Curtis Johnstone Curtis Johnstone's Personal Blog

September 10, 2011

How to Check a MD5 or SHA1 Checksum on a File in Windows

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , — admin @ 10:15 am

Many shareware and open source projects are using MD5 or SHA1 checksum’s to ensure that the executable file you download is the authentic executable you are about to run on your computer.

A checksum will be a long ugly looking strong like this MD5 checksum: 5b8a3ce687052c70d3ec524945a70fc4a68f5b5b.

To check that the file you downloaded is authentic, you can use a command line tool from Microsoft called “FCIV”.

The tool and instructions on how to use it is available here:

September 8, 2011

Using the Active Directory PowerShell Cmdlet’s

Starting in Windows 2008 R2, Microsoft included a PowerShell Active Directory module which includes a group of cmdlets to perform various administrative, configuration, and diagnostic tasks in your Active Directory environment. You can use these cmdlet’s to manage existing Active Directory user and computer accounts, groups, organizational units (OUs), domains and forests, domain controllers, and password policies, or you can create new ones.

The Active Directory module is available:

  • On Windows 2008 R2 server when you install the AD DS or AD LDS server roles.
  • As part of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) feature on a Windows Server 2008 R2 server
  • As part of the RSAT feature on a Windows 7 computer

To use the AD cmdlet’s you will need to import the ActiveDirectory module in PowerShell (V2 is required):

Import-Module ActiveDirectory


%windir%\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe -noexit -command import-module ActiveDirectory

A key requirement to use the AD cmdlet’s to manage an Active Directory deployment is the following:

A Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory Web Services (ADWS) service must be installed on at least one domain controller in the AD domain or on one server that hosts your AD LDS instance. For more information about ADWS, see AD DS: Active Directory Web Services (

If you receive this error:

‘Unable to find a default server with Active Directory Web Service running’

You do not have ADWS installed on at least one DC.

In addition, to use the Active Directory module in PowerShell to access or manage Active Directory services that are running on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003 computers, you need to install the Active Directory Management Gateway Service. See the Active Directory Management Gateway Service (Active Directory Web Service for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008).

Here is a useful cmdlet (that doesn’t require the ActiveDirectory module) to get information about your AD environment:



Active Directory Administration with Windows PowerShell (TechNet Reference of Cmdlets)

Windows PowerShell 2.0 Brings Scripting to Active Directory — and Not Just for Windows Server 2008 R2

Active Directory Management Gateway Service (Active Directory Web Service for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008)

August 30, 2011

Simple Healthy Foods Tips

Filed under: Health — admin @ 9:51 pm

Good Foods – that also help ward off Cancer

  • Green Tea
    • Green tea acts as Blood Thinner
    • Loose leaf Japanese Green Tea is the best
  • Walnuts
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Omega 3 is good; Omega 6 is generally not good.
  • Dark Chocolate is generally good
  • Caffeine is fair

Not Good

  • Carbohydrates and Sugars are generally not good ; consume in moderation
  • Dairy with Growth Hormones are generally not good

Tool to Manage Certificates on Windows Clients & Servers

Filed under: Technology — admin @ 10:56 am

Certificate Manager (mmc snap-in)

  • Start from the command line: certmgr.mmc

Certificate Manager Tool (Certmgr.exe)

CertUtil.exe (comnmand line)

  • Certutil.exe is a command-line utility for managing a Windows CA
  • It is found in the Windows\System32 directory

A good overview article of how certificates work can be found here How Certificates Work (

120 Billion Litres of Water Wasted While Brushing Out Teeth!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:20 am

An interesting tid-bit I always wondered about – how much water is wasted while we do things like leave the tap on while brushing our teeth?

Thames Water estimated that leaving the tap running while brushing our teeth is sending about 120 Billion Litres of water down the drain:

August 25, 2011

iPhone/iPad Setting to Automatically Download New Purchases to Other Devices

If you have multiple Apple devices you might be interested in automatically having any new purchases on one device (say your iPhone) automatically download and install on your other device (say your iPad).

You can control whether Apps or Books are automatically synchronized.

The setting is somewhat hidden the Store Settings.  Go to Settings > Store and you will see the setting there.

July 28, 2011

iTunes – The Library Files and Adding to the Library

The iTunes “Library” is really and index into all your media and applications; not really a library of content per se.

It consists of two files:

  1. iTunes Library.itl
  2. iTunes Library.xml

On Windows 7, the “Library” (these 2 files) are located in the path “\Users\<username>\My Music\iTunes\“.

For more information see this link: iTunes: What are the iTunes library files?

To add media to your iTunes Library that resides in a folder other than the default iTunes library folder, Import them in iTunes. That adds those files to the Library index, but keeps the actual media (e.g. mp4 file) in the original folder.

