Excellent site to understand deployment

Need a step by step tutorial on Sysprep, ImageX or other Windows’ deployment methods?  Me, Myself and IT has excellent step by step tutorials on these different methods.

Getting started using Windows Deployment

Create a Windows PE USB    (Includes Dropbox download)

Capture an image using ImageX

Apply a WIM using ImageX

How to build an UnAttended Answer File

Adding drivers

Preparing and Using Sysprep

Experiments with Sysprep

MDT

150 FREE Microsoft eBooks – largest collection ever

150 FREE Microsoft eBooks – largest collection ever

Thanks to Jonathan for remembering to email me the latest Microsoft Blog link about free ebooks.

EBoooks link

Given the amount my readers enjoy these posts and these free resources, I am sharing another post this year with over 130 more FREE eBooks, Step-By-Steps, Resource Guides, etc., for your enjoyment. Plus I’m also including links to the free eBooks I shared in the past so you have all of them here in one single post, making this my single largest collection EVER (Almost 300 total)! Please enjoy these FREE eBooks and resources, and be sure to pass this along to your friends, colleagues, peers, and others who you think would benefit from and enjoy them. After all, wouldn’t it be fun if we could surpass the 1,000,000 download mark within just one week again? ~Eric Ligman, Microsoft

 

 

Windows Hotfix Rollup with 90 updates for Windows 7 and Server 2008

The Microsoft Update may show that your computer is up-to-date but you may be able to improve system stability and performance with these 90 updates for Windows 7 and Server 2008 with a hotfix that was released earlier in 2013.  

This enterprise hotfix fix WebDAV, DFSN client, Folder Redirection, Offline Files and Folders, SMB client, Redirected Drive Buffering Subsystem, Multiple UNC Provider, SMB Service, TCP protocol components (Network Performance), processing of Group Policies, Group Policy preferences, helps to reduce network load and domain load, WMI and more.

Information on the hotfix is here - (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2775511/en-us)

Where do you get the hotfix?  The hotfix can be downloaded here.  You MUST use Internet Explorer to apply the hotfix.  The hotfix from the Windows Update Catalog requires you to install components to download the files of your choice.

Microsoft Update Catalog

 

Install

 

Available updates

 

Progress

 

After downloading the update, you will need to double click the installation file and after the hotfix is applied, you must restart your computer.

Tweak your wireless router

Many people who set up their wireless routers never optimize the channel to keep from ‘bumping’ into their neighbors.  Regardless if you are a Apple, Linux or Windows user, you should select a channel as far away from your neighbors devices as you can.   Use WiFi Analyzer for Android, (Apple), or InSSIDer for a PC to see what channels are being used around your home or business.

The second tip is involves fragmentation..   We don’t have one or two internet devices anymore, we have four or more.   Computers, laptops, netbooks, e-readers such as Kindles or Nooks, iPods, iPhones, Android tablets, iPads, Android, Windows Phones, Blurays, TVs and more.    So how can this be optimized?   These devices send packets of data in frames.

Imagine you talking.   Each word is a packet and the packets together are a sentence.   In a wireless environment, each device has to wait for the other to complete their sentence before it can talk.

Computer talking to router – ” I am going to WordPress to read a blog!”

Tablet waits on router and says – “I want to go to YouTube!”

Your router listens to the computer while the tablet is waiting.   The router processes the computer’s request and then listens to the tablet.   So how can this be optimized?

The default fragmentation for routers is 2346.  Many professionals recommend to set this at 800 or 1000 if there are many devices on your network.   So your router should work like this -

Computer and Tablet say – “I am going to – I want to go to – WordPress to read – YouTube! – a blog!”

See how each device gets a small piece of what it wants to say in to the router?  The router can process the information a little at a time keeping each devices wait time down.   This in  turn works with the RTS Threshold.

The RTS Threshold is  used as a trigger to engage the back and forth of RTS (Ready to Send – “I have something to say”) and CTS (Clear to Send – “I am listening”) messages between the wireless router  and  your device.  The trigger’s purpose is a type of “handshaking”.   The default value for RTS is 2347.   Try 2340 and lower as necessary. 

Note: Before changing these defaults, remember – you can reset these if you cannot connect.  Read your owner’s manual on how to reset your router in the event you have connectivity problems.  Every situation is different.  

