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Nginx quicker than Apache2 on Raspberry Pi 2

Yesterday I setup my Raspberry Pi with Apache2 in the same manner I would for any Linux web server. My first impression was that it was slow to load my WordPress homepage. Installing APC as per The Perfect APC Configuration – Greg Rickaby improved load times but I was still seeking fast page load times.

After reading posts like The Raspberry Pi Web Server Speed Test – Raspberry Pi Blog and Raspberry Pi web server – Comparing the performance of Nginx and Apache web servers  I decided to install Nginx (pronounced engine-x). Being new to Nginx I used this Tutorial – Install Nginx and PHP on Raspbian – RaspiPress guide to do this inital configuration. I also used this guide to tweak Nginx for WordPress WordPress NGINX Rewrite Rules. First impressions of Nginx is that its fast and used far less memory.

Don’t forget to configure APC after installing Nginx as PHP caching does work to improve page load times.

Load testing and benchmarking is always a must when changing configurations on web servers. Look at apache – ab load testing – Stack Overflow and Load Testing and Benchmarking With Siege.

Can a Raspberry Pi 2 be a web server?

Over the past year I’ve been running a HP Proliant DL 38 G3 to host this website and other web apps. For the age of this server its a power house but this server consumes massive amounts of power using its two 575W power supplies.

Since the Raspberry Pi 2 model b was released I have been very interested on getting my hands on one. After receiving an excessive power bill I took the plunge and ordered my first Pi 2

With a 900 MHz quad core CPU and 1 GB RAM they pack some grunt in a small form-factor. The power saving is massive with a 2A micro USB charger using a mere  10W. Even if you used 2 or 3 Pi’s to run your website the power saving is huge.

Have a look at my awesome test bench. Still unsure of the type of case I want yet.

IMG_20150316_190108 IMG_20150316_190141

Currently I have one configured as a web server running Apache2/PHP5/APC and another running MySQL server. Not sure if a single web server will be enough grunt but time will tell. After performing some load tests I’m impressed on how well the Pi holds up.

If load becomes a real issue I’ll run a Pi with Varnish. I’ve used Varnish reverse web proxy in the past and its awesome at reducing web server load.

When I get my hands on some more Pi’s I’ll perform some bench marks comparing Apache2 and Nginx.

I’m sure you will see many more Pi related posts to come..

Migrate my desktop from Ubuntu to Fedora

Over the past 11 years I have used a few Linux distributions on my desktop. Here is an overview:

2002: RedHat 7/8 was used no a spare desktop
2005: 5.04 Hoary Hedgehog  was installed on my main desktop
2005: 5.10 Breezy Badger was installed on my server.
2006: 6.06 Dapper Drake came out which was the first LTS (long term support). From then on all my servers ran the latest LTS build.
2011: 11.04 Natty Narwhal brought Unity replacing Gnome 2.x. While I was never a fan on unity I continued to use Ubuntu.

Everything was great up until when I upgraded from a stable 13.04 Raring Ringtail April 2013 to 13.10 Saucy Salamander September 2013. 13.10 which was very buggy. With high memory/cpu usage and poor video playback I started thinking that Ubuntu is no longer cutting it.

On the weekend I installed CentOS 6.4 on one of my servers for testing and it had me thinking, If RedHat Enterprise/CentOS use Gnome 2.x on their desktop builds perhaps Fedora using Gnome 3. I had a quick look on their website and Fedora 19 confirmed me thinking. I downloaded a copy and got straight to the migration.

The installation went without a hitch and when I sore Gnome 3 it was love at first sight. I have installed Google Chrome and Rythembox, both applications used to crash all the time under Ubuntu 13.10 but they no longer crash. Yum is alittle different then apt-get and takes some getting used to but its not as quick as apt-get. Memory and cpu usage lower since the switch.

If you are thinking that Ubuntu 13.10 is a slow peace of shit that crashes all the time, perhaps give Fedora live a try.

Publish Moodle behind MS TMG

The plan was to set up Moodle internally and have it published by TMG. This would allow the speed of HTTP internally and the security of HTTPS externally. Moodle URL is by the config.php file in either a http or https modes but not both which holds Moodle back. I turned to TMG and found the link translation option can solve my problem.

