Vol. 22, #26 - June 26, 2017 - Issue #1137
Free Tool: Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory
This week's newsletter echoes the words spoken by Claude Rains in the movie Casablanca where he says, "I'm shocked, shocked to find that rapid release going on in my datacenter!" Or something like that, I may have misquoted it a bit. Anyways, we're going to explore the new "continuous delivery" approach for how Microsoft is going to be releasing new versions of Windows Server every six months. We also have the usual tips and tools plus some fitness tips in the new IT Pro Fitness Corner section of our newsletter which you should be sure to check out as I relate a story of how heavy use of my exercise bike has resulted in a pain issue I'm still dealing with.
Speaking of biking, here's a really dumb Dilbert comic strip about biking:
A few weeks ago a reader named Wlad from Alabama, USA sent us the following question which we tossed out to our readers to try and answer:
Would it be possible to pose the following question to ask on our readers forum? I have spent last month researching the issue and I'm more confused than ever. I want to create a "rescue disk" for several systems I use, starting with Windows 7 and ending with Windows 10. What I have in mind is a single USB HDD for each system. The drive would be formatted as a "bootable USB" first (whatever that means, I found a dozen different descriptions) and then further partitioned to include a secondary, non-bootable partition. On that second partition I want to create the computer's HDD clone, but not in the form of the USB HDD being a clone of the computer HDD, but the USB HDD containing a file (or a filesystem) that is an exact clone of the source HDD. Let us call it a "total HDD image". The goal is to have a single USB HDD that, in case of emergency (wannacry ?) I could connect to the computer in distress, boot from, and then restore the entire HDD from the total HDD image backup. The aim is to restore everything, bit for bit (boot bootstrap, system, Windows files, installed programs, user data, EVERYTHING).
Has anybody done this? Could it even be done or am I chasing an impossible dream? Microsoft is not helping with their constant "improvements" of backup and recovery mechanisms and associated mess of confusing terms that have changing meaning over time (like a system backup that may or may not include non-MS applications). Thanks.
Last week in Issue #1136 Windows 10 disantivirus we included a number of reader suggestions concerning Wlad's question and since then we received two more. First off here's what Olaf, a Technical Consultant based in Melbourne, Australia had to say on this topic:
We just set up this solution for a client last week. They have 3 Seagate 2TB portable HDDs in rotation for their medical practice. We used Macrium Reflect Workstation (there is a free version for personal use) to create a small bootable Macrium recovery partition on each of the 3 disks:
Then Macrium runs a scheduled (or manual) full or differential image backup onto the second partition on the external USB drive. For disaster recovery, simply boot off the USB drive, select the date to recover and destination internal drive, and a full restore of everything is but moments away. With USB3 it flies.
A couple of hints: make sure the correct boot method (UEFI/MBR) is used when selecting the creation of the recovery boot disk(s). Also if there is a problem when selecting the USB drive and creating the recovery partition, you may need to run the Macrium boot disk wizard first, then use Disk Management to delete pre-existing partitions on the external drive.
I've not done it via a single flash drive, but I LOVE the free utility called Rufus:
and use it to make bootable usb drives from ISO images. So take whatever boot system or utility you like and put it on the usb drive with that. Boot, then restore your image with favorite imaging software.
I like also the Acronis software and free lite versions are available from Seagate, Western Digital, and another I just ran across but can't remember which.
Also last week we heard from a reader named Stan, a Technical Sales Specialist based in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA, who sent us the following question:
Every time I click on a link in an email and the link is either a .net or .org win7 always goes to IE, how can I change that to go to Firefox. I looked in the default program process and these extensions are not in there, any suggestions.
A reader named Richard has responded to Stan with the following suggestion:
Mozilla apps are controlled by ascii java scripts, make a safe copy of prefs.js and edit the original to change parameters; other .js files in its folder and sub-folders also control Firefox behaviour; ditto their Thunderbird email. If brave, open Firefox and enter in the URL field about:config. You'll get a chummy response "Here be Dragons", click OK and a lengthy list of tweaks appears, BUT do take care as some do things like permanently put it in kiosk mode!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
In last week's issue we talked about how Microsoft seems to be blocking third-party antivirus programs from working properly in Creators Update their latest release of Windows 10. This generated a lot of responses from our readers, some complaining and some saying everything is OK:
Yes, I'm calling the Creator's update a virus. I had this update forced down my throat here at work on June 1st . We use IBM ClearCase for source code control. The update uninstalled the ALBD service and disabled the MVFS service of ClearCase. And it wasn't just my PC but 4 other devs as well. After many hours via IBM's PMR system, remote meetings and emails, the solution was to uninstall and then reinstall ClearCase. Luckily, the update hasn't hit all the devs at once and seems to be trickling out to the slowly so its a manageable fix. Takes about 1.5 hours to uninstall and reinstall ClearCase and then the dev is back up and running. Based on the PMR (06565,082,000) and IBM's response, I don't think IBM is going to pursue this with Microsoft. So can you get the word out? There must be other Windows 10 developer shops using ClearCase and they are all going to run into this. --Terry, Software Manager based in Rochester, New York.
