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.

I’m Back!

March 30, 2009 1 comment

After a hectic few months, Im back to the blog!  I have kinda letit slide a bit, but im hopeing to do at least a post every couple of days.

Categories: Uncategorized

Look no further than FreeNas

April 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Freenas Logo

So, my desktop PC at home died recently. The motherboard blew up leaving me with 4 drives that I couldn’t access data from without pluggin in my trusty IDE/SATA to USB converter. Now this can be a pain when your tunes are spread across multiple drives or I am accessing my PC remotely and happen to need data from the drive that isn’t plugged into the adapter.

With funds being tight, I decided to look to my old friend FreeNas to take care of my data sharing needs. FreeNas is a NAS operating system made strictly for creating a network storage device. It can be run on older hardware, so I dug around and found a old 800mhz PC with 512mb of ram and the gigabit NIC from my recently dead PC. With the addition of a SATA to IDE converter (I had a SATA drive) and an IDE expansion card, I popped in the FreeNas CD and started installing. I decided to install the OS on an old 3 gig hard drive I had lying around. Installation is as easy as answering a few questions and your up and running. Once installed I was able to log into the remote console (via the web interface) and mount each of my NTFS formatted drives with ease. Another added bonus is FreeNas, among its many features, has a built in FTP server. Now all my data is available remotely through FTP. Thanks FreeNas for solving my Data Whoes!

(FreeNas can be found at http://www.freenas.org)

Categories: Linux Tags: , , , ,

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.

Hylafax as a manual fax to E-mail gateway

March 26, 2008 1 comment

Hylafax LogoOne of the tasks that was mentioned to me when I first started this job was to find a way to convert our received faxes to e-mail. This of course has many advantages, from saving trees to people getting their faxes quicker. Keeping with my open source theme, I decided to use a little application I found called Hylafax. Hylafax itself has the ability to receive faxes and e-mail them directly to a user. I decided to tweak this to a samba share that everyone would have access too (this way if the person that received faxes was off sick we could still check our incoming faxes). This article is a guide on How-To install a Hylafax server in VMware. This has its advantages as it doesn’t really require the full resources of a server to run, and by using a VM, you can use any modem windows can support compared to hunting down drivers for Linux. Here we go!

Hylafax… Trees rejoice!

Create a VM from the RedHat 4 Template

  1. To add a modem to the VM
    1. Click on “Edit Virtual Machine Settings” and then “Add…
    2. Choose “Serial Port” and Next
    3. Choose “Use physical serial port on the host
    4. Choose the port on the host that the modem is using (in my case COM2)
  2. Download the latest Hylafax build for RedHat from hylafax.org and save it on a network share
  3. Install CentOS4 with the following packages
    1. Editors
    2. Windows file server
    3. Printing Support
  4. log in as Root
  5. type yum install sharutils
  6. type yum install ghostscript
  7. Now copy the Hylafax install that was previously downloaded from the website by typing smbclient \\fileserver\share -U username
  8. Once connected to the correct share, copy the file by typing get hylafax-4.4.4-1rhel4.i386.rpm then disconnect by typing exit
  9. Now to install Hylafax by typing rpm -Uvh hylafax*.rpm
  10. Once Hylafax is finished installing run /usr/sbin/faxsetup to configure Hylafax and your modem
  11. Use most of the defaults and input the pertinent data (area code, etc.). When you get top the point where it asks what serial port your modem is on, use ttyS0 . The rest is pretty self explanatory. after a while it will get into probing the modem for a host speed. this will take up to 5 minutes, so just be patient.
  12. Hylafax should now be set up to receive faxes. Next we want to edit the samba config file to create a share for our faxes. Do this by typing vi /etc/samba/smb.conf . Once in vi, you will want to edit the following lines (by first pressing i)
    1. server string = name of server
    2. guest account = nobody
    3. security = share
  13. Under the “Share Definitions” create a share similar to the following
    [Faxes]
    path = /var/spool/hylafax/recvq
    force group = uucp
    force user = uucp
    browseable = yes
    read only = now
    guset ok = yes
  14. Save the smb.conf file by pressing ESC and then typing : x and pressing enter
  15. Again using vi edit the /etc/inittab file, adding the line: mo:2345:respawn:/usr/sbin/faxgetty ttyS0
  16. Restart the server and you can browse to the IP address of the server and to the faxes share (//ip_address/faxes)
  17. To be alerted when a fax is received, we need to first mount the fax share in windows (I used t:\) and download/install File Alert Monitor. FAM will display a popup whenever a file is created (AKA a fax being received). To configure FAM:
    1. Click on Folder -> Add and select your mapped drive letter
    2. Click on View -> Options and check the following
      1. Monitoring – creation of new files
      2. Run on system startup
      3. Minimimize when the program Starts
    3. Click on the “File Types” tab and click on the “Customize…” button. remove .WAV and add .TIF then click OK
  18. Click on OK and minimize the program to finish configuration

Using this method, as a fax is received it can be e-mailed right away without the user constantly having to check the share.

Have fun!

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!

Text Message: Call manager is down, Love SpiceWorks

March 21, 2008 1 comment

Spiceworks ScreenshotThis particular message saved a lot of worry as I walked back to the main Dealership after getting a phone call that the phones were going crazy. This is only one of the many things my SpiceWorks server does in the run of a day.

I first found SpiceWorks while looking for an inventory management solution. During my search I had two criteria to fulfill

  1. Be able to keep track of resources over the network, taking out the human factor
  2. Free

and SpiceWorks managed to fill those two nicely with some added features. The question of how to keep your inventory up to date plagues many IT shops. SpiceWorks is just one in the large pool of asset management tools available on the market (including Micosoft SMS and LanDesk). Going the Open Source path SpiceWorks stands as a leader. An all in one Inventory and Help desk ticket oriented software, SpiceWorks works over the network polling machines and hardware using user defined options. During my original testing of SpiceWorks I was amazed on how much data was displayed from applications installed to the specifications of each system.

One of the key aspects of the system was this particular warning. Spice works is able to watch the heartbeat of a server on the network and e-mail someone if a particular action takes place (in this case it was a dead server, but it could be software installed or network printers out of toner). So I just set my cellular providers e-mail for my cellular as a user and I was set.

Here’s hoping I don’t get many more of these texts 😉

Clearing out corrupt print jobs

March 20, 2008 1 comment

printer.pngCorrupt print jobs are a weekly occurance here when using BlueZone Terminal Emulation. Blue zone has this nice little feature when printing to allow print jobs to go through a serial device (one on a terminal server or locally on a serial port) or through the Windows API. This would be a great asset when having to use older impact printers to do carbon coppies. On the other hand, only about 15 out of the 300 workstations I administer have serial printers.

Now here is where the problem lies. When you send a serial job to a windows API driver, it dosnt print out a bunch of jibberish, instead it completly locks up the driver. anything printed after the corrupt job will sit behind it in the queue. The recomended way to clear out the print jobs is to delete the job ands then power cycle the printer. This is usually time consuming for network printers and sometimes does not work for local printers. Therefore I must usually manually delete the print job.

To do this:

  1. Open Run and type in services.msc
  2. Find Windows Print Spooler and stop it temporally
  3. Open run again and type in c:\windows\system32\spool\printers
  4. Delete everything in this folder (these are the print jobs)
  5. Go back to the services window and start the print spooler

And there you have it! One squeeky clean print spooler!