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 😀

Hard disk recovery

Today I got asked if I can recover files off of a hard disk that was FKD. I’m always up for a challenge and do like to do things that others can’t.

So I got the disk and run my tools on it, some knackered sectors increasing the scan time to 45 hours! Geez really? I do not want to leave it running for that long! But it soon sped up and finished after about 4.5 hours.

It then took another 2 hours to recover the data off onto another hard disk, not made any quicker by the fact that it was 10 years old and USB 1! To top it off it contained a lifetime of memories for the person, so needless to say I was relieved and happy when I managed to get pretty much all of it back for them.

Wine that homos drink!?!?

You couldn’t make this shit up! I done Matraco a favour by fixing his pc that was infected with loads of dodgy shit, one being the Cryptowall 3 virus.

I do not know what the hell happened, but for some unknown reason none of his documents were encrypted. Maybe it was because there was loads of other crapware / shit ware / fag ware on there to clog up the system? Maybe it had too many spring onions or marrows on it, or maybe it was because he was using plastic gloves to type? Either was he is one lucky SOAB.

So, to say thank you for saving his life, he bought me some alcoholic beverages. Not just any alcoholic beverages. It was special alcoholic beverages. Apparently it was, and I quote `wine that homos drink`??? What the fucking hell?!?

That specific aside, I shall enjoy said alcoholic beverages, as its not often that TAB splashes his cash on anything other than marrows.

Cheers Matraco

CryptoWall – OH, your fucked

My first dealings with a Crypto Variant today, CryptoWall

Someone that I haven`t done any work for for a few years contacted me to ask for some help as they couldn`t open their emails. So I remoted on and took a quick look for them.

First thing that I noticed when the screen loads is 3 files in the middle of the desktop called DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION. Straight off I knew that this was not going to be a good result.

I had a quick read of what it says and then a quick look at the My Documents folder and then proceeded to tell him, in a non technical way, that he was Fucked. I then explained what had happened and told him that there was nothing that I could do, something that I don`t often tell people. I wasn`t going to suggest paying $500 to get it all unencrypted only to find that it didn`t work.
Ironically the only thing that wasn`t encrypted was all of his Sage Accounts!

He asked how it could of happened and after a quick visual check I told him
Well, you are running Windows XP that has out of date virus protection, that would not of helped, you have probably opened up a few dodgy emails with attachments and looked at them. He did say that he has been getting a lot of emails with invoices in them! Oh Dear

Its not often that I cant fix something, but in this case I couldn`t, so I told him to turn off and unplug the computer and buy 2 new ones to replace what he had as they are well out of date and possibly open to more problems!

Black listed, Really? WTF

One of those days today!

I was asked to take a look at a SBS2011 server by someone today as emails were not being sent but were being received.

So I set about sorting through the list of errors in the event log, as per normal there was a to be expected reboot right in the middle of everything!
It kind of reminded me of when I got contacted by my old employer, after they had made me redundant, to look at a problem that stopped their Service Management System working. The idiots that they brought in to oust me had applied all their skill (all 3 of them) to fix the problem and come up with 4 reboots! Yes 4 reboots! Needless to say that after 4 it still wasn`t working. So a quick look through the logs I found the issue and reported back to them.

Anyway, I looked through all the logs on the server, but couldn`t see anything, so I checked out the send connector and see that there was a huge old queue reporting DNS lookup failures.
So I checked that the Smart Host was in DNS. I then checked that I could connect to it on port 25, which I could. I tried a DNS Reset and Flush just to be safe, but it didn`t work.

I disabled the Smart Host connector, created a new send connector and set it up to send via DNS, and the emails left the queue.

I then reported back as to what I had done and asked them to check out to see if they had paid the bill for the Smart Host. Later that day I got a call to say that it was a fault with the Smart Host, apparently the company that provided the Smart Host service had one of their internal desktop machines infected with a virus by an employee and it has spammed out a load of crap! Jesus! Seriously?

I was somewhat surprised that
A) They got infected with a virus!
B) They were sending emails out on a connection that was used as a smart host by a customer (and most probably more than one)!
C) They told a customer exactly what had happened!

A quick check showed that they were on some black lists for sending out spam.
I will leave that a few days before I check back to see if they have been removed…

Fed up of computers?!

Blaaaaaggggghhhhh! Some days I get really fed up of computers, today, and a few days before, are one of those times.

I don’t know what it is or why it happens but it only lasts a few days.

