Friday, September 30, 2016

Fix EasyWorship 2009 issues with new SongSelect site

We continue to use an older version (EasyWorship 2009) of EasyWorship for our church service projection screen management.

We’ve tried the newer EasyWorship 6 release – and it does have a lot of very attractive features – however the process and projection flow just doesn’t fit us as well as the older EasyWorship 2009 layout.

Anyway…EasyWorship has a plug-in like feature that allows you to sign into the SongSelect service with your associated account and easily import song lyrics directly into your EasyWorship song database.

Recently SongSelect updated their website design and it created several problems within the EasyWorship 2009 program.

First, the SongSelect webpage was “broken” in rendering within EasyWorship 2009

EWorship 2009 SongSelect Window - Pre-Fix

It may be hard to see but that banner area is all whacked out and the Sign In link didn’t work well at all.

Secondly, one could go to the SongSelect Classic page using the offered URL in that broken banner area and log in,

EWorship 2009 SongSelect Window - Pre-Fix - SS Classic

However while you could then log in normally, when we went to try to import song lyrics the “Import” button remained grayed out while using this “classic” login method. 

Our workaround was to download the lyric as a text file, then copy/paste it into a new song record in the database. This was less than ideal as you missed out a lot of the “meta-data” for the song item and had to manually put all that in as well.

I did some searching and found this helpful fix in the EasyWorship support forums.

SongSelect Webpage Fix for EasyWorship 2009 : EasyWorship Legacy  (URL change updated 2017-01-12)

Basically, you download an IE Fix patch from them for your Windows OS version and run it. It unpacks the EXE file to a temporary location, executes a batch file, and then applies a REG key fix to your Windows Registry to fix the issue.

In case you are curious, the fix just applies one of these registry tweaks depending on your OS (32 or 64 bit).

For x32 bit Windows OS:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


For x64 bit Windows OS:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Once that was done, EasyWorship 2009 then displayed the new SongSelect website page correctly (compare to before as seen above):

EWorship 2009 SongSelect Window - Post-Fix 1

And the sign-in page displayed properly.

EWorship 2009 SongSelect Window - Post-Fix 2

After logging in this way and selecting a song’s lyrics we found that the EasyWorship application’s “Import” button worked again for full and normal song lyric importation.

Bonus Easy Worship 2009 notes:

While working this issue, I found that our installed version of EasyWorship 2009 is at 1.4 but there is a later version 1.9 that is available to fix some issues.

The upgrade process is very easy.

Upgrade 2009 1.4 to 1.9 Procedure? - EasyWorship Community

  1. Download the full EasyWorship 2009 v1.9 setup installer file
  2. Be sure EasyWorship is closed out on your system.
  3. Run the setup file you downloaded; resulting in an installation over your existing version.
  4. Done. (no license or registration information is requested or needs to be re-entered)

More information about the version 1.9 build change notes here in case you are curious: EasyWorship Community • View topic - EasyWorship 2009 Build 1.9 Now Available!

If you have to reinstall EasyWorship 2009, there is some information you want to capture first from your currently registered/working software:

Reinstalling EasyWorship 2007 and 2009 - EasyWorship Legacy (URL change updated 2017-01-12)

Locate Your Registration Information

If you do not have your registration info, you can get this info from the old computer.
Your Registration Information consists of the following:

  1. Name
  2. Phone Number
  3. Serial Number

To locate this information on the old computer open EasyWorship. Go to the main menu and select Help>About EasyWorship. The church name and serial number will be shown at the bottom.

To locate the phone number, select Register on the left side of the About window.

See also: Backup and Transfer Your Database (EW 2009) - EasyWorship Legacy (URL change updated 2017-01-12)

I hope anyone still using this older verison of EasyWorship 2009 like us finds this information helpful.


Claus Valca

Prepping a USB stick to play music files in a Camry

A while back little bro adopted a new Toyota Camry.

One of the features it comes with is the ability to play music off a USB stick..

