Client reached out to us regarding a simple site he wanted to get done for informational and contact purposes. We had it completed in short order, and at an affordable price!
I cannot tell you how smooth and effortless it is to upgrade a SonicWall device.
1. Export the settings from the older unit
2. Browse to the default address of the new unit
3. Import the settings you just exported from the older unit - it reboots
4. Check to make sure everything is right
5. Register & apply the license(s)
6. Update the firmware - reboot again
This particular unit was a Layer-3 SSL VPN appliance. When the end-user goes to connect with their VPN client to the new unit, it automatically updates to the latest version without the user having to do anything. When Dell owned SonicWall back in the day, the process of upgrading firmware and then trying to figure out which version of their NetExtender client would work could be at times pretty painful; especially when Windows 10 first came out. The whole digital driver signing debacle was really rough. It's great to see SonicWall finally getting this process right without the end-user trying to figure out what client versions work and what doesn't.
The whole upgrade process was done in 30 minutes. Client is happy. I'm happy. Makes for a great day!
Have a great weekend everyone!
The ability to move VM's and/or physical machines to VMware Hosts (in this case ESXI) while users are logged onto them, and in full fledged production is very handy. I haven't used it in about a year, and so I had forgotten about vCenter Converter until I needed it again today. Bravo VMware. You have once again saved me from what could have been days upon days of work. I am pretty sure the vCenter Converter uses Window's Volume Shadow Copy - so nothing necessarily new there, but the fact that it's so rock solid, and is loaded with options, is what makes it such a winner!
A while back I discovered a killer package manager for Windows called Chocolatey. Linux has been on top of the game for years in regards to the ease of installing and maintaining programs - one such example is Snap.
With Chocolatey, you can easily install a whole host of Windows-based applications without ever having to manually download each program from various sites or network drive locations.
With a little creativity, you can even write a batch script where it will automatically install Chocolatey, install all the programs you'd like, and then uninstall chocolatey (if you so wish) automatically.
Here's an example of a batch script you could use for this purpose (like on a new PC install). While you are at it, you can also add other useful things to the batch:
:: as an example - this will set the power configuration to high performance
powercfg /change standby-timeout-ac 0
powercfg /change monitor-timeout-ac 0
powercfg /change hibernate-timeout-ac 0
powercfg /change monitor-timeout-dc 0
powercfg /change standby-timeout-dc 120
powercfg /change hibernate-timeout-dc 240
:: this automatically installs chocolatey
@"%SystemRoot%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe" -NoProfile -InputFormat None -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command "iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" && SET "PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin"
:: if there's any error, this tells the batch to keep running - going on to the next part of the script
On Error Resume Next
:: this command installs the different packages/programs. notice the y and the accept license switches. there are thousands of packages available. i have included just a few here as examples.
choco install office365business -y --acceptlicense
choco install adobereader -y --acceptlicense
choco install googlechrome -y --acceptlicense
choco install firefox -y --acceptlicense
:: if you are in a domain setting - might as well force a group policy update while you are at it
:: if you so choose, you can also add outside vbscripts from other locations. replace the text in red with your appropriate settings
cscript "\\server\server_location\nameofvbsscript.vbs" //e:vbscript
:: you can set up a pause if you'd like
:: you can even uninstall chocolatey once everything is completed installed
choco uninstall chocolatey
:: nothing wrong with a restart after it's all done
shutdown /r /f -t 10
::end of script
What's neat, is that you can keep this batch on a network drive, copy it over to the machine you are working on, and set it off. The batch takes care of everything else automatically while you are busy doing other things. For more information, check out Chocolatey here.
It's important to note that Chocolatey is Open Source (free to use for individuals AND organizations). They do have paid versions if you'd like extra functionality and support.
We completed some work in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a 501c3. Needless to say, they are super happy and running better than ever!
Network cabling infrastructure is one of the most important parts in any business; especially if you rely on that network for most of your work and communications. One of our associates happened to be in Louisiana when we got the call, and after surveying what the client's issues were, he discovered their network must have been put together by a 3 year old. After discussing the issues at hand with their administration, we got to work and finished on time and under budget!
New upstart needed their own cloud, but wasn't for sure where to start. After assessing their needs, we set up an on-premise cloud system that they could share out with their numerous associates and clients. Not only did this allow them to set up their files in a secure and easy-to-use manner, but they are now able to collaborate in a much more meaningful and powerful way.
In their particular case, it made more sense to build their own private cloud on hardware they already owned, rather than pay a monthly cost to an outside cloud provider. We quickly spun up a new VM on their ESXI host, added the user profiles and necessary security, and they were off to the races.
With their user-base in mind, we chose a system that is easily maintained, and is very easy to learn.
You know what's cool? ASROCK J or Q model 1900m all-in-one motherboards. For slapping together a cheap and quick linux machine, it's perfect. I had a client that needed an XP VM because of some ancient software he has to use for his business. Linux OS and some Virtualbox, and off we go. It's been rock solid so far (12 months in).
A new happy client in North Little Rock Arkansas took control of a new facility, and needed a complete new network and cabling install from the ground up!
What was installed:
All new network cabling
Rack Systems and UPS (Battery Backup)
Firewall with a VPN Tunnel to their other facility
Complete Phone System
Printers & a Print Server
As An Example: I had to set up a Linux-based server last week for a client. I wasn't looking forward to the long install process...and then it occurred to me, "Wait, I wonder if there's a snap version."
My particular flavor this time was Ubuntu Server:
sudo snap install _______
For More About Snap, Click Here.
Do you have a program that you want to be running all the time? I found this batch somewhere on the web. Props to whoever you are...
Yes - I am aware you can do this with Task Scheduler as well. I like a batch in the startup folder just fine. Simple. No fuss.
I had an issue with a file syncing program that should always be running (dropbox client). It crashes sometimes, and files fail to mirror to the cloud. Not good. So, here's a vbs to keep an eye on something you want to run all the time (it doesn't have to be dropbox). If the program you're watching ever crashes, this batch will restart it automatically. You can even custom set a timed pause in case of a Windows update or whatever. In this example, I have it set to 600000 milliseconds - which equals 10 minutes. That part is at the end of the batch. Set it to your desired time. Replace what's in blue according to what program you'd like to keep going. Note: Keep the the quotes in the batch:
set Service = GetObject ("winmgmts:")
set Shell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
sEXEName = "program.exe"
sApplicationPath = "C:\Program Location\Program.exe\"
'Loop until the system is shutdown or user logs out
bRunning = false
'Look for our application. Set the flag bRunning = true
'If we see that it is running
for each Process in Service.InstancesOf ("Win32_Process")
if Process.Name = "program.exe" then
'Is our app running?
if (not bRunning) then
'No it is not, launch it
Shell.Run Chr(34) & sApplicationPath & sEXEName & Chr(34)
'Sleep a while so we do not hog the cpu
TechTools IT Consultants - Located in Little Rock, AR.