Monday, November 7, 2011

In a Windows network, the domain controller that holds the PDC FSMO role (responsible for time) can easily be off and/or not syncing with external resource correctly.  All of your domain's computers are set to sync with the domain by default.  Thus, devices, computers, and pretty much everything feels like it's out of sync with time...

How do I fix this issue?  Well with a few easy registry tweaks and command line entries, this can be solved quickly.

Oh yea, and whoever set up your domain should have done this for you... just saying.

You must be a domain administrator to make the following changes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Windows 8 Task Manager

Microsoft has recently blogged about the changes to Windows 8 task manager.  For those of us in corporate IT, it's a change worth taking a look at.

My thoughts are that they have certainly added some nice visual changes and made the information that I, as a technician, look for in the task manager.  As long as they keep the performance information in there and allow us to end tasks and processes easily, it will continue to service its purpose.

Task Manager (newly minimized for average users)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

OpenDNS for the home

I'd like to take a minute and discuss the free OpenDNS service available for home users.

Top 5 reasons to use OpenDNS at home:

  1. Superior DNS experience. They say that their DNS service is superior to the service your Internet Service Provider (ISP, i.e. Time Warner or Comcast) provide to your home.  They go on to say that their service is not only faster than your ISP; but also more reliable and able to withstand some outages (like those that recently plagued many famous websites)
    1. What's DNS? Well, when you go to, it's the service that translates this and tells your computer where to go... in short, if it does not work, that ebay item you are watching belongs to someone else.
  2. Anti-fraud and anti-phishing.  OpenDNS keeps a list of many sites that can cause you to accidentally give up your credit card or other personal information.  This means that once you turn on the service, you are automatically protected from these sites.
  3. It's geeky and fun.  Ok, well my real number three URL correction.  Ever put in google.cmo and had to see that damn ISP page asking you "did you mean".. geesh, so annoying.  OpenDNS attempts to interpret what you mean when you make these types of blunders and automatically correct your browsing experience.  Thus, google.cmo changes to like magic before your eyes!
  4. It's free and easy to set up.  Need I say more?  You can get all of the above features and many many more, for free for home use.  If you are a business, there are some charges associated to use their service.
  5. Parental Controls.  Are you a parent?  Do you want to filter what types of sites your household can go to (i.e. no Porn)?  While I think filtering out may not be your best method, it is certainly a nice feature for parental units.  For Free, again free, you can turn on filtering for categories of sites that you wish to block easily and quickly to prevent access to certain groups of sites.  Oh yea, you can also run a report on internet access (in case you are the open and honest family type and would like to discuss where your family browses to).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Configure a Custom DRAC Port

Why is this helpful?
For clients with a single static IP address, port 443 (the default) may already be forwarded to another server/application within the client network, such as a secure website or internal exchange server.
Static IPs cost money and let's face it, buying one just for a DRAC card will be a hard sell.

Changing the DRAC server HTTPS port from 443 to a custom port will enable you to enable external/remote access for the DRAC interface in addition to other HTTPS resources externally all without having to purchase more static IP Addresses.

Once the DRAC has been given a custom port, it can be configured in port forwarding of the router/firewall. The custom port, along with TCP ports 5900-5901 (or custom console redirection ports) will need to be forwarded to your DRAC in order for it to forward correctly.

You should be a Server or Network Administrator and not be afraid of command-line to perform the following.

  • This process requires remote access and a specific tool (racadm) that Dell Open Manage Server Administrator installs on the server.
  • This process requires that web access be already configured with an internal IP address for the DRAC card and that the DRAC is online and functioning properly.
Process (step-by-step)