2012 in review – TTC Shelbyville

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 490,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 9 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

MySQL problem writing to database during cron backup

If you receive the error “!!!Error Writing To Database!!!” during a cron backup, this can be related to

Find the my.ini file which is normally located in the MySql folder under program files
(C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1).  Edit it by adding or modifying the line -

Max_Allowed_Packet = 100M   (adjust as necessary)

MaxAllowedPacket

VMware Player Review – Virtualization that’s easy

VMware Player allows for the installation of a virtual machine onto your workstation.  This means of creating a second operating system within your operating system allows you to test or use an operating system of your choice.  The user-friendly interface is truly the easiest virtualization software there is.  Anyone wanting to try Windows 8 or any Linux distro can use this software to test operating systems.   VMWare Player can be downloaded here.

VMware Player is fully customizable and the wizard provides instructions that are well written and with easy to find settings.  Kudos to VMware for providing this excellent piece of software in an easy to use interface.

Remember, once you start the VM,  if you click the mouse in the window, it will take focus.  To release the mouse,  press Ctrl-Alt.

You must also remember to protect any OS in a VM.  (Antivirus information)

The first thing you will need is an .iso of your operating system of choice.

Win7iso

Above is the ISO for 32 bit Windows 7 with SP 1.

Next, install the VMWare Player.   The installation is straight forward and easy even for a novice.

1 vmplayer 2 vmplayer Two 3 vmplayer Three 4 vmplayer four 5 vmplayer five 6 vmplayer six 7 vmplayer seven 8 vmplayer eight

9 vmplayer nine

Now start the VMware Player by double clicking on the icon on your desktop.   In this scenario we created a new virtual machine.

10 vmplayer ten 11 VMplayer eleven

The New Virtual Machine Wizard walks you through step by step in setting up your operating system.

12 vmplayer 12 twelve

The wizard will ask for a location of the ISO or you can install from your DVD drive.  Select the appropriate location at this time (below).

13 vmplayer thirteen

Enter your product key and information if prompted to do so.  The Easy Install Information automates the installation process.  You can of course customize Windows and reset passwords, enable the Administrator account and change information once the operating system is installed.

14 vmwAREFOURTEEN

15 vmwarefifteen

Once the wizard reaches the customization stages for your hard drive, you can adjust this to meet your needs.

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You can select the Customize Hardware button to adjust memory, processors and other hardware.   Remember to give your host machine plenty of memory.   Do not use more resources than you have.  This may cause lockups or other errors upon launching your OS.

18 vmwareeighteen

One of the best features is the Network Adapter Advanced Settings.  It allows you to bridge or NAT (Put your OS on a separate network – hidden from other computers on your network).  Bridging your network allows your virtual computer to be ‘seen’ by other computers as though it is a physical computer.   Because you are sharing a network card, you can limited the bandwidth (Inbound and Outbound traffic) of the virtual computer.

You can also generate a MAC address for the computer at this time.

The screenshot below (post install) shows the virtual computer when bridged (on the same network).

network

It is important to keep an eye on the resources of your host computer.  You can do this by using the Windows Task Manager.

20 vmplayer twenty

Once you finish, Windows will launch into setup mode.   You will see a message alerting you to other devices that can be used (Webcams and other devices) if they are available.

20 VMWaretwenty 21 vmplayer twenty one 21 VMWaretwentyone 25 VMplayer

As you can see from the screen shot below, the IP address is on the network with my other computers.  This allows the computer to share out documents and to utilize any device within the network.

26 vmplayer

The VMware player tools provides drivers and other features.

27 vmplayer tools

Installing the tools

30 VMware Tools 31 VMPlayer Tools Warning 32 VMWare Setting Up 33 VMWare Tools Setting up 34 VMWare Tools Setting Up 35 vmware custom settings 36 vmware tools setting up

40 vmware

Once the tools are installed, a restart should be made to the operating system.

Remember the option to use other devices during the setup – items such as the Webcam?  Click on Player when the VM starts and you will see the other devices.

Extra Stuff

You should also run a side by side comparison on the Task Manager’s to ‘see’ how much resources you are using.   As you can see, the host (left) is maxing out the memory of the host computer.   The virtual computer is not utilizing all of the allocated memory.   Therefore the 2Gb of RAM allocated can be tweaked by decreasing the memory if performance is not an issue.

Side by Side comparisons of resources

Once the VM is shutdown, you can adjust the settings in the console.

VMWare Complete

With dozens of tweaks and configurations, one of the best is the defragment, expansion and compact option under the hard disk in the virtual machine settings. (Compact only sorts the graintables but has no effect on size – optimizing your vm)

hard drive utilities

Overall VMware’s Player is an excellent tool that can be used (non-commercially) by anyone wanting to experiment with or run other operating systems.  VMware Player is an excellent virtualization tool that allows users to install and test or run another operating system.   The performance is based on shared resources of the host computer.  The ease of setup is definitely a pro.  Users should make every effort to ensure they have adequate resources on the host computer and the maximum amount of memory and other resources can be dedicated to the virtual machine.

