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.
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