Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category

How to disable Windows pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys to temporary or permamently save disk space if space is critically low

Monday, March 28th, 2022

howto-pagefile-hiberfil.sys-remove-reduce-increase-increase-size-windows-logo

Sometimes you have to work with Windows 7 / 8 / 10 PCs  etc. that has a very small partition C:\
drive or othertimes due to whatever the disk got filled up with time and has only few megabytes left
and this totally broke up the windows performance as Windows OS becomes terribly sluggish and even
simple things as opening Internet Browser (Chrome / Firefox / Opera ) or Windows Explorer stones the PC performance.

You might of course try to use something like Spacesniffer tool (a great tool to find lost data space on PC s short description on it is found in my previous article how to
delete temporary Internet Files and Folders to to speed up and free disk space
 ) or use CCleaner to clean up a bit the pc.
Sometimes this is not enough though or it is not possible to do at all the main
partition disk C:\ is anyhow too much low (only 30-50MB are available on HDD) or the Physical or Virtual Machine containing the OS is filled with important data
and you couldn't risk to remove anything including Internet Temporary files, browsing cookies … whatever.

Lets say you are the fate chosen guy as sysadmin to face this uneasy situation and have no easy
way to add disk space from another present free space partition or could not add a new SATA hard drive
SSD drive, what should you do?
 

The solution wipe off pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys

Usually every Windows installation has a pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys.

  • pagefile.sys – is the default file that is used as a swap file, immediately once the machine runs out of memory. For Unix / Linux users better understanding pagefile.sys is the equivallent of Linux's swap partition. Of course as the pagefile is in a file and not in separate partition the swapping in Windows is perhaps generally worse than in Linux.
  • hiberfil.sys – is used to store data from the machine on machine Hibernation (for those who use the feature)


Pagefile.sys which depending on the configured RAM memory on the OS could takes up up to 5 – 8 GB, there hanging around doing nothing but just occupying space. Thus a temporary workaround that could free you some space even though it will degrade performance and on servers and production machines this is not a good solution on just user machines, where you temporary need to free space any other important task you can free up space
by seriously reducing the preconfigured default size of pagefile.sys (which usually is 1.5 times the active memory on the OS – hence if you have 4GB you would have a 6Gigabytes of pagefile.sys).

Other possibility especially on laptop and movable devices running Win OS is to disable hiberfil.sys, read below how this is done.


The temporary solution here is to simply free space by either reducing the pagefile.sys or completely disabling it


1. Disable pagefile.sys on Windows XP, Windows 7 / 8 / 10 / 11


The GUI interface to disable pagefile across all NT based Windows OS-es is quite similar, the only difference is newer versions of Windows has slightly more options.


1.1 Disable pagefile on Windows XP


Quickest way is to find pagefile.sys settings from GUI menus

1. Computer (My Computer) – right click mouse
2. Properties (System Preperties will appear)
3. Advanced (tab) 
4. Settings
5. Advanced (tab)
6. Change button

windows-xp-pagefile-disable-screenshot

1.2 Disable pagefile on Windows 7

 

advanced-system-settings-control-panel-system-and-security-screenshot

windows-system-properties-screenshot-properties-advanced-change-Virtual-memory-pagefile-screenshot

system-properties-performance-options
 

Once applied you'll be required to reboot the PC

How-to-turn-off-Virtual-Memory-Paging_File-in-Windows-7-restart

 

1.3 Disable Increase / Decrease pagefile.sys on Windows 10 / Win 11
 

open-system-properties-advanced-win10

win10-performance-options-menu-screenshot

configure-virtual-memory-win-10-screenshot


1.4 Make Windows clear pagefile.sys on shutdown

On home PCs it might be useful thing to clear up ( nullify) pagefile.sys on shutdown, that could save you some disk space on every reboot, until file continuously grows to its configured Maximum.

Run

regedit

Modify registry key at location

 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

windows-clean-up-pagefile-sys-file-on-shutdown-or-reboot-registry-editor-value-screenshot

You can apply the value also via a registry file you can get the Enable Clearpagefile at shutdown here .reg.
 

2. Manipulating pagefile.sys size and file delete from command line with wmic tool 

For scripting purposes you might want to use the wmic pagefile which can do increase / decrase or delete the file without GUI, that is very helpful if you have to admin a Windows Domain (Active Directory)
 

[hipo.WINDOWS-PC] ➤ wmic pagefile /?

PAGEFILE – Virtual memory file swapping management.

HINT: BNF for Alias usage.
(<alias> [WMIObject] | [] | [] ) [].

USAGE:

PAGEFILE ASSOC []
PAGEFILE CREATE <assign list>
PAGEFILE DELETE
PAGEFILE GET [] []
PAGEFILE LIST [] []

 

[hipo.WINDOWS-PC] ➤ wmic pagefile
AllocatedBaseSize  Caption          CurrentUsage  Description      InstallDate                Name             PeakUsage  Status  TempPageFile
4709               C:\pagefile.sys  499           C:\pagefile.sys  20200912061902.938000+180  C:\pagefile.sys  525                FALSE

 

[hipo.WINDOWS-PC] ➤ wmic pagefile list /format:list

AllocatedBaseSize=4709
CurrentUsage=499
Description=C:\pagefile.sys
InstallDate=20200912061902.938000+180
Name=C:\pagefile.sys
PeakUsage=525
Status=
TempPageFile=FALSE

wmic-pagefile-command-line-tool-for-windows-default-output-screenshot

 

  • To change the Initial Size or Maximum Size of Pagefile use:
     

➤ wmic pagefileset where name="C:\\pagefile.sys" set InitialSize=2048,MaximumSize=2048

  • To move the pagefile / change location of pagefile to less occupied disk drive partition (i.e. D:\ drive)

     

     

    Sometimes you might have multiple drives on the PC and some of them might be having multitudes of gigabytes while main drive C:\ could be fully occupied due to initial install bad drive organization, in that case a good work arount to save you space so you can work normally with the server is just to temporary or permanently move pagefile to another drive.

wmic pagefileset where name="D:\\pagefile.sys" set InitialSize=2048,MaximumSize=2048


!! CONSIDER !!! 

That if you have the option to move the pagefile.sys for best performance it is advicable to place the file inside another physical disk, preferrably a Solid State Drive one, SATA disks are too slow and reduced Input / Output disk operations will lead to degraded performance, if there is lack of memory (i.e. pagefile.sys is actively open read and wrote in).
 

