Solutions Through IT

February 16, 2012

Standing Report

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 18:04

Sore Feet and calves, but otherwise feeling great.  Think I’m sleeping better at night (although my sleep routine is in total shambles at the moment).

In the news today, the biggest item that caught my attention was that the costs have been released for subsidising pensioners to get a set top box installed, if they don’t have a new TV. Gizmodo ran an article on this, and I have to disagree.  It’s not about HOW we should subsidise, it’s WHY should we subsidise.  This has been a change that has been on the cards for ten years.  If you haven’t been able to squirrel away the estimated $40 bucks (or the original $100 estimated cost), then you probably can’t afford to be watching TV.  Why does the tax pay have to fork out nearly $60 million dollars for this?

Although – what do you expect?  We’ve got politicians that are so blatently rude, they walk out of a sitting parliament, not to mention the fact that they’re still not legally accountable for election promises.

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January 25, 2012

Bootable USB Drives? Too Easy!

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 00:02

I had a nice tool – the Windows 7 DVD/USB Download Tool.  The problem was that it wasn’t reliable at creating USB bootable drives, and would only work for a while, and became increasingly harder to successfully create a bootable USB stick.

I’ve found some methods for getting this going, or just doing it by hand!

WARNING – THESE STEPS CAN CAUSE YOU TO WIPE / LOSE DATA IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THESE CORRECTLY.  I TAKE ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR COMPUTER SYSTEMS, DATA OR ANY CONSEQUENCE OF YOU (ATTEMPTING TO) FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2

Windows 7 USB Boot Disk

Insert your USB disk, ensure it is visible in device manager.

Open an ELEVATED command prompt

load DISKPART

LIST DISK and then SELECT DISK <x>, where <x> is your USB Drive

CLEAN (this will wipe ALL partitions from the selected disk.  If you just did this to your C: drive, or didn’t backup the data on the drive you just wiped, don’t call me).

CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY (will create a primary partition occupying the whole free space of your drive)

ACTIVE (Marks the disk active)

FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK (Optional quick for new USB drives – use at your digression)

ASSIGN LETTER=<DRIVELETTER> (Where <DRIVELETTER> is obviously the drive letter you’d like to assign it)

EXIT

At this point you can now re-run the W7DUDT tool again, and will likely have success at creating a drive, or you can follow the few remaining steps to build a working boot Disk

Assuming you’ve assigned your USB disk “U:” drive and your DVD drive is D: drive, you can now do the following, once you have inserted your Windows 7 DVDROM into your DVDROM drive.

D:\boot\bootsect.exe /NT60 U: (This will make your USB drive bootable)

xcopy D:\*.* U:\ /devichy (will copy all files on the Windows 7 DVD to your USB disk.  Go get a coffee at this point).

Voila, you’ve now made your own Windows 7 USB boot device.

 

Windows XP USB Boot Disk

Surprisingly enough, the Windows XP steps are remarkably similar.  The changes:

Instead of FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK, use FORMAT FS=FAT QUICK (NOTE – you cannot have a partition greater than 4GB for this – add SIZE=4000 to the CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY command issued earlier)

and instead of D:\boot\bootsect.exe /NT60 U: use D:\boot\bootsect.exe /NT52 U: (NOTE: You WILL need the Windows 7 DVD in D: drive for this step)

Finally, swap your Windows 7 DVD with your Windows XP CD before you do xcopy D:\*.* U:\ /devichy

January 3, 2012

DNS Servers – are you up to date?

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 10:36

I’m still seeing a number of these servers out in the field – servers that don’t have a complete and current list of DNS server settings.  Here’s how to fix (or check) if this has been done on the server you’re administering.

Server 2003

Open the DNS mmc (Start | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | DNS).  Right-click the server name, and select properties.  Select the Root Hints Tab.  Select l.root-servers.net and press edit. Press the Resolve button, and confirm that the updated IP address is 199.7.83.42.  Press OK and OK, and restart the DNS server.  I have seen reports that you will have to reboot the entire server, but I haven’t had any issues that have required this.

image

 

Server 2008 / Server 2008 R2

The steps are the same, however, the Edit record screen is slightly different.

