* Posts by Jou (Mxyzptlk)

277 posts • joined 8 Sep 2018


We don't know why it's there, we don't know what it does – all we know is that the button makes everything OK again

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Reminds me of a server issue we had.

A machine with an HDD spinning up that slow and with RAM counting that slow - that is WAY before the time such options existed on normal PCs. And most PCs never had such an option.

Today I shall explain how dual monitors work using the medium of interpretive dance

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: IT managers were always the most difficult

I see that in IT-related groups on Fecebook all the time. "I have a Powershell problem with my script, this is my code" snagged with a phone... Computer illiteracy is more widespread than we want to know.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Laptop + Monitor = two computers?

I love the type of user who instantly sees a practical use in something TOTALLY new to them.

The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what?

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Dark Monitor

I call that "Taking care of details". Because, if your don't, they take care of you.

The future is now, old man: Let the young guns show how to properly cock things up

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: An age ago. Or two.

> Contrary to popular belief, Internet access was widespread before 1990.

Your definition of "widespread" seriously lacks. Windows 3.1 didn't have it TCP/IP built-in, and the package for it came around 1992. Same applies to DOS. If your definition of "widespread" is "the network spans around the globe, even if less than 0.1% of the population in the handful of participating countries have access" you seriously got a weird viewpoint.

Protip: If Joe Public reports that your kit is broken, maybe check that it is actually broken

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Up time


powercfg.exe -h off

The swift in-person response is part of the service (and nothing to do with the thing I broke while trying to help you)

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

GPO controlled firewalls are worth so much!

Every network I come across which does not have a GPO to control the Windows firewall on clients and servers gets some from me. Avoids exactly that type of problem, avoids unreachable servers because they are stuck in the state of "detecting network" or "unidentified network" after reboot and so on.

Avoid deactivating it or even disabling the service. I had cases where Windows couldn't install a font due to a deactivated firewall, a paranoia Microsoft added quite a while ago to catch weird-hacker-fonts.

Terminal trickery, or how to improve a novel immeasurably

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: I'm a word wrangler...

> 1,260Kb as a plain text file

Frank Herbert, Dune, Book 1, 1'172 kb pure ascii.

Larry Niven, Lucifers Hammer, 1'252 kb pure ascii.

Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge, 1'451 pure ascii.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: I'm a word wrangler...

I read it all. You manage to tell it wordly, but without making it boring-to-snoring. You manage to tell so I understand what it is about without inconsistency, weird style and does not require several re-reads. So you've already got a few good points. Waiting for the next story!

You want a reboot? I'll give you a reboot! Happy now?

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Reboot

You don't put noobs so close to the server. You've learned that lesson back then, I guess :D.

Quality control, Soviet style: Here's another fine message you've gotten me into

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Sound more like a "server" than a server... Dodgy memory was and is always detected in real servers. You indeed needed to get away from there!

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Russians, alcohol, making toasts

Thank you for hinting that! I didn't know about the toastmaster glass until you mentioned and I googled... A must have for me...

EDIT: Where can I get one? Not even listed on Amazon...

Yep, you're totally unique: That one very special user and their very special problem

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Yesterday's pain

Emergency backup keyboards with "Fn", without numpad and other weird stuff are rejected by me. You know why.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Simple: Plug in power. Walk away and do useful stuff. Come back. Press power button. Instant on - where "Instant" for servers means less than 60 Seconds to show the first logo.

Explanation: Nearly all servers today have BMC chip(s) which check a lot of sensors, RAM, CPU, LAN, plugged in cards etc etc even before enabling the power button. Can take a few Minutes.

But if the box takes more than 60 Seconds they often have a serial port where you can watch it checking everything before giving another sign of life.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Where’s the effing handbrake!?

They are quite common in heavier cars (i.e. small transporters and up) since you can give a lot more pressure using your foot. But the automatic-electronic parking brake becomes common, including some weird behaviours...

Yes, there's nothing quite like braving the M4 into London on the eve of a bank holiday just to eject a non-bootable floppy

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

> WMI says machine has been on for a week

There is a stupid default in new Windows 10 installation, I don't know with which build it came in. When you shut down your machine it does not really shut down. I've seen uptimes of 30 days on such machines, just by looking at the task manager. Even when I shut down and turned them back on by myself.

Only a reboot does the real thing, including the real reboot of windows updates - which explains I never saw more than 30 days on machines within my (temporary) command. The way to get rid of the nonsense is:

powercfg.exe -h off

So, before you accuse a user next that that he/she "did not shut down", check for that and execute above mentioned command before playing the a-hole role and accusing the user not doing what told when the user might have done exactly what you told.

