Latest posts

Upgrading Office from 2010 to 2013 using SCCM

Posted by on January 2, 2015 | 4 comments

New year – new drive to try and keep updating my blog…

I’ve recently been exploring the challenges in our environment around upgrading from Office 2010 to Office 2013 using System Center Configuration Manager and thought it would make a good blog post.

I’m NOT going to cover creating a 2013 package/application for SCCM deployment as this has been done extensively elsewhere.

What I am going to cover is the install script for Office 2013 taking into account some of the specific environmental issues I face.

We have over 100 sites spread all over the global. The majority of these are small (<10 machines), with no onsite servers, connected via VSAT and so suffer from low bandwidth and high latency connectivity. As such, the prospect of re-copying my Office 2010 install package AND my Office 2013 package was not attractive. Especially as once all of the updates, SP1 and language packages had been included in the base install it exceeded 5Gb in size…
» Read the full post

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Medieval times

Posted by on September 4, 2014 | No comments

Hola.

So I’ve not added any new articles in “a while”… I went off to work for a consultancy for a bit and I did play with some cool stuff there (some of which I plan on sharing), but it sort of felt like I was giving away trade secrets… so I stopped updating… and just fell out of the habit.

I’ve got some funky SCCM and Lync stuff in my archives that I plan on sharing, so stay tuned! Or subscribed! Or however you currently get updates from my blog…

In the meantime… sound not required, but it’s probably better with sound, even if you don’t understand the language.

Drupal HTTPS images

Posted by on March 2, 2011 | No comments

I was involved with a project for a while which was using Drupal as the CMS. The entire site was being served over HTTPS, which was quite annoying as a large pile of the images that were being posted were being served over HTTP from their respective webservers. Naturally, this resulted in everyone getting very annoyed at their browser warning about loading unsecured content on a secure page.

So, I came up with this module. I’ve been meaning to release it for ages, but as I need to clear down the server it was running on it’s made me take the five minutes to write this post. Still needs a bit of work, but does what it says on the tin.

It identifies non-local images in content, downloads them and serves them from a local cache.

Download the module here: img_proxy.tar.gz

If you use Drupal, you should already know the drill – extract the file to your modules directory and enable it in the modules page. The module is implemented as an input filter, so you will then have to add it to the appropriate input formats at http://your.site.com/admin/settings/filters

Notes

  • Licenced under the GPL version 2.
  • *** There is nothing in the code that verifies the file being proxied is an image!! *** (that’ll be in the next version!)
  • May not work with sites that check the referer of the request for images.
  • I’ve been meaning to release this for ages, but there is sill a lot of debug code thats just commented out.

Hopefully I’m not the only webmaster that ever had this issue and somebody will find this handy.

Maybe one day I’ll tidy up the code and submit it to the Drupal Module repository!

Enjoy.

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SCE2007 Failed to install agent

Posted by on July 6, 2010 | 3 comments

I’ve been doing more and more work with the System Center product suite of late, and suffice to say I have some big loves and some big hates about the whole thing.

My recent hate is System Center Essentials 2007. Thankfully, I actually quite like Essentials 2010.

Anyway, while installing the SCE2007 agent the other day, I encountered an odd error message while trying both a push install and a local install of the agent.

Error 25211.Failed to install performance counters.. Error Code: -2147023886 (The configuration registry key is invalid.).

Sadly, there’s not a lot on the web in relation to this error. The only pointer that might have helped was this technet article: How to manually rebuild Performance Counter Library values.

This starts out pretty nasty, involving copying files from your install media and hacking about in the registry, which Microsoft always massively caveats. The one item of help on the page was the command:

lodctr /R

According to the help, this will rebuild the perf registry strings and info from scratch based on the current registry settings and backup INI files. And accorting to the KB article: “/R is uppercase. You must have administrative rights on the computer to successfully perform this command.”

That did the trick for me and completely avoided all the nasty work of actually finding the install media for this server 🙂

I’ve included below a larger chunk of the installation error log below which will hopefully help people find this page via searches.
» Read the full post

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EU Browser choice debacle

Posted by on March 13, 2010 | No comments

Theres been quite a bit of chit chat about this update that Microsoft has now released.

My personal opinion is Microsoft shouldn’t have been forced to release this. If you FORCE a choice for a web browser, you should also force a choice for every single application that comes with Windows.

Additionally, I fail to see why people should be forced to pick from a number of free products. Perhaps a better option would be for Microsoft to allow third parties to produce branded versions of Windows and then users can make their initial choices at the point of purchase.

This, of course, assumes a level of knowledge of the end users so questions like “where have all my favourites gone?” don’t happen…

Anyway, this was supposed to be a vaguely technical post and not a rant.

So, as a systems administrator, how do you block this update?

If you are using an internal update server such as WSUS or SCCM (which I love), then you have the simple option of not approving the update for release.

Otherwise, Microsoft have released a KB article showing a simple registry key that can be set to prevent the Browser Choice screen running – KB2019411.

So, as a sysadmin, how do you implement this?

Well, you can custom roll a Group Policy to set this as a preference on your client machines. I’ve written some GPOs before, but in this case I’ll simply direct you to this blog post by Christoffer Steding where you can download his version.

However, in my opinion, a much more graceful group policy to set is a software restriction policy. This has been documented by The Angry Technician.

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