All posts by bsdman

Currently working as an IT Manager. Worked for an OIT company as a Network Engineer in 2011. Worked for a Medical IT company as the Network Administrator 2009-2011. Worked as the Senior Systems Administrator at a computer reseller from 2005-2009. Worked as a Computer Consultant for several small companies from 2007-2009. Worked as a Computer Technician at a computer reseller from 2002-2004.

Top of Screen Black Bar

Windows 10 Pro 1809/1903/1909, Pro N 1909 have all experienced this issue in my tenure. I’m sure it’s more than that.

Basically when I have a maximized application on my primary screen, the top of the screen is blank (black bar). This has happened with Chrome, Slack, and Adobe so far. I should point out that this is both through a docking station as well as direct monitor connections; in any case I have 2 total displays active.

I’m not sure of a permanent fix, but the temporary ones include:

  1. Moving the application to the secondary monitor
  2. Un maximizing the application
  3. Pressing Shift + Ctrl + WIN + B – this resets the video driver
  4. Reboot

The reset of the video driver is not very impactful and definitely fixes my issue, so I usually try that one first.

Windows 10 Start Menu Search Blank

So my freshly-installed Windows 10 Pro N 1909 had an issue – I have gotten so used to pressing Windows Key and then typing “settings” or “control panel” or “my document name here”. Unfortunately I was greeted with a blank search box instead. Nothing loaded. Just blank. Gray even. Light gray.

So I searched trusty Dr. Google for the answer.

One recommendation was to remove Bing Search from showing in my search box. Fired up regedit:


Add DWORD "BingSearchEnabled" =0

Since I haven’t rebooted yet I don’t know if that will actually fix anything. But here we are anyway.

Next I restarted the Windows Search service.

Start > Run > Services.msc
Right-click and restart Windows Search service

That didn’t help either.

Finally I just killed the SearchUI.exe in task manager (don’t worry, it auto restarts itself).

Open Task Manager
Click on the Details Tab
Right-click on SearchUI.exe and select End Task

Stuff I Use

After recently chatting with some friends about various technologies I utilize, I figured it would be a good idea to just document all of the various products with a brief overview/review of each.


Cisco Switching
Cisco Catalyst 3560G 24 port Layer 3 Switch (my old core).
Unifi Switching
I switched (pun intended) to Unifi equipment a while back due to the price, ease of configuration, and the “underdog appeal”.
I have a US-24-250W, and 2x US-8-60W
Unifi Access Points
I’ve used Unifi AP’s ever since my free Meraki bricked itself due to lack of support contracts. Currently using Unifi UAC-AP-PRO’s (quantity 2).
All of the Unifi equipment is controlled by a Cloud Key Gen 2 Plus.
Untangle UTM
I’ve used Untangle over PFSense for a while now. I like the ability to alter everything within PFSense, and the wicked speed of it, but overall the ease-of-setup and the “it just works” of Untangle won me over. Well worth the $50 annual home license fees.
Protectli Firewall J3160 with 4GB RAM, 32GB MSATA.
Although if I had an opportunity to do it again, I’d get the upgraded model instead with its J3160, 8GB RAM, 120GB SSD.
After trying 2 different netgear models, trendnet, and 2 different linksys models, I learned of a rather unknown manufacturer called Extollo. I use Powerline LANSocket 1500 for my hard-to-reach-network-places in the house.


I have too many systems and may eventually list them here. Currently typing on an MacBook Air while watching a movie streamed from my Plex server that’s running on a proxmox hypervisor on a supermicro server. Collectively we have 5 laptops, a gaming desktop, and 4 servers (only 1 is currently powered on to save some money). That plex box also uses a NAS from QNAP TS-228 and nas4free/ubuntu/debian/etc.


I’ve used cameras both as a hobby (home use) as well as at several employers on a professional basis. These include cameras from Axis, HikVision, SuperCircuits, Unifi, Nest, Ring, and Blink.
In the house I have a Nest camera (with no storage plan) and a single Unifi UVC-G3-Micro. Outside I run the Blink XT2’s, a UVC‑G3, and a UVC‑G3‑DOME.
I also use the Nest Protects on each level of the house.

Home Automation

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Color Thermostat
Caseta Wireless Lighting Controls
Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door
Alexa – 2 Echo’s, an Echo Dot, and an Echo Show (5″ display)
Panicky Solar Motion lights 3 in the backyard for the dog and 1 on the side for the garbage cans.


After a 30+ hour power outage, we decided to get a standby generator. A ton of research later, we got a Kohler 14RESA Generator with service-entrance ATS. I have OnCue monitoring enabled so I can get alerts on the usage.
After a bit of a windfall of stock options, I moved forward with 15x 285w solar panels and an 5000w inverter.
Driving an electric car, we needed to enable some faster-than-120v-charging at home. Enter 50AMP 240v circuit! Ended up getting an GoPlug ESVE Car Charger.
Rechargable batteries from Fuvaly have been pretty awesome in our various remote controls.
We’ve signed up for the hourly pricing from our provider, so I also have a Rainforest EMU 2 to monitor our current power usage.

Telecom and Internet

Yealink on SIP


I’m a flashlight collector.
Car, Flashlight, toilets, humidifer, ac/heat, sumppumps zoeller TV, audio equipment, roku

Dump AD Information

I needed to grab all information about our current asset lists and our KACE tool was not to be believed in terms of inventory (HR said we have 500 employees, O365 said we have 615, and Kace said 322 devices).

