Browsing: Windows

Installing VMware Workstation 15 Pro on Windows 10 1903 can have a small installer issue

After updating my Windows 10 to 1903 VMware Workstation 14 stopped working. It is a known issue since the release of 1903. VMware hasn’t released a patch for it and the Windows updater points to and seems to be promoting upgrading to version 15. Although there are many workaround hints available, I for one do not want to mess about with uninstalling and blocking some windows update packages. So I went ahead and got the upgrade license and went on to update it. That didn’t go as smooth as I would have expected.

As it turns out the installer for VMware Workstation 15 Pro(VMware-workstation-full-15.5.0-14665864.exe) in my case had a small issue where it wouldn’t install. When running the installer it always prompted me that “In order to finish installing VC redist”, I need to reboot my computer. Well did that the first time the installer asked me to press “Yes” and reboot, after that the message still came up, tried it one more time and then it still persisted. After that I just went ahead and downloaded vc_redist.x64.exe via Microsoft’s support site and installed it manually. After doing that Workstation installer worked like a charm and had no more issues.

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Windows Offline files not syncing in Windows 10

Usually I don’t have that many issues with Windows 10, but somehow after last Windows update I lost control over the contents of the “Documents” folder which was being synced with a file server. I was able to add files but never delete them getting the error “Permission Denied”. Talked to the domain admin, he looked over the permissions on the file server and all seemed fine there. Reset the offline file sync cache, etc (the usual hints you get while googling resetting offline files sync issues) got me back permissions on my files, or so I thought.. After leaving the office I noticed in the evening that I have no more Documents at all. It turned out that after the reset Offline files were not syncing at all and I was able to access them only when I had connectivity to the file server. The issue was that offline files were in “sync pending state” and it wouldn’t actually start the sync.

Try the classics “reboot” the computer, no the sync would not start again, try resetting the offline files cache again – no success.. What actually worked for me was running:

gpupdate /force

After re-installing the group policy clicked on the sync offline files button and voila it synced like a charm again.

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Windows 10 CPU speed not down clocking like it should / Intel speedstep issue and fix

On my Lenovo T480 I ran in to a nice issue where the fan was constantly blowing and CPU was always over 4 GHz never clocking it self down. In Windows power management, it was set to balanced as it should, changing between power plans had no effect, always CPU at max speed. When I started googling about the issue I ran into different forum threads describing the same issue with people saying that Windows Power Management setting sometimes get corrupted and that the only fix they found is a re-install of Windows which for me was an unacceptable solution…

What actually helped me get around the issue was when i changed the CPU minimum and maximum speeds in power management. Basically I changed the minimum to 1% instead of 5 and max to 90%, applied the settings noticed the CPU clocked down instantly to 0,89 GHz like it was supposed to be, then reset the “Balanced power plan” back to it’s default settings and now the CPU speeds are as they should be 0,89 GHz while idling and over 4 GHz when under load.

For those who need more exact directions here is the step by step:

  • Open up the “Start menu” by pressing the Windows key and type Edit Power Plan and press enter/or just double click it with the mouse.
  • Click on “Change advanced power settings
  • Go to the “Processor Power Management” subsection and from there on move to “Minimum Processor State” change the values for both “On battery” and “Plugged in” from their default value of 5% to 1%.
  • Next change the “Maximum Processor State” values for “On battery” and “Plugged in” from their default value of 100% to 90%.
  • Click “Apply” to apply the changed power plan.
  • After applying the altered power plan click on “Restore Plan Defaults” and “Yes” in the prompt that pops up warning you that the power plan settings will be reverted to their default values. And then click “Apply” as the final thing.

And that should be it,  now your computer should be changing its CPU speed based on real needs.

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Windows 10 Media Creation Tool error 0x80004005 fix

When trying to create a Windows 10 USB installation disk you may get errors starting with code 0x80004005 and end up scratching your head, that why isn’t it working. When I happened to get that error, what helped me get around it was basically emptying the windows update cache by doing the following:

  • Open command prompt in administrator rights
    Click on the start menu button and type cmd. A best match of "Command Prompt" will appear, right click on it and select run as administrator.
  • Using the previously opened Command Prompt stop the “Windows Update service” by typing the following:
    net stop wuauser
  • If your computer is a part of a Windows Domain, it might not have “Windows Updare service” running but rather have “Update Orchestrator Service” instead running, then you need to stop that by typing the following:
    net stop "Update Orchestrator Service"
  • Next you need to stop the Cryptographic and Background Intelligent Transfer services, by typing the following commands:
    net stop bits
    net stop cryptsvc
  • Now lets just rename some of the folders used by Windows Update so, it would re-create them, by typing:
    ren %systemroot%\System32\Catroot2 Catroot2.old
    
    ren %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
    
    
  • Now lets start the services back up again that we previously stopped by typing:
    net start wuauser
    
    net start bits
    
    net start cryptsvc
    
    # and if necessary also update orchestrator service
    
    net start "Update Orchestrator Service"
  • And thats it close the Command Prompt and retry creating your Windows 10 installation media.

If your are getting “Access is denied” on the “ren %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old” command and you haven’t stopped the “Update Orchestrator Service”, try stopping that.

 

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Safer SSH key usage on Windows than just using Putty pageant

This is the first a follow up post describing a work around on Windows to the issue described in my previous post describing the issue with SSH keys being re-usable by anyone with privileged access on the SSH server. (Read more). Basically the workaround is to use KeePass and it’s plugin called KeeAgent instead of using putty’s pageant to present the SSH key to Putty.

Pre-requisites

  • Putty installed on your computer
  • A SSH private key in Putty format(.ppk) and the public key set on the SSH server authorized keys file.

Getting Ready

As mentioned previously we will be using the password manager called KeePass and it’s plugin called KeeAgent to store and present the SSH private key to putty. So lets get started.

  1. KeePass can be found at  https://keepass.info/ you need to download version 2.xx (current version is 2.38) and install it.
  2. Install KeeAgent plugin which can be found at https://lechnology.com/software/keeagent/, download it and unzip the file called KeeAgent.plgx to KeePass plugins dir (C:\Program Files (x86)\KeePass Password Safe 2\Plugins)
  3. Start KeePass

Using KeePass and KeeAgent for handling the SSH keys

  1. Create new password database and set the password you want.
  2. Add a new password entry to the password database to do that in the menu go to “Edit -> Add New Entry” or just press the new entry button.
  3. Whilst creating the new password entry set the password in the entry to be the same as it is on your .ppk file
  4. Go to the Advanced tab and in the Attachments section attach your .ppk file
  5. Go to the KeeAgent tab, tick the box allowing KeeAgent to use this entry. After that tick the box “use confirm constraint”.  Set the private key location to attachment and select the previously attached file. If the password has been set correctly and the attachment is a valid .ppk file it should show public key info below.
  6. Next navigate in the menu to Tools -> KeeAgent and click on it. In the window that opened click on “Add..” , select “From KeePass..” and select the previously imported key. Verify that the require confirmation box is ticked and click ok.
  7. Now open up Putty and try connecting to some SSH server where your key should work.

If all is working as it is supposed to the following prompt should pop up asking for permission on the private key usage every time it is being accessed by a new session:

KeeAgent-Prompt

The prompt will show the hostname where the key is being accessed and the key description (name and fingerprint).

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