A goldmine of resources for PC Techs

Rick over at Whats On My PC has found a website with an amazing amount of resources.  (See Rick’s article here)  To credit Mike over at GE Geek, this website is one of the best references I have ever seen.  Visit Rick for a direct link to this amazing website.

There is also a Toolkit you can download at the top of the page.
(Approximately 1Gb! of information)

1gb download

Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool

Need to check your processor to ensure it is functioning properly.  Intel’s tool to test your processor will stress your processor and test dozens of functions.  Your computer will slow down during this test.  Once the test finishes, you can truly check to make sure your processor is working correctly.

idtp    ipdt

Adjusting network card properties to fix slow network response

If you have slow or non responsive program properties; such as a database or other network program…Right Click on My Computer, go to Properties, select Hardware, Device Manager, click the + sign on Network, Right Click on your network card, select properties, select the Advanced Tab, Look for Speed   – adjust the value to 100 Full Duplex, 100 Half or even select the 10 settings.  Try it on each of the settings to see which one is optimal for your network.

When computers handshake (exchange data) autosense does not always work.

I’ve had replaced network cards, ran winsock fix and tried everything when the solution was right in front of me.

You should also disable everything under the Advanced Tab except Flow Control.

turnoff

 

For SQL, see our LLMNR Article

What is a dead drop? Are they dangerous or illegal?

Dead drops are usb drives hidden usually on private property and could possibly involve vandalism and illegal activities.   Dead drops can possibly contain viruses, illegal music, documents and other information that can be considered illegal or malicious.

Dead drops are used to exchange files.  Usually hidden in plain site – they can be anywhere.

So is the little tiny town of Shelbyville too small for dead drops?

IMG_6379

Deaddrop database

Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller performance issues

UPDATE-2014 driver now available! (Driver number will be different than what is in this article!

If you have the Realteck PCIe GBE Family Controller adapter and are experiencing performance issues on your network, download the latest driver.  The driver (Version 7.65) is far superior to other Realteck PCIe GBE Family Controller drivers.   The driver is shown as 7.065 on the website.

Our performance issue involved ApplicationXtender an archive system that uses Microsoft SQL to scan documents.   This type of application is dependent on a reliable network and speed.

Old Driver
Average open time – 2 mins 30 secs (if the end user did not click the application, causing a hang)
Query time            –  45 secs to – query box
Query process time-  1 min 10 secs  – display document
New Driver
Average open time –  1-2 secs
Query time            –  1-2 secs to – query box
Query process time-  1-2 secs – display document

Navigate to http://www.realtek.com/downloads/ to obtain the latest driver.

Click on Communications Network ICs – Network Interface Controllers -
10/100/100M Gigabit Ethernet – PCI Express – Software (Select your OS – we are updating the Windows drivers)

Realtek site one   realtek site two

Realtek site three   realtek site four

Realtek site five

The US sites at the time of this writing produced a popup window that began the navigation over on Realtek’s site.   The UK site produced the download.

Realtek site six

The driver will be Driver_Win7_7065_11212012.zip.

Driver from site

You will notice that the 7.065 driver is really the 7.65 driver once it is installed (at the time of this writing).

Driverino old driver
 Old Driver

driverinfo

Go to the Advanced Tab and disable everything but Flow Control. 

turnoff

Remember when working with network card drivers, you will lose connectivity during the installation of drivers.

DVR Converter 3.0 – Is the Giveaway of the Day!

DVR Converter 3.0 is the Giveaway of the Day!

Giveaway of the Day (December 25, 2012)

Converts the following formats -mpeg/ mpg, ts, mod, tod, vro, dvr, pvr, mts, m2ts, tp0 and trp to WMV, DivX/ Xvid/ HDX4/ MPEG4 (.avi or .mp4), h.264 or MPEG2 video streams.

Windows 8 menu – Get the look and feel of Windows 7

So you woke up this morning only to discover that the new laptop or desktop Santa brought you is confusing.  If you hit the corners with your mouse and wait just a second, you’ll see the new Windows 8 menus.

Don’t like the new UI?  Well you can download a great app to restore the Classic Menu.

WhatsOnMyPC via Bill Mullins

Benchmarking your hard drive

ATTO - “The industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage connectivity products” has great products and an excellent benchmarking utility that measures your hard drive’s I/O read/write ability.

Here’s a quick look at a laptop with Windows 7 vs. Server 2008 R2

Dell’s latest 5520 inspiron laptop
6 Gb Memory
500 Gb (Seagate)

Benchmarking

Results

Results2

Server 2008 R2 Custom
8 Gb RAM
2 TB Seagate Hard drive

BenchmarkingServer

Results

ResultsServer

Also see our #1 post on Hard Drive Benchmarking (other utilites)