Windows 10 How to make File Explorer open in ‘This PC’ view

I’ve been playing further with Windows 10 and working on little tricks to get it working how we want it. Many people have been complaining that they now have to click on ‘This PC’ to access network drives etc. So I decided to find a way to make File Explorer open with ‘This PC’ as the default view. Luckily I didn’t have to look to far until I came across this great blog post.

I have used method 3 with a replace command for a user registry setting in the Domain Group Policy. Now when ever users logon this policy is set and the registry is altered to make File Explorer open in ‘This PC’ view by default. More happy customers and another job ticked off the list!

Windows 10 Useful Tools – Uninstalling Windows 10 Built-in Apps

I’m currently trialing out Windows 10 in our environment and working out little tricks to get things how we want them. I found that Windows 10 comes with many built-in Apps which we don’t need. So I decided  to find a way to remove them and stubbled across this cool article on HowToGeek.

How to Uninstall Windows 10’s Built-in Apps (and How to Reinstall Them)

What does the end of Windows 2003 mean for you?

What does the end of Windows 2003 mean for you?
On July 14th 2015 Microsoft will officially end support for Windows Server 2003. Many schools and businesses are still using this outdated OS on their servers and with the end of product support I thought I’d write a short blog post to help you understand what this means.


windows server 2003 end of life

windows server 2003 end of life

Well first of all, I will point out that your servers won’t suddenly stop working. They will continue to work as normal and you won’t notice anything different. Files will be served, logins will be accepted and IP addresses will still be distributed. However this doesn’t mean you can sit back and ignore this important event. After the 14th July you will no longer receive updates from Microsoft. This means your server which is the brains of your IT network/system will be open to vulnerabilities. If someone finds a security hole in Windows Server 2003 then Microsoft will not send you the annoying updates to block the hole and keep your server secure. Plus, if you get an error or bug in any of your applications running on Server 2003 or even in Windows itself, you will not be supported! So if you decide to ignore this and continue running Server 2003 your whole system will become vulnerable and open to attacks/viruses/security issues and bugs/errors. Is it worth ignoring this and risking it? No!

What next? Unfortunately most servers running Windows 2003 have old server specs and won’t run Windows 2012 Server (the latest version) or at least won’t run it to its full potential. So the answer is to purchase a new server. This also means the fancy migration tools that are built in to windows server 2012 can be used to Migrate all your settings, files etc. If you are in the UK and would like a quote for a new server please get in touch. Plus if you are based in Leicestershire or surrounding areas we can quote for a full install!

How to Install System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager – A Step by Step Guide

Just a quick post to point you to an amazing site I found this week. After a major server failure I needed to reinstall our SCCM setup. So I decided to take the opportunity to upgrade to the latest versions. As I didn’t have much time to research and read etc I decided to find a step by step guide. After a short time googling I came across this site and found it to be so good that I thought I’d share for others.

I hope you find it useful. Enjoy

Simple Guide to Installing Microsoft Office 2013 via Group Policy (GPO)

Today I decided to update our Office from 2010 to 2013. Rather than going round lots of computers to install it though I decided to do a quick ‘Google’ to find a script and I came across this fab site so I thought I’d share it. Enjoy

Deploy Office 2013 with GPO – the simple way

Microsoft Office arrives on the iPad

Today as was rumoured Microsoft has finally released the Office Suite on the iPad. Microsoft have gone with creating separate apps for each of its products meaning you’ll need to download each one individually. The apps are free to view documents but you will need an Office365 account to create and edit documents. Microsoft have also decided to update the OneNote app to match the newly released apps thus completing the suite.

I’m currently investigating if this will work for educational office365 accounts. What are your experiences?
UPDATE According to zdnet you need one of the following paid accounts to edit or create documents:-
Office 365 Home Premium, Office 365 Small Business Premium, Office 365 Midsize Business, Office 365 E3 and E4 (Enterprise and Government), Office 365 Education A3 and A4, Office 365 ProPlus, and Office 365 University. Once it’s available, the just-announced Office 365 Personal plan will also qualify.
So this means if you use the education A2 plan you won’t be able to use these apps unless you upgrade to the A3 version which is £3+ per staff member per month!

Use the links below to find the apps on the App Store now.





Hour of Code – Kodu – Cycle vs Fly Fish Lesson for Key Stage 2

Techie Kodu needs to be installed on your machines to run this lesson. This can be downloaded from here.
Installation instructions are available on the download page.

