Vol. 21, #29 - July 18, 2016 - Issue #1089

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Tech support scams

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Ask Our Readers - Hard drive failures and VMWare ESXi (more responses)
    • Ask Our Readers - Managing large email attachments (new question)
    • Tech support scams
    • Send us your feedback
    • Recommended for Learning
    • Microsoft Virtual Academy
    • Quote of the Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. This Week's Tips
    • Windows Server - ACL shenanigans and file shares
    • Macintosh - Restoring deleted files in /etc
    • Outlook - Quick click categorization
  4. Events Calendar
    • North America
    • Add Your Event
  5. Tech Briefing
    • Azure
    • Cloud computing
    • Mobile Device Management
    • Security
    • Windows 10
  6. Recommended TechGenix Articles
    • Recommended articles from websites in TechGenix Network
  7. Other Articles of Interest
    • How Azure Stack aims to solve hybrid cloud challenges
    • Expert advice: Don’t waste valuable data center resources on overprovisioning
    • VMware focuses on the future with vSphere HTML5 Web Client
    • Citrix, Microsoft bring Windows 10 DaaS to life
  8. WServerNews FAVE Links
    • World First: Plane Flies Under Back Flipping Motorcycle And Highliner
    • Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Aerobatics
    • People Are Awesome - Sports Edition
    • People Are Wonderful: Epic Wins
  9. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • Virtualizing Exchange 2016: The right way

 

 

Editor's Corner

In this week's newsletter your Editor shares a story of how he was almost (but not really) tricked into a tech support scam he had not previously come across. We also have some responses from readers to last week's Ask Our Readers item plus the usual assortment of tips, tools, links and fun videos. We also have a new question for our newsletter readers to try and help out one of our readers.
Speaking of tech support pulling tricks on users, check out Dogbert's fatalism in this classic Dilbert comic strip:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0oji8x52/

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]

Ask Our Readers - Hard drive failures and VMWare ESXi (more responses)

A few weeks ago in Issue #1084 Catching up on Windows 10 we received a request from Alain, the Director of a company in South Africa that provides procurement and training support to the construction industry, who asked us to reach out to our readership concerning the following issue:

Hi Mitch, thanks again (as usual) for a very informative newsletter. I have just experienced a series of unfortunate hard drive failures, that have left a large dent in my confidence with various platforms. One issue that I have experienced relates to VMWare ESXi Server (barebones install) and a hard drive failure that left two virtual machines that ran off that hard drive not only dead, but completely irretrievable.
Disk Drive programmes abound for monitoring HDD status especially regarding SMART  parameters. These all run on a desktop or server environment, but when running within a VM, there is no real hardware for them to monitor since these machines only have virtual hard drives without SMART monitoring.
Do you have any tips on how to monitor drives for potential failure when running VMWare ESXi?

Last week we published one suggestion from a reader named Joseph and we lamented that his was the only response we had received so far concerning Alain's question. That brought out a few more responses from various readers. First here's what Todd recommends:

I'm surprised that you did not get more responses to the original request. Hardware monitoring is straight forward in vCenter. In most cases as long as there are binaries available for the specific hardware platform (all major brand servers are covered). Here's one of many articles on it, if you want to pass it along, though a very quick search will turn up this and many more:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/w6o2g70s/

Next here's what John, a Microsoft Certified SBS Specialist based in New Zealand, had to suggest about the matter:


Regarding VMWare ESXi, unless you are an international conglomerate, I suggest you immediately change to Microsoft's Hyper-V. I used to support (and had official training on) VMWare ESXi. Then I switched over to Citrix Xen Server about 3 years ago. Now I am a total fan of Microsoft Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V. There is even a free version -- Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, but that is command line only. It works, but I strongly suggest you get the full version with the Storage Spaces manager.
Some VERY good reasons:

1. It is CHEAPER than the FREE  versions of VMWare ESXi or Citrix Xen Server! When you buy Windows Server 2012 R2, and use it as a host for Hyper-V, you ALSO may use TWO copies of the same serial number as actual Virtual Machines. That means you get 3! With VMWare ESXi or Citrix Xen Server you will have to but a least one Windows server anyway.

2. It runs all manners of Windows and Linux. Even my Linux firewall.

3. It outperforms VMWare and Citrix Xen Server because everything is a native Windows product.

4. The best thing:  YOU DO NOT NEED RAID CONTROLLERS!. The Microsoft Storage Spaces creates RAID 0, 1, 5, 10. It creates RAID in SECONDS, with formatting done in minutes, not hours and hours and hours!  And it outperforms hardware raid cards. And it is VERY easier to repair!

