The Sysadmins

Tips and tricks from the Sysadmins

Category: Windows (page 1 of 3)

Internet Explorer 11 – HTML5 Black Screen


You are unable to play HTML5 videos in Internet Explorer 11, the HTML5 player displays a black screen only.


A post on the MSDN Blog states: In order to play HTML5 videos in the Internet Zone, you need to use the default settings or make sure the following registry key value 2701 under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\3 is set to 0.

However, when setting the value of 2701 to 0 in this location the value does not stick and reverts back to 3. Process Monitor showed that Group Policy was setting the value to 0, and then back to 3. Despite putting this policy last, and trying various other tactics I was unable to change this behaviour.

To apply this setting, you can also use the following key location: HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\3.

When set here, the value of 2701 will not revert back to 3 (disabled), and HTML5 video playback will be enabled.

You can set this via GPP as below.


Licensing – Upgrade 2008 R2 KMS Host to Support Server 2012 and Windows 8

This post will cover updating an existing Server 2008 R2 KMS host to allow the activation of Server 2012 and Windows 8 clients. The update will carry across your existing activation count and if you currently use your KMS host for Microsoft Office activations, this will go untouched.

Once this update has been applied the KMS host will be able to service the following KMS clients:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista

Before running the update, I’d recommend you record the output of your existing configuration by running:

slmgr /dli all > before.txt.

Download the required KB2757817 update package from here:

Run the installer and select yes.

Update kms for server 2012

Update KMS to support Windows 8

Update KMS to support Server 2012

Once the installation is complete you must restart the server.

To install and activate your new KMS license key. Use the following command to add the new key:

cscript %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk

Then to activate:

cscript %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato

cscript %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk

Now would be a good time to run slmgr /dli all > after.txt and compare with your results from earlier. The text file should state:

Name: Windows Server(R), ServerStandard edition
Description: Windows Operating System – Windows Server(R), VOLUME_KMS_2012_C channel
Partial Product Key: partialkeyhere
License Status: Licensed

If you want some additional confirmation, dig into the key management event log and look for events with the ID of 12290. You’re mainly looking for the license state near the far right, you want to see “1” meaning the client is activated. Here are the various licensing states:

  • 0 – Unlicensed
  • 1 – Licensed (Activated)
  • 2 – OOB grace
  • 3 – OOT grace
  • 4 – NonGenuineGrace
  • 5 – Notifications
  • 6 – Extended Grace
Troubleshooting KMS Event Log

Troubleshooting KMS Event Log

More information about troubleshooting KMS can be found here:


This is a file share allowing access to all Sysinternals utilities. It will allow you to run these tools from any computer connected to the Internet without having to navigate to a webpage, download and extract the zip file.

If you are unfamiliar with Microsoft Windows Sysinternals, it is highly recommended that you visit the website at before using these tools.

Accessing the suite from within Powershell/Command Prompt.

net use x: \\\tools

Accessing the suite from within Explorer.

Open Administrative Command Prompt Without Right Clicking

Nice little tip for opening an administrative command prompt without having to right click. This will actually work for most applications, but I use it most for this!

Tap the Windows key, type CMD and press SHIFT+CTRL+Enter, UAC will trigger if you have it enabled, ALT+Y to press Yes.


If you have the Command Prompt pinned, you can set it to always run as an administrator by right clicking the pinned shorcut, going to Properties and Advanced. Tick Run as administrator.



View .pages File on Windows

I’ve had a few requests to open .pages files lately and found a nice and quick way to extract the .pages file to expose a PDF file which can be opened within Windows. The Pages file extension originates from Apple’s iWorks Pages application.

Right click the .pages file and extract with 7zip (or your favorite alternative).

Open the quicklook folder and open the PDF version of the .pages file, most of the files I’ve come across allow text to be copied from the PDF.

SBS 2003 to SBS 2011 Migration – Extend 21 day limit

You may find yourself in a position where 21 days isn’t enough to finish the migration, if you find yourself in this situation there are two methods for extending this limit.

The methods below should only be used as a short term solution as they technically violate the EULA, but needs must.

How to determine how many days you have left:

Extend for another 7 days

This is as simple as moving the FSMO roles back over to the SBS 2003 server (

From the SBS 2003 server open a command prompt and run netdom query fsmo – confirm the SBS 2011 server is currently holding the FSMO roles. The procedure below gracefully transfers the FSMO roles back over to the SBS 2003 server.

  • ntdsutil
  • roles
  • connections
  • connect to server SBS2003
  • quit
  • Transfer domain naming master
  • Transfer infrastructure master
  • Transfer PDC
  • Transfer RID master
  • Transfer schema master

Run netdom query fsmo and confirm that the SBS 2003 server now holds all of the FSMO roles. The time limit has now been extended by 7 days.

After the 28 day period (21 plus the 7 above) – Disable Shutdown

This method will prevent the source SBS 2003 server from shutting down indefinitely. From the SBS 2003 server transfer the FSMO roles back to the SBS 2011 server.

From the SBS 2003 server, download and run Process explorer:

Find and right click sbscrexe.exe and choose suspend.

Open regedit and browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SBCore.

Right click on SBCore and select permission, add the administrator account and give full control to this key and subkeys, click yes if warned.

In the right hand pane, change the “start” DWORD to 4 (from 2 default).

Now browse to C:\Windows\System32 and locate sbscrexe.exe. Right click, properties, security -> Add everyone and select deny for all.

Go back to Process explorer and select kill process, open task manager and confirm sbscrexe.exe doesn’t restart.

Configuring DHCP Split-scope in Server 2008 R2

Split-scope is a quick and easy way to provide redundancy and load balancing for DHCP in your network. Server 2008 R2 introduces a handy wizard for creating a split-scope and saves some administrative effort, however it can only be used if both servers are running R2.


Here are two ways in which you can utilize split scope.

Primary / Backup

In this scenario, the 1st DHCP server will dish out all leases and the 2nd DHCP server should only be utilized if the 1st server fails. You can accomplish this with the “Delay in DHCP offer” setting when configuring split-scope (prior to to 2008 R2 you could use the “Conflict detection attempts” for the same effect). DHCP clients accept whichever server responds first to the DHCP DISCOVER packet, so we delay the response from the 2nd server which allows the 1st to respond and therefor serve the client.

Here is the 80/20 rule in action

DHCP 80_20

Now, as you’ve probably guessed the 80/20 is rather arbitrary, and can be shuffled around to suite your network.

Load balanced

For this method you’d leave the “Delay in DHCP offer” equal when configuring split scope, which would give both servers a 50% chance of dishing out leases. You’ll probably want to set the scope to 50/50 and I’d make sure that each 50% could serve the majority if not all of the clients in your network.

Configuring Split Scope

Here we will setup the 80/20 rule. In versions prior to Server 2008 R2, you would have to manually configure the scope on the 2nd server, the wizard included in R2 does this for you.

At this point you should have 2 DHCP servers configured. The 1st server should have a scope with the full range of addresses, and the 2nd server should be scopeless. In this example I’ve configured the scope on AD1 for – and added both DHCP servers to the DHCP MMC console.

Right click the scope, select advanced and then Split-scope


Add the 2nd DHCP server


Adjust the split, here we choose 80/20- note it will show you amount of addresses each server will have and the excluded range


Here is the delay in DHCP offer I mentioned earlier, for 80/20 you’ll probably want to use 1000ms for the 2nd DHCP server. If you wanted to load balance, leave both of these at 0


The scope will now have been added to the 2nd server, to finish the setup, right click the scope and choose activate



In this video I will walk you through configuring the DHCP role and split scope.

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