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Folder Redirection: Where’d these warnings come from?

Congratulations.  You have decided to implement a Folder Redirection policy on your domain.  There are real advantages to this, not the least of which is that all of your users’ profile folders will get backed up centrally… and that when they change computers their files and settings are just there.

You have created a Group Policy Object (GPO) in Active Directory that you have called Folder Redirection, and you have applied it to the Organizational Unit (OU) that your user account is in, and as is so often the case with Desktop Administrators, you have made yourself the guinea pig.  From Windows you run the command gpupdate /force, and are informed that in order for the Folder Redirection policy to be applied, you will have to log off and then log on again.  You do.

It must have worked!  Why do you I say that?  Because unlike most of the time, when logging on takes a few seconds, it took a full ten minutes this time.  As a seasoned Desktop Admin you understand that this is because all of the folders that you set to redirect – Documents, Pictures, Videos, Favorites, Downloads – are being copied to the server before you are actually allowed onto your desktop.  However a few minutes later, once you are logged on, you open Windows Explorer, and in the navigation pane you right-click on Documents, and see that the My Documents folder is no longer at c:\Users\Mitch, but at \\Sharename\Mitch.

Unfortunately there is one step that you are now saying to yourself ‘Mitch, you missed one thing!’ Because you know that when you clicked on Windows Explorer in the task bar, you got a warning message that looked like this:

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As a seasoned IT Pro you know that security warnings are a way of life, and it wouldn’t bother you if you had to accept this every time… but you know your end users are going to go ape, so you need a solution.  No problem.

I should mention that while these steps will work for all versions of Windows since Windows Vista, the way you access the screens may be a little different.

1) Open Control Panel. Don’t be alarmed, you are going to get the same security warning when opening the CP.

2) In the Search window type Internet Options.  When it comes up, click on it.

3) In the Internet Properties window select the Security tab.

4) On the Security tab click on Local Intranet.  Then click on Sites.  Note that the Sites button will be greyed out until you select Local Intranet.

6) In the Local Intranet window click the Advanced button.

5) In the Local Intranet (Advanced) window type the location of your folder redirection share into the box marked Add this website to the zone:  Uncheck the box marked Require server verification (https://) for all sites in this zone.  Click Add.  Then click Close.

6) Close the Internet Properties window.

Now try opening Windows Explorer again.  It should open without the security warning.

If You’re Gonna Do IT Then Do IT Right…

Okay, so you know how to configure this setting for your individual desktop… but you don’t really want to have to go to every desktop/laptop/tablet in the organization and do this, do you?  Of course not, that is what Group Policy is for!

We are going to make one change to your Folder Redirection policy.

1) Open Group Policy Management Console.

2) Right-click on your Folder Redirection policy and click Edit…

3) Navigate to: User Configuration – Policies – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Internet Explorer – Internet Control Panel – Security Page.

4) Right-click on Site to Zone Assignment List.

5) Enable the policy.

6) In the Options box click on Show…

7) In the Value name cell enter the UNC path of your file share.

8) In the Value cell next to the UNC path you just entered enter the value 1(Where 1=Intranet/Local Zone, 2=Trusted Sites, 3=Internet/Public Zone, and 4=Restricted Sites). Click OK then click OK in the Site to Zone Assignment List dialogue box.

9) Close Group Policy Management Editor.

That should be it… remember you will have to re-run your gpupdate /force on your machine, but even if you don’t it will apply in the next few logoffs, right?

**Thanks to Joseph Moody for the list of settings for the Zone Value list!

What It’s Like Being Seen As Fat

Originally posted on Losing a part of me:

I want to be very clear that this is not an article about being fat. I will probably write an article or two about that, but this is not it. It is an article about how other people see me as a fat man.

I grew up in a household where I was never good enough; a lot of the time it was because I hadn’t tried very hard, but when I did try hard and didn’t do perfect then I would be reminded of it. Hey Mom & Dad I got a 95 on my test! ‘What happened to the other 5 marks?’ (I will gladly place a bet right now that should my parents read this I will hear the following: 1: We were joking! 2: If you had tried harder all of the time we wouldn’t have been so sceptical of the other times! 4: I knew…

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Ending Snow Days? Sorry kids, but it SHOULD happen soon.

Mitch Garvis:

Shortly after I got off the road this morning I saw a Facebook post by my friend Sharon Bennett about working from home, and it reminded me of this article that she and I worked on together. It’s worth another read!

Originally posted on The World According to Mitch:

This month I had lunch with Sharon Bennett, a veteran of the IT industry and blogger. We discussed a number of topics relating to both technology and community… I asked her a ton of questions, and the one that got me the most intriguing answer was: ‘What would you like to see technology do in the future?’ It is a question I ask all the time, when I feel that people have the experience and insight to provide an interesting answer. Because of the nature and vagueness of the question I always receive something different, but Sharon’s answer intrigued me.

