Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Managing your Microsoft Window Updates

Keeping your operating system and applications up to date has a big impact on keeping your devices safe. Unfortunately, since about March of 2015, Microsoft updates have become questionable and may not be something you want to immediately apply when they become available.
In preparation for the Windows 10 Upgrade, Microsoft has been releasing compatibility updates to make the transition a smooth experience. Unfortunately, there have been many missteps along the way from reissuing the same updates several times that can crash your system, to causing performance issues with your computer when the background update process is scanning your system to determine what it needs to update. On my Windows 7 computer, this update scan was taking an hour to complete and I was helpless to do anything on my system until it was done. Also the Windows Compatibility Updates were downloading over 4 gigs of storage space on Windows 7 computers in preparation for the upgrade. Since I did not intent to upgrade to Windows 10, at least not for a while, I did not want all this data taking up space on my computer.  As a result, I began screening the Microsoft updates back in May and hiding those I don’t want. To help sort through the updates, I have been using web sites like “Ask Woody” to monitor Windows Updates and to provide guidelines to which updates to avoid.

Beyond Anti-Virus Protection

What you need beyond an anti-virus program to fight against phishing attacks, banking malware and ransomware.

Windows and browser security

All too often computer users install anti-virus software that gives them a feeling of security without actually knowing what type of protection they can expect. Anti-Virus programs help in many ways, but lag behind in detecting more sophisticated attacks like Ransomware and Man-In-The-Middle attacks. Nowadays, computer users need to keep up on updates and review their PC security software in order to add or replace outdated security tools. This has become necessary because hackers are improving their ability at an alarming rate, inventing new vectors of attack that only the latest software may detect. You can no longer expect to have ample protection by just using an anti-virus program. Hopefully, you will find some of the security tools that I use to be useful for your own protection.
A quote I have seen on several security sites that I agree with says:
Remember that security is not about risk elimination, but rather risk reduction. Your risk will never be zero but you can employ tools and steps to reduce it.
Note: All of my suggestions require some technical proficiency and understanding. Please be careful and use this information at your own risk.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How To Replace the Dual CCFL Backlights on an HP DV9000 17" LCD Laptop

While I was watching a web video on my TV using the HDMI from my HP DV9000 laptop, my LCD screen blinked out a few times and then stayed out. The TV still showed a picture so I knew it wasn't my graphic chip. After some web research, I looked closely at the LCD screen to see if a faint image of the operation system existed, which it did. That indicated that nothing was wrong with the LCD screen and that the problem was either the CCFL inverter or the CCFL lamps.

Friday, July 2, 2010

How I Fixed My Overheating HP DV9000 Computer

NOTE: This article provides several hardware and software suggestions that others have found useful in an effort to increase airflow and reduce heat of their HP DV9000 computers. The ACPI DSDT patch has been found to work on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 for both 32 bit and 64 bit versions. Make sure to have an image backup of your system before attempting this patch in case you brick your computer. Use these suggestions at your own risk.

I have an HP Pavilion DV9000T CTO Notebook PC (EZ379AV) with the Intel processor (not AMD) on a Quanta 30BD Motherboard (very similar to DV6000). This DV9000T model was one of the earliest models that had 3 separate BGA (Ball Grid Array) chip assemblies mounted to 2 heatsinks (1. Intel CPU and Northbridge, 2. NVIDIA GPU). It came with Windows XP but I have updated to Windows 7 32 bit.
This was my dream laptop 3 years ago and for $2000, it should have been. Unfortunately there have been some overheating problems that could easily have been avoided. The computer GPU temperature was well over 70C which is the maximum it should reach. The following is a summary of what I discovered and how I fixed my HP DV9000 computer to the dream machine I always new it could be.

1. Separated Display Panel
2. Burned Out NVIDIA Graphic Chip
3. Poor Air Flow
3.1 Restricted Air Flow Through The NVIDIA Heatsink Air Vent
3.2 Restricted Air Flow Through The Bottom Cover Air Vents
3.3 Interior Components Exposed To Heatsink Exhaust 3.4 Increase Fan Speed
3.4.1 Hardware Solution: Remove 2 wires from the fan connector
3.4.2 Software Solution: Patching the DSDT DSTS Patch Instructions Microsoft’s ASL decompile bug DSDT Windows Support Patch

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Build and Configure Native Boot VHDs in Window 7

Windows 7 has the ability to run a VHD in to ways. A 32-bit or 64-bit native boot VHD can be setup to run standalone from a dual-boot to a VHD file or a 32-bit client VHD can be run simultaneously with the Windows 7 host OS. There is also a free VMWare product call VMware Player that will run a 64-bit and 32-bit VHD drive simultaneously with the Windows 7 host OS.
This article will focus on support for a native boot VHD. There are several good internet references (See Sources below) that discuss these issues. I created this article because I wanted to have a source I could reference with all the content I needed to manage my VHDs.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How To Code and Synchronize SharePoint WSS and MOSS User Profiles

