I just received Kindle Unlimited 7 day trial and they are letting me read any books I want for 7 days, well that’s not long enough to even read one book when you are doing a million other things, but its nice to be able to read anything you ever wanted to check out for free, even if its only for a week, UPDATE: After you finish your 7 days, Amazon will shoot you an email to extend the trial for another 30 days, then you have to click the link in the email, sign back into Amazon, and then….
Well, that’s where it gets tricky, I was on my phone this morning and I did what the email said, only to then log in and be on a screen that said, CONTINUE YOUR AMAZON UNLIMITED Subscription… so I’m gonna do some more hunting around to figure out how to extend the trial for 30 days more, but I wanted to update this post, so the 7 day trial won’t discourage anyone from giving it a shot.
Click the following link to check out the kindle store, you may have to do a little digging to get the free trial but it is available if you never used it before. Shop Amazon – Kindle Book Deals
This information was once TOP SECRET/COMINT/NOFORN, well it’s not anymore. The complete audit report of the many Database query incidents, and errors made by the NSA employees during the first quarter of 2012. The document was published by the Washington Post and was an interesting read to say the least. In other news, Lavabit’s owner Ledar Levison hinted that he was issued a National Security Letter of sorts, which one would guess was actually signed by FISA for him to give up any information he had on Edward Snowden. He basically went on Democracy Now to attempt to explain why he was shutting down his semi-secure email service.
Because I have been very busy with school, I have kind of slacked off with posting to the blog. It is also summer and the temperature has been over 80 for awhile, so I spend more time away from the computer. In order to continue to offer a site with tips and tricks for IT pros and tech enthusiasts, I am working on a new CMS I will begin with a quick update of what has been going on in the world in June and July 2013.
June 2013 has brought us Edward Snowden, a former NSA employee who has decided to risk his life and freedom to come forward and tell the world that the United States is capturing data from just outside Google and Microsoft and Facebook’s datacenters and is in his words spying on American citizens and also everybody around the world that uses the internet. I am not going to blog about this anymore, you be your own judge if you think this is okay, I do not want to begin blogging about political events at this time. Instead I want to talk about what has happened in Redmond over the past few weeks, as Microsoft released a preview build of Server 2012 R2, SystemCenter 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014 CTP, Visual Studio 2013 preview, and of course WIndows 8.1 preview finally is out there for the public. It is really amazing how Microsoft has coordinated all of these releases for the same day and is offering a free preview version of almost all of their many Major software applications.
However after Microsoft’s Build 2013, there was some bad news from Microsoft, as they are ending technet subscriptions on August 31,2013. Technet subscriptions allow tech savvy i.t. enthusiasts to get access to most Microsoft software for $199 a year. You are allowed to buy a new subscription only until August 31, 2013 and one year after that August 31, 2014, all current tech net subscriptions will be null and void. This really is a blow to the tech enthusiast community, as it is going to cost a lot more money after this point to continue running Microsoft Lab environments for longer than the Evaluation periods of the software. I currently use my Dreamspark subscription to give me access to Microsoft Servers and Operating Systems, but once I finish college, it is going to get a whole lot more expensive to continue testing and working with Microsoft Operating Systems and Servers. The cost of System Center, Server 2012, and SQL Server licensing is not cheap and especially in lab environments where you are just trying to learn to use the software the Technet subscription was always the best way to get to know Microsoft’s products. Microsoft still is going to be offering a more expensive MSDN subscription which does not offer all the same software for the lowest priced deal at $699 a year. (There is also BIZSPARK for startups which enables companies just starting out to use Microsoft software for the first three years of a company’s existence.
I am currently working on application virtualization (App-V) packaging and deployment with Configuration Manager. I also am testing Windows Server 2012 R2 as well as System Center 2012 R2. In the coming months, I will devote some time to publishing some articles documenting Applcation Virtualization (App-V) and my experience moving from VMware virtualization solutions to a complete Hyper-V infrastructure. I have had success moving my VMware Virtual machines to Hyper-V using Starwinds software’s V2V Image Converter, and I also will be experimenting with ISCSI in the near future. Stay tuned.
