FileZilla FTP-client retrieve directory listing failed on MLSD command using TLS

Some week ago FileZilla released a new version – 3.10.0.1. After installing this version some clients had problems connecting with their web hosting servers using FTP. One of the changes in FileZilla was that it now defaults to TLS encrypted connections if the server supports it, which many web hosting providers do.

However, if the FTP server is not properly configured together with it’s firewall the client will connect but fail to retrieve the directory listing (timeout).

A workaround on the client side is to connect with plain old FTP using no encryption. To do this in the later versions of FileZilla you must create a connection in the site manager and select plain FTP (unsecure) in the encryption field. (This option is not availible in the quick connect.)

A better solution is to solve the problem on the server side. To do this the FTP server must be configured to use a specific range of ports for passive mode and allowing traffic to them through the server firewall. The example below shows how to do this with pure-ftpd and iptables. In the example we setup pure-ftpd to use ports 50000-55000 for passive transfers and then we allow the same range in iptables.

echo “50000 55000” > /etc/pure-ftpd/conf/PassivePortRange
/etc/init.d/pure-ftpd restart

Then add the following to your iptables rules and reload them:

iptables -I INPUT -p tcp -m tcp –dport 50000:55000 -j ACCEPT

Convert Microsoft Outlook PST email to IMAP without Outlook

A client was going to stop using Microsoft Outlook and Exchange server and move their email to an ordinary web hosting company using IMAP. The client was downscaling and had no use of the benefits of Microsoft Exchange like shared contacts and calendars. They where just using it for email which could be obtained much cheaper by using the IMAP account at their web hosting provider.

So I was faced with the task of converting their old email contained in PST files. They had already shut down their Exchange server and I could not use the Outlook program. I just had the PST files that where exported before the server shutdown and needed them imported into the IMAP account without using Outlook as it was not availible for me.

This is how I solved it.

Tools used:

  1. Download and install Thunderbird. Set it up with the target email account both as an IMAP account and a POP3 account (it was a problem importing the converted eml files directly to the IMAP account so I had to import them to the POP3 account which is stored locally and then drag them over to the IMAP account, more about that later on). Make sure you setup the POP3 account to leave mail on server and not delete mail when deleted locally.
  2. Download the ImportExportTools extension for Thunderbird. Drag the downloaded file onto Thunderbird in the task bar to install it.
  3. Download the free trial of the SysTools PST converter and install it. The free version is limited to 25 emails per folder so if you have more emails you need to purchase it ($49 when writing this article). You can make a test run with the free version so you see everything works before you go on and buy it.
  4. Run the SysTools PST converter.
  5. Click the Add file button and select your PST file.
  6. Click the Export button and select EML format, and check the folders you wish to export (normally the top folder). Enter a target folder. Then click the Export button.
  7. In Thunderbird, right click the POP3 email account and select New folder and call it “From PST” for example.
  8. Select the “From PST” folder and go to the menu icon in Thunderbird and select Tools -> ImportExport-tools -> Import all EML from a folder -> and it’s subfolders. Select the top folder of your email export in step 6 and click Select folder.
  9. All subfolder and it’s email should now turn up in the “From PST” folder. Now drag the “From PST” folder from the POP3 account to the IMAP account in Thunderbird.
  10. Finally delete the POP3 account in Thunderbird.

Windows Live Mail (WLM) problem setting IMAP Sent mail folder

When configuring Microsoft Windows Live Mail (WLM) with an IMAP email account, you should set which folders on the IMAP server that should be used for Sent, Drafts, Deleted and Junk email. This is done by going into the setup for your email account in Windows Live Mail, edit properties for the account and select the IMAP tab. Your email server provider should be able to inform you about the correct IMAP folder names. Normally the root prefix folder should be Inbox

However, in some cases (versions) of WLM there seems to be a bug so when setting the root folder to Inbox your Inbox will not be visible in the left pane. A workaround (solution) is to leave the root folder empty and instead prefix your IMAP folder names with "Inbox." like Inbox.Sent for the sent folder. Like this (sorry for the swedish version screenshot, didn’t have an english WLM at hand): 

Windows Live Mail IMAP folders

Windows Live Mail folders for Sent, Drafts, Deleted and Junk mail

System Check virus – how to remove it

System Check is a virus/trojan pretending to be a system diagonstics tool displaying fake errors. To recover them the user will be fooled to pay for the software. Whatever you do – do not pay for it! When infected, all icons on the desktop will be hidden and the only program in the Start menu will be the System Check tool. 

Computer infected with the System Check virus

I tried to follow the instructions here to remove System Scan virus. However, the virus seems to exist in a newer version where the Run and Search fields in the Start menu are disabled. Because of this I had to take a different approach.  Read more

Windows Vista hangs on Welcome screen

I had a HP desktop PC running Windows Vista that sometimes hanged on the Welcome screen (displayed after entering the password to login). The problem occured randomly but started to occur more and more often causing trouble for the user. Just waiting for the Welcome screen to dissappear (for hours) didn’t help.

