Vol. 20, #40 - October 5, 2015 - Issue #1050
How has cloud computing affected your job or career as an IT professional? In this issue we'll explore this topic and also provide you with our usual assortment of tips, tools and resources to help you keep on top of your profession.
At the beginning of the summer we sent out a survey to all our newsletter subscribers asking them for some feedback on how we might make WServerNews an even better resource for them. One of our survey questions asked whether you would recommend our newsletter to your friends and colleagues and we were happy that over 98% of you responded Yes to this question, so how about telling a friend or colleague today about WServerNews? Please take a moment and send a few of your colleagues a quick email or text about why you like WServerNews and point them to the following page where they can subscribe to this and other terrific newsletters from TechGenix:
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Oh yeah, I forgot Dilbert. Well you see, sometimes it's hard for us editors to come up each week with a good topic to write about. I guess it's something called "writer's block" and fortunately Dilbert has some terrific advice for what to do when this sort of thing happens:
But instead of not thinking too hard and just writing anything, we sometimes like to make room for those of our newsletter readers who are working "in the trenches" of the IT profession and who want to share their expertise with other readers by writing a guest editorial for WServerNews.
Could that be YOU?
If you have a real world story with some hard-earned lessons that you think our readers could benefit from reading about, go ahead and send us an email (email@example.com) with a short description of what you'd like to write about along with 2-3 sentences describing yourself and we'll be glad to consider you as a possible contributor of a guest editorial for a future issue of WServerNews. And if you have any short tips (must not be previously published) that you'd like to share with other IT pros around the world, send us these as well.
Remember, we're all in this crazy profession together and the more we help others the more it comes back to us--and we all need help from time to time :-)
Two weeks ago in Issue #1048 Managing Windows 10, a reader named Sam alerted us to the following problem that one of his customers is experiencing after upgrading their computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10:
Customer at a catering company (small business, 15 employees, 1 office computer, 1 laptop) wanted to upgrade to w10 pro. Verified that everything was working OK before the upgrade, performed backup. Upgrade went well but…..
Office 2010 now not opening documents saved and therefore new documents are having to be re-created. All the documents are written and saved in Office and opened fine before the upgrade. With over 100 customers, recreating documents is not easy and there is no previous visible document to use as a reference because office 2010 won't open them. Not all documents are affected just about 30%. Copied the documents from the backup and all the documents open on W7 with office 2010 (used another computer) but not in W10 with office 2010. Tried repairing Office, look up this issue on the internet, seems to be fairly common with no solution. It really bites.
Last week in Issue #1049 3am tech support, we published a response by one reader named Greg who experienced something somewhat similar, and this week we received another response from a reader named John who said:
Sam's and Greg's MS Office problem... Windows 10 if I recall had an issue with previously installed Office versions back during the Tech Preview days. A bit of Bing'ing found this here: the resolution for the December install was to reinstall MS Office:
Now this pertains to the Tech Preview, however, you know as well as I that some things never seem to get fixed... Anyway take care and thank you for the great newsletters.
If anyone else has suggestions concerning this issue you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask Our Readers: WServerNews has almost 100,000 subscribers worldwide. That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at email@example.com
Last week's Issue #1049 3am tech support generated some feedback from our readers who shared some of their own thoughts and experiences with vendors' technical support. Here's a short sampling from our Mailbag. First off a reader named John talks about some of his own experiences with HP Support over the years:
Hi Mitch, I read your recent newsletter and your issue brought back some awful memories! Many years ago, I supported a full HP and Dell office. We had several HP ProLiant servers, and about 150 HP laptops and desktops. I had a string of machines which arrived DOA from HP. All I wanted was to replace these machines, about 10 of them in fact. The technician insisted on connecting to my machine to test things. Why? What part of D-O-A did he not understand! Finally, after about 20 minutes of going back and forth about the moribund state of these machines, I was about ready to throttle the guy and hang up and start over another day. He then got it and issued me an RMA for them!
I think the issue is not listening to what the customer/user wants and instead going by a rote method and script. This is not uncommon and it becomes worse as companies hire unskilled workers to work the helpdesks. Instead of listening they follow exactly what's on their computer display and get lost like ants that lose their trail back to the nest.
Now HP support in general is sadly not the best. Maybe it's better (worse) now than it was back in the 1990s, but I'm not so sure. Honestly, it seems that they are about the worst of the bunch with Dell being the best followed by Lenovo then HP. What really irks me about HP is they got a hold of the best of the best, tech support organizations when they purchased the Compaq-DEC organization. DEC had one of the best in the world technical support operations in Boulder Colorado that Compaq salivated over. Today most of the support is done overseas to save costs and this level of service isn't there anymore if at all.
