Reporting on inactive AD user accounts

In the second quick article following my reporting requirement this time is to report on the enabled user accounts that have not logged in in the past X days. Again a quick Google came across the following article on WindowsITPro (Use Get-ADUser to Find Inactive AD Users)

I took the Search-ADAccount cmdlet and created some filters to exclude disabled accounts as well as enable a parameter to be passed with the script to specify the maximum age, in days, of a user account (default is 90 days)

Save the below script as Get-InactiveAccounts.ps1

To execute the script run .\Get-InactiveAccounts.ps1 to report on accounts older than 90 days or use the InactiveDays parameter to specify the age of accounts to report (eg .\Get-InactiveAccounts.ps1 -InactiveDays 180)

Reporting on AD users last password change

As part of some recent work to assist a client with reporting on their active users and the dates those users last changed their passwords I evolved a script written by Carl Gray here (PowerShell: Get-ADUser to retrieve password last set and expiry information) to generate a short PowerShell script that will report the enabled Active Directory users and the date that they last set their password.

Copy the code below and save on your server as Get-PasswordLastChange.ps1 and then run from the command line. Script will produce a CSV file and save it in the same directory as the script

27 inspiring top notch programming quotes

This is a brilliant post that I stumbled across this morning. My favourite two quotes are:

If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in. – Edsger Dijkstra

and

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. – Brian Kernighan

read more | digg story

Install Vista without a CD key

Daniel Petri comes up with another great tip and insight into the way Microsoft’s software can be manipulated to do things you want to do. In this case how to trial different versions of Windows Vista. Once the activation deadline is reached you must put your legal key in for the version you installed to continue but… it does let you try the different versions first!

read more | digg story

Microsoft amused by the iPhone – and rightly so

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5oGaZIKYvo

Having seen and commented on the iPhone earlier this week I am happy to see that Microsoft have come back and agreed with my opinions that they have already got a number of devices that can do this and don’t cost an absolute fortune to buy.

I also loved the comment from Steve

“£500 dollars…. that’s the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard”

Great comeback.

Source [ Gizmodo ]

Apple iPhone…. My 3100 does most of that already

Well Apple have certainly done it again. The iPhone looks awesome and it really is a nice design and innovative solution to combining everything into one portable device. But I already have all I need.

My M3100 (HTC Hermes) has a powerful computer, it can do all my emails. POP, IMAP, Exchange – iPhone wont support this, i can take photos on it and view them as a slideshow, I can browse the Internet using 3G and even listen to my music on it. Granted I wont have anything as powerful as iTunes to play my music but to be honest if I wanted to listen to music i will use my iPod.
I would like to see if when rotated the other way, to shown in the video below, that the screen rotates like that as well – otherwise that’s a bit poo really! My screen will rotate and it also has a built in full QWERTY keyboard that will let me type messages to my hearts content.

I can look at all my contacts I can do everything I would want to do on my phone and some more.

Apple your phone is very pretty and I’m sure that it will sell really well but at the cost it is I cant see how I can afford to do it. My Hermes will keep me going for a year or two and by that time there will be something else that is newer and more cool and cheaper!

It’s been a long time

Well it’s been over a month since I last wrote something here (not including the facebook bit I just published) and that’s mainly been due to the fact I now have a job and am incredibly busy.

I now work for Wavex where I am a Service Desk Engineer. Since starting there I have been incredibly busy and just not found the time to actually write anything here. My day starts at 6:45 am when my alarm goes off and I am out of the door 30 minutes later. I get the 0724 train from Leatherhead up to Waterloo and spend most of that time trying to complete the Solitaire game on my phone. Initially I got the tube but found that the Central line is possibly the most painful 5 minutes of my life each day so I have started walking from Waterloo to Holborn which makes the journey much more interesting and actually takes about the same time. My day doesn’t end in London until 6 and then by the time I am hope it’s normally around 7:30 and I just don’t want to have to worry about using a computer again until the next day.

Work is great fun and the office is incredibly relaxed – Jeans and T-shirt beats a suit any day. I find the work challenging and also incredibly rewarding as you never know who is going to phone you up next. Hopefully this is going to be something that I can develop and start to understand and learn more about IT.

I must admit that when I got the call from the HR manager at work saying that he had read this Blog I was slightly worried that the content may have been slightly random and odd for potential employers to be reading but having been at Wavex for a month and a bit now I can see that the sort of things here fit in with the way the company works!

Positive Job News

I haven’t been around for a while to write something new here and as this is now the end of my last week of post student – pre work time I thought I would add something new!

