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HP notes – update BIOS from F10

December 30, 2016 Comments off

I got a friends-and-family return-from-lease HP 8100 workstation.  No RAM, no disk, just the basic workstation.  I am trying to install Windows 10, but I’m having issues with the OS install failing.  HP notes point to an out-of-date BIOS.  The challenge is how to update the BIOS when you have no OS installed.

      1. 1. Download the BIOS update (EXE file) from the HP site.
      2. 2. Extract the ISO file from the EXE using 7-Zip.
      3. 3. Burn the ISO to a CD (and put CD in the CD/DVD drive)
      4. 4. Boot the system, press F10, select Update BIOS, point to the CD.
    1. This wasn’t obvious, nor was it documented *anywhere* on the HP site.  Lots of references to pre-2002 HP tools and the like.  I hope someone finds this useful.
Categories: hardware, Microsoft Tags: ,

Microsoft Help file not displaying on Windows 7

December 5, 2014 Comments off

I wanted to document this issue because if it happened to me, there’s probably someone else who is experiencing this issue. I downloaded the Exchange 2013 Help file and opened it locally. Nothing displayed. Nothing at all. The right display pane was blank.

I searched online a bit, and finally found the culprit – the file was flagged when I downloaded and I needed to Unblock the file before it could be opened locally.

clip_image002 => clip_image004

Click Unblock, and everything displays correctly. I was really scratching my ass over this one.

clip_image006=>  image

Categories: Microsoft Tags:

Big Changes Ahead

May 19, 2014 Comments off

I’m just back from TechEd 2014.  I was drinking Microsoft Kool-Aid from the firehose for a week.  I can summarize it in one word – “Cloud” (capital “C”).  This is an oversimplification, but that was the theme.

I came home totally committed to testing the Microsoft Cloud.  My original intent was to consolidate all my cloud services to one.  I did a quick analysis, and focused on the ‘top tier’ providers – Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and Google Drive.  Based on my current ‘investment’, it came down to OneDrive and Google Drive and Google won for one reason – it seems that OneDrive has decided that random files need to be deleted.  For no obvious reason I find files in the Recycle Bin on multiple computers.  Most recently this was the PowerPoint and other docs I downloaded from TechEd.

Right now, I’m paying $1.99/month for 100GB of Google Drive storage.  This will tide me over until at least the Fall.

Next project is migrating my web sites (including this blog) to a Virtual Private Server.

Categories: Google, Internet, Microsoft Tags: , ,

Computer Backup Recommendations

April 28, 2012 No comments

This is the first in a series of reference articles that answer frequently asked questions from friends, family, and clients.  I will update these articles as required. 
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or recommendations.

Required hardware and software
    Software – Acronis TrueImage 2012
    Hardware – external hard drive – USB, eSATA, Firewire

Overview
I recommend imaging all PC systems.  Imaging the system is easy, and fast (1GB/min typically).  Imaging software takes a ‘snapshot’ of your computer.  This snapshot can be used to restore your system automatically.  By restore, I mean if your hard drive dies, you can install a new drive (same size or larger), and restore *everything* in one operation – Operating System (Windows), applications, and data.  After the restore, your system will be *exactly* where it was when you performed the backup.

In addition, the image can be used to restore individual files and folders, but more importantly, if your system is compromised due to a virus or system problem, you can restore the entire system back to a known, good state.

Acronis (and other imaging software) can be configured to image your system on a schedule (Friday nights for example).  You can also setup the software to automatically shut down your computer after the backup is completed.  I typically do this monthly on all our computers, setting up the jobs before I got to bed and having the system shut down.

We have three external USB drives – one reserved for my business systems, and two for home systems.  All my backup drives are encrypted (I use Bitlocker).  I recommend selecting a hard drive with enough capacity to hold at least two backup images for all your systems.

Reference links
Rosewill RX-358 V2 BLK (Black) 3.5″ SATA to USB & eSATA Enclosure w/Int.80mm fan
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817173042

Acronis True Image Home 2012 – upgrade and special offers often available from Acronis
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

Acronis TrueImage Home 2012 from Newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832200030

Why I hate Prometric for Microsoft Certification Exams

December 18, 2010 4 comments

Why doesn’t Prometric recruit another location in New Jersey (specifically Mount Laurel) for IT professionals to take Microsoft and other certification exams?

Why doesn’t Prometric fix it’s web site?  It’s 2010, and a company that has a monopoly on Microsoft Certification Exams should have a web site that is more reliable than my personal web site.

Why do I rant about Prometric?  Let me count the ways.  Better yet, I’ll just recount the exam I took yesterday.

