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How to get the last password change for a user in Active Directory

If you need to know when was the last password change made ​​by a user member of an Active Directory domain, you can simply use the following PowerShell instructions:

  • on a Windows 7 client or Windows 2008, Windows 2008R2 server which are member of the Active Directory domain that belong the user you want to analyze, open PowerShell Console and at the prompt write:

Import-Module ActiveDirectory
Get-ADUser ‘UserName’ -properties PasswordLastSet | Format-List

  • for example:

Import-Module ActiveDirectory
Get-ADUser ‘tani.alessandro’ -properties PasswordLastSet | Format-List

In the field PasswordLastSet you can find date of last password change.

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Information about Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 Service Pack 1

On February 22, 2011 was released Service Pack 1 of Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2. To download this Service Pack you must first pass the test Genuine Microsoft Software. To download the Service Pack 1 of Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 just go to the Microsoft Download Center and follow these steps:

  • press the button Continue;
  • run the program GenuineCheck.exe;
  • enter the Windows Genuine Advantage code in website proposal;
  • proceed with the download of the version of Service Pack required.

Since the web pages of the Microsoft Download Center does not help much on which version of Service Pack 1 of Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 you need to download, you can find a little more detail below:

  • Windows6.1-KB976932-X86.exe: this application installs SP1 to a 32-bit machine running Windows 7 (537,8MB);
  • Windows6.1-KB976932-X64.exe: this application installs Sp1 to a 64-bit machine running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 (903,2MB);
  • Windows_Win7SP1.7601.17514.101119-1850.X86FRE.Symbols.msi: standalone debugging symbols (free) for 32-bit machines (330,6MB);
  • Windows_Win7SP1.7601.17514.101119-1850.X86CHK.Symbols.msi: standalone debugging symbols (checked) for 32-bit machines (294,5MB);
  • Windows_Win7SP1.7601.17514.101119-1850.AMD64FRE.Symbols.msi: standalone debugging symbols (free) for 64-bit machines. This contains debugging symbols for both Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (287,8MB);
  • Windows_Win7SP1.7601.17514.101119-1850.AMD64CHK.Symbols.msi: standalone debugging symbols (checked) for 64-bit machines. This contains debugging symbols for both Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (262,7MB);
  • 7601.17514.101119-1850_Update_Sp_Wave1-GRMSP1.1_DVD.iso: this DVD image contains standalone update for all architectures (1953,3MB).

To learn how to install the Service Pack 1 of Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2, you can see the following two guides:

Thank you for your attention.

How to manage printers – Part I

The management of printers has always required a certain burden to system administrators. But with the advent of Windows 2000 and Active Directory, printer management has become a bit more comfortable. In this first part we take care of how to assign a name to a printer and how to assign a name to the Location field.

With the term network printer, we intend any printer that meet at least one of the following two statements:

  • the printer has a network adapter and the printer is assigned an IP address (possibly static or reserved via DHCP);
  • two or more workstations can print, more or less simultaneously, on the same printer.

During this post, we will consider only network printers and workstations that belong to an Active Directory domain. The first question we consider is this: what does name to give a network printer? I believe that when you have to give a name to a network printer, you should consider the following golden rules:

  • do not use names longer than eight characters;
  • use only alphanumeric characters;
  • not enter in the printer name, parts that can change over the time, eg acronyms of office, or numbers of room;
  • match the printer name with the shared name of the printer queue.

For example, for an HP Laserjet 2100DN, a good printer name could be: HPLJ01 Where the first two letters are an acronym of the manufacturer (Hewlett-Packard) printer, the second two are a acronym of the type of printer (LaserJet) and the last two digits are a numerical sequence (01). Following this rule, the HP Color LaserJet CP1815NI, will be called: HPLJ02.

Once you have chosen the name for a printer, is a good idea to put a label on the printer where you can find the printer name and if the printer is equipped with network card, his IP address.

The second issue I want to face is: where are my printers? This is an extremely important point! To learn how to fill in the Location field you should read what is written in the Microsoft document Best Practices for Deploying Printer Location with Active Directory. A name can be entered in the Location field could be the following: Italy/ReggioEmilia/ViaBrigataReggio/HQ/FirstFloor/Room112 Where Italy is the country where the printer is located, ReggioEmilia is the name of the city (Reggio Emilia), ViaBrigataReggio is the address of headquarters, HQ is the Headquarter where the printer is located, FirstFloor indicate that the printers is in a room at the first floor,  Room112 indicate that the printer is in the room with the number 112:

Printer Name and Location

Printer Name and Location

In the second part of these post series, I will explain how to use the Location field to improve the search for the printers in Active Directory.

Connecting to SMB share with an alias name (CNAME)

In the Microsoft Knowledge Base article number 281308 of the December 4, 2008 is written:

The registry key that is mentioned in the “Resolution” section is supported in Windows
Server 2008. However, it works only for Server Message Block (SMB) version 1. It does not work for SMB version 2, also known as CIFS (Common Internet File System). By default, CIFS is the file sharing protocol that is used on Windows-based computers. Windows includes an SMB client component (Client for Microsoft Windows) and an SMB server component (File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Windows). Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista support the new SMB 2.0.

