Software

TeamSpeak Server 3.0.13 not starting? Install Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015!

Recently I encountered issues starting my TeamSpeak server after updating it from version 3.0.11.4 to 3.0.13.6.; it would immediately crash with a blank error log.
Apparently TeamSpeak Server 3.0.13 onwards requires the 32-bit Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015 to be installed. Yes, the 32-bit variant, even if your OS is 64 bit. So, should you encounter immediate server crashes after updating your TeamSpeak server to version 3.0.13, try downloading and installing the 32-bit variant of Visual Studio 2015 run-time from here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=48145

PS. In case you missed the release notes of TeamSpeak Server 3.0.12, as of that version, the server binaries file names do NOT contain platform suffixes any more. They’re all called “ts3server” now, so don’t forget to delete the old/obsolete binary including the platform suffix from your TeamSpeak Server installation folder (else it will crash as well…)

HostsMan: Pi-hole without the pi (DNS-based adblocker)

If you’re tired of AdBlock Plus slowing down your browser and you don’t have a spare Raspberry Pi lying around to run Pi-hole, HostsMan is a great alternative that runs on Windows. One way to keep malware and advertisements outside is to block the servers that serve this content. This can be done by adding the IP numbers of these machines into the hosts file and redirect them to ‘localhost’. Updating the hosts is time-consuming and prone to errors, but this is when HostsMan comes into play. This free program can retrieve current lists of websites known to serve advertisements and malware and combine with the existing hosts file. Furthermore, it checks the hosts file for incorrect, duplicate or malicious entries. It also features a built-in editor and can be used to empty the DNS cache.

Download link: http://www.abelhadigital.com/hostsman

Unlike AdBlock Plus, however, HostsMan doesn’t make it obvious which hosts file sources you subscribe to. Enabling all of them sounds like a good idea, but doing so hoses some functionality such as social sharing bookmarklets. For information on which sources to use in HostsMan, visit: https://jdrch.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/which-sources-to-use-in-hostsman/

Also, for a comparison of AdBlock Plus and HostsMan, visit: https://jdrch.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/the-best-way-to-block-ads-adblock-plus-vs-a-custom-hosts-file-hostsman/

FREE automatic backup solution for Windows (Live) Mail and Outlook?

Backing up Windows (Live) Mail and Outlook automatically to a NAS or cloud storage provider can be a pain. A simply robocopy does not suffice, as the .PST file will be in use when the client is opened. Luckily there are some free tools out there that can help you automate this task for you.

For Windows (Live) Mail:
http://www.priotecs.com/en/windows-mail-backup/

For Outlook:
http://www.safepstbackup.com/

Statsgen2

[Update 9-1-2017]  The statsgen.co.uk domain name got dropped because it wasn’t renewed. As of today, I’m the new owner of statsgen.co.uk to continue the legacy.

I’m currently in the process of migrating our Call of Duty 2 servers from Linux to Windows. Why? Well, I made a small oopsy which would take me a long time to fix, so I decided to migrate the COD2 servers to Windows, but let’s not go into details. If you must know, my /boot directory was full so I had to clean it up. Accidentally, I deleted the wrong kernel files, so the server didn’t want to boot anymore. Of course I could fiddle around with the rescue option my VPS had, but I was a bit tired of messing around with the command-line.

Anyway, we used to run our Call of Duty 2 servers before on Windows as well, back in 2010. The main advantage of running your COD2 servers on Windows is that you can use Statsgen2, a free statistics generator. Of course one can also use Statsgen2 with your COD2 servers running on Linux. You would just have to (automatically) FTP the logfiles over to your Windows box running Statsgen, but that would require 2 servers, which is silly. So naturally during the migration I decided to go and download statsgen2 from its official website statsgen.co.uk, just to find out that the website no longer exists :-(

Almost every link I tried on Google was dead, but in the end I managed to download a clean copy of statsgen2.zip. Those of you who have used statsgen2 in the past know that you need more than just the program itself; Without the imagepacks, your stats website will look like crap. Finding a working link to the imagepacks turned out to be a real pain in the ass. I couldn’t find a working link anywhere, so I had to use my reverse engineering skills to download the images from stats pages created by statsgen2 in the past. Basically what I did was search on Google for clans still hosting an (old) statsgen2 generated stats page and used DownThemAll to download all images on their stats pages. Doing so, I managed to recreate complete imagepacks for Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty 5, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and the base images (i.e. Home button etc).

