Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

Must have software on freshly installed windows – Essential Software after fresh Windows install

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Install-update-multiple-programs-applications-at-once-using-ninite

If you're into IT industry even if you don't like installing frequently Windows or you're completely Linux / BSD user, you will certainly have a lot of friends which will want help from you to re-install or fix their Windows 7 / 8 / 10 OS. At least this is the case with me every year, I'm kinda of obliged to install fresh windowses on new bought friends or relatives notebooks / desktop PCs.

Of course according to for whom the new Windows OS installed the preferrences of necessery software varies, however more or less there is sort of standard list of Windows Software which is used daily by most of Avarage Computer user, such as:
 

Not to forget a good candidate from the list to install on new fresh windows Installation candidates are:

  • Winrar
  • PeaZIP
  • WinZip
  • GreenShot (to be able to easily screenshot stuff and save pictures locally and to the cloud)
  • AnyDesk (non free but very functional alternative to TeamViewer) to be able to remotely access remote PC
  • TightVNC
  • ITunes / Spotify (for people who have also iPhone smart phone)
  • DropBox or pCloud (to have some extra cloud free space)
  • FBReader (for those reading a lot of books in different formats)
  • Rufus – Rufus is an efficient and lightweight tool to create bootable USB drives. It helps you to create BIOS or UEFI bootable devices. It helps you to create Windows TO Go drives. It provides support for various disk, format, and partition.
  • Recuva is a data recovery software for Windows 10 (non free)
  • EaseUS (for specific backup / restore data purposes but unfortunately (non free)
  • For designers
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • f.lux –  to control brightness of screen and potentially Save your eyes
  • ImDisk virtual Disk Driver
  • KeePass / PasswordSafe – to Securely store your passwords
  • Putty / MobaXterm / SecureCRT / mPutty (for system administrators and programmers that has to deal with Linux / UNIX)

I tend to install on New Windows installs and thus I have more or less systematized the process.

I try to usually stick to free software where possible for each of the above categories as a Free Software enthusiast and luckily nowadays there is a lot of non-priprietary or at least free as in beer software available out there.

For Windows sysadmins or College and other public institutions networks including multiple of Windows Computers which are not inside a domain and also for people in computer repair shops where daily dozens of windows pre-installs or a set of software Automatic updates are  necessery make sure to take a look at Ninite

ninite-automate-windows-program-deploy-and-update-on-new-windows-os-openoffice-screenshot

As official website introduces Ninite:

Ninite – Install and Update All Your Programs at Once

Of course as Ninite is used by organizations as NASA, Harvard Medical School etc. it is likely the tool might reports your installed list of Windows software and various other Win PC statistical data to Ninite developers and most likely NSA, but this probably doesn't much matter as this is probably by the moment you choose to have installed a Windows OS on your PC.

ninite-choises-to-build-an-install-package-with-useful-essential-windows-software-screenshot
 

For Windows System Administrators managing small and middle sized network PCs that are not inside a Domain Controller, Ninite could definitely save hours and at cases even days of boring install and maintainance work. HP Enterprise or HP Inc. Employees or ex-employees would definitely love Ninite, because what Ninite does is pretty much like the well known HP Internal Tool PC COE.

Ninite could also prepare an installer containing multiple applications based on the choice on Ninite's website, so that's also a great thing especially if you need to deploy a different type of Users PCs (Scientific / Gamers / Working etc.)

Perhaps there are also other useful things to install on a new fresh Windows installations, if you're using something I'm missing let me know in comments.

Analyze disk space usage in Linux / BSD with du / find and filelight /qdirstat / baobab GUI disk usage analyzers to check what takes up your disk space on Unix like OSes

Friday, April 21st, 2023

linux-how-to-find-out-what-files-and-directories-has-occupied-all-your-disk-space-partition-from-console-and-GUI_du-find-filelight-baobab-qdirstat-duff-linux-450x450

If you're a Desktop Linux or BSD UNIX user and your hard disk / external SSD / flash drive etc. space starts to be misteriously disapper due to whatever reaseon such as a crashing applications producing rapidly log error / warning messages leading quickly to filling up the disk or out of a sudden you have some Disk space lost without knowing what kind of data filled up the disk or you're downloading some big sized bittorrent files forgotten in your bittorrent client or complete mirroring a large website and you suddenly get the result of root directory ( / ) getting fully or nearly filled up, then you definitely would want to check out what has disk activity has eaten up your disk space and leaing to OS and Aplication slow responsiveness.

For the Linux regular *nix user finding out what is filling the disk is a trivial task with with find / du -hsc * but as people have different habits to use find and du I'll show you the most common ways I use this two command line tools to identify disk space low issues for the sake of comparison.
Others who have better easier ways to do it are very welcome to share it with me in the comments.
 

1. Finding large files on hard disk with find Linux command tool
 

host:~# find /home -type f -printf "%s\t%p\n" | sort -n | tail -10
2100000000    /home/hipo/Downloads/MameUIfx incl. ROMs/MameUIfx incl. ROMs-6.bin
2100000000    /home/hipo/Downloads/MameUIfx incl. ROMs/MameUIfx incl. ROMs-7.bin
2100000000    /home/hipo/Downloads/MameUIfx incl. ROMs/MameUIfx incl. ROMs-8.bin
2100000000    /home/hipo/Downloads/MameUIfx incl. ROMs/MameUIfx incl. ROMs-9.bin
2815424080    /home/hipo/.thunderbird/h3dasfii.default\
/ImapMail/imap.gmail.com/INBOX
2925584895    /home/hipo/Documents/.git/\
objects/pack/pack-8590b069cad26ac0af7560fb42b51fa9bfe41050.pack
4336918067    /home/hipo/Games/Mames_4GB-compilation-best-arcade-games-of-your-14_04_2021.tar.gz
6109003776    /home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs/CentOS/CentOS.vdi
23599251456    /home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs/Windows 7/Windows 7.vdi
33913044992    /home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs/Windows 10/Windows 10.vdi

I use less rarely find on Desktops and more when I have to do some kind of data usage analysis on servers, of course for my Linux home computer and any other Linux desktop machines, or just a small incomprehensive analysis du cmd is much more appropriate to use.