Here's something to laugh about now, but it sure gave me some heart-felt angst. One day our big old, ancient, Compaq ProLiant 6000 died. I came into the office to find a barrage of emails and phone messages regarding the data server being unavailable. My pager too was buzzing with 911 messages from various users as well.... I walked into the computer room to find the old beast dead. A check of the power supplies showed they were alive, but the machine was a big doorstop, well dorm refrigerator-sized one. I had to go through the corporate Helpless desk first who patched me to HP. The tech came out to the office the next day. Yup a failure here because he was supposed to be here the same day! He walked with me to the computer room, looked at the machine, and said "Yup, it's broken". We poked around and he ordered parts. Three days later he called to say the parts came in. Wrong parts! The users are getting more than antsy now, and I am waiting for rotten tomatoes to be thrown at me as I walked through the service department... He finally came in two more days after that and we put in a new motherboard. Wrong part? Yup. It's broken!
While John seems to suggest that the problem was that my support technician was following a script, another reader (also named John) agrees but is also willing to cut the tech some slack:
I found your conversation with the HP support technician fascinating. While I would probably be just as frustrated as you if I were in that situation, I do think that the HP tech wasn't totally out of line here. First, the tech was probably following a script, and he would then have to answer for it if something went wrong down the line. More importantly, while you may know that you are knowledgeable, there is no way that the HP tech to know that you are except by taking your word for it. I am sure that those techs who have run across many self-proclaimed "experts" who really aren't. Even so, taking your word for it would probably be sufficient for most things, as you know, a BIOS upgrade is risky. If it goes south, who has to fix it? You or HP? If I were HP, I'd want to do the install if you were on the phone talking to me about it too, and as the customer in that situation, I would have accepted the help, especially if it were already 3am. Not only because I might be tired/frustrated/whatever and make a stupid but fatal (to the machine) mistake, but if something were to go wrong and the machine is bricked as a result, you are much better position to demand a quick fix from HP because it was HP that damaged your laptop and not you.
As for my biggest frustration with Help Desk staff, it is when they are so stuck on a script that they are not listening to you. Or if they did not read the original ticket. For instance, a hypothetical:
Me: My machine is doing X. I have tried rebooting it, but X still is happening.
HD: Have you tried rebooting your machine? That solves a lot of issues.
I am OK with being asked to do things I've done before if the HD tech communicates that he knows I've tried the step before, but that he/she wants for me to try it again.
Me: My machine is doing X. I have tried rebooting it, but X still is happening.
HD: I know that you have already rebooted your machine, but would you mind trying again?
The latter way of communicating such a request allows the tech to go through the company-provided script as designed without making me feel like they are not listening. I know from personal experience that sometimes basic steps were not done, and verifying that they were done can potentially save a lot of time. Just as long as I am respected as the customer and not treated like a complete moron, I'm fine.
That's an excellent point--support techs should always verify what the customer tells them before proceeding to the next step so customer knows they're really in tune and listening to them. Another reader named Raymond may have narrowed in on the reason why my techie did not seem to be listening to me:
Your transaction with the support technician draws attention to two problems of support.
First the support technician is multitasking - handling more than one support call at a time - to the degree that (s)he cannot remember what transpired. This can be a support policy of the company more than a problem with the technician.
The second is more clearly a problem of the technician: not recognizing the level of expertise of the customer and thereby not respecting the customer. In your (and our) case, the overzealous helpfulness is actually a hindrance to the productivity of the support person as well as of the customer.
The first point about multitasking is probably key here.
As to upgrading Windows 7/8 laptops to Windows 10, a reader named Graham has done this twice and sent us the following summary of his experiences:
I have now upgraded 2 laptops.. The first a Medion Akoya and the second dell Inspiron.
The Akoya was initially loaded with 32bit Win7 but I wanted 64bit Win 10. I understand that the upgrade will install W10 with the same 'bitidness' as the starting OS hence I reformatted the drive and installed W7 64bit (install key works for 32 and 64 bit). A shed load of W7 updates installed then W7 Service Pack. All ok so far then advised to install a new version of windows update. That appeared to work ok but when I tried to download more W7 updates, eventually expecting to reach the win10 update icon, nothing more downloaded. Left for ca 10 hours still nothing so I started all over again. Same result. Next I downloaded the Win10 media creation tool from MS at:
Checked the update this pc now option. W10 seemed to download ok but then went to downloading updates (W10 not yet installed) again the downloading message just sat there with nothing obvious happening. Next I disabled the windows update service in Win 7, almost immediately Win10 updates started to download and the whole update process went on to completion. All seems to be fine now.
A few days later having checked out the W10 functionality with my critical software I decided to upgrade my Dell Inspiron (Win8.1 home, 8GB, Intel i5). The machine was already fully patched so I did another full system backup using Acronis. Downloaded the MS Win 10 Media Creation tool and ran update now. This worked absolutely fine with all s/w previously running on w7 now working fine on W10. I was prompted by Vipre Internet Security to install an update which also went ok. Hope these experiences help.
