HayesJupe's Blog

April 26, 2014

Home audio distribution – a solution… ish

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayesjupe @ 5:21 pm

Quite a while back I posted on my difficulties in getting a Win7/8 PC to act as a hub for distributing audio through-out the house…

https://hayesjupe.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/home-audio-distribution-another-thing-that-seems-to-be-way-harder-than-it-needs-to-be/

I ended up going down the route of 3 x USB sound cards plugged into a USB hub, hanging off a Intel NUC, then running VMware workstation – assigning a USB sound card to each VM… and voila…. at least in my head.

In reality, this did work-ish, but the audio would skip regularly and the resources required to run that amount of VM’s was a bit beyond the NUC.

After giving it a rest for (quite) a few months due to rather extreme work and family commitments, I got a second wind today and started searching around on a different tact.

Knowing that WMP can specify an output source, I tried to run multiple instances…. no go

But then I found http://www.lukepaynesoftware.com/other/

So now I run 3 or 4 instances of media player, each with a different output and one internet radio station using the “default” audio device.

Performance wise, the NUC handles this ease… I don’t have the hassle of VMware (and quandary as to why allocating usb devices to specific hosts is not a feature of hyper-V…. device re-direction is useless in this instance… as it is for usb hardware license dongles as well…)

Its not perfect by any stretch – as each instance of WMP needs to be configured each time the box is restarted for any reason (such as patches), the WMP config shows that each instance is playing out the same output (when it isn’t) and I can only run one internet radio station at a time – but, its quite a good solution compared to the complete lack of other alternatives out there.

Thanks luke payne. (whom I assume has a brother/father/cousin called max)

February 4, 2014

SCCM 2012 R2 bootsect.exe hotfix now available

Filed under: System Centre — hayesjupe @ 2:19 pm

I logged a PSS call a while ago (as im sure many others did) regarding bootsect.exe in config Manager 2012 R2 not being recognised as a valid win32 application on XP machines….. this caused errors when using 2012 R2 and the boot.wim needed to stage on an XP machine – a common scenario for a refresh build.

the work-around was to grab the bootsect.exe from ADK 8.0 – but, now the hotfix for this is publically available.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2910552

November 6, 2013

A good way of handling your “Bad” drivers

Filed under: System Centre — hayesjupe @ 6:04 pm

So – a many of you would have seen in my SCCM driver articles – I’m not such a fan of “Bad” drivers…..

Bad drivers are those that are not in an inf/sys/cat format, and are generally packaged and deployed in the same (or a similar) way to applications.

These types of applications can really bloat your task sequences with WMI queries to determine the model of each task (or group of tasks)

I was at a client today, getting drivers ready for a relatively large number of models and I was thinking “surely there is a better way to do the installs now based on conditions”…. a quick look around the available options didn’t turn up anything, but the fact that WQL was an option was a good sign…. like most people, instead of trying to find it for myself, I googled it first…. and voila…

http://scug.be/sccm/2012/11/30/intel-hd-graphics-driver-and-software-for-hp-models-in-osd-in-the-new-configmgr-2012-application-model/

The example given is for the Intel HD graphics app, but the method presented I used for all of my “bad” drivers so far, and it seems to be working.

Good stuff – Kenny Buntinx.

(yes, its been a while since I’ve done drivers! hence the lag between his post and this!)

October 29, 2013

SCCM 2007: Windows 8.1 support

Filed under: System Centre — hayesjupe @ 5:24 am

http://blogs.technet.com/b/configurationmgr/archive/2013/10/28/hotfix-an-update-is-available-that-adds-support-for-windows-8-1-and-windows-server-2012-r2-to-system-center-configuration-manager-2007-service-pack-2.aspx

Limited functionality – but still handy for those that haven’t moved to 2012 or 2012 R2 as yet.

October 17, 2013

SC 2012 R2 now on technet downloads…

Filed under: System Centre — hayesjupe @ 10:49 pm

day early 🙂

October 10, 2013

Windows 7 SP1 sxs cleanup – now built into disk cleanup!

Filed under: Uncategorized,Windows — hayesjupe @ 10:05 am

Its taken a while, but its nice to see a helpful feature added to win 7 SP1.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2013/10/07/breaking-news-reduce-the-size-of-the-winsxs-directory-and-free-up-disk-space-with-a-new-update-for-windows-7-sp1-clients.aspx

October 9, 2013

SCCM 2012 SP1 installation reboot behaviour on 3010 return code

Filed under: System Centre — hayesjupe @ 6:00 pm

Recently, we had a situation where we deployed a small client via SCCM 2012 SP1.

All tested fine and the pilot group appeared fine – but upon deploying the client widely, the customers helpdesk started getting calls about a reboot message popping up.

