Online Deal Sites – Get a lot pay a little

While browsing the web recently I discovered what I believe is a relatively new site for finding deals online. is a site offering deals that can be found at both brick and mortar stores as well as some deals which are online only. The site is sharing deals on a range of different items and seems to update daily. It does not currently require registration in order to see deals and so far does not have a multi-click interface in order to see the coupon codes like some of the bigger deal sites. I figured I would pass this on as I found a good deal on this site about a month ago. It seems they are true to their name. They want you to get a lot, but pay as little as possible.

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How to enable Session State on SharePoint Foundation 2010

I am in the middle of a large project involving Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010. The rollout consists of many custom processes developed using ASP.NET. Recently I began working on a custom web part project that utilized the Report Viewer control. This web part was actually a coplex web page that I had already written and was converting into a reporting web part for the company. The conversion process went fine, but when deploying the solution to the development server, I received this error whenever I added the web part to a page: “Session state has been disabled for ASP.NET. The Report Viewer control requires that session state be enabled in local mode.”

I did a ton of research online to find out what that error was all about. As you can imagine, there are a ton of postings out there on how to enable Session State for SharePoint 2010. The problem comes in when you consider the different versions of SharePoint 2010. The version I am working with is SharePoint Foundation 2010. Just doing a search on SharePoint 2010 returns a ton of posts about using Powershell to enable session state.

If you have been searching for information on how to enable session state in SharePoint 2010 then you are familiar with the powershell cmdlet Enable-SPSessionStateService.

That is the cmdlet I kept reading was the secret to getting session state going on my SharePoint server. The problem is that when I followed the directions for enabling session state using powershell, I could not find the cmdlet. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure this out since I had the correct powershell snapin, but I could not find that cmdlet.

Turns out that the cmdlet I was looking for is only available when you have SharePoint 2010, not SharePoint Foundation 2010. SharePoint 2010 is the version that requires a license to be purchased for use. It took a long time to find a Microsoft discussion thread where others were having this issue and the response way down from someone at Microsoft was that the cmdlet was only available on the licensed versions of SharePoint 2010. SharePoint Foundation 2010 requires you to enable session state manually. That was all there was to the post. No mention of how to enable this sort of thing manually, just that statement. I began to search for how to enable session state manually and got a ton of suggestions, but none of them were working until I fell upon one site.

First, you need to edit the web.config file of the SharePoint application. I did this by using IIS7, right clicking on the SharePoint site and choosing explore. The window that opens is the application root, and I used the web.config here to enable session state. This turns on session state for the entire application, which some people feel very strongly about the performance hit that can cause. This was a development machine, so I did not care, but be advised of the ramifications and do the research of the performance hit on using session state if necessary.

In the <system.web> section, find the <httpModules> element and edit it like the following:


<add name = “Session” type=”System.Web.SessionState.SessionStateModule” />


You also need to find the element tag <pages> (also under the <system.web> element) and look for the attribute called enableSessionState and set it to true if it is currently false. Save and close the web.config file.

You should then open the IIS 7 manager, and select your web application.

Open the modules applet under the IIS section.

Click “Add Managed Module” in the right hand panel.

Enter a name for the module, I chose “SessionState”, you can pick what you like, but I suggest something related to session state and then in the lower box, select the entry for:

System.Web.SessionState.SessionStateModule, System.Web, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a

I then added the module and restarted IIS, although a restart may not be necessary. I tried my page again and the web part worked fine, and the report viewer loaded with no issue. I hope this helps someone, as I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find an answer. I found this information at this location:

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Spiceworks – Free Tool for IT Professionals

I recently came across a free web based application (which still runs locally) that allows you to monitor your network, create a helpdesk, and converse with other IT professionals. The best part of this application is that it is completely free. I tested it on my company network and it has been very helpful in discovering devices on my network that may need additional maintenance. I also have joined several Spiceworks community groups that allow me to ask questions and correspnd with other IT professionals near me. Download a copy here.

