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Wed, Dec 31, 2014 4:45 pm

Determining the version of Microsoft Word used to edit a .docx Document

I sent someone a Microsoft Word document that contained a network diagram I had created in PowerPoint and then copied and pasted into the Word document. I created the file on an Apple MacBook Pro laptop using Microsoft® Word 2008 for Mac and saved it in "Word Document (.docx)" format. The diagram I pasted into the Word document was created with Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2008 for Mac. The recipient informed me that some of the text in boxes in the diagram was cropped, so he edited the diagram and sent me a copy of the document with his edited diagram. When I viewed his version, I saw text missing that had been present in my version and some of the double-headed arrows I had on the diagram now looked odd to me when viewed in Word on the Mac. I presumed the issue was due to the different versions of Microsoft Word we are using, since I had encountered issues before where diagrams created in a Microsoft Office application on a Windows-based PC looked different when viewed in the same application on a Mac.

I thought he was likely using Office 2013, but I wanted to verify that was the version he was using. The .docx files we were exchanging became a standard Word format starting with Office 2007. They are in an Office Open XML format, which is a zipped, XML-based file format developed by Microsoft; information about the formats can be found in the Microsoft Office 2007 article Introducing the Office (2007) Open XML File Formats. Prior to Office 2007, Microsoft used proprietary file formats based on the OLE Compound File Binary Format.1

You can check the version of Word that was last used to edit a document by unzipping the docx file; you can use the unzip command from a shell prompt on a Mac OS X system. If your unzip program isn't opening it, you may have to rename it changing the .docx extension to .zip, but that's not needed for the OS X unzip utility. When you unzip the docx file, there will be a docProps directory with an app.xml file within it. In that file you will see a number between AppVersion tags, e.g., as shown below:


To translate that number into the commonly used version number, the table below can be used:

NumberOffice Version
12.00002007 or Office 2008 for Mac

If you are interested in the usage for the other documents within the .docx container file, see the ForensicsWiki article Word Document (DOCX). The contents of the Word document can be found in word/document.xml when you examine the files within the .docx file.

Since I saw 15.0000 as the AppVersion in the file he sent, I could tell that he was, indeed, using Office 2013. In .docx files I saved from Word 2008, I saw 12.0000 as the AppVersion number within app.xml.

To resolve the problem, instead of copying and pasting the diagram from PowerPoint into the Word document, I saved it as a JPEG image from within PowerPoint. Then chose "Insert", then "Picture", then "From File" within Word to insert the diagram as a picture instead. When I viewed the document with embedded diagram afterwards in Word for Office 2007 and 2010 it looked the same as it did in Word 2008 on the Mac, though it had also looked ok in those Microsoft Windows applications when I used the pasted PowerPoint version. The embedded JPG file also looked the same in Apache OpenOffice Writer 4; it had not appeared when I viewed the document there previously and when I had viewed the PowerPoint file in OpenOffice Impress, the diagram looked quite different with most of the text missing and small circles beneath the network clouds in the diagram.


  1. Microsoft Office: File formats and metadata
    Date accessed: December 31, 2014
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Which Version of Microsoft Word created a given document?
    Date: August 25, 2013
    By: Gergely Herendi
    Super User
  3. Word Document (DOCX)

[/os/windows/office/word] permanent link

Tue, Dec 30, 2014 1:24 am

PHP script displaying wrong time

I include the following PHP code in web pages on this system to display the last time that a file was updated.

$thisfile = pathinfo($_SERVER['PHP_SELF']);

echo "Last modified: ".date("l F j, Y g:i A",

After I replaced the hard drive recently and installed CentOS 7 as a fresh install, the times displayed have been ahead 5 hours, i.e., the PHP code was displaying a time stamp matching Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), also commonly referred to as Greenwich Mean Time, rather than Eastern Standard Time (EST)

I verified the time zone was set correctly at the operating system level with the timedatectl command, so I realized the issue must be with PHP itself. I checked the location of the PHP configuration file, php.ini and found it was located at /etc/php.ini.

$ locate php.ini

I logged into the root account and checked the contents of the /etc/php.ini file. I found that the timezone was not set in the file:

; Defines the default timezone used by the date functions
;date.timezone =

So I removed the semicolon which was making the date.timezone line into a comment and set the time zone to be the appropriate one for Eastern Time (ET).

; Defines the default timezone used by the date functions
date.timezone =America/New_York

I then restarted the Apache web server software with the apachectl restart command, which fixed the problem.

[/languages/php] permanent link

Tue, Dec 30, 2014 12:51 am

Setting the time zone on a CentOS 7 system

You can see the time zones a CentOS 7 system recognizes by entering the command timedatectl list-timezones while logged into the root account.
[root@localhost ~]# timedatectl list-timezones

<text snipped>


For a system in the Americas, the following time zones are recognized:

[root@localhost ~]# timedatectl list-timezones | grep America

For a system on the east coast of the U.S., the appropriate time zone would be "America/New_York". You can see the current timezone setting with the command timedatectl with no parameters.

[root@localhost ~]# timedatectl
      Local time: Tue 2014-12-30 00:15:02 EST
  Universal time: Tue 2014-12-30 05:15:02 UTC
        RTC time: Tue 2014-12-30 05:15:02
        Timezone: America/New_York (EST, -0500)
     NTP enabled: yes
NTP synchronized: yes
 RTC in local TZ: no
      DST active: no
 Last DST change: DST ended at
                  Sun 2014-11-02 01:59:59 EDT
                  Sun 2014-11-02 01:00:00 EST
 Next DST change: DST begins (the clock jumps one hour forward) at
                  Sun 2015-03-08 01:59:59 EST
                  Sun 2015-03-08 03:00:00 EDT

If you need to change the time zone, you can enter the command with a set-timezone parameter, e.g., timedatectl set-timezone America/New_York.

