How to Clone Windows with Clonezilla when the Destination Disk is Smaller than the Original – OR – Cloning a Large Drive to a Smaller SSD

I’ve done this probably about 7 or 8 times now over the last couple of years when it comes to swapping out workstation hard drives with SSDs and it’s pretty much become second nature at this point, but I think the world could use a good write up on this because I’ve wasted countless hours acquiring this knowledge.

So, for today’s lesson, we will be cloning a Windows 8.1 installation from a 500GB desktop hard drive onto a 250GB SSD. Basic knowledge of how to use tools like the command line and Disk Management are assumed. Continue reading “How to Clone Windows with Clonezilla when the Destination Disk is Smaller than the Original – OR – Cloning a Large Drive to a Smaller SSD”

Windows – Play a WAV file with PowerShell and the .NET SoundPlayer Class

At work, they wanted to ability to play a soundbyte on a schedule as a reminder to our sales employees. I think I may have found this on stackexchange but I can’t quite remember at this point to give the full creds. A lot of the solutions I found tried to use Windows Media Player to play sound files or MP3’s, but unfortunately, there was no way to close the program after the file had played. This way uses Windows PowerShell and the .NET SoundPlayer Class to play the file. Continue reading “Windows – Play a WAV file with PowerShell and the .NET SoundPlayer Class”

Classic Shell – Remove First Run Wizard with Group Policy

Classic Shell is a necessary evil for any normal Windows user who wants to be able remain productive with introduction of the Start Screen in Server 2012 and Windows 8. As a network administrator, I highly recommend Classic Shell because it even has it’s own Group Policy templates that you can add in with the PolicyDefinitions inside your domain’s SYSVOL folder so you can at least somewhat try to put the Start Menu back to the way it once was. The Start Screen is a technical support person’s worst nightmare for novice users who don’t deal well with change (and trust me they don’t).

If you’re trying to customize a Remote Desktop Server environment, one somewhat annoying thing you will run into is trying to get rid of the first run wizard for Classic Shell. Obviously, the first run wizard is handy for anybody who wants to customize the look and feel of their Start Menu, but more than likely in a Remote Desktop environment, you’re going to want all this predefined with no user interaction so the chances of them screwing things up is slim to none.
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Windows 8.1 – Disable IPv6 Components

While trying to troubleshoot some issues with a user’s flaky VPN connection (they could get connected but couldn’t ping anything on the company network), my first guesses were that it was either a routing issue and that IPv6 might be the culprit or that it could be an MTU issue. In searching for the answers on how to disable IPv6, I had stumbled across a blog article that, while seemingly helpful at the time, had some misleading information on it that caused some rather undesirable results. It gave me an incorrect registry value setting of “0xffffffff” that actually caused Windows to take an extra five seconds to boot.
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Windows Update Error 8024402C – Bypass WSUS for VPN Computers Joined to the Domain

For remote teleworkers who have computers joined to a domain running Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), to overcome Windows Update error 8024402C, via the registry, you will need to force the computer to bypass your WSUS server by setting the “UseWUServer” DWORD value from “1” to “0” and then restart the computer.
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Windows 8/Server 2012 – Install A Theme for All Users

On Windows 7, 8, and Server 2012, themes can be downloaded from Microsoft here and are typically installed on a per user basis in the following directory:

%localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Themes

To install a .themepack file for all users, it requires a bit of manual intervention. Today when searching for the answer, I found this perfect blog article that explains exactly how to do it so there’s no real point in re-writing it all verbatim here.
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