Vol. 21, #37 - September 12, 2016 - Issue #1097

Revisited: Good IT is anything that works


Editor's Corner

In this week's newsletter we revisit a topic from Issue #1094 Good IT is anything that works where I asked the question, "When is an IT solution good enough from a business perspective?" In that earlier issue I argued that good IT is basically any IT that works and that does the job regardless of whether it's elegant or not. This precipitated some feedback from our readers, and we've chosen a couple of well thought out examples for inclusion in this week's newsletter. Our hope is that what these readers have said will generate even more discussion from other subscribers to our newsletter, some of which we'll share in a future issue of WServerNews. 

We all know that discussion is a good thing. Of course sometimes discussion leads nowhere as the following Dilbert comic illustrates:


Ask Our Readers - Disappearing scroll bar (a workaround)

In Issue #1095 Interviews from the trenches we included an Ask Our Readers item from a subscriber named Mark who is a Lead Analyst for a major global media and entertainment company. Mark asked us the following question:

I'd like to know how to stop the scroll bar in Windows 10 from disappearing.

A reader named John offered the following observations:

Hi Mitch, I checked through the settings and could not find a way to disable this behavior. This doesn't mean there isn't something there and I probably missed it. I did, however, discover myself that if the window is full-screen sized but not maximized, or not snapped to the display edges by dragging the window up the full screen size, the scroll bars are there. Minimizing and maximizing seems to require resizing the windows again, which is annoying. I hope this helps.

If any other readers have feedback on this topic you can email us at [email protected]

Ask Our Readers - Remote Connection attempts timing out (more suggestions)

Way back in April of this year in Issue #1076 Hot desking blues we fielded an Ask Our Readers request for help from a reader named Darby who is a Senior Consultant based in North San Diego County area of California, USA. In his email Darby described a problem he had been experiencing that neither he nor Microsoft Support have been able to successfully troubleshoot:

I am writing this email in hopes that one of your subscribers has run into this problem before as I have been searching every online source I can think of and have been working with MS support for weeks now without a solution. Needless to say, my users are not very appreciative when this server decides to stop accepting new RDP connections.
A brief bit of history...this is a Windows Server 2008 R2 server (completely up to date with all MS Updates) that hosts a couple different back office solutions...one is delivered via RDP and the other is web based. This server runs pretty well 24x7 and worked great from early December, when it was created, until about mid February when the first occurrence of this behavior appeared.
When the issue arises, users attempting to initiate an RDP session are able to enter their login credentials no problem, but the session just hangs on the part where the RDP client says 'Initiating Remote Connection' and eventually just times out saying it cannot connect. I have let this condition run overnight to see if it was temporary, but it did not appear to be. Each time this occurs, I must force a reboot of the OS and when the system reboots everything is back to normal and new RDP connections are created just fine.
What's even more perplexing is that the web based app and some scheduled tasks set up under the Windows Scheduler appear to continue to work fine even during the periods where the server will not create an RDP session from the client.
I don't believe the server itself is hung, as these other tasks work, and work the same as normal in terms of performance. But whatever is preventing the establishment of the new RDP session(s) has so far always required a reboot. We have been unable to find anything conclusive in the Terminal Services Event Logs.
Any advice is greatly appreciated at this point.

A few weeks ago in Issue #1094 Good IT is anything that works we included our full conversation with Darby over the months that followed as several readers weighed in with various suggestions for him to try out. In response to that newsletter two more WServerNews readers sent in some suggestions concerning the problems Darby has been experiencing.

First, here's what a reader named George had to say on this subject:

Hi Darby, just came across a resolution for a very similar problem. Could be related so wanted to share with you. Thirteen VMs make up a ERP app that in process of implementing. Window Server stops responding to RDP requests and eventually RPC, WFC requests. Sometimes I cannot even logon to console from vSphere and must reset VM to bring back to life. Never the same servers and at different intervals. All Windows Server 2012 R2 versions. Stumped me for a bit then decided to check on Symantec AV. Stopping smc.exe solved it. Upgrading to latest version solved permanently.