2. Finding large files Megabyte occupying space files sorted in Megabytes and Gigas with du
 

  • Check main 10 files sorted in megabytes that are hanging in a directory

pcfkreak:~# du -hsc /home/hipo/*|grep 'M\s'|sort -rn|head -n 10
956M    /home/hipo/last_dump1.sql
711M    /home/hipo/hipod
571M    /home/hipo/from-thinkpad_r61
453M    /home/hipo/ultimate-edition-themes
432M    /home/hipo/metasploit-framework
355M    /home/hipo/output-upgrade.txt
333M    /home/hipo/Плот
209M    /home/hipo/Work-New.tar.gz
98M    /home/hipo/DOOM64
90M    /home/hipo/mp3

  • Get 10 top larges files in Gigabytes that are space hungry and eating up your space

pcfkreak:~# du -hsc /home/hipo/*|grep 'G\s'|sort -rn|head -n 10
156G    total
60G    /home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs
37G    /home/hipo/Downloads
18G    /home/hipo/Desktop
11G    /home/hipo/Games
7.4G    /home/hipo/ownCloud
7.1G    /home/hipo/Документи
4.6G    /home/hipo/music
2.9G    /home/hipo/root
2.8G    /home/hipo/Documents


If you want to still work on the console terminal but you don't want to type too much you can use ncdu (ncurses) text tool, install it with

# apt install –yes ncdu


https://www.pc-freak.net/images/ncdu-gnu-linux-debian-screenshot.png

 For the most lazy ones or complete Linux newbies that doesn't want to spend time typing / learing or using text commands or softwares you can also check what has eaten up your full disk space with GUI tools as well.

There are at least 3 tools to use to check in Graphical Interface what has occupied your disk space on Linux / BSD, I'm aware of:

3. Filelight GUI disk usage analysis Linux tool

For those using KDE or preferring a shiny GUI interface that will capture the eye, perhaps filelight would be the option of choice tool to get analysis sum of your directory sturctures and file use on the laptop or desktop *unix OS.

unix-desktop:~# apt-cache show filelight|grep -i description-en -A 7
Description-en: show where your diskspace is being used
 Filelight allows you to understand your disk usage by graphically
 representing your filesystem as a set of concentric, segmented rings.
 .
 It is like a pie-chart, but the segments nest, allowing you to see both
 which directories take up all your space, and which directories
 and files inside those directories are the real culprits.
Description-md5: 397ff9a469e07a772f22460c66b66875


To use it simply go ahead and install it with apt or yum / dnf or whatever Linux package manager your distro uses:

unix-desktop:~# apt-get install –yes filelight

filelight-show-where-disk-space-is-being-used-graphically-tool-linux

4. GNOME DIsk Usage Analyzer Baobab GUI tool

For those being a GNOME / Mate / Budgie / Cinnamon Graphical interface users baobab shold be the program to use as it uses the famous LibGD library.

unix-desktop:~# apt-cache show baobab|grep -i description-en -A10
Description-en: GNOME disk usage analyzer
 Disk Usage Analyzer is a graphical, menu-driven application to analyse
 disk usage in a GNOME environment. It can easily scan either the whole
 filesystem tree, or a specific user-requested directory branch (local or
 remote).
 .
 It also auto-detects in real-time any changes made to your home
 directory as far as any mounted/unmounted device. Disk Usage Analyzer
 also provides a full graphical treemap window for each selected folder.
Description-md5: 5f6072b89ebb1dc83433fa7658814dc6
Homepage: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Baobab

 

gnome-disk-analyzer-baobab-tool-screenshot-of-hard-disk-directory-locations-sorted-by-size

5. Qdirstat graphical application to show where your disk space has gone on Linux

Qdirstat is perhaps well known tool to track disk space issues on Linux desktop hosts, known by the hardcore KDE / LXDE / LXQT / DDE GUI interface / environment lovers and as a KDE tool uses the infamous Qt library. I personally don't like it and don't put it on machines I use because I never use kde and don't want to waste my disk space with additional libraries such as the QT Library which historically was not totally free in terms of licensing and even now is in both free and non free licensing GPL / LGPL and QT Commercial Licensing license.

unix-desktop:~# apt-cache show qdirstat|grep -i description-en -A10
Description-en: Qt-based directory statistics
 QDirStat is a graphical application to show where your disk space has gone and
 to help you to clean it up.
 .
 QDirStat has a number of new features compared to KDirStat. To name a few:
  * Multi-selection in both the tree and the treemap.
  * Unlimited number of user-defined cleanup actions.
  * Properly show errors of cleanup actions (and their output, if desired).
  * File categories (MIME types) and their treemap color are now configurable.
  * Exclude rules for directories are easily configurable.
  * Desktop-agnostic; no longer relies on KDE or any other specific desktop.


qdirstat-linux-screenshot-show-what-directory-uses-most-hard-disk-space

That shiny fuzed graphics is actually a repsesantation of all directories the bigger and if one scrolls on the colorful gamma a text with directory and size or file will appear. Though the graphical represantation is really c00l to me it is a bit unreadable, thus I prefer and recommend the other two GUI tools filelight or baobab instead.

6. Finding duplicate files on Linux system with duff command tool

Talking about big unknown left-over files on your hard drives, it is appropriate to mention one tool here that is a console one but very useful to anyone willing to get rid of old duplicate files that are hanging around on the disk. Sometimes such copies are produced while copying large amount of files from place to place or simply by mistake while copying Photo / Video files from your Smart Phone to Linux desktop etc. 

This is where the duff command line utility might be super beneficial for you.

unix-desktop:~# apt-cache show duff|grep -i description-en -A3
Description-en: Duplicate file finder
 Duff is a command-line utility for identifying duplicates in a given set of
 files.  It attempts to be usably fast and uses the SHA family of message
 digests as a part of the comparisons.