‘End snow days.’

For those of you who live in warmer climes this may require some explanation. Up here in the Great White North we get a lot of snow – depending on the region some more than others. Although this current school year seems to be the exception…

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Do IT Remotely

A few days ago I was in with my boss and he asked me to perform a particular bit of maintenance during off-hours.  ‘Just come into the office tonight after Taekwondo and do it… it shouldn’t take you very long.’  He was right, and I almost did… and then I remembered that in 2014 there is seldom a reason to have to do anything on-site.  So after Taekwondo I went home, showered, then sat down at my computer in my pajamas for a couple of hours and did what I had to do.  No sweat.

Then one morning this week he asked me to make a particular change to all of the servers in a particular group, and report back that it was done.  No problem, I thought… I can do that from my desk using PowerShell.

The change was simple… set the Regional Settings to Canada (the default is, of course, United States). No problem, the PowerShell cmdlet is Set-Culture… so against the local computer I ran:

Set-Culture en-CA.

Success.  I then started to run it against other servers using:

Set-Culture en-CA –ComputerName <ServerName>

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Uhh… who woulda thunk it?  The Set-Culture cmdlet does not support the –ComputerName parameter.  Crap.  Does that mean I have to actually log on to every one of my servers manually to do it?

No.  Fortunately the guys who wrote PowerShell knew that some of us would want to run legacy commands across systems, and gave us a way to do it anyways. 

Invoke-Command –ComputerName Oak-FS-03 –ScriptBlock {Set-Culture en-ca}

While I suspect the original intent was to use it to run old DOS commands, but it works for PowerShell cmdlets too.

So here you go… Invoke-Command allows you to run the –ScriptBlock against a remote server, whether that is PowerShell or not.

It should be noted, by the way, that Windows Server does not by default allow scripts to be run against it remotely… you have to go into Server Manager and enable Remote management. 

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Of course, you could also do it in PowerShell… simply run the cmdlet:

Enable-PSRemoting –Force

Of course, you cannot run that one remotely… that would defeat the point of the security Winking smile

So go forth and be lazier than you were… no more logging onto every machine individually for you!

Drinking When I Need A Drink…

I made a decision several years ago.  I decided that any time that I said ‘I need a drink’ I would not have one.  I would not use alcohol to solve my problems, reduce my stress, make my life easier.  Why?  Because from what I could tell that is one of the easiest ways to become an alcoholic.

I don’t know exactly when I made that decision, but for the most past I have stuck with it.  There have been a couple of exceptions – I remember not getting a job I was really expecting to get, and finishing a particularly good bottle of scotch.  I also remember discovering a particularly disturbing fact with regards to my life about a year ago, and without going into details I spent much of Saturday evening trying to rid the Roppongi district of single malt Scotch whisky.  I am not proud of that evening, but it did redouble my resolve to not turn to booze to try to solve my problems, because all it accomplished in both cases was a bit of a hangover… and in the case of that second night some blurred memories.

For those of you who know how the last year of my life has gone, you will know that I have had a lot of opportunities to think that drinking would (or could) solve my problems… I am pleased to say that throughout the entire year I can only think of one occasion on which I had more than two glasses of whisky (or any other drink)… and that was the night of my friends’ Cam and Amanda’s wedding.

Food, on the other hand, has been a very different story.  I wish it wasn’t so, but I have over the past year (as has been my habit since I was a teenager) turned to food in times of celebration, for comfort, for many other reasons.  I have eaten emotionally for most of my life, and that is one of the main reasons my weight ballooned to what it was (and even to what it is, which 40lbs down is still beyond reasonable).  With everything that I have learned over the past year with regard to nutrition and portions, this habit above all is one that I had to curtail.

When I am under 200lbs I am sure I will be able to break this, but as I work hard to get there I have to remember that there are six reasons to eat: breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snack, afternoon snack, evening snack.  There is never an excuse for not logging my food into MyFitnessPal… and it is important to remember that the only person I would be cheating if I didn’t enter it accurately is myself.  So the hamburger and french fries that I had for lunch last week are in there, as is the extra snack that I took yesterday afternoon.  For the time being I have to work toward being a healthy weight… and veering from the path will only impede my progress.

