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Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category

Mount your ISOs without rebooting using Magic Disc

April 6, 2009 Leave a comment

magic-discI hate carrying around CDs at dealerships I support.  Its cumbersome and I always end up leaving CDs in the drives, never to be found again.  Its also a pain when the CD you didnt think you needed, but now do is in another binder.  As a solution I first tried copying the contents of CDs to network shares, but later found some discs that work better as CDs.  So my next solution would be making an image and mounting it to a virtual CD drive.

Now just about every system admin has mounted at least 1 ISO to in their lifetime, be it Windows, Office or the latest pirated game they just downloaded.  There are many available software packages out there that do a great job of mounting ISOs from built in shell extensions to full out burning suites which include an ISO mounting add-in.  So what makes Magic Disc so special?  The ability to install and mount an ISO without having to reboot.  This was the decision making factor  for my choice in mounting software.  As an added bonus the install is pretty minimal, so I just leave it on the root of the ISO network share that is in each branch.

So throw your old scrateched up CDs back in their binder and give Magic Disc a try.  Oh and did I mention its FREEWARE ?

http://www.magiciso.com/tutorials/miso-magicdisc-overview.htm

Outlook Organization Tip

April 3, 2009 Leave a comment

outlookEver set a reminder flag on your outlook and then through the flood of e-mails, have that flag slowly make its way down to the bottom of the inbox, never to be remembered again? This has been an issue with me for a while. So when I got another repeat e-mail requesting some function access to our server, I sat down and really started looking at my Inbox. To my surprise, there is quite the easy solution to this problem

Order by Flag

This is more stupidity on my part, but I figured I’d post this in case anyone else out there may have overlooked this Outlook must! And dont worry about not keeping up on your latest e-mails, it still orders the incoming e-mails by date, but just below your flagged e-mails, which really should be on top anyways

Automated inventory care of SIW

April 2, 2009 1 comment

Due to a recent change in software, I needed to upgrade RAM in all of the older machines in the organization.  To aid me in upgrading 300+ PCs I thought it prudent to make a list of what hardware each PC had.  I have used many inventory tools in the past (the most prominent being SpiceWorks) but by far the best inventory tool I have used is SIW.  This software comes in both free and paid versions, the paid having more features.  The feature that caught my eye for the paid version was the ability to use command line to control SIW.  After reading through the documentation, I made this small script that will e-mail the results of the scan to a inventory e-mail address.remote-inventory-siw

@ECHO OFF
set INPUT=
set /P INPUT=The owner of this PC is: %=%
CLS
echo Creating and sending %INPUT%’s System Report.  Please Wait
siw /log=”%INPUT%” /email=INVENTORY EMAIL ADDRESS/subject=”%INPUT%’s report” /smtp=EMAIL SERVER /silent /nologo
CLS
CLS
ECHO %INPUT%’s Report is sent
Pause

This script allows the user to input their name, which in turn becomes the name of HTML file containing system specs along with the subject of the e-mail.  This batch file also requires the SIW.exe and SIW.lic file along with it to work.  So I threw it all togeather using freeextractor and created an install file.  Keep an eye out on making install files with freeextractor soon!

References:

http://www.gtopala.com/ – SIW
http://freeextractor.sourceforge.net/FreeExtractor/ – FreeExtractor

Clearing out corrupt print jobs REDUX

April 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Batch IconQuick update to clearing out print jobs.  Got a call this morning from a user who repeatedly gets jobs stuck in their print queue.  To help reduce his calls, I wrote this quick batch and put it on his desktop.

@ECHO OFF
ECHO Repairing Printer… Please wait….
Net stop spooler
del /Q c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\*.*
net start spooler
cls
ECHO Please powercycle your printer
ECHO …
ECHO Printer is repaired
pause

Try it out!

Chris Control

March 31, 2009 Leave a comment

chriscontrolChris Control was the answer to my Prayers when I had a PC that would not connect through RDP.  ChrisControl is an all in one client that uses both RDP and VNC.  The neat thing about ChrisControl is if you know the admin account, it can remotely connect to the PC, install a VNC server and connct to it… No configuration Required!  And to complete the puzzle it also removes VNC from the remote PC when you close the session, making your PC secure once again.  This works great in our environment where not every PC is on the AD, and has the advantage both the tech and user to access the same screen at the same time.

Oh, and did I mention it also does WOL for those PCs who are powered down?

Heres the download link! http://www.chall.plus.com/winpe/

Gotta small HDD? Running out of space? Spacemonger to the Rescue!

