Windows

P2V GOLD – Remove all Windows Non-Present devices at once via GUI and CLI!

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Issue >> If you’ve done any type of Windows P2V (Physical 2 Virtual) then you’d know all about the value in removing non-present or ghosted devices. Normally non-present devices are harmless but from time to time they can cause you an issue or two. P2V best practice is to remove non-present devices enabling a pristine OS. The issue with removing non-present devices is the time to complete the task. Currently, you have to go to command line, enter a few commands, and then manually remove each non-present device from device manager. If you have to remove 200+ non-present devices that could take several hours to complete. Until now…

Solution >> I located 3 great tools that remove all the non-present devices at once — Device Clean up Tool GUI based, Device Clean up Tool CLI based, and Ghostbuster GUI based. All the links are below.

Other Notes >> Personally, I used the Device Cleanup Tool GUI and I was able to remove 213 devices from my recent P2V. Not only did it clean up my OS but it also fixed a pesky USB issue I was having.

Device Cleanup Tool V0.5 – removes non-present devices from the Windows device management

Device Cleanup CMD

GhostBuster

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

Pathping for windows – think of it as a better way to ping

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I was working on a remote server today and I needed better stats around ping and trace route. I could not install additional software and then I came across the windows command ‘pathping’. Its hard to believe this tool has been around since NT4 days and I don’t recall ever hearing about it. Give it a go when you get a chance and I’m adding it to my “virtual” tool belt.

More information here… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PathPing

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know…

Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

Wiggle it just a little bit– Keeping your computer awake and avoiding timeouts

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We have been there so many times: You’re working on one PC, then suddenly, the screen dims on your other PC and you get locked out. Not to mention if you use IM programs it can show you away quite frequently. As an IT admin it’s hard enough trying to get multiple things done without having to log in an out or move the mouse every so often.

What could be the cause? The usual suspects are either due to a Domain policy or because Windows power-saving / screensaver settings kick in.

The up and downside — If you are lucky enough have non-domain client or a relaxed domain policy you could adjust Windows’ power and screen saver settings. The down side is you most likely want those settings if you’re running a laptop to keep battery life at a maximum. There is nothing worse than traveling with a dead battery, except maybe a flight delay. Additionally, if you are on a domain there might be a policy not allowing you to change these settings. If only you could have a monkey in your office to wiggle the mouse every now and then.

Possible Solution? If your domain policies allow then you might try a software solution like: Jiggler

Mouse Jiggler is just a tiny app and as needed will “wiggle” your mouse icon “just a little bit”. Okay, if you haven’t got the reference yet then you need to get up to speed on your early 90’s hip hop.

After the app starts you’ll notice your pointer start to, wiggle and jiggle just a little bit. If this movement keeps Windows active. If the movement isn’t pleasant then enable the Zen Jiggle option, which does the “jiggling” behind the scenes. I prefer to see it “wiggle it just a little bit” as a reminder that it’s active. Finally push the down arrow on the app to minimize the program.

It’s as simple as that, happy computing and if you’ve found other tools to help with this please post up!

Quick ways to check disk alignment with ESXi and Windows VM’s

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There are two simple checks a virtual infrastructure (VI) admin should be doing to ensure ESXi Datastores and the Windows VM’s are properly aligned. If either are misaligned then performance issues will follow. Though I’m not going to get into the whys and how’s of alignment issues I will show you how to quickly check.

1 – ESXi Datastores (DS)

By default if the VI admin formats the DS with vCenter Server or directly connected to a host via the VI Client the starting sector will be 2048. A starting sector of 2048 will satisfy nearly all of the storage vendors out there, however 2048 starting sector should be validated with your storage vendor.

If the VI Admin chose to format the DS via a script then they should choose a starting sector of 2048 or what the storage vendor recommends

Example — partedUtil setptbl \$disk gpt “1 2048…..” More info here on partedUtil

Here is a simple command to check your “Start Sector”.   SSH or Direct console into a host that has DSs you want to check and run this command.

~ # esxcli storage core device partition list

esxistartingsector

 

Some note about this –

RED Box – Is the local boot disk, so its starting sector will be 64, this is okay it’s just a ESXi Boot disk

Yellow, Green, and Blue – Are all VSAN Disks and all have a starting sector of 2048   << This is what I’m looking for, I want to make sure all DS disks start at 2048, if not they could experience performance issues.

 

2 – Windows VM Check

Windows checks are pretty easy too, the starting sector offset should be 2048. Note the screenshot below shows the Partition starting offset of 1,048,576, also note it’s in labeled in bytes not sectors. To find the starting sector just divide the Partition Starting Offset by the Bytes per Sector.   Simple math tells us its right — 1048576/512 = 2048 Sector. If your Partition Starting offset is anything other than 1,048,576 Bytes or 2048 Sectors then the VM is not aligned and will need adjusted.

From a Command Prompt, type in ‘msinfo32.exe’ to bring up this screen, navigate as shown below, and note your Partition Starting Offset.

windowsstartingsector

 


Caching your Windows 8 Domain Credentials when you have a Web Based SSL Connection

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I was setting up a fresh Windows 8 Fusion 6 VM last weekend and realized I needed to cache my domain credentials.

However the only way I could access the domain was via a browser based VPN and I could only access this VPN after I logged in locally.

With only the ability to logon locally and then launch the web based VPN I was prompted for my password and security keys multiple times a day – Not a fun experience.

Here is how I solved this issue…

  1. Logged in with my local account
  2. Attached to the VPN
  3. Added my Windows 8 VM to the domain
  4. Added my domain account to a Local group (Admins of course)
  5. Rebooted
  6. Logged in with my local account
  7. Attached to the VPN
  8. Closed all Internet Explorer (IE) windows, held down CTRL+Shift, right click on IE, and finally choose ‘Run as Different User’ (PIC1)
  9. I typed in my domain user account/password and allowed IE to load << This should cache your credentials (PIC2)
  10. Close all windows, restart, and I was able to logon with my Domain Account
  11. Attached to the web based VPN and viola… all is working well

Pic 1 – hold down CTRL+Shift then right click on IE, and finally choose ‘Run as Different User’

PIC 2 – Enter your Credentials

Summary – Using ‘Run as Different User’ apparently helps to cache the domain credentials locally. Your experience may vary depending on your rights as a domain user and the security policies enforced in your domain.