Posts Tagged ‘use’

How to check Linux OS install date / How long ago was Linux installed

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

If you're sysadmin who inherited a few hundreds of Linux machines from a previous admin and you're in process of investigating how things were configured by the previous administrator one of the crucial things to find out might be

How Long ago was Linux installed?

Here is how to check the Linux OS install date.

The universal way nomatter the Linux distribution is to use fullowing command:


root@pcfreak:~# tune2fs -l /dev/sda1 | grep 'Filesystem created:'
Filesystem created:       Thu Sep  6 21:44:22 2012



Above command assumes the Linux's root partition / is installed on /dev/sda1 however if your case is different, e.g. the primary root partition is installed on /dev/sda2 or /dev/sdb1 / dev/sdb2 etc. just place the right first partition into the command.

If primary install root partition is /dev/sdb1 for example:

root@pcfreak:~# tune2fs -l /dev/sdb1 | grep 'Filesystem created:'


To find out what is the root partition of the Linux server installed use fdisk command:




root@pcfreak:~# fdisk -l


Disk /dev/sda: 465,8 GiB, 500107862016 bytes, 976773168 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00051eda

Device     Boot     Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
/dev/sda1  *         2048 965193727 965191680 460,2G 83 Linux
/dev/sda2       965195774 976771071  11575298   5,5G  5 Extended
/dev/sda5       965195776 976771071  11575296   5,5G 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Disk /dev/sdb: 111,8 GiB, 120034123776 bytes, 234441648 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00000000


Other ways to check the Linux OS install date on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint etc. deb. based GNU / Linux


Deban based Linux distributions do create an initial /var/log/installer directory containing various install information such as hardware-summary, partition, initial installed deb packages, exact version of Linux distribution, and the way it was installed either it was installed from an ISO image, or it was network install etc.


root@pcfreak:~# ls -al /var/log/installer/
total 1228
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root   4096 sep  6  2012 ./
drwxr-xr-x 72 root root  12288 окт 22 06:26 ../
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4096 sep  6  2012 cdebconf/
-rw-r–r–  1 root root  17691 sep  6  2012 hardware-summary
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    163 sep  6  2012 lsb-release
-rw——-  1 root root 779983 sep  6  2012 partman
-rw-r–r–  1 root root  51640 sep  6  2012 status
-rw——-  1 root root 363674 sep  6  2012 syslog


If those directory is missing was wiped out by the previous administrator, to clear up traces of his previous work before he left job another possible way to find out exact install date is to check timestamp of /lost+found directory;

root@pcfreak:~# ls -ld /lost+found/
drwx—— 2 root root 16384 sep  6  2012 /lost+found//


Check OS Linux install date on (Fedora, CentOS, Scientific Linux, Oracle and other Redhat RPM based Distros)


[root@centos: ~]# rpm -qi basesystem
Name        : basesystem
Version     : 10.0
Release     : 7.el7
Architecture: noarch
Install Date: Mon 02 May 2016 19:20:58 BST
Group       : System Environment/Base
Size        : 0
License     : Public Domain
Signature   : RSA/SHA256, Tue 01 Apr 2014 14:23:16 BST, Key ID     199e2f91fd431d51
Source RPM  : basesystem-10.0-7.el7.src.rpm
Build Date  : Fri 27 Dec 2013 17:22:15 GMT
Build Host  :
Relocations : (not relocatable)
Packager    : Red Hat, Inc. <>
Vendor      : Red Hat, Inc.
Summary     : The skeleton package which defines a simple Red Hat Enterprise Linux system
Description :
Basesystem defines the components of a basic Red Hat Enterprise Linux
system (for example, the package installation order to use during
bootstrapping). Basesystem should be in every installation of a system,
and it should never be removed.


