AntPro Systems Group

AntPro Systems Group AntPro exists today primarily as a vehicle for distributing computers and other IT gear into marginalized communities at no cost to the recipients.

02/02/2020

Currently, the secondary market is flooded with small form factor (SFF) and ultra small form factor (USFF) desktops. We can source SFF and USFF devices at 20% the cost of laptops. While we will process laptops, chromebooks, and tablets, AntPro will shift away from laptops for the greater part of 2020. This will allow us to double our production.

06/23/2019

For a limited time, AntPro will provide one each:
Dell E6540
Dell E6430
Dell E6230

Each unit has AC1200 wifi, 8GB RAM, SSD OS drive, HDD secondary drive (except the E6230 units). Some of the E6540 units have dual SSD + HDD. No hot bricks.

Submit request in writing.

Contrary to common advice, WindX fits and runs well on under-provisioned 32GB SSDs.Well, it did.  Those days are over.  ...
01/15/2019
Windows 10 and reserved storage

Contrary to common advice, WindX fits and runs well on under-provisioned 32GB SSDs.

Well, it did. Those days are over. Future releases will employ a (minimum) 7GB reservation for update rollbacks.

In the WindX environment, the working life of 32GB SSDs has been exceeded by system requirements. Where applicable, AntPro will re-configure multiple SSD installs. AntPro has not deployed any single 32GB SSD platforms.

The official blog of the Windows and Windows Server storage engineering teams

01/08/2019

I frequently toggle Hidden Files / Show File Extensions, or need to restart Explorer. I also have a drive with sensitive data that I like to hide.

This reg file adds a cascading folder to the directory context menu. "AntTools" is directory on the C root that contains "portable apps".

VBS.cmd scripts shown in comments

------BEGIN CODE------
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\Shell\AntShell]
"MUIVerb"="AntTools"
"SubCommands"="initshell;togext;toghid;togX"
"icon"="explorer.exe"
"position"="bottom"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CommandStore\shell\initshell]
@="Restart Explorer"
"icon"="explorer.exe,12"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CommandStore\shell\initshell\command]
@="C:\\AntTools\\bin\\ShellTools\\Restart_Explorer.bat"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CommandStore\shell\togext]
@="Toggle Extensions"
"icon"="C:\\Windows\\System32\\shell32.dll,73"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CommandStore\shell\togext\command]
@="cmd.exe /c start C:\\AntTools\\bin\\ShellTools\\Toggle_Extensions.vbs"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CommandStore\shell\toghid]
@="Toggle Hidden"
"icon"="C:\\Windows\\System32\\shell32.dll,22"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CommandStore\shell\toghid\command]
@="cmd.exe /c start C:\\AntTools\\bin\\ShellTools\\Toggle_Hidden.vbs"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CommandStore\shell\togX]
@="Toggle xDrive"
"icon"="explorer.exe,7"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\CommandStore\shell\togX\command]
@="C:\\AntTools\\bin\\ShellTools\\xToggle\\xToggle.cmd"
------END CODE------

11/10/2018

What SpeedStep Is Not

This article is a cursory discussion of Intel SpeedStep Technology (SpeedStep) and Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST). The goal is more to illuminate what these technologies are and are not. The detail of how each technology works is not addressed here. Intel SpeedStep exists in several versions, dating back to the Pentium III processor. Intel's most current implementation, EIST (Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology), includes realtime Level 2 cache capacity variation.

It is worthy to note that AMD provides a similar group of technologies known as PowerNow!, Cool'n'Quiet, and Optimized Power Management (an adaptation of PowerNow! for newer Opterons).

Regardless of the processor type or class, and without regard to any particular generation, each of these technologies perform the same basic task - temporarily alter the operating frequency and power consumption of the processor(s) according to demand. Oversimplified, this is accomplished by altering the base frequency of the CPU, core voltage, or a combination of both. Low demand means less power needed, and obviously, high demand means more power.