Housekeeping and kernel upgrades do not always make for happy bedfellows

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Versioning - still not an option

PS: you can steal that handy UI from a Server 2019. VSSUI.DLL, VSSUIRUN.EXE and de-DE\VSSUI.dll.mui (or en-GB for most reg people). Copy them to the same place on your Win10 OS.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Active Directory - not TM

That's why you don't work as local admin by default - NOWADAYS...

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Versioning - still not an option

Most OS-es of today offer snapshots, and depending on which OS an option to do them on regular intervals, and on some OS-es with a definition "how much space to waste on snapshots", and on some OS-es with an easy to use GUI to handle ALL those options at once.

I know Windows does that since Server 2003 R2 (and Windows XP with SP1 or SP2). Other OS-es vary. Saved me countless times - and I started to rely on it. You can ever browse them easily from CMD shell, if you know how. Adn the default of "7:00" and "12:00" as daily snapshot times is indeed a good choice too.

Sadly they removed the shadowcopy-GUI entrypoint from Windows 10 lately (VSSUIRUN.EXE specifically), but not on Server 2019. You can still call it with Windows+R sysdm.cpl on newer windows installs and "steal" the shadowcopy-tasks from an existing Server 2012 to 2019...

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Rassen frassen

This is the reason why my "clean up temp" scripts have a fallback, here the windows example:

del /s /q %temp%\..\temp\*.*

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Move it don't kill it

I use a similar scheme... I append "delete at <six month in the future>" to such directories.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Delete is written rename

> That's why GUIs have waste-bins.

Which don't work on network drives in many OS-es. A big THANKS to shadowcopy/snapshots and other server side "recycle bin" implementations nowadays - IF YOu ACtiVATeD THEM !!!11!11oneeleven!!!

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Delete is written rename

Same for registry changes.

In config files: Duplicate the line to edit, put a comment in front of your "copy" with an iso8601 date marker.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

MS-Basic 3.5 on Commodore +4



is not equal to



That is when I learned that Commodore MS- Basic 3.5 and 7.0 ignore everything after the * wildcard. Unscratch PRG for rescue.


Pizza and beer night out the window, hours trying to sort issue, then a fresh pair of eyes says 'See, the problem is...'

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: ~/.procmailrc

> And of course the generations old one of putting the serial number in the least accessible place

Like on top or on the side (where the rail-mount is) of the rack mounted server, which cannot be moved while operating since SOMEONE was too stupid to do it the right way in first place.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: ~/.procmailrc

Upvote for including the | = Pipe symbol. I hate Arial/Helev for that nonsens.

Wow, and it should have double upvote for including ı = dotless i - I just saw that and had a real "WTF why does such nonsense even exist" moment after sending that character through google to "WTF is this".

Server won't boot? Forgot to make that backup? Have no fear, just blame Microsoft

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: A hard lesson...

That is dangerous. You have to make sure, really sure, that not even the tiniest drop of oil lands on the platter after spinning up. Else you will end up with a data grinder as soon as the head picks up the oil.

It's always DNS, especially when a sysadmin makes a hash of their semicolons

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

This is why my robocopy .CMD files are on the DESTINATION, usually in "pull data from server" instead of "let server push data".

This way I can use:

robocopy "\\Source-Server\some\thing" "%~dp0\backup" /e /purge

Even when two or three backup drives change their drive letter, the script will always copy the right source to the right destination since the drive letter doesn't matter any more.

And if the drive letter is totally out of whack you'll get an error since ".cmd not found" - if you set up your task proper.

When even a power-cycle fandango cannot save your Windows desktop

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Lest we forget.

That was before you learned system.ini :D. After you learned that you "took hours to install over night" and cached in the overtime in your preferred pub, I suppose.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: a perfectly understandable error

> My mother in law can't use a mouse because she hammers the buttons so hard the mouse moves an inch or more

There is another solution for this on Windows!

Tool with GUI: https://github.com/paulmooreparks/WinDragSens


Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]



Default is: 4 pixel

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: In defence

Honestly: Downvote from me. Users who are incapable or unwilling to learn? You take the job od "educating" them. Reality will change your opinion.

The day I took down the data centre- I mean, the day I saved the day. Right, boss?

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: That's interesting

If nmap packet flood can kill a firewall any device can. Literally any device, including a defective network chip which runs havoc on its own without the machine/OS behind the chip noticing anything.

AMD is now following More's Law: More chips, more money, more pressure on Intel, more competition in the x86 space

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Again seems history repeating itself

ARM ain't RISC any more. The true RISC-ARM is here https://youtu.be/_VYxIaw1kBU - and it was RISC since it made sense at that time. But the smartphone-ARM today isn't RISC.