  • To delete pagefile.sys 
     

➤ wmic pagefileset where name="C:\\pagefile.sys" delete

 

If for some reason you prefer to not use wmic but simple del command you can delete pagefile.sys also by:

Removing file default "Hidden" and "system" file attributes – set for security reasons as the file is a system file usually not touched by user. This will save you from "permission denied" errors:
 

➤ attrib -s -h %systemdrive%\pagefile.sys


Delete the file:
 

➤ del /a /q %systemdrive%\pagefile.sys


3. Disable hibernation on Windows 7 / 8 and Win 10 / 11

Disabling hibernation file hiberfil.sys can also free up some space, especially if the hibernation has been actively used before and the file is written with data. Of course, that is more common on notebooks.
Windows hibernation has significantly improved over time though i didn't have very pleasant experience in the past and I prefer to disable it just in case.
 

3.1 Disable Windows 7 / 8 / 10 / 11 hibernation from GUI 

Disable it through:

Control Panel -> All Control Panel Items -> Power Options -> Edit Plan Settings -> Change advanced power settings


 like shown in below screenshot:

Windqows-power-options-Advanced-settings-Allow-Hybrid-sleep-option-menu-screenshot

 

3.2 Disable Windows 7 / 8 / 10 / 11 hibernation from command line

Disable hibernation Is done in the same way through the powercfg.exe command, to disable it
if you're cut of disk space and you want to save space from it:

run as Administrator in Command Line Windows (cmd.exe)
 

powercfg.exe /hibernate off

If you later need to switch on hibernation
 

powercfg.exe /hibernate on


disable-hiberfile-windows-screenshot

3.3 Disable Windows hibernation on legacy Windows XP

On XP to disable hibernation open

1. Power Options Properties
2. Select Hibernate
3. Select Enable Hibernation to clear the checkbox and disable Hibernation mode. 
4. Select OK to apply the change.

Close the Power Options Properties box. 

enable-disable-hibernate-windows-xp-menu-screenshot

To sum it up

We have learned some basics on Windows swapping and hibernation and i've tried to give some insight on how thiese files if misconfigured could lead to degraded Win OS performance. In any case using SSD as of 2022 to store both files is a best practice for machines that has plenty of memory always try to completely disable / remove the files. It was shown how  to manage pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys across Windows Operating Systems different versions both from GUI and via command line as well as how you can configure pagefile.sys to be cleared up on pc reboot.
 

How to Install ssh client / server on Windows 10, Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server 2022 using PowerShell commands

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

How-to-install-OpenSSH-Client-and-Server-on-Windows-10-Windows-Server-2022-Windows-2019-via-command-line-Powershell

Historically to have a running ssh client on Windows it was required to install CygWin or MobaXterm as told in my previous articles Some Standard software programs to install on Windows to make your Desktop feel  more Linux / Unix Desktop and Must have software on Freshly installed Windows OS.
Interesting things have been developed on the Windows scene since then and as of year 2022 on Windows 10 (build 1809 and later) and on Windows 2019, Windows Server 2022, the task to have a running ssh client to use from cmd.exe (command line) became trivial and does not need to have a CygWin Collection of GNU and Open Source tools installed but this is easily done via Windows embedded Apps & Features GUI tool:

To install it from there on 3 easy steps:

 

  1. Via  Settings, select Apps > Apps & Features, then select Optional Features.
  2. Find OpenSSH Client, then click Install
  3. Find OpenSSH Server, then click Install


For Windows domain administrators of a small IT company that requires its employees for some automated script to run stuff for example to tunnel encrypted traffic from Workers PC towards a server port for example to secure the 110 POP Email clients to communicate with the remote Office server in encrypted form or lets say because ssh client is required to be on multiple domain belonging PCs used as Windows Desktops by a bunch of developers in the company it also possible to use PowerShell script to install the client on the multiple Windows machines.

Install OpenSSH using PowerShell
 

To install OpenSSH using PowerShell, run PowerShell as an Administrator. To make sure that OpenSSH is available, run the following cmdlet in PowerShell

Get-WindowsCapability -Online | Where-Object Name -like 'OpenSSH*'


This should return the following output if neither are already installed:

 

Name  : OpenSSH.Client~~~~0.0.1.0
State : NotPresent

Name  : OpenSSH.Server~~~~0.0.1.0
State : NotPresent


Then, install the server or client components as needed:

Copy in PS cmd window

# Install the OpenSSH Client
Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name OpenSSH.Client~~~~0.0.1.0

# Install the OpenSSH Server
Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name OpenSSH.Server~~~~0.0.1.0


Both of these should return the following output:
 

Path          :
Online        : True
RestartNeeded : False


If you want to also allow remote access via OpenSSH sshd daemon, this is also easily possible without installing especially an openssh-server Windows variant !

Start and configure OpenSSH Server

To start and configure OpenSSH Server for initial use, open PowerShell as an administrator, then run the following commands to start the sshd service:

# Start the sshd service
Start-Service sshd

# OPTIONAL but recommended:
Set-Service -Name sshd -StartupType 'Automatic'

# Confirm the Firewall rule is configured. It should be created automatically by setup. Run the following to verify
if (!(Get-NetFirewallRule -Name "OpenSSH-Server-In-TCP" -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue | Select-Object Name, Enabled)) {
    Write-Output "Firewall Rule 'OpenSSH-Server-In-TCP' does not exist, creating it…"
    New-NetFirewallRule -Name 'OpenSSH-Server-In-TCP' -DisplayName 'OpenSSH Server (sshd)' -Enabled True -Direction Inbound -Protocol TCP -Action Allow -LocalPort 22
} else {
    Write-Output "Firewall rule 'OpenSSH-Server-In-TCP' has been created and exists."
}


Connect to OpenSSH Server
 

Once installed, you can connect to OpenSSH Server from a Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019 device with the OpenSSH client installed using PowerShell or Command Line tool as Administrator and use the ssh client like you would use it on any *NIX host.

C:\Users\User> ssh username@servername


The authenticity of host 'servername (10.10.10.1)' can't be established.
ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:(<a large string>).
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
Selecting yes adds that server to the list of known SSH hosts on your Windows client.

You are prompted for the password at this point. As a security precaution, your password will not be displayed as you type.