Here’s my settings on Fragmentation and RTS Threshold.

wireless

The preamble should be set to short.   Long is for 802.11b  devices (old legacy laptops or devices).  Auto is just in case you have someone with old computers that are coming into your home.   Auto works for old and new.   Generally older devices today have 802.11g.   802.11g and 802.11n work with long.   So if you don’t anticipate someone visiting with older devices, move the preamble to short.

DTIM is a traffic indicator.  It basically says – “Yo, I got something for you” during the beacon.  Setting this 1 point higher can actually save power when devices are listening.   So the device will awaken only when DTIM tells it to.

These settings are for people who have several devices on their network and are true consumers of the internet.   They are by no means the settings for everyone.   You may have to play with the settings to get optimal throughput.  Remember, test your bandwidth with two devices side by side and simultaneously.   Have each device strain your network by testing their throughput by going to an ISP site that test download speeds or stream a video at the same time.  You’ll see a difference.   The default values very well may be what you need if you don’t have many users and devices.

Give it a try.  You can always go back to your routers default values.

ReFS – Data Protection – Windows 8.1 and Server 2012

NTFS.  You’ve worked with it for years.  Microsoft’s NTFS is not being replaced by ReFS.   ReFS is available for Windows 8.1 and Server 2012.  What if you have extra drives and need the data protection?  ReFS may be for you. (or Storage Spaces ~See upcoming article)

ReFS is the Resilient File System that makes disk more reliable and works like this.

  • Uses checksums to detect if your data is changed
  • Able to detect and recover from corruption
  • Data is written to a new part of the disk if the above is the case
  • Recovers without limiting availability of the disk
  • Integrity data streams can also be enabled
  • File system metadata is protected
  • No chkdsk
  • Handles 1 Yottabyte ( 1 quadrillion GBs?)

While the boot volume should still be in NTFS, this file system is ideal for servers and workstations that need extra data protection.  The other drives can ideally be made ReFS.

More information from Microsoft

Windows Storage Spaces and ReFS – Is it time to ditch raid for good? via Betanews

 

 

Microsoft Surface Pro-ready for manufacturing, business and industry

The Microsoft Surface Pro has proven to be versatile in the workplace.  Mr. Arnold our Industrial Maintenance instructor uses the Microsoft Surface Pro to connect to nearly a hundred PLCs, motors, robots and other industrial components.

So why is this tablet perfect for business and industries?

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External DVD Attached through USB port

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USB EasyLINK to transfer files from one computer to another

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The Windows below shows the USB EasyLINK software (loaded on the USB device)

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Many industrial components require a floppy disk drive – (Above and Below)

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What if you need to expand your USB with a USB hub or two?

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IT personnel can attach a Wireless Spectrum Analyzer or multiple wireless cards for site surveys or other wireless needs.

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100_3103100_3101   100_3100100_3102

Four Wi-Fi Nic cards shown above

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Multitasking (above)

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Joining a domain (above)

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Connect an external drive, card reader or multiple USB drives at the same time.

Use all of your Windows based software…now why was the Surface a bad idea?  It’s not…

Installing Linux Lite – A mini review

Home users that ONLY check email and use very few other programs may consider replacing their OS.   Linux has made an exceptional gain over the past several years with a Programs (Add/Remove) component and with hardware drivers.

To see just how Linux Lite stacked up other OSs, I decided to load it in Oracle’s VirtualBox.  The little over 600+mb download is comparable in size to Windows XP.  The ISO can be burned with an image burner to make a bootable CD/DVD.  Before you decide to switch, remember there are limitations to Windows software even with Wine.  Wine is a software application that allows you to run Windows programs.  Hunting around the internet you’ll find hundreds of Linux programs comparable to Windows programs.  You don’t have to look far considering the Linux repository has hundreds of programs.

After loading Oracle’s VirtualBox, simply walk through the New OS wizard, select Linux, allocate 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of HDD space if you can.  Once you have completed this step, click on Settings and select bridge on the Network Card and load the ISO under storage.

Once you complete that step, start the OS and follow the on screen prompts.

1

(Above) – initial load screen.

2

Loading the OS into RAM

3

Load time of around two minutes for the initial screen to appear.

4

Select your language.

5

The above screen is checks to insure hardware and internet connectivity is ok.

6

Erase the hard drive.

7

Below – set your location for the time.

8

Select the keyboard layout.

9

Setup an initial user and password.

10

Copying files

11

After the installation, Restart your computer (VirtualBox)

12

Booting up from the hard disk drive.

13

Login and options.

14

The initial desktop is clean.  Don’t let this fool you.  The amount of programs and options for an internet user is excellent.

