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Archive for September, 2012

Dell T1600 Wake On LAN

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

At the organization that I work at, we have over a hundred Dells deployed in open labs and classrooms. Sometimes students and professors turn off the computers when they are finished using them which prevents us from sometimes sending out updates, patches, and packages to them. We recently enabled wake on lan on all these machines however, a few machines, specifically Dell T1600 were not listening to the wake on lan packets that were being sent to them. After investigating the matter in the BIOS, it turns out that Dell T1600 and possibly newer models have a feature called “Deep Sleep” which comes enabled by default. In order for the network card to receive the wake on lan packet and wake up the computer, this setting must be set to disabled. Other manufacturers may have similar settings.

New exploit for IE 7, 8 & 9 on Windows XP, Vista, and 7

September 17, 2012 2 comments

There is a new exploit for Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9 browsers running Windows XP, Vista and 7. Computers can be compromised simply by visiting a malicious website, which gives the attacker the same privileges as the current user logged in. Since Microsoft has not released a patch for this vulnerability yet, Internet Explorer users are strongly advised to switch to other browsers, such as Chrome or Firefox, until a security update becomes available.

Microsoft has issue a security advisory about the situation: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/advisory/2757760

UPDATE:

  • Sep 19th, 2012 – Microsoft released a “fix-it” solution. It has been verified working. More information can be found here.
  • Sep 20th, 2012 – Microsoft updates the “fix-it” advisory to revision 2.0.  Requirements clarified: 1) “For computers that are running 64-bit operating systems, the following Fix it solution only applies to 32-bit versions of Internet Explorer.” 2) Before you apply this Fix it solution, you must ensure that Internet Explorer is fully updated by using the Windows Update service.
  • Sep 21st, 2012 – Microsoft releases Security Bulletin MS12-063 and Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (KB2744842). Users and Administrators should install the update as soon as possible.

Google Chrome User Settings with Roaming Profiles

September 4, 2012 2 comments

Google Chrome is becoming increasingly popular among users. Google Chrome recently surpassed Internet Explorer in market share. According to numbers from StatCounter, Google’s browser finally averaged higher traffic than Internet Explorer for the first time over a full seven-day stretch. From May 14th through May 20th, the Google’s Web browser garnered a 32.76% share, ahead of Microsoft’s 31.94% and Mozilla Firefox’s 25.47% share. It has grown quite popular among students and professors at my university and among enterprise environments.

A problem was recently reported to me that Google Chrome was not storing user’s information once they logged out of a computer. Looking into the issue, I realized what was going on. Google Chrome stores information in the local application data folder of the user’s profile. This folder is not uploaded when the user logs off a computer.

Windows XP/2003:

C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default

Windows Vista/7:

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default

I needed to be able to tell Google to save it’s user data in the Roaming folder which is uploaded when they log off, and not the local application data folder. This can be achieved by passing the user data directory as an argument when running Chrome’s executable but that would require making that change manually of hundreds of computers.

Luckily, Google has provided administrators with tools to make deployment and management easier.

I had recently installed the ADM template that Google provides administrators to set the home page as well as some other common settings for our public laboratory computers. In that ADM template, is the option to set the user data directory to one of your choosing. Google Chrome uses it’s own set of variables rather than using the standard Windows environmental variables.

The current list of Chrome variables on Windows includes:

  • %APPDATA% = ${roaming_app_data}
  • %LOCALAPPDATA% = ${local_app_data}
  • %USERNAME% =  ${user_name}
  • %COMPUTERNAME% = ${machine_name}
  • %USERPROFILE% = ${profile}
  • %PROGRAMFILES% =  ${program_files}
  • %WINDIR% =  ${windows}
  • ${documents} – The “Documents” folder for the current user. (“C:\Users\Administrator\Documents”)
  • ${global_app_data} – The system-wide Application Data folder. (“C:\AppData”)

So what I did was set the user data directory to the roaming data directory like so:

${roaming_app_data}\Google\Chrome\User Data

After performing a group policy update, the machines were correctly storing user’s data in their roaming profiles.