Solved – Skype for Business 2016 emoticons missing repair without re-install

How to repair and fix Skype for Business 2016 by clearing the cache, and get back the emoticons which have been replaced by words in parenthesis.

For example, an associate sent me the following screenshot:

We can see that the emoticons  have been replaced by (rock)(dance).

To fix this problem without re-installing Microsoft Office or Skype, clear the Skype Cache by doing the following (which I found in an MS Support forum here.)

1. In the Skype main windows, click the gear in the top right-hand corner.

2. Choose File – Sign Out to log out of Skype for Business.

3. On the Sign In window, choose the link to Delete my sign-in info.

4. In the pop-up window to forget sign in info, click Yes.

5. Click the gear, choose File> Exit to exit and close Skype. Close all other Office Applications.

6. Go to the location:
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Lync – you can get here quickly by going to Start > Run > %appdata$% > Enter.

7. Locate the sip_YourProfileName folder and delete it if it exists. In some cases, it will not. Open the Tracing folder and delete all files inside of it. Do not delete the Tracing folder itself. If you receive a message that the action can’t be completed because a file is Open or that you need Administrator permission to delete a file, click the Skip button. Close Windows File Explorer

8. Open a command prompt (in Windows, click the Start button, type cmd and select the command prompt from the menu. Type ipconfig /flushdns and press the enter key on your keyboard to clear the DNS cache.

9. Sign back into Skype/Lync.

10. Once Skype is open, make sure you go back into Gear > Tools > Options > IM > and place a checkmark to show emoticons again.

11. Test to see if the emoticons have returned!

If all else fails, you might want to completely uninstall Office and/or Skype for Business, delete the Appdata\Local\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Lync folder completely, and then re-install again. But hopefully, this procedure will save you some time.

 

 

 

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Use Powershell to Get a List of Users with Out of Office enabled in Outlook Office365

How to get a list of users who have enabled Out of Office in Outlook with Office365 PowerShell

For administrators of Office 365, you may need to occasionally get a list of users who have set up or enabled their Out of Office in Outlook. In my case, we needed to see which parking spots were available on campus in a pinch, and who was not coming in the next day. To do this with PowerShell we’ll need to first connect to our Office 365 Exchange Tennant.

  1. In PowerShell ISE, enter the following code into the code view, save the function as Connect-O365.ps1, and then hit the green Play button.
  2. function Connect-O365{
     $o365cred = Get-Credential username@domain.onmicrosoft.com
     $session365 = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri "https://ps.outlook.com/powershell/" -Credential $o365cred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection 
     Import-Module (Import-PSSession $session365 -AllowClobber) -Global
    }
  3. Next, execute the new function with the following command:
  4. Connect-O365
  5. Replace the username and password with your Office365 admin credentials (not your on-premise domain credentials.) This will log you into your Exchange Admin with PowerShell where we can run our Out of Office commands.
  6. With authentication out of the way, now all we need to do is run the following command to get a list of mailbox identities who have AutoReply configured (and not disabled), and sort by Identity, Start Time, End Time, and Auto Reply State:
  7. Get-Mailbox -ResultSize Unlimited | Get-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration | Where-Object { $_.AutoReplyState -ne "Disabled" } | Select Identity,StartTime,EndTime,AutoReplyState
  8. This will run for a while, and could take several minutes, but should produce a list similar to the following:

Hits: 29

How to clone a Dell Optiplex 7050 M.2 NVME Hard Drive with Clonezilla and an External USB HDD

I ran into trouble when trying to clone a new Optiplex 7050. My normal procedure for cloning with clonezilla required a little tweaking to accommodate Windows 10, UEFI, NVME M.2, Secure Boot, and RAID On. Follow the procedure below to clone your systems on these newer hard drives and BIOS versions.

As a side thought, I enjoy using Clonezilla and have used it for many years. I love the convenience of it and not having to manage Windows images with something like SCCM. While SCCM has a place in some organizations, I believe it’s perfectly fine to use Clonezilla to create OS images of different models of computers. I have approx 15 different OS images; everything from Lenovo laptops to Dell Optiplex 380’s to Optiplex 7050’s.

