How Do I Connect My Mac to Windows?

Reading Time: 1 minute

Mac users work in their native Unix environment are familiar with using the terminal to SSH into their Linux based servers. When using a Mac to log into a Windows environment, or vice versa,  the task is performed differently. Window machines use a different protocol, one aptly named RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). For our tutorial, we’ll explore how to use your Mac to connect to a Windows server.  Let’s get started!

 

Pre-flight

 

Step 1:  Open Finder >> Applications >> App Store.  We’ll be going to the App Store to download Microsoft Remote Desktop.

 

Step 2. Use the search bar to locate Microsoft’s Remote Desktop. Select Get >> Install App. After installed, click on the Microsoft Remote Desktop icon in your Applications folder.

Note
iCloud is absolutely free, but they require a valid credit card on file, even for free apps.

 

Step 3: Launch the app by finding it in your Applications folder.

 

Step 4: For our connection select + New and fill out the information in the highlighted boxes for the Windows server.Connection Name: A nickname to identify this connection

PC Name: Window’s server IP address

User Name: Administrator

It seems counter-intuitive but close the edit window to save the settings. Immediately, you’ll see the server show up in your My Desktops list.

 

Step 5: Click on the server name to connect to your Windows environment. If all the information was correctly entered you’ll see the Window’s environment with the familiar Windows desktop background.

 

How to Revert a Windows Update

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Windows periodically checks for the latest updates and security features for your devices. Automatic updates are implemented with the intention of running your device smoothly and securely. With top security in mind, most Liquid Web servers are set to automatically install these updates thus saving you the task of remembering to implement critical updates or patches.

The vast majority of the times, windows updates complete successfully, keeping you and your customers safe.  These updates rarely cause any server issues, but you may find that you want to roll back an update due to an unforeseen server change.  Fear not, in this tutorial we’ll show you how to easily undo a Windows update on 2016, 2008R2 and 2012R2 servers.

Note
Liquid Web customers have the option to install automatic updates themselves. In these cases, security patches are updates fall under the responsibility of the account owner.

 

Server 2016 with Windows 10

  1. Click on the Start button, search for Windows Update and hit Enter.
  2. Go to View Update History and select Uninstall Updates.  Click the update you are wanting to uninstall/remove. (Generally, these are the most recent installs.)
  3. When the installed update window comes up, you can see the updates by name, KB number, type of program, version, and even the date of installation.
  4. Select the update and choose Uninstall.  Follow the on screen instructions.
  5. Depending on the update, there may be a need to reboot the server to complete removal.
  6. While you are still in the Windows Update screen, select the offending update and click Hide Update.  ** Once the Update is fixed and it is safe to install, then you can go in and manually install it on your system.

Complete the removal of the update by rebooting the server.

 

Server 2008R2 and 2012R2 with Windows 7/8

  1.           Go to the Start button and select Control Panel.
  2.           Go to Programs >> Uninstall a program.
  3.           Select the program and right-click to Uninstall.
  4.          Select the update you would like to revert.
  5.           Select Yes to uninstall the selected update.
  6.           Select the Restart Now button.
  7.           While you are still in the Updates screen, select the offending update and right-click, to select Hide Update.  ** To re-instate the update you can manually install it on your system.

Complete the removal of the update by rebooting the server.

Still having issues with reverting a Windows update? Liquid Web customers enjoy 24/7 support with our Managed Dedicated and VPS servers. Find out today why we are the most loved in hosting!

 

How to Install MySQL on Windows

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you’re using a Windows-based server to host your content, you may using Microsoft’s database server product, MSSQL. However, licensing restrictions can make using MSSQL difficult, especially for small businesses. Microsoft offers a free version of MSSQL called MSSQL Express that will be suitable for many users, but this version does have limitations on database size and memory usage. If you need a more robust database solution but want to try something with a lower cost (like a free, open-source database server), you could try MySQL database server.

