Windows 10 free upgrade – not for Enterprise or RT editions

I’ve been looking for details on the announced free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8.1 to Windows 10 that was announced a little while ago. I can’t start making plans to upgrade people without knowing if it’ll actually be possible or not.

Today I found some small print that confirms that the free upgrade will not be available to the Enterprise editions of Windows, or RT editions. This isn’t entirely unexpected, and most home and smaller business users won’t be running Enterprise editions anyway, as until recently they were only available via a volume license agreement.

The RT thing is going to be a bit annoying if you have one of those devices, but I’ve always categorised them as a “fixed” OS device – if you want more than security updates and new apps you need to fork out for a new device, or perhaps as with Android phones, wait for the device manufacturer to release their customised version of the new OS rather than expecting to get it direct from Google.

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Find the DLL used by an Internet Explorer Add-on

Found this by accident, but it’s surprisingly easy. I’m using the latest IE, version 11.

Click the IE settings cog, and then click Manage add-ons from the menu.
IE11 settings menu manage add-ons

In the Manage Add-ons dialogue box, highlight the add-on you want to find the information for, in this case, the HP Network Check Helper.
IE11 manage add-ons dialogue

Click the More information link, to the bottom left. The More information box shows you the filename and containing folder of the file that “is” that add-on.IE11 add-on more information box

If you want to uninstall the add-on, sometimes it is as simple as running

regsvr32 /u <full path to dll>

(although that doesn’t actually work for the DLL example I’ve chosen in the examples above!)

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EMET 5.1 crashes IE11 – SEHOP

I’ve been running EMET on all my PCs for several years now. I realised that several were still running the version 3.5 tech preview so thought I’d better upgrade to the latest and greatest, EMET 5.1.

Having done this, the two machines I upgraded, both running Windows 7 64 bit, started having the same problem with Internet Explorer 11.

The problem exhibited itself as follows: IE would take longer than normal to start up (I have my start page set to about:blank). Then, upon trying to view any website, IE would crash. It wasn’t an EMET-type crash, just an Internet Explorer has stopped working type crash. IE would try to recover, but just die again.

Anyway, I’ve fixed it by disabling the SEHOP EMET feature for iexplore.exe. I can’t find any reference to this online anywhere – I have all the latest security updates installed, .Net 4.5.2, etc.

Hopefully you’ll find this useful. EMET is a great utility, and I’ve had just about no issues with it whilst using my machines ever since I started using it.

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Asus Zenfone 5 A500KL Review

I’ve been looking for a sensible spec, sensible price Android phone for quite some time. There are a lot about now, and the ZenFone 5 caught my eye a while ago.

As a company, I’ve used Asus motherboards and graphics cards in my PC builds for years – they’re one of the better, more reliable brands. Thus, when the ZenFone series appeared I was quite interested to see if they could pull off a different product line in a different market segment.

Hardware

There are several different versions of the ZenFone 5, and the one I chose is the A500KL model. This has a 1.2GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, LTE (4G), a single micro SIM slot, and mine has 16GB flash storage and 2GB RAM. The screen is 5 inches (hence ZenFone 5). The benefit of the A500KL for me is that it has a longer stated battery life vs. the other models, which are powered by Intel Atom CPUs. It is also ready for 4G, if/when suitably priced SIM-only contracts are available. Full specs are here, note that these don’t state that the phone also has an RDS FM radio – it does, and it works well.

Price

I paid £140 for the phone from eglobalcentral.co.uk (use checkout code BUY599 or SHOP599 and you might get £5.99 off – and note that I have no affiliation with that site, nor am I endorsing it, but the purchase went smoothly for me).

Look & Feel

Physically, the phone is pretty much the same size as my HTC One M8, just about two millimetres wider and taller. The screens are pretty much the same size between the two phones too, though the DPI is lower on the ZenFone, but it’s still good enough that text and graphics are nice to look at and not pixelated. Under the screen is a row of standard Android “back”, “home” and “recent” buttons, which saves screen area that’s otherwise wasted displaying these on some other phones. The buttons aren’t backlit, which is a shame, but once you know where they are finding them in the dark isn’t exactly taxing. The back cover of the phone is covered with a “soft touch” rubberised coating, which feels quite nice to hold. The back cover clips on and off fairly easily to enable the micro SIM card and microSD card to be fitted, or can be replaced with a new cover that has the Asus View Flip front cover attached. This has a neat circular hole that lets you do some basic stuff whilst the case is closed, namely use the torch, see the date/time and the local weather forecast. Thanks to a magnet in the front cover, the phone sleeps/wakes as the case is opened/closed.

