Vol. 20, #10 - March 9, 2015 - Issue #1020
Worse than Superfish?
- Editor's Corner
- Ask Our Readers - PC failure rate
- From the Mailbag
- Worse than Superfish?
- Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 Update 1 Preview Now Available
- New ebook: Microsoft System Center Software Update Management Field Experience
- Common Criteria certification achieved for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8
- Microsoft exams proctored online
- What is this???
- Send us your feedback
- Recommended for Learning - Windows Server 2012 R2 Training Guide
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- This Week's Tips
- Tips and tricks using the Windows HOSTS file
- Monitor any folder for files and take action
- Check the quality of your PowerShell code
- Events Calendar
- Webcast Calendar
- WindowsNetworking.com Webinar: Windows Server 2003 EOL and Five Migration Pitfalls to Avoid
- WindowsNetworking.com Webinar: How to Take Control of Social Media in 2015
- MSExchange.org Office 365 Online Conference
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Amazon AWS
- Cloud computing
- Microsoft Azure
- Security and Privacy
- Windows PowerShell
- Recommended TechGenix Articles
- Recommended articles from websites in TechGenix Network
- Windows Server News
- Cloud computing changes the DevOps game
- Considerations for building SCVMM high availability
- Comparing application refactoring tools
- Tuning SSD cache to maximize performance gains
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- "Jiffy" Crew Strips Down and Rebuilds a Jeep in 4 Minutes
- Losing A Wallet Experiment - Korea
- The Stunt Camera Man
- Magician Performs Yoga Card Trick
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Active Directory basics: Under the hood of Active Directory
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
In this week's newsletter we report on more HTTPS security worries for users of so-called protection software. We also announce a new update for Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, a new (and free) ebook on System Center Configuration Manager, new Common Criteria certifications for certain versions of Windows, and how you can take Microsoft certification exams from the comfort of your own home. We also have some tips on using the HOSTS file, monitoring folders on a server for the presence of files, and an easy way to check the quality of your Windows PowerShell scripts. All this and more in the latest issue of WServerNews. Enjoy!
This week's Dilbert cartoon is a doozy:
Does that feel like you some days?
Ask Our Readers - PC failure rateA reader named Tom sent us the following request:
I'm interested to know what your readers estimate the failure rate of desktops and laptops to be. I have found this report but can't find any more recent data:
Obviously this is not an exact science as there are many variables such as environment, manufacturer and workload. I wondered if there is an industry-standard metric that is widely used.
Can any of our readers help by responding to Tom's enquiry? 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]
From the Mailbag
A read named Bill emailed us recently and said:
Great publication! There is never an issue that I do not learn from and it's one of the few things I look forward to on Mondays. : )
We replied as follows:
Thanks for reading our newsletter--please tell your colleagues about and suggest they subscribe to it too!
Hint hint to everybody out there in Readerland ;-)
Worse than Superfish?
In our last Issue #1019 Making hardware last, we included an item titled "Latest on the Lenovo fiasco" that described how Lenovo PCs were basically being shipped with factory-installed adware called Superfish. If you missed that issue or want to learn more about Superfish, read this article by David Ludlow (@daveludlow) on ExpertReviews:
Well now it turns out that Superfish isn't the only software out there that can break HTTPS security on your PC if you install it. Martin Brinkmann on ghacks.net reports that PrivDog, free privacy protection software used by many PC users, also breaks the security on your system:
This article titled "Software Privdog worse than Superfish" by Hanno Bock (@hanno) has even more detailed information about the problem:
I wonder if similar issues will be discovered with other so-called protection software as the days proceed? If you hear of anything new on this topic, email us at [email protected]
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 Update 1 Preview Now Available
From the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Team Blog comes an announcement from the Enterprise Client Management team that Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 Update 1 Preview is now available for free download. MDT is a terrific tool for small to mid-sized Windows deployments, and integrating it with System Center Configuration Manager makes large-scale deployments easier as well.
