Non-Administrators couldn’t log in, and Admins couldn’t Run As Admin

One of the Windows 7 machines in my house had a problem recently. Non-admins couldn’t log in, and there was a message saying that the System Event Notification Service wasn’t running. I could log in as admin, but couldn’t escalate to run things as Administrator. The error “The system could not find the environment option that was entered” would appear.

The standard web searches weren’t my friend, but I eventually found that if I started in Safe Mode, I could run a Command Prompt as Administrator and disable UAC. Then I could log in as me (with admin privileges), and run setup.exe from my Windows 7 disk and do an Upgrade to repair my system.

Book review: Windows 7 Inside Out

Perhaps it’s because I keep finding new things about Windows 7 that I really like… Today’s one was that you can drag the top (or bottom) edge of a window to the edge of a screen and have that window fill the screen vertically, but keeping the left and right edges still (great for when you don’t want it maximised, or docked to the left or right). Another favourite of mine is that you can Shift+Right-click on a file and see “Copy as Path”, which is great when you want to paste the full path into a textbox, or PowerShell, etc. I don’t know if this was available in Vista, but I’ve only noticed it since I’ve been using Windows 7.

…but anyway, perhaps it’s that, but I thought it might be worthwhile to pick up a book about Windows 7. I ordered Windows 7 Inside Out (by Ed Bott), and it arrived this week. It’s not short (about 1000 pages), but I flew through it. I guess because I’m already an experienced Windows user, I skimmed a lot of pages. A lot of the features discussed aren’t new, but Windows is such a large technology that it’s good to look through a good reference book, and with Windows 7 having a lot of new features, it was great to be able to go through this book looking for nuggets that I didn’t know.

And there are plenty of things that I’m just not that interested in. There are sections in this book about IE8, Windows Media Center and Windows Live. It’s not why I picked up the book. They’ll be useful for anyone who borrows the book from me, but I ended up skipping those sections almost completely. I’ll end up going back to them one day maybe. The book comes with an eBook version, which I’ll stick onto my phone and load up when I need it.

Ed Bott (the author who I doubt has a brother that shares my given name) is a journalist, and it shows in his writing. I found it easy to read, and the book is full of tip sections.

So yes, I picked up the tip about dragging the top border from the book. But I found the Copy as Path option myself. Nowadays, I hold Shift down whenever I right-click, just in case there’s an extra option in there I’ll like.

Book review: Programming Dynamics CRM 4.0

I don’t consider myself really in the Dynamics CRM space. My area is SQL Server. Currently I’m spending most of my time in the Business Intelligence space, with plenty of stuff with relational databases as well. But that didn’t stop me from picking up a CRM book recently.

Jim Steiger’s Programming Dynamics CRM 4.0 was the book in question, and I was pleasantly surprised. It seems to be very comprehensive, and well written as well.

I can’t say that I tried all the examples — that would be lying, but I do feel that I have a much better understanding of what’s involved in programming against CRM, and that I have a really good resource available in this book.

I do keep wondering about how much I’m allowed to hack into the database structure with CRM. This book makes it very clear (as do other CRM experts I know) that I shouldn’t, but I keep looking out for a situation that will persuade me to start playing. I’m not talking about massive changes, but small things, like additional indexes for example. This book is likely to persuade me not to dabble, as I want to do things its way. Whilst nothing jumped out at me as being a really good argument not to (although I might’ve missed it somewhere), I felt myself being guided down the proper way of programming CRM, and now think that if this book recommends a particular path, I’m probably going to follow it as closely as possible.

So now I’m wondering how long it’s going to be before I find myself involved in a CRM project, and wondering whether I’ll consider myself ‘learned’ or not. I still know there is a lot to learn with CRM, but I also know I have one of the best resources out there on my bookshelf.

A Tripp to Melbourne?

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve been to Melbourne (although I did pass through the airport there on my way back from Wagga). I don’t know when I’ll be there next, but I have felt tempted to try to get there this week.

Partly it’s because my mum is about to turn sixty, but also because my friends Kimberly Tripp and Paul Randal are in Australia this week, and speaking at the Melbourne SQL Server User Group tomorrow night.

I won’t be there, but if you’re going to be in Melbourne, then make sure you register and get yourself there. It’s bound to be quite packed, as these guys are the world experts in their areas — so be early and tell them hi from me!