Requirements:

  • 1 x USB 2.0 or 3.0 USB thumb drive min 2GB capacity for the clonezilla bootable USB drive made bootable to 20170905-zesty version of clonezilla
  • 1 x USB 3.0 USB External HDD with a minimum HDD size that is larger than the TOTAL size of your M.2 NVME HDD. (I use a 4 TB Western Digital My Passport) – In my previous experience with Clonezilla, it has created images only writing images of the Used Space on the Source HDD, in this case with UEFI / NVME HDD’s, the image created on disk is the total size of the NVME drive.
  • 2 x Dell Optiplex 7050 (Source and Target) computers
  • 1 x Separate PC or laptop you can use to create a bootable USB Clonezilla Thumb Drive

1. Configure your Source Windows 10 Dell Optiplex 7050 machine as necessary. Install all applications, create user accounts, and uninstall bloatware. Make sure you create an administrator user account and password. In final preparation for cloning, either run Sysprep (found in C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep), or alternatively ensure you shut down Windows 10 completely by creating a Shutdown /s /t 0 shortcut and executing it.

2. On a separate PC, download Rufus which we’ll use to create a bootable USB thumb drive.

3. On a separate PC, download the AMD64 version of alternative (Ubuntu-based) as outlined on the Clonezilla website (this version is required for newer BIOS’):

4. Change the file type to ISO and hit Download.

5. Attach your USB thumb drive into your separate computer, run Rufus, tell Rufus to use the drive you just attached under Device, point Rufus ” to the .iso file you just downloaded.

6. Hit Start and the bootable USB thumb drive with Clonezilla will be created.

7. On the Source computer, insert the USB thumb drive into one of the front panel’s top (black) USB ports, and insert the USB External HDD separately into the Blue USB 3.0 port. Attach the keyboard, mouse, power, and monitor.

8. Power on the Source computer and start mashing the F12 key on the keyboard to get to the one-time boot menu.

9. Before we begin, we need to make sure clonezilla can find our NVME HDD. By default UEFI and Secure Boot will be enabled. We need to disable these as well as Boot Path Security so that we can continue.

10. Select Setup from the Boot Menu:

11. In the BIOS, under the General Heading, select UEFI Boot Path Security and change it from Always to Never.

12. Next change System Configuration > SATA Operation from RAID On to AHCI

13. Lastly, change Secure Boot > Secure Boot Enable “Enabled” to “Disabled”

Apply, Save and Exit the BIOS. On the next boot, start mashing the F12 key again and this time select UEFI: USB DISK 2.0 PMAP

Clonezilla will boot from the USB drive so choose the default (hit Enter):

Select English > Don’t touch keymap > Start Clonezilla > device-image (Ok)

Under Mount Clonezilla image directory, choose Local_dev (Ok)

Press Enter to continue.

Review the clonezilla Scan disk preview to ensure it’s found both your Source and Target hard drives:

Press Ctrl-C to continue.

Arrow down and select your large external USB hard drive (sda1) to set the location of /home/partimg . This is where the clone image will be stored.

In the Directory Browser, hit “Browse” and go to your Parent Directory (top-most level) and select Done. This is where your image will be saved. You can see in my screenshot I’ve already saved an image here.

 

You will get a Summary location of Source (dev/sda1) and Target (/home/partimag). Press Enter to continue.

Choose Beginner mode

Choose Save Disk (Save_local_disk_as_an_image) – in my previous experience with Clonezilla, using normal spinning HDD’s and even SSD’s, I’ve used Samba to save my images to a separate server over the network using gigabit ethernet perfectly fine. However, in the case of these new computers and hard drives, I would get a permissions error when selecting SAMBA/SMB 2.1. The imaging would begin to take place and a couple smaller partitions would copy, but as soon as the primary large partition started it’s copy, I would get the permission error and the clone would halt. This is why we are using a local external USB hard drive.

Give a descriptive name for the image (Dell7050_NVME_256GB_DATE-IMG) hit OK.

Select the local disk as source (should only be one here)

Select -sfsck (Skip Checking)

Select Yes, check the saved image

Select -senc Not to encrypt the image (or encrypt if desired)

Select Action to perform when everything is finished: -p power off.

Press Enter to continue, (Yes/Yes) – the image process will run and the image of the Source PC will be written to the External USB HDD. The machine should shut down when complete.

Image Target Computer

Now that we have our image saved on our external HDD, we can image our Target PC. On the powered-off PC, Connect the USB thumbdrive, External HDD, keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and again Boot into the BIOS.

