Windows XP

How to I find the MAC address of my Windows device?

By : Sean Brown |April 17, 2012 |Microsoft Windows |0 Comment

To find out the MAC (Media Access Control) Adapter Address for your Ethernet or wireless network card, follow the Windows-based instructions below.

Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP

  • Click on the Start Button (Start Orb)
  • Type cmd and press Enter
  • At the command prompt, type: getmac /v and press Enter
  • The MAC address is listed in the Physical Address column of the output

[notice]NOTE: Each network adapter on your machine will have its own MAC address – be sure you are looking at the correct network adapter under the connection name column when identifying the MAC address.[/notice]

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Remote computer requires Network Level Authentication, which your computer does not support

By : Sean Brown |January 20, 2012 |Microsoft Windows, Windows Server |1 Comment

Problem

There are still a lot of Windows XP machines floating around the business world; With Windows 7 fixing the entire Vista mess, adoption rates for Windows 7 are much better. There are plenty of die-hard users who love their Windows XP machines and won’t give it up for the world but need to connect remotely to Windows 2008 servers using Remote Desktop (RDP), which (by default) requires Network Level Authentication (NLA).

When connecting from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 2008 server, you may receive the following error message:

The remote computer required Network Level Authentication, which your computer does not support. For assistance, contact your system administrator or technical support.


Resolution

Windows XP


Affected Products

Windows XP SP1

Windows XP SP2

Windows XP SP3

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All Users Desktop Location

By : Sean Brown |January 13, 2012 |Microsoft Windows, Windows Server |0 Comment

If you’re an admin and looking to deploy icons on a local machine that will appear no matter what user is logged on, follow these simple steps. This article is designed for local deployment, not network-wide deployment.

[notice]You must have administrator/power users rights to add/delete icons[/notice]

Windows XP

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop\

Windows Vista/Windows 7

C:\users\Public\Public Desktop\

[notice]These folders are hidden, you may need to adjust your folder settings to “view hidden files/folders”[/notice]

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Slow browsing of AS/400 file shares with Windows 7

By : Sean Brown |October 17, 2011 |IBM OS/400, Microsoft Windows, Windows Server |0 Comment

Microsoft and IBM – two powerhouse companies with very loyal followers have taken two distinctly different paths; IBM keeping very slow and steady, Microsoft continually evolving, upgrading and making things “people proof”.  While both paths have their advantages and disadvantages IT department are continually having to find workarounds to make things play nice with each other and users are the ones getting stuck with the re-training and frustration of just trying to do their job.

A user came to me and stated that their XP machine which has been working perfectly fine over the years has just recently been upgraded to Windows 7 – of course most users hate change, but are tolerant of this because of the stability and speed of Windows 7.  The user reported an odd behavior to me – he said that on his XP machine, he could browse mapped iSeries/AS400 drives quickly and without delay; On his Windows 7 machine, it would take approximately 30-45 seconds to open the drive and navigation between folders was painfully slow.

The initial investigations led me through in-depth diagnostics of the network core and bandwidth/latency – all fruitless.  Further investigations and having the user replicate the problem allowed me to see that this problem occurred [ONLY] with browsing to the iSeries shares – any Windows->Windows file sharing was speedy and considered “normal”.  What I noticed was the green explorer progress bar; it took quite a while to finish and once finished the network share would appear.  It appears that the culprit was Microsoft’s evolution of network browsing of file shares (first implemented in client operating systems in Vista) – technically it’s called Remote Differential Compression and the reason for the browsing slowness was that Windows 7 wanted to try to compress the file structure and synchronize the results between machines (which is how Windows Vista/7 communicate with file sharing).  Seeing as I have MANY articles outlining workarounds on how to make Windows and AS/400 play nice together, this will become one also – not because there are incompatibilites or poorly written software [sigh]; however the paths both companies have taken differ in the aspect that IBM has focused on the core application and functionality to keep [in my opinion] an ancient solution alive for a few more years.  Microsoft has listened to the developers, IT professionals and the public and has adapted their products [sometimes poorly - ahem, Vista] to meet the needs of the masses to keep the stronghold alive far into the future.