Basically, Symantec doesn't play well WS2012R2 although so far the latest version appears to have corrected my issue.

And here's what another reader named Peter had to say on the topic:

I was reading with interest Darby's story about is RDP issues below. I was wondering if he tried another AV solution on the Server such as Sophos or some other reputable one ? Appears from the transcript of conversations  below that this has not been tried but seems a very logical thing to do if you believe it is the AV.

Switching to another AV platform isn't always a practical solution as additional costs may be involved. But in the long run trying out different AV solutions might be a good approach to finally resolving the problems that not just Darby but apparently some others have been experiencing.

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 protected]

From the Mailbag

Two weeks ago in Issue #1095 Interviews from the trenches we ran an item called "Windows 10 Anniversary Update ALERT!" where we alerted readers to this post by Sharath Srinivasa on the Microsoft Answers community forum:

Partitions may be missing after installing the Anniversary Update


A reader named Tom from Oregon, USA wrote to tell us at length of his own experiences with this problem:

Two of us got hit by this. Doug lost his whole boot partition -- so of course it was impossible for him to do anything at all. System was toast. He used that as a justification of buying a brand new up to date system (his non bootable old system was 3 years old).

I got hit by this on my physical "D" drive. But for me I was lucky -- I had planned to move all the files onto a 1 TB HD and had already done so -- but never swapped the drives. And the files on D were my installation files -- no real user files at all. I had ISO files, disk copies of software, downloaded install files used to install my existing software to make it easier to install instead than from having to find the install CD/DVD. So I only "lost" like 4 sets of new installation files. I just swapped out the drives and I was back to where I was in April.

I NEVER partition drives -- I have a physical drive for a specific function since it makes it easier to works and recover. My current system has 4 physical and 2 external drives -- the externals are for backups of the physicals using Acronis for the complete recoverable boot drive and for all the data backups. I have it organized so that top level folders are organized by function in each drive so each functional area can be backed up and then accessed using MS Libraries.

I help run the Oregon 8th Air Force Historical Society so I have a folder set for it, my own personal stuff, history research, my Photography business, my videos and then a catchall for everything else all as top level folders in each of the two 2 TB data drives. Very easy to find things this way -- and to backup.

The 8th AF items I also backup onto an external TB drive to have someone else keep AND I have burned them all onto DVDs that someone else also has. The original items (like logbooks, flight logs, papers, photos etc) have stored in airtight/watertight boxes stored in a humidly controlled storeroom in my house -- along with my backup DVDs of all my photos -- I have around 75,000 photos in both film and digital types.

It pays to plan ahead.

Yes definitely!

And now on to a few of the reader comments we received concerning Issue #1094 Good IT is anything that works where I asked the question, "When is an IT solution good enough from a business perspective?" I'm happy to say at the outset that most readers who commented on that issue disagreed with my conclusion. But that's OK, it's always lonely at the top ;-)

The perfect is the enemy of the good

A reader named Jeffrey sent us the following thoughts on my editorial:

My senior director for my full time job reiterates that the perfect is the enemy of the good. We also focus on incremental improvements that provide business value and advance us towards a desired end state. So I am constantly addressing advancing the state of IT in my employer's organization on a regular, continuing basis, which often requires some short-term compromises and work-arounds to continue progress towards long-term goals.

That said, I would disagree that Good IT is anything that works. I would say that Good IT is anything that works well enough, and while it may seem that I am just qualifying your statement slightly, I think it is an important distinction. Working could mean disabling access controls, or security controls, not really a desired outcome. Working well enough implies (at least in my opinion) that security/performance/availability are not compromised, or at least at compromised to the least degree required, and that proper exceptions are noted. As the original poster noted, it was not satisfactory to remove the AV (although I am not sure why he could not consider another vendor), or continue to live with the knowledge that the availability of the system would be compromised if the status quo was not changed, so he identified a workaround that minimizes the impact to security and availability – frequent reboots of the server. That to me seems a perfectly reasonable approach to make the system work well enough.