Using duff tool is very straight forward to see all the duplicate files hanging in a directory lets say your home folder.

unix-desktop:~#  duff -rP /home/hipo

/home/hipo/music/var/Quake II Soundtrack – Kill Ratio.mp3
/home/hipo/mp3/Quake II Soundtrack – Kill Ratio.mp3
2 files in cluster 44 (7913472 bytes, digest 98f38be49e2ffcbf90927f9357b3e24a81d5a649)
/home/hipo/music/var/HYPODIL_01-Scakauec.mp3
/home/hipo/mp3/HYPODIL_01-Scakauec.mp3
2 files in cluster 45 (2807808 bytes, digest ce9067ce1f132fc096a5044845c7fac73e99c0ed)
/home/hipo/music/var/Quake II Suondtrack – March Of The Stoggs.mp3
/home/hipo/mp3/Quake II Suondtrack – March Of The Stoggs.mp3
2 files in cluster 46 (3506176 bytes, digest efcc401b4ebda9b0b2367aceb8e334c8ba1a357d)
/home/hipo/music/var/Quake II Suondtrack – Quad Machine.mp3
/home/hipo/mp3/Quake II Suondtrack – Quad Machine.mp3
2 files in cluster 47 (7917568 bytes, digest 0905c1d790654016c2ecf2949f78d47a870c3822)
/home/hipo/music/var/Cyberpunk Group – Futureshock!.mp3
/home/hipo/mp3/Cyberpunk Group – Futureshock!.mp3

-r (Recursively search into all specified directories.)

P (Don't follow any symbolic links.  This overrides any previous -H or -L option.  This is the default.  Note that this only applies to directories, as sym‐
             bolic links to files are never followed.)

7. Deleting duplicate files with duff

If you're absolutely sure you know what you're doing and you have a backup in case if something messes up during duplicate teletions, to get rid of lets say any duplicate Picture files found by duff run sommething like:

# duff -e0 -r /home/hipo/Pictures/ | xargs -0 rm

!!! Please note that using duff is for those who absolutely know what they're doing and have their data recent data. Deleting the wrong data by mistake with the tool might put you in the first grade and you'll be the only one to blame  🙂 !!!

Wrap it Up

Filling up the disk with unknown large files is a task to resolve that happens often. For the unlazy on Linux / BSD / Mac OS and other UNIX like OS-es the easiest way is to use find or du with some one liner command. For the lazy Windows addicted Graphical users filelightqdirstat or baobab GUI disk usage analysis tools are there.
If you have a lot of files and many of thems are duplicates you can use duff to check them out and remove all unneded duplicates and save space. 
Hope this article, was helpful for someone.
That's all folks, enjoy your data profilactics, if you know any other good easy command or GUI tools or hints for drive disk space profilactics please share.

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.
 

Monitor service log is continously growing with Zabbix on Windows with batch userparameter script and trigger Alert if log is unchanged

Thursday, March 17th, 2022

monitor-if-log-file-is-growing-with-zabbix-zabbix-userparameter-script-howto

Recently we had an inteteresting Monitoring work task to achieve. We have an Application that is constantly simulating encrypted connections traffic to a remote side machine and sending specific data on TCP/IP ports.
Communiucation between App Server A -> App Server B should be continous and if all is working as expected App Server A messages output are logged in the Application log file on the machine which by the way Runs
Windows Server 2020.

Sometimes due to Network issues this constant reconnections from the Application S. A to the remote checked machine TCP/IP ports gets interrupted due to LAN issues or a burned Network Switch equipment, misconfiguration on the network due to some Network admin making stoopid stuff etc..

Thus it was important to Monitor somehow whether the log is growing or not and feed the output of whether Application log file is growing or it stuck to a Central Zabbix Server. 
To be able to better understand the task, lets divide the desired outcome in few parts on required:

1. Find The latest file inside a folder C:\Path-to-Service\Monitoring\Log\
2. Open the and check it is current logged records and log the time
3. Re-open file in a short while and check whether in few seconds new records are written
4. Report the status out to Zabbix
5. Make Zabbix Item / Trigger / Action in case if monitored file is not growing

In below article I'll briefly explain how Monitoring a Log on a Machine for growing was implemented using a pure good old WIN .BAT (.batch) script and Zabbix Userparameter key

 

1. Enable userparameter script for Local Zabbix-Agent on the Windows 10 Server Host


Edit Zabbix config file usually on Windows Zabbix installs file is named:

zabbix_agentd.win ]


Uncomment the following lines to enable userparameter support for zabbix-agentd:

 

# Include=c:\zabbix\zabbix_agentd.userparams.conf

Include=c:\zabbix\zabbix_agentd.conf.d\

# Include=c:\zabbix\zabbix_agentd.conf.d\*.conf


2. Create folders for userparameter script and for the userparameter.conf

Before creating userparameter you can to create the folder and grant permissions

Folder name under C:\Zabbix -> zabbix_agentd.conf.d

If you don't want to use Windows Explorer) but do it via cmd line:

C:\Users\LOGUser> mkdir \Zabbix\zabbix_agentd.conf\
C:\User\LOGUser> mkdir \Zabbix\zabbix_scripts\


3. Create Userparameter with some name file ( Userparameter-Monitor-Grow.conf )

In the directory C:\Zabbix\zabbix_agentd.conf.d you should create a config file like:
Userparameter-Monitor-Grow.conf and in it you should have a standard userparameter key and script so file content is:

UserParameter=service.check,C:\Zabbix\zabbix_scripts\GROW_LOG_MONITOR-USERPARAMETER.BAT


