All posts by Brian Pool

Adding a NAS Drive to a Windows 2016 Server

We recently acquired 3 IceBreaker 4936 servers from DoDCFL (for free) and were looking for the best use for these bad boys.  We landed on our CCTV setup.

They are all 36-thread servers with 256GB of RAM and 216TBs of HDDs.  While the storage isn’t blazing fast by today’s standards, it is great archival storage.

Our CCTV system is Milestone, which requires the storage drives to be local.  We decided to try and set up TrueNas on the Icebreaker to allow us to greatly enhance our storage longevity.  The RAID and TrueNAS install are covered in a separate post by my excellent Miami intern (Maverick Peck), that completed that part of the process.

After TrueNas was installed we had to first setup iSCSI on the NAS.  We tried other solutions but in the end, the only one that worked with Milestone was having the drive on the recording server connect with iSCSI Initiator.

Step 1 – On the server that is connecting to the NAS, install iSCSI Initiator.  By typing iSCSI in the start bar you will get the best match of iSCSI Initiator, simply click on it.  Click the Yes button to make it a service that starts automatically in the future.


Step 2 – Set up the iSCSI Share you will be using on TrueNAS.  This YouTube video capture covers the process of:

  • Setting up the Zvol storage pool
  • Configuring the iSCSI Block Share
  • Enabling the TrueNAS iSCSI Service
  • Connecting the NAS Volume to iSCSI Initiator on your server
  • Finally, setting up the new disk in Disk Management

Hopefully this helps anyone else looking to setup a NAS and getting drives mapped as local drives on their server.

Cleaning Up BSOD NTFS Issue

Occasionally a Windows system will decide to bother us with a blue screen of death.  There are a few things we can do that may (and usually does) fix the issue.

  1.  Open Powershell as an administrator and run: sfc /scannow
    • This will search for bad windows files and replace them.
  2. Now run : DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    • This will really do the same but replace them from Microsoft services if the above command could not fix them.
  3. Lastly, run: chkdsk /r /f
    • This will do a checkdisk on your OS drive and attempt to repair the errors.  You technically could do this first, but I got the BSOD when I did it in that order, and fixed my issue when I did it in this order.
    • You will have to do a restart to allow the chkdsk to run on the OS drive.

My First Blog

Summer Plans

This summer I am planning on visiting the Maldives to scuba dive.  “Although home to just over half a million people the Maldives has its own unique culture and traditions. While heavily influenced by various cultures around the rim of the Indian Ocean, the Maldivian culture, craft and traditions have been shaped by the island environment and the seas that surround us.” (Maldives)


Note:  This review is part of a classroom project. 


NVidia 3060ti Review

“The GeForce RTXTM 3060 Ti and RTX 3060 let you take on the latest games using the power of Ampere—NVIDIA’s 2nd generation RTX architecture. Get incredible performance with dedicated 2nd gen RT Cores and 3rd gen Tensor Cores, streaming multiprocessors, and high-speed memory.” (Nvidia)

This video card is my personal favorite for the money and is a fantastic addition for any price-minded gamer.

Rated 4.7 out of 5 eggs on Newegg.  Currently lowest priced at $419.99 on

  • NVIDIA Ampere architecture, 2nd Gen Ray Tracing Cores, 3rd Gen Tensor Cores
  • Boost Clock 1695 MHz, 8GB 256-bit GDDR6, 14 Gbps, PCIE 4.0
  • White LED Logo Lighting, IceStorm 2.0 Advanced Cooling, Active Fan Control, Freeze Fan Stop, Metal Backplate
  • 8K Ready, 4 Display Ready, HDCP 2.3, VR Ready
  • 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a, 1 x HDMI 2.1, DirectX 12 Ultimate, Vulkan RT API, OpenGL 4.6
  • LHR 25 MH/s ETH hash rate (estimate)


Card Images


I have used this card extensively for 3 months now and cannot recommend it more.  It also has the advantage of working with NVidia Broadcast!  This allows the removal of background sounds and images.  I highly recommend giving it a try!

NOTE:  This is part of a class project.


G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series – Memory Review

List of Specifications:
  • Capacity – 32GB (2 x 16GB)
  • Speed – DDR4 3600
  • CAS Latency – 18
  • Access Time – 5 ns
  • Dual-Channel – Yes
  • ECC – No

My first thoughts were that this is an exceptional piece of hardware.  The price of $144.99 for 32GB of memory is an exceptional value.  Couple the value with the access time of 5 ns, and you are making a great purchase.  This memory is as fast as almost every more expensive option. The memory was delivered in delicately designed and easy to open packaging.  This RAM looks fabulous inside of any machine. The RGB lighting is great quality and the lighting choices are highly customizable.  These sticks also have a sleek design, making them perfect for a minimalistic design. This is a great choice of memory for anyone looking to game or even use them for the look.

