May 13 2015

Turn off Tools Pane in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

I was frustrated with the Tools Pane being displayed every time I opened Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.  Surprisingly, there is no option/preference within the application to permanently turn this off.  Here is a nice trick to get the Tools Pane to not be displayed at all:

  1. Go to the install directory and head to the AcroApp\ENU subfolder, usually “C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC\Reader\AcroApp\ENU”.
  2. Create a new subfolder, the name doesn’t matter – for example “Disabled”
  3. Move the following 3 files from the “ENU” folder into the new “Disabled” folder: AppCenter_R.aapp, Home.aapp & Viewer.aapp
  4. Open a Adobe Acrobat Reader and the Tool Pane is no more!

If you are doing looking to customize Adobe Acrobat Reader DC for a mass deployment, it is recommended to use the customization tool rather than a hack like this – see http://www.adobe.com/devnet-docs/acrobatetk/tools/PrefRef/Windows/AcroApps.html

 

 

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May 4 2015

Microsoft Local Administrator Password Solution

logo

Microsoft have released a new tool to manage local Administrator account passwords for domain joined machines. The solution automatically creates and manages the password on each managed computer so that it is unique, randomly generated and securely stored in Active Directory. ACLs are then used to allow access to view the password.

More info:

The tool is free!

Microsoft Security Advisory 3062591 – Local Administrator Password Solution (LAPS) Now Available

May 4 2015

Optus Cable Premium Speed Pack testing…

In the last few years, Optus has upgraded its has upgraded its HFC (cable internet) network in Melbourne to the DOCSIS 3.0 standard.  I decided it was time to take advantage of this and upgrade to the “Optus Cable Premium Speed Pack”. The first thing I required was a new cable modem, so Optus sent me a Netgear cg3000v2. I did some before and after speed tests – tests were done via Ookla Speedtest (http://www.speedtest.net/) and used the ‘Yes’ Optus Melbourne server.  Multiple tests were done as each point however I have picked the “average” test screenshot to use below.

“Normal” Optus cable with old Motarola “surfboard” modem. As expected, the normal cable download speed was about 18Mbps, 500Kbps upload speed and ping is 14ms.

Optus cable "standard" speed

Optus cable “standard” speed

I then tested with the new Netgear modem while still on the “Normal” Optus cable plan.  Similar results to before – 19Mbps download, 500Kbps upload and 11ms ping.

Optus cable "standard" speed

Optus cable “standard” speed with Netgear cg3000v2 modem

Once the “Premium Speed Pack” plan was applied to my account I retested.  Almost 100Mbps download, 900Kbps upload and 11ms ping.

Optus cable speed after adding the "Premium Speed Pack"

Optus cable speed after adding the “Premium Speed Pack”

I’m pretty happy with this and have constantly been getting download rates in the range of 75-100Mbps depending on the time of day.

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April 22 2015

How to find an internal/local Certificate Authority

Many times when I’m new to an organisation I’ll need to do a discovery within the environment to see what technology exists – including local Microsoft Windows Certificate Authorities. A very quick and easy way to do this is to use the certutil command with the follow syntax:

certutil -config - -ping

If there is a Certificate Authority published in Active Directory then you will get a popup box with a list of them. If not, you’ll see something like this:

certutil

certutil

The command is also useful for testing the responsiveness of a Certificate Authority – if you select an existing Certificate Authority from the popup box, certutil will ping it.

April 21 2015

Melbourne based System Center guru goes it alone!

I good friend of mine who I met many years ago in the workplace has decided to open up his own consultancy.  For anyone that does work in the System Center space, they would already know Tao  from his fantastic blog over at http://blog.tyang.org/.  Tao is  a technical genius who focuses on the Microsoft System Center stack however he truly lives and breathes SCOM (Operations Manager).  Good luck to Tao and I recommend you check out TY Consulting’s new website over at http://www.tyconsulting.com.au/

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April 20 2015

WordPress showing garbage characters on front page

After installing the W3 Total Cache plugin for WordPress, I noticed that my front page wasn’t rendering properly in some browsers including Internet Explorer (Chrome seemed fine).  For example:

More garbage than usual....

More garbage than usual….

There were many forum posts on this but none of the answered seems to help.  There is even a section in the plugin FAQ however this wasn’t the solution for me:

I see garbage characters instead of the normal web site, what’s going on here?

If a theme or it’s files use the call php_flush or function flush that will interfere with the plugins normal operation; making the plugin send cached files before essential operations have finished. The flush call is no longer necessary and should be removed.

For me, the issue was HTTP (gzip) compression.  I needed to disable this.  In the  W3 Total Cache plugin, under Browser Cache, I deselected the Enable HTTP (gzip) compression option and the website started working properly again.