For those of you who don’t know I now have a job at a nice company in London called Wavex. Wavex are a company who support other clients hardware and software, ensuring they keep a maximum uptime. My role within the company is to work as a “Service Desk Engineer” answering calls as and when they come in. Everyone in the office seems very nice and I am looking forward to starting work there. The only downside is, in some people’s eyes, that I have to commute every day into London. This doesn’t bother me and I quite enjoy the hour I get to sit and read the paper whilst listening to my tunes as I sit on the train.

All this positive news is good and is a relief to both myself and my parents for differing reasons. I spent a long time applying for jobs through the Reed and Monster websites but nothing came of them. The one interview I had was with a company in reigate who sent me a very blunt “you didn’t get the job” letter with no reasons why after what I had believed to be a positive interview – Oh well, their loss! I also didn’t want to have to spend a year or so working in an admin role and then hope to move through a company into IT which is what a Dorking based recruitment agency said. This same agency managed to arrange an interview for me earning significantly less than I am going to be earning but failed to send me the correct information so I was unable to turn up. Well done guys!

Right – that’s enough for now. I will find more useful/interesting things on the internet soon and post them here for you all to see!

Windows Vista – give me back my computer

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I would like to try the Windows Vista RC1 release to see whether it is going to be worth my while reformatting my PC again to get it up to date with the latest Windows OS. I currently run Windows Server 2003 and find that it is much nicer, and more stable, than Windows XP and thought that it would be an interesting time to compare the old with the new to see what Microsoft has managed to develop this time.

Microsoft seem to have once more lifted the basic UI from the latest OS X and then applied a paint brush to it is evident. Just go to your My Documents and see how you navigate through it. There are also a new set of icons that are bigger and take up more of your desktop as a result. The Sidebar is another OS X rip off – Apple introduced the widgets idea a couple of years ago and suddenly it has appeared in the latest version of Windows!
The Start Menu has been upgraded and now sports a built in find/run bar at the bottom making it even quicker to load a command prompt or notepad or…. It has however put a button that “looks like” the Shutdown button in the corner but is actually a standby/sleep button instead. In order to shut down your computer you need to click the arrow to the right and then click shut down from there. This is incredibly annoying!

Adding further to this annoyance is that the computer automatically protects your system from anything you try to change. “Windows has detected that you are trying to open the Device Manager. Are you sure?” Of course I’m sure – I just clicked on it!!!! This happens all over the system wherever you see a little shield next to an option Windows will ask you for permission to use it. Well why not just disable it? I did and for about 20 minutes I had a more relaxed time looking around the computer. Then I had to reboot. When Vista started back up again a nice red warning was sitting in my system tray. “You have turned off the features you just disabled. Im going to tell you about it with this annoying balloon popup” There seems to be no “I’ll monitor it myself” option as per Windows XP SP2 Security Centre and this became even more irritating.

The aforementioned reboot had been due to the installation of GriSoft’s free AVG – a really quite useful alternative to McAfee, Norton or Sophos. This however brought about my next grievance. The idea of automatically updating your anti-virus when you log on is a fairly standard practice. Vista is now so paranoid that when AVG is trying to update in the background it stops you from what you were doing to alert you to the fact that “A program is running in the background. Do you want to check what it’s doing?” NO ITS MY ANTI VIRUS LET IT RUN IN PEACE. I can see the use of this however – it can help people to see when malicious programs are running in the background that shouldn’t be there but I didnt feel that i needed it running and I didnt want to face a barrage of “Do you want to do….” as I searched for a way to turn it off.

One of the more positive things that I had noticed about Vista a while ago was that if you setup user accounts for children then you could stop them having access to system functionality (like Device Manager) and as an administrator you would need to enter your password to give them access. I didnt get a chance to test if this was still a feature but I am fairly sure that it is which means that this new OS will become a success with the home users who want to make sure that their precious little children arent looking at the latest erotic website or buying viagra off ths internet.

Vista doesn’t strike me however as an instantaneous replacement for Windows XP in the workplace. XP & Server2003 work well together and I can see that for the larger corporations to shell out on site licenses for Vista to install on all their workstations is a while off because they will need to trial it on a small group first to check for teething problems. After which they will probably keep to the old WinXP because the process of upgrading an entire workplace would be more trouble than it’s worth.

After a week of using it I have decided that IE7 is no improvement on IE except for the addition of tabbed browsing which isn’t as nice as Firefox anyway so no need for that. WMP 11 is nasty and so completly different from WMP10 that it’s hard to understand where half the options have gone to so I wont be using it anyway.

Windows Vista does make a lot of improvements over the WinXP interface but at the end of the day I still like to be in control of my computer and when I give it an instruction it shouldn’t question me about it. Amazon have been listing the different variants on its website for a couple of months now and the Ultimate version which I was testing comes in at £325 which is an insane amount of money to spend for a very small upgrade.

If you really want that Vista look download a visual style that has been made to look the part and use that – it then gives you £325 to spend on something more useful!