PFSENSE 2.3 PPTP VPN passthru workaround

PFSense 2.3.x and up have removed the PPTP tab, and PPTP passthru options.  This is because PPTP has been depreciated and it not considered 100% safe anymore.

For those of you still in need of using PPTP passthru to allow Windows VPN remote users into your LAN, here is the easy workaround.

  1. Firewall, NAT, Port forward.
    1. add port forward from WAN (presumably your outside interface name)
      1. TCP
      2. WAN ADDRESS
      3. DEST PORT RANGE=PPTP 1723
      4. REDIRECT TARGET IP=the internal IP of your Windows RRAS server.
      5. REDIRECT TARGET PORT=1723
      6. Allow it to ADD ASSOCIATED FILTER RULE for this entry
      7. SAVE
    2. add another rule, exactly the same as above EXCEPT for GRE.  All the same settings, but use GRE
  2. Once that is complete, go look at your WAN firewall rules.  You should have two new auto-created rules.  One for PPTP and one for GRE.
  3.  Remote users should now be able to connect just fine through PFSENSE 2.3.x into your Windows RRAS server.

Remember, using PPTP in 2016 is considered a risk, so do it at your own risk.  Please consider moving towards a newer VPN standard with better security.

Solved!!! IOS GameCenter Hung / GameCenter white screen

IOS GAMECENTER WHITE SCREEN FIX – Copyright © 2016 – Shane Rolin / Amixa LLC

In late February, my iPhone 6+ (128gb) with IOS 9.0.2 started to have hiccups when launching into any game which was tied into a GameCenter account.  For me, this meant that the following game apps had problems and were not playable:

  • Madden 2016
  • Dungeon Heroes 5
  • NHL Gamecard
  • Star Wars Game of Heroes

By March 1, I was no longer able to play ANY GameCenter-tied game.  Nor was I able to get into the GameCenter app – it would hang at a white screen, and I could not get into the Settings – >GameCenter area either – same thing, hung at a white screen.

I tried rebooting, doing all sorts of other things like putting it in Airplane mode and trying to go to Settings and signing out of GameCenter – which would fail.

So for about the last 2+ weeks I have been locked out of a number of games.

For example, on Star Wars-Game of Heroes, the game would freeze at the “Loading Cantina” screen.

In NHL GameCard, the game would not log into GameCenter.

In Dungeon Heroes 5, it would hang about 1/8 into the loading bar.

I went to the Apple Support forums and posted.  Read tons of posts as well.

Apple told me to wipe the phone and restore it, and upgrade to 9.2.1.  That’s ridiculous since I saw plenty of users who were on 9.0.2 through 9.2.1 and they all had this issue, so the problem is NOT tied to 9.0.2.  I also read how users upgraded from 9.0.2 to 9.2.1 and the problem still is present.

My phone is jailbroken, but this problem affects all phones, stock and jailbroken.

Well after some poking around I have SOLVED the problem, and now my GameCenter, all games, the GC app and settings are all working.

I decided to poke around inside the IOS file system and see if I could track down where the GameCenter app and/or temporary files were stored.  After a lot of looking around and searching the IOS file system, I came across the “GameKit” User Library, which seemed to contain quite a bit of “temporary” files.  HMMM… I wonder if eliminating those files would clear up our issue?

 

Here is the fix (you must have a jailbroken phone)

  1. I am not responsible for your phone, so if you screw this up, it’s on you, and not my fault.
  2. Back up your phone in iTunes first
  3. You will need access to the RAW file system on your phone.  You can do this via several methods:
    1. Install OpenSSH and SSH into your phone from a computer
    2. iFunBox
    3. iFile or any other app that gives you FULL file system access to the machine.
  4. Go to the following path
    1. /private/var/mobile/Library/GameKit
    2. you can also get there via
      1. User -> Library -> GameKit
  5. Back up your entire GameKit directory to your local PC.  Should only take a few seconds.  (this is easy if you are using SSH or iFunBox).  This backup is just in case something really goes wrong.  You’ll probably wind up deleting these backup folders once you get your phone working.
  6. on your phone, delete any loose files inside the root of the GameKit directory.  here is what mine looked like:pic1
  7. Next, go inside the “DelayedRequests” folder.  I had 65 folders (and many other files and within each of these).  Mine looked like this:pic2
  8. select all those folders inside “DelayedRequests” and delete them all.
  9. Now your entire “GameKit” folder should contain only the “DelayedRequests” folder and nothing else at all (just an empty folder and one directory, no other files).
  10. At this point I reset my iPhone HOME+POWER and let it reboot.
  11. After reboot, logged in and went to the GameCenter app.  WORKS!
  12. Went to the GameCenter Settings app – WORKS!
  13. Launched all the games above – WORKS!

