Semi-regular web-link clearance – May 2010 (2)

Make Outlook assign you random To-Do items

Sometimes, you have time to check something off your to-do list, but no one task is particularly pressing. Lifehacker Reader Ricardo shows us how to make Outlook pick a random one for you, so you can skip the decision-making and get to work.

Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL) Tool

Ever have a performance problem, but don’t know what performance counters to collect or how to analyze them? The PAL (Performance Analysis of Logs) tool is a new and powerful tool that reads in a performance monitor counter log (any known format) and analyzes it using complex, but known thresholds (provided). The tool generates an HTML based report which graphically charts important performance counters and throws alerts when thresholds are exceeded. The thresholds are originally based on thresholds defined by the Microsoft product teams and members of Microsoft support, but continue to be expanded by this ongoing project. This tool is not a replacement of traditional performance analysis, but it automates the analysis of performance counter logs enough to save you time. This is a VBScript and requires Microsoft LogParser (free download).

Save Significant Disk Space by Setting MaxPatchCacheSize to 0

A little over two years ago, I wrote a post about installing Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1, in which I mentioned setting the MaxPatchCacheSize registry setting to 0 (in order to save some significant disk space while installing the service pack). [Note that the credit for this trick really goes to Heath Stewart — as I mentioned in my original post.]

I’ve also mentioned in various posts that I make heavy use of virtualization in the “Jameson Datacenter” (a.k.a. my home lab) and that I prefer to keep my VHDs reasonably small. This is especially valuable when, for example, I need to copy a VM from one of my home servers and take it “on the road” with me to a customer site.

System Center Configuration Manager and Duplicate GUID’s

One of the most common (and painful) issues in SMS/SCCM is the presence of duplicate guids. Each and every SMS/SCCM client generates a unique identifier upon installation known as a GUID or Globally Unique Identifier. This is completely different than the SID of the machine in Active Directory and is used only by SMS/SCCM for managing clients. If two machines are reporting into the server with the same GUID, the server is no longer able to accurately target or report on these machines. As such, getting this issue resolved is critical to the successful operation of your environment.

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