Various cool software and more

Word / Excel talking forever to open a document

2015-01-21 13_51_10-Program ManagerSo maybe you experience that opening a Word document takes FOREVER?  This could be a document from a coworker or an old document from wayback when..

See the thing is that Word documents may be referring to an old office template that no longer exists, this mean that every time you open the document it will attempt to open a template file that no longer exist – Word, Excel etc. may now take several minutes to figure this out – and meanwhile you will be starring at a logo just waiting and hoping..

So my thoughts were that there must be some setting in office that could bypass this, I managed to find several posts about the subject but it took some time to find a solution that worked for me.  I guess you could just open the documents one at the time and then save them with a different name, that is likely to loose the link to old templates – however if you have MANY such documents this is not a viable solution.

So I finally ended up finding a sweet little utility that will “fix” your Word Documents, it may still take a while – but you can start the program and have it running in the background traversing a folder structure.

Sweet.

SOLUTION!
You can download the software here;
http://www.cjwdev.co.uk/Software/EditAttachedTemplates/Download.html

2015-01-21 14_44_20-Program Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

read more about it here;
http://blog.cjwdev.co.uk/2010/04/07/edit-attached-templates-for-word-documents/

NOT THE SOLUTION (For me at least);
What I found that did NOT really work for me was;

http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/830561

http://www.ehow.com/how_7285906_remove-template-word-document.html

You can see what template your document refers to by opening it, and then..

Navigate to here (Word 2013);

FILE -> OPTIONS -> ADD-INS -> MANAGE -> “Templates” -> GO
2015-01-21 14_28_20-Program Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the problematic setting;
2015-01-21 14_31_05-2.doc [Compatibility Mode] - Word

MS – Direct Access Debugging

Debugging Microsoft Direct Access can be a pain, Microsoft however did release a utility to make this a little easier..DA_DEBUG

Microsoft Windows DirectAccess Client Troubleshooting Tool
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41938

Be sure to click the “enable debug mode” before scanning to get all the juicy details.

DA_DEBUG2

USB Tree View

USB Device Tree ViewerIf you ever need to debug some USB driver or device, then this utility seem like a nice utility to have in your backpack.

It is not soo much better than the devicemanager but still it seem a bit more accessable.

Download it here;

http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbtreeview_e.html

Direct link;
http://www.uwe-sieber.de/files/UsbTreeView.zip

SCCM 2007 clients PXE problems

So we had some problems at work with PC’s not wanting to PXE boot, they just stopped right before the pxe boot..

The problem was discovered to be with the DHCP settings we had added “Option 43” for our HP Wireless Accesspoints to be able to find the management server – but somehow this confused some client PC’s…  Tried to add option 66+67 to resolve it, but this was not enough – option 43 had to go before client pc’s could PXE boot again..  We have an idea though that it is not all models that have this problem seeing that we had a number of sites that had no problem with the option 43.

Tales from the “true”-crypt

suspicious-fry So what is up with Truecrypt??  Something fishey is indeed going on, their website www.truecrypt.org has been taken down and is now just redirected to; http://truecrypt.sourceforge.net/

My initial thought was that they had been hacked, but that does not appear so – the redirect happened several days ago and had it been a hack I would have expected it to be fixed by now.  So something more serious seem to be going on.  I read and heard several different ideas on what is going on ranging from protest against the XP end of support, Lavabit a like case, to NSA infiltration.

My personal “favorite” is that it is and internal powerstruggle in the Truecrypt team, the team has always been very secretive and roumers are that then internal power balance in the team has not always been the best.  It is thus likely that the team somehow ended up imploding and subsequently just abandoned the whole thing.

I do feel that if the case is internal power struggels, then the team defaced their own gravestone, why would you not give a good explanation on your website as to what happened instead of having people be suspicious as to possible NSA infiltration etc.

Shame on you Truecrypt team, this exit is just plain irresponsible, grow up and face the music.

A summery of what is known, a repository of the “original” truecrypt files and some additional useful insights can be found on the GRC website;
http://sl.klogmand.dk/1xgFhIK

truecrypt-logo

Reddit – bookmarks -> the easy way..

Npolitifact_photos_redditow I have for the longest time been way to occupied to do a lot of reading on Reddit – which is actually a shame as there is lots of good info flowing around in there..  But anyhow, I came across a neat little trick which might be wellknown to you Reddit sharks out there, but I did not know it so I’ll share 😀

See the thing I hated was that in order to get to the groups that interests me I had to logon and then do several mouse clicks afterwards..  Might not sound like a major undertaking, but if you are busy then everything that takes mouse clicks may put you off..

Then I discovered that you could actually embed the groups you wanted to see in the URL and hence bookmark it!?  Now I have one bookmark with the mail groups I want to read and thats it…  Nice..

A few examples;

First one group;

http://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin

Now a bunch of groups, you see you just add a “+” sign and the groupname..

http://www.reddit.com/r/andSec+antiforensics+AskNetsec+computerforensics+homelab+HyperV+netsec++PowerShell+pwned+SCCM+sysadmin+sysadmintools+usefulscripts

As mentioned, this is likely childsplay to Reddit know-it-all’s but to me it is a real neat trick.

Web-server caching.. Varnish Cache

5df133c41bfcbf3289618ffd525f199a_largeI just read about a free caching solution (Open Source) for your web-server, it sounds like an excellent solution and it seem it has been around for some time.