Finally, one of our readers who prefers to remain anonymous shared the following info about a bug they've found in Windows 10 and which they've reported to Microsoft and have been working with them to fix. We're reproducing it here in case any of our other readers run into it:
You might want to share with your readers a bug that we found in Windows 10. It affects any application running on Windows 10 which is run under a different security context (i.e. Run As), and then tries to open the Explorer 'Properties' dialog on a file or directory. Microsoft has confirmed that it is a problem, but so far has not found a cause or solution.
1. Create a shortcut to Notepad on your taskbar or desktop.
2. Logged into your normal account, shift-right click on the Notepad shortcut and select 'Run As Administrator' (or different user, might do the same). Enter the administrator userID and password, then when Notepad opens, enter some characters, and select File > Save As.
3. When the window opens to ask where to save the file, right click on any existing file or folder, select Properties, and you should see this error:
The main applications affected by this are ones that might be run as an administrator or different user than the current logged on user account. For example, some FTP programs will allow a file or folder to be right clicked on and will display the familiar Windows Explorer context menu for files and directories. Replacement applications for Windows Explorer also will exhibit this problem.
If any other readers have experienced this or something similar you can report it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll forward your email to the reader who sent us the info on this problem.
And now on to the main topic of this issue...
I recently read an article on BusinessInsider titled "Bestselling sci-fi author: Most tech startups are ill-considered, useless, or a parasite" which you can read here:
This article really got me thinking, especially the part about how "disruption can leave a lot of people behind" and also how "Silicon Valley is building a reputation as a place where startups do things just because they can, in ruthless attempts to grab power and resources while they try to remake the world in their own image." I found myself agreeing with Ellis that "Move fast and break things is a great logline, but, I suspect, a fairly s***ty way of acting in and on the world."
The Internet has also transformed the world in many ways over the last two decades, and while in some ways I love the Internet (no need to go hunting around brick-and-mortar stores for that second pair of those shoes I find so comfortable) it's brought other changes that leave me trembling in fear--for example by making our financial system and critical infrastructure more vulnerable. In the end though I'm probably like almost everybody else and just go with the flow and enjoy the good the Internet has brought me while trying to sidestep the bad.
But what if it hits you where you're most vulnerable--where you earn your living? That's exactly what the cloud has done to several of my IT pro colleagues over the last few years. Those who work in small business IT consulting / system integration seem to be among those hardest hit by the push towards cloud computing. I personally know of at least three smallbiz consultants who hung up their spurs and moved on towards other careers, and the reasons they give for doing this seem to be twofold. First, while IT has always been a rapidly changing field, change seems to have picked up speed considerably with the move towards cloud computing. With change of course comes additional stress--the stress of learning new skills and the stress of retooling your business--and for some consultants (particularly those with 15+ years of experience) the motivation to learn and the amount of work involved in retooling just seems too high a bar to try to leap over just to keep running their business.
The second consideration that I've heard from them that has led them to leave the smallbiz IT consulting business is that the margins are too small with cloud computing for them to continue to make a decent living. Only one consultant I know is making a good living helping small businesses move to the cloud, and he's a young aggressive guy who has only been in the IT field a couple of years. All the experienced smallbiz consultants I know are finding it harder to make money selling, configuring and maintaining cloud services for their customers. Some are even trying to scare customers off (perhaps wisely) by trumpeting the security/privacy risks of migrating on-premise infrastructure to the cloud.
Finally, while few small businesses would purchase a server and configure and maintain it on-premises without the help of an IT expert (either on staff or as a consultant) it seems that more and more small business owners are beginning to view IT as a commodity they can rent and utilize with little or no expert help, and it's the cloud that seems to be giving them this impression. Whether it's a true impression or a misleading one is beside the point however--the impression of "no setup required" and "turnkey cloud services" seems to be becoming more widespread.
What thoughts do our newsletter readers have on this subject? Based on our survey results it seems that almost one-third of our newsletter readers work at, support or provide consulting services to small businesses, so I'm sure that many of you have opinions and experiences on this matter. Feel free to share your thoughts with us at email@example.com
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Microsoft MVP Award is given to community leaders in the IT and developer professions who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft technologies. You can read more about the program here:
Since Microsoft MVPs are experts who like to help others, it makes sense for there to be a central place where they can share their expertise with the wider IT community. That place is the Microsoft MVP Award Program Blog which can be found here:
Roughly each week an MVP contributes a post to this blog and readers of our newsletter can find much that may be useful there, so check it out today!
edX: Data Science and Machine Learning Essentials
Aspiring Data Scientists, learn this and more, in the new edX course. It’s a one-module-per-week, five-week course, available beginning on September 24. Learn key concepts of data science and machine learning, and explore how to build a cloud data science solution with R, Python, and Azure Machine Learning from the Cortana Analytics Suite. Skill up on key concepts, and build predictive models, based on real-world datasets. Check it out!
