Category Archives: IT Pro

Back to basics – installing drivers HP Zbook 14

This isn’t a very technically deep post but the method is something that has been helpful for me dealing specifically with HP Zbook 14 laptops.  I have never had more trouble installing graphics drivers in my entire life than the two years I’ve worked with this model laptop.

Anyway, this post isn’t about much other than to say when you’re updating drivers and nothing seems to be working you can always force the install through device manager.

Just open Device Manager and navigate to Display node.  Right click the corresponding display adapter you want to update.  Pick Update Driver Software.

I have the AMD card disabled (too buggy in Windows 10) which is why it isn’t present – but this will work for both AMD and Intel.

Next pick Browse my computer for driver software

And finally, navigate to the extracted driver in the SWSETUP folder (or if you’ve manually downloaded and extracted it, navigate to there). And then complete the Wizard.


That’s it!  Super simple and saves a lot of headaches.

Enabling Wireless on the 6th gen NUC using Server 2016 TP4

This one is pretty straight forward.  Download the wireless driver for NUC from here.

In an admin PowerShell prompt type:

Import-Module ServerManager
Add-WindowsFeature -Name Wireless-Networking

You’ll be prompted that a restart is required which you can do from the same window by typing:

Then, when you’re back up and running you can install the driver.

Hacking the network driver for 6th gen NUC

Let’s say you buy a machine or have a machine that’s only supported for every OS on the planet except for the one you intend to use.  You can accept your fate – that you really don’t live with as much freedom as you want, or you can change your fate and hack drivers to get exactly what you want.  This post will show you how to do option 2 (which by the way is the correct option to pick).

Since everybody loves the NUC, we are going to hack the crap out of the 6th gen net driver to install the very unsupported Server OS.

What you need:

  • NUC net driver (I grabbed the Win10x64 one)
  • Windows 10 Driver Kit (scroll down, the actual download is about halfway down the page – and for what it’s worth, I installed it using all the default settings)
  • 7-zip (7-zip is king!)
It’s going to be really helpful to find the Device ID because you will need it for the specific driver you’re trying to hack.  The DeviceID for the network adapter on the 6th gen NUC is PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1570&SUBSYS_20648086&REV_21 *but* you only need to match the first part – so in this case  PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1570.  Using this info, I found the driver I wanted to hack was in the NDIS64 folder (specifically e1d64x64.inf) once I extracted the exe with 7-zip.  This is the only .inf with the matching hardware ID so I know for sure this is the file I need to edit and eventually import into my deployment workbench.Capture
To do the actual hacking, I copied the ID from this section: Capture1
and then pasted it into this one – it’s directly below where I got it from and literally the only other spot where something like this would belong – so if you’re new to this don’t be afraid!

I kept it in the correct order as it was listed above


Once I did my copy paste magic, all I needed to do was save the file and then  move the NDIS64 folder away from where I extracted the LAN exe (my downloads folder) because it’s all that’s needed for the import when the time comes.
Now the driver is ready to be imported into your deployment workbench.  Since MDT doesn’t require driver signing, you’re good to go.
/NOTE: This same driver will work for Server 2016 – some of you will want to grab and edit in the NDIS65 folder but it’s just not necessary.



Query WMI for Serial Number

Certain people who sit next to me are really bad at updating inventory.  Yes, yes, I have ConfigMgr and I can run reports to get what I’m looking for.  But I’d like to take a moment to both blame said #lame co-worker and also show off a bit.  So, if you’re looking for the serial number for a computer on your network then here’s what you do:

In PowerShell:

gwmi -computername chn-353 -class win32_bios









In cmd prompt:
wmic /user:acadmin /node:’ch-1095′ bios get serialnumber


Of course, this way requires you to enter a password, but still works just fine.



Exchange Powershell 1/18/2016

I was tasked with the old “give me a list of all the active users by office and their mailbox stats”. Easy enough, but I’m a bad admin (falling on the sword for those who came before me and also those who sit next to me – you’re welcome and you owe me a beer.), so I don’t really have all of this broken down by office OU. What I DO have is a distribution group for each office which reflects current staffers so here’s how I did it:

get-distributiongroupmember ‘fake list’ |get-mailboxstatistics |export-csv c:\fakestats.csv


You can actually do a lot with get-mailboxdistributiongroupmember.

For example, you can grab just their email address and mailbox size and send it to your csv (or show it on screen by dropping the |export-csv bit)


get-distributiongroupmember ‘fake list |select primarysmtpaddress, totalitemsize |fl c:\fakestats1.xls


BUT totalitemsize always returns blank (which is why I just used the original csv to hand in as my work and called it a day.) However, if you know anything about me, it became a personal challenge to actually do it the “right way” or better documented way or whatever you want to call it for the next time somebody calls on me for such an annoying list of information.  So, in the spirit of stealing with pride, I found a nice script and modified it to match the fact that I want to return info on a distribution list.

get-distributiongroupmember ‘chicago staff’ | get-mailboxstatistics |add-member -membertype scriptproperty -name totalitemsizeinMB -Value {$this.totalitemsize.value.ToMB()} -passthru | format-table displayname,totalitem* |out-file c:\fun.xls



How to disable Bing Maps (and other apps) in O365

Since migrating to 0365, I’ve noticed that in emails where a person might include an address in their signature that Bing Maps slides in between the header and the message content and it’s quite annoying.mapIf you’d like to disable Bing Maps, or any other app that invites itself to participate in Outlook, simply do the following:

In Outlook

Go to File -> Manage add-ins

Your default browser will open and you’ll need to sign in to your 0365 account.  Once authenticated, you’ll be dumped at General -> Manage add-ins where you can deselect what you don’t want.


From OWA:

Select the Gear icon and go to manage add-ins and you’ll get thrown to the same page as above.


Surface Book – First Impressions

One of the absolute BEST parts of my job is getting new hardware into my hands for testing.  This week, I’m spending some time with my shiny new Surface Book.  We purchased it based on feedback in the field about the form factor of the Pro model.  Everybody agreed that the form factor on the Pro was too limiting for extended lap use while traveling.

My first though when I pulled the Surface Book out of its cardboard shipping box was, “dear God, this is heavy”.  Fortunately, some of the perceived weight was reduced when I took it out of the product box as well.  For the record, it weighs 3.34lbs – so it’s quite a difference from the Pro form factor (the Pro 4 comes in at 1.74lbs).


As with any traditional clamshell computer, it fits and sits nicely on my lap.  I had read a few reviews where others said the screen is wobbly and unstable in that position, but I haven’t experienced that.  I think you’d have to type with considerable force to get the screen to shake.  I’ve even used it on the train – still no shaking.

If you search around for other reviews on the Surface Book, you’ll notice comments on system performance.  Now, I ordered the i5/8GB which is spec’d to be identical to my Pro 3, so I didn’t expect a workhorse, but more of a decent, fluid experience while browsing and running remote sessions.  Sadly, I noticed performance problems the minute I booted the Surface Book.  There’s something about the track pad that freezes for a few seconds and then the OS just grinds along for about a minute barely making it out of first gear.  Across all devices at my desk, the Surface Book is announcing notifications (think email, Twitter, etc.) last and by a lag of over 5 minutes(!!!).  Looking at task manager, I don’t see anything out of the ordinary.  Thinking it was firmware related, I gladly applied the latest updates to see if the sluggishness would go away – it doesn’t.  So, even though it doesn’t make any sense, the Pro 3 performs better.  At least on it, my only complaints were the fan and form factor.

Aesthetically, it’s both the ugliest and nicest laptop I’ve ever seen.  The strike pad is just enormous, and I think at this point in the game I’m used to wide screen, so it’s an adjustment.  But the magnesium case and chicklet (and quiet and backlit) keyboard is to die for.  I love the hinge although I wish it opened to an even larger angle.