So he grabbed a very nice Lexar brand USB 3.0 64 GB USB stick while at a local office-supply store and copied his music files to it.

Unfortunately it didn’t play. His old USB 2.0 1 GB stick worked fine in the vehicle.

He thought it might be a bad stick (or that the sound system didn’t support USB 3.0) and was getting ready to return it to the store but I asked him a few questions.

First he confirmed it was NTFS formatted. That’s pretty common on many newer USB 3.0 sticks I’ve seen lately. I suggested he might want to try formatting at FAT32.

Note: Per the 2017 Toyota Camry Owners Manual (page 272) this requirement was later confirmed: file system format needed to be FAT 16/32. Other important points are that the USB device can only have 8 levels of folder heirachy, a maximum of 3000 folders, a maximum of 9999 files, and a maximum of 255 files per folder.  Files must be in MP3, WMA, or AAC format.

The next problem was that his Windows 10 system would only offer to format the device in exFAT.

So I had him go CMDo and run DISKPART.

  • DISKPART>list disk
  • DISKPART>select disk # <—picked # that represented USB stick on his system
  • DISKPART>clean
  • DISKPART>create partition primary
  • DISKPART>active
  • DISKPART>assign letter = E
  • DISKPART>format fs=fat32
  • DISKPART>exit

Only that netted him an error during the formatting process that the volume was too big.

Then I remembered a GUI utility from Ridgecrop Consultants Ltd that I used a long time ago.

It is free and can format FAT32 volumes beyond the normal 32 GB size limit that is sometimes encountered. It never let me down in the past.

He downloaded the tool, ran it as an admin, selected his USB drive, kept the defaut allocation unit size, and did a quick format on the 64 GB USB device. Done.

He tested and the USB stick (and media files) were now recognized with no issues by the sound system.

Mischief managed.

This seems to be a common issue many Toyota owners run into with newer/larger USB sticks so I thought I would drop a post for posterity.


Claus Valca

Monday, September 05, 2016

Valca Windows KeyFinder Utilities

Last night I was culling my collection of Windows key-finding utilities.  There were some that had gone “404” and others that didn’t seem stable (or effectively work at all) on newer Windows 7/10 systems.

Many were collected back in the days of Windows XP so I decided to pick through them and dump the oldest ones and add some new ones.

This morning I saw that the bloggist was hard at work on his own list!

Possibly we are being confronted with similar troublehsooting and service issues?

Here is my list and there are some similarities (as presented in semi-alphabetical order).

Some of these recover more than just the Windows OS key.

Some have not been updated in a while and may not work effectively on Win 7/8/8.1/10.

Then there is there is the manual method using CMD or PowerShell for most Win 10 / 8 / 8.1 systems.

I tend to prefer ProduKey, ShowKeyPlus, and Windows OEM Product Key Tool as my primary tools.


Claus Valca

Lenovo Y50 Hard Drive Replacement and Windows 10

About a month ago I was asked by a family at the church-house if I could give them some advice about their son’s two-year-old Lenovo Y50 laptop.

Apparently the hard-drive had failed and time was short before he headed off to college out of state.

They had purchased a new 1 TB Western Digital laptop drive similar to the one in it but despite good effort had been unable to get Windows 10 reloaded on the device. They suspected more was wrong with the system and wanted to confirm before picking up a new laptop before he shipped out.  Basically, they said the BIOS detected the HDD but they could not get Windows 10 reloaded on the laptop.

I asked them to let me look at the system along with the bits and pieces and then I would let them know.

So, armed with my various troubleshooting tool kits and USB sticks I sat down in our sound-booth with it and ran a quick assessment.

I’m more of a Dell-guy and hadn’t had much experience with the Lenovo line. As such, getting into the BIOS took a bit of research.

The trick was something called the “NOVO” button.

I booted into the BIOS (on the Y50 using the NOVO button to the immediate left of the power button) and checked a few things.

I was able to confirm the BIOS was picking up the new HDD. 

I look under the boot tab options and saw that it was set to EUFI.

I changed it temporarily to “Legacy” and saved. I needed it that way for the next step to work more smoothly in my troubleshooting assessment. 

I attached one of my custom USB sticks that I can use to boot a system and load/run an OS (Windows/Linux/Whatever) directly from the USB stick and not off the local HDD. 

I then hit the NOVO button again and selected to boot from my USB stick. That allowed me to load a WinPE build and run some commands to…

  1. confirm that I could see the new HDD,
  2. confirm that it was a 1 TB drive,
  3. rebuild the drive partition configuration (MBR type) and make it bootable, and then
  4. formatted it as NTFS using DiskPart from a command prompt window.

        1. Diskpart
        2. > select disk 0
        3. > clean
        4. > create partition primary
        5. > active
        6. > assign letter = C
        7. > exit

Followed up by a final

format C: /fs:ntfs /q /y

It worked perfectly. That confirmed the laptop recognized the drive while running under a Windows OS and it was working as expected. Now I needed to get the Win 10 OS loaded on the hard drive.

I shut it down and rebooted it again with the NOVO button. I went back in to the boot options tab and set it back to UEFI, saved the changes and rebooted. 

This time I had swapped USB sticks and now used a Windows 10 Installation Media USB that I had previously built when I was working on my own laptops a while back.

The Win 10 lnstaller loaded and the setup wizard started.

Only I had forgotten that the HDD was still configured as MBR with my pre-testing. 

Win 10 and UEFI BIOS support enabled didn’t like each other and the wizard refused to continue with the installation. So at that point in the installation options I had to just delete the MBR partition I had made so Win 10 could automagically create the partition again as a GPT type which it required. 

It did and then the rest was just watching Win 10 install, reboot a few times, creating a local user account, and dumping on the OS updates. 

Because it had Win 10 on before, it automatically loaded the license key from BIOS storage and activated Win 10 once fully installed and after I connected it to the Internet. 

Done. The Y50 was a sharp looking (and running) laptop and I was impressed during my short service time with it.

Note: I had planned on looking at the failed hard-drive to see if any data could be recovered and ported back over onto the new drive, but they said that wasn’t needed and would just go with a fresh-start. I left it to them to follow up with any remaining software application reinstalls as well.

I didn’t kick off the new Win 10 "Anniversary Edition" build update release since this was to be just a short “assessment” service but told them that it should eventually auto update in a week or so. I also let them know they could force it on early by heading over to this Microsoft site page and following the instructions. 

And I advised them to keep these link handy as well. 

                The family didn’t have to shell out for a new laptop and all was well.


                Claus Valca


                Additional reference notes:

                Saturday, June 25, 2016

                A Perfect Father’s Day – 2016 edition

                This past Father’s Day, dear little Alvis and her husband invited me over to their place for some hang-out time.

                We watched some great Copa América soccer matches.

                We wrestled with their “schnoodle” (schnauzer poodle mix) Molly.

                We ate spicy chicken and I wolfed down red-beans and rice.

                We laughed and then hunkered down when a ferocious storm blew through dumping rain by the bucketfuls, tossing lighting, drumming up thunder. And killing the power for about 30 minutes.

                It was perfect!

                Along the way I couldn’t help but be a dad and do some fixing of Alvis’s laptop.

                See about a week or two prior, her husband had been using it when suddenly it died right in the middle of some work.

                Alvis tried some pretty good troubleshooting but couldn’t make headway. It seemed to sort-of boot but would just display a black screen and power off.

                To make matters more challenging, the kids reported that Microsoft had foisted a stealty/scammy Windows 10 upgrade on them. It was running Windows 7 just fine, but did a Windows 10 upgrade they didn’t ask for or want anyway. Classy.

                However, they were good sports and adjusted. It seemed the Windows 10 upgrade went ok and the laptop survived the experience intact.

                Was it a Windows 10 upgrade black-screen problem related to the upgrade? Was it a bad system board or power-source issue? Bad display? That snoodle can get rough at times though I didn’t see any teeth-marks on the lid.