Wiki arguably has the most concise definition (see link below) :
SpeedStep is a trademark for a series of dynamic frequency scaling technologies built into some Intel microprocessors that allow the clock speed of the processor to be dynamically changed by software. This allows the processor to meet the instantaneous performance needs of the operation being performed, while minimizing power draw and heat dissipation.

Because the scope of this article is narrowly focused, all the variants of this class of technology will be referenced as SpeedStep. Sorry, AMD. No disrespect intended.

SpeedStep is not really a single thing. SpeedStep is a group of components working together. In a manner of speaking, SpeedStep is a system. Remove any individual component and SpeedStep will no longer function.

SpeedStep requires -

Processor with SpeedStep technology
A chipset, BIOS, and voltage regulator that support it
Operating System support
A driver (for older variants or operating systems without native kernel support)

SpeedStep is not related to overclocking. It has nothing to do with the default or manually adjusted frequency that a CPU will operate at. Several computer BIOS settings are available to modify or control the variables that determine a CPU's operating frequency and/or core voltage. SpeedStep can be used in conjunction with these settings. You can have an overclocked computer that will clock down when all that extra power is not in use.

Overclocking (and under underclocking) works during POST (power on self test) and is persistent during boot and when the operating system loads. If you have an overclocked system, you can see the overclocked frequency onscreen during POST. If you have an underclocked system, you can see the underclocked frequency onscreen during POST.

SpeedStep does not function during POST, nor does it function during the boot process. Remember, SpeedStep requires an operating system to function, and the operating system has not loaded at that point. The frequency value presented onscreen during POST is a result of BIOS settings and not the SpeedStep system. If you have a properly configured and properly powered motherboard, the CPU frequency you see during POST is the standard operating frequency for your CPU. If the POST screen shows a CPU frequency lower than the rated speed of your processor, something is amiss in your BIOS settings or with the power system (PSU, battery and/or battery CMOS battery).

Once the operating system has loaded, you have several options in how SpeedStep can fulfill your needs. In Windows, these settings can be found in the Power Control Panel or under Power Options. See your User Guide or favorite web source for more information.

Additional reading:

A nice forum thread presenting a concise and easy to read explanation on how SpeedStep works and how to manage it. Written by Chilly at HardwareCanucks http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/cpus-motherboards/14026-whats-up-my-cpu-speedstep-f-q.html I am not a member at that site nor am I affiliated with it in any way.

SpeedStep
at WikiPedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpeedStep
at Intel - (SpeedStep links not found) See EIST http://www.intel.com/technology/product/demos/eist/demo.htm
http://www.intel.com/support/processors/sb/CS-028855.htm

PowerNow!
at Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerNow!
at AMD - http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/amd-powernow-technology/Pages/amd-powernow-technology.aspx

Cool'n'Quiet -
at Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool%27n%27Quiet
at AMD - http://www.amd.com/us/products/technologies/cool-n-quiet/Pages/cool-n-quiet.aspx

Links for AMD's Optimized Power Management are not provided. Users of that technology are not this article's target audience.

This article makes use of registered trade / service marks. Each belongs to its respective owner and is referenced herein for instructional purposes only.

11/10/2018

Windows 10, all supported Semi-Annual Channel versions
See the Windows lifecycle fact sheet for information about supported versions and end of service dates.

KMS Client Setup Keys

Windows 10 Pro
W269N-WFGWX-YVC9B-4J6C9-T83GX

Windows 10 Pro N
MH37W-N47XK-V7XM9-C7227-GCQG9

Windows 10 Pro Workstations
NRG8B-VKK3Q-CXVCJ-9G2XF-6Q84J

Windows 10 Pro Workstations N
9FNHH-K3HBT-3W4TD-6383H-6XYWF

Windows 10 Pro Education
6TP4R-GNPTD-KYYHQ-7B7DP-J447Y

Windows 10 Pro Education N
YVWGF-BXNMC-HTQYQ-CPQ99-66QFC

Windows 10 Education
NW6C2-QMPVW-D7KKK-3GKT6-VCFB2

Windows 10 Education N
2WH4N-8QGBV-H22JP-CT43Q-MDWWJ

Windows 10 Enterprise
NPPR9-FWDCX-D2C8J-H872K-2YT43

Windows 10 Enterprise N
DPH2V-TTNVB-4X9Q3-TJR4H-KHJW4

Windows 10 Enterprise G
YYVX9-NTFWV-6MDM3-9PT4T-4M68B

Windows 10 Enterprise G N
44RPN-FTY23-9VTTB-MP9BX-T84FV

In current releases of Windows 10, MS removed the ability to format a volume with ReFS.  That feature is moved to Window...
02/11/2018
KMS client setup keys

