The new laptop has a fingerprint reader included and comes with DigitalPersona’s fingerprint software. At first glance, this looks like a useful piece of software but after trying to use it, I’ve found it very buggy and the support is non-existant. DigitalPersona offer no support for the product and refer you to the OEM partner, in my case Dell, who have nothing in their knowledge base about this product either.
My problem was to do with our roaming profile. After receiving the laptop last night I synched (or so I thought) to the domain, took the machine home and logged in. Windows7 decides that it can’t load my profile and uses the temporary saved copy – all well and good for now, my desktop background, images, shortcuts etc all exist. However every time I go to add a new website in DigitalPersona, it seems to take the information but does not actually save it to the machine. Suspecting roaming profiles, I created a local user, logged on as that user and registered my fingers. Note that if you do this, when you use the Windows Login Screen and your finger to login, the pc automatically logs you in without asking which user you want to use. I’m not sure how it determines which user to use, but in my case it used my local user (which was also the most recently created user).
After logging on as the local user I was then able to launch Internet Explorer (9), log into gmail, facebook and this blog and register my usernames and passwords and DigitalPersona kept the information. At this point I also used the option to download and install updates to the software – the most recent version that is now running on the pc is 5.30.252a. Note to get to the updates, click on the plus sign by central management and then the update tab appears.
I then logged off the machine and logged back as my domain account. Tried to use DigitalPersona and yet again the software refused to take my passwords. I opened explorer up, browsed to %appdata% and sure enough – there was no DigitalPersona directory. I then browsed to c:\users\localusername\appdata\local and checked out the DigitalPersona directory. This contains an OTS directory and then a _dp_ots_tmp and DPIconCache directory. The tmp directory was empty and the DPIconCache directory contained an icon for the sites I’d saved the password to. I copied the DigitalPersona directroy from the localusers\appdata\local directory to my own %appdata% directory and magically was able to start saving passwords in IE9.
Unfortunately I’ve yet to get the program to work with Firefox or Keepass – the program is unable to detect Firefox or Keepass having a login window.
If anyone has a better (preferably free) password manager that works with IE, Firefox, Chrome and Keepass (last is optional) then please let me know.
So my flickr image of my new “notebook upgrade” that I used whilst my work laptop was being upgraded was used in a blog post about bad parenting. I’m not quite sure what the image has to do with bad parenting – the blog is mainly to do with laptop repair but I’m not sure if the image was looked at closely beforehand or not….I am pleased to see that they did give me credit for the photo (which is how I found out that the photo was being used)
I’ve finally got around to uploading and saving the Dell Configuration and Dell alert script files that will assist in obtaining alerts when Dell Servers detect a problem. The script files are pretty self explanatory – the conf.bat file configures the alerts on the server, dellalert.bat gets activated and sends and email to your email address or pager/sms email address.
Note that for easy transfer from client site to client site, it’s probably best to set the mailserver parameter to be the mx record of your mail server (assuming you allow smtp out from client machines) – this way it’s one less thing to change when deploying at client sites.
For more information check out the OMSA configuration section of this blog although the main post with instructions is at Dell Open Manage Server Administrator OMSA Alert Setup Updated.
Download the Configure OMSA Batch File zip file here
I’m a big fan of OneNote as it makes it really easy to take notes during meetings and presentations. I was pleased to see that the OneNote Web App is now online, allowing you to save OneNote notebooks to the web (on Microsoft’s SkyDrive) which then means you can edit them in a browser – without needing OneNote on the machine.
I uploaded the OneNote notebook that I made whilst upgrading my Dell Mini10v a couple of weeks to triple boot XP, OSX and Windows7 and was pleased with how things have turned out. I’ll be using this functionality to create an upcoming blog post on how to do the triple boot – having the notebook on the web means I can update and work on the blog post from any computer – I’m not tied to my home desktop which hosted the original notebook.
Note that you do need to “share” the notebook by going to the File/ New/ Web or going to File/Share/ Web as appropriate. Keeping the document in your personal folder means it is kept private – as long as nobody else finds the url.
Thanks to The Office Blog for the heads up and see an Introduction to OneNote Web App for more details.
Tried to install a 32 bit driver for the Dell 2330dn printer but the software kept asking me “please provide path to windows media (x86 processor)’”. Pointing the dialog box to the x86 directory or the i386 directory that came with the print driver didn’t help. Neither did pointing the dialog to a copy of the i386 directory from an xp cd. A reply posting on Microsoft’s technet site gave me a hint to get this working. By first installing and sharing the 64bit driver, it is then possible to install the printer by using the following steps.
