Karl's Windows Admin Tips & Tricks

July 29, 2011  2:19 PM

Setup a WIKI on your network

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

Smaller companies can’t afford sharepoint. But they can setup a  free WIKI that their employees can use pretty much in the same way as sharepoint.

Are you running a WIKI? If so what product are you using and what are you using it for?

Hit us up in the comments below and we will have a follow up post with the results next month!

July 29, 2011  2:17 PM

What do you use for a guest operating system?

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

I have recently setup steady state at home for a internet terminal that I am not worried about connecting to my network. The friends and aquantiances can use it, I can use it for testing software or searching on sites that are not very reputable.

When the session is over and the system is restarted it will exactly how the user found it when they started. This is all thanks to Microsoft’s Steady State.

I know other people using other tools and would love to hear from YOU in the comments below what you are using to achieve a static operating system or a read-only system if you will.

July 29, 2011  2:15 PM

Auto-complete in Internet Explorer

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

Here is a nifty shortcut tip:

type in the website you want to view (for example asktheadmin) and hit control and enter and watch the magic.

It will automatically add the http://www and the .com!

July 29, 2011  2:08 PM

For heaven’s sake add a bios password – NOW!

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

Have you heard of bootable media? How about live operating systems like Ubuntu or Knoppix? If someone has physical access to your server and can reboot it and boot to a CD or DVD then you might be in for some real trouble. All of the servers unencrypted data will be readily available to the hacker.

Prevent this by going into your BIOS and setting a BIOS password today (and btw make sure that CD is not listed ahead of the hard drive (or raid array) or the password will be useless as the system will automatically boot to the disk!!)

July 29, 2011  2:05 PM

Booting into the Windows recovery console.

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

If you never installed a partition on your server with the Windows Recovery Console and your server failed – it is not too late!

You can still get to the recovery console by booting to the installation disk of Windows 2003 or 2008 and attempting a “Repair.”

From in here you can also repair the boot sector, run a check disk and much more. So keep your installation disk handy!

July 29, 2011  10:31 AM

If you have tasks to do frequently – script them!

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

Human error plays a huge role in computer and network failures. If you have a frequently done task and it can be scripted – script it!

There is far less  of a chance of a script screwing something up then a administrator fat fingering a command and doing some administrator level damage!

Check out AutoIT for some easy scripting fun 🙂

July 29, 2011  10:28 AM

Keep your servers and applications patched up!

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

I find myself from time to time stumbling across networks and companies that fail to keep their applications and servers up to date. This is a big no-no as it makes you an easy target for hackers.

By not updating you are leaving gaping KNOWN holes in your systems. Make sure everything is up to date. On the flip side make sure all those updates, hotfixes and service packs are tested before deploying them company wide!

How do  you keep your network up to date?

July 29, 2011  10:19 AM

Office 2010 offers some nice new features…

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

We recently upgraded the office to Office 2010. This has give us a handful of new features. We can see related messages, users social network status and more BUT… I know you knew that there was a but coming…

It crashes and it crashes often! You need a minimum of 2gb of memory just for office now! I would HIGHLY recommend not upgrading on current systems and replace the systems when this is upgraded with a minimum of 4gb of memory to stay clear of these issues.

We would love to hear from other users and see what their experience has been thus far!

July 26, 2011  1:04 PM

Comparing and syncing files and folders

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

I deal with a lot of migrating files and folders as we update our servers and network attached storage. In doing so I normally script xcopy or xxcopy to do the hard work. When I am complete how do I know that the files are the same? I can right click on the folders and compare the results. But I also can start up a little open source magic.

I have found a small little application that will compare two directories easily and flawlessly. Check out the discription of Win Merge below:

WinMerge is an Open Source differencing and merging tool for Windows. WinMerge can compare both folders and files, presenting differences in a visual text format that is easy to understand and handle.

By firing up WinMerge you can see the files that match up or don’t. It is similar to the file comparision utility that is build into Notepad++.

Once you see the files that are different (or everything is the same and you are happy!) you can choose to sync the directories up. This is a tool that is very simple and does its one function VERY well. Do you have another tool that can do the trick – and for free? If so we would love to hear about it in the comments below.

July 19, 2011  1:37 PM

Use WinDirStat to see what is eating up your hard drive space.

Karl Gechlik Karl Gechlik Profile: Karl Gechlik

WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows.  You can grab a copy of it from this URL.

On start up, it reads the whole directory tree once and then presents it in three useful views:

•The directory list, which resembles the tree view of the Windows Explorer but is sorted by file/subtree size,
•The treemap, which shows the whole contents of the directory tree straight away,
•The extension list, which serves as a legend and shows statistics about the file types.

The treemap represents each file as a colored rectangle, the area of which is proportional to the file’s size. The rectangles are arranged in such a way, that directories again make up rectangles, which contain all their files and subdirectories. So their area is proportional to the size of the subtrees. The color of a rectangle indicates the type of the file, as shown in the extension list. The cushion shading additionally brings out the directory structure.

The application looks like this:WinDirStat

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