Keith Smith - My Blog - Twitter @_KeithIT

Keith Smith - My Blog - Twitter @_KeithIT


Windows Update MiniTool is a free alternative to windows update

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Microsoft

Windows Update MiniTool is a free alternative to the standard Windows Update, it puts you in control of updates by allowing you to search, install and block Windows updates as you please.

Windows Update MiniTool Will provide the follow options:

Check for updates
Download updates
Installing Updates
Deleting installed updates
Hiding unwanted updates
Get direct links to the *.cab / *.Exe / *.Psf update files
View update history
Configure Automatic Updates
This tool is like the external powershell module PSWindowsUpdate, but much more advanced and user-friendly features
The tool relies and use same WU infrastructure, all downloading are through WU -- it's not a downloader!

I have tested this on server 2016 along with windows 10 and it works great.




It can be downloaded from here http://www.keithit.com/downloads/wumt.zip


-End
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Developing Soft Skills

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Journal of thoughts

Working in information technology is very exciting to me. It is very rare for me to wake up in the morning and not look forward to coming into work. My technical skills that I have acquired through the 14 years I have been in IT has served me well. At the same time though, we all have other skills that are just as important as the technical skills. Lets face facts here, there are always going to be people who know more than me and who have done more than I have. What sets a successful IT person apart from a non-successful one usually comes down to the other skills they bring to the table.

These other skills are called "soft skills". They are key factors in how you react to situations, talk with people, and approach challenges. Believe it or not, these soft skills say a lot about you and have the potential to make or break your career in the end. The real challenge when it comes to developing these soft skills to work in your favor is that they are so tightly entwined with your personality.

There are many soft skills to develop, but there are three that I have really focused on through my career.

Attitude
Attitude is everything in business. If you are an optimist, can see the bright side in a sea of darkness, and can follow projects through with positivity and vigor, you will be valued as an employee. Compare that with the guy who views a project in a negative light and complains about how the project will fail through the process. If you are a business leader, who would you rather work with? Most people would agree they would rather have the guy who is positive and brings them up as opposed to the guy who brings them down.

Communication
Being positive only helps if you are able to communicate your positivity to the people around you. This counts in not only a verbal sense, but through a written sense as well. Developing this skill requires development in areas like verbal communication, non-verbal communication, and listening skills. This is a soft skill that you develop through the course of your life and career.

Teamwork
Organizations are looking to become more lean. This means they want cross functional teams that have people who are willing to work with others. If you don't play nice with others, or if you view yourself as someone who works better alone, its time to start developing this soft skill.
 
 

If you are looking to develop your soft skills, there are many ways to accomplish this goal. The first would be to find a mentor. This can be your boss, a friend, or a leader that you know and respect. We are all more likely to change the way we think and the things we do when we learn from someone who we look up to. The second way is to volunteer your skills to areas outside of your workplace. Take up a cause such as volunteering at a food bank or other non-profit. There are not only soft skill learning opportunities at these non-profits.

-End

 

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Must have GPOs for Windows 10

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Microsoft

I started testing Windows 10 Enterprise in my environment. I know there are a number of new features in Windows 10 that aren't great for domains (PIN codes, Microsoft Accounts, etc.). After digging through all the GPO settings, I decided on the on the following. Once the modification was made and applied to the test machines, I brought in a few non-IT staff for UAT testing of the images. Everything went well, so I decided to share the settings I used in the GPO


  • lock Microsoft Accounts from being added or logging in (will not prevent accessing the Windows Store)
  • Force default lock screen and disable Spotlight
  • Disable WiFi Sense
  • Enable Virtualization Based Security with Secure Boot and DMA Protection only Credential Guard enabled with UEFI lock (NOTE: This will install the Hyper-V Hypervisor, with will cause VMware Workstation to stop working)
  • Disable first sign-in animation
  • Disable advertising ID
  • Configure telemetry to level 0 - Enterprise Only
  • Disable access to pre-release features
  • Disable feedback notifications
  • Disable access to insider builds
  • Disable Cortana
  • Disable Defender
  • Disable Windows Hello
  • Disable lock screen (the swipe up thing)
  • Disable 3rd party advertisements in Windows Spotlight
  • Disable picture and PIN password sign-in
And last but not least is setting explorer's default to This PC instead of Quick Access by doing the following:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Value Name: LaunchTo

Type: DWORD

Value: 1


-End


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Life and Work Balance

Monday, February 22, 2016 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in Journal of thoughts

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vSphere 6.0 vCenter Windows 2012 R2 with SQL Server Install Guide

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - Posted by Keith A. Smith, in VMware, Microsoft

VMware vSphere 6.0 has brought a simplified deployment model where the dependency on Microsoft SQL server has been reduced. You now have the option of using the built-in vPostgre SQL provided by VMware, vPostgres on windows is limited to 20 hosts and 200 virtual machines.

vCenter System requirements


Supported Windows Operation System for vCenter 6.0 Installation:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 SP2 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 64-bit

Supported Databases for vCenter 6.0 Installation:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • Oracle 11g R2 11.2.0.4
  • Oracle 12c

1. Make sure that you using static IP for your VM and you create forward and reverse DNS records on your DNS server. Also make sure that the machine is part of Windows domain.

2. Create an account in your Active Directory, this will be used on the SQL server for the vCenter database

3. Now you need to create a blank SQL database on an SQL server.

4. Once your blank database is created, you need to add the account you created in your Active Directory. Make sure to give it sysadmin for the server role.


Before you start the installer make sure your Windows Server VM is fully patched, otherwise you might get a prompt to patch the server. The two patches that are needed are below



5. During the vCenter installation process you might get a prompt asking to give the administrator’s account the right to Log On as a service on the server that run vCenter.  You need to grant the domain account you created earlier the right to Log On as a service.

The steps:

  • Get to the Administrative Tools, and then double-click Local Security Policy.
  • In the console tree, double-click Local Policies, and then click User Rights Assignment.
  • In the details pane, double-click Log on as a service.


  • Click Add User or Group, and then add the domain account you created to the list of accounts that possess the Log on as a service right.


6. Important - The SQL server native client is necessary to create the system DSN. To download the SQL Server Native Client, click on the link below

This ODBC Driver for SQL Server supports x86 and x64 connections to SQL Azure Database, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008, and SQL Server 2005.


http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=36434



7. Now that the SQL Server Native Client is installed, create system DSN through ODBC data source administrator (64-bit).





Proceed through the wizard




8. Once you have fill out all the SQL server information, make sure you test the data source




If you everything is setup correctly then you should see this




9. Mount the vCenter server ISO and double click the autorun.exe


10. Proceed through the vCenter install




11. Once you get to the database settings, you will need to choose use an external database. If you DSN is blank then click the refresh button and it should appear




Continue the setup wizard and leave the default values… You should see the setup complete screen.  At this point you can open up a browser and visit the vCenter interface which uses adobe flash.


-End

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