WFH: Internet Speed to slow? Go speed racer go!

I work from home most of the time.  There are a lot of benefits and detriments (different article different day).  Mainly though you learn to self start and try hard not to work all hours and ignore your family.  However, internet access is critical and you don’t want to be faffing about with your main communications channel.

Symptom

I noticed some VOIP issues while also doing screen sharing with Azure resources.  This has been getting worse the more smart home devices are added or when the family starts streaming while I am working.  Analysis led to a few issues.  This post is going to be about Internet Speed.

ISP

I spoiled for ISP choice here in Austin Tx.  I have always enjoyed shopping local and that includes my internet.  My local ISP keeps upping their speed and dropping their prices. They have constant competition from AT&T (Throttle kings), Spectrum (you wanted internet with that?), Google Fiber (you are paying us to sell your info), among others…

The most recent speed bump is 300 down 20 up for the slow speed.  <Warning> Put down your drink </Warning> for $35 a month.  Great news!  More speed Scotty and cheap prices!

When I ran SpeedTest.NET I was only seeing about 130 down and 20 up.  What gives?

Network - Docsis 3.0 speed

Troubleshooting

  • Checked my wifi versus wired – no real difference
  • Checked my Motorola SB6121 logs – http://192.168.100.1 – no errors
  • Checked multiple devices to ensure I don’t have some silly half duplex… nope

Huh.

Let’s take another look at the wiring closet.

  • Router is gigabit into gigabit CAT 5 lines.
  • Machine to machine tests are great.
  • Modem specs – WAIT A MINUTE!  Max download speed 172 Mbps.. and that’s theoretical.  Oh man my trusty woot purchase is outclassed! Time for it go on craigslist!

Time to go shopping!

Side Note: CapEx Money Savings

If you have Internet provided by a cable modem (not ISDN or Fiber) go buy your own Modem.  Why?  It will save you $5 to $10 a month.  That means you can buy a super fast and stable modem and pay for it in hard dollar savings quickly!

DOCSIS 3.1: Out with the old

My old modem was to slow for today’s internet.  The old modem was 8 channels down and 4 channels up and based on DOCSIS 3.0 standards.  A quick google search finds their is a new standard DOCSIS 3.1 which can have download speeds at 2+ Gbps! and is backwards compatible.  I found a great sale on SlickDeals.net via NewEgg  (no tax in TX) and free shipping!  The Motorola MB8600 has 32 channels down and 8 up.  Plus a bunch of smarter technologies to make the network more stable.  The reviews are good, it is supported by major ISPs and it doesn’t overheat like some of the Arris modems.

Installation

Look up ISP phone number before doing anything (network is going down remember?)

  1. Unplug old modem
  2. Plug in new modem
  3. Call ISP
  4. Provide OMS code (bottom of Modem) to ISP
  5. Wait
  6. Reboot modem after firmware update
  7. Reboot router for new IP address.

200

Speedtest.net Redux

Network - Docsis 3.1 speed

Oooo!  one issue down.  Next up tackling those WIFI dead spots!

 

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Windows as a Service and 1803 Update – Will it continue have a marketing name?

I have been enjoying the constant name ruminations around Windows 10 1803 update.  The names I have seen flying around are getting hilarious.

TL;DR – There is NO offical name of the Windows 10 1803 release.   This doesn’t mean there won’t be one… just not one yet.

Previous Names for 1803

  • Feature update to Windows 10, version 1803
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Update/Server 1803
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Spring Creators Update/Server 1803
  • Redstone 4
  • April Update

What does Microsoft currently call it?

Turns out you just need to have the newest build of Windows Insider current release installed and run an elevated PowerShell prompt of

Get-VMHostSupportedVersion

The current results of build 17134.1

Name                                                      Version IsDefault
----                                                      ------- ---------
Microsoft Windows 8.1/Server 2012 R2                      5.0     False   
Microsoft Windows 10 1507/Server 2016 Technical Preview 3 6.2     False   
Microsoft Windows 10 1511/Server 2016 Technical Preview 4 7.0     False   
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5         7.1     False   
Microsoft Windows 10 Anniversary Update/Server 2016       8.0     False   
Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update                      8.1     False   
Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update/Server 1709     8.2     False   
Microsoft Windows 10 Update/Server 1803                   8.3     True

New Naming Standard going forward?

The following is total speculation by me.  I believe the titled marketing names like Creators, Anniversary, etc are done.  As Microsoft embraces Modern nomenclature the names will really just be year and Spring or fall.   Why Spring or Fall versus 1803/1809?  Because we are already in Late April (1804) and we have had several blockers to release and dates slip.  I would rather Microsoft ship a great stable release than be beholden to a date name.  Spring and Fall gives them a celestial 3 month window to get it out the door.

