Showing posts with label Windows. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Windows. Show all posts

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Matrix

The Matrix is crazier than we all suspected...

Monday, October 24, 2016


I'd be posting except I'm spending all my time dealing with this Microsoft bug. I'm a) an e-mail hoarder and b) an old school "uses folders to organize everything" curmudgeon*, so this is a huge pain. Sometimes dragging works. Sometimes hitting "Escape" works. Sometimes I right-click and "Move." Other times, I cut and paste.

Fixed in December. Bah, thanks for nothing Microsoft.

* If the Outlook client search was better, I might get away from my folders. It's no gmail when it comes to search for sure.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Yuck. The Start Menu is a step backwards. I kept all my files handy via the recently used and pinned (by app) lists. They've made that much uglier.

I had horrible performance post install for quite a while - the disk was thrashing. I suspect some indexing or updates were still happening. It finally went back to normal.

It's jacked up the colors I'd set on the personalization scheme - in particular on the lock screen.

Outlook is doing weird things after the update as well. It won't let me click and drag messages to folders. (A work-around for this is to press the Escape key and then you can move the message.) It keeps resetting the view as well.

At this point, I see no reason to actually apply the updates to my other machines. Hopefully some of this will get sorted out in the coming days before they force the update on me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fake Windows Update

Fake Windows Update is fantastic. Pick an OS and hit F11 to go full screen. It hides the mouse cursor and you can even press Enter for a BSOD.

Remember - only use your powers for good.

Via @bobgoyetche

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Schedule Windows 10 Updates

I've generally enjoyed using Windows 10, but its refusal to apply updates when I want is a pain. I'm excited that they may be about to fix that.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Random Windows 10 Hint

If you want an application to show up in the Start Menu's Most Used list... don't pin it to the Start Menu as a tile. I like the Most Used for things like Excel, so you can then access pinned documents from it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Windows 10 - Edge

I upgraded my laptop and everything seemed fine - except the new Edge browser. It would not load anything. All the other browsers (IE, Chrome, and Firefox) worked fine. Hitting F12 showed no activity - no page elements, no network requests. Eventually Edge would timeout and display "Hmm, we can’t reach this page."

I ran the System File Checker (sfc /scannow) and rebooted. All was good afterwards. The only other problem I have is that it keeps trying to update my printer driver and fails. Printing works, so I've spent zero time looking it to it.

That's two computers upgraded with only the problems mentioned above. I've got two left.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Windows 10

I upgraded to Windows 10. It went very smoothly. My very limited testing showed no problems - OneDrive and Dropbox were syncing, the browsers worked, and I could print. I'm waiting for the go ahead to upgrade at work - I spend only a few minutes here and there on my desktop at home - the real test will be my laptop that gets used hours a day.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Docker and Windows

I'd been looking at Docker and saw this Slashdot post about a Windows container technology. As I was reading the comments, it made me think of how we used to setup a new Windows 3.1 machine. Basically, we got the machine on the network (with a PE3 if we had to problems!) and copied all the folders down. Change a few config/ini files and it was ready to go. Looks like I wasn't the only one thinking this way.

Jellomizer says in this comment:
"The is to solve the problem is simple. Keep the apps self contained. No shared libraries or dll. To move the package you just move the directory containing the app to an other location. Some will say that is how Macs do it. But I would go further and say that is how it was done in DOS. 
The shared library is an out of date concept, while sounds good when storage was expensive, today we are virtualizing full platforms just to prevent version incomparably.
What may be a little bonus is to give application/process level networking settings so you can just virtual network your app from the OS"

Monday, February 2, 2015

Raspberry Pi 2 and Windows 10

There is a new Raspberry Pi... the Raspberry Pi 2:
"Let’s get the good stuff out of the way above the fold. Raspberry Pi 2 is now on sale for $35 (the same price as the existing Model B+), featuring:
  • A 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU (~6x performance)
  • 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM (2x memory)
  • Complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1
Because it has an ARMv7 processor, it can run the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu Core, as well as Microsoft Windows 10."

And the really interesting part:
"Windows 10 
For the last six months we’ve been working closely with Microsoft to bring the forthcoming Windows 10 to Raspberry Pi 2. Microsoft will have much more to share over the coming months. The Raspberry Pi 2-compatible version of Windows 10 will be available free of charge to makers.

Visit today to join the Windows Developer Program for IoT and receive updates as they become available."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Package Manager for Windows 10: OneGet

Install applications from the PowerShell command line in Windows 10:
"With Windows 10, however, we are finally getting an official package manager: OneGet. In the current build of Windows 10 Technical Preview, you can open up PowerShell and use OneGet to install thousands of applications with commands such as Find-Package VLCand Install-Package Firefox."
I'm not sure why the article says this is to the lament of Linux users.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Low Cost HP Windows Laptops

"HP's Stream brand will now encompass laptops with 11.6-, 13.3- and 14-inch screens, while tablets will be available with 7- or 8-inch screens; all the devices will run Windows 8.1. The Stream 7 tablet is the cheapest of the bunch, priced at just $100, while the Stream 8 will cost $150. The Stream 11 laptop will cost $200, followed by the Stream 13 at $230. All the devices will go on sale in November."
It would be worth it for this alone... Office 365 Personal is $70/year:
"Each device will come with a one-year subscription package to Microsoft services that includes Office 365 Personal, 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage and 60 monthly minutes of Skype. Additionally, the Stream 8 will include 200MB of free 4G data each month for the life of the device at no additional cost."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Upside Down

So Apple had to pull back the iOS 8.0.1 update. And now there is the Shellshock BASH vulnerability.