Sure enough, the msi has a /noreboot switch and wasn’t causing a reboot on test machines where the command was run outside of configmgr…. so what was happening?

Well – as detailed here – http://www.1e.com/blogs/2013/05/07/sccm-2012-agent-reboots-when-msiexec-uses-reallysuppress-switch/

a setting – which i think it is fair to say, a setting which isnt very clear, will cause the CM agent to initiate a reboot, even if the install command line supresses the reboot, but the return code is 3010 (soft reboot).

A little disappointing – this is the type of thing that really should be very clear in the interface…. but once finding out, its unlikely we (or you) will make the same mistake again!

September 13, 2013

KB2817630 – for when you dont want to be able to sort your mail or see your folders

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 8:19 am

Something that seems to be widely reported (such as http://www.zdnet.com/update-for-outlook-2013-breaks-folder-pane-7000020512/)

i had this issue yesterday on a few of my machines, declined the update in wsus, uninstalled it (it seemed to be listed twice, if i only uninstalled one of them, it didnt fix the issue) and all was good.

MS patching, with the possible exception of the exchange rollups, have been very good over the past few years…… and sure, everyone makes a mistake every now and again… the Lync Connectivity analyser in the post below is an example of a slightly less commonly used product, so while its disappointing that a patch killed it, its a bit understandable….. but folder view for what is (i think its fair to say) the primary mail client for a large percentage corporate customers…. thats not so good.

September 11, 2013

Lync Connectivity Analyzer crash on startup

Filed under: Lync — hayesjupe @ 7:31 pm

The Lync Connectivity Analyser is a handy tool for troubleshooting some issues – and is available from http://www.microsoft.com/en-au/download/details.aspx?id=36535

Recently i found it was crashing on startup, seemingly from a recent patch.

Uninstalling KB2840642v2 (.net framework 4.5 update) made it work again for me.

Obviously this might not be an issue for everyone…. either way, i hope the patch gets updated or the LCA gets updated soon-ish.

Win 2012 R2 and 8.1 RTM now on Technet downloads

Filed under: Windows Server — hayesjupe @ 8:26 am

well, it was there yesterday… but you get the idea.

August 6, 2013

Logon enabled for comments due to spam

Filed under: Evil people — hayesjupe @ 6:22 pm

Hey all,

i’ve forced logon for comment posting…. not something i wanted to do, but in the last month or so the amount of spam comments has gone through the roof.

August 5, 2013

SCCM 2012 reference build updates fail due to proxy error when WPAD in use

Filed under: System Centre — hayesjupe @ 3:36 pm

Installing windows updates into a reference build has long caused hassles for less experienced SCCM admins… in general, as long as you cover the following, it will work:

          Ensure there is an IP boundary which covers the VLAN the reference machine is on

          Ensure the SMSMP client property is specified (or if you are still on 2007, the SMSMP and SMSSLP properties)

          Ensure an updates package is advertised to the record

 

We have recently had a couple of clients with the similar issues, which would usually be explained by one of the above issues, however that was not the case in these instances. In these cases, Windows updates were working fine for everything else apart from the reference build, the correct boundaries and client install properties were there and a package was correctly advertised.

Having a look through the logs:

 

WindowsUpdate.log

WARNING: GetConfig failure, error = 0x80244021, soap client error = 10, soap error code = 0, HTTP status code = 502

WARNING: PTError: 0x80244021

WARNING: GetConfig_WithRecovery failed: 0x80244021

WARNING: RefreshConfig failed: 0x80244021

WARNING: RefreshPTState failed: 0x80244021

WARNING: PTError: 0x80244021

WARNING: Reporter failed to upload events with hr = 80244021.

WARNING: Cached cookie has expired or new PID is available

The important bit of the above error message is HTTP 502, which is a HTTP invalid response.

 

WUAHandlder.log

<![LOG[Scan failed with error = 0x80244021.]LOG]!><time=”08:51:08.954-570″ date=”08-01-2013″ component=”WUAHandler” context=”” type=”3″ thread=”2308″ file=”cwuahandler.cpp:3520″>

 

This log doesn’t actually show us the root cause of the error…. but it is one of the places you look to try and suss out issues with windows updates via SCCM – and the error code is the same as windowsupdate.log

 

Yet another client reported receiving a “Proxy authentication” error – I do not have the logs from that client, but the fix was the same.

These clients used WPAD to allocate proxy settings – and WPAD is case sensitive as per http://blogs.technet.com/b/isablog/archive/2010/11/11/case-sensitivity-of-isa-tmg-generated-proxy-auto-configuration-pac-files.aspx

 

Each of the clients having the issue, had a wildcard exclusion for the active software update point, however, we were not convinced it was working – and rather than test, it was quicker to simply add the URL into the proxy exclusion list, in the case it was in – and see if it worked…. and it did.

