How to fix slow opening Downloads directory

For some time I noticed that it took like forever to open my Windows Downloads folder. Even on an i7 32 GB SSD device it took about 10 seconds (!) for me to view the files in my Downloads directory.  The slow loading Downloads (or other folder!) folder problem occurs, because, by default, Windows is trying to create thumbnails.

This is how to solve this problem :

Open File Explorer. You can get there by hitting Windows key & E, go to your downloads folder and select properties :

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Select General items (or Diverse bestanden in Dutch :-))

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Make sure to select the check box below to enable inheritance.

Your downloads folder is now instantly available!


How to update Onedrive (for Business) to the latest version

In this blogpost I describe how you can easily update your Onedrive 4 B version to the latest version.

Go to the following directory : %appdata%\Local\Microsoft\Onedrive

There you will find the following files and folders :

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Double click OneDriveStandaloneUpdater.. this automatically downloads the latest version of OneDrive into the Update folder.

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Now execute OneDriveSetup to update to the latest version. It’s as easy as that!


How to backup QNAP NAS data to Microsoft Azure storage

It’s very easy to backup all your data on your QNAP NAS to the public Cloud from Azure. In this blogpost I’m describing all the necessary steps.

Create A Storage account

First make sure you have an active Azure account with a subscription. You can easily sign up for a one month free trial period. Go to portal.azure.com and create a Storage account. Go to the big plus, and select Storage/Storage account.

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Ok, let’s create a storage account :

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Give it a name, Storage v1 is alright. Local redundancy is cheaper then Global Redundancy.  Default performance is more then enough, choose your subscription and give your new resourcegroup a fancy name 🙂

It takes a couple of seconds for this account to be created. Now go to your storage account and copy the Access Keys (Toegangssleutels in Dutch), You will need that later on.

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Ok… step 2

Download the Azure Storage APP

Go to your QNAP interface and download the QNAP Azure Storage APP.

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(Choose App Center)

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Choose Backup / Sync and then Azure Storage

After downloading & installing, open the App:

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Go to Account, to configure your Storage Account.

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The first name can be anything, the second name is the name of your storage account (without the UPN..) and the last is the secret key your copied earlier. Make sure you select the SSL option.

You now can create a new Backup Job. It’s very easily and doesn’t need any explanation. The App has all the necessary options you wish for :

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Take notice : it’s recommended to encrypt all your data on Azure. So that no one has access to your data. Even when they have access to your storage account! Don’t forget your password, no one else can recover it!

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You can tune these options when you wish.

It can take some time when you back-up your entire NAS to Azure. It’s recommended create multiple tasks. A task for each folder.

Costs

Wat about pricing? Check out the costs here : https://azure.microsoft.com/nl-nl/pricing/details/backup/

In my case I use 2 TB for approx € 40 monthly.


How to migrate from Evernote to OneNote

For the last couple of years I’m using Evernote. And frankly.. I’m quite happy with Evernote. But besides Evernote, I’m also using EverNote for Business purposes and why not use EverNote for both of them?

Evernote Premium costs $ 49,99 or $ 59,99 yearly and when you are already using Microsoft Office 365 ($69,99 yearly) that seems a bit unnecessary.

I never investigated how to migrate from EverNote to another solution but found out that’s be very easy. Microsoft developed a migration tool which is very easily to use.

Download the Migration tool here:

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Make sure you have the Evernote tool installed on your device. Alright let’s start the migration tool:

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Click to accept the License terms. 🙂

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Choose the Evernote content you wish to migrate.

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Sign in with your Microsoft OneNote account and the migration starts off! Depending on your number of notes it can take some time.

The migration tool creates a new tab for every 100 notes :

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How to download Windows Server 2019 Insider Preview

In this blogpost I’m going to describe the steps to Download Windows Server 2019 Insider Preview.

First subscribe to the Windows Insider Program : https://insider.windows.com/en-us

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After answering a couple of questions you have an account on Windows Insider.

Now go to the Windows Server Insider Preview : www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windowsinsiderpreviewserver

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Now select the version (ISO, VHDX format etc), language etc to download and Microsoft will you provide you with a download link to download your Windows Server 2019 Insider Preview!


Celebration of Sysadmin Day

My sponsor launched an exciting contest in celebration of Sysadmin Day.

Altaro we’ll be giving away Amazon eGift Cards to the first 100 eligible entries and 1 Grand Prize for 1 lucky winner.

They have some fantastic options for the grand prize including a Playstation 4 Pro, Xbox One X, 3-year membership of Amazon Prime and more, but it will be up to the Grand Prize winner to choose his/her Grand Prize.