You can use the ntpdate package to synchronize your system with a Network Time Protocol (NTP) server. You can check if the package is installed with the command rpm -qi ntpdate. You will see details on the package, if it is installed. If it is not installed, you will see "package ntpdate is not installed".


  1. How To Configure Server Timezone In CentOS 7
    By: Richard W
    Date: September 14, 2014
    Liberian Geek

[/os/unix/linux/centos] permanent link

Mon, Dec 29, 2014 9:38 pm

Colasoft Ping Tool 1.2

If you want a graphical version of the ping tool that comes with most operating systems, the Colasoft Ping Tool provides a GUI tool that, in addition to providing the standard information provided by ping tests, such as minimum, maximum, and average response times, also puts the information into a chart, which can be viewed in several formats, e.g., bar chart, line chart, and area chart. As ping packets are sent, the program updates a graph showing how ping response times are varying over time with response times in milliseconds on the y axis and the x axis showing time. The program also allows you to save an image of the chart it produces as a BMP file, which can be viewed by a variety of image viewing programs on a Microsoft Windows system.

[ More Info ]

[/reviews/software/windows/network/icmp] permanent link

Mon, Dec 29, 2014 12:09 am

PowerShell Server 6.0

I installed PowerShell Server software on a Windows 8.1 Professional system to enable the system to function as an SSH server. I've used Bitvise's SSH server software and Copssh with recent operating systems, but hadn't used the PowerShell Server software before. The software allows a system to function as an SSH and SFTP server. I had hoped to be able to allow domain accounts to log into the system as well as local accounts, but so far I've only been able to log into the system via SSH after installing the software with local accounts on the system.

[ More Info ]

[/reviews/software/windows/network/ssh] permanent link

Sat, Dec 27, 2014 11:01 pm

EFI System Partition

PCs now have UEFI firmware rather than the BIOS they once had. Hard disk drives in systems with UEFI firmware may have an "EFI System Partition", which will be fairly small, e.g. about 100 MB, which may be a third partition on drives that may have an operating system, such as Microsoft Windows on one partition and system recovey software on another partition. The EFI partition must be formatted with the FAT12, FAT16, or FAT32 file system. The partiton will store boot loader code for operating systems, such as Windows, installed on other partitions and may also store device drivers needed by the firmware.

[ More Info ]

[/hardware/pc/UEFI] permanent link

Sat, Dec 27, 2014 3:20 pm

Windows Server 2012 - Folders located on the system hard drive

After I set up a Windows Server 2012 Essentials server, I noticed the dashboard indicated two alerts were pending. One of them was just to reboot the server since updates had been recently installed that required a reboot, but the other alert was "One or more server folders are located on the system hard drive". The folders referenced were as follows:

If you have a second internal drive or another partition on the primary drive you can move the folders with these steps.

[/os/windows/server2012] permanent link

Thu, Dec 25, 2014 9:29 pm

Windows Server 2012 Essentials Product Key

I needed to install Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Essentials on a system. Windows Server 2012 is the server version of Windows 8 and the successor to Windows Server 2008 R2. I had the product key for Windows Server 2012, but not the media. I downloaded an ISO file for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials from Microsoft at Windows Server Evaluations. The evaluation version allows you to try the software for 180 days before purchase. I burned the .iso file to a DVD and started the installation of the software. When I got to the "Enter the product key to activate Windows" step, I put in the product key I had, but received the message "We couldn't verify the product key. Please check your installation media." After triple-checking the product key, I had to conclude it wasn't going to work with the latest version of the software I downloaded from Microsoft's site. Someone provided me with a link where I could download an ISO file to use with the legitimate product key, but I was concerned about the possibility of tampering with the contents of that ISO file. So I checked the MD5 and SHA-1 hashes for the ISO file with digestIT 2004, which gave me the following hashes for en_server_install_disc_windows_server_2012_essentials_x64_dvd_1022281.iso:
MD5: 5ee4c7ad57248b5e791dcfd39d9e54e3
SHA-1: 1f3fbf9cd23f864a2acc6b7a6a8e6a9eb94b5c52

I was then able to verify those hashes with postings from Server 2012 Essentials RTM (SHA-1 from October 11, 2012) and Server 2012 Essentials RTM Page 2 (MD5 and SHA-1 from December 8, 2012) postings at My Digital Life Forums , which gave me the confidence to use that .iso file for the installation of the server software, since the hashes matched ones posted for the 2012 version of the software distributed by Microsoft. Such hashes are commonly used to verify that a file is exactly the same as it was when provided by the original software developer and has not been modified.

When I installed Windows Server 2012 from the DVD I burned from that ISO file, I was able to use the product key I had.

[/os/windows/server2012] permanent link

Thu, Dec 25, 2014 6:20 pm

Cloning a drive with Clonezilla

Clonezilla, which is a live CD based on Debian Linux, provides the capability to clone one disk drive to another. You can boot a system from the live CD and copy an entire drive, including Microsoft Windows partitions, to a new drive.

[ More Info ]

[/os/unix/linux/Clonezilla] permanent link

Mon, Dec 22, 2014 11:59 pm

Allow file downloads in Internet Explorer 11

A user reported she received the following message when attempting to download an attachment to email she was viewing while logged into her GoDaddy email account through Internet Explorer 11.

Security Alert - Your current security settings do not allow this file to 
be downloaded

I tried downloading a Microsoft Word .docx attachment to an email and saw the same Security Alert window, which stated "Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded."

The setting, which applies to all files rather than a particular type of file such as a Microsoft Word document, can be changed through the following steps in Internet Explorer (IE) 11:

  1. Click on Tools.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. Click on the Security tab.

    IE Internet Options Security tab

  4. Select the Internet zone, which is the left-most zone in the row of icons representing the four zones: Internet, Local intranet, Trusted sites, and Restricted sites.
  5. Click on the Custom level button.
  6. In the Security Settings - Internet Zone window that opens, scroll down through the settings list until you see Downloads. For the File download option, change it from "Disable" to "Enable"

    IE Security Settings - File Download

  7. Click on the radio button next to "Enable".
  8. Click on OK.
  9. When asked "Are you sure you want to change the settings for this zone?", click on Yes.
  10. Click on the OK button to close the Internet Options window.

