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How to Open an Elevated Command Prompt in Windows 8

by on Nov.27, 2012, under MS Windows, MS Windows 8

Open an Elevated Command Prompt from File Explorer

1. Open File Explorer (Windows Explorer), and navigate to the file below. (see screenshot below)
2. Right click or press and hold on cmd.exe, and click/tap on Run as administrator. (see screenshot below)
Click image for larger version
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Activating volume licence Windows 8 from the GUI

by on Nov.27, 2012, under MS Windows, MS Windows 8

Windows 8 activation error: Code 0x8007232b

You can do that from the GUI too!

Earlier I posted about the command line tricks required to activate Windows 8 installed from a volume licence media, because it seemed that the Change product key window is missing from the new OS (this was the case of the Activation Error: Code 0x8007232b. DNS Name does not exist – just for the search engines).

Well, the window is there, but you need a new way to display it. Here is the magic word you can enter into a Run dialog:

slui 3

Yes, seriously:


And here comes the well-known Enter product key to activate Windows dialog:


Could someone bring back the button to the Computer properties window, please?

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Windows 8 activation error: Code 0x8007232b

by on Nov.27, 2012, under MS Windows, MS Windows 8

If you installed Windows 8 from a volume licence media, you will probably see the following error message when you try to activate Windows:

Activation Error: Code 0x8007232b
DNS Name does not exist

The solution, just like earlier with Windows Server 2008, is to enter a valid product key, that was not requested during installation.

Unfortunately, this new version of Windows does not provide the Change product key option in the Computer properties window, so you will need an elevated Command Prompt:


That’s all, now you can activate Windows without any error (hopefully).

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Windows Server Sysinternals Utilities Index

by on Aug.17, 2012, under MS Windows, Win 2008 R2

Sysinternals Suite
The entire set of Sysinternals Utilities rolled up into a single download.

v5.1 (August 2, 2012)
AccessChk is a command-line tool for viewing the effective permissions on files, registry keys, services, processes, kernel objects, and more.

v1.32 (November 1, 2006)
This simple yet powerful security tool shows you who has what access to directories, files and Registry keys on your systems. Use it to find holes in your permissions.

v1.42 (July 29, 2010)
Active Directory Explorer is an advanced Active Directory (AD) viewer and editor.

v1.01 (November 20, 2007)
An LDAP (Light-weight Directory Access Protocol) real-time monitoring tool aimed at troubleshooting Active Directory client applications.

v1.1 (November 1, 2006)
Undelete Server 2003 Active Directory objects.

v3.01 (February 23, 2011)
Bypass password screen during logon.

v11.33 (August 2, 2012)
See what programs are configured to startup automatically when your system boots and you login. Autoruns also shows you the full list of Registry and file locations where applications can configure auto-start settings.

v4.16 (October 1, 2009)
This fully-configurable program automatically generates desktop backgrounds that include important information about the system including IP addresses, computer name, network adapters, and more.

v3.2 (November 1, 2006)
This screen saver not only accurately simulates Blue Screens, but simulated reboots as well (complete with CHKDSK), and works on Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Server 2003 and Windows 9x.

v1.0 (November 1, 2006)
CacheSet is a program that allows you to control the Cache Manager’s working set size using functions provided by NT. It’s compatible with all versions of NT.

v2.0 (June 4, 2009)
View the resolution of the system clock, which is also the maximum timer resolution.

v1.6 (February 1, 2011)
Wish you could quickly defragment your frequently used files? Use Contig to optimize individual files, or to create new files that are contiguous.

v3.05 (August 2, 2012)
Coreinfo is a new command-line utility that shows you the mapping between logical processors and the physical processor, NUMA node, and socket on which they reside, as well as the cache’s assigned to each logical processor.

v2.0 (November 1, 2006)
This is a kernel-mode driver that demonstrates keyboard input filtering just above the keyboard class driver in order to turn caps-locks into control keys. Filtering at this level allows conversion and hiding of keys before NT even “sees” them. Ctrl2cap also shows how to use NtDisplayString() to print messages to the initialization blue-screen.

v4.79 (May 23, 2012)
Another first from Sysinternals: This program intercepts calls made to DbgPrint by device drivers and OutputDebugString made by Win32 programs. It allows for viewing and recording of debug session output on your local machine or across the Internet without an active debugger.

v1.02 (January 19, 2010)
This new utility enables you to create up to four virtual desktops and to use a tray interface or hotkeys to preview what’s on each desktop and easily switch between them.

v1.63 (October 14, 2010)
Disk2vhd simplifies the migration of physical systems into virtual machines (p2v).

v1.1 (May 14, 2007)
Display volume disk-mappings.

v2.01 (November 1, 2006)
This utility captures all hard disk activity or acts like a software disk activity light in your system tray.

v2.4 (March 25, 2010)
Graphical disk sector utility.

Disk Usage (DU)
v1.4 (December 5, 2011)
View disk usage by directory.

v1.02 (November 1, 2006)
View information for encrypted files.

v1.0 (July 18, 2011)
FindLinks reports the file index and any hard links (alternate file paths on the same volume) that exist for the specified file. A file’s data remains allocated so long as at it has at least one file name referencing it.

v3.5 (July 16, 2012)
This handy command-line utility will show you what files are open by which processes, and much more.

v1.0 (November 1, 2006)
Convert hex numbers to decimal and vice versa.

v1.06 (September 8, 2010)
Create Win2K NTFS symbolic links.

v1.02 (November 1, 2006)
Dump the contents of the Logical Disk Manager’s on-disk database, which describes the partitioning of Windows 2000 Dynamic disks.

v3.1 (July 18, 2011)
List all the DLLs that are currently loaded, including where they are loaded and their version numbers.

v5.2 (May 14, 2012)
Use Microsoft kernel debuggers to examine a live system.

v1.0 (November 1, 2006)
See the order in which devices are loaded on your WinNT/2K system.

v1.21 (May 6, 2010)
List the active logon sessions on a system.

v1.0 (November 1, 2006)
Allows you to schedule move and delete commands for the next reboot.

v1.0 (November 1, 2006)
Use NTFSInfo to see detailed information about NTFS volumes, including the size and location of the Master File Table (MFT) and MFT-zone, as well as the sizes of the NTFS meta-data files.

v2.32 (November 1, 2006)
Defragment your paging files and Registry hives.

v1.1 (November 1, 2006)
Enumerate the list of file rename and delete commands that will be executed the next boot.

(November 1, 2006)
Displays the named pipes on your system, including the number of maximum instances and active instances for each pipe.

v3.03 (January 12, 2012)
Monitor serial and parallel port activity with this advanced monitoring tool. It knows about all standard serial and parallel IOCTLs and even shows you a portion of the data being sent and received. Version 3.x has powerful new UI enhancements and advanced filtering capabilities.

v4.01 (September 20, 2011)
This command-line utility is aimed at capturing process dumps of otherwise difficult to isolate and reproduce CPU spikes. It also serves as a general process dump creation utility and can also monitor and generate process dumps when a process has a hung window or unhandled exception.

Process Explorer
v15.22 (July 16, 2012)
Find out what files, registry keys and other objects processes have open, which DLLs they have loaded, and more. This uniquely powerful utility will even show you who owns each process.

Process Monitor
v3.03 (July 16, 2012)
Monitor file system, Registry, process, thread and DLL activity in real-time.

v1.98 (April 28, 2010)
Execute processes on remote systems.

v1.02 (December 4, 2006)
See what files are opened remotely.

v1.44 (April 28, 2010)
Displays the SID of a computer or a user.

v1.77 (April 28, 2010)
Obtain information about a system.

v1.15 (June 28, 2012)
Terminate local or remote processes.

v1.3 (March 23, 2012)
Show information about processes and threads.

v1.34 (April 28, 2010)
Show users logged on to a system.

v2.71 (April 28, 2010)
Dump event log records.

v1.22 (December 4, 2006)
Changes account passwords.

v2.24 (April 28, 2010)
View and control services.

v2.52 (December 4, 2006)
Shuts down and optionally reboots a computer.

v1.06 (December 4, 2006)
Suspend and resume processes.

(June 6, 2012)
The PsTools suite includes command-line utilities for listing the processes running on local or remote computers, running processes remotely, rebooting computers, dumping event logs, and more.

v1.21 (July 16, 2012)
An advanced physical memory usage analysis utility that presents usage information in different ways on its several different tabs.

v1.10 (November 1, 2006)
Scan for and delete Registry keys that contain embedded null-characters that are otherwise undeleteable by standard Registry-editing tools.

v1.01 (November 1, 2006)
Jump to the registry path you specify in Regedit.

v1.71 (November 1, 2006)
Scan your system for rootkit-based malware.

v1.6 (September 1, 2011)
Securely overwrite your sensitive files and cleanse your free space of previously deleted files using this DoD-compliant secure delete program.

v1.6 (November 1, 2006)
Scan file shares on your network and view their security settings to close security holes.

v1.01 (February 28, 2008)
Launch programs as a different user via a convenient shell context-menu entry.

v1.71 (October 14, 2010)
Dump file version information and verify that images on your system are digitally signed.

v1.56 (April 27, 2007)
Reveal NTFS alternate streams.

v2.5 (May 14, 2012)
Search for ANSI and UNICODE strings in binary images.

v2.0 (November 1, 2006)
Flush cached data to disk.

v3.05 (July 25, 2011)
Active socket command-line viewer.

v3.1 (May 18, 2011)
VMMap is a process virtual and physical memory analysis utility.

v2.0 (November 1, 2006)
Set Volume ID of FAT or NTFS drives.

v1.1 (August 2, 2012)
See who owns an Internet address.

v2.22 (February 14, 2011)
The ultimate Object Manager namespace viewer is here.

v4.31 (July 18, 2012)
Presentation utility for zooming and drawing on the screen.

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How to add Windows Server System Info on Desktop

by on Aug.17, 2012, under MS Windows, Win 2008 R2


BgInfo v4.16


How many times have you walked up to a system in your office and needed to click through several diagnostic windows to remind yourself of important aspects of its configuration, such as its name, IP address, or operating system version? If you manage multiple computers you probably need BGInfo. It automatically displays relevant information about a Windows computer on the desktop’s background, such as the computer name, IP address, service pack version, and more. You can edit any field as well as the font and background colors, and can place it in your startup folder so that it runs every boot, or even configure it to display as the background for the logon screen.

Because BGInfo simply writes a new desktop bitmap and exits, you don’t have to worry about it consuming system resources or interfering with other applications.

Sysinternals BgInfo


Installation and Use

See Mark’s Windows IT Pro Magazine Power Tools article for a primer on using BgInfo. If you have questions or problems, please visit theSysinternals BgInfo Forum.

By placing BGInfo in your Startup folder, you can ensure that the system information being displayed is up to date each time you boot. Once you’ve settled on the information to be displayed, use the command-line option /timer:0 to update the display without showing the dialog box.

You can also use the Windows Scheduler to run BGInfo on a regular basis to ensure long-running systems are kept up to date.

If you create a BGInfo configuration file (using the File|Save Settingsmenu item) you can automatically import and use those settings on other systems by adding the /I<path> or /iq<path> command line option.


Using BgInfo

When you run BGInfo it shows you the appearance and content of its default desktop background. If left untouched it will automatically apply these settings and exit after its 10 second count-down timer expires.

Selecting any button or menu item will disable the timer, allowing you to customize the layout and content of the background information.

If you want BGInfo to edit or use a configuration stored in a file (instead of the default configuration which is stored in the registry) specify the name of the file on the command line:

BGInfo MyConfig.bgi


Appearance Buttons

Fields: Selects what information appears on the desktop, and the order in which it is displayed. For networking fields (NIC, IP, MAC, etc.) a separate entry is created for each network card on the system. Use the Custom button to add special information you define yourself.

Background: Selects the color and/or wallpaper to use for the background. If you select the Copy existing settings option thenBGInfo will use whatever information is currently selected by the logged on user. This option allows end users to personalize their desktop while still displaying the BGInfo information.

Position: Selects the location on the screen at which to place the text. If some items are very long (for example some network card names) you can use the Limit Lines to item to wrap them. The Compensate for Taskbar position checkbox adjusts the position of the text to ensure that it is not covered by the Taskbar. The Multiple Monitor Configuration button allows you to specify how multiple monitors attached to a single console should be handled.

Desktops: Selects which desktops are updated when the configuration is applied. By default only the User Desktop wallpaper is changed.Enabling the Logon Desktop for Console users option specifies that the wallpaper should be displayed on the logon desktop that is presented before anyone has logged onto the system. On Windows 95/98/ME systems the same desktop is used for users and the login screen, so this option has no effect. Enabling the Logon Desktop for Terminal Services users option specifies that the wallpaper should be displayed on the Terminal Services login screen. This option is useful only on servers running Terminal Services.

Preview: Displays the background as it will appear when applied to your system.


Configuration Menu Items

These are options that control how the bitmap is produced, where it is located and how to import/export settings.

File | Open: Opens a BGInfo configuration file.

File | Save As: Saves a copy of the current BGInfo configuration to a new file. Once created, you can have BGInfo use the file later by simply specifying it on the command line, or by using File|Open menu option.

File|Reset Default Settings: Removes all configuration information and resets BGInfo to its default (install-time) state. Use this if you can’t determine how to undo a change, or if BGInfo becomes confused about the current state of the bitmap.

File|Database: Specifies a .XLS, .MDB or .TXT file or a connection string to an SQL database that BGInfo should use to store the information it generates. Use this to collect a history of one or more systems on your network. You must ensure that all systems that access the file have the same version of MDAC and JET database support installed. It is recommended you use at least MDAC 2.5 and JET 4.0. If specifying an XLS file the file must already exist.

If you prefer to have BGInfo update the database without modifying the user’s wallpaper you can unselect all desktops in the Desktops dialog;BGInfo will still update the database.

Bitmap|256 Colors: Limits the bitmap to 256 colors. This option produces a smaller bitmap.

Bitmap|High Color/True Color: Creates a 16-bit or 24-bit color bitmap.

Bitmap|Match Display: Creates a bitmap with color depth matching that of the display. Because the bitmap generated by BGInfo is not updated when a user changes the display’s color depth you may see unexpected results (especially dithering of the text and background) with some combinations of bitmap and display depth.

Bitmap|Location: Specifies the location to place the output bitmap file. On Terminal Services servers the bitmap should be placed in a location that is unique to each user.

Edit|Insert Image: Allows you to insert a bitmap image into the output. Because BGInfo‘s configuration information is stored in the registry and Windows limits the size of registry values you may encounter errors when inserting larger images. On Windows 9x/Me systems the limit is 16K, while on NT/2000/XP systems the limit is 64K.


Command Line Options

<path> Specifies the name of a configuration file to use for the current session. Changes to the configuration are automatically saved back to the file when OK or Apply is pressed. If this parameter is not present BGInfo uses the default configuration information which is stored in the registry under the current user (“HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareWinternalsBGInfo“).
/timer Specifies the timeout value for the countdown timer, in seconds. Specifying zero will update the display without displaying the configuration dialog. Specifying 300 seconds or longer disables the timer altogether.
/popup Causes BGInfo to create a popup window containing the configured information without updating the desktop. The information is formatted exactly as it would if displayed on the desktop, but resides in a fitted window instead. When using this option the history database is not updated.
/silent Suppresses error messages.
/taskbar Causes BGInfo to place an icon in the taskbar’s status area without updating the desktop. Clicking the icon causes the configured information to appear in a popup window. When using this option the history database is not updated.
/all Specifies that BGInfo should change the wallpaper for any and all users currently logged in to the system. This option is useful within a Terminal Services environment, or whenBGInfo is scheduled to run periodically on a system used by more than one person (see Using a Schedule below).
/log Causes BGInfo to write errors to the specified log file instead of generating a warning dialog box. This is useful for tracking down errors that occur when BGInfo is run under the scheduler.
/rtf Causes BGInfo to write its output text to an RTF file. All formatting information and colors are included.
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How do I… Install and configure a DNS server in Windows Server 2008?

by on Aug.17, 2012, under DNS Server, MS Windows, Win 2008 R2


You can install a DNS server from the Control Panel or when promoting a member server to a domain controller (DC) (Figure A). During the promotion, if a DNS server is not found, you will have the option of installing it.

Figure A

Domain controller

To install a DNS server from the Control Panel, follow these steps:

  • From the Start menu, select | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Server Manager.
  • Expand and click Roles (Figure B).
  • Choose Add Roles and follow the wizard by selecting the DNS role (Figure C).
  • Click Install to install DNS in Windows Server 2008 (Figure D).

Figure B

Expand and click Roles

Figure C

DNS role

Figure D

Install DNS

DNS console and configuration

After installing DNS, you can find the DNS console from Start | All Programs | Administrative Tools | DNS. Windows 2008 provides a wizard to help configure DNS.

When configuring your DNS server, you must be familiar with the following concepts:

  • Forward lookup zone
  • Reverse lookup zone
  • Zone types

A forward lookup zone is simply a way to resolve host names to IP addresses. A reverse lookup zone allows a DNS server to discover the DNS name of the host. Basically, it is the exact opposite of a forward lookup zone. A reverse lookup zone is not required, but it is easy to configure and will allow for your Windows Server 2008 Server to have full DNS functionality.

When selecting a DNS zone type, you have the following options: Active Directory (AD) Integrated, Standard Primary, and Standard Secondary. AD Integrated stores the database information in AD and allows for secure updates to the database file. This option will appear only if AD is configured. If it is configured and you select this option, AD will store and replicate your zone files.

A Standard Primary zone stores the database in a text file. This text file can be shared with other DNS servers that store their information in a text file. Finally, a Standard Secondary zone simply creates a copy of the existing database from another DNS server. This is primarily used for load balancing.

To open the DNS server configuration tool:

  1. Select DNS from the Administrative Tools folder to open the DNS console.
  2. Highlight your computer name and choose Action | Configure a DNS Server… to launch the Configure DNS Server Wizard.
  3. Click Next and choose to configure the following: forward lookup zone, forward and reverse lookup zone, root hints only (Figure E).
  4. Click Next and then click Yes to create a forward lookup zone (Figure F).
  5. Select the appropriate radio button to install the desired Zone Type (Figure G).
  6. Click Next and type the name of the zone you are creating.
  7. Click Next and then click Yes to create a reverse lookup zone.
  8. Repeat Step 5.
  9. Choose whether you want an IPv4 or IPv6 Reverse Lookup Zone (Figure H).
  10. Click Next and enter the information to identify the reverse lookup zone (Figure I).
  11. You can choose to create a new file or use an existing DNS file (Figure J).
  12. On the Dynamic Update window, specify how DNS accepts secure, nonsecure, or no dynamic updates.
  13. If you need to apply a DNS forwarder, you can apply it on the Forwarders window. (Figure K).
  14. Click Finish (Figure L).

Figure E


Figure F

Forward lookup zone

Figure G

Desired zone

Figure H

IPv4 or IPv6

Figure I

Reverse lookup zone

Figure J

Choose new or existing DNS file

Figure K

Forwarders window

Figure L


Managing DNS records

You have now installed and configured your first DNS server, and you’re ready to add records to the zone(s) you created. There are various types of DNS records available. Many of them you will never use. We’ll be looking at these commonly used DNS records:

  • Start of Authority (SOA)
  • Name Servers
  • Host (A)
  • Pointer (PTR)
  • Canonical Name (CNAME) or Alias
  • Mail Exchange (MX)

Start of Authority (SOA) record

The Start of Authority (SOA) resource record is always first in any standard zone. The Start of Authority (SOA) tab allows you to make any adjustments necessary. You can change the primary server that holds the SOA record, and you can change the person responsible for managing the SOA. Finally, one of the most important features of Windows 2000 is that you can change your DNS server configuration without deleting your zones and having to re-create the wheel (Figure M).

