Updating the Firmware on HP Color LaserJet CP4525 via FTP

I came across an interesting incident on on our IT service management software (Service-Now) which was a nice change from the usual stuff I come across. The incident was described like this:

“Good afternoon,
Printer xyz is showing the error message ‘Resend Upgrade’. It is a HP Color LaserJet CP4525.
Can you please look into this?”

A quick look on the products support page on the HP website suggested the printer’s firmware needed to be updated.

Normally, something like this would have been passed onto the Desktop Team but I was curious to learn that the firmware could be updated remotely via FTP and wanted to this job to myself. I wanted to take ownership of the task and see it through to resolution myself.

I arranged with the user to put up an ‘out of order’ sign on the printer so no one disturbs it while I’m working on it remotely.

Here’s a look at the firmware version before the update on the printers Web interface:

firmware-before

The instructions on how to update the firmware can be found on the HP’s product support page for the printer. The firmware I downloaded was “20140127 07.160.6”.

Here’s a screenshot of the firmware reflected on the printer’s Web interface after I updated it:

firmware-after

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Migrating from Android to Windows Phone 8

I’ve been curious about Windows Phone 8 for some time now and contemplated writing a couple of posts on the matter but I never really got round to it. I used four Android smartphones before I finally decided to give Windows Phone 8 a try a couple of months ago. Frankly, I was getting a little bored of Android and wanted to try out something different as an experiment.

I decided to go for the Nokia Lumia 520 which was available for just £79.99 without a contract from Carphone Warehouse. Naturally I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on an experiment but still wanted a device which would give me a good experience of the Windows Phone 8 platform. To that end, the Nokia Lumia 520 seemed a good fit.

This post is about my experience with Windows Phone 8 over the last three months, particularly the apps I’ve come to use on the new platform compared to Android. We keep hearing about the lack of apps on the Windows Phone platform and sure enough I have had to make some compromises here and there as you will come to read below.

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Hidden Image-based Backup Feature In Windows 8.1

I briefly expressed my displeasure at Microsoft’s decision to remove the ability to make backup images from within Windows 8.1 in my last post. As it turns out, however, I was mistaken and the feature is indeed available to users, though it’s not where you would expect to find it.

It’s interesting that the image-based backups feature was not available in previous Windows 8.1 builds but has returned in the RTM build. Even more interesting is where it’s located.

In the screenshot below you can see that image-based backup is missing in the Recovery options in Windows 8.1 RTM.

image

Instead, it’s hidden in the File History setting in the Control Panel.

image

To access it, right-click on the Start button and launch Control Panel. In the search box on the top right hand corner type “File History” and click on the File History setting. Notice the “System Image Backup” link in the lower left hand corner. It works just as it did in Windows 8 with the option to making a backup image and storing it onto an external drive, DVD, or network location.

What I have below is a screenshot of the File History window taken from a previous Windows 8.1 build (a Windows 8.1 Enterprise evaluation downloaded from the Microsoft website) which shows the feature to be missing in the build. Looks like Microsoft had a change of heart at the last minute and decided to add the feature after all.

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Windows 8.1 RTM Leaked Build

I’ve been using Windows 8 from the Consumer Release Preview – a fact I’m actually quite proud of. I’ve only just realised, however, that I haven’t really talked much about my experience with the new OS here on my blog and hope to make that right starting with this post.

For one reason or another I’ve skipped all previous Windows 8.1 leaked builds but with the “RTM” build hitting the Web I finally gave in to the hobbyist within. As an IT enthusiast who actually quite likes the new OS I’ve been keeping up with news on the improvements in 8.1 mainly over at Paul Thurrott’s Supersite for Windows and ZDNet.

Even though I was familiar with most of the changes in 8.1.before trying the leaked build it’s nice to experience the changes for myself. And yes, Windows 8.1 is definitely a better experience for me.

I’ve taken a few screenshots of some of the changes which I personally quite like along with some notes on my thoughts here and there.

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First and foremost, the return of the Start button! I’ll never know why Microsoft left it out in the first place.

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Right-click on the Start button to shut down your computer and also access some advanced options.

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You can choose to have your Desktop wallpaper as the background on your Start screen. Definitely a good move from Microsoft as it makes the transition from Desktop to Start screen a lot easier on the eyes.

image

Two more sizing options for tiles on the Start screen – large and small. Large tiles are especially good for Live tiles. Continue reading

A little scripting goes a long way

We’re upgrading the Kaspersky network agent at my workplace today, starting off with 50 machines on two clusters as a trial.

This included a few steps as explained below:

  • disabling a running service
  • configuring the service to  start manually
  • changing the power options to stop the machine powering off after 15 mins of inactivity
  • copying a text file to the root of C: drive
  • running setup.exe (a silent install)
  • restarting the machine

This may not seem like a lot of work but I did have 50 machines to repeat this on, and maybe more with the possibility of extending the trial to more machines. So I came up with a quick batch script to do the job for me. Nothing fancy, just a simple little script:

@echo off 
title KAV Update 
cls 
echo. 
echo Disabling PowerMAN service 
net stop PowerMAN 
sc config PowerMAN start= demand 
echo. 
echo Changing power options... done 
powercfg -change "Student Policy - Office" -disk-timeout-ac 0 
echo. 
echo Copying noklmover.txt to the C: drive... 
copy \\server\share\noklmover.txt c:\noklmover.txt 
echo. 
echo Installing new Kaspersky agent setup file... 
pause 
start /wait \\server\share\setup.exe 
echo. 
echo ...Installation complete 
echo. 
echo Task complete on this machine. Restart? 
pause 
shutdown -r -f -t 15

Writing a quick script is a neat way to automate and relieve yourself from a repetitive task a little quicker than doing it manually. I find it very satisfying when I write a script that ‘just works’. The above script is no more than a simple set of instructions but I reckon I have a good aptitude for programming  in general and with a keen interest in scripting I would love to extend to Windows PowerShell one day.

Speaking of which, that ‘one day’ may be coming a lot sooner since I’m about to start studying for the 70-640 exam (Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory). That reminds me, I’ve still got to write a post on my study plans (and more).

Anti-Virus Uninstallers and Removal Tools

I had a member of staff come in today with no less than three different anti-virus software on his laptop. Fortunately, though, he had only paid for Kaspersky Pure (the others were AVG and Avast). My approach in these situations is to educate my users,  I therefore ended up spending quite a bit of time with him explaining stuff like phishing scams, email attachments, virus signatures and updating the virus databases, etc.

I got hold of the uninstallers and removal tools for AVG and Avast! from the Internet and walked the user through using them to get rid of these AV software. I had a happy customer in the end but I felt logging the incident on our call logging software (ITSM) doesn’t quite do justice to my efforts. This inspired me to write a quick post with links to uninstallers and removal tools for common Anti-Virus software:

Norton

Kaspersky Products

AVG

Avast!

Avira

BitDefender

McAfee

Delivering training sessions at work

Setup of laptop wireless networking delivered as a training course for students next semester. To develop teaching materials as may be necessary to deliver. “

That’s one of the future objectives as it appears on my appraisal form.

Both the delivery of training and the development of the training materials interests me a great deal! Although this only refers to wireless set up at this point, I’m sure it could potentially lead to a lot more in the future.

This was presented to me in my annual Staff Development Review (SDR) today – it was my first SDR with my current line manager who’s only been with us for a year but has done a lot for us already.

Some exciting stuff are on the horizon – something to look forward to at work! This post is to make a note of what’s in store for the future and make a log of a very satisfying SDR .