Running multiple versions of Skype on Windows 10

I like to keep my personal and work Skype accounts separate, and also have a “support” account as well, so I like to have multiple versions of Skype running on my work computer. Since upgrading to Windows 10 I am unable to use the “Launcher for Skype” software to have multiple copies running. The only way I found to accomplish what I needed was to use an old version of Skype and launch it on startup with a batch file.

In order to set this up you need to do the following:

  1. Install Skype 7.15 or lower (this isn’t that easy to find, you’ll need to search for this on sites which archive old versions of software)
  2. Create a batch file “C:\Users\%username%\Skype.bat” with the Skype usernames and passwords you user to login to each account. See a sample batch file below
  3. Create a shortcut in “C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup” which opens Skype.bat in a minimized window. If you give the shortcut a Skype icon it won’t even look like a script is running on startup.

Contents of Skype.bat (repeat the last 4 lines for each new account you wish to run, replacing XXXX with your username and YYYY with your password):

@echo off
echo Starting Skype: XXXX...
start "Skype: XXXX" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe" /secondary /username:XXXX /password:YYYY
echo Connecting as: XXXX...
timeout 20

Windows Server 2012 wasn’t deleting old backups

Today I realised that our Windows 2012 backups were not working because we had run out of space on the backup disk. Windows Server Backup should automatically delete the oldest backups but for some reason it wasn’t doing this. (From what I read this may be due to corrupt snapshots.)

The solution seems to be to try to manually delete the oldest backup. This can be done by first giving the backup drive a drive letter (in this case E:) and then running:
vssadmin delete shadows /for=x: /oldest

However, this didn’t work for me as I received the error:

Error: Snapshots were found, but they were outside of your allowed context. Try removing them with the backup application which created them.

To fix this problem you need to view and delete them manually.

From the command prompt:

diskshadow
list shadows all
delete shadows set {id of shadow to be deleted if selective deletion is to be performed}

OR

delete shadows all {if all shadows are to be deleted}

This information was found on this site: https://support.software.dell.com/appassure/kb/121604

Process PayPal Express Checkout for third parties

Today I needed to find out how to process PayPal Express Checkout transactions for third parties. PayPal allows merchants to give permissions to other merchants to perform transactions on their behalf, without having to hand over their private API username, password and signature. While we have implemented Express Checkout for ourselves, I couldn’t find out how to perform the transaction on behalf of another merchant until I found this useful post.

To quote from the link above:

Yes, you specify an alternate “SUBJECT” of the transaction.

Normally your SetExpressCheckout request looks something like:

METHOD=&VERSION=&PWD=&USER=&SIGNATURE=&...

Now it will look like this:

METHOD=&VERSION=&PWD=&USER=&SIGNATURE=&SUBJECT=...

Payee_PayPal_Account is the email address/username the user uses to log in.

(Note that email address/username is NOT the API username of the account.)

Thanks Jeremy!

Edge on Windows 10 opens and closes immediately

I had a problem with the Edge browser only a day after doing a clean install of Windows 10. When I tried to open it it would open, sit on the screen with the big blue background and the “e” logo, and then disappear about 4 second later. I was able to fix it by following the below steps:

First delete the Edge folder. The path:
C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe

Then Launch Powershell as and run the following command:
Get-AppXPackage -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml" -Verbose}

Hit enter and once the command is executed try opening Edge again.

For me it worked without having to restart, but the place where I found these instructions suggested restarting a couple of times. Here is original article I found.

Also, I ran the command without the -AllUsers parameter, not sure if that was why I didn’t have to restart.

Hope that helps someone!

Allowing Apache to listen on a different port with SELinux

I wanted to set up a virtual host in Apache today using a different port than the standard but kept getting a permissions error when I tried to start Apache. The problem turned out to be SELinux not allowing the port to be used. In order to fi it I just needed to add the port as one of the allowed ports for Apache.

For example, to allow Apache (httpd) to listen on port 12345 the command is

# semanage port -a -t http_port_t -p tcp 12345

How to enable the Active Directory Schema Snap-in

When installing a Windows Server 2012 server to replace an old Server 2008 I needed to access the Active Directory Schema Snap-in but it didn’t appear in the Microsoft Management Console list. It seems that the DLL for it isn’t registered with Windows so you need to do that first. You simply need to do Start > Run > regsvr32 schmmgmt.dll > and then click OK.

After you do that the option should appear in the Add or Remove Snap-ins list withing Microsoft Management Console.

Find files modified between two dates on Linux

Older versions of find don’t support the -newermt predicate, so you cannot use it. As a workaround, you could use the -newer predicate. That predicate needs a file as a reference: instead of an absolute modification date, it will use the modification date of the file. You can create appropriate “marker files” for this purpose, for example:

touch /tmp/mark.start -d "2013-12-19 00:00"
touch /tmp/mark.end -d "2013-12-16 00:00"

And then rewrite using -newer predicate:

find /some/path -newer /tmp/mark.start

To find between dates the exclamation is the equivalent of “not” so do this:

find /some/path -newer /tmp/mark.start ! -newer /tmp/mark.end

MySQL Workbench SSH private key connection error

I had a problem getting connections to MySQL using TCP/IP over SSH working. I wanted to use a private key instead of saving a password for the SSH connection, but I kept getting an error message:

Authentication error. Please check that your username and password are correct and try again.
Details (Original exception message): Authentication failed, please check credentials.
Please refer to logs for details

The problem was that I was using a PPK file instead of an OpenSSH file. The solution is to open PuttyGen, load your PPK file and convert it to an OpenSSH key.

Problem solved!

Tuning Apache

I was updating the Apache configuration on a new CentOS Linux server today and trying to update the tuning parameters such as MinSpareServers. No matter how many times I changed them and did apachectl restart I couldn’t get them to take affect.

Eventually I remembered that changing these settings requires a stop & start, rather than just a restart!

apachectl stop; apachectl start