So on the days that are emotionally the toughest, the most stressful… the days when at the end of the day I want to throw up my hands and cry, I have to go home and cook dinner for myself, rather than going next door to the pub and getting a large order of Buffalo wings (and I am told that QB’s makes spectacular wings).  Rather than being in the position on those days to fall back on the ‘there’s no food in the house’ excuse, I have to plan in advance – make sure there is food in my freezer that can be defrosted and cooked (and I am not talking about prepared foods).  I have to make sure that there are cans of tuna and salmon, there is pasta, there are fruits and vegetables.  I have to make sure that there are healthy snacks and food that I will want to eat so that while the Buffalo Wings might be tempting, the healthy alternative is still very palatable.

…Which reminds me, I think I have to go shopping today!

I Feel Fat.

I woke up this morning and waddled into the washroom.  I couldn’t believe how big I felt.  I must have gained 20lbs.  I looked at the scale with fear and loathing.  I have been called a lot of names in the past, but never a coward.  I stepped onto the little crappy appliance that was about to tell me just how much weight I had gained since yesterday, and overall.

Down.

My weight was down from yesterday – almost a pound, and just over three pounds in the last seven days (and a ridiculous seven pounds down since the two day anomaly of the last week).  I weigh less than I did yesterday, less than I did last week, less than I did last month, and less than I did last year.  In fact, I currently weigh less than I have any time in the past couple of years – and certainly less than I have anytime since I started measuring and tracking my weight in August/2013 with the goal of losing all of the excess weight.

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At the Wharton Weight Management Clinic yesterday they weighed me, and I have lost nearly twelve percent of my body mass since I started attending their clinic last August.  With a single exception, I have been lower at every weigh-in with them since June.

So why is it that I would wake up and feel so fat?  There are a lot of answers (not the least of which is that I am still what the doctors refer to as Obese Class III).  Most of the reasons are psychological.  For all of my progress, and my serious attempts to maintain a positive outlook and a happy attitude, the reality is that sometimes it is hard.  Not only with the ‘diet’ and progress, but also with regard to my attitude I have good days and bad days… and there are days when the two do not jive. In theory, you would think that the days where I do well on the program I would have a good mental outlook.  Unfortunately that is not so.

Yesterday morning a friend on Twitter sent me a link to an event in Toronto… a local burger joint was making special hamburgers, and suggested I might want to go.  I thanked him, and told him that aside from Toronto being quite a distance to go for a hamburger (the CN Tower is a 50km drive from my home), burgers simply are not on my diet.

‘Haven’t you ever heard of cheat days?’  Of course I have… how do you think I ended up weighing over 360lbs?  How do you think I went from a previous low the last week of January to gain another sixteen pounds by the beginning of June?  I do from time to time cheat now… but it is never because someone else is encouraging me to.  Why not?  There are simply too many people who will encourage me, and too many opportunities.  Last Friday afternoon I went to the deli counter near my office for lunch, and the daily special was a cheeseburger with french fries.  I told them to hold the cheese (it’s not a kosher thing… I have never seen the appeal of cheese on a hamburger) but I will tell you honestly that I not only devoured the burger… I ate every last french fry too.  Have I heard of cheat days?  You’re damned right I have… and I already had one in the last seven days.

I told this story to a friend last night and he commended me on my iron will power.  I don’t know about that… I am happy that I was able to withstand the temptation to drive 50km for a hamburger, but had the same friend told me that there was a giant Buffalo Wings Festival in Burlington… I don’t know that I would have resisted.

I woke up this morning feeling fat, and feeling down about myself.  I also woke up this morning to the realization that my habitual breakfast was not available to me (I ran out of bread for toast).  You might not know how easy it would have been to head to Tim Hortons or Starbucks to grab a bagel or a breakfast sandwich… how easy it would be to order a pizza for lunch today, and get a plate of wings for dinner tonight.  I have to remain resolute and strong so that does not happen.  As it is I know that tomorrow morning the scale will likely be up from today… that’s the way it works when you weigh yourself every day.  However staying on the right trend relies on my minimizing those cheat days… and not eating to comfort myself.

It’s a challenge and a struggle… but I am not in this for the short term!

A Brief Explanation…

Yesterday I posted a blog article that was taken down after a few minutes.  It read: ‘Now do you believe that I am who I say I am?’  As soon as I realized that it was pushed out to Facebook, Twitter, and all of my followers I took it down.  Nevertheless, I have been asked to explain.

I was on the phone with a customer service representative from a company that we do business with.  When he asked me my name I got a very unexpected response: ‘No you aren’t!’

Umm… huh?  I asked what he meant.  ‘I read Mitch Garvis’ blog… you’re not really him!’

Okay… while I was flattered that he was a reader (I appreciate every one of you!) I needed in this particular situation to prove to him that I am me.  So I told him to wait a minute, typed up and published that post, and told him to go to the blog.  Once he saw the article he believed me and wanted to help (that is is job after all, no matter who I am)… and I forgot to immediately delete the post.

Please excuse me, and thanks again for reading!

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