5. I personally use 2X4TB drives as RAID1, for the VMs, and a separate 120GB SSD for the boot drive. The RAID1 is nearly 3-5 times faster than RAID5.

6. If the boot drive fails, just re-install Server 2012R2 and Hyper-V. Then just attach the Storage Spaces disk and start the VMs. Really amazing stuff.

7. Windows updates is a breeze. Just do the updates, no need to shut down the virtual machines! Hyper-V will pause the VM's, restart the host, and restart the VM's automatically! Usually in less than 10 minutes you will be up and running again.

8. To back up, just COPY the complete folder structure somewhere else. I typically copy about 350GB/hr over my LAN at about 115MB/s. It takes about 1.5 hrs to copy all my VM's. That is less than 30% of the time it takes to back them up.

9. If the destination PC is capable, the you can just START those copies without ANY fuss, they will automatically activate!

10. Windows 10 has the similar Storage Spaces, and can also just use the Server 2012R2 Storage Spaces.
Really incredible stuff.

 Rip and replace might not be a feasible approach for most readers, but John does make an interesting case for replacing VMware with Hyper-V. Would any of our readers like to debate the contrary position? Email us at [email protected]
Finally, Alain who originally sent us this question updated us on developments as follows:

Hi Mitch, thanks for the response in the mailbag….. It's clear that I am doing things in a rather unique manner, I guess, since you didn't get too many responses -- but the one you provided does make sense.

I have now dispensed with the ESXi as the ISP refused to even consider new drives to repopulate, so I have now moved over to VPS Servers. These are fairly handy, because each one can be backed up individually to the ISP's infrastructure (no extra cost) and its done either weekly, or daily at a small extra charge. It does mean setting up those servers (all Linux!!!) and a re-population of the data across the internet (approx. 200Gb) which is a serious challenge, but once its done and all set up again, it should be easy to maintain. I do feel rather at the mercy of the ISP, because all they need to do is to switch their systems off and my setup goes for  a ball of chalk!

Thanks for testing the readership!


Alain doesn't identify which cloud service provider he has decided to use, but if any readers are unfamiliar with the phrase virtual private server (VPS) you might want to review this Wikipedia article:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wmw38kh9/

Ask Our Readers - Managing large email attachments (new question)

Jim, the President of an IT consulting business in Florida, USA sent us the following question which we're redirecting to all you readers out there:

I have an engineering client with 120 users that are spread across 12 remote offices plus corporate. Servers are located in the corporate office. The attachments are movie files, large dpi pictures and PDF files embedded with pictures. My client receives these from internal users as well as external users. Management is not helping IT with any email polices or training for users. I'm looking for ideas from folks on how to better manage these large attachments. BTW: they grew their Exchange store by 80GB in 4 months.

If any readers have suggestions that might help Jim with this problem, please email us at [email protected]

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]

And now on to the main topic of this week's newsletter...

Tech support scams

Your Editor is usually very careful what he clicks on when he browses the Web. Then again, if he hasn't had his morning coffee...

Several days ago I decided to start using Microsoft's new Edge browser on my laptop running Windows 10. I've been holding off doing this until now because I need to ensure I can access several partner intranets and so far Edge has seemed less configurable than Internet Explorer for such purposes. But I decided to take the plunge for awhile and see what all the fuss and bother is about. Is Edge really that much faster than IE? Let's try it and see...
Anyways, things we going along fine until I happened to type the URL for a popular news site into the address bar of Edge and was suddenly confronted with what looked like a BSOD:


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 And here's a close-up of the dialog box:

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I could immediately tell that something was fishy here since the IP address listed in the dialog box was not the address of my laptop (it wasn't even on the same subnet). I chuckled at how smart I was in recognizing this and immediately opened Task Manager and killed Edge.

Then I started Edge again and my home page (Google) opened, so I clicked on the address bar in Edge and selected the URL of the site I had previously wanted to open. As I was releasing my finger from the mouse button I suddenly realized that the URL that I previously entered had a typo in it. Naturally, the above BSOD page appeared again. Aha!