                In the worst case scenario, I was prepared to do a data-recovery and then port Alvis’s files onto her external USB drive so she could still work with her data on another laptop if her’s was dead.

                I made sure the device was on the AC power cord and tried to boot it with a bootable USB stick first. Nothing.

                I removed the stick and tried a power cycle again.

                Miraculously, it sprang to life this time – for a moment. Enough to partially display a Windows 10 boot loading routine and for me to see an exasperated and amazed look on Alvis’s face that it was working for me – before the screen went black again and nothing.


                I pulled the battery out of the laptop and removed the AC cord plug.

                I pulled a Leatherman Micra multitool out of my pocket and removed the bottom laptop access cover.

                Alvis said she had started to do that earlier but stopped since she was afraid she would loose the tiny screws.

                I was proud she had considered that (exploring under the access cover) and explained that the lid screws were “captive” and probably wouldn’t come out – though I did keep my eye closely on the schnoodle.

                I pulled out the single DIMM of RAM, then firmly reseated it and clipped it back in.

                The access cover was snapped back in place and screwed down, the battery returned to the bay, and the A/C power connected.

                It booted right up normally and ran like nothing had happened. Fixed just like that.

                After offering to roll her laptop back to Windows 7 (declined by Alvis) she did say that the thing that frustrated them them most was the “new” Start button and menu.

                I downloaded and installed Classic Shell and after a bit of tweaking had the Windows 10 start menu tamed into a format Alvis was familiar with again.

                Mischief managed – for now!

                A right-perfect Father’s Day and I was still able to be handy and useful.

                Thank you Alvis!

                You are the best daugher a father could ever hope to have. I’m so proud of you.


                Time for a larger laptop hard-drive?

                I’ve got two laptops that are near and dear to me; Tatiana and Alister.

                Tatiana is my main personal laptop – it’s a Dell Studio 15 (1558) notebook running an i7 core, a 500 GB drive, and 8 GB of system RAM.

                Alister is my hot-rod racer – it’s a hand-me-down Dell XPS L702X laptop also running an i7 core, one 250 GB SSD drive (system/boot) and a 2nd 500 GB HDD in the 2nd bay. It has 16 GB of system RAM.

                So here is my quandary.

                I really, really love the boot speed and performance of the Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250 GB SSD drive. Once you go SSD it’s very difficult to consider a traditional spinning platter HHD.

                However the prices for larger storage capacity on a SSD are still pretty high.

                I’ve almost filled up the 250 GB SSD in Alister. Luckily I’ve been able to migrate more files and apps to the 2nd HDD drive and am fine for now.

                For Tatiana, all those music and video files, utilities and applicaiton installs are taking their toll and the 500 GB drive in it is almost filled up too. And unfortunately, I don’t have a 2nd drive bay space on that laptop.

                My gut tells me I will do better in the long run if I pick up some nice 1TB traditional HDD’s for both laptops.

                If I go with a speedy 7200 RPM drive with a big and fast cache I would still come out ok. I could easily pick up 2-3 of those drives for less than the price of a single 500GB SSD drive (when I honestly want a 1TB SSD size).  Though I could probably find a budget SSD drive, I’m spoiled with the Samsung EVO line right now and it would be hard to walk away from.


                Any recommendations for a solid, fast, and dependable 1TB or larger 2.5 inch internal HDD for a laptop?

                If I rolled Alister back to a 1 TB HDD for the system drive, I’d likely pass the SSD drive in it now over to Lavie and upgrade her older Dell laptop with it. She doesn’t need near the storage space and the faster boots would make her happy. It would be an easy-peasy performance upgrade for her system.

                More SSD links to ponder…


                --Claus Valca

                File under “You think they would have learned by now”


                Remember these GSD blog posts from a year ago or so?

                I guess you can’t keep a crappy “helpful app updater” down when it is an exploitable “feature” to help consumer’s out.