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Webinar : Journey to the Clouds

My sponsor Altaro is hosting a webinar called “Journey to the Clouds”. There are 2 sessions, feel free to register to one (or both :-)) of them :

Altaro webinar Clouds

(Click this banner to register)

Some information about the webinar :

Want to migrate your datacenter into the cloud but unsure how to make the transition successfully? 3 Microsoft MVPs discuss your options in this upcoming panel webinar.
Join Andy Syrewicze, Didier Van Hoye, and Thomas Maurer for a crash course on how you can plan your journey effectively and smoothly utilizing the exciting cloud technologies coming out of Microsoft including:
  • Windows Server 2019 and the Software-Defined Datacenter
  • New Management Experiences for Infrastructure with Windows Admin Center
  • Hosting an Enterprise Grade Cloud in your datacenter with Azure Stack
  • Taking your first steps into the public cloud with Azure IaaS
With cloud technologies improving exponentially migrating to a cloud-based model is a dilemma facing most organizations today. Cloud services such as Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack, and the software defined datacenter, offer numerous benefits but moving existing infrastructure into a cloud model is a challenging step.
Many IT Pros are justifiably wary of new platforms and cloud services are particularly worrisome involving core infrastructure elements hosted offsite. This is why some of the new technologies coming from Microsoft are so compelling as they are designed to help organizations make that transition slowly and at their own pace. This webinar covers both fully-serviced cloud offerings as well as smaller-scaled solutions that provide more accessible steps to realizing the benefits without fully committing.
After watching the experts discuss the details, you’ll see that the cloud doesn’t have to be an all or nothing discussion. The journey from on-prem to the cloud is different for every organization, as is the destination. This webinar will prepare you for your unique journey by revealing the available options and how to make the most out of them.
Join us for some insightful discussion, use-case examples, and tips for getting started with these new technologies. Sign up today.
We hope to see you there!

I will be joing the webinar also, see you there! Grt Xander


XenApp and XenDesktop on Azure Cost Calculator

Recently I build a XenApp environment on Azure for demo purposes. I used –> this <– website helping me calculating the costs.

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This website (running on Azure :-)) makes it easy to calculate the costs of your XenApp/XenDesktop environment on Azure.

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You can provide the locations, working Hours, Workloads and number of users (and their profiles). It automatically loads the costs of Azure  (so no outdated data!) for Comput, Storage and Network.


How to Create a Site-to-Site VPN between Azure and your home environment using pfSense

I’m moving more and more of my whitebox environment towards Azure. But some parts are still running in my home environment. So I would like to create a Site-to-site VPN between my office @home and Azure. Because an Express Route would be slightly overkill I decided to build an Site 2 Site VPN.

Some information about my test environment @home. I’m running a Hypervisor in a seperate tenant with only 2 virtual machines : pfSense and a Windows 10 virtual machine.

Let me take you through the steps of creating a Site2Site VPN, hold on!

  • First make sure that you have a proper working pfSense (2 NIC) instance running.
  • You will need at least one public IP address (IPV4), so you probably need a business internet line because consumer internet lines don’t often have static public IP addresses. You need to configure IP Addresses, not DNS names, so DynDNS is no option I’m afraid.
  • For testing purposes it’s easy to have a Windows 10 client standing by

Ok, let’s go! First download and install pfSense and the Windows 10 VM. My pfSense virtual machine has 2 network adapters, One WAN (Bridged mode) and one Custom (VMNet 10). The Windows 10 is in the same custome mode (VMNet 10) and is running in a separate subnet (192.168.1.X). Make sure that the LAN interface of pfSense is running the DHCP service.

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Log on to the Windows 10 virtual machine and check if you have internet Access :

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Check! (great website btw :-)) We have internet access!

Now login to Azure, select your subscription and check create a Virtual Network. In my situation I already had a virtual network (the network I would like to connect to). I only had to make an adjustment.

In my virtual network (@Azure) the following resources are running :

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As you can see my network is using the 10.0.0.0 subnet. It was created using the /24 mask but I had to change that to /23. So now my virtual Network is running the 10.0.0.0/23 subnet. You can also create a new virtual network to connect to. For this example let’s use the following information :

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In my environment I’m using the same IP addresses. You can choose your own name(s). Now go to the virtual network you’re running or just have created and go to subnets. Click +Gateway subnet.

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Add the following information :

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Now we are going to create a new Virtual Network Gateway :

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Use the following information :

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Give it a new, use VPN/Route-based. Choose Basic for SKU (is enough, can be upscaled later). Create a new public IP for your VPN and select the subscription and resource group. Choose to create and wait approx 30 min.

Now we must create a Local Network Gateway :

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You can choose your own name, make sure to use your public IP address of the WAN Adapter of pfSense. Choose to create your local network gateway. This can take approx 45 minutes.

Now go to the local network gateway you have just created and go to connections.

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Give it a name, a think about a very long & secure Pre Shared Key. Remember this. You will need it later on!

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Ok…. #Azure #work #done… now fire up the pfSense interface :

Go to VPN/IPSec. Click on Add P1 at bottom right. This is the first phase of the IPsec tunnel negotiation. Fill out these values and make sure that you replace it with your specific IP. You can find your Azure Public IP here :

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Ok, you will need these neccessary info for Phase 1:

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For Phase 1 Proposal (Authentication) use the values and I hope you still know your shared private key 🙂 :

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For Phase 1 Proposal (Algorithms) use the values :

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Use these Advanced options :

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Now go to VPN / IPsec / Tunnels

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Expand Show Phase 2 Entries and Click Add P2 :

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Use the following information (General Information) :

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Use the following information (proposal) :

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Leave the Advanced configuration default :

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Now let’s open pfSense a bit, let’s allow the firewall IPsec traffic. In orde to do that, from the main menu go to Firewall, Rules and then click on the IPsec sub-menu.

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Ok, now we are done! Great job… but let’s test it first! Go to the Windows 10 test VM. In Azure I opened RDP and Ping for testing purposes.

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As you can see from my internal network @home I can ping and RDP to the INTERNAL (!) IP Address of my Azure resources. Job well done!