MySQL is a standard part of the typical Linux server build (or LAMP stack) but is also available for use on Windows operating systems. Depending on your needs, you could fully develop your database in MySQL. Many popular Content Management Systems (CMS) also use MySQL by default, so using MySQL to manage those applications may be beneficial. MySQL and MSSQL can be run on the same server at the same time, so you’re free to use both or to experiment as needed.

Installing MySQL on your Windows server is as simple as downloading an MSI Installer package and clicking through a few options.

  1. Download the MySQL Installer from dev.mysql.com. The two download options are a web-community version and a full version. The web-community version will only download the server, by default, but you can select other applications (like Workbench) as desired. The full installer will download the server and all the recommended additional applications. (You’ll also be asked to create a user account, but you skip this part by scrolling down to the bottom and clicking “No thanks, just start my download”.)

  2. Run the installer that you downloaded from its location on your server, generally by double-clicking.
    Note
    You can use this same MSI Installer to upgrade currently installed versions of MySQL as well! As is typical, the first step is accepting the license agreement, then click Next.

  3. Determine which setup type you would like to use for the installation:
    1. Developer Default: this is the full installation of MySQL Server and the other tools needed for development. If you are building your database from the ground up or will be managing the data directly in the database, you’ll want to use this setup type.
    2. Server Only: if you only need MySQL Server installed for use with a CMS or other application and will not be managing the database directly, you can install just the server (you can always install additional tools later).
    3. Custom: this setup type will allow you to customize every part of the installation from the server version to whichever additional tools you select.

  4. Install the server instance and whichever additional products you selected. Then begin the configuration process by selecting the availability level (most users will use the default, standalone version).
  5. Complete the configuration process by following the onscreen instructions. You’ll want to make sure to install MySQL as a Service so that Windows can automatically start the service after a reboot or can restart the service if it fails. For additional, step-by-step instructions, see MySQL Server Configuration with MySQL Installer.

How to Install React JS in Windows

Reading Time: 4 minutes

React.js (React) is an open-source JavaScript library useful in building user interfaces. React is a library so our main focus for this article is installing a JavaScript environment and a Package Manager so that we can download and install libraries including React.

When we are done, you will have a React environment you can use to start development on your Liquid Web server.

 

Install Node.js

The first step is to download the Node.js installer for Windows. Let’s use the latest Long Term Support (LTS) version for Windows and choose the 64-bit version, using the Windows Installer icon.

Once downloaded, we run the Node.js installer (.msi fuke) and follow the steps to complete the installation.

Now that we have Node.js installed, we can move on to the next step.

 

The Command Prompt Environment

We’ll need to use the command prompt (command line) to interact with Node.js and the Node Package Manager (NPM) to install React. Let’s take a few minutes to cover the commands we’ll need to use to get around. Here are the basic commands we will need to get around and create folders/directories:

 

Open a Command Prompt in Windows

Click the Start Menu (1), start typing the word command (2), then choose either Command Prompt or the Node.js command prompt (3) — either choice will work.

A command prompt window will open with the path showing as C:\Users\<username> where the <username> on your system will be the user you are logged in as.

To execute a command, we type the command and any required options, then press Enter to execute it and see the results. Let’s walk through each of the commands listed above to see what happens:

dir

Let’s look at the contents of the downloads folder with this command:

dir downloads

The path shows we are still in the directory C:\Users\ReactUser>, however, we are looking at the contents of C:\Users\ReactUser\downloads and we see that it has one file. Let’s move to the downloads directory with this command:

cd downloads

We’ve changed to the downloads folder as the command prompt shows C:\Users\ReactUser\Downloads>. You can use the dir command to see the contents of this directory/folder. Next, let’s go back to the previous directory with this command:

cd..

Now we are back to where we started. Let’s create a new directory for our first project and name it reactproject1. We’ll use the command:

mkdir reactproject1

Again, we use the dir command to list the files within our current folder.

dir

If you want to learn more about commands, please check out these links:

 

Install React on Windows

There are two ways to install React for your projects. Let’s look at each approach so that you can decide which one you prefer to use.