[/network/web/browser/ie] permanent link

Sun, Dec 21, 2014 5:38 pm


A friend was complaining that his laptop, which runs Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, was very slow, so he was considering purchasing another laptop. I suggested he download and install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1 x 1 px and scan the system with that software. One of the items it detected was CoolYou (image), which it classified as Trojan.Dropper.

[ More Info ]

[/security/malware] permanent link

Sat, Dec 20, 2014 10:46 pm

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware detection for csrss.exe

A user reported that she saw a message on her system, which runs Windows 7 Professional, Friday morning December 19, 2014 indicating that malware had been detected on her system by Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1px x 1px.

Malwarebytes detected csrss.exe

The file, which Malwarebytes identified as Trojan.Agent, was csrss.exe was located in her %TEMP% directory, i.e., C:\Users\Pamela\AppData\Local\Temp. There is a legitimate Microsoft Windows file named csrss.exe, but that file is located in C:\Windows\System32. The legitimate file on her system is 7,680 bytes in size and has a time stamp of 0/7/13/2009 08:39 PM. When I checked the one Malwarebytes Anti-Malware was identifying as malware, I saw it had the same size and time stamp.

C:\Windows>dir %TEMP%\csrss.exe
 Volume in drive C is OS
 Volume Serial Number is 4445-F6ED

 Directory of C:\Users\Pamela\AppData\Local\Temp

07/13/2009  08:39 PM             7,680 csrss.exe
               1 File(s)          7,680 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  864,839,192,576 bytes free

I uploded the one Malwarebytes Anti-Malware flagged as malicious to Google's VirusTotal site, which analyzes uploaded files with many antivirus programs to determine if they are safe or potentially dangerous. I had the site reanalyze the file, which had been scanned previously. Zero of the fifty-four antivirus programs used by the site to scan the file identified it as malware. The SHA256 hash listed for the file is cb1c6018fc5c15483ac5bb96e5c2e2e115bb0c0e1314837d77201bab37e8c03a - see the report.

I ran a binary file comparison between the two files using the Microsoft Windows fc utility. It found no differences between the two copies of csrss.exe.

C:\Windows>fc /b %TEMP%\csrss.exe c:\windows\system32\csrss.exe
FC: no differences encountered

I had previously placed md5deep, which can be downloaded from md5deep and hashdeep, and its associated utilities on the system. I used the 64-bit version, since the system was running the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows 7, of sha256deep to check the SHA-256 hash for the version of the csrss.exe file in C:\Windows\System32. It reported the same SHA-256 hash as VirusTotal listed for the copy of the file I uploaded from the users %TEMP% directory. I also checked the MD5, Tiger, and Whirlpool hashes for both files. For both files the MD5 hash was 60c2862b4bf0fd9f582ef344c2b1ec72 The Tiger hash function yieled a hash of 42e263a5861a1e3b8e411fec97994a32d2cdfc04cf54ab4b for both. The Whirlpool hash was def1e95668f22e06b605093df41d3bb635e7096860bb0adb6c405be49e723fb2497a8a2b64ca5d25519c4ba00c75facb0421bebc4df24f7c9918e0bb85f4c8f4 for both files.

C:\Program Files\Utilities\File\md5deep>sha256deep64 c:\windows\system32\csrss.exe
cb1c6018fc5c15483ac5bb96e5c2e2e115bb0c0e1314837d77201bab37e8c03a c:\windows\system32\csrss.exe

C:\Program Files\Utilities\File\md5deep>sha256deep64 %TEMP%\csrss.exe
cb1c6018fc5c15483ac5bb96e5c2e2e115bb0c0e1314837d77201bab37e8c03a C:\Users\Pamela\AppData\Local\Temp\csrss.exe

C:\Program Files\Utilities\File\md5deep>md5deep64 c:\windows\system32\csrss.exe
60c2862b4bf0fd9f582ef344c2b1ec72 c:\windows\system32\csrss.exe

C:\Program Files\Utilities\File\md5deep>md5deep64 %TEMP%\csrss.exe
60c2862b4bf0fd9f582ef344c2b1ec72 C:\Users\Pamela\AppData\Local\Temp\csrss.exe

C:\Program Files\Utilities\File\md5deep>tigerdeep64 c:\windows\system32\csrss.exe
42e263a5861a1e3b8e411fec97994a32d2cdfc04cf54ab4b c:\windows\system32\csrss.exe

C:\Program Files\Utilities\File\md5deep>tigerdeep64 %TEMP%\csrss.exe
42e263a5861a1e3b8e411fec97994a32d2cdfc04cf54ab4b C:\Users\Pamela\AppData\Local\Temp\csrss.exe

C:\Program Files\Utilities\File\md5deep>whirlpooldeep64 c:\windows\system32\csrss.exe
def1e95668f22e06b605093df41d3bb635e7096860bb0adb6c405be49e723fb2497a8a2b64ca5d25519c4ba00c75facb0421bebc4df24f7c9918e0bb85f4c8f4 c:\windows\system32\csrss.exe

C:\Program Files\Utilities\File\md5deep>whirlpooldeep64 %TEMP%\csrss.exe
def1e95668f22e06b605093df41d3bb635e7096860bb0adb6c405be49e723fb2497a8a2b64ca5d25519c4ba00c75facb0421bebc4df24f7c9918e0bb85f4c8f4 C:\Users\Pamela\AppData\Local\

So I've no reason to suspect that the file in the %TEMP% directory is any different than the one in the C:\Windows\Temp directory. I thought that perhaps the only reason Malwarebytes Anti-Malware flagged it to be quarantined is that it was an exe file in the user's AppData\Local\Temp directory. It is possible that I copied the file there previously when I was checking on various files on the system when trying to eliminate a source of malware infection on the system and that an update to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware now has it mark any file in that directory as malware. I had Malwarebytes Anti-Malware quarantine the file and then copied another legitimate Microsoft Windows exe file, write.exe and also the csrss.exe file from \C:\Windows\System32 into that directory just to see if Malwarebytes Anti-Malware would flag them as malicious. It again detected csrss.exe as malicious, but did not report the write.exe file I copied into that directory from C:\Windows\system32 as malicious, so it doesn't seem to be judging all .exe files in that folder as potential threats, just certain ones.