I first heard about Bittorrent Sync on Steve Gibson’s Security Now podcast last week on twit.tv. I immediately installed it on three of my machines and began setting up some folders to sync between all three computers. I figured that it would serve as another backup of my most important files and folders. Bittorrent Labs actually have quite a few applications that they have created and most of them seem to still be in a Beta stage. Bittorrent sync is the only application that I have tried so far and it has worked flawlessly. For those that don’t know what it does here is an explanation:
Bittorrent sync simply will make an exact duplicate of any folder that you tell it to sync, and send that folder to another computer. I installed the program on my two laptops that sit right next to each other, and chose a few folders that I want to keep backed up on both computers. It took just a few minutes for all the files on one computer to be securely sent to the other computer and replicated. Bittorrent Sync is using torrent technology to quickly transfer files safe and securely from one computer to another. You can also use it to merge two or more folders and convert them into duplicate folders including all the files in each of the folders chosen to sync.
The syncing technology used is very efficient and it works great to quickly sync folders securely. This technology is nothing new, since we have already used apps such as dropbox, skydrive, google drive, and microsoft’s Synctoy to sync files. However, this application is actually using bittorrent technology which none of the other applications named have used. The main reason I am using it is because it is secure. According to Bittorrent Sync FAQ…Can other BitTorrent users see my shared files?
No. BitTorrent Sync is based on BitTorrent protocol, but all the traffic is encrypted using a private key derived from the shared secret. Your files can be viewed and received only by the people with whom you share your private secret.
I just want to inform you that a change has taken place and I am now utilizing Cloudlflare’s DNS and DOS protection so if anyone notices any problems or changes, please let me know. I am curious to see how good Cloudflare really is, so hopefully everything will work out smoothly. If you come across any issues, please send an email to James at this domain and I will hopefully get it. I must extend my thanks to X10 hosting, Hover, and CLoudflare for bringing you this website.
Since I just had to repair a Windows 7 Ultimate installation that was about 2 years old and had various problems, such as permissions, Diagnostic Policy service problems, and drivers that would not be installed from windows update, I figured I would document what I did in the end to repair all of these problems that were really annoying. For example, the main problem that was completely driving us nuts was that we were trying to install a usb webcam and an external hard drive to this older laptop and no matter what troubleshooting method we used, Windows Update would not install the plug-n-play drivers. We tried deleting the Inf cache, changing various group policies to ensure that windows update was being searched for updates, and anything else that google searches would come up with as solutions.
In the end, it only made sense to either wipe the drive and reinstall Windows 7, or to attempt a complete Repair install, by performing an in-place upgrade installation to Windows 7 Ultimate. (Important Note:) Now this machine originally was an OEM HP laptop, a G62-435DX from about 2-3 years ago, so HP has not tested or certified it capable to run Windows 8, and we could not take the chance of things not working from upgrading to Windows 8 on this laptop yet, so we will soon. This laptop also was upgraded with a Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade over a year ago to Windows Ultimate, and we took the product key off of it and saved it. Now it is important to note here that this method, although it worked and repaired the OS and kept most of the files and data and programs installed, the product key would not work after performing the upgrade. Most likely this is because the product key was used for an anytime upgrade, and we decided to do an in-place upgrade to the same Operating System Version which for some reason left us with an unactivated Windows 7 Ultimate Laptop. Very annoying, but we will worry about this issue later on after we find time to call Microsoft’s phone activation hotline.
Now, the complications that I noticed immediately upon logging into the newly recovered system all the VMWare workstation network adapters are gone, Bridged networking no longer works, and VMWare workstation looks like it needs to be repaired, and upon attempting one through programs and features, it actually is asking for the original VMWare Workstation installation “disk”. Also, there were 3 user profiles on this computer and it looks like one of the user profiles actually lost some data, (or had it moved), since many folders are now empty. Windows Updates were of course rolled all the way back to Service Pack 1, so 99 updates were required to be immediately installed. This is to be expected. As of right now I am in the process of comparing an earlier image to the new one to find out why there is now 40gb empty and there was only 20 when the upgrade was completed. Most likely this is due to all the Windows folder gunk that had built up over time, but it is frustrating to have to go back and perform some of the many customizations that were done on this machine over the last 2 years. So far Group Policy seems to be working fine, but there were many other registry edits and adjustments performed that were not documented so it will take time to get this machine back to the state that is desired.