Maybe it was triggered by me having to send an email to someone with some instructions that took me 8 times as long to write as it should of and the fact that it was full of spelling mistakes that I then had to go and spend 4 minutes correcting.
To takes too long to dumb down something technical so that a dumb person can do it, when in fact a dumb person shouldn’t be doing something technical in the first place.
It also doesn’t help that I rushed it so that I could go and watch my favourite Essex hottie on the tv.

Time to snap out of it me thinks.

Can you help – a challenge?

One of the things I say to people is that ‘I like to fix the things that people say can’t be fixed’.
I also like to say ‘why are you two idiots reinstalling that computer from scratch to fix a small problem like that’ sadly I found myself saying that a few times back in the days of BOR!

Anyway, so when I get asked by a friend if I can have a look at their daughters laptop as she has forgotten her password and can’t get in,  I of course say ‘Yes’.
Even more so when I’m told a large PC Retailer has said ‘it can be done but she will lose everything on the hard drive’ and one of their friends has spent several hours trying to do it!

Obviously it didn’t take very long to fix the problem and return it to the owner – it just makes me wonder if people either don’t know what they are doing, taking the easy way out or trying to do a fast one ?!?!?!

.Net 3.5 on Windows Server 2012

Today I set about having a look a look at Server 2012. I wanted to test out a website that I had written in .Net 2.0 and convert it to run on a newer version and generally have a play with its interaction with the OS.

Installing .Net 4 went ok, so I thought I’d add .Net 3.5

I added the feature, and installed only to be greeted with the error ‘The source files could not be found’.
That was quickly fixed by looking at a few forums, so I added it again and pointed to where the ‘sources\sxs’ folders was – on the usb key stick that I used to install Server 2012, and installed.

This time it failed with an error message `a component`s file does not match the verification information present in the component manifest`

Another check around yielded quite a few results, one of the most common ones was to run the following command – `dism /online /cleanup-image /checkhealth`

So I run that. It took a while to come back with no problems.

I copied the ‘sources\sxs’ folder to the root of the C drive, pointed the feature install files there and tried again. Again it gave me the same error.

This time I mounted up the ISO that I had originally downloaded and copied the ‘sources\sxs’ folder from that to a new usb keystick.

I pointed the feature to that folder and run the install again. This time it finished with no problems!?

So, some sort of corruption had happened from when I transferred the ISO to a keystick to install it.

Can’t think of what the hell could have caused that to happen?

TechNet Subscriptions

Microsoft have decided to retire their TechNet Subscription service

I signed the “Continue TechNet or create an affordable alternative to MSDN” petition to show my support for keeping the Microsoft TechNet Subscription service going.

As an IT Professional I use the software a hell of a lot to test things out and set up test environments. Some environments I have had going for well in excess of a year and having to rebuild them regularly would be a right pain to say the least!

I don’t know any fellow IT Pro’s that could afford an MSDN subscription to match the TechNet one.

If you are a TechNet Subscriber then sign the petition and show your support for keeping it going.

Microsoft, please continue the TechNet Subscription Service.

Thank you

IE10, desktops.exe and noframemerging

Today I upgraded my Windows Server 2008 R2 server to IE10.
Having used it on my work pc and my various Windows 8 installations for a while I thought it’s time to upgrade my server.
A quick install and reboot and it’s all done.

As I use my server for most of my work, it’s on all the time as it hosts Yodacam and is accessible remotely, it is a god send to have it all there when you need it.

I use Desktops from SysInternals to split up my work on to 4 separate desktops to keep the clutter to a minimum. My desktops are split into the following

Main Desktop – various email accounts, web browsing, Excel, Word etc
Development Desktop – php/ websites, mysql and any think
[Undisclosed] Desktop – used for an [Undisclosed] task
Remote Access Desktop – for RDP/TS sessions to various computers and servers

I was working away on the Main Desktop and the Remote Access Desktop when i needed to do some work on some php files. Loading up a IE10 browser windows resulted in nothing showing. So I clicked it again but still nothing. I checked Task Manager and could not see anything that looked like a hung iexplore.exe process but there was nothing.

I then switched to the Main Desktop only to find several new IE10 windows open on the desktop. It would appear that every time I clicked the IE icon it would open a new window on the main desktop, which is not how it was in IE9.

I done a bit of digging and found a switch for IE10, `-noframemerging` which said `Internet Explorer 8 and later versions. Prevents Internet Explorer from opportunistically merging new frame processes into existing frame processes.`

I created a new shortcut to IE10 and added the -noframemerging switch to it. Now every time i load up a IE10 window it opens on the correct desktop.

Oh and Yes i know other browsers are available to use and I now there are other multiple desktop programs out there, but I am used to using IE and Desktops.exe and will continue to do so. GOI