Showing posts from 2013

New TechNet is way better than Old TechNet

TechNet (to a lot of IT Pros out there) was THE subscription service that offered you near unlimited access to Microsoft products that allow you try software before buying and deploying to your network. It provide virtually all versions of all products that a SysAdmin may need to perform a task or prepare their network for. Howver recently that changed.

Microsoft closed access to new subscriptions to the TechNet subscription service on August 31, 2013. Prior and since then SysAdmins have been crying wondering how they could get the same software access. There are two methods, and one of them is FREE.

Option 1 - MSDN
MSDN, or Microsoft Developer Network, offer the same thing to its developers. A Subscription service providing access to an array of Microsoft software for developers to develop software for and test with. This access is a paid subscription much like what TechNet used to be. But starting at over AU$1000 for the basic package, is it really worth it when there is Option 2?


WHOIS Lookups from Windows Command Line

200 Posts!!

While technically this will be 201st post, I am still happy to annouce that I have made it to 200 posts on this blog since starting the blog back in Feb 2009.

Thanks everyone who have been supporting me and those who have been kind enough to leave comments when they have found a post to be helpful. These comments  give me the encouragement to keep this going. Thanks again.

Here's a link to the first post where it all started.

Windows Phone Wifi won't stay connected

I have noticed one several occasions that my Windows phone wont be connected to wifi until I start using my phone. This is actually really annoying seeing as though there are constant updates and push notifications. Well there is little switch that you NEED to know about.

You need to enable 'Keep WiFi on when screen times out'!

Why this feature is not on by default, but without it you will find that you are using up your phones data cap a whole lot quicker.

To turn this on:
Go to SettingsThen WiFiTap the Advanced buttonSelect the Keep WiFi on when screen times out option  Now your phone will remain connected to your wireless network when your phone is on standby.

I have also found that this option will reset after major (and other) software updates. So keep an eye on this after some system updates.

It really actually annoys me that this is a thing. With most people experiencing issues like "Bill Shock" and the first iteration of Windows Phone 7 having excessive data us…

New look for Tech Blog

The tech blog has continued to grow recently with the tips and help posts getting a lot of attention for other users looking for the same solutions, so I though it was time for a new, fresh look.

I have moved the site away from the dark look and gave it a brighter colour scheme. I have also rearranged the items on the panel and the Pages are now more accessible with a tabs bar across the top.

I would love to hear you feedback on the look and let me know of any more changes that would help the site. I am keeping the ads on their for the time being but donations would be appreciated.

Antivirus on Linux

Yes, this is a thing. Some people that are making their first steps from the Windows world to Linux often ask and install antivirus software on to their setup without knowing that this is often pointless and a waste of their system resources.

There are many factors that help prevent malicious software running on a Linux system that make running a antivirus package useless.

First, because there are so many different distributions of linux that have different structures to the core of the operating system, it is near impossible for a coder to target a large enough audience. While, for example, Ubuntu is growing, even Ubuntu has so many variations that seperate it in layers that make it impossible for crackers to develop for.

Secondly, the structure of the multi-user environment require that privileged users are the only users to have access to core software and kernel space. And for this privilege to be grant to just any software in Linux is rare.

With the popularity of some distributio…

New SID and SysPrep in Windows Server 2008 R2

I like to experiment and play with server systems in my time off so I can learn new things and it give me a good way to try something without the fear of it affecting anything important.

So when creating multiple Windows Server virtual machines, I am always looking for an easy way to do this. However one thing that is important when duplicating a Windows virtual machine, it is important that the SID on the Windows system is different. Especially if those cloned VMs will be appearing on the same virtual network. (For more information on the SID, see here).

Also in the OEM world, the SysPrep utility is used to prepare a computer to be resold or to otherwise return the system to a state as though it is out of the box.

Luckily both these tasks can be achieved with the same utility.

This is the best way to natively generate a new SID on the Windows Server, is to run the SysPrep utility.

Running SysPrep and Generating a new SID
Prepare your system with drivers and software as desired.
Go to …

Windows 8: Can't Click and Drag Icons

This little fault puzzled me today. I found that I was unable to click and drag any icons within the Windows Explorer windows. It was very frustrating to say the least. But you will never guess what solved it for me.
Solution: Hit the 'ESC' key.

That's right. Simply hitting the escape key on my keyboard return the click'n'drag function.
Reading around some forums from people experiencing the same thing, speculation is some utilities may expectantly lock this function and hitting the escape button releases the lock.

Disk Cleanup on Windows Server 2008 R2

In order for you to clean up your server from system files and update files, you need to run the Disk Cleanup utility to safely remove these files. Unfortunately, this is not installed by default. This article shows you how to install this option for you to get the utility.
CAUTION: A reboot will be required for this install.
To install Disk Cleanup:

Go to Server ManagerOpen up Features and select FeaturesFrom the Add FeaturesWizard, select Desktop Experience optionClick Add Required Features when prompted for the Ink Support optionThen click install. This will install the feature and more.
The Desktop Experience option will install the following on to the server: Windows Media Player
Desktop themes
Video for Windows (AVI support)
Windows SideShow
Windows Defender
Disk Cleanup
Sync Center
Sound Recorder
Character Map
Snipping Tool

Missing Disk Cleanup Utility on Windows Server 2008 R2

By default tools like Disk Cleanup is not installed. So in order to clear up issue like the WinSxS directory filling up, you will need to install the utility.
To install the Disk Cleanup utility:
CAUTION: Reboot is required to complete installation. Open Server ManagerGo to FeaturesSelect Add FeaturesIn the wizard, find and select the Desktop Experience option. Click Next and install the option.Once installed, reboot the system to complete the installation.