                Constant Vigilance!

                --Claus Valca

                Now showing on the small screen – Ransomware!

                Must read for all you IOT fans…

                Next targets; your smart-refrigerator, your smart-washer/dryer, your smart-car, and your smart thermostat.

                And you thought it was bad-enough fighting with your spouse over the room temperature?

                Pay bitcoins now or your whole home (and heating/cooling bill) will be held hostage!


                IOT lovers beware!

                --Claus Valca

                Windows Service Triggers

                I was troubleshooting some issues with WSUS server updating firing off on some Surface Pro tablets the other week.

                In doing so, it seemed the root cause was that the Windows Update Service was set to not run full time or Automatically but rather manually and based on service trigger starts.

                Hmmm. Time to learn me some facts about Windows service triggers.

                Now we know!

                --Claus Valca

                Yep, it broke things…MS16-072 (that’s by design folks!)


                Let it be said, let it be applied, so be it now broken, so be it now removed.

                Thus sayeth the sysadmin.

                Now let’s go fix it…well, you know…


                --Claus Valca

                More EMail Client Thoughts…

                When I posted Wrestling with Outlook Troubleshooting I was in the middle of helping an older church-member sort out his email client issues.

                He had suddenly lost the ability to send emails in his Outlook client that was also using the Outlook Hotmail Connector (64-bit).  I fiddled around troubleshooting it for a weekend, but in the end had to punt and just reconfigured Outlook to tie into his hotmail & email accounts via an manual IMAP configuraiton. 

                I also set them up in Thunderbird as well to confirm it wasn’t an “account” issue.  Both worked fine so I returned the laptop and encouraged him to try both and settle on one he was most comfortable with.

                Only the next week he reported more email problems. This time, he couldn’t delete his emails.

                That’s an issue I haven’t had before in either Outlook or Thunderbird.

                Long story made short the emails were deleting – but it took a while due to the synchronization delay between the local account and the server.

                What do I mean?

                So the gentleman wanted the email client to “reflect” what was on the remote email server account, rather than downloading a copy of the contents to a local file store on the laptop.  Had we set it up that way, then the email “deletion” would have been immediate – at least in terms of what he was seeing in the client itself.

                Because we were not using the Outlook “Connector” plug-in, there was a lag between when he deleted an email and when the normal sync-time would trigger a re-sync of the “local” seen email contents.

                So I would select an email message in the email client, hit “delete”, then…nothing for a while. It just stayed there.

                If we were logged into the web-mail account directly in a web-browser session (rather than an email client application) the message delete was immediate. So it wasn’t a problem with the account.

                However, back on the email client, if I hit “send/receive” right after deleting the message, the folders would re-sync and the email would “delete/disappear”.

                Once this delayed delete was understood, I could tweak some of the settings, but I didn’t want to re-poll the mail server every few seconds/minutes!

                Thunderbird seemed to be the fastest with “deleting” the message on it’s own with Outlook taking the longest.  The gentleman was OK with Thunderbird but I wasn’t getting a vibe from him that he loved it either.

                In the end I found a compromise in Windows Essentials Live Mail.  It mimicked Outlook pretty well and had very intuitive control icons on the Ribbon. And it seemed to sync not quite as fast as Thunderbird, but much faster than Outlook.

                My father-in-law loves Thunderbird – and I like going with it first since it is the one I use at home and am most familiar with it’s setup and operation for support needs. Dad still uses Outlook 2003 as that is what he was used to from his pre-retirement days. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

                IMAP configuration worked great – though it does come with drawbacks when using with Microsoft mail server accounts – the greatest of which is that online contacts and calendars will not sync. In this case that didn’t matter as the gentleman didn’t use those features of his web-mail accounts.