[/security/antivirus/Malwarebytes] permanent link

Sat, Dec 20, 2014 9:13 pm

Seagate external USB drive part number 9SF2A4-500

I have a Power Adapters page where I list the power adapters that are needed for various devices. I started the page years ago after repeated instances where I had to figure out what power adapter went with what device when an adapter got disassociated from a device and either lost or jumbled with other adapters. To make it easier for me to immediately associate an adapter with a device, I listed the model/part number for a device and the model/part number for its power adapter. I also list, when I can find a source, a site where a suitable replacement adapter can be purchased. Now, whenever I encounter a device, I try to immediately enter the power adapter information for it on my web page. But today, I found a couple of power adapters next to a couple of devices that I had jumbled together. And when I checked my web page I found that I hadn't entered the power adapter information for either device. I was fairly certain that I could associate the right adapter with each advice, assuming that since the adapters were near the devices that they were indeed the ones that went with those devices, but while double-checking on the adapter for a Seagate USB external drive with part number 9SF2A4-500, I came across Felix's Blog, a blog from another person providing tech support, by Marcel "Felix" Giannelia of Terrace, BC, Canada who provides Disassembly instructions for Seagate 1 TB Expansion External Drive (9SE2A4-571 or 9SF2A4-500). I've copied his instructions to my own site here, so that I have a copy should the author's site, or even just these instructions, disappear, since he states at Welcome to Felix's little Knowledge Base thing that "I've been even sloppier about copyright in the files I've written myself. I intend the ones I wrote myself to be in the public domain." According to his disassembly instructions, the drive inside the Seagate External Expansion case is a Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 model ST31000528AS ST31000528AS 1px x 1px.

Checking other postings's to the author's site, I found "Do NOT paraphrase when calling tech support", which links to an email he sent to a user regarding the user's paraphrasing an error message for the Eudora email client, a program I once used many years ago and which users I supported once used. I can certainly emphasize with his posting; many years ago when I was a sysadmin for a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) VMS system, a user contacted me about a problem with one of her databases on the system. She gave me the error message and, since DEC very nicely provided documentation for the database software listing possible error messages and steps to take to rectify the problem associated with a particular error message, I referred to that documenation and found it listed an error message that was a very close match to the one the user gave me. After spending a couple of hours checking all of the possibilities listed for that error message, I contacted the user and had her recreate the problem. When she then read me the exact error message, I realized it was quite different than what she had paraphrased from memory previously. Once I had the exact error message, it only took me a few minutes to fix the problem, but I had wasted hours on the problem before that because she hadn't written down the exact message, but gave me a paraphrased version. One user takes snapshots of error messages on her computer screen with her phone now and sends them to me; that's very helpful, since I can see the window containing the error message and its exact contents.

I also found his "Why cats save humans from house fires" amusing, though the smoke alarm has almost never gone off in our house due to food preparation. It did go off one time when I put the tea kettle on the stove to heat water for tea and then went into another room to work on a computer. I didn't hear the tea kettle whistling; when the smoke alarm went off I went into the kitchen and found that all of the water in the tea kettle had boiled off and there was a burning puddle of plastic next to the tea kettle due to the plastic on the handle melting. Our cats didn't like the blaring smoke alarms throughout the house.

In another posting by Felix, I found an adapter that will also be useful to me, since it supports both IDE, aka PATA, drives as well as SATA hard disk drives listed in his a "Product Plug!" posting for a "Ultra USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA Cable for 2.5-Inch/ 3.5-Inch / 5.25-Inch Drive with Power Adapter", which he notes is a "a USB to any-kind-of-hard-drive adapter. That is, it's got a USB plug on one end, and all the kinds of hard drive connector mashed together on the other end. I just ordered one, because this is going to save me so much time disassembling USB enclosures". His link was to the ULT40112 on the site, i.e., the Canadian site for TigerDirect; it is available in the U.S. from I have devices that provide USB connectivity for hard drives that aren't in an enclosure, but none that support both IDE, aka PATA, and SATA drives.

Unfortunately, the plug on the Asian Power Devices WA-24E12 (output 12V 2A) power adapter I found near the drive that I thought went with the drive would not plug into the drive, even though according to information I found elsewhere online it should have worked for that drive. Another 12V 2A adapter, model ADS-24F-12 1224GPCU, I tried from another Seagate external USB disk drive enclosure did connect easily, though.

Seagate® Expansion™ External Data Sheet PDF icon

[/hardware/storage/Seagate] permanent link

Sat, Dec 20, 2014 5:38 pm

Checking the warranty on a Segate drive

If you want to check whether a Seagate disk drive is still under warranty, you can do so at either the Warranty Validation or the Customer Returns page. You can check the warranty for an internal hard disk drive or an external USB drive.

You will need to complete fields on the form for the following information:

If the warranty is expired, you will see "Warranty is expired for the entered Product/Serial". You won't see the date that the warranty expired on.

[/hardware/storage/Seagate] permanent link

Sat, Dec 20, 2014 1:58 pm

Viewing history of DNS server and IP Changes for a Domain

If you wish to view a history of Domain Name System (DNS) server changes for a domain name, you can do so through the WhoISrequest Domain History Checker, which tracks nameserver changes since 2002 for all COM, NET, ORG, INFO, BIZ and US domains.

