Remote registry control

The fix to many active directory issues involves the registry. RegEdit has built in support to connect to remote machines, but we normally leave the remote registry service turned off. Ironically, the recommended method usually given to turn on remote registry edits involves... editing the registry. Now this can be done via group policy, but for a one off fix, it is far easier to just start the service, make the change and turn it back off.

Performance counter management.

Performance counters are a frequent recurring error message in Windows systems. They can indicate issues that need to be addressed, but it is very common to get errors from performance counters that are irrelevant (such as Readyboost on machines that don't use the feature). Fortunately, there is a way to manage which counters are enabled.

First, download Exctlst.exe from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit[1]. Once installed (default location is C:\Program Files(x86)\Resource Kit) run the executable as administrator and find the counters to enable or disable.

Unable to access the IIS Metabase

Ran into a situation after updating to Windows 10 from Windows 7 where Visual Studio could not debug under the full IIS stack. Turns out it is a simple fix[1]. Simply go to %systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\config and when prompted that you don't have access, click the button that grants access. (This avoids needing to run Visual Studio as the administrator).


Users using default administrator account blocked from apps in Windows 10

Microsoft has been improving the security of the operating system bit by bit with each release. This is great news in the long run, but can catch some users who had poor security configurations in a bind when they upgrade. For example, Windows 7 allowed the default administrator account to be used by local users. Windows 10 forbids many apps from running under the default administrator account, which is a good idea as the default administrator account should be used for... administration.

A simpler Active Directory replication diagnostic.

Microsoft released 1.0 of the AD Replication Status Tool[1] a few months ago. Running it is a breeze and the system displays the status in a very readable format. Recommended for those who are curious if those "warnings" in the event log are actually transitory in nature or perhaps indicating something more important is being alluded to. Recommended as a quick check and a first step in diagnostics.


Expired Certification Authority Cert

If you have been using a certificate authority on your domain for five years, you may encounter a failure to automatically renew the certificate, which in turn causes it to be unable to renew certificates (because the sub-certs rely on the validity of the root, which is no longer valid due to expiring without renewal). The primary symptom will be Event ID 4319: "Active Directory Certificate Services could not create an encryption certificate.

When good browsers go bad: Copying the Default User Profile fails due to Chrome Extension read permission errors.

Recent we had a machine unable to log new users into it. The event log showed that the following data could not be copied into a new user profile: \\?\C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\[random characters\[version]

Zoom video chat.

If you spend a lot of time doing video conferencing, there are quite a few options, but they all have limitations. For $10 a month, Zoom[1] provides a combination of video chat (with 25 participants), remote desktop sharing and whiteboarding that are currently the best combination that I have found for consultants that need to both communicate and do software training. The only limitation is that it won't work in a technical support role as it suppresses UAC prompts entirely from remote view (a reasonable choice for compromising between usability and security).

Team Foundation Build Server

Installing the 2013 SP 4 version of Team Foundation Build Server is very easy to do; the wizard will lead you through the steps and fire up a build server instance in under twenty minutes. Where things get interesting is once you want to actually do builds and get your dependencies installed.

The most obvious dependency will be the SDKs that you are using. Microsoft makes them available via a single page[1] which is nice, because you probably will need more than one of the SDKs if you are using third party libraries.

Concrete5 blogging software admin password reset.

It isn't uncommon to have a client approach you with an existing content management system where they have lost the admin account due to a change in web developer or simply the mists of time. Concrete5 uses a MD5 hash, but you can't use the MySQL hash to generate it as the salt is installation specific.

I found a workaround for thisvia Nabtron[1].

First, write a snippet of PHP on a PHP page on the host that Concrete5 is running on that reads:


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by Dr. Radut