• 15Jul


    After 20 minutes of trying to figure out what happened the the Disk Clean up utility in Windows Server 2008, I found the Technet article that describes where to find it. There are 2 files already on the computer located in:

    C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_xxxx

    and

    C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_xxxx

    where xxxx is a bunch of numbers depending on your Windows version

    Place the cleanmgr.exe.mui file in C:\Windows\system32\en-us

    Put cleanmgr.exe file in C:\Windows\system32

  • 23Feb

    I was looking for an app that I would be able to share a shopping list and memos with my wife since I always seem to forget something when grocery shopping. And since everyone is on a budget these days, I would prefer something free. My first stop is usually at google. Google is always coming up with great free solutions, but in this case, the closest thing google had was to share a document using google docs. That’s not exactly what i was looking for.

    Then my wife found cozi.com. The site is designed for family centric information sharing. It reminds me of the refrigerator door but on the Web. Share shopping lists, to do lists, memos, and calendar appointments, meal plans, and recipes. Ok, here comes the best part, they have a moblie app for your smart phone that will synchronize with the site to make and check updates on the go. The simple interface is easy to navigate and use. Be prepared for some ads on the free mobile app but that seems to be the norm. If you upgrade to Cozi Gold you get some additional features such as additional reminders and sharing appointments with others and of course no ads.

  • 12Feb


    In challenging economic times like these it’s a tough decision between PC upgrades and the bills. Here are a few inexpensive upgrades that will make a big diffrence in performance.

    Soild State Hard Drive

    Technology has gotten to the point where the slowest componet of the computer is the hard drive. The hard drive is a mechanical device and is the most suceptable to failure. Solid state drives (SSD) use non-volitile memory chips similar to the ones in usb flash drives. This results in a speed increase in data retreival and a quiter and cooler running system. SSD drives are commonly used in netbooks. The price point has finally dropped to make it an affordable upgrade. In my opinion this is the biggest bang for your buck. A 64Gb SSD as of this writing is under $150 and replaces the noiseiest, least reliable, and slowest device in your box. Check out a previous post about SSD maintenance.

    Graphics card
    If you are using the intergrated video card on you motherboard you will see a decent improvement in performance by upgrading to a low to mid range graphics card. This upgrade could cost you more than you bargained for if you don’t do your homework. Some performance graphics may require addition power consdideration and motherboard support So you can’t just pick a high end graphics card and expect it to be a quick upgrade. If you do you research you will be surprised what a diffrence it can make even if all you do is write word docs or play farmville on facebook.

    Memory
    RAM is the cheapest it has ever been thanks to progress in process and technology. Newer operating systems and application have higher memory requirements and the feeling about memory has always been the more the better. Again you should do your research here and find out how much and what type of memory is compatible with you system. Cruicial.com is a good resource for memory research. When buying memory it is not just the amount but the speed. Make sure you get the highest speed RAM that works with you system. This make a larger diffrence than you may think. Keep in mind if the memory you have is slower speed than the upgrade you would want to replace the slower memory rather than add it to the faster memory since the RAM speed will be lowered to match the slower speed of the installed memory. Your memory wil only be as fast as slowest memory stick.

    Even one of theses upgrades can make a significant increase in performance.

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  • 26Jan


    The Apple iPad is light, user friendly, and offers a ton of useful applications. The popularity of the iPad with technical people iPad makes it a potential tech support tool especially when you are on the road. The iPad has built in wireless and can provide internet access from anywhere.
    However, this is not the first thing I would reach for if I were troubleshooting a server problem. The executives think the iPad is the best thing since solid state hard drives but I not sure if it’s the best tool for the job. If you just need a terminal session then it should do the job. If you are determined to use the iPad,  you could remotely control a remote computer where you had all the tools you needed to do tech support then you might be able justify using the iPad. The limiting factor for the iPad platform is  you can only install applications from the app store and it does not have the computing power to handle some tasks.  LogMeIn has an iPad application for remotely controlling a PC from the internet or you can use remote desktop if you are on a local network. This might be the deciding factor if your company has a strict software policy and does not allow the use if Log me in. Even if you remote to a another computer, the problem with Windows based applications is the iPad do not translate right-clicks and drags well and make it difficult to use.  So the verdict, you can use the iPad for a quick check on a server or PC, but an affordable netbook provides the portability and flexibility for a useful support tool.

