Access 2003 combo box displaying blank entries!

A client’s database suddenly was showing blank entries in dropdown selection boxes (combo boxes), on forms, reports, and even the datasheet.  The data was there, and the combo boxes actually have items and attached values, just no display.  After futzing for a while and googling away, finally discovered that this is a “known issue” with Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3.  One more reason to be shy about service packs, especially the kind that automatically update.  Surprise!

The solution was to remove the “Format” property for the fields in the combo box.  An alterative, from Microsoft, is to use the SQL query for the combo box to append a blank string to the string value (thus ignoring the Access field Format property).

KB945280 — Combo box controls and list box controls display no value or incorrect values in Access 2003 after you install Office 2003 Service Pack 3

Microsoft also issued a hot-fix for Access issues post SP3, which I haven’t tried yet, but it’s supposed to fix this problem.

KB945674 — Description of the Access 2003 post-Service Pack 3 hotfix package: December 18, 2007

C’est la vie.

Force Firefox 3 to Refresh a Dynamic Page

Firefox has for a long time kept form variables in memory when the user clicked reload, or navigated away and then clicked the back button.  Filling hidden form fields with old data from the cache is a really bad idea if you ask me, and I needed to force a refresh.

Usually, I’d use the meta tags to tell the browser not to cache the page, but Firefox 3 seems to ignore them entirely, and will continue to cache and load from the cache.  Wonderful.

Solution for now is to set the following HTTP headers (seen here in ColdFusion code):

<cfheader name="Cache-Control" 
    value="max-age=0, no-cache, no-store, must-revalidate">
<cfheader name="Pragma" 
<cfheader name="Expires" 
    value="Wed, 11 Jan 1984 05:00:00 GMT">

NB: The order of the headers seems to be important!  You can find a good discussion and test results on MozillaZine’s forums.

Enable Remote Desktop Remotely

This one is well discussed across the web, but I can never find what I’m looking for when I need it.  So this one is for my reference, and if it helps anybody else — all the better.

Enable remote desktop in the remote registry.

  1. Run Regedit
  2. Select File | Connect Network Registry
  3. Enter the name of the remote computer and select Check Names
  4. Go to hklmsystemcurrentcontrolsetcontrolterminal serverFdenyTSConnection
  5. Change the FdenyTSConnection to 0

Steps above found at tech-recipes.
There is also a utility at IntelliAdmin that will do these steps for you.

Make a hole in the firewall on the remote machine.

  1. Get PSTools from Microsoft. We need the psexec utility.
  2. At a command prompt, run the following: psexec remotecomputer cmd

    netsh firewall set portopening protocol=TCP port=3389 name=TS mode=ENABLE profile=DOMAIN

Summary information from Misha Shneerson.
Another option (disabling the firewall entirely) at TechRepublic.