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Check Windows install date / Howto find install time and date / Check how old is Windows

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017


Just like us people operating systems have age, they have stages of young, teenage, grow up and old 🙂

Finding out how old is Windows as Operating System is important task for Windows system administrator and Tech support and can help you decide whether the OS requires a fresh reinstall as Windows is known historically to start misbehaving with its aging and especially for Computer Technicians / Support that have Windows Support clients or for Computer Clubs support guys, it is a among the good practices to re-install Windows every few years (every 3 / 4 years for servers to 7 years for Win Servers) and for Desktop or Gamers PCs the lifecycle of OS often much less, a reinstall is required every 2, 2.5 years or so.

Of course Desktop PC Windows users are much more prone to the requirement for frequent reinstalls, because they tend to install a lot of shit cracked, software games and a lot of ugly stuff, that infests the PC and fills up registry with a lot of broken and useless content.

Finding out, the install date of Programs (Applications) in Windows


1. In registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstall

YYYYMMDD (eg 20090301 for here March 1, 2009)

2. Through Control Panel -> Programs and Features

From Column:

"Installed on"

Determine the install date of Windows

1. In command line you have to issue:

systeminfo|find /i "original"



Note that this command will work on Windows Servers 2003, 2007, 2010 and Windows XP, 7, 8 but will show empty result on Windows 10



2. In cmd (command prompt):

WMIC OS GET installdate



Reult you will get will be like:

Deciphered this Windows install date is on: 2013(year) 10(month) 19(date) 01(hour) 16(minutes) 58(seconds)

3. Another way to get the OS install date via Windows Registers:


HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionInstallDate



You will find  therea record number like 1414160971, to get the actual date you have to convert that to decimal
Конвертира се в decimal, и примерно излиза: 1414160971

To convert for those who have GNU / Linux or *BSD at hand the easiest way to convert it is to use below command that converts from unix timestampt to readable date command output:



echo 1414160971 | gawk '{print strftime("%c", $0)}'
24.10.2014 (fr) 17:29:31 EEST


For those that doesn't have GNU / Linux at hand you can use this online tool for conversion unix timestamp to readable output

How to edit creation date, and date of file or folder edit in Windows?

Как да се редактира дата на създаване, дата на редактиране на файл или папка под Windows:

Well why would you want to change the creation date of Windows install or creation date of file or folder edit in Windows?
Well just for the fun or because it can 🙂

Actually a lot of Windows white hats and mostly Script Kiddies (malicious crackers) do use this feature to falsify changed files in Windows lets say system files or any other Windows file, sometimes dumping the install date could be useful in computer data theft investigations or by crackers (please don't mix it with hackers, because term hacker is to be coined for a genius programmers and playful people).

It is possible to do a lot if not everything via Windows registry but perhaps the best way is to use a simple tool Attribute Changer, that is capable to change Windows file, folder and windows install creation date.

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How to synchronize with / from Remote FTP server using LFTP like with rsync

Sunday, October 15th, 2017


Have you ever been in a need to easily synchronize with a remote host which only runs FTP server?

Or are you in a local network and you need to mirror a directory or a couple of directories in a fast and easy to remember way?

If so then you'll be happy to use below LFTP command that is doing pretty much the same as Rsync, with only difference that it can mirror files over FTP (old but gold File Transfer Protocol).


Enjoy and thanks to my dear friend Amridikon for the tip ! 🙂

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How to enable Control Alt Backspace to Kill X server on Debian / Ubuntu Linux

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Being a long time GNU / Linux user, I've been quite dissatisfied for the fact that in latest Debian and Ubuntu Linux, the default Key combination to Kill X (CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE) is no longer working.

Though nowdays Xorg (XServer) is pretty stable it still happens from time to time for some application to overload the PC badly and make Gnome or KDE environment little or no responsive at all and here comes the goody CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE it is pretty much  like  (CTRL + ALT + DEL) did restarted the computer in DOS and earlier Windows OS-es once the environment became unusable with the only difference that just Xorg server is restarted and the other using programs that are in background work just like they used to. 

