Best Practice Ezine #36 – Lookout and ExPBA

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Best Practice Ezine #36 Lookout and ExPBA

This week it’s a case of horses for courses.  I can imagine half my readers saying,  ‘Lookout is a wonderful addition to Outlook, but that ExPBA wizard, is just too advanced for me’.  While the other half will say, ‘ I’ve know all about Lookout since beta one, but that ExPBA is a fantastic utility for reporting and troubleshooting Exchange 2003.

Lookout for Outlook

Lookout does for Outlook what Google does for searching the internet.  Namely Lookout will find information in your emails – lightning fast.  It was Paul DeBrino who first put me on to Lookout, and I would like to thank him for opening my eyes to this wonderful add-on for Outlook.  Incidentally, if you know of a great utility, then do contact me with details, I love new toys.

If you are looking for a server tools then check out Tools4Ever

Installing Lookout

With Lookout, installation is a breeze. All you need is a link to the download page.  If your computer has not yet got .Net Framework, no worries, Lookout goes and gets .Net Framework from Microsoft’s site then carries on with the installation.  Be aware that Lookout’s index will create a file about 20% the size of your Outlook data file.  So make sure there is sufficient disk space for your inflated user profile.

I have always had an aversion to Outlook Express, so the fact that Lookout does not support that primitive client was of no concern to me.  There are two versions, the latest experimental version 1.2.6.  or the tried and tested 1.2.  Gung-ho Guy has been using the experimental version and found it stable.

Tell the truth, when I first opened Outlook with Lookout installed, at the menu, shook and went fuzzy.  After about 10 seconds the screen refreshed and everything was fine.  For me the solution was, a) Juggling Outlook’s toolbars and b) Keeping Outlook open most of the time.

To get your copy, search in Google for Lookout* or download or go to this URL

*Editors note: Since the time of writing, Lookout has since been acquired by Microsoft and is now discontinued.

An even better tool -Copernic Desktop Search
Recommended by Paul DeBrino


Easily search your entire hard drive in less than a second to pinpoint the right file, email, music or pictures.

Copernic Desktop Search (CDS) brings the power of a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use search engine right to your PC and allows you instantly to search files, emails, and email attachments stored anywhere on your PC hard drive. It executes sub-second searching of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, Acrobat PDFs, and all popular music, picture, and video formats. CDS also conducts a desktop search of your browser history, favorites, and contacts.


Guy Recommends: The Free IP Address Tracker (IPAT) IP Tracker

Calculating IP Address ranges is a black art, which many network managers solve by creating custom Excel spreadsheets.  IPAT cracks this problem of allocating IP addresses in networks in two ways:

For Mr Organized there is a nifty subnet calculator, you enter the network address and the subnet mask, then IPAT works out the usable addresses and their ranges.

For Mr Lazy IPAT discovers and then displays the IP addresses of existing computers. Download the Free IP Address Tracker

ExPBA – Exchange Server Best Practices Analyser Tool.

In many ways the name says it all. Exchange Server Best Practice Analyser Tool.  In a nutshell ExPBA gives you the expertise of all the top Exchange gurus at your finger tips.  However, you really have to download and install the tool to feel the full power.  I do not recall using the word ‘awesome’ in a newsletter before, but awesome is the word for ExPBA.  Estimate how many ‘Best Practices’ Microsoft must have dreamt up for Exchange,  then imagine the power of a tool that will check each of 1,000 rules or best practice against 1000 configuration settings.  Then ExPBA comes back with a report which not only identifies problems but also suggests remedies.

Every network manager knows in the back of their mind that there is something that they forgot to configure.  Well ExPBA will find it, fix it, and make you an Exchange guru in the process.  While most people will install ExPBA only for troubleshooting, the planners will deploy it just to see what is happening and make predictions for the future.  The curious, like me, will use it to find out more about Exchange 2003.  One old trick it to install ExPBA an XP machine so that you can carry out all the analysis on a non-production machine.

ExPBA is a tool that gets the Guy seal of approval.  I do believe that expert systems have a future,  I also predict that there are going to be fewer people in IT, but those left will be more highly skilled.  Here ExPBA leads you by the nose and forces you to learn more about how to run your Exchange server more efficiently.

If you have ever glimpsed at WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) then you will have some idea of the breadth and depth of information available to a program like ExPBA.  Add in clever diagnostics and XML reporting and you are beginning to get an idea of what ExPBA can do for you.

Here is a link to download ExPBA.


The Exchange Server Best Practices Analyser Tool is the latest and best of Microsoft’s Exchange Wizards.  Way, way back when Exchange 4.0’s wizard led me by the hand through configuring permissions, as a newbe I thought, ‘This wizard stuff is cool’.  Then I went through years of thinking, I am a professional, I don’t need those Wizards.  With ExPBA I am forced to look at wizards in a fresh light.  The latest generation of ExPBA wizards do for Exchange what smart phones do for communication.

Stop Press. 

Mad Mick has just read my draft and said that SQL 2000 already has one of these Best Practice analysers.

See more ExBPA here

See interesting Exchange articles

E 145 Checkpoint  •E 101 OWA  • E 83 Exchange 2007  • E 53 Exch tips  • E 54 Exch tips  • Ezines

E 47 Exch tips  •E 43 Exchange Mig  •E 39 Exchange tools  •E 36 ExPBA  • E 31 Exchange Tips

E 5 Outlook  • Free Exchange Monitor  • Exchange 2010  • Windows Server 8   •Free Syslog Utility