Category Archives: Microsoft Windows


Powershell email notification on errors in a logfile

Ran into a case that would be nice to receive an email alert based upon a a phrase or error in a log/txt file. Well after I set it up and tested it I decided to do something different but this did work quite well so I thought I’d share.

Remember to execute this with powershell, I used the variable $env:computerName to pull the hostname of the pc. You can just put an email address if you want.

Code starts below the ##

##search error in log
if (Select-String -Path “\\server\d$\Program Files\BackupSoftware\log\server.log” -pattern “Could not open disk”)
function sendMail{

Write-Host “Sending Email”

#SMTP server name
$smtpServer = “”

#Creating a Mail object
$msg = new-object Net.Mail.MailMessage

#Creating SMTP server object
$smtp = new-object Net.Mail.SmtpClient($smtpServer)

#Email structure
$msg.From = “$”
$msg.ReplyTo = “$”
$msg.subject = “Backup Errors”
$msg.body = “Backup failed on $env:ComputerName. Please check the error logs on”

#Sending email


original script was from technet but I don’t have the link.

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Restore Windows 8.1 Default Start Screen


Ran into this issue where a user wanted the default start screen back…..  Hope it helps.

Open a command prompt as Administrator

copy and paste

del %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms
del %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\appsFolder.itemdata-ms.bak
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

Now hit your windows key or swipe to the windows key and you will have a nice clean start screen.


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Windows 8/8.1 Networked Printers show as red x’s

CapturePrinterJust thought i would write a quick blog post that if you have recently deployed a Windows 8 / 8.1 device and discover that the networked connected printers are showing as red’s then you may need to check with your vendor to see if they have a updated chipset drivers.  I know it sounds crazy but the device I was working on had this happen to it and the same day I discovered it the vendor released a update so I installed that and the printers now show the names instead.

My Device was the Dell Latitude 10

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Windows 8 Installation (Part 1A)


This section will be pretty strait forward, if you have ever installed Windows before its a breeze.  Now keep in mind this procedure is not for MDT 2012 / SCCM 2012 (those tutorials will come later). This document is a work in progress as I find all my notes so it may change.

Installing Windows:

1. Install windows from your USB Flash Drive or DVD.
When you arrive at the Personalize your computer screen press CTRL+CTRL+F3 (this will restart your windows installation into Audit mode)
2. Once restarted it will log in as administrator and show a sysprep box, click cancel and continue on.
3. Install (ONLY) the internet network card drivers no others.
4. Install your office software (Mine was Office 2013 X86, if you have 64bit version of office do not use it as some of the addons do not function correctly.)
5. Download the drivers from your vendors website (Click here for the Dell Enterprise Drivers) Do not install these drivers at this time, you need to keep your image as free as possible. Dell drivers are in cab files so you will need to extract them, I extract mine in a folder called c:\drivers\pcmodel
6. (See Drivers below)

Install any 3rd Party Applications:

What I normally include on a base image are the following software packages:

System Tweaks:

  • Disable any power management features on the internal network / wireless cards.  (See scripts later on in this document) 
  • Set the lock screen background (Not needed, can be changed with group policy later)
  • Right click on the desktop and click personalize desktop icons and include all (Computer or This PC, etc) you can pick what fits your process the best.
  • Customize the task bar to show all icons and turn off System icons (Action Center) Also make sure to include the keyboard so it is always in the task bar (if for a touch screen)
  • I always create a folder called “Helper Applications” but this isn’t needed in windows 8. Instead you can customize the Metro/start screen to put all the applications in a group called Helper Applications instead. I typically put the Cleanup, Eusing Free Registry Cleaner, Malwarebytes, Quicktime Player in this Folder/Group. (You may need to unpin the uninstallers, docs for these from the start menu.
  • While in the metro/start screen type UAC and turn it off (UAC = User Account Control)
  • Launch Internet Explorer and set you home page and any other settings you may need. (including search providers)


  • You will need to modify the registry to import the drivers (i’m postitive there are easier ways to do this but this has been the best for me)
  • Start the Registry Editor.
    • In the navigation pane, open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.
    • In the details pane, double-click the DevicePath entry.
    • In the Value data text box, make sure that existing paths are not deleted.
    • Add a semi-colon (;) to the end of any existing paths, then add the folder path (for example, c:\drivers) or UNC network path (for example, \\server\share) to the end of the line. Separate multiple folders with semi-colons.
  • After you capture your image you need to browse to the c:\users\default\appdata\local\microsoft\windows and copy the AppsFolderLayout.bin and the .ms file (See here for more info)
  • Once you have finished customizing your metro layout we need to copy it but what I normally do is I make a backup of the image and call it (PreSYS-Base1)

Capturing your base:

  • Restart your base image pc and but when it restarts turn it off so you can capture it.
  • Boot up with the bootable usb flash drive you created earlier.
    • You will need to attach some other sort of storage to store the image (you can get creative and use the network too but I have a 1tb hd on my desk)
    • run the following command, keep in mind that D: in my case is my 1tb usb hard drive and the direcotry i’m capturing is the C:\ drive.  Dism /capture-wim /wimfile:d:\SomenameBaseX.wim /capturedir:c:\ /name:windows

This how to is going to be split into 2 sections (Part 2A and Part 2B)  Part 2B will continue into more customization of the image after your base capture.  (lot of little tweaks but well worth it)



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Windows 8.1 reportedly to launch in mid-October



UPDATE: Release Date is: October 18th

Were almost there, the last suggested release date was mid to late August for OEM deployment of Windows 8.1 but it looks like that has been pushed out to mid-October which means that we probably won’t get to see it until after the OEM’s get it so that should be the 1st of September.  Most likely Microsoft will also be releasing the new OS for the Windows phone platform at the same time so for all the Windows Phone users be on the lookout.