As you can see we've ordered the above reader responses in order of increasing frustration. We've also saved this one from Ronald, a retired computer consultant, as a last and final example of what working with Microsoft products can sometimes do to you:
I am not a bit surprised would try to make third-party antivirus/antimalware software NOT WORK. They have been doing such things in the total history of Microsoft!!
I first got into computers 35 years ago but resisted going with BIG BLUE and Microsoft at the time because both of them were shooting for a monopoly, and both have had antitrust lawsuits against them over the years.
I held out against going with PCs for a few years using CPM computers. However, I gave in, in the late 80's and early 90's. Built my first PC in 1988 and loaded it with MS-DOS. In the early 90's I was using Word Perfect. I had tried MS Word but did not like it, it was not intuitive, among other things. Then with Windows 3.0, maybe even in DOS 3 or 4, don't remember but Word Perfect became UNSTABLE with Microsoft's "Latest Update", SOOOooo I eventually gave in and gave up on Word Perfect.
Next on the old chopping block were other database programs, spreadsheets, etc., etc. I remember when my FireFox browser went wonky, also due to a MICROSOFT UPDATE.
In the late 90's antitrust lawsuits were brought against Microsoft but the AG did not have enough evidence against Microsoft, at the time. SO they dropped it for a few years, maybe 4-5 years, until they could find enough evidence of antitrust violations to CONVICT Microsoft, maybe 2003-2004?
And also the Mailbag section of last week's newsletter we included some emails from readers who were commenting on our earlier Issue #1130 IT, coffee, and the gig economy where we talked about being an IT pro in a shifting world where the gig economy is on the rise. In particular a reader named Paul who an ex-principal of a business systems consulting company had said the following:Just a short note. I opted for the independence and flexibility (and uncertainty) of working as an independent in the Boston area for ten years. I had to give it up eventually in that I could not run fast enough to keep up with the technology. I didn't have time both to run an independent business and to stay educated. To me, that was the biggest disadvantage of moving from an industry where educational opportunities are offered, and sometimes mandated, by one's employer.
On the other side, as much of what is done with IT is now easier and more people do it themselves e.g. using Office 365 compared to having BackOffice Small Business server, then the amount of support needed by many small businesses has reduced and they only want you when they have tricky technical problems that typically need deep knowledge.Thus you find that you need to know more and more to support fewer hours per customer -- the classic case of diminishing returns. In this respect, IT is not that different from many other industries -- car maintenance is similar -- cars have become more reliable at the same time that they have become more complex, and the days of being able to fix most things on a car with a wrench are long past.
Finally, at the top of last week's Mailbag we included the following question from a reader and an answer from another reader:In the clip you included from the UP2V article, it said: "Unfortunately, computers in these data centres are used to being up and running for lengthy periods of time. That means, when you restart them, components like memory chips and network cards fail." Is this a common thing? Why would restarting after being up for a long period of time suddenly cause them to fail? And does this mean that they should have scheduled reboots as part of their normal maintenance window? My company is too small to have a data centre but as we grow larger it sounds like something I need to keep in mind. --Joanne an IT Director for a Canadian not-for-profit organization
The "equipment is in balance (stabilized current running through it)" concept doesn't exist. Failures might be more likely to occur during a power-on because of the change in temperature of a component, as any material might be more likely to fail when undergoing temperature cycling. But pretty rare.Power-on surges aren't a real problem either. Modern computer electronics has surge protection (and surge control) in the power supply, the physical board (such as motherboard), and built into the components themselves. Surges as a result of powering on equipment are almost non-existent. It just isn't a real problem. Just as static discharge is very much less a problem than it once was.
Proper cooling is a significant factor in the life of electronic equipment, as is humidity control and the use of quality equipment. Protecting the equipment from environmental surges is a factor. (Self-induced surges are not.)All of these are issues of cumulative use not consecutive use. If you're keeping your equipment reasonably (just reasonably) cool but there is a likelihood of failure it's not because you're turning it on and off too often it's because that sucker is old and needs to be replaced. You can't fight the mathematics of MTBF.