So what this means to me is that there is some corruption of data in these files inside the “GameKit” and/or “DelayedRequests” folders.

Wiping them out of Gamekit does NOT wipe your saves or anything else, it just clears out this cache of files and lets your phone start building a fresh set.

If this has helped you, please reply and let me know!

IOS GAMECENTER WHITE SCREEN FIX – Copyright © 2016 – Shane Rolin / Amixa LLC

How to uninstall MSE from Windows Server 2012 R2

We recently ran into a situation where we had a Windows 2012 R2 server with Microsoft Security Essentials installed on it (from a few years ago), and now with a recent Windows Update – the Windows update will not install because MSE is no longer compatible with this OS.

The issue is that you can not uninstall MSE via the standard “add/remove” programs.  When that is attempted I get the following error:

Error Code: 0x8004FF04

At that point you’re dead in the water and can’t remove MSE.

Here’s the EASY fix:

go to

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client

and RIGHT CLICK on Setup.exe

Go to Compatibility, check it and change to WIN 7.

Bring up a command prompt

Type in:

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\Setup.exe” /disableoslimit /u

This will bring up MSE and at this point you will see an “uninstall” button.

Click Uninstall and remove it!

 

How to Migrate Office 2013 or 2016 to new computer

I recently upgraded my workstation to a new computer running Windows 10 Pro.  I needed to move over my Outlook 2016 email accounts and calendars to the new location.

 

This is a very easy process.

  1. Install Office 2013 or 2016 on the new computer.
  2. Run windows updates
  3. Make sure both computers are not currently in Outlook
  4. Copy the entire outlook data folder to your new computer.  I am not providing directions for this.  You should know what your doing here (or use google).
  5. Now you will have a copy of outlook data (PST’s) in both locations.
  6. Copy over any internet shared calendars from your old machine to the new machine.  File location is here, and it would be sitting in the root if it exists:
    1. C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  7. On your old machine run REGEDIT.  EXPORT this entire key which contains all your email account settings.
    1. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Profiles\Outlook
    2. Note: If you are on a different version of outlook the version 16.0 will be a different number.
  8. Copy that REG file to your new PC and double click and let it insert it into the registry
  9. Move over any signatures from your old computer to your new computer.  Those are located here:
    1. C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures
    2. Note: You probably should just copy the entire folder and paste it in the same place on your new PC.
  10. Launch Outlook on the new PC.  Pick your profile and set as default.  Then go update each accounts’ passwords.  Once you update the passwords you will be able to resume doing email exactly as you were doing it on the old PC.

 

Seagate Backup Exec 14.x reuse improperly allocated tape

Let’s say you have a DLT drive and you are running a backup job like this:

Full

Incremental

Incremental

{eject}

Next tape

etc.

Every so often, due to power outages, mistakes etc. a tape may eject out of the drive. So you pop it back in but the job won’t run, it ejects the tape and asks for a tape that is over writeable and the current tape is already (previously) allocated and you can’t use it.

There is an easy solution for this, but you’ll need to re-run your full backup job.

How to address it:

  1. With the current tape out, cancel the current job, so that the jobs re-queue as queued in the future
  2. pop the tape in
  3. go to the Storage tab, click on the DLT drive
  4. pick INVENTORY -> Inventory Now
  5. Let that complete
  6. pick Erase -> Erase now
  7. restart the FULL job and let it complete.
  8. the next incremental job will then run as scheduled and you are back on track with the backup cycle.

