The IT Cave is Returning Soon!

keep-calm-i-m-coming-back-2Hi everyone – I just wanted to drop a quick note that I have not forgotten about The Cave. Life has been crazy lately. I am getting back into corporate IT (I was working as a bus driver for some time, hence why this site was quiet) and relocating back to my old home. I’m actually quite excited and looking forward to it. My lab will also be coming back so I will start prepping more awesome articles and updates to old ones. Feel free to contact me in the mean time. My email is [email protected]

Review: Password Manager XP

In the day of password requirements that are absolutely insane, you need a password manager to keep yourself from going insane. We’re going to be taking a look at Password Manager XP from CP Lab. With the amount of passwords we in IT need to remember, a good password manager is critical. I have a few that I use but I decided to see if I could find one with similar or better features than the ones I currently use have.

Obtaining and Installing

You can obtain a trial of Password Manager XP from the CP Lab website here. The installation of the Standard version (which we’re taking a look at here) is a standard next, next, finish install. It doesn’t get any easier. There is a Professional version that has a client-server model that would be more suited towards an enterprise as it has Active Directory integration. The standard edition would be fine for an individual or maybe small teams who share a database.

First Run

Right after you install Password Manager XP, you can launch it and you’ll see the default example database that is installed (if you so choose to install it).

Password Manager XP main screen

Password Manager XP main screen

I like the way Password Manager XP sets up the UI. You can see all your databases and tree view of passwords on the left, and on the right is your main screen. I like having the multiple database views. This can allow you to have a “work” passwords database and a “personal” passwords database, for instance. As always, it’s wise advice to never put all your eggs in one basket. Creating a database is actually very simple. Just go to the Database menu and create a new database. From here, you can name your database and assign a master password.

2016-06-17_18-34-09You can also specify where you’d like to have the database file stored. For me, I prefer to put it in a syched folder such as my OneDrive or DropBox so that it’s accessible on all my devices. However, if you have only one computer, it might make sense to put it in a secure location. Now, your passwords are encrypted in the database, but I also prefer to throw in some security by obscurity – throw my database in a obscure location and one accessible only by my user account. However, for this review, I kept everything default.

Adding your passwords

What good is a database without any data? Pretty useless. Likewise, a password database doesn’t have any passwords is forcing you to remember all your passwords and that’s not good. Once you have a database created, you can start creating entries. To keep yourself organized, you can create folders and to keep it really customization, you can select any icon you wish for the folder.

2016-06-17_18-34-55Once you have some folders created, you can now create password entries. This is as simple as right clicking and selecting “New Record”. On the new record screen, you can select an icon, a name, set the website address (if there is one), and generate or insert your password. You can also attach files, generate a password, set a password expiration date (useful for reminding you to change passwords if the service doesn’t expire them for you), and even leave some notes about the password too.

2016-06-19_13-00-57As you can see, I’ve set some test passwords (no these won’t grant you access to anything in The Cave) so you can see how the data is displayed.

The password generator function works amazingly well and is about as un-complicated as it could possibly be (which is what you’d expect but believe it that other software makes this process just as complicated).

2016-06-19_13-08-11Security is also important as these passwords can access anything. Password Manager XP has built in encryption of all different kinds. You can use any kind you’d like. Or all of them. The choice is yours.

2016-06-19_13-21-30

Special Features

This is one of the killer features of this program, in my mind. You can install the program to a flash drive and copy your password database so you can take it with you. This is a really cool feature if you carry a flash drive with you. I always have a USB drive on my keychain which is useful when I need to transfer some files quickly at work.

2016-06-19_13-09-55There is also web browser functionality built in. Other applications require special plugins to be acquired separately and configured separately but Password Manager XP has this all included in the box.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really like Password Manager XP and I plan on using this as my primary password manager. While there are other options available, I urge you to give Password Manager XP a try along with anything else that you’re considering. I think you will find that Password Manager XP will meet or exceed your expectations! This works with all versions of Windows.

Given what I’ve seen and used thus far in my trial, I give Password Manager XP a 8/10. I highly recommend it!

Blocking Windows 10 From PCs

windNOws-10-logoSo there are a lot of ways to block the Windows 10 utility (GWX) from installing through Windows Update. Microsoft is getting more persistent with their update and it’s starting to make a lot of people angry. They want the world on Windows 10 but sometimes you don’t want or can’t upgrade. This is a simple fix to block GWX from installing – even if Microsoft tries to slipstream it into other updates like Internet Explorer (which they’ve recently done).

