Dan Thomson at myITforum.com

Pacifying the call of an undying passion

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    If they don't find you handsome, maybe they'll find you handy (Red Green).
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Are there any electronics specialists in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area?

I have barking dogs at three of my neighbors and have grown tired of the noise. I already tried one of the popular bark deterent devices.  It works well on medium to large breed dogs, but doesn't affect the smaller breeds. I'm looking for an electronics person who can help turn this thing into a more powerful unit. I don't mind paying for the piece of mind I'll get in return. Send me an email if you're interested in this project.

Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 11:13 PM by dthomson | with no comments

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Free copies of Server 2003 Enterprise

I know they are ancient, but I was given some copies of Windows Server 2003 long ago as give away items for the MAWMUG user group I tried to start up.  Nothing came of the group and these server licenses continue to sit on a shelf collecting dust.  I have 8 copies to give away if anyone wants them......

Send me an email if interested.

Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:13 AM by dthomson | with no comments

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unlocking an iPhone

Are either of these two doable?

Set my iPhone so it doesn't require unlocking with a passcode when I'm at certain predefined locations?  For instance, don't require me to go through the unlock process if I'm at home.

Is there an app that scans a finger to unlock the phone instead of asking for a security passcode?

Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 9:40 AM by dthomson | with no comments

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Building a home lab

I now have a need to drastically expand the capabilities of my home lab.  I'm all ears for any hardware recommendations.  I'll probably be running VMWare ESXi.  For my hardware base, I'm leaning toward getting a dual CPU server motherboard with 16GB or more of RAM. The OS will probably go on an SSD drive and the VM's on some 15K rpm SAS drives in a RAID configuration.

Posted Sunday, April 10, 2011 11:40 AM by dthomson | with no comments

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Health Check Tool - Bug in version 4.00.01

There is a bug in the Health Check Tool version 4.00.01 which is posted to CodePlex. I have corrected the bug, but not posted the code yet.  For now, if you are testing the tool, run with the following setting configured as a GPO script parameter or in the settings.xml file.

DeleteOldStuffIfLowDriveSpace=False

Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:56 AM by dthomson | with no comments

Potential FAQ items for the Health Check Tool

I've been gathering a list of items that could get added to the Health Check Tool FAQ section.

  • Are any additional tools required?
    The script will use CCMClean.exe (from the SMS 2003 Toolkit v2) to perform uninstalls of an SMS 2003 client or a ConfigMgr 2007 client (only after attempting to run CCMSetup /Uninstall).  The CCMClean.exe should be copied to the solution's Scripts folder. I realize running CCMClean.exe on a ConfigMgr client isn't supported, but it's the only way I know to get the client uninstalled when there is a problem with Windows Installer cache content missing and this exists in the client.msi.log file:
    "MSI (s) (BC:80) [14:12:18:618]: Warning: Local cached package 'C:\WINDOWS\Installer\66b942e.msi' is missing."
  • Where does the script download CCMSetup and WUA installer from?
    These files will be downloaded from the CCM_Client web site on the ConfigMgr site server located in Active Directory when the script performed its ConfigMgr site boundary search.
  • How do i figure out the name of adapters i want skipped?
    The script uses IpConfig.exe to get network connection information.  To skip an adapter, place all or part of the Description (returned from IpConfig /All) into the NetworkCheckExcludedAdapters setting. 
  • When I run the tool for testing it exits out without doing anything.  What's up?
    The script will not perform any meaningful tasks if it doesn't find a GPO.  You need to run with the StandAlone setting.  This causes the script to skip looking for a targeted GPO.
  • Does the system have to be restarted to get updated command line settings from the GPO?
    By default, systems re-evaluate GPO settings every 90 minutes.  When the script runs without the StandAlone setting, it will read the Health Check Tool GPO Parameters value from the registry and use those settings.  This will allow the script will run with the latest settings that are in effect after the last GPO update.  So no, the system does not need to be restarted to allow new GPO command line parameters to take effect.  However, the system will need to be restarted for it to update any changed GPO files.
  • Why does the code delete the cache content before uninstalling the client?
    I have found the uninstall process to take a very long time to complete if an administrator has manually deleted content from the ConfigMgr client cache without using supported ConfigMgr cache management tools.  Running through the cache clean process prior to performing an uninstall of the client ensures the cache content and WMI are in sync.

Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 2:55 PM by dthomson | with no comments

Positive Feedback for the Health Check Tool

I always appreciate getting feedback (good or bad) to see how things I share fit the needs of folks in the community.  I received this email from someone today regarding the Health Check Tool.

I don't believe I've ever emailed an author of a script I've found to help me in my ConfigMgr admin tasks but you are the exception.  Your client check tool is simply amazing in it's logic, validation and logging.  Previously, I had a few different processes I was going through to keep my clients healthy but I always was missing a few key functions.  Your tool has caught every issue I was having so far and the logging is superb.  I wanted to thank you for your efforts on this tool and to let you know it has helped a fellow ConfigMgr admin out considerably.

Thank you very much!

Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 2:03 PM by dthomson | with no comments

What's next?

Now that I'm primarily done with development on the Health Check Tool, I'll have some time to speak about how I approach overall system health.  The discussions will cover Active Directory, ConfigMgr, and the managed systems.  There are many points to be considered when determining how healthy an enterprise really is.  I'll try to cover those that seem most important.  I'll be busy with starting a new job in April, but should have time for some good posts once I settle in.

The Health Check Tool was an endeavor many years in the making, not only my work, but the work of many community coders from which I drew inspiration.  I want to thank Don Hite, Greg Ramsey, Alan Kaplan, Richard Threlkeld, Chris Stauffer, Jason Sandys, and many more for sharing their work and inspiring me.  I began posting about the Health Check Tool very late spring 2010 with hopes to have had it posted summer 2010.  I ended up having to rewrite a good part of it though so I wouldn't be posting anything done while paid by my day job.  I also allowed a lot of scope creep, flipped flopped a bit on some techniques, and varied my overall desire of what I wanted to produce. I think the end result is pretty good if I say so myself.  It's a good start, but there is so much more to cover to be a well rounded solution.

Posted Sunday, March 20, 2011 1:31 PM by dthomson | with no comments

ConfigMgr Health Check Tool updated to v4.00.01

I updated the ConfigMgr Health Check Tool today.  It is now in its release candidate state.

The files are available on the Health Check Tool CodePlex site.

I hope it helps your environment as much as it does mine.

Posted Sunday, March 20, 2011 10:06 AM by dthomson | with no comments

ConfigMgr Health Check Tool updated to v4 Beta .08

I updated the ConfigMgr Health Check Tool today to address a few issues I encountered in my pre-production testing.  Some issues were an inability to search Active Directory in certain circumstances and some newly found things that I could correct before putting the code into full production.

The files are available on the Health Check Tool CodePlex site.

Posted Monday, March 07, 2011 1:43 PM by dthomson | with no comments

New ConfigMgr Health Check Tool released to beta

I have been working for a very long time on a Health Check Tool for systems being managed by ConfigMgr.  It has now been shared on CodePlex as version 4.0 beta .07 at http://configmgrclienthtc.codeplex.com/

Posted Sunday, February 20, 2011 8:44 PM by dthomson | with no comments

ConfigMgr Health Check Tool: Status Update 7

I have completed work on adding support for IP address range site boundaries and am now working on a change to better handle specification of ccmsetup command line properties.  Things are very close to being ready for beta release.

Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 6:03 PM by dthomson | with no comments

ConfigMgr Health Check Tool: Status Update 6

I haven't heard of anyone wanting SMS functionality kept in the tool, so I'll probably rip that out over time.  I am currently working on adding support for IP address range site boundaries.  Once that's done, I'll be releasing the stuff for public beta testing.  The release might be on CodePlex so we can have an area to report issues, track updates, and general conversations.

Posted Saturday, February 05, 2011 3:38 PM by dthomson | with no comments

End of my Pentium Pro

I repurposed an old computer case a couple weeks ago that used to be my workstation for a long time.  So long dual Pentium Pro, we had good times!

Posted Saturday, February 05, 2011 3:20 PM by dthomson | with no comments

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Free VB Script poster (5' x 3')

I was given a script reference poster by the folks over at Just The Code a few years ago, but never really made good use of it.  See the Just The Code site for details.  It is really nice and might be of benefit to someone learning VB Script or wanting a quick reference to cover that empty wall space.

It's free to however wants it.  You'll have to pay the mail costs though.

Send me a note if interested.

Posted Thursday, February 03, 2011 4:26 PM by dthomson | with no comments

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