I created the UserProfileMgr.cs class to manage and synchronize the WSS and MOSS user profiles for a FBA project. It is different from the other article I wrote How To Add Users to Groups using an HttpModule for a Forms Authentication (FBA) SharePoint Site in that this doesn't use the web services to update the MOSS user profile and it has key lines of code that overcome security issues that are necessary when working with SharePoint WSS and MOSS user profiles. All service packs and hot fixes are installed up to April 1 2009.
I used similar code from my earlier article that implemented RunWithElevatedPrivileges and AllowUnsafeUpdates. The code worked fine on a computer that was not connected to a domain but I found the UpdateMOSSUserProfile() code would get security validation errors when I logged in using a domain user account running on a Virtual PC using Windows Server 2003 with a dynamic IP connected through VPN. After several weeks of frustration I discovered that 3 additional lines of code made everything work.
To illustrate these validation failures I have removed those 3 lines of code from the UserProfileMgr.cs file and then added them back one at a time to observe the variety of errors created when you run the application. You will discover the failures all come from the UpdateMOSSUserProfile() routine.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How To Compact Virtual Hard Drives

I have spent some time researching for the best way to compact a Virtual Hard Drive. The key for me was finding a way to do an offline defrag on the VHD. I found a program called VHDMount that will allow you to mount your VHD drive on a Windows XP system. Unfortunately it does not come with VPC. Following are the steps to install VHDMount.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How To Run Programs From The Visual Studio Solution Explorer Window

Here is the macro that I found on the internet that will run a program from the Visual Studio Solution Explorer window.
The following instructions will show you how to install the macro to the Right Click Context Menu.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How To Create and Add Users to Groups using an HttpModule for a Forms Authentication (FBA) SharePoint Site

The aim of this project was to create a HttpModule for a Forms Authentication (FBA) SharePoint site that would authenticate the user through Windows Live and then add the user to a group in SharePoint. It would also save built-in WSS and MOSS custom user profile information and update the profile information on every login. Potentially the site would have to handle about 100,000 users.


- Designed for cross domain servers
- Authenticate the user through Windows Live
- Use FormsAuthentication cookie to pass back user profile information
- Add the user to a group in SharePoint
- Save built-in WSS and MOSS custom user profile information
- Update built-in WSS and MOSS custom user profile information after every login

After several weeks of research I was finally able to create a FBA SharePoint site that add users to a group in SharePoint with all the other requirements. The trick was creating a dummy Membership Provider which I didn't need since I was adding the users to groups with code rather then through the People Picker. The dummy Membership Provider is only needed to satisfy the required Membership Provider Name used in the Sharepoint "Authentication Providers > Edit Authentication" setup when you change the "Authentication Type" to "Forms Authentication". I found an article Guest Account Enabler by Reza Alirezaei of significant help. He created an HttpModule using a Minimal Membership Provider that provides a "Guest" user account that can be manually added through SharePoint's "People and Groups / Add Users". I took his work and stripped down the Minimal Membership Provider to a bare shell because there wasn't a need for it in my requirements.

Monday, October 6, 2008

How to encapsulate static/shared strongly typed properties to expose cache and session variables

The code examples below were created to simplify handling of HttpContext Cache and Session variables. The advantage of static/shared properties is that they are strongly typed which avoids the potential for spelling mistakes.
What is nice is that some of the variables are initialized the first time they are requested and refreshed from an xml source file every 15 minutes. This allows the values to be changed for debugging without resetting IIS.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fix for Virtual PC 2007 jerky mouse issue

I had a jerky mouse problem with VPC 2007 running on Xp SP2. What was strange is that it sometimes went away at work but always occurred at home. I tried several suggestions I found on the internet but nothing helped. I noticed that if I kept the disk drive active that the jerkiness improved so I ran disk defrag when I got desperate. What fixed it was installing XP SP3 and rebooting. The VPC 2007 install site now says Xp SP3 is required but I don't think it was available when I first installed VPC 2007.

Last Lecture - "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"

Professor Randy Pausch from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), died July 25, 2008 from pancreatic cancer. He gave his last lecture at the university on September 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving talk, "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals. He was truly a remarkable, positive, charismatic and inspirational person who will be missed. If you haven't seen his last lecture, it's definitely worth watching.

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Monday, September 1, 2008

How To Rename a VHD Computer Running on a Domain using SharePoint

The company I work for was preparing to develop some SharePoint applications. They wanted to use our existing Windows XP laptops and install Virtual PC 2007 to run a copy of a VHD drive built with Virtual Server 2005, MOSS 2007 and Visual Studio 2008. This had to be a domain server so that we could collaborate with other developers, pass features across the network and check-in source code using TFS."

A Virtual Server 2005 drive with all the goods was created and made available on our network. After downloading the opc-moss-sb3 VHD drive and then booting it using Virtual PC, I got the following message:"

"A duplicate name exists on the network."

This was because someone else was also logged-in to the domain using the same opc-moss-sb3 VHD drive. Unfortunately, booting multiple copies of the same VHD drive using Virtual PC on a domain network will have computer name conflicts with cumputers of the same name.

To fix this problem I had to rename the VHD computer from moss-sp to moss-burt and to correct several issues with SharePoint.