Supplied

In the box you also get a mains charger capable of supplying 5VDC at 1.35A via a standard USB A socket, a USB A plug to micro USB charging cable, and some “bud”-style earphones (the sort that fit into the end of the ear canal).

Android

The phone found a system update shortly after I switched it on the for first time, and updated to Android 4.4.2 aka Kitkat. I did a factory reset after applying the update as all the Google apps started closing unexpectedly, following the reset I’ve not had this problem again. The phone has the Play store available, and comes with various Google apps, plus a load of Asus ones which seem like they might be useful.

Battery

I’ve had the phone powered up and running for over four days with light use: just checking the odd web page, a few video clips, checking the weather forecast etc. and as you can see the battery is down to 39%, which is pretty good I think.

Zenfone 5 battery usage Zenfone 5 battery drain

Whilst this may not be terribly realistic in terms of real life usage, it does show that there’s no built-in software doing anything too crazy in the background all the time. Several other reviews I read said that battery life wasn’t great, but as we know, it often depends what you do with the phone. The screen uses a lot of power, but it’s a big screen so that’s to be expected. Likewise if you do something moderately CPU intensive like watching video or playing games then you can expect the battery to drain faster.

Performance

On the subject of video, I watched some live TV via the ITV Player app, and the picture and sound quality was fine. Playing music isn’t too bad either, the single rear speaker isn’t going to shake your walls but it’s not really tinny and scratchy either. General response times when using the phone are pretty snappy, there’ve been no lags in the GUI or during video/audio playback.

Easy Mode – for (grand)parents

This phone is going to be given to my parents, one of whom is still using a very oldskool Nokia phone that basically only makes calls and does SMS messages. A very handy feature for such people is Easy Mode. This is turned on via Settings, and changes the home screen to look like an old feature phone:

zenfone 5 easy mode home screen zenfone 5 easy mode app list

You’ll notice that two of the icons have “gone wrong” somehow, I’m hoping they’ll be fixed by a factory reset before I pass the phone on! The Phone feature in easy mode is just a basic large digit numeric keypad, with recently dialled list:

zenfone 5 easy mode phone dialer

The Easy Mode People feature gives large text access to the People contacts database. In Easy Mode, the lock screen changes to show a large clock and (smaller) date, plus two squares showing the number of missed calls and new messages:

zenfone 5 easy mode lockscreen

Of course, once people get more familiar with the phone, they can turn Easy Mode off, and the phone interface reverts to the more usual Android style that we all know.

Camera

Some of the reviews I read mentioned that the camera isn’t very good. Personally, I think it’s more than adequate. Here’s a few sample pictures I took.

zenfone 5 camera outdoor closeup leaf zenfone 5 camera outdoors

asus zenfone 5 camera closeup latitude

Conclusion

To be perfectly honest, if I hadn’t already replaced my previous phone with the One M8, the ZenFone 5 would do me very nicely. I think (hope!) its new owners will be very happy with it.

If you’ve got any questions please feel free to comment and I’ll try to answer whilst I’ve still got the phone!

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Record audio output directly on Windows 7 with Audacity

There are a lot of uses for being able to directly record the sound that your PC is making, and it’s relatively easy to do. This method does not require you to have to use any cables, it just uses the audio driver. That means that it’s not guaranteed to work as your driver may not support this feature, but most seem to.

First you need to open the Sound control panel applet, and go to the Recording Devices tab. Right-click and show disabled devices. You should now see a device called Stereo Mix or Rec. Playback or similar, if it’s disabled (greyed out and with a grey arrow pointing down next to the icon) then enable it and click OK to close the control panel.

To record I either use WaveLab (expensive, pro audio editing software) or when I’ve forgotten the dongle I use the Audacity (which is free, and works ok). I’m going to assume you don’t have WaveLab, so here’s how to record via Audacity:

Load it up, look for the Audacity Device Toolbar:
Audacity Device Toolbar

Select Windows DirectSound as the Audio Host (dropdown on the left), and choose whatever recording device you enabled earlier – Rec. Playback in my screenshot above.

Audacity is now configured to record any noises your PC makes, which include notification beeps etc. So if you’re recording the audio from a webinar or something you might want to make sure you’ve muted all your other noises and closed other software aside from the one that’s going to be making the noises.

