Printers not printing with SafeQ working on Cluster mode

Very recently, I happened to go through a very tricky situation with the printers in our office, all connected through SafeQ ports (not IP ports). The users would print, but when they went to the printers to release the jobs, the jobs were not displayed on the YSoft Terminal. I checked the print server queue and couldn’t find any pending jobs stuck in the queue. I tried restarting both the Print spooler services, that didn’t help. I tried restarting both the CML (Primary Server) and the Secondary Node (Secondary Server) and this helped for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes or so the prints would stop appearing on the YSoft SafeQ terminal.

After having checked for more than 2 hours, I realized that the secondary partition on the Secondary server had run out of space. When checked, I was shocked to find that the ldf file for the SafeQ Database has consumed almost 90% of space on the secondary partition. Once this file was truncated, the jobs had started appearing on the terminals and the print jobs were all smooth, fast and back to normal.

Access Based Enumeration – Windows Server 2012 R2

This is a continuation of my previous post about ABE. The last post was how to enable ABE on Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 platforms. This post will have the steps to enable ABE on Window Server 2012 R2.

To enable ABE on Windows Server 2012 R2

1. Open Server Manager.

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2. Click  “File and Storage Services”.

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3. Click “Shares”. This will display the shared folders that are currently present.

4. Right click on the required “Shared Folder” and click Properties.

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5. Go to Settings and this will display a list of options on the right hand side of the window.

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6. Enable access-based enumeration.

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Access Based Enumeration – Windows 2008/ Windows 2008 R2

Access Based Enumeration or ABE as it is known sometimes, is a very handy tool to Administrators. Many a times, at workplaces, an IT person is always faced with users who have prying eyes on accesses that he/she does not have. Like me, many of you may have had experiences where the users come over and request for accesses to Shared folders that they really do not need access to. This led me to think of a way where we can avoid such situations. This is when I got to know about ABE. The feature just hides the folders that users do not have access to. This way users are only going to see folders that they have access to. The other folders are hidden and out of their attention too!

To enable ABE on Windows Server 2008 / Windows Server 2008 R2

1. Open Server Manager.

2. Scroll Down to Share and Storage Management.

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3. This should list down all the Shared folders that are currently running on the right window pane.

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4. Right click on the required share folder and click Properties.

5. Click Sharing tab and click Advanced button in the bottom of this window.Image

6. Click on “Enable access-based enumeration”.

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Cannot adjust brightness on a Lenovo Ideapad Z400 after installation of Windows 8.1

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After the installation of Windows 8.1, I had noticed  that the brightness of the laptop went down considerably low. Even by increasing or decreasing the brightness (F11 and F12) situation did not improve. The solution is a simple one. One just needs to re-install the graphic drivers and upgrade the Lenovo power management.

Alternatively one can simply visit the official forums of Lenovo about this particular issue.

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Changing the Background and Accent color in Windows 8.1

This might not be the most important feature that one gets to use on a daily basis. Color schemes on Windows Desktop OS was not even an option until the Windows 8 arrived. It’s just something that users see when they set up their devices (Laptop, Desktop or tablet) for the first time. Later on, they just get used to seeing the background color in the default or the modified color scheme.

With Windows 8.1, changing the background color has become a mystery. For days I tried to change the background color on my laptop after the upgrade to Windows 8.1. What seemed to be a very straight forward procedure with Windows 8 seemed to be a very difficult task to do in Windows 8.1. Well, everything can be changed but with a small trick.

  • Press Start or the Windows button on the keyboard. This should take us to the Start screen with the tiles.
  • Point the mouse to the Right hand top corner of the screen or just press Windows button + C. This should open the charm bar.
  • Click Settings.
  • Click Personalize and there you go! Change the background and the accent colors to your like!!

Sorry, it looks like this PC can’t run Windows 8.1. This might be because the Users or Program Files folder is being redirected to another partition

Most Windows 8 users might not face this issue, but the smarties will surely have faced this issue. I too was one among them until a few days back, but I too have managed to upgrade my OS from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. This error appears, each time you try to download and upgrade from the Windows store. The download goes fine but when it enters the installation stage, the doomed message appears. Most users love to tweak their brand new laptops a little. This includes moving the Users folder to the D or E drive (the second partition). This is being done to save space for the OS partition, commonly known as the C partition or the C Drive. Some users even install programs (Games or bigger applications) on their secondary partition so as to save space. Either ways, this affects the upgrade to Windows 8.1 and you are all but lost.