All in all, it was a successful repair, however it did take over 4 hours for the operation to complete, so if you decide to do the same thing, do it overnight, do not stop it in between because you think it may be stuck, I thought it was stuck at 72%, but I left it alone and eventually it finished. Also, remember the product key problem, many people think that just because they manage to recover the product key from an installation (using a program like Nirsoft’s produkey) that Microsoft will accept it after the repair is performed. I could not get the system to accept any of my product keys from my personal stash. I assume it has to do with the fact that this is an OEM HP machine and the installation ISO was a retail version of Windows 7 Ultimate, which is most likely always a potentially troubling factor. So, if you know what you are doing, and are at your wits’ end with a system, I would say this is an almost last resort way of recovering your system, before wiping the drive and installing fresh. Good luck.
This is just a quick tip for repairing a Hyper-V Windows Server 2012 guest virtual machine if you ever encounter the Black screen of nothingness. I recently experienced a couple of Hyper-V Windows Server 2012 guests that were only showing a black screen and I could not get access to the underlying operating systems. I wanted to document the trick that I used to repair these VMs.
You need to use either an installation DVD or an ISO file of the underlying Operating System. I simply pointed the virtual machines’ cd drives to the server 2012 installation ISO.
You reset the virtual machine and press any key to boot from the DVD or Iso file.
Choose the option: REPAIR YOUR COMPUTER
Choose the option COMMAND LINE
enter C: to receive a C: prompt instead of the X:
Now, you want to repair the bootsector so you will use the command
Bootsect /nt60 C: /force
reset the virtual machine, and hopefully you will see the blue login screen this time. In my case it took two attempts of entering the commands but it worked for both virtual machines. There is a /SYS switch that can be used also with the bootsect command but in my case I didn’t need to use that just Bootsect /nt60 C: /force did the trick.
I have notified Microsoft about this issue and it is being investigated internally. They have kept it pretty quiet so far, but I am sure there will be a response eventually. In case anyone doesn’t know what the problem is, it goes like this… After a Windows 8 Pro computer with Microsoft Office 2010 32 bit installed, the Windows Update from March 2013 KB2760600 is attempted and the user is asked to reboot. Upon rebooting, all other updates install smoothly, yet there is one last update that refuses to install and reboot the computer. The screen looks like this:
KB2760600 hangs on restart
. In fact, this has happened everytime I reboot my computer even after hiding the update, and if I check installed updates, this update is listed as installed, but I know this is the problem, because if I unhide the update and check for updates again, this is the only update that shows up.
Some users on the Microsoft Community forum have suggested that turning off the Print Spooler Service has fixed this problem for them, unfortunately this has not eradicated the problem on my system. (I have tried it twice). Now my system may not be normal because I have Microsoft Office Home Premium 2013 also installed alongside Office 2010, but this should not be an issue. I have not had much time to really dive into this problem yet, as I am currently enrolled in WGU and have been spending all my time studying for exams and trying to swiftly move along in my studies.
If any of the solutions here work for you, then you are lucky. I have tried them all and everytime I reboot I have to forcefully shutdown the computer again. Anyway, hopefully this may be answered on a future episode of Defrag on Microsoft’s Ch.9 since I have forwarded the issue to Gov Maharaj and Larry Larsen.
EDIT: Apparently, it has come to light that many of the people reporting this issue actually have HP printers installed. I have not confirmed this yet, but some people have said that they uninstalled their HP Printers / HP software and then the update installed. Updates will come as soon as we verify this after testing.
After I personally experienced a never-ending loop of a Windows 8 Pro computer hanging for hours while attempting to update, I began doing some research and contacted Microsoft’s Windows Update team, and the Security Response team, and I found this article on Softpedia I am still waiting for a response from Microsoft.
The interesting part of this is that many of these affected systems have both Office 2010 and Office 2013 installed side by side, or a 32 bit version of Office 2010 on a 64 bit version of Windows 8. However, Windows updates have been mostly installing without issue for the last couple of years, with a few exceptions. But why are the OneNote updates causing problems. Perhaps this update was pushed out too quickly without the proper amount of testing.