Windows 8.1 isn’t a huge game changer still but with adding the Start button (not the same as before) I think it has made things a little easier to use and once you realize how easy it is to access the apps.  The new feature that will allow you to boot to desktop I think will help most people to feel like the previous versions of Windows OS. This will still be a free update for all current Windows 8 users, bringing them a range of usability enhancements and fixes.

If you would like to read more about the enhancements please visit here

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Creating a Windows 8 Bootable USB flash drive (Part 1)


Method 1 – Creating the usb flash drive for installation (Requires at least a 4gb flash drive)

1. Download your iso from Microsoft and also download the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool

2. Follow the simple onscreen instructions and your done.  (See Below)

Method 2
– Creating the usb flash drive for installation (Requires at least a 4gb flash drive)

  • Insert your USB flash disk and launch a command prompt as Administrator

  • Type Diskpart and press enter

  • Diskpart> list disk                    /* shows list of active disk /*

  • Diskpart> select disk #           /* is the number for your USB flash drive /*

  • Diskpart> clean                      /* deletes any exisiting partitions on the flash drive /*

  • Diskpart> cre par pri              /* create a primary partition on the flash drive /*

  • Diskpart> sel par 1                /* selects the 1st partition /*

  • Diskpart> active                                      /*marks the new partition active /*

  • Diskpart> format FS=FAT32 QUICK      /* formats the usb drive with fat32 /*

  • Diskpart> assign                                    /* assigns a drive letter to flash drive /*

  • Diskpart> exit


  1. Now either mount your Windows 8 iso file or use 7zip to open it and copy the contents to the flash drive.
  2. Open a command prompt as administrator and chdir into the boot folder of the Windows 8 iso image. (ex: I:\boot where I:\ is the drive where the iso image is mounted)
  3. Type bootsect /nt60 E: (where E: is the drive assigned to the usb flash drive)
  4. Insert it in the computer you want to install Windows and read below
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Deploying Windows 8 / 8.1 Pro & Enterprise

Before you start get to know your hardware you are working with.  I’m going to base my documentation on the Dell Latitude 10 and the Dell XPS 12.  I would highly recommend that you check your vendor hardware to make sure it supports UEFI.  The Latitude 10 is on by default and you are unable to disable this (but why would you want to???, i’ll get to that..)  The XPS 12 is on by default and yes you can turn it off if you want.

What is UEFI?

   UEFI is like a middleman between you and your operating system.  It actually will speed up the boot process and prevent Boot Sector & Rootkits from infecting your system.  If you would like more reading on UEFI please visit here: and for Windows 7, 8 and more info here:


My Hardware:
Dell Latitude 10 – Intel Atom Z2760 Processor, 2GB Ram & 64GB SSD.
Dell XPS 12 – Intel iCore i5 & i7, 4GB & 8GB, 128SSD & 256SSD

I decided to split the process into a few sections so you can follow alot easier.

Jump to:

The beginning:

So you probably want to reload your device with your volume license version of Windows 8 Pro / Enterprise.  First off you will need to either (1) create a bootable usb flash drive (see below) or if you’re lucky to have a DVD player (optional equipment) or a server that supports uefi imaging (Read Below).

I’m going to give 2 examples of the installation (1) will be the old fashion making a bloated image that includes everything that is needed and (2) MDT 2012, SCCM 2012 way.  The bloated way I call it is a fast deployment option if you don’t already have MDT 2012 or SCCM and no time to set it up.

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Blogging about my Windows 8 deployment


Over the next week I plan on putting together everything I have documented about deploying windows 8 in the enterprise.  I will be discussing several options that I have found and will talk about most of them.  Now I’m sure there is always a easier way to do stuff but as I have found it I have utilized it.

So please check back soon……

Topics I plan to cover:

I also plan on linking any documentation that I find on my processes and my hope is that you will learn from what I have done and maybe do things better? easier? and with less aspirin….

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Microsoft Security Essentials AV-Test certification Fails AGAIN!



Yet Again, Microsoft Security Essentials has failed AV-Test's antivirus certification, after not meeting the criteria to pass their December 2012 testing suite. AV-Test conducts antivirus software testing every month, pitting 25 programs against 0-day attacks and known malware while also testing the repair capabilities of the software and its usability. To pass certification, the app must score at least 11 out of a possible 18 points across the three tested categories; MSE scored 10 and so just managed to fail the criteria.

Security Essentials failed largely due to poor protection against 0-day real-world attacks, protecting against only 78% of attacks. While this may not sound particularly bad, and it's an improvement over 71% protection of November, it still falls well short of the industry average 92% protection in this area. MSE also failed to meet the industry average detection of malware discovered in the last 2-3 months, scoring just 90% compared to an average of 97% across other suites. An overall poor Protection score of just 1.5/6.0 meant MSE couldn't manage the required 11 points.


If you're wondering who should I switch too visit here:

Source: AV-TEST

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