Category Archives: General

2 ways to Generate an MD5 hash using Windows Built in tools

Powershell 4.0 and above include the Get-FileHash cmdlet which you can use to calculate the MD5 (among others) hash for a file.

If you don’t have Powershell 4.0, there are some other options to generate a hash.

Using the Certutil.exe command line tool

The Certutil.exe command line tool can be used to generate the MD5 hash of a file.

  1. Start an elevated command prompt
  2. Type the following command: certutil -hashfile [file] MD5
    Where [file] is the full path to the file.




Using Powershell

If you don’t have powershell 4.0, you can use the following commands:

  1. $algo = [Security.Cryptography.HashAlgorithm]::Create(“MD5″)
  2. $str= ([System.IO.StreamReader]”C:\temp\test.file”).BaseStream
  3. $b = $algo.ComputeHash($str)
  4. -Join ($b | ForEach {“{0:x2}” -f $_})
  5. $str.Close()




It would also be possible to use [System.IO.File]::ReadAlBytes and pass the output to the ComputeHash method, but ReadAllBytes will fail on files larger than 2GB.

When using a stream, you should be able to use files of all sizes.

Windows Search and Xml files

When you try to use Windows Search on the contents of xml files, you will find that not all text of an xml file is indexed.

For example, if you have the following xml file:


You will be able to find it by searching for “myelementext”, but searching on any of the terms below will fail

  • \
  • “\
  • %myelement
  • ?myelement
  • [<]myelement
  • xpath:\\myelement

Apparently, you can only search over the prefix of the term (ex: “test*”). With that said, the XML filter only outputs text terms within the XML document. (in our example only the terms myattrib and myelement are indexed). The other elements are attributes that are not typically user facing.

To have all text in an XML file indexed, we need to assign XML extension to use the plain text filter.
This is (currently) not possible with the UI, so you will need to modify the registry.

Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xml\PersistentHandler and change the default value to {5e941d80-bf96-11cd-b579-08002b30bfeb}

You will have to rebuild the index (Control Panel / Indexing options / Advanced / Rebuild)  to re-index the xml files.

Copy the lines below into a file with a .reg extension and double click to update the registry for you.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

To verify that the ‘plain text filter’ is being used, go to ‘Control Panel’, ‘Indexing Option’. Select Advanced and on the ‘File Types’ tab, verify that the ‘Plain Text Filter’ is being used for the ‘xml ‘ extension

Note that you can also have other files (xsl, xslt, xsd, …) using the plain text filter by modifying the associated registry key
e.g. for xslt

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

For info on how to enable windows search in Windows Server 2008 (R2) see:

‘no connection’ when trying to view another user’s calendar – free/busy information (exchange 2010)

A while ago, the company I currently work for updated their servers to Exchange 2010. Ever since, I was unable to view other people’s calendar and free/busy information. The only error I got was a ‘no connection’ message in the calendar tab.

I was using Outlook 2010 on a computer that was NOT part of the domain.

When searching the internet, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one suffering from this behavior, but I couldn’t find an answer for the problem.

I turned on logging in Outlook (File – Options – Advanced – Enable troubleshooting logging) and found that the log file (%temp%\olkdisc.log) was filled with error from the Autodiscover service)


This led me to this Outlook 2007 article on TechNet which explains the relationship between the Autodiscover service and the Availability service:

The Availability service for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 provides calendar information for your users. This information is known as free/busy information. The Autodiscover service provides information for the Availability service by locating and providing the external and internal URLs for the Outlook 2007 client. If your Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 users cannot view calendar information for other Outlook 2007 users in your Exchange 2007 environment, the problem may involve a failure in either the Autodiscover service or the Availability service.

The article provides the following steps to test the Autodiscover service (the article is for Outlook 2007, but the steps are the same for Outlook 2010):

    1. While Outlook 2007 is running, hold down the CTRL key, right-click the Outlook icon in the notification area, and then select Test E-mail AutoConfiguration.
    2. Verify that the correct e-mail address is in the box next to E-mail Address.
    3. Clear the check boxes next to Use Guessmart and Secure Guessmart Authentication.
    4. On the Test E-mail AutoConfiguration page, verify that the check box next to Use AutoDiscover is selected, and then click the Test button.

I my case, the test failed because of the Autodiscover services could not be reached.

As it turned out, the Proxy server could not reach the Autodiscover service. I used Internet Explorer to add the url to the ‘Local Intranet’ zone, so the proxy server would be bypassed and everything worked perfectly.

About this blog

This blog is used as a central storage of useful stuff. Useful to me, that is. I can’t recall the number of useful tools, documents and code snippets I’ve found on the net over the years which seem to be impossible to find again.