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Category: General Tech


 
     Looking for a quick way to scan your environment for a health check? MS comes through again. This tool came out in fall of ’09 but works fabulous. A previous student Mike tipped me off on this one and said it’s a click to pick! Check it out..
 
 

Overview

The Microsoft IT Environment Health Scanner is a diagnostic tool that is designed for administrators of small or medium-sized networks (recommended up to 20 servers and up to 500 client computers) who want to assess the overall health of their network infrastructure. The tool identifies common problems that can prevent your network environment from functioning properly as well as problems that can interfere with infrastructure upgrades, deployments, and migration.

When run from a computer with the proper network access, the tool takes a few minutes to scan your IT environment, perform more than 100 separate checks, and collect and analyze information about the following:

  • Configuration of sites and subnets in Active Directory
  • Replication of Active Directory, the file system, and SYSVOL shared folders
  • Name resolution by the Domain Name System (DNS)
  • Configuration of the network adapters of all domain controllers, DNS servers, and e-mail servers running Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Health of the domain controllers
  • Configuration of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) for all domain controllers

If a problem is found, the tool describes the problem, indicates the severity, and links you to guidance at the Microsoft Web site (such as a Knowledge Base article) to help you resolve the problem. You can save or print a report for later review. The tool does not change anything on your computer or your network.

 
 Microsoft and Prometric have happily joined forces once again to offer their free re-takes! See below!
 
 
Second Shot provides a free retake when you fail your first attempt at an IT Pro or Developer Microsoft Certification Exam, reducing concern and fear of not passing your exam.

  • Offer Dates: January 13, 2010 – June 31, 2010.
  • Details: Customers must register, obtain a voucher code, schedule, pay, and sit for both the first and (if necessary) second retake exams before June 30, 2010.
  • Eligible Exams: Any Microsoft Learning IT professional, developer (070, 083), or Microsoft Dynamics exam qualifies for this offer, including Academic Exams (072, 094).
  • Eligible Countries: This is a Worldwide Offer, where applicable. Available at Prometric Testing Centers only.
  • Only one Second Shot voucher per purchased exam.

  • Go to the Prometric Web site, call center, or test center. Use your Second Shot voucher number and schedule and pay for your initial exam.
  • Take your exam.
  • If you do not pass, return to the Prometric Web site or visit the call center or test center and use the same voucher number for your free retake exam.
Take Control
 
   There is alot of confusion when people see an IPv6 address for the first time. "Why in all that is holy are there alpha characters and what is up with the :’s?" Well the new format is in Hexadecimal not Binary. So we went from base 2 to base 16. From 0′s or 1′s to 0-9 and then A-F! This new 128 bit address space can be rather daunting. I like to think of it in a friendlier way. Now the following is MY interpretation of the addressing and take that with a grain of salt as it may NOT be entirely accurate :-)
 
    Think of the new address space like a phone number, an international one. v6 addresses are the same. It’s hierarchal in structure. If you want to dial a number in the UK, you dial +044 first. So now in the planet  you know where your calling. Think of the IPv6 address prefix (first 4 positions) to be the equivalent. Just by looking at the first portion of the address you can tell the TYPE of address it is. This is where the similarities fade. You won’t be able to tell WHERE in the world an IPv6 address is, but you can immediately tell what kind it is. We see this same process in IPv4 when looking at things like APIPA addresses (169.254.x.x) and Private non-routable addresses (192.168.x.x, 172.16.x.x, etc..)
 
     Now that this is as clear as mud. Let’s look at some prefixes and get you on the straight and narrow!
 

IPv6 Prefixes

The prefix is the part of the address that indicates the bits that have fixed values or are the bits of the subnet prefix. <– defiinition from Microsoft’s IPv6 document you can download HERE
 

There are three types of IPv6 addresses:

1.   Unicast

A unicast address identifies a single interface within the scope of the type of unicast address. With the appropriate unicast routing topology, packets addressed to a unicast address are delivered to a single interface.