On the new target computer, we want to again change the BIOS settings to mirror those we made in steps 11., 12., and 13.

After saving the BIOS, restart and hit F12 again, select the USB thumb drive, and boot Clonezilla.

Start Clonezilla > Device Image > Local_dev > select image repository (sda1) > in Directory Browser, browse to the image we created, highlight it and select Done:

Choose Beginner Mode > Restore Disk:

Choose the image to restore:

Select the target disk to restore onto (Should only be one listed here):

Select “Skip checking the image before restoring” > poweroff > Enter >

Heed the warning here. If important data is on the target disk, do not proceed. All data will be overwritten:

Hit y (enter) > y (enter) >

Partclone will run, clone the image to your disk, then shut down:

With the system powered down, remove your external HDD and boot thumb drive.

Power on the newly-imaged PC, hit the F12 button to go into the BIOS again. Reverse the changes made in steps 11, 12, and 13. Save the BIOS settings, and boot normally into windows. Congrats, you’re done! Hope this helps someone clone their newer systems with Clonezilla.

 

 

 

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Solved – Dell Latitude 7370 cannot login to domain – No Logon Servers available

Solved – Windows 7 – WiFi login: There are currently no logon servers available to process your logon request.

I had an associate drop a Dell Latitude 7370 laptop on my desk saying he cannot print. I found that the user is able to logon to local workstation desktop using cached credentials but cannot logon to the domain. He is only logging into the laptop with his cached credentials, is not authenticating with the domain, and therefore cannot print. Logging off of the user’s account, and then trying to login as myself I get the error:

“There are currently no logon servers available to process your logon request. ”

I log in with his cached credentials again and right-click on the wifi adapter and choose Troubleshoot but can’t find any problems. I occasionally and intermittently get the “Windows needs your current credentials” Pop-up notification in the lower right near the clock/systray but clicking on that icon does not do anything. I even set the Wireless network adapter properties for TCP/IP 4 to use the DNS IP Address of the domain controller explicitly instead of getting the setting from DHCP, but still, the laptop is unable to login to the network with the new domain password I set for the user’s account.

There is definitely something wrong with the wireless adapter. I notice that when disconnecting/reconnecting to the wireless SSID, that the Intel WiFi drivers pop up stating that I’m connected and that there is a signal strength. Knowing that Intel drivers sometimes try to do too much and interfere with wireless connections I do the following and fix the issue.

  1. Uninstalled Intel wifi driver package from Windows Control Panel > Programs and Features. (I uninstalled both the WiDi package as well as the Intel Wifi Drivers package). This removed the device from the Device Manager
  2. In device manager, right-click on the Network Adapters and choose “Scan for Hardware Changes.” This, in turn, finds the WiFi network adapter but it does not have drivers yet.
  3. Go to https://support.dell.com and type in the Service Tag, find the drivers section and download the following driver: Intel-8260-7265-3165-7260-WiFi-Driver_YM1PH_WIN_20.10.1.1190_A24.exe
  4. Run the .exe and when it asks if I want to install the driver or extract, I chose Extract only. I make a new folder under the root of my C: drive and finish the extraction. 
  5. Back in the Device Manager, Right-click on the WiFi adapter and choose to “Browse my computer for driver software”. 
  6. Point to the location of the extracted drivers, finish the installation and log off. The laptop can now find the logon server/domain controller and the user is back in business.

For some reason the full suite driver for this model of laptop interferes with DNS and the laptop cannot find the logon server and login to the domain. By extracting the drivers only and telling the device manager to use only the .inf files for the device, we can circumvent the driver suite and get our adapter talking to the domain controller for authentication.

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Windows 10 Creators Edition New Keyboard Shortcuts

Some new Windows Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows 10

With the release of Windows 10 Creators Edition version 1709, comes more bells, whistles, tricks, and shortcuts for us to dig into and explore. In this article, we’ll look mostly at the Windows Key shortcuts available and how the shortcuts and key combos can help us in our daily workflow.

