Google

Google Nest Mini Won’t Connect to 5Ghz Network

Update 21st February 2020:
I’ve now had Google Nest support confirm that 5ghz Channel 149 and higher isn’t supported – which to me is baffling that a device can be released in this state.

Original Post:
I received a Google Nest Mini as part of Google’s promotion to subscribers of YouTube Premium. A nice gesture, and I hadn’t actually jumpted into having a smart speaker at home myself. Beyond wondering what use I could actually get from it – it was free, so I ordered.

A few weeks later it arrived, and setup should have been simple. Power it on, get the Google Home app on a mobile device, and follow the bouncing ball to set up. I’d done this before for a Chromecast I have, which I could see in the Home setup and have connected to the home 5Ghz network – no issues there at all.

However, when going through the same setup for the Google Nest Mini, I couldn’t even see my 5Ghz home Wi-Fi network listed on my phone. Weird, I tried several things including adding the details of the network in manually. Nothing I tried would work. I also couldn’t get it connected to my 2.4Ghz home network, unless I picked my guest network. I’d had the same issue on a printer that wouldn’t connect and only supported 2.4Ghz; the cuplrit was the AiMesh ASUS setup I had (side note – I personally would recommend to avoid ASUS AiMesh as there’s multiple problems I experienced, it’s not user friendly and solutions that are half done in it such as menu options that display but aren’t supported, as I eventually had confirmed by ASUS support. That’s not to say you should avoid all ASUS solutions.).

That really wasn’t where I wanted to end up though – the Nest Mini streaming data from my 2.4Ghz non-meshed guest network. After a bunch of Googling on the issue, I saw a comment somewhere that said to try band 36. As a refresher on this – 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi has bands or channels from 1 to 11 – but there’s overlap between the bands and they interfere with each other, so you really only wan to use 1, 6 or 11. 5Ghz however, has many more. My 5Ghz network at home was set to ‘Auto’ – which should pick the least noisiest band. That resulted in band 149.

I changed my band from 149 to 36 – the lowest option available, and went through the Google Nest Mini setup yet again. This time, I could see my network! It went through the entire setup process seamlessly. For my own sanity, I tried jumping up to a band 165, higher than 149, reset the Mini, and tried setting it up again but without success. Jumped to band 44 this time, and again it worked perfectly.

5Ghz Wi-Fi Band Options

It seemed the lower channels were fine – from 36 to 48, but the higher bands the device just couldn’t see. Again, weirdly the Chromecast would successfully set up on any of these and was a much older device than my brand new Nest Mini.

I also know it’s not just me that has this problem, as @AjTechs also confirmed he had the same experience – no 5Ghz network visible on band 149, but was visible when he used band 44.

I tweeted about it of course because that’s what I do. The first fail was the frustrating plug design, that wouldn’t fit with any other standard plug I had next to it. It’s also not a USB charger, but a round connector of some sort.

@GoogleNest swooped in to attempt to save the day. They couldn’t answer that question, and after 1 1/2 hours of back and forth over DM, they really didn’t know what was going on still. They still couldn’t answer my original question, and didn’t get me any closer to proving the problem was any different to what I’d found myself.

If I get any more details I’ll update this post – but otherwise, if you’re having the same problem as me, then try a different band, and when that works, have fun reconnecting everything in your house back to Wi-Fi again :)

Google Daydream View Review

Google released their Daydream View VR headset in late 2016, and I picked one up to go along with my Google Pixel XL for a bit of fun.

I’ll note that I’m still reasonably happy with the Pixel XL and my opinion hasn’t changed from that review. It’s still going pretty strong, and a good but expensive all-rounder.

Google says “Daydream takes you on incredible adventures in virtual reality. Get ready to immerse yourself in all the things you love.” I say “Don’t get your hopes up”. Going on from the general success of Google Cardboard, it seems they thought there was a market in VR, going along the media successes of Microsoft Hololens, HTC Vive and Sony Playstations VR. Don’t mistake this device on being in the same playing field, it’s a lot worse.

