Not ready for production … ReFS

So Resilient File System (ReFS) has been for 6 years so it should be stable for use with a backup drive, right?


In the words of Wikipedia:

“Because ReFS was designed not to fail, if failure does occur, there are no tools provided to repair it”

When it does fail, you might just end up with a 2TB backup drive that you cannot read.


I found one third-party tool which does work, ReclaiMe.
Seems to work well.  If I need to pull data off this backup drive, I’ll purchase a license.

Assorted programs I use

either at work or home.

Category Software
Audio Any Audio Converter
Audio Audacity
Audio Audiograbber
Audio FFmpeg for Audacity
Audio MediaMonkey
Audio MP3TAG
Audio MusicBrainz Picard
Audio VLC Media Player
Blog Open Live Writer
Browser Google Chrome
Browser HTTPS Everywhere
Browser KB SSL Enforcer
CD ImgBurn
eBook Amazon Kindle
eBook Calibre
Encryption VeraCrypt
File management 7-Zip
File management Agent Ransack
File management Beyond Compare
File management Bulk Rename Utility
File management DiskState
File management Image Resizer for Windows
File management SyncBackPro
File management Windows Grep
File management WinRAR
File management Remove Empty Directories
Image Paint Shop Pro 7
Image Paint.Net
Image Picture Information Extractor
Image XnConvert
iPhone Apple iTunes
iPhone iMazing
Password Password Manager XP
PDF Adobe Acrobat Pro 9
Programming PrimalScript 2007
Programming PureText
Screen Nexus WinStep
Sleep SleepyHead
Time Management Cool Timer
Time Management Focus 10
Time Management Outlook Google Calendar Sync
Time Management TimeSnapper
Utility Orca
Video Handbrake
Video WinX YouTube Downloader

Update 21 JAN 2018 – Added MP3TAG

The Microsoft DLL Help Database – retired

SilverSeekKB back in February 2010.  Used to use the DLL Help Database quite a bit back in the heady of Windows 9x and NT4 SOE Development/Support.

I was reminded of it today when I read about SilverSeekKB.

DLL Help Database allowed you to look up a Microsoft DLL file to see what product that particular DLL version shipped with.

SilverSeekKB is kinda like that, but isn’t.

SilverSeekKB allows you to determine the latest available version of any Microsoft binary, which is handy to know.  It’s handy to know in case you’re searching for a new binary because the current binary is:

  1. causing a Blue Screen of Death, or
  2. you’ve been asked to apply a patch, and are wondering if that is the latest patch available.

There is also the “System Inspector” option, which allows you to scan a local system to see what later patches are available for installation.

Thank you for writing it Julien Clauzel.

6, 8 and 16 free, not-free, and online-backup solutions.

A backup of your information is only good if it is stored in a separate place, such your office.  Or stored with a web Online Backup service.  This list last updated August 2014.

Local Backup, aka You Store It

Cobian Backup
Karen’s Replicator
Microsoft SyncToy v2
SyncBack Freeware Edition

BounceBack Ultimate
EMC Replistor
FileBack PC
Second Copy
Super Flexible File Synchronizer

Online Backup aka they store it

Name Free service? Plans from Free trial? Paid for space Maximum Limit?
BackBlaze No $5 Yes Unlimited Unlimited
Carbonite No $59.95 (year) Yes Unlimited Unlimited
Comodo Cloud No $80 (year) Yes 100GB 500GB
CrashPlan Yes $3.96 Yes Unlimited
CrashPlan Pro No $396 (year) Yes Unlimited
DropBox Yes, 2 GB $10.99 100 GB 500 GB
Egnyte No $96 (year) Yes 1 TB Unlimited
Final-Byte No $7.95 Yes 5 GB 100 GB
Gmail Sync Yes, Unlimited
iDrive Yes, 5GB $37.12 (yearly) No 300 GB 300 GB
Iron Mountain No <unknown> No <unknown> <unknown>
Jungle Disk No $4 No 5 GB Unlimited
Microsoft OneDrive Yes, 15 GB $1.99 100 GB 1 TB
Mozy Yes, 2 GB $5.95 50 GB ?
SOS Online Backup No $7.99 No Unlimited Unlimited
SpiderOak Yes, 2GB $10 100 GB Unlimited

Me?  I use SyncBackSE with a collection of Western Digital and Seagate external hard drives.

Some notes, as of August 2014:

  • I last updated this list in January 2010, and the thing I’m impressed with is that all “Online Backup” providers are still around.
  • A number of Online Backup providers offer mobile device backup as well, which is useful for Smartphones and Tablets.

