June 15 2017

Syncing OneDrive folder located across multiple disk drives

OneDrive doesn’t have the option to select folders from multiple disk drives – this wasn’t a problem for other online storage/synchronization tools that I have used previously, however OneDrive wants you to simply selection one “root” folder and it will only included files/folders beneath that.

I have a scenario where I have a 100GB SSD disk for frequently accessed files and a 1TB slower SATA disk for photos and archives. I have files and folders in both drives that I want to be synchronized to the OneDrive “Cloud”.

So to do this I needed to use the Windows command line tool MKLINK to create a symbolic link.

C:\Users\danovich\OneDrive\         <——- “Root” OneDrive folder, located on the 100GB SSD drive
D:\Data\Photos\         <——- Photos folder, located on the 1TB SATA drive, containing 500GB of photos I want to be sync’d into OneDrive

Open a command prompt with admin privledges and type:

mklink /d "C:\Users\Dan\OneDrive\Photos" "D:\Data\Photos"

You’ll get a success message:

symbolic link created for C:\Users\Dan\OneDrive\Photos <<===>> D:\Data\Photos

Data will now be syncing with OneDrive and the “Photos” symbolic link, essentially a shortcut, will appear in the OneDrive folder:

June 12 2017

CISM exam passed

Last week I passed the ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) exam, and thought I could share some information on the resources I used to study:

  • Two months before the exam, I started to listen to and watch the Cybrary CISM training course videos.  About 8 hours of content all up, these were fantastic to listen to on the train or while driving to work.  Well presented, good coverage of the material and also free – although I did end up making a donation.  Download the app or use the website –  https://www.cybrary.it/course/cism/
  • A month before the exam I attended a 5 days CISM course run by ALC training in Melbourne.  This was a great course and provided online and paper study material that I used for the next month.  https://www.alctraining.com.au/course/cism-certified-information-security-manager/
  • ISACA self assessment test – I used this 50 question test to see where I should concentrate my efforts – http://www.isaca.org/certification/cism-certified-information-security-manager/prepare-for-the-exam/pages/cism-self-assessment.aspx
  • CISM Review Manual 15th Edition – fantastic study guide covering the content in great detail.  Well laid out so you can quickly find sections and terms that you want to focus in on.
  • CISM Review Questions, Answers & Explanations Manual 9th Edition – well worth spending the time to go through some practice questions to prepare yourself for the formatting of the questions.  Again I used this to work out areas I needed to focus on.

All the study in the world doesn’t replace experience, I’d been lucky enough to have been applying most of this content in my day-to-day job already, so I didn’t find the exam too far removed from decisions I’d make on a daily basis.

July 27 2016

CISSP exam passed

Today I passed the CISSP Certified Information Systems Security Professional exam.

I attended a week training course run by Les Bell (https://www.lesbell.com.au/) via ALC training (http://www.alctraining.com.au/course/cissp-certified-information-systems-security-professional/course-overview/).   There was some excellent material in this course and Les also provides access to his online training portal that has some great resources. In addition, I spent around a two months studying and I found the material below to be the most helpful:

  • CISSP Training – By CyberSecStudy – free audio podcast, great for listening to in the car – https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/cissp-training/id969825909?mt=2
  • CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, 6th Edition – Shon Harris (from Amazon)
  • CISSP Practice Exams, 3rd Edition – Shon Harris (from Amazon)
  • The Sunflower CISSP summary v1.1

The last 3 sources are slightly dated as they talk about the 10 domains (as opposed to the new 8 domains) however I found the content was still relevant.

The exam, 6 hours and 250 questions long, requires real life work experience across all facets of IT – without this experience there is no chance of understanding the concepts and subsequently no chance of being able to answer questions on the extremely wide variety of topics.

April 8 2016

Microsoft MCSE Private Cloud recertification – exam 70-981

As you may know, the current iteration of MCSE certifications require recertification every 3 years.  For the Private Cloud stream, this requires an exam – 70-981.  I sat and passed this today.

