Author Archives: brent

Cleaning up the winsxs folder on Windows 7

I noticed tonight that I was running very low on space on one of my personal machines whose Windows 7 install lives on a smaller SSD. Space is at a premium there, so I looked for where the bloat was coming from and tracked a large amount of usage to the C:\Windows\winsxs folder. Looking into what its contents were for I found it houses old install information to allow you to back out patches. Sometimes those patches are replaced by newer ones, but the old stuff remains.

Disk Cleanup Utility

The Disk Cleanup utility provided in a regular install can usually take care of this sort of thing. Cleaning that particular folder however requires an optional patch, one that might not be installed onto your system through the automatic update process depending on your settings. By installing KB2852386, running Disk Cleanup as Administrator will allow you to wipe out the cruft, and should free up a good amount of space, and while you won’t be prompted to reboot, you will not see all the space freed up until you have.

The $280 `htop` T-Shirt

Angelos Frentzos T-Shirt

Angelos Frentzos “Crash” T-Shirt

Having an interest in fashion and an interest in Linux are usually two very separate things for me. I don’t think System Administrators are well known for their style, and I definitely didn’t expect to be writing a post about it here, so imagine my surprise when I came across this particular shirt on antonioli.eu’s latest arrivals. Designed by Angelos Frentzos and priced at a whopping $280 Canadian, it’s quite a bit of money for a tee full of wacky computer speak! Immediately though, I noticed that calling it the “crash print” is a bit of a misnomer, as it looks like pretty typical htop output with some sort of window split. Curious about its origin, I thought I’d look into it.

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Installing ArchLinux AUR packages in a post-package signing world

ArchLinux and I aren’t the best of friends, its rolling release system just doesn’t jive with me. I only really installed it on a couple personal servers for experience with another distribution, so usually the boxes sit there doing their thing until I feel like setting up something new. When I run its first update in six months, something usually goes wrong, and I make my way over to their forums to figure out how to give pacman a kick in the butt to get things sorted.

This time around, I’m installing metasploit to test some equipment against the recent security flaws in UPnP that have been making some waves. A binary package isn’t available in the official repositories so in this case the Arch User Repository (AUR) picks up the slack to automate building from source. I’ve used this in the past with some success, but last year Arch finally implemented package signing. Turns out this complicates installing these personally built packages unless you temporarily disable it. Let’s not do that though, let’s stay consistent with package signing. In a larger environment with your own custom repo, you would definitely want to have this working, and there’s nothing wrong with learning more about your system.

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Aastra phones rebooting after DHCP lease changes

Working at a service provider for hundreds of VoIP customers with thousands of phones means you’re going to encounter problems that make you scratch your head. Every now and then one of those problems gets escalated to me and I’m left figuring out why something is happening. Sometimes that means running packet captures on all sorts of equipment, installing in-line network taps to grab traffic off the wire, or trudging through debug logs. Every now and then I get lucky, figure out the problem before we get started and look like a wizard. More often though, I’m left just as confused as everyone else.

This problem has come to me in a number of iterations, but it’s always intermittent, unexplained phone reboots that appear to have no rhyme or reason. Mid-call or sitting untouched, whatever the usage scenario, the customer was complaining that their phones were rebooting, affecting multiple Aastra models. The last time this was happening with noticeable frequency was several months back, and we thought we nabbed the problem when a provisioning error related to an access control list (ACL) on a switch was fixed. Phones stopped rebooting, the ticket was closed and the customer was happy.

Fast forward to the other day when the problem reared its ugly head again after multiple phones in their office rebooted unexpectedly. The ACL was still in place, so this was something new. What could it be this time?

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