4. Create the Batch script that will read the latest file in the service log folder and will periodically check and report to zabbix that file is changing

notepad C:\Zabbix\zabbix_scripts\GROW_LOG_MONITOR-USERPARAMETER.BAT

REM "SCRIPT MONITOR IF FILE IS GROWING OR NOT"
@echo off

set work_dir=C:\Path-to-Service\Monitoring\Log\

set client=client Name

set YYYYMMDD=%DATE:~10,4%%DATE:~4,2%%DATE:~7,2%

set name=csv%YYYYMMDD%.csv

set mytime=%TIME:~0,8%

for %%I in (..) do set CurrDirName=%%~nxI

 

setlocal EnableDelayedExpansion

set "line1=findstr /R /N "^^" %work_dir%\output.csv | find /C ":""


for /f %%a in ('!line1!') do set number1=%%a

set "line2=findstr /R /N "^^" %work_dir%\%name% | find /C ":""


for /f %%a in ('!line2!') do set number2=%%a

 

IF  %number1% == %number2% (

echo %YYYYMMDD% %mytime% MAJOR the log is not incrementing for %client%

echo %YYYYMMDD% %mytime% MAJOR the log is not incrementing for %client% >> monitor-grow_err.log

) ELSE (

echo %YYYYMMDD% %mytime% NORMAL the log is incrementing for %client%

SETLOCAL DisableDelayedExpansion

del %work_dir%\output.csv

FOR /F "usebackq delims=" %%a in (`"findstr /n ^^ %work_dir%\%name%"`) do (

    set "var=%%a"

    SETLOCAL EnableDelayedExpansion

    set "var=!var:*:=!"

    echo(!var! >> %work_dir%\output.csv

    ENDLOCAL

)

)
 

 

To download GROW_LOG_MONITOR-USERPARAMETER.BAT click here.
The script needs to have configured the path to directory containing multiple logs produced by the Monitored Application.
As prior said it will, list the latest created file based on DATE timestamp in the folder will output a simple messages:

If the log file is being fed with data the script will output to output.csv messages continuously, either:

%%mytime%% NORMAL the log is incrementing for %%client%%

Or if the Monitored application log is not writting anything for a period it will start writting messages

%%mytime%%mytime MAJOR the log is not incrementing for %client%

The messages will also be sent in Zabbix.

Before saving the script make sure you modify the Full Path location to the Monitored file for growing, i.e.:

set work_dir=C:\Path-to-Service\Monitoring\Log\


5. Create The Zabbix Item

Set whatever service.check name you would like and a check interval to fetch the info from the userparameter (if you're dealing with very large log files produced by Monitored log of application, then 10 minutes might be too frequent, in most cases 10 minutes should be fine)
monitor-if-log-grows-windows-zabbix-item-service-check-screenshot
 

6. Create Zabbix Trigger


You will need a Trigger something similar to below:

Now considering that zabbix server receives correctly data from the client and the monitored log is growing you should in Zabbix:

%%mytime%% NORMAL the log is incrementing for %%client%%


7. Lastly create an Action to send Email Alert if log is not growing

How to filter dhcp traffic between two networks running separate DHCP servers to prevent IP assignment issues and MAC duplicate addresses

Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

how-to-filter-dhcp-traffic-2-networks-running-2-separate-dhcpd-servers-to-prevent-ip-assignment-conflicts-linux
Tracking the Problem of MAC duplicates on Linux routers
 

If you have two networks that see each other and they're not separated in VLANs but see each other sharing a common netmask lets say 255.255.254.0 or 255.255.252.0, it might happend that there are 2 dhcp servers for example (isc-dhcp-server running on 192.168.1.1 and dhcpd running on 192.168.0.1 can broadcast their services to both LANs 192.168.1.0.1/24 (netmask 255.255.255.0) and Local Net LAN 192.168.1.1/24. The result out of this is that some devices might pick up their IP address via DHCP from the wrong dhcp server.

Normally if you have a fully controlled little or middle class home or office network (10 – 15 electronic devices nodes) connecting to the LAN in a mixed moth some are connected via one of the Networks via connected Wifi to 192.168.1.0/22 others are LANned and using static IP adddresses and traffic is routed among two ISPs and each network can see the other network, there is always a possibility of things to go wrong. This is what happened to me so this is how this post was born.

The best practice from my experience so far is to define each and every computer / phone / laptop host joining the network and hence later easily monitor what is going on the network with something like iptraf-ng / nethogs  / iperf – described in prior  how to check internet spepeed from console and in check server internet connectivity speed with speedtest-cliiftop / nload or for more complex stuff wireshark or even a simple tcpdump. No matter the tools network monitoring is only part on solving network issues. A very must have thing in a controlled network infrastructure is defining every machine part of it to easily monitor later with the monitoring tools. Defining each and every host on the Hybrid computer networks makes administering the network much easier task and  tracking irregularities on time is much more likely. 

Since I have such a hybrid network here hosting a couple of XEN virtual machines with Linux, Windows 7 and Windows 10, together with Mac OS X laptops as well as MacBook Air notebooks, I have followed this route and tried to define each and every host based on its MAC address to pick it up from the correct DHCP1 server  192.168.1.1 (that is distributing IPs for Internet Provider 1 (ISP 1), that is mostly few computers attached UTP LAN cables via LiteWave LS105G Gigabit Switch as well from DHCP2 – used only to assigns IPs to servers and a a single Wi-Fi Access point configured to route incoming clients via 192.168.0.1 Linux NAT gateway server.

To filter out the unwanted IPs from the DHCPD not to propagate I've so far used a little trick to  Deny DHCP MAC Address for unwanted clients and not send IP offer for them.