A decades-old lesson on not inserting Excel where it doesn't belong

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Here is your link without facebook tracking:


Come on, you are posting this on an IT site and include the ?fbclid= ???? What rock do you live behind? Ah, behind the 65535th rock.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Similar issues

Run this in powershell:

foreach ($culture in $([System.Globalization.CultureInfo]::GetCultures([System.Globalization.CultureTypes]::AllCultures))) {

[System.Threading.Thread]::CurrentThread.CurrentUICulture = $culture

[System.Threading.Thread]::CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = $culture

Write-Host "$culture.Name " -NoNewline # $culture.DateTimeFormat

Get-Date -Format g


My preference: en-SE

(Note: I am from Germany, not Sweden, I just love iso8601 date format)

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Is my memory failing..

Thats what " is for. Powershell import-csv/export-csv uses "". Problem solved. But you can use -Delimiter ";" too. You can use SEP=; in the first line, which selects the delimiter manually - but not every tool likes it that way.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)


Most important options for import-csv and export-csv: -Delimiter ";" -Encoding UTF8

And on export-csv add -NoTypeInformation if needed.

No problems here that way, the most stable options. Even excel can handle it. Also supports multiple values within a cell (aka multiline cell) which you can select - if you know how.

The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon

Jou (Mxyzptlk)


NT 4.0 can boot from CD for Setup. It was from SP3 or SP4 (integrated) on, as far as I can remember. Too lazy to google that now.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Not met a demon

Honestly, I know a lot of Windows Servers from 2008 R2 on up to 2019 with uptimes of more than two years, until I forced Windows Update run(s) after 800+ days. It is not the OS per se, but those unstable services on top of it. Run it as Domain controller, DHCP, Hyper-V host (or Cluster) or Fileserver -> no problem reaching 800+ days with no one noticing, cause it just works.

IIS ? Well, the best known uptime killer. SQL? Depends... you can imagine the rest of the long uptime killer list.

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Effectively I still use Netscape 0.92

which got later Netscape 1/2/3/4 and 6. Then Mozilla Browser. Now Seamonkey 2.53.* from http://www.wg9s.com/ since I always hated Thunderbird trying to imitate Outlook Express, including the bad stuff. As for version 2.57.* and higher: Mail is still broken, folder tree pane is empty. Sadly.

Oh, news 19th August: Official new beta avail https://www.seamonkey-project.org/news

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Perhaps

Phone, Skype, Teams < looong list >. Those are for instant stuff. Email? No. And a boss has to know which communication way to choose for urgent things.

You *bang* will never *smash* humiliate me *whack* in front of *clang* the teen computer whizz *crunch* EVER AGAIN

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

> Too bad the Amiga is no more

Oh no, that is just glorified past. Read this, especially the comments, to know why: https://www.theregister.com/2020/04/10/on_call/

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Meds Without Hats

Oh, that is a "I don't touch that" installation...

Funny, that: Handy script for wiping directories is capable of wreaking havoc beyond a miscreant's wildest dreams

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

My temp cleanup...

I made a (windows) temp cleanup tool quite a while ago. Deletes all but the 10 newest entries - some programs rely on things in TEMP during installation after a reboot.

For known reasons I wrote it this way in the for /f loop:

del /q "%TEMP%\..\temp\%%A"

rd /s /q "%TEMP%\..\temp\%%A"

Yes yes, trust environment variables.... NOT.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: My contribution ...

> get distracted by someone

That is, quite often, the biggest problem.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: My contribution ...

I chrome that!

What evil lurks within the data centre, and why is it DDoS-ing the ever-loving pants off us?

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: SMTP ddos

Upvote from me!

You had one job... Just two lines of code, and now the customer's Inventory Master File has bitten the biscuit

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Defensive Coding

There is such a nice bug in powershell/wmi still true today... Run

Get-WmiObject Win32_QuickFixEngineering -ComputerName $Computername

If you get the latest windows updates installed you see that some updates have no date listed when they were installed - and others are actually wrong.

There is a bug where the query returns Day/Month/Year value, but the expects US Month/Day/Year (or the other way around, cannot remember), so anything installed after the 12th in a month would have no

t date listed. Which then was my hint why my script for checking when the last updated was installed didn't show the values I was expecting: How can an update be installed on 6th of December when we have 12th of June?

This query works fine locally though, since it uses the local country setting, it only fails when querying a remote computer. Luckily it can be fixed, I reordered the date string to be "yyyy-MM-dd" before re-feeding it into get-date, which leaves no room for confusion.

'I'm telling you, I haven't got an iPad!' – Sent from my iPad

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: Elected Members

> They were briefed on the GDPR/ Privacy and data security risks but we were overridden

The only important thing to do here: Paper, and them signed.

Jou (Mxyzptlk)

Re: On helpdesk calls

> I've made enough dumb mistakes over the years that I no longer quite trust my good opinion of myself.

Upvote for that.



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