Web server set up

Apache2 web service

<Directory /var/www/moodle/auth/ldap/>
<Files ntlmsso_magic.php>
NTLMAuth on
AuthType NTLM
AuthName “Moodle NTLM Authentication”
NTLMAuthHelper “/usr/bin/ntlm_auth –helper-protocol=squid-2.5-ntlmssp”
NTLMBasicAuthoritative on
require valid-user
Order allow,deny
Allow from all

TMG server set up

Web Publishing Rule for external https

  1. Authentication delegation: NTML
  2. Published server logout url: /login/logout.php
  3. Bridging: redirect requests to port 80.
  4. Users: All authenticate users.
  5. Link Translation MUST be enabled with configure
  6. replace ‘path=/; HttpOnly’ with ‘path=/; secure; HttpOnly’. This makes the Moodle cookie only work in https.
  7. replace ‘http:\/\/’ with ‘https:\/\/’. This fixes in page javascript.
  8. Create an SSL listener
    1. html form with Active Directory Authentication Validation
    2. Authentication Preferences have Validate credentials for every http request enabled.
    3. Connections only enable 443 ssl
    4. Select ssl certificate.
    5. SSO set domain.
    6. Networks, set external IP.

Web Publishing Rule for external http

  1. Authentication delegation: None
  2. Bridging: redirect requests to port 80.
  3. Users: All users.
  4. Create a web listener on port 80 with no authentication.

Web Publishing Rule for external http login

Copy the http rule and name it http login. This rule allows login redirect from http to https.

  1. Link transactions, custom, Path delete ‘/’ and replace it with ‘/login/*’ and ‘/auth/*’
  2. Action, Deny, Redirect to ‘’

The deny rule must be above the allow http in the TMG firewall policy list or it wont work.

Finished product

Guest access via http


Login form




Secure access




Web Server Upgrade

Its been 1 year since I began using a HP ProLiant DL360 G3 as my web server to host this web site. The last server upgrade was talked about in this post. During that time I have had two fan kit fail which caused a around a week of down time. I knew it was time to decommission the aging server. The HP ProLiant DL360 G3 server  had caused me issues long before it started to fail such as it doesn’t support a 64 bit operating system, limited ram slots, only supports two hard disks and the lack of processing power meant that a reverse proxy (Varnish) was a must.

My replacement server is a HP ProLiant DL380 G4. The specs for this server are as:

  • 64 bit support
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • Two  Intel Xeon CPUs clocked at 3.60GHz with hyperthreading
  • Two 72 GB SCSI 15,000 RPM hard disks in a RAID 1 for the root file system
  • Four 146 GB SCSI 15,000 RPM hard disks in a RAID 10 for the www and mysql data

Just like the old server I am running Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS as my operating system but this time I can install the 64 bit version. Due to the upgrade in performance I have chosen to not install varnish or any reverse proxy but simply use PHP caching.  I went with APC (Alternative PHP Cache) as is maintained by PHP.  I have done some basic performance testing and found that my router is more likely to freeze due to high load than my web server.

Remove Symantec Endpoint Protection with CleanWipe

Within Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) schools also known as Victorian Government schools we run Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) for our Anti-Virus program.

Our schools were recently informed to upgrade SEP 12.1 RU1 from SEP 11. I installed the upgrade onto one of my Windows 2008 R2 servers at work and found a bug which enables all network interfaces, including disabled ones at boot. This was rather annoying as some of my servers have up to 4 network interfaces of which not all are used and need to remain disabled. For more information on the bug visit the Symantec website

I was informed by a technician at DEECD that the bug was resolved in SEP 12.1 RU1 MP1. The 32bit version of the patch applied without issue but when I applied the 64bit patch I ran into mayor issues after reboot. I seemed that the patch failed to apply and now windows has SEP listed in the installed programs list twice. I was unable to remove either version of SEP.

I contacted Symantec and created a case where I requested CleanWipe. Less than 24 hours later I was contact by Symantec and provided with a username and password to download cleanwipe from

You can download version 12.1.2015.2015 of CleanWipe from my web site if you wish, click HERE or HERE (Google Drive) to start Download. The password for the zip is symantec.

Filter YouTube with YouTube For Schools and squidGuard

Before we start

Your LAN must already run a production instance of squid running on a Linux operating system such as Ubuntu.