  • 29Dec


    If you work with servers, you know you should take a backup of the server before making any change. Right? Well, servers are built for redundancy with dual power supplies, multiple network cards, and multiple hard drives to reduce downtime. Of course, your hard drives should also have redundancy. A typical scenario is to mirror the operating system drive so one drive can fail and the system can continue to function. You can take advantage of this feature by making sure you’re A.R.M.ED!

    Always
    Remove
    MirrorEd
    Drive

    By removing one of the mirrored drives before making any changes gives you a back out in case things go wrong. You can put the drive back in once the work is complete and the drive will synchronize the changes. If things go wrong, you can remove both drives and put back the drive that was removed before the change was made and the server will come up like it did before you screwed up.

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  • 16Nov



    Zero Assumption Recovery

    Oops! You formated your SD memory card and deleted all those pictures and music. There are a few things to get your files back. First, do not use the memory card for anything. Don’t put it back in your camera or phone. This will prevent you from overwriting the data on the memory card. In order to recover the files you will need to connect the memory card on your computer. If you don’t have a SD card slot on your computer, get a SanDisk ImageMate All-in-1 Flash Memory Card Reader. After you connect the memory card con your computer the next step is to run some software.

    Download and install zero assumption recovery tool. There is a free trial but it will only let you drill down 4 levels deep into folders. If your pictures are importsnt to you you should shell out the $30 for the software. The website has a tutorial that explains exactly how to use the software.



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  • 26Mar


    I got my wife a Barnes and Noble Nook for Christmas… well I ordered it before Christmas. It shipped some time in January. In any case, I was really deciding between the Nook and the Amazon Kindle. Both of them were priced the same so it was a matter of the features that was going to determine the winner. They both have the same basic functionality such as E-Ink paper-like greyscale display, free wireless network access to download books, approximatly the same size screen and weight, and the ability to play mp3s. Some key features that I thought were an advantage over the Kindle:

    • Andrioid OS
    • Expandable memory slot (you have to remove the back cover to get to it)
    • PDF and EPUB format native support
    • 802.11b Wireless (only for use at B&N… for now)
    • replaceable battery
    • Small Color LCD screen (Menu and displays book covers…in color)

    The Andriod OS has been making a splash on phones and many apps have been written for it. It is also fairly open which it was not a surprise when I found out that they hacked to nook to play Pandora over the free AT&T wireless network. Add the expandable memory slot with the 802.11b wireless capablitity and the possibilities are endless. Ok, maybe I’m overdoing it. The fact that you have a free AT&T wireless connection and an Android OS based device appeals to the hacker in me.

    As far as reading ebooks, it does what is expected. You can adjust the font, font size and contrast so text is easier to see. Reading PDFs are as easy as connecting the nook to you PC via USB and copying the PDF to the mydocuments folder on the Nook’s internal memory storage. While you have your Nook connected, you can add some family photos to the mybackgrounds folder to see a grayscale version of your photo as a screen saver. You could also add some MP3 to listen to while you read, but at mono sound and with all the other mp3 players available, why bother. Since the Nook only uses battery to change the text on the screen and to power to tiny LCD screen, the battery life is  long as expected (days between charges). However, I noticed that if you have an extending reading session, like my wife sometimes does, you will have to charge it sooner than expected. One issue I had was the Nook would not charge when using the AC adapter, but it did charge using the USB directly to the PC. I called B&N support and after talking to an English speaking person, they shipped me a new AC adapter at no charge and with no hassle.