2.   Multicast

A multicast address identifies multiple interfaces. With the appropriate multicast routing topology, packets addressed to a multicast address are delivered to all interfaces that are identified by the address. A multicast address is used for one-to-many communication, with delivery to multiple interfaces.

3.   Anycast

An anycast address identifies multiple interfaces. With the appropriate routing topology, packets addressed to an anycast address are delivered to a single interface, the nearest interface that is identified by the address
 
    Now looking at these types they just happen to be listed in the order of being most common to least common in an infrastructure. We will examine the Unicast addresses here as it’s the most commonly used.
 

  • Global Unicast Addresses

    Global unicast addresses are equivalent to public IPv4 addresses. They are globally routable and reachable on the IPv6 portion of the InternetThe address prefix for currently assigned global addresses is 2000::/3


  • Local-Use Unicast Addresses

    There are two types of local-use unicast addresses:

    1.  Link-local addresses are used between on-link neighbors and for Neighbor Discovery processes. Similar to APIPA addressing in IPv4. Link-local addresses always begin with FE80. With the 64-bit interface identifier, the prefix for link-local addresses is always FE80::/64

    2.  Site-local addresses are used between nodes communicating with other nodes in the same site.Site-local addresses are equivalent to the IPv4 private address space (10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/12, and 192.168.0.0/16). For example, private intranets that do not have a direct, routed connection to the IPv6 Internet can use site-local addresses without conflicting with global unicast addresses. The first 10-bits are always fixed for site-local addresses (FEC0::/10). These are also re-useable within an organization. Since this can get confusing, Unique-local addresses can be used.

Site-local addresses provide a private addressing alternative to using global addresses for intranet traffic. However, because the site-local address prefix can be used to address multiple sites within an organization, a site-local address prefix address can be duplicated. The ambiguity of site-local addresses in an organization adds complexity and difficulty for applications, routers, and network managers. The first 7 bits have the fixed binary value of 1111110. All unique local addresses have the address prefix FC00::/7
 
Just to round out the remaining types while I type this…
An IPv6 address is easy to classify as multicast because it always begins with “FF”

Anycast IPv6 Addresses

An anycast address is assigned to multiple interfaces. Packets addressed to an anycast address are forwarded by the routing infrastructure to the nearest interface to which the anycast address is assigned. At present, anycast addresses are only used as destination addresses and are only assigned to routers.

 

 

 
 
   There are a few ways you can find this information. one way is through the standard commmand prompt and the other is through powershell! Here are the syntaxes..
 
CMD -
 
systeminfo | find /i "install date"
 
PowerShell -
 
([WMI]”).ConvertToDateTime((Get-WmiObject Win32_OperatingSystem).InstallDate)
 
 
 
     This is a pretty common question. how much memory do i need? 2gb? 4gb? 8gb? This heavily depends on how you use your system and if you even have 64-bit support!
 
     See the link below for a pretty good explination!
 

    

     This topic usually draws from the deepest of emotions from the tech field due to intense personal experiences we’ve all had. Some of us like McAfee, some swear by Norton, others by AVG or Kaspersky. Anti-virus while all moving towards the same goals, get there in completely different fashions. The following is NOT fact based in any way shape or form, so consume my views and opinions with a grain of salt. :-)

 

     I have used a plethora of Anti-Virus apps in my days. Ranging from One care (/shiver) , McAfee, CA, PC-cillin, AVG, Kaspersky, Norton 360 and even the new kid on the block – Microsoft Security Essentials. Some of these apps have tried (and failed) at being an "all-in-one" solution, * cough, cough – Norton 360…Cough * and have failed miserably. I fall on the side of the fence where I would rather prefer multiple dedicated and specialized products than a single massive or suite of solutions from one provider. The McAfee and Norton’s of the industry try to do this. I feel personally they are positioning themselves to the home consumer as a silver bullet or one stop shop solution for the basic, non-tech savvy consumer. The end user feels heavily protected by all the interfaces and pop-ups and warnings… but at what cost? I’ve found these total solution style packages to be resource robbing and they themselves should come up in a scan for mal-ware! I regularly joke that Norton’s suites are a virus themselves.

