certification Authorities” store.  Good thing these important details are so easy to discover.
  6. Hold down the control key and drag the cert into “Trusted Root Certification Authorities > Certificates” which should appear immediately below the Personal node.
  7. Follow any prompts to completion.  The red “X” should disappear and your cert should know have a key icon attached to it.
  8. Inside Outlook, re-associate this cert with your macro.
  9. Restart Outlook for the new cert to be applied.

And voila, Outlook trusts you again.

Not, of course, that you should every fully trust it back.

A good, free Outlook duplicate email remover..

Following up to my recent post about emails getting sent twice in Outlook, I discovered a nice little free utility to remove (most) of the thousands of duplicate emails I had managed to generate.

ODIR, the Outlook Duplicates Remover from Vaita, adds a convenient de-duper menu item to Outlook.  And it seems to work across all my various IMAP account, Google or otherwise.  I just wish it supported UTF-8.

Recommended for those, who like me, viciously copied themselves twice on all outgoing emails.

PS. To Tee: I did, in fact, find this via bing.  Though, really, you guys should have named it “bong”.

Bong..  Huh huh. Huh.

Emails sent within Outlook, via Gmail, get saved twice…

This has been driving me crazy forever. As soon as IMAP became available for Gmail some time back, I immediately went about hooking it up to Outlook so that I could access Gmail along with my other five plus other email accounts from one central interface.

And there was much rejoicing.

Except for the fact that all of my outgoing messages seemed to get saved twice into my Sent folder. This is pretty annoying, but not a show stopper. Like any good geek, I ignored the problem. For well over a year.

Finally today it dawned on me that both Outlook and Gmail could be saving copies into my Sent folder. Turning this off in Outlook (Tools -> Options -> E-mail Options… -> un-check “Save copies of messages in Sent Items folder”) reveals that, indeed, my lightning quick powers of deduction are sharper than ever. Problem solved.

Now perhaps in six months I will deduce a way to remove ten gigabytes of duplicate messages.

How to print multiple calendars at once in the Calendar Printing Assistant

I was recently asked how to print multiple calendars side-by-side in the 2007 CPA. Since this had also originally befuddled me, I figure its worth a post. The problem is that the interface is a bit confusing.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Load up both Outlook and the CPA. Select a multi-calendar template from the View Templates panel on the right-hand side of the interface:day-templates.PNG
  2. You’ll notice that the View Templates title is actually a select list. Toggle this to Calendars and Tasks:calendars-and-tasks.PNG
  3. Click on the calendars you want to see. They will appear in the Calendars and Tasks bar on the left-hand side of the interface:calendar-bar.PNG
  4. Check the calendars you want to see and, voila, they appear in the template!combined-calendar.PNG

Advanced Outlook Repair Crash

Well, for whatever reason AOR crashed when I tried to run the licensed version. Fortunately the kind souls at DataNumen let me upload my archive to their FTP server and did the repair for me.

When I asked why AOR wasn’t working here, I got the standard “must be your machine” answer:

Sorry but we don’t know the reason, as we cannot repeat the problem on our computers at all. We have used Advanced Outlook Repair to repair your file without any problems!

I guess the problem may be caused by incompabilities, but our computer installed with Vista and 2007 can also run correctly. So the problem may be related to other software or system confirgurations.

So with some good support here the results are what I was after.. though buyer beware.

Recovering impossibly corrupted Outlook email…

I’ve been through two fairly serious hard drive crashes over the last four months. This last one a few weeks ago was a doozy; even IBM’s (Lenovo’s?) wonderful little Rescue and Recovery app gave up hope.

Here’s how I recovered (mostly) what seemed to be some unrecoverable .pst email archives:

  1. When your disk appears to be beyond repair, check out the fantastic and free TestDisk. If the data is out there, TestDisk will find it. Boot from a DOS disk if, like me, your operating system is gone.
    • To grab files via TestDisk, run the app, select your disk, and go to Analyze. Continue through the partition summary screens, highlight the partition you want, and select “P” to list files. From here you can traverse the directory tree and copy “C“the files you want to rescue.
    • Under Vista, the Outlook .pst files will typically be under C:\Users\<User_Name>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\
    • Be sure to copy to a destination drive with plenty of space. Most USB drives should be recognized these days, even when booting from DOS.
  2. Once you’ve got your (probably mangled) .pst file safely on a new disk, you’ll want to try to de-mangle it of course. There are a number of apps out there for this. Here are the ones with which I experimented:
    • Advanced Outlook Repair (~$250 USD)
      Recovered and/or identified over 800 messages as well as over 500 disembodied attachments (stored in a directory of their own). Unlike some of the other apps below, most of the attachements would appear to be intact. Some of the original folders are preserved. Unicode not supported.
    • Disk Doctors Outlook Mail Recovery
      Creates a new profile containing recovered messages in the Inbox as well as a new .pst file. Though the interface is clumsy, the Disk Doctors did manage to recover over 400 messages.
    • Kernel for Outlook (~$50 USD)
      Failed to recover anything. Clone of RecoveryFix below.
    • OutlookFIX Pro (~$200 USD)
      Great demo interface shows full text of messages (save is disabled), but only discovered about 100 messages in my case. Unicode not supported.
    • Outlook Recovery Toolbox (~$50 USD)
      Couldn’t really get this to work. Crashed on save and had to kill the process from the Task Manager.
    • PSTStation (~80 EUR)
      Appears as though it tried to repair the .pst directly but without luck.
    • RecoveryFix for Outlook (~$80 USD)
      Failed to recover anything. Clone of Kernel above
    • Recovery for Outook (~$250 USD)
      Recovered over 400 messages as well as identified and or recovered over 300 disembodied attachments (stored in a directory of their own; many corrupt). Not much is left of the original folder structures. Unicode supported!
    • R-Mail for Outlook (~$115 USD)
      Recovered some uncategorized folders, but only one message per folder. (Not sure if this is a limitation of the demo mode or not.)
    • Stellar Mailbox Professional (~$130 USD)
      Nice interface. Recovered over 400 messages. Unicode not supported.

Interestingly, all of the above seemed to recover different sets of email (if they could recover anything at all…) In the end I went with Advanced Outlook Repair given that only a small subset of my emails are Unicode (Japanese). Take a look at Recovery for Outlook if you need Unicode support.

If you just want to see what you might be lurking in your .pst archive, OutlookFIX’s demo will allow you to get a complete peak at the content of many recoverable messages.

Fixing an agonizingly slow Exchange / Outlook 2007 connection

Have been banging my head against various surfaces trying to figure out why a new account with Intermedia.net is so slow with Outlook 2007.

Microsoft Exchange Proxy Settings

Intermedia of course wanted to blame Comcast, which showed some minor packet loss ’round about their interface to Level 3 in NYC. Comcast in turn scoffed at this and suggested placing the blame on Exchange.

Finally got a suggestion from Intermedia support to check RPC over HTTP. Sure enough the “On fast networks, connect using HTTP first, then connect using TCP/IP” was off. Switched on, used KnockOut to force a quick restart of Outlook.. and suddenly no more ten minute logon process! Now let’s see if the random freezing also goes away.

My bad for not double checking what autodiscover was doing over there in the corner during the install process.

Problems with the Printing Assistant

I recently wrote about what a nifty tool the Outlook 2007 Calendar Printing Assistant is. And it is nifty, yet a few annoying issues that have left us relying on printed screen shots instead. Hrrm. Unfortunately, the Printing Assistant:

  1. Doesn’t render items in the calendar in the same left-right order as Outlook. (Neither does OWA for that matter.. This is a really minor point but seems to drive some people absolutely crazy.)
  2. Doesn’t apply category colors.
  3. Doubles-up appointments on occasion for no apparent reason.

The last two points, especially, justify our decision to just bang on the PrtSc key when needed.

That and I can’t quite seem to figure out how to rework some of the .xcal templates so that we can change working hours. (Which would ideally already be read from the calendar settings in Outlook.. Double Hrrm.)

Knockout Outlook

KnockOut is a wonderful little “Outlook Companion” that I just (re)discovered and, though it’s over five years old, still works fine with Outlook 2007.

If you’ve ever had to switch back and forth between profiles in Outlook (or.. if you’ve ever just wanted to turn the damn thing off for awhile so that your could clear your mind without getting email and — in my case — irrelevant appointment reminders thrown in your face), you’ve probably noticed that Outlook often doesn’t really shut down quickly. Or ever.

KnockOut in ActionKnockOut snaps a little icon into your taskbar that clearly shows Outlook’s running state. If Outlook is hiding zombie-like under the desktop, just click”Terminate Outlook” to shoot it in the head. You can also launch new email, task, calendar, etc. items from Knockout’s popup menu. Nice touch.

At 37 KB I’ve simply dropped KnockOut.exe into my quick launch bar and pull it up as needed.