GSSMO Outgoing Mail Stuck in Outbox Solution

Windows_Power_Shell.png

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Typically, I keep these posts strictly related to Amateur Radio, but having spent a good two days searching for a solution to this issue, I thought it’d be worthwhile to share what I learned.

Last Friday, Outlook users at my workplace began experiencing problems with sending emails. The emails were getting hung up in the outbox and going nowhere, despite the fact that G Suite sync (we use G Suite for an email and productivity solution), was showing no sync errors. Also, not everyone was effected.

Only an Outlook Send/Receive error was occuring: “Task ‘G Suite – Sending’ reported error (0x80048002): ‘This task was cancelled before it was completed.'” Once this error occurred, whenever you clicked Send/Receive, it would just flash and do nothing.

My own Outlook being effected, I decided to use myself as a guinea pig. The problem seemed to follow a recent Office update, but I couldn’t find any way to roll back the update, so I looked for other alternatives, and began by removing my mail profile and installing a clean version of G Suite Sync. After re-adding my account and waiting for it to do the initial sync, everything synced up perfectly, but after sending a test email, the problem persisted.

I then contacted G Suite support, who of course, suggested that I should “remove my profile and reinstall a clean version of G Suite Sync” – exactly what I had just done! After explaining that I just did this and it didn’t resolve the issue, I was told that my problem was most likely the result of having too big of a mailbox. I think he was grabbing at straws at this point. If the only ones in our organization that were effected by the issue were the ones with mailboxes over 4GB, for example, he might be on to something, but that wasn’t the case. One of the people effected was a new employee with only a handful of messages in his inbox.

Going back to my original observation that this occurred shortly after a recent Microsoft Office update, (to Version 1904, Build 11601.20072 Click-to-Run), I started looking for a way to roll it back to an earlier version. Microsoft doesn’t make this easy. You can easily turn off updates, but rolling it back is another story. I tried many suggestions and scripts that were offered on forums, but none of them worked, until I found the one I’m sharing here, which actually failed at first, but I was able to clean up a few things to make it work – and not just for my installation. I copied the script to a USB stick and ran it on all the effected PC’s and all the Office versions have been rolled back to 1903, which plays nicely with G Suite. This works on both Office 2016 and 365 installations.

Here’s what to do:

Click here to download the script. Once you have it downloaded, open it in Notepad, and copy it. Then open a Windows Power Shell session and paste it in. The script will run for a few seconds and then prompt you with the following window:

Office_Update_Tool

Choose the following options: Monthly Channel (Current Channel) in the first drop-down box, and select a previous version from the second drop-down box. I chose Version 1903 (Build 11425.20202). Also check the “Disable Updates” box, so it won’t install any additional updates, including the one that breaks G Suite. This can be revisited again in the future, if/when a patch is written to fix the issue, but for now this is our only option.

It looks complicated, but it really isn’t. Once you make your selections and check the box, choose update, and a window will pop up saying that Office is Updating. Let it do its thing, and once it completes, your office will be rolled back to the version you selected.

Hopefully this helps anyone who is experiencing this issue.

 

 

 

Digital Age Drama

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Originally published in the Winter / Spring 2017 issue of The Radiogram

During the month of December, reports began to emerge that upper management of the popular software, Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD), had been blacklisting subscribers in retaliation for writing negative reviews. The story sent shockwaves throughout the amateur radio community, but also the business world. Many questions were raised, but the unavoidable theme was that the practice of retaliating against customers who write negative reviews – no matter how harsh the review might be – is unethical, and what HRD did was completely wrong. 

Reviews are essential to companies in order to gage customer satisfaction. They are also an important training tool to help businesses improve in areas that may otherwise go unnoticed. Chris Boeckelman writes in the article Why Unhappy Customers Are a Valuable Resource, that “Sometimes unhappy customers force companies to confront and solve problems that are negatively impacting their business. And those solutions can lead to major success.”

Companies like Apple, Ritz Carlton, and Zappos are well known for placing a high importance on culture and customer experience. This focus on culture has set them apart in their fields, and they serve as shining examples not only to their respected industries, but to the entire business world. Providing a truly exceptional customer experience has become trendy and profitable, so how is it that a company like HRD can survive if it doesn’t place its customers in such high regard? The answer, I’m afraid, lies in the simple fact that software companies that focus on ham radio are very few in number. It’s a niche industry that is unaffected by the traditional pressures of competition, which historically is what forces businesses – and individuals, for that matter – to either evolve for the better, or ultimately fail. 

HRD’s behavior emerges from an unrestrained arrogance, that they are in control of the marketplace. They forgot the basic principal that no matter how much control a company has, it is the customer who determines its success. With access to multiple review sites, social media, blogs, and forums, the customer is now more empowered than ever before, and they are not afraid to speak out when something is wrong. 

Another example of a marketplace that is anemic in competition, is that when the story began to break, QRZ.com (on which HRD is a major advertiser), attempted to protect them by removing negative posts. It’s not clear whether this was done at the request of HRD, but when evidence of this began to emerge, subsequent posts were allowed to remain. Similar advertising conflicts may also be why the story has not been picked up by the mainstream ham radio publications. But the important thing to remember is that when enough people are mistreated, whether by an individual, a company, or even a government, the truth will eventually find an outlet.