E.g., if I put, which was registered in 1998, in the search field, I can see a list of all of the DNS servers that translated the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) to an IP address since WhoISrequest began tracking name server changes in 2002. The history information for that particular domain shows that registration for the domain name lapsed in 2013 and the domain name was picked up by a domain name squatter then. The domain name squatter let the domain registration lapse in the summer of 2014. I re-registered the domain name for the original owner, a family member, in October.

You can also view such information through the DNS History site, which notes "Here at DNS History we have been crawling DNS records since 2009, our index currently contains over 200 million domains and discovering over a billion DNS records."

If I put in the Doman Search field on that site, though, it does not have any information on it, though it does have information on, though that information was last updated on 2010-08-11, so that site's information does not appear to be as comprehensive nor as up-to-date as the information provided through the WhoISRequest site.

You can also find past name server and registration information through the Search Domain DNS and Name Server Information page. When you put a domain name in the search field, and click on "Search DNS and Name Servers", you will see information on the domain, such as name servers, SOA record, DNS records, including the mail exchanger (MX) servers for the domain. If you click on the History tab above that information, you will see past domain name registrars and name servers associated with the domain.

If you wish to see prior IP addresses associated with a domain name, you can use ViewDNSInfo IP History. I noticed when I checked with its tool, though, that it is not showing a change made near the end of October for that domain. The last change it shows was for 2014-07-05. The site also has a lot of other tools, e.g. Google Pagerank Checker, etc.

[/network/dns] permanent link

Thu, Dec 18, 2014 10:53 pm

Finding files by modification date in Windows

If you need to search a Microsoft Windows for files modified on a particular date or within a specific time span, you can use the datemodified qualifier within the Windows Explorer.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/explorer] permanent link

Sun, Dec 14, 2014 6:05 pm

Determining the accounts in the administrators group form a command prompt

To determine the accounts in the administrators group for a Microsoft Windows system, you can use the command net localgroup administrators
C:\Users\Administrator>net localgroup administrators
Alias name     administrators
Comment        Administrators have complete and unrestricted access to the computer/domain


mayberry\Domain Admins
The command completed successfully.

[/os/windows/commands] permanent link

Sun, Dec 14, 2014 5:45 pm

Copssh Connection Issues

When I tried connecting to a Windows 7 Professional system running Copssh 5.0.1 from PuTTY 0.58 on a Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 system, a "PuTTY Fatal Error" window appeared with the message "Couldn't agree a client-to-server cipher (available: aes128ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,,,". I tried connecting from the same system with an OpenSSH_3.8.1p1 SSH client that is part of OpenSSH for Windows and received the message "no kex alg", which may mean "no key-exchange algorithm". When I tried specifying the encryption cipher using the OpenSSH client, I received an error message similar to the one I saw with PuTTY.
C:\Program Files\SSH\OpenSSH\bin>ssh -c 3des jdoe@
no matching cipher found: client 3des-cbc server aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,,,
C:\Program Files\SSH\OpenSSH\bin>ssh -c blowfish jdoe@
no matching cipher found: client blowfish-cbc server aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,,,

When I tried connecting from the SBS 2003 system to another system, to which I could successfully connect with the OpenSSH SSH client, when I specified the -v option for debugging output with ssh -v, I saw the following:

debug1: Remote protocol version 2.0, remote software version OpenSSH_6.4
debug1: match: OpenSSH_6.4 pat OpenSSH*
debug1: Enabling compatibility mode for protocol 2.0
debug1: Local version string SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_3.8.1p1
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT sent
debug1: SSH2_MSG_KEXINIT received
debug1: kex: server->client aes128-cbc hmac-md5 none
debug1: kex: client->server aes128-cbc hmac-md5 none

I upgraded PuTTY on the client system from version 0.58 to 0.63. I then no longer received the message about no matching cipher being found, but, instead saw another "PuTTY Fatal Error" window open, this time with the message "Network error: Software caused connection abort". I saw the same error message when I used PuTTY's plink utility from the command line.

C:\Program Files\Network\SSH\PuTTY>plink -ssh jdoe@
Using username "jdoe".
jdoe@'s password:
FATAL ERROR: Network error: Software caused connection abort

I installed Bitvise SSH Client (Tunnelier) 6.08 and tried connecting with that client. Like with PuTTY, after I authenticated with the SSH server, I was immediately disconnected. I saw the following from Tunnelier:

First key exchange completed using ecdh-sha2/nistp521. Session encryption:
aes256-ctr, MAC: hmac-sha2-256, compression: none. Attempting password authentication.
Authentication completed.
The SSH2 session has terminated with error. Reason: FlowSocketReader: Error
receiving bytes. Windows error 10054: An existing connection was forcibly closed
by the remote host.

When I was able later to connect to the system running Copssh via RDP for troubleshooting after the user had left for the day, I checked its status log, which you can do on a Windows 7 system by the following steps:

  1. Click on Start.
  2. Select All Programs.
  3. Select Copssh.
  4. Select Copssh Control Panel.
  5. Under the Status tab, you will see an icon that looks like a piece of paper with one edge folded down. You may also see something like "6 events last 15 minutes" next to it. Double-click on that icon.

    Copssh Control Panel status tab

When I checked the log, I saw many "fatal: mm_request_receive: read: Connection reset by peer" messages. There was a "Received SIGHUP; restarting" entry hours later.

2014.12.12 23:26:23 - Received SIGHUP; restarting.
2014.12.12 18:30:02 - fatal: mm_request_receive: read: Connection reset by peer

Seeing that, I tried establishing a connection with PuTTY again and was then able to log in by SSH successfully.

But then when I tried logging in remotely by SSH two days later the problem was back. I restarted the service within the Copssh Control Panel by clicking on the green button next to "Service is running" to stop the service. When the button turned red, I clicked on it again to restart the service, but that didn't resolve the problem; I still got the "Network error: Software caused connection abort" message when I tried connecting via PuTTY 0.63 and I saw the "fatal: mm_request_receive: read: Connection reset by peer" message in the Copssh log for evey connection attempt. Though I didn't expect it to resolve the problem, I tried the "net stop" and "net start" commands from a command prompt.