On the Windows version of iTunes use the “Add File to Library” or “Add Folder to Library” functionality.

For more information see this link: iTunes: About the Add to Library, Import, and Convert functions

This will add those files or folders to the iTunes index (Library) so that you can access them from iTunes and synchronize the content with other devices.

July 21, 2011

Microsoft Office 365 Plans–Summary

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , — admin @ 4:41 pm

Microsoft Office 365 is available for purchase is different “Plans” and in different combinations of features.

There are standalone plans for Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint Online, or they can be purchased together in an Office 365 Suite Plan.

There are primarily two types of Office 365 Suite Plans:

  1. P Plans = Professional / Small Business
  2. E Plans = Enterprise / Midsize

These are also referred to as “plan families”.  There are also a Kiosk Worker component that can be added to a plan.

Office 365 for Professionals and Small Businesses (Plan P1)
– typically targeted for < 25 users, but can accommodate up to 50 users.
– includes Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint
– Exchange mailboxes have a limit of 25 Gb
– includes Office Web Apps
– currently $6 per month
– Microsoft Office Professional Plus is optional, but recommended. It can be purchased through the the admin portal
– The Office 365 Trial Guide for Plan P is an excellent resource:
– This version can be trialed free for 30 days

Office 365 Enterprise and Midsize Business (Plans E1, E2, E3, E4)
– gives you rights to on-premise versions of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync
– E2 gives users Office Web Apps
– E3 gives access to all Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint features.
– E3 and E4 comes with Office Professional Plus (the software + licenses) for your desktops
– Since there is no specific Office 365 for education trial, the Plan E3 30-day trial experience is similar to Office 365 for education. The Plan E3 trial experience for education customers is only for evaluation purposes. This trial does not convert to a production version of Office 365 for education. For more information, contact your Microsoft account representative or partner.
– provides uptime guarantee
– pay-as-you-go pricing options is available for $24 per month
– existing BPOS customers pay $10 per month

Kiosk Worker Plans.

– K1 and K2
– K2 gives users read and write capabilities for Office Web Apps


Office 365 can be bought with individualized Component Plans or Suite Plans.

Office 365 Component Plans
Components plans are individualized plans that are available for purchase both as a standalone or part of a suite (the only exception is Exchange Online Archiving which is only sold standalone).  The following is the catalog of Office 365 component plans.

Office Professional Plus           Office Web Apps with SharePoint Plan 1
Exchange Online (Plan 1)        Office Web Apps with SharePoint Plan 2
Exchange Online (Plan 2)        SharePoint Online (Plan 1)
Exchange Online (Plan 2)        SharePoint Online (Plan 2)
Exchange Online Archiving     Lync Online (Plan 1)
Exchange Online Kiosk            Lync Online (Plan 2)

Office 365 Suite Plans
A suite plan consists of a set of component plans.  A suite is always sold at a discount relative to the sum of the prices of its components.  The following is the catalog of Office 365 Suite Plans:
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan E1)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan E2)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan E3)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan E4)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan K1)
Microsoft Office 365 (Plan K2)

Key References

  1. Office 365 for Enterprise Service Descriptions
    • individual documents describing functionality of all the services in the Office 365 plans.
  2. The Office 365 Trial Guide for Plan P
  3. Office 365 Trial Guide for Plan E
    • helps walk you through some key onboarding scenarios
  4. Office 365 Customer Purchase and Support Guide for Enterprise and Midsize
    • explains how O365 can be purchased in Components or Suites
  5. The Microsoft Office 365 Community

July 6, 2011

10 Tips to help you Clean Out Your Inbox

A really good article on improving the productivity of your email experience:

10 Tips to help you Clean Out Your Inbox

This post was written by Marsha Egan
Posted Under: Email Best Practices,Email Productivity Tips and Solutions,Productivity,Tips

To inaugurate “Clean Out Your Inbox Week” January 28 – February 1, we offer these 10 tips to help you get to “zero” by the end of this week!
1. Create e-folders to hold action items – avoid using your inbox as a “to do” list
2. Rename received e-mails so that you can search them more effectively
3. Return e-mail requests with phone calls
4. Avoid the tendency to “work” newly received e-mails if they are less important than your current project
5. Open your e-mail with the intention of sorting your new items, rather than “knocking the easy ones off”
6. Sort your e-mail in order from top to bottom or bottom to top – avoid scrolling
7. Copy only the people who REALLY need to see your message
8. Use “if/then” verbiage. e.g. “Please e-mail me if you haven’t received the package” rather than “Did you receive the pkg?”
9. Turn off automatic send/receive and turn off all dings and flashes. Open your e-mail when it is right for YOU
10. Send less e-mail. The more e-mail you send, the more e-mail you’ll get!

For more tips and helpful information, visit

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