Category Archives: Hardware

Meltdown and Spectre


Happy New Year … Not!

With the New Year comes a new class of malicious attack that can impact IT systems. This time, the attack is hardware based, affecting mostly Intel based systems, and to some extent, AMD systems as well.

Here is a list of resources that highlight what it is all about and how to mitigate against this new threat. In the words of Microsoft, “Don’t panic.”

Installing the LAN Driver on Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 on an Intel NUC 5i3RYH

I recently had to set up a Hyper-V server in a very small environment using an Intel NUC PC. The system installed well, but the LAN drivers would not install. Using information from the following two websites ( and, I was able to install the LAN driver properly.

  • Download the latest driver for the NUC for the Windows 8.1 operating system. The file should be called LAN_Win8.1_64_nn.exe
  • Extract the installer using WinRAR to the C:\TEMP folder.
  • Go to the following folder C:\TEMP\PRO1000\Winx64\NDIS64 and open e1d64x64.inf in Notepad
  • Remove the highlighted 3 lines.

  • Copy the following 3 lines

  • Scroll down to the next section and past them here

  • Save the inf file.
  • Run the following 3 commands from an Administrative command prompt.
    • bcdedit /set TESTSIGNING ON
    • bcdedit /set nointegritychecks ON
  • Reboot the server
  • Install the driver from an Administrative command prompt

    C:> pnputil -I -a C:\TEMP\PRO1000\Winx64\NDIS64\e1d64x64.inf

  • Click Install this driver anyway when prompted

  • The following messages should be shown.

    Processing inf : e1d64x64.inf

    Successfully installed the driver on a device on the system.

    Driver package added successfully…..

  • Run the following 3 commands from an Administrative command prompt.
    • bcdedit /set TESTSIGNING OFF
    • bcdedit /set nointegritychecks OFF
  • Reboot the server and check that the driver has install properly.

Apple IOS8 – Be alert and backup BEFORE upgrading

Apple has announced the availablility of IOS8 for the iPhone and iPad. As with all updates, this is a reminder for those rushing to get the latest and greatest software.


  1. If you get an email linking you to the update, DELETE the email. DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS. Apple will send the update notification via the Software Update section in Settings. Review this post for more information on dealing with suspicious emails –
  2. Perform a backup of your iPhone or iPad. You can run this via the free iCloud account that you should have when your device was first set up. Or, install itunes (, and perform a manual backup to your PC.
  3. Clear out as much space as you can (this update requires 5.8GB). This will enable the device to perform the upgrade properly. If you do not have enough space, remove your music, videos and photos (after backing them up). You can re-sync them again after the update. Also check Settings, General, Usage, Storage to see where all the storage space is being used.
  4. Restart your device. Press and hold the power button, then swipe to turn off. Wait until it is turned off completely, then turn it back on.
  5. Plug it into the power charger. There is nothing more catastrophic than having your device run out of power just as it begins to flash the update into the memory. See the next point.
  6. Be patient. The download is over 1GB in size, so it will take a while to download, unpack, and install. I have seen an update take over 2 hours to install.


Windows Storage Server Essentials is still with us

Here is a bit of news from Thecus, a NAS device vendor –

09/10/2014- Thecus Technology Corp. today announces another world first: Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials is now available for NAS users. Available this October, the 2-bay W2000, 4-bay W4000, and the 5-bay W5000 offer a host of benefits to SMB users, including data protection, integrated cloud services, and secure remote access.

“Thecus NAS provide users with a complete solution to their storage needs. With the additions to the W Series, Thecus is able to offer a more diversified product to its customers. Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials is an ideal pairing with Thecus NAS and will equip small businesses with a powerful and trusted storage solution.” – Florence Shih, CEO at Thecus Technology Corp.

By running Windows Server software on a Thecus NAS, users will be able to simplify the integration of Microsoft’s cloud-based applications and services, including Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. These new NAS offerings provide users with an affordable, flexible solution that minimizes resources spent on business operations while still optimizing productivity.

“The Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials software allows small businesses to protect, centralize, organize, and access their data anywhere by using almost any device,” said Peter Han, Vice President of Worldwide OEM Marketing, Microsoft. “We believe offering our software on Thecus NAS devices will provide an excellent solution for those small businesses looking to protect their data while optimizing their resources with a hybrid, on premise, and cloud-connected offering.”