Once connected, you will see the Windows command shell prompt:

Domain\username@SERVERNAME C:\Users\username>

 

How to Create New Windows 10 NTFS Drive partition from new empty ( Unallocated ) space with Windows Disk Management or diskpart command

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

Windows-10-paritioning-with-disk-management-diskmgmt.msc

As mentioned in previous article, I've been setting up a new PC that is a bit old a 11 years old Lenovo ThinkCentre model M90P with 8 GB of Memory, Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU         650  @ 3.20GHz   3.19 GHz, Intel Q57 Express Chipset.

After the installation was successful on the new Desktop PC attached SSD, I was curious to see how Windows detects the 521 GB Solid State Drive Samsung  Disk, as well as to assign all the SSD Disk space, so I don't have unused parts of the drive hanging around.

To get the exact type of SSD installed on the Lenovo ThinkCentre, it comes to a simple PowerShell command (note that the PowerShell command has to be executed as Administrator).

 

Windows PowerShell
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Try the new cross-platform PowerShell https://aka.ms/pscore6

PS C:\Windows\system32> Get-PhysicalDisk

Number FriendlyName               SerialNumber   MediaType CanPool OperationalStatus HealthStatus Usage            Size
—— ————               ————   ——— ——- —————– ———— —–            —-
0      SAMSUNG MZ7LN512HAJQ-00000 S3TVNX0MC04330 SSD       True    OK                Healthy      Auto-Select 476.94 GB


PS C:\Windows\system32>
 

 

PowerShell-Get-PhysicalDisk-command-print-exact-SSD-type-attached-to-a-Windows-computer 

During the Windows installation, I did installed Windows on a 110GB partition that was left behind from my attempt to copy another 120GB ssd drive as, I've described in my previous article.
Cause of that big part of the SAMSUNG MZ7LN512HAJQ-00000 SSD was left unpartitioned ( unallocated ) and respectively the space did not show in Windows, hence to work around this I was supposed to 
create new Windows Drive and format it either in VFAT (FAT32) or NTFS. Through the years when I had to do such an operations I often either booted from some bootCD and did the desired partitioning or if
partitioning had to be done on a LivePC without reboot, I've used Windows Partitioning Software, such as:

  • The Industry Standard Partition Manager ( Acronis Disk Director ) 
     
  • EaseUS Partition Manager


Using a Good partition manager is a great thing if some complicated partitioning operations needs to be done,  however for such a trivial stuff such as mine in that case – Creating a new NTFS filesystem from unallocated space is a bit of nonsense, thus this time I've decided to use the Windows Standard tool for Partitioinng
 

  • Disk Management

To run the tool you need to run Computer Management tool first either by just looking it up in the Search bar near Start menu (Windows 10 flag icon) or by invoking command line start window, by pressing together

Windows Button + R and runnining command:

C:\Users\Emilian> compmgmt.msc

 

From there on navigate to

Storage -> Disk Management

windows-computer-management-screenshot

Go over box Unallocated (365.15 GB) and Press Right Mouse Button and select

-> New Simple Volume

new-simple-volume-screenshot

Next steps are quite self explanatory, had to just follow the New Simple Volme Wizard steps

windows-computer-management-screenshot

windows-computer-management-screenshot-3

windows-computer-management-screenshot-4

I Prefer to use NTFS because it is quicker and kinda of a standard since Windows 8+ onwards, besides that this computer will be used as a simple web browsing station and there is no plans the disk will ever have to be attached to a different OS like UNIX / LInux..However always keep in mind for compitability reasons VFAT Filesystem is usually not a bad idea. 

windows-computer-management-screenshot-5

https://www.pc-freak.net/images/new-ntfs-volume-F-drive-windows-10-screenshot

As you can see the drive is prepared and now accessible from Windows Explorer under Drive F:\. If you wonder why the drive is not D:\, it seems to create the D:\ the unallocated space is supposed to be be on a separate Disk which waas not the case with this PC setup.

After installing the SSD drive and setting the proper partitions another good practice is to use Disk Defragmenter Win tool to optimize the Drives for speed. Another useful feature of disk degragmenter is you can use it to check what kind of hard drive you have installed e.g. SATA or SSD, as well as check if the installed SSD is NVME (Non-Volatile-Memory-Express), e.g. of a faster type.

To run Disk Degrafmenter do  Win key + R
 


C:\Users\Emilian> dfrgui

 

dfrgui-command-screenshot-windows-1

Below is what dfrgui reports on the ThinkCentre after running Disk Optimize for each Drive – (Optimize All) option.

dfrgui-partitions-on-lenovo-thinkcentre-windows-screeshot

Just to show you what you can see with dfrgui, here is the dfrgui screenshot from another PC that has attached both SATA disk and NVME SSD Drive.

dfrgui-command-screenshot-windows-2

 

How to do partitioning from Windows console with diskpart command (useful for scripting)

 

If you're coming from Linux world and you're pretty used to fdisk / cfdisk etc. to do partitioning daily, then you'll be most happy to hear about existence of the diskpart command in Windows, which is a kinda of an equivalent tool.
The tool is perfect for domain administrators which need to do some dynamic partitioning operations on multiple computers at once.

 To use diskpart you need Administrator command prompt, there is much you can do with diskpart, below is how to create another NTFS partition on a secondary

C:\Windows\System32> diskpart

diskpart-win-screenshot-1

DISKPART> list disk

diskpart-win-screenshot-2

DISKPART> select disk 2

diskpart-win-screenshot-3

To clean all the content (e.g. delete everything on hard drive) e.g. all files and directories

!!! BEWARE NOT TO DELETE BY MISTAKE YOUR DATA DON'T BLAME ME IF YOU JUST COPY PASTE IRRESPONSIBLY WITHOUT THINKING.
AFTER ALL IT IS YOUR COMPUTER !!!

DISKPART> clean

 

diskpart-win-screenshot-4

Next lets, create a partition, in below screenshot you can see how to use help and what are the supported partition types in Windows 10 as of year 2021.


/diskpart-help-create-partition-type-screenshot
 

DISKPART> create partition primary

diskpart-win-screenshot-6

To format new assigned primary partition as NTFS

DISKPART> format fs=ntfs

diskpart-win-screenshot-7

Once formatted to assign Drive letter that is the next available free one in order

DISKPART> assign

 

diskpart-win-screenshot-8

If instead of auto assigning a letter to new formatted partition, you would want to assign a specific Drive letter, lets say F:\> as it was in our case with the Graphical Windows Disk Management tool earlier in article.