On-demand: Core Concepts of Skype for Business Server 2015
If you’re familiar with telephony concepts and have experience with servers and databases, and you’re tasked with implementing Skype for Business in your enterprise, be sure to check out this newly available on-demand course. The slides, videos, interactive games, and hands-on labs can also help you prepare for Exam 70-334 ("Core Solutions of Microsoft Skype for Business 2015") as part of your work toward Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert certification. View the course here.
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than one-and-a-half tonnes." -- Popular Mechanics, 1949
Until next week,
Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don't receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at email@example.com and we'll try to troubleshoot things from our end.
Path Editor lets you edit the PATH environment on Windows conveniently.
AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM) for AWS is a unified security platform providing threat detection, incident response, and compliance management for AWS environments.
Calendar Sync+ synchronizes Outlook calendar entries to a Google calendar, vice versa and both ways.
GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at email@example.com
Microsoft probably should have published this information before they allowed users to start upgrading their machines to Windows 10 but maybe they haven't figured it out completely until now. Anyways, this page from Microsoft provides what seems to be the most detailed summary yet on the topic of activation in Windows 10 and how to verify that you are complying with licensing of the new platform:
Florian Klaffenbach shares this helpful blog post on his Flo's Datacenter Report site where he answers a customer who wants to get a PXE Boot triggered by DHCP through a virtual Machine Hosted on Hyper-V:
While you're at it you might want to start following Flo on Twitter here:
And in case you missed the news, we're now using @WServerNews as the twitter alias for posts relating to this newsletter so please go here and start following us today if you haven't already done so:
Here's a tip from Matt Tinney on how you can extract all drivers from a machine and then import them into ConfigMgr:
Extract all installed drivers from machine. This export can be used to import drivers into ConfigMgr.
export-windowsdriver -online -destination <destination directory>
Matt Tinney is CEO and founder of Windows Management Experts (WME) a leader in Microsoft System Center technologies that helps customers reduce IT operations cost through services and solutions:
AWS re:Invent on October 6-9 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA
Microsoft Convergence on April 4-7, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana USA
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
How Azure VMs Differ From Hyper-V Virtual Machines (CloudComputingAdmin.com)
How to automate your Azure Infra tasks using Azure Automation (Mahesh Kumar)
AWS, Security Based on a Shared Responsibility Model (Part 1) (InsideAWS.com)
Now Available – Amazon Linux AMI 2015.09 (AWS Official Blog)
Installing and Configuring Citrix Provisioning Services 7.6 (Part 3) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
Free Fault Tolerant Load Balancing using Citrix NetScaler Express (Part 1) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
Active Directory Insights (Part 5) - Domain controller hardware sizing (WindowsNetworking.com)
The Power of Orchestration (CloudComputingAdmin.com)
Microsoft Account: How to get the most out of it and how not to get locked out (Microsoft UK blog)
Intune and Exchange ActiveSync (Part 6) (MSExchange.org)http://www.wservernews.com/go/ey9lejj6/
Saying Goodbye to On-Premises Exchange (Part 7)
Getting Started with AWS (Part 12)
Deploying Nano Server in Windows Server 10 Technical Preview 2
Video: Viewing Managed Service Accounts and hosts using a free tool
Wi-Fi Security: Beyond Password Protection
While open source platform as a service can ease cloud app development and deployment, it also poses six serious challenges for developers and the business. Learn how to overcome these six open source PaaS challenges today.
Every application’s performance is different depending on its systems administrator’s decisions and goals surrounding network and I/O. Learn about the factors that affect virtualized application performance and discover how to manage IOPS to reduce bottlenecks so you can optimize your network and storage infrastructure today.
With more regulations and compliance constraints than the average IT shops, several IT pros from federal government agencies are currently facing a significant dilemma –how to provide security and the freedom and flexibility to support a mobile workforce. Is it possible to give end users choices while balancing security, and, do it with VDI? Find out now.
Certifications in traditional installation, configuration, support, and account management skills with networking, virtualization, and mobility, can help advance your skillsets and career. Admins today use these certifications to validate their skills and become more marketable to hiring IT shops. What are you waiting for? Access your guide to desktop support certifications now.http://www.wservernews.com/go/s31tv1gs/
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at email@example.com
Did you know that you can fix a dented plastic car bumper by pouring boiling water to soften up the material and then pushing it back into place?
Graham Dickinson's amazing wingsuit flight dodging trees and air turbulence while camera man Dario Zanon follows him at speeds of over 110 mph (175 km/h)
'Like a Genie in a bottle' Jesahel Pirlo from Italy amazes the audience with a world-class performance of flexibility and effortless elegance
Four musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic are playing Ravel's Bolero on one cello simultaneously
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.