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

Continue reading

App In Focus: MoveOnBoot

I was doing some housekeeping on a users (very old) Windows XP machine today and hit a snag when I couldn’t delete a user’s profile folder from the machine – Windows was complaining that NTUSER was being used by another person or program.

cannot_delete_user

That’s when I came across this neat little software called MoveOnBoot.

MoveOnBoot is designed for exactly the kind of situation I was in. As the name suggests, it can move (or delete) files and folders (that are locked by the OS) to a location of your choice when the PC is rebooted. Continue reading

App In Focus: SpaceSniffer

I received a call on the Service Desk today from a user who reported that he only has 145GB free space left on a 500GB hard disk but he only had 170GB worth of data. He was very keen to know why the math didn’t add up.

spacesniffer-before

I used a nifty little program called SpaceSniffer to work out what was taking up all that space. As you can see below the culprits were the hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys files which were taking up 48GB and 64GB disk space respectively.

spacesniffer

For your information, the Hyberfil.sys file is used by the operating system to store data when the computer is Hibernated. This can be deleted simply by turning off the Hibernation feature on Windows. Pagefile.sys is what the computer uses for Virtual Memory when it needs more memory in addition to the physical memory installed. In this particular case the PC had 64GB of physical RAM hence the size of the virtual memory (by default the virtual memory is the same size as the available physical memory in Windows). I was able to reduce the size to a much more acceptable 10GB. Continue reading

The End of an Era

It’s my last day at work today and I’m writing this post just before I leave my desk. I’ve spent five years here and, quite understandably, I’m feeling somewhat emotional. I’ve had some great feedback and advice from management and colleagues – the same people I could always rely on for good advice.

You may wonder why I’m leaving but I don’t want to get into that side now. I’m leaving on a positive note and thinking of some good memories and experiences I’ve had over the years.

I sent an email to the whole department first thing this morning which I am reproducing here for my memory:

“After working here for five years my time here has finally come to an end today.

There are a few people I want to thank before I leave. First and foremost I would like to thank my colleagues Shaun, Nadeem, Simon and also ex-colleagues who have left us (Wendy, Collins and Maz) who have made working here that much more enjoyable. I’ll definitely miss the banter at the Service Desk. A special mention to Tony Britton for all your help over the last couple of years – I personally have a lot to thank you for.

When I first started I learnt quite a bit from a number of colleagues who were very forthcoming with offering their help, advice and guidance. With that in mind I would like to thank Nadeem, Sylvia, Chris, Bill Sawyer, Martin Simons, Cherie and Richard Todd – thank you for your advice and help over the years. Last but not least I would like to thank both Rick and Cherie for a personal matter a few years ago.

On a parting note I would like to wish everyone a very happy life, both in your personal and professional lives. Please help yourselves to some chocolates I’ve got here at the Service Desk if anyone’s interested.

I wish you all the best.”

I meant every word in that email and I got some very nice comments in reply. There was a small ‘leaving do’ and a speech (which I’ve just come from) and I got a leaving card including a £30 Amazon voucher – I must say I’m very touched by all this. (I wish there was an emoticon that could rightly express my emotions here)

There’s a lot more I could write but I don’t want to drag on – I guess this really is goodbye.

card from work

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 .