Today I had the simplest of tasks to do. Make some software available for some users.
I always test out the software first to see if there are any issues etc.
I was given a CD with a piece of software on it, a single exe with a Username and Password to run it.
That didn’t work? After several attempts, I paid a bit more attention and realised that the Username and Password details were printed in reverse. I skim read the CD and see that it said Username and Password but didn’t notice they were the wrong way around!
So I swapped the Username and Password around and tried it again. Still no joy!

I left it for a bit as I had other stuff do and came back to it just before lunch.
I had a quick read of the manual and that told me a Username and Password combination the same as what was on the CD but the other way around! However, I had already tried it both ways!

I copied the exe onto my desktop and popped the CD out of the drive and run the program again making sure that I had typed the password in correctly. This time it worked? WTAF?
I then put the CD back in and tried it again only to get the same error as before?
I then loaded up the manual to have another read only to find a sentence saying that you have to copy the exe onto your computer for it to work? Err I guess I must have missed that bit. Ooopps!

Being an IT Pro! I never read the manual 😉 maybe I should try that from now on!

How do I create a blank Excel spreadsheet?

So today I got the first support call from the Silver Fox for this year, and boy what a corker!

Apparently, he had been trying to create a blank Excel Spreadsheet for the past 2 days and had resorted on opening an old one, deleting all the sheets and then saving it as a blank!

I asked him why he hadn’t called me after 30 seconds of not doing it? He said it was late and didn’t want to call. Fine, I said, but you could of emailed so I picked it up in the morning.
Anyway, I remoted on and set about showing him how to create a blank Excel Spreadsheet.

First and easiest way, Click Start > Microsoft Excel 2010 and errrr there we go!
Or right click in a folder and select New > Microsoft Excel Worksheet and there you have a blank sheet.
However, when I clicked Start > Microsoft Excel 2010 he said to me
“Wo Hold on there a second, where did that Microsoft Excel 2010 shortcut come from? It wasn’t there 2 days ago”

After explaining that he is the only one using his computer, either it was there and he didn’t see it or he put it there without remembering, I was extremely rude and hung up on the old duffer 😀

Unable to join the domain?

Today I set about installing a new server to replace an old one. This was going to be a Virtual Server on our Hyper-V cluster.

I have built enough servers of varying OS versions on Hyper-V enough times to not even think about what I am doing so was a tad surprised when it failed to join the domain.
A quick check of everything showed nothing obvious, as sometime I do make the odd stupid mistake!
The server had a DHCP IP address, I could ping IPs on the network, I was able to download files from the internet – which were about all I normally do before joining a new server onto the domain.
I let the server update itself with the latest OS updates and reboot, but that made no difference.
I then set about checking out the NetSetup.log and work through any issues in there.
After checking that and getting nowhere and starting to lose interest I decided to move the VM to a different node and try and add it to the domain again. This time it worked!

I really have no idea what that is as I have not had that issue before and have joined servers on to the domain with not issues plenty of times.
Maybe if I have a lull in work I will revisit, but as I have looooaads to do I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.

OICE_15 Folders

After being plagued with hundreds of OICE_15_XXXXXXX folders and the pain in the arse to get rid of them I have decided to make my life a tad easier today.

I have seen these folders being created under AppData in the roaming profiles of users, they get copied up and down as the user logs on and off and ultimately end up causing the roaming profiles not to sync as they are over quota.

I can’t add them to folder exclusions as they are all different and I can’t find a way to move them or stop them being created. We have to delete them as and when we come across them and they are not always easy to delete as some of the file are dot files and windows says it’s not there when you try and delete it! WTF FFS

I normally browse to the folder, shift right click and select `Open Command windows here‘, go into each folder and delete the dot files, then delete the folders. But it takes for bloody ever as I have to do that on the computers and on the server where the OICE_15 folders are.

