I’ve worked with computers for 28 years, and I’ve spent many years following the trends and staying on top of new developments to keep my home servers and workstations at peak performance. I found the race less interesting over time, but this article my brother passed long peaked my interest. Intel found a way to integrate DRAM onto the L2 cache using only two transistors and no capacitors, and they run with blazingly fast throughput. Current chip technology uses SRAM which typically uses 6 transistors to store a single bit. SRAM currently has about 8-20GB/S throughput, whereas the new DRAM method can get up to about 204BG/S throughput. That’s an order of magnitude increase in processing, and could virtually eliminate cache misses, which will revolutionize the efficiency of each CPU clock. Read more here: http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/content-view-38009-135.html
Category Archives: Administrator
New AVG Anti-virus software Hammers Internet with additional Traffic
About two months ago, I upgraded my client to the new version of AVG. I’ve used this product for several years, mostly because it’s free. I had some annoying issues with the free version because of an incompatibility with Vista’s new security method where session 0 is no longer available. The console session in XP was Session 0, but in Vista it is the context only services run under. The purpose is to isolate the user’s GUI from services that may be malicious. The user now logs into session 1. Services that need to pop-up messages to the user would just send the command to draw a pop-up message to the same session that it runs under (service account.) In Vista with SP1 (yes, the initial release of Vista is sp1), they have “allowed’ services to send messages to console session 0 still, but it causes a pop-up stating there is an application that is trying to display a message. You have to click on the window, and Vista switches the view to Console 0 session so that you can interact with the service. AVG pop-ups for virus definition installation summary in 7.5 attempted to display summary and caused these interruptions, which was annoying weekly ritual. Note that in the next service pack Microsoft has stated they will no longer provide this functionality; we will have to wait and see. Remote control switches have changed for console sessions as well.
I had hoped V8.x would fix this, and it did. But it also seemed bloated to me. I noticed that in my searches there were circles spinning as soon as I got results. I quickly tracked it down to the new AVG link scanner. It is supposed to check if a link is safe before you click on it. That was annoying as hell to me because it was taking system resources, and was touching all these sites without my authority. I went into the AVG control panel and disabled the feature. I wondered how much additional traffic this was causing, and if it was going to throw off Google’s search / link tracking. It turns out at least the former is true. Wired noticed a significant increase in traffic to their site; read more about this here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/13/avg_scanner_skews_web_traffic_numbers/
Windows Live Writer updated
If you blog, you should check out the new version of Windows Live Writer. It added several new features and the startup is much quicker. Read more here: http://blogcastrepository.com/blogs/external_news/archive/2008/06/02/windows-live-writer-technical-preview-released.aspx
Microsoft Released "admin pack" for Vista (RSAT – Windows Server 2008 Remote Server Administration Tools)
Last week Microsoft released RSAT (previously called admin pack) for Vista. Service pack 1 is a requirement, and the install is a pain because you have to add the feature afterwards.
Download the Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 32-bit Edition (KB941314) package now.
Download the Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 64-bit Edition (KB941314) package now.
To install RSAT, follow these steps on a computer running the final release of Windows Vista with SP1:
1.Download the RSAT package from Microsoft Web site.
2.Double-click the downloaded package to start the Setup wizard. Follow the instructions in the wizard to complete the installation.
3.Open Control Panel, click Programs, and then click Turn Windows features on or off under Programs and Features.
If you are prompted to provide permission by User Account Control, click Continue.
4.In the Windows Features dialog box, select the remote administration snap-ins and tools that you want to install, and then click OK.
5.Configure the Start menu to display the Administration Tools shortcut. To do this, follow these steps:
a.Right-click Start, and then click Properties.
b. On the Start Menu tab, click Customize.
c. In the Customize Start Menu dialog box, scroll down to System administrative tools, and then select Display on the All Programs menu and the Start menu.
d. Click OK.
6.For a complete list of tools included in the RSAT final package, installation instructions, and other help topics, see Remote Server Administration Tools Help in the Administrative Tools list on the Start menu.
Powershell V2 Preview released
For a windows administrator, there have been several choices for automating tasks. The most powerful and most recent shell to be used is Powershell. A new version of Powershell was released on 5/2 that brings the new language some much needed features. Check it out here:
World? Introducing the Memrister..
It’s the fourth basic element of circuits. Can you name the other three? Resistor, capacitor, and inductor. HP has produced a new device called the memrister. It’s memory that does not require refreshes and in fact retains information after being switched off. It could allow computers to be instantly turned on or off. http://www.physorg.com/news128786808.html
Mobile Windows Duplicate Contacts..
