Categoriearchief: Windows

Windows 7 and Windows 8 updates slow

The last few months, I've noticed brand new clean Windows 7 installs have a hard time updating for the first time. Doesn't matter if they are updating from the original Microsoft update service of from a WSUS server, the time until the first update sometimes can be hours.

This update is supposed to fix that. I haven't tried it myself yet:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3161608

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Delete KB3035583 to remove Windows 10 nag screen.

KB3035583 is the annoying "please update to windows 10" nag screen.

(This post is mostly a note to self.)

© GeekLabInfo Delete KB3035583 to remove Windows 10 nag screen. is a post from GeekLab.info. You are free to copy materials from GeekLab.info, but you are required to link back to http://www.geeklab.info
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Windows 7: Using symbolic links

Linux and unix have had this nifty little feature called symlinks (symbolic links) for decades. Windows has finally caught up with the new command mklink.

Windows Vista introduced the new command mklink, which was expanded in Windows 7.

Syntax

MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target
 
        /D      Creates a directory symbolic link.  Default is a file
                symbolic link.
        /H      Creates a hard link instead of a symbolic link.
        /J      Creates a Directory Junction.
        Link    specifies the new symbolic link name.
        Target  specifies the path (relative or absolute) that the new link
                refers to.

Examples

Link d:\myfile.txt (the file) to c:\something.txt (the link):

mklink c:\something.txt d:\myfile.txt

Make some crappy old program save its data to your fileserver directly by linking \\fileserver\data (target) to c:\program files\crappy-old-program\data (the directory).

mklink "c:\program files\crappy-old-program\data" \\fileserver\data /d
© GeekLabInfo Windows 7: Using symbolic links is a post from GeekLab.info. You are free to copy materials from GeekLab.info, but you are required to link back to http://www.geeklab.info
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Use dsacls to gain access to active directory policies

I've locked myself out of group policies a couple of times. When this happens to you, you can gain access again running the following command:

dsacls.exe "CN={GUID},CN=Policies,CN=System,DC=local" /R "Authenticated users"

© GeekLabInfo Use dsacls to gain access to active directory policies is a post from GeekLab.info. You are free to copy materials from GeekLab.info, but you are required to link back to http://www.geeklab.info
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Open EPS files with GIMP for Windows

To open EPS files on GIMP for Windows, you'll need to install GhostScript. You can download GhostScript here. After installing, you'll also need to configure a system environment variable: GS_PROG. This variable must point to the executable, in my case C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.05\bin\gswin32.exe.

Setting the environment variable is done in the advanced settings of "my computer".

© GeekLabInfo Open EPS files with GIMP for Windows is a post from GeekLab.info. You are free to copy materials from GeekLab.info, but you are required to link back to http://www.geeklab.info
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Setting up a PPTP VPN to a Windows 2008 Server

Requirements

Linux
KDE
A Windows server to connect to.

Step 1: Install required software

yum install kde-plasma-networkmanagement-pptp NetworkManager-pptp

Step 2: Configure the network

In the KDE Network Manager plasma module, go to the tab VPN, click add and choose PPTP.

Enter and connection name you like. In the field "gateway" type the hostname or IP number of the Windows server you're connecting to. Under Login, Password and NT Domain, fill in your authentication data. Then click advanced.

In the advanced window, disable EAP and enable MPPE. Then click OK.

Go to the tab IPv4. Under method, I chose Automatic (VPN). But Automatic (VPN) addresses only is also a nice option: it sets the IPs but no DNS settings.

Go to the routes sub-tab. Switch on Ignore automatically obtained routes and Use only for resources on this connection to make sure the connection doesn't steal your traffic. Then I entered a manual route: 192.168.178.0/255.255.255.0 to gateway 0.0.0.0 (it is a ppp device after all).

You may want to configure IPv6 as well, but I don't at this moment, so I'm not documenting this.

Step 3: Connect

Click on the icon in the tray and connect.

Ubuntu/Debian

I'm running RedHat-based software on all of my machines. Above information may be useful for Ubuntu/Debian users, but it's not tested and I'm not supporting it.

Servers: RedHat Enterprise Linux/CentOS is more suitable for servers, as there's a lot of professional level support available. I think that's important, because if I say, get a car accident, I want the servers to be managable by another professional.

Desktops/Laptops: RPM packages are pretty exchangable between RedHat-based platforms. That's a good reason to run Fedora on the desktop.
© GeekLabInfo Setting up a PPTP VPN to a Windows 2008 Server is a post from GeekLab.info. You are free to copy materials from GeekLab.info, but you are required to link back to http://www.geeklab.info
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MS Paint: Insufficient memory

One of my users got an annoying message when starting MS Paint (mspaint.exe):

Onvoldoende geheugen of bronnen om de bewerking te voltooien. Sluit enkele programma's af en probeer het opnieuw.

Which means:

Insufficient memory to complete operation. Close some programs and try again

Other resources suggested that the file opened was too big or that we're doing something with a .tiff file. But he was just starting paint, no images involved at that point. The solution was to open regedit and remove the following key:
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Paint
That reset all MS Paint settings and we could start paint again.

© GeekLabInfo MS Paint: Insufficient memory is a post from GeekLab.info. You are free to copy materials from GeekLab.info, but you are required to link back to http://www.geeklab.info
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Turn off Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration in Windows Server 2008

  • Start Server Manager (servermanager.msc)
  • Go to the top node named "Server Manager (SERVERNAME)"
  • On the right side, under server summary>Security information, disable IE Enhanced Security Configuration (ESC) for whoever you like.
© GeekLabInfo Turn off Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration in Windows Server 2008 is a post from GeekLab.info. You are free to copy materials from GeekLab.info, but you are required to link back to http://www.geeklab.info
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Windows 7 network awareness

After switching my network to a more strict proxy server recently, I found that Windows 7 machines were reporting they weren't connected to the internet anymore. While this is partly true, unauthenticated users can no longer just access http, users don't need to get this message.

The probing software is called Microsoft NCSI. What it does, is:

  1. perform a DNS lookup on www.msftncsi.com, and request http://www.msftncsi.com/ncsi.txt. This file is a plain-text file that contains only the text Microsoft NCSI.
  2. then do a DNS lookup request for dns.msftncsi.com. The answer should be an A-record resolving to 131.107.255.255. If no answer, or a wrong answer is given, NCSI assumes the internet connection is faulty.

I whitelisted www.msftncsi.com in my proxy to allow outbound http-connections from unauthenticated users to this domain.

© GeekLabInfo Windows 7 network awareness is a post from GeekLab.info. You are free to copy materials from GeekLab.info, but you are required to link back to http://www.geeklab.info
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Minimize Google Talk at startup

Google Talk has a function to automatically start on boot. However, it cannot minimalize automatically. To run Google Talk minimized by default, you'll need to use some external software.

CMDOW

I'm using a tool named cmdow to do the hiding for me. Cmdow is an extremely useful tool for showing, hiding, minimizing, resizing and closing windows. Unfortunately, some malware uses this functionality as well. Therefore, your virusscanner may tag cmdow as malware, but it actually isn't.

Scripting

Google Talk starts 'on boot'. Just a few seconds later we need to run the cmdow command. To do this, we create a .bat file in the Startup folder.

@echo off
rem The next line hides the batch file execution
cmdow @ /hid
rem The next line delays the batch exec for 4 seconds.
ping localhost
cmdow "Google Talk" /HID

© GeekLabInfo Minimize Google Talk at startup is a post from GeekLab.info. You are free to copy materials from GeekLab.info, but you are required to link back to http://www.geeklab.info
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