Something that seems not to be published widely is that you can recertify some MSCE streams without sitting an exam – from https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/learning/certification-exam-policies.aspx

Q. Is it possible to fulfil the requirement without taking a recertification exam
A. Yes. Candidates can now get recertified by taking a series of courses with Microsoft Virtual Academy. Read the list of available certifications, required courses and additional details to get recertified through Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Preparation for the exam is difficult – there are no study guides or reference material – you are just ‘expected to know’.

My observation is that it is basically a mix of the 70-246 and 70-247 exams, not really any new material – pretty disappointing, some of the questions seemed familiar so I wouldn’t be surprised if the exam content has just been reused.  The main areas covered are:

  • System Center Operations Manager
  • System Center Service Manager
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • System Center Orchestrator
  • System Center Data Protection Manager
  • System Center App Controller
  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • Azure portal

Would I sit this again? Probably not.  While I’m sure the intention for recertification is well placed, it just seems like a money-grab – $206AU for the exam fee.  There are no benefits to me as an IT professional apart from keeping the certification active – I haven’t learnt any new skills or gained any additional knowledge – I’ve basically sat the same exam that I sat 3 years ago and in that time there has been significant change to the System Center and Azure offerings but this wasn’t reflected in the exam.

 

 

April 7 2016

Upgrade from Windows 8.1 Enterprise to Windows 10 Professional

I had a scenario where I needed to upgrade from Windows 8.1 Enterprise to Windows 10 Professional using the free Microsoft upgrade via Windows Update.  The free update usually doesn’t work on Enterprise versions of Windows 8.1.  To get this to work:

Open a command prompt with Administrator rights and run 4 commands to update the registry:

reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" /v ProductName /d "Windows 8.1 Professional" /f
reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" /v EditionID /d "Professional" /f

reg add "HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" /v ProductName /d "Windows 8.1 Professional" /f
reg add "HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion" /v EditionID /d "Professional" /f

Then Check for Updates via Windows Update and KB3035583 appears.
After installing that update and running Check for Updates again, you will see the ‘Get Windows 10’ icon appear in the taskbar.

Follow the prompts and the machine will undertake a Windows 10 inplace upgrade with all your data intact.

In my scenario I found that once Windows 10 was up and running I needed to enter a valid Windows 10 product key for Windows to be able to activate.

 

 

August 10 2015

Windows 10 peer-to-peer (P2P) patching

Reviewing Microsoft 10 over the last week, I am very happy with the approach that Microsoft are taking with their ‘Windows Update Delivery Optimization’.  In short, this is peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing of Microsoft updates and Apps instead of content delivery directly from Microsoft servers. I like the concept behind this and I believe that this is an delivery method that we’ll start to see more of from other Internet-based software and service providers in the coming years.

The main concepts behind this are:

  • WUDO lets you get Windows updates and Windows Store apps from sources in addition to Microsoft.
  • Windows doesn’t download the entire file from one place. Instead, the download is broken down into smaller parts. Windows uses the fastest, most reliable download source for each part of the file.
  • WUDO creates a local cache, and stores files that it has downloaded in that cache for a short period of time. Depending on the settings, Windows then send parts of those files to other PCs on the local network or PCs on the Internet that are downloading the same files.
  • Delivery Optimization is turned on by default for all editions of Windows 10 (an opt-out scenario as opposed to opt-in), with the following differences:
    • Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education: The PCs on your local network option is turned on by default.
    • All other editions of Windows 10: The PCs on your local network and PCs on the Internet option is turned on by default.
  • Users can turn this feature on and off, and can also set whether they can get and send updates to either just PCs on their local network or to PCs on the Internet as well.

There isn’t any detailed technical information available from Microsoft on how this works so one can only assume that it may be a larger implementation of Microsoft’s SCCM BranchCache concept.