CTRL + ALT + Backspace is a great thing to use especially if you're running some homebrew server and you use it both as a Server with some few little websites and as a Desktop environment to browse the net and do basic stuff.

So here comes the question how to make the CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE keyboard combination be killing Xserver like in the good old days?

The easiest way to do it interactively in ncurses interface is by  running:


root@noah:~# dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration


If somehow on the machine you don't have dpkg-reconfigure or you prefer to do set CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE Kill Switch manually edit /etc/default/keyboard 

inside change value of




like shown below file:

root@noah:/home/hipo# cat  /etc/default/keyboard


# Consult the keyboard(5) manual page.



The configuration should be working across Debian 7, 8, 9 as well as Ubuntu 12 ..14 .. 16 and hopefully in future releases too, just as many other Linux distributions like Mint etc. the Xserver Kill Switch setting should be located in same file.

Finally if even after that change the Control Alt BackSpace Kill Switch sequence refuses to work in GNOME Desktop environment, it might be due to a local setting typical for GNOME and this should be fixed via the good known gnome-tweak-tool

So GNOME users should run it from command line and check the setting there, e.g.:


$ gnome-tweak-tool

You should check:


Typing -> Kill Sequence to Kill the X Server


it should look like shown in below screenshot:






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Skype remove word completion / Howto Disable spellcheck autocorrect on Mac OS X, Android Phones Tablets and IPhone iOS

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017


I've recently upgraded my wife's Mac Book Air Mac OS X release from Mountain Lion to latest available OS X release Yosemite and after upgrade the old version of Skype used for about 3 years without any problems (except camera issues due to mac OS X bug the old post is here) stopped working (did crashed) on Skype launch so I took few minutes to upgrade Skype as well from Skype for Mac official download page after the quick and unproblematic Skype re-install, Skype client was back to normal with a shiny new outlook and on a first glimpse all worked like a charm but …

On the next day when I took use of temporary the upgraded Mac Book Air with the fresh new OS X Yosemite and Skype's latest app to to do a quick login with my Skype credentials noticed a very annoying autocorrect (auto spelling)  Skype behavior on any new input text message.

I have to admit the idea of autocorrect feature on a system wide scale is great however quick keyboard typers like me who are used to type more than a letter per second use to type so quickly that occasinally you do errors which you're quick to fix but anyhow errors are automatically corrected in a way that you have to retype the whole word quite often which makes your typing a hellish experience. Then the same auto-correct feature becomes a terrible experience and on any device I notice this behavior I tend to remove it immediately.

I remember  the same dictionary auto-spell check / corect behavior was present on my Android run ZTE blade 3 mobile after first Mobile boot and also present on my current iPhone 5 iOS and thus the first thing I did once I start using it is to remove autocorrect (auto spelling) feature and relax the irritation of it.

Just in case if you need to disable Spellcheck auto-correct on Android Phone or Tablet do it from

Settings -> Language & input


If you happen to be using also IPhone 5 as me or  Iphone 6 / 7 to disable AutoCorrect feature on SMSes / Skype / Viber and other applications do it from Phone's:

Settings -> General


Shortly I've noticed that the auto-correct feature does not only mess up your typing in Skype but also in Mail and TweetDeck and generally any open application where you can type on Yosemite.

I've took the time to investigate quickly what was causing the new feature that bugged me so much online and came to this nice little article How to turnoff autocorrect on Mac OS X 10.11 El Captain

As the article revealed to Turn off the autocorrect Mac OS X feature you I have to go:

Finder -> System Preferences



Click on Keyboard -> Text
and turn  Autocorrect off by unchecking Correct spelling automatically


By doing this autocorrect spelling is disabled for all applications, however for some people it might be handy to leave the correct feature for Mail app or Microsoft Office (Microsoft Word / Excel) etc. and only turn off (disable) the autorrect feature per application side.