I sync my windows mobile phone to two computers. It works fine, EXCEPT deleting a contact is next to impossible. Example: create a contact, sync with each computer. Delete it on any of the three devices, and it recreates it: the first sync removes it from both devices. Upon syncing with third computer, it comes back. I’m not sure how dupes are created, but I suspect it is similar: edit a contact in one place, and eventually it is seen as a new record, not a modified record. Here is a small app to help:
Forum Search Tool
I new search dedicated to forums is in beta. I don’t know how many times I have cursed at a forum’s search “capabilities.” Frequently I find no way to use quotes around a phrase. It’s maddening when you are looking for something obscure. Newly launched Twing comes to the rescue. http://twing.com/
Windows XP sp3 released to RTM
For everyone that has not upgraded to Vista, SP3 will be released on the 29th of April, 2008. http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=3214173&SiteID=17
Upgrade Experience from Windows 2003 SR2 to 2008
There is a lot of speculation going on about what Google has planned. With the analogue airwaves that will become available, imagine if Google uses this bandwidth for free or nearly free Internet/cell phone use? Google is working on an open-source cell phone operating system. more here: http://mobile.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/13/2237218&from=rss
Windows 2008 Client side extensions for Group Policy
With the release of Windows 2008, new group policy extensions need to be installed to take advantage of them. Here are direct links:
GPP CSEs for Windows Vista (KB943729)
GPP CSEs for Windows Vista x64 Edition (KB943729)
GPP CSEs for Windows Server 2003 (KB943729)
GPP CSEs for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (KB943729)
GPP CSEs for Windows XP (KB943729)
GPP CSEs for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB943729)
IE 8 beta ready for download
on 3/5/08 Microsoft released an IE 8 beta download to the public. Get it while it’s still hot: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/ie8/readiness/Install.htm
A good write-up of the features here:http://arstechnica.com/reviews/apps/ie8-beta-1-first-look.ars
Error attempting to install SP1 for Vista
You may not run into this error, but when Vista SP1 is released publicly, you may run into the same problem I did. When I attempted to run the SP1 x86 for Vista, I got the following message:
“Windows Vista Service Pack 1 cannot be installed on your computer because the language of Windows Vista you have installed is not supported or you have installed a language pack that is not supported.
Windows Vista Service pack 1 can only be installed on computers running the English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish versions of Windows Vista or computers running only those language packs.”
Knowledge Base article 947876decribes what to do: open your control panel, click on Clock, Language, and Region. Then the KB article tells you the wrong area to look. Instead look for “Install or Uninstall display Languages: , click next, then Select “remove languages” and see if anything besides your main language pack is installed. Remove it, reboot and the SP1 for Vista should install.
Alternatively, you can download the multi-language version of the SP when it becomes available.
I apparently had installed a language pack when I opened an email from a vendor who is from Sweden.
Microsoft pulls Vista update
KB937287 has been causing some systems to get stuck in a boot cycle. Microsoft pulled the prerequisite until a solution can be found. more here:http://www.microsoft-watch.com/content/vista/microsoft_pulls_troubled_vista_update.html?kc=MWRSS02129TX1K0000535
GMAIL has major Defect – Sending reply email via Web interface fails to include your message and it shows no errors
Yes, you read that right. On two occasions I’ve experienced a problem with Gmail with critical emails I had sent. On two separate occasions I attempted to reply to an email and had a serious problem. I typed my reply, and clicked Send. I walked away with the satisfaction that gmail said :
Well, it did send a message, but only the quoted text from the original email. My text was gone! What is worse is there was no indication of a problem! It wasn’t until I received a reply from my recipient that there was “no message in your post.”
User error you say? I thought so too, so I re-typed the message, verified the text was there, a moved my mouse and clicked send. It did it again, and finally a third time. I ended up using my hotmail account to send the email, and the message was finally delivered.
I wrote it off as a quirk until today it happened to me again. I tried replying to a message, and the same thing happened. It can’t be spam blocker (the message was delivered, but no text other than the original message.) I then went to my Outlook that is setup as IMAP, and the message sent correctly. I found that there are others who have experienced this problem as well, but everyone is writing off as a spam blocker, but that makes no sense because the message was sent, delivered, received, and read. It just had none of my content.
So beware – and you heard it here first. All I can suggest is check your sent folder and verify the message content is there. It’s been an intermittent problem for me, so you never know when it will happen. I’ll report any progress or response from Google.