At first reading it appears that the suggestion proposed in the KB281308 does not apply to Windows 2008/Vista/7 … In the same KB281308, but updated to September 28, 2009, we reads rather:

The registry key that is mentioned in the “Resolution” section is applicable only to SMB 1.0. To communicate over the SMB2.0 protocol, or CIFS (Common Internet File System), you do not have to set the registry key. SMB 2.0 allows for the functionality described in this article to work by default without additional configuration. Computers that run Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 support both SMB 1.0 and SMB 2.0. Windows includes an SMB client component (Client for Microsoft Windows) and an SMB server component (File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Windows). By default, SMB 2.0 is the file sharing protocol that is used when both client and server support it.

All other music … If you have a Windows server 2008 with hostname (NetBIOS Name) Galileo (galileo.homeworks.it as FQDN) and that server have a shared resource called Saturn and instead to use the UNC path \ \Galileo\Saturn you would like to use the UNC path \ \Newton\Saturn, where Newton (newton.homeworks.it) is an alias DNS (CNAME) for Galileo, then you need to follow the following recipe:

  • for clients with Windows 2008/Vista/7: creates the DNS alias (CANME) called Newton (newton.homeworks.it) associated to the server Galielo (galileo.homeworks.it);
  • for clients with Windows 2000/2003/XP:
    • creates the DNS alias (CANME) called Newton (newton.homeworks.it) associated to the server Galielo (galileo.homeworks.it);
    • connected to server Galileo with the credentials of a user with administrative rights on the server;
    • start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe);
    • locate and click the following key in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System
      \CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters
    • on the Edit menu, click Add Value, and then add the following registry value:
      Value name: DisableStrictNameChecking
      Data type: REG_DWORD
      Radix: Decimal
      Value: 1
    • quit Registry Editor;
    • restart the server Galileo.

Once you restarted the server Galileo, execute from the Command Prompt of Galileo the following commands: setspn -a host/newton galileo and setspn -a host/newton.homeworks.it galileo Or more generally: setspn -a host/<CNAME_Server> <NetBIOS_Name_Server> and setspn -a host/<CNAME_FQDN_Server> <NetBIOS_Name_Server>

Now to access the shared resource (SMB share) Saturn you can use or the UNC path \ \Galileo\Saturn, or the UNC path \ \Newton\Saturn.

This recipe is good for Windows 2000/2003/2003R2 (Windows 2000 should have installed Service Pack 4) and Windows 2008/2008R2. Note that the command setspn.exe is not pre-installed on Windows 2003R2, but  is part of the Windows 2003 Support Tools.

Unable on Windows 7 to connet to shared folder via UNC path

Few days ago I have come across a really strange problem. On a Windows 7 workstation (but the same problem can occur on Windows Vista), it was impossible to connect to any shared folder via UNC path. Although the error message suggested that it was a problem linked to name resolution, in reality the workstation was perfectly able to solve the FQDN, or NetBIOS name of each server. The same problem presented itself even if I used instead of the machine name, its IP address. Very strange …

Error Message

Error Message 0x800704CF

After a quick search on google I finally found a solution to the strange problem, reading the various posts in the Microsoft forum. The problem seems related to the presence of an abnormal number of network devices (such network devices there are not on my laptop with Windows 7). Opening the Device Manager and highlight the hidden devices (open View and then select Show Hidden Device), appeared about two hundred network cards calls Microsoft Device 6to4:

Microsoft Device 6to4

Microsoft Device 6to4

To solve the strange problem was simply delete all the network adapters called Microsoft Device 6to4. If you do not want to risk the carpal tunnel, I suggest you to use the Microsoft program called devcon.exe, that allows to run on Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 the operations that usually take place with the Device Manager from the command line. For example, to delete all network adapters called Microsoft Device 6to4 you could use the command : devcon remove *6to4MP*

Instead to see all devices on your system, just use the command: devcon status *

Devcon.exe command does not work very well on workstations with Windows Vista/7  64bits. In these cases, it is not rare remove all network adapters Microsoft Device 6to4 by hand!


Categories: Guide, Tips, Windows 7 Tags: , , ,

Record your problems with Windows 7

Windows 7 provides to system administrators and all those involved in support for users, a useful tool to record problems. This ability to record problems with Windows 7, is provided by the command psr.exe.

Psr.exe Command

  • open the Start menu and run psr.exe;
  • press the Start Record button to start recording;
  • use the mouse to reproduce, step-by-step, the problem;
  • if you want to introduce comments, click on the Add Comment button and highlight the section of the screen you want to comment;
  • when finished press the Stop Record buttom;
  • save the recorded contents in a zip file and send to technical support if you feel like, or keep it for the future.

Inside the zip file, there is an mht file that can be read with Internet Explorer. The mht file consists of several sections, the most important are the section Problem Steps and the section Addiotinal Details.

Categories: Guide, Tips, Windows 7 Tags: , , ,

Knowing the Capacity of Battery Performance in Windows 7

In Windows 7, to know the performance capabilities of a laptop battery or more generally how to make your laptop more efficient from an energy standpoint, just run the following command from the Command Prompt (the command that we are reporting should be execute by an user who has administrative rights on the workstation, which is a user who belongs to the local Administrators group of Windows 7. For your convenience, you should run the command in a temporary folder such as C: \ Temp): powercfg -energy
After few minutes, will be created the Energy-report.html file report in the same folder where you ran the command powercfg -energy. Within the file Energy-report.html you can find several suggestions on how to improve the energy performance of your laptop. In particular, within the section Battery: Battery Information, you can know the battery capacity (Design Capacity) and its charge level (Last Full Charge). If the value reported in Last Full Charge should be smaller than half the value reported in Design Capacity, than it is time to buy a new battery!

Battery Information

Battery Information

Categories: Tips, Windows 7 Tags: ,