Updating Ubuntu Server with Pi-hole

If you don’t know what is Pi-hole, stop reading this post and read this website instead: https://pi-hole.net

Instead of hosting my Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi, I use Ubuntu Server on a VMware host. Even using LTS versions of Ubuntu Server get outdated, so here’s a how-to for getting the guest updated.

  1. Backup your server somehow. I use Veeam as well as take a VMware snapshot. You could also use Acronis at boot time and take an image.
  2. sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
  3. sudo reboot
  4. sudo apt install update-manager-core
  5. sudo do-release-upgrade
  6. sudo reboot

You’ll get prompted throughout the process multiple times multiple questions. I chose to kept custom modified file as-is and not revert to the package original. Clear out all outdated packages as well.

After successfully updating Ubuntu Server, you’ll have to run the following command to fix Pi-hole. Also make sure Webmin is the latest version.

sudo rm /etc/dnsmasq.d/lxd


Disable Windows 10 Automatic Locking Screen

This is particularly frustrating when you’ve already disabled turn off screen and disabled the screen saver and all other settings. Yet the computer still locks after 15 minutes. Suggested use cases: kiosks, security camera screens, upcoming appointments, etc. I’m re-blogging this solution that I found on the Internet. Credit goes to this page. Thank you.

Registry key:
Value: 0

SonicWall Packet Monitor

I’ve never really understood Packet Monitor. So a kind SonicWall tech was able to explain it to me. Hold onto your packets!

  • Packet capture is found under Investigate > Tools > Packet Monitor.
  • Make sure it is Stopped and Cleared.
  • Click Configure.
  • Monitor Filter:
    • Ether Type: ip
    • IP Type: tcp (usually)
    • Source IP Address: <source IP>
    • Source Port: <optional>
    • Destination IP Address: <also optional, but helps>
    • Destination Port: <optional>
  • Advanced Monitor Filter:
    • Check ALL the boxes
  • Click OK.
  • Ready your test and click Start Capture.
  • It is important to Stop Capture once you’ve concluded the test otherwise you will have an overflow of packets and fill up the buffer quickly. You can also click Clear to empty the buffer and start again.

Definition of Statuses

ConsumedPacket stops at the firewall. Could be due to the packet being destined for the firewall such as a ping to the SonicWall’s IP address.
GeneratedThe opposite of Consumed. It means the SonicWall generated the packet. This is rare in troubleshooting.
DroppedPacket is blocked at the firewall. This is usually due to a faulty or missing rule. Check the Packet Detail for more information. This is what you need to be looking for if you suspect the firewall is at fult.
ForwardedThis means traffic is passing normally and all is fine. The SonicWall forwarded the packet to its intended destination.
ReceivedThe packet came to the firewall, but the SonicWall does not have a destination of where to send it. Usually caused by a faulty ARP table entry or the server is offline. Eventually the packet will become discarded.

NIC Teaming on Windows 10

Sure, you can debate that you don’t actually exceed 1 Gbps on the connection and so far I have not successfully done this. But here’s how to do it. Start with PowerShell (as Admin).

Windows will then display a table of network adapters in your system. You should rename the adapters giving a descriptive name to each and appropriate numbers if you have multiple ports per NIC.

New-NetSwitchTeam -Name "Name of Team" -TeamMembers "Adapter 1","Adapter 2"
Substitute the entries in quotes with what you want to call the team, and the actual names of the network adapters.

Windows displays the current network team(s) configured.

Have fun!

Disabling Turbo Boost on Intel Procs

Long gone are the days of adjusting your maximum processor state to 99%, or dealing with complex ThrottleStop settings. If you don’t want your machine to go beyond the stock maximum clock, this registry setting will unhide the “processor performance boost mode” drop-down in your current power plan.

VMware Can’t Add NFS Datastore

This problem took me over a month to figure out.  However, with the help of a fellow tech guy (shout out to Michael Groff, thank you bro), it’s finally put to rest.

Symptoms: VMware ESXi server will not connect to a FreeNAS NFS share no matter what.  When trying to add it, VMware immediately displays a “failed” error.

Cause: About a month ago, I had an existing datastore connected with the name of “BACKUP” that was an iSCSI share from a Synology NAS.  This single drive finally failed and needed to be replaced.  Since the drive failed, I did not specifically delete the datastore from VMware, although it did not show anymore.
This was ultimately the problem.  While VMware didn’t show the datastore, I was trying to add a new datastore also called “BACKUP” (trying to remain consistent here) but somewhere in VMware the name still existed.  Unfortunately I’ve lost the link to the website where the fix was found, but it’s so simple that I still remember it.

Resolution: Connect to VMware ESXi using SSH and run the command esxcfg-nas -d <datastore name>
It will generate an error such as “Datastore not found; but we deleted it anyway”.  After that, you should be able to add your NFS datastore again.

Advidia A-14 or A-15 and Constant Reboot

Just a simple note that might save you hours of troubleshooting.  If you update the firmware of an Advidia A-14 or A-15 camera (might be more models), you will need to perform a Factory Default command, otherwise the unit will reboot every 3-5 minutes.

For what it’s worth, this is mentioned on the Advidia website.