When you’re ready to record, just click the record button on the Audacity Transport Toolbar, and then join the meeting or start whatever software it is that makes the noises you want to record. If everything is working correctly you’ll see the waveform change in the main Audacity window, and can also choose Start Monitoring on the record meter in the Audacity Monitoring Toolbar.

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Windows Update and WSUS error 80244019

Some colleagues had recently performed a migration from an old Windows Server 2003 WSUS server to a new Server 2012 R2 one. I had just upgraded a new tablet from Windows 8.1 Professional to Enterprise, and was trying to update it as the update process doe not retain updates applied to the original OS. Group policy was telling the tablet to talk to my WSUS server (the one that had just been migrated). Windows Update on the tablet was finding updates, but getting an error 80244019 when trying to downlad them. Searching against Windows Update on the internet both found and was able to download updates.

I had a look in the Windows Update log file (C:\Windows\WindowsUpdate.log) and found some of the following:

2014-10-28	13:13:36:140	 368	1558	DnldMgr	***********  DnldMgr: New download job [UpdateId = {7F8FDE4D-B17B-4093-915E-A807DA18A2DE}.204]  ***********
2014-10-28	13:13:36:140	 368	1558	DnldMgr	WARNING: CheckIfDirExists returned error 0x80070002.
2014-10-28	13:13:36:140	 368	1558	DnldMgr	  * Queueing update for download handler request generation.
2014-10-28	13:13:36:140	 368	1558	DnldMgr	Generating download request for update {7F8FDE4D-B17B-4093-915E-A807DA18A2DE}.204
2014-10-28	13:13:36:140	 368	1558	IdleTmr	WU operation (GenerateAllDownloadRequests) started; operation # 635; does not use network; is at background priority
2014-10-28	13:13:36:140	 368	18ec	IdleTmr	Decremented idle timer priority operation counter to 2
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	Handler	Generating request for CBS update 7F8FDE4D-B17B-4093-915E-A807DA18A2DE in sandbox C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\5cbfe1eec732bb919f7239386a1b893b
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	Handler	Selected payload type is ptExpress
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	Handler	Detected download state is dsStart
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	Handler	Adding windows8.1-kb2975719-x64-express.cab (entire file) to request list.
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	Handler	Request generation for CBS update complete with hr=0x0 and pfResetSandbox=0 
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	IdleTmr	WU operation (GenerateAllDownloadRequests, operation # 635) stopped; does not use network; is at background priority
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	DnldMgr	***********  DnldMgr: New download job [UpdateId = {7F8FDE4D-B17B-4093-915E-A807DA18A2DE}.204]  ***********
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	DnldMgr	WARNING: CheckIfDirExists returned error 0x80070002.
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	DnldMgr	  * BITS job initialized, JobId = {EC94DB72-43C2-4A3D-9972-62715BD76BBF}
2014-10-28	13:13:36:156	 368	1558	DnldMgr	  * Downloading from http://wsus.rcmtech.co.uk/Content/08/40D35A609AE17FA88A39A1E98420A646FE750A08.cab to C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\5cbfe1eec732bb919f7239386a1b893b\windows8.1-kb2975719-x64-express.cab (full file).
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	1558	IdleTmr	WU operation (DownloadManagerDownloadJob) started; operation # 637; does use network; is not at background priority; will NOT stop idle timer
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	1558	IdleTmr	Incremented idle timer priority operation counter to 3
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	1558	DnldMgr	*********
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	1558	DnldMgr	**  END  **  DnldMgr: Begin Downloading Updates [CallerId = AutomaticUpdatesWuApp]
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	1558	DnldMgr	*************
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	18ec	AU	AU checked download status and it changed: Downloading is paused
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	148c	DnldMgr	WARNING: BITS job {EC94DB72-43C2-4A3D-9972-62715BD76BBF} failed, updateId = {7F8FDE4D-B17B-4093-915E-A807DA18A2DE}.204, hr = 0x80190194, BG_ERROR_CONTEXT = 5
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	148c	DnldMgr	  Progress failure bytes total = 177805422, bytes transferred = 0
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	148c	DnldMgr	  Failed job file: URL = http://wsus.rcmtech.co.uk/Content/08/40D35A609AE17FA88A39A1E98420A646FE750A08.cab, local path = C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\5cbfe1eec732bb919f7239386a1b893b\windows8.1-kb2975719-x64-express.cab
2014-10-28	13:13:36:171	 368	148c	DnldMgr	CUpdateDownloadJob::GetNetworkCostSwitch() Neither unrestricted or restricted network cost used, so using current cost
2014-10-28	13:13:36:187	 368	148c	IdleTmr	WU operation (DownloadManagerDownloadJob, operation # 637) stopped; does use network; is not at background priority; will NOT start idle timer (task did not previously stop it
2014-10-28	13:13:36:187	 368	148c	IdleTmr	Decremented idle timer priority operation counter to 2
2014-10-28	13:13:36:187	 368	148c	DnldMgr	Error 0x80244019 occurred while downloading update; notifying dependent calls.