  1. In the event you’re not already aware, the Windows Key on your keyboard (usually between the Ctrl and the Alt keys in the lower left area of most keyboards) has a lots of capabilities when held down while pressing other keys on the keyboard. Pressing this key on it’s own launches the Start Menu:
  2. Windows Key + A – Brings up the Windows Notifications SideBar. Here we can find existing notifications, switch to tablet mode, get into the windows settings panel, join a WiFi network, and change our location settings.           
  3. Windows Key + B – Select / Activate the Systray / Show Hidden Icons Expansion menu. This can come in handy as a few applications run as services and can only be accessed by right-clicking on the icon in the Systray; if your mouse stops working, this is a good shortcut to know.         
  4. Windows Key + C – Opens Cortana in Listening Mode. “Hey Cortana!” This is disabled by default and can be activated in the Cortana Settings. (Enable in Cortana > Menu > Notebook                                    
  5. Windows Key + D – Show the desktop
  6. Windows Key + E – Open File Explorer
  7. Windows Key + F – Open the Feedback Hub and Take a screenshot (this didn’t work for me)
  8. Windows Key + G – Open the X-Box Game Bar
  9. Windows Key + H – Open the Dictation control bar 
  10. Windows Key + I – Opens the Windows 10 Settings
  11. Windows Key + J – Sets focus to Windows Tips when one is available (Turn off tips in Settings > Notifications & Actions) 
  12. Windows Key + K – Open the Connect Quick action (connect to a wireless projector)                                            
  13. Windows Key + L – Lock your PC or Switch Accounts
  14. Windows Key + M – Minimize all windows
  15. Windows Key + O – Lock the device orientation (helpful for tablets)
  16. Windows Key + P – Choose a presentation display mode (Sidebar Projectors tool) 
  17. Windows Key + Q – Quick file search
  18. Windows Key + R – Open Run dialog box
  19. Windows Key + S – Open Windows Search (same as Windows Key + Q)
  20. Windows Key + T – Cycle through apps pinned to the taskbar (cycle in reverse is Windows Key + Shift + T)
  21. Windows Key + U – Open Ease of Access Center
  22. Windows Key + V – Cycle through windows notifications
  23. Windows Key + W – Opens the Windows Ink Workspace
  24. Windows Key + X – Opens the Quick Links Menu (right-click on the start menu) 
  25. Windows Key + Y – Switch input between Windows Mixed Reality and desktop (Your PC may not meet the minimum specs for Windows Mixed Reality)
  26. Windows Key + Z – Shows menus or commands available when an app is in full-screen mode.
  27. Windows Logo Key + period (.) or semicolon (;) – Opens the Windows 10 Emoji control panel 👍                                                 
  28. Windows Key + Comma (,) – temporarily peek at the desktop
  29. Windows Key + Pause/Break – Opens the System Properties
  30. Windows Key + Ctrl + F – Search for Active Directory computers on a network
  31. Windows Key + Number/Shift/Ctrl/Alt – Manage TaskView Virtual Desktops

I’m sure there are more so let me know in the comments if I missed any and let us know which are your favorites (mine is Windows Key + Pause/Break)

Hits: 1896

Security – Blue Team – Building a security project on a budget

How to Create and Build a Security Profile for Your Network on a Budget – Part 1

Start with Building a Foundation (or use an existing good one).

Credit to Kyle Bubp & irongeek.com: http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=videos/bsidescleveland2017/bsides-cleveland-102-blue-teamin-on-a-budget-of-zero-kyle-bubp

Use a Base Framework for your security project. There are a lot of standards available and the NIST government standards are a good solid foundation:

  • NIST 800-53
  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework
  • NIST CSF Tool
  • CIS Critical Security Controls
  • NIST-CSF tool – this is a nice visual tool – graphical interface for the stages of building a security program

Document everything

A core documentation repository is critical when setting up a security project – others will follow you and will need to look up the information you have recorded. It’s best to have a security incident response ticketing system and documentation before you need it. Have these tools up and ready.

For policy, procedure, how-tos, etc:

  • MediaWiki(free)
  • Atlassian Confluence ($10 for 10 users) – glyfee plugin for confluence
  • OneNote/SharePoint – not every company is entirely open source

Incident Response Ticketing/Documentation systems:

Map out your entire network

  • NetDB – Uses ARP tables and MAC databases on your network gear. (use a service account and NetDB will use ssh/telnet to find every device connected, will give a nice http interface. You can setup a cron job that will scan NetDB database every hour. You can pipe new device connections to an email address. Knowing if something comes onto your network is critical.

.ova is available at https://www.kylebubp.com/files/netdb.ova

Supports the following: Cisco, Palo Alto, JunoOS, Aruba, Dell Powerconnect

  • nmap scans + ndiff/yandiff – not just for red teams; export results, diff for changes. Alert if something changed.
  • NetDisco

https://sourceforge.net/projects/netdisco – uses SNMP to inventory your network devices.

