Puppet agent on Windows 7

Puppet is very particular about the Ruby version on Windows.  While 2.2 and 2.3 versions of Ruby are available, puppet only runs without complaint on Ruby 2.1 on my Windows 7 box.

As of May 2016, I installed ruby 2.1.8 and puppet-agent 3.8.7.  I also had to install some gems to make puppet-agent happy.

 gem install win32-security win32-dir require win32-process top win32-service

Here are the links to downloads for puppet-agent and ruby:



No issues if the right version of ruby and the right gems.

Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts

I’m most definitely late to the party on this, but I finally found the keyboard shortcuts that I should have known over 2 years ago.

If you are like me and use multiple monitors with Windows 7 and don’t know about these shortcuts, you are probably fighting with window sizing and just how to fit multiple windows on your screen in a useful fashion.

All I wanted to do was to quickly snap 2 maximized Windows on one of my 24 inch monitors so they each take up half the screen. Every time I tried I would end up with one window on the right side of the right monitor and the other window on the left side of the left monitor. Not optimal.

Well, now that frustration is gone. Lifehacker.com to the rescue once again!

Below is a summary of the most useful shortcuts and a link to the lifehacker article for more.

Rest easy frustrated dual monitorians.

  • Win+Home: Clear all but the active window.
  • Win+Space: All windows become transparent so you can see through to the desktop.
  • Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window.
  • Shift+Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window vertically.
  • Win+Down arrow: Minimize the window/Restore the window if it’s maximized.  This one is the winner for me!
  • Win+Left/Right arrows: Dock the window to each side of the monitor.
  • Shift+Win+Left/Right arrows: Move the window to the monitor on the left or right.
  • Ctrl+Shift+N: Creates a new folder in Windows Explorer.
  • Win+L: Lock your workstation  Also, super helpful
  • Win+E: Open Computer
  • Win+R: Run dialog

For the entire list of shortcuts and more, check out


Disable password expiration in Windows 2012

I have Windows 2012 running in a lab environment and have recently been greeted with password expiring messages.  There’s a pretty straight forward and quick fix to silence those pesky messages.

This is not a recommended change for a production server, but helpful to know in a testing or lab environment.

  • Start typing local security policy in the Search dialog box and select the result.
  • Navigate to Account PoliciesPassword Policy
  • Change Maximum password age to zero (0) to disable

A setting of zero (0) specifies that passwords will never expire.  You can set any value from 0 to 998.

Enable Remote Desktop in Windows 2012

Windows 2012 has remote desktop disabled by default. Enabling it is easy and only takes a minute.

  • Press WindowKey + Q to bring up the global search field.
  • You can also move your mouse to the upper right or lower right portion of the screen to bring up the Charms Bar and then select the Search icon.
  • Enter CMD in the search field and press Enter
  • In command prompt window, type SystemPropertiesRemote and hit Enter
    • The System Properties window will be presented
  • Select Allow remote connections to this computer , click Apply and OK

An entry will then be automatically added in the Windows Firewall for RDP

Verify your ability to RDP into this machine remotely.  If you still can’t RDP into the machine, try disabling your Windows Firewall on the remote machine and see if that changes things.  Troubleshoot accordingly if it doesn’t resolve your issue.

Outlook 2010 – error or timeout when synchronizing subscribed folders

I have a couple of non-Exchange email accounts set up in Outlook for various email addresses.  On one of the accounts, I regularly see the synchronize subscribed folders task take more than 30 seconds when performing a Send/Receive All Folders operation.  Other accounts are fine, just one IMAP account is giving me grief.

Well, I finally figured it out after playing with various settings and scouring forums and I now share the solution with you.

By default, Outlook 2010 seems to synchronize all folders every time it checks for new mail.  This isn’t always an issue but if your account takes a while to update you may want to make these changes.

  • In Outlook 2010, go to File – Options – Advanced
  • Scroll down and click Send/Receive, then click the Edit button for All Accounts
  • From the left column, select the account you wish to modify, then
  • Uncheck Get folder unread count for subscribed folders
  • Click the Use the custom behavior defined below button, then uncheck all but the Inbox folder
  • Next, with the Inbox folder selected, click the Download complete item including attachments button
  • Finally, click OK/Close, where appropriate, to get out of the dialog windows and save your changes

Now, when Send/Receive happens you should see no delay in the synchronizing subscribed folders step.

As far as the unchecking of all the other folders goes, the above changes only impact the Send/Receive All Folders action.  When you click on another folder it will synchronize as expected.

I put this in place a few weeks ago and haven’t seen any issues since.  I have only tried this on Outlook 2010 but it may work on earlier versions as well.  Comment if it works for you and on which version.