Blog

We see a huge variety of problems on a daily basis, from the trivial to the complex. Some of the more challenging and interesting ones get written up here, both as a reference for our technicians, and for anyone else struggling with the same issues.

29.04.2015 - PPTP VPN Problems on VMware ESXi 5.5

I’ve just discovered an interesting feature of virtual machines running on ESXi 5.5.  Skip to the bottom if you just want the skinny and not my anecdote. I set up a couple of Windows 7 VMs for testing purposes for a client, and it came to pass that I was asked to deploy a PPTP VPN configuration to all the ...
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28.01.2015 - Creating an email (SMTP) relay server in Windows 2008 and 2012

The Why There’s several reasons you might need to create a mail relay on your Windows server. The most common is that you might have network devices that wish to send emails that do not support the encryption and authentication protocols required by your email provider. Google Apps, for example, require that any device sending through the smtp.gmail.com server supports ...
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07.01.2015 - Windows 2012 Essentials – “The user attempted to use an authentication method that is not enabled on the matching network policy.”

td;dr – The Remote Desktop Gateway policy is missing or incorrect. Solution here. We’ve now installed quite a lot of Windows 2012 Essentials servers. Overall they’re very well behaved, low-resource and easy to manage with one caveat. Remote Access (whether using Remote Web Access or VPN) seems to be fraught with authentication problems. The most recent one that I’ve found ...
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09.09.2014 - Create a VPN Connection in Windows 7

Creating the VPN First, click on the Start Menu and type “VPN” into the search box. Click on the “Set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection.” and enter the server information provided by BlueCompute: In the text box labelled “Internet address” type the VPN server host name and in the text box labelled “Destination name” type your company name. ...
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02.09.2014 - Browser and PC Clean-up: Eliminate the pop-ups

Here’s a quick guide I’ve knocked together to help clean up a PC that may have browser pop-ups and may be running a little slower than it used to. It’s not intended as an in-depth PC service manual, but it should work as an effective crib sheet for tidying up a computer. PC Add/Remove Programs from Control Panel > Programs ...
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10.06.2014 - Use Disk Cleanup to Reclaim Space from WinSXS Folder in 2008 R2

Windows Vista introduced Microsoft’s new ‘component based servicing’ architecture in an effort to make updating and altering the features of the OS more straightforward and put an end to ‘DLL Hell’.  Windows 7, 8, 2008 and 2012 all use this component based model.  One unanticipated result of this was that over the life of the operating system the Windows component ...
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30.05.2014 - Adopt a Unifi Wireless Access Point

We’ve recently been using UniFi range of wireless access points from Ubiquiti Networks.  A relatively new player on the managed Wi-Fi scene, Ubiquiti has been gaining considerable traction due to the excellent price / performance point of their equipment – we’ve been seeing very satisfactory results using the UniFi Long Range Access Point. These APs are centrally managed devices, using ...
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09.05.2014 - APC Smart UPS Reporting Over-voltage / “AVR Trim Active”

An uninterruptible power supply as used in most server setups is an unremarkable and easily overlooked device.  We mentioned the importance of a good UPS in one of our first blogposts over a year ago, and now we come full circle to examining UPS again.  The other day we had to set up APC Powerchute UPS management software on a ...
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25.04.2014 - Registry Tricks – Editing another user’s registry entries

Here’s a trick that some people don’t know about.  You can load a registry hive of an offline user for editing in regedit.exe.  This lets you look at another user’s registry without having to change their password and log in as them.  It’s also commonly used to edit the Default User’s registry when setting up a remote desktop session host ...
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