For this guide, I was using Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS which ships with squid/3.1.19. The guide has been tested on both 32 & 64 bit builds.

Ensure the following top-level domains are not blocked

Sign up for a YouTube for school account

Go to and sign up for a YouTube For school Account. The sign up process should only take minutes.

Once you account is created go to and under the Instrucations heading, Step 1, search for the following string X-YouTube-Edu-Filter: the random numbers and letters after that string are your account ID. The account ID is required for the redirection to work correctly. Please document your account ID.


Install squidGuard

squidGuard is the URL rewrite program. To install use the following command

proxy:~$ sudo apt-get install squidguard

Edit squidGuard configuration

Lets backup the default squidGuard configuration as it has examples which as useful but none of which we require.
proxy:~$ sudo cp -v /etc/squid/squidGuard.conf /etc/squid/squidGuard.conf.original

So time to edit the squidGuard configuration and make it work for you.

proxy:~$ sudo vim /etc/squid/squidGuard.conf

Remove all the examples and paste in the new configuration from below. Please replace ABCD1234567890abcdef with your YouTube for Schools Account ID. Save and exit

# Caution: do NOT use comments inside { }
dbhome /var/lib/squidguard/db
logdir /var/log/squid
rew youtube {
acl {
 default {
 pass any
 rewrite youtube

Add squidGuard into your squid configuration

proxy:~$ sudo vim /etc/squid3/squid.conf

Search for url_rewrite_program and insert the following line. Save and exit.

url_rewrite_program /usr/bin/squidGuard -c /etc/squid/squidGuard.conf

Restart squid to enable squidGuard

To enable the config changes to the squid service.

proxy:~$ sudo service squid3 restart

YouTube for schools in now enabled

When you load you be able to see all videos listed on the main page but when you attempt to watch these videos you will only be able to view content classified as educational by youtube or content that the has been added to the schools youtube account’s playlists.

While you can add staff into a list of teachers that can view all content, only the administrator (schools youtube account) can add content to be viewed by all students.

You may want to block access to via HTTPS as squidGuard rewrite is unable to intercept SSL connections.


Configure HP Procurve Switch via Command Line Interface

After getting my eyes of a Cisco 2960 configured created by DEECD, I decided to replicate their config on our HP Procurve switches.

Connect to the switch via telnet or the serial console and enter config mode

switch# config

Set IP address gateway

ip default-gateway

Set hostname and contact details

switch(config)# hostname "2510_01"
2510_01(config)# snmp-server contact ""
2510_01(config)# snmp-server location "Senior Campus, Server Room"

Set timezone and network time protocol details

2510_01(config)# timesync sntp
2510_01(config)# sntp server
2510_01(config)# sntp unicast

Set timezone offset from GMT in minutes

2510_01(config)# time timezone 600

Enable web management SSL and disable web management plaintext

2510_01(config)# crypto key generate cert 1024
2510_01(config)# crypto host-cert generate self-signed
Validity start date [10/21/2012]: 10/21/2012
Validity end date [10/21/2013]: 10/21/2018
Common name []:
Organizational unit [Dept Name]: ICT
Organization [Company Name]: XXXX College
City or location [City]: XXXX
State name [State]: VIC
Country code [US]: AU
2510_01(config)# web-management ssl
2510_01(config)# no web-management plaintext

Enable SSH and disable telnet

2510_01(config)# crypto key generate ssh
Installing new RSA key. If the key/entropy cache is depleted, this could take up to a minute.

Enable SSH version 2 if supported

2510_01(config)# ip ssh version 2

Enable SSH version 1 if version 2 isn’t supported

2510_01(config)# ip ssh
2510_01(config)# no telnet-server

Set username and passwords

2510_01(config)# password manager user-name admin
2510_01(config)# password operator user-name monitor

Set banner

2510_01(config)# banner motd %
# Authorised Users Only #
# The information on this computer and network is the property of #
# <COMPANY NAME> and is protected by intellectual property #
# rights. You must be assigned an account on this computer to #
# access the information and are only allowed to access information as #
# defined by the System Administrator(s). Your activities are #
# monitored for security reasons. #

Set name for interface/s

interface B1-B6 name " "

Save and view the configuration

2510_01(config)# write memory
2510_01(config)# show run