When an Outlook plugin will not enable or reenable
article #1273, updated 42 days ago

Sometimes, newer versions of Outlook will hard-fail a plugin, so that none of the standard GUI changes will permit it to reenable. When this happens, you can override by deleting everything here:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\[version number]\Outlook\Resiliency\DisabledItem

This does enable every plugin, so there is a bit of danger.

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Windows Updates by Powershell
article #1272, updated 44 days ago

There are a lot of out-of-date and/or flatly wrong web references on this topic, so it seemed like a good thing to start one. Updates are likely.

  • Prerequisites. The page reports minimum Powershell version 3.0, but automatic Powershell Gallery downloads don’t start to get good until 5.1. So this document will say PS 5.1. Administrative Powershell session or equivalent is of course needed.
  • Set up the environment:
Install-PackageProvider -Name NuGet -Force
Install-Module PSWindowsUpdate -Force
Get-Command -Module PSWindowsUpdate
Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope Process -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -Force
Import-Module PSWindowsUpdate
Add-WUServiceManager -MicrosoftUpdate -Confirm:$false
  • Get list of current Windows updates available to the setup. This respects anything else in place, e.g., WSUS, standard RMM patching system, et cetera.

Get-WUList

  • Install with automatic reboot

Install-WindowsUpdate -MicrosoftUpdate -AcceptAll -AutoReboot

  • Or, install without automatic reboot

Install-WindowsUpdate -MicrosoftUpdate -AcceptAll -AutoReboot:$false

The beauty of this one, is although it can and will run utterly silently, it gives a marvelously simple Powershell-style progress report, both downloads and install progress, if you are running it in a live window.

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Tweak and Enable Superfetch Et Cetera on Windows 8/2012 and Later
article #1270, updated 46 days ago

In an administrative PowerShell, all of the following. Reports suggest increases in performance if there are CPU cycles available:

Enable-MMAgent -ApplicationLaunchPrefetching
Enable-MMAgent -ApplicationPreLaunch
Set-MMAgent -MaxOperationAPIFiles 8192
Enable-MMAgent -MemoryCompression
Enable-MMAgent -OperationAPI
Enable-MMAgent -PageCombining
Set-Service sysmain -StartupType Automatic
Start-Service sysmain

The last two enable and start the service, if necessary.

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Use DMARC to harden SPF and DKIM
article #1255, updated 50 days ago

The following TXT record:

v=DMARC1; p=reject; pct=100; adkim=s; aspf=s

at least theoretically, should harden SPF and, if present, DKIM. “=s” means “strict”. According to DMARC documentation, DMARC can be used without DKIM, and experiences with a first setup of the above without DKIM are playing out well so far.

Some info is here:

https://www.dmarcanalyzer.com/how-to-create-a-dmarc-record/

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FQDNs to block Facebook
article #1269, updated 53 days ago

Known list at this writing:

*.facebook.com
*.facebook.net
*.fbcdn.com
*.fbcdn.net
*.instagram.com
*.cdninstagram.com
*.tfbnw.net
*.fbsbx.com
*.fb.com

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DISM Fixes Windows 8.1 and 10
article #980, updated 56 days ago

Do this:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup

and then this:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

and then reboot. This handles a lot of SFC errors and others too.

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Great way to handle non-private screenshots
article #1268, updated 63 days ago

Try this:

https://snag.gy/

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The WINS resolution information was not updated. The record format is corrupt.
article #1227, updated 66 days ago

This error often occurs when a longstanding Windows Server network is given a much newer domain controller. The WINS records embedded in DNS, don’t work anymore; when you try to delete them or change them, you get the error message in the title of this article.

The best thing to do, is PowerShell:

Remove-DNSServerResourceRecord -ZoneName dns_zone.local -Force -RRtype "WINS" -Name "@"

Try that (substituting dns_zone.local for your LAN DNS zone!), then right-click on the zone name, choose “All Tasks” and then “Reload”, then press F5 for refresh. The error-causing situation will go away, you can then reconfigure easily. If there are other zones, you’ll want to repeat for all of them. If there is a WINS record in a reverse lookup zone, the RRtype is WINSR instead of WINS, the result being something akin to this:

Remove-DNSServerResourceRecord -ZoneName 1.168.192.in-addr.arpa -Force -RRtype "WINSR" -Name "@"

Sometimes the actions above only take effect, and show up in the servers, if you reload the zones.

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Using Contig to defrag
article #1266, updated 80 days ago

The command is CONTIG (also available in 64-bit as CONTIG64), is a Sysinternals:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/contig

It defrags, and does it very well. It does it file by file. Here’s a command probably suitable for background operation on a whole C drive, on a 64-bit machine, quiet mode:

start /LOW contig64 -s -q C:\*

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Convert MBR to GPT without destroying data
article #366, updated 81 days ago

There is a utility, for Windows, Linux, and Mac, which will convert MBR disks to GPT without destroying data. (Please note that it does NOT preserve data if you’re using an “extended” partition!!!!) It is called “GPT fdisk”, and it is here:

http://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/download.html

Binaries for Windows can be downloaded here:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/gptfdisk/files/latest/download

In Windows, gdisk.exe needs one parameter, which is a drive number followed by a colon. Drive numbers are not letters; they can be obtained using the GUI Disk Manager or using ‘list disk’ in DISKPART on the command line.

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>diskpart

Microsoft DiskPart version 5.2.3790.3959
Copyright (C) 1999-2001 Microsoft Corporation.
On computer: SITEFS

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status      Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  ----------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online       232 GB  8033 KB
  Disk 1    Online       466 GB      0 B
  Disk 2    Online       932 GB      0 B
  Disk 3    Online       931 GB      0 B
  Disk 4    Online       931 GB      0 B

DISKPART> exit

All you have to do to convert, is to run gdisk on a given drive:

gdisk 3:

say yes to all of the prompts, and then use the single command “w” for “write” the new partition table, and confirm. Then you will need to restart the “Virtual Disk” service if it’s running:

sc stop vds
sc start vds

and then test your results using DISKPART from the command line; the GPT disks will be starred as such.

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status      Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt
  --------  ----------  -------  -------  ---  ---
  Disk 0    Online       232 GB  8033 KB
  Disk 1    Online       466 GB      0 B
  Disk 2    Online       932 GB  2550 KB        *
  Disk 3    Online       931 GB  2173 KB        *
  Disk 4    Online       931 GB  2173 KB        *

DISKPART>

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