First, registering for the exam.  For several days (yes, days…), I tried to connect to the Prometric web site.  It timed out when I tried to find the nearest location to take an exam.  Not once, not twice, but I could not connect for several days.  I tried different browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox), and different locations (client site with huge bandwidth, my home with Comcast BLAST! broadband).  No joy.

Next, I confirmed that there is only one test location near me.  One.  There used to be three in Mount Laurel, and one in Medford that were within fifteen minutes.  Now there is one.  They have two seats, and Microsoft Exams require you book for three hours, so they can only accommodate four tests per day.  In Mount Laurel we have a HUGE group of engineering, networking, software development, and infrastructure people and companies who employ them.  Northrup Grumman, Lockheed, Computer Associates, Cisco, NetApp, Continental Resources (where I work!), CSC, and others.

One testing location with two seats.  That’s what we have.  Next closest is Philadelphia.  Minimum time to travel is 45 minutes to Philly.  You can take the PATCO high speed line, or drive.  It’s close, but it takes a minimum of 45 minutes each way, and that’s assuming you can find a parking spot or take PATCO and walk.  Garage parking in center city Philadelphia can be $20.  The cheapest lot parking is $9, and it’s at 23rd and Arch Streets, which is 20 blocks from one of the two test centers in Philadelphia.

In my case, the closest available seats were at Delaware County Community College.  It’s a great testing center, but it’s 50 minutes from my house, and the only way to get there is I95 and the Blue Route (or the Delaware County Parking Lot as I like to call it). 

After driving for an hour, and finding the Testing Center, I waited for almost two hours.  Why?  Because the staff had problems logging into the testing computer.  Apparently the account(s) they used were locked out. 

TWO HOURS.  I left the house at 9:05 and arrived at the testing center around 10:10.  I sat down to take the exam just before noon.  The exam took 45 minutes, and I spent 15 minutes doing the Survey to bitch about deficiencies with Prometric.  I then went to my client site to perform billable work.  So, instead of taking an exam locally, with a total elapsed time of 60 minutes, no, let’s assume I stop for coffee, make that 90 minutes, It took me from 9AM until 1PM to take an exam.  FOUR HOURS.  Due to the location, I was still an hour away from my client’s site (Blue Route had a lane closure and Friday afternoon traffic).  My total elapsed time was five hours from my house to my client site. 

OK, Prometric, the ball is in your court.  I left my e-mail and cell phone contact information on your web site, Microsoft eval, and e-mail to your company.  I haven’t heard back yet, and I bet you don’t call.  I’ll call you on Monday to touch base and post a follow-up here.

Download details: Remote Desktop Connection Manager

October 5, 2010 1 comment

Download details: Remote Desktop Connection Manager.

Remote Desktop Connection Manager.  The latest release is 2.2, 5/27/2010.  This is an awesome tool to centralize and manage lots of remote servers.  You can set standards for RDP sessions, and override the defaults on a connection basis.

I setup a Group for each client which allows me to stay organized when I go from client to client.  It would also be very useful in a corporate environment where you manage many servers at different sites.

Categories: Microsoft, Software Tags:

One Click control to UAC through UAC controller tool Technoweblog

July 25, 2010 No comments

One Click control to UAC through UAC controller tool

via One Click control to UAC through UAC controller tool Technoweblog.

Interesting add-on to manage UAC (User Access Control) for Vista and Windows 7.

Categories: Microsoft Tags:

You Had Me At EHLO… : iOS 4 and Exchange ActiveSync

July 5, 2010 No comments

 

 

iOS 4 and Exchange ActiveSync

You Had Me At EHLO… : iOS 4 and Exchange ActiveSync

I haven’t seen this yet, but be aware.  iPhone 4 issues with Exchange ActiveSync.

  1. Exchange administrators are seeing heavier than normal loads on their servers from users with iOS devices
  2. Email, calendar, or contacts are not syncing
  3. iPhone is not working with Google Apps over Exchange ActiveSync

If you see any of these symptoms, I highly recommend upgrading your iPhone to an Android device.  If this is not possible, check out the Microsoft Exchange Team Blog link above.

Categories: Microsoft Tags: , ,

Stop Paying for Windows Security; Microsoft’s Security Tools Are Good Enough

June 10, 2010 No comments

 

Stop Paying for Windows Security; Microsoft’s Security Tools Are Good Enough

I have been using Microsoft Security Essentials since it was in beta.  It does a good job, with very low overhead, and high rate of accuracy, including malware and Trojans. 

If you use Security Essentials, keep your workstation patched, and use multiple browsers with ad blocking software, you can feel pretty secure running Windows.

Microsoft Security Essentials
http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

Recommended Firefox Add-Ons – AdBlock Plus
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865/

Recommended Chrome Extensions – AdBlock v2.0
https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom

 

 

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Categories: Microsoft, security Tags: