Helpful SQL Server Maintenance Script

So I noticed over the past month that System Center Configuration Manager is running a bit sluggish which immediately indicates to me that it’s time for some maintenance! (sigh)

For those who manage programs such as SCCM and SCOM which require modern versions of SQL Server, this custom script created by Ola Hallengrens is a must have!  Also, be sure to check his site periodically as he does a great job of updating this script along with others on a regular basis.  Paired with additional recommendations from Steve Thompson designed for these specific programs, I am pleased with its effectiveness in cleaning up these SQL databases.


SCEP for Mac is back?

On the security front, Microsoft has announced a few changes including enhancements and renaming of a key product.  Formerly known as “Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection”, it will now be referred to as “Microsoft Defender ATP”.

The main reason for this leads back to the title of this post; this new product will have the ability to support Mac clients along with Windows PCs.  As you may recall, the formerly known as “System Center Endpoint Protection” for Macs was decommissioned effective December 31, 2018 leaving users without a Microsoft supported antivirus solution.

In a perfect world for SCCM admins like myself, having an endpoint solution supporting Windows and macOS all while being managed from within the console would be ideal.  I know they are in the testing stages of the software but if they wanted to pay it smart, they should work hard towards achieving this.  Read more about it here.

Update 04/01/2019: Although I stated in the original post that SCEP for Mac has been decommissioned, you can still install the program (assuming you still have the download .dmg file) and receive the latest definitions but remember that Microsoft can halt this without warning at any time.

It’s back…Windows 7 users, get ready to be harassed!

I have to admit, give Microsoft credit for doing their best to craft a message that users would be inclined to understand and accept.  Compare this to the early days of Windows 10 being available in the marketplace and I think we could all agree that if you’re going to nag your users, this is one of the better ways to do it.

And in case you forgot, you wouldn’t dare yearn for the days these type of messages hit your desktop…

Ok, obviously that isn’t exactly what popped up on your screen but it sure did feel like it, right?!?!

Real notices used by Microsoft include:

Rufus 3.5 Beta

So it appears that Rufus, the program which makes creating bootable USB hard drives and flash drives with ease, will now have the added capability of downloading all versions of Windows 10 and 8.1 as shown in the screenshots below…

If this feature works as advertised, it would be a great step forward and would perhaps lead to having access to other operating systems in the future.  Click here to download the beta and give it a try…I know I will!

R.I.P. Adobe Shockwave

So it looks like Adobe has decided that the official end of life date for Shockwave will be April 9th.  They have been working on fully retiring the software since 2017 and the last of it which was designed for the Windows platform will no longer be supported.  I personally haven’t installed it in years so I won’t be missing much.  See Adobe’s FAQ link here.

System Center 2019 Coming Soon!

I was catching up on some tech reading over the weekend and came across multiple articles stating that Microsoft’s latest System Center Suite will be released later this month and is fully compatible with Windows Server 2019 products.

A key takeaway from the article I read on about this topic is that Microsoft has decided to shift back to a more LTSC-like (long term servicing channel) model.  This decision stemmed from the fact that customers actually preferred receiving less feature updates but is supported for a longer period of time instead of the opposite.  The only notable exception to this is Configuration Manager which will continue to stay on the current SAC (semi-annual channel) model.

As someone who uses Configuration Manager and Operations Manager on a daily basis, I believe Microsoft made the right call on this.  I personally welcome the new features introduced with Configuration Manager on a regular basis whereas with Operations Manager, as long as its properly managing our 80+ servers I’m a happy camper!


Use Wikibuy for the best price online!

Not sure how far behind I am on this but Wikibuy has to be one of the hottest sites for bargain hunters all over!

I recently came across it almost by mistake in that it was initially offered to me as a tool used to compare whether Amazon truly had the cheapest prices available online.  It only took a few seconds to install the provided Google Chrome extension which uses a sophisticated algorithm to see if you were truly getting the cheapest price possible.

Another feature of the Wikibuy extension running on Chrome (which I also happened to stumble upon when browsing items on IKEA’s website) is that it will also automatically try any promotional codes which could net you additional savings and discounts on any site that has the category present.

As stated on their website, Wikibuy scans tons of online shopping sites and automatically determines where the absolute best deal can be had on any given products.

It’s worth a try especially for you online shoppers; let me know what you think about it…

WinRAR has been flawed since the very beginning!

I have to say that I feel for the people at WinRAR; it’s never a good thing when a critical vulnerability has existed within your program ever since it was released 19(!) years ago.  Just look at what comes when doing a simple search for “WinRAR”…

The Hacker News reports the following:

Cybersecurity researchers at Check Point have disclosed technical details of a critical vulnerability in WinRAR—a popular Windows file compression application with 500 million users worldwide—that affects all versions of the software released in last 19 years.

The flaw resides in the way an old third-party library, called UNACEV2.DLL, used by the software handled the extraction of files compressed in ACE data compression archive file format.

However, since WinRAR detects the format by the content of the file and not by the extension, attackers can merely change the .ace extension to .rar extension to make it look normal.

Two things that come to mind:

  1. How many of you still use WinRAR as your “go-to” extraction software?
  2. I can’t believe that their actual recommendation is to install a BETA version of their software in place of whatever existing version you may have!

Click here for the full article in addition to checking out other sites for more details…

Make sure your data is backed up!

At the beginning of the day, I had a user in a panic because his laptop was no longer booting into Windows 10 which happened to have all of his business files.  Luckily, I managed to make a copy of the failing hard drive but was quick to remind the user that if a good backup solution was in place, there would be no need to worry because the files would be safe.

So let this serve as a PSA to all…do not underestimate the need to backup backup backup! and make sure your files are safe from being lost forever!

I recommend Carbonite and CrashPlan as they seem to be the best when taking all things into consideration…let me know if you need assistance with getting a backup solution in place today!