AU$119 for the Google Daydream View

If you’ve already tried Google Cardboard (I hadn’t) then you’ve got a reasonable idea already. Your phone slips into this headset, which instead of being folded cardboard, is now lovely breathable fabric with a head strap and cushions for your face. Inside the headset are two lenses that magnify the phone screen, and a front flap that has a NFC chip to tell the phone that it’s inserted.

The phone itself has the Daydream app, which is a wrapper to a Daydream App Store as well as giving you a platform to get to all VR things, along with a tutorial.

This is what the phone displays inside the Daydream

The real difference between Google Cardboard and Google Daydream, is that you’ll also get a remote. This is a very light and small remote. that charges via USB-C. There’s 3 buttons, with the top also being a trackpad. There’s also volume up/down buttons on the right hand side.

Google Daydream Remote

Think of it as a more basic Nintendo Wii remote, without as many sensors (it still seems to have gyro). This remote lets you control a cursor on screen, or a wand if you’re playing that Harry Potter game that doesn’t have Harry Potter in it.

I mentioned the Daydream demo – that was the most fun I had with the kit, and it wend downhill from there. The demo is fun and well designed; it teaches you how to use all the controls and look around in a 3D world. Anyone watching you do this however, will think you look silly – everyone looks silly doing this. Android Authority have a great clip on using Daydream:

Going beyond the demo, I started to realise the picture actually wasn’t that great. Unless the headset was in the absolute most perfect spot, I had blurryness around the edges of my vision. Watching YouTube through this sounds cool, but all you really get is a 3D room where you can zoom in, out and around a video. You also can’t use this lying down, orientation can be reset on an X axis, but not a Y if you’re thinking about lying in bed to watch a movie. The graphics a game will show are rather low end too, because you’re using a super thin device that’s never going to get close to what a PC or console can do.

Also, you can watch 360 degree videos on YouTube with this, or use Google Street View to pretend you’re walking down a street – but to me, moving your head around to see in a full 360 degrees gets tiring quickly.

Even more worrying, is the Google Pixel XL’s extreme heat generated by running this. We’ve got a top end, brand new phone that can barely run Daydream; and when I say barely run, on more than 1 occasion the device has given a warning that it’s too hot and has to stop operating. This was widely reported and doesn’t seem to be fixed yet.

There’s very few apps which I’ll assume is due to the limited customer base who have both a Pixel phone, and then a Daydream View. A few are free, enough to play around with different things. There’s a racer game that lets you use the remote like a steering wheel (again, think Nintendo Wii) but when are you really going to sit there with a headset on, closing yourself off to the world, to focus on playing a few low end games that require you to move your head instead of your eyes? Maybe that’s part of the problem where it feels unnatural, a glance changes to a more tedious head and neck movement with this device.

As you can probably tell, I don’t recommend buying one. It is a fun novelty for a short time, so try one if you can to see what VR is about, but the experience is just that average. This recent reddit thread asks “Those of you who have a daydream headset, what do you think of it after a few months?” and you can see the general consensus there.

I think VR/AR (Augmented Reality) itself is still taking off and will do well, but these lower end experiences won’t and it’ll be another abandoned Google idea. However, if they worked out how to do AR with the inbuilt camera, that’s a different story…

 

How To Launch A URL In Google Chrome

Scenario:
We want to open a particular URL in Google Chrome, but the default browser is Internet Explorer. Most company apps either support or require Internet Explorer, so we don’t want to change the default browser – but one app works better in Chrome.

We could create a desktop shortcut using chrome.exe -url http://webpage.com, but the site is also linked from our Intranet – how do we get the link to always launch in the preferred browser?

 

Update 21st Dec 2016

Updates to Chrome seem to have broken this. Thanks to Chris Done for working with me on this fix:

1.Add the String Value of “URL Protocol” with a blank value to:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\ChromeHTML\] or [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Chrome]
(they’re one and the same)
“URL Protocol”:””

2. Modify the value of

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\ChromeHTML\shell\open\command\Default]
“C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” — %1

3. Use a space in the URL after the // you’re using for your link:

ChromeHTML:// adamfowlerit.com

4. Create this key to remove the prompt on opening the link:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ProtocolExecute\ChromeHTML]
“WarnOnOpen”=dword:00000000

Here’s the registry settings you can copy and paste into a .reg file and import:

Copy from the next line

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\ChromeHTML]
@=”Chrome HTML Document”
“URL Protocol”=””

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\ChromeHTML\DefaultIcon]
@=”C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Google\\Chrome\\Application\\chrome.exe,0″

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\ChromeHTML\shell]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\ChromeHTML\shell\open]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\ChromeHTML\shell\open\command]
@=”\”C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Google\\Chrome\\Application\\Chrome.exe\” — %1″

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ProtocolExecute\ChromeHTML]
“WarnOnOpen”=dword:00000000

Copy stops above this line

End of update 21st Dec 2016

Answer:
URI Schemes. Any program can be launched using a protocol (you can see which ones you already have in Windows under Control Panel > Default Programs > Associate a file type or protocol with a program > Scroll past all the extensions down to the protocols.

You may have something like ‘MAILTO’ which is used in the format “Mailto:”. Type that into your browser and it will either launch a new email from your default mail client, or ask you to set a default mail client.

Some apps automatically create their own protocol, but you can also create your own through registry entries. Details from MSDN are available here.

Luckily for Chrome, this is already done for you, using ChromeHTML. This means you should be able to call Chrome with “ChromeHTML:” and insert the URL you want after it to open – except it doesn’t work. Chrome will open, but no URL is passed over.

A user has logged this bug with Google several months ago, it hasn’t been fixed. There is a workaround though, that can easily be done via group policy to change a local registry setting.

As this user mentions, a quote needs to be taken out of the following registry key, so it looks like this:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\ChromeHTML\shell\open\command]
@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Google\\Chrome\\Application\\chrome.exe\" -- %1"

The quote removed was before the % sign.

Once this is done, the ChromeHTML protocol can be used with a URL, as long as it’s in this format:

ChromeHTML:// google.com

Note the space after the slashes.

The next issue you will notice, is that Internet Explorer will most likely prompt when launching the URL, asking ‘Do you want to allow this website to open a program on your computer?’ – there is a tickbox you can remove to ‘Always ask before opening this type of address’ but this can also be suppressed via the registry.

Snapcomms have an article on how to do it with their product, but the same rules apply for Google Chrome, as long as you use the right key:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ProtocolExecute\ChromeHTML]
“WarnOnOpen”=dword:00000000

Once this key exists, the prompt will no longer show for that particular protocol.

That’s it, now you can use a URL link such as “ChromeHTML:// adamfowlerit.com” on your intranet page to launch the website of your choice in Chrome browser.

Update 22nd January 2018

This issue has been marked as ‘Wont fix’ by the Chromium team. This means potentially, they may ‘break this/remove this/anything could happen’ in the future. Please be aware that you’re now doing something unsupported by Google. In November they removed more of the functionality that made this work, for reasons I can’t quite understand!

 

How To Change IE10’s Default Search Engine

Update 4th August 2018

Hopefully most people are on IE11 now – it’s pretty much the same process as below, but here’s an official Microsoft blog telling you how to do it.

Original Post

Automating the change of Internet Explorer 10’s default search engine from Bing to Google shouldn’t be a difficult task, but it is. I’ll first cover what we’re trying to automate, then the possible options on how to do it.

I found a lot of misinformation online when doing this too which was surprising, I’ll add notes in around what I found on that too.

Brief instructions are down the bottom if you just want to know what to do!

 

To do this manually on an individual PC, you need to do two things. Install the Search Provider addon, and then set it as the default.

The first part can be done by going to the iegallery website and finding an Add-on, for Google Search you can go here: http://www.iegallery.com/en-us/Addons/Details/813 and click the big ‘Add to Internet Explorer’ button.

Setting it as the default is possible from the popup when clicking the button, or going into your Add-ons and ticking the right search engine as your default.

Google provides some very basic instructions here https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/464?hl=en which are:

Internet Explorer 10

  1. Click the Gear icon in the top right corner of the browser window. 
  2. Select Manage add-ons.
  3. Select Search Providers.
  4. In the bottom left corner of your screen, click Find more search providers
  5. Select Google.
  6. Click the Add to Internet Explorer button.
  7. When the window appears, check the box next to Make this my default search provider.
  8. Click Add

So far this is incredibly simple!