What it does is basically to cache incomming requests in order to reply rapidly to repeated requests, thus taking a load of your servers and possibly reduce the need for a clustered solution.

Again there are many aspects on solutions like this, but if you “need more power” (as Cpt. Kirk always said to Scotty in Star-Trek then this may be a possible road to go down).

Header from website;

Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known
as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. You install it in front
of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache
the contents. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It
typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 - 1000x,
depending on your architecture. A high level overview of
what Varnish does can be seen in the video attached
to this web page.

Link to video that explain what it’s all about (in VERY general terms 😀 but still)..
http://sl.klogmand.dk/1nARoMe

Link to website;
http://sl.klogmand.dk/1k0Bo6p

Stop Being Admin – the easy way :-D

logo-512x5123Just a quick heads up on a cool new utility (free even) …

Working as an IT specialist within a large international corporate entity, we had the challenge regarding “Administrative/Non administrative” user rights on our corporate Windows machines.  We likely have all faced this question/challenge, we WANT to tighten the machines down to gain the added security and subsequently lower the support need, however the hurdle of preparing for this (as well as maintenance) puts great demand on the planning and deployment of corporate machines/software – especially if you like us have many people in the field.

See if we removed all administrative rights from users, then they would have to call the ServiceDesk whenever they needed administrative rights- this could be to install a printer, software, drivers etc. Now for some very “static” machines this would not be a real big problem, but for a large segment of our users, this would be very annoying and troublesome – especially for users in the field where the ServiceDesk may have problems connecting.

On the other hand, having users not be local administrators is a huge gain when it comes to protection against malware and exploits, according to a podcast “Security Now” on the twit network you can minimize the risk/impact of IE exploits by up to 99+% by being a non-administrative user. In other words, there is a heavy tradeoff here.

Then again, perhaps not anymore – there now seem to be a way to both “have your cake and eat it” at the same time.

One of the very talented external consultants we use on a regular basis “Thomas Marcussen”, recently told me about a FREE cool utility they developed called “Access director for Windows”.  What this “Access Director” does is actually simple yet still quite clever, after you install the utility users will have the opportunity to grant themselves temporary administrative rights whenever needed. Therefore, the user account will normally have no administrative rights, however by right clicking the utility icon in your status bar, users can grant themselves a limited period (eg. 2 min) where their user rights are elevated to local admin. Now they will be able to install that printer/driver etc. that they may need to work, and after this period then the local admin rights are automatically revoked and the machine is again secured against malware and exploits.

The optimal implementation of a utility like this would probably be to have a group of “trusted machines” (eg. traveling sales persons, management etc.) where this utility is installed, on these machines users can elevate themselves as needed. Then have another base of “regular” machines (eg. production/office pc’s) where the administrative rights are removed, and the users will still need to contact the ServiceDesk in case administrative rights are required.

Oh yeah, did I remember to mention it is a free utility 😀

 

I talked to Thomas about corporate use of this utility, and he assured me that several corporate initiatives were on the way like; Ability to customize settings via registry settings, Ability to control who can elevate (via groups) plus a manual.  He said that the reason for the lacking documentation was that the release was slightly rushed due to TechEd.  There is a little info on some registry settings here; http://sl.klogmand.dk/RZdo7J

Anyway, enough talk – take a look at the YouTube video and it will all be clear 🙂

Download site is (look for “Download Access Director”);
http://sl.klogmand.dk/1oj6KVi

YouTube Video here;
http://sl.klogmand.dk/1qXwECv

Thanks to Thomas Marcussen for this nice utility.

Yet more free Security Training…

Interested in Security?

csu-logo

Free Short Course: Hacking Countermeasures

The aim of the short course is to give you a taste of what it is like to undertake Postgraduate study via Distance Education with Charles Sturt University. The Hacking Countermeasures short course covers sections of our subject ITE516 Hacking Countermeasures, an elective subject in the Information Systems Security Masters Degree at Charles Sturt University.

The short course will be run over 5 weeks with lectures being delivered via weekly after hours Webinars (recordings of the Webinar will be available if you are unable to make the live event). In between the Webinars, you will be asked to do 10-12 hours of study.

The course is free to undertake – link below..  Course begins May 28th 2014.

http://sl.klogmand.dk/1k4ld6s

“Darn users” never do get back to you :-(

If you ever worked with any kind of support you are likely to know the sittuation, a user has a problem – you implement a fix, ask the user to get back to you if it worked or not…  Well he/she NEVER does get back to you, instead you have a case hanging open for weeks till you contact the user for a reply or maybe the user call and complain a week later and ask why you did not do anything!?

Fustrating right!?

Well here’s a neat little trick I picked up for those of you that use Outlook/Exchange in your orginazation..

You can actually add a reminder for your email!?  Yes, I know you may say, but did you know that you can add the reminder not only for yourself, but ALSO for the RECIPIENT!?

Neat right, but how does it work you say!?

  • Well firstly – you just write your email as usual.
  • annoy1  Second – you move to “Follow Up” and select “Custom”

annoy2

  •   Finally – you add the reminder and the caption for the recipient

annoy3

On the given date and time the user will get a reminder on your email (via his/her own calender) and thus be more enclined to reply to you..

Now is that not neat or what!?