Tag Archives: Windows

ShadowOverlay

[UPDATE] – New version uploaded.

This little application will allow you to shadow part of your screen while maintaining full screen brightness. This is to prevent prying eyes from easily reading for example an IM conversation.

The application is in early alpha and has not been properly tested. For now it will only allow you to shadow the left side of your screen starting from the top. When you start the application you will see an option window where you can set width and height as well as overlay opacity. If you can’t see it, right click the little smiley with the sunglasses in your system tray and click options.

The overlay is click through so you can work with your background application properly. I’ll try to add more features when I have time, such as positioning, different overlay colors and such.

I take no responsibility for damage or software loss caused by this application. It is in early alpha and has not been thoroughly tested. You have been warned.

1.0.0.5 – https://www.dropbox.com/s/bfpu0wxd2fesxji/shadowoverlay1005.zip
Supports saving and loading profiles (with limitations). Other tiny changes.

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Checking recovery models in MS SQL Server

We have quite a few databases that have been added to our SQL environment by 3rd parties. The default recovery model is “Full”, yet a lot of the databases have no scheduled transaction log backups. What does this mean?

Well, a database with “Full” recovery model will never reclaim space in LDF files unless a transaction log backup is run. A full database backup isn’t enough.

So the options here are: set recovery model to simple, or make sure you have backup jobs in place to empty your log files periodically.

Here’s how to list all your databases and their associated recovery models:

SELECT name AS [Database Name],
recovery_model_desc AS [Recovery Model]
FROM sys.databases
GO

WSUS on port 8530, or: FATAL: Failed to show client UI, directive=7, hr=80010108

EDIT: Since our friends at SolarWinds have found their way onto my (small and insignificant) blog and had things to say (and sell?), I feel I need to make a comment here. While I appreciate the comments made to this post, I would also like to clarify that this blog is intended primarily to document errors and solutions I come across in my daily work routine for myself and my colleagues. I’ve allowed Google to crawl the site because it may be of help to someone else as well. I post solutions as I stumble upon them, when they fix my specific error. I do not spend hours researching the exact causes, or if something can be done better. I document as I go, during a hectic work day. So, I would like any readers here to keep in mind that my solutions may not work for you or your setups, and I may get things wrong.

If you would like, have a look at the comment made in this post by a SolarWinds employee. Like I state in my reply, this is what worked for me. I have no idea if the tool recommended by SW is better or not, and as things stand right now, I have no time or need to find out. If anyone has this issue and isn’t helped by my solution, or would like to try something else, by all means try the SW linked application.

ORIGINAL POST:

If you configure WSUS to run on a different port (default seems to be 8530), chances are you’ll see your clients pop up in WSUS, but never report any status. A test with Client Diagnostic Tool will present you with an error message in red stating that:

FATAL: Failed to show client UI, directive=7, hr=80010108

This message appears because the client cannot find the SelfUpdate tree on the WSUS server. The issue here, is that even though you specify WSUS to run on a different port, you MUST have the SelfUpdate virtual directory present on port 80. As far as I know, this cannot be changed.

If you, like me, have a system using port 80 that does NOT allow you to map subdirs (Like F-Secure Policy Manager), you’re out of luck using that server for WSUS unless you can change the port of that other application. I’m now running F-Secure PM on port 82 instead, and WSUS is happily chugging along.

Fixing the issue is easy peasy once you can have your default site available in IIS or Apache or whatever. Just copy the path used for SelfUpdate in the WSUS Administration site into a new virtual directory named Selfupdate in the default port 80 website:

wsuspath

That should do it. Try running the Client Diagnostic Tool again and you should have it pass, along with WSUS clients starting to report in (keep in mind that this will still happen at random).

Enable automatic logon in Windows 7

Start by editing a registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Edit the key named AutoAdminLogon and change the value data to 1

After that, run the command netplwiz and uncheck “Require users to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete”. This option can be found in the Advanced tab.

Once you hit Apply, you should be greeted with a new form:

Fill this out with the account details for the account you wish to auto logon. Voila.

NOTE:

On a few occasions, the last window prompting you to enter user data hasn’t shown up for me, and I’ve been able to remedy it by ticking “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” on the Users tab, hitting Apply, and unticking it again, then hitting Apply again.

Remove the BDEDrive partition created by MDT installation

I’ve wanted to shrink the primary partition on a couple of workstation in order to install other operating systems (Linux) alongside Windows 7. In order to do this, the BDEDrive partition needs to go.

This partition is created by MDT by default, but can be disabled in a setting (DoNotCreateExtraPartition=YES in customsettings.ini).

I haven’t really done any research on what the partition is for. I’m assuming BitLocker which I don’t use anyway.

Here’s how you get rid of BDEDrive:

bcdboot c:\windows /s c:

Now, feel free to delete the BDEDrive partition. Remember to mark your Windows partition as Active before rebooting.

Create a bootable USB installer for Windows 7/Server 2008

This short guide will show you how to create a bootable USB installer containing Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 (It may work with more Windows versions, I just haven’t tried anything besides these two).

First, Make sure you have a mounted ISO or an inserted DVD containing the operating system you plan to use. Also, you’ll need a USB memory key.. 4GB should be adequate.

Open an administrative command prompt and type the following:

diskpart
list disk

Before proceeding, make sure you know which disk # points to your USB drive. You don’t want to go cleaning your system drive by mistake.

select disk 1
clean
create partition primary
select partition 1
active
format fs=fat32 quick
assign
exit

Now we need to make the USB drive bootable. E: in my example is the DVD drive containing my Windows install DVD, and Q: the USB drive.

e:
cd boot
bootsect /nt60 q:

Copy the contents of the Windows DVD to the root of your USB drive and you should be all set!

Running Remote Administration Tools with different credentials

Since my domain user doesn’t have administrator privileges, I need to use a different approach to launching MMC snap-ins. There are no options to setting users in the snap-ins, so the only way I’ve found, is by using the runas-command in shortcuts. I’ve included icon paths as well since runas.exe doesn’t have them..

Here are a few examples:

Active Directory Administrative Center (%windir%\system32\dsacn.dll)

C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /savecred /user:DOMAIN\admin_user "%windir%\system32\dsac.exe"

Users and Computers (%SystemRoot%\system32\dsadmin.dll)

C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /savecred /user:DOMAIN\admin_user "mmc dsa.msc"

Domains and Trusts (%SystemRoot%\system32\domadmin.dll)

C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /savecred /user:DOMAIN\admin_user "mmc domain.msc"

Sites and Services (%SystemRoot%\system32\dsadmin.dll)

C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /savecred /user:DOMAIN\admin_user "mmc dssite.msc"

Group Policy Management (%SystemRoot%\system32\gpoadmin.dll)

C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /savecred /user:DOMAIN\admin_user "mmc gpmc.msc"

DHCP (%windir%\system32\dhcpsnap.dll)

C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /savecred /user:DOMAIN\admin_user "mmc dhcpmgmt.msc"

DNS (%SystemRoot%\system32\dnsmgr.dll)

C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /savecred /user:DOMAIN\admin_user "mmc dnsmgmt.msc"