image

March 9, 2011

Restrict a Security Group from shutting down a server

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 14:14
  1. Depending on your Windows Server version you may need to install Group Policy Management Console (http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/d/b/adb5177d-01a7-4f04-bfcc-cb7cea8b5bb7/gpmc.msi). 
    It is much easier to create and link Group Policy Objects with it than via object Properties in Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. Open GPMC from Administrative Tools. 
    You will see your Domain at the top of the tree. 
    Expand the Domain and at the top you will see current linked policies, starting with the Default Domain Policy. 
    Policy Objects which apply to the whole Domain are linked here. 
    A bit further down you will see Domain Controllers and under that branch Policy Objects which apply only to Domain Controllers and headed up with the Default Domain Controllers Policy. 
    Further down, on an SBS Server, you see MyBusiness and its linked policies, if any. 
    Even further down the tree you will see the Group Policy Objects themselves. 
    These are all the GPO’s which have been created on the Domain. 
    They should be linked to one of the containers/objects above (and therefore their listing duplicated). 
    If a GPO isn’t linked to the top of the Domain or to any of the objects within that container it will have no effect.
  3. To create a new GPO, right-click on Group Policy Objects in the tree and choose ‘New’. 
    Give the new policy a meaningful name like “Disable Server Shutdown Policy”. 
    The new policy is created and automatically enabled, but you need to edit it, before it can do anything. 
    Right-click the new policy and select ‘Edit’. 
    In the Group Policy Object Editor, browse in the tree to User Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Start Menu and Task Bar. 
    Nearly half-way down the list in the right-hand pane, double-click “Remove and prevent access to the Shut Down command”. 
    Select ‘Enabled’, and click ‘OK’ and close the Group Policy Object Editor. 
    Now you want to apply the policy to Backup Operators only, so back in Group Policy Management, make sure your new policy is selected in the tree and in the right-hand pane select the ‘Scope’ tab. By default it will list Authenticated Users. 
    Remove Authenticated Users and add Backup Operators (of course make sure you or any user/group you don’t want restricted are not in this group).
  4. You have made the GPO, now you need to link it. 
    You may want to link the GPO to the Domain Controller(s), in which case you will right-click Domain Controllers in the Group Policy Management tree and select ‘Link an existing GPO’. 
    Select the new GPO from the list and click ‘OK’. 
    If you have servers in any other Organisational Unit (OU), for example the SBSServers (OU) you might want to link the GPO there too.
  5. That’s it.
    To refresh Group Policy on the DC or any computer on the Domain type gpupdate /force at a Command Prompt. This forces policy changes to be implemented right away instead of at the default interval (approximately 90 minutes).
    It is advisable to test new policies before final implementation. You could temporarily replace Backup Operators in the Scope of the GPO with a test user and logon as that user to test the effect of the new policy. You can also use the Group Policy Modelling Wizard (right-click Group Policy Modelling near the bottom of the GPMC tree) to check the effect of your policy configuration on selected users, groups or computers.

Reprinted with permissions. Article originally by Don Tibbits of Brainbox Solutions

February 28, 2011

Melbourne water hype?

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 23:18

Had an moment of clarity, and checked out our water supplies after the rather large torrential rains that have been happening, and was surprised to see that Melbourne’s water storage is still listed as only 54.1% full.

image

According to the stats, this is based on the 1.8 million litres of capacity (with .9 million litres of water) in the following dams:

image

One TINY little problem.  We’re currently excluding the water that is sitting in Lake Eildon – whoops – we forgot to include 3.3 Million litres of capacity, with 81.55% capacity FULL (yup, that’s 2.7 million litres of water that Melbourne Water have conveniently forgotten about.  Let’s just add that little statistic into the equation:

Reservoir Capacity Current Volume % Full
Documented 1,812,175 968,262 53.4%
Eildon Dam 3,334,158 2,718,913 81.55%
       
Total 5,146,333 3,687,175 71.65%

Pardon?  But that can’t be right – we’re in water restrictions, and we’re setting up desalination plants, and the tax payers are paying heavily for these desal plants – because we NEED them.

#1 water question – WHY?

February 11, 2011

Hurrah! W7SP1/SVR2008R2SP1 RTM’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 00:21

(note in advance – anyone not geeky, turn back now, lest ye be lost forever!)

Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 was RTM (released to manufacturer) today. http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsserver/ 

Hopefully, It’ll be as good as others are touting!

February 2, 2011

Buying a new PC or laptop? Not sure if you need a brand name like Dell, HP or Lenovo? Part 1.

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 19:19

Determine your needs FIRST.
Without figuring out what you need – even before you work out how much you can spend, will help you identify the RIGHT computer for you.  I will typically ask customers if they want to play new / current games on the computer (and immediately suggest purchasing an XBox or other dedicated gaming device, otherwise you can easily add $1000-$2000 to the price of your computer). Do you need to:
+ Edit Video?
+ Do complex graphics manipulation (CAD or 3D design)?
+ Store large amounts of data (online or on removable storage)?
+ Use the computer in a ‘power user’ fashion – lots of big applications running, all at the same time?
+ Need ultra fast performance or have other special needs, such as long battery life or compact size for use on a plane seat etc?

Determine your budget SECOND.
Once you’ve worked out your needs, you can then look at pricing.  You may find that your requirements are outside your budget, or you can comfortably purchase all your requirements.  If you find yourself with the former issue, you need to go back and review your requirements, and see what areas you can sacrifice or lower the requirements.  Note: you may have to review several times, especially when considering options for your laptop in the next blog post.

One option that you may want to consider is a ‘disposable’ computer – specifically a disposable laptop.  For less than $700, you can get a laptop, with reasonable amounts of RAM and hard disk capacity, and capable CPU’s.  This certainly isn’t the most environmentally friendly method, however it can be quite friendly on the wallet.  Doing this means that you can upgrade your PC to a “capable” system regularly, and cycle down computers to other family members or staff.  If you’re buying for a student, having them destroy a $700 laptop is a little easier to swallow than them destroying a $2,000+ laptop!

Options for your computer will be followed up on in the next blog post, but don’t forget – the most important option will be backups!

February 1, 2011

M6500 – Six months on …

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 16:54

After six months of heavy use and abuse, it looks like the SSD is slowing down.

image

I think it’s probably time for a reformat and re-install, and hopefully performance will return to previous scores.  Dumping 1.5 points on the performance score doesn’t look too healthy 😦

May 31, 2010

Toys!

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 22:24

Been looking at hardware alternatives to the XBox + TVersity to play the DVD’s that have been converted to a network format (kids manage to DESTROY DVD’s in under a week here 😦

Found the NetGear range – the component level device (EVA9100) or the ‘slap it in standard packaging’ device (EVA2000).

I’ll see what I can do about a review, but if anyone has seen and wants to comment, I’d appreciate it.

March 12, 2010

Back online!

Filed under: Uncategorized — solutionsthroughit @ 10:11

Fixed the Vista problem that was preventing me from updating the blog.

Installed W7.

(sighs)

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