If you were starting from scratch, you can package up IE10 using the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) and add in extra search engines as well as specify the default. There’s a good guide at 4syops here http://4sysops.com/archives/internet-explorer-10-administration-part-4-ieak-10/ which covers this, but doesn’t help you if PCs already have IE10, or will get it via other means (e.g. WSUS or manual installs).

Group Policy is the obvious choice, but there is no inbuilt way to configure search engines natively via normal Group Policy Preferences. Preferences can be used to deploy registry settings though, which can configure pretty much everything IE does.

There are a lot of sites that have ADM files that claim they will configure IE’s search engine. They will, but there are a lot of caveats. One commonly found blog is http://blogofanitadmin.blogspot.com.es/2011/05/group-policy-changing-default-search.html which is a neat solution, but not ideal and here’s why.

The ADM file is just setting a few registry settings. Search providers are added into the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\ which lets the user change or configure it themselves, or under [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\ which forces the settings upon the user.

If you’re using Policies path, you also probably want to set the Group Policy ‘Restrict search providers to a specific list of providers’ Group Policy under User Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer. This will mean users can’t add their own search engines. If you don’t enable it, users can’t change settings on the search engines you’re pushing out, but can add others. Edit: Check Tim’s comment here for the registry setting on this one

Each added search provider has it’s own GUID randomly generated under the SearchScopes Key. One of Bing’s default GUIDs is {0633EE93-D776-472f-A0FF-E1416B8B2E3A} but this may differ based on OS etc. The full key path is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{0633EE93-D776-472f-A0FF-E1416B8B2E3A} in that example, and under that key lives all the settings for that search provider.

The standard settings for a search provider (Google in this example) there are:

“URL”=”http://www.google.com.au/search?q={searchTerms}&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:{language}:{referrer:source}&ie={inputEncoding?}&oe={outputEncoding?}”

URL is the address used when you type a non-http formatted address into the URL address bar. It will put what you type into the {searchTerms} part, and pass that onto the full URL.

“SuggestionsURL”=”http://clients5.google.com.au/complete/search?q={searchTerms}&client=ie8&mw={ie:maxWidth}&sh={ie:sectionHeight}&rh={ie:rowHeight}&inputencoding={inputEncoding}&outputencoding={outputEncoding}”
SuggestionsURL is just where the search engine will get it’s suggestions from.

“ShowSearchSuggestions”=dword:00000001
ShowSearchSuggestions is an on or off option (0 off, 1 on) to configure if you’ll be shown the search suggestions or not.

“FaviconURL”=”http://www.google.com/favicon.ico”
FaviconURL is the little icon that appears in a few different spots in IE when doing searches.

“DisplayName”=”Google”
DisplayName just shows the name of the search provider in a few areas, this can be anything you want.

“OSDFileURL”=”http://www.iegallery.com/en-us/AddOns/DownloadAddOn?resourceId=813”
OSDFileURL is where the addon was obtained from, I’m not sure of the importance on this.

“FaviconPath”=”C:\\Users\\username\\AppData\\LocalLow\\Microsoft\\Internet Explorer\\Services\\search_{0533EE93-D776-472f-A0FF-E1416B8B2E3A}.ico”
This will point to a local icon, it’s just a local copy of the FaviconURL ico file.

Getting back to GUIDs, they are randomly generated and don’t matter, as long as they’re unique. A lot of blogs seem to indicate there are particular ones for particular search engines, as well as amazingly saying:
the Bing key is {9F4BEE75-5E51-4568-87AF-67C35184D4B5} and Google is {9F4BEE75-5E51-4568-87AF-67C35184D4B5}.
Several people have decided to copy and paste this (just like I have), but failed to realise they’re the exact same key!

So far this is fine, but will not set the default search engine. The registry key that stores the default is located back in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\ under ‘DefaultScope’ and will match the GUID of the search engine.

If you do this though via Group Policy Preferences, the user will be prompted saying “An unknown program would like to change your default search provider to Google” which isn’t ideal at all. If your settings are being continually pushed then they’ll keep getting the popup, or if it’s a once off it’s still intrusive. You can push out the registry key once based on a version match of iexplore.exe to try and get it happening at the same time as the IE10 rollout, but that’s hardly clean (and still annoys all your users).

