How To Tips

Record steps to produce bugs with help of Problem Step Recorder in Windows 7

Few days back I was just goofing about in system I stumbled upon really interesting feature of Windows 7 it is called … “Problem Step Recorder”. I am surprised that MSFT has not given it any short ‘n sweet name but rather strange and mouthful name Smile … But as you can guess from it’s name it does exactly what it says, it records steps which can be used to reproduce any issue by support people.

Actually when it says “record” it doesn’t actually create some video but it take snapshot of each steps use do and compiles it in a MHT file. User can also enter comments in slides to provider detailed information to support guys. Even thought it has some fundamental limitations which might render it useless for some users ( like limitation of max. 25 screenshots, but again if you can’t repro issue in 25 steps then dude I don’t think anyone can help you) but for most of mere mortals this will be really great tool to support users.

Babbling Bugs

And I have “4,294,967,295” messages in my inbox !!

I have more then 4 billion messages in my inbox, and without doubt I will be record holder for “the most emailed a person ever” or “person with super giant mail box” or “person who does nothing but keeps getting (and reading) emails” …..and so on …..

Don’t believe me … here is the proof … a snapshot from my mail client


And say if each message is of minimal size, 1 KB then for all of these messages my local mail box will be of approximately 4TB in size !! (think of re-downloading all messages again if my PC dies Disappointed smile ) .. Pretty cool right ??


Template for Report … Unifying report layouts

Most of the companies use some sort of unique format for their reports and this layout is kept same for all of their reports to create some sort of identity or brand. And for that developers usually use some kind of template to create default layout of report, and most of all reporting systems supports creating these kind of templates including SSRS. Actually it is very easy to create a report template which can be used for all other reports.

In this “How To”, I am creating a basic report template for report which once finalized can be used  for any future use.

First step is to fire up VS2008 and create new report server project. Then add an empty report in it. Next step is to modify report the way want in our template. For sake of simplicity, I am just adding some basic fields. But in reality, we can add number of things including company logo as images.

Once it is done, all you have to do is to browse to

DOS How To

FTP connection using BATCH file

I really love DOS commands. They are so powerful and yet simple (most of the time). Few days back I was required to create a script to download files from FTP site to local folder, and this has to be done at scheduled time. I decided to use my all time favorite script language to do this job …. yes a batch file with dos commands, honestly it is not like that I am partial to batch file and dos commands (hmm, may be a little bit)  but I personally find PowerShell a bit cryptic. And thus I try to avoid it’s use (plus our production servers don’t have PowerShell installed)

Ok, aside from my reasons for not using PowerShell, I was able to create a tiny script for my task. Script is very simple, it opens up a connection to ftp site. Provides user id and password. Selects FTP download directory (in this demo script it also selects file). And download it to local folder. And this is a simple TEXT file.


Strange installation size of MSFT tools

I always prefer to use C drive only for OS and D drive for other installations. And I did the same thing when I installed Visual Studio on my machine. I installed it on D drive and when I  tried to install newly downloaded LightSwitch from DreamSpark, I found that even the install directory is D, it uses loads of space on C drive as well !!

I just don’t understand the point of having thing on C. But I guess it is typical MSFT. Because I found same behavior when I installed SQL Server or Visual Studio in past. Only difference is this time I remembered to take screenshot of installation Open-mouthed smile


DOS Tips

Infinite loop in DOS

Few days back I was working on some task and as a part of that I was required to run some command line utility. Now condition was to keep running that utility all the time and for whatever reasons it crashes it should start by itself.

Now, I could do it by creating another application or service which monitors this utility all the time and if it crashes, this service or monitoring app restarts that utility. But I thought it is more work just for a simple task. Instead I chose a different and easy approach. I created a batch file that runs in infinite loop and made this utility run inside that loop. For sake of some history I also added a log for each restart event. And that’s it !!

I am posting my script below (of course it is not original script but it is nearly as original)


Logging in SSIS Package

Logging is an essential part of any application. It gives user an insight of application operation. And it proves valuable in event of any issue. Same stands true for SSIS packages as well. Since SSIS package will get executed usually by SQL Server Agent or some Windows Scheduled Task and in both case it is usually unattended, having logger gets really helpful when all of a sudden you start receiving alerts that some files are not being processed.

For this post, I have create a very simple demo to show how logging works in SSIS. For this demo, I am using file system task to transfer file from one folder to another folder. And I have created a log file to record each step of this process.

First I have added a file system task. And then when you right click on control flow tab, it gives few options and first option is logging. By selecting this option, it will open up another window which is basically logging configuration wizard. Select objects of containers for which you want to create logging. In this case I wanted to log everything for whole package so I selected folder. If you click on “Provider Type” you should see different logging options available to log events in SSIS. And good thing is we can select multiple logging options, for example file based logging for simple operational steps and windows event logging for critical errors. For sake of simplicity (and I am feeling lazy to go into too deep) I have selected “SSIS Log provider for text files”. There is another tab next to “Providers and Logs”, “Details” which lets user select which events user want to log into logger. If you click on “Advanced” it will expand current window and will give more fine grain choices for logging.