 Option 1 

  • Create a project folder
  • Change to the project folder
  • Create a package.json file
  • Install React and other modules you choose

This install option allows you to full control over everything that is installed and defined as dependencies.

Step 1: To get started, we need to open a command prompt.

Step 2: Create a project folder named reactproject1:

mkdir reactproject1

Press Enter to execute the command, and we get a new directory called reactproject1. If you did this as part of the Command Prompt examples, you could skip this step as it will tell you that it already exists.

Step 3: Move to the project folder, using cd reactproject1, so we can install React into it.

cd reactproject1

At this point, you will see your prompt indicate C:\Users\ReactUser\reactproject1.

Step 4: Create a package.json file, the following command will walk you through creating a package.json file.

npm init

Step 5: Install React and other modules using npm install — save react, thiswill install React into your project and update the package.json file with dependencies.

npm install --save react

We can install additional packages using npm install — save and the name of the package we want to install. Here we are installing react-dom: npm install — save react-dom

npm install --save react-dom

 

 Option 2 

  • Install Create-React-App package to simplify the process of creating and installing React into your projects

 

 

Step 1: To get started, we need to open a command prompt and type npm install -g create-react-app. This installs the Create-React-App module which makes it very easy to create and deploy React into projects with a single command.

Note
When using create-react-app ensure you are in the desired directory/folder location as this command will create the project folder in the current path.

npm install -g create-react-appCreate-React-App is installed in the following location: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\create-react-app\

Once Create-React-App is installed, we can use it to create a project folder and install React and dependencies automatically.

To make sure you are in the desired directory when creating a new project, you can use dir to see where you are, and cd <directory_name> or cd.. to get to the desired location.

Step 2: To create a new project and deploy React into it, we run create-react-app <project_name>. Let’s do this to create reactproject2.

create-react-app reactproject2

The entire process is automated and begins with creating a new React app folder for the project, then installs packages and dependencies. The default packages include react, react-dom, and react-scripts. The installation will take a few minutes.

Run a React Project Application

To run our new project, we need to use the command prompt to change to the project folder, then start it. The cd reactproject2  command will take us to the reactproject2 folder.

cd reactproject2

And npm start will run the project application.

The default browser will open and load the project:

To learn more about React, you may find these links helpful:

You now have your environment set for building out projects!  If you running our lightning fast servers our support team is at your fingertips for any questions you may have.

How to Install Apache on a Windows Server

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When looking to host web sites or services from a Windows server, there are several options to consider. It is worth reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of each to determine which one is most likely to meet your particular needs before you spend the time installing and configuring a web service. Some of the most common web servers available for Windows services are Tomcat, Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Services), and of course the Apache server. Many server owners will choose to use a control panel which manages most of the common tasks usually needed to administer a web server such as e-mail and firewall configuration. At Liquid Web that option means you’re using one of our Fully Managed Windows Servers with Plesk. Alternately, some administrators who need more flexibility choose one of our Core or Self-Managed Windows Servers. This article is intended for the latter type of server with no Plesk (or other) server management control panel.

Pre-flight

This guide was written for 64-bit Windows since a modern server is more likely to use it. There are a few potential issues with Apache on Win32 systems (non 64-bit) which you should be aware of and can find here.

Downloading Apache:

While there are several mirrors to choose from for downloading the pre-compiled Apache binaries for windows, we’ll be using ApacheHaus for our purposes.

Download Here:

Apache 2.4.38 with SSL

(This is the 64-bit version with OpenSSL version 1.1.1a included.)

If you would like to use a different version they are listed here:

Available Versions Page

 

Install Apache on Windows

We will assume that you have installed all the latest available updates for your version of Windows. If not, it is important to do so now to avoid unexpected issues.