  • Map your network – create a Visio document and have a good network map.

Visibility

Facebook-developed osquery and this tool can give you all you need.

Agents for MacOS, Windows, Linux

Deploy across your enterprise w/ Chef, Puppet, or SCCM

Do fun things like search for IoC’s (FBI file hashes, processes) – pipe the data into ElasticStack for visibility & search-ability

User Data Discovery

OpenDLP – (github) or (download an .ova) – will scan file shares and using a normal user account you can scan for available shares and data. Run over the weekend and see what you can find. Find the data owners and determine where the data should reside.

Hardening Your Network

CIS Benchmarks – Center for Internet Security Benchmarks: 100+ configuration guidelines for various technology groups to safeguard systems against today’s evolving cyber threats.

Out of the box, windows 10 is 22% for the CIS benchmark.

It’s difficult to secure your network if everything is a snowflake. While not exciting, configuration management is important. Deploy configs across your org using tools like GPO, Chef, or Puppet.

Change management is also important – use git repo for trackign changes to your config scripts.

Safety vs. Risk

Scanning for Vulnerabilities:

OpenVAS (greenbone) is a fork of Nessus which is still maintained, is the default vulnerability scanner in AlienVault. It does a great job in comparison with commercial products. Be careful, do some safe scans first and it’s not recommended to scan critical life-support equipment for example in a hospital.

Scan web apps:

Arachni Framework – for finding bugs in your developer’s code

OWASP ZAP (Zed Attack Proxy)

Nikto2 (Server config scanner)

Portswigger Burp Suite (not free – $350)

Harden your web servers:

Fail2ban – python-based IPS that runs off of Apache Logs

ModSecurity – Open source WAF for Apache & IIS

 

 

 

Hits: 491

SmarterMail Enterprise 15.5 – Export / Import iCalendar/Outlook calendar into SmartMail

How to import iCalendar events into SmartMail / SmarterMail Enterprise IMAP calendar

So one of my clients have a team that have been using iCalendar to share calendars, but have decided to migrate to SmarterMail Enterprise 15.5 IMAP/Exchange for their team calendar sharing. While there is no direct way to import iCalendar events into SmartMail directly, there is a two-step approach that works pretty well.

In this case, the clients only want to migrate historical data and not current/future events. It sounds harder than it is, but the migrations shouldn’t take long and with minimal effort. If you don’t have spare gmail accounts to use then you may want to create new gmail accounts just for this purpose, or delete all calendar events in an existing google calendar between migrations.

One thing that I did notice is that reoccurring appointments will be transferred over and this may in turn create duplicates if you already have appointments in SmartMail that are reoccurring. It may be wise to remove reoccurring appointments from the source calendar prior to doing the first export.

As always it’s best to first backup your data prior to doing anything, then run a few tests to make sure that all calendar events, items, and attachments transfer successfully during the migration.

But in our test case, the Outlook (icalendar) – to – GMAIL – to – SmartMail works perfectly fine.

First go to Outlook > File menu > Open & Export > Import/Export > Select your iCalendar (and any other calendars you’d like to export):

Export to .CSV > Calendar (here you can select date range of events to be exported) > save to something like c:\Users\jcoltrin\Desktop\jasoncalendar.csv

Then

Login to any Google account/Gmail > Calendar > Gear Icon > Settings > Calendars > Import calendar > choose jasoncalendar.csv (import successful.)

Calendar items display in my google calendar:

Then now that the calendar items are in my google calendar, I went into smartmail account  > settings > Advanced Settings > Mailbox Migration > Account type: GMAIL > next > Check “Calendar” > do the Google authentication (which works well and uses Google’s authentication). >  Import

Now the same calendar items are in my Smartmail Calendar.

Hits: 558

Clonezilla – identify original disk size of clone .img image by looking at flat files

How to find the original HDD hard drive disk size in a Clonezilla img image file

So if you’re a fan of Clonezilla like I am, you may have a library of .img images in a file share somewhere. I find that when taking an image of a system, it’s best to name the image/file with something descriptive such as (Win7-64-Optiplex7040-500GB-Date-img). But what happens if you want to restore data from an image onto a new hard drive, but you can’t remember, or didn’t write down the size of the disk that it originally was imaged from? As you may already know, Clonezilla doesn’t like to be restored onto disks smaller than the original disk on which it originated. There are some advanced options when saving a Disk-to-image in clonezilla, or Image-to-Disk, however I haven’t found a reliable way to restore an image to a smaller disk drive.