DISKPART> assign letter=F


Using diskpart it is pretty easy to do much stuff from command line such as formatting a new attached empty unallocated drive, or formatting and setting a desired filesysteem of external attached Hard Drive. Note that the disk list arguments will list any externally attached Supported Storage and you can use disklist similarly to do quick format / repartition / wipe out data or whatever.

Further on just for fun I've run CPUID which is a great Windows freeware tool to report System Information, pretty much like the good old Everest such as exact CPU type, MainBoard, Graphics Card and Mainboard type of the certain hardware you have on running.

cpuid-screenshot-windows-10
 
That's all folks Hope this article, helped you learn something new.

Cheers 😉

 

How to fresh Upgrade mistakenly installed 32-bit Windows 10 Professional to 64-bit Windows / A failure to Disk Clone old SSD 120GB to 512GB HDD due to failed Solid State Drive

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

upgrade-windows-10-32-bit-to-64-bit-howto-picture

I've been Setting up a new PC with Windows OS that is a bit old a 11 years old Lenovo ThinkCentre model M90P with 8 GB of Memory, Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU         650  @ 3.20GHz   3.19 GHz, Intel Q57 Express Chipset. The machine came to me with Windows 7 preinstalled and the intial goal was to migrate Windows as it is with its data from the old 120GB SSD to new 512 SSD and then to keep the machine at least a bit more up to date to upgrade the old Windows 7 to Windows 10.

This as usual seemed like a very trivial task for a System Administrator, and even if you haven't touched much of Windows as me it makes it look a piece of cake, however as always with computers, once you think you'll be done in 2 hours usually it takes 20+ . Some call it Murphy's law "If something could go wrong then it will go wrong". But putting this situation that I thought all well that's easy lets do it is a kind of a proud Thought for man and the to save us from this Passion of Proudness which according to Church fathers is the worst passion one can have and humiliate us a bit.

God allows some unforseen stuff to happen   🙂 The case with this machine whose original idea I had is to OK I Simply Duplicate the Old Hard Drive to the New one and Place the new one on the ThinkCentre is not a big deal turned to a small adventure 🙂

For this machine hardware I have to say, the old English saying "Old but Gold" is pretty true, especially after I've attached the Samsung 512GB NVME SSD Drive, which my dear friend and brother in Christ "Uncle Emilian" had received as a gift from another friend called Angel. To put even more rant, here name Emilian stems from the Greek Emilianos which translated to English means Adversary.. But anyways The old Intel SSD 120 GB drive which besides being already completely Full of Data,  turned to have Memory DATA Chips (that perhaps burn out / wasted),  so parts of the Drive were Unreadable.
I've realized the fauly SSD fact after, 
trying to first clone the drives with my Hardware Disk Clone device Orico Dual Bay 2.5 6629US3-C device and then using a simple bit to bit copy with dd command.

orico-6629us3-c2-bay-usb3-type-b2.5-type3-5.inch-sata


At first for some weird reason the Cloning of 120GB SSD HDD towards -> 512 GB newer one was unsuccessful – one of the 2 lamp indicators on Source and Destination Drives was continuiously blinking orange as it seemed data could not be read, even though I tried few times and wait for about 1 hour of time for the cloning to complete, so I first suspected that might be an issue with my  last year bought Disk Clone hardware device. So I've attached the 2 Hard Drives towards my Debian GNU / Linux 10 as USB attached drives using the "Toaster" device  and tried a classical copy   from terminal with Disk Druid e.g.


# dd if=/dev/sdb2 of=/dev/sdbc2 bs=180M status=progress conv=noerror, sync

 
dd: error reading '/dev/sdb2': Input/output error
1074889+17746 records in
1092635+0 records out
559429120 bytes (559 MB, 534 MiB) copied, 502933 s, 1.1 kB/s
dd: writing to '/dev/dc2': Input/output error
1074889+17747 records in
1092635+0 records out
559429120 bytes (559 MB, 534 MiB) copied, 502933 s, 1.1 kB/s

Finally I did a manual copy of files from /dev/sdb2 /dev/sdc2 with rsync and part of the files managed to be succesfully copied, about 55Gigabytes out of 110 managed to copy.  Luckily the data on the broken Intel 320 Series 120GB was not top secret stuff so wasting some bits wasn't the end of the world 🙂

Next, I've removed the broken 120Gb SSD which perhaps was about at least 9+ years old and attached to the Lenovo ThinkCentre, the new drive and as my dear friend wanted to have Windows again (his computer has Microsoft "Certificate of Authenticity"), e.g. that OEM Registration Serial Key for Windows 7.

Lenovo-ThinkCentre-M90p-certificate-of-authenticity

I've jumped in and used some old Flash USB Stick Drive to place again Windows 7 (in order to use the same active license) and from there on, I've used another old Windows 10 Installation Bootable stick of mine to upgrade the Windows 7 to Windows 10 (by using this Win 7 to Win 10 upgrade trick it is possible to still continue use your old Windows 7 License Key on Windows 10). So far so good, now I've had Windows 10 Professional Edition installed on the machine, but faced another issue the Memory of the Machine which is 8GB did not get fully detected the machine had detected only 3.22 GB of Memory, for some weird reason.

only-2-80-gb-usable-windows-10-problem-32-bit-cpu-cause-screenshot

After few minutes of investigation online, I've realized, I've installed by mistake a 32 Bit version of Windows 10 Pro…So the next step was of course to upgrade to 64 bit to work around the unrecognized 5.2GB memory… To make sure my Windows 10 Installation is up-to-date I've downloaded the latest one from the Media Creation Installation Tool from Microsoft's website used the tool to burn the Downloaded Image to an Empty USB Stick (mine is 16GB but minimum required would be 4Gb) and proceeded to reboot the Lenovo Desktop machine and boot from the Windows 10 Install Flash Drive. From there on I've had to select I need to install a 64 Bit version of Windows and Skip the Licensing Key fill in Prompt Twice (act as I have no license) as Windows already could recognize the older OEM installed 32 bit install Windows key and automatically fetches the key from there.