Open Explorer and go to C:\Windows\System32 and find or create a folder called GWX. Right click on the folder and go to Properties. Click on the Security tab and then click on Advanced to access special permissions and advanced settings.

Remove all inherited permissions. Deny all permissions to SYSTEM and Deny all permissions to Administrators group. Click Apply and OK. Windows will pop a warning about changing permissions on system files and directories. Yes, you want to do this. And that’s it. No registry settings, no firewall rules – just good old NTFS permissions. Since no one can access this folder, it will prevent GWX from installing, even if it’s slipstreamed in a IE update.

Setting up GnuPG Encryption For Email

gpg2Let’s be perfectly real here: email in it’s vanilla form sucks. It’s insecure, it’s unreliable, and yet it’s our preferred communication method. What can we do? A good bit, actually. While we can’t fix the problems like including encryption from the get-go, we can add it to our emails now. We can also sign our emails so people will actually know it’s us. This is one of the reasons why spam is so wild – because it’s just so darn easy to send email. Unfortunately, this does require a bit of “classic” computing using a good old email client and a plugin. This tutorial is designed for Windows users and will work on any OS Windows XP or newer. However, the software being used is cross-platform so it will work on Mac OS X and Linux.

Requirements:

For this to work, we’re going to need the following

  • Thick email client such as Thunderbird (preferred) or Outlook
  • Gpg4win
    • If you’re using Outlook, Gpg4win has an Outlook plugin

Continue reading

Tracmor Update

tracmor_littleUpdate: Just to deliver on my promise to deliver updates to old posts, I’d like to provide a little update to my post, Inventory Control Systems. I reviewed this product called Tracmor and I just wanted to see if it still exists. Turns out, they still do exist, however on their main website (tracmor.com), they don’t really mention that it’s an open source product anymore and you think your only option is SaaS – not true! Simply head over to tracmor.org and you’ll be able to download the source from GitHub (moved from Google Projects).  Enjoy!

Windows Server 2016/Windows 10 Unable to open Edge

windows-server-2016With Server 2016 on the horizon, you may have started to test some of the builds out. As of right now, Technical Preview 4 (TP4) is available which is build 10586. In previous versions of Windows Server, you may have been used to Microsoft locking down Internet Explorer with Enhanced Security Configuration. However, on Server 2016 (and sometimes Windows 10), when you try to install programs that launch the default browser or you try to launch the default browser (Edge), you’ll be greeted with:

2016-01-15 10_28_38-Trac [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox

So annoying, right? So here’s how to fix that:

Continue reading

Firefox removing sponsored tile

firefoxFirefox users will be happy to hear that Mozilla has decided to remove the sponsored tile from the new tab page. I previously blogged about this last year, actually. So it’s evident that the “feature” only lasted a year. Mozilla has been using the “Tiles” (as they call them) to promote Mozilla issues, publisher content, and sponsored ads. Mozilla has decided to end the advertising feature and focus the tile on content discovery.

Mozilla said:

Advertising in Firefox could be a great business, but it isn’t the right business for us at this time because we want to focus on core experiences for our users. We want to reimagine content experiences and content discovery in our products. We will do this work as a fully integrated part of the Firefox team.

We believe that the advertising ecosystem needs to do better – we believe that our work in our advertising experiments has shown that it can be done better. Mozilla will continue to explore ways to bring a better balance to the advertising ecosystem for everyone’s benefit, and to build successful products that respect user privacy and deliver experiences based upon transparency, choice and control.

We think that this is a great idea and we’re happy they’re discontinuing the sponsored ads.

Adobe starting to kill off Flash

an_appicon_192Meet Adobe Animate CC. It’s the new name of Adobe Flash Professional CC. In a blog post, Adobe outlines that in 2016 Flash Professional will be called “Animate” as they finally bow down to HTML5.  This is a much welcomed move, especially in corporate environments where trying to manage Adobe Flash can be a nightmare.

The downside to this is that Flash is still going to be around. But with browsers disabling it by default, older versions no longer being supported, there’s ever increasingly more pressure on developers to move from Flash over to HTML5 (or even native Windows applications would be welcome). But this is a great move as Flash begins the depreciation process.