Vol. 23, #9 - March 05, 2018 - Issue #1171

WServerNews: Privacy briefs

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 


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.

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Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter catches up on all things privacy-related for the IT professional. We also have tips, tools, links, and fun stuff as usual. Be sure also to check out a couple of articles in the New on Techgenix.com section of this week's newsletter, there's one there where a former IT manager who developed Parkinson's disease describes how he set up a home office for himself that is accessible and supportive for his condition, and another article where we hear from someone who proves that you can never be too old to code productively--both fascinating reading. Be sure also to check out the reader responses to two Ask Our Readers questions that we shared in our previous week's newsletter. And if YOU have an IT problem that you're stumped over, send it to us and we'll share it in our newsletter so you can tap into the collective expertise of our more than 400,000 IT pro subscribers around the world!

Speaking of having all the usual stuff in our newsletter, I kinda like that phrase "as usual" even though it's a bit overused. There's "business as usual" of course. Then there's "same as usual" which is another variant. Medical practitioners may even refer to "treatment as usual" in their diagnosis and prescription. But what about vacations? Dogbert weighs in on this here:



Ask Our Readers - Task sequences missing in MDT 2013 (one response)

Last week an IT Infrastructure Engineer named Brian who in the UK shared the following problem he's been having with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit:

Hi Mitch, I am using WDS & MDT 2013 on Server 2012 R2 to deploy a Windows 7 Pro image. Regardless of what architecture I use for the boot image, the deployment wizard does not display any task sequences. I have tried removing and re-adding the WDS role and completely rebuilding that side of things but still no luck. Any ideas please?

Mark who works in IT at the University of Colorado Boulder offered the following suggestion:

Addressing Brian's question, I have seen similar behavior in WDS when the account used lacks permissions to the images or task sequence. At one point an administrator had changed the credentials on the service account at which time the deployment process did not see any task sequences in Windows PE when PXE booting. I have also seen this same behavior with SCCM when a task sequence is not deployed to the collection the computer lives in.

 If any other readers have suggestions concerning Brian's problem you can email me at [email protected]

Ask Our Readers - Camera memory card won't work after latest Windows 10 updates (responses)

Also last week a reader named Daphne sent me the following plea for help:

Dear Mitch, I wonder if you could helped me and I would be so pleased if you could as I have tried everything and you helped me once before. I have Windows 10 on a desktop computer. It was working fine until the updates of 13 and 20 Jan. After that it simply would not start. I struggled and struggled and eventually, after countless hours and restoring to a previous time, it is now working but my DCIM E drive is not working at all and I cannot download photos from my camera card or flash drive. Everything works perfectly from my old desk top that is still running Windows XP and from my husband's laptop. I am sure it is a setting or maybe the file name letter E? I would be so grateful if you have any answers as I have tried two technicians and they have no answer. Thank you and best wishes to you.

An anonymous reader shared a suggestion that might help Daphne:

Recently, a friend emailed me with the same problem. The fix is to use the camera's cable. Not the card. Furthermore, using the camera's cable is the preferred method to transfer pictures to avoid sticking an SDHC or SDXC card into a SD only capable card reader. Sticking an SDHC or SDXC card into and SD only card reader may corrupt the card. Most SD only card readers are not marked, because SD was the the most advanced standard at the time. Thus there was no need to mark it. 

As a side note, many camera manufacturers recommend formatting the card on a recommended schedule to keep the card error free. Hope this helps!

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 [email protected]

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

Crypto flaw in IEEE standard

 This news is already a bit old, but US-CERT has found a flaw in an IEEE cryptography standard that might affect certain devices or software you may be using. ThreatPost has a good take on this story:



German court rules on Facebook

That great big vacuum cleaner called Facebook that sucks up the personal data of over 2 billion people has run afoul of Germany's legal system. A decision by a Berlin regional court has upheld complaints that users are not being given allowed informed consent with regard to the privacy of their personal data. Read more in The Guardian:


Got eight bucks handy? 

For only eight dollars you can get a copy of the Aadhaar biometric database covering over 99% of the adult population in India. Illegally of course, since the database has been compromised. My only question is, are those US or Canadian dollars? TechDirt has all the dirt:


Be aware that the UIDAI is reportedly trying to jail the reporter and file criminal charges against the newspaper for bringing this whole thing to light: as FreezeNet explains here:


So better keep your eight bucks in your wallet, or maybe go to Starbucks and buy a venti something instead with it. 