In the event you have an old image, but you’re not sure what size disk it came from originally, and you didn’t name your file with the original disk size, there is a way how to find the original disk size using the flat files that clonezilla creates when taking the image.  To do this, go into the img folder, look for a file named sda-pt.parted.compact and open it with a text editor such as NotePad++.

This file will contain everything you need to know to determine the original size of a HDD that existed in the computer before you took the copy of the clone. For example, here is the contents of the file highlighted above:

Model: ATA WDC WD2500AAJS-7 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 250GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End    Size   Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  106MB  105MB  primary  ntfs         boot
 2      106MB   250GB  250GB  primary  ntfs

As you can see we get a Model number, Manufacturer, disk size, partition sizes and file-system type.

I haven’t had trouble restoring Clonezilla images to different manufacturers of hard drives as long as the new drive is larger than the original drive. Also, I find that it’s invaluable to have at least a gigabit connection between the machine you’re trying to clone and the file share where you’re saving the img file.

 

 

 

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Test USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 thumb flash drive on Windows 10 read write speeds

How to test USB thumb drives for USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and test Read and Write Speeds on Windows 10

Determine if USB Port is 2.0 or 3.0 in Windows 10:

Below are some directions and screenshots of how you can tell if a USB drive is connected to Windows 10 with USB 3.0 or USB 2.0., first insert the drive into a USB port on your Windows 10 computer.

Click on the Start Button > then click on the Settings gear icon > in the “Find a Setting” box > type “Connected Devices” > then click on the “Connected Device Settings” icon. The USB 3.0 will show “Connected to USB 3.0”, the USB 2.0 drives will not display these words:

Testing Read and Write speeds of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 with SpeedOut utility and  Windows 10.

I picked up a couple thumb drives this weekend that were on sale at Frys. I like to have both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 drives on hand in case a computer doesn’t recognize USB 3.0 as a boot drive. I wanted to determine the Read and Write speeds of my USB drives to test if they actually display a difference according to their listed specs (spoiler alert: numbers can be deceiving.) My PC workstation has an Intel SSD drive and USB 3.0 ports.  I downloaded and ran the SpeedOut v0.5 utility against 4 different USB thumb drives:

  1. Patriot Memory Flash PSF32GBLZ3USB 32GB USB3.0 BLITZ with a yellow plastic case.
  2. Hyundai USB 2.0 Bravo 16GB with a metal case.
  3. Kingston USB 2.0 DTS E9 Data Traveller 16GB with a metal case.
  4. SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 32GB SDCZ48-032G with a plastic case.

All four drives were formatted FAT32 (and I tested the Patriot drive as NTFS.) The way you know if a device is connected to 3.0 USB in windows 10: Start > Settings > Search “Find a setting” : type in “devices” > Show all results > Connected Device Settings > Other devices > Find your USB drive and it should say “Connected to USB 3.0”. More details on where to find this setting at the bottom of the article.

Anyway, I ran SpeedOut utility against the Patriot USB 3.0 drive first, and the results were: 23.7 MB/s READ and 27.8 MB/s.

I ran the same SpeedOut test against on the same USB port using a HYUNDAI USB 2.0 BRAVO 16GB drive (wasn’t recognized as USB3.0 by Windows 10) and it’s results were: 21.9 READ and 10.5 WRITE.

Then I ran the same SpeedOut test again using a Kingston DTS E9 Data Traveler and it’s results were 17.158 READ and 9.8 MB/s WRITE.

Lastly I ran the same SpeedOut test again using a SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 32GB drive and the results were: 128.04 MB/s READ and 52.47 MB/s WRITE.

I gave the Patriot USB 3.0 drive another chance the results of a 2nd read write test against the drive were pretty good:

This test gave me hope that the drive would have decent write speeds but upon testing the copy of an ubuntu-16.10-server-amd64.iso (684.032 MB) file from my SSD drive to the Patriot USB 3.0 Drive, the results show surprisingly slow speeds after an initial burst of speed:

I thought perhaps this may have to do with the drive formatted as Fat32, so I formatted the drive as NTFS and tried again. Here is the SpeedOut result first:

Now the same Ubuntu.iso copy and it’s results:

Same results. The write speed would alternate between 6.24 MB/s and 12 MB/s which is in all reality pretty abysmal for a USB 3.0 drive! The total copy time for the 684MB file was 55.12 seconds…

The total copy time for the HYUNDAI USB drive for the same ubuntu .iso was 1:10.02 seconds.

