How to migrate your Windows installation and data from a Hard Drive to Solid State Drive (SSD) without reinstalling

Date : March 14, 2021

A SSD (Solid State Drive) is one of the best bang-for-buck upgrades you can perform on an older computer, typically decreasing the boot time by well over half. It can truly bring a 3-6 year old PC back from the garbage pile to something very usable.

If you’re tasked with swapping a Hard Drive out for an SSD, it can seem daunting at first, but it’s far easier than you could imagine:

Determining which type of SSD you require

Computer SSD’s typically come in two form-factors: 2.5″ SATA, and m.2

The first step before committing to an upgrade would be to open the desktop or laptop computer to determine:

a) is the drive is physically accessible? This can be very fiddly with some laptops and all-in-one desktops- a quick search of the model on YouTube or searching for the workshop manual on Google will almost always give you the answer

b) which form-factor do you require? Most likely, the answer will be a 2.5″ SATA drive. However, you may find an unpopulated m.2 slot on the motherboard, allowing you to add an SSD alongside your existing drive.

Equipment needed

At the time of writing, these are the most popular 2.5″ SATA and m.2 SSD’s on Amazon

2.5″ SATA SSD’s:

m.2 SSD’s:

If you’re installing a 2.5″ SSD, you’ll also require a USB adapter to allow you to clone the data over from the old drive to the new:

Step 1 – Downloading the Cloning software

The go-to software for this has been Macrium Reflect Free Edition, and for good reason – it’s free for both home and commercial use, and it’s very reliable! (When downloading, there is no need to enter an email or register)

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Deploying WPA2 WiFi profile (including Pre-Shared key) using Group Policy

Date : April 13, 2019

Problem

Whilst there is a setting in Group Policy Preferences to deploy WiFi settings, this does not include the WiFi Pre-Shared Key (PSK).

The following method will allow you to also push out the Pre-Shared Key:

Solution

From a PC that already has the WiFi profile installed, open command prompt (as admin) and run the following command:

netsh wlan show profiles

Make a note of the name of the profile you want to export – such as MyWiFiSSID

Run the following command, replacing the profile name with the one you wish to export, and path to an existing folder where an XML file will be created

netsh wlan export profile name="MyWiFiSSID" folder=C:\WLAN key=clear

(Note that the key=clear is vital for this to work)

Copy that XML file to a network share that is accessible from the computer accounts. Do bear in mind the WiFi key is visible in plain text within this file, so consideration must be taken as where/how to store it.

The following command is used to install the profile:

netsh wlan add profile filename="\\servername\share\Wi-Fi-MyWiFiSSID.xml" user=all

… however, this will reinstall and reconnect the WiFi profile each time, causing a brief disconnect at startup.

From my experience, the best method is to create a Computer Startup .bat script GPO that will only run once. This one does the trick:

WiFi_deploy.bat

netsh wlan show profile MyWiFiSSID
if %errorlevel%==0 goto end
netsh wlan add profile filename="\\servername\share\Wi-Fi-MyWiFiSSID.xml" user=all
:END

Many thanks to Ignacio for this more elegant deployment solution!


Canon MFD: “Could not verify the information specified for Department ID Management”

Date : July 21, 2017

Issue

When attempting to print from a client, the following error message appears:

Could not verify the information specified for Department ID Management or User Management. Printing will be canceled. Refer to [Troubleshooting] in Help for more information.

This issue is specific to setups where a Canon copier/MFD is being used in a print server/client scenario and Department ID’s requirement is enabled.

 

Solution

To resolve this issue, you need to install the Canon Driver Information Assist Service on the print server. The installer for this service is called “DIASsetup.exe” and can be found in the “misc” folder on the driver installation directory.

Once the Canon Driver Information Assist Service has been installed on the print server, printing should function properly from the client.


Accessing the BIOS on Lenovo V110-15ISK laptop

Date : June 15, 2017

Accessing the BIOS and boot options are critical for installing Windows or PXE booting. If I’m being honest, it took me a few attempts to get into the BIOS for this model of laptop. If I put this info here it may help a fellow techie elsewhere..

 

To access the BIOS..

press Fn+F2

 

To access the Boot Menu..

press Fn+F12


Migrate shares from one Windows server to another

Date : March 19, 2017

If you need to migrate your shares from one Windows server to another, the Microsoft documentation will give you the “proper” process (by way of File Server Resource Manager). This is a much quicker and dirtier method that I’ve used many times.

