HP SoftPaq Download Manager for drivers and BIOS
article #1037, updated 17 hours ago

On HP desktop hardware, this is the only way to get some drivers and BIOS:

http://ftp.hp.com/pub/caps-softpaq/cmit/HP_SDM.html

Categories:   Drivers   BIOS

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SPF and Email Flow Analysis Tools
article #998, updated 7 days ago

A very good SPF checker:

https://vamsoft.com/support/tools/spf-policy-tester

Here is possibly the original SPF checker:

http://www.kitterman.com/spf/validate.html

To do a deep study of a bounceback, the best tool this writer has ever seen is here:

https://testconnectivity.microsoft.com/

in the Message Analyzer tab. Just paste every header you have into there and submit, and then read. Lots and lots of excellent information comes up.

Categories:   Email   

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Upgrading Windows 10 Versions
article #1036, updated 7 days ago

When going to version 1607 of 10, it is reportedly supposed to be automatic:

https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/08/02/how-to-get-the-windows-10-anniversary-update/

but can be done by ISO:

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wiki/windows_10-windows_install/how-to-upgrade-to-windows-10-anniversary-update/fab99802-4358-49d9-8278-e9664cd56311

Categories:   Windows OS-Level Issues   Windows Installer and Updates

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A Great Alternative to Visio
article #1035, updated 7 days ago

This one is very good:
http://lucidchart.com

Categories:   Applications   

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The System Update Readiness Tool for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems
article #1034, updated 8 days ago

A 539-megabyte monster! Appears to be designed to solve lots of problems.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20858

Categories:   Windows Installer and Updates   Windows OS-Level Issues

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Very interesting employment / jobs web site
article #1033, updated 12 days ago

Rather nicely set up:

http://glassdoor.com

Categories:   Web Sites   

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Windows Performance through VSS Cleanup and Preassociation
article #1004, updated 13 days ago

These steps can improve Windows performance a whole lot. It works because a vast array of different applications and services in Windows utilize VSS on their backends. Start an administrative CMD, and then…

Step 1:

First we run the following in an administrative CMD:

vssadmin Delete Shadows /All

If there are orphan shadows, you will be asked whether you want to delete them. If there are and you delete them, you will see immediate performance benefit. Reportedly, Windows autodeletes them only after there are 64 per volume. We prefer to see zero!

Step 2:

We now improve any existing preassociation of disk space for VSS. On some machines, this will increase performance very impressively, immediately. In general it keeps them smooth and stable and prevents hesitations. This does not reserve or take up the space, it just “associates” it, makes it ready for use, so that whenever Windows wants to do any of the bajillions of things it does with VSS, things ranging from tiny to enormous, it can skip that step.

It is worthwhile to know that C: on all workstation installs and many server installs, has a minimal preassociation already set up. So this first step is to resize the existing association.

Do the below in administrative CMD:

vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=20%

Do repeat for any other active hard drive partitions, D:, E:, et cetera. Don’t worry if you get an error, the next step covers it.

Step 3:

It may well throw an error, saying there is no such association. If this is a workstation OS, vssadmin lacks two commands on workstation OSes which we need to improve further, so in that case we are done. But on any Windows Server OS from 2003, if the error was thrown, we do an Add for every RAID volume:

vssadmin Add ShadowStorage /For=E: /On=E: /MaxSize=20%

Step 4:

And finally (server only), one more thing which can help if, for instance, C: is almost full but E: has plenty of space:

vssadmin Delete ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C:
vssadmin Add ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=E: /MaxSize=20%

This maximizes overall performance, and also prevents possible backup failures and other issues due to insufficient disk space on C:.

Note:

On some machines, the volumes do not have letters. For these you will need to use the volume GUID path. In vssadmin list shadowstorage, they look like this:

Shadow Copy Storage association
   For volume: (\\?\Volume{99ac05c7-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963}\)\\?\Volume{99a
c05c7-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963}\
   Shadow Copy Storage volume: (\\?\Volume{99ac05c7-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963}
\)\\?\Volume{99ac05c7-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963}\
   Used Shadow Copy Storage space: 0 B (0%)
   Allocated Shadow Copy Storage space: 0 B (0%)
   Maximum Shadow Copy Storage space: 32 MB (32%)

For such a situation, substitute \\?\Volume{99ac05c8-c06b-11e0-b883-806e6f6e6963} (the whole long string) for C: in the above command lines.