15

 

17 updates

 

Checking for updates is easy.  Simply click on the menu and select update.  Provide your login password and Linux Lite does the rest.

Printer setup

If you have a printer that supports IPP Protocol, login to the printer’s web address and Enable IPP.   The printer in our home is the Samsung SCX-3400 wireless.  An inexpensive laser printer that provides for thousands of pages with Samsung’s toner cartridge.  The printer provides hundreds of options for Windows, Apple, Linus or mobile devices.

printer

 

What programs come with Linux Lite?  Hundreds of items.  Here’s the main categories.

  • Office
  • Games  (Such as steam and others)
  • Graphics  (Gimp and more)
  • Accessories
  • Internet (email and browsers)
  • Multimedia
  • System (dozens of tools)
  • Settings

accessories Games Graphics Internet Multimedia Office settings Sharing System

 

If you ONLY use the internet and want to look into an alternate operating system.  Linux Lite may be for you.  It is easy to use, install and offers hundreds of programs.

ASUS RT-AC66U Dual Band 3.3 802.11AC Router

The Asus RT-AC66U Router continues to lead the pack with firmware downloads with improvements through enhanced features and security.   Last night Jay messaged me with details on one of their features that provides a dual WAN option with fail-over features.  Here’s a couple of screenshots that shows the dual WAN features.

Router

http://www.asus.com/us/Networking/RTAC66U/        (Information)

http://www.asus.com/Networking/RTAC66U/specifications/  (Specifications)

Asus’s latest firmware 3.0.0.4.374_4561 is just one of many firmware updates that proves this router is valuable to homes and businesses.

 

Credit: Jay Matlock

 

ASUS MAP    bandwidth  tRAFFIC     wan oNE Wan Setup     WAN TWO wired

AlphiMAX PTP Estimator provides an excellent way to align your wireless antennas

Need an excellent program to estimate your wireless bridges from building to building?  AlphiMAX provides an excellent online program to estimate your wireless links.

Sign up is easy and fast.  The PTP Estimator requires that you have the Latitude and Longitude of both buildings.  You can get an estimated Lat. and Long. from Google maps.  Find your location on Google maps (you should use a GPS) and right click on the location you want then select “What’s here?” .    This will provide the numbers you need.  Remember, it is best to use a GPS on each site where you intend to erect an antenna.

PTP Estimator

You can also search for a location by name by clicking the area in the center of the online application.  icon

Once you have the Lat. and Long., enter the numbers at the top of the online application.  Click Estimate.

Entering LatandLong

The interface will show you the terrain, Antenna height, compass information, Fresnel Zone Clearance, approximate altitude,  along with product information they provide.

Aligned

 

The estimator also offers a 3D view of your project if you have an active subscription.

AlphiMAX Company Overview
AlphiMAX provides products to help you with your wireless needs.

Need a small wireless access point or wireless router?

Here’s one of the smallest, feature packed and powerful routers for under $30.  The NetShair Nano by iogear offers some of the most features money can buy.  Here’s how it works (interactive).   (Thanks Jeremy for bringing it in!)

  • Compact design USB powered ultra-portable Wi-Fi router with USB pass-through
  • Converts any wired Internet connection to Wi-Fi
  • Perfect accessory for Ultrabooks, MacBook Air and other devices without Ethernet ports
  • Serves as a DHCP Router or Access Point
  • Plugs into any USB port or USB charger for power
  • USB pass-though (no loss of USB port when connected)
  • Free apps for iPod®/iPhone®/iPad® and Android operating systems
  • IEEE 802.11b/g/n compliant 150Mbps speed
  • Supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 64/128 bit security
  • VPN
  • Firewall
  • more
Warranty:   1-YEAR
photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 5

What about the  Zyxel Routers / APs we featured in late 2013? Here are some pics from an earlier  our blog post earlier..  With a router/ap switch on the side and the ability to act as a router, ap or bridge, the routers came with two power supplies each, a CAT5 cable and a very powerful wireless signal.

IMG_3105

IMG_7049

tiny

As we go through the CWTS curriculum, students are exposed to many different types of routers.  The Zyxel MWR102 is a tiny router (only 2.9″ x 2.3″ x .6″) that you can use when in a pinch or even in a small apartment.

Zyxel

This tiny router packs a ton of features.  Under $20, the router’s specs prove it gives a full size router a run for the money.