The USB Patriot USB 3.0 drive did not fare much better than the Hyundai USB 2.0 drive, but I did notice that there is an initial speed burst when copying data to the Patriot drive. To test this I copied a 100MB file to the Patriot drive and while the first copy of the 94MB file did quickly finish at around 60 MB/s, however subsequent tests were very low again in the 6-12MB/sec range. The Patriot drive is no other way to describe than flaky; fast sometimes for a little while, but ultimately pretty slow – just a little better than the USB 2.0 drives.

Lastly I tested the copy speed of the same Ubuntu .iso file to the SanDisk Ultra 3.0 32 GB drive formatted Fat32 and the amount of time to copy was  14.59 seconds!

Just because something says USB 3.0 and is on sale, doesn’t mean you’re going to get true USB 3.0 speeds reliably…

 

Hits: 2845

Proxmox upgrade project from ESXi to Proxmox – nice speed increase

So I did a little upgrade project this weekend – went from a Dual-Core CPU workstation-class VMWare ESXi system running a pfSense VM with 512MB RAM & a SATA HDD plus 10/100Mb LAN, and moved to a Core i5 CPU workstation-class Proxmox hypervisor running the same version of pfSense with 2GB of RAM, SSD and gigabit NICs. The Core2Duo system had a 10/100Mb LAN card so the download speed was limited to 100Mb because of the hardware, not software, but I do believe the ping times can be attributed to the new hardware. Proxmox can be tricky to setup the NICs so I left notes on what I experienced below.

Proxmox Install notes:

3 NICs (one on board, and 2xintel NIC)

Initially I got my proxmox installed and running on my current network on a new workstation-class PC with just the on-board NIC connected. It picked up 10.0.10.175 from my dhcp server

 

On Proxmox I went to setup pfSense but prior to doing so I needed to bridge my NICs

 

Here is my NIC setup after setting up the Linux bridge NICs:

When I initially setup the vm, I created pfsense pretty standard, then before starting the VM, I added System > Network > Create > Linux Bridge, and I chose the two other Intel NIC’s (did this twice, once for each NIC.

When I started the pfSense vm I got the error:

 

Task viewer: VM 101 - Start

OutputStatus

Stop

bridge 'vmbr1' does not exist
kvm: -netdev type=tap,id=net1,ifname=tap101i1,script=/var/lib/qemu-server/pve-bridge,downscript=/var/lib/qemu-server/pve-bridgedown: network script /var/lib/qemu-server/pve-bridge failed with status 512
TASK ERROR: start failed: command '/usr/bin/kvm -id 101 -chardev 'socket,id=qmp,path=/var/run/qemu-server/101.qmp,server,nowait' -mon 'chardev=qmp,mode=control' -pidfile /var/run/qemu-server/101.pid -daemonize -smbios 'type=1,uuid=75940385-d64a-4fc8-b286-ade75fc08d52' -name pfsense2.x -smp '4,sockets=1,cores=4,maxcpus=4' -nodefaults -boot 'menu=on,strict=on,reboot-timeout=1000,splash=/usr/share/qemu-server/bootsplash.jpg' -vga cirrus -vnc unix:/var/run/qemu-server/101.vnc,x509,password -cpu kvm64,+lahf_lm,+sep,+kvm_pv_unhalt,+kvm_pv_eoi,enforce -m 2048 -k en-us -device 'pci-bridge,id=pci.1,chassis_nr=1,bus=pci.0,addr=0x1e' -device 'pci-bridge,id=pci.2,chassis_nr=2,bus=pci.0,addr=0x1f' -device 'piix3-usb-uhci,id=uhci,bus=pci.0,addr=0x1.0x2' -device 'usb-tablet,id=tablet,bus=uhci.0,port=1' -device 'virtio-balloon-pci,id=balloon0,bus=pci.0,addr=0x3' -iscsi 'initiator-name=iqn.1993-08.org.debian:01:6148cfb1fd55' -drive 'file=/dev/pve/vm-101-disk-1,if=none,id=drive-ide0,format=raw,cache=none,aio=native,detect-zeroes=on' -device 'ide-hd,bus=ide.0,unit=0,drive=drive-ide0,id=ide0,bootindex=100' -drive 'file=/var/lib/vz/template/iso/pfSense-CE-2.3.3-RELEASE-amd64.iso,if=none,id=drive-ide2,media=cdrom,aio=threads' -device 'ide-cd,bus=ide.1,unit=0,drive=drive-ide2,id=ide2,bootindex=200' -netdev 'type=tap,id=net0,ifname=tap101i0,script=/var/lib/qemu-server/pve-bridge,downscript=/var/lib/qemu-server/pve-bridgedown' -device 'e1000,mac=C2:8E:F1:2E:83:E5,netdev=net0,bus=pci.0,addr=0x12,id=net0,bootindex=300' -netdev 'type=tap,id=net1,ifname=tap101i1,script=/var/lib/qemu-server/pve-bridge,downscript=/var/lib/qemu-server/pve-bridgedown' -device 'e1000,mac=CE:AE:FA:44:EF:13,netdev=net1,bus=pci.0,addr=0x13,id=net1,bootindex=301' -netdev 'type=tap,id=net2,ifname=tap101i2,script=/var/lib/qemu-server/pve-bridge,downscript=/var/lib/qemu-server/pve-bridgedown' -device 'e1000,mac=D2:09:7A:FC:6D:95,netdev=net2,bus=pci.0,addr=0x14,id=net2,bootindex=302'' failed: exit code 1