Before proceeding to install the 64 Bit Windows, of course double check  that the Machine you have at hand has already the License Key recognized by Microsoft  is 64 Bit capable:

To check 32 bit version of Windows before attempted upgrade is Properly Licensed :

Settings > Update & security > Activation

check-if-windows-is-already-activated-settings-update-and-security-Activation-menus

 

To check whether Hardware is 64 Capable:

Settings -> System -> About

 

is-hardware-processor-64-bit-capable-windows-screenshot

32 bit Windows on x64based processor (Machine supports 64 bit OS)

 

windows10-OS-Installation-media-install-tool

Media Creation Tool Windows 10 MS Installer tool (make sure you select 64-bit (x86) instead of the default

From the Installer, I've installed Windows just like I install a brand new fersh Win OS and after asking the few trivial Installation Program questions landed to the new working OS and proceeded to install the usual software which are a must have on a freshly installed Windows for some of them check my previous article Essential Must have software to install on Fresh  new Windows installation host.

How to create SD Card DATA dump image to .ISO with dd and mount it with imdisk from command line on Windows CygWin with MobaXterm

Saturday, September 18th, 2021

dd-command-logo
I'm forced to use Windows every now and then and do some ordinary things which I do usually on Linux such as dumping the content of my Android phone SD Card SanDisk, Kingston etc. to .ISO image etc.

On Linux creating and mounting a data copy of a whole SD Card is a relatively simple thing and there are plenty of ways to do it such as using the dd ( command-line utility for Unix and Unix-like operating systems whose primary purpose is to convert and copy files as said in the command manual .- e.g. ''man dd'. ). On Microsoft Windows environment perhaps one of easiest ways is to use WinCDEmu (which is relatively free under LGPL License).
WinCDEmu is capable of doing plenty of things such as:
 

  • One-click mounting of ISO, CUE, NRG, MDS/MDF, CCD, IMG images.

  • Supports unlimited amount of virtual drives.

  • Runs on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions from XP to Windows 10.

  • Allows creating ISO images through a context menu in Explorer.

  • Small installer size – less than 2MB!

  • Have a portable version

WinCDEmu is a nice piece of software that perhaps every Win poweruser can enjoy, plus it has a nice Graphical frontend:

wincdemu-graphical-create-iso-and-mount-so-ms-windows-software

But what if you're a console geek, like me and you end up forced to be using Windows on your Work PC and you still need to create .iso dump of your Mobile SD Card or external attached Hard Drive, without the graphical mambo jumbo in the old fashioned way with dd?

Luckily Windows advanced command lined users could massively benefit from Cygwin + Mobaxterm (if you don't know or used MobaXterm and you still use things like Putty / SuperPutty or SecureCRT – perhaps you can reconsider and make your sysadmin life easier with MobaXerm gnome-terminal like SSH tabbed Windows alternative.

Once having mobaxterm + cygwin you have dd installed on the Windows host as it is part of the busybox minimal environment and you can use it in the same manner as your used in Linux environment.

sdcard-sandisk-drive-my-computer-windows-screenshot
 

1. Using dd to copy files on Linux / UNIX OS with a dialog status bar

To use dd the usual syntax on Linux / BSD / Unix is:
 

dd if=/dev/dev-name_ID of=/path/to/directory/dump/location.iso bs=2048

 

As 2048 BS (Bytes) per second is quite a low value usually on Modern operating systems, this bytesize is usually increased to some MBs  ( Megabytes).

For example if the reading from carrier  is Solid State Drive Disk (SSD) supporting 100 MBs per second and the output SD Card is a 32 Bit Kingston Plus+ drive with whose write speed is up to 50 ~ 100 MBs, you can use cmd as:

dd if=/dev/dev-name_ID of=/path/to/directory/dump/location.iso bs=100M


If you need to have a progress on the dd copy (in case if you copy some large SD Card 128 GB or 256GB or a full copy of a hard drive partition that is really big lets say 8 Terabytes of data, dialog and pv comes quite handy.

To use them install them first:

# apt-get install –yes pv dialog


Next to have a beautiful ncurses dialog box with the status (very useful if you're shell scripting), use:
 

(pv -n /dev/sda | dd of=/dev/sdb bs=128M conv=notrunc,noerror) 2>&1 | dialog –gauge "Running dd command (cloning), please wait…" 10 70 0

pv-dialog-dd-command-ncurses-status-screenshot-gnu-linux
 

2. Listing the avaialble copy drives /dev/sda /dev/sdb1 … etc. disk locations on Windows 7 / 10 / 11 OS

[User.T420-89] ➤ for F in /dev/s* ; do echo "$F    $(cygpath -w $F)" ; done

check-drives-loop-on-cygwin-to-be-used-later-with-dd-copy-iso-creating-imageCheck drives device naming on WIndows PC – Screenshot extract from Mobaxterm

As you can see the drive location we've seen in Windows Explorer is located at drive E: above bash for loop reveals us this is located and readable from CygWin / MobaxTerm at /dev/sdb1


3. Create .iso image file on WIndows OS with dd command
 

To create a full data copy dump of to .iso (image file) with dd on Windows , I had to run:

[User.T420-89] ➤ dd if=/dev/sdb1 of=sdcard-blu-r1-hd-sdcard-backup_10092021a.img bs=100M

75+1 records in
75+1 records out
7944011776 bytes (7.4GB) copied, 391.794316 seconds, 19.3MB/s


dd-copy-drive-data-screenshot-100mb-bitesize-windows-mobaxterm


4. Mount the newly create dd Image with imdisk

In order to test the image is properly created, you can attempt to mount it from command line on Linux, mounting it is quite easy and is up to mounting the just created .img file as a loopback (loop) device, like so: 

# mount -o loop file.iso /mnt/dir

Unfortunately cygwin and mobaxterm's embedded mount command on Win OS does not support the loopback device so to have it you have to install and use some additional program  such as the upmentioned WinCDEmu or if you prefer to do it fully from command line and further on automate the process of creating a dump of images of attached drives out of a multiple computers (lets say belonging to a Windows Active Directory domain). You might install and use something like:


imdisk 

imdisk-gui-interface-ms-windows-screenshot

imdisk handy tool is  created by Olof Lagerkvist. It is free and open-source software, which  will let you mount image files of hard drive, cd-rom or floppy, and create one or several ramdisks with various parameters either from a command line or via its Graphical interface.

