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  • 11 networking commands every Windows admin should use

    11 networking commands every Windows admin should use

    The Windows operating system contains numerous built-in, command line networking utilities. These tools range from the obscure to the commonplace. However, there are 11 built-in networking tools that Windows networking administrators should be familiar with.

    Ping

    I am guessing that the ping command is probably the most familiar, and most widely used of the utilities being discussed in this article, but that does not make it any less essential.

    Ping is used to test the ability of one network host to communicate with another. Simply enter the Ping command, followed by the name or the IP address of the destination host. Assuming that there are no network problems or firewalls preventing the ping from completing, the remote host will respond to the ping with four packets. Receiving these packets confirms that a valid and functional network path exists between the two hosts.

    networking utilities

     

    NetStat

    If you are experiencing problems with network communications, then network statistics can sometimes help point you toward the root cause of the problem. That’s where the aptly named NetStat command comes into play. This command has a number of different functions, but the most useful of these is to display network summary information for the device. To see this type of summary information, just type NetStat -e.

    ARP

    The ARP command corresponds to the Address Resolution Protocol. Although it is easy to think of network communications in terms of IP addressing, packet delivery is ultimately dependent on the Media Access Control (MAC) address of the device’s network adapter. This is where the Address Resolution Protocol comes into play. Its job is to map IP addresses to MAC addresses.

    Windows devices maintain an ARP cache, which contains the results of recent ARP queries. You can see the contents of this cache by using the ARP -A command. If you are having problems communicating with one specific host, you can append the remote host’s IP address to the ARP -A command.

    networking utilities

    NbtStat

    As I am sure you probably know, computers that are running a Windows operating system are assigned a computer name. Oftentimes, there is a domain name or a workgroup name that is also assigned to the computer. The computer name is sometimes referred to as the NetBIOS name.

    Windows uses several different methods to map NetBIOS names to IP addresses, such as broadcast, LMHost lookup, or even using the nearly extinct method of querying a WINS server.

    Of course, NetBIOS over TCP/IP can occasionally break down. The NbtStat command can help you to diagnose and correct such problems. The NbtStat -n command for example, shows the NetBIOS names that are in use by a device. The NbtStat -r command shows how many NetBIOS names the device has been able to resolve recently.

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    Hostname

    The previously discussed NbtStat command can provide you with the host name that has been assigned to a Windows device, if you know which switch to use with the command. However, if you’re just looking for a fast and easy way of verifying a computer’s name, then try using the Hostname command. Typing Hostname at the command prompt returns the local computer name.

    Tracert

    Contrary to what a rather infamous YouTube video might lead you to believe, Tracert isn’t pronounced “Tracer T,” nor can it show you how many people are using Google right this second. Instead, Tracert, or “Trace Route,” is a utility for examining the path to a remote host.

    Functionally, Tracert works similarly to Ping. The major difference is that Tracert sends a series of ICMP echo requests, and the request’s TTL increased by 1 each time. This allows the utility to display the routers through which packets are passing to be identified. When possible, Windows displays the duration and IP address or fully qualified domain name of each hop.

    IpConfig

    One utility that I find myself using constantly is IPConfig. At its simplest, the IPConfig command will display basic IP address configuration information for the device. Simply type IPConfig at the Windows command prompt, and you will be presented with the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway that the device is currently using.

    networking utilities

    If you would like to see more detailed information, then type IPConfig /all. Doing so causes Windows to display IP address configuration that is much more verbose. This is also the command that you will have to use if you want to see which DNS server the Windows device is configured to use.

    The IPConfig command can do much more than just display IP address configuration information. It also contains options that can help you to troubleshoot problems related to DNS and DHCP. For example, entering the IPConfig /FlushDNS command purges the contents of the computer’s DNS resolver cache.

    NSLookup

    NSLookup is a great utility for diagnosing DNS name resolution problems. Just type the NSLookup command, and Windows will display the name and IP address of the device’s default DNS server. From there, you can type host names in an effort to see if the DNS server is able to resolve the specified host name.

    Route

    IP networks use routing tables to direct packets from one subnet to another. The Windows Route utility allows you to view the device’s routing tables. To do so, simply type Route Print.

    The cool thing about the Route command is that it not only shows you the routing table, it lets you make changes. Commands such as Route Add, Route Delete, and Route Change allow you to make routing table modifications on an as needed basis. The changes that you make can be persistent or nonpersistent, depending on whether you use the -P switch.

    PathPing

    Earlier, I talked about the Ping utility and the Tracert utility, and the similarities between them. As you might have guessed, the PathPing tool is a utility that combines the best aspects of Tracert and Ping.

    Entering the PathPing command followed by a host name initiates what looks like a somewhat standard Tracert process. Once this process completes however, the tool takes 300 seconds (five minutes) to gather statistics, and then reports latency and packet loss statistics that are more detailed than those provided by Ping or Tracert.

    networking utilities

    NetDiag

    Perhaps the most useful of the network utilities that are built into Windows is NetDiag. The NetDiag command is designed to run a battery of tests on the computer in order to help the technician figure out why the computer is experiencing networking problems.

    One of the things that I really like about this tool is that although there are a number of optional switches that you can use, you don’t have to use any of them unless you want to. Entering the NetDiag command by itself will cause all of the available tests to be run.

    In some cases, NetDiag can not only identify problems, but can also fix those problems. Obviously, NetDiag cannot automatically correct every problem that it finds, but appending the /Fix parameter to the command will tell NetDiag to attempt to fix the problem automatically.

    The Windows operating system is jam packed with command line utilities. Many of these utilities are left over from operating systems that were introduced decades ago. Even so, the utilities that I have discussed in this article are every bit as useful today as they were when they were first introduced.

