Hyperbole, Embellishment, and Systems Administration Blog

Nov 7, 2014
Article

Creating Self Signed Certificates with PowerShell

Prior to PowerShell 4.0, you needed to download MakeCert.exe or another utility to create self signed certificates. Now you can do it in PowerShell....More
Oct 21, 2014
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Recovering disk space in Windows 8 and 8.1

One of the drawbacks of modern computers with SSDs is that unless you’re willing to spend a lot for a disk, you can find yourself running out of storage space very quickly. Even if you’re diligent about removing applications that you don’t use, there are a variety of items that can end up consuming space. Basically, as an OS ages, it builds up cruft. There are routines that are meant to automatically remove this cruft built into the OS, but you’d be surprised at how much they miss....More
Oct 17, 2014
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Free Microsoft exam vouchers for MCTs until November 30 (while stocks last)

Microsoft Learning is currently running an MCT Challenge for Microsoft Certified Trainers, giving them the opportunity to take exams for free up until the end of November 2014 (or until voucher stocks are exhausted (though I've heard they have 10,000 vouchers, so it's a pretty good supply). There are also prises including Xbox Ones and the person who takes the most exams wins a Surface Pro 3....More
Sep 25, 2014
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Should you wait for vNext or certify on the current technology?

The Microsoft world is eagerly awaiting announcements around the next version of Windows. As is always the case around the time that the next version of the product is announced, I’m asked by people who are interested in certification whether they should study the current version of the product, or should they wait until exams appear for the next version of the product?...More
Sep 19, 2014
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20 things you can do to secure your Windows Client and Server infrastructure

One of the truisms of security is that a chain is only a strong as its weakest link. Just over a week ago I presented a session at TechEd New Zealand titled "20 things you can do right now to secure your Windows Client and Server infrastructure". You can view the session here: http://channel9.msdn.com/events/TechEd/NewZealand/2014/DCIM309...More
Sep 16, 2014
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30 Common Tasks You Perform Using the GUI that You Can Do Faster in Windows PowerShell

Last week at TechEd New Zealand in Auckland I presented the session "30 common tasks you perform using the GUI that you can do faster in Windows PowerShell." One of the tips I provided the audience with was that I use a Razer Tartarus to store my commonly used PowerShell commands. While it got a few laughs, I also got a lot of feedback that this was an idea that others were going to pursue....More
Sep 8, 2014
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The rise of mobile malware

An IT Wire story published on the 8th of September is suggesting that Android may be becoming the target of choice for malware authors over Windows. There is a lot of ways that you can parse the meaning of the data cited in the IT Wire story, with some reasonable and some unreasonable conclusions being drawn by commentators on social media....More
Aug 15, 2014
Article

Locating derelict data with File Server Resource Manager

A constant battle for the average systems administrator is managing the amount data stored on file servers. File servers are a bread and butter workload. That’s one of the reasons that they don’t get much attention. The general problem is as follows:...More
Jul 24, 2014
blog

IT Pros must constantly learn, but they don’t all learn in the same way 3

The first time I saw my favorite professor present a lecture, he declared to the lecture hall “everything I’ll be teaching you this semester is written down over in the library by people far more eloquent by myself. As that is demonstrably true, ask yourself why should you give up several hours each week to hear me provide you with the same information in this format?”...More
Jul 18, 2014
blog

Some reasons why iOS and Android aren’t replacing the traditional desktop anytime soon

Read any recent breathless account of the future of desktop computing and you’ll be constantly assured that the desktop computer is deader than a Dodo that’s been cast in a Monty Python skit as a parrot. According to certain sections of the IT commentariat, the future is “Tablets! Tablets! Tablets!”, with offerings from Apple and Samsung replacing the dinosaur chassis that are produced by Dell, HP, and Lenovo. This drumbeat has gotten louder...More
Jul 17, 2014
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Desktop hardware lifespan is increasing

The lifespan of the traditional desktop computer is expanding. Fifteen years ago the pace of change was so fast that a desktop computer you deployed was slow compared to whatever was current, to the point of often being written off completely, 5 years later....More
Jul 16, 2014
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Migration Procrastination

I was teaching a desktop OS deployment course a few weeks back to students from some large organizations. Each organization still had a large number of XP desktops that they were intending to migrate away from. Even though the deadline for support passed several months ago, none of the organizations expected to have finished migrating from XP by the end of the year....More
Jul 15, 2014
blog

Data is more expensive to replace than equipment.

Data is expensive. We usually don’t think of it that way because it seems so ephemeral. If a laptop is stolen or lost, we worry about the replacement value. We don’t think as much about the cost of replacing the data. You can’t reach out and touch data in the way that you can an expensive laptop. The value of a laptop is easy to calculate. We can just look it up on the internet and order a replacement as easy as adding it to a shopping card....More
Jun 24, 2014
blog

Controlling access to data is as important as managing devices.

There is an interesting statistic from the Ponemon institute that I’m always reminded of when I think about the security of computers. That is that the cost of replacing a lost or stolen laptop computers can total tens of thousands of dollars, with the cost growing with the seniority of the person that owns the device. The primary cost wasn’t in replacing the hardware, but instead related to the data that was stored on the laptop....More
Jun 16, 2014
blog

BYOD: Not living up to its aspirations? 3

A recent article on CIO.com reports on a survey done by CompTIA on attitudes towards BYOD. The birds eye view is that the benefits of BYOD aren’t providing a substantial enough counterweight to the drawbacks of the strategy....More
Jun 10, 2014
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Embrace defensive learning: Become an expert on new technologies that threaten your job. 1

Some IT Pros are worried that “The Cloud” will take their job. Others are worried that automation will take their job away. While there is a bit of “worried about getting attacked by a shark when you are more likely to be in a car accident on the way to the beach” about these fears, it’s also fair to say that these fears aren’t entirely groundless....More
Jun 9, 2014
blog

You never stop learning

A truth of the IT profession is that everything changes and that if you don’t keep moving, your skills become quickly irrelevant. This isn’t a job where you get trained once and then you’re good for the next few decades. If you’re an IT Pro, any knowledge that you gain has a half life. The clock is ticking on anything you learn. The way you stay relevant is to stay up-to-date....More
Jun 9, 2014
blog

PC sales growth is flat because people keep their computers longer 1

Today many of us replace our phones when a new model comes out. In the past this has been because the new model phones do a heck of a lot more than the old model phones did. This trend is slowing though, and don’t be surprised if people start hanging on to their phones because they’ve become “good enough”....More
May 25, 2014
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Bring Your Own Recovery

Things went a bit “pear shaped” when the BYOD laptop of one of the senior muppets wouldn’t boot because of a failed SSD....More
May 19, 2014
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System Center Cortana: Automation, the future, and Virtual Systems Administrators

If you’re thinking out beyond the next 5 years, and you’ve been playing around with tools like Cortana, you’ll realize that it’s not too much of a leap to have something like the Cortana that looks after your phone as a personal software assistant eventually morph into something like Cortana, the Virtual Assistant Systems Administrator....More
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IT pro Orin Thomas provides true tales, snafus, news, and urban legends for Microsoft Windows system administrators.

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Orin Thomas

Orin Thomas is a contributing editor for Windows IT Pro and a Windows Security MVP. He has authored or coauthored more than thirty books for Microsoft Press, founded the Melbourne System Center,...
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