To give you more understanding,  I have to clear it up I don't want to have automatic IP assignments from DHCP2 / LAN2 to DHCP1 / LAN1 because (i don't want machines on DHCP1 to end up with IP like 192.168.0.50 or DHCP2 (to have 192.168.1.80), as such a wrong IP delegation could potentially lead to MAC duplicates IP conflicts. MAC Duplicate IP wrong assignments for those older or who have been part of administrating large ISP network infrastructures  makes the network communication unstable for no apparent reason and nodes partially unreachable at times or full time …

However it seems in the 21-st century which is the century of strangeness / computer madness in the 2022, technology advanced so much that it has massively started to break up some good old well known sysadmin standards well documented in the RFCs I know of my youth, such as that every electronic equipment manufactured Vendor should have a Vendor Assigned Hardware MAC Address binded to it that will never change (after all that was the idea of MAC addresses wasn't it !). 
Many mobile devices nowadays however, in the developers attempts to make more sophisticated software and Increase Anonimity on the Net and Security, use a technique called  MAC Address randomization (mostly used by hackers / script kiddies of the early days of computers) for their Wi-Fi Net Adapter OS / driver controlled interfaces for the sake of increased security (the so called Private WiFi Addresses). If a sysadmin 10-15 years ago has seen that he might probably resign his profession and turn to farming or agriculture plant growing, but in the age of digitalization and "cloud computing", this break up of common developed network standards starts to become the 'new normal' standard.

I did not suspected there might be a MAC address oddities, since I spare very little time on administering the the network. This was so till recently when I accidently checked the arp table with:

Hypervisor:~# arp -an
192.168.1.99     5c:89:b5:f2:e8:d8      (Unknown)
192.168.1.99    00:15:3e:d3:8f:76       (Unknown)

..


and consequently did a network MAC Address ARP Scan with arp-scan (if you never used this little nifty hacker tool I warmly recommend it !!!)
If you don't have it installed it is available in debian based linuces from default repos to install

Hypervisor:~# apt-get install –yes arp-scan


It is also available on CentOS / Fedora / Redhat and other RPM distros via:

Hypervisor:~# yum install -y arp-scan

 

 

Hypervisor:~# arp-scan –interface=eth1 192.168.1.0/24

192.168.1.19    00:16:3e:0f:48:05       Xensource, Inc.
192.168.1.22    00:16:3e:04:11:1c       Xensource, Inc.
192.168.1.31    00:15:3e:bb:45:45       Xensource, Inc.
192.168.1.38    00:15:3e:59:96:8e       Xensource, Inc.
192.168.1.34    00:15:3e:d3:8f:77       Xensource, Inc.
192.168.1.60    8c:89:b5:f2:e8:d8       Micro-Star INT'L CO., LTD
192.168.1.99     5c:89:b5:f2:e8:d8      (Unknown)
192.168.1.99    00:15:3e:d3:8f:76       (Unknown)

192.168.x.91     02:a0:xx:xx:d6:64        (Unknown)
192.168.x.91     02:a0:xx:xx:d6:64        (Unknown)  (DUP: 2)

N.B. !. I found it helpful to check all available interfaces on my Linux NAT router host.

As you see the scan revealed, a whole bunch of MAC address mess duplicated MAC hanging around, destroying my network topology every now and then 
So far so good, the MAC duplicates and strangely hanging around MAC addresses issue, was solved relatively easily with enabling below set of systctl kernel variables.
 

1. Fixing Linux ARP common well known Problems through disabling arp_announce / arp_ignore / send_redirects kernel variables disablement

 

Linux answers ARP requests on wrong and unassociated interfaces per default. This leads to the following two problems:

ARP requests for the loopback alias address are answered on the HW interfaces (even if NOARP on lo0:1 is set). Since loopback aliases are required for DSR (Direct Server Return) setups this problem is very common (but easy to fix fortunately).

If the machine is connected twice to the same switch (e.g. with eth0 and eth1) eth2 may answer ARP requests for the address on eth1 and vice versa in a race condition manner (confusing almost everything).

This can be prevented by specific arp kernel settings. Take a look here for additional information about the nature of the problem (and other solutions): ARP flux.

To fix that generally (and reboot safe) we  include the following lines into

 

Hypervisor:~# cp -rpf /etc/sysctl.conf /etc/sysctl.conf_bak_07-feb-2022
Hypervisor:~# cat >> /etc/sysctl.conf

# LVS tuning
net.ipv4.conf.lo.arp_ignore=1
net.ipv4.conf.lo.arp_announce=2
net.ipv4.conf.all.arp_ignore=1
net.ipv4.conf.all.arp_announce=2

net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects=0
net.ipv4.conf.eth0.send_redirects=0
net.ipv4.conf.eth1.send_redirects=0
net.ipv4.conf.default.send_redirects=0

Press CTRL + D simultaneusly to Write out up-pasted vars.


To read more on Load Balancer using direct routing and on LVS and the arp problem here


2. Digging further the IP conflict / dulicate MAC Problems

Even after this arp tunings (because I do have my Hypervisor 2 LAN interfaces connected to 1 switch) did not resolved the issues and still my Wireless Connected devices via network 192.168.1.1/24 (ISP2) were randomly assigned the wrong range IPs 192.168.0.XXX/24 as well as the wrong gateway 192.168.0.1 (ISP1).
After thinking thoroughfully for hours and checking the network status with various tools and thanks to the fact that my wife has a MacBook Air that was always complaining that the IP it tried to assign from the DHCP was already taken, i"ve realized, something is wrong with DHCP assignment.
Since she owns a IPhone 10 with iOS and this two devices are from the same vendor e.g. Apple Inc. And Apple's products have been having strange DHCP assignment issues from my experience for quite some time, I've thought initially problems are caused by software on Apple's devices.
I turned to be partially right after expecting the logs of DHCP server on the Linux host (ISP1) finding that the phone of my wife takes IP in 192.168.0.XXX, insetad of IP from 192.168.1.1 (which has is a combined Nokia Router with 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Wi-Fi and LAN router provided by ISP2 in that case Vivacom). That was really puzzling since for me it was completely logical thta the iDevices must check for DHCP address directly on the Network of the router to whom, they're connecting. Guess my suprise when I realized that instead of that the iDevices does listen to the network on a wide network range scan for any DHCPs reachable baesd on the advertised (i assume via broadcast) address traffic and try to connect and take the IP to the IP of the DHCP which responds faster !!!! Of course the Vivacom Chineese produced Nokia router responded DHCP requests and advertised much slower, than my Linux NAT gateway on ISP1 and because of that the Iphone and iOS and even freshest versions of Android devices do take the IP from the DHCP that responds faster, even if that router is not on a C class network (that's invasive isn't it??). What was even more puzzling was the automatic MAC Randomization of Wifi devices trying to connect to my ISP1 configured DHCPD and this of course trespassed any static MAC addresses filtering, I already had established there.