 

     Some of the more dedicated providers may lack some of the development back end that larger companies can forego. AVG (since it’s free) and Kaspersky yes your ears should be burning by now. I have experienced they have done little to nothing on my system other than take up real estate in my notification area (system tray for you old schoolers!) So what I was looking for was a best of both scenarios between them. A free product with a big enough company to really dedicate a team and dollars to make sure the product stays relevant and up to speed with emerging threats. Microsoft my old buddy has come through! Microsoft Security Essentials.

 

     "Oh dear Lord, we don’t need another One Care in these parts!" Yes I too shared your lack of optimism when I heard they were coming out with a new anti-virus app, so soon after washing their hands and admittedly throwing up the white flag on the one-care product. I tested it, for about 8 hrs. It slowed my Vista box down so much I thought it was a massive tumor in the OS. Lifehacker.com has recently compiled the 5 best anti-virus apps voted by the community and guess which one was in there. MSE. AVG was in there too. Seeing a commonality amongst the top vote getters? Dedicated apps, low to no cost. Do you see any of these on the shelf at Best Buy or Wal-Mart? Um, no.

 

     I was part of the Microsoft Connect Beta for this product and was very early on impressed with the ease of install, config and navigation of its tools. Now that the final product is RTM and on the streets, I have been telling anyone with a spare minute about this great product. I use it exclusively on all my systems.

 

     One drawback… not supported on server OS’s. Sorry Charlie, you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

 

     
      MS Learning has changed their structure in regards to the certification styles. Don’t get me wrong the MCP , MCSA, & MCSE tracks were good…. at their time. What they all significantly lacked was the ability to really call out what someone was really GOOD at. In the 7 exams it took me to get my MCSE, I only took ONE exchange exam. Exchange was my focus! How can it show I am a messaging specialist with the MCSE if 6 of the 7 exams i took weren’t even on the topic i was focused on!
 
      The new tiered structure allows IT Pros to really show what they have a decent level of exposure and knowledge in (Tier 1 or the MCTS – MS Certified technical specialist) and then what you are specializing in, or what you’re best at (Tier 2 or the MCITP – MS IT Professional) Most Pros will have 1-2 MCITP’s depending on their role in the organization and then if they would like can show their breadth of knowledge with multiple MCTS. Let’s use me as an example. My focus is Exchange, Windows server OS and Desktop OS. I have some decent experience in other technologies as well…
 
      I have my MCTS in.. Vista, Server 2008 (all 3), Exchange 2007, MDOP, Forefront security & windows 7. I then have my MCITP in Server 2008 (both), Vista & Exchange 2007
 
      Evolving from this trend if you skipped the MCTS/MCITP track for vista, they will be releasing a new MCITP for Windows 7. Here are the details…
 
MSL will be offering a MCITP: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician certification. The requirements are not yet finalized. They expect to have final requirements shortly. Candidates wishing to pursue this certification can safely proceed to prepare for 680: Win 7, Configuring and 685: Win 7, EDST. Additional requirements will be announced by the end of December 2009. Upgrade requirements have not been determined yet and will be announced at the same time.
my friend jonathan schwartz tipped me off to a wicked new utility on the web. This site gives you a list of available apps to download and install via a single downloaded executable. this really saves you the time to hit all of these different sites individually.

Ninite installer

 
     What the heck is RCC? How does it work? What are some best practices on implimenting it?
 
 
       My students this week (who have been SUPER patient) were wondering about a guideline or documentation on how to migrate from an existing OCS 2007 structure to 2007 R2!
 
      Here you go boys, stay classy!