You can  do this in the separate Applications (of choise where you need auto spelling) from  Edit Menu under Spelling and Grammer and enable / disableCheck Spelling While Typing


Tadam Enjoy ! 🙂


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Windows missing volume control on Windows 7, 8 Fix / How to run volume control from command line

Thursday, March 9th, 2017



Windows 7/8 Volume Icon disappear from Taskbar?

If you are using  Windows 7 or  Windows 8 Operating System inside a corporate network and your notebook PC is inside domain controller controlled by some crazy administrators who for some reason decided to remove the Taskbar from your Taskbar tray you have come over to exactly same situation like I do here.

Actually some might have experienced an icon "combined" feature which gives the opportunity of some of the standard Tray icons we know since Windows 98 / XP onwards to not show full time in order to save you space. No doubt this feature is great one to use as it is distracting sometimes to have a tons of applications constantly keeping in the Taskbar (right down corner) however if the Active Domain admin did it without any notification and you're a kind of victim you might dislike especially since this behaviour is making you impossible to easily control your phone / headspeakers and mic.



If you check in the Control Panel and click on Sounds  menu in Windows 7/8, you don't see any checkbox for adding the icon back as I have assumed, , but instead all the audio there you can only see the inputs and outputs on your system general settings.


This behavior was made on purpose and makes sense cauze the taskbar icons since Win XP (if not mistaken) has to be controlled by the taskbar settings pan.

Thus in order to bring back the disappeared icon on  Winblows 7 / Win 8 there is a taskbar properties feature enabling to to hide or view the various taskbar running apps in that number the Volume icon, hence to bring back your Volme Control speaker icon to taskbar you need to customize it.

To do so do a mouse Right-click anywhere on the taskbar and choose Properties.


Now, click on the Customize button under Notification area.


In  Notification Area Icons dialog box, there is 2 ticks to check. Assure yourself the volume icon default behavior is set to

Show icon and notifications like in below screenshot


To make the new behaviour active click on Turn system icons on or off.


One thing to note here is the volume icon shoukld be set to On like in below| shot:


If the reason for the disapperance of the Volume controller in task is not due to Domain Controllear policty it could happen due to late updates pushed by Microsoft if the PC needs a restart or after computer Log off operation.
Another reason for the casual disappearance of sound box could be also a buggy driver, so if the icon keeps disappearing over and over again, you better try to update the driver for your sound card.

However if you end up in a Windows Domain Controller (AD) Policy that is prohibiting the Sound Voulme to appear on your taskbar like in my case all the above won't help you solve it, but luckily there is an easy way to invoke the Volume Control dialog box via




the command will bring up the Volume Control as in upper left corner of screen like in below screenshot:



If you to show it with a silder use -f flag

sndvol.exe -f

Running just


opens the volume mixer, as you noted.


On windows XP the respective command to open a missing Volume Control dialog in taskbar, use instead:


command from Windows Command Prompt:


Start -> Run -> cmd.exe



no params to display master volume window



sndvol32 -x

to display small master volume window

sndvol32 -t

to display volume control only (as per sound icon)

If you have the Volume Controller behavior to be hidden or you need to view any other taskbar hidden application icon  it will be useful for you to use:

AutoHotKey Win+B to focus on the system tray, Left (arrow) to highlight the Volume Control icon icon, and then Enter to bring up the popup.


A good tip you might be interestted to use occasionally is  how to show the current Wireless networks via a command (if that's prohibited otherwise via GUI) so you can easily see the  Connected Networks on Windows using cmd:

rundll32 van.dll,RunVAN

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How to convert .CRT SSL Certificate to .PFX format (with openssl Linux command) and Import newly generated .PFX to Windows IIS Webserver

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016


1. Converting to .CRT to.PFX file format with OpenSSL tool on GNU / Linux to import in Windows (for example, IIS)

Assuming you have generated already a certificate using the openssl Linux command and you have issued the .CRT SSL Certificate issuer file
and you need to have the new .CRT SSL Certificate installed on Windows Server (lets say on Windows 2012) with IIS Webserver version 8.5, you will need a way to convert the .CRT file to .PFX, there is plenty of ways to do that including using online Web Site SSL Certificate converter or use a stand alone program on the Windows server or even use a simple perl / python / ruby script to do the conversion but anyways the best approach will be to convert the new .CRT file to IIS supported binary Certificate format .PFX on the same (Linux certificate issuer host where you have first generated the certificate issuer request .KEY (private key file used with third party certificate issuer such as Godaddy or Hostgator to receive the .CRT / PEM file).