#MVPBUZZ #WINDOWSINSIDERS #W101803 #Windows10

Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and SPG loyalty programs are merging – Good, Bad, How can I take advantage?

Lots of news and articles are posted about the merger of Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton, and SPG loyalty programs.  Here is the primary link for details about the announcement and the impending effect in August of 2018.

https://members.marriott.com/

During the live announcement Marriott stated they read a lot of blogs from the fiercely loyal.  Even after all of that Marriott still makes the best business decisions they could…

giphy1

The Good

SPG and Ritz Carlton top tier hotels cost in points will be lowered to level 7 in August through the end of the year.  A nice window for you to book hotels at a virtual discount.

The new rewards chart (below) is only 8 categories for all Marriott, SPG, and Ritz Carlton hotels!  With only 8 levels to pay attention to and a single chart down from 3 this should be easier to plan.  One would hope that a Tier 5 Ritz Carlton would imply most other hotels don’t reach that level… that said I would guess that RC Tier 5 will be Cat 8 in 2019… which actually costs more (see bad section)

Free Night Award Chart

CATEGORY STANDARD Effective August OFF-PEAK Coming 2019 PEAK Coming 2019
1 7,500 5,000 10,000
2 12,500 10,000 15,000
3 17,500 15,000 20,000
4 25,000 20,000 30,000
5 35,000 30,000 40,000
6 50,000 40,000 60,000
7 60,000 50,000 70,000
8Coming 2019 85,000 70,000 100,000

SPG Platinum status can still be earned this year by 25 stays.  That sounds like a lot but the same status requires 75 nights at Marriotts.  Your status would be good through Jan 2020.  Last chance!

There are now 5 new levels of status to earned based on nights stayed.  At 100 nights you now get an ambassador.

Lifetime status is now based on years at status level and nights.  No more points!  This means butts in beds is more important than credit card holders.  That said see my bad below about needing credit cards to get nights for status.

Lifetime status Marriott Rewards Platinums will be Grandfathered into Platinum Premier Lifetime status.  Sorry SPG lifetime plats but you will only get Platinum in the new schedule.

The website in August should allow you to search all hotels from one website instead of the 3 currently required – Marriott.com, SPG.com, and RitzCarlton.com

 

The Bad

The new night redemption schedule includes peak point costs.  Everyone knows this will be used to abuse the system so just plan on all nights you want to use points being Peak.  Just set your expectations and you won’t be grumpy 🙂

Also the new awards chart Standard levels are HIGHER than current marriott rewards points for lower levels.  One would assume most hotels will be put into a higher level to cost more points than they do today.  The only upside is a Tier 5 Ritz Carlton has to fit on this schedule so one would assume that most Marriott hotels would be a lower level.

Tier 5 Ritz Carltons will almost certainly be Category 8 in 2019 which is 15,000 to 30,000 more points per night than this year.

Free Night Award Chart New vs Old

CATEGORY STANDARD Effective August Current Marriott Rewards Current Ritz Carlton
1 7,500 7,500 30,000
2 12,500 10,000 40,000
3 17,500 15,000 50,000
4 25,000 20,000 60,000
5 35,000 25,000 70,000
6 50,000 30,000
7 60,000 35,000
8 Coming 2019 85,000 40,000

Rollover nights were killed in 2017.  The new requirements in 2018 means you have to start from Zero every Jan 1st forevermore.  The only way to truly earn status is to get a credit card that gives nights on spend.  This in partnership is how you will be able to get status.  Please check the new credit card offers.  Some give you a one time number of nights while others provide you nights per $3,000 in spend.

The new levels are Member, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Platinum Premier, Ambassador.  Is Platinum Premier the best name for 75 nights a year?  Really?  In the old Marriott days Platinum Premier were people with the top 3% of spend in a year… but it came with ZERO benefits.  So the status name has been a joke for a long time for being a name only.

Delta Crossover rewards dies July 15th, 2018.  I wonder if United status will also die?

The Crossover Rewards program with reciprocal benefits for SPG and SkyMiles elite members is coming to an end on July 15, 2018.

Summary

This is about as good as you could expect.  SPG is being neutered and Marriott Rewards is getting more expensive.  However, you can still get free breakfast at 50 nights or more just the same as today!  Some good, some bad, a bit of both.

giphy

Fixed: OneDrive for Business agent running at 25% CPU after the most O365 Patches

Investigation

In January 2018 I noticed a severe impact to my laptop performance. This past week the process Groove.exe (OneDrive For Business) is constantly using 25-40% of my CPU.

OdFB - 1

There are no files to be sync’d and it just constantly states processing changes.

