What is RAID? Levels and Types

What is RAID? Levels and Types

In simple terms, RAID is basically a way of combining a group of hard drives together to form a single “virtual” drive. The main benefit is not only to obtain a bigger combined space but also to have data protection by having redundancy. This redundancy is achieved by duplicating the data in the additional drives, therefore, if one drive fails your data will still be safe and available. In a nutshell, RAID provides two main advantages: space and data security.  In the following article I will be talking about the different RAID levels, their advantages and disadvantages. I will only focus on the RAID levels that are being used today, not in rare or obsolete ones like RAID 2, 3, and 4.  This article not meant to help you write a research paper, it is meant to help you a quick understanding of what RAID is and what level to choose for your project. Read More »

Installing Visio Network Shapes in Dia

Installing Visio Network Shapes in Dia

Dia is a powerful free open source flowchart diagramming software; and it would be a true alternative to Visio if it wasn’t for a rather unfortunate flaw: the lack of nice, easy to understand network shapes. Let face it, network diagramming not only serves as a tool to help IT staff visualize a network but also, to impress other people (e.g. the boss), who may or may not be as proficient visualizing these diagrams. Dia, unfortunately, totally fails in the “impress” category. Its crude network icons seem made more for super nerds than for regular human beings. That being said, there is an alternative: Dia allows for installation of additional 3rd party shapes. There is, however, no easy way of porting Visio stylesheets to Dia but you can install similar shapes which would serve the same purpose and would make your network diagrams look just as nice. Read More »

Openfiler Vs. FreeNAS

Openfiler Vs. FreeNAS

 

Let me start by saying that the only purpose of this article is to help you choose between OpenFiler and FreeNAS. I won’t waste time going into superficial issues like “GUI ease of use” or “installation tips” since, in the end, once you pass the learning curve, what’s really important is the performance and features of each. Openfiler and freeNAS are both excellent solutions to store your data safely, however, both have unique qualities that make them suitable for distinct environments.  If you are trying to decide between these two wonderful storage solutions,  here are some things you should consider. Read More »

Move WSUS Files to Another Drive

Move WSUS Files to Another Drive

 

Moving WSUS files to another drive is sometimes necessary, specially when you do not anticipate the amount of space it can occupy from the start. WSUS update files can take an incredible amount of space and if you are performing a new installation and are not familiar with it, you might underestimate this space. Unfortunately, WSUS does not tell you in advance how much space you need depending on the files you select; you will only know when your hard drive fills up.  Now, you can always remove WSUS and reinstall it again, however, you would have to download all your files again which, depending on your bandwidth, can take many hours, even days. This article will teach you how to move all of the WSUS update files to another drive. Read More »

Convert Office 2010 Documents to PDF

Convert Office 2010 Documents to PDF

Continuing with our “converting to PDF” series, we are now going to take a look at Office 2010. With Office 2010 it is as easy as ever to convert your Word,  Excel, or Powerpoint files to PDF format. Microsoft has finally decided to include this option by default in the Office 2010 suite. In this short tutorial we will be covering how to save Word, Excel, Powerpoint and other Office program files to PDF in a few, very simple steps. In addition to PDF format, now you can save the in XPS format as well.  If you wish to save in formats other than PDF and XPF, read the last section of this article. Read More »

Convert Office 2007 Documents to PDF

Convert Office 2007 Documents to PDF

Unlike the new Office 2010 Suite, Office 2007 does not have the capability to convert and save its documents into PDF files natively. There is, however, the possibility of installing a plug-in provided by Microsoft for this purpose. For some reason, Microsoft did not include it with the 2007 Office package by default, however, it is available on the web as a free download. Sadly, Microsoft waited until the 2007 version to provide a plug-in and till the 2010 version to make it a permanent addition the their Office suite, even though third party software had been offering this capability many years before. Nonetheless, this is a much welcomed option, specially for those of us for whom saving in PDF format is imperative. Read More »

Convert Any Document to PDF for Free

Convert Any Document to PDF for Free

Remember the days where the only way to convert a Word or Excel document to PDF was to purchase a $600 license of Adobe Acrobat? Things have changed a lot since then. Now, there is a variety of free programs you can choose from to convert your files. Prices of these programs vary greatly; they can be anywhere from free to quite costly. As some of us might already know, commercial products are not always the best; in fact free, open source utilities match and many times surpass commercial software capabilities. In this article we will take a look at a free, open source utility called PDFCreator. Read More »

How to Boot from USB in VMware

How to Boot from USB in VMware

Having the capability of booting from a USB drive in VMware is certainly useful, specially when you are creating and testing that bootable USB drive. However, neither VMware nor VirtualBox support booting from USB natively. Fortunately, there is a tool that will allow us to do just this, a free tool is called Plop. Plop comes in an ISO image that you boot. When plop is up and running, it will ask you whether you want to boot from USB or continue booting from your hard drive. It is basically a program that will give you the capability that the BIOS lacks. In this article I will demonstrate how the process works using VMware. Plop is supposed to be compatible with VirtualBox as well, however, it did not in my case. Read More »

How Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 7 and Vista

How Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 7 and Vista

Since its beginnings, Windows Remote Desktop became an essential tool for IT professionals. There is not a day that goes by, that I don’t use it at work. It has saved me major aggravation, specially when I am at home and I need to access the office to solve any problem. A few days back I wrote a tutorial on how to enable Remote Desktop in Windows XP; now is the turn of Windows 7 and Vista. The concept is basically the same, however, since things changed substantially starting with Vista, the steps are a little different. Before we start, it is important to mention that Remote Desktop is not available in the home versions of Windows Vista or 7. Read More »

Wiping Free Disk Space in Windows on Schedule

Wiping Free Disk Space in Windows on Schedule

Why should we wipe free disk space on our hard drives? As you probably already know, once your recycle bin is emptied the files are not really erased; they just do not show up anymore and Windows uses the space whenever it is needed. The problem with this is that Windows writes randomly to the hard drive and until all the sectors taken up by the erased file get overwritten, your file is not really gone. In this tutorial will show you how to wipe your free disk space. I will also show you how to do it on a schedule in case you forget. This will prevent your erased data from falling into the wrong hands. We are going to be using a small and handy utility called Eraser which can be set up to wipe your hard drive’s free disk space from Windows, using the most advanced techniques. Read More »

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