And Europeans are generally worth more than Americans as Quartz explains here:


When will this stop? 


Imitating Windows 10

Numerous individuals and businesses have complained about the invasiveness and lack of configurability when it comes to privacy in Windows 10. Well it looks like now even some Linux distributions may be following in the path that Microsoft has pioneered with Windows 10. The Registry writes that Ubuntu Linux now "wants to slurp PCs' vital statistics - even location - with new desktop installs" as described here:


Of course the reality (like with Windows 10) is that the Ubuntu devs probably have good motives for doing this. Will Cooke who works on the Ubuntu dev team posted that "We want to be able to focus our engineering efforts on the things that matter most to our users, and in order to do that we need to get some more data about sort of setups our users have and which software they are running on it." You can read Will's full post in the Ubuntu listserv archives here:


Still, this development has certainly rattled some in the Linux community who hold disdain for Microsoft not enabling Windows 10 users to have more control over how much information is slurped from their computers. What do you think? Email me at [email protected]

Seattlers don't want to be spied on

Residents of the city of Seattle in Washington State, USA seem to be fed up with being spied on (surveilled) by their police department. Back in 2013 the city installed WiFi mesh network nodes on various utility poles around downtown Seattle:


Now however it seems the city going to spend $150,000 to remove these networks because of pushback from residents:


Makes me wonder too about the various new boxes and antennas and things I see attached to utility poles in various places of my own city. What about you? Email me at [email protected]


The last pirate

Rick Falkvinge who lives in Germany and was the founder of the original Pirate Party is publishing a series of blog posts on privacy rights. His basic idea is that the online privacy rights of our children should be the same as the offline privacy rights that our parents had. Lots of interesting stuff to read and think about starting here:



A surveillance-free cellular network?

Finally we have this news about a group of volunteers who are planning on developing a DIY community-oriented surveillance-free network for cellular communications. The project is called Soprani.ca:


The goal is to build a network that can "replace all aspects of the existing cell phone network with their freedom-respecting equivalents" as Motherboard describes here:


While this sounds fascinating, there's another interesting approach being followed by the Serval Project. Serval describes itself as "a telecommunications system comprised of at least two mobile phones that are able to work outside of regular mobile phone tower range due thanks to the Serval App and Serval Mesh" with the goal of being able to communicate anytime, anywhere, privately with people:


I wonder what other similar projects there are out there that are under development? Not that I really care as an IT professional who is law-abiding and has nothing to hide...


Send us your feedback

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

Recommended for Learning

INFOGRAPHIC: The real cost of a security breach

Check out this infographic from Pluralsight which explains the real cost your business can incur as the result of a security breach:



Microsoft Virtual Academy

Introduction to Microsoft PowerShell with SharePoint Server

If you're not a developer or programmer by trade, but you want to automate a certain redundant procedure within SharePoint Server 2016, Microsoft PowerShell is your answer! Get the details in this practical introductory course, which starts with the basics and wraps up with a helpful demonstration of the concepts and technology. Learn what PowerShell is and why to use it, along with the basic construct of PowerShell cmdlets. See how to make cmdlets, hear the minimum permissions required to run them in SharePoint, and take a look at the different ways to get help on cmdlets and how to use them in your day-to-day tasks. Determine which cmdlets are available, and find out about parameter sets. Don't miss this opportunity to learn about PowerShell and how it can interact with SharePoint Server 2016 to manipulate web apps, site collections, and more.


Factoid of the Week - Most unscientific movie moment

Last week's factoid and question  was this:

The world wide web is quickly becoming a frustrating slow lane on the information superhighway. What do YOU hate most about how web pages are evolving today?

We received several responses for this one and we're including the two most "G-rated" ones here:

I am convinced that Satan is behind the slow loading banner that shifts the page down just as you are clicking on what you want to see - resulting in you having clicked on an advertisement for "Stu's Shoe Barn" instead. --Doug

I hate the new trend in web design that starts audio playing especially when the page has just been sitting dormant because you opened it an hour ago and now some audio ad pops up. It is enough to make you never buy anything from those folks to unleash such mischief. It is sort of like automobile advertising on TV where every dealer thinks that he has to shout loudly about his cars. Enough already! --Vern

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

Fact: Photons can move.