C:\Users\Administrator>net stop "OpenSSH SSHD"
The Openssh SSHD service is stopping.
The Openssh SSHD service was stopped successfully.

C:\Users\Administrator>net start "OpenSSH SSHD"
The Openssh SSHD service is starting.
The Openssh SSHD service was started successfully.

But that did work. I was then able to successfully log into the system via SSH.

[/os/windows/network/ssh/copssh] permanent link

Sun, Dec 14, 2014 5:10 pm

Ripping a CD with Microsoft Windows Media Player 12

To rip a CD to the music libary stored on your system, i.e., to copy the music from the CD to the hard drive on a Windows sytem, using Windows Media Player 12, take the following steps:
  1. Insert the CD in the CD/DVD drive in the system.
  2. Start the Windows Media Player application.
  3. On the left pane of the Windows Media Player window, navigate to the location of the CD/DVD drive, which should be displaying the album as shown below where the album is identified as "unknown album"

    Windows Media Player Rip CD to Library

  4. Right-click on the CD in the left pane of the window and choose "Rip CD to library. As the CD is "ripped", you should see the status displayed under "Rip status" near the top of the window; status information is also displayed in the lower, right-hand side of the window.

    Windows Media Player Rip Status

    The status under "Rip status" should change to "Ripped to library" at the completion of the rip process.

On a Microsoft Windows 7 system, you should then see the name of the album in your music folder under Libraries\Music or C:\Users\Username\Music\, where Username is the name for the account under which you logged into the system, if you look for it using the Windows Explorer. If the album/artist could not be identified by Windows Media Player, you may see an "Unknown artist" folder with an "Unknown album" folder within it. From the Windows Explorer, you can right-click on the folder names and change them, if you wish.

[/os/windows/software/audio-video/WMP] permanent link

Fri, Dec 12, 2014 11:54 pm

DNSQuerySniffer v1.35

I installed DNSQuerySniffer v1.35 on a Microsoft Windows Professional system which has been generating a lot of unusual DNS and HTTP traffic even when the owner of the system is not using the system. E.g., I've seen a lot of such traffic overnight, far more than can be accounted for by normal processes running and checking on available updates, etc. And the websites being contacted are not ones I would expect to be contacted. DNSQuerySniffer allows the DNS queries and responses from DNS servers to the system on which the software is installed to be monitored and captured for later analysis.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/software/network/dns] permanent link

Wed, Dec 10, 2014 11:53 pm


If you need to boot a system outside of the operating system residing on its hard disk drive, a live CD or DVD provides a means to boot the system from an optical drive with an operating system that is on the CD or DVD. There are many Linux-based live CDs, which can be used to boot and troubleshoot systems running Microsoft Windows as well as those running Linux. Many Linux-based live CDs have antivirus, backup utilities, etc. that facilitate troubleshooting and maintenance of Windows systems. One such live CD is SystemRescueCd.

[ More Info ]

[/os/unix/linux] permanent link

Tue, Dec 09, 2014 11:32 pm

Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Error from Dell Stage

On a Dell desktop system running Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, for awhile now whenever the user logged into her account, a Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Library window opened with the following information displayed:

Runtime Error!

Program: C:\...


This application has requested the Runtime to terminate it in an
unusual way.
Please contact the application's support team for more information.

[  OK   ]

Checking on the application that was creating the window, I found it to be "Dell Stage", which was software preinstalled on the system, which I uninstalled.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/software] permanent link

Sun, Dec 07, 2014 10:45 pm

Scan of Windows system with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on 2014-12-07

When I scanned a Windows 7 Professional system with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware it reported a file associated with PUP.Optional.TorchMedia, which I had it remove.

[ More Info ]

[/security/malware] permanent link

Sun, Dec 07, 2014 7:30 pm

Rotate the DNS server log file on a Windows server

For a site where a Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 system serves as a DNS server, I wanted to rotate the DNS log file every night at midnight. The log file is named DNS.log and I'd like to close the current log at midnight renaming it to DNS_YYYYMMDD.log where YYYY is the 4-digit year, MM, the month (1-12) and DD the day (1-31). The system date can be put in the format YYYYMMDD using substring extraction as explained at Appending a date to a filename in batch files.

Renaming the log file requires stopping the DNS server service, which can be done with the command net stop "DNS Server". If you try to move the file without stopping the service, you will receive the message below:

D:\Logs\DNS>move dns.log dns_old.log
The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process.
        0 file(s) moved.

After the file is moved/renamed, the DNS server service can be restarted with net start "DNS Server".

The location of the DNS log file is stored in the Windows Registry. A REG QUERY command can be used to obtain the current location for the file as explained at Determing the location of a Microsoft Windows DNS log file from a command prompt. After the location and name of the file is determined, the DNS server service can be stopped, then the current log file can be renamed, and the DNS server service can be restarted, creating a new log file with the name and at the location indicated by the registry entry.

The batch file is shown below and is available here.

@echo off

REM Name: rotatednslog.bat
REM Version: 1.0
REM Created: December 6, 2014
REM Last Modified: December 6, 2014
REM: Location of latest version: 
REM Description: When scheduled to run at the end of each day, this batch
REM file will roate the DNS server log. The DNS server service will be
REM stopped temporarily, so the current DNS log can be renamed to a log file
REM with the name DNS_YYYYMMDD.log, where YYYY is the year, MM the month, and
REM DD the day. The DNS server service will then be restarted creating a
REM new DNS log file. The current location of the DNS log file is obtained
REM from the Windows Registry.

REM Required for substituting the contents of a variable in string subsitution
REM employed to insert the contents of the date variable YYYYMMDD in the log
REM file name.