In current releases of Windows 10, MS removed the ability to format a volume with ReFS. That feature is moved to Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. The functionality exists in Pro, but is locked and/or otherwise unavailable. A $125 upgrade charge to enable, or $205 for a retail license.

I fingered out a method that allows an existing Windows 10 Pro install to format a volume in ReFS without using a pre-Creators Update install or VM - and there is no charge. The process appears more lengthy and involved in writing than it is in practice. Basically, upgrade your license, format the volume, downgrade your license, and reactivate.

ACTIVATE WORKSTATION
From an activated Windows 10 Pro install, upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for Workstations with a Generic Volume License Key
NRG8B-VKK3Q-CXVCJ-9G2XF-6Q84J

Windows 10 Pro Workstation is now enabled but not Activated.

ENABLE ReFS
Create or modify two registry keys:
1. This key probably already exists
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
Create (or modify) a DWORD and name it
RefsDisableLastAccessUpdate
Set its value as 1 to enable it.

2. This key (MiniNT) probably does NOT exist, create or modify as needed
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\MiniNT
Create a new DWORD and name it
AllowRefsFormatOverNonmirrorVolume
Set its value as 1 to enable it.
(see note in next step regarding the mandatory removal of this key)

FORMAT ReFS VOLUMES
The machine is now enabled to create ReFS partitions on non-boot volumes. The ReFS volumes are 100% addressable and functional in all versions of Windows 10.
Do your homework on ReFS. There is more than one version. AFAIK, version 1.2 is addressable in Windows 8.1, but version 3.2 is not addressable in Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 releases prior to Creators Update. Do your homework (or stay current).

There are dated reports that the presence of the MiniNT key will cause Windows to dysfunction as if it is booted to the Preinstallation Environment. Setting the DWORD value to 0 is not sufficient.
I did not experience this affect and cannot confirm it. Nonetheless, I recommend removal of the key. Delete it after you have formatted the drive with ReFS. If you ever need it, put it back and set the value to 1.

REVERT WINDOWS 10 LICENSE
Uninstall the Generic Volume License Key
From an elevated command prompt
slmgr /upk

Clear the key from the registry
From an elevated command prompt
slmgr /cpky

Install Windows 10 Pro Generic Volume License Key
This step is required to rolback from Workstation to Pro
From an elevated command prompt
slmgr /ipk

(or, since you probably do not have one or have it recorded, use a Generic Volume License Key. Windows 10 Pro is shown here)
From an elevated command prompt
slmgr -ipk W269N-WFGWX-YVC9B-4J6C9-T83GX

See https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/kmsclientkeys for a list of GVLKs.

Windows 10 is now reverted to the version that matches your key.
If you use a GVLK, Windows will NOT activate. If you use a valid key, Windows should activate without further action. It does not matter, Windows will correct itself in either circumstance.

(RE)ACTIVATE WINDOWS LICENSE
Go to PC Settings, Update & Security, Activation
Click Troubleshoot Activation
Windows will call home to the activation server and activate.
:
Please note:
Windows 10, any version, is 100% functional without activation. There is a nag and/or watermark. Personalization is not supported (but a MS account login will sync personalization from another device or legacy Windows 10 account).

Keys needed to activate Windows products from a KMS server

02/16/2015

Every solution has a problem.

Address

Sterling, VA
20165

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 09:00 - 17:00

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AntPro is a vehicle for distributing computers and other IT gear into marginalized communities at no cost to the recipients.

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From time to time, I post something to this page.
From time to time, I post something to this page.