Remapping Network Shares at Login

I map a couple of drives from my NAS on my machine and for some reason they stopped reattaching correctly at login. I searched high and low for an answer but that’s the sort of question that generates millions of useless woo woo solutions. In the end I write a little command script to remap them for me at start up.

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How to Configure SQL Server to Use Let’s Encrypt Certificates

If you have a SQL Server that is accessible in anyway outside your network you really should ensure that connections to it are encrypted. In this article I will do my best to give a comprehensive guide on how to configure SQL Server 2017 to use free certificates from Let’s Encrypt.

Be warned, this is not going to be an easy process and this article will be very heavy on technical detail some of which I may not fully understand myself – I’m a software developer doing my best to look like a sys admin.

I know this has been done before though based on two posts on the subject, one by Daniel Hutmacher and the other by Jan Pieter Posthuma. I am eternally grateful to them for their help and I hope they don’t mind me borrowing and adapting what they have done. Why write my own article if two already exist? Daniel covered this subject back in 2017 and things have moved on a bit since then, his article was an excellent starting point for me though.Continue reading

Drive Mapping from SharePoint to Windows Server

In my day job I have the unenviable task of looking after our connection to a SharePoint server. I say unenviable because if there’s one thing that is going to go wrong this connection or something to do with it is what will fail. We don’t run the SharePoint service it’s provided by one of our customers and hosted in the cloud. Pretty much all we have to do is download some files and upload a few others. Sounds like it should be an easy job yeah? Anyone who has worked with the SharePoint web interface will know it’s a painful experience to move a lot of files around so to make it easier we map a network drive to the share.

For some reason I’ve never quite got to the bottom of this drive mapping has never been an easy experience. Part of the problem is that our customer uses a customised log in system rather than the standard system offered by Microsoft. This complicates providing a username and password but it’s not the end of the world, it means you have to log into SharePoint in IE before you can map the drive.

The problem I faced today was that no matter what I tried I couldn’t get the drive to map. I was at a command prompt and entering a net use command and every time it was giving me either a “system error 67” or “system error 53” followed by “the network name cannot be found”. I could ping the server so it clearly wasn’t a problem with network connection and IE didn’t have a problem showing me the web view of SharePoint.

The only other thing that was suspicious was that if I tried to view a SharePoint folder in Windows Explorer using the “All Documents > View in File Explorer” link it would briefly open a small IE window and then nothing would happen after it closed. I tried checking the console in IE but there were no error messages. My hunch was that it was something to do with the ActiveX that launches Windows Explorer and that turned out to be right.

The Solution

After entirely too much googling I’d draw a complete blank so I decided to go back to basics. By a stroke of luck I decided to start by looking into WebDAV as that’s how SharePoint transfers files (at least that’s my understanding anyway). The first page I read was this one┬ádetailing how to install WebDAV client on Windows Server 2016. I didn’t hold out much hope but it looked like a safe feature to install anyway so why not give it a go.

To my deep joy after installation and a restart the drive would finally make. The “network name cannot be found” nonsense was a complete red herring, the whole system used to make the connection was missing it was just being reported really badly.

To install the required feature start up “Server Manager” and select “Add roles and features”. Click next until you get to “Features” and then select “WebDAV Redirector” and install it, you’ll need to reboot the server afterwards. It seems that prior to Windows Server 2008 R2 this feature was installed by default, as luck would have it the previous machine I was working on was Windows Server 2008.

I don’t want to tell you how long it took me to figure this out but hopefully someone will come across this post and it’ll save them some time.

Window 8 Delete Confirmation

Well here’s something I didn’t expect, the delete confirmation dialog has been removed from Windows 8 by default. Now, when you press the delete key the item goes straight to the recycle bin without stopping to ask you is you are really sure that is what you wanted to do.Continue reading

OS Install from USB Stick

I’ve recently found myself having to do a fair bit of system administration work which makes an interesting change from the usual software development. My current project is to put together a beefy server which will run a few databases and other web applications. Ideally I’d like to run these on separate machines (virtual or physical) but I thought that wasn’t going to be possible for cost reasons.Continue reading