March 30, 2009 2 comments

spacemonger

Ever have a clien that complains about running out of space on their Hard drive?  Instead of spending all that time going through directories and finding out where the junk is, check out Spacemonger.  This tool will scan hard drives on your PC and display it in a nice graphical fashion.  As you can see in the screenshot, I took a quick scan of the recovery drive on my laptop.

Spacemonger comes in 2 versions, the Paid and free version.  Personally I like the free version better.  Its small and does everything I need it to.  As an added bonus, it dosnt require an install, so I can take it along with me on a USB key or leave it up on the tools shared drive at the dealership.

Heres the Product link http://www.sixty-five.cc/sm/v1x.php

You may have to do some digging around for the download link.  Its on the download page, under free software at the bottom of the list.

Sharing a mouse and keyboard between multiple computers

March 27, 2008 Leave a comment

SynergyIts time I introduced you to a favorite little piece of software that I have been using for a long time. Its called Synergy. This little gem makes it possible to control multiple computers (with their own displays) with one keyboard and mouse, using nothing but your home network. My favorite application of this has to be pairing my work and home desktop with my laptop. At home I already have a dual monitor set-up, so Synergy only gives me a third screen, but at work (only having a single monitor) I don’t think I would be able to survive without it!

Another dandy feature is the ability to share a clipboard between PCs. Its a life saver being able to research something on my laptop while typing an e-mail, or the ability to read instructions and not have to minimize them. Oh, and did I mention Synergy supports a wide variety of OS’s? Just about any OS from windows 95 to Linux and even Mac (OS X 10.2 or higher). It even works on Vista (though the site may not specify Vista, I do run it on my laptop)

Many first time users may be a bit confused on how to configure Synergy, so be sure to check out the documentation before you run it.

Using Taskkill to kill muliple instances of Outlook.exe

March 26, 2008 1 comment

Taskkill ScreenshotEver run across a PC where outlook wont open, and the user has clicked on it about 50 times.  Lone behold when you open task manager there is actually 50 instances of outlook.exe running.  Instead of clicking “end task” for each of these, just open your friendly command prompt and type in this command

taskkill /IM “outlook.exe” /f

This will kill all of your outlook.exe’s forcefully.

RCMD, the remote command prompt

March 24, 2008 1 comment

Batch IconOne of the most powerful parts of windows is the command line interface (cmd.exe). I have done things from directory listings to adding users locally, editing registry and even as far as manipulating windows services.

Being able to do all this from command line is great, but when you have multiple machines at different locations, It is nice to do some remote work from time to time. In comes PSEXEC from Microsoft’s Sysinternals. using PSEXEC and a little know-how on writing batch files, I created a batch file that will allow me to use the command line interface on remote PC while the user is still logged on.

The batch is as follows

psexec //%1 -u domainname\user -p password c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe

pause

saving this batch file as c:\windows\rcmd.bat will allow you to start the run command and type rcmd computername and you should get a command prompt for that PC (if you are an administrative user on that PC)

This is great for spot checks or quick changes, but when you want to make changes, but when you need to make changes on more than one PC, you can create a batch file with these changes and use PSEXEC to run the batch on a list of workstations.

First you want to create a text file (I call mine hosts.txt) and input each computer name or IP of the workstation (one host per line)

Next is to open up a command line and type in the following

psexec @hosts.txt -u domain\user -p password -c batchfile.bat

To keep things neat and tidy, I generally creatediscriptive folder with psexec, the batch file, the hosts file and a batch including this command called runme.bat.

VMware Server, a good FREE solution to Virtualization

March 24, 2008 Leave a comment

After using VMware for 3 years, it’s hard to imagine life about it. It has helped me get much more out of my hardware and given me the ability set up test environments in a matter of minutes. I first started using VMware sever at home, more fiddling around with new software than using it. It really became a viable tool in college when we first started setting up mini work environments to work with our various software packages. Since then I have consolidated 3 of my home servers onto 1 Virtual Server and started consolidating at work as well, cutting back on electrical costs and gaining usage from my servers.

Needless to say when I came across some old server hardware not being in use, I started installing VMware. using a host OS of Windows XP I managed to create a file server, automated network backup server and a SpiceWorks server (leaving room for more as needed). in doing this I was able to reuse old hardware and use a variety of Operating systems with open source software creating minimum cost for my dealership while adding a huge amount of functionality.

Over the next few days I will be posting on some How-to type documents that will outline how to configure some of these open source servers. So keep checking for updates!