Time to upgrade your Mac or Linux box to Windows for a secure computing environment!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Old School

Spent my day building a Windows 2003 Server with SQL Server 2000 (SP3a) on an old PowerEdge 2600. Good times. Don't be too jealous.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Group Policy

Random comment... I love Group Policy.

It is a wonderful tool for lazy admins.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Friends

This week my friends have included:

Two XP machines suddenly lost their minds. A little Recovery Console magic got them going again:
"Use this command to write the new Windows boot sector code on the system partition. In the command syntax, drive name is the drive letter where the boot sector will be written. This command fixes damage in the Windows boot sector. This command overrides the default setting, which writes to the system boot partition. The fixboot command is supported only on x86-based computers."
netstat -a
A computer that should be a good machine would take an incredibly long time to open Excel, Word, and Reader files. If you were in the application and did a File | Open everything was quick. Netstat allowed me see that the computer was trying to connect to a server that had been retired. It was just spinning its wheels until it timed out. I ended up adding the old server name to DNS and pointing it to the new server.

Hiren's BootCD
A great general purpose boot disc with lots of tools, but I used it for NTPWEdit 0.3 to reset a customer's password on an XP box. Download here.

Microsoft Program Install and Uninstall Fixit troubleshooter
A client had tried re-installing a tool on his laptop, but it wouldn't complete successfully. It kept throwing an "Error 1706. No valid source could be found for product VeriFire Tools. The Windows Installer cannot continue."  I ran the Fixit troubleshooter from here to clean-up the broken installs. (I had to run it four times as the software showed up four times and each one needed to be removed.)

Lots of other good stuff recently, too... playing with Server 2012, Exchange 2010, a Juniper firewall, a MondoPad, Trend cloud anti-virus, etc.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Windows Defender Offline

Looks like a handy tool. I've used various recovery discs including those based on Windows PE.

From Mark Minasi's latest newsletter:

"You know Windows Defender.  It's been built into Windows since (if memory serves) Vista.  It fought spyware in Vista and Windows 7, and then Microsoft expanded its focus to include regular old virus-y malware in Windows 8/8.1.  It's a perfectly nice in-the-box tool, but like all anti-malware tools, it hasn't a chance to detect the strains of malware designed to hide themselves in plain site, malware with a kind of "cloaking device" wherein the malware modifies the operating system so that scanning an infected file just turns up a "nope, no malware, nobody but us chickens in here!" report.  And if you're on this mailing list, the chances are very good that you know that we call such hard-to-detect malware "rootkits."

Invisible malware like rootkits sounds dire, but given that they can only remain invisible while the infected OS is running, there's an obvious way to find them -- run the malware scanner under another, uninfected OS.  One way to do that would be to physically remove the boot hard disk of the machine in question, plug it into an uninfected machine and scan the questionable drive, but that's a lot of work.

The better answer arrived a few years ago when Microsoft released a free, cut-down version of Windows that fits on a CD or a USB stick called "Windows PE" and I'm hoping that most of you are using it now for maintenance and deployment tasks.  (Look at Newsletter 59 if you've never created a USB stick.  I use it heavily in my free Steadier State tool as well as when trying to revive dead systems.)  Anyway, WinPE's great, but there wasn't much in the way of anti-malware tools that could run atop WinPE.  Microsoft fixed that by building and giving away a WinPE image that includes a version of Defender -- they call it "Windows Defender Offline -- built right in.  Stick it on a USB stick or CD, cold boot a system with it and rootkits are revealed.  Neat.  You can find it here with download links at the bottom of the page:

Permit me to offer a few notes on it:

1) This is NOT new, as Defender Offline's been around since December 2011.  I'm telling you about it in February 2014, however, because I mention it a LOT when I do talks and invariably get totally blank looks from 98% of the crowd.  (That's true even when I'm talking to security experts.  Eek.)  If you're on my mailing list, the chances are that you're Windows tech support for SOMEBODY, whether you're getting paid for it or not, and starting off with a rootkit check can save you a whole LOT of time.  I recommend that everyone reading this put Offline Defender on a USB stick and keep it in their bag of tricks.  (I've found that Sony's "Microvault" USB sticks are a nicely matte white, allowing me to write on them with a Sharpie to keep track of which USB stick is the Defender, which runs Clonezilla, and so on.  If anyone out there knows a cheaper USB stick that you can write on, please drop me a line.)

2) As I mentioned before, this works perfectly well on Windows Server.  We had a malware scare a few months ago and I tested my Server 2012 systems with it, and it didn't refuse to run on a Server SKU.  Similarly, I've got an ISO of Defender Offline that I boot my Hyper-V VMs from when I need to test them for rootkits as well.)

3) I've just noticed that the Defender Offline page says that you need a newer version, a Windows Defender Offline beta, to run it on Windows 8.1 systems.  I'm fairly certain that I've run Defender Offline on my 8.1 systems, but if Microsoft says you need the beta, I guess you should get it for 8.1 and presumably 2012R2."