I killed Edge again, restarted it, and tried typing the desired URL correctly into the address bar. Unfortunately I was working in overclock mode (something that often happens to the brains of IT nerds like us) and I ended up only typing part of the URL as autocomplete typed the rest and I somehow imagined it had typed the correct URL.
Dang, the BSOD page came up again. Now here's where I must have needed more coffee, I guess I was getting tired because for some reason I decided to click on the OK button in the dialog to see what would happen.

Edge blinked.

A new dialog also opened up, one with an empty checkbox but no OK button. At that point I thought, "Uh-oh, I probably shouldn't have done that." So I closed Edge again and ran a full malware scan on my laptop and fortunately it came up green.

So I started Edge once again, only this time instead of Google appearing Edge went straight to the BSOD page. Argh! Clicking the OK button in the dialog must have reset my home page to the fishy page. Rats, how to fix? Unfortunately there's no separate Control Panel utility for Edge the way there is the Internet Options utility for IE. So I captured the screen so I could read the text. Then I searched online using a text string from the error page. A quick search turned up the following thread in Microsoft Answers:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ko28zpx2/

 As the respondent who answered the original poster's question in this thread says, what I stumbled across in my story above is one of the Fake Tech Support Scams that Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit has warned users about in the following YouTube video:

 http://www.wservernews.com/go/tyr4mmdk/

Anyways, I still had to find a way to reset the home page in Edge without actually opening Edge. Fortunately, the registry hack described in this Neowin article came to the rescue:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/cqip2k6x/


Anyway, at the end of the previously mentioned video you can find the following Microsoft URL where you can report such scams when you come across them:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/tzy2bwy9/

More information from Microsoft on this problem can be found here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/co1zwsnx/


Some statistics concerning the scope of this problem can be found in the following article on the Microsoft On The Issues site here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/8eid9wd9/

This is the first time I've personally encountered this kind of thing. Have other readers (or your parents or grandparents) experienced this kind of thing? What other vectors besides typing the wrong URL into the address bar have other readers run into? Share your stories with us by emailing us at [email protected]

Send us your feedback

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

Recommended for Learning

Want to set up a dev, test or demo environment online for VMware or KVM? Check out Ravello Systems (now owned by Oracle) whose Smart Labs offering provides you with self-contained capsules based on nested virtualization. More info here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ik0xxzbn/

Microsoft Virtual Academy

What's New in PowerShell v5

View this course to learn about the latest and greatest features of PowerShell Version 5 – features that you can use right away!  Explore changes in security, scripting, debugging, and administration role management, along with the PowerShell Gallery, ScriptAnalyzer, and DSC. Our expert instructors show you how to install modules and implement the Wait Debugger, plus much more. Don’t miss it!

http://www.wservernews.com/go/y75tj0wk/

 Quote of the Week

"We recently received a memo from senior management saying: 'This is to inform you that a memo will be issued today regarding the subject mentioned above.'"

--attributed to the Legal Affairs Division of Microsoft Corporation


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]

Simple and FREE backup agent for Linux — anywhere. Introducing Veeam Agent for Linux designed to ensure the Availability of your Linux server instances, whether they reside in the public cloud or on premises.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/emb62686/

With a multitude of sensors and a vendor agnostic platform, PRTG Network monitor enables you to use ONE solution to monitor your entire infrastructure including applications, software, hardware, cloud & virtual environments.
 
http://www.wservernews.com/go/sbgkod5q/

Active Directory Utils is a repository of sample code related to working with AD:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/lswg170m/

XLTools makes your work in Excel smarter and easier:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gg14vayx/

Microsoft Office Configuration Analyzer Tool (OffCAT) 2.2 lets you analyze Microsoft Office programs for known configurations that cause problems:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/13n7cfs8/

This Week's Tips

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

Windows Server - ACL shenanigans and file shares

One of my all-time favorite blogs (though I often can't understand much of it) is Raymond Chen's blog The Old New Thing which has been running since 2003 (and until recently I think was hosted on a Windows 95 machine sitting in his basement--or maybe that's just an urban legend). A couple of months ago a customer asked him how one could configure security on a file share so everyone could create new files and folders on the share but would not be allowed to overwrite any existing content on the share. You can read Raymond's answer to this question here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kf2bmcd6/

Macintosh - Restoring deleted files in /etc

Yes we're actually including a tip about the Apple Macintosh platform in this week's newsletter--that's a first for us :-)
Robert Helling has written up the story about how he somehow accidentally deleted everything in the /etc directory on his Macbook but eventually found a way of using TimeMachine to restore the deleted items. You can read about it in his blog here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/238hqlek/