Reviews of this RAM on NewEgg verify my conclusions.

Note:  This review is part of a classroom project.

Intel Core i9-11900KF Review

The Intel Core i9-11900KF is currently the fastest-rated LGA1200 CPU on the market today.  If you have an LGA1200 compatible motherboard, it is the best CPU for you!

Currently listed for $499 on Newegg, it has excellent reviews by other users.  With 5 out of 5 eggs by all reviewers.


The specifications on the CPU are impressive.  The most important of the specs are:

  • Total Cores 8
  • Total Threads 16
  • Max Turbo Frequency 5.30 GHz
  • Processor Base Frequency 3.50 GHz
  • Cache 16 MB Intel® Smart Cache


Passmark ratings of this CPU are great. It is rated the highest among LGA 1200 CPUs.  With a combined rating of 25675 and a single thread rating of 3596, this CPU will not disappoint any avid gamer.  It does show it is rated for DDR4 3200, so use caution if you are attempting to use it with other rated memory.

While there are other, faster, Intel CPUs for LGA2066 and LGA1700 motherboards, if you currently have an LGA1200 rig, this is your best choice for a quality upgrade.  The single threat rating is superior to many of the options listed above it in PassMark, and it is the more important number for many gamers.  Game on!

Note:  This review is part of a classroom project.

NewEgg. “Intel Core i9-11900KF – Core i9 11th Gen Rocket Lake 8-Core 3.5 GHz LGA 1200 125W Desktop Processor – BX8070811900KF.” – Intel Core i9-11900KF,

“Product Specifications.” Intel Core i911900KF Processor 16M Cache up to 5.30 GHz Product Specifications,

Intel Core i5-9600KF Review

The Intel Core i5-9600KF is a relatively inexpensive Intel CPU (Central Processing Unit.)  The CPU is the brains of a PC.  Intel is the oldest, most established maker of CPUs.  This CPU would be great for a gamer PC.  It is a 9th generation processor (the newest models from Intel at the time of posting) and runs at a frequency of  3.7 GHz.

Frequency is the speed at which a CPU handles information.  In this case, the CPU works at 3.7 billion cycles per second.   FYI, that is alot. This CPU ranks at 254 on the PassMark rating, but it’s price and performance make it more than good enough for a gamer PC.

Two other really important things to consider when buying a CPU are computing cores and memory.  The i5-9600KF has 6 cores, meaning it can compute 6 different processes at the same time.  More cores means that more things can be happening in the background without slowing down the overall performance of the system.  The memory on this CPU is 9MB of L3 cache.  This is memory that the cores use while it is handling the processing on the system.  9MB is about mid-range, but will again be sufficient for a gamer PC.

The reviews on this CPU are actually great on NewEgg.  NewEgg gives it 5 eggs(the best possible) and you can read all the reviews by clicking the image below.

I should also note that this CPU will automatically increase its speed to 4.6GHz when needed, this is called the “Turbo” frequency.

This CPU needs to be paired with a motherboard with an LGA1151(300 series) socket.  Any other motherboard type will not work.  It will support DDR4 2666 memory on the motherboard, which will also be a consideration when making related purchases.  Finally, a good CPU cooling solution needs to be purchased for it, this CPU does not come with a stock fan.

I highly recommend this CPU for purchase!  It will make a very responsive gaming system, as well as supporting any other needs (like research and homework.)  It is currently listed for $217.89 at NewEgg and $206.99 at Amazon.  Since the price is less, and shipping is free, I would recommend the purchase at this time from Amazon.

Works Cited

“Intel Core i5-9600KF @ 3.70GHz.” PassMark,


Note:  This review is part of a classroom project

Moodle Installation

Since the Moodle Docs site has been so sketchy, I decided it would be best to document my recent installation.
Note:  I am installed on a VMWare ESXi 6.5 Virtual Machine.  750GB SSD, 16GB RAM, and 8 Cores.