Now that we knew what the error was – it was a bit easier to google and find other examples of people confirming the “issue” such as:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/michaelgriswold/archive/2011/07/08/wua-can-t-contact-wsus.aspx

 

We seem to be seeing this error in SCCM 2012 a bit more, as SCCM 2012 by default uses the FQDN of the active software update point in all caps… e.g. SCCM2012.COMPANY.COM. This could be modified in SCCM 2007, but not in 2012. (Well, technically you could modify it in the database, but that would be unsupported)

 

So, in short, if you’re having trouble with your software updates being delivered and are using WPAD

          open the windowsupdate.log

          copy and paste the URL into your WPAD file as an exclusion (so you get the exact case that is being used by the windows update client)

July 9, 2013

Wow – thats impressive – even for government

Filed under: Funny — hayesjupe @ 6:45 pm

An employee sent me this link….

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/07/us-government-destroys-170000-of-hardware-in-absurd-effort-to-stop-malware/

Some of our clients would come close….. some of the decisions made are astounding…. but that really is taking a lack of basic understanding (if the story is true) to a new level….. bravo Economic Development Administration, you are the new benchmark.

July 2, 2013

MS monitoring agent 2013

Filed under: System Centre — hayesjupe @ 8:51 am

http://m.windowsitpro.com/operations-manager/microsoft-releases-monitoring-agent-works-or-without-operations-manager

Interesting approach from MS, releasing a SCOM compatible agent that can work either with SCOM or without.

Every now and again, MS do something that makes sense….. it can be a bit of a shock…. especially at the moment.

June 20, 2013

MS Exams….. how much worse can they get ?

Filed under: Evil people — hayesjupe @ 12:07 pm

I sat 70-412 this morning, as part of my “exam updating” process that I go through every 3 years or so. I’ve now passed 30-ish (I think it might be 33) MS exams since 1997, so I think I’m reasonably qualified to talk on the topic.

While I agree with many people out there that think MS exams are of little real value, due to the poor nature of the questions, the unrealistic scenarios and obscurity of some of the questions, they do help us keep our partner status (which is a whole ‘nother argument) and every now and again, there is a question in there that makes me go home and read up on a topic I don’t know well enough.  The dumps commonly available around the web and the “certification factories” running in places around the world de-value any real test of knowledge the test may have represented from an employer point of view.

So the price is ludicrously high and the value minimal, but the fact that we need them for partner status makes it a moot point – they have to be done if we want to be a MS partner.

Anyway…. onto todays specific exam:

  • Fair enough you can’t take phones etc in… but today, I made the mistake of being sick….. and I wanted to take in a cup of tea… nup… can’t take in a cup of tea… because… well, I might cheat by… umm….. reading left over tea-leaves ? (that weren’t there because there were only tea bags available at the testing centre). Just as well prometric cracked down on that security loop-hole! Well done!
  • Test machine only hung once during todays exam…. was typically slow, but only the one hang – this is very good for MS exams.
  • Question refered to Server1 and Server2 in the question, but all the answers were about Cluster1 and Cluster2…. not a disaster, but would it really hurt to get someone to proof read exams before they go out ?
  • Question about Hyper-V test failover…. all of the answers were about failing over the entire cluster…. and well, all wrong
  • Question about setting up a failover cluster, where the user is an administrator on both nodes, but not a domain admin…… I don’t remember the exact wording, but the first two answers were absolute gibberish (and one of them should have been the correct answer if they had said what I *think* they were trying to say). Clearly written by someone who does not speak english well….. and when the outcome of an exam can depend on wording – I think that’s pretty bad. I completely agree that my spelling and grammar are average at times too – but this is a blog read by a few thousand people – not an exam taken by (I assume) 10’s, if not 100’s of thousands of people, some of whom may need to pass for career progression etc.
  • There were the standard couple of questions in there that had “correct” answers, but talking about methods which you would never, in real life, use. Would it really be that hard to get someone who has actually used the products to write… or at least proof-read the exams ? (the SCCM 2007 exam was a pearler for this too)

So… whats the point of writing all this ?

How about some basic QA on exams before they go out ?

How about getting one of the 1/2 decent MCS techs to look over it before they go out ?

How about getting someone who speaks english as their native tongue to look over it before they go out ? (for english exams) or even someone that write good n stuff ?

But alas – none of that will happen… so really its just an opportunity to blow off some steam. Microsoft and their partners don’t seem to “do” criticism, constructive or otherwise.

I’ll go back to knocking off exams and ignoring the MCM program due to its excessive cost.

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