Load up powershell on a domain controller Get-ADComputer -Filter * -Property * | Select-Object Name,OperatingSystem,OperatingSystemServicePack,OperatingSystemVersion,LastLogonDate | Export-CSV c:\logs\AllWindowsDump.csv -NoTypeInformation -Encoding UTF8

From there I could use Excel to massage the data and sort accordingly.

Joan Room Booking

I wanted to add some room booking assistants to our conference rooms. My last place used evoko units – which worked quite well – but they required 1) PoE ethernet drops and 2) $1100 each.

So after reading about Joan I decided to get one to try out. They offer both SaaS and on-prem hosting options; I opted for the on-prem because it is free and I haven’t setup a linux server in a while.

They don’t have installation steps for the software running on the host, but they do offer an OVF just for our needs (currently running VMWare 6.7 with VCenter). Great!

Followed along with ( the getjoan install site. Downloaded the OVF tgz file.
Already I was a bit upset – why is this compressed with tgz? I should note there is no space savings realized by performing these actions; we’re still at just over 2GB for the entire file, but now I have 3 copies of it..
Uncompressed it and now it’s a .tar file. Inside the .tar is the OVF and VMDK files I need, so I simply renamed this .tar to .ova and went about importing into VMWare.

Selected my files for import and during validation it FAILED!
Issues detected with selected template. Details: – 60:7:VALUE_ILLEGAL: Value ”lsilogic” of ResourceSubType element not found in []. – 69:7:VALUE_ILLEGAL: Value ”lsilogic” of ResourceSubType element not found in []. – 78:7:VALUE_ILLEGAL: Value ”3” of Parent element does not refer to a ref of type DiskControllerReference.

Super helpful. So I untar’d the file to be able to edit the .ovf manifest in my favorite text editor. I changed it from lsilogic to lsilogicsas and re-ran. Received a different error, but still no dice. Some google searches later led me to attempt to bypass vsphere completely and import directly onto one of my hosts.

http://host/ui and a login later, I had the OVA imported successfully! Yay!

Booted it up and it has the virtualbox tools already installed. This delays the startup of the machine while it waits:
“A start job is running for the raise network”
Five. Minutes. Later.

I’m on VMware, so this virtualbox bridged network won’t ever work!

Well, let’s install vmtools so that I can at least stop using the console and SSH in like a normal person: Failed!

Need to add the cdrom drive to the machine, but I can’t do that while it’s running. Stop the machine, add the CDROM drive, and start it back up.

Another. Five. Minutes. FML!

Fix the waiting game for Networking:
sudo mkdir -p /etc/systemd/system/networking.service.d/
sudo bash -c 'echo -e "[Service]\nTimeoutStartSec=20sec" > /etc/systemd/system/networking.service.d/timeout.conf'
sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Stop virtualbox from starting up and failing:
sudo systemctl disable vboxadd.service

Now to install vmware’s tools:
Using vcenter, select to install vmware tools on the running vm
Then, using command line:
sudo mkdir /mnt/cdrom
sudo mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
tar xzvf /mnt/cdrom/VMWareTools-* -C /tmp
cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/
sudo ./
Follow along with the wizard to install

I’ll potentially update this when/if I actually get into the configuration of Joan.

RDS Default Printers

We had an aging RDS 2012R2 farm that was in need of some upgrades; Installed RDS2016 and hoped it would fix a few issues. Overall it’s pretty good, but we made the mistake of not realizing the 2012 licenses were NOT under SA, so we had to reorder license CALs.

One of the major issues was when a user logged in and attempted to print, they would need to re-add their printer and set the defaults every time they logged in. A workaround would be to assign specific users to specific printers using GPO, but that gets a bit messy when we have users migrating between sites, locations, etc.

Open Regedit
Add the following REG_DWORD Value to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\Providers\Client Side Rendering Print Provider
RemovePrintersAtLogoff VALUE: 0

I rebooted afterwards and then verified it is working.

Show Sender’s Domain In Outlook View

While DKIM and SPF records have curbed some of the phishing attempts that “come from” my domain, there are still many times that users are confused as to why the CEO is emailing them wanting to change bank information or to buy hundreds of dollars of iTunes gift cards. I’m usually met with a “just block it” mentality. My best example is to say “Hello, my name is Bob Dole, pleasure to meet you”. They know I’m not actually Bob Dole, but that doesn’t prevent me from saying I’m Bob Dole. Then I show them my ID and tell them that’s similar to looking at the technical mail headers to figure out who sent this message (more importantly where it came from). And yes, before anyone asks, my ID is different from “Bob Dole”.

That being said, we created a rule for certain executives to prevent someone from doing something stupid (generally with money involved). All of our Executives, HR, and the Payroll team have a rule setup that when a sender shares the same name as one of those team members, AND is an external sender, I pre-append the message “*** THIS MESSAGE MAY BE PHISHING AS IT ORIGINATES FROM OUTSIDE THIS ORGANIZATION***”. I thought that would be enough, but we are still getting tickets asking if those messages are legit.

So now onto the actual meat of the post – to show the sender’s domain name in our standard outlook view. I wish it were as simple as choosing this in the field chooser, but alas…

*Note* this is on a per-folder view – not mailbox specific – and does not affect mobile or OWA access views. This also assumes you’re on Office2010 or later (I’m on 2016 FYI).

Open the mail folder you want to view sender domains (in my case it’s the Inbox).

Click on View, then on the Add Columns button

Now click on the New Column… button

Name: Sender Domain
Type: Formula
Click on the Edit button
Enter this text: right([SearchFromEmail],len([SearchFromEmail])-InStr(1,[SearchFromEmail],”@”))
Click OK

Now we should be back in the Show Columns/Field dialog where you can select your newly created column and move it “up” to where you want it to show. I end up showing it between Attachment and From fields.