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    July 31, 2013

    Converting external drive from FAT32 to NTFS

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    The process is usually straight forward {convert driveletter:FS/NTFS} but not so when using an external USB attached drive. Usually during the conversion initialization you will receive the following error:

    $ Convert cannot run because the volume is in use by another
    process. Convert may run if this volume is dismounted first.
    ALL OPENED HANDLES TO THIS VOLUME WOULD THEN BE INVALID.

    After you dismount the drive you get:

    $ Convert cannot gain exclusive access to the K: drive,
    so it cannot convert it now. Would you like to
    schedule it to be converted the next time the
    system restarts (Y/N)?

    This is where it gets fun–if you choose to restart the conversion will fail, as it will try to run before the USB external drive has had time to initialize–thus the process fails.

    So lets try a different approach:

    C:\ convert k:/fs:ntfs /NoSecurity /X
    The type of the file system is FAT32.
    Enter current volume label for drive K: MyDrive
    Volume Steve_Media created 1/20/2010 11:32 AM
    Volume Serial Number is 014D-A8B6
    Windows is verifying files and folders...
    File and folder verification is complete.
    Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.
    117,161,008 KB total disk space.
    272 KB in 7 hidden files.
    848 KB in 43 folders.
    49,333,936 KB in 2,295 files.
    67,825,936 KB are available.
    16,384 bytes in each allocation unit.
    7,322,563 total allocation units on disk.
    4,239,121 allocation units available on disk.

    At this point you will receive an error about a dirty file system

    $ This drive is dirty and cannot be converted. You will need to
    clear the dirty bit on this drive by running CHKDSK /F or allowing
    AUTOCHK to run on it the next time you reboot.
    The conversion failed.
    K: was not converted to NTFS

    This is fine–we will just flip the dirty bit “off” by running the following:

    C:\ chkdsk k: /F
    The type of the file system is FAT32.
    Volume Steve_Media created 1/20/2010 11:32 AM
    Volume Serial Number is 014D-A8B6
    Windows is verifying files and folders...
    File and folder verification is complete.
    Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.
    117,161,008 KB total disk space.
    272 KB in 7 hidden files.
    848 KB in 43 folders.
    49,333,936 KB in 2,295 files.
    67,825,936 KB are available.
    16,384 bytes in each allocation unit.
    7,322,563 total allocation units on disk.
    4,239,121 allocation units available on disk.

    So now lets rerun the original convert command:

    C:\ convert k:/fs:ntfs /NoSecurity /X
    The type of the file system is FAT32.
    Enter current volume label for drive K: MyDrive
    Volume Steve_Media created 1/20/2010 11:32 AM
    Volume Serial Number is 014D-A8B6
    Windows is verifying files and folders...
    File and folder verification is complete.
    Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.
    117,161,008 KB total disk space.
    272 KB in 7 hidden files.
    848 KB in 43 folders.
    49,333,936 KB in 2,295 files.
    67,825,936 KB are available.
    16,384 bytes in each allocation unit.
    7,322,563 total allocation units on disk.
    4,239,121 allocation units available on disk.
    Determining disk space required for file system conversion...
    Total disk space: 117218241 KB
    Free space on volume: 67825936 KB
    Space required for conversion: 214495 KB
    Converting file system
    Conversion complete

    Congratulations on converting to NTFS and external drive.

    June 12, 2013

    Windows time server setup

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    Setting up a reliable time source is must in any environment. In the MS Windows Active Directory world this actually can not be found in the GUI or via a wizard. We gotta go to the dreaded command line. :)

    It’s actually fairly straight forward. Please note that it must be run to the BDC FISMO role holder.
    If you don’t happen to know where the BDC role resides use the following command

    C:\ netdom /query fsmo

    Okay now onto the time-server setup.

    Lets stop the time service:

    C:\ net stop w32time

    Next we will specify some items with some switch options–basically we are telling it we have a manual peer list (you can always see the full definition by doing a

    C:\ w32tm ?

    Let us specify our peer list.

    C:\ w32tm w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /manualpeerlist:”timeserver1.org, timeserver2.org”

    Next we have to advertise out that we are reliable time source to our client workstations

    C:\ w32tm /config /reliable:yes

    Restart the time service on the BDC

    C:\ net start w32time

    If everything went well you should see valid time synchronization information from your peer target by running the following command.

    C:\ w32tm /query /configuration

    See that wasn’t too hard…

    July 19, 2012

    Windows box fails to dynamically register its DNS with no errors recorded in Event Viewer

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    Sometimes it is the simplest things that get you.  I was asked to troubleshoot a system that would not register into DNS after a domain migration. The system could ping its new gateway and the new DNS servers–telnet showed access to the new DNS boxes on port 53 and name resolution was functioning correctly other than the fact that the system would not register itself in DNS.

    Trying to force registration from the command line with

    C:\ ipconfig /registerdns

    yielded no positive results.  Matter of fact it yielded no results at all in Event Viewer.  Strange at the very least it should show errors. Okay lets break-out wireshark and see what happening…

    Setup wireshark, issued ipconfig /registerdns and capture indicated that we were not sending any DNS queries out from our server.  Very strange, so lets take a closer looks at our NIC and see if we missed something.

    Drilling down to Advanced TCP/IP Settings and in the DNS settings tab we found our culprit. Someone had unchecked the “Register this connection’s address in DNS” check-box.  So even if we issued the command manually to force DNS registration

    C:\ ipconfig /registerdns

    the NIC was ignoring it.  Appears that in this instance the GUI setting overrides our command line process.

     

    June 19, 2012

    Change browser mode render engine in Internet Explorer 9

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    Here is an easy way to set the version of the IE rendering engine.  I prefer the stability and compatibility that the IE 7 mode offers.

    Open IE 9

    Press F12

    Choose the appropriate engine to render with under ‘Browser Mode’

    June 15, 2012

    Set network configurations from the command line in Windows

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    One of the quickest and easiest ways to set network configuration on a network adapter is via command line.

    Lets use the following criteria:

    We will be setting up Local Are Connection

    IP: 192.168.200.2
    MASK: 255.255.255.0
    GW: 192.168.200.1
    GW Metric: 1

    Here is the syntax for IPv4:

    $ netsh interface ipv4 show config
    $ netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" static 192.168.200.2 255.255.255.0 192.168.200.1 gwmetric=1
    June 15, 2012

    How do I specify where Outlook 2010 puts my pst (Data) file?

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    Oh the joys that MS Office 2010 brings are endless these days. One of the most frustrating things for me was trying to move my defaults pst file that Outlook creates. I would move it and outlook would re-create a new one in the old location and re-download all my e-mail there.

    So after some digging I found how to specify a new location.

    open regedit

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\

    Create a new Expandable String Value

    Name it ForcePSTPath

    now modify this registry key with the new path of where you want your pst located.

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