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Friday January 15th 2021

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Q&A Monday:How can I display computer information on my desktop?

Question:

I was visiting another data center and while given a glimpse of their servers, I saw on the desktops of their server had their server information.  I’ve seen this at other companies, and with the large amount of physical and virtual servers I have in my data center, it would help me keep the server information viewable just by logging in.

Answer:

Good Question.  I think one of the first things a new administrator to a job should do, if it’s not already done, is do this exact thing to a server.  When you start out at a new job, the specs/ip addresses/OS Versions are hard to keep track of, so I do this exact thing.  It helps me look at a server…and know what the type and specs are.  So I set it up, so on the lower left of my screen I get something like this:

This is something that is actually very easy to set up.  It’s a product called BgInfo from Sysinternals.com.  Don’t worry it’s Free and quick to install and configure. (download). 

  1. Download and Unzip the file
    (NOTE: I downloaded the zip file to a folder I created in Progam Files)
  2. I went into schedule tasks
  3. click “Add Schedule Task”
  4. Next
  5. Click Browse
  6. Browse to the programs folder or unzip locations and select the bginfo.exe
  7. Name it whatever you want and for now schedule it to run daily, click next
  8. We’re going to add other settings, so just click next
  9. Enter the running credentials
  10. Then click on “Open Advanced Properties for this task when I click finished” and click finish
  11. At the end of the RUN text section (after bginfo.exe in the path) add   /timer:0
  12. Click Schedule Tab
  13. Click Advanced Click repeat task…and set it to whatever you interval you want…I did 10 minutes.
  14. Click OK

Now the program is set to run when someone logs in and will update at whatever interval you set.  Then start the program for the first time, browsing to where the file was placed and click the bginfo.exe and you’ll get the options:

Here you can select what the program displays and what font and size it is displayed.  I usually don’t use all the settings, I usually limit it to what I need to see on the servers.  You can also choose where the information is displayed on the screen, as in lower corner or upper corner…or even centered.

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If  you have any questions that you want Jim to answer, from business servers to home computers, drop him a line at me@jimguckin.com, and he’ll try to answer your question.  Check back every Monday for a new Question and Answer session, and check back Wednesday and Friday for other technical insights.

Blackberry Java Exception

    A Blackberry was handed to me, that wouldn’t turn on the Bluetooth on the device.  When I would click to turn it on…it would try and then uncheck the box and show me a red X.  Going to the Bluetooth options or attempting to connect the Bluetooth would do nothing…I could click and click and nothing would happen.  When I rebooted the device, the first message I would see was:

"Uncaught exception:java.lang.illegal argument exception"

I did some searching around the internet for the Bluetooth problems and I didn’t find anything of real use to me.  Then I thought maybe these two issues (The Bluetooth and Java Exception) were the same thing.  Though like a lot of searching around the internet, I found a couple different answers.

The first option had me pushing down the default and company policies from the Blackberry Enterprise Server down to the device and remove the battery and then see if that worked.  Well it didn’t do it for me.  So I decided to start to uninstall the applications to see if one of them was the cause…and it was a dead end…when restarted it popped up the same error.  I went into the option and went to do a security wipe, and one of the options just let me do the programs and tried that…once again no success.  Finally, I did a full security wipe:

1. From the home screen, press the Menu button.

2. Select Options.

3. Select Security Options.

4. Select Security Wipe.

5. Check all the items

6. Type blackberry in the box.

When it rebooted the message was gone and all I needed to do was to do the Blackberry Enterprise Activation and get the users information synced back up.  Problem solved and all in about 2 hours…less next time around, when I can just wipe it and get it back.

Q&A Monday: Move Files to New Computer

Question:

Hi,

I have an XP SP3 setup that I’ve tweaked to perfection (for me at least) and would like to maintain those files and settings when I get a new PC.

Both machines have ASUS motherboards, the old with Intel Core 2 Duo E8400, the new with Intel i5. I have done some research into sysprep but it seems able to be used in a number of ways. For example, to deploy many copies of the same configuration. I just don’t know whether it can be used to migrate a single setup to a new hardware environment.

I suppose my question is:

What’s the easiest way to migrate the setup I have now, to the new machine?

Answer:

The quickest (and easiest in my opinion) is using the File and Settings Transfer Wizard. It’s done in two parts, one on the current PC and the other on the newer PC:

Step 1: Get the files and the settings from the old computer
On the old computer, click Start, then All Programs, then to Accessories, finally to System Tools, and then click Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.

In the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard dialog box, click Next, and then click Old Computer.

Click Next, and then select a transfer method, such as Floppy drive or other removable media.

Click Next, and then click the option that corresponds to the items that you want to transfer. For example, you can click Settings only, Files only, or Both files and settings.

Click Next two times, and then wait as the “Files and Settings Transfer Wizard” processes the items to transfer.

Click Finish.

Step 2: Transfer the files and the settings to the new computer
On the new computer, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.

In the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard dialog box, click Next, and then click New Computer.

Click Next, and then click I don’t need the Wizard Disk. I have already collected my files and settings from my old computer.

Click Next, and then select a transfer method, such as Floppy drive or other removable media.

Note You must select the same transfer method that you selected on the old computer.

Click Next, and then wait as the “Files and Settings Transfer Wizard” processes the items to transfer.

Click Finish.