  • Install Ubuntu 16.04
  • If you are doing it on a VM, check Check CPU#, Increase Video RAM, and move LAN to the 1000e.
  • I immediately open root and do everything else as room
    • sudo -i passwd root
    • sudo passwd -u root
    • su
    • gedit /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/50-ubuntu.conf
      • Add the following lines to the bottom.
    • gedit /root/.profile
      • Delete last line -> mesg n
  • Reboot and logon as root
    • Update  and install vm tools
      • apt-get update
      • apt-get upgrade
      • apt-get install open-vm-tools
    • Install LAMP and required Moodle dependencies.
      • apt-get install apache2 mysql-client mysql-server php7.0 libapache2-mod-php7.0
      • apt-get install graphviz aspell php7.0-pspell php7.0-curl php7.0-gd php7.0-intl php7.0-mysql php7.0-xml php7.0-xmlrpc php7.0-ldap php7.0-zip php7.0-soap php7.0-mbstring
    • Restart the server and then create the Moodle database
      • reboot -r now
      • mysql -u root -p
        • CREATE DATABASE moodle DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
        • create user ‘username‘@’localhost’ IDENTIFIED BY ‘password‘;
        • GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES  ON moodle.* TO username@localhost IDENTIFIED BY ‘password
        • quit;
  • I make the folders for Moodle in the /var/www folder and initially open all permissions there.
    • cd /var/www
    • mkdir moodledata
    • mkdir moodlesql
    • chmod -R 0777 /var/www
    • If you are restoring a previous version.
      • cd /var/www/moodlesql  (or wherever the sql file is)
      • mysql -p moodle<moodle-database.sql
    • If you make a mistake you can always delete the database and start over
      • mysql -u root -p
        • drop database Moodle;
        • quit;
    • There are a couple tweaks I make to PHP before the installation
      • gedit /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
        • find “post_max_size”
        • Change the value to the number of Mb you want your site to accept as uploads
        • find “upload_max_filesize”
        • Change to the same value as above
        • Find “max_execution_time”
        • Raise to a larger value if needed (like 60-600)
  • Download Moodle from and extract the file to /var/www/html
    • Navigate to in your browser and begin the installation!
  • When you are complete you may want to:
    • Reset your folder permissions
      • chmod -R 0775 /var/www
    • make your IP address a static one and then get that address permanently in the moodle config.php file until you have an actual web address to put in there.



The original fault was with the IDE ATA/ATAPI controller installed with Windows 10. The fix was to use a different driver.
1. Navigate to Control Panel, Hardware and Sound and Device Manager.
2. Open the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers section.
3. Select the controller that says ‘SATA AHCI’, right click and select Properties.
4. Select the Driver tab and Driver Details. Make sure the driver is ‘iastor.sys’. If it is, carry on. If it isn’t, try another or move on to the next step.
5. Select Update Driver Software, Browse and Let me Pick from a list of devices.
6. Select ‘Standard SATA AHCI Controller’ from the list and install.
JamieKavanagh. “How to Fix Windows 10 Error DPC Watchdog Violation – Windows 10.” Tom’s Hardware, 21 July 2016, ]]>

What's in your backup?

As IT professionals we know that server backups are our sole responsibility.  There is no one else in the building worrying about it (until they lose stuff) and no one is looking over your shoulder.  But when the crypto-virus hits, when a catastrophic power event kills your servers, when your boss deletes the same folder for the tenth time…can you get it back?
All the training in the world will not prevent every user from clicking on that download.  I do training, I tell users not to click on unexpected attachments, but it happens.  Are you ready?  FYI, not selling anything.
Backups are easy.  In fact, with Server 2016, they are easier than easy.  In each of my VMWare machines there exists and “extra” 6TB drive.  On this drive I added an extra drive to each virtual server and setup automatic daily backups.  In general, this has been a flawless technique.  I can restore files in minutes.  Users do not have access (so the crytovirus doesn’t touch them) and they can be archived.  I use a daily batch to copy these backups weeks to another backup server, giving me redundancy.  I also have a copy in the vault that I remake every once in while.
“The cloud is better!”  I have heard that alot, but I don’t think so.  If all our user documents are on Google we are a slave to the internet.  Yes, an IT guy just said that!  Our internet goes down every single year!  There has not been a single year since I became Technology Coordinator that it hasn’t happened!  Does teaching stop when the internet goes down?  It might, if everything a teacher uses is in the cloud.  Instead, we keep most things internal.  Our LMS (Moodle,)  file servers, web servers, you name it.  If the internet goes down, we lose the internet.  Most teachers can continue without it.  Maybe a lesson is altered for the day, maybe not.  But teaching still happens.  In districts where everything is in the cloud, it comes to a standstill.
Consider monthly or weekly archival moves to the cloud, not all.  With the low cost of 6-8TB drives these days I would far rather have all these files local, and save my bandwidth for what isn’t our content.]]>