    If you are considering an iPad versus a Nook for reading e-books, you are comparing apples to oranges. There is a distinct difference between an Apple iPad and the Kindle or Nook. That is the back-lit screen. There is a camp of people that can not spend an extended period of time reading text on a monitor or LCD. That’s why e-book readers have an advantage over a netbook or PDA. The e-ink technology is as close to reading paper as you can get and the battery life sweetens the deal. If you can spend hours reading on a monitor, don’t bother getting an e-book reader. Go out and get yourself a netbook or drop extra cash on the latest Apple gadget.

    That said, the additional features on the Nook was the deciding factor in the battle of the e-readers. The only thing that I am worried about is how the Kindle market share will effect the number of ebooks available for Nook. Hope my decision pays off. Only time will tell.

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  • 25Mar

    We got this SCOM error last week along with a ton of the following warnings. Microsoft claims that this is a known issue that was supposed to be fixed with SCOM 2007 SP1 / SCOM 2007 R2, but I still encountered it running R2.

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: DataAccessLayer
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 26308
    Date:  3/11/2010
    Time:  11:30:01 AM
    User:  N/A
    Computer:
    Description:
    Query notification processing failed due to a sql exception.

    System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: A transport-level error has occurred when receiving results from the server. (provider: TCP Provider, error: 0 – The semaphore timeout period has expired.)
    at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection.OnError(SqlException exception, Boolean breakConnection)
    at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnection.OnError(SqlException exception, Boolean breakConnection)
    at System.Data.SqlClient.TdsParser.ThrowExceptionAndWarning(TdsParserStateObject stateObj)
    at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand.CheckThrowSNIException()
    at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand.InternalEndExecuteReader(IAsyncResult asyncResult, String endMethod)
    at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand.EndExecuteReader(IAsyncResult asyncResult)
    at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Mom.DataAccess.QueryNotificationManager.HandleNotifications(Object state)

    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Health Service Modules
    Event Category: Data Warehouse
    Event ID: 31569
    Date:  3/11/2010
    Time:  11:30:03 AM
    User:  N/A
    Computer:
    Description:
    Report deployment process failed to request management pack list from Data Warehouse. The operation will be retried.Exception ‘InvalidConnectionException’: ExecuteScalar requires an open and available Connection. The connection’s current state is closed.

    One or more workflows were affected by this.

    Workflow name: Microsoft.SystemCenter.DataWarehouse.Deployment.Report
    Instance name:
    Instance ID: {A18674C9-F1A9-98DA-3B94-DD88EAE278FB}
    Management group:

    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: HealthService
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 2115
    Date:  3/11/2010
    Time:  11:30:39 AM
    User:  N/A
    Computer:
    Description:
    A Bind Data Source in Management Group has posted items to the workflow, but has not received a response in 61 seconds.  This indicates a performance or functional problem with the workflow.
    Workflow Id : Microsoft.SystemCenter.CollectDiscoveryData
    Instance    :
    Instance Id : {A18674C9-F1A9-98DA-3B94-DD88EAE278FB}
    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: HealthService
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 2115
    Date:  3/11/2010
    Time:  11:30:39 AM
    User:  N/A
    Computer:
    Description:
    A Bind Data Source in Management Group  has posted items to the workflow, but has not received a response in 61 seconds.  This indicates a performance or functional problem with the workflow.
    Workflow Id : Microsoft.SystemCenter.CollectAlerts
    Instance    :
    Instance Id : {A18674C9-F1A9-98DA-3B94-DD88EAE278FB}
    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: HealthService
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 2115
    Date:  3/11/2010
    Time:  11:30:39 AM
    User:  N/A
    Computer:
    Description:
    A Bind Data Source in Management Group  has posted items to the workflow, but has not received a response in 61 seconds.  This indicates a performance or functional problem with the workflow.
    Workflow Id : Microsoft.SystemCenter.CollectPerformanceData
    Instance    : yksc1s3.ehit.org
    Instance Id : {A18674C9-F1A9-98DA-3B94-DD88EAE278FB}

