Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category

It seems in Windows Server latest versions the good old disk clean up tool is not enabled by default. If you just want it back you can run the below commands in a command prompt to copy the required files.

Copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_c9392808773cd7da\cleanmgr.exe C:\Windows\System32\

Copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_en-us_b9cb6194b257cc63\cleanmgr.exe.mui C:\Windows\System32\en-US\

Then create a shortcut pointing to the Disk Clean up tool found in the following path.

C:\Windows\System32\CleanMgr.exe

I did try this on Windows Server 2008 R2 and hope it works as it is or with slight changes on other versions of Windows as well.

As you may be knowing, now you do not need to separately download and install .Net framework as we used to do with the older .Net frameworks. Since it is coming with Windows, you can just go to “Turn Windows Features On or Off” screen and enable framework you are after. It is simple right?

But in one of the machines it was not that simple for me. The installation tried to download files from Windows Update and was failing mentioning that it cannot get connected to Windows Update when the machine is connected to the internet without any issues.

The solution is to use DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool to get it installed.

First you need to find a Windows setup media, a setup DVD or an ISO downloaded will work.

Then use the below command to enable the feature using a local source. Remember to open the Command Window as an Administrator of the machine.

DISM /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:NetFx3 /All /LimitAccess /Source:E:\Sources\sxs

/Online – Targets the currently active and running OS.

/LimitAccess – If some installation files are missing, this will check Windows Update for the missing files. For not to check use /LimitAccess:True.

/Source – Is the location to find the source files, E: is my virtual drive which I mounted the previously downloaded Windows ISO.

If typed correctly, there will be a progress bar showing the installation progress.

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Today I thought of writing an article on how to remove all the partitions from a disk so you can re-use the disk.

If you tried removing existing partitions using the Computer Management (type computer management on the start menu to open it) tool in Windows you will find that, you can delete partitions by right clicking on the partition / volume and clicking on Delete Volume option.

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However you will notice Computer Management is useless on some of the protected volumes since the options to work on them will not be available.In this case you will need to use the DiskPart utility in the Command Prompt.

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In the Start type Cmd or Command Prompt to open a command prompt. Then type DiskPart, it is a powerful utility which can even work on protected volumes.

In my case, I would like to work on Disk 3 to remove all the existing volumes on it. Below are the steps required to clean the drive.

1. Select the disk.

List all the disks by typing List Disk, this will list all the disks connected and active at the time in your computer including the disks connected via USB ports.

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Once you identify the disk you need, selection can be made by using the command Select Disk x. In my case Select Disk 3.

To confirm, list all the partitions on the selected list by using the command List Partition.

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2. Delete all partitions by using the Clean command.

Ensure the proper disk is selected by Listing all disks by command List Disk, the currently focused disk will have a star at the beginning since recovering disks is not easy.

Type Clean and press enter. This will remove all the partitions from the disk. You can check the results by re issuing the List Partition command.

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Close the DiskPart tool by entering the command Exit.

Computer Management will now show that the disk is uninitialized as below, Initialize the disk and create partitions / volumes as necessary to use it again.

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You can remove simple partitions by using the Computer Management tool found in Windows. Search for it on the Start menu to launch it.

But if it is a protected partition you will need to use the tool DiskPart. In the Start menu type Cmd or Command Prompt to open a command prompt. Then type DiskPart, it is a powerful utility which can even work on protected volumes.

To delete one partition, follow the steps.

1. List all disks by using the command List Disk.

2. Select the disk by using Select Disk x command.

3. You can confirm the disk by listing all the partitions on it by using the command List Partition.

4. Select the partition by using the command, Select Partition x command.

5. Delete the partition by command Delete Partition Override.

Override parameter needs to be passed if the partition is not a simple data partition.

You can confirm the deletion by re-listing the partitions on the disk by List Partition command.

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Recently in one of my Virtual Machine (VM)s I received the above error message when trying to connect to a SQL Server which I used to connect on other times.

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After having a look I found that the trust between my virtual machine and the domain was broken. You can find the status of the secure channel by using the PowerShell command Test-ComputerSecureChannel.

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This will also be evident when you try to login to the computer using a domain account. It will generate the following message.

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To fix this you can try using the below methods.

1. PowerShell

Use the command Test-ComputerSecureChannel.

If your current login has the required access in the domain you can use the below command.

Test-ComputerSecureChannel –Repair

If you need to use another account than the current logged user then you need to use the –Credential parameter when calling the command.

