Thursday, August 27, 2015

"The network is slow!" Or, how to stop worrying and love the troubleshooting.

What are the possible causes of slow workstation performance?

We have all run into it before--the dreaded, vague complaint that "the network is slow." We all know that sometimes it is real, and sometimes it isn't. It is so hard to take at face value, because often this is all of the information that your users can give you to describe the problem. How do you go about troubleshooting something with both so many possible causes and so much subjectivity?

First, it can help to think through the possible areas that could slow down the user's experience, and eliminate the simplest causes first. Here are some possibilities:
  • A hardware problem on the user's PC.
  • A resource limitation on the user's PC.
  • A hardware problem on a key server.
  • A resource usage limitation on a key server.
  • An application or service bug or hang.
  • A network problem at the physical layer.
  • A network congestion issue.
Let's start by talking to the user, and running the very simplest checks first.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

User account creation script

I created a relatively complex Powershell script to manage creating new user accounts in our environment.

It handles the following:

  • Highly configurable with a separate config file to customize to your site
  • Creating the user in AD from a .csv file with just a few simple fields
    • User settings based on a template account--you can use a template for each department
    • User name and login name are automatically generated and guaranteed unique
  • Generates a random passphrase from a dictionary of your choice (sample is provided)
  • Setting up two network folders for the user -- a U: drive and an S: drive in our environment
  • Sets up AD variables that I use later for account archiving and setting defaults automatically with Group Policy for Office save locations, Outlook "home page" setting etc.
  • Activating for Office 365
  • Sending a welcome email message
  • Some applications specific to our office:
    • Activating proper permissions for Mimecast archiving
    • Setting up the account for the Esquire Innovations iCreate template database
  • A fair amount of error handling based on a few years of issues we ran into--handles race conditions, improper input in the names, etc.
  • Output of the script is saved to a .csv file designed to be imported into KeePass. 
  • A moderate amount of information is logged by default

This was designed to meet my own needs, but you can feel free to adapt it. I make use of the work of others, I started with a "Hey Scripting Guys" blog post from several years ago and heavily adapated it to make it more robust for our use and adapted the folder creation script as well.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sharepoint 2013 shared task list: The form template failed to load: The attempted operation is prohibited because it exceeds the list view threshold enforced by the administrator.

When using a Sharepoint 2013 shared task list with the default resource throttling limits, after adding your 5001'th item, you may run into the following error when opening an item on the task list:

The form template failed to load. (User: 0#.w|domain\juser, Form Name: Template, IP: , Request:, Form ID: urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:infopath:list:-AutoGen-2014-10-24T20:13:58:284Z, Type: DataAdapterException, Exception Message: The attempted operation is prohibited because it exceeds the list view threshold enforced by the administrator.
The attempted operation is prohibited because it exceeds the list view threshold enforced by the administrator.)