Category Archives: Windows Sysadmin

Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day!

Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day to all of you who keep the zettabytes of cat videos constantly streaming. Also known as Sysadmin Day, SysAdminDay or just a SAAD day. System Administrator Appreciation Day is celebrated on the last Friday in July.

Thank you for your service to the internets!

ThinkGeek may still have some SysAdmin Day survival packs laying around.

Windows 8.1 is to be released on October 18th

Windows 8.1, codenamed “Blue” is set to be publicly released on October 17, 2013 at 7:00 a.m. ET, which is midnight on October 18th in New Zealand.

Are you excited? Me either. Still waiting on Red Hat Enterprise 7 to be released. RHEL 7 is still scheduled to be released in the second half of 2013, we still have about 2 and a half months left in the year.

Audio not working on PC with driver installed

So you have the frustrating problem of “Audio not configured” messages and no sound even though you know you have audio devices connected to your PC. The problem may be in your BIOS settings.

If you have the “X” symbol over the speaker icon on the system tray (not the circle with the line through it that shows when audio is on mute) and your audio refuses to work, even after re-installing the audio drivers and checking the connections to your devices, your audio may be disabled.

There are 2 main BIOS settings that can disable your computer’s audio capability. Your BIOS may vary, this example works on many different HP computers.

 Here’s how to fix your PC audio problem in the BIOS:

1)      Using the F10 or ESC key to get into your BIOS setup, tab with the arrow keys to Advanced –> Device Options –> Internal Speaker. You may see it listed as “Disabled”, tab to enabled and apply the setting. (again your particular BIOS settings may vary)

2)      While remaining in the BIOS setup, arrow over to Security –> Device Security –> System Audio. The audio device may be listed as “Device Hidden” If so, change the setting to “Device Available”.

Some BIOS versions give the ability to disable or enable individual audio jacks such as the front and back jacks found on a PC tower.

Two ways to determine if your Windows PC is 32-bit or 64-bit

As a system administrator or general tech person at your company, there will be times when you’ll need to find out if the Windows computer you’re working on is running a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system. You’ll need this information so you know which version of software to install on your system, or to see what will be compatible with your system architecture in the future.

There are two easy ways to find out if you are running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows.

The first way is through the computer properties information window. To get there, left click on the Windows start button.


Right click on “Computer” in the Windows option menu.

And move your cursor down to “Properties” at the bottom of the menu list and left click.

This will bring up the Windows system information window which will show what system type you are running:

The second way to determine if your system is 32-bit or 64-bit in the Windows operating system is through the dos command line. Click on the Windows start button and type “cmd” in the run box.

If you’ve run the dos command prompt on this system before you should see the “cmd” icon in your recently run programs.

Then in your dos command  terminal window type:

systeminfo | more

Note: You don’t actually need spaces between the pipe symbol “|” and the rest of the command, they were just added for clarity. You can run a “systeminfo|more” command with no spaces.

And the computer’s system information tool runs gathering a heap of data about your computer. Just look for the “System Type” line in the output. If it says “x64” you have a 64-bit system, if it says x86 you’re running a 32-bit system.
So Happy Friday Silicon Valley! Now get out and enjoy that Northern California sunny and mild winter weather that you all pay so much to enjoy here!


Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Security Flaw: Two Ways to Fix

Microsoft announced another security flaw in it’s Internet Explorer web browser.

The flaw is in IE7, IE8 and IE9.

Two tried and true ways to fix Internet Explorer security flaws are:

  1. Google’s Chrome Browser
  2. Mozilla’s Firefox Browser

Rain in Silicon Cali

I’m enjoying the sound of some much needed rain here in Silicon Cali. It’s been a very dry winter here. Most of the rain and snow has been stuck up north all winter long. Just in case you aren’t lucky enough to be here enjoying the rain in Silicon Cali, you can always see the current weather conditions in the valley with the weather widget on the right side of the page just below the tag cloud.