Test-ComputerSecureChannel –Repair –Credential MyDomain\MyUser

2. Joining the domain again.

This will also get fixed by removing the machine from the domain and adding it back. Before removing the computer from the domain make sure you have access to a local administrator account on the computer. Otherwise you will not have a way to login to the computer.

This can be achieved by going to computer system properties,

  1. removing the computer from the current domain,
  2. restarting the computer.
  3. adding the computer to the domain again
  4. restarting the computer

To avoid the two restarts you can try using the following PowerShell commands.

$myPC = Get-WmiObject Win32_ComputerSystem
$myPC.UnjoinDomainOrWorkGroup("Account Password", "Account Username”, 0)
$myPC.JoinDomainOrWorkGroup("Domain", "Account Password", "Account Username", $null, 3)
Restart-Computer -Force

While trying to setup and use the Code Plugin by Rich Hewlett I had trouble getting the plugin loaded into Live Writer. I did add the registry entry required as mentioned in the site, but still the plugin did not load.

Registry

Location – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\OpenLiveWriter\PluginAssemblies

Key – SyntaxHighlight_WordPressCom_OLWPlugIn

Value – C:\Users\Arjuna\AppData\Local\OpenLiveWriter\Plugins\SyntaxHighlight_WordPressCom_OLWPlugIn.dll

After a while I figured out that, when loading the plugin Live Writer encounters the following error.

"System.IO.FileLoadException: Could not load file or assembly ‘file:///C:\Users\Arjuna\AppData\Local\OpenLiveWriter\Plugins\SyntaxHighlight_WordPressCom_OLWPlugIn.dll’ or one of its dependencies. Operation is not supported. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80131515)
File name: ‘file:///C:\Users\Arjuna\AppData\Local\OpenLiveWriter\Plugins\SyntaxHighlight_WordPressCom_OLWPlugIn.dll’ —> System.NotSupportedException: An attempt was made to load an assembly from a network location which would have caused the assembly to be sandboxed in previous versions of the .NET Framework. This release of the .NET Framework does not enable CAS policy by default, so this load may be dangerous. If this load is not intended to sandbox the assembly, please enable the loadFromRemoteSources switch. See http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=155569 for more information.

This is due to a security feature of .Net Framework 4 or later. Before framework 4, if a DLL is downloaded (which is created in another computer), they used to run in full trust in the zone the assembly is running, but with frameworks 4 and later, downloaded DLLs will not run by default. To make them run, simply grant the DLL full access by going to file properties and selecting the Unblock checkbox in the security section as seen in the below image. This will apply to any plugin you download from internet. Also keep in mind to do this to DLLs you trust safe. Otherwise your computer will be unsafe.

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To troubleshoot plugin and other errors you can refer to Open Live Writer log file located in C:\Users\Arjuna\AppData\Local\OpenLiveWriter\Open Live Writer.log.

With the unavailability of Windows Live Writer for newer versions of Windows, a good replacement for it is Open Live Writer. It is a open source application which enables you to create, edit and publish blog posts. Since the code is based on the Windows Live Writer, it looks and behaves the same so whoever used Windows Live Writer will find it easy to use.

It can be downloaded using the Open Live Writer web site.

You will be able to find plugins to use with the writer. If you are needing to post source code you can try the Code Plugin by Rich Hewlett.

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Recently I was interested in finding a way to monitor a windows service. What I needed was to check whether the service is running and if not running get a notification and try to restart the service. Following PowerShell script does exactly that, it checks for Microsoft CRM Asynchronous Service and the Microsoft CRM Asynchronous Maintenance Service activity and send 2 emails to Admin and Dev. This needs to be then scheduled using Windows Task Scheduler or SQL Server Job.

### Checking for CRM Async and Maintenance service failure and try restarting, if failing send an email notification.

 

## Function to send mail notification.

function Send_Email ([string]$strEmailSubject, [string]$strEmailBody)

{

       $EmailFrom = "Arjuna@Email.com"

       $EmailTo = "Admin@Email.com, Dev@Email.com"

       $EmailSubject = $strEmailSubject

       $EmailBody = $strEmailBody

       $EmailSMTPServer = "SMTP.server.com"

       ## Creating Mail Message object.

       $SMTPMessage = New-Object System.Net.Mail.MailMessage $EmailFrom, $EmailTo, $EmailSubject, $EmailBody

