Friday, November 18, 2011

I Use This: Keepass

This is my favorite password manager. Loaded with features, F-R-E-E and cross-platform compatible (I use it on my Windows PC's, Macs and my Ubuntu rig). Keepass is a great way to get a handle on your passwords:

Windows version:

Other Platforms:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Scripting: Disable Admin-Related Auto-Starts on Windows Servers...

One thing I find really annoying about Windows Servers is the popups you get very time you log in for the first time ('Manage Your Server' for Windows Server 2003 and 'Server Manager' for Windows Server 2008). Of course you can check a box after the initial login to tell it not to pop up the next time you login, but that doesn't suppress it for anyone else who logs in. Also what if you are using MDT to create an image of a Server OS and would like to banish these popups for every login on *all* future deployments? There's probably a host of ways to do this, but I cracked it with the following batch scripts:

Disable Auto-Start Initial Configuration Tasks for Windows Server 2008:

@ECHO OFF ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: TITLE Disable Auto-Start Initial Configuration Tasks for Windows Server 2008 ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ECHO Disabling Auto-Start Initial Configuration Tasks for Windows Server 2008... ECHO. :: Change "DoNotOpenInitialConfigurationTasksAtLogon" value to "1" to disable the Initial Configuration Tasks Auto-Start: REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ServerManager\Oobe" /v DoNotOpenInitialConfigurationTasksAtLogon /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f :: Uncomment "PAUSE" to view script results: :: ECHO. :: PAUSE
Disable Auto-Start Manage Your Server for Windows Server 2003:

@ECHO OFF ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: TITLE Disable Auto-Start Manage Your Server for Windows Server 2003 ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ECHO Disabling Auto-Start Manage Your Server for Windows Server 2003... ECHO. :: Disable "Manage Your Server" Auto-Start for the current user: REG DELETE "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Setup\Welcome" /v srvwiz /f REG ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\srvWiz" /v CYSMustRun /t REG_SZ /d 0 /f :: Create policy to set "DisableShowAtLogon" value to "0" to disable "Manage Your Server" Auto-Start for subsequent logins: REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\MYS" /v DisableShowAtLogon /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f :: Uncomment "PAUSE" to view script results: :: ECHO. :: PAUSE
You can run them manually or add them to an MDT task sequence.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Scripting: Disable Network Location Wizard for Windows Vista-7-2008

Just set up custom CSS styling for <code> tags which should make it easier for me to post some of my favorite code snippets and scripts. Figured I'd start with a basic batch script I wrote to disable that annoying Network Location Wizard in Windows Vista-7-2008. Just copy and paste the following in your favorite text editor, save it with a .CMD or .BAT extension and run it:

@ECHO OFF ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: TITLE Disable Network Location Wizard for Windows Vista-7-2008 ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ECHO Disable Network Location Wizard for Windows Vista-7-2008... ECHO. :: Create blank key "NewNetworkWindowOff" to disable Network Location Wizard for all users: REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Network\NewNetworkWindowOff" :: Uncomment "PAUSE" to view script results: :: ECHO. :: PAUSE
This script can also be added to an MDT task sequence to automate the application of this setting during a deployment.

Tea: Kusmi Christmas tea arrived today...

Forgot to mention that with my Christmas Tea I also ordered two tins tin of "Four Red Fruits" Tea:

I like these two teas in particular because they have a very smooth non-astringent taste that makes them delicious "straight up" without milk (and I'm pretty religious about adding a drop of milk to my tea). I keep these two flavors along with the Prince Vladimir, Petruska and Violet teas from Kusmi in ready supply at my office (where I usually don't have access to fresh milk). All are very smooth drinking and quite tasty. Plus they give me just the right amount of "pep" to get through the day without bringing me down later (like coffee would).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Opinion: Cloud based storage solutions...

I have always felt the need for some form of local device-based storage will never truly go away. Still even I have to admit that cloud-based storage is getting a bit too awesome to ignore anymore. I've been using a personal Dropbox account for quite a while now to sync files across my WIndows, Mac, iOS and Linux devices and I simply cant disput the versatility of the platform. Recently my company made the decision to go with an Enterprise class Cloud Storage solution from I'm currently working on testing it internally and (if it lives up to its potential) it could really change the way our users interact with their data. Who knows, maybe this cloud stuff isn't all fluff after all...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas time fast approaches...

That means its time for... CHRISTMAS TEA! Just ordered mine from Kusmi:


Lots of great new 2012 releases from Microsoft...

Looks like 2012 will be a busy year for Microsoft SysAdmins. Microsoft has been on a roll here lately with the System Center and MDT product line. Check out these three great tools from Microsoft that just went RC1 or Beta 2:

System Center 2012 - Configuration Manager:

System Center 2012 - Operations Manger:

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012:

I have high hopes of successfully rolling these out at my company in 2012. If you're a SysAdmin working in a Windows environment, I suggest you make similar plans.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hope to get code snippets working soon...

I finished the script I mentioned yesterday. Had high hopes of posting it here, but it seems Blogger does not have a decent style setup for code blocks. I'm looking at a few solutions and hope to have one working soon..

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SCCM: Configuration Manager 2007 and 64-Bit Windows == YUCK...

Man what a nightmare. So apparently the fact that SCCM 2007 clients are 32-Bit means that 64-Bit Windows has a nasty tendency to redirect them to 32-Bit only processes, programs, etc. This is exceptionally irritating if you need to advertise a native x64 application with a script that needs to write some custom registry settings to the 64-Bit registry (no Microsoft, I don't want the Wow6432Node)! Thankfully I was able to find a script sample on the TechNet forums that included a function to force writes to the correct registry. I cleaned it up a bit and customized it to my application (Dameware Mini Remote Control Agent). Very useful script as its cross-architecture compatible. I'll try to post the code here later.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lets start with Tea...

Today I had two delicious teas. All by Kusmi Tea! I started the morning with a piping hot cup of Prince Vladimir with a bit of raw sugar (one of my favorite morning "pick-me-ups"). My 3-cup ceramic Amsterdam teapot got me through the day on that. Its November and although the day was warm there's still the unmistakable hint of Winter in the air. As I left work I had a twinge of longing for a warm fireplace. So when I arrived at home I decided to round the day out with a rich and smoky Samovar from Kusmi. I took that with a dollip of milk to cut the harshness of the smoke.  Delicious!

The first post...

I like Tea, I work in Technology and today I created a Blog.