Unable to access google.com (a few other sites) or sign into MSN messenger (fix)

Internet Explorer 7Had a strange problem recently whereby a Windows XP Pro machine didn’t seem to want to connect to the internet, or so it appeared. I tried accessing google.com and hotmail.com and both returned error pages as did MSN Live Messenger when trying to log in.

I checked the BT HomeHub and the broadband light and LAN lights were on but I rebooted the hub just for good measure.

I then connected my iPhone to the hub via wi-fi and it was instantly online so no problem with the broadband connection itself and access to google.com and hotmail.com was fine.

The ethernet cable from the router to the computer was seated correctly, the XP machine had picked up an IP properly from the router’s DHCP, it all seemed ok.

I tried accessing bbc.co.uk just in case it was a caching error and to my surprise it loaded the page without delay.  After trying a few others, skynews.com, digg.com, etc I established it was just a handful of sites affected. Continue reading “Unable to access google.com (a few other sites) or sign into MSN messenger (fix)”

Outlook reminders not working (fix)

Outlook LogoHaving migrated our Exchange server at work to a new machine, several of my employees noticed that the reminder window was no longer popping up to remind them of upcoming appointements, events, meetings, etc.

Luckily there was a nice easy fix:

  1. Quit Outlook
  2. Click Start->Run
  3. Type “outlook /cleanreminders” without the quotes and hit OK.
  4. Outlook will then launch after cleaning any corrupt appointments.
  5. Quit Outlook again.
  6. Click Start->Run
  7. Type “outlook /cleanfreebusy” without the quotes and hit OK.
  8. Outlook will then launch after cleaning any corrupt free/busy slots.
  9. That’s it.

4 of my employees had this problem with Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2003. The above fix worked first time for all of them.

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Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP

Windows XP PowerToysIf you’ve not come across them yet, Microsoft created a set of PowerToys for Windows XP all for FREE. The image resizer and TweakUI are by far the most useful:Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP