Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dropbox to the rescue

Techbyte solved!

If you are an admin, you don't want users circumventing your security procedures. I know I do not like users pulling files down from disparate sites; but then it is OK for us right? Dropbox is one of those storage in the cloud solutions that could be deemed a security risk. It can also create more chatter on the local LAN if you have configured it for "Lan Sync" ( see this Link for what that is); but more than once it has saved me not only a lot of work, but actually helped me be more efficient working for a customer.

I was trying to install Spiceworks for a customer at a remote location but downloading to the server which I was connected to via vpn and RDP, would somehow corrupt the download. I had the file in my Dropbox, so I fired up the browser at the remote server and downloaded from there. In minutes I was up and running.

I know, I know, but it worked and I know what I am doing don't I? Well, in any case Dropbox has allowed me more than once to by pass firewalls and security to do good. Just be careful, because in the hands of a black hat, it definitely can be bad.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Evaluating Spiceworks

OK I am sorry! Why? Because 3 years ago I started using Spiceworks, then because of circumstances I got away from it in 2009. I have been away for a while now, but I came back to it in December of this year.

I have to say that I have been very pleased by it's features and the progress of the product. If you are not aware of Spiceworks, please visit their site and download it and install it. It is very easy to install.

The reason I got back into it is for a small opportunity I have to install it as a help desk for someone else. Of course this is only a part of Spiceworks, but it is a big part of it, and I think it is the biggest part.

Details I put in this blog entry, you can find on their communities page, and in their self-help videos, but I added my own touch or explanation. These are some demo videos I put together. Again, this is just a very small part of what Spiceworks is and it is only to whet your appetite to check them out.

I made these with "JING" (Another very cool, very free product). I made one mistake with these videos-They were made with my wide screen, and I had the audio not quite right. So hopefully you have a wide screen. If your audio is low, you could download the videos since they seem to play ok then, but others said they could hear them just fine. In the future I will have these right. Sorry, but did not have time this time to redo them all.

1 SpiceworksOverview_2010-12-12_1728

2 HelpDesk_1_2010-12-12_1806

3 HelpDesk_2_2010-12-12_1820

4 CreateTicket_1_ 2010-12-12_2231

5 CreateTicket_2_2010-12-12_2300

6 CreateTicket_3_2010-12-13_0717

7 Reports_2010-12-13_0819


Monday, December 6, 2010

Windows can't create a shortcut here. Do you want the shortcut to be placed on the Desktop instead?

Here is a Techbyte ... and a solution:

It used to be easy creating a folder in the "All Programs" menu in Windows XP. All you had to do is go to the "c:\Document and Settings\All Users" profile, and there you could add shorcuts for all users in the Desktop, Programs, and Startup. Ever since Vista and Windows 7 Microsoft tighten the security and now it is not as easy, or at least not as straight forward. I can see why they want to tighten it up, but it is still frustrating to jump though hoops.

You really should not have to add "folders" to the "All Programs" during normal software installs it asks you if you want it for all users or just the current user. There are applications thought that fail, or there are stand alone programs that are grouped in a folder and you need or want to add the list to the "All Programs" area.

Recently I wanted to add the group of Putty applications to my "All Programs" menu and I wanted for all users on my Laptop. Now I just did this quick and dirty, but it works just fine. Just remember to change the rights back.

Here are the locations of the Desktop and Start Menu for "All Users"

All users desktop:
C:\Users\Public\Public Desktop\

All users start menu:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\


1. I wanted to add a folder called "Putty" to the "All Programs" for "All Users"
2. Open C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\
3. Open the "Programs" folder and create the folder, it will ask for "confirmation". I created a folder called Putty. It will let you create it that way.
4. Right click on the folder and select Properties.
5. Select the "Security" Tab.
6. Look for your name (account), then select "Edit".
7. Give yourself "full controll" then click on "Apply", then "OK" to close.
8. Now open the folder, select the file(s) you want to put in there, but drag and drop with the right mouse button not the left. When you do this it will ask you if you want to move, copy, or create shortcut --- Select "Create Shortcut".
9. Now go back to steps 4 through 7 and remove the rights you just gave to your account. You should leave (it is greyed out), the special permissions at the bottom. That is normal.
10. Now you will see it in the "All Programs".

If you have a better way, plase leave me a note, and I will post it as a comment on the blog.