After having gone through a lot of forums and sitting for days in front of my laptop to find an answer to this problem, I had the final laugh. I too had redirected all my Users folder and also had installed a game on the D drive of my laptop. At the time of installation I encountered this error message and tried reversing all the changes that I had made. That didn’t help. Before we get into all this, please note that my secondary partition was D but that need not be the case for all. The letters could change for different users. Please make a note of the letter on your secondary partitionThe steps that I followed are as follows:

  • On your PC or laptop, type in “regedit” (without quotes). This opens the regedit window. Go to HKLM/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/ProfileList/ProfilesDirectory and change the value of it back to “%SystemDrive%\Users” (without quotes again). Close this window.
  • Go to control panel and click User Accounts. Click on “Manage Another Account”. In this windows, click on the option “Add a new user in PC Settings”.
  • This will take us to another window asking us to “Add an account”.
  • Click on it but please make sure to click on the bottom most option, “Sign in without a Microsoft Account (not recommended)”. It says not recommended but at this stage I feel it is better to go without one. Click on the option “Local Account”. Create a username of your choice with password and click Finish.
  • Once the account is created, go back to User Accounts in Control Panel and click “Manage Accounts”. Click the new account that was just created and click on “Change the Account type”. Change it to Administrator.
  • Sign out from the current user account.
  • Sign in with the newly created user.
  • The new account will created in C:\Users.
  • In the new account, type in “cmd” (without quotes) and right click on it and click “Run as Administrator”. We now need to make a Junction from the C: profile folders to the D: profile folders.This is done by running the command mklink /J C:\Users\Username D:\Users\Username
  • Once this is done, you are returned with a success status.
  • Open “regedit” again as described in the first step and go to HKLM/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/ProfileList/S-1-5-xx-xxxxxxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxxxx/ProfileImagePath. We need to change all the keys that point to D:\Users\Username to C:\Users\Username.
  • Once this is done, we need to check if we are able to log on to the old user account again.
  • Log out of the old user account and log in back to the newly created user account.
  • The steps above needs to be repeated for every account which has its profile folders on the D partition.
  • If there are any pending updates, install them and restart the laptop or PC. The restart makes sure that all the Users that are current logged in are logged out and also to make sure that no user on D partition is logged in.
  • After the restart log on to the new user account. Go to Windows Store, download and install the 8.1 update.

Internet Explorer 10 crashing randomly on Windows Server 2012 when using EAC on Exchange 2013

I did notice recently that after having installed and configured Exchange 2013 on Windows 2012 Standard, sucessfully, IE 10 starts acting weird each time I try to work on EAC (Exchange Admin Centre) using this browser.

From other other blogs and posts that have suggested different work arounds, I found downloading and installing the following security patch to be the best. You may either visit the Microsoft website and download the patch or waste no time and download it directly from here. I did not have any issues thereafter. However, you can still browse the EAC page from your laptop or PC with Windows 8 installed and use the IE 10 on it.

Splwow64.exe error (The program cant start because dll is missing from your computer)

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I do not know how many of you have ever encountered this error.  I’ve started facing this error quite frequently. This started happening when we had installed Xerox Workcentre 5890 machines in our office. The driver of this machine has been causing some issues on some of the 32 bit workstations. I guess this happens to some other drivers too ( I mean of other manufacturers). But as always there is a solution to every technical issue.

Please follow the steps below to sort out the issue:

  1. Click Start and type in regedit and press Enter. Alternatively press Windows button and R key at the same time and this opens the Run command. Type in regedit and press Enter.
  2. Scroll down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Drivers
  3. When we expand the Drivers key, we should find the key Version-3.
  4. The sub-keys after this should contain the printer driver configuration information. Delete all the sub-keys that comes under it. At least delete the key that contains the name of the Printer model that is causing issues.
  5. Press Windows button and R key and press Enter. Type in “cmd” and press enter. This would open the command prompt window.
  6. Type in the command net stop spooler . Please note that this is equal to going to Service from Control Panel and stopping the print spooler service.
  7. Navigate to “C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\printers\” and delete files in this folder, if there are any. Normally you might not find files in there, but if there are any, delete them. The folder is so significant because this is where the print spooler stores print files.
  8. Navigate to “C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\x64\3” and delete all the files and sub-folders in here.
  9. Go to the command prompt window again and type in the command net start spooler or just right click on Print Spooler and press Start.

This should solve the issue once and for all.

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Add 32-bit drivers on 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2

Cannot add 32 bit print drivers on Windows Server 2008 R2

This has been one of the most difficult issues that I have dealt with having been an administrator myself. Windows Server 2008 R2 is such a treat to have in one’s organization. But it starts to become a pain when you decide to make it your print server. Wait! Do not ditch your plans to upgrade you print server OS yet.  There is a work around, a very simple one though. But this is being done in different ways according to how stringent are your company’s security policies.

The scenario that I’m talking about here is when each time you try to add a 32 bit driver to your server, the server tries adding the printer driver and in the final stage it comes with a pop up window asking for “i386” files.

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It certainly is looking for ntprint.inf files without which it cannot install the 32 bit drivers. All the happiness that I had of installing this OS had all gone down the drain, the moment I saw this pop up. I encountered this issue when we were trying to add the printer driver for a Xerox WorkCentre 5890 machine that we had in our work premises (I’m sure that you don’t encounter such issues with all the printer drivers).