Anyways there was also a good think out of tthat intermixed exercise 🙂 While playing around with the Gigabit network router of vivacom I found a cozy feature SCHEDULEDING TURNING OFF and ON the WIFI ACCESS POINT  – a very useful feature to adopt, to stop wasting extra energy and lower a bit of radiation is to set a swtich off WIFI AP from 12:30 – 06:30 which are the common sleeping hours or something like that.
 

3. What is MAC Randomization and where and how it is configured across different main operating systems as of year 2022?

Depending on the operating system of your device, MAC randomization will be available either by default on most modern mobile OSes or with possibility to have it switched on:

  • Android Q: Enabled by default 
  • Android P: Available as a developer option, disabled by default
  • iOS 14: Available as a user option, disabled by default
  • Windows 10: Available as an option in two ways – random for all networks or random for a specific network

Lately I don't have much time to play around with mobile devices, and I do not my own a luxury mobile phone so, the fact this ne Androids have this MAC randomization was unknown to me just until I ended a small mess, based on my poor configured networks due to my tight time constrains nowadays.

Finding out about the new security feature of MAC Randomization, on all Android based phones (my mother's Nokia smartphone and my dad's phone, disabled the feature ASAP:


4. Disable MAC Wi-Fi Ethernet device Randomization on Android

MAC Randomization creates a random MAC address when joining a Wi-Fi network for the first time or after “forgetting” and rejoining a Wi-Fi network. It Generates a new random MAC address after 24 hours of last connection.

Disabling MAC Randomization on your devices. It is done on a per SSID basis so you can turn off the randomization, but allow it to function for hotspots outside of your home.

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Select Network and Internet
  3. Select WiFi
  4. Connect to your home wireless network
  5. Tap the gear icon next to the current WiFi connection
  6. Select Advanced
  7. Select Privacy
  8. Select "Use device MAC"
     

5. Disabling MAC Randomization on MAC iOS, iPhone, iPad, iPod

To Disable MAC Randomization on iOS Devices:

Open the Settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, then tap Wi-Fi or WLAN

 

  1. Tap the information button next to your network
  2. Turn off Private Address
  3. Re-join the network


Of course next I've collected their phone Wi-Fi adapters and made sure the included dhcp MAC deny rules in /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf are at place.

The effect of the MAC Randomization for my Network was terrible constant and strange issues with my routings and networks, which I always thought are caused by the openxen hypervisor Virtualization VM bugs etc.

That continued for some months now, and the weird thing was the issues always started when I tried to update my Operating system to the latest packetset, do a reboot to load up the new piece of software / libraries etc. and plus it happened very occasionally and their was no obvious reason for it.

 

6. How to completely filter dhcp traffic between two network router hosts
IP 192.168.0.1 / 192.168.1.1 to stop 2 or more configured DHCP servers
on separate networks see each other

To prevent IP mess at DHCP2 server side (which btw is ISC DHCP server, taking care for IP assignment only for the Servers on the network running on Debian 11 Linux), further on I had to filter out any DHCP UDP traffic with iptables completely.
To prevent incorrect route assignments assuming that you have 2 networks and 2 routers that are configurred to do Network Address Translation (NAT)-ing Router 1: 192.168.0.1, Router 2: 192.168.1.1.

You have to filter out UDP Protocol data on Port 67 and 68 from the respective source and destination addresses.

In firewall rules configuration files on your Linux you need to have some rules as:

# filter outgoing dhcp traffic from 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.0.1
-A INPUT -p udp -m udp –dport 67:68 -s 192.168.1.1 -d 192.168.0.1 -j DROP
-A OUTPUT -p udp -m udp –dport 67:68 -s 192.168.1.1 -d 192.168.0.1 -j DROP
-A FORWARD -p udp -m udp –dport 67:68 -s 192.168.1.1 -d 192.168.0.1 -j DROP

-A INPUT -p udp -m udp –dport 67:68 -s 192.168.0.1 -d 192.168.1.1 -j DROP
-A OUTPUT -p udp -m udp –dport 67:68 -s 192.168.0.1 -d 192.168.1.1 -j DROP
-A FORWARD -p udp -m udp –dport 67:68 -s 192.168.0.1 -d 192.168.1.1 -j DROP

-A INPUT -p udp -m udp –sport 67:68 -s 192.168.1.1 -d 192.168.0.1 -j DROP
-A OUTPUT -p udp -m udp –sport 67:68 -s 192.168.1.1 -d 192.168.0.1 -j DROP
-A FORWARD -p udp -m udp –sport 67:68 -s 192.168.1.1 -d 192.168.0.1 -j DROP


You can download also filter_dhcp_traffic.sh with above rules from here


Applying this rules, any traffic of DHCP between 2 routers is prohibited and devices from Net: 192.168.1.1-255 will no longer wrongly get assinged IP addresses from Network range: 192.168.0.1-255 as it happened to me.


7. Filter out DHCP traffic based on MAC completely on Linux with arptables

If even after disabling MAC randomization on all devices on the network, and you know physically all the connecting devices on the Network, if you still see some weird MAC addresses, originating from a wrongly configured ISP traffic router host or whatever, then it is time to just filter them out with arptables.