The software-based latch to undock the tablet from the keyboard is a nice idea.  You just press and hold a button until it flashes red and green and then you hear the magnet release and you’re free to detach the two.  If you accidentally press the button, don’t worry, after 5 seconds the magnets reactivate  Also, I’m not sure if I love it or hate it, but when you remove the tablet from the keyboard, there’s no kick stand.  I kind of hate that actually, but I’m sure it would look funny and I think I would hate that more (tech should be beautiful, people!!).

IMG_0111 detach attach

I’m in LOVE with the pen.  The two buttons are gone from the side which frees me to grip the pen comfortably and not worry about bumping one of the buttons and erasing what I’ve just inked and it is a little bit longer and thicker in diameter, which also helps with ergonomics.  I also love that while there is no garage for the pen, the bezel on the left side of the Surface has a strong magnet and the pen (which also has a magnetic strip on it) docks there – it even stays put when I put it in my bag to travel.  The fabric/plastic loop on the type cover of the Pro 3 just wasn’t working for me.  I’d either inadvertently call upon One Note by bumping the top button while trying to put the pen away or I’d fumble for so long trying to squeeze the pen into the loop that I would just give up and throw it into the bottom of my bag.  Did I mention I’m a mom?  I’m afraid of what else might be at the bottom of that bag!


In all, I’m happy with it and I’ve already abandoned my Pro 3.  Even with all its flaws, there’s something about functional form factor that you just can’t beat.  That and it fits nicely inside my favorite bag!  I’ll get to the bottom of the performance lags and post back what I’ve found.  Like I’ve said, at least 5 times – form factor is everything.


Windows 10 .Net 3.5

Maybe you know, maybe you don’t know, but Windows 10 ships with .Net 4.5.5

This is fine until you need to throw down an older app built for Windows 7 for example, basically anything Autodesk and HP SoftPaq Download Manager.


You will find yourself needing .Net 3.5 SP1 before you can install said application.  Some publishers, like Autodesk, ship their apps with a repository of pre-reqs, and some don’t.  This post is for those of us in the second boat.

What I’m about to show you might seem old and tedious, especially when you can just go grab the download in less time than it takes to read this post and do the action items, but I can promise you DISM has it’s place, for starters, in this blog post.  Side note: My boss used to make me apply all updates to our image using DISM only.  So think about that for a while.

Grab your Win 10 media and mount it.  Make note of the drive letter and file path (In the example, it’s D:\win10)



Open an elevated command prompt (right-click, run as administrator) and type:

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:netfx3 /all /source:D:\win10\sources\sxs


Now you have what you need to install the older app!

This one’s for Tom: HP and drivers and Windows 10

If you’re an HP customer, you might have noticed more recently than ever that HP’s links are changing on the daily.  Why it’s happening isn’t really very important, but it does impact your organization’s desktop engineer (I’m assuming that’s you – accountants don’t read my blog.  I know this because I asked the accounting team at my work – they said no).  You can (and should, when the page is up) go to the product’s support page and grab the driver pack but that isn’t always an option, or realistic, or even what I feel like doing.

So here’s where I tell you to go ahead and do that in-place upgrade and then download the Softpaq Download Manager.  It will launch a catalog that searches for missing/new drivers specific to your model.  It can also search for other models, but in my experience, I feel it’s best to only run it on the model in question.  NOTE: this requires .Net 3.5 SP1



This is also how I keep my drivers updated in my image.  HP doesn’t update the management packs once they are published (at least not for the Zbooks) so every few months I will run a deployment and then the utility to get the drivers.  Another cool side-note is that you can build driver packs from this utility to throw in to a task sequence (think large scale Win 10 in place upgrade ((btw, anything more than say 2 is large scale and worth your time to automate)) ).

They all write to C:\Swsetup and get organized into folders by softpaq name.  From there I copy them to my driver repository, them extract and import for OSD.