INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ARTICLES
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.
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.
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.
Virtually all linux distributions include sendmail as the default MTA. Which is okay – it has been around for a long time, is stable and it works great (although the postfix afficionados might disagree!). But it has nothing built in for spam control which is good; it was not designed for that. So you’ve installed spamassassin and it works good but you still are getting unflagged spam emails through. Perhaps you need to try greylisting.
When you’re running production servers, the one thing you don’t want to do is upgrade the kernel every time a new update comes out. Why? Because that’s the only Linux update operation that requires a reboot once it’s done—and in a production environment you often can’t have downtime.
If you’ve worked in the admin world for any length of time, you’ve probably run into an instance where you needed to change the hostnames on your server to match some corporate naming standard, but you can’t have downtime either. So how do you change the hostname without rebooting?
If you have been an admin for any length of time, you have certainly discovered situations where a server spikes in CPU use or memory utilization and/or load levels. Running `top` won’t always give you the answer, either. So how do you find those sneaky processes that are chewing up your system resources to be able to kill ‘em?
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:
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.
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?
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?
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.
While there are a myriad of useful applications and utilities which are available via portable distributions, many tools still remain in their “install only” format. This limitation, however, should not discourage you from using the respective program as a portable application. With a few tricks we are going to show you here, you may be able to add these programs to your collection of portable tools yet.
Virtualization has become an incredibly powerful and flexible way to deploy environments. So much in fact that Microsoft has integrated the ability to attach virtual hard drive (VHD) files as physical disks in the Windows Disk Management tool. This process is easy enough to do manually but if you attach VHD files often then we have a solution which enables you to mount and unmount VHD files with a single click.
If you try to update certain Windows files (such as programs or word documents) while they are in use, you get the the standard “access denied, file is in use” error. While the reasoning behind this is obvious, it can be quite annoying if you need to update a small executable which is currently in use by another user. In these situations, you have, among others, the following choices, all of which take up your valuable time:
Backing up SQL databases regularly is must. We have already covered ways to can easily backup all your SQL server databases to a local hard drive, but this does not protect against drive and/or system failure. As an extra layer of protection against this type of disaster, you can copy or directly create your backups on a network share.
The zip format is the standard for file compression, however many power user and system admin types prefer to use the 7z format because it offers significantly better compression ratios. The zip format does have a few things going for it such as speed (relative to other compression formats) and application support.