REM Windows Registry key holding the location of the DNS log file

SET regkey="HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\DNS\Parameters"

REM Registry value needed from the above key

SET regvalue="LogFilePath"

REM Extract only the file location from the output of the reg query command

FOR /F "tokens=3" %%G IN ('reg query %regkey% /v LogFilePath ^| find %regvalue%') DO set logfile=%%G

REM Set the variable YYYYMMDD to today's date in YYYYMMDD format where
REM YYYY = 4-digit year, MM is month (1-12), and DD is day (1-31)

SET YYYYMMDD=%DATE:~10,4%%DATE:~4,2%%DATE:~7,2%

REM Set the name for the rotated log file to have "_YYYYMMDD.log" at the
REM end of the file name.  Need to use delayed expansion.

SET renamedlog=!logfile:.log=_%YYYYMMDD%.log!

REM Stop the DNS server service


REM Move the log file to its new location with its new name.
REM Since you cannot specify a new drive or path for your destination file with
REM the RENAME command, I'm using the MOVE command, instead, in case I may
REM wish to update this batch script to move the file to another drive and/or
REM directory.

MOVE %logfile% %renamedlog%

REM Restart the DNS server service


If it is run from a command prompt, you will see the following output:

C:\Program Files\Utility\Scripts>rotatednslog
The DNS Server service is stopping.
The DNS Server service was stopped successfully.

        1 file(s) moved.
The DNS Server service is starting.
The DNS Server service was started successfully.

Since I would like the batch file to execute at the end of each day, I scheduled it to run at 23:59 (11:59 PM) Monday through Sunday with the command at 23:59 /every:m,t,w,th,f,s,su "C:\program files\utility\scripts\rotatednslog.bat (specify the location for the batch file).

C:\Program Files\Utility\Scripts>at 23:59 /every:m,t,w,th,f,s,su "C:\program files\utility\scripts\rotatednslog.bat"
Added a new job with job ID = 5

I could have used 00:00 to run the batch job at midnight, but I set it to run 1 minute before midnight to be sure that the date inserted in the name of the file is the one for the day that has just ended rather than the date of the new day.

If you want to see the details of scheduled batch jobs, you can just enter at without any parameters at the command line and hit return. You will then see all the scheduled batch jobs. There may be gaps in the ID numbers if some batch jobs have been deleted.

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>at
Status ID   Day                     Time          Command Line
        1   Each M T W Th F S       7:30 PM       d:\backups\daily.bat
        2   Each Su                 7:30 PM       d:\backups\weekly.bat
        5   Each M T W Th F S Su    11:59 PM      "C:\program files\utility\scripts\rotatednslog.bat"

If you wish to delete a scheduled batch job you can use at id /delete, where id is the numeric ID assigned to a batch job. E.g., the rotatednslog batch job above could be deleted with at 5 /delete.

[/network/dns/windows] permanent link

Fri, Dec 05, 2014 11:27 pm

Determine the file name and extension from a string containing path and filename

For Microsoft Windows systems, if you have a string or variable holding the complete path to a file and the file name and extension, but you wish to have just the file name and the extension of the file you can use %~nx1 which will expand the batch parameter expansion variable %1 to a file name and extension.

Other modifiers you can use in expansion are as follows:

%~1 Expands %1 and removes any surrounding quotation marks ("").
%~f1 Expands %1 to a fully qualified path name.
%~d1 Expands %1 to a drive letter.
%~p1 Expands %1 to a path.
%~n1 Expands %1 to a file name.
%~x1 Expands %1 to a file extension.
%~s1 Expanded path contains short names only.
%~a1 Expands %1 to file attributes.
%~t1 Expands %1 to date and time of file.
%~z1 Expands %1 to size of file.
%~$PATH:1 Searches the directories listed in the PATH environment variable and expands %1 to the fully qualified name of the first one found. If the environment variable name is not defined or the file is not found, this modifier expands to the empty string.

Combinations of modifiers and qualifiers that you can use to get compound results are shown in the table below:

%~dp1 Expands %1 to a drive letter and path.
%~nx1 Expands %1 to a file name and extension.
%~dp$PATH:1 Searches the directories listed in the PATH environment variable for %1 and expands to the drive letter and path of the first one found.
%~ftza1 Expands %1 to a dir-like output line.

In the examples above, you can use other batch paramters besides %1 and PATH. Cmd.exe provides the batch parameter expansion variables %0 through %9.

Batch parameters can't be manipulated in the same manner that you can manipulate environment variables. You can't search and replace values or examine substrings within them. You can, however, assign the parameter to an environment variable and then manipulate the environment variable.

So, if I wanted just the file name dns.log from d:\logs\dns.log, I could use the following in a batch file:

@echo off
call :getfilename "d:\logs\dns.log"
exit /b

REM Determine just the file name

echo %~nx1

If I have the above batch commands in a file called test.bat, I would see the following when I ran it.


If there is a Windows Registry key containing the file location and I want to query that key and extract just the file name, I could use commands such as the following if the file location was stored in LogFilePath for the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\DNS\Parameters:

@echo off

REM Regkey is set to the registry key containing the location of the DNS log 
REM file

set regkey="HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\DNS\Parameters"

REM Regvalue is set to the value that is desired from the above registry key

set regvalue="LogFilePath"

REM log_file_location is set to contain the complete path to the log file nad
REM its name, e.g., d:\logs\dns\dns.log

FOR /F "tokens=3" %%G IN ('reg query %regkey% /v LogFilePath ^| find %regvalue%') DO set log_file_location=%%G

call :getfilename %log_file_location%
exit /b

REM Determine just the file name

echo %~nx1


  1. Using batch parameters
    Microsoft Corporation
  2. Determing the location of a Microsoft Windows DNS log file from a command prompt
    Date: November 22, 2014
    MoonPoint Support