and also several of these:

2014-10-28	13:12:10:040	 368	1294	Misc	WARNING: WinHttp: SendRequestToServerForFileInformation failed with 0x80190194
2014-10-28	13:12:10:040	 368	1294	Misc	WARNING: WinHttp: ShouldFileBeDownloaded failed with 0x80190194
2014-10-28	13:12:10:040	 368	1294	Agent	WARNING: Fail to download eula file http://wsus.rcmtech.co.uk/Content/78/5FB2FB1198FAF0871AF09DAE0EF815C92642FD78.txt with error 0x80244019
2014-10-28	13:12:10:040	 368	1294	Misc	WARNING: WinHttp: SendRequestToServerForFileInformation failed with 0x80190194
2014-10-28	13:12:10:040	 368	1294	Misc	WARNING: WinHttp: ShouldFileBeDownloaded failed with 0x80190194
2014-10-28	13:12:10:040	 368	1294	Agent	WARNING: Fail to download eula file http://wsus.rcmtech.co.uk/Content/78/5FB2FB1198FAF0871AF09DAE0EF815C92642FD78.txt with error 0x80244019

I tried to retrieve one of the EULA text files referenced via Internet Explorer and got a 404 page not found error.

So then I did a bit of digging and came across this thread, where the guy fixed the problem by moving the location of his (misconfigured) WsusContent folder.

I checked out my new WSUS server and sure enough found a WsusContent folder within a WsusContent folder on the drive that had been specified during the WSUS migration/configuration.

D:\WsusContent had about 240GB of data in it, whereas D:\WsusContent\WsusContent only had about 1.6GB of data. D:\WsusData did include the EULA text file that I’d seen referenced in the log, and had received a 404 for via IE.

I didn’t like the idea copying the 240GB of data into the nested WsusContent folder, so thought I’d try fixing the problem by reconfiguring WSUS instead. It was actually fairly easy:

Change the following two registry values:

  1. HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Update Services\Server\Setup\ContentDir
    Change the REG_EXPAND_SZ to D:\ and restart the WsusService service. (note that this step may not be necessary due to the naming of the registry ke, i.e. “Setup”, but I’m doing it anyway to be tidy.
  2. HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Shares\WsusContent
    Change the REG_MULTI_SZ from D:\wsuscontent\WsusContent to D:\WsusContent and restart the lanmanserver service.

Next, in IIS Manager, expand <Servername>, Sites, Default Web Site, right-click Content, Manage virtual directory, Advanced Settings and change Physical Path to D:\WsusContent\ – I did an iisreset after this, but that may not be necessary.

Finally, I moved the contents of the erroneous D:\WsusContent\WsusContent folder into D:\WsusContent.

After those steps were completed, the text file was avaible via IE and my tablet is now happily updating itself from the WSUS server.

Incidentally, I like keeping the WsusContent folder on a separate drive as a) it can get quite big and I don’t want to risk my C: drive filling up, and b) it means I can use Windows Data Deduplication on it, where I’m currently getting about a 43% space reduction.

 

 

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Free Active Directory and Exchange 2013 knowledge from Veeam

Just found the following free stuff from Veeam, which both sound good:

  • Active Directory Expert Series [From Physical to Virtual]
    “Get the jumpstart on Active Directory: how to set it up, virtualize and ensure availability. Master backing up and restoring Active Directory with Veeam and the 5x MVP Sander Berkouwer, as well as how to mitigate risks in the larger part of your Domain Controllers’ lifecycles.”
  • Microsoft Exchange 2013
    “This course provides all the details you need for Exchange administration. You’ll learn about architecture and deployment,
    what’s new in version 2013, and security and disaster recovery.”

p.s. Thanks Veeam for the coffee machine that I won yesterday at IP Expo!

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