Essentially remote differential compression makes file sharing MUCH quicker between computers and networks (especially distant networks over higher latency connections).  Why does this mean anything?  In Windows XP – Ever time you clicked on a file share, your computer went to the server and displayed each and every item, one at a time until there was nothing else left to display.  Where this becomes VERY problematic is for users sharing documents between locations or teleworking; each time a user would browse to a remote file, it would list ever item – one by one.  It doesn’t sound like a major headache to list files this way, but local networks communicate at [typically] <2ms latency and have 100mb of bandwidth, even if you have the fastest broadband connection, typical latency between offices (on different carriers) range between 60-100ms and asymmetrical internet services (Cable modem and/or DSL lines) you max out a just a few mb upload speed.  The lack of bandwidth combined with the latency factor mean that browsing file shares remotely was PAINFULLY slow.

Microsoft’s solution was remote differential compression which took all of the pain out of browsing files over high-latency internet connection by taking the entire directory structure (files and all) squishing into one transfer to sending it to the remote side to display.

Where things get hairy is using this Microsoft solution on IBM’s OS/400; IBM has no clue what remote differential compression is – not because they can’t, but let’s face it, command-line based applications can’t really get any faster or more compressed so IBM has no support for it.

 

[social-locker]

Fixing this and making Windows 7 browse OS/400 file shares is quite easily – you just have to “dumb down” Windows 7 to not use remote differential compression by:

  • Open the control panel
  • Click Turn Windows features on or off
  • Uncheck Remote Differential Compression
  • Click Ok

The down side to not using remote differential compression is that if you’re working remotely (not on the LAN) it will take XP-times to browse file shares.

[/social-locker]

 

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Group Policy Deployment Trobleshooting

By : Sean Brown |September 28, 2011 |Microsoft Windows, Windows Server |0 Comment

Ahh Windows Server – Linux admins hate it, Windows admins hate it….  I understand command-line based administration is much easier for doing simple tasks, but Microsoft has emerged as the leader in centralized management and ease of deploying/fixing/breaking things (on a large scale).  A lot of the hatred of Windows comes from people not fully understanding how things works; I have been an admin since the NT4.0 days, and have seen how Microsoft has evolved from simple authentication to centralized administration and total account control.

In the early days of active directory, Microsoft’s implementation of Group Policy Objects left admins with more headaches than “warm and fuzzies” – 10 years later, Microsoft has refined how GPO’s are created and added a significant amount of new settings for the savvy admin to mess with.  Group Policies can control everything imaginable inside of a user’s computer, including desktop background, IE homepage, security policies, auditing settings and the ability to grant/deny access to external media/devices.  What makes GPO’s absolutely amazing is the fact that you can apply policies on top of each other giving a “layered/tiered” approach to security and all of this can be deployed to one user, a group of users, a department (OU) or across your entire organization – with the click of a mouse.

Group Policies take a pretty significant amount of forethought and planning and [typically] get messy when there are multiple people involved with changing/updating policies OR admins that don’t fully understand how/where policies should be applied.  There are numerous (millions) of results on google if you’re interested in best practices with deploying group policies, but this article is geared more towards fixing GPO’s that aren’t working properly.

If you’ve ever been tasked with finding out why a group policy isn’t being applied properly, 9 times out of 10, you’ve figured out that the GPO either isn’t properly linked or is being blocked by another GPO.  Microsoft gave us an AMAZING tool to see EXACTLY what’s going with group policies and to see which settings have been modified by group policy – it’s called “Resultant Set of Policy” and can be be accessed by going to Start | rsop.msc.  Running this tool will take a quick snapshot of EXACTLY what configurations are modified and which group policy modified them.

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