Here is how to generate the .PFX file based on the .CRT file for an Internal SSL Certfiicate:


openssl pkcs12 -export -in server.crt -inkey server.key -out server.pfx

On the password prompt to appear use any password because otherwise the future IIS Webserver certificate import will not work.

To do a certificate chain SSL export to be accessed from the  internet.


openssl pkcs12 -export -in server.crt -inkey server.key -out server.pfx -certfile internet v2.crt

2. Import the PFX file in Windows

Run: mmc, add snap, Certificates, Computer account, Local Computer; in the

Certificates (Local Computer) > Personal > Certificates: Select All Tasks > Import File

Enter previously chosen password.
You should get further the Message "Import was successful."

You can import the PFX file by simply copying it to the server where you want it imported and double click it this will  open Windows Importwizzard.

Then select the IIS:


Site, Properties, Directory Security, Server Certificate, Replace the current certficate, select proper Certificate. Done.

Alternatively to complete the IIS Webserver certificate import within one step when a new certificate is to be imported:

In IIS Manager interface go to :

Site, Properties, Directory Security, Server Certificate, Server Certificate Wizard

Click on



import a certificate from a .pfx file, select and enter password.


3. Import the PFX file into a Java keystore

Another thing you might need if you have the IIS Webserver using a backend Java Virtual Machine on the same or a different Windows server is to import the newly generated .PFX file within the Java VM keystore.

To import with keytool command for Java 1.6 type:


keytool -importkeystore -deststorepass your_pass_here -destkeypass changeit -destkeystore keystore.jks -srckeystore server.pfx -srcstoretype PKCS12 -srcstorepass 1234 -srcalias 1 -destalias xyz

Also the .CRT file could be directly imported into the Java keystore


Import a .crt in a Java keystore

/usr/java/jre/bin/keytool -import -keystore /webdienste/java/jdk/jre/lib/security/cacerts -file certificate.crt -alias Some alias



4. Get a list of Windows locally installed certificates

To manager installed certificates on Windows 7 / 8 / 2012 Server OS is to run command via

Start -> Run





One other way to see the installed certificates on your Windows server is checking within

Internet Explorer

Go to Tools (Alt+X) → Internet Options → Content → Certificates.


To get a a complete list of installed Certificate Chain on Windows you can use PowerShell


Get-ChildItem -Recurse Cert:


That's all folks ! 🙂


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Remove string line from file on Linux and BSD – Delete entire line with string from file

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016


If you're already used too using grep -v "sometring" filename to print everything from a file without the certain grepped string output and you want to do the same to delete lines based on strings without having to output the grepped string to a file and then overwritting the original file:

grep -v 'whatever' filename > filename1
mv filename1 filename

A much better way to delete an whole line containing a string match from a file is to use sed
should be the tool of choice especially if you're scripting because sed is especially made for such batch edittings.

Here is how to do delete an entire line based on a given string:


sed –in-place '/some string to search and delete/d' myfilename

It might be a good idea to also create backups just to make sure something doesn't get deleted incidently to do use:

sed –in-place=.bak '/some string to search and delete/d' myfilename

If you need to wipe out an exact string from all files within a folder you might use a for loop or perl (some good examples check my previous article here)

In short to use bash's for loop here is how to backup and remove all lines with a string match within all files within a Linux directory:


for f in *.txt; do sed –in-place '/some string/d'
"$f"; done
find -name '*.txt' -exec sed –in-place=.bak '/some
string/d' "{}" ';'


BTW SED is really rich editor and some people got so much into it that there is even a sed written text (console) version of arkanoid 🙂


If you want to break the ice and get some fun in your boring sysadmin life get sed arkanoid code from here.
I have it installed under free ASCII Games entertainment service, so if you want to give it a try just login and give a try.