## drop traffic prevent mac duplicates due to vivacom and bergon placed in same network – 255.255.255.252
dchp1-server:~# arptables -A INPUT –source-mac 70:e2:83:12:44:11 -j DROP


To list arptables configured on Linux host

dchp1-server:~# arptables –list -n


If you want to be paranoid sysadmin you can implement a MAC address protection with arptables by only allowing a single set of MAC Addr / IPs and dropping the rest.

dchp1-server:~# arptables -A INPUT –source-mac 70:e2:84:13:45:11 -j ACCEPT
dchp1-server:~# arptables -A INPUT  –source-mac 70:e2:84:13:45:12 -j ACCEPT


dchp1-server:~# arptables -L –line-numbers
Chain INPUT (policy ACCEPT)
1 -j DROP –src-mac 70:e2:84:13:45:11
2 -j DROP –src-mac 70:e2:84:13:45:12

Once MACs you like are accepted you can set the INPUT chain policy to DROP as so:

dchp1-server:~# arptables -P INPUT DROP


If you later need to temporary, clean up the rules inside arptables on any filtered hosts flush all rules inside INPUT chain, like that
 

dchp1-server:~#  arptables -t INPUT -F

How to restart Microsoft IIS with command via Windows command line

Friday, August 19th, 2011

I'm tuning a Windows 2003 for better performance and securing it against DoS of service attacks. After applying all the changes I needed to restart the WebServer for the new configurations to take effect.
As I'm not a GUI kind of guy I found it handy there is a fast command to restart the Microsoft Internet Information Server. The command to restart IIS is:

c:> iisreset

How to check Microsoft IIS webserver version

Monday, July 21st, 2014

If you have to tune some weirdly behaviour Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Services) webserver, the first thing to do is to collect information about the system you're dealing with – get version of installed Windows and check what kind of IIS version is running on the Windows server?

To get the version of installed Windows on the system you just logged in, the quickest way I use is:
 

Start -> My Computer (right mouse button) Properties

check-windows-server-version-screenshot-windows-2003-r2

Run regedit from cmd.exe and go and check value of registry value:

 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MicrosoftInetStp\VersionString


check-iis-webserver-version-with-windows-registry-screenshot

As you can see in screenshot in this particular case it is IIS version 6.0.

An alternative way to check the IIS version in some cases (if IIS version return is not disabled) is to telnet to webserver:

telnet your-webserver 80
 


Once connected Send:

HEAD / HTTP/1.0


Also on some Windows versions it is possible to check IIS webserver version from Internet Information Services Management Cosnole:

To check IIS version from IIS Manager:

Start (button) -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> "Internet Information Services" IIS Manager

From IIS Manager go to:

Help -> About Microsoft Management Console


Here is a list with most common IIS version output you will get depending on the version of Windows server:

 

Windows NT 3.51 1.0
Windows NT 4 2.0-4.0
Windows Server 2000 5.0
Windows XP Professional 5.1
Windows Server 2003 6.0
Windows Vista 7.0
Windows Server 2008 7.0
Windows Server 2008 R2 7.5
Windows 7 7.5
Windows Server 2012 8.0
Windows 8 8.0
Windows Server 2012 R2 8.5
Windows 8.1 8.5

If you have only an upload FTP access to a Folder served by IIS Webserver – i.e. no access to the Win server running IIS, you can also grasp the IIS version with following .ASP code:
 

<%
response.write(Request.ServerVariables("SERVER_SOFTWARE"))
%>


Save the file as anyfile.asp somewhere in IIS docroot and invoke it in browser.

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
 

Check when Windows Active Directory user expires and set user password expire to Never

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

micorosoft-windows-10-logo-net-user-command-check-expiry-dates

If you're working for a company that is following high security / PCI Security Standards and you're using m$ Windows OS that belongs to the domain it is useful to know when your user is set to expiry
to know how many days are left until you'll be forced to change your Windows AD password.
In this short article I'll explain how to check Windows AD last password set date / date expiry date and how you can list expiry dates for other users, finally will explain how to set your expiry date to Never
to get rid of annoying change password every 90 days.

 

1. Query domain Username for Password set / Password Expires set dates

To know this info you need to know the Password expiration date for Active Directory user account, to know it just open Command Line Prompt cmd.exe

And run command:
 

 

NET USER Your-User-Name /domain


net-user-domain-command-check-AD-user-expiry

Note that, many companies does only connect you to AD for security reason only on a VPN connect with something like Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client whatever VPN connect tool is used to encrypt the traffic between you and the corporate DMZ-ed network

Below is basic NET USER command usage args:

Net User Command Options
 

Item          Explanation

net user    Execute the net user command alone to show a very simple list of every user account, active or not, on the computer you're currently using.

username    This is the name of the user account, up to 20 characters long, that you want to make changes to, add, or remove. Using username with no other option will show detailed information about the user in the Command Prompt window.

password    Use the password option to modify an existing password or assign one when creating a new username. The minimum characters required can be viewed using the net accounts command. A maximum of 127 characters is allowed1.
*    You also have the option of using * in place of a password to force the entering of a password in the Command Prompt window after executing the net user command.

/add    Use the /add option to add a new username on the system.
options    See Additional Net User Command Options below for a complete list of available options to be used at this point when executing net user.

/domain    This switch forces net user to execute on the current domain controller instead of the local computer.

/delete    The /delete switch removes the specified username from the system.

/help    Use this switch to display detailed information about the net user command. Using this option is the same as using the net help command with net user: net help user.
/?    The standard help command switch also works with the net user command but only displays the basic command syntax. Executing net user without options is equal to using the /? switch.

 

 

2. Listing all Active Directory users last set date / never expires and expiration dates


If you have the respective Active Directory rights and you have the Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows (RSAT Tools), you are able to do also other interesting stuff,

 

such as

– using PowerShell to list all user last set dates, to do so use Open Power Shell and issue:
 

get-aduser -filter * -properties passwordlastset, passwordneverexpires |ft Name, passwordlastset, Passwordneverexpires


get-aduser-properties-passwordlastset-passwordneverexpires1

This should show you info as password last set date and whether password expiration is set for account.