Tell the children we are going to do an hour of code using a program called Kodu by Microsoft. Explain that we are going to create a simple game called Cycle vs Flying Fish. The idea of the game is to destroy 10 flying fish as quickly as possible.

Step 1
Select new world. This will give you a blank world to start with. We aren’t going to spend much time messing with the world as this is more about coding but choose the world creation tool (paint brush) and click and drag your mouse around the green land already on your screen. This will give us more space to work in. (You could later extend the lesson by manipulating the world to add hills, water etc). Get the children to load Kodu and do this now.
Step 2
Now we have a nice sized world to work in let’s add a character. Click on the object tool(face) and click on the land. This brings up the object insertion tool. We are going to add a cycle character by clicking on the option with the flying saucer, cycle and fish (under the apple). This pops out another menu with different characters. Click on the cycle. Now a cycle character should appear on your land. Let the children add the cycle character.
Step 3
Now we have a character let’s give it some code to make it move using the keyboard. Make sure the object tool is still selected (yellow brackets around the face). Now right click on the cycle character and choose program. Explain to the children the way Kodu works is by giving objects lines of code that do something when something happens. Each line is numbered and the lines of code work in that order. This gives us simple sentences to code with.
Explain To make the cycle move when the arrow keys are pressed we are going to create a simple sentence of code saying ‘When Keyboard Arrows Do Move’. Let’s add this to our cycle by clicking on the + next to when this pops up a new menu. Select keyboard. This now added the word keyboard after when and the pencil moves along to the next +. Click the +. This time the menu only shows us keyboard options as Kodu knows we are looking at the keyboard from the first part of our sentence. Click arrows. Now click the + after do and you get a menu with do commands. Select move. This now completes our sentence. Press the esc key on your keyboard to exit program mode and click the green triangle. This takes you into play mode. Show the children your cycle moving around by pressing your arrow keys. Give the children a few minutes to do this on their screens.
Step 4
Now we have a moving cycle let’s add the robot fish. Again click on the object tool and click somewhere on the world to open up the menu. Goto the option with the flying saucer, cycle and fish on and select a fly fish. Now we have a fly fish we are going to program him by right clicking him. The first thing we want him to do is move around randomly. To do this we are going to add the sentence ‘Do Move Wander’. Explain to the children that we want this to happen all the time so we aren’t giving it a ‘When’ instruction. Click the + next to do and select move. Now click the + next to move and select wander. Show this in action by escaping out of the code and pressing the play button. Let the children do this on their programs.
Step 5
Now we have a fly fish and a cycle. Let’s make the game more interesting by giving the cycle a weapon! To do this we need to click on the object tool to put the yellow brackets around it. Now right click on the cycle and select program. We are going to add a second sentence to our cycle which will read ‘When Keyboard Space Do Shoot Missile Forward’. Click on the + next to when and select keyboard, click the + next to keyboard and point out that the option we want is under the section called misc. Click misc and select space. Now for the do section. Click the + next to do and select shoot, click the + after shoot and now select missile from the options, finally we need to tell the missile which direction to shoot in. Click the + next to missile and click on direction, now click forward. This should complete our sentence. Test it out and show the children the cycle shooting a missile but don’t hit the fish. Now let the children do this and get them to test theirs.
Step 6
Talk Partners – What happens when you shoot the fish with a missile? Feedback and discuss. Talk about what happens in a normal computer game when you stop an enemy or collect something (you get points).
So let’s give our game a score option and make it so that when the fish is hit you score 1 point. To do this we need to give the cycle a third sentence. Again make sure you are using the object tool and right click on the cycle. Select program. We are going to make the sentence read ‘When Hit Fish Do Score 1 Point’. Explain that this will automatically create a score system and add a point to it if the cycle hits the fish with a missile. First click the + next to when and select hit, click the + after hit and select bots I followed by flying fish. This creates the first part. Now click the + next to do and click game. Explain that the game section gives us lots options to make our games more realistic. Now click score, click the + after score and select 1 point. Now get the children to do this and test it.
Step 7
Now when we hit the fish we get a point but the fish still disappears so the max score we can get it 1. This doesn’t make much of a game so let’s change the fish’s settings so we can have lots of them. Explain to the children that In Kodu we can make any object become a creatable this means that another object can create it for you and it will automatically have the code you give it. Thus making it a fully working object in your game. Again while in the object tool right click on the fish and this time select change settings. Scroll down the list using the arrow keys until you see the option creatable. Click the on/off button to the left of the creatable option to turn it on. Now press esc to exit and notice that the fish has a green glow around it showing that it’s a creatable. Get the children to this now but do not run the program yet.
Step 8
Now the fish is a creatable we need to add a new object to create it. We are going to add a castle to do this and create a sentence to create a fish every 3 seconds. Using the object tool click on the world to insert a new object. Select the option with a castle, missile and coin on next to the tree. Now click on the castle to insert it. You can reposition the castle by clicking and dragging it. With the castle in the correct position right click on it and select program. We are going to create the sentence ‘When Timer 3 Seconds Do Create Creatable Fish’. First click on the + next to when and select timer, now click the + after timer and select 3 seconds. For the do section click the + after do and select actions, within actions select create. Now click the + after create and select creatables (not this will not be available unless you have made the fish a creatable object). Finally within creatables click on the fish to select the fish we have programmed earlier. Escape out of the program screen and play the game to test it (don’t shoot the castle). Now get the children to do this.
Step 9
Talk Partners – What happens when we hit the castle? Feedback and discuss. Explain that to fix the problem of the castle being destroyed and thus stopping any more fish from being created we need to make invulnerable. To this in the object tool right click in the castle and go to change settings. The seond option down is invulnerable. Click the on/off button to the left to turn it on. Get the children to do this now.