I had my doubts when I read that it was free, and even more doubts when I read that it was web based, but that is really just for integrating the web based community with the application, as there is a local database for your network content that stays local only. Hogan

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Excel “Margins do not fit page size”

I came across this error “Margins do not fit page size” when I installed a new Dell printer for a user at work. They called and told me that while they could print from most programs, they could not print an Excel worksheet that was working fine before the printer upgrade. They previously had a much older Dell laser printer.

While I immediately went through the traditional eye rolling and sigh in my mind, I went to take a look, expecting an easy fix. Turns out that no matter what I did to the formatting for the spreadsheet, it always gave the error “Margins do not fit page size” and if you did a print preview it said it was going to print hundreds of pages. Possibly one for each cell it seemed.

I did some research on the issue, having a hard time believing it was the new printer because my company had about 15 to 20 of these deployed already with no issue. It turns out that the new printer has an “XPS” driver, which stands for “XML Paper Specification” and is a file format designed by Microsoft. The XPS format contains a section that tells the printer information about the page size and margins which the printer uses to scale the document to fit on the paper.

It seems that at times the Excel file can become corrupted and you are then given this error. In my case, the user with the problem was a very adept Excel user and had made several spreadsheets that were shared with out of office employees using a much older version of Excel. They may have possibly been as old as Excel 2000 or 2002(XP). They sent back in the spreadsheet filled out and when the user went to print, they got this error instead.

Microsoft has a support article regarding this error, which states that if your printer uses the XPS driver, you may have this issue occur. The article states that the issue affects Excel 2003 and Excel 2007. It does not reference Excel 2010, which leads me to believe it does not affect Excel 2010 because normally Microsoft has articles updated to show affected versions of software with new versions that are not even out yet. In my case, the user had Excel 2007, and when I tested the problem on another computer, I could print the file ok on a different printer in both Excel 2010 and Excel 2007.

The fix in the article is to not use the “Fit to” option in page setup, but rather use the “Adjust to” option. When I tested that fix on the affected machine, the document became too large to fit on 1 sheet of paper as it did on machines without this printer. It seems that while some workarounds exist, it was easier to recreate the document than continue troubleshooting. The issue went away if the user had a different default printer that did not use the XPS driver. This was not suitable as a long term fix though, and the user re-created the file.

After a few more days had gone by, I came back to edit this post because the user in question tells me that the problem has now spread to more spreadsheets than before. While I am not sure there is any actual corruption to the Excel files since they print correctly with any non XPS printer driver, it seems that the issue is now affecting more spreadsheets that previously printed fine, even on this printer with this driver.

To resolve the issue for the user, I finally found a driver posted by Dell that installs an “XL” driver instead of the “XPS” driver that Windows 7 was installing automatically. Once I installed the driver and tested the printer with the Excel files in question, they were able to print without a problem.

Posted in Microsoft Excel, Technical | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Backup Exec – Cannot Run Utility Jobs

When using Backup Exec, it is possible that normal backup jobs to tape run without problems, but when you submit a utility job, i.e. Unlock Library, Inventory, etc., it hangs and then gets queued forever and does not run.

I was using Backup Exec 2010, but I understand this works in previous versions too. If you submit a job to unlock, inventory or any perform any other action on the tape library and the job hangs and never runs despite other backup jobs to tape running fine, you may need to pause and unpause your server.

From the devices tab, you will have a treeview control that lists your tape drive and the server it is connected to. Follow the tree up from the node that represents your tape drive and you will see the node for the server. Right click on that server and choose to pause the server. Then do it again and choose to unpause the server. I did this and the job to unlock the library ran immediately and I also then ran an inventory job that did not hang either.

I am not a Backup Exec guru, and I am sure that there is an explanation as to why this happens, but I do not know what causes it, and since I have a solution whenever that happens, I have chosen not to look into it further. If anyone has information about what causes it, I would love to hear about it.

Posted in Technical | Tagged , , | 2 Comments