To use imdisk download it from its home page on sourceforge extract and install it, pretty much as any other software it has both 32 bit version as a legacy for old computers as well as 64 bit exe installer.
The general command line use of it follows a cmd syntax like:

  • Mounting .iso image files from command line on WIndows host with imdisk


[User.T420-89] ➤ ImDisk.exe -a -f "sdcard-blu-r1-hd-sdcard-backup_10092021.img" -m #:

Where:
 

  • #: – is the actual drive you would like to mount to.
     
  • -a option stands for attach to, it will configure and attach a virtual disk with the parameters specified and attach it to the system.
     
  • -f – is self explanatory, provides the iso image file naming 

If you want to attach the newly created image to lets say  L:\ windows new mapped drive

ImDisk.exe -a -f "sdcard-blu-r1-hd-sdcard-backup_10092021.img" -m l:

  • Unmount mounted .img image with imdisk from cmd line

[User.T420-89] ➤ imdisk.exe -l
\Device\ImDisk0
                                                                                                                              ✘

[User.T420-89] ➤ imdisk.exe -D -m l:
Notifying applications…
Flushing file buffers…
Locking volume…
Failed, forcing dismount…
Removing device…
Removing mountpoint…
Done.

imdisk-detach-attached-drive-mobaxterm-windows-screenshot

 

What we learned ?

What we have learned in this article is how to use Mobaxterm embedded dd Data Convert and Copy command to prepare full image backups of SD card or external drives on Windows OS. Also few alternative ways were entions such as using WinCDEmu free  open source alternative to DaemonTools program to create / mount or convert the image for the GUI lovers. Also for hard core sysadmins as me was shown how to list drives devices attached to the Win PC {/dev/sda,/dev/sdb} etc. and how to copy partition data with dd just like one would do on Linux OS. Finally to test the created image, I've shown you how to use the imdisk free software tool to attach and detach image to a mapped local Windows drive.

Hope this article learned you something new.

Remove “Windows 7 PC is out of Support” annoying reoccuring warning popup alert

Friday, September 10th, 2021

Windows-7-End-of-life-pc-is-out-of-support-removal-rip-win-7

Since January 15th 2020, Windows 7 which reached its End of Life (EOL)  and is no longer Supported. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, and Professional installations will display the message


"Your Windows 7 PC is out of support".

The use of Windows 7, since 2020 is steadily declining but some hard core maniacs, who refuse to be in tune with latest fashion do still roll Windows 7 on dedicated VPS Servers (running on Xen / VMWare etc.).
With the reach of End of Support, people who still run Windows 7 have no longer the usual Operating system provided.

  • No security updates
  • No software updates
  • No tech support

Even though running End of Support system is quite dangerous and you might get hacked easily by autometed bot, still for some custom uses and if the Windows 7 Runs behind a solid firewall it could be considered relatively safe.

Microsoft hence made their Windows (remote controlled system) to have an annoying pop up window with the "YOUR WINDOWS 7 PC IS OUT OF SUPPORT" as shown in below screenshot:

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-annoying-message-screenshot.

For those who don't plan to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10, this message becomes quickly very annoying especially if you happen to access remotely your Windows 7 VPS and use it for simple things as browsing a few news websites or you're a marketer and you use the Windows for accessing Amazon / Ebay from a different country as many Marketers do to access General Webstores emulating access from a remote location. 


Disable "Your Windows 7 PC is out of support" popup alert
 

Luckily it is possible to disable this annoying Your Windows 7 pop-up alert by setting a value key in Windows Registry
DiscontinueEOS to 1.

To do so launch from Administrator command  line cmd.exe prompt (or start it from Windows start menu):

regedit

1. Open Windows Registry Editor and navigate to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\EOSNotify.

 You will need to set the DWORD DiscontinueEOS value to 1 in the Windows Registry
 

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-eosnotify-dword-registry-03-600x366

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-discontinueEOS-registry-modify

–  In case EOSNotify key is not available, right-click the CurrentVersion key and select New > Key and name it EOSNotify.

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-EOSNotify-create-new-key-600x367

2. Right click anywhere in the right pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it DiscontinueEOS.

3. Set Value data to 1 and click OK.

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-edit-dword-32-bit-value-regedit-screenshot.

4. When the new value has been set, Restart the Windows7 computer / Virtual machine, to make sure registry setting take effect.

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-discontninueEOS-reg-dword-0x000000001-600x248

 

To automate the procedure in large environments, you can create a small script using the reg  command load the Registry key or use Windows GPO (Group Policy Object) to enforce the setting across all Active Directory PC members.
 

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\EOSNotify]
"DiscontinueEOS"=dword:00000001
custom GPO in Active Directory.

To avoid potential issues using a non supported OS, you should start planning to upgrade your Windows 7 clients to Windows 10.

That's it ! Out of support Windows 7  alert should no longer bug you 🙂

How to backup Outlook Mailbox / Export Exchange Mail backup to .pst

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

pst-outlook-exchange-windows-logo

In the corporate world most of us are forced to use as a desktop environment some kind of Windows version 7 / 8 / 10  version with Outlook configured to use Microsoft Exchange MailServer mailbox set to use POP3 or IMAP account.
Sometimes for new employees for Knowledge transfer purposes having a backup copy of some employee who was laid off or as most of the times has left the company for a better position or simply due to boredom.

Even just for backup purposes in case if by mistake you have deleted some mails out of your mailbox it is useful thing to create a Mailbox backup of whole mail address data especially as with time the amount of Emails grows to many, many thousand of emails year by year and under some circumstances where you have a Mailbox data Limit to up to lets say 4 Gigabytes per mailbox it is useful to periodically clean up old mails, but for the historical reference to create a backup of old email.

Even at some times it is useful to create a whole backup of mailbox every year and then delete the content of Mail data for this year from Outlook.

Export of mail data in Outlook configured email is exported to .PST file format – [ MS-PST ]: Outlook Personal Folders.

Each Personal Folders File (.PST) represents a Message store that contains an arbitrary hierarchy of Folder objects, which contains Message objects, which can contain Attachment objects. Information about Folder objects, Message objects, and Attachment objects are stored in properties, which collectively contain all of the information about the particular item.

If you want to back up the message folders locally to work PC (in addition to keeping them on the Exchange server), you can automatically move or delete older items with AutoArchive (feature of Outlook) or export the items to .pst file that you can restore later as needed and use by importing.