Source: In the movie Chain Reaction starring Keanu Reeves, Morgan Freeman, and Rachel Weisz, there's a scene in the first part of the movie where a scientist working at CERN, the largest particle physics accelerator in the world, looks at a computer screen and shouts "photons are moving!" Of course anyone who has taken a first-year undergraduate physics course at university knows that photons can't NOT move i.e. they ALWAYS move at the speed of light (about 300,000,000 m/s). I like that movie a lot but I always royally cringe whenever I see that scene in it. 

Question: What is your own worst movie moment when it comes to how science or technology is presented? i.e. what makes YOU cringe as an IT pro when you see or hear it in a movie? 

Email your answer to us at [email protected]

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 [email protected]

Why partner with AppRiver? We guarantee the best Office 365 reseller pricing. Partners can go to market now with Office 365 & Microsoft 365 and get full access to training, support, sales & marketing tools.


Troubleshooting desktop issues requires a vast array of tools and knowledge. ACSA brings those tools together in one central location and adds additional functionality:


Policy Analyzer is a utility for analyzing and comparing sets of Group Policy Objects (GPOs):


OutlookResetPreferences is a utility that will reset all Outlook Preferences back to defaults for Microsoft Outlook 2016 for Macintosh:


This Week's Tips

Group Policy - Reset the Default Domain Policy

From the Windows System Admin Blog comes this tip on how you can reset the Default Domain and Domain Controller Group Policy Objects to its out of box state:


SQL Server - Check SPN and delegation settings

Also from the Windows System Admin Blog comes another tip. This one explains how you can easily check your SPN and delegation settings for SQL Server in your Active Directory environment:


Active Directory - Get users who have not logged in for specified period

Here's one more tip from the Windows System Admin Blog. This post demonstrates how you can use PowerShell to get a list of users in Active Directory who have not logged in for specified number of days:


Events Calendar

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


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


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


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


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

Working faster & smarter with PowerShell: Tips from an expert

Even IT pros who are experienced with using PowerShell can often find it challenging. An expert gives us some clues how to avoid getting bogged down.


Understanding the VMware REST API interface

VMware vSphere 6.5 introduces the new REST API interface in addition to its existing SOAP APIs. What are the differences? Read on.


Keeping an eye on the clock with time servers

It's about time, isn't it? Actually, it's about time servers, as without these working properly your Active Directory network might grind to a halt.


Programming is forever: Never too old to code

Who says computer programming is only for the young? In this interview, we hear from someone who proves coding is forever.


Setting up an accessible home office environment

A former IT manager with Parkinson's disease explains how a person with disabilities can set up an accessible home office and remain productive.



Tech Briefing - Office 365

Office 365 User Creation Details

From the US SMB&D TS2 Team Blog


Office 365: ADConnect synchronization interval changed automatically

From Tim McMichael


Office 365 Developer - Outlook actionable messages

From La Café Central de DeVa


Office 365: Office 365 Groups and domain removals

From Wondering mind


Office 365 integration in a Dynamics NAV hosting environment

From the Dynamics NAV Team Blog



Other Articles of Interest

The virtualization administrator leads data center collaboration

Virtualization is increasingly central to the data center, but it often remains siloed. Click to learn how to set an example of openly communicating about virtualized infrastructure.


VMware to focus on its multi-cloud management platform in 2018

Take a look back at VMware's progress in 2017 and see predictions for the company's future in cloud, networking and security.


Enable canary deployments with Lambda, API Gateway

Don't let code tests impede apps in production. Click to learn how you can enable a canary deployment and slowly test changes to production environments with AWS Lambda and API Gateway.


Guide your virtualization, IT investment strategy with 2017's top tips

2017 presented virtualization admins with the development of new technology and products. Read the year's best tips on how to compare functionalities, weigh costs and make investments.



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]

Range Rover Climbs 999 Steps To 'The Gate Of Heaven'

A Range Rover hybrid electric car has become the first vehicle to reach the summit of Tianmen Mountain in China, climbing up 999 steps to Heaven's Gate:


People Are Awesome - Best Of The Week 47

A fun compilation, featuring skiing, snowboarding, acroyoga, fitness, kayaking, parkour, basketball, circus art, calisthenics, gymnastics, and more:


Smart And Funny Animals

Dogs, parakeets, cats, elephants, cows and monkeys show their intelligence, persistence and ingenuity in solving problems:


Every 'Best Animated Film' Oscar Winner

A compilation of all Academy Award Winners for Best Animated Feature - from 2002 (when it was first awarded) to now:



WServerNews - Product of the Week

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 


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.