I applied different solutions found on the Internet including registry changes, uninstalling HP credential manager and others. One solution suggested on the Internet forums was to reformat the machine and factory install it. Not a preferred solution but ultimately the only thing left to try. 

The machine ended up in my workshop but before formatting it I opened it while running on my workbench. I noticed this machine had a built in flash drive used for Windows Readyboost (in order to make the machine boot faster and load programs faster). I was a bit curious since I hadn’t seen this solution before. The flash memory was connected to the motherboard through a cable. I accidently touched the cable gently and immediately the flash drive dissappeared and reappered in Windows opening the screen asking me what I wanted to do with the newly inserted flash drive. 

This made me suspect that the cause of the problems has been the readyboost located on a flash drive with a poor connection. I disconnected the flash drive completely and the machine have never again had the "hang on welcome screen" problem. Although it doesn’t load programs as fast as before it is way better for the user to have a machine that doesn’t hang on the welcome screen.

VMware vSphere client 4.0 crashes when trying to upload a file to datastore

 Suddenly my VMware vSphere client version 4.0.0 started to crash when I try to upload a file to the datastore. This happens on both my Windows Vista and XP boxes running the VMware vSphere client.

The problem is similar to the one described in this KB article concering Windows 7 clients. However, the solution is the same. The VMware vSphere client does not crash if it is started by right clicking and runing it as administrator.

Compaq HP 6910p with builtin 3G/GSM modem and Windows 7

A while ago I decided to start fresh with my HP Compaq 6910p laptop so I installed a new harddisk and Windows 7. My 6910p has an internal 3G/GSM modem (HS2300). When visiting the HP Support & Drivers page for the 6910p and Windows 7 I discovered there are no drivers or software for this 3G modem under Windows 7.

However, it turns out that both the driver and the connection manager for Vista works in Windows 7.

Download and install:

  1. HP WWAN Broadband Wireless drivers
  2. HP WWAN Connection Manager
  3. HP Broadband Wireless Client for Vodafone (or if there is one for your provider, pick that one instead)

If your 3G/GSM provider is Vodafone you’re done now. In my case I use the Swedish provider Tre (3). To use the Vodafone Connection Manager with another provider you must find out your providers APN and what number to dial (normally *99#). For Tre in Sweden the APN is "bredband.tre.se".

To use the connection manager with another provider just edit the connection profile that was installed by default and change (if necessary) the number to dial and the APN. To use Tre in Sweden the profile should look like this:

 

 

Screen is displayed upside down on my laptop with Windows 7

Just press and hold CTRL and ALT and then press the up arrow and the screen will return to it’s normal orientation.

In order to support devices with different orientation you can rotate the screen. The screen can be rotated left (left arrow key), right (right arrow key), upside down (down key) and normal (up key) while pressing CTRL and ALT.

My guess this is going to be the next practical joke at the office 🙂

Connecting Remote Desktop to console screen

When you connect to a Windows XP with remote desktop (RDP), you automatically get connected to the console, i.e. the same screen/session that a local user is logged into.

Starting RDP in console modeHowever, if you connect to a server, like Microsoft Windows Server 2003, you will not get connected to the local console session, but instead to a new session. Sometimes it is necessary to connect to the console session, for example when troubleshooting a problem and there is an error message on the console session screen.

To start the remote desktop in console mode you click on the Windows Start button and type in the Run or Search field:

For Windows XP:

mstsc /console

For Windows Vista / 7:

mstsc /admin

And then press enter or click Run.

Pimping the laptop with a Solid State Drive

Intel Solid State diskSome week ago my laptop complained while trying to save a file that there was some error writing to the disk. I had two choices – wait until the harddisk breaks, preferably when I am overloaded with work and a deadline is coming up (that is a law of nature). Or I could buy a new disk now and replace it before disaster happens. I choose the not so adventurous way and decided to do something about it now.

I’ve been glancing at the dropping prices of Solid State Drives as they are faster than mechanical and probably lasts longer. My choice fell on the Intel X25-M 2,5″ 80 GB SSD SATA/300 MLC 34 NM from the swedish supplier called Dustin. I must mention the super quick delivery Dustin (in assistance by the swedish post) had. I ordered the device late tuesday night in their web shop. Wednesday morning around 10 i got the delivery note by mail. At 13.00 the very same the delivery guy rang my doorbell. That is impressive!

The installation was easy. Just unscrew the drive bay, uninstall the old harddisk and replace it with the SSD. Be sure not to touch the connectors of the SSD disk as it is sensetive to electric discharge. I partitioned the disk with dualboot running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS in one and Windows 7 in the other. Boot time is impressive as you can see in the videos. My laptop has a new life!