On a 32 bit (in my case XP) workstation, navigate to \\servername and then double click on the printer that was previously shared.
When it asks for the driver location provide the location to the i386 directory of the extracted driver.
Verify once installed that the driver is now successfully listed as an option on the printer by clicking on the sharing tab and then the additional drivers button.
If you want to get the BIOS version of a pc without rebooting or the Dell service tag then use the following useful command(s)
wmic bios >c:\temp\1.txt
The reason I pipe to 1.txt and then display in notepad is that the formatting looks all messed up in a dos prompt due to line wrapping but looks ok in notepad. The BIOS version and service tag will be displayed (among other things).
This beats my previous preferred method when doing remote support of going to Dell’s support site, going to warranty information and then loading their activex component to detect the hardware information.
Update: You do need to have admin rights to run this command.
Further to this post on how to set up Dell Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) for alerts I have amended the configuration files required to correctly configure OMSA.
I discovered that Dell’s documentation is incorrect and that running a batch file in an alert directly does not work – you need to call it with cmd.exe BUT you do not (normally) need to provide the path to cmd.exe – I have therefore changed the alert commands (shown in the extended entry).
I have also amended the dellalert.bat file as I also found that blat would not always work as there is no working blat profile when called from OMSA and there is no obvious way of setting a profile up. You could add the setup into dellalert.bat, trigger an alert and then remove the setup. Alternatively blat can have the mail server and the sender name provided in the dellalert.bat. This makes installation easier as all you need to do is copy the blat files to the windows directory. Again the updated dellalert.bat is in the extended entry.
Continue reading “Dell Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) alert setup – updated”
Update – this post is slightly out of date – please see my updated Configuring Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) page.
As mentioned in a previous post, we have several Dell servers that have Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) setup and one of the features of this software is the ability to setup alerts whenever an issue is detected by the built in monitoring system. In the new version, 5.3, even more alerts have been enabled – mainly in the area of storage management. To edit this setup you typically go to the website hosting the Server Administrator, log in and then set up all the alerts. Each alert is setup individually and takes several mouse clicks. One to open up the alert, one to select the alert process’s, another to click apply and then another to click the Go Back to Alert Settings. This is really inefficient and obviously takes a very long time to set this up on multiple servers. The process described in the extended entry below describes how you can set this up, quickly and efficiently by importing the same settings to your servers each time they are set up. Little customization needs to be done on each server but full instructions are provided.
Note- this post is slightly out of date – please see my updated Configuring Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) page.
Continue reading “Dell Open Manage Server Administrator (OMSA) alert setup”
I checked on Dell’s website yesterday for the latest wifi drivers for the Inspiron 600m to fix the widely reported vulnerabilitys. Dell has a driver available but when you download the file, you can extract the files from it. However double clicking on the setup program causes the dellinfo.exe program to crash followed by a message stating “Error – This installer does not support installation on this computer.”
So far I’ve chatted with about 3 people on the dell chat program. The scary thing was when a tech asked me “Why is it your downloading the driver if the wireless card is ok?” – I had to (patiently) explain that I’m trying to download a driver to patch the critical vulnerability that is (from the readme) “Urgent = Dell highly recommends applying this update as soon as possible. The update contains changes to improve the reliability and availability of your Dell system.”
His solution was to send me the driver cd but we got cut off before we managed to exchange shipping address’s.
I checked the driver on another inspiron 600m this morning and the dellinfo.exe crashed on this machine but it tried to install the drivers but failed to do so with 2 more crashes that were reported to microsoft.
I tried chat this morning and the tech stated that the driver may be corrupt and I would need to contact customer care to report this. I called the customer care line 1 800 456 3355×7241969 who then after not understanding a word I was talking about put me through to support who then told me that they had put me through to the wrong department and I’m now on hold again – awaiting to put me through to the wireless support card. They can’t support me as apparently someone else installed the driver “2 hours ago” and therefore the download must be ok. A conference call to hardware support was the next step. Unfortunately hardware support were too busy to answer the phone so the tech guided me to the intel website and I downloaded the driver from the driver page on intel.com. Whilst I was downloading this driver my boss tripped over the phone cable, pulled the phone off the desk and hung up – I let out an involuntary wail as it was the end of 90 minutes with “technical hold support”. However the wireless drivers from Intel loaded ok but interestingly the windows driver version is the same as the version that I was currently running (18.104.22.168), but the Intel Wireless software (an alternative to Windows Wireless configuration utility) was upgraded a couple of versions to 10.5.0.3.
Note that if you scroll down on the driver page you can actually just download the windows driver by itself (something I should have done as I don’t use the IBM configuration software as the Windows Management software is easier to use as it is standard across all the laptops.