So how to backup / export your Email correspondence to .PTS?

1. Select File -> Open & Export -> Import/Export

outlook-backup-emails-to-pst-file-howto-1

2. Select Export to a file, and then select Next.

outlook-backup-emails-to-pst-file-howto-2

3. Select Outlook Data File (.pst), and select Next.

outlook-backup-emails-to-pst-file-howto-3

4. Select the mail folder you want to back up and select Next.

outlook-backup-emails-to-pst-file-howto-4

5. Choose a location and name for your backup file, and then select Finish.

outlook-backup-emails-to-pst-file-howto-7

To ensure no one has access to your .pst files, after finish you'll be prompted to enter and confirm a password (or if you don't want pass leave pass field as empty), and then select OK.

The produced .pst file will be stored by default under C:\Users\Username\Documents\Outlook Files.

The messages that you keep in a .pst file are no different from other standard messages in outlook. You can forward, reply, or search through the stored messages as you do with other messages.
 

Set Domain multiple alias (Aliases) in IIS on Windows server howto

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

https://www.pc-freak.net/images/microsoft-iis-logo

On Linux as mentioned in my previous article it is pretty easy to use the VirtualHost Apache directive etc. to create ServerName and ServerAlias but on IIS Domain multiple alias add too me a while to google.

<VirtualHost *>
ServerName whatevever-server-host.com
ServerAlias www.whatever-server-host.com whatever-server-host.com
</VirtualHost>


In click and pray environments as Winblows, sometimes something rather easy to be done can be really annoying if you are not sure what to do and where to click and you have not passed some of the many cryptic microsoft offered ceritification programs offer for professional sysadmins, I'll name a few of them as to introduce UNIX guys like me to what you might ask a M$ admin during an interview if you want to check his 31337 Windows Sk!lls 🙂

 

  • Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) –
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)-
  • Microsoft Specialist (MS) etc. –

A full list of Microsoft Certifed Professsional program here

Ok enough of  balling.

Here is  how to  create a domain alias in IIS on Windows server.

Login to your server and click on the START button then ‘Run’¦’, and then type ‘inetmgr.exe’.

Certainly you can go and click trough the Administrative tools section to start ISS manager, but for me this is fastest and easiest way.

create-domain-alias-on-windows-server-1a
 

Now expand the (local computer), then ‘Web Sites’ and locate the site for which you want to add alias (here it is called additional web site identification).

Right click on the domain and choose ‘Properties’ option at the bottom.

This will open the properties window where you have to choose ‘Web Site’ and then to locate ‘Website identification‘ section. Click on the ‘Advanced’¦’ button which stands next to the IP of the domain.

create-domain-alias-on-windows-server-2a
Advanced Web site identification window (Microsoft likes to see the word ‘Advanced’ in all of the management menus) will be opened, where we are going to add a new domain alias.

create-domain-alias-on-windows-server-3a.png

Click on the ‘Add’¦’ button and ‘Add/Edit website (alias)identification’ window will appear.

create-domain-alias-on-windows-server-4a.png

Make sure that you will choose the same IP address from the dropdown menu, then set the port number on which your web server is running (the default is 80), write the domain you want, and click ‘OK’ to create the new domain alias.

Actually click ‘OK’ until you have ‘Advanced Web site identification’ and the domain properties windows closed.

Right click on the domain again and ‘Stop’ and ‘Start’ the service.
This will be enough the IIS domain alias to start working.

create-domain-alias-on-windows-server-5a


Another useful thing for novice IIS admins that come from UNIX is a domain1 to domain2 redirect, this is done with writting an IIS rule which is an interesting but long topic for a limited post as like this, but just for the reference of fun to let you know this exist.

Domain 1 to Domain 2 Redirect
This rule comes handy when you change the name of your site or may be when you need to catch and alias and direct it to your main site. If the new and the old URLs share some elements, then you could just use this rule to have the matching pattern together with the redirect target being

domain1-to-domain2-redirect-iis

That's all folks, if you enjoyed the clicking laziness you're ready to retrain yourself to become a successful lazy Windows admin who calls Microsoft Support everyday as many of the errors and problems Windows sysadmins experience as I heard from a friend can only be managed by M$ Support (if they can be managed at all). 

Yes that's it the great and wonderful life of the avarage sysadmin. Long live computing … it's great! Everyday something broken needs to get fixed everyday something to rethink / relearn / reupdate and restructure or migrate a never ending story of weirdness.

A remark to  make, the idea for this post is originated based on a task I had to do long time ago on IIS, the images and the description behind them are taking from a post originally written on Domain Aliasing in IIS originally written by Anthony Gee unfortunately his blog is not available anymore so credits goes to him.

Use multiple certificates using one IP address (same IP address) on IIS Windows web server

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

If you had to administer some Windows webservers based on IIS and you're coming from the Linux realm, it would be really confusing on how you can use a single IP address to have binded multiple domain certificates.

For those who have done it on linux, they know Apache and other webservers in recent versions support the configuration Directive of a Wildcard instead of IP through the SNI extension capble to capture in the header of the incoming SSL connection the exact domain and match it correctly against the domain with the respective certificate.  Below is what I mean, lets say you have a website called yourdomain.com and you want this domain to be pointing to another location for example to yourdomain1.com

For example in Apache Webserver this is easily done by defining 2 separate virtualhost configuration files similar to below:

/etc/apache2/sites-available/yourdomain.com

<Virtualhost *>

Servername yourdomain.com
ServerAlias www.yourdomain.com
….

        SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomain1.com/fullchain.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomain1.com/privkey.pem
</VirtualHost>


 

/etc/apache2/sites-available/yourdomain1.com

<Virtualhost *>

Servername yourdomain1.com
ServerAlias yourdomain1.com

 

        SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomain1.com/fullchain.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomain1.com/privkey.pem
</VirtualHost>

 

Unfortunately for those who still run legacy Windows servers  with IIS version 7 / 7.5 your only option is to use separate IP addresses (or ports, but not really acceptable for public facing sites) and to bind each site with it's SSL certificate to that IP address.

IIS ver. 8+ supports the Server Name Indication extension of TLS which will allow you to bind multiple SSL sites to the same IP address/port based on the host name. It will be transparent and the binding will work the same as with non-HTTPS sites.