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15 Password Managers

Sorry - Your Password Isn't Not Long Enough

You might have seen this cartoon here before, but it’s worth repeating, as it’s that time of month.  Some organisations require passwords that are longer than the 12 digit codes needed to arm a nuclear weapon.

I’m not the first to notice this. Jesper M. Johansson wrote about in-actionable security advice in an Microsoft Technet magazine article series called Passwords and Credit Cards.

So how do people remember passwords?

  1. Write them down and stick them under a keyboard (aka Koolpin$Gorge*)
  2. Store them in a password spreadsheet/document?
  3. Use a password manager?

It’s option 3 for me.  I use the LastPass password manager. But here are some others to consider:

Name and download link Comments Free / Commercial?
1Password Version available for Macintosh, Windows, iPhone, iPad & Android.  It’s possible, via Dropbox, to sync your 1Password databases between your different systems. $49.95
AcrylicApps Wallet Mac and iOS only $9.99 (iOS) $19.85 (Mac)
LastPass I use this.  There is a portable version called “LastPass Pocket”.   Does form-filling as well. Free version.
Premium version adds mobile device support amongst other features.  $12 per year.
KeePass Free.  Open source.  Maintained. Free
Microsoft Credential Manager Free with Windows 7 & 8.  Stores Windows and website logons. Free
PassBox Windows only. $5
Passgen Written by the great Jesper M. Johansson.  Hosted by Steve Riley @ his old Microsoft Technet blog.
Not a password manager as such.
Passpack “Store logins to all online accounts. Share passwords on a need-to-know basis. 1 Click Login for everyone.“
They blog! (thanks Louise)
Non-free versions from $18 per year.
Password Gorilla Windows & Mac Free
Password Manager XP I know large companies which use this. $24.95
Password Minder Written by Keith Brown.  Worth a look.
Note: Download link here.
Password Safe As mentioned by Jesper.  Free.  Open Source. Free
RoboForm More of a "web form filling" application, but it stores passwords as well.   Multi-platform (ie. iPhone/Windows/Macintosh/Linux). Free.
RoboForm Everywhere adds multiple device support.  $9.95 per year.
Sticky Password Evolved from the multi-Pass password manager.  iPhone and Android version available as well.   “Sticky Password is now also supporting Android as well and is cloud based with option to choose offline version for those who do not like to have their data being synced over the cloud.” $12 per year.
UsableLogin Generate unique secure passwords for each website you login to.   Multi-platform. Free

* a server, for a sensitive organisation, had the server password stored under the server keyboard. Koolpin Gorge was where the server guy took his last annual leave.

edited 21 September: let’s make it 8 password managers, thanks for the comments folks.
edited 12 October: added Passgen tool description and link.
edited 27 May: added Password Minder.
edited 31st October: added Microsoft Credential Manager & Sticky Password
edited 7 May 2013: updated links/comments.  Added PassBox
edited 26 November 2013: Added Password Gorilla & Free/Commercial column.
edited 5 December 2013: Added AcrylicApps Wallet and updated the Sticky Password comments

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File searching with Agent Ransack

Back in October 2006, I wrote that I used Copernic and Google Desktop. Search  Time has moved on and now I use Agent Ransack.  Google stopped supporting Desktop Search in September 2011, and well, Copernic is a $49.95 product.  I’m not against paying for software, but I prefer free.

So now I’m using a product called Agent Ransack.  It’s the “free” version.  Agent Ransack is fast enough for what I want.  The only thing I wish it would do in the free version would be for it to scan compressed files (ZIP, CAB, RAR, 7Z and the like).


Running applications with separate “Admin” account privileges


We have normal logon accounts, and then we have “Admin_” accounts for doing things, such as user account password changes & Group Policy management.

It is, to say the least, a pain to either:

  • log out of my standard account and login with my Admin_ account or
  • run each program with the “Run As User” option.

A co-worker suggested I look at the “Winstep Nexus Dock” toolbar.  It allows me to put all the utilities I need to run with my “Admin_” account into the toolbar, such as program shortcuts.

At start-up, I “Run As” the Nexus Dock with “Admin_” credentials.  Once the Nexus Dock is loaded, it will pass those credentials onto the program shortcuts.

There is a paid “Ultimate” version at $24.95US, which gives you additional features, but I find the free version does what I want.

The Australian Signals Directorate has published an explanatory article here explains why minimizing admin privileges is a good idea.