I’ve used this method many time with great sucess. I mostly used SysPrep if I plan to image the old machine and redeloy that image on the new system. This isn’t out of the question, but you would need to have an imaging software (like Symantec Ghost). Let me know if this helps.

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If  you have any questions that you want Jim to answer, from business servers to home computers, drop him a line at me@jimguckin.com, and he’ll try to answer your question.  Check back every Monday for a new Question and Answer session, and check back Wednesday and Friday for other technical insights.

Dell PowerVault NAS 8002801d error

Ok, so if you are reading this entry, then that means like me, you are administering a Dell PowerVault NAS error and when going to certain managment websites you got one of the following errors:

Persistent Images to Restore, error ‘8002801d’ ,Library not registered. /snapshots/psm_vr_list.asp, line 513

Volume Settings, error ‘8002801d’ ,Library not registered. /snapshots/psm_setup_list.asp, line 399

Persistent Images, error ‘8002801d’ ,Library not registered. ,/snapshots/psm_pi_list.asp, line 640

Now looking around the internet for the answer is really a hit or miss kind of way of solving this problem.  I spent a good chunk of time trying to track down this problem, because I didn’t know what the server contained and what it was doing, so a reformat wasn’t the best option.  Plus like in many IT senerios one of the RAID 5 Array’s disks have failed and didn’t want to put the stress on the other, possibly causing one of them to fail as well.  So after exhaustive research I found the solution…it was so simple…that I spent a good time mad after it worked, because it was one of those kind of answers:

Start->Run
regsvr32 %systemroot%\system32\vbscript.dll 
Start->Run
 regsvr32 %systemroot%\system32\jscript.dll

Then it worked again and my ActiveArchives part of the NAS server worked again no problem.  I don’t expect many people to run into this issue, but I did see others looking for a similar answer which is why I posted it here…that and if I run into this again…I want to save myself the stress, by making this note.

Q&A Monday: Finding Enabled Active Directory Users

Question:

We are looking at a couple different software packages for several processes in my company, though a lot of vendors are charging by active AD accounts.  Is there a way to just find all enabled active directory accounts, without having to goto all OU’s and count them.

Answer:

I have been there many times, and I know that sorting through that information can be a headache.  You are lucky there is a command line way to find out the enabled users in Active directory.  Depending on how long your been the admin of the servers it might have been a command that you’ve used before.

Export to a Text File
DSQuery * -Filter “(&(sAMAccountType=805306368)(!(userAccountControl:1.2.840.113556.1.4.803:=2)))” -Attr samAccountName -Limit 0 >EnabledAccount.txt

Export to a CSV
DSQuery * -Filter “(&(sAMAccountType=805306368)(!(userAccountControl:1.2.840.113556.1.4.803:=2)))” -Attr samAccountName -Limit 0 >EnabledAccount.csv

You can change the EnabledAccount.csv(or .txt) to whatever you want.  You want to remember that whatever directory you are in when in the command prompt, is where the file where be stored.  (Note: Most of the time it’ll be C:\Documents and Settings\%UserAccount%\EnabledAccount.csv – where C: is your hard drive and %useraccount% is the user your currently logged on with.)

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If  you have any questions that you want Jim to answer, from business servers to home computers, drop him a line at me@jimguckin.com, and he’ll try to answer your question.  Check back every Monday for a new Question and Answer session, and check back Wednesday and Friday for other technical insights.

Q&A Wednesday: Screen Saver Group Policy

Since I for some reason thought that Monday was Wednesday, it only seems right for me to post Q&A Monday on Wednesday:

Question:

Hi

I am currently running Windows 2003 on my servers.  I have two DC’s in my environment.  Clients are running Windows XP.  I have 5 OUs created for the varying users in the different departments in my organisation.

I created a GPO, going through AD – > Selecting the OU -> Add new GPO -> Called it screen saver

Enabled the Hide Screen Saver tab, Enabled Screen Saver, Password protect the screen saver and screen saver timeout 900 seconds.  Performed the gpupdate command on the DC.  However I left the system idle for 15 minutes and the system did not lock and the screen saver tab is still available.  Am I missing a step.  What is required for this to be activated.


Anwser:

This sounds like a mistake that I have made many times when I first started messing with Group Policy.  I would check to make sure that your users are in the OU that the Group Policy Object is tied to.  If they aren’t then your policy wont stick unless it’s the defualt domain policy.  Once you confirm that, on the workstations run “gpupdate/force” (without the quotes) and that will force the XP workstations to look to the domain controller for the updated settings.  Let me know if that helped you.

——————————————————————————————–
If  you have any questions that you want Jim to answer, from business servers to home computers, drop him a line at me@jimguckin.com, and he’ll try to answer your question.  Check back every Monday for a new Question and Answer session, and check back Wednesday and Friday for other technical insights.

SysPrep for Windows Server 2008

I was going sysprep a base image of Windows Server 2008 today and followed my usual method of SysPreping a machine…when I noticed somethin. I went to the DVD and couldn’t find sysprep anywhere. figuring my last entry might have been wrong I looked around and discovered that sysprep is installed by default on Windwos Server 2008. You can find it at:

c:\Windows\System32\sysprep\sysprep.exe

The experience is also streamlined considerably. Simply run sysprep.exe above and you are presented with:

Check the “Generalize” checkbox which regenerates system SID (you don’t want to forget this), then change the Shutdown Options to “Shutdown”, and click OK. The system then goes through the sysprep process al by itself and then shuts itself down.

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