These instructions are adapted from those provided by ApacheHaus where we obtained the binary package. You may find the entire document in the extracted Apache folder under the file “readme_first.html”.

 

Visual C++ Installation

Before installing Apache, we first need to install the below package. Once it has been installed, it is often a good idea to restart the system to ensure any remaining changes requiring a restart are completed.

  1. Download the Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package and install it. It is located here.
    Note:
    Download the x64 version for 64 bit systems.
  2. Restart (optional but recommended).

 

Apache Installation

  1. Extract the compressed Apache download. While you can extract it to any directory it is a best practice to extract it to the root directory of the drive it is located on (our example folder is located in C:\Apache24). This is the location we will be using for these instructions. Please note that once installed you can see Apache’s base path by opening the configuration file and checking the “ServerRoot” directive).
  2. Open an “Administrator” command prompt. (Click the Windows “Start” icon, then type “cmd”. Right-click the “Command Prompt” item which appears, and select “Run As Administrator.”)
  3. Change to the installation directory (For our purposes C:\Apache24\bin).
  4. Run the program httpd.exe.
  5. You will likely notice a dialogue box from the Windows Firewall noting that some features are being blocked. If this appears, place a checkmark in “Private Networks…” as well as “Public Networks…”, and then click “Allow access.”
  6. As noted in the ApacheHaus instructions:

“You can now test your installation by opening up your Web Browser and typing in the address: http://localhost

If everything is working properly, you should see the Apache Haus’ test page.“

To shut down the new Apache server instance, you can go back to the Command Prompt and press “Control-C”.

  1. Now that you have confirmed the Apache server is working and shut it down, you are ready to install Apache as a system service.
  2. In your Command Prompt window, enter (or paste) the following command:

httpd.exe -k install -n "Apache HTTP Server"

Output:

Installing the 'Apache HTTP Server' service
The 'Apache HTTP Server' service is successfully installed.
Testing httpd.conf....
Errors reported here must be corrected before the service can be started.
(this line should be blank)

  1. From your Command Prompt window enter in the following command and press ‘Enter.’services.msc

Look for the service “Apache HTTP Server.” Looking towards the left of that line you should see “Automatic.” If you do not, double-click the line and change the Startup Type to “Automatic.”

  1. Restart your server and open a web browser once you are logged back in. Go to this page in the browser’s URL bar: http://localhost/

Configure Windows’ Firewall

To allow connections from the Internet to your new web server, you will need to configure a Windows Firewall rule to do so. Follow these steps:

  1.  Click the “Windows Start” button, and enter “firewall.” Click the “Windows Firewall With Advanced Security” item.
  2. Click “New Rule” on the right-hand sidebar.
  3. Select “Port,” and click Next. Select the radio button next to “Specific remote ports:” Enter the following into the input box: 80, 443, 8080

  4. Click Next, then select the radio button next to “Allow the connection.”
  5. Click Next, ensure all the boxes on the next page are checked, then click Next again.
  6. For the “name” section enter something descriptive enough that you will be able to recognize the rule’s purpose later such as: “Allow Incoming Apache Traffic.”
  7. Click “finish.”

  8. Try connecting to your server’s IP address from a device other than the one you are using to connect to the server right now. Open a browser and enter the IP address of your server. For example http://192.168.1.21/. You should see the test webpage.
  9. For now, go back to the windows firewall and right-click the new rule you created under the “Inbound Rules” section. Click “Disable Rule.” This will block any incoming connections until you have removed or renamed the default test page as it exposes too much information about the server to the Internet. Once you are ready to start serving your new web pages, re-enable that firewall rules, and they should be reachable from the Internet again.

That’s it! You now have the Apache Web Server installed on your Windows server. From here you’ll likely want to install some Apache modules. Almost certainly you will need to install the PHP module for Apache, as well as MySQL. Doing so is beyond the scope of this tutorial; however, you should be able to find a variety of instructions by searching “How to Install PHP (or other) Apache module on Windows server,” or similar at your favorite search engine.