PowerShell will give GUI paths for all volumes thusly:

GWMI -namespace root\cimv2 -class win32_volume

References are here:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc788050.aspx

https://www.storagecraft.com/support/kb/article/289

http://backupchain.com/i/how-to-delete-all-vss-shadows-and-orphaned-shadows

http://www.tech-no.org/?p=898

Categories:   VSS   Performance

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Linux Speed, Responsiveness, and Latency Reduction with 'sysctl' Settings
article #892, updated 14 days ago

These items help a lot in any application, including desktop, web server, or terminal server. The end of this post has two large compilations of these settings, one for wired (“non-lossy”) networking, one for wireless (“lossy”).

On the vast majority of Linux distributions, one can just add these changes to /etc/sysctl.conf, and then run sysctl -p to apply them without reboot. However, recent additions to standards have enabled us to place custom settings in our own configuration files, so that we don’t take /etc/sysctl.conf out of distro control.

On recent Debian and Ubuntu, we may best put them in /etc/sysctl.d/60-custom.conf (or replace the word “custom” to your liking), and then run sysctl --system to load both /etc/sysctl.conf and everything under /etc/sysctl.d.

On some other recent distros, it’s /etc/sysctl.d/custom.conf (the word “custom” is still arbitrary), and then run systemctl restart systemd-sysctl.

You can check your results with sysctl -A.

The first selection is for wired networking performance:

net.ipv4.tcp_window_scaling=1
net.ipv4.tcp_workaround_signed_windows=1
net.ipv4.tcp_sack=1
net.ipv4.tcp_fack=1
net.ipv4.tcp_low_latency=1
net.ipv4.ip_no_pmtu_disc=0
net.ipv4.tcp_mtu_probing=1
net.ipv4.tcp_frto=2
net.ipv4.tcp_frto_response=2
net.ipv4.tcp_congestion_control=illinois

A bit different first group for networking performance, is recommendable for anything involving wireless, i.e., “lossy” networks:

net.ipv4.tcp_window_scaling=1
net.ipv4.tcp_workaround_signed_windows=1
net.ipv4.tcp_sack=1
net.ipv4.tcp_fack=1
net.ipv4.tcp_low_latency=1
net.ipv4.ip_no_pmtu_disc=0
net.ipv4.tcp_mtu_probing=1
net.ipv4.tcp_frto=2
net.ipv4.tcp_frto_response=2
net.ipv4.tcp_congestion_control = hybla
net.ipv4.tcp_allowed_congestion_control = hybla cubic

And then some general networking performance items:

net.core.rmem_default = 31457280
net.core.rmem_max = 12582912
net.core.wmem_default = 31457280
net.core.wmem_max = 12582912
net.core.somaxconn = 4096
net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 65536
net.core.optmem_max = 25165824
net.ipv4.tcp_mem = 65536 131072 262144
net.ipv4.udp_mem = 65536 131072 262144
net.ipv4.tcp_rmem = 8192 87380 16777216
net.ipv4.udp_rmem_min = 16384
net.ipv4.tcp_wmem = 8192 65536 16777216
net.ipv4.udp_wmem_min = 16384
net.ipv4.tcp_max_tw_buckets = 1440000
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_recycle = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_reuse = 1

And some for network security enhancement:

net.ipv4.tcp_synack_retries = 2
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 2000 65535
net.ipv4.tcp_rfc1337 = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_fin_timeout = 15
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time = 300
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_probes = 5
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_intvl = 15

And now a few to keep virtual memory usage under good control:

vm.swappiness=20
vm.dirty_ratio = 60
vm.dirty_background_ratio = 2

And one to increase the maximum number of open and watched files, very helpful indeed for servers, file synchronization of all sorts, and many other functions:

fs.file-max = 2097152
fs.inotify.max_user_watches = 524288

The above was compiled from these two excellent articles:

http://www.networkworld.com/article/2227856/opensource-subnet/best-networking-tweaks-for-linux.html
https://easyengine.io/tutorials/linux/sysctl-conf/

and other sources. Here is the whole set for wired (non-lossy) networking:

net.ipv4.tcp_window_scaling=1
net.ipv4.tcp_workaround_signed_windows=1
net.ipv4.tcp_sack=1
net.ipv4.tcp_fack=1
net.ipv4.tcp_low_latency=1
net.ipv4.ip_no_pmtu_disc=0
net.ipv4.tcp_mtu_probing=1
net.ipv4.tcp_frto=2
net.ipv4.tcp_frto_response=2
net.ipv4.tcp_congestion_control=illinois
net.core.rmem_default = 31457280
net.core.rmem_max = 12582912
net.core.wmem_default = 31457280
net.core.wmem_max = 12582912
net.core.somaxconn = 4096
net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 65536
net.core.optmem_max = 25165824
net.ipv4.tcp_mem = 65536 131072 262144
net.ipv4.udp_mem = 65536 131072 262144
net.ipv4.tcp_rmem = 8192 87380 16777216
net.ipv4.udp_rmem_min = 16384
net.ipv4.tcp_wmem = 8192 65536 16777216
net.ipv4.udp_wmem_min = 16384
net.ipv4.tcp_max_tw_buckets = 1440000
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_recycle = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_reuse = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_synack_retries = 2
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 2000 65535
net.ipv4.tcp_rfc1337 = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_fin_timeout = 15
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time = 300
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_probes = 5
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_intvl = 15
vm.swappiness=20
vm.dirty_ratio = 60
vm.dirty_background_ratio = 2
fs.file-max = 2097152
fs.inotify.max_user_watches = 524288

and another full set for wireless / lossy networking:

net.ipv4.tcp_window_scaling=1
net.ipv4.tcp_workaround_signed_windows=1
net.ipv4.tcp_sack=1
net.ipv4.tcp_fack=1
net.ipv4.tcp_low_latency=1
net.ipv4.ip_no_pmtu_disc=0
net.ipv4.tcp_mtu_probing=1
net.ipv4.tcp_frto=2
net.ipv4.tcp_frto_response=2
net.ipv4.tcp_congestion_control = hybla
net.ipv4.tcp_allowed_congestion_control = hybla cubic
net.core.rmem_default = 31457280
net.core.rmem_max = 12582912
net.core.wmem_default = 31457280
net.core.wmem_max = 12582912
net.core.somaxconn = 4096
net.core.netdev_max_backlog = 65536
net.core.optmem_max = 25165824
net.ipv4.tcp_mem = 65536 131072 262144
net.ipv4.udp_mem = 65536 131072 262144
net.ipv4.tcp_rmem = 8192 87380 16777216
net.ipv4.udp_rmem_min = 16384
net.ipv4.tcp_wmem = 8192 65536 16777216
net.ipv4.udp_wmem_min = 16384
net.ipv4.tcp_max_tw_buckets = 1440000
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_recycle = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_reuse = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_synack_retries = 2
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 2000 65535
net.ipv4.tcp_rfc1337 = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_fin_timeout = 15
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time = 300
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_probes = 5
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_intvl = 15
vm.swappiness=20
vm.dirty_ratio = 60
vm.dirty_background_ratio = 2
fs.file-max = 2097152
fs.inotify.max_user_watches = 524288

Categories:   Performance   Linux OS-level Issues

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Record all audio in Windows regardless of "Stereo Mix"
article #1032, updated 19 days ago

In Windows, some audio drivers provide something called “Stereo Mix” and some don’t; this is what is usually recommended if you want to record everything audio happening at once in Windows. But increasingly this doesn’t exist. There are software replacements which do the job:

http://vb-audio.pagesperso-orange.fr/Voicemeeter/

http://www.virtualaudiostreaming.net/

Categories:   Audio-Video   Windows OS-Level Issues

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CATE: Clean All system and user profile Temp folders, Etcetera
article #484, updated 20 days ago

For quite a while I had been curious as to why a simple method to do this was not available. CCLEANER and others do not do everything needed. Well, the following .VBS originated with the excellent David Barrett ( http://www.cedit.biz ) and has been rewritten a lot by yours truly (JEB of Ponderworthy). One thing discovered along the way, is even in XP there is a user profile called the “System Profile” — XP has it in C:\WINDOWS\System32\config\systemprofile — and malware often dumps junk into it, and sometimes many gigs of unwanted files can be found in its temporary storage. The below cleans all user profiles including those, as well as the Windows Error Reporting cache, and the .NET caches, and the system TEMP folders, and in recent versions, many Windows log files which are often found in many thousands of fragments on drives.

The tool is designed for Windows 10 down through XP. If you’re running this tool on Vista/2008 or above, do use an administrative CMD or equivalent, or most of the deletions won’t happen.

The full text can be downloaded here in a zip file.

Categories:   Cleanup