Tips

Check your password – is it strong?

This is a neat page from Microsoft that helps you check the strength of your passwords.

I often run into computer users that use very weak passwords, for example, the name of their children, spouse, etc. Those are the first things someone trying to break into your computer is going to try.

My favorite password would be one that has a combination of upper and lower case characters with a number thrown in, for example StronPassword1

Check the strength of your password here:

What is a strong password?

The importance of antivirus protection

It seems like this is something that should go without saying, but I wish I had a dollar for every time someone brings a computer to us riddled with viruses and spyware.

More often than not, the computer has some type of antivirus installed, but the subscription to updates has expired long ago. Depending on the severity of the problem, the hard drive may have to be wiped out and everything re-installed from scratch. Some of the viruses are damaging enough that even after cleaning up, the computer is too unstable to be usable.

So please, check your computer to make sure it is protected and that your antivirus and anti-spyware is up to date.

Over and out!

Create a date and time stamp in your batch files

Create a date and time stamp in your batch files

Here is an interesting one. I found a way to take the %date% environment variable, and turn it into a valid string for a filename – without any extra programs or scripts.

For the longest time I used a little utility I created to do this. The problem with that is the utility needs to be around if you want to send the batch file to someone.

What I didn’t know that was that you can use this character combination ‘:~’ to pull a substring out of an environment variable. That is when I realized you could use this to pull out parts of the current date (or time).

Here is how it works. Lets take the %date% variable and print it out

echo %date%

It comes back …At least today 😉 .. with

Thu 02/15/2007

Not sure if the length of the day changes. It may be always the same. To be safe we can pull the year, month and day starting from the right.

The :~ substring command works like this:

:~[START POS],[LENGTH]

If [START_POS] is positive or zero the substring will start from the left. If the number [START_POS] is negative it will start from the right. And [LENGTH] is the number of characters in the opposite direction of the starting point.

I know this might be confusing at first, but you will see what I am talking about.

If we wanted to get the current year we could start 4 from the end, and 4 in length. Like this:

echo %date:~-4,4%

For the month we start 7 from the right (Length of Year + Length of Month + 1 Slash)

echo %date:~-7,2%

For the day we start 10 from the right (Length of Year + Length of Month + Length Of Day + 2 Slashes)

echo %date:~-10,2%

Bringing it all together. Lets say I zipped up a folder every night for archival purposes, and wanted a different filename for each day (Not sure if this pkzip syntax is correct, but that is not important for our discussion here)

pkzip c:\ImportantFolder\*.* c:\TempZip.zip
ren C:\TempZip.Zip c:\TempZip_%date:~-4,4%%date:~-7,2%%date:~-10,2%.zip

Which renames our C:\TempZip.Zip to C:\TempZip_20070215.zip

Perfect. I get a date stamped file, and no special vbscript, or command line program is needed.

The same method could be used for the current time

I am still amazed this little trick works.