       ## Enabling HTML mail body.

       $SMTPMessage.IsBodyHtml = $true

       ## Creating SMTP client object.

       $SMTPClient = New-Object System.Net.Mail.SMTPClient $EmailSMTPServer

       ## Sending mail.

       $SMTPClient.Send($SMTPMessage)

       ## Sending mail method 2.

       ##send-mailmessage -from "Arjuna@Email.com" -to "Admin@Email.com, Dev@Email.com" -subject "CRM Async Service Failed" -body "Please check." -smtpserver "SMTP.server.com"

       ## Sending mail method 2 using parameters.

       ##send-mailmessage -from $EmailFrom -to $EmailTo -subject $EmailSubject -body $EmailBody -smtpserver $EmailSMTPServer

}

 

## Function to check the service activity.

function Check_Service

{

       ## Get all services which has a Name like MSCRMAsyncService, Start Mode is Auto and service State is Running.

       $FailedAsyncService = Get-WmiObject Win32_Service | Where-Object {$_.Name -like ‘MSCRMAsyncService’ -and $_.StartMode -eq ‘Auto’ -and $_.State -ne ‘Running’} | Select-Object DisplayName

       ## For Testing.

       ##Write-Host "A: " $FailedAsyncService

 

       ## Get all services which has a Name like MSCRMAsyncService$maintenance, Start Mode is Auto and service State is Running.

       $FailedAsyncMainteService = Get-WmiObject Win32_Service | Where-Object {$_.Name -like ‘MSCRMAsyncService$maintenance’ -and $_.StartMode -eq ‘Auto’ -and $_.State -ne ‘Running’} | Select-Object DisplayName

       ## For Testing.

       ##Write-Host "B: " $FailedAsyncMainteService

 

       ## Checking whether the Async Service has failed.

       if ($FailedAsyncService -ne $NULL)

       {

              ## Trying to start the failed Async Service.

              Start-Service -displayname "Microsoft Dynamics CRM Asynchronous Processing Service"

              ## Service Name can also be used to start the servie.

              ##Start-Service MSCRMAsyncService

              ## Get all services which has a Name like MSCRMAsyncService, Start Mode is Auto and service State is Running.

              $AsyncServiceStarted = Get-WmiObject Win32_Service | Where-Object {$_.Name -like ‘MSCRMAsyncService’ -and $_.StartMode -eq ‘Auto’ -and $_.State -ne ‘Running’} | Select-Object Name

              ## Checking the service to see whether it started.

              if ($AsyncServiceStarted -ne $NULL)

              {

                     ## Calling Send_Mail function to notify.

                     Send_Email ("CRM Async Service Failed.") ("System has detected that the following CRM Async Service has failed. System automatically tried restarting the service but it was unsuccessful. Try manual start. <BR/><BR/>" + $FailedAsyncService)

              }

              else

              {

                     ## Calling Send_Mail function to notify.

                     Send_Email ("CRM Async Service Restarted.") ("System has detected that the following CRM Async Service has failed. System automatically tried restarting the service and it was successful. <BR/><BR/>" + $FailedAsyncService)

              }

       }

 

       ## Checking whether the Async Maintenance Service has failed.

       if ($FailedAsyncMainteService -ne $NULL)

       {

              ## Trying to start the failed Async Maintenance Service.

              Start-Service -displayname "Microsoft Dynamics CRM Asynchronous Processing Service (maintenance)"

              ## Get all services which has a Name like MSCRMAsyncService$maintenance, Start Mode is Auto and service State is Running.

              $AsyncMainteServiceStarted = Get-WmiObject Win32_Service | Where-Object {$_.Name -like ‘MSCRMAsyncService$maintenance’ -and $_.StartMode -eq ‘Auto’ -and $_.State -ne ‘Running’} | Select-Object Name

              ## Checking the service to see whether it started.

              if ($AsyncMainteServiceStarted -ne $NULL)

              {

                     ## Calling Send_Mail function to notify.

                     Send_Email ("CRM Async Service Failed.") ("System has detected that the following CRM Async Service has failed. System automatically tried restarting the service but it was unsuccessful. Try manual start. <BR/><BR/>" + $FailedAsyncMainteService)

              }

              else

              {

                     ## Calling Send_Mail function to notify.

                     Send_Email ("CRM Async Service Restarted.") ("System has detected that the following CRM Async Service has failed. System automatically tried restarting the service and it was successful. <BR/><BR/>" + $FailedAsyncMainteService)

              }

       }

}

 

## Calling the Check_Service function.

Check_Service

As you may be knowing, you can use Windows PowerShell to change registry values. In this article I am going to do five things.