You can use the Policies registry path of HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\ to force Google as the default, but remember this isn’t user configurable. Fine if you’re forcing Google as the default for everyone, but it doesn’t let people change their default search provider.

I’ve seen a few other suggestions on how to suppress the popup, but from my research it’s not possible without forcing the option. “Turn Off the Security Settings Check Feature” in Group Policy was a suggestion, but that just suppresses the message “Your current security settings put your computer at risk” and has nothing to do with the search provider popup.

There’s also the “Prevent programs from suggesting changes to my default search provider” option but that just toggles between absolutely blocking changes, or prompting.

Also I found that having some conflicting registry settings would make IE just go back to Bing after doing a search, even though it would do the first search with the new default Google – so make sure you’re taking a minimalist approach and have done proper testing of your settings.

There’s also a difference between IE8 and IE10 – IE10 doesn’t have a dedicated search bar, it just uses the URL bar. So when you’re doing a search it will use the settings of the current default search engine’s URL registry value which IE8 may not use.

Another catch is that the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE setting for the default search provider may be set, and that will override any user setting. That can be deleted.

If no search providers exist under the current user’s SearchScopes then IE10 will still use Bing, but use the URL string under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{0633EE93-D776-472f-A0FF-E1416B8B2E3A}.

If you’d rather just have Google do a search based on anything you type in the URL field, you can either modify the Bing URL key under the current user, or delete all search providers and change the HKLM URL.

Again, all the ADMs I could find were just based on the few above registry keys – do the keys yourself and give yourself the flexibility to adjust them if required, rather than copying and pasting someone else’s. If Google or Bing changed a URL they used you want to be able to adjust this quickly.

So what this all comes down to is there’s no way I could find to do both a silent install of a search engine and default it, without either the user knowing or not having the option to change it.

The above will hopefully give you an idea of what you want to do – for the record I’ve decided to just push out Google as an option, but let users choose to change their default search engine if they choose to.

If you’ve found any different to the above or have any other information, I’d be very happy to hear it.

 

Brief Instructions:

You came here to be told what to do? OK, follow these steps:

1. Add your chosen search provider manually via IE10 and set as default. Different regions have slightly different settings, so don’t just get it off the net.

2. Export settings to .reg or Group Policy Preferences Wizard from HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\ – Default Scope key as well as everything in the key that matches the name.

3a. Push those settings out to other PCs. Users will get prompted next time they open IE asking if they want to change their default search engine.

OR

3b. Adjust all the key paths by adding the “Policies” part – path HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\ – this will force the settings but be silent to the user.

Also to set the policy “Restrict search providers to a specific list of providers”.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Infodelivery\Restrictions]
“UsePolicySearchProvidersOnly”=dword:00000001

4. That’s it. Don’t bother trying to get tricky as IE has several failsafes which will revert it back to Bing because it doesn’t know what’s going on anymore.

Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging – Unrecognised Voicemail Extension

Hi,

I had an issue where a particular user’s voicemail on Exchange 2010 wasn’t working. When they called the voicemail number, they were asked “To access your mailbox, please enter the extension” rather than being greeted with their name and messages. The user was on Lync 2010, and Unified Messaging was enabled on their account with the matching extension number. Also, when dialing voicemail and trying to enter the extension number just met the message ‘XXX isn’t a valid mailbox’.

Disabling and re-enabling Unified Messaging made no difference. I was rather confident this was an Exchange/Unified Messaging issue, so I had the idea of checking ADSI edit to see if UM was properly enabled.

Checking the attribute “msExchUMEnabledFlags” found the issue. When a user has UM enabled, the value of this field should be 831, or 830 when disabled. I’ve come across this issue before, where it’s the wrong value and needs to be changed, but this was the first time I’d come across it as being 832.

Never a good sign when you google something, and you get zero results:

exchange

Changing the Attribute value back to 831 instantly fixed the issue, didn’t even require disabling and re-enabling Unified Messaging. If all else fails, change the value back to 830, refresh your Exchange Management Console and the user should show as being disabled for Unified Messaging, then re-enable as you normally would.

Hope this helps anyone else who comes across a similar issue.