Vol. 23, #4 - January 29, 2018 - Issue #1166

WServerNews: Intel melts down

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 

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SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a free tool that allows users to monitor Microsoft® Exchange™ Server 2013 and 2016. Get basic information about the server’s metrics, services, and database availability group (DAG) status. Add as many Exchange Servers as you wish. Simply click the “Add Server” button and fill IP address/domain name and credentials.

Download Free Tool


Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter is all about the Intel Meltdown/Spectre patch fiasco and seeks advice from our readers how best to deal with it and similar issues. Naturally we also have lots of other fun and useful stuff for you as well, so take a break from whatever fire you're trying to put out and read this issue of WServerNews!

Most of us IT pros know what it's like to live with fires constantly breaking out and needing to be put out. I'm talking of course about servers going down, mission-critical applications going on the fritz, discovering your network has been hacked, and so on. Those kinds of fires. But as this Dilbert comic illustrates, there are also those "soft fires" we reclusive IT pros sometimes have to deal with when it comes to meeting colleagues in the hallway:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/vvsrjlv0/

So awkward, life in the workplace can be…

 

Ask Our Readers 

WServerNews now has over 400,000 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 wsn@mtit.com

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


Protecting Active Directory from ransomware with Azure Backup

Two weeks ago in Issue #1164 IT the China way your Editor ruminated on the subject of China and its impact on in our IT-driven world. This brought the following comment from a reader named Bill:

Mitch, recently there have been a couple of articles in The New Yorker magazine about the application of computer technology in China. (I am not a fan of The New Yorker's social or political views.) In the December 18&25, 2017 issue an article entitled Beauty is Justice describes Chinese young adults social networking. They do not use Facebook! They use Chinese smart phones with unique social networking apps. When they take a selfie, the image is P..ed (Photoshopped), with a local app, extensively before it is shared. They may spend up to half hour "correcting" the image. Many of the young adults then take the image and have plastic surgery to change their appearance. And not one operation, they may have multiple operations! Whoa!

In the January 8, 2018, issue an article entitled Making China Great Again the author argues/warns that China is seeking a larger role in the world as the United States seeks a (supposedly) smaller role. Well, maybe. I'll leave that argument/discussion to others. In the article the author describes a visit to a company in Beijing named Sense Time, which has developed and deployed facial recognition software. With all the internet enabled street cameras in Beijing and the facial recognition software the company, and government officials, can follow people all around the city without their knowledge. Frightening. Eh!

For those interested here are links to the articles:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/4qxsckm8/

http://www.wservernews.com/go/aj80gt1w/

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


Intel melts down

The internets have been abuzz with the arrival Meltdown and Spectre and it's not good. I'm sure most of our readers are aware of what this is about so I won't go into details. What threw me for a loop this morning though was this press release from the newsroom of Intel that a colleague sent me this morning:

Root Cause of Reboot Issue Identified; Updated Guidance for Customers and Partners

http://www.wservernews.com/go/tony80b3/

The sentence that struck me is this one:

We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors and end users stop deployment of current versions [of the firmware patch Intel had previously rolled out to address the Meltdown/Spectre issues on Broadwell and Haswell platforms] as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.

In other words after rolling out a firmware patch for these critical vulnerabilities that affect nearly all modern Intel processor platforms, they've now proceeded to roll the patch back into the garage to work on it some more.

Perhaps ComputerWorld says it best concerning this fiasco:

Belay that order: Intel says you should NOT install its Meltdown firmware fixes

http://www.wservernews.com/go/psls6gwz/

I checked with a bunch of my colleagues and two of them reported that several systems they updated the firmware on are now bricked. How are other readers handling this situation? Share your thoughts and suggestions with our community by emailing me at wsn@mtit.com

 

Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at wsn@mtit.com


Recommended for Learning

Discovering Cloud Administration with the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP)

This is from Adam Lichtenberg's Blog:

Discovering and learning more about Azure and AI has been on my technical training To-Do list for some time. After returning to work from a short leave of absence, I've made it a priority to devote the time needed discover more about both and Azure is where I'm starting. You can call it my new year's resolution. For Azure, the updated Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) for Cloud Administration helps with my Azure training goal and is designed exactly the way I like to learn; self-paced, online, with accompanying discussion boards.