Zyxel Specs- USB Powered 150Mbps Wireless-N Fast Ethernet Travel Router

Features:

  • Pocket-sized router/AP for internet access on-the-go
  • 3-in-1 Functionality – Router, Access Point, and Client Bridge
  • Wirelessly share a wired Internet connection with multiple friends, colleagues, or devices.
  • 802.11n wireless connectivity for data transfer rates of up to 150 Mbps
  • USB or AC power provide flexibility for any situation
  • Hardware Specifications:
  • Ports:
  • Two (2) 10/100 Mbps (1x WAN, 1x LAN)
  • One (1) MiniUSB (For Power)Power:
  • 5V DC USB
  • System Specifications:
  • Wireless Standard:
  • IEEE802.3, IEEE 802.3u
  • IEEE802.11n auto rate up to 150Mbps
  • IEEE802.11b/g compatible auto rate up to 54Mbps
  • IEEE802.1x MDI/MDI-X adaptive flow-control
  • IEEE802.1p
  • IEEE802.3x
  • IEEE802.3az
  • Operating Modes:
  • Router
  • Access Point
  • WiFi Client Bridge   Yep, even a wireless bridge…Wireless Security:
  • WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK
  • Security:
  • 64/128-bit WPA/WPA2
  • SPI Firewall
  • WPS Setup
  • Routing and IP Management:
  • Static IP
  • DHCP
  • PPPoE
  • NATUnit Dimensions:
  • 0.61 x 2.93 x 2.32-inches (H x W x D)   Is anything smaller?

Where can you buy it?

What should you do with an old computer? Create a home router/firewall!

ITX-motherboards can often be found in older computers from garage sales or thrift stores.  What is the practical use for these motherboards or older computers?

Here’s a small project that involves protecting your home.

After finding an ITX motherboard and gathering extra parts from broken laptops and computers, this project will put the software SMOOTHWALL Express onto the computer to make a mini firewall.  Total cost?

  • $22 250watt power supply
  • $5 Gearhead mini keyboard

0306141659a

Base processor
Athlon 64 X2 (B) 5400+ 2.8 GHz (65W)
800 MHz front side bus
Socket AM2

Chipset
GeForce 9100

Motherboard

  • Manufacturer: Pegatron
  • Motherboard Name: APX78-BN
  • HP/Compaq motherboard name: Nutmeg-GL6E

Power supply
250W

Memory
240 Pin DDR2 PC2-6400 MB/sec
4GB
Hard drive
120 GB SATA 6G (6.0 Gb/sec)
7200 rpm

Video Graphics

Integrated on motherboard (NVidia 9100)

Sound/Audio
High Definition 6-channel audio
ALC 888S chipset

Network (LAN)
Integrated 10/100 Base-T networking interface
Added Broadcom wireless to create a wireless router

External I/O ports connections – 6  USB

Expansion slots

PCI Express mini card socket – added Broadcom Wireless
PCI Express x16
PCI Express x1

Additions-

  • 2″ Fan for Chipset

In the video below, HAK5 shows just how to make a motherboard like this into a nice home router/Firewall.

Thrift stores -an Internet and computer goldmine

Thrift stores and yard/garage sales can become a goldmine for computer geeks.  You have to know your technology and how to upgrade the device – and you have to truly know the value of a device/computer you stumble on.  Here’s an example -

The D-Link Dir-601 is a home router that lacks many features of other Wireless N routers.   This $60 router lacks MIMO antennas and has a throughput of about 65 -150 mbps.  However, the router can be upgraded to DD-WRT and dozens of features are added to this little router including power settings, virtual wireless, IPv6, QoS and more.

Dir-601

Amanda picked one up for the class for $1.99.   A real bargain for anyone.  So what can you get for $20 ?

D-Link, Belkin, Hawking, Linksys (WRT-54g), Cisco 150  - Most of which can take alternate firmware.

2310 Belkin Hawking wrt54g WRT120N

How about a cool project with a Pegatron motherboard so you can make a hardware firewall (Picked up for $0) -it included a quad core AMD processor and fan and 2 Gb of Ram.  Add a laptop hard drive, a 220 watt power supply and Smoothwall firewall to create a tiny firewall that protect you from malicious activity.   Total investment – $22.  I have a hard drive from Amanda’s old computer and ordered the power supply from Amazon.

Motherboard

Speaking of Firewalls – How about a Netgear FVS328 VPN firewall for the home.  Although it has reached EOL, $1.99 and uploading the latest firmware will still add extra protection to your home.

prosafe