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SConfig for Windows Updates works reliably on AWS EC2 Win2016 servers

Compared to using Settings > Windows Updates to install Windows updates onto Win2016 instances running on AWS EC2, I found that the command line sconfig works much better. 

sconfig [Enter]
select menu choice 6 for Windows Updates
wait
R for Recommended updates only
wait
S for a Single update

etc.  The menu choices are very simple and for some reason they work MUCH more reliably than doing the "same" update from inside the Windows-10-lookalike graphic user interface.  Go figure.

SCONFIG is your friend.

Recent posts

WMIC: delete obsolete Brother printer from Windows, reverse slashes within DataFlex

Symtpom: cannot print to a shared printer from a custom DataFlex application.Yes, DataFlex is very old.  It still works (April 2018).

This command line syntax works great to reveal all Windows printers and their share names (tested on Windows 10 64-bit):

wmic printer list brief

We had one Brother printer listed with a non-blank ShareName AND a PrinterState of 4.  Because the physical printer was long gone from the premises, it did NOT show itself in Windows Control Panel, Devices and Printer, listing of the printers.  However clearly it was still in the operating system and apparently causing some kind of conflict.

Deleting that specific one was easy once the right wmic syntax was found:

wmic printer where sharename="CL" delete

NB: a REBOOT of Windows was necessary.

After this, two things worked which previously had failed.

1. Copy printme.txt  \\compname\sharename   
where compname was the computer name and sharename was the sharename of a valid active Brother printer   (previously …

Notes about IISNode, NodeJS, Stripe, WebHub integration

StripeCreate your ecommerce payment gateway account at stripe.com.
IISNodeIISNode lets you use NodeJS together with IIS in a way that makes it reasonably convenient to serve the static files over IIS yet have NodeJS respond for selected URLs.

Download from IISNode Releases.  Install. You will end up with files in C:\Program Files\iisnode and you do not control the path.

The README for IISNode is not optional.  READ IT.

NodeJS expects to run in the root of a (sub)domain. If you want it on a virtualpath in your IIS site, make sure you are ready to put in the relevant url rewrite rules.  The IISNode docs explain about this in detail. 

NodeJSDownload: https://nodejs.org/en/download/   and install for win64.  It will install to C:\Program Files\nodejs\ by default.



NodeJS Express with Stripe, Pug and BodyParser
Reference: stripe.com docs about NodeJS with Express

After you have installed NodeJS, which includes NPM, you can install the libraries that make it easy to use stripe.

You go to a CMD prompt…

Mounting separate sets of AWS S3 CloudDrive disks for separate users on EC2 Win2016

CloudBerry Labs CloudDrive licensed on a Windows server might seem expensive, but it depends on how large the disks are that you need, how frequently you need to access the files, how large the files are, and how complex the privacy/security issues are between users. 

This idea might help someone who is trying to share an AWS EC2 machine with a friend or two in other time zones. 

The easy alternative is to spend the money and mount AWS volumes, but if you have ruled that out, CloudBerry Drive is an interesting fixed-price option as long as you do not require Windows case-insensitive file names.

However, as of now (December 2017), there is no way to use the CloudDrive GUI to have separate drives mounted for separate users, and hidden for the other users.  Right now, as each user logs in using Remote Desktop, yes they get their own Desktop, but they can see all CloudDrive network disks that have been mounted. 

One way around this is to use the command line to mount the drives from a BAT fil…

Medium IE Security through Group Policy for QuickBooks 2018 Desktop on Windows 2016 Server on AWS EC2

Regarding error message, "Internet Security Levels Are Set Too High," in QuickBooks Desktop 2018, running on Win Server 2018 on AWS EC2, how can IE be made compatible?

[ Intuit erased my 25-Nov-2017 post on their forum. Thanks to google cache, I am reposting my original question plus a summary of my resolution here ]

The advice on https://community.intuit.com/questions/1637443 does not help.

On my system, the IE feature for changing the security level to "Medium" is greyed out - disabled - not available for use.

I have TLS 1.2 checked under Advanced Security in the IE Options.  I have added https://*.intuit.com and https://*.quickbooks.com to the list of Trusted Sites

Unfortunately for its own help pages, QB wants to display content from intu-help-qb11://  and there is no obvious way to add that address to the list of trusted sites in IE because the prefix is not recognized as a valid protocol.

Please note that this error happens when connected over Remote Desktop rega…

CentOS Scrub Example: wipe files off usb disks, clearing free space

Alert: the syntax on this page is for a particular usb disk plugged into a CentOS server.  You will need to edit the paths very carefully to avoid erasing the wrong data on your system !

Scrub Manual Page

Note: if you tried option -p and got the "wrong type of file" error, like this,

# scrub -p dod /media/OldDisk1
scrub: using DoD 5220.22-M patterns
scrub: /media/OldDisk1 is wrong type of file

then you should have a look at the -X syntax option because that lets you scrub the freespace under a directory.  The way to use it is to specify a directory name that does NOT EXIST, and then it will create that, scrub it and erase it.

My entire sequence, including mounting the usb disk, finding my path for my usb data on the old disk via lsblk, scrubbing and then unmounting, was:

# mkdir /media/OldDisk1

# lsblk

# mount /dev/sdb1  /media/OldDisk1  

# scrub -X -p dod -S /media/OldDisk1/a
scrub: using DoD 5220.22-M patterns scrub: created directory /media/OldDisk1/a scrub: scrubbing /media/OldDisk1/a…

How to Configure TP-Link TL-MR3020 pocket router with custom subnet from cat-5 wired input

I have been a fan of the TP-Link nano routers since first seeing a tiny one for sale on a shelf in an electronics superstore in Singapore.  

This is the third one I have used, purchased in November 2017:


Model TP-MR3020

This new model has way more features ..... and took much longer to configure due to the plethora of FAQ pages without any simple overview and explanation.  ( i.e. the older models were much easier but less powerful )

So this is what I figured out about the model MR-3020.

The hardware switch has 3 modes.  The names of the modes are mildly related to what the mode offers, but one should not ignore a mode just because its name seems incorrect!  Each mode leads to a different set of configuration choices.  In my case, I wanted the input from the wired cat-5 ethernet cable and I wanted "output" of a wireless LAN with a custom subnet, example 192.168.15.x.   This worked using the mode with label "3G/4G" even though I did not plug anything into the 3g port.  !!…