 

5 Android/iPhone Apps for IT Admins

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As administrators for our servers, we may find ourselves needing to do certain things while on the go. We may also not have a laptop or PC within reach. But one thing most of us have at all times is a cell phone. Whether we have an Android or an iPhone, most of us do possess a smartphone. One thing great about these smartphones is their constant connection to the Internet. Having that constant connection makes it simple to use various apps that assist with admin tasks through our smartphones. Here is a list of five applications available both on iPhone and Android. If you are interested in checking them out, click on your phone’s type next to the application name. You can also search for these applications by name in your smartphone’s app store. Continue reading “5 Android/iPhone Apps for IT Admins”

How to Secure a Site in IIS

Reading Time: 6 minutes

When investigating site infections or defacing on a Windows Servers, the most common root cause is poor file security or poor configuration choices when it comes to how IIS should access file content.  The easiest way to prevent this is to start with a secure site.

Setting up a website in IIS is exceedingly easy, but several of the default settings are not optimum when it comes to security or ease of management.  Further, some practices that used to be considered necessary or standards are no longer or were never necessary, to begin with. As such, we recommend that you follow these steps to set up a website to ensure that it is set up correctly and securely. And while some of these setting or permission changes may seem nitpicky, they go a long way on systems that host multiple domains or multiple tenants as they prevent any cross-site file access.

 

Add the Site to IIS

To add a website in IIS (Internet Information Services),  open up the IIS manager, right-click on Sites, and select Add Website.When adding a site to IIS, we typically recommend using the domain name as the “Site name” for easy identification.  Next, under “Physical path”, you will need to supply the path to where your website content is located or use the “” to navigate to and select the folder.  Configuration options under “Connect as…” and “Test Settings…” do not need to be modified.

When it comes to configuring site bindings, popular belief suggests that you should select a specific IP from the “IP address” drop dropdown; however, that is based on out of date practices typically in relation to how SSLs used to require dedicated IPs.  This is no longer necessary and can actually cause issues when getting into any eplicated or highly available configuration, so it is best to leave IP addresses set to All Unassigned and type the domain name you plan to host in the “Host name” field. Do note that you can only supply one value here; additional host names can be added after creating the site by right-clicking on the site and going to Bindings.  Further, depending on your needs, you may opt to select “https” instead of “http”. To host a site with an SSL, please visit our article on the subject after setting up the site to add an SSL and configure it.

 

Set the Anonymous User

Technically that is all you need to do to set up a site in IIS; however, the site may or may not work, and the security settings on the site are not optimum. The next step in securing your site is to configure the IIS user that will access your files. To do this, you will need to change the associated Anonymous user and make a few security changes on the website’s content folder.

In IIS, select your new site on the left, in the main window double click on Authentication, select Anonymous Authentication, and then click “Edit…” on the right action bar.

 

What is IUSR in IIS?

By default, a new site in IIS utilizes the IUSR account for accessing files.  This account is a built-in shared account typically used by IIS to access file content. This means that it will use the application pool’s identity (user) to access file content.

It may be okay to leave this configured if you only plan on hosting one domain; however, when it comes to hosting multiple domains, this is not secure as it would then be possible for any site using the same account to access files from another site.  As such, and as a standard practice, we recommend switching away from using the IUSR account for sites, and instead selecting “Application pool identity” and clicking OK. Alternately, you could manually create a user on the system for each site; however, then you need to manage credentials for an additional user, need to configure permissions for two users (the anonymous user and the application pool user) and possible complications with password complexity and rotation requirements your server or organization may have.

There is nothing further you need to configure in IIS in terms of security; however, for reference, let’s take a look at the application pool settings really quick.  To check the settings on the application pool, in IIS, select Application Pools on the left menu, select the application pool for the site you created (typically the same name as the name of the site), and then click “Advanced Settings…” on the right action bar.