So to fix this I first destroyed my initial vm 100 in the proxmox console with

qm destroy 100

Next with the info I found here: https://forum.proxmox.com/threads/cant-start-vms.13824/

It seems the Proxmox underlying debian OS didn’t know about my other NICs:

I ssh’d into the new server with putty and edited the interfaces file:

Nano /etc/network/interfaces

and changed this config:

 

auto vmbr0

iface vmbr0 inet static

        address  10.0.10.175

        netmask  255.255.255.0

        gateway  10.0.10.254

        bridge_ports eth0

        bridge_stp off

        bridge_fd 0

To this:

 

auto vmbr0

iface vmbr0 inet static

        address  10.0.10.175

        netmask  255.255.255.0

        gateway  10.0.10.254

        bridge_ports eth0

        bridge_stp off

        bridge_fd 0



auto vmbr1

iface vmbr1 inet dhcp



auto vmbr2

iface vmbr2 inet dhcp

Then I had proxmox reboot by issuing the command:

reboot

And my interfaces file ended up looking like this:

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback



iface eth0 inet manual

#TrustedLAN



iface eth1 inet manual



iface eth2 inet manual



auto vmbr0

iface vmbr0 inet static

        address  10.0.10.175

        netmask  255.255.255.0

        gateway  10.0.10.254

        bridge_ports eth0

        bridge_stp off

        bridge_fd 0



auto vmbr1

iface vmbr1 inet manual

        bridge_ports eth1

        bridge_stp off

        bridge_fd 0

#TrustedLAN



auto vmbr2

iface vmbr2 inet manual

        bridge_ports eth2

        bridge_stp off

        bridge_fd 0

#UntrustedWAN





I could now start the pfsense vm and the pfsense install now recognized my network cards <smiles>

In the pfsense setup I choose 1) and I am offered the following options:

With a little bit of guessing and using my laptop to find the LAN, I was able to get up and connected into my pfSense web console. From there, reset the power to my cable modem, and got a new Cox IP address.

The change in speeds was actually pretty remarkable.

Here are the speedtest.net results with the old Dual Core (Core2Duo) with an ESXi VM on a SATA HDD 512MB of RAM and 10/100 LAN:

And here are my speedtest.net results with a core i5 4-core Proxmox VM on an SSD, 2GB of RAM, and Gigabit NICs:

 

Below is an image of the old server on the left and a new server on the right.

VMWare is still running on the old server and I may keep it around, but also considering moving my domain controller & ISC DHCP server off of it and re-building it as another Proxmox VME as a cluster, but I’ve read that it’s best to have 3 servers for a Proxmox cluster.

All in all I’m pretty happy with the results of upgrading my home pfSense firewall from ESXi to Proxmox, and I hope this post helps someone with their Proxmox setup.

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