Mozilla Firefox: Disable Auto Update

This one took me a little bit of work to piece together and get right and working, but finally got it working. 

If you find this post in anyway helpful, please leave a comment and also consider leaving a small donation.
I was doing this for a client to stop auto updates on their Terminal Service / Citrix servers which was regularly faulting due to the update.

The steps below guide you through setting the configuration files required for Firefox to not only turn off updates, but deny the setting entirely.
Also note, this is on a per computer basis. This process will need to be replicated on each computer/server as necessary or desire.
Note: The install directories used here is default for a Windows 64-bit operating system. You install path may different.

Create file local-settings.js in C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\defaults\prefCopy the following and save in file
pref("general.config.obscure_value", 0);
pref("general.config.filename", "mozilla.cfg&q…

Dual Booting Windows 8 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTE

Since the beginning of Windows 8, the Linux community has been up in arms about the Secure Boot feature of Windows 8 and that it was an effort of Microsoft attempting to block out Linux from PCs.

So I thought I would build a VM and test if this was in all cases or just on new PCs.

For this test, I am using:

VMWare Workstation 9Windows 8Ubuntu 12.04 LTE I prefer to use Ubuntu 12.04 LTE for a lot my Linux work as it the long term supported version and still relevant despite there being newer versions. Makes it easier for me... but anyway.
So I have configured up a virtual machine and have install Windows 8. Basic build and simple account (no Microsoft account used). 
Once happy with the Windows side, I connected up a Ubuntu ISO and rebooted.
I have kicked off the install and it has detect that there is a Windows 8 installation (yes, Windows 8) and if I would like to split the disc. I have created the VM with a small 20GB hard drive, so I have split it two ways, 50/50. I continued with th…

Google - Somebody that I used to know

Who is Google anymore? They have changed so much I really don't see the company I used to like.
What happened to the friendly "We're on your side?" type of company I grew up with? And what are they doing to their own products?

When I was in high school, I was one of the few between to get a Gmail invite. It was a big thing too. There was high value to a Gmail invite. Only certain people could give them out, and they only had a finite amount of invites. Also, that was around the same time I discovered (and fell in love with) Google Labs. Their little corner of the internet were experiments and software demos were shown off and discussed. It was fun and dynamic. There browser was a no-brainer for me being embedded into their ecosystem later down the track and after getting my first Android (Samsung Galaxy S).
So what's different now? Well everything. Currently the Google Graveyard stands with lots of flowers from users paying respects their favorite and often freq…

Facebook and the new redesign

Recently I opted-in for the new redesign of the Facebook homepage to see how much they would change, and they have changed everything. And I love it.

Here are some screenshots.

Switching/Moving from Evernote to Microsoft OneNote

Update 4 (25-Apr-2016): Microsoft now provide their own tool for migrating you data from Evernote to Microsoft OneNote. See here:

Update 3 (13-Apr-2014): A lot of people in the comments noted a recent issue with the software prompting for both Evernote and LinkedIn passwords unnecessarily. I won't be updating this post any further due to it's age and no longer recommending the conversion software.

Update 2: Microsoft have released a native client for Mac OS X. Also OneNote for Windows is detached from the Office suite and available for free.

Update: A lot of people had issues with this post in that it either they had issues or it did work at all. Problem here is that newer versions of OneNote may have issues with this process. There may be other issues that I am unable to test for.

When doing this guide, keep in mind that it will attempt to export to a new OneNote file. Each notebook in Evernote will become a new OneNote file. So…

Using HP Array Configuration Utility on a Citrix XenCenter Server

I don't have a lot of experience with the Citrix virtual environment but have to use it from time to time at work. I came across this situation today and thought I would share this link.

You may have a monitoring system link Spiceworks or N-able (which is what I use) that has just reported that you have a failed HDD. You go to call HP Support and they ask for confirmation via a HP utility. For me, somehow Intergrated Lights Out was never configured (before my time) so no confirmation there. We need to install the HP utilities. However you cannot use the Windows version of the tools as the windows server will be virtualized and won't be able to communicate with the hardware via hypervisor. You need to go straight from the source.

This article explains how to download and install the HP utilities directly on to the XenCenter server or the hypervisor, giving the direct access to the array controller that you need to get the information that HP Support is looking for.

Linux knowle…

Windows 8 Mapped Drive via Group Policy

I have come across this twice at work now and thought it would be worth the share for those running Windows networks.

When running a Windows Server 2008 (or R2) Domain network, you may have a group policy for your users pushing out mapped drive configurations. However on Windows 8, these policies do not apply.

To fix this, open your policies and modify the mapped drive object. Uncheck the Reconnect option, and this will now allow you Windows 8 clients to map the drives with your policies.

Also note that this change, from my testing, won't affect your existing Windows 7 (or older) clients. These clients will continue to map the drives specified.