This will end the hour of code for lower ks2/yr2 you may wish to have a little challenge to see who gets the highest score within a time frame or extend the hour by following the steps below.

Step 10
Now we have a working game but let’s make it even more interesting by making the fish shoot back. We are going to add a sentence to the fish saying ‘When See Cycle Do Shoot Missile Forward’. This make the fish shoot a missile when it sees the cycle you are controlling. Using the object tool right click on the fish and select program. Click on the + next to when and click on see. Click the next + after see and select bots I followed by cycle. Next click the + after do and select shoot. Click the + after shoot and select missile, now click the + after missile and select direction followed by clicking on forward. Get the children to do this now.
Step 11
Talk Partners – What happens when you are shot? Feedback and discuss. We need to add a game end scenario for when you are shot. To do this we are going to add a sentence to the cycle saying ‘When Health 0 Points Do End’. Using the object tool right click on the cycle and select program. Now click the + after when and goto more followed by health. Click the + after health and select 0 points. Finally click the + after do and go to game followed by end. Get the children to do this now.
Step 12
Finally all good games need a way for us to win. Let’s add a target score and a win scenario. We shall do this by getting the castle to keep track of the score and when the target score is reached to finish the game. To do this make sure you have selected the object tool and right click on the castle followed by program. We will create a sentence which read ‘When score 10 Points Do Win’. Click on the + after when and select scored. Click the + after scored and select 10 points. On the do side click the + followed by game and then win. Get the children to do this and test it.

This will end the hour of code for upper key stage 2

You can go beyond by changing the world, adding objects to hide behind, adding power ups, adding a timer or even adding more levels with different things.

Check out my Scratch Hour Of Code lesson for key stage 2 here

Sysvol not replicating across domain controllers causing group policy to fail. How to fix it.

Today I had a strange issue. My sysvol was not being replicated across all of my Domain Controllers and this was causing Group Policy issues.

My first clue to the problem was that some computers where not applying the group policy settings. I drilled down into the event viewer for these machines and found that I was getting errors with certain policies and files not being found. I checked the main domain controller and everything was there. Strange I thought. So I then checked the other Domain controllers to find that the policies had not arrived in the sysvol folder. So the next step was to run dcdiag in an elevated command prompt. It returned an error with the File Replication Services or FRSEvent error. Event viewer on this domain controller was my next step to have a look at the file replication services log and in there I found an issue with it being replicated. I tried restarting a few services like DNS, net Logon and file replication but still no joy.

So the next step was to check the main domain controller and make sure it was allowing the other controller access. First I ran dcdiag and everything was clear, then I checked the event viewer for the file replication services. Here I found a new error referencing the JRNL_WRAP_ERROR. I googled this to find out this is in fact an outdated message and the steps to fix this have changed. Basically I had to restart the service in a recovery mode. To do this I needed to change a registry setting located here.