– Using PS to get only the password expirations for all AD existing users is with:

 

Get-ADUser -filter {Enabled -eq $True -and PasswordNeverExpires -eq $False} –Properties "DisplayName", "msDS-UserPasswordExpiryTimeComputed" |
Select-Object -Property "Displayname",@{Name="ExpiryDate";Expression={[datetime]::FromFileTime($_."msDS-UserPasswordExpiryTimeComputed")}}


If you need the output data to get stored in CSV file delimitered format you can add to above PS commands
 

| export-csv YOUR-OUTPUT-FILE.CSV

 

3. Setting a user password to never Expiry

 

If the user was created with NET USER command by default it will have been created to have a password expiration. 
However if you need to create new users for yourself (assuming you have the rights), with passwords that never expire on lets say Windows Server 2016 – (if you don't care about security so much), use:
 

NET USER "Username" /Add /Active:Yes

WMIC USERACCOUNT WHERE "Name='Username' SET PasswordExpires=False

 

NET-USER-ADD_Active-yes-Microsoft-Windows-screenshot

NET-USER-set-password-policy-to-Never-expiry-MS-Windows

To view the general password policies, type following:
 

NET ACCOUNTS


NET-ACCOUNTS-view-default-Microsoft-Windows-password-policy
 

 

How to clear ARP cache on Linux / Windows for a single IP address / Flush All IPs ARP cache

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

linux-how-to-delete-modify-arp-cache-entries-after-IP-is-migrated-from-one-server-or-VPN-host-to-another-resized

On times of Public Internet IP migration or Local IPs between Linux servers or especially in clustered Linux Application Services running on environments like Pacemaker / Corosync / Heartbeat with services such as Haproxy.
Once an IP gets migrated due to complex network and firewall settings often the Migrated IP from Linux Server 1 (A) to Linux Server 2 (B) keeps time until a request to reload the Internet server IP ARP cache with to point to the new IP location, causing a disruption of accessibility to the Newly configured IP address on the new locations. I will not get much into details here what are the ARP (Address Resolution protocol) and Network ARP records on a Network attached Computer and how they correspond uniquely to each IP address assigned on Ethernet or Aliased network Interfaces (eth0 eth0:1 eth0:2) . But in this article, I'll briefly explain once IP Version 4 address is migrated from one server Data Center location to another DC, how the unique corresponding ARP record kept in OS system memory should be flushed in the ARP corresponding Operating System so called ARP table (of which you should think as a logical block in memory keeping a Map of where IP addresses are located physically on a Network recognized by the corresponding Unique MAC Address.
 

1. List the current ARP cache entries do

Arp is part of net-tools on Debian GNU / Linux and is also available and installed by default on virtually any Linux distribution Fedora / CentOS / RHEL / Ubuntu / Arch Linux and even m$ Windows NT / XP / 2000 / 10 / whatever, the only difference is Linux tool has a bit of more functionality and has a bit more complex use.
Easiest use of arp on GNU / Linux OS-es is.
 

# arp -an 

sample-IP-address-list-with-the-assigned-ARP-cache-mac-addresses
The -a lists all records and -n flag is here to omit IP resolving as some IPs are really slow to resolve and output of command could get lagged.

2. Delete one IP entry from the cache


Assuming only one IP address was migrated, if you want to delete the IP entry from local ARP table on any interface:
 

# arp -d 192.168.0.8


It is useful to delete an ARP cached entry for IP address only on a certain interface, to do so:
 

# /usr/sbin/arp -i eth1 -d 10.0.0.1

 

3. Create ARP entry MAC address with a static one for tightened security


A useful Hack is to (assign) / bind specific Static MAC addresses to be static in the ARP cache, this is very useful to improve security and fight an ARP poisoning attacks.
Doing so is pretty easy, to do so:

Above will staticly make IP 192.168.0.8 to always appear in the ARP cache table to the MAC 00:50:ba:85:85:ca. So even if we have another system with the same MAC
trying to spoof our location and thus break our real record location for the Hostname in the network holding in reality the MAC 00:50:ba:85:85:ca, poisoning us
trying to make our host to recognize 192.168.0.8 to a different address this will not happen as the static ARP will be kept unchanged in ARP caching table.

 

 # arp -s 192.168.0.8 00:50:ba:85:85:ca

 

4. Flush all ARP records only for specific Ethernet Interface


After the IP on interface was migrated run:

 

# ip link set arp off dev eth0 ; ip link set arp on dev eth0

 

5. Remove a set of few IPs only migrated ARP cache entries

 

# for i in 192.168.0.1 10.0.0.1 172.168.0.3; do sudo arp -d $i; done


Once old ARP entries are removed the arp command would return as:

 

linux:~$ arp
? (192.168.0.8) at <incomplete>  on eth1
? (172.168.0.3) at <incomplete>  on eth2


The 192.168.0.8 / 172.168.0.3 entry now shows as incomplete, which means the ARP entry will be refreshed when it is needed again, this would also depend
on the used network switches / firewalls in the network settings so often could take up to 1 minute or so..

 

6. Flush all ARP table records on Linux

flush-all-arp-cache-addresses-on-linux-howto-with-ip-command

 

# ip -s -s neigh flush all

 

7. Delete ARP Cache on FreeBSD and other BSDs

# arp -d -a 

 

8.  Flush arp cache on Windows

Run command prompt as Administrator -> (cmd.exe)  and do:

C:\> ipconfig /all
netsh interface ip delete arpcache

 

9. Monitoring the arp table


On servers with multiple IP addresses, where you expect a number of IP addresses migrated to change it is useful to use watch + arp like so:
 

# watch -n 0.1 'arp -an'

The -n 0.1 will make the arp -an be rerun every 10 miliseconds and by the way is a useful trick to monitor stuff returned by commands that needs a higher refresh frequency.
 

Conclusion


In short in this article, was explained how to list your arp cache table.The arp command is also available both on Linux and Windows) and as integral part of OS networking it is useful to check thoroghfully to its man page (man arp).
Explained was how to create Static ARP table records to prevent ARP poisoning attacks on a server.
I went through how to delete only a single ARP records (in case if) only certain IPs on a host are changed and an ARP cache entry reload is needed, as well as how to flush the complete set of ARP records need to get refreshed, sometimes useful on networks with Buggy Network Switches or when completely changing the set of IP-addresses assigned on a server host.