Did you know there was a Microsoft Community?

Answers.Microsoft.com serves as a community hub for most of Microsoft’s products. It’s a great place for those who need help to get it, and those willing to take a little time and offer some expertise can volunteer their assistance! Whether you want to know about Office (even for Mac), Windows Phone, viruses and malware, even just the latest on Windows itself, the community is there to answer your questions 24 hours a day. I’m just beginning to get more active, there, and hope to see you around!

Outlook asking for password: "Welcome Back to…"

Since I didn’t have an app for you this week, how about a special edition of “From The Help Desk.” Today is a problem we’re seeing, live and “on the ground” right now. Outlook users are getting a pop up window, prompting them for their credentials. The Window would say “Welcome Back to servername…” Even if you enter your credentials correctly (DOMAINUSERNAME & password), you then receive an error message that Exchange isn’t responding.

The bad news: this is not something the Outlook user can fix. The good news: it is very easy for your server administrator to fix.

All I did, as the server administrator, was log in to the server, and click Start, then Run then typed: services.msc. Then, the easiest thing for someone new to administering an Exchange server to do is to is look for servers with a Startup Type of Automatic but with a Blank status and start them. I was able to quickly see that the Microsoft Exchange Information Store and Microsoft Exchange System Attendant were not started on the server. Once I started those two services, I had the users close and re-open their Outlook clients. Issue resolved.

The precise cause is, as yet, undetermined, but this happened on multiple Windows Small Business Server computers over the last few days.

How to Customize your Windows 8 Lock Screen

Windows 8, just like what was introduced in Windows Phone 7. You can press escape or drag the large image “upward” to unlock the screen. But did you know the icons at the bottom of your screen are customizable? It allows you to have much more information, at a glance, than you do with the default settings. Here’s how you can tweak your own:

From the Windows 8 Start Screen, you can simply type the phrase Lock Screen and, once you click settings on the right, one of your options will be to “Customize your Lock Screen and Notifications.” You can also find this by starting again from the Start Menu, but by placing the mouse in the lower right corner of the screen and waiting for the Charms Bar to come out from the right side of the screen, then clicking Settings at the bottom, then Personalize Settings. The first thing you should see is the Personalize menu. If not, it is the top option on the left, as pictured in the screen shot above.

At this time, only a few apps support Lock Screen notifications, but you can bet that more will come down the road. Right now the included Weather app, and the excellent eBay app allow you to add notifications. You can choose one app, if it supports the option, to provide additional details. You could have the subject lines of a few emails, upcoming calendar appointments, or even a weather forecast! It will be great to see what more apps, like an official Twitter or Facebook application, will end up doing.

Don’t forget to check out our ongoing informational series on Windows 8.