                Were I to do it again, I’d work my way down through these other free email clients until we found a winner that he liked:

                • Thunderbird - Mozilla
                • Windows Essentials – Windows Live Mail – Microsoft
                  • Windows Live Mail and Outlook Mail - Microsoft Community – additional tips on setting up WLM to use IMAP connections due to the Microsoft changes killing the DeltaSync protocol that made it so seamless in the past. This is what I ended up doing and it worked perfectly.
                • eM Client – beautiful email client that should make WLM users feel right at home as Microsoft drops support of the Windows Live Essentials software packages. Free version of eM Client supports up to two email accounts. eM Client PRO ($) supports unlimited numbers of email clients.
                • Mailbird 2.0 – a more “modern” chromed email client in both free (Lite version) and $ versions.
                • Inky – free basic version and $ for subscription based version that has more features and IMAP support.
                • Pegasus Mail – free (dontation ware) email client that reminds me a bit of the Outlook Express application for some reason. Fully featured and not restricted, its a solid choice.
                • Shortcut URL on desktop – Seriously I’ve done this from time to time. If a user has an issue with an email client and the email service provides web-mail, I just make a shortcut from their web-brower to the desktop, label it “My Email” and that’s it.  The user goes right to their web-mail inbox and with Gmail,, and other email providers having highly improved and slick web-mail interfaces—an argument could be made “why bother with an email client at all?”


                --Claus Valca

                Telenet Clients

                This week I was working with a network team-member to pilot some changes that will lock our network switches down more tightly.

                I’m used to using PuTTY Portable or KiTTY Portable which are simply portable versions of PuTTY and KiTTY and seem hands-down better than Microsoft’s Hyperterminal that got left behind when Windows 7 came out (although it can run just fine on WIn 7 if you copied the snagged binaries over).

                However, the network admin I was working with requested we use the terminal Poderosa.

                Apparently Poderosa has been out for a very long time and I’m just now finding out about it.

                What makes it very nice – aside from the beautiful GUI – is the “tabbed” nature of the application so you can have multiple sessions running and organized very similarly to browser tabs.

                It felt very natural and easy to use and is pretty light and fully portable.

                Like other telnet clients you can change the back color, text color, and font for improved legibility. The buffer size can be adjusted to allow capture of more of the session content, and copy/paste support feels more natural (IMHO).

                GSD Bonus:

                Don’t forget these great Cisco reference sites:


                --Claus Valca

                Unpacking Inno Installers

                Some – but not all – applications that come packaged as “installers” can actually be run “portable” without needing to do the full install.

                There are degrees of portability when attempting this. Some applications are truly portable in that they don’t write extra files to the Windows Registry or ProgramData locations but either use their own “local” ini/config files or helper portability wrappers to retain settings and option selections (if available).

                Others will run after being unpacked, but may still write settings and changes into the Windows Registry and other system locations.

                All that to say, that a common installation packer I encounter is Inno.

                Normally, I just run Universal Extractor where I have updated the dated inno unpacker binary with the latest one from innounp to be sure that I can unpack those built with the latest versions.

                Or you can try out the newer project UniExtract2 which the author is trying to create an updated and feature enhanced version of Universal Extractor. It’s very nice too though you still may end up having to manually update innounp when a new version comes out.

                Anyway, if that is too much overhead, you might want to try one of these Inno-focused unpacker utilites.

                • InnoEx – GUI based extractor. see the Help/tips for more ideas.
                • InnoExtractor – HavySoft
                • innoextract – supports multiple platforms like Windows, Mac OS X, and multiple Linux flavors
                • - A tool to unpack installers created by Inno Setup

                Of course if your CLI-fu is strong, you could just keep it old-school and use innounp directly from the command line and be done with it.


                --Claus Valca

                Supplemental Spell Checking in OLW with tinySpell

                The biggest feature I am missing in Open Live Writer is the lack of “real-time” spell checking when running it on a Windows 7 system.

                My “fix” at the time of this post - Open Live Writer – we will (eventually) get through this – was to compose my post, copy/paste it into a session of Notepad++ where a spell check plugin was configured, and then correct any spelling issues back in the original post.

                It worked but felt very clumsy.