Thanks for that clarification of adding "good enough" to my previous statement on the subject. 

Band-aids can lead to problems later on

Another reader named John who runs a computer consulting company in Virginia, USA took a different view of this subject as follows:

Mitch, I take exception to the idea of good IT is anything that works. I just lost a corporate client because I had the audacity to point out to them all of the mistakes that were made by themselves and by their prior IT company and how putting Band-Aids on problems instead of fixing the problem correctly causes them to snowball. Also the former it firm was not training the client to not do the things that they've been doing and not explaining why.

There were a lot of issues but primarily it related to Quickbooks. The client (often with the assistance of the IT firm) would copy, move, rename, and relocate the QuickBooks company file all over their network in order to resolve an issue. In doing so they wound up having 25 copies of the Quickbooks company file in various forms & various names in various locations on the network and on various workstations. All the files were different. What a mess.

When I, as their new IT person, refused to continue this practice or to allow the practice I was terminated. OK so be it, far less stress on me. It is going to take a huge amount of effort to straighten out their bookkeeping and thankfully I will not be involved in it.

Great feedback, thanks. My guess though is that what the previous IT person had been doing for this company did *not* work well and led to missing data entries and various other problems. On the other hand, I like John's stance here where he refuses to continue with his predecessor's practice--it takes guts to push back and risk getting fired like this, but he would probably have been worse off had he agreed to go along and the company's accounts got even more screwed up down the road. 

Reboots can fix anything!

On the lighter side, a reader named Dean wrote us the following email:

Your comment: "To sum up then, my own view is that good IT is basically any IT that works and that does the job regardless of whether it's elegant or not" brought a smile to my face as I recalled the time back in the really "old days" when my wife called tech support to resolve the issue of her PC not booting and stopping with the old "press F1 to continue" prompt. Tech supports response was to "Just push F1 to continue". Obviously not elegant and not the solution desired (and my wife knew it wasn't) but none-the-less it would get the PC booted. Having spent over twenty years in managing a support department prior to my retirement I'm afraid there were probably many times that my department's support wasn't any more elegant than the "just press F1" solution my wife was offered! What I did try to stress was that we never leave our "customer" in worse shape than when they contacted us.

Dean's comments brings back memories--see the WServerNews FAVE Links section in this issue for more. 

Five-Story Blue Screen of Death

Some in Thailand spotted something interesting outside a convention center and took a photo and posted it on Twitter. TechWorm has the photo and a description:


That has to be a record I think. 

But if you still want more then check out "30 Priceless Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) to Chuckle About" on Hongkiat here:


Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]

Recommended for Learning

Windows Server 2012 Security from End to Edge and Beyond

Debra Littlejohn Shinder who is editor of our WindowNetworking.com Monthly Newsletter co-wrote the above book with Thomas Shinder and Yuri Diogenes. From architecture to deployment, this book takes you through the steps for securing a Windows Server 2012-based enterprise network in today's highly mobile, BYOD, cloud-centric computing world. Includes test lab guides for trying out solutions in a non-production environment. You can order your copy of here from Amazon:


Microsoft Virtual Academy 

Getting Great Performance out of Azure

If you're deploying Azure, you know that delivering a great user experience is important for the success of your deployment. Watch this course and see how, with Azure, it's easy to deliver excellent performance by selecting the right service options, monitoring them, and scaling to meet demand. Explore common architecture choices, learn how to build for performance, and more. Don't miss it!


 Quote of the Week

"The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, boss. Number 3: It was like that when I got here." -- Homer Simpson

Until next week,
Mitch Tulloch

Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don't receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we'll try to troubleshoot things from our end.

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

With PRTG Network Monitor you only need one solution to monitor your entire network including applications, software, hardware, cloud & virtual environments. Simplify your monitoring now with PRTG. 


Veeam ONE Free Edition v9 offers free monitoring and reporting for VMware and Hyper-V. With Veeam ONE Free Edition, data is automatically collected from hosts and management servers and then presented in easy-to-understand tables and dashboards. 


