Author Archives: praveenh

Windows Server 2012 R2 only boots to command prompt

A week back I had encountered a very strange behavior with one of our servers running on Windows Server 2012 R2. My colleague was trying something on the server where he had to remove the .Net Framework 3.5 or so, but in the midst of all this, he restarted the server and the sever boots only to command prompt. Upon checking the server, I figured out that it was doing all the basic functions that were allowed to do while being on a command prompt window. But it was not opening Servermanager or Powershell at all. This made me suspicious on it’s behavior.

I did a bit of research on this issue and found out from a Technet blog that for some reason, the GUI installation of the server was undone and it was now acting like a core server installation (where only command prompt operations were possible). Sounds somewhere like LINUX right? Yes that’s what I thought too. There were instructions on how to get the GUI part of the server back.

We are asked to run the following command from the command prompt that is open upon logging into the server:
Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:Server-Gui-Mgmt /featurename:Server-Gui-Shell /featurename:ServerCore-FullServer /all

This will install the GUI features and all the requisites for those features. The installation itself will take quite a while. Once the installation is complete, reboot the server with the command “shutdown /r /t 0“. The server also prompts to be restarted once the installation is complete. However I chose to run the command after hitting a “No” to the restart option. The GUI features were installed back after the restart.

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nVidia Graphic card not being detected and does not show up on the Device Manager

Hi,

Just today morning, my laptop had suddenly started acting weird. One of the graphic cards, nVidia, was not being detected. Each time I tried to reinstall the driver it kept saying that there was no nVidia GPU found on my laptop. It was too quite unreal for me because everything was just fine until yesterday. I went ahead and uninstalled all the programs and the driver that were related to nVidia. I then went to the Device Manager to check for the Graphic card, to my shock, there was nothing listed there. However when I checked if it was listed in the hidden devices option, surprisingly not just one but 2 graphic cards (not even the model that was installed on the laptop) were present. I deleted them all and tried to do a Scan Hardware change, but it didn’t fetch any result at all! By this time, I had completely sunk in thoughts about what had happened to my laptop in one night!

I then went to the nVidia website and tried to make it do an autodetect. It failed! The next stop was the manufacturer’s website and I downloaded the default driver from there. It still wasn’t working. I then started researching on the issue quite much. There was no answer until I stumbled upon a question that was posted on Microsoft forums by someone by the name DU. I read through it until my eyes got stuck on what this user had written on the 2nd page of this post. The link above takes you to the same page and not the first page. His laptop was an Asus and it had similar issues as mine. However when he contacted Asus regarding his problems after having gone through all the steps in the forum to resolve this issue, he got a very surprising yet a working solution! They asked him to do a “restore default BIOS”. I’m not sure how, but yes this worked for me after hours of breaking my brains over this issue. PS:This option may appear in different names with different brand of laptops. You will come to know why. Read through!

You can get into the BIOS settings of your laptop/desktop in different ways set by the manufacturer. You can try to run a google search if you do not know how to get to the BIOS settings of your laptop/desktop. However on my laptop which is a Lenovo Z400, you need to first shut it down. Once powered off completely there’s a small button to the left of the laptop (which is called Novo Key I suppose) just beside the power outlet. Just press this button for a few seconds and release it. This powers on the laptop once again but goes to a screen where it asks for a few options.

First Screen after Novo Press - Lenovo Z400

Scroll down and enter the BIOS Setup option.

Inside BIOS Settings - Lenovo Z400

Go to the last tab, Exit, and look for the option OS Optimized Defaults.

Restore Default Bios - Lenovo Z400

This on my laptop is the equivalent of “Restore Default Bios”. I got to know this by reading it’s description on the right hand side of the BIOS menu. Each menu had a description on what it does. No magic here! Just logic!

Once done, the PC boots back normally. Go to Device Manager, and you should find the graphic card listed back! I then tried to install the driver and this time it worked! It very well detected the graphic card and sanity was restored!

Whatsapp with Google Drive backup option

I happened to read this from my favorite tech website, http://www.gsmarena.com, about Whatsapp offering backup option via Google Drive. For days I’ve been using this new look, redesigned, Whatsapp (Version 2.12.44) for Android. The material design has been adopted quite well and by the looks of it Whatsapp has become ever more attractive, at least for me.