In here, the related setting is the identity, which by default is “ApplicationPoolIdentity”.  This means to access file content, IIS and the associated application pool will use a hidden, dynamic user based off the name of the application pool to access files.  This user has no associated password, can only be used by IIS, and only has access to files specifically granted to it. As such, it removes the requirement of managing system users and credentials.

 

Set Folder Permissions in IIS

Now, as mentioned, the “ApplicationPoolIdentity” user has very few permissions, so the next and last step is to ensure that the website files have proper security settings set on them. Browse through your file system and find the folder where you plan on hosting your site’s files. Right-click on the folder and go to properties. In the properties interface, select the Security tab.

By default, there are a number of security permissions set up on the folder that are unnecessary and potentially insecure (there may be more than shown here).  To best secure a site, we recommend removing all but the “SYSTEM” and “Administrators” groups and adding the “ApplicationPoolIdentity” user (and possibly any other user you may require, such as an FTP user); however, to do this, you will need to disable inheritance.  To do this, click on “Advanced”, then click on “Disable inheritance”.

 

Here you will get a popup asking if you want to copy the current settings or start with no settings.  Either option can work; however, it is easier to copy the current settings and then remove the unnecessary permissions.  So select “ConvertConcert inherited permissions into explicit permission on this object” and then click OK.

At this point, to remove the unnecessary permissions, click Edit and remove everything other than the “SYSTEM” and “Administrators” groups.  Next, you need to add the “ApplicationPoolIdentity” user to this folder. To do this, click “Add…”. Now, depending on your server configuration, you may get a pop-up asking for you to authenticate to an active directory domain.  Simply click the cancel button a few times until you get the Select Users of Groups screen shown below.

On this screen, you will want to make sure that the “Location” selected is your computer.  If it is not, click “Locations…” and select your computer (should be at the top; you may also need to click cancel on some authentication windows here as well).

The “ApplicationPoolIdentity” user is a hidden user, so it is not possible to search for this user.  As such, you will have to type the username to add it. The username you will need to type is “IIS AppPool\<applicationpoolname>“.  Please see the following example and fill yours out accordingly:

Once you type the user name, click OK.  Now that you’ve added the user, which is by default only granted read permissions, you will want to verify your security settings look similar to the following image, and then click OK.

And with that, you’re done and have a secure site ready to be viewed by the masses without needing to fear that hackers will deface it.

 

Securing within Powershell

As a bonus, if you’re looking to get your fingers wet with some Powershell, the steps covered in this article can also be accomplished on a Windows Server 2012 or newer server through Powershell.  Simply fill out the first two variables with your domain name and the path to your content, and then run the rest of the PowerShell commands to set up the site in IIS and configure folder permissions.

[String]$Domain = ‘<domain_Name>’

[String]$Root = ‘<path_to_your_content>’

Import-Module WebAdministration

#Create App pool & Website
New-WebAppPool -Name $Domain
New-Website -Name $Domain -HostHeader $Domain -PhysicalPath $Root -ApplicationPool $Domain
Set-WebConfigurationProperty -Filter system.webServer/security/authentication/anonymousAuthentication -Location $Domain -PSPath MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST -Name userName -Value ''

#Optionally add www. Binding
New-WebBinding -Name $Domain -HostHeader www.$Domain -ErrorAction

#Remove inheritance (copy)
$ACL = Get-ACL $Root
$ACL.SetAccessRuleProtection($True,$True) | Out-Null
$ACL.Access | ?{ !(($_.IdentityReference -eq 'NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM') -or ($_.IdentityReference -eq 'BUILTIN\Administrators')) } | %{ $ACL.RemoveAccessRule( $_ ) } | Out-Null
$ACL | Set-ACL

#Add IIS user permissions
$ACL = Get-ACL $Root
$acl.SetAccessRuleProtection($False, $True)
$Rule = New-Object System.Security.AccessControl.FileSystemAccessRule("IIS AppPool\$Domain", "ReadAndExecute", "ContainerInherit, ObjectInherit", "None", "Allow")
$acl.AddAccessRule($Rule)
$acl | Set-Acl

