Archive for Tools

Print Conductor for Bulk Printing of Files

It was in 1978 that F. W. Lancaster addressed the concept of a paperless society. And yet here we are nearly 40 years later and printing is still a big business.

And the forecast does not seem to indicate a downward turn.


OK, so enough of the bad news. The fact is that we still need to print a lot of things – reports, presentations, graphs, spreadsheets, emails, etc. And perhaps like me, there are times where you need to print multiple files immediately.

I just came across a nice little Windows utility called Print Conductor that will do just that.


Imagine you have been working on a series of files for a customer – including some Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, a PowerPoint presentation, several logo images, and an Autocad drawing. And now you need to print out all these different files.

Ugh. You’re looking at a time consuming process of opening each document, starting up the associated program, click to Print, and then click to select Printer.

With Print Conductor, you can highlight (select) all the files that need to be printed, and with once click you can have all your various documents printed immediately!

Here’s a screen shot of the main interface of Print Conductor, where I selected 12 PDF documents that I needed to print. As you can see, it was as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Select documents to be printed
  2. Select the printer to be used
  3. Start printing


Best part of this, besides how easy it is to use this utility, is that this is free for non-commercial use, and $49 per computer for commercial use. Give it a try!

New Ransomware Prevention Kit Coming Soon

Back HomeAmy Babinchak, President of Third Tier, has announced that they will be releasing an updated version of their Ransomware Prevention Kit next week. 

Two years ago (October 2013), Amy and her team led the way in providing a solution to help block the CryptoLocker attacks that were causing havoc worldwide (see blog post).

A lot has changed in the past two years, and such threats can still do great harm and damage for both individuals and businesses. Thanks to Third Tier, I sleep better knowing that my systems are protected.

Finally, Third Tier wants to reach out and encourage more women to get certified and work in the I.T. field, and is using this new Prevention Kit to raise money for this effort!

Splashtop Business New Enhancements

Back in January 2015 I started testing and using Splashtop Business as a remote control/support replacement for LogMeIn, which was getting too expensive for me. Splashtop is not my primary remote control solution, but I needed an alternative to LogMeIn for specific on-demand situations.

For the most part, I have been very happy with Splashtop. It does what I need it to do —

  • Easy setup to remote control into a user’s computer
  • Provides built –in file transfer capabilities
  • Supports mutiple monitors (on remote side)


And with their Version 3.0 release which just came out, they now support multiple concurrent connections, and have redesigned the Splashtop Business window interface for easier use.

My only complaint with Splashtop had been some occasional slow performance when remoting into servers. We resolved that issue earlier this month (see blog post).

It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles with products like ScreenConnect, LogMeIn Central, and others – but the price is right ($60/year) for my needs!


Remote command line to delete subfolders

This is a follow up to my post regarding 44,175 folders being created in a temp folder due to a bad definition file from Vipre/MAV.

The system in question had frozen up, and after we rebooted the server, I was not able to login using my normal remote control software (TeamViewer). But I was able to access the system from a remote command prompt.

That’s how I discovered the 44,175 folders. The question was: how do I delete all those sub folders?

A quick web search uncovered a usable solution, and after a test to verify it would work, I was ready to delete all those folders.

Here’s the command I used (obviously, enter the appropriate parent directory):

for /D %p in (c:\users\don\appdata\local\temp\*.*) do rmdir “%p” /s /q


BOA Dropping Windows Mobile Phone App

wp_ss_20150219_0002I am not a happy camper with both Bank of America (BOA) and Microsoft.

Earlier this month I started to receive the following message whenever I logged onto my BOA phone app from my Nokia Lumia 920 –>

So, what’s their definition of “soon”?

You have to go to the Windows Phone App store to find that in “early March 2015” they will stop supporting this app on the Windows Phone platform!


I utilize the electronic check deposit feature of their phone l the time.

Their suggestion that I do my mobile checking through the browser is a farce, since their web site does not provide the capability of electronic check deposit.

Why am I upset with Microsoft? Because it appears that BOA is waling away from the Windows Phone platform, and I’m not hearing anything from Microsoft on this situation. If BOA walks, whose next? And what does that say about the future of the Windows Phone platform?

P.S. Now it looks like both BOA and Chase are moving away from the Windows Phone platform! click here

GodMode in Windows 7/8/10

Haven’t heard about GodMode? No, this is not a joke. There is a hidden method for getting access to virtually all of the Windows control panel apps and system functions – all on a single screen. Best of all, it works on Windows 7 / 8 /8.1 / 10 as well as Windows Server 2011/2012!

Warning: this does not work with prior versions of Windows. You risk locking up the Windows Explorer window if you try to do so.

It’s called God Mode.

Here’s how to enable it:

  1. Create a new folder on your desktop
    (Right click on your desktop, then click New –> Folder)
  2. Name the new folder: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}  
    I advise copying and pasting the bold faced text to get it exactly right (including the period and braces)
  3. Double click on the new folder, and voila … God Mode at your disposal!