OdFB - 2

I have seen a few threads online stating this may be due to a recent O365 patches.

Pausing sync does NOT reduce CPU utilization.

Exit did not kill the process for over 60 seconds

OdFB - 3

 I did NOT want to do a library repair as I have like 4gb of data sync’d.

Onedrive for Business AUTO RESTARTS after about 5 minutes and right back to 25% CPU

SOLUTION

Update the OneDrive for Business agent!

Who do you tell if you have the older version?

Go to the taskbar and RIGHT click on the OneDrive for Business icon.  If you see text that says Repair as an option… you have the old one (didn’t get a screen capture before writing this blog)

How do I get the new OneDrive for Business Client?

Open PowerShell ISE (Windows Key + X) (NOT as an administrator)

  • This needs to be run in your user context
  • ACTION: Modify the script below with the correct Email Extension

$ODuser = $env:UserName

write-host $ODuser

$ODPath = $env:LOCALAPPDATA\Microsoft\OneDrive”

write-host $ODpath

#Change the EmailExtension

$ODURL = “odopen://sync?useremail=$ODuser@WORKEMAIL.com”

write-host $ODURL

Start-Process “iexplore.exe” “$ODURL

#Start-Process “explorer.exe” “$ODURL” 

What the new client looks like

OdFB - 4

Yea no more CPU spikes or sync errors!

Resolved: Feature update to Windows 10, version 1709 – Error 0x80242006

Working with some of my team mates this week, I was hearing about multiple machines failing the Fall Creators Update (FCU) 1709 with a Windows Update error of ” Feature update to Windows 10, version 1709 – Error 0x80242006 ” .  Looking around the internet I see a lot of people hitting the common solutions but no real success.

Common Solution (doesn’t always work)

  1. Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter
    1. Open the Windows Settings – Formerly known as the Control Panel
    2. Select Update & Security – Last option
    3. Select Troubleshoot – 4th one down left side
    4. Click on Windows Update under Windows.
    5. Click on Advanced on the Windows update dialog box and click on Run as administrator (Enter the credentials if required).
    6. Click on Next and follow onscreen instruction complete the Windows Update troubleshooter
  2. Deleting the %windir%\SoftwareDistribution folder (requires you to stop several services)

The two steps above only partially fixes the issue.  Solution is below!

Windows Update Log File

  1. Create the Windows Update Log file: Get-WindowsUpdateLog
    1. PowerShell Source: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mniehaus/2017/10/10/improved-windows-update-log-formatting-with-windows-10-1709/
  2. Open the log file
    1. I still use cmtrace.exe as my primary log file viewer
      1. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=50012
    2. I have found Glogg is much faster but less formatting
      1. http://glogg.bonnefon.org/download.html

Root Cause

You have at least two issues

  1. Partial download in the Software Distribution folder may be corrupted (someone rebooted for a reason)
  2. Real: You windows update agent registered a download but can’t clear it out

Solution

You need to stop services remove/rename two folders then restart services.  Please be aware cryptSvc will try to restart so do the following quick.

  1. Press Windows Key + X on the keyboard and then select “Command Prompt (Admin)” or “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” from the menu.
  2. Stop the following services in order Windows Update Services, Cryptographic, Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), and MSI Installer.  The following command lines will work just fine.
net stop wuauserv
net stop cryptSvc
net Stop DoSvc
net stop bits
net stop msiserver

3. Rename the SoftwareDistribution and Catroot2 folders.

ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old

4. Now, let’s restart the BITS, Cryptographic, MSI Installer and the Windows Update Services.

net start msiserver
net start bits
net start DoSvc
net start cryptSvc
net start wuauserv

5. Rerun Windows Update to install FCU 1709

Notes

Media Creation Tool Fails

Media creation tool did not work in this environment because all clients are configured to be controlled via Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM or ConfigMgr)

PowerShell

How to stop and start services

Get-Service BITS | Where {$_.status –eq 'Stopped'} |  Start-Service

Get-Service BITS | Where {$_.status –eq 'Running'} |  Stop-Service

How to rename a folder

Rename-Item -path 'C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution' -NewName 'C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old'

Rename-Item -path 'C:\Windows\catroot2' -NewName 'C:\Windows\catroot2.old'

 

 

Windows Insider MVP: 2018

Congratulations! Thank you for your continued contributions to the Windows community, we are excited to re-award you as a Windows Insider MVP. This award is a token of our appreciation, your leadership and passion help make Windows the best yet. We look forward to our on-going collaboration with you and all of our Windows Insider MVPs as we continue to strengthen the Windows Insider MVP (WI MVP) Program.

A nice way to start 2018!  Thanks to all that I have had the pleasure of learning from.  I look forward to getting better together and sharing it!