According to the official website, archived by web.org, I am still missing the files for other games like MOHAA and Enemy Terrirory: QuakeWars but this was the best I could do. At least you have the files for the complete Call of Duty series and the program itself to get you started J Should you have these files, please email me so I can put them up for everyone else to download.


Statsgen 2 is a Statistics Generators for Call Of Duty 1/2/4/5, MOHAA, Spearhead, Wolfenstein/Enemy Territory and Quake Wars. Statsgen automatically downloads the server logfiles, processes them using a flexible template system, and then transmits the resultant webpages to the webserver. Templating allows the pages produced to be very flexible to fit in with the style of your clan website. Additionally, it can send messages to your game servers stating who are the top scorers (COD1, COD2, COD4, QuakeWars).

Download:

Latest Statsgen2 Release:
Version 1.9.3 (23 November 2009) – statsgen2.zip

Image packs:
Basic Statsgen Images – Required for all server types – statsgen2images.zip
COD 5 Specific Images – Supplied by Odin – cod5images.zip
COD 4 Specific Images – cod4images.zip
COD 2 Specific Images – cod2images.zip
COD 1 Specific Images – cod1images.zip
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory Specific Images – wolfensteinimages.zip

Unzip the contents and upload them to the root of your statsgen2 output folder of your webserver.
Note: I am still missing the imagepacks for other games like MOHAA and Enemy Terrirory: QuakeWars but this was the best I could do. Should you have these files, please email me so I can put them up for everyone else to download.

Upgrade files:
No idea what these are for, but I saved them just in case. Personally I’ve never used/needed them.
cod5images.ini
cod4images.ini
cod2images.ini
cod1images.ini
mohaaimages.ini
quakewarsimages.ini
wolfensteinimages.ini

Custom Templates:
ArcadeKnight’s CoD2 Template

Installation:

Consult the included README.txt for a quick installation guide. Consult the detailed documentation, which can be found in the help.zip, for more information.
To get you started, it basically comes down to this:

– Create a directory statsgen2 and unzip its contents
Contents should include:
statsgen2.exe
help.zip
libmySQL.dll – This is a library used to connect to MySQL databases (Note: A MySQL compatible template is not included! I could not find a working download link)
statsgen2.ini
readme.txt
upgrade.ini – Upgrade files, used when upgrading from an older statsgen version to the latest one (Never used it myself).

– Run statsgen2.exe – On first run various files / directories will be created including the default templates. This can take a while, please be patient.

– Click on Run –> First Time Configuration – Again, this can take a while. DO NOT CANCEL THIS OR INSTALLATION WILL NOT COMPLETE

– Setup statsgen2 to your liking, upload the corresponding imagepack and you’re done!

Statsgen2 is even compatible with Windows Server 2012 R2! Just make sure to run it in compatibility mode (XP SP2/SP3) with Administrator privileges.
Additionally, I also had to hack together this .bat file, which basically just deletes the database before the stats are parsed. Else, my webpage would have missing data. Deleting the database before the statistics are parsed ensures the database is completely rebuilt from the start instead of being appended, which apparently gives issues on Windows Server 2012 R2. I’ve scheduled this .bat file using Windows Task Scheduler to be run before the stats are parsed:

taskkill /F /IM statsgen2.exe
del “D:\statsgen2\statsgen2.db”
“D:\statsgen2\statsgen2.exe”
exit

Disclaimer:

Statsgen2 is created by Shaun Jackson – nazarine666@hotmail.com
I’ve mailed Shaun and requested permission to re-host the files. Sadly I never received a reply. It’s a great shame as many still use it since no one has created anything near as good.

How to: Move a TeamSpeak 3 Server from Linux to Windows

There are lots of tutorials online that show you how to move, or migrate if you will, your TeamSpeak 3 server from Windows to Linux, but there’s no guide that shows the other way around. One could say that this process is simply the same, only executed backwards. However, since most of them are outdated, for example most guides let you execute SQL queries to replace all the linux directory standards with windows standard which is no longer needed, I felt the need to write this up-to-date tutorial, in which I will explain how to move a Teamspeak 3 server from Linux to Windows. The process is no rocket science, so don’t worry.

In this particular tutorial, I will be moving TeamSpeak 3.0.10.3 on Ubuntu Server 12.04.5 LTS to TeamSpeak 3.0.11 on Windows Server 2008 R2. You can even migrate between versions, i.e. TeamSpeak 3.0.10.3 to TeamSpeak 3.0.11. That’s right, there’s no need to do an in-place update before you can migrate…. Now, let’s get going!