Outlook - Quick click categorization

When we upgraded from Office 2010 to Office 2013 one of the things we regretted was that the category field was no longer displayed in the messages (middle) pane unless you clicked on a message to select it. I found this subtle change in the UI frustrating because in Outlook 2010 I was used to right-clicking on the empty rectangle representing the category of a message to quickly assign a category to the message by selecting the appropriate color. In Outlook 2013 however I now had to use two clicks to do what I could do previously using only one click.
Well, I've now found a solution--or rather several possible workarounds--to this problem on a popular site called Outlook-Tips.com. You can read these solutions/workarounds here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ns9yw9dn/

Events Calendar

North America

2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference on July 10-14, 2016 in Toronto Canada

http://www.wservernews.com/go/s1hv2esa/

Ignite on September 26-30, 2016 in Atlanta USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3u3k3at3/

Add Your Event

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

Tech Briefing

Azure

Using Azure Active Directory Domain Services with ARM VNets (Mark Renoden)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/05k00o71/

Using PowerShell to create Azure NSGs (WindowsNetworking.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/19d6gfa5/

Cloud computing

Getting Started with Containers (Part 6) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gm76oatl/

DevOps Basics : Deploying A Simple Docker Environment on Azure (CanITPro)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/pc8g63ol/

Mobile Device Management

Mobile Application Management (MAM) in Action (myITforum)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/rcdlgcxh/

Only Two Minutes to Mobile Management! (myITforum)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kdin81pp/

Security

Top 10 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Data Leakage (WindowsSecurity.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wqivgy5o/

Application security redux It’s All about the Apps (Part 6) (WindowsSecurity.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/txr6kgz8/

Windows 10

Windows 10 Roaming Profile: Sharing Violation Every 2nd Logon (Helge Klein)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/fkzat2uy/

Windows 10 security and privacy: An in-depth review and analysis (We Live Security)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wuuhmm21/

Recommended TechGenix Articles

Perfect Technology Storm

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ebhrpfh5/

Exchange 2016 upgrade tips and tricks from the field (Part 2)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/87mq0h30/

Installing and configuring Citrix StoreFront 3.5 (Part 2)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/88b254d2/

Security challenges presented by microservices

http://www.wservernews.com/go/95o47cg3/

Other Articles of Interest

How Azure Stack aims to solve hybrid cloud challenges

As hybrid cloud challenges are still very much prevalent, Microsoft looks to help enterprises bridge their private and public clouds with Azure Stack—but it’s still a work in progress.  Discover, in this complimentary tip, how Microsoft is aiming to solve many hybrid cloud challenges with Azure Stack.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/h2cv6f1i/

Expert advice: Don’t waste valuable data center resources on overprovisioning

From monitoring CPU usage to right-sizing VM allocation, there are a number of precautions administrators can take to prevent overprovisioning. Find out from Stephen Bigelow, Senior Technology Editor, methods you can take to prevent or eliminate overprovisioning.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/tx2mww9y/

VMware focuses on the future with vSphere HTML5 Web Client

VMware's decision to move to HTML5 and no longer rely on Adobe Flash means the end of the C# client—as vSphere HTML5 Web Client may now be the future.  Discover why VMware is turning much of its attention to vSphere Client and how exactly it may benefit your organization.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/q7d0b5ri/

Citrix, Microsoft bring Windows 10 DaaS to life

Microsoft is finally letting up on its desktop as a service rules. Plus, Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp 7.9 come with new features around desktop image management, Microsoft integrations and more. Find out more about each in this complimentary whitepaper from one of our Senior Managing Editors.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/r2fttetm/

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]

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World First: Plane Flies Under Back Flipping Motorcycle And Highliner

Aerobatic pilot Melissa Andrzejewski flies under highliner Sketchy Andy Lewis and freestyle motocross legend Jimmy Fitzpatrick in a first of it's kind aviation stunt:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/5kxep185/

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Aerobatics

Watch Boeing test pilots perform daring maneuvers with the 787-9 Dreamliner in preparation for the 2016 Farnborough Airshow:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/fha9yb1f/

People Are Awesome - Sports Edition

Amazing athletes in action demonstrating their awesome and seemingly impossible skills:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kwuhelui/

People Are Wonderful: Epic Wins

A highly enjoyable collection of epic wins, with the most amazing performances of incredibly talented people:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/8bl96mvx/

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.