Importing a WAVE File into a ShoreTel Voicemail Greeting

Sometimes you need to import a WAVE file into a user’s voicemail greeting. This might be because their connection to your ShoreTel server isn’t great, they’re on the road or any of a number of other reasons. Unfortunately there’s no tool to do this in ShoreWare Director. Or at least there isn’t in older versions, there might be in newer versions.

This is one of those handy tricks you should know if you don’t have access to their computer and they REALLY need a specific message recorded by themselves placed as a greeting. I would not suggest doing this unless you have no other choice, as they can call the voicemail system and do this over the phone, though it is VERY annoying to do it that way.

Importing a WAVE File into a ShoreTel Voicemail Greeting

NOTE:  They already need to have a greeting in place for this to work as you’ll be replacing a greeting. If they do not have a greeting, do not bother doing this.

Step 1 – Have the user send you a voicemail with the greeting. Personally I just have the user call me and let it go to voicemail. Alternatively you can use Audacity to record one. I just prefer using the voicemail system because it’s quicker.

Step 2– Export the voicemail to a WAVE file. This is done by right clicking on the voicemail in ShoreTel Communicator, or by saving the WAVE file attachment from Outlook.

Step 3 – Save the WAVE file to your ShoreTel Server somewhere.

Step 4 – Remote into your ShoreTel Server and navigate to the C:\Shoreline Data\VMS\SHORETEL\[User’s Extension] folder.

Step 5 – You’ll see a few WAVE files there hopefully. The files are like this: [Users Extension]Greet[A Call Handling Mode Number]_[A Number].Wav. The Call Handling Mode numbers work out like this:

01 – Standard
02 – In a Meeting
03 – Out of Office
04 – Extended Absence
05 – Custom

Step 6 – If you want to replace Extension 1900’s Out of Office greeting you’d need to copy the WAVE file you just exported to the following folder C:\Shoreline Data\Vms\SHORETEL\1900 and then rename 1900Greet03_01.wav to 1900Greet03_01x.wav or something. Rename the voicemail WAVE file you exported to 1900Greet03_01.wav. Note that the 01 at the end of the file name might be 02, 03, 04 or something else. This number seems to increment every time you record a new greeting through Communicator.

Step 7 – Test to make sure this worked in the proper call handling mode.

Again, if the file for the Call Handling mode Greeting you want to replace does not exist, this won’t work. I’m looking for a way to manually tell it what file to look for, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful. It’s probably in the database somewhere. If anyone knows how to do this let me know.

Also if anyone knows if ShoreTel has allowed you to import greetings in newer versions please let me know.

Why I Keep Hand Written Notes – Old School IT Handbook

This is a stream of thought post on old school methods. I may do more of these if I get comments.

In my desk I keep a Moleskine notebook I got on Amazon for way too much, it’s the one in the thumbnail. I started keeping this thing several years ago to keep track of fixes at work. Most of my contemporaries thought I was sort of nuts for doing so as keeping handwritten notes as a sysadmin is laughably old school. So are all nighters because you can’t remember how to fix something, but no one seems to see the irony.

I started writing some how-to stuff on ShoreTel and Cyberoam earlier this year because finding such information was hard to do. A lot of my articles are actually refinements of what I’ve written in my little journal. I wanted to give back and some of this stuff is near impossible to find anywhere on the internet except here and perhaps if you dig REALLY deep into some forums. Much was gleaned from conversations with tech support operators.

So why did I keep it? Well the biggest reason was my last job had very little opportunity to digitize it and I needed a way to reference things quickly. The reason now is that when someone shows me how to do something, or I’m working my way through a problem, it is a lot easier to write it down with a pen then type up the notes.

I’ve heard it’s easier to remember something if you read it, write it down and then do some action based on that information. It sort of sticks with you forever. I don’t personally find the same retention when you type things up in a knowledge base. Also how many small or even medium and large size IT departments keep good documentation anyway? I probably failed about a dozen interviews because I’d always ask if they documented things and the interviewers would sort of blush, look at their feet and say, “No, not really, but we should.” I just quit asking and then I started getting hired.

Even when they do keep documentation, many times their help desk system is not reliably backed up, nor is the documentation feature reasonably implemented. I think this is in large part due to when a fix is found the IT staff go home early after two straight days of no sleep because their SQL server crashed because the battery backup failed, and they didn’t have a system that could reliably come up from a power failure (translation: a bad system). Documenting what fixed it is HARD, especially when you are hallucinating due to sleep deprivation.

So I keep hand written notes, because short of a fire or something, they are hard to destroy, and it’s a bit easier to work with than a folder full of inconsistently named Word documents, especially when those documents are on the system that failed.

I do have a method to my note keeping, even though it isn’t clear from looking at the notebook. It’s something I’ve come up with over the last few years and goes back to how my dad taught me to keep track of stuff.

The first thing I do is get a little, durable notebook. I like Moleskine soft cover notebooks because they can take a beating. I’ve got one I keep recipes in that has had everything short of straight battery acid spilled on it and it is still intact. The Piccadilly notebooks are pretty good too, and cheaper, but harder to find. Also I like the small pocket-sized ones because they fit well in a tool bag, or pants pocket. There are some engineering field notebooks out there too, but I’ve never had one to use. Expect to spend at least $10 on any of these.

Once I’ve got the notebook I number all the odd pages. I picked this hint up from Lifehacker. You don’t need to number all the pages, and if you will notice from the below picture all the odd numbers are on the right hand page so it’s a lot easier to do. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the page on the left is the even-numbered page before it.

The next thing I do is just start adding stuff and not worrying about how many pages it takes up, although it works best when notes on a subject take up two pages. I don’t worry about when or where I add things, trying to keep ShoreTel stuff on pages 1 – 50, Cyberoam stuff on pages 51 – 100 and so on is not going to work and really limits what you can put where. The trick is in the table of contents.

On separate pieces of half page notebook paper I keep in a pocket on the back I write all the subjects down along with page numbers. Then on a separate sheet of paper for each category (Shoretel, Microsoft, Cyberoam, Cisco, etc.) I put the relevant subjects and page numbers on those. I just keep adding to the notebook and every so often updating the cross-reference on the pieces of notebook paper. When I need to look something up I check this index in the pocket, find the topic and page number and I have what I need.

Of course this isn’t as extensive as Googling every problem. But if I know I’ve fixed it before I can typically find what I need long before everyone else is done fumbling with their phones.

Now I do want to clarify. I am not some old guy that just scoffs at newfangled things like “Googling” and “Not Including A 2000 Page Manual With Every Device Like They Do In The Military”. Search engines are wonderful and account for 95% of how I find fixes and other information. Please, use them, but don’t forget the old school methods because even if you’re 22 and an awesome tech, your memory is not as good as you think it is. Those things you only fix once or twice every few years will slip from your mind and when you need to remember them you won’t have your phone, internet access and the document you typed up on it in 2010 will be on that hard drive that just stopped spinning. Oh and someone will have stolen your precious disorganized “IT Binder” you keep in the filing cabinet.

Also you might be thirty feet underground in a muddy maintenance tunnel for an ancient building staring up at a crude four-inch hole with nothing but a flashlight trying to remember what cable went where. All this while the people who know figure out too late that their walky-talkies can’t penetrate eight feet of bomb shelter grade reinforced concrete. You’ll wish that Moleskine notebook was in your pocket, I promise.