 

WordPress 4.x auto updates under windows

If you want your WordPress install to do auto-updates (in a Windows Server based hosting setup), you need to do one simple step.

 

Edit the hosts file.

Put a local IP in there for the domain name of the site.

Save the changes.

 

Example:

10.5.5.5  www.whatever-the-site-is.com

Re-log into WordPress and go to dashboard-updates and in there it should tell you “future updates will be automatically applied”

Why is all of this needed?  WordPress uses PHP CRON and that is reliant on the server being able to find the local website.  Therefore it is necessary to put a hard-coded IP in the hosts file so the CRON job can “see” the wordpress site.  Without the hosts entry the website will resolve to the external IP of the site, and you will have an unreachable IP issue and auto-update won’t work.

Proper FTP setup via IIS using Passive FTP

Since PASSIVE FTP seems to be a relative standard (that I experience), and since most clients don’t understand or want to use “ACTIVE” FTP, here is the easy way to configure your firewall and FTP software on an IIS machine to permit PASSIVE FTP.

Firewall Setup

You’ll need two rules and one “one to one” NAT mapping (this may vary a bit due to your firewall software).

The one to one NAT mapping needs to map the external IP address to the internal IP of the server.  Such as “66.33.123.21” mapped to “10.1.1.21”

One rule to allow the world into TCP port 21, mapped to the specific server in question.  (Allow * from ANY to 10.1.1.21 TCP port 21).

Second rule, specifically for PASSIVE FTP.  Allow * from ANY to 10.1.1.21 on ports range 50000 to 50100.

FTP Server Setup

We normally use Filezilla Server (latest version, of course).

Add a user and setup the standard settings.

Passive settings are as follows (below).

Most importantly, the “X.X.X.X” area below is your PUBLIC IP that is mapped through your firewall.

Click OK and save the settings.

FTP1

 

FTP Client Settings

Nothing fancy here, just check to make sure the settings look like this:

FTP2

Throttling bandwidth on an IIS based site

If you need to throttle (or limit) the amount of bandwidth a specific site on Microsoft Server — this is for you.  This should work with any Microsoft Server OS from 2008 to present. Open IIS. Go to the specific site in question (in the tree to left expand and click on the specific site name).

on the right side panel, click Configure — Limits.

Check “limit bandwidth usage” and type in a number.

Click OK.

limits

WordPress and Google Fonts HTTP and HTTPS error messages and resolutions…

If you are trying to deal with the dreaded insecure messages when trying to use Google Fonts on WordPress based sites, here are a few things to try. Within the specific theme folder you are using, edit the functions.php file. You want to examine the file and search/look for “googleapis”.  That should help you find the correct area of the code. In my example site (below), notice how the url is referenced as “//fonts.googleapis.com” and not as “http://fonts…”.

Make sure your theme is using just “//fonts.googleapis…” and is not hard coded to HTTP or HTTPS

// Retrieve Font URL to register default Google Fonts
function courage_google_fonts_url() {
    
 $font_families = array('Lato', 'Fjalla One');
 $query_args = array(
  'family' => urlencode( implode( '|', $font_families ) ),
  'subset' => urlencode( 'latin,latin-ext' ),
 );
 $fonts_url = add_query_arg( $query_args, '//fonts.googleapis.com/css' );
    return apply_filters( 'courage_google_fonts_url', $fonts_url );
}

 

If you make these changes and this does not help, or if you cannot locate similar code in the functions file – and you’re still getting the SSL warning messages on your site, then you’re probably at the mercy of a specific plugin, or issue with your particular theme.

Try shifting the site to a basic theme like 2015 (for a few minutes for testing…) and see if the site works fine in http/https modes with the google fonts.  If it DOES, then the issue is your theme.  Contact the theme developer or look hard through the theme code and determine where the googleapis call is.

If the theme does not seem to be the issue, then it’s probably a plugin that’s causing your issues.  If you feel brave, disable the plugins and start testing one after another to try and localize which plugin is causing the issue.  (Disable all of them. Test the site.  See if the fonts work without issue.  Enable one plugin.  Test again, enable another plugin, more testing, etc.)

Hope that helps a bit!

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