    Continue reading  Post ID 1176


  • Why Is the Dialogue So Quiet on My HDTV?

    Why Is the Dialogue So Quiet on My HDTV

    We’ve all been there: the characters on screen are talking and it’s way too quiet so you crank up the volume only to be blasted by a loud explosion two seconds later. Why is the dialogue so quiet and what can you do to fix it? Read on as we show you how to tame wild swings in TV audio output.

    Why Is There Such Variation In Volume?

    It’s a situation nearly everyone can relate to. You’re sitting there watching TV and suddenly the characters are talking in hushed tones about something important. You can’t hear what they’re saying very clearly so you turn the volume up until you can. Everything is perfect and you can hear their conversation clearly and then BOOM—a car crash, explosion, or sudden shift in action blows your eardrums out as the volume level skyrockets relative to the quiet conversation to which you were just listening.

    Why does it seem like so many TV shows and movies—especially action films—swing so wildly in volume levels? Unfortunately, it’s unlikely you can narrow down a common source of variable volume in different content to a single issue. Many can combine to create an annoying TV viewing experience. Let’s first take a look at of the issues that can cause this volume variability before we jump into what you can do about it.

    Continue reading  Post ID 1176


  • How to Run Android on Your Computer

    How to Run Android on Your Computer

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    Android isn’t largely thought of as a desktop operating system, but if you’re curious about how Google’s mobile OS works, running it on a device you already have isn’t a bad idea. This will give you an idea of what to expect on a phone or tablet, all without making a single change to your laptop or desktop since you can easily do this from a flash drive or memory card.

    Step One: Prep Your Drive (or Card) and Install Android

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    For this guide, you’ll need a USB drive or SD card that’s at least 2GB in size. Be sure to copy anything you want off of it, because you’ll need to format it as part of this process. So everything that’s currently on the drive will be lost forever. No pressure.

    With all your data backed up, you’ll need a build of the Android x86 project from here. I’m testing the 64-bit version of Android 6.0, but feel free to pick which one works best for your current setup. Click the “view” button to start the download—depending on your internet connection speed, this could take a bit of time to finish.

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    While that’s downloading, you’ll also want to download Rufus, a free Windows tool that will install Android onto the flash drive for us. It’s completely portable, so download and store it wherever you want—no installation necessary.

    Once everything is finished, launch Rufus. You may get a warning from Windows asking if you want to allow Rufus to make changes to your device—just click “Yes.”

    2017-02-03_09h24_30

    With Rufus up and running, go ahead and choose your USB drive in the top dropdown box. this is a crucial step to get correct, since Rufus will erase the drive in question. If you have more than one removable drive inserted into your computer, double-check the drive letter to make sure you’re installing to the correct one!

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    Next, make sure “FAT32” is selected from the File System dropdown.

    2017-02-03_09h26_55

    Lastly, tick the “Create bootable disc using” box, then select ISO Image from the dropdown.

    Continue reading  Post ID 1176


  • How to Tweak wp-config.php to Protect Your WordPress Site –

    If you think your site is safe because it doesn’t have any content worthwhile to hackers, think again, because the vast majority of security breaches aren’t aimed at stealing your data or defacing your site.

    Hackers generally want to use your server as an email relay for spam, or to setup a temporary web server, usually to serve illegal files. If you’re hacked, get ready to shell out money for soaring server costs.

    There are plenty of different ways you can strengthen the security of your site or Multisite network, but one of the simplest is to tweak your wp-config.php file. Updating this configuration file, while not a sure-fire solution for keeping out hackers, is worth doing as part of your overall security strategy.

    With that in mind, let’s look at what WordPress constants are and how to use them to make changes to your wp-config.php file to boost your site’s security.

    Setting WordPress Constants

    In your WordPress configuration file, also called wp-config.php, you can set what are called constants in PHP to execute certain tasks. WordPress has many constants you can use.

    The PHP documentation describes constants as:

    “A constant is an identifier (name) for a simple value. As the name suggests, that value cannot change during the execution of the script (except for magic constants, which aren’t actually constants). A constant is case-sensitive by default. By convention, constant identifiers are always uppercase.”

    Simply put, you can set a value to have a name. It’s also applied globally across an entire script so you can use it again and again. Constants are case-sensitive and usually contain only uppercase letters and underscores.

    An actual constant used in WordPress is WP_DEBUG and this is a great example of how to properly name them since they can only begin in a letter or a single underscore. (You can read more about how to use WP_DEBUG here.)

    Constants are also wrapped in the define() function as shown in this basic syntax example:

    define(‘NAME_OF_CONSTANT’, value);

    view raw syntax constants hosted with Image by GitHub

    In WordPress, the wp-config.php file is loaded before the rest of the files that makes up the core. This means, that if you change the value of a constant in wp-config.php, you can change how WordPress reacts and functions. You could disable certain features or enable them all by changing the value. In many cases, this can be done by changing false to true and vice versa, for example.

    Below are constants as well as other types of PHP code you can use in your wp-config.php file to amp up your security. Place them all above the following line in your wp-config.php file:

    /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */

    view raw wp-config.php stop editing hosted with by GitHub

    Warning: In Case of Emergency

    Since the changes you’re about to make can drastically alter your site, it’s a good idea to back it up. If a mistake is made, you can quickly restore your site to a point before you made any changes and once your site is functioning as normal, you can try again.

    For more details on how to create a backup or restore your site, check out some of our other posts: How to Backup Your WordPress Website (and Multisite) Using Snapshot, Backup Plugins Aren’t About Backing up, They’re About Restoring and 7 Top Premium and Freemium WordPress Backup Plugins Reviewed.

    If you find you have already been hacked and you’re trying to beef up your site’s security, install a security plugin such as Defender and give hackers the smackdown.

    Continue reading  Post ID 1176