You can find the announcement concerning MDT 2013 U1 Preview and download instructions here:
And you can read the Release Notes from the link on this page:
New ebook: Microsoft System Center Software Update Management Field Experience
This ebook addresses some of the gaps and pain points you might encounter when implementing, administering, and troubleshooting Software Updates using Configuration Manager 2012 R2. The advice is based on the authors' experiences working as Premier Field Engineers and Microsoft Consultants in customer environments on a daily basis. Enjoy this book and the shared experiences from the field. The authors of this ebook were Andre Della Monica, Chris Shilt, Russ Rimmerman, and Rushi Faldu, and the Series Editor was Mitch Tulloch.
You can download this and other free ebooks from Microsoft Press from this page on the Microsoft Virtual Academy:
Common Criteria certification achieved for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8
Windows Server 2012 (domain-joined only, but for both Standard and Datacenter editions) and Windows 8 (both domain-joined and standalone, and for both Professional and Enterprise editions) have now been certified by the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) for compliance with the Common Criteria for IT Security Evaluation (Version 3.1). This is important for many US agencies in the Federal or State government sector and with the military as many of these agencies recommend or even require that information systems they use be Common Criteria certified.
Confirmation of compliance for these products can be found here:
Microsoft exams proctored online
You can now take some Microsoft certification exams in the comfort of your own home or office while being monitored online by an offsite proctor. Online proctored (OP) exams are a great option for pursuing your Microsoft certification when the nearest authorized testing center is too far away to be convenient or practical for you. Microsoft Learning has more information about OP exams here:
Note that this option is not available in every country.
What is this???
So the other day I opened Bing in Internet Explorer and typed a query and got this as the response:
What? I'm not a bot, or at least I don't think I am, hmmm...
I received the same response several times over the next few days when I tried binging for stuff. This never happened when I used Google. Methinks this was a temporary glitch in the algorithm Bing uses to prevent bots from misusing its services as the problem seemed to resolve itself and hasn't recurred.
On the other hand, maybe the Internet is finally beginning to fall apart...
Any thoughts? Email us at [email protected]
Send us your feedback
Got feedback about anything in this newsletter? Let us know at [email protected]
Recommended for Learning - Windows Server 2012 R2 Training Guide
Fully updated for Windows Server 2012 R2! Designed to help enterprise administrators develop real-world, job-role-specific skills, this Training Guide focuses on deploying and managing core infrastructure services in Windows Server 2012 R2. Build hands-on expertise through a series of lessons, exercises, and suggested practices - and help maximize your performance on the job. You can buy it today from the Microsoft Press Store here:
Microsoft Virtual Academy
Some announcements from the Microsoft Virtual Academy:
Step up to Windows 10
Set yourself up for success by upgrading your skills on Windows 8.1. Earn a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) in Windows 8 between February 15, 2015, and May 31, 2015, and you'll be eligible to take a Windows 10 exam (Exam 697) for free. Plus a free Second Shot on an MCP exam if needed. Get the details:
Move up to Windows Server 2012
With the end of support for Windows Server 2003 scheduled for July 14, 2015, now is the time to migrate your skills and earn a Microsoft Certified Solution Associate (MCSA) on Windows Server 2012. Plus get a get a free Second Shot if you don't pass an exam by. May 31, 2015. See all the training resources available to help you Move up to Windows Server 2012:
Quote of the Week
""As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do." --Andrew Carnegie
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 protected] and we'll try to troubleshoot things from our end.
New Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Active Directory makes item-level recovery with Active Directory a breeze. Recover individual AD objects and containers, user accounts and passwords in few clicks!
Free Server & Application Monitor - Failure of a server or critical application can shut you down. FREE Server & Application Monitor will help reduce or eliminate application, database and general file server interruptions at no cost!
NimbleText is a text manipulation and code generation tool that makes you able to perform incredible feats of text and data wrangling:
WD My Passport Enterprise 500GB Secure Portable Corporate Environment with Windows To Go provides a secure work environment that is fast and easy to set up:
Advanced IP Scanner is a free Windows-based IP, port, and NetBIOS scanner from Radmin and offers a commercial remote support solution:
This week we have tips on using the HOSTS file, monitoring folders on a server for the presence of files, and an easy way to check the quality of your Windows PowerShell scripts.
Tips and tricks using the Windows HOSTS file
In Issue #1016 Active Directory change matrix, we included a tip titled "Effective ad blocking" that described a HOSTS file created and maintained by a Microsoft MVP which you can install on your computer in order to block ads, banners, 3rd party Cookies, 3rd party page counters, web bugs, and even most hijackers. Then in last week's Issue #1018 Making hardware last, we included a new tip titled "More on effective ad blocking using HOSTS file" with some advice by Jeffrey Harris, one of our newsletter readers, that provided some additional helpful ideas for customizing your HOSTS file.