This new version, 2.12.45, when installed will enable the Google Drive backup option. If you ask me what’s the big deal with it, well it’s indeed some deal because a lot of internal storage space of our mobile device can be saved by using this feature. We all know how much of space the multimedia that is shared with us over Whatsapp, kills the space and thus slow down our mobile devices. You can use that unused space in Google Drive to give some breather to your mobile devices. Iphone users may have to wait for a while for this feature to arrive. I couldn’t find anything for the IOS, Windows or Blackberry operating systems as yet. Android users may go head on and make best use of this feature!

You can go to this link to read more about the new feature. Alternatively if you trust my words, then you may as well go to this link and download the apk file by hitting the Download button.

Have a great day ahead!

Robocopy and the many ways to use it!

Powerful File Management with Robocopy

Robocopy is a utility developed my Microsoft to enable copying higher volumes of data (in GB’s and TB’s) from one location (on a server/workstation) to another (server/workstation). The normal copying may not do the job for us as they do keep getting interrupted with pop ups on whether or not to copy a certain file/files. With Robocopy, this issue can be overlooked at. When I first used robocopy, I wasn’t too sure about how the commands would be like. However the robocopy commands are simple and can be used on a simple command prompt or even on Windows Power Shell! I particularly found this website very helpful with the different attributes or options we could add to the robocopy command. The normal usage of robocopy is ROBOCOPY Source_folder Destination_folder [files_to_copy] [options] The various [options] that can be used along with the robocopy command are available in the link provided above. Now there may be many of them like me who wouldn’t want to type in a lot of commands and instead use a GUI. Well, this is possible too. Thanks to a few good souls at Microsoft this is now possible. These applications Robocopy GUI and RichCopy were developed in 2006 and 2009 respectively. One can download them and try to use them with whatever options he/she requires. For my case I used Robocopy GUI as I was quite comfortable with it because of it’s simple GUI. But beware! To install these applications on Windows OS’s like Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1, Windows Server 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2 one may need to install the older .NetFramework versions. I had encountered such an issue while installing Robocopy GUI on Windows Server 2012R2. So go on, try this utility and see how helpful it is. The transfer rate is properly controlled and there were no interruptions or pop ups waiting for the user to acknowledge.

Backup Remote Agent (Backup Exec 2014) installation failing due to “Microsoft VC++ Redistributables (x64) installation failed” error.

We happened to upgrade our Symantec Backup Exec 2010R3 to Symantec Backup Exec 2014 recently. Although the GUI was quite straight forward with the older one, the new one’s GUI looked quite confusing at the start. But after exploring a bit, it looked an animal that could be tamed. The first job that we ran failed. Although the backup was done, the remote agents had caused a failure of the job itself. When I tried pushing the agent updates from the main backup server, the upgrades failed. I then realized that I may have to do this manually.

From Symantec websites I had figured out how to do the installation manually. You may go to the link and look for the section “Local (manual) installation using the GUI method”. But this story didn’t end ever so happily! Upon doing the installation manually, it failed. It failed with an error “Microsoft VC++ Redistributables (x64) installation failed”. Just when I thought that the whole world crashed upon me, I figured out from another blog to bypass this.

While the link above suggests that we copy the RASW32 or RAWSX64 folder, it doesn’t say anywhere to copy the “VCRedist” folder too! This is the hidden trick. So to summarise, my steps where as follows:

  1. Copy the RAWS32 or RAWSX64 folder and the VCRedist folder together to a location on the remote server. It could also be the Desktop of the user.
  2. Run the setup as was described in the link that was posted above.
  3. The error should not appear after this. I didn’t face any error after this.

Please do bear in mind that the servers may require a restart if the installation is being done with the old remote agent still installed! Even if an old agent doesn’t reside and the installation is done, it is always recommended to restart the server after the installation.

Taking ownership of a folder in Windows 8.1

Hi,

I’ve been trying to find a way to take ownership of folder/folders in Windows 8.1. That’w when I happened to find the info given in this website to be quite helpful. Thought of sharing it with many of you who may be trying to find an easier way to add this option to the Menu rather typing scripts (no offense to those who love scripts).

Full credit goes to the website and the person who took the pain in making our lives easier.

PS: I do think that this will work for Windows Vista, Windows 7 too!

Shared printers going offline on Windows 8.1 desktops and laptops

Of late I have noticed that most of all the Windows 8.1 deivces that we had in our network had all their shared printers going offline very frequently. Until recently I had to restart the print spooler which solved the issue temporarily. However, I came to know lately that Microsoft had released a fix for this issue in the form of an update. The fix which can be downloaded and installed too, has managed to fix the issue with my laptop. I noticed that this update was installed on my laptop already and had fixed the issue which I’ve not faced for a long time.  But for all the new devices the issue still persists. I had installed this fix on one of the desktops 2 weeks back and so far the user has not come back with any issues.