To make life easier I have added an extra context menu to the right click menu for folders called `KillDOTFiles`

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
@=""C:\Windowskilldotfile.bat" %1"

Created a batch file that had the following contents

for %%a in (%1) do set temp=%%~nxa
set OICEDir=%temp:~0,4%
if /I NOT %OICEDir% == OICE (
rem echo No
) ELSE (
rem echo Yes
del %1*.* /q /f
rd %1 /s /q

Now all I need to do is highlight the folders, right click and they get deleted.

Ive added a bit of checking to the batch file, as if I give the file to anyone else i do not want to be held liable if they delete the wrong directory! It will happen!!

Why did I not think of doing this before?

QuickTime Issues – Poxy Apple Software

What a waste of 3 days this has been!

A problem was reported to me – someone couldn’t view a webpage with a QuickTime move in it.
Given that QuickTime was in need of an update as it was well out of date, I decided to update it first.

I am really not sure what the hell was going on, but it was plagued with errors. The main one being when I created the deployment package in SCCM it deployed the Apple Application Support MSI but then failed deploying the QuickTime MSI. The Apple Application Support MSI was a dependency of the QuickTime MSI. That worked fine but the QuickTime MSI failed saying that a version of QuickTime was already installed.
So I deployed a clean image to my test machine that included QuickTime and set about deploying the new version of QuickTime. Same error again – a version of QuickTime was detected again. Ok so much for upgrade! So I removed all Apple components and deployed QuickTime again. The same error.
I double checked and went through the registry and removed every Apple reference, went through ProgramData and removed everything Apple and in Program Files and Common Files etc. With everything gone I deployed it again. The same error?!?!

I then decided to run the MSI files manually. The Apple Application Support installed fine, but the QuickTime failed again with the same error.
This time I ran SysInternals Process Monitor to capture everything so I could see what was going on.

Several hours later I came across a registry entry that looked like it was causing the error. I deleted it and run the QuickTime MSI again only to find the registry key was back and so was the error. Now that made no bloody sense at all?
Thankfully I had a weekend to forget about that crap and start a fresh on Monday, which seemed to work as I redone the 2 deployments in SCCM and it then installed Apple Application Support and QuickTime with no issues. I really do not know what happened there, as nothing was different.

So, back to the original reason for doing this, I checked the online video and it still didn’t play.
So after all that faffing I was no further forward!
I then renamed my roaming profile and logged in and tried it again. This time it worked!
I looked through the roaming profiles folder to see what Apple stuff I could find, but as I severely limit what is allowed to roam there was no Apple files / folders there.
I then coped the old registry file over and logged on again – movie didn’t play again.

So the issue was with the registry.
I loaded up regedit and went through all the references to Apple or Quicktime that I could find, deleting all then one at a time then trying the online video again.
I finally came across a key called

HKCU/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Internet/Registry/REGISTRY/USER
[SID]/SOFTWARE/Apple Computer, Inc./QuickTime/LocalUserPreferences

With a setting called FolderPath that was set to an invalid location.
I changed the location to a valid one and hey presto it worked! FFS

It’s so nice to see Apple software that is enterprise friendly!

A new take on a scam!

Today I woke up to find a Skype message from a ‘female’ asking to add me to their contacts. I had a quick look at their profile which was some burry pixelated picture, no doubt a thumbnail taken from a social media website somewhere and had a quick check of their email address.

So, as I normally like to have a bit of fun I played along for a bit. Asking questions, answering questions, making out that I was rich and single, asking them what they were wearing etc.

I was however surprised when said contact then tried to video call me! Again I thought I’d play along so I disabled my camera and mic and asked them to call me again, telling them to hurry up as I was about to get in the shower.

So they called me and I accepted, ‘she’ asked why she couldn’t see me, to which I replied that I couldn’t see her either.

On closer inspection, the picture of the ‘female’ was the same for 1m 39s even though they were typing and sending me messages.

I’d had enough by then, knowing full well that I was not going to see any boobs, so I sent a quick message saying thank you for the IP address and pointing them to a website that details scammers and their email address, declined the add request, blocked them and reported them as spam.

Cheap crappy scams! If they want money out of me then I need to see the goods first!