Well coincidentally (and serendipitously) Eric Geier has just published a new article called "Tips and Tricks Using the Windows Hosts File" on our companion site WindowsNetworking.com where he explains how to access, open, and modify the Windows hosts file and provides some tips and advice on making redirects, whether you want to block or filter sites or create shortcuts to certain websites. You can find Eric's new article here:
Monitor any folder for files and take action
Have you ever used Task Scheduler to create scheduled tasks to monitor certain folders for files on a server? Kind of a pain, isn't it? Well now you can use Windows PowerShell to accomplish this more easily thanks to Adam Bertram (@adbertram) who has created a new PowerShell module called FileMonitor that provides you with some new cmdlets like New-FileMonitor, Get-FileMonitor and Remove-FileMonitor. Read more about it on his blog "Adam, the Automator" which also has a link to where you can download the module from the TechNet Script Center Repository:
Adam would love to hear your feedback about is module, so leave a comment on his blog if you like it or have any suggestions for improving it.
Check the quality of your PowerShell code
The Windows PowerShell Blog has just announced the availability of a new tool called the PowerShell Script Analyzer which provides static code analysis for PowerShell scripts and modules. The tool works by running a set of rules based on PowerShell best practices identified by the PowerShell Team at Microsoft and by the larger PowerShell community.
PowerShell Script Analyzer is not available as a standalone tool. Instead, it is implemented as a PowerShell module called PSScriptAnalyzer which is included as part of Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.0. If you'd like to try it out, you can download Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview February 2015 from the link on this post on the Windows PowerShell Blog:
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]
Convergence 2014 on March 16-19 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Microsoft Ignite on May 4-8, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Add Your Event
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
WindowsNetworking.com Webinar: Windows Server 2003 EOL and Five Migration Pitfalls to Avoid
Live Webinar: Thursday, March 12, 11 AM EDT | 10 AM CDT | 8 AM PDT | 3 PM GMT
Windows Server 2003 is reaching the end of support (EOS) on July 15, 2015 and millions of instances are still on the clock. The time to move is now, but the migration journey can be a treacherous one unless you know what to watch out for.
Join Microsoft MVP Brien Posey and Jason Acord, Veeam Systems Engineer, as they discuss what you need to know about Windows Server 2003 EOL, how big the problem is, and opportunities presented by a migration to 2012 R2. Additional topics that will be covered include:
- How to move to a 64-bit, Virtual, or Cloud platform without dropping the ball on the existing 32-bit workloads
- Which side-by-side migration techniques to use and which to avoid
- Which tools have worked best and what to look for
- Strategies to minimize downtime and data loss
WindowsNetworking.com Webinar: How to Take Control of Social Media in 2015
Live Webinar: Wednesday, March 18, NOON EDT | 11 AM CDT | 9 AM PDT | 4 PM GMT
Social media has grown from being a curiosity to a mission-critical business application in a very short time. Unfortunately, the increased use of social media and corporate reliance on it is not always accompanied by sufficient IT oversight, sound policy management, or content control – putting companies at enormous risk.
Organizations using multiple social platforms must gain control of compliance, eDiscovery, security, and brand risks before they encounter a serious problem and make headlines in a bad way.
Join Michael Osterman, President of Osterman Research, and Hudson Casson, Product Marketing Manager for Metalogix, for an educational and interactive webinar that will shine a light on the different challenges you may face with social media, highlight key missteps to avoid, and offer some quick wins for IT and the rest of the organization. Discover:
- What are the key legal and compliance risks of social media and what types of organizations are most affected?
- What are the risks you face from doing nothing to address the unfettered use of social media in your organization?
- Do the current policies, data management processes, and technologies apply to social media?
- What are the implications of employee, personal use of social media and unique risks to the organization?
- What are some key steps you can take to protect your social media data and your organization?
- What should you look for in a solution to gain control of social media, and what are some of the key benefits of solutions in cloud?