                So a few weeks ago I found a more streamlined solution.

                1. Download the free version of tinySpell – a free (and portable) spell checker.
                2. Launch tinySpell.
                3. Launch Open Live Writer.
                4. Compose post and fix spelling errors on-the-fly while composing as notified by tinySpell.


                tinySpell comes in both installed or portable versions and there is also a tinySpell+ version as well for $ if you need more of the advanced features it offers.

                You can easily add additional words into a custom dictionary. Set the application to run at system startup if desired. Make an audible beep if a spelling error is detected, and change the font size and color of the spelling tip notification.

                tinySpell has restored my blogging confidence in using Open Live Writer as it continues through the development process.


                --Claus Valca

                Monday, May 30, 2016

                Windows “Service Pack”, Slipstreaming, ISO files, misc.

                Wow.  Big thanks to Lavie for being patient with me while I hammered out all these blog posts.

                I’ve still got quite a lot more, but it has been a very productive – non-productive day off.


                Claus Valca

                Linux Linkfest

                Again, some of this is old, some is not.

                Note: I spent Sunday watching the Indy 500 and NASCAR races all day and reinstalled Apricity OS from scratch because it crashed out in the middle of a Update session. Despite my best noobie efforts and troubleshooting, I was unable to get it going.

                When launching the “Update Manager” I would get a “Failed to synchronize any databases” error.

                I tried this fix metioned in the Apricity forum - Lost my upgrade ability … along with some others but nothing could get it restored.  Took me a short matter of time to reinstall a fresh load of Apricity and all is well now.


                Claus Valca

                EMET news bits

                Some more news about the Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET).

                I still recommend running it as part of that GSD Windows Defense in Depth Strategy.

                Even for home users.


                Claus Valca

                KeePass & KeeFarce

                Yes I use (and recommend) the freeware KeePass Password Safe & MiniKeePass (iOS) as a password management vault.

                There are lots of other very good applications that take a similar approach. This one works for me as I can keep my database file in use both on Windows and iOS.

                Though all that said, I remain intrigued by Master Password.

                Anyway, there were some security news blips a while back that painted a picture that KeePass might be expoitable.

                Well sure, if someone already is already running malcious code on your system, it seems obvious they can scrape any data you may access while the database is unlocked.

                As Zeljka Zorz said in the close of her HelpNet Security article;

                Lest you believe this is the death-knell for KeePass or other password managers, it’s important to know that as helpful as they are, all password managers are unlikely to withstand a targeted attack made with specialized software like KeeFarce (KeePass developers admitted as much).

                But, in order to run this software, attackers must either already have access to the target machine, or trick users into giving them access by running malicious software such as remote access Trojans (RATs) or specialized spyware on their machines.

                And if they gain access, your machine is not your machine anymore, and they can do pretty much what they want with it – security protections will not last long. So you can continue (or start) using a password manager, but protect your system with security software and be careful about the software you run on it, especially when it comes from untrusted parties.

                Enough said.

                Claus Valca

                …since we are talking about encryption…

                Here are some links about TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt, CipherShed, and Bitlocker…

                FWIW – I’m still running the last release version of TrueCrypt…


                Claus Valca

                Western Digital Encrypted Hard Drive “gotchas”

                Good information to know if you use a Western Digital encrypted hard drive. Not breaking news but still good to be familiar with – especially if your organization uses them!


                Claus Valca

                More PowerShell Fun

                PowerShell and Windows To Go USB stick building

                PowerShell and WinPE USB stick building



                Claus Valca

                Wrestling with Outlook Troubleshooting

                I’ve found myself working on Outlook (Outlook client, Windows Live Mail, Office 365) issues much more often than usual.

                Here is a collection of reference links.