Additional Notes: In some cases, sites may need additional write or modify permissions on specific files or folders for file uploads, cache files, or other content.  It is important that you do not apply modified permissions to the entire site. Instead, modify specific directories or files as needed. To apply these settings, go to the file or folder that needs modification, right-click on it, and select Properties.  Switch to the Security tab and click Edit. In there, select the user that has the name of the website (liquidweb.com in my example above), select modify under the Allow column, and then click OK. This will give the ApplicationPoolIdentity and IIS the ability to write to or modify the file(s) or folder(s).

Still need additional protection for your Liquid Web server?  Our Server Protection packages provides a suite of security tools especially for Windows servers.  You’ll get routine vulnerability scans, hardened server configurations, anti-Virus and even malware cleanup, should your site get hacked. Don’t wait another vunerable minute, check out how we can protect you.

 

How to Check Server Load on a Windows Server

Reading Time: 6 minutes

What Does Server Load Mean?

Checking a server’s load allows us to evaluate server resources and confirm they are sufficient for any running application. It enables us to troubleshoot slow performance and reliably pinpoint any server resource that may need attention.

While there are many tools and options available, today let’s focus on Windows Task Manager as a way to help us quickly see what is going on, and interact with applications, processes, and services to identify the load. This article will also include an introduction to Resource Monitor as it can be opened from Task Manager to provide more detail.

Ways to start Task Manager

  • Click the Start menu and type task… then choose Task Manager
  • Right-click the Taskbar area and choose Task Manager from the menu
  • Press Ctrl+Alt+End keys on the keyboard when in a Remote Desktop session
  • Run the command taskmgr

Let’s bring up the Task Manager and take a look at what it has to offer.

On systems where it has never been used, you may find Task Manager offering this very uninteresting display. Click More details to discover the treasure trove of information it is hiding.

Task Manager provides quick access to Processes, Performance, Users, Details, and Services. We’ll go through each tab to see what they have to offer and discover what to look for when checking server load.

Processes

The Processes tab shows us everything that is running in the system and the amount of CPU and memory resources it is using. At the top, we can see the total CPU and memory utilization.

By clicking the CPU or Memory column headings, we can sort the processes list by that criteria, and use the sort arrow to determine whether to sort from highest to lowest usage or the opposite. You can click on any individual process and end the task, see resource usage, and more.

Troubleshooting Tip:
If we see a particular application is using a high amount of the CPU or memory, it may be a potential source of performance issues. In the example above, we can see this server is using 78% of memory and only a very small amount of the CPU.

Performance

Performance tab has the most visual display of information and allows us to select from CPU, Memory, and Ethernet views to show activity over a 60 second period. With this view, we can identify spikes or see the trend over time to determine if a condition is temporary or sustained.

 

CPU Performance

CPU performance information shows us the type of CPU and speed, the number of processes, threads, and handles in use, as well as the number of virtual CPUs, in most cases. We can also see how long the system has been up (up time). This last bit of information can tell us how long the server has been running, confirm if it successfully completed a restart, or if it rebooted unexpectedly due to running out of resources.

Troubleshooting Tip:
In this example, we see the CPU is at 94%. If this level or higher is sustained over a long period of time, server performance will be sluggish, and it could affect the stability of the system. Sustained high CPU use is an indicator the system is struggling. We need to look at other systems to determine whether it is due to applications or insufficient physical memory that pushes the system to use virtual memory. Doing this will cause the CPU and disk resources to spike and remain high.

 

Memory Performance

Memory Performance information shows us the total amount of memory in the system as well as what is in use and available. Committed represents virtual memory and the pagefile (an extension of RAM) on disk. Cached represents memory used by Windows, and the Paged pool represents memory used by Windows that can be paged out to the pagefile on disk if memory starts running low. Non-paged cannot be paged to the pagefile.

