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Jason Faulkner

Jason Faulkner is a developer and IT professional who never has a hot cup of coffee far away. Interact with him on Google+

It is no secret that Firefox can consume quite a bit of system memory during normal usage. While the number of tabs you have open and the installed add-ons certainly contribute, even a conservatively used out of the box installation can report quite a bit of memory usage.

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Just about any self respecting geek always has a flash drive handy. Whether it is on your key ring on in your purse, having the ability to access certain files and utilities anywhere can really come in handy at times. However, if you were to lose or have this flash drive stolen, depending on what is stored on the drive, you could be setting yourself up for a completely preventable disaster.

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Google offers a pretty comprehensive set of online applications which many of you probably take advantage of. Here is how to easily configure Firefox to use Google’s online offerings for email, RSS, PDF and office documents as your default in-browser viewer without the need for a pesky toolbar.

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Don’t think that it’s just your banking details that are important: after all, if someone gains control over your account login they not only know the information contained in that account, but the odds are that same login information may be used on various other accounts. And if they compromise your email account, they can reset all your other passwords.

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Has your digital picture or music library become so large that you have a hard time sifting through them to load up your devices? Well, why do yourself what your computer can do for you? With a simple customizable script, you can easily have Windows pick random files from one folder and copy them to another.

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After upgrading Firefox 3 to version 4, when you first launch the new release the interface is drastically different. If you find you are more partial to the Firefox 3 interface, with a few configuration changes, you can easily make Firefox 4 look like its predecessor.

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UPDATE: An “undo” function has been added to the script. There are comments in the batch script which explain how to use this.

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Previous Versions is an incredibly useful feature built into Windows 7, which allows the OS to record and view earlier versions of files without a flux capacitor. Here’s a detailed guide to using this excellent feature.

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If you are familiar with BGInfo, you can skip this section. However, if you have never used this tool, it takes just a few minutes to setup in order to capture the data you are looking for.

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If you have ever added multiple IP addresses to a single Windows server, going through the graphical interface is an incredible pain as each IP must be added manually, each in a new dialog box. Here’s a simple solution.

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Your Firefox profile houses some pretty important stuff such as bookmarks, saved passwords and preferences which would be quite inconvenient to lose. As with any valuable data, your Firefox profile should be backed up regularly.

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You are probably very familiar with the startup programs function of Windows. While you can specify the applications you want to launch at the start of Windows, the ability to control the order in which they start is not available. However, there are a couple of ways you can easily overcome this limitation and control the startup order of applications.

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With a few clicks, you can create and maintain you own environment variables which are both global on the system and survive reboots.

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We have previously covered how to set up a PPTP VPN Server using Debian Linux here on Sysadmin Geek, however if you are already utilizing a DD-WRT firmware based router in your network then you can easily configure your router to act as the PPTP VPN Server.

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Windows XP/Server 2003 introduced us to the SchTasks command line tool which usurped the At tool offered in Windows 2000. This tool offers the ability to control every aspect of your Scheduled Tasks through calls to this command.

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In addition to creating backups, there are a variety of tasks and functions SQL Server makes available which can both improve the performance and reliability of your databases. We have previously showed you how to backup SQL Server databases with a simple command line script so in the same fashion we are providing a script which will allow you to easily perform common maintenance tasks.

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When you get down to it, batch files and executable files work pretty much the same way. Both are simply a set of instructions and logic for Windows execute. So why would you want to convert a batch file to an executable if they essentially work the same? Here are a few reasons:

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Outside of email, probably the most common way to send files to a remote party is via FTP. While there are a plethora of FTP clients you can choose from, Windows has an little known and under utilized command line FTP utility built in. The beauty of this tool lies in it’s ability to be scripted which we have harnessed in the batch script below.

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Many services and programs out there produce log files as an audit trail for everything they are doing, however few have a function which removes these files as they outlive their usefulness. As a result, these log files sit on your system eating up space (sometimes more than you know) and cluttering directories for those times you need to access them.

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Backups are something which, usually, run on a very frequent schedule. If left unmanaged, a direct result of this is a large number files eating up a potentially large amount of hard drive space. Remembering to manually go in and remove backup files certainly is one method of management but shouldn’t be a long term strategy, especially when there are easy to implement automated procedures available.

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A very useful function which is missing from the Windows library of command line tools is the ability to replace text in plain text files. A function like this can be used for a variety of practical tasks which many system admin’s perform, such as:

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Common system and/or environmental events such as resuming from standby or losing network connection can cause problems for certain applications which expect to be always on and connected. So if you have a certain application which crashes or goes into “not responding” mode somewhat frequently and a restart is the only fix for it, we have a simple fix for you in the form of a customizable batch script to simply kill the application and restart it.

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With any active database, disk storage requirements are going to grow over time. While you can easily view the disk space used by an entire database by either look in the Files page of the database properties in SQL Management Studio or simply viewing the underlying files in Windows Explorer, what if you want to dig a bit deeper and see the parts that comprise the sum of the whole?

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If you run a Windows Server which takes advantage of the built in DNS Server, you have a nice graphical interface for viewing and managing your DNS records. However, the vast majority of the time you probably just look at these records as opposed to updating them. This process is not difficult, but can be a hassle as you have to connect to the DNS Server machine through remote desktop, open DNS controls and locate the record. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could simply see this information over the web?

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When you have a bunch of end user computers on a network, it is important to be sure files stored locally on the respective computers are backed up in the event of hard drive failure. Maintaining backup programs, configurations and, possibly, support costs on each machine can be a real pain, so as an alternative we have a simple solution: a script which, when run, mirrors local data to a common network location.

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