I have created few registry entries to use in this example as seen below. In real world you can use whatever entries in your registry. It is always advisable to backup your registry before changing it.

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1. Set a registry key value.

To set a value you need to use the “Set-ItemProperty” cmdlet as below.

Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\Software\Test\Live" -Name "TestValue2" –Value “TestData2”

Above command will put “TestData2” in the registry key “TestValue2” located in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Test\Live.

2. Read a registry key value.

Reading from the registry can be done by using the cmdlet “Get-ItemProperty”.

Below command will get the value in the “TestValue1” key.

Get-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\Software\Test\Live" -Name "TestValue1"

3. Using variables in PowerShell.

Here I am going to read a registry key value and put it to another registry key. This can be done using a variable. First you need to read the value into a variable using the “Get-ItemProperty” cmdlet and that value can be saved using the “Set-ItemProperty” cmdlet.

  1. # Check for the existance of the registry key.
  2. IF (Get-ItemProperty -Path “HKLM:\Software\Test\Live” -Name “TestValue1” -ea 0)
  3. {
  4.     # Fetching the value from TestValue1.
  5.     $OldValue = Get-ItemProperty -Path “HKLM:\Software\Test\Live” -Name “TestValue1”
  6. }
  7. ELSE
  8. {
  9. # Inserting a blank, if the registry key is not present.
  10.     $OldValue = “”
  11. }
  12. # Printing the value in the variable.
  13. Write-Host $OldValue.TestValue1
  14. # Setting the value to TestValue2.
  15. Set-ItemProperty -Path “HKLM:\Software\Test\Live” -Name “TestValue2” -Value $OldValue.TestValue1

4. Working with registry keys with spaces.

In case your registry keys contain spaces, you need to use double quotes in your script as seen below.

  1. # Check for the existance of the registry key.
  2. IF (Get-ItemProperty -Path “HKLM:\Software\Test\Live” -Name “Test Value 1” -ea 0)
  3. {
  4.     # Fetching the value from Test Value 1.
  5.     $OldValue = Get-ItemProperty -Path “HKLM:\Software\Test\Live” -Name “Test Value 1”
  6. }
  7. ELSE
  8. {
  9.     # Inserting a blank, if the registry key is not present.
  10.     $OldValue = “”
  11. }
  12. # Printing the value in the variable.
  13. Write-Host $OldValue.“Test Value 1”
  14. # Setting the value to Test Value 2.
  15. Set-ItemProperty -Path “HKLM:\Software\Test\Live” -Name “Test Value 2” -Value $OldValue.“Test Value 1”

 

5. Saving PowerShell commands as scripts and running them.

Both above can be saved as a PowerShell script by saving it in a file with the extension ps1. For example I did save it as “ChangeReg.ps1” in my C drive inside the folder “new”. Then the script can be run by browsing to the folder and using the command “.\ChangeReg.ps1”.

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After the script is run my registry keys looked like this.

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In case you need to retrieve values from other registry hives (locations), following table may be helpful.

 

Registry Hive

Abbreviation

1. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT HKCR
2. HKEY_CURRENT-USER HKCU
3. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE HKLM
4. HKEY_USERS HKU
5. HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG HKCC

 

In case you need to read more on “Get-ItemProperty” and “Set-ItemProperty”, use the links to visit official documentation from Microsoft TechNet.

Resetting Windows XP Mode

Posted: November 1, 2013 in Windows
Tags: , ,

Recently I had a problem using Windows XP mode simply because the password for Windows XP mode was not working.This can happen when Windows XP mode password was changed in Windows XP Mode or when the Windows XP Mode was created from another user account to the one currently logged into the physical machine.

One way to fix this is by opening Windows XP Mode Windows Virtual PC Settings and deleting saved credentials. But in my case there were no saved credentials so my button was disabled.

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Second way to fix this is by uninstalling Windows XP Mode and reinstalling it.

Third way is a quicker way to do this by simply cleaning the virtual machine files in folder “C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Virtual PC\Virtual Machines”. Make sure you are only deleting the files relevant to Windows XP Mode.

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Then when you relaunch Windows XP mode, it will say that some of the required files are missing and will prompt to create a new environment. When you press “Create New” it will start the wizard to create a brand new Windows XP Mode.

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If it generates any errors, you should try deleting the virtual machine file found in “<User Folder>\Virtual Machines”

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After finishing the wizard you will get a new Windows XP Mode.

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