Perhaps you’re migrating your file server, or simply setting up another one; everyone at some point will need to migrate SMB shares and permissions. Luckily, it’s a relatively painless process:

Firstly if you haven’t already done so you should copy the data to the new server, keeping permissions and attributes intact

 

Steps:

  • On the old server: open regedit and browse to: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Shares
  • Export the key
  • On the new server: check the same key and see if any shares already exist and need to be kept. If they do, export the key and keep it safe.
  • Transfer the exported registry key to the new server and double-click to import it.
  • (if you need to reinstate the original shares, re-import the new reg key over the top)
  • Reboot the server and that’s it!

 

I told you it was easy!


How to establish PowerShell connection into Office 365 Exchange

Date : March 4, 2017

We all know how important PowerShell has become, so it important to be able to establish a connection to Office 365.

Some things just can’t be done through the web-based GUI that Microsoft provides (or take a lot longer to do. Think repetitive tasks).

 

The 3 commands you will need to connect are:

 

$cred=Get-Credential
$session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri "https://ps.outlook.com/powershell/" -Credential $cred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
Import-PSSession $Session

 

Enter these one at a time, and you’ll then be connected to Office 365 Exchange!

 

You can verify the connection with the very simple command to show you a list of all your users:

Get-Mailbox

 

Happy PowerShell-ing!


Cannot print to network printer: “Win32 error code returned by the print processor: 5. Access is denied.”.

Date : December 2, 2016

Issue

Cannot print to network printer. Print jobs appear and disappear as expected in the print queue, however no data is sent to the printer.

Event viewer shows the following:

The document Test Page, owned by USERNAME, failed to print on printer PRINTER. Try to print the document again, or restart the print spooler.
Data type: RAW. Size of the spool file in bytes: 145189. Number of bytes printed: 0. Total number of pages in the document: 1. Number of pages printed: 0. Client computer: \\SERVERNAME. Win32 error code returned by the print processor: 5. Access is denied.

If you run Process Monitor with “process name = printfilterpipelinesvc.exe” you’ll see the following:

CreateFile    C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS\*.tmp    ACCESS DENIED

Solution

Give modify permissions to Everyone on the following directory: C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS\


Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP2 failed with error: -2068643838. Sophos Enterprise Console installation error

Date : October 26, 2016

I was trying to install Sophos Enterprise Console on a new server (a process I have done many, many times) and got hit with a very generic error message, prompting me to look at the installer log file.

I had a look, and all looked happy until it tried to execute the following command to install SQL Express:

 

INFO : Running command line: C:\sec_541\ServerInstaller\pre-reqs\sqlExpress2012SP2\SQLEXPR_x64_ENU.exe /Q /HIDECONSOLE /IACCEPTSQLSERVERLICENSETERMS /ACTION=INSTALL /FEATURES=SQL /INSTANCENAME=SOPHOS /SQLSVCACCOUNT="NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM" /SQLSYSADMINACCOUNTS="BUILTIN\Administrators" /NPENABLED=1 /TCPENABLED=0

 

Then this:

ERROR : Command: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP2 failed with error: -2068643838

Darn!

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Migrate files from one Windows server to another, keeping permissions and attributes intact

Date : October 26, 2016

Need to replace one of your file servers? Maybe you’re migrating from Server 2008 to 2012/2016.

Use this command to copy your files from one server to another keeping ACL permissions, owner info, timestamps etc. intact:

robocopy source destination /E /ZB /DCOPY:T /COPYALL /R:1 /W:1 /V /TEE /LOG:C:\copy.txt
(remember – robocopy knows how to handle UNC paths, also)

Best of luck with the rest of your migration!

 

Explanation of switches:

/E – copies subdirectories, including empty ones

/ZB – use restartable mode; if access denied use Backup mode (useful for locked files)

/DCOPY:T – copies timestamps for the directories

/COPYALL – copies: attributes, timestamps, ACL permissions, owner info, audit info

/R:1 – number of retries

/W:1 – wait time between retries

/V – verbose output

/TEE – output to console, as well as log file

/LOG:C:\copy.txt – log file location


How to install Hyper-V in Windows 10

Date : October 19, 2016
How to install Hyper-V in Windows 10

Ever since Windows 8 and newer, Microsoft have been kind enough to include their Virtual Machine platform, Hyper-V

However, try and find it on your computer and you may struggle. Whilst it is included, it is not installed by default. Fear not – it’s dead easy to install.

  • Head to Programs and Features (appwiz.cpl)
  • In the left hand column, select Turn Windows features on or off
  • In the list, locate Hyper-V and tick it (this will also install the sub-features of Hyper-V, which you will likely need)

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How to disable IE Enhanced Security Configuration

Date : October 18, 2016

With a fresh Windows Server installation you are unable to browse the web by default, thanks to Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration. This “feature” essentially disables browsing in IE outright. There is a good reason for this, as browsing the web exposes the server to the outside world, and with that comes potential security risks (especially with a non-updated version of IE).

ie_enhancedsecurity_01

However, it is possible to disable this feature:

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