Monthly Archives: February 2011

Be a Hero

Giving Again

Last year around this time I wrote a post about my daughter who cut off her hair to donate it make wigs for cancer patients. The disease has hit my family and friends pretty hard as it has to many people. It’s very interesting to see my kids grasp the concept of service as it relates to helping those that are suffering. My wife and I keep open conversation about tough subjects with our children in hopes that that they grow up to help the community and others as we like to do.

This guy is going to helpsomeone.

Matt's going to jump for Heart!

Well this year my 10 year old son is taking his service to the next level. He will be raising money and jumping rope in the American Heart Associations Jump for Heart program.

Below are the Details

I’m joining millions of other kids to help save lives with the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope For Heart Program!  Will you help me?

I’m doing Jump Rope For Heart at my school and learning about kids with special hearts. I’m also learning about my own heart, and how to take care of it. And I’m getting active and jumping rope!

Some kids have special hearts – and need our help!  I’m raising money to help kids like them. The money I raise will help pay for education and for new medicines and treatments to be discovered.  It could help cure heart disease – for everybody!

You can help too!  Will you make a donation?  It’s fast and easy to do on my personal Web page! Just use the link below.
My Personal Page

Thank you for helping me save lives and be a Heart Hero!



Vista boot Stuck on a black screen with a mouse cursor

I’m not your help desk

Ok so a totally crazy name for a post. Here is the deal. I tend to be the tech support for much of my friends and family. My most recent conquest was one that was very challenging. I figured if it took me a few nights to figure it out and searching on the above got me the answer. It took a lot of reading comments in forums to get the right answer in my case. So I wanted to write a quick post with how I solved it and hopefully help someone out in the future.

So friend calls up and says, Geek Squad wants 130 bucks to upgrade my laptop to Windows 7. Can you do it? As usual I tell them to go to Geek Squad or use this other friendly company I know that does this on a regular basis. Essentially I don’t want to become their IT support for life. But an hour later he calls back and says, now this laptop won’t even boot. It just comes to a black screen with the mouse after I log in to the Vista login screen. Well I had some time that night so I said said drop it off I’ll take a quick look.

The Battle

So I tried the basics you will find if you search “Vista Black Screen Mouse Only” you will get long forums like this with various solutions and things to try. Mostly just people complaining about Microsoft. In any case this particular friend is not very technical so he would never have been able to figure this out.

I finally stumbled upon this thread which led me to the answer. It’s a long read and has lots of different answers but let me summarize.

1) Get to a command prompt using many of the ways described on the net. Pressing F8 on boot, or if you have to power off and on the hard way it should bring up the startup menu with command prompt as an option.

2) Get to C:\Windows\System32 and run MSCONFIG.EXE like shown below.


Here is what to type in

3) This should pop the GUI which you can choose the selective startup options as shown below.

System Configuration Screen

Change to what's highlighted here!

4) Choose Ok and then restart.

Next Steps

At this point I was able to login and get the desktop back. I still assumed other things were wrong so I started cleaning the system with the typical spyware and virus tools. In this case the problem continued to exits so I used the Windows Easy Transfer tool described here to backup all his data. I then installed Windows 7 and recovered his data from the backup.

At this point the response is that his laptop has never worked better.

Hope this helps someone.

Powershell Baby Steps

T-SQL Tuesday

First timer for T-SQL Tuesday so not even sure if I’m doing this right. I was going to write this post at some point but kept putting off. However reading all the great posts today and my passion for automation have driven me to share.

Old Backups
The way we have our SQL backups setup we have a few servers with numerous shares on them. So each servers backups are mapped to a specific share on the backup server(s). Our backup jobs are set to remove backups over x hours old when a new one is created so we should never have bak files over x hours on the backups servers.

In a perfect world we would never have old files but the world is not perfect. The problem starts to occur when servers are decomissioned or files are put in folders for a restore and forgotten. Essentially overtime we end up with 100’s of GB’s worth of old BAK files out on our backups servers. Eventually they get noticed and cleaned up when we get low disk space alerts on our servers or someone stumbles upon an old file. Not a huge problem but there is no reason to have these old files out there so why waste the space.

So one day I was frustrated by the amount of old files out there as I was arguing with someone over needing more disk space for another project. I was having an angry day and started looking through the folders manually one at a time. I decided that was a colossal waste of time so I did some windows searches on files *.BAK that were older than 60 days, etc. After asking Dave Levy (blog | twitter) how to copy out my Windows Explorer search results to excel to share with the team he challenged me to just write a Powershell script to dump to a CSV file.

I don’t get to code much these days in my role so I took the challenge. Well actually Dave sent me a script and I made  2 small changes to it and ran it. Magic! I had a file in seconds that I could send out to the team so they can go clean up the files. I’m sure you POSH experts are saying Duh that’s a no brainer. Keep this in mind, I turned in my coding badge years ago and struggle at times to grasp new coding concepts.

My Script

Get-ChildItem -Path \\YOURBACKUPSERVERNAME\d$\ -recurse -include *.bak | Where-Object {$_.lastwritetime -le ‘1/1/2011’} | Export-Csv OldBackupReport.csv

Within 1 day we re-gained 1TB on our backup server drive and no need to buy more disk!

Can you guess what day I sent out the report?

Look at all that disk we saved!

This could be an automation stretch as I’m pretty much dumping out info to a file to have people go manually delete the files. I could have the script delete them I’m sure but I wanted to make sure we were not removing files that may be in process for a restore. I also considered scheduling this to run monthly and email the team which is something I might do in the future and post about at a later date.