The case of the Squeaky Lobster – Yes a debug tool for Microsoft Exchange
Every once in a while you will find an interesting Knowledge Base article on Microsoft’s website. I have two personal favorites: hair color of a person icon for a user group turns gray if the group contains more than 500 members (KB281923) and my ultimate favorite: Setting “Squeaky Lobster” performance counter settings
And the hilarious tale of how it became to be: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2006/06/15/427966.aspx
In the history of Microsoft registry entries, “Squeaky Lobster” is a historical database performance counter that can be set under HKLM\system\currentcontrolset\Services\ESENT\Performance /v “Squeaky Lobster” /t REG_DWORD /d 1
A sample of Windows Vista SP1 enhancements
I’m impressed with the list of improvements sp1 brings to Vista. My system is much more stable overall, and more responsive overall. Some things worth knowing about SP1 are:
- Windows Vista SP1 includes a new compression algorithm for the RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) that helps reduce network bandwidth required to send bitmaps or images via RDP. The compression, which can be selected by administrators via Group Policy settings, is transparent to all RDP traffic, and typically reduces the size of the RDP stream by as much as 25-60%, based on preliminary test results.
- Adds support for Direct3D® 10.1, an update to Direct3D 10 that extends the API to support new hardware features, enabling 3D application and game developers to make more complete and efficient use of the upcoming generations of graphics hardware.
- Adds support for exFAT, a new file system supporting larger overall capacity and larger files, which will be used in Flash memory storage and consumer devices.
- Improves performance over Windows Vista’s current performance across the following scenarios:
- 25% faster when copying files locally on the same disk on the same machine
- 45% faster when copying files from a remote non-Windows Vista system to a SP1 system
- 50% faster when copying files from a remote SP1 system to a local SP1 system
- The Windows Vista SP1 install process clears the user-specific data that is used by Windows to optimize performance, which may make the system feel less responsive immediately after install. As the customer uses their SP1 PC, the system will be retrained over the course of a few hours or days and will return to the previous level of responsiveness.
- Windows Vista SP1 includes a new Security Policy (UAC: Allow UAccess), which allows applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop. This allows a remote helper to enter administrative credentials during a Remote Assistance session
- Allows users to rename or delete folders while working offline with redirected folders. This functionality is important to users that use Folder Redirection and work in offline mode for extended periods of time. This functionality is disabled by default but can be enabled by enabling a registry setting.
- Adds a WMI interface as a replacement for the MoveUser.exe tool which was removed from Windows Vista. This allows customers to remap an existing workgroup or domain user account profile to a new domain user account profile.
- Enables support for hotpatching, a reboot-reduction servicing technology designed to maximize uptime. It works by allowing Windows components to be updated (or “patched”) while they are still in use by a running process. Hotpatch-enabled update packages are installed via the same methods as traditional update packages, and will not trigger a system reboot.
- Improves OS deployment by enabling 64-bit versions of Windows Vista to be installed from a 32-bit OS. This will allow IT professionals to maintain just a single WinPE image.
- GPMC (Group Policy Management Console) will be uninstalled with Service Pack 1 and GPEdit will default to Local Group Policy editing. Following these changes, SP1 users can download an updated version of GPMC which will include new Group Policy capabilities including adding comments to GPOs or individual settings and searching for specific Group Policy settings.
- SP1 reduces the number of UAC (User Account Control) prompts from 4 to 1 when creating or renaming a folder at a protected location
Again, see all the changes here: http://download.microsoft.com/download/f/4/a/f4a35b2b-2f62-4104-a3e6-5f7bc1318e9f/Notable%20changes%20in%20Windows%20Vista%20SP1.xps
Be aware of logon script performance issues with Vista SP1
Microsoft made some changes (“boxing”) to startup programs that will help prevent programs like Adobe Updater, WinZip quicklaunch, and other startup programs from taking all the resources of a system. Vista sp1 sets a low-priority thread and low-priority disk access that will affect ADSI queries or disk access used in logon scripts. Read more about it here: http://bink.nu/news/boxing-and-the-case-of-the-slow-or-hanging-logon-script-in-vista.aspx
Vista sp1 RTM today
It’s not available for download yet, but here is the schedule for current users:
- In mid-March, we will release Windows Vista SP1 to Windows Update (in English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese) and to the download center on Microsoft.com. Customers who visit Windows Update can choose to install Service Pack 1. If Windows Update determines that the system has one of the drivers we know to be problematic, then Windows Update will not offer SP1. Since we know that some customers may want to update to SP1 anyhow, the download center will allow anyone who wants to install SP1 to do so.
- In mid-April, we will begin delivering Windows Vista SP1 to Windows Vista customers who have chosen to have updates downloaded automatically. That said, any system that Windows Update determines has a driver known to not update successfully will not get SP1 automatically. As updates for these drivers become available, they will be installed automatically by Windows Update, which will unblock these systems from getting Service Pack 1. The result is that more and more systems will automatically get SP1, but only when we are confident they will have a good experience.
- The remaining languages will RTM in April.
Update: here is a list of changes from Microsoft:http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d69c4e1b-c81a-41be-b1f5-66e615ba5912&DisplayLang=en