Activation tool to use Windows OEM Key from BIOS

A simple tool to extract and use the Windows activation key from BIOS.
The tool will extract the key Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line.
The key extracted will be install and activated using Windows Software Licensing Management Tool.

Tool is command-line based.

Can be used with your favorite client management tool

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Activate-using-Windows-OEM-db93ca97

HTTP Error 500.0 – The FastCGI process exited unexpectedly

Link

Came across this error today:

HTTP Error 500.0 – Internal Server Error C:\PHP\php-cgi.exe – The FastCGI process exited unexpectedly

I was working on a Windows Server 2012 R2 with IIS installed.

After installing PHP 5.6 the error occured when trying to access any php files.
So apparently you need VC++ 11 runtime for PHP 5.5 or newer.
the solution was quick, download, install and iisreset (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30679)

Make sure you download and install the x86 version (vcredist_x86.exe), PHP on Windows isn’t 64 bit yet.

If you’re running PHP 5.4.x then you need to install the VC++9 runtime (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5582)

 

 

 

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface

For many years BIOS has been the industry standard for booting a PC. BIOS has served us well, but it is time to replace it with something better. UEFI is the replacement for BIOS, so it is important to understand the differences between BIOS and UEFI. In this section, you learn the major differences between the two and how they affect operating system deployment.

Introduction to UEFI

BIOS has been in use for approximately 30 years. Even though it clearly has proven to work, it has some limitations, including:

  • 16-bit code
  • 1 MB address space
  • Poor performance on ROM initialization
  • MBR maximum bootable disk size of 2.2 TB

As the replacement to BIOS, UEFI has many features that Windows can and will use.

With UEFI, you can benefit from:

  • Support for large disks. UEFI requires a GUID Partition Table (GPT) based disk, which means a limitation of roughly 16.8 million TB in disk size and more than 100 primary disks.
  • Faster boot time. UEFI does not use INT 13, and that improves boot time, especially when it comes to resuming from hibernate.
  • Multicast deployment. UEFI firmware can use multicast directly when it boots up. In WDS, MDT, and Configuration Manager scenarios, you need to first boot up a normal Windows PE in unicast and then switch into multicast. With UEFI, you can run multicast from the start.
  • Compatibility with earlier BIOS. Most of the UEFI implementations include a compatibility support module (CSM) that emulates BIOS.
  • CPU-independent architecture. Even if BIOS can run both 32- and 64-bit versions of firmware, all firmware device drivers on BIOS systems must also be 16-bit, and this affects performance. One of the reasons is the limitation in addressable memory, which is only 64 KB with BIOS.
  • CPU-independent drivers. On BIOS systems, PCI add-on cards must include a ROM that contains a separate driver for all supported CPU architectures. That is not needed for UEFI because UEFI has the ability to use EFI Byte Code (EBC) images, which allow for a processor-independent device driver environment.
  • Flexible pre-operating system environment. UEFI can perform many functions for you. You just need an UEFI application, and you can perform diagnostics and automatic repairs, and call home to report errors.
  • Secure boot. Windows 8 and later can use the UEFI firmware validation process, called secure boot, which is defined in UEFI 2.3.1. Using this process, you can ensure that UEFI launches only a verified operating system loader and that malware cannot switch the boot loader.

Versions

UEFI Version 2.3.1B is the version required for Windows 8 and later logo compliance. Later versions have been released to address issues; a small number of machines may need to upgrade their firmware to fully support the UEFI implementation in Windows 8 and later.

Hardware support for UEFI

In regard to UEFI, hardware is divided into four device classes:

  • Class 0 devices. This is the UEFI definition for a BIOS, or non-UEFI, device.
  • Class 1 devices. These devices behave like a standard BIOS machine, but they run EFI internally. They should be treated as normal BIOS-based machines. Class 1 devices use a CSM to emulate BIOS. These older devices are no longer manufactured.
  • Class 2 devices. These devices have the capability to behave as a BIOS- or a UEFI-based machine, and the boot process or the configuration in the firmware/BIOS determines the mode. Class 2 devices use a CSM to emulate BIOS. These are the most common type of devices currently available.
  • Class 3 devices. These are UEFI-only devices, which means you must run an operating system that supports only UEFI. Those operating systems include Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2. Windows 7 is not supported on these class 3 devices. Class 3 devices do not have a CSM to emulate BIOS.

Windows support for UEFI

Microsoft started with support for EFI 1.10 on servers and then added support for UEFI on both clients and servers.

With UEFI 2.3.1, there are both x86 and x64 versions of UEFI. Windows 10 supports both. However, UEFI does not support cross-platform boot. This means that a computer that has UEFI x64 can run only a 64-bit operating system, and a computer that has UEFI x86 can run only a 32-bit operating system.

How UEFI is changing operating system deployment

There are many things that affect operating system deployment as soon as you run on UEFI/EFI-based hardware. Here are considerations to keep in mind when working with UEFI devices:

  • Switching from BIOS to UEFI in the hardware is easy, but you also need to reinstall the operating system because you need to switch from MBR/NTFS to GPT/FAT32 and NTFS.
  • When you deploy to a Class 2 device, make sure the boot option you select matches the setting you want to have. It is common for old machines to have several boot options for BIOS but only a few for UEFI, or vice versa.
  • When deploying from media, remember the media has to be FAT32 for UEFI, and FAT32 has a file-size limitation of 4GB.
  • UEFI does not support cross-platform booting; therefore, you need to have the correct boot media (32- or 64-bit).

Remove dependency for msvcr120.dll/msvcp120.dll in release versions

I know that there are some questions about, how to include msvcr120.dll/msvcp120.dll into your project.

If you want to drop that dependency. If you compile the program in release version, in Visual Studio 2013/2015 and do not depend on any VS-specific commands (#pragma etc.) or precompiled headers etc.

If you want to compile it to one single release .exe and provide it to user WITHOUT demanding enduser to install VC++ Redistributes for VS

You can statically link the runtime to your project by setting the /MT flag. You can find this option in Visual Studio 2013/2015 under Project > [ProjectName] Properties… > Configuration Properties > C/C++ > Code Generation > Runtime Library. Make sure to only set it for the Release configuration.

 

SUSDB Maintenance

So, you might be stuck with SUSDB maintenace issues – properly the maintence jobs won’t finish without getting timeouts? Something like this maybe?

Msg 1205, Level 13, State 54, Procedure spUpdateChangeTrackingNumber, Line 11

Transaction (Process ID 110) was deadlocked on lock resources with another process and has been chosen as the deadlock victim. Rerun the transaction.
here is a script that will help you – you might have to run it multiple times

  1. Execute the next Query over then SUSDB database: exec spGetObsoleteUpdatesToCleanup
  2. Write down the number of Rows given by the output. 
  3. You can find the SQL script that executes the same StoredProcedures as the WSUS GUI, but directly over the database. We just need to change the parameter in SELECT TOP (XXXX) for the number of rows detected on the previous step, or higher.  Script download (the script can also be found at http://www.thomasmarcussen.com in the archive folder SUSDBClean.zip)      (Note: The process should be quite faster than the regular CleanUp on the GUI, but is possible that it can enter a DeadLock condition due to other operation from the WSUS Server. In this case, just re-run the Script)
  4. Once the Script finished successfully, try again the CleanUp from the WSUS GUI. Now it should finish very fast.
  5. For last, in order to keep the SUSDB healthy it is recommended to run the Maintenance script again in order to leave the database reindexed.