Category: Infrastructure

Best app for analysing and visualising space usage on your hard drives. WinDirStat

I have been using this app for years and it’s still the best one out there.

WinDirStat ( is a brilliant application that trawls through you files on a disk analysing their files types, location and size.


When it finishes analysing (which it does remarkably quickly, but may take a few minutes) you get presented with a great looking ‘TreeMap’. Select a folder or file type shown in the lists and the associated part of the map is highlighted. This gives you a very quick feel for what’s taking up all that space.



Create a Wi-Fi hotspot on your laptop–Windows 8

I wanted to make a hotspot from my unconnected Wi-Fi adapter to allow access to the internet over my  wired Ethernet adapter. Connectify Lite was did not allow me to select my wifi adapter, so gave up and just used the manual method I found described in a very good blog with great instructions here

Why Cloud Based Email Hosting is the Better Option for Business Email

Hosting your corporate or business email in-house on an exchange server can entail several
risks. After all, buildings, businesses and even people have no guarantee of always remaining
safe. Fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes happen all the time, and severe damage
occur to both homes and businesses. If the building where you house your exchange server was
ever damaged as a result of flood, fire, or any other natural disaster, your server would also be
damaged. OK, so let’s say you are never hit by a natural disaster, you are one of the lucky ones.
Still, having an on-site exchange server implies a great responsibility – you must have the latest
firewall implementation, your IT personnel has to be trained in the latest security measures, and
you constantly have to update these skills to prevent hacker or phishing infiltration.

Is there a Better Solution?

Of course there is! A more cost efficient and safer solution to operating your email system
in a cloud based email infrastructure. Cloud computing is the latest in technology, and many
businesses are opting to sub-contract their email services to a cloud based email server because
of all the benefits this affords.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud is the latest hosting technique and is used for a number of business and personal services,
among which is email hosting. This has become a better option for storing confidential data like
email because the data resides in a central location that is off premises. So while your physical
location may be in Texas your cloud email infrastructure could be held in New York. Even then,
when you partner with a Cloud email hosting service, they usually back up your information to a
secondary cloud location, just to make sure the cloud location is not affected by a natural disaster

The Benefits

Traditional email server exchange hosting requires a dedicated server and the installation of
Microsoft Exchange server software. This implies a substantial business cost, often running
into the thousands of dollars. On the other hand, when you associate with a cloud based email
infrastructure partner, most of these costs are absorbed by the associated company and you share
the costs of the server and Microsoft exchange with other users.

Additionally, the outsourcing of your email servers means you can use your IT department
personnel more efficiently, placing them on tasks that influence the actual running of your
business and not on the management of your email systems.

Is this Safe?

While email is certainly confidential and you may be concerned about trade secrets, most of
these are not carried over email information. Additionally, Cloud email hosting services offer the
highest of encryption services, often compared to that used by military departments. This means

your email is kept as safe as possible and hackers, phishing experts and fraudsters are unable to
access these email databases.

Back Ups

By contracting an external cloud based email service you no longer have to worry about back
up issues. Your new service provider offers this task within its service contract. Backups
are performed automatically and kept available for a period of time (based on the contract

Bottom Line

There is a valid reason for the turning of many companies to cloud based hosting of email
services. Primarily, these involve more safety but also lower costs. It is a more streamlined and
functional way of keeping your email system working efficiently.

Checkout the offering from SendGrid at

Delete and clear space taken up by Offline files in Windows 7

It took me a while to find this out, so to help others I have given the steps here. This will delete any locally cached off-line files from the mapping or computer that you set off-line files on.

  1. Either open the ‘Sync Center’ and click on ‘Manage offline files’ or just type ‘offline’ in the start menu and select ‘Manage offline files’.
  2. Then in the ‘General’ tab of the ‘Offline Files’ window, click on ‘View your offline files’
  3. You will now see an explorer window at the ‘Offline Files Folder’ level.
  4. Now you need to drill down to the specific mapped network drive or network computer you are caching local content from. In the next example I want to clear out a mapped drive, so I double-click on ‘Mapped Network Drives’
  5. You can see any mapped drives with off-line content. Right-click on the drive and select ‘Delete Offline Copy’

Testing an SMTP Service using telnet

Here’s a quick way to manually test your SMTP service.

The best plan is to run this test on the server first (ensure that localhost or is allowed to access the service) and then from a remote client next.

Follow these steps

(the response examples are those returned against a Windows 2008 R2 Server SMTP Service):

  1. Type Telnet <server name or IP> 25 at a command prompt, and then press ENTER.

    The output should look something like:
    CP5-15164 Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service, Version: 7.5.7600.16601 ready at  Fr
    i, 16 Sep 2011 11:23:30 +0100

  2. Type ehlo, and then press ENTER.

    The output resembles the following: 
    250-CP5-15164 Hello []
    250-SIZE 2097152
    250 OK

  3. Type mail, and then press ENTER.

    The output resembles the following:
    250 2.1.0….Sender OK

  4. Type rcpt, and then press ENTER.

    The output resembles the following:
    250 2.1.5

  5. Type Data, and then press ENTER.

    The output resembles the following:
    354 Start mail input; end with <CRLF>.<CRLF>

  6. Type Subject:Test # subject, and then press ENTER two times.
  7. Type Test # body, and then press ENTER.
  8. Press ENTER, type a period (.), and then press ENTER.

    The output resembles the following:
    250 2.6.0 <CP5-151641XvpFVjCRG00000007@CP5-15164> Queued mail for delivery

  9. Type quit, and then press ENTER.

    The output resembles the following:
    221 2.0.0 CP5-15164 Service closing transmission channel

Windows Server Backup – Can’t handle greater than 2TB Volumes

I have just discovered that Windows Server Backup on Windows server 2008 R2 is incapable of backing up any volume 2TB or over. This, it turns out, is due to a VHD file limit. Backup essentially creates a VHD for each volume in the backup, which is great for recovery, but causes this annoying problem.

The not very helpful message you will receive if you try a full server backup when one of the volumes is too large is

“Volumes larger than 2088958 megabytes cannot be protected.”


The work-around is to not do full volume backups, but make your selection of folders. Choose ‘Custom’ backup configuration and then just select all the folders on the volume that is too large.


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