MSExchange.org Office 365 Conference
This information-packed event is presented by MSExchange.org and is designed for busy IT Professionals within the global Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 Communities, as a convenient and cost-effective opportunity to get the latest information on important Office 365 and Exchange topics from leading experts and vendors.
The online conference takes place on Thursday, March 19, 2015, starting at 10am EDT / 9am CDT / 7am PDT / 2pm GMT.
Join Microsoft MVP J. Peter Bruzesse, who will kick-off the conference with a keynote presentation on What IT Professionals Need to Know about Office 365 Exchange.
Following the Keynote presentation, you can choose from multiple breakout focus sessions featuring experts addressing topics of interest to the Office 365 and Exchange communities. Presentation topics include:
- Best Practices for Migrating to Office 365
- Adopt Office 365 Now, But Address Security Concerns First!
- Third Party Solutions for Managing Exchange on Office 365
- Monitoring and Reporting in Hybrid Environments
- Tips for Overcoming Common Challenges in Cloud & Hybrid Environments
Participation is limited to the first 1,000 registrants, so reserve your spot today!
Register for Webcasts
Add your Webcast
PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
Importing a Virtual Machine into Amazon EC2 (Part 1) (InsideAWS.com)
Microsoft + AWS: A Winning Combo (Part 2) (InsideAWS.com)
The Rise of the Containers in the Cloud (CloudComputingAdmin.com)
Using the cloud to help manage infrastructure (CloudComputingAdmin.com)
Configuring Intune Wi-Fi Profiles for iOS Devices (Microsoft Intune Blog)
Developing Native iOS Apps using the Office 365 SDK for iOS (Richard diZerega's Blog)
Microsoft Azure: The first cloud computing platform to conform to ISO/IEC 27018, the only international set of privacy controls in the cloud (Microsoft Azure Blog)
Microsoft Azure Network Security Whitepaper version 3 is now available (Microsoft Azure Blog)
Security and Privacy
Certificate requirements for Forefront TMG and UAG (ISAserver.org)
KRBTGT Account Password Reset Scripts now available for customers (Microsoft Cyber Trust Blog)
Write and Run PowerShell Script Without Scripting (Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog)
Avoid Scripting: Use PowerShell Command History (Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog)
When Good Clouds Go Bad: All about Cloud Services Outages (Part 3)
Connecting a Datacenter to Microsoft Azure Using ExpressRoute Network Service Provider
A Crash Course in Amazon Terminology (Part 1)
Security: A Shared Responsibility (Part 4)
Configuring Fine-Grained Password Policies
Cloud computing changes the DevOps game
Even though tools such as Puppet and Chef have helped enable DevOps in the cloud, there are still some serious hurdles when it comes to managing and analyzing your cloud-based apps. Learn how cloud computing has redefined DevOps and how it has influenced DevOps tools and principles in this exclusive resource.
Considerations for building SCVMM high availability
SCVMM 2012 R2 does much more than just manage virtualization hosts. It is also vital for managing your private cloud infrastructure and ensuring your critical business workloads are up and running, thus preserving your business continuity. Learn how to deploy a highly available SCVMM 2012 R2 infrastructure today by taking into account key considerations.
Comparing application refactoring tools
Is application refactoring the solution to delivering mouse-and-keyboard apps to mobile devices? It could be, but refactoring vendors all take different approaches, so it's paramount to know the differences before choosing a tool. Access this complimentary application refactoring product rundown today.
Tuning SSD cache to maximize performance gains
If you're looking to extend your storage array lifespan, using SSD can help. By utilizing speedy and low latency SSDs, administrators in a vSphere environment can improve workload performance, but it is crucial to know your workload needs first to prevent overspending. Discover how to tune SSD cache and start maximizing your performance gains today.
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]
"Jiffy" Crew Strips Down and Rebuilds a Jeep in 4 Minutes
A well-coordinated crew strips down and rebuilds a Jeep in less than 4 minutes:
Losing A Wallet Experiment - Korea
A social experiment in Seoul, Korea of losing a wallet to find out if it is true that Koreans are super honest:
The Stunt Camera Man
He remains behind the scenes - the hero, we do not see:
Magician Performs Yoga Card Trick
The 'Amazing Barry' performs a very unique magic trick for WISH-TV in Indianapolis, combining his conjouring skills with a passion for yoga:
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.