HKLM/System/CurrentControlSet/services/NtFrs/Parameters/Backup\Restore/Process at Statup

I needed to change the BurFlags key to D4. I then restarted the service and everything rebuilt, the other domain controllers connected and everything was happy again.

For more information check out this Microsoft Support Article.

Microsoft DPM 2012 Sp1 – How To Migrate Data Source using MigrateDatasourceDataFromDPM by ICTtechie

Today I started having problems with a backup source. Unfortunately the drive was failing and I needed to get the data off the device and onto another to prevent any further issues. As I’m using DPM 2012 sp1 for my backups I’m able to use the Powershell module to run some clever commands to move the data to a new source. So here is what I did.

First I loaded the DPM Management Shell.

DPM Management Shell Icon

It loads up like this.

DPM Management Shell

Now I needed to set the the command ‘$disk’ to hold information about my data sources. To do this I ran the following command.
$disk = Get-DPMDisk -DPMServerName NameOfServer
NameOfServer is where you would enter the name of your DPM 2012 server.

DPM Management Shell $disk

After I ran the command $disk to check the result. As shown above.

DPM Management Shell $disk

Each disk data source can be referenced individually by using the command $disk[n]. n is the number of the disk from the list shown by using the command $disk. Where 0 (zero) is the top disk and the next one down is 1 etc. The image above shows my two disks referenced individually.

The next thing I did was to find my Protection Groups and allocate them to the command $pg. I did this as I only wanted to move some of my data and not all of it. I also wanted control over when each Protection Group’s data was being transferred. To do this I ran the following command.
$pg = Get-ProtectionGroup NameOfServer
NameOfServer as before is your server which has DPM 2012 running on it.

DPM Management Shell $pg Protection Group

Again I ran $pg to see the result. As you can see from screenshot I have 3 Protection Groups. As with the $disk command above you can run $pg[n] this will allow you to individually show or reference each protection group. Remember the top one in the list is 0 (zero).

Now I have the the Protection Groups in the command $pg I can now allocate some data sources to the command $ds. By doing this it allows me to have full control over each data source and when and where it is being moved to. The command to run for this is as follows.
$ds = Get-Datasource $pg[n]
Again n is the reference to which Protection Group you wish to get the data sources from.

DPM Management Shell $ds Get-Datasource

Again running $ds will display the data sources and running $ds[n] will allow you to reference the individual data sources.

Ok now I have everything referenced, I can run the commands to start the data migration. To run a migration I ran the following set of commands.
./MigrateDatasourceDataFromDPM.ps1 -DPMServerName NameOfServer -Source $ds[n] -Destination $disk[n]
NameOfServer as above is the server which your DPM 2012 is installed to and n is the number of the source.
This command may take a while to execute depending on the Datasource. It’s also worth noting you can transfer whole disk to disk or protection group to disk. Just change the the bit after source. I prefer to do it this way as it gives me more control.

DPM Management Shell MigrateDatasourceDataFromDPM.ps1

As everything went ok I can now look at jobs in progress in DPM management console and see that a post recovery operation is in progress for the Datasource I have moved. After this job has finished a verification job may occur to keep data consistent.

DPM 2012 Sp1 Post Recovery Operation

Something worth noting here is that the data will not disappear from the old disk source until the allotted retention range has passed. So if the retention range is set to 5 days the data will remain on the old disk source until 5 days has passed. You can speed up this process by change the retention range to 1 day.

More Information on the process can be found on Technet using this link.

I hope you’ve found this useful. Please share and follow.

How to stop popping up when you connect to a network

Over the last few weeks a few people on our network have been getting popping up whenever they connect to our network. This has been getting very annoying for them so this week I decided to sort it out. It was amazing how simple it was. Basically you need to make a small registry change. As always making registry changes could harm your computer if you change the wrong settings, so proceed with caution. Ok disclaimer out of the way now how to make the change.

1. Goto start and type in ‘regedit’. ( Windows 8 press ‘Windows Key & R’)
2. In the registry editor navigate to ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NlaSvc\Parameters\Internet\’
3. Now find the key ‘EnableActiveProbing’
4. Right click on the key and select ‘Modify’
5. Change the value from 1 to 0.
6. Press ‘OK’ and close the registry editor.

Your problem should now be solved. This registry key can also be updated via group policy if you wish to set it across your network.