Samsung Data Migration and Dell Workstation

I’m working on a new Dell XPS 8700 that was just delivered, with Windows 8.1 pre-installed and a 1TB SATA drive. I ordered a Samsung SSD 850 Pro 500GB drive to use as the system drive. I’ve used the Samsung Data Migration cloning software successfully on a scratch install of Windows 8.1, but this is the first time to try it with Windows 8.1 pre-installed on the computer.

You install the Samsung Data Migration utility onto the computer to the existing hard drive. I then connected the SSD drive to a USB3 port using a USB3 data & power connector.

Note: Do not connect the SSD drive until the Samsung software has been installed.

  • Attempt #1: I ran the Data Migration wizard, and it came back saying that there was an issue with defragging the source disk.
  • Attempt #2: I install Piriform’s Defraggler and did a full defrag (about one hour). I reran the wizard and this time it reported that there was an issue with the source disk. I rebooted the computer and tried again, and received same error.
  • Attempt #3: I then do a sfc /scanow followed by a chkdsk /f c: – both had no issues or errors. I rebooted the computer and tried again. Same issue. I tried plugging the USB3 cable into other ports. Same issue, again.
  • Attempt #4: I then proceed to uninstall all the Dell add-on stuff (data protection, etc.) and then rebooted the computer. Voila! This time when I ran the wizard, we successfully clones the hard drive to the SSD drive.

After powering down the workstation, I unhooked the SATA drive and connected the SSD drive in its place. I powered up the system and it successfully started up Windows 8.1

SVCHOST.exe spiking CPU

I see this from time to time, on both workstations and servers. Your system seems to be extremely sluggish or unresponsive. So you open up task manager and you see that a svchost.exe process using 50% or more of CPU. To complicate the matter, there are more than one svchost.exe processes running.

What is one to do???

In many cases, a recent Windows update may be the cause. But it’s hard to track down which update might be the culprit.

Meanwhile, here is what I will often do to at least quickly address and resolve the issue:

  1. Identify the PID of the spiking svchost
  2. Identify a list of services associated with that svchost occurrence
  3. Stop each service until you find the offender

Here’s the blow-by-blow:

Identify PID of svchost.exe that is spiking

  • Open up Task Manager
  • Click on View –> Select Columns… –> then click to check PID (Process identified)
  • Click on the Image Name column to sort by name
  • Scroll down and find the PID number associated with the spiking svchost.exe service. In my case, it was PID 844.

Identify list of services associated with that svchost.exe process

  • Leave Task Manager window open
  • Open up a command prompt window, and type TASKLIST /SVC and press enter
  • This will give you a list of specific services associated with each svchost.exe
  • Locate your PID and note all the actual services running under that instance.

Identify specific service causing the spike

  • Open up Services console (Start –> Run –> services.msc)
  • Position the Services and Task Manager windows side by side
  • Now, one by one, from the Services window, locate each service listed for the associated PID, and stop or pause the service.
  • Then see if from the Task Manager window, if the svchost.exe suddenly drops back to normal. If so, you found your problem service!
  • In my case, I often find that Automatic Updates (wuauserv) Windows Management Instrumentation (winmgmt) to be the culprit. In this particular case, it was wuauserv causing the spike


* These screenshots were taken from a Windows 2003 server, but the process is that same for other Windows platform. The only big difference is that the Task Manager window has a new format with Windows 8/2012, and they display the PID# automatically, saving you one step!

Windows Movie Maker issue with opening .MOV files

You just gotta love the Internet. Just a few quick clicks using your favorite web search engine, and voila, you have your answer!

Case in point: customer calls up to say that they are trying to open up a .MOV video file using Windows Movie Maker. They encounter an error saying that the workstation does not meet minimum requirements.


So, I remote into the Windows 7 workstation, and I see that they have Windows Live Movie Maker on the computer. I do a quick search for “windows movie maker does not meet minimum requirements” and right there on the first page is a YouTube tutorial addressing the issue.


The solution is to install Windows Movie Maker 6.0 (from the Vista era) – but they will run on Windows 7/8 platform. Make note that there are separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the program:

Movie Maker 6.0 (64 bit)     Movie Maker 6.0 (32-bit)


After installing the software, I start it up and try to open the .MOV file, only to be told that I am missing a proper CODEC file. Another quick search, and I find another YouTube tutorial addressing this issue:


The solution is to download and install the free K-Lite Codec Pack:

After that, the user is able to successfully open and edit MOV files from Windows Movie Maker!

LogMeIn Free, No More

imageLogMeIn posted on their blog site today that the free version of LogMeIn is going away. See: “Changes to LogMeIn Free”

But this should not be a surprise to anyone. LogMeIn has slowly been making changes that indicated that they would move away from their free version.

So, what does one do?

It all depends on your needs.

  • For those providing I.T. support to end users, you can use Join.Me, another free product from LogMeIn. The only caveat with the free version is that the end user must be on the compute to initiate the session. I’ve been using it successfully for one-time or potential customers. Join.Me also provides meeting support for up to 10 participants … but that’s for another blog post.
  • Or consider moving to LogMeIn Central, at $299 per year for supporting up to 100 computers.
  • Another popular solution is TeamViewer. In fact, I use Teamviewer as my solution for supporting my ongoing customers.

There are plenty of other solutions.