[/os/windows/commands] permanent link

Fri, Dec 05, 2014 12:45 pm

Using tcpdump on OS X

When I tried running tcpdump on a MacBook Pro laptop running Mac OS X 10.8.5 from an account that was configured to "Allow user to administer this computer" in System Preference/Users & Groups, I received a "no suitable device found" message.
$ tcpdump
tcpdump: no suitable device found

The problem can be addressed by changing the ownership or permissions of the Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) file in /dev. The default permissions and ownership are shown below:

$ ls -l /dev/bpf*
crw-------  1 root  wheel   23,   0 Nov 30 22:42 /dev/bpf0
crw-------  1 root  wheel   23,   1 Dec  4 21:45 /dev/bpf1
crw-------  1 root  wheel   23,   2 Dec  4 15:39 /dev/bpf2
crw-------  1 root  wheel   23,   3 Nov 30 22:41 /dev/bpf3

To resolve the problem, I changed the ownership of the bpf0 file to the account I was using:

$ sudo chown jdoe /dev/bpf0

I also checked to see what the designation was for the wireless adapter in the system. It was en1.

$ networksetup -listallhardwareports

Hardware Port: Bluetooth DUN
Device: Bluetooth-Modem
Ethernet Address: N/A

Hardware Port: Ethernet
Device: en0
Ethernet Address: d4:9a:20:0d:e6:cc

Hardware Port: FireWire
Device: fw0
Ethernet Address: d4:9a:20:ff:fe:0d:e6:cc

Hardware Port: Wi-Fi
Device: en1
Ethernet Address: f8:1e:df:d9:2b:66

VLAN Configurations

I then tried again to run tcpdump specifying the wireless interface; this time I received a "You don't have permission to capture on that device message with a reference to bfp1, so I changed the ownership on that file as well. I was then able to observe traffic with tcpdump.

$ sudo chown jdoe /dev/bpf0
$ tcpdump -i en1
tcpdump: en1: You don't have permission to capture on that device
((no devices found) /dev/bpf1: Permission denied)
$ sudo chown jdoe /dev/bpf1
$ tcpdump -i en1
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on en1, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 65535 bytes

I changed the ownership back to root on /dev/bpf0 to see if I could still run tcdump, but when I did so I was no longer able to observe network traffic with tcpdump.

$ sudo chown root /dev/bpf0
$ tcpdump -i en1
tcpdump: en1: You don't have permission to capture on that device
((no devices found) /dev/bpf0: Permission denied)

I could have just changed ownership of all of the bpfx files in /dev initially with sudo chown jdoe /dev/bbf*, but I wanted to determine if I only needed to change a specific one for the wireless interface, en1. Alternatively one can expand the permissions on those files, e.g., one can use sudo chmod 644 /dev/bpf*. When the system is rebooted the permissions/ownership will be reset, so you will have to take the same steps to run tcpdump subsequent to a reboot of the system.

I specifically wanted to check on DNS queries, so, after changing the ownership for the bpf file back to the account I was using, I specified port 53, but saw no data.

$ tcpdump -i en1 'port 53'
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode

I wasn't able to observe the DNS traffic until I ended the VPN connection I was using when I ran the command. Once I disconnected from the VPN, I was able to check on the DNS queries from the system and the responses from a DNS server.


  1. Tcpdump Permission Denied on OS-X
    Date: June 12, 2007
    MoonPoint Support
  2. Managing Wi-Fi from the terminal command line under OS X
    Date: February 28, 2014
    MoonPoint Support
  3. No Interfaces Available In Wireshark Mac OS X
    Date: January 31, 2010 Languishing since 2008.

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Tue, Dec 02, 2014 9:45 pm

Shellshock Vulnerability on OS X Systems

You can test a system to determine if it may be vulnerable to being exploited through the shellshock, aka bashdoor, vulnerability using the command env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c 'echo this is a test'. If it is vulnerable, you will see the commands executed that appear after the semicolon. On vulnerable systems, Bash is executing commands that are concatenated at the end of function definitions stored in the contents of environment variables.

When I checked a MacBook Pro running, OS X 10.8.4, I saw output indicating it was vulnerable, i.e., I saw "vulnerable" displayed when the command was run. The check can be performed by opening a Terminal window and entering the code. The terminal application is in Applications/Utilities.

$ env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c 'echo this is a test'
this is a test

A bash shell prompt could be otained by a malicious remote user if Remote Login was enabled and Guest Access was also enabled, though, hopefully, if Remote Login was enabled, Guest Access would not be enabled. Of course, a malicious person could also gain access to the system remotely if Remote Login is enabled and a weak password is present for an account on the system that is allowed remote access.

A OS X system could also be vulnerable if it is functioning as a web server and there are scripts present on the server that would allow an attacker to provide any input he wishes that could be executed as code by the script.

Apple released a fix for the vulnerability for OS X systems on September 29, 2014.

After the laptop was upgraded to OS X 10.8.5 and security updates were applied, I didn't see "vulnerable" displayed when the code was executed.

$ env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c 'echo this is a test'
this is a test

And when I tested the related vulnerability CVE-2014-7169, the date was no longer displayed.

$ env X='() { (a)=>\' sh -c "echo date"; cat echo
cat: echo: No such file or directory

A system that has been patched for both CVE-2014-6271 and CVE-2014-7169 will simply echo the word "date" and the file "echo" will not be created, as shown above.


  1. Shellshock Vulnerability: What Mac OS X users Need to Know | The Mac Security Blog
    By Derek Erwin
    Date: September 26, 2014
    Intego - Mac Antivirus & Security
  2. Shellshock (software bug)

[/security/vulnerabilities/multios] permanent link

Mon, Dec 01, 2014 10:32 pm

Searching for messages in Outlook 2010

Microsoft Outlook 2010 provides a means to quickly search through email for particular messages by specifying multiple criteria in its search field. It also provides the means to use logical operators, such as NOT to exclude some messages that you deem not pertinent.

[ More Info ]

[/network/email/clients/outlook] permanent link

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