Microsoft confirms it’s dropping Windows 8.1 support

From Infoworld -

Microsoft confirms it’s dropping Windows 8.1 support.

 

Here’s how this works – If you have Windows 8.1, You must update to Windows 8.1 Update (Yes, someone named it Windows 8.1 Update).   This will insure you get future security updates in the near future.

Keep updating until you see the power symbol and the search icon in your Metro screen!  And then keep updating …don’t miss any updates so you are covered on future updates.

See our troubleshooting information on getting updates if you have problems.

update

 

More Tips on updating issues-

If the installation fails, try the following-

Run CMD as administrator
Type the following: dism /online /remove-package /packagename:Package_for_KB2919355~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.3.1.14
After this finishes, type: dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup
Retry the upgrade again.

 

Error 0x80071a91?  Try this update. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2939087/en-us

 

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

 

 

Dell DDA – Upgrading from Windows 8 to 8.1

Having a problem uninstalling the Dell Data Access Software and upgrading to 8.1?  Here’s some tips -

 

  • Dell’s recommendation for upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1  Link
  • If the software does not uninstall properly, run Microsoft’s fix-it to uninstall the program (Link)  you may also run a registry cleaner that can clear the software from your registry.

 

Our Solution – This may not fit your needs.  Always backup your data.

  • Uninstall the Dell Data Access software  (We had 15 pcs that had remains left after the uninstall
  • Reboot
  • Make sure the software is not listed in the Programs and Features list
  • Navigate to C:\program files and C:\program files (x86)
  • Remove the files under the subfolder ‘Dell’  that are related to the Dell Data Access software
  • If you cannot, open the task manager and click on the details tab.
  • Find the process TDMService.exe, right click and end the process tree
  • Immediately delete the .exes in the above subfolder – you may have to end the process (the process may restart)
  • Delete the files manually (Only the protection files and folders)
  • Run the microsoft fix-it above and/or a registry cleaner
  • Reboot
  • Install Windows 8.1

It seems this is a problem that has many fixes – The above is our fix that worked for us…

 

Other tips that may help once Windows 8.1 upgrading starts -

Remove 3rd party software

Disable the anti-virus software

Run cleaners and defrag

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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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…

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.

USB problems (Unrecognized Devices and Registry Bloat)

Every time you insert a USB device such as a USB flash drive, an entry will be inserted into your registry.  An excellent program called DriveCleanUp can remove these entries and not only detect USB devices quicker but cleans your registry entries for these storage devices. (MountedDevices)

Once you download DriveCleanUp, unzip (extract) the program and copy the .exe file to c:\Windows\system32.

drivecleanup

 

Right click on the file and Run as Administrator.

removed

Cannot update Windows 7 with Service Pack

Windows 7 SP1 is a necessary critical update that should be applied when reinstalling or updating Windows.  You may run into errors when applying this service pack.  During the update, the update may stall or revert changes.  What should you do?

Be Patient – The installation failure or reverting changes may take up to an hour or more.

  • Boot into Safe Mode with networking (Reboot hit F8 several times and select Safe Mode)
    • Be patient this can take an hour or more during the reverting process
    • Once in Safe Mode with networking, disable all antivirus software – Look for other antivirus software programs that may have been installed at an earlier date and remove these (You may have to use removal tools from the vendor).  Also look for any old installations of other anti-virus software or malware tools under c:\program files\any old anti-virus software.  Remove these with Programs and Features (Add/Remove Software) if possible.
  • Rename the SoftwareDistribution folder under C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistributionold
  • Delete any files under C:\Windows\Temp and C:\Temp
  • Download Tweaking from here
    • Select all repairs and reboot (This may take 20 minutes to 1 hour)
  • Download the System Update Readiness Tool from here
    • Run this Tool
  • Download Windows 7 SP1 (Full Download) from here 

Why Tweaking All-in-one?
Reset Registry Permissions
Reset File Permissions
Register System Files
Repair WMI
Repair Windows Firewall
Repair Internet Explorer
Repair MDAC & MS Jet
Repair Hosts File
Remove Policies Set By Infections
Repair Icons
Repair Winsock & DNS Cache
Remove Temp Files
Repair Proxy Settings
Unhide Non System Files
Repair Windows Updates
Repair CD/DVD Missing/Not Working
and more…

Capture

Vista SP1 Cleanup Tool – Yes, someone is still using Vista

Vista’s SP1 uses a ton of space after its initial install.  The Vista Service Pack removal tool (Hey, I didn’t hear about it either) removes archived files returning a ton of space.  Remember, you cannot uninstall SP1 after this.  Hopefully you tested SP1 for a couple of weeks.

  1. Click the on the Vista Orb (start button), All Programs, Accessories, and click Command Prompt.  (or click on run if you have made this option seen and run the tool below.)
  2. Type vsp1cln.exe and then press Enter on your keyboard.
  3. Another command prompt box will open with a warning about running the SP1 disk clean-up tool. (Warning tools scare me too.)
  4. Type y to start the clean-up.
  5. There will be a wait as the uninstall of your archive files are being removed.
  6. Command prompt window will close when the process completes.
  7. Defrag

 

How to guard your wireless network and see intruders

100% credit goes to Bill Mullins for sharing this information. (BillMullins.wordpress.com).

Softperfect has some of the best freeware for Windows.   With Netscan you can see devices on your network and find information about the  devices.  Now with their software “WiFi  Guard”, you can use a device on your network and find the devices that are attached to it.

While you should take precautions to secure your wireless network, is someone accessing your network without your knowledge?

Installation is fast and easy.  Simply follow the wizard and make sure you run the software at startup.

Scan

Once you install the software, select the adapter and scan your network.  Next double click on known devices and select “I know this device.”  Let the software run and periodically scan your network.   If you find a device connecting to it,   locate the device and remove it from the network or take action to prevent unknown devices from connecting.

I Know

The software is designed to run on Apple, Windows or Linux.

Note: The above pic is from a lab environment and the addresses and macs do not represent real machines or a production environment.

Protecting your network by pen testing it

This post is for educational purposes and any use of these tools against a network without explicit permission could be illegal.   Metasploit is designed to identify weaknesses in networks and hardware/software on a network.  Do NOT use metasploit for other reasons.

Want to protect your network and the computers in your network?  You can get updates for your operating systems (Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows or whatever) along with updates for third party programs yet you can still be unsecure.    When updating these products, you also have to remember firmware and updates for wireless devices, access points, bridges, firewalls, routers, switches, SCADA devices, robots, mobile devices, printers and any device on your network.

Metasploit

http://www.metasploit.com/download/

Metasploit Community is free and allows for a free scan of your network or server. Although limited (Try Pro for details and Brute Force), Metasploit Community is a first step in finding open services and ports on your operating system, hardware devices such as routers and other devices.   The trick to installing Metasploit is to disable your antivirus or make exceptions to what your antivirus finds.   You should truly install the software inside of a VM (Virtual Machine) so that your computer remains protected.

You can use Metasploit to protect your network by ‘seeing’ what a hacker or malicious person would see.  Truly for network professionals and auditors, this software can help you identify services, ports and weaknesses in your network.

There are several versions of Metasploit – Community, Pro, Express and Framework (Compare Editions)

Metasploit     Metasploit Two

Metasploit Scan Complete     metasploit Hosts

Metasploit Services After Scan

The above scan was in a controlled lab.  Malicious scanning of networks may be illegal.  Read  Penetration Basics on Metasploit’s website.

Tutorials (Videos)

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.

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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?