Anything for sysadmins!


Removing offline files sync partnership

Removing a offline files sync partnership is not as straight forward as it should be. However there seems to be a way to remove them none the less.

  • Disable offline files in the Sync Center

  • Reboot
  • Go to C:\Windows\CSC\v2.0.6\ and take ownership of the folder
    • right click the CSC folder, chick properties.
    • click security
    • advanced
    • owner
    • edit
    • select or add your username to the list
    • put a check mark in "Replace owner on ..."
    • OK
  • Delete the server folder that you want to remove from the partnership
  • Reboot
  • Restore permissions on the C:\Windows\CSC\v2.0.6\ folder
    • Go to the permission tab and make sure the checkbox -include "inheritable permissions from this object's parent"-
      is checked. Then reboot and verify the permissions are correct.

Offline files should now work again and the sync partnership should now be removed completely.


Creating a file of a certain size

Sometimes you just need a file that takes up space. To test transfer speeds, file size issues, etc. The way to do this is to use fsutil.

fsutil file createnew <name.ext> <size in bytes>

You now have a file that is exactly the size that you need it to be.

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Not all problems are software based

We recently had an outage of our internet. However this was not caused by software failure, but by hardware failure. The cable inside the plug wasn't connected properly to one of the plug's pins. As you can see, this was quite severe. Good thing it didn't develop into a fire…

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Setting up a narrowcasting unit

Narrowcasting is a great way of reaching the people inside your company. It's an easy way of informing people about what's new in the company. That is exactly why I needed to setup a couple of narrowcasting units. First we tried to use DLNA on our Sony Bravias as this would reduce the cost of the system. We thought that it might be possible to stream the live desktop running our narrowcasting software to the screens. However it soon showed that DLNA hasn't matured enough to be able to do this. We've tried every piece of software available that supported DLNA, but no joy.

After all the hassle with DLNA we decided to go with the simplest solution and use a PC for each screen. After checking out a couple of possibilities we went with the MSI Wind DE220 mini-PC. These beauties fit nicely behind the mounted screen and still have enough power to show a video or two. Also they come with a HDMI port, wireless network adapter, low power consumption and low pricing!

Although I only have 4 setups, I'm still too lazy to get up every day and press the on button. This means that I'll have to automate the boot process. Using Windows Task Scheduler you can get it into hibernation mode. With another task you can have it resume from hibernation mode (I will post more details on this later). I would prefer to do this using the BIOS, but MSI didn't include power scheduling in the BIOS.

After the boot, it'll just sit there idling until you enter the login details. To solve this, you'll have to dive into the registry and set it to login automatically (I will post more details on this later).

Once that's done, there's not much left but to make sure that the computers are secured and that the narrowcasting software is started. I've managed to do this with GPOs. Using the Group Policy Common Scenario templates you can easily lock down a computer even on Windows Vista and 7. The Kiosk GPOs are well suited for the task at hand. Just change the Custom User Interface which you can find at User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Custom User Interface. This will prevent Explorer to start and use your application instead.

Now you have a setup that when automatically started, logs in, starts the narrowcasting software, hibernates at a specified time and boots again at the specified time.

If you have questions or remarks, please leave a comment.


USB 3.0 – Specs

I was just looking into the stats of USB 2.0 for a printer problem, when I just happened to see some stats for the USB 3.0 standard. I thought that it would be nice to compare the two briefly and to find out why I should buy USB 3.0 devices instead of USB 2.0.


USB 2.0

USB 3.0


480Mbps (320Mbps in real world)

Up to 4.8Gbps


Half-duplex (polling)

Full-duplex (asynchronous)

Cable Length

3 meters (low speed) 5 meters (high speed)

3 meters (maybe longer when optic cables can be used in a future spec revision)


Most of the changes are in the connector of course. The connector now has 8 wires (power, ground, 1 pair for differential data, and 2 pairs for differential signals). The last 2 pairs were needed for the SuperSpeed USB target bandwidth requirements, as the dual wire differential signals of USB 2.0 weren't enough.

The power output has been upped by 50% for unconfigured or suspended devices (150 mA up from 100 mA). For configured devices the power output has been upped by 80% (900 mA up from 500 mA). Which might mean that you're gonna be able to lose some of those big nasty power adapters and battery powered devices that are charged by USB power (iPhone for example) can be charged more quickly. Like all other devices USB 3.0 is going green with improved power efficiency.

If you want to know more about USB 3.0 you might want to visit this link. Most of the data above has been compiled from this page and some others. They also have some data on how USB 3.0 compares to other competing interfaces.

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Unreliable printing due to long USB cable

Recently I had a problem with a printer that didn't print most of the time. Sometimes it would print, but then the print would stop half way through the process. As the printer was located remotely I wasn't able to view the setup.

After updating the drivers of the printer, motherboard (USB host bus drivers) and removing the drivers completely and reinstalling the newest version, the problem remained. It wasn't until I heard that they wanted to try a different cable that they told me they were looking for a cable that was 6 meters in length. After checking the maximum length of USB cables I found out that USB only supports cables up to 5 meters (16 feet 5 inches) for high speed USB and up to 3 meters (9 feet 10 inches) for low speed USB. When the extension cables were removed, the printer was functioning properly again.

This is one to keep in mind for a possible next time!

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