Troubleshooting Tip:
n this example, we see the CPU is at 94%, Memory is at 90%, and we are using virtual memory. When looking at the Committed Memory, we can see that virtual memory is 2.7 GB while the pagefile is 4.9 GB. In this example, we have not maxed out the pagefile. If we find the system is continuously running with the CPU and Memory at or above 90%, it is a strong indicator to add physical memory to the system to reduce the use of virtual memory.

 

Ethernet Performance

Ethernet performance information shows us the type of network adapter and the amount of resources it is using with a graphed line for both send and receive as well as numeric values for data being sent. We can also see the Adapter name, Connection type, and the IP address(es) assigned. Right-clicking on the graph will allow us to see network details including network utilization, link speed and state, bytes send and received, etc. On the Performance tab, we also have the option to launch Resource Monitor to see even more detail.

 

Users

The Users tab shows us a list of all the users connected to the server and how much CPU and memory resources the user is utilizing. We can click on a specific user to Disconnect them, send them a message, or take over their session if we have Administrator rights. In the context of checking for load, we can determine if a specific user is consuming too many resources or has disconnected from a session, leaving it running in memory, and choose whether to log the user out to free up resources.

Details

The Details tab shows us a list of all the running programs and processes along with their PID (Process ID) number, whether the program is running or suspended, the user name it is running under, the amount of CPU and memory it is using, and a description of the process. You can click any of the column names to sort by that column in highest to lowest or the opposite order. The PID number can be very helpful to track down a specific process that is referenced in event logs. Right-clicking an item allows us to choose options including:

  • ending a process or process tree
  • set a priority for the running process
  • establish affinity to a specific processor or all processors
  • additional options

 

Services

The Services tab shows us a list of service names, their PID (Process ID) numbers, a description of the service, the status as either stopped or running, and the Group the service is running under. Right-clicking on a service allows us to start, stop, restart, and access additional options. We should be careful not to change the status of some services as they depend on others, and stopping the wrong one could have unintended consequences on the system or devices. To learn more about a service, we can right-click it and choose Search Online.

How Do I Check My Resouce Monitor?

Ways to start Resource Monitor

  • Click the Start menu and type resource… then choose Resource Monitor
  • Right-click the Taskbar area and choose Task Manager from the menu, then from Performance tab choose Open Resource Monitor
  • Run the command resmon

Let’s bring up Resource Monitor and take a look at what it has to offer. You’ll find this has more depth but is very similar to the information available from Task Manager. For this reason, we’ll only cover the overview and a brief description of each tab in this article.

Overview provides us with data on CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network options and graphs all on one page with the option to expand or collapse each section. It will also show current usage of a resource as well as the highest active time. Clicking individual sections provides more detail.

CPU shows processes, services, associated handles, and modules, and will show individual CPUs and their load in addition to total CPU.

Memory shows processes in addition to a breakdown of the physical memory and graphs to show commit charge which relates to use of the pagefile and the number of hard faults per second which can be an indicator of how many times Windows has to access the swap file. If your system is showing hundreds of hard faults per second, this indicates a need more physical memory.

Disk shows the processes in addition to a breakdown of how much each task is reading and writing to disk. The graphs show total disk activity in addition to Queue Length. Disk Queue length indicates how many disk I/O operations are queued up waiting for their turn to be processed by the disk. If we find that the highest active time is above 80% and the disk queue length is 2 or higher, it means processes are waiting, and the performance of the disk is affecting the overall performance of the system. In many cases, this number will be high due to a system that lacks sufficient physical memory and is constantly paging information to disk or relying too heavily on virtual memory. It will often be accompanied by a CPU running above 90% for sustained periods.

Network shows the processes with network activity, in addition to TCP connections and listening ports, and graphs to show network transfer and TCP connections. Sustained high network utilization can indicate congestion issues and a need for more capacity.

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