Thanks to proven Thecus hardware based on the Intel Atom platform, serviced by dual LAN ports and no less than 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and all featuring media connectivity (HDMI and VGA), the new line of world-first Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials NAS are user-friendly yet robust answers to the data needs of every forward-thinking small to medium-sized business.

 *Thanks Susan Bradley, for the link

The new fast Wireless standard 802.11ac

Xirrus have put out a simple infographic to explain what the new Wireless 802.11ac standard is all about.


Basically, the takeaways from this new standard are:

  • It is faster! Starting from 1.3Gbps, we are now looking at gigabit speeds for wireless.
  • It is a 5GHz band technology. Old devices will need to be upgraded/replaced.
  • It supports multiple transmissions simultaneously. Bandwidth is less impacted by the number of connected devices.

You can read and download the infographic and get a free whitepaper on the new standard here –




IOS7 Troubleshooting

AppleLogo NewsCOMau

It is not often that a news organization becomes a source for IT knowledge or troubleshooting, but have a great article on how to fix the most common IOS7 issues that users are experiencing during and after upgrades. The article is here –

It covers:

  1. The update has caused your screen to go blank or linger on the Apple logo
  2. The wi-fi button is greyed out
  3. Group messaging doesn’t work
  4. Can’t send or receive text messages
  5. iTunes keeps crashing
  6. Problems activating Facetime and iMessage
  7. Your phone has been wiped of apps, contacts, pictures and videos

  8. Not enough memory to install iOS 7
  9. iOS 7 crashed your phone
  10. Your screen has frozen
  11. Your Voice Memos aren’t working
  12. iOS 7 is sucking the life from your battery
  13. Switch off Siri’s Raise to Speak

There are a number of interesting tips there which I did not know about before. The bottom line in this is:


UPDATE: But wait! There’s more.

Optimise Windows 7 with SSD drives

Jakub at has posted a blog on how to optimise Windows 7 when installed on SSD drives. He lists 9 tweaks that should be done to ensure maximum performance when using SSD drives here –

  • Enable TRIM (Should be enabled by default)
  • Disable Prefetch
  • Disable Superfetch
  • Disable Indexing
  • Disable Write Caching
  • Disable System restore
  • Disable Hibernate
  • Disable Page file (only if you have a lot of RAM)
  • Disable De-fragmentation

How to Install Windows Server 2012 on a HP Proliant Server

With the release of Windows Server 2012, I was looking to roll out several new HP Proliant servers running WS2012 Datacentre edition as HyperV hosts. Alas, the existing version of HP SmartSuite does not support WS2012. The methodology for installing WS2012 on HP servers is documented by HP here –

However, this methodology is quite manual, and seems to omit the installation of the HP Management and System Tools. Also, the website, and HP documentation appear to lead to two different versions of the WS2012 Supplement for Service Pack for Proliant (See here – and here –

Using the new in-place upgrade feature in WS2012, these issues were overcome by installing Windows Server 2008R2 first, and then upgrading the fresh installation to WS2012. BTW, this process should work for most other server hardware platforms. Do check the Compatibility Report to verify that the drivers and vendor applications will work.

The pre-requisite: Install WS2008R2 using the HP SmartSuite and Server media. Once the server has been installed, insert the WS2012 media (DVD or USB) and run setup.exe.

Click Install now.

Wait a while, skip installing updates, and follow the “bouncing balls” – most of the steps are straightforward.

Install the GUI Version (unless you really want the Server Core version).

Accept the License.

At this step, select Upgrade: Install Windows and keep files, settings, and applications.

View the Compatibility report, in case there are some issues that need to be attended to. Otherwise, a generic notice is given.

Wait some more.

Reboot #1.

More waiting and a couple more reboots. (Be patient!)

Finally, the server is ready.


After logon, Server Manager will automatically start up.

Minimise Server Manager to return to the desktop. A Windows Compatibility Report icon is on the desktop and links to the report which was seen above.

The HP System Management Icon will work as it normally did previously.

From this point, WS2012 is installed and operational. The HyperV role and other roles and features can be installed normally.

HP Laserjet P2035 prints multiple copies of pages on Windows 7

I recently resolved a problem which occured on just about every Laserjet P2035 printer when printing from Windows 7. When printing a page, ie. the test page, multiple copies keep printing until you cancel the print job. Updating the printer drivers have no effect.

The fix was to untick the Enable Bidirectional Printing in the printer properties.

  1. Open up Printers and Devices
  2. Right Click on the Printer, and select Printer Properties
  3. Go to the Ports tab
  4. Untick the check box “Enable bidirectional support”