Best Practice Ezine #13 – Urban Myths

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Guy’s Best Practice & Litmus Tests Ezine  #13 – Urban Computing Myths

Contents for Ezine #13

Urban Computer Myths – Evaluation Software

Over the years, Urban Myths have grown about how to get around the limitations of evaluation software.  Several respected trainers have told me, ‘Guy, you only have to apply a service pack and it removes the time protection’.  Well, I was tempted and I tried.  But they were wrong, service packs made no difference to the evaluation life.  You try it!

A better trick was, before you install the 180 day copy, wind-on your system clock – say two years.   Naturally, once you have finish installing, wind the clock back to the present.  This simple technique really did buy time.  However, Microsoft’s 2000 (and later) versions are clever and have an inbuilt time bomb which thwarts this clock re-winding scam.

I confess that once I did try to hack of the .hiv files, but this too was a waste of time.  Windows Server 2003 evaluation software just stopped working 180 days after I first installed it.

To end this section on a cheery note, these days if you are using Microsoft evaluation software – and you like it!  Then you can upgrade it to commercial versions.  In the bad old days this upgrade was not possible and so you lost all your settings.  One lesson this potted history tells us is, that Microsoft keep changing the rules of the evaluation software game.  So, be alert for new techniques – perhaps they will bring back the dongle!  (Dongles were physical keys that you needed to attach to servers before the software would work.)

Dustin Shaw points out that dongles are still being used, for example Encore, developed by Cluen

Guy Recommends: The Free IP Address Tracker (IPAT) IP Tracker

Calculating IP Address ranges is a black art, which many network managers solve by creating custom Excel spreadsheets.  IPAT cracks this problem of allocating IP addresses in networks in two ways:

For Mr Organized there is a nifty subnet calculator, you enter the network address and the subnet mask, then IPAT works out the usable addresses and their ranges. 

For Mr Lazy IPAT discovers and then displays the IP addresses of existing computers. Download the Free IP Address Tracker

Registry Hack – NoLowDiskSpaceChecks

This week I had a job with SQL.  What surprised me was that they had disabled the SQL Server Agent.  If you are experimenting with SQL, then do take the time to configure the Agent and create Alerts for when there is a problem with any of your databases.   Also, if you have access to SQL, just go and look in the Management Folder under the main SQL Manager.  What I recommend is to check out what alerts have been set.  I will say more about the SQL Agent if future editions.

I was just leaving the SQL site when I had one of those ‘While you are here’ requests.  The bosses secretary had a ‘Low Disk Space’ problem and would I have a look.  So, I took a risk and emptied the recycle bin, deleted a bunch of temporary files and increased the free space from 70MB to 400MB.

Next day I had a call, not about SQL, that was running fine, but the manager said, ‘If your passing the secretary still is having problems with low disk space’.  Well as it was my first time with this customer I though I would do them a favour and help out.  The free disk space was back down to 80 MB so I thought there is not much more I can do, there was nothing else I could possibly delete.  A wicked thought flashed through my mind – I’ll turn off the low disk space notification!

Fortunately, I could hear my father’s words of wisdom, ‘Guy always do the right thing – plough a straight furrow’.  And then I remembered my own tip, move the temp files to another disk.  So I, here is the path I followed:

System Icon, Advanced Tab.

Environmental Variables and set the Temp to the K:\temp which had 2GB of free space.

So far, fingers crossed, all is well.

If you doubt that I could have turned off disk notification, try this registry hack.  Before I give you the recipe, please read my article on the 5 stages of registry hacking, this is near as I get to a disclaimer.

Guy’s 5 Stages of registry hacking

Registry Hack – NoLowDiskSpaceChecks

1) Run Regedit.

2) Navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.

3) From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.

4) Type NoLowDiskSpaceChecks, and then press ENTER.

5) On the Edit menu, click Modify. Type 1 (Numeric one)

Note: Here is a rare job for the HKCurrent_User, mostly registry changes are HKLM.

Trap, this a DWORD – not a String value

Guess what a value of 0 (zero) would achieve?   –  Answer: Turn this value off, what that means is revert to the default where you will be notified.

If you go to my website I have created a file that makes this change to the registry automatically.  All you do is unzip then import the  NoLowDiskSpaceChecks by double clicking the .reg file.

Free Download of .reg file

See more on Windows 8 .reg files.

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See more on the Registry – a whole section here