                Outlook/Office 365 Troubleshooting Tools

                • Office Configuration Analyzer Tool (OffCAT) information – Microsoft Support
                  The Microsoft Office Configuration Analyzer Tool (OffCAT) provides a detailed report of your installed Office programs. This report includes many parameters about your Office program configuration. It also highlights known problems that are found when OffCAT scans your computer. For any problems that are listed in the report, you are provided a link to a public-facing article (usually a Microsoft Knowledge Base article) about each problem so that you can read about possible fixes. If you are a Helpdesk professional, you can also save the report to a file so that it can be viewed in the Office Configuration Analyzer Tool on another client on which the tool is installed.
                • Download Microsoft Office Configuration Analyzer Tool 2.1 - Microsoft Download Center
                • Fix Outlook and Office 365 problems with the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 – Microsoft Office
                  Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 can help you automatically diagnose and fix a range of Outlook problems. You will need to download the application to your local computer, sign in with your work or school account and select the issue you want help with. The application will run a series of diagnostic tests and help you set up a new profile. If any of the tests fails, it will provide suggested solutions to get your problem solved.
                • New tool for helping resolve Office 365 issues - Office Blogs
                • Fix Outlook account problems in Office 365 - Office 365 Support

                Outlook Management Tips

                WIndows Live Mail

       and Outlook Client


                Claus Valca

                Move that Window!

                It never fails that when I pull my laptop off my docking station and then start it up again in the field, I’ll have an “orphaned” application window launch on my “phantom” 2nd monitor.

                Getting it repositioned back on the visible display is always a pain.

                Here are some tips/tools to help.

                How to move or resize windows with the keyboard – BetaNews

                On Windows 7 and later, pressing Win+Left or Win+Right snaps the current window to the left or right half of the screen.

                Using Win+Shift+Left moves the window across displays on a multimonitor setup.

                Win+Up and Win+Down maximize and minimize your window.

                If a window is positioned off the screen, then pressing Alt+Space+M is still an easy way to bring it back. Just press or hold down the arrow keys to move it wherever you need.

                Window Seizer – freeware app from Alex Nolan. Click the window’s process, then click the “Move to 1,1” icon on the bar. It doesn’t always work properly, but does more times than not. Portable single exe file.

                MultiMonitorTool – NirSoft – Has some options to move a/some/all windows to the primary monitor. Portable app in both x32 and x64 versions.


                Claus Valca

                Windows Defender News and Tricks

                I still recommend Microsoft’s free Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus/anti-malware applications (depending on Windows OS version) for most family and friends.

                When coupled with a layered security approach for Windows systems it is a free and satisfactory solution for most users.

                Microsoft has recently added a few new tricks to Windows Defender. These are good to be familiar with.

                Note that the PUA feature seems to only work with Windows 10 OS versions – and not Windows 7 or 8.

                Stay safe!

                Claus Valca

                Sysadmin Tools and Tips Linkfest: Part II


                Windows Updating and Patching – Tips and Tricks

                Windows Troubleshooting and Tips

                Windows Tools

                Windows PowerShell

                Microsoft News Bits


                Claus Valca

                Sysadmin Tools and Tips Linkfest: Part I

                More goodies for the Sysadmin crowd!


                Claus Valca

                Suface Pro SysAdmin Linkage

                This is one of the piles of collected linkage that I have been working hard to get to and post.

                Supporting Surface Pro devices is a never-ending challenge. They operate differently than our other laptop/desktop platforms and require a different set of tools and utilities for troubleshooting core device issues.

                So here are some critical tips and resoure links.

                Surface Pro Device Firmware and Drivers

                Surface Pro power cord issues

                Surface Pro Diagnostic Toolkit

                Note the Toolkit files that stand out to me are:

                • Surface_Data_Eraser_Installer_v3.1.9.msi
                • Surface_Dock_Updater_v1.0.8.0.msi

                Surface Pro Tips and Tricks

                Surface Pro Data Eraser Utility

                This is important as the Surface uses a SSD drive and “normal” secure wiping techniques may not be effective. Using the Microsoft Surface Data Eraser tool should ensure a secure wipe occurs before the device is repurposed or returned to Microsoft for service.

                Surface Recover Image


                Claus Valca