Enjoy 🙂

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chmod all directories permissions only and omit files (recursively) on Linux howto

Friday, March 11th, 2016


If you mistakenly chmod-ed all files within directory full of multiple other subdirectories and files and you want to revert back and set a certain file permissions (read, wite execute) privileges only to all directories:

find /path/to/base/dir -type d -exec chmod 755 {} +

If there are too many files or directories you need to change mod use

chmod 755 $(find /path/to/base/dir -type d) chmod 644 $(find /path/to/base/dir -type f)

Above willl run evaluate $() all files searched and print them and pass them to chmod so if you have too many files / directories to change it will drastically reduce execution time.

An alternative and perhaps a better way to do it for those who don't remember by heart the chmod permission (numbers), use something like:

chmod -R u+rwX,go+rX,go-w /path

Below is arguments meaning:

    -R = recursively;
    u+rwX = Users can read, write and execute;
    go+rX = group and others can read and execute;
    go-w = group and others can't write

If like piping, a less efficient but still working way to change all directory permissions only is with:

find /path/to/base/dir -type d -print0 | xargs -0 chmod 755
find /path/to/base/dir -type f -print0 | xargs -0 chmod 644

For those who wish to automate and often do change permissions of only files or only directories it might be also nice to look at ( shell script

Tadadam 🙂


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Removing exim and installing qmail / Generate and install pseudo mta dummy package on Debian / Ubuntu etc. .deb based Linux

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

If you happen to be installing Qmail Mail server on a Debian or Ubuntu (.deb) based Linux, you will notice by default there will be some kind of MTA (Mail Transport Agent) already installed mail-transfer-agent package will be installed and because of Debian .deb package depedency to have an MTA always installed on the system you will be unable to remove Exim MTA without installing some other MTA (Postix / Qmail) etc.

This will be a problem for those like me who prefer to compile and install Qmail from source, thus to get around this it is necessery to create a dummy package that will trick the deb packaging depencies that actually mta-local MTA package is present on the server.

The way to go here is to use equivs (Circumvent debian package dependencies):

debian:~# apt-cache show equivs|grep -i desc -A 10

Description: Circumvent Debian package dependencies
 This package provides a tool to create trivial Debian packages.
 Typically these packages contain only dependency information, but they
 can also include normal installed files like other packages do.
 One use for this is to create a metapackage: a package whose sole
 purpose is to declare dependencies and conflicts on other packages so
 that these will be automatically installed, upgraded, or removed.
 Another use is to circumvent dependency checking: by letting dpkg
 think a particular package name and version is installed when it

Btw creating a .deb dummy package will be necessery in many other cases when you have to install from some third party debian repositories or some old and alrady unmaintaned deb-src packages for the sake of making some archaic software to resurrect somewhere, so sooner or later even if you're not into Mail servers you will certainly need equivs.

Then install equivs and go on proceeding creating the dummy mail-transport-agent package

debian:~# cd /tmp debian:~# cp -rpf /usr/share/doc/equivs/examples/mail-transport-agent.ctl . debian:~# equivs-build mail-transport-agent.ctl

Above command will build and package /tmp/mta-local_1.0_all.deb dummy package.
So continue and install it with dpkg as you use to install debian packages


debian:~# dpkg -i /tmp/mta-local_1.0_all.deb

From then on you can continue your standard LWQ – Life with Qmail or any other source based qmail installation with:




So that's it now .deb packaging system consistency will be complete so standard security package updates with apt-get and aptitude updates or dpkg -i third party custom software insatlls will not be breaking up any more.

Hope that helped someone 🙂





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