First, we need to copy the following files from our TeamSpeak 3 Linux server to our new Windows machine:
licensekey.dat – Only applicable if you own a TeamSpeak 3 license.
query_ip_whitelist.txt – Whitelisted IPs for the query interface
query_ip_blacklist.txt – Blacklisted IPs for the query interface
files/ – Any Icons, Avatars and files that were uploaded to the server. Be sure to copy the entire folder including any subfolders and files inside.
ts3server.sqlitedb – The database, this file is the most important one and contains all the information about virtual servers, users, permissions, channels, groups etc. All Settings of the server instance and its virtual servers are contained in this file.
Source: https://support.teamspeakusa.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/315/16/i-want-to-move-my-server-to-another-machine-which-files-should-i-copy


Hold your horses!
In my introduction above, I mentioned that you can migrate between TeamSpeak versions withouth having to do an in-place update before. However, this *only* holds if you’re using a SQLite database, which is the case by default.
This is because as of TeamSpeak Server 3.0.11, the MySQL database plugin has been replaced by a MariaDB plugin. Which means that if you were using a MySQL database for your TeamSpeak server, you need to migrate it to MariaDB, else your database will be incompatible with the latest TeamSpeak Server version.
As SQLite is used by default, this is outside the scope of my tutorial and thus I will not be covering this. Here’s a free hint though: Read doc/update_mysql_to_mariadb.txt for instructions on how to update.  Also note that the default character set for the database is now ‘utf8mb4’, which means the server needs to be at least MySQL 5.5.3 or MariaDB 5.5.
Let’s continue :)


1) Login to your Linux server, navigate to your TeamSpeak 3 installation folder and copy the files listed above to your new Windows machine using your favorite method, i.e. flash-disk etc, to a temporary directory, for example C:\TS3Migration

2) Login to your Windows machine and download the latest available TeamSpeak 3 server version for your platform, i.e. 32-bit or 64-bit from: http://www.teamspeak.com/?page=downloads

3) Unzip the contents to a folder of your choice, for example C:\teamspeak3-server_win64

4) Paste the files you’ve copied earlier from your TeamSpeak 3 Linux server to the folder you used in step 3.

5) Start your TeamSpeak 3 Server by running the ts3_server.exe file.

6) Done! Your TeamSpeak 3 Server should now be reachable at the new IP address of your Windows machine and all settings should be exactly the same!

That wasn’t so hard, was it :) ?

 

The Ultimate List of Free Software

The software listed below is completely free, is completely legal, and I use each of them personally. The list below is constantly updated as I find new useful software and is aimed at Windows users.

 

Backup Software

AOMEI Backupper Standard
Can be used to backup individual files and folders, but also to backup partitions and complete disks as well as clone partitions and disks. Also has an option to create a boot CD to deploy backup images to bare metal in case of disaster recovery. Scheduling backups with e-mail notifications are supported as well.
http://www.backup-utility.com/download.html

Macrium Reflect Free
Alternative to AOMEI Backupper. The free version has more limitations than AOMEI Backupper Standard; File and Folder backup and e-mail notifications are not included in the free version.
http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

Acronis True Image
Acronis True Image is perhaps the gold standard in imaging software but Acronis themselves do not offer a free version of the software. There are however, special ‘lite’ versions with stripped down functionality that are specially created for hard drive manufacturers Western Digital and Seagate. As long as you have a hard drive by one of those companies installed on your system (internal or external), you can use this ‘lite’ version of Acronis True Image for FREE.
In case you own a Western Digital hard drive: http://support.wdc.com/product/downloaddetail.asp?swid=119
In case you own a Seagate hard drive: http://www.seagate.com/gb/en/support/downloads/discwizard/
If you are unsure what kind of hard drive brand you’ve installed in your computer, you can download Speccy to find out: http://www.piriform.com/speccy/download/standard

SyncToy
SyncToy synchronizes files and folders between locations. Typical uses include sharing files, such as photos, with other computers and creating backup copies of files and folders.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15155

 

Anti-Malware / Anti-ADware  / Anti-Spyware Software

MalwareBytes
In case of a malware/adware/spyware infection, always start off with a MalwareBytes full system scan, then proceed to scan with the tools listed below
https://www.malwarebytes.org/mwb-download/

ADWCleaner
AdwCleaner is searches for and deletes Adware, Toolbars, Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP), and browser Hijackers from your computer
https://toolslib.net/downloads/finish/1/

RogueKiller
RogueKiller can find/remove most of the basic malwares (rogues, trojans, …) and some advanced threats like ZeroAccess or TDSS that behave more like rootkits, based on generic ways to find malwares by their behaviour (heuristics) and on classic anti-malware analysis (signature finding)
http://www.adlice.com/softwares/roguekiller/

 

System Maintenance

CCleaner
CCleaner is a free Registry and junk-clearing utility for keeping your system clean and optimized.
https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download/slim
(Protip: Have CCleaner automatically clean your PC when it boots, so you don’t forget to do so yourself!)

MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition
MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition is a comprehensive disk partition manager and includes features as Merge Partition, Move/Resize Partition, Copy Partition, Create Partition, Split Partition, Delete Partition, Format Partition, and Convert File System.
http://www.minitool.com/partition-manager/partition-wizard-home.html

Ninite
Installs and Updates All Your Programs at Once.  It says “No” to toolbars or other junk, always installs the latest version of an app, installs the right 32-bit or 64-bit version for a PC, installs apps in the PC’s language, skips apps that are already up-to-date and upgrades an app if it’s out of date
https://ninite.com/

WirelessKeyView
WirelessKeyView recovers all wireless network security keys/passwords (WEP/WPA) stored in your computer
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wireless_key.html

Mail PassView
Mail PassView is a small password-recovery tool that reveals the passwords and other account details for all major e-mail clients
http://nirsoft.net/utils/mailpv.html

ProduKey
ProduKey is a small utility that displays the ProductID and the CD-Key of Microsoft Office (Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office 2007), Windows (Including Windows 7 and Windows Vista), Exchange Server, and SQL Server installed on your computer.
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/product_cd_key_viewer.html

WebBrowserPassView
WebBrowserPassView is a password recovery tool that reveals the passwords stored by all major web browsers
http://nirsoft.net/utils/web_browser_password.html

Acronis Drive Monitor
Acronis Drive Monitor is a free tool that helps monitor your hard drive, and prevent data loss.
http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/hard-drive-health/

WinDirStat
Excellent tool if you’re wondering what’s eating up your diskspace. WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool.
https://windirstat.info/

TreeSize
Alternative to WinDirStat. TreeSize Free shows the size of a folder including all subfolders and files. In an Explorer-like style, also the wasted space
http://www.jam-software.com/treesize_free/download.shtml

StarWind RAM Disk
One of the fastest RAM Disk Emulators I’ve used.
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Boot-Manager-Disk/StarWind-RAM-Disk.shtml

H2testw
H2testw is a free tool that can be used to test for Counterfeit or Fake USB flash drives, and check your USB Flash Drive for errors. It works by filling the chosen target drive with test data and then reads this data back to verify it.
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Miscellaneous/H2testw.shtml

 

Office

eM Client
eM client is a fully featured e-mail client that supports all major services including Gmail, Exchange, iCloud and Outlook.com
http://www.emclient.com/download

VSO Image Resizer
Great tool to resize multiple pictures to be able to send them by email, for example. Just right click to easily resize pictures. Also includes advanced options such as watermarking etc.
http://www.obviousidea.com/windows-software/light-image-resizer/

Ashampoo Burning Studio Free
Great alternative to Nero Burning Rom with an intuitive GUI.
https://www.ashampoo.com/en/eur/dld/7110/Ashampoo-Burning-Studio-FREE/

Notepad++

Notepad++ is a source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several coding languages.
http://notepad-plus-plus.org/
(Protip: Also download the ‘Compare’ Plugin using the built-in Plugin Manager)

 

Internet

BareTorrent
A torrent client that does just that: Download torrents. No bloatware, no unnecessary features. Great alternative to uTorrent or qBittorrent.
http://baretorrent.org/

TeamViewer
An alternative to Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection (RDP). Doesn’t require any port forwarding and will work behind most, if not all, company firewalls as it uses port 80. Great tool for remote support purposes.
http://www.teamviewer.com/

 

Misc.

7-Zip
7-Zip is an excellent alternative to WinRAR/WinZip and can (un)pack just about any archive format
http://www.7-zip.org/

CCCP
The Combined Community Codec Pack is a simple playback pack for Windows with the goal of supporting the majority of video formats in use today. CCCP is an excellent alternative to the bloated and outdated K-Lite Codec Packs
http://www.cccp-project.net/

Gixen
The best free webbased eBay sniping tool!
eBay Sniper