Right click task manager

Task Manager has gone over some major overhauls in Windows 8 (and 8.1)

Right-click menus have undergone some major overhauls in Windows 8 (and 8.1)

Therefore it stands to reason (and logic) that right click in Task Manager may have undergone an overhaul… and it has! … in a fashion

I would not call it a major overhaul but the new right click options in Task Manager are very nice. Here are some of my favorites

1) right click to end process – now works with far less clicks: right-click the process and choose “End Task”.  That’s it
2) right click the CPU graph on the “Performance” tab and you will be able to see kernel mode and user mode usages – very handy
3) Right click any graph and choose summary  view to get see just the graph
4) Although not directly part of the right-click improvements the fact that startup applications are now listed in Task Manager means you can right-click them and disable – no need to go to msconfig from the search/run box
5) Right click everything in the details tab – there are just a ton of tools there!

Windows 8.1: Free ebook


These books are usually VERY good.  I have read a number of them in the past and they provide a good depths of knowledge while covering the new features.  It is a great way to get to know the newest tech.  If this  is up your alley here are a few other links to check out:

CanITPro is one of the premier sites to learn about Microsoft technologies and they recently posted a series of free books as well – http://blogs.technet.com/b/canitpro/archive/2012/08/08/22-free-microsoft-ebooks-to-add-to-your-must-read-list.aspx

Here is a third option for free books.  It is a HUGE list of the available free Microsoft books – http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mssmallbiz/archive/2012/07/27/large-collection-of-free-microsoft-ebooks-for-you-including-sharepoint-visual-studio-windows-phone-windows-8-office-365-office-2010-sql-server-2012-azure-and-more.aspx


Local security policy in Windows 8

Picking up from my last post.  I was going over “Local Security Policy” in Windows 7.  It got me thinking about how to do it in Windows 8.  Sure you can still get there from “Control Panel”-> “Admin Tools”-> “Local security policy” but are there any shortcuts?

The “type anywhere” feature of Windows 8 does not bring up anything when I tried to search for “security”, “local” or “policy”.  But the other shortcut still works:

Open the run/search box and type “secpol.msc”

Almost as good 😉

Hiding user accounts – fast user switching – security concerns

Okay so here is the deal:  I recently setup a series of new computers.  They “had” to be set to the easiest possible way of logging on.  The choice was made to go with the “fast user switching” option (this is what it was called in XP).  In Windows 7 the option still exists but it is now moved to local security policies

To enable the icons for users instead of usernames here is what you need to do

Logon to the PC with an admin account.  In the search/run box type: “Local Security Policy” and click the corresponding entry in the menu.

Local security

Once this opens navigate to “Local Policies”->”Security Options” and scroll through the list of entries until you locate “Interactive Logon: Do not display last username”

local security no history interactive logon

This entry does not seem very intuitive.  “Interactive Logon” is when you are sitting at the keyboard (as opposed to remote sessions).  The second part  means that the last username will not remain on screen.  This can be a bit of a security risk.  If someone wants to compromise your system you really don’t want them to have a place to start: giving them the usernames would do just that.  Luckily for me, in this case, it was not an issue so this setting was the only one needing to be changed.  Change from “Not Defined” to “Enabled” and you will be greeted with a list of icons next time you logon

Simple right 😉

Java security setting

This morning, for reasons unknown to me, my security settings changed.  I can no longer open some java-based applications.  Argh! I hate Mondays 🙁  This is how my computer greeted me when I tried to launch a java based remote connection tooljava post 1

So here is the fix.  The first place I looked was in Internet Explorer tools

IE-> IE tools (gear icon in top right of IE window)-> Internet Options-> Security-> Custom level-> Here I reviewed  the settings and made a few changes to allow everything to download but prompt.  It did not resolve the issue.

