Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

On a Mac, I frequently use the tail command to view files as they’re being written to or in use. You can use the Get-EventLog cmdlet to view logs. The Get-EventLog cmdlet has two options I’ll point out in this article. The first is -list and -newest.

The first is used to view a list of event logs, along with retention cycles for logs, log sizes, etc.

Get-EventLog -list

You can then take any of the log types and view information about them. To see System information:

Get-EventLog System

There will be too much information in many of these cases, so use the -newest option to see just the latest:

Get-EventLog system -newest 5

The list will have an Index number and an EventID. The EventID can then be used to research information about each error code. For example, at

February 8th, 2014

Posted In: Microsoft Exchange Server, Windows Server, Windows XP

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The typical school lab: We want to update an image once a quarter or once a year, deploy it and have nothing change between quarters. In Microsoft Windows, there are about as many ways to go about this as there are IT guys. Some will use Altiris or something like that to reimage the machines every night. Others will use policies to lock everyone out of everything and trust that. But what if you don’t have a dedicated IT staff and honestly don’t really have the time to deal with it in a smaller lab environment. Well, introduce Microsoft’s Steady State (it’s actually been around for awhile, getting renamed every now and then). Steady State is a nifty little product that allows someone with little IT experience to load it onto Windows (yes, including Vista) and essentially freeze every machine to its current state. Each time the box gets rebooted after that it will go right back to the way things were.

But that’s not all Steady State does. It also has a nice management console for policies. There are far less policies than you would have, for example, in the local policy editor, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to set them. Best of all, Steady State is free and available for download here to run in your lab, hot spot, etc.

This might have sounded like a commercial for Microsoft. Not at all, Steady State doesn’t seem to work well in my Active Directory environment (we don’t need to change no stinkin’ computer passwords). If I’m using this in my virtual machines is that going to be a problem? Well, no, but it’s likely going to be a bit of overkill since you can just use snapshots. Since the machine goes back to the original state, what does that mean for your user data? Well, that needs to go on a jump drive or something… So overall, Steady State has a time and a place. It’s great for labs, internet cafes, hotels, kiosks and things like that where you have a shared host that will get messed up – and when it does, you won’t care about data, you’ll just want it back to the original “state” as quick as possible. If that’s what you’re after, this is great software for something freely available. Notsomuch otherwise.

January 27th, 2009

Posted In: Windows XP

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Windows 7 is slated for a 2010 release, although we could see it as late as 2009.  Much like the reports coming out on Snow Leopard, Windows 7 is slated not to come with a variety of new features but rather on buttoning up the existing features and in some cases Microsoft will be reducing the number of features in the OS.  Well, maybe not removing features, but rather moving them into Windows Live and making them as easily accessible as possible using the newly revamped Windows Live toolbar.  Applications moved to the Windows Live-style a la carte menu:

  • Windows Live Family Safety (replaces the former parental controls options)
  • Windows Live Movie Maker (video editing made easy, replaces Movie Maker)
  • Windows Live Writer (allows for blog publishing)
  • Windows Live Mail (replaces Microsoft Outlook Express and Microsoft Mail)
  • Windows Live Messenger (same old program, different location)
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery (now looks more like a certain Google app)

Expect to see more of the same style of windows as we saw in Vista, but now they should all work a little better and a little snappier.  Heard that before?  Yes you have.  In Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Microsoft reported hella fast performance compared to that of SP1.  But not-so-much in reality.  I hope to see drastically better performance out of the OS at release time.  However, it’s currently in Alpha (what MS calls Pre-Beta) and so not much can be inferred from the current performance of Windows 7.

According to the MS Engineering blog other items we can expect to see that aren’t currently in the OS include better search, better account control APIs (via powershell and WMI), better internationalization, more energy efficiency, better performance, integrated multi-touch and less annoying help balloons.

As for the Server version of Windows, it appears (according to the internal MS blogosphere) that we’re likely only to see Windows Server 2008 R2.  However, I have been unable to ascertain whether or not this will be an upgrade that you’ll have to pay for (like 2003 R2 was).

November 9th, 2008

Posted In: Windows Server, Windows XP

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