Or if you are running Windows 7, you can use the Windows 7 Weather Widget or ‘Gadget’ as Microsoft calls them:

To get the Windows 7 weather gadget, just right click on your screen background and choose the weather gadget. You’ll have to use the settings to set it up for the area of your choice. The two different weather widgets obviously don’t get their data from the same source, but they both offer a quick graphical update of weather conditions that is mostly accurate.


Windows XP Support End Date is April 8, 2014

The official Windows XP support end date is April 8, 2014. Less than two years from today.

According to this report from Netmarketshare, 47% of all desktop computers are still running Windows XP. In the realm of all Windows operating systems, Windows XP still claims a whopping 51% of computers as it’s home. With Windows 8 looming and security holes that will no longer be patched in less than 24 months time, it’s time for corporate IT teams to get cracking and choose your next OS. What is your next operating system? Even the normally thought to be secure Mac OS has recently shown security vulnerability. Every operating system has security vulnerabilities, especially when left unpatched and unmanaged. Take care of your OS and it will take care of you. Leave an OS alone for years after an install and you are asking for painful headaches down the road. If you are still running Windows XP after the Windows XP support end date of April 8, 2014, then you’re asking for PC trouble. The ageing Microsoft Windows XP OS end of life may spell the  end of corporate relic and home user computers. Time to try linux?

Correcting Daylight Savings Time on Windows

Correcting Daylight Savings Time on Windows XP

Why is your Windows computer setting the wrong time? It could be a failing CMOS battery, which keeps the time in your computer case. The battery is usually a CR2032 or similar. Otherwise, If you don’t have automatic updates turned on or you have a non-internet connected Windows PC, it may be setting the time according to the old daylight savings rules.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed the official start and end dates for daylight savings time in most of the United States. This also extended daylight savings (i.e. fake time) through November instead of ending in October as it had previously.  One reason given for the change was to allow more daylight for Halloween trick-or-treating. Yet another example of ruining a long held tradition through legislation. It’s Halloween. It’s supposed to be dark and spooky. Why not require portable floodlights to be placed on every neighborhood street to offer more light for trick-or-treaters?

Of course the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was meant to save energy as well. Weather any actual energy was saved is debatable. Starting in 2007, the bill amended the Uniform Time Act of 1966 by changing the start and end dates of daylight saving time. Clocks were set ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March (March 11, 2007) instead of on the first Sunday of April (April 1, 2007). Clocks were set back one hour on the first Sunday in November (November 4, 2007), instead of the last Sunday of October (October 28, 2007).

To cope with these changes and the effect it has had on computer operating systems, Microsoft has come up with some updates for the different Windows versions.

Installing the correct update for your OS will enable your computer to automatically adjust the computer clock on the correct date due to the revised Daylight Saving Time.

For Windows XP Service Pack 3:

Download the Update for Windows XP SP3 (KB2570791) package.

Microsoft Knowledge Base page:


Year Date DST Begins Date DST Ends
2012 March 11 November 4
2013 March 10 November 3
2014 March 9 November 2
2015 March 8 November 1
2016 March 13 November 6
2017 March 12 November 5
2018 March 11 November 4
2019 March 10 November 3
2020 March 8 November 1
2021 March 14 November 7
2022 March 13 November 6
2023 March 12 November 5
2024 March 10 November 3
2025 March 9 November 2

“Fibre” vs. “fiber” Explained

Know the difference between “Fibre” vs. “fiber” in connectivity hardware.

References to Fibre Channel can be confusing partly due to the use of the words “fibre” and “fiber” interchangeably.

Both spellings mean essentially the same thing, but have evolved with the technology to be used for more specific aspects of the architecture or hardware.

“Fibre” is used in non-US international English, and the spelling “fiber” is primarily used in US English. The official spelling of the FC technology is “Fibre Channel”. The word “fiber” is generally used more often when referring to the actual optical glass fiber cables used to facilitate high speed communication over long distances.

Now you know the common usage of the terms fibre vs fiber. Though making it all work together is a whole different matter which will be covered on this site soon.