I had gone through a lot of posts which had suggested that the 32 bit driver be added to a 32 bit workstation in the network and then have it pushed to the server. But this scenario was not going to work in my case because our organization had group policies enabled whereby sharing or pushing files from any workstation to another workstation or server was just out of the question. So I really had to look for a workaround.

That’s when I read somewhere in a Microsoft Technet blog where a lad had written a very simple method when a dozen of others had talked about a lot of other tricks and techniques. The trick is a simple one. On one of the 32 bit Windows 7 or Windows Vista workstations that you have in your network, copy the folder starting with the name “ntprint.inf_xxxxx” from the location C:\Windows\system32\DriverStore\FileRepository\ntptint.inf_xxxxx to any location of the server (Desktop of the server would be fine too) where you are trying to isntall the 32 bit printer driver. Once done, run the “Add Driver” again. The moment it asks for the i386 thingy, just click on “Browse” and point it to the location on the desktop where the folder was copied.

Alternatively if your company security policies allow you to share a folder from a workstation, you needn’t even copy these files to the server. You can just copy them to a different location on the same workstation and share it there. Go back to the server and reach the point where it asks for the ntprint.inf files and point it to this shared location. I haven’t tried this since our group policies never entertained such tricks.

There you go!! It installs cleanly without any hassle.

After having found this work around I had taken up a project whereby every branch server in our network had to be upgraded to Windows Server 2008 R2 and boy didn’t I have a great time? Yes, I did. Indeed!!

Install Cyanogenmod on your Android Device

I have always looked for an answer to this question myself. A few years back, writing on how to have Cyanogenmod installed on your Android device would have been a very difficult thing to do. Be it Samsung or HTC or any other Android device, the first thing that rings alarm bells on every users’ minds would be voiding the warranty of their devices by doing so. Ok, so for all those users (new ones especially) what is Cyanogenmod? According to Wikipedia, “CyanogenMod is an open source replacement distribution for smartphones and tablet computers based on the Android mobile operating system. It is developed as free and open source software based on the official releases of Android by Google, with added original and third-party code”. You can read more about this at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanogenmod .

In short, Cyanogenmod is not the normal thing that you see on your Android devices when you purchase it. Cyanogenmod according to me is the original Android with a bit of  tweaks by the developers. What difference does it have with that of the normal phones? Well this is the tricky part. Devices like Samsung, HTC or LG all come pre-loaded with their custom user interfaces and features. For examples features like S-Pen, S-View etc in Samsung and Beats Audio, Blinkfeed with HTC One all are customized by the manufacturers themselves. Howerver Cyanogenmod will be a clean and stripped down version, say Pure Android, but without any of those luxuries provided by the manufacturers. So the question will be why in the hell are we installing Cyanogenmod on these brand new devices. There are some techie freaks who simply love Cyanogenmod and care less about the bloatware that the manufacturers add to their phones which gradually reduces the performance of the devices over time. Cyanogenmod helps particularly for older devices. Devices such as Samsung Galaxy SII or any other device which according to their manufacturers cannot be upgraded to any of the lastest Android versions. This is probably because the hardware of these phones would have gotten outdated and will not run all the extra features that the manufacturer would want to add.

I have a very good example of such an instance. Samsung Galaxy SII , the phone that really changed the way that consumers looked at Samsung phones. I bought this phone when it was the best phone in the world. It was such a hot product in the market. But 2 years after it’s launch, Samsung closed the doors on it saying that it’s hardware couldn’t take any more of the Android updates because of the new features that were being included by Samsung having Galaxy SIII in mind. This really saddened all those hardcorde SII fans, but this was always going to happen. The previous update, Android 4.1.2, had started taking a heavy toll on my SII device. It had started getting painfully slow. This is when I decided to purchase a better phone. An year later, Cyanogenmod announced themselves as a new company with an app in the Play Store to enable installation of Cyanogenmod on devices that it supported. It longer required rooting of your device or any other circus that needed to be performed to have a taste of Cyanogenmod. I downloaded the app successfully installed Android 4.2.2 on my SII and it’s so smooth and fast now.

Cyanogenmod, according to me, fires a new life into the older phones whom their own makers have left to rot. Cyanogenmod too have a  list of devices that they support for which developments are going on. If you have an old warhorse whom you don’t want to or don’t feel like parting with yet,then I would welcome you to the world of Cyanogenmod!

While some may not be of my opinion, I’m not a techie freak or an expert in the world of Android and the devices that it supports, I’m of the opinion that our older devices still have a chance. So let’s breathe a new life into them.

PS: The cyanogenmod is no longer available in the Play Store. You can always go back to http://beta.download.cyanogenmod.org/install and follow the instructions given here.