Please try installing this fix and see if any of you are facing any issues.

Workaround for changing Installer Forced Romanian language on Bitdefender Antivirus Free to English

The other day I decided to change the anti virus running on my laptop to Bitdefender Antivirus Free. However after having started the installation, I noticed that the whole setup was running on another language (which I later understood was Romanian). After having browsed for a few solutions, I found one simple solution for this on the forum of Bitdefender itself. I had to uninstall the whole antivirus to just change the language! Following are the steps to be followed to change the language to English. (Please note that the steps below can be followed if it’s a fresh installation or a re-installation)

  1. Download Bitdefender Antivirus Free.
  2. Double click on the downloaded file and let it unpack the installation files. Please don’t click on Install yet.
  3. Hit Windows button and R on the keyboard or in plain words get the “run” command and type in %temp% and hit Enter.
  4. Once the temporary folder opens, look for a folder “RarSFX0”.
  5. Right click and copy this folder (you may name this folder as anything you wish) to another folder in another location.
  6. Close the installer and the folder “RarSFX0” will be removed.
  7. Look for a folder “lang” in the folder that was created in Step 5.
  8. Look for a file “lang.xml” in this folder and right click and “Open With” Notepad.
  9. Remove all languages below tag <languages> except for language “en-US”.
  10. Hit Ctrl+S (in other words Save) and close Notepad.
  11. Double click on the downloaded file in Step 1.

Edit PDF documents – Windows 8.1 and Adobe Reader XI

Working in an IT field sometimes, opens your eyes towards a few smart things some brainy users find out. Recently I happened to find out a very interesting work around from a user in my organization. The HR department had asked all our employees to enroll in an HR related campaign and had circulated an application form, which was a PDF document.

All of us including the belittled us in the IT :), had printed out the application form and filled and submitted the handwritten forms to the HR Department. One smart user, had sent his application form in an email to the HR Dept. The person in charge contacted me and told me that they had received the only one application form that was typed and not hand written. This got me curious and I had contacted the user to know from him and how he had achieved this. Following are the steps:

1-      Open any PDF Document, assuming the PDF Document to be an Application form.

2-      Click on “Sign” on the top right hand side of the document. This should be on the top right end of the tool bar.

Image

3-      Upon clicking “Sign” you are presented with a few options

Image

4-      Click on Add Text and then click on that section of the document where you may have to fill in your personal details. A blinking cursor appears and you may just continue typing in all that you need.

5-      The same can be done with “Checkmark” too. Just that a tick mark is the only option available.

I was so surprised at the ease at which the user explained this to me. The enlightenment I had on knowing something that none of us could think of, that moment. I bet you get that feeling only when you work in a support role. But again, where you are required to hand fill an application form, please do so ;).

PS: I’m assuming this to be working with only Windows 8.1 and Adobe Reader XI. I have a feeling that this will definitely work with Windows 8 and Windows 7 too but I feel Adobe Reader XI is a must. If any of you find this to be working with another version of Adobe Reader, please do let us know.

Auto downloading attachments on Outlook to a different folder other than the default one

This morning I had a very interesting query from a user. The request was if he could auto-download all the attachments that he received on his Outlook to another folder other than the temporary one (default folder). I sat down for a while looking for rules or any option on Outlook itself. But nothing to be found. When I did a bit of my own research, I figured out that with a bit of coding and then using the Outlook Rules itself, this was possible.

The link found to be very helpful for this purpose. Please note that in the section where one can specify the file type that needs to be stored to the custom folder, one needs to add a double quote before the file type.

For example, here is the code that I had used for my trial runs

Public Sub saveAttachtoDisk(itm As Outlook.MailItem)

Dim objAtt As Outlook.Attachment

Dim saveFolder As String

saveFolder = “D:\Attachments”

For Each objAtt In itm.Attachments

If InStr(objAtt.DisplayName, “.pdf”) Then

objAtt.SaveAsFile saveFolder & “\” & objAtt.DisplayName

End If

Next

End Sub

In the scenario above, the user only wanted PDF files to be saved to a folder in his D drive. The part of the code where I have highlighted as red should have the file extension (file type) within double quotes. In the link provided above this has been given within single quotes.

Although it is mentioned that this works for Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010, I had tried on Outlook 2013 and it works beautifully without any hiccups. Give it a try! It’s awesome to see it working!