When I’m working in front of a screen day in and day out, I require some good tunes. The silence and ambient office chatter can really ruin your concentration if you’re easily distracted like myself. Without my good tunes, productivity can drop.
I was getting ready to jump into a Lync conference call and plugged in a USB headset, and my sound suddenly stopped working. If i tried to play a test sound for the default playback device on my Dell Latitude E6530, I would get an error message saying that there was an issue and the test sound couldn’t be played. Something was clearly up.
Test tone failure
I reinstalled my audio drivers which seemed to have resolved the issue for a short amount of time, but the next time I plugged/unplugged my regular headphones, this issue came around again. This was driving me crazy, I didn’t want to accept that this was an issue I wouldn’t be able to resolve. This laptop hasn’t failed me yet either till this point.
Right click the speaker icon in your system tray and click “Playback Devices”
Under the device that is failing to output audio, right click > Properties
When working on a Sharepoint 2007 to 2013 migration, I had a need to identify SharePoint feature GUIDs in the 2007 farm to identify whether or not these items would be able to migrate to the new farm without issue. I had an application that provided documentation on each of the farms and identified all Site Collection features that were activated, but would output the resulting data with a list of these GUIDs rather than feature names.
Many features that come with SharePoint have GUIDs that you can reference by doing a quick google search for SharePoint Feature GUIDs. But for those custom features, I needed a way to pair these GUIDs with the feature names.
What to do?
When on the Site Collection you’re examining, go to Site Settings under the gear icon at the top right or Site Actions depending on what version of SharePoint you’re using:
Navigate to Site Collection Features on the Site Settings page.
You will then be given a page with a list of features activated, or available to activate, on that Site Collection. To find a specific feature’s GUID, click deactivate. Note: This will NOT deactivate the feature yet, you will be prompted with a confirmation screen before the feature is actually deactivated.
The next page will be the feature deactivation confirmation screen. We are not going to deactivate any features. The trick is that when you look at the URL on the resulting screen, it will contain the feature GUID with a FeatureID=<FeatureGUID> section in the URL:
Recently, I have found a need to be able to set up a Remote Desktop Connection to my home desktop from work. At times, I’ve needed to access files that I accidentally left at home once I got to work, or maybe continue a long running task that I’d like to have finished by the time I got home. I’ve explored options for software such as LogMeIn, but found it to be tacky and overkill. Additionally, I use a program called RDTabs extensively at work to RDP into different client’s environments, so why not mine? Thus, the decision to set up external RDP access to my desktop seemed simple.
Part 1: Port Forwarding the Gateway for RDP Access
This seemingly simple task has proved to be quite daunting. Previous routers I have used have had much simpler UIs than what this router offers. Want to swap out this router with one you already have? Too bad. UVerse doesn’t want to let you do this. Setting up the 3800GHV into a bridge mode also, through some quick internet searches, isn’t a feature that can be utilized. How nice.
Remote Desktop Connections connect on port 3389. We need to set up the router to forward connections to this port to my desktop computer.
Connect to the router’s administrator console using the default access URL http://192.168.1.254
The default username and password to connect will be printed right on the router (assuming you haven’t changed this yet)
Navigate to the firewall settings, and then Applications, Pinholes, and DMZ (Settings -> Firewall->Applications, Pinholes, and DMZ)
On the Firewall page, choose a profile for the device that you would like to apply the port forwarding settings to. In my case, I selected my ethernet connected desktop named “Neptune”. Notice the icons next to the devices which can help identify your device in case you are unsure of a name.
Next, ensure that “Allow individual application(s)” is selected. Select “XP Remote Desktop” in the Applications List in the center column, and then click add.
Click save at the bottom right
Now, we have the correct port forwarding to the device for remote desktop access. One would think that they are finished, but the finicky gateway provided by AT&T will prove that the setup you have just finished isn’t quite enough. Proceed to Part 2.
Part 2: Port Forward PPTP to the Same Device
This step doesn’t really make a lot of sense to anyone who knows what PPTP. PPTP is a protocol used for VPN access, which is something out of the realm of what we are doing today. Luckily, I stumbled across a blog post through my troubleshooting that stated turning on PPTP port forwarding to the same device will allow the RDP connections.
Ensure you are on the “Applications, Pinholes, and DMZ” page that we were on from step 3 above.
On the Firewall page, choose a profile for the device that you would like to apply the port forwarding settings to (step 4 above).
Select the PPTP option in the middle Applications List (similar to step 5 above)
Part 3: Enabling Remote Access on the Device
Beyond the settings that have to be made in order to allow your router to forward these ports, you must make sure that your computer itself will allow Remote Access. Below are steps to make sure that your device will allow you to connect remotely. Note: The steps outlined below are for Windows 8.1
Open file explorer, click My PC in the left navigation, and then System Properties in the ribbon:
Click Remote Settings in the left navigation in the resulting screen:
Allow remote connections to your computer:
Part 4: Connecting to the Device
With the above steps completed, we should be able to now connect to your device using its public IP address. To find your public IP address, google “what is my IP” or navigate to www.ipchicken.com
Find your public IP address for the device by Googling “What is my IP” or utilizing a site such as www.ipchicken.com
Open your RDP application or open your Windows default Remote Desktop Connection application
Connect using your public IP that was gathered above
Enter credentials to log in
You’re done! You should now be able to connect to your computer. If you continue to have problems, make sure that your firewall isn’t blocking remote access connections. If you’re using the built-in Windows Firewall, allow remote access connections in your computer’s policy.
Something I’m learning more and more about as I spend more time in the IT world. Prior to my first technology job that I am in now, I had never even heard of this witchcraft. Automate everything? Sounds interesting.
But there’s also plenty of black, dark magic, and witchcraft that this Powershell stuff is capable of performing. A coworker of mine is somewhat of a Powershell enthusiast around the office. He is also a gremlin. Powershell pranks around the office have gained quite the reputation.
Leave your computer unlocked when you go to the bathroom? Expect to return to a laptop that will randomly speak dirty phrases to you randomly. Hasslehoff’d (yes it’s a verb) desktop backgrounds, spoof’d emails, and extra mouse dongles in your computer are quite the norm.
The extent to which I have been able to work with Powershell thus far in my career has been limited to Server 2012 commands – boring in comparison to it’s full capabilities. Today, I did have my first chance to exercise its capabilities.
While setting up this blog, another coworker of mine decided to exploit my lack of WordPress knowledge by installing a backdoor snippet of code so that he could have an admin log in and create users and edit my page. Very funny for all but me. Every time I made a change to my blog, he would change the theme, posts, add users, etc. I finally got past it but was still annoyed.
Introduce the Send-MailMessage cmdlet. This fun cmdlet enables a user to send emails to an email, and spoof it from another. All it takes to utilize this is knowledge of the mail server utilized by your domain’s email address.
Below is the snippet for how to use this cmdlet:
send-mailmessage-to<insert recipients email>-from<insert"sender's"email address>-smtpserver<insert SMTP server-subject"<subject of email>"-body"<body of mail message>"
email@example.com@company.com-smtpservermail.company.com-subject"Meeting"-body"Hey George, We need to talk about a few things... do you think you can meet me in the HR office later this afternoon?"
The above will send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org from email@example.com with the stated email subject line and body. This email will show up in George Smith’s email inbox appearing as if it came from his boss (sans signature). George would have no idea that this email didn’t come from his boss unless viewing the email properties which would show the original computer that sent the email.
Note: Spoofing emails has questionable ethical and moral implications when used in malicious ways. Use common sense for what is okay and always remember that even though IT may give you permissions to do things such as this, it doesn’t mean it’s always okay.