    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: HealthService
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 2115
    Date:  3/11/2010
    Time:  11:31:18 AM
    User:  N/A
    Computer:
    Description:
    A Bind Data Source in Management Group  has posted items to the workflow, but has not received a response in 61 seconds.  This indicates a performance or functional problem with the workflow.
    Workflow Id : Microsoft.SystemCenter.CollectEventData
    Instance    :
    Instance Id : {A18674C9-F1A9-98DA-3B94-DD88EAE278FB}
    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: HealthService
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 2115
    Date:  3/11/2010
    Time:  11:31:18 AM
    User:  N/A
    Computer:
    Description:
    A Bind Data Source in Management Group  has posted items to the workflow, but has not received a response in 61 seconds.  This indicates a performance or functional problem with the workflow.
    Workflow Id : Microsoft.SystemCenter.CollectSignatureData
    Instance    : yksc1s3.ehit.org
    Instance Id : {A18674C9-F1A9-98DA-3B94-DD88EAE278FB}
    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    This is caused by a high number of sql queries to the Datawarehouse database. The work around is to add an override for the Event Data Collector rule in the Data warehouse connection server scope.
    The Execution Attempt Timeout Interval Seconds property was changed from 0 to 6 and the Max Execution Attempt Count was set from 0 to 10. Restart the System Center service on the RMS and any gateway servers.

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  • 22Feb


    The other day I was having some performance issues on my network, so I decided to see if there was an update to my Linksys router’s firmware. It’s a good idea to update your firmware occasionally since the manufacture’s can  fix bugs, add functionality, and increase security and performance. Check with your router’s documentation on how to update the firmware.
    On my Linksys router, I open a browser and type the router’s IP address (192.168.1.1 is the default on a Linksys router). Download the firmware file from the Linksys website. The router administration page displays, among other things, the current firm version of the router.  My router was version 1.02.6 and the latest was 1.02.7 so I decide to upgrade it. As part of  the firmware upgrade process the router will restart itself after the update.

    The upgrade was successful according to the status page. The router restarted and my web browser refreshed to the administration page that I was on before. Here’s where things got interesting.

    I noticed that after the upgrade my the firmware version on the router was 1.01.6 and not 1.02.7 as I expected. I thought that this was strange. “Did I download the wrong firmware file?”, I thought. So I re-downloaded the file and started the firmware upgrade process from the same page, just as I did before.

    This is when I noticed the wireless signal strength bars at the bottom of my taskbar were low. Usually they are full. That’s when I realized I was not connected to my router. I was upgrading my neighbor’s router!! Luckily it came back up fine.

    The mistake I made was upgrading my firmware via wireless. So when my router restarted, my computer automatically connected to a unsecured wireless connection. Coincidentally, this was the same router I was using and I was the screens that I would have seen on my router.  The lesson learned here is to connect your computer to a wired Ethernet port if you are going to upgrade you router.

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  • 17Feb


    I noticed one day that I stopped getting any SCOM alerts in my System Center Operation Manager 2007 R2 environment. As part of my troubleshooting I found a ton of the following warnings in the Operations Manager Event viewer. I contacted Microsoft tech support and discovered that my RMS was in maintenance mode. I had put my RMS in maintenance mode for 30 minutes when I did some windows updates, but it never come out of it. After stopping maintenance mode and re-starting the System Center Management service on the Root Management Server, alerts started coming in again. The Microsoft tech told me that you should never put your RMS in maintenance mode and when I asked to have some documentation where it said that, he said it does not exist. This a tip that they have discovered in their troubleshooting. During this time the RMS was unable to process agent requests, so the agent holds on to the notifications in a buffer until it can communicate with the RMS again. If you are getting this warning on the RMS there is a good chance that you lost any alerts that the agent was unable to store in the buffer.

    Event Type:      Warning

    Event Source:   OpsMgr Connector

    Event Category:            None

    Event ID:          20058

    Date:                2/6/2010

    Time:                2:00:17 PM

    User:                N/A

    Computer:

    Description:

    The Root Connector has received bad packets which have been dropped. It received 8374 such packet(s) in the last five minutes

    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.


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