Figure M

Change configuration

Name Servers

Name Servers specify all name servers for a particular domain. You set up all primary and secondary name servers through this record.

To create a Name Server, follow these steps:

  1. Select DNS from the Administrative Tools folder to open the DNS console.
  2. Expand the Forward Lookup Zone.
  3. Right-click on the appropriate domain and choose Properties (Figure N).
  4. Select the Name Servers tab and click Add.
  5. Enter the appropriate FQDN Server name and IP address of the DNS server you want to add.

Figure N

Name Server

Host (A) records

A Host (A) record maps a host name to an IP address. These records help you easily identify another server in a forward lookup zone. Host records improve query performance in multiple-zone environments, and you can also create a Pointer (PTR) record at the same time. A PTR record resolves an IP address to a host name.

To create a Host record:

  1. Select DNS from the Administrative Tools folder to open the DNS console.
  2. Expand the Forward Lookup Zone and click on the folder representing your domain.
  3. From the Action menu, select New Host.
  4. Enter the Name and IP Address of the host you are creating (Figure O).
  5. Select the Create Associated Pointer (PTR) Record check box if you want to create the PTR record at the same time. Otherwise, you can create it later.
  6. Click the Add Host button.

Figure O

A Host (A) record

Pointer (PTR) records

A Pointer (PTR) record creates the appropriate entry in the reverse lookup zone for reverse queries. As you saw in Figure H, you have the option of creating a PTR record when creating a Host record. If you did not choose to create your PTR record at that time, you can do it at any point.

To create a PTR record:

  1. Select DNS from the Administrative Tools folder to open the DNS console.
  2. Choose the reverse lookup zone where you want your PTR record created.
  3. From the Action menu, select New Pointer (Figure P).
  4. Enter the Host IP Number and Host Name.
  5. Click OK.

Figure P

New Pointer

Canonical Name (CNAME) or Alias records

A Canonical Name (CNAME) or Alias record allows a DNS server to have multiple names for a single host. For example, an Alias record can have several records that point to a single server in your environment. This is a common approach if you have both your Web server and your mail server running on the same machine.

To create a DNS Alias:

  1. Select DNS from the Administrative Tools folder to open the DNS console.
  2. Expand the Forward Lookup Zone and highlight the folder representing your domain.
  3. From the Action menu, select New Alias.
  4. Enter your Alias Name (Figure Q).
  5. Enter the fully qualified domain name (FQDN).
  6. Click OK.

Figure Q

Alias Name

Mail Exchange (MX) records

Mail Exchange records help you identify mail servers within a zone in your DNS database. With this feature, you can prioritize which mail servers will receive the highest priority. Creating MX records will help you keep track of the location of all of your mail servers.

To create a Mail Exchange (MX) record:

  1. Select DNS from the Administrative Tools folder to open the DNS console.
  2. Expand the Forward Lookup Zone and highlight the folder representing your domain.
  3. From the Action menu, select New Mail Exchanger.
  4. Enter the Host Or Domain (Figure R).
  5. Enter the Mail Server and Mail Server Priority.
  6. Click OK.

Figure R

Host or Domain

Other new records

You can create many other types of records. For a complete description, choose Action | Other New Records from the DNS console (Figure S). Select the record of your choice and view the description.

Figure S

Create records from the DNS console

Troubleshooting DNS servers

When troubleshooting DNS servers, the nslookup utility will become your best friend. This utility is easy to use and very versatile. It’s a command-line utility that is included within Windows 2008. With nslookup, you can perform query testing of your DNS servers. This information is useful in troubleshooting name resolution problems and debugging other server-related problems. You can access nslookup (Figure T) right from the DNS console.

Figure T

Nslookup utility
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