In Microsoft IIS Webserver to configure, it is not possible to simply edit some configurations but you have to do it the clicking way as usually happen in Windows. thus you will need to have generated the Domain Certificate requests and so on and then you can simply do as pointed in below screenshots.

howto-install-iis-8-webserver-ssl-sni-certificate-windows-screenshot
 

iis-config-domain-alias-windows-server-iis-8-webserver

iis-config-domain-alias-windows-server-iis-8-webserver-1

iis-config-domain-alias-windows-server-iis-8-webserver-2

iis-config-domain-alias-windows-server-iis-8-webserver-3

iis-config-domain-alias-windows-server-iis-8-webserver-4
 

Fix Blocked Unresponsive keyboard keys on Windows 7 / 10

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Scroll-lock-keboard-work-around-windows-issues

 

The Problem


If you're still using Windows 7 Operating system in your company due to some weird security concern policies and your company gets custom end user updates from Microsoft due to a special EULA agreement and you are new to using Windows E.g. have for many users used for your daily work Linux and Mac OS you might hit a strange issue wtih many of the keyboard keys strangely being locked with some of the keys such as Num Lock, Escape tab working where the Alphabet keys then don't panic. This is not a Windows bug its a feature (as usual) 🙂
 

Reason behind Blocked Unresponsive Keyboard

 

First logical thought I had is maybe my Logitech K120 Membrane 17 EURO cheap keyboard externally attached keyboard broke up thus I've tried to connect another LOGIC keyboard I had at hand just to assure myself the problem with partial keys on kbd reacting was present with the other Working keyboard as well.
This was an indicator that either the custom installed Windows by the company Helpdesk Office with the preassumed common additional features for corporations such as Keyloggers on this Laptop has messed up somohow the Windows service that is managing the keyboard or some kind of mechanical error or electronic circuit on the laptop embedded keyboard has occured or the KBD DLL Loaded driver damaged
I have to say here a colleague of mine was having a weird keyboard problems back in the day when I was still working in Project Services as a Web and Middleware in Hewlett Packard, where misteriously a character was added to his typed content just like a key on his keyboard has stuck and he experienced this issue for quite some time, he opened the keyboard to physically check whether all is okay and even checked the keyboard electricity whether levels on each of the keys and he couldn't find anything, and after running Malware Bytes anti-malware and a couple of other anti-malware programs which found his computer was infected with Malware and issue resolved.

 

Hard Fix – Reboot ..

 

As as a solution most times so far I've restarted the Windows which was reloading the Windows kernel / DLL libraries etc.

However just hit to this Windows accessibility feature once again today and since this is not the first time I end up with unworking keyboard (perhaps due to my often) furious fast typing – where I press sometimes multiple keys in parallel as a typing error then you trigger the Windows Disabled accessibiltiy Windows Feature, which as I thought makes the PC only usable for Mouse but unusuable for providing any meaningful keyboard input.

This problem I've faced already multiple times and usually the work around was the good known Windows User recipee phrase "Restart and It will get fixed", this time I was pissed off and didn't wanted to loose another 5 minutes in Restarting Reconnecting to the Company's Cisco Secure VPN reopening all my used files Notepad++ / Outlook / Browsers etc plus I was already part of online Lync (Skype) Meeting in which Colleague was Sharing his remote Desktop checking some important stuff about Zabbix Monitored AIX machine, hence didn't wanted to restart but still wanted to use my computer and type some stuff to send Email and do a simple googling.

Temporary work around to complete work with Virtual Keyboard

Hence as a temporary work around, I've used the Windows Virtual Keyboard, I've mentioned it in the earlier  blog post – How to run Virtual Keyboard in Windows XP / Vista article
To do so I'verun by typing osk command in cmd.exe command Prompt:

Either Search for osk.exe from Start menu

windows-7-osk-virtual-keyboard-screenshot-from-start-menu

or run via command line via

Windows Button (on the Keyboard) + R and run
 

cmd.exe -> osk

 


windows-7-osk-virtual-keyboard-screenshot2

 

Solution Without PC Restart


After a bit of thought and Googling I've found the fix  here

From the Start -> Control Panel from here I had to go to Accessibility Options.
Select Ease of Access Center.

Keyboard_Locked-Windows_7_Accessibility_Options-HP-Customer-Support

Select the keyboard settings and
Ensure the following options are unchecked: Turn on Sticky Keys, Turn on Toggle Keys and Turn on Filter Keys.

Keyboard-Locked_Find-Out-How-to-Unlock-make-keyboard-easier-to-use

I've found in the Turn on Toggle Keys tick present (e.g. service was enabled) – hence  after unticking it and 

Press Apply and OK, keyboard restored its usual functions.
Now all left was to  Enjoy as your keyboard was back usable and I could conitnue my Citrix sessions and SSH console Superputty terminals  and complete my started to write E-mail
without loosing time meanlessly for reboot.


N.B. !!!! A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE TO MAKE IS IF NOTHING ELSE HELPS PLEASE TRY TO RUN OSK ViRTUAL KEYBOARD
UNDER SOME OCCASIONS THE VIRTUAL KEYBOARD FORCES THE WINDOWS KEYBOARD DRIVER TO RELOAD AND THAT WILL FIX THE KEYBOARD !!!

Windows 10 Disable the Filter Keys option

 

This feature makes your keyboard ignore brief or repeated keystrokes, which might have led to your WinKey issue in Windows 10. To disable filter keys, use the instructions below:

1. Right-click on your Start menu icon.
2. Select Settings from the menu.
3. Navigate to Ease of Access and click on it.
4. Go to the left pane and click Keyboard.
5. Locate the Filter Keys feature.
6. Toggle it off.
7. Check if this manoeuvre has resolved your issue.
 

Closing Notes 


Of course this might be not always the fix, as sometimes it could be that the Winblows just blows your keyboard buffer due to some buggy application or a bug, but in most of the times that should solve it 🙂
If it didn't go through and debug all the other possible reasons, check whether you have a faulty keyboard cable (if you're still on a non-bluetooth Wired Keyboard), unplug and plug the keyboard again,
scan the computer for spyware and malware, rethink what really happened or what have you done until the problem occured and whether blocked keyboard is triggered by your user action or was triggered
by some third party software anti-virus stuff that did it as an attempt to prevent keylog sniffer / Virus or other weird stuff.