And now on to the main topic of this week's newsletter…
The blog post also points to this article on the Windows IT Center where the Windows Server release channel models are explained in more detail:
You can read his full announcement here:
What's interesting here is how Microsoft has split their Windows Server customers into two specific categories with each being assigned a different release cadence. Specifically, there will be the Long-term Servicing Channel release of Windows Server which is patterned much like how previous versions of Windows Server were updated, that is, with new releases coming out ever 2-3 years (actually 4-5 years if you consider Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, and 2016) and with "5 & 5" years of mainstream and extended support. This servicing channel is intended for enterprises who value stability more than agility, that is, for "traditional" datacenters. Thank goodness!!The other release channel for Windows Server is the new Semi-annual channel where new releases available twice a year, in spring and fall with each release being supported for 18 months from its initial release. This channel is intended for "modern" datacenters and cloud service providers who apparently have been begging for if you re-read the first paragraph of Erin Chapple's blog post:
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This week we'll start off with a tip from reader Ben Scott on the secret for success in fitness. Then I'll share with you a personal story of a pain issue I've recently been dealing with as a result of heavy use of my exercise bike.
The secret to success in fitness (Ben Scott)
I like the IT Pro Fitness Corner, it gives a nice balance to your publication.
I would add two items that are the secret sauce for success for fitness:
Sleep. Get great sleep every day (this is when our bodies recover and change from the workouts) e.g. 7, 8, 9, 10 hours (everybody is different).
Summer is fast approaching so I thought I'd try to shed a few pounds using my exercise bike so I'll look better on the beach. Unfortunately I seem to have overdone it.
Every day for a week I burned roughly a thousand calories on my reclining exercise bike. It took me about an hour and change to do this each morning, and I gradually upped the tension level in the bike every five minutes until I reached the maximum and was pushing and breathing hard.
But I felt great afterwards, I find heavy cardio like this makes me lose my appetite so I don't overeat. By contrast when I'm weightlifting I need to eat like a horse in order to stay sane.
Anyways, after doing this every morning for a week I lost five pounds and felt full of energy. Then I made a mistake and quit biking cold turkey for two days doing no exercise at all.
After a day, I felt pain and weakness in the upper side areas of my groin near my hips.
After two days I could hardly bend my legs or get out of bed it hurt so much.
Yikes! What happened? And what should I do?
A little searching online suggested that I had succumbed to a common ailment of heavy biking, namely irritation or inflammation of the iliacus muscle:
Stretching exercises for the iliacus and neighboring psoas muscles was called for, and I found various sites and videos on how to do this:
But rest also seemed to help, and now after about a week I'm back at it on my exercise bike trying in vain to recover the beach body I had when I was a young guy…
Full disclosure: I actually had a chess body (not a beach body) when I was young :-P
Have any readers experienced similar problems as a result of biking or using an exercise bike? What did you do to alleviate or prevent such problems? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week's factoid and question was this:
Millennials are driving a resurgence of age-old crafts, choosing to become bartenders, butchers and barbers in part as a reaction to the digital age. If you could quit your IT job today, what retro-style job would you prefer as a new career?
Here are some the responses we received to this question:
I'd look into opportunities as a city or county park ranger. It was actually the work I did long ago before getting into IT. I suppose you could call it an age-old craft because the most popular control program for microcomputers at the time was CP/M. But "choosing to become bartenders, butchers and barbers in part as a reaction to the digital age" is a symptom of the desire to connect with essential needs in the natural environment (drinking, eating and grooming). Millennials will need rangers to interpret that natural environment for them. - Chuck who works in Enterprise Messaging and Collaboration Services for a bank.
When my last contract finished, I seriously looked into getting into the home handyman area. I have done many home renovations, and feel comfortable with most tools, so that and the fact that my wife is a property manager made it a no-brainer. I found out afterwards that her company had a policy of not employing relations as tradespeople, to avoid claims of nepotism. --Wayne from Western Australia
Programming IS my new career. I quit my retro job (lawyer) and started getting paid for my hobby. --Mary, a Software Engineer working in California
Blacksmith: There are days that I dream of beating the crap out something… --Don
Now let's move on to this week's factoid:
Fact: Red velvet cupcakes can sometimes cause allergies.
Question: Are there any other popular foods that have dead bugs in them "by design"?
Email your answer to us at: email@example.com
Until next week,
GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at email@example.com
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Windows Management Experts (WME) has a helpful article on how you can clean up Software Update Points in your SCCM environment:
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WServerNews - Editors
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 7www.mtit.com.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
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.