Recovery again – win some, lose one

Today I got given a USB key stick to try and recover data off.

I tried my trusty recovery tools and was greeted with a stat that wasn’t going to work out too well!

It took 50 mins to scan 3 sectors on the key stick and given that there were 31015 sectors reported in total it was not feasible to carry on

31015 / 3 * 50 / 60 / 24 = 358.97 Days!!

Hmm I think not. I know I spend a lot of my time sat around waiting for progress bars, but that is one progress bar that I do not want to wait for.

All that was left was to deliver the bad news to the owner!

I state what I always say yet again – Do not rely on a USB key stick to hold your important data and expect it to work everywhere all the time, because you have just learnt the hard way what can happen. Back it up and back up your backup, and if you are that worried, backup the backup of the backup! And by that I do not mean on the same key stick or hard drive.

SCCM upgrade from 2012 SP1 to 2012 R2 + CU

So, finally I have finished upgrading all of our clients to the latest version and CU of the SCCM client.

To say it has been a challenge is an understatement.

You would think that given what SCCM is used for that it would be easy and quick to do, but no.

There were just over 400 machines and once I upgraded the server form SP1 to R2 and then updated it to the latest CU I had to deploy the R2 client and then deploy the update to CU4.

The R2 client seemed to get deployed quiet easy, there were a few machines that for some reason had really really old SP1 version on them. For those, there were a few that didn’t like the upgrade, so I had to uninstall the old client and then deploy the new one.

I then set about deploying the CU4 update to all machines. There was a bunch that wouldn’t update, no matter how long I left it and no matter how many times I forced an Application Deployment Evaluation Cycle it stayed on the old version.

I had a SQL query listing all the machines on the old version, the started off about 49.

I found it easier to remote on and manually uninstall the client, wait for all processes to terminate, rename the old SCCM directory and then reboot the machine. I figured that out after a bit of trial and error trying to get things off and on again!

So, thinking I had it sussed out, I was somewhat surprised when I refreshed my query one morning to find the number of machines had increased. Looking closer it was a few machines from the Labs.

RDPing on showed that the version was indeed the old version. I really couldn’t be bothered to see what the hell was going on as it had been a good few weeks that I had been trying to do this and people not logging off! and machines in locked rooms that didn’t work with WOL were doing my nut in.

So for each of those I applied my fix – remove the old client, wait for processes to terminate, rename the old CCM directory, reboot the machine, deploy the new client via SCCM and then deploy the update. That seemed to work for every computer that somehow managed to downgrade its client version on a reboot!?

Now to package and deploy the growing list of application updated that are needed.

A name from the past!!!

Today I got a call from someone that I do work for / help out / rescue now and then asking me some technical questions.

Not really that difficult to answer and in theory put into effect, but with that came the news that it was for someone that I thought I had heard the last of, or at least never have to deal with again!

Now I’m a the middle of a dilemma, do I help out a friend that has been good to me, as I have to him, or do I tell him I won’t do it. I always try and be professional when it comes to my reputation and working with other people. Unfortunately the more I thought about it the worse it made me feel, all the thoughts and feeling came back along with a lot more hatred for the person and the situation they caused and put me through. I have enough stuff going on in my head to deal with at the moment without adding that to the mix!

I think the best way for me to go with this is to do the job if/when it comes up, with the conditions that I do not have to deal with the person in any direct way and keep my contact details well and truly private.

Shit, I hate being put in situations like this!

Another hard disk for recovery

It’s happened again, someone else has asked me to take a look at a hard disk that has lost all its data.

I was hoping that I wouldn’t see one for a while after the last one, but it appears not.

It really does amaze me what people keep on a portable device that is highly important and impossible to get back.

Anyway, I recovered what data was on there, took a few hours to do, but most of it was there. Sods Law says that the first file that was needed was one that it hadn’t manage to recover!

I convinced the user to put anything that was important up in the cloud so that it was safe and could be got at easy. Is always nice to see someone taking on board some advice.