HeavyLoad is a simple but effective tool for stress-testing your PC:


OutlookAddressBookView is a simple utility that displays the details of all recipients stored in the address books of Microsoft Outlook:


JSONSource is a free MS SSIS Source component, aimed to integrate JSON data to Integration Services ETL:


This Week's Tips

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]

Windows - Why did BitLocker start in Recovery Mode?

Shannon Green has an explanation concerning this in the following post on TechNet's Tip of the Day blog:


Azure - Create a VM with multiple NICs

Anne Stenberg explains in her blog how to use PowerShell to create an Azure Virtual Machine with multiple NICs:


Windows 10 - Add detail to the lock screen 

Andrew Bares has a blog post explaining how to configure detailed lock screen status for Windows 10:


Events Calendar

North America

Microsoft Ignite Australia on February 14-17, 2017 at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, QLD


Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 9-13. 2017 in Washington, D.C.


Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

New on TechGenix.com

This week we take a look at some of the virtualization articles and news recently published on Techgenix.com.

How virtualization has changed in the last 15 years


What Docker's rise means for enterprise IT


VMware Fusion: Top 3 mistakes your users are making


An absolute beginner's guide to Microsoft Hyper-V


Keeping current on virtualization: here are a few dozen resources


Tech Briefing


Establishing multi-site connectivity with Azure Virtual Networks (CloudThat)


Resetting DNS changes at adapter level in Microsoft Azure (IT Pro Central)


Exchange Server

Analyzing Exchange Logs with Azure Log Analytics (Part 1) (MSExchange.org)


Creating basic ActiveSync reports (IT Pro Central)


Mobile Device Management

All of Jack's favorite enterprise mobility resources (Jack Madden)


Configuration Manager 1511 - what's new in MDM (Gerry Hampson)



Who Moved My Network (WindowsNetworking.com)


The Future of Networking - Pete Lumbis (Lost in Transit)



Building a PowerShell GUI (Part 9) (WindowsNetworking.com)


Who’s afraid of PowerShell security? (GoateePFE)


Other Articles of Interest

Three ways to guarantee VDI users a top-notch UX

IT must remember that VDI users expect their virtual desktops to perform just as well as their PCs – and it goes without saying that there's no point in deploying virtual desktops that perform poorly.  Luckily, there are several ways to help guarantee a strong user experience.  Click below to learn more:


Software licensing models evolving for virtualization

Virtualization and the rise of multi-core CPUs have led software vendors to rethink licensing models. While some are forced to adjust, others continue to resist. Learn more: 


PaaS, present and future: How containers evolve PaaS frameworks

As PaaS capabilities expand to support new technologies, such as containers and microservices, IT teams and developers face new challenges around visibility, monitoring and more. Find out more about how containers provide a mix of benefits and challenges to PaaS frameworks and determine if there are a right fit for your organization.


What does the acquisition of Arkin Net mean for VMware?

VMware acquired Arkin in June 2016 to help boost its software-defined data center. But what else does this mean for VMware? Our advisory board takes a look its implications and how it will affect VMware.


WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]


MS-DOS 6.22 - Browsing the web with DOS

I was wondering what it would be like to browse the internet with MS-DOS so I decided to find out. In this video I do some web browsing with a text-based web browser. There are also graphical web browsers available which I may also try in the future:


MS-DOS on an i7 4790k

It was bound to happen eventually. This is why you can never include a "boot from USB floppy" option when I'm around:


16 hidden MS-DOS Mobile commands

16 hidden MS-DOS Mobile commands:


Mum tries out MS-DOS 6.22 (1994)  

We all know she thinks "Windows 8 is the worst operating system" but I had a little trick up my sleeve to get her to change her mind... Introducing MS-DOS 6.22, A text based operating system made by Microsoft in the 1980's and 1990's. Its official!!! Windows 8 is no longer her most disliked operating system:


WServerNews - Product of the Week


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 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.