Read more here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/2a8oz6rn/

 

Microsoft Virtual Academy

DevOps Practices and Principles

If you're a Development or Operations professional, and you're interested in learning and adopting DevOps practices, be sure to check out this course, which is an abridged version of the more comprehensive course, Introduction to DevOps Practices, available on edX.org. Explore fundamental concepts, and get prepared for deeper dives into specific DevOps practices.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/g70i3cxd/


Factoid of the Week

Last week's factoid and question  was this:

America is running out of cassette tape. National Audio Co. is the only company in the U.S. that produces cassette tape. Now, as cassette tapes enjoy a resurgence in popularity, National Audio has less than a year's supply left of the stuff. How many readers still remember using cassette tapes with their personal computers like the TRS-80 or Commodore 64? Got any fond memories or stories to share with us?

Peter who is Manager for Availability & Security of an industry company shared this story:

My first computer was a TRS (Trash)-80. I would wait 20 minutes, with fingers crossed, to load a game of blackjack from my cassette tape. Little did I know that each time that I ran it I was destroying the tape bit by bit. A friend of mine had one too… and then we found Volcano Hunter, and nothing was ever the same for me:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3rpb5vjl/

Wow, shades of Microman, a game I used to play on Windows 3.1. Thanks!

Now let's move on to this week's factoid:

Fact: A company in France has developed an airbag device that seniors can wear around their hips to prevent them from injuring or breaking their hip if they should suffer a fall. 

Sourcehttp://www.wservernews.com/go/fizuhls7/

Question: Older IT pros should definitely buy one of these when it becomes available, right? Seriously though, what technologies help prevent you from injuring yourself in your daily work or life activities? My favorite one here in wintery Winnipeg are these boots from Mark's:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/udgptv1g/

What about you? Email your thoughts to me if you have any: wsn@mtit.com

Until next week, 

Mitch Tulloch

 

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 wsn@mtit.com

Microsoft has just released a new SharePoint Migration Tool you can use to migrate from your on-prem SharePoint farm to SharePoint online:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/cv5yzmcc/


They've also released a new SharePoint Migration Assessment Tool that will scan your farm and provide you with a list of what issues you might run into during your migration to the cloud:

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


This document provides a step by step process for performing a Microsoft Active Directory health check and provides recommendations and steps to remediate and / or stabilize the environment:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ebe0zxol/



This Week's Tips

Laptop - OneDrive for Business - Improved file restore

Rod Trent's site myITforum brings us a tip about a new Files Restore feature for OneDrive for Business that gives business users (and admins) the ability to retrieve files that were accidentally (or on-purpose) deleted but needed again:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ke9gmiyf/

 

Azure SQL Database - Migrating a SQL Server database from AWS EC2

Jim Toland explains how you can migrate a SQL Server Database from AWS EC2 to Azure SQL Database by using the Microsoft Data Migration Assistant (DMA):

http://www.wservernews.com/go/d5jo1nic/


Microsoft Word - Using Quick Parts

The Training Lady explains Quick Parts, the quickest way to insert reusable information in Word:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/17qflvj7/



Events Calendar


Microsoft Tech Summit on March 5-6, 2018 in Washington, D.C. USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0m7itxkw/

Microsoft Tech Summit on March 14-15, 2018 in Paris, France

http://www.wservernews.com/go/9nxkp7j8/

Microsoft Tech Summit on March 19-20, 2018 in San Francisco, California USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gm14cqd2/

Microsoft Tech Summit on March 28-29, 2018 in Amsterdam, Netherlands

http://www.wservernews.com/go/jeua5kvf/

Microsoft Ignite 2018 on September 24-28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/f6gtgfpp/


Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact info@techgenix.com


New on TechGenix.com

Alternatives for building and deploying Windows images

While the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit is often used for building and deploying Windows images to target computers, there are some alternatives to consider.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/w2ofo2ok/


Your employees WILL lose their phones: No-nonsense guide to mobile enterprise data protection

The productivity boosts that workforce mobility brings along with it are awesome, but only if enterprises are able to manage the data protection challenges.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/g4dz1a51/


Apple, meet orange: The power of cross-platform PowerShell

Managing Linux, Mac, and Windows in your environment is now almost as easy as mixing apples and oranges. The key is cross-platform PowerShell.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/yy1hh4gk/


GDPR and retailers: A forced opportunity to turn data into gold

The General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect May 25. While all businesses have to take notice, the combination of GDPR and retailers may create a unique opportunity.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/r1y23qwx/


Is Windows Defender finally on the right track?

Windows Defender has been vastly improved with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Is Microsoft's built-in AV solution finally ready for prime time?

http://www.wservernews.com/go/m193jh8j/

 

Tech Briefing - Windows Server

Windows Server 2016 -- Going It Alone

From vCloudinfo.com

http://www.wservernews.com/go/l1v6r1dy/


Using WMI to Verify Group Policy

From Ask PFE Platforms

http://www.wservernews.com/go/mwl8u7r9/


Single Host Shielded VMs Lab/PoC

From Ask PFE Platforms

http://www.wservernews.com/go/qxd8vgqu/


A smaller Windows Server Core Container with better Application Compatibility

From Virtualization Blog

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ey6cmknn/

Check if Service is running and start it when it is not running

From Branko Vucinec

http://www.wservernews.com/go/tyrd8epi/

 

Other Articles of Interest

What is VMware Workspace ONE, really?

We found it difficult to concisely explain what VMware Workspace ONE really was. After meeting with some of the team at VMware, we finally have an answer.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/38d8vfp5/


Are you up to speed on the latest Windows 10 security updates?

In a lot of ways, OS updates such as the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update are a hassle, but proper system maintenance is the only defensible approach to security incidents and related data breaches. The update brings new features to the OS, including in the realm of security. Windows Hello includes user-proximity signals now, for example. Read more here. 

http://www.wservernews.com/go/5p44idyd/


CEO of BlackBerry downplays enterprise mobility management

BlackBerry is one of the four leading vendors in the EMM market, according to the Gartner Magic Quadrant. But John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, stressed that the company's vision goes far beyond securing mobile devices and PCs, and is shifting to focus on endpoint management.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/6o54j6xj/


Master the art of VDI licenses with this quiz. 

IT pros are responsible for knowing the ins and outs of VDI licensing. This quiz can help refresh your memory and test just how much you really know.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/sbkvl2we/

 

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 wsn@mtit.com

Frisbee On A Frozen Lake On A Windy Day

Skating on Great Pond in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Shea Gunther threw a frisbee who just kept going...

http://www.wservernews.com/go/li48d6cj/


How to Tell If Someone Is Bluffing

Poker champion Liv Boeree explains how you can tell if someone is bluffing by their body language:

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


There Is No Snow In This Incredible Skiing Video

Candide Thovex does not need snow to ski. Watch him skiing on grass, sand, water, volcanic ash and stone at the most exciting locations on planet Earth:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/87as3h4t/


Best Of Owls In 3 Minutes

This cute and funny owl compilation will make you smile within the first 5 seconds!

http://www.wservernews.com/go/18q0fz9z/

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 

Image

SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a free tool that allows users to monitor Microsoft® Exchange™ Server 2013 and 2016. Get basic information about the server’s metrics, services, and database availability group (DAG) status. Add as many Exchange Servers as you wish. Simply click the “Add Server” button and fill IP address/domain name and credentials.

Download Free Tool

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.