The fix is in Java (Control Panel-> Java).  Go to the security tab and drop the settings down to medium.  Presto!  Back to the internets



Free one day webcast on WPT

Microsoft just sent out a communication that they will be offering a free training course.  WPT is a great and often neglected tool that is replacing the aging Xperf (Xperview support is being phased out). WPT is comprised of 2 main tools: WPR and WPA.  WPR (Recorder) is used to capture the events which can then be analyzed in WPA (Analyzer)

The link to the training session registration is: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/liveevents/windows-performance-jump-start#?fbid=jlzV_3AvMgN

If you want to jump start the Jump Start session with your own learning here is the link to download the application (it is included as a component of the Windows ADK):

And here is the link to some learning material:


Microsoft Virtual Academy Windows Desktop

Once again the nice people at Microsoft have posted some great articles. I am going to be diving into deployments in the near future and wanted to get ready before jumping into the fire.  MVA to the rescue.  Not only does the Microsoft Virtual Academy have links for deploying Windows 7 and Windows 8 it also has tons of other great links for Desktop OS support

Check these out: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/product-training/windows#?fbid=jlzV_3AvMgN

If you are interested in the deployment links they are here.
Windows 7: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/deploying-windows-7#?fbid=jlzV_3AvMgN
Windows 8: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/deploying-windows-8#?fbid=jlzV_3AvMgN


Remote Administration of Active Directory

Can I logon to the server? No.  Why not? Only sys admins are allowed to logon to servers.

Sound familiar?  Quite often desktop support technicians are denied access to servers simply because of policy.  This is not a bad thing.  And there is still a solution:
Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8.

All you need to do is get permissions in place that allow you the level of control needed on the given applications.  To explain: if you want to be able to change passwords then you need the rights to do so.  You do not need to logon to the server – you just need permissions in Active Directory.  To accomplish this you need to install this: http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/download/details.aspx?id=28972

Once the download is complete navigate to “Control Panel” -> “Programs and Features” -> On the Left side bar click on “Turn Windows Features On or Off”.  This will open a new window.  In this window navigate to “Remote Server Administration Tools” and make sure they are all turned on.

The next step is just simply opening administrative tools.  Navigate to “Control Panel” ->”Administrative Tools”.  Here you will see the list of tools available to you.  To manage passwords just open the “Active Directory Users and Computers” tool.  From here your network admin can walk you through the fairly simple process of re-setting the users password.

Fun with Storage Spaces Part 4

While all this backup talk has been great fun I have also been continuing the work on divulging the deep kept secrets of Storage Spaces.  Here is another teaser.

We did the baseline tests on our storage devices.  For the remainder of the testing we will be using these devices unless otherwise specified
120 gig SSDs

120GB SSD ATTO Test 120GB SSD CrystalDisk Test


4TB ATTO Test 4TB CrystalDisk Test


2TB CrystalDisk Test 2TB ATTO Test

Backing up Windows 8 Part 4 – Previous versions

In my humble opinion this is the Holy Grail of backups.  Easily restore files without the need of managing backup media or backup schedules.  So here is the deal: leveraging existing technology (Shadow Copy – or in this case Volume Shadow Copy Service) Windows 8 (and Windows 7) take snap shot backs up of your data.  Once a file gets changed you can go to the folder and look at previous versions of the file.

Of course there are a few hoops to jump through before you get your “cake and eat it too” utopian data resiliency moment – okay: a bit exaggerated but it is good 🙂
1) You have to have System protection turned on
Go to Control Panel-> System -> and click on System Protection on the left.
Here you have to click on the “Configure” button in the “Configure restore settings” section.
Turn on System Protection
previous version system protection

2) On the System Properties windows, in the system protection tab: create a restore point.  This is what Windows will use as a baseline when it attempts to determine if there is a previous version available.
3) Okay, you’ve done the hard parts.  If you have read the other articles on backups I have written you are now so close you should be able to smell it… almost.  Here is another hook.  Previous versions is seen as a network/file server function. When you go to your C: or D: drive and look at the folders you will not see the options to recover from Previous Versions.  All that work for nothing!?  Not true.
Open File Explorer and type \\localhost\(Drive letter)$
Localhost tells your computer to look at itself.  Drive letter is the letter of the drive in question (C:, D:,E:,…) and the $ lets you access hidden administrator shares (which is what the root shares are.

Once the PC finds localhost\(drive letter) you can then browse the file structure, right click the file/folder in question and there will be the tab for Previous Versions.  Click this tab and it will show a list of files copies that are availableprevious version file

And so, there is the list of options to which you can recover!