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© Rakhesh Sasidharan


Get-WindowsUpdateLog SymSrv.dll error

Starting with Windows 10 and Server 2016 Microsoft isn’t providing a WindowsUpdate.log file any more. Instead we have to run a cmdlet to generate it manually.

On my Server 2016 the cmdlet gave the following error:

I checked the path “C:\Program Files\Windows Defender” and there’s no “SymSrv.dll” file present there. That’s because I had removed the Windows Defender feature from my Server 2016 install (we use Sophos, so no need really for Windows Defender). Who thought removing Windows Defender would break this cmdlet?

If I check the module “C:\Windows\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules\WindowsUpdate\WindowsUpdateLog.psm1” sure enough it looks for this DLL and tries to copy it:


Well, workaround is simple. Copy this DLL from any other 2016 machine (or search through the “C:\Windows\WinSxS\” folder on the same machine and copy it from there) to “C:\Program Files\Windows Defender” and the cmdlet will work. 

Or … enable the Windows Defender feature and disable it from Settings. 

The Man in the High Castle (book)

Wow, the book is so different from the TV show! Damn. Can’t even compare the two. And because I saw the TV show first (and that’s more fast paced) I kept waiting for the book too to pick up pace. And because of that I don’t think I read the book the way I should. It’s not sci-fi, it’s not a thriller, it’s somewhat political (what if Japan and Germany won), and a lot (a lot lot lot!) philosophical (which was amazing really but I didn’t read it with that mind frame as I was waiting for things to pick up pace). 

Lots of good stuff about life and fate and objects etc. Some real good stuff really. But because I came from the TV show background I found it slow. And I also didn’t relate much to any character – I don’t think that’s due to the show though, I think even otherwise I’d have found the characters very distant and unrelateable to. 

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as “1984”. That was amazing. Some real, deep, blow your brains out stuff! “The Man in the High Castle” was more meandering, well written but not really blow your brains out sort of stuff (at least for me). I’ll remember it for it’s philosophical bits on the I Ching and how objects get value and how it doesn’t matter what the outcome of the war was, etc. But that’s about it – it didn’t hit me on a personal level like say “1984” (or recently “Slaughter House 5”). 

Full disclosure: 🙂 I cheated “1984” a bit as I both read it and listened to the amazing audiobook version by Simon Prebble. That would have made a difference I am sure. I am proud of “The Man in the High Castle” in that I actually read it. Took a while as I don’t do much reading, but I stuck with it and now I can say I actually read a book (as in fully read, no audiobook side by side) after a long time. 

As an aside: I haven’t seen Season 2 of “The Man in the High Castle” (I got bored midway of Season 1 to be honest, especially with Julianna) but the score (music) is amazing. Check it out if you are into that sort of stuff. 

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

The latest xXx movie is a throwback to olden times. And while I usually enjoy such movies (e.g. The Expendables, and most Schwarzenegger movies) I found this one a bit over the top. I get it – Xander Cage is cool, is daring, loves it when things get messy (turbulent) – but in the whole movie it is sort of like he keeps jumping into trouble (sometimes for no particular reason either but just coz it’s cool) and nothing happens to him. It’s like he’s invincible. I think I would have enjoyed the movie as a child and had more fun with the coolness; but as an adult I found myself constantly thinking “this is so unbelievable”. Most action movies are unbelievable, yes, but the trick is to not take it over the top so the viewer too realizes it’s a bit too much. 

That’s my 2fils on xXx 3 anyways. And that said I’ll definitely watch the sequel when it comes out (am sure one will). I liked the main Chinese guy (sorry too lazy to Google his name) – he was fun. And I also loved the green hair gun lady (Rose or something). She had attitude and was fun. :)

Guess that’s it!

You know you are getting fatter when…

… when you put your phone in the left pocket and the Bluetooth music streaming starts to stutter. 

At least that’s what happened to me just now. 🙂 I don’t recollect having any issue with the phone in my left pocket and streaming via Bluetooth from there until today. I think it’s coz the headphone has its Bluetooth receiver on the right side so the left pocket to right ear traversal is more sensitive to increased tummy fat! Sigh. 

Iron Fist

I want to wrote opinions of stuff I watch, read, or listen. But I am not good at writing verbosely on such stuff – describing, showering praises or finding faults – so I usually refrain. Nevertheless I do want to record my opinions and thoughts somewhere, and if not on this of then where?

Part reason I don’t want to write much is that I know it’s an act of creativity, thinking up and executing and creating something. A TV show, Movie, or a book or anything ‘art’. And however much I might dislike it that’s just my personal opinion and I have no right to blurt it out in public. I can say in private to anyone as it’s a one to one, but having a blog or some social media gives me no right to say bad about something I personally don’t like. (And we’ll if it’s something I enjoy, then the other part of my reason wherein I suck at expressing my praise amd describing why kicks in and so I can’t write good either!)

Anyhow. On that note. I saw Netflix’s Iron Fist this weekend. I had seen up to episode 7 last month on a binge weekend, got bored and left it, but continued today as my daughter (who too binge watched previously) wanted to finish it. 

The second half was better than the first. More fighting. Still a lot of talking, confusion, and personal journey. Reminding me of watching “Batman vs Superman” and thinking how I’d hate to be Superman – such a tortured hero! This was similar. Chap’s got an Iron Fist, not really sure what to do with it except destroy the Hand, filled with guilt and anger and innocence and lied to by nearly everyone around him. If it were me, I would be “no thank you, please keep the iron fist and spare me all the torture!”

I guess my point is that it felt more of a drama than a superhero. If it were a drama genre show and I had signed up to watch it expecting that, I wouldn’t have minded. But I was looking for hero worship and some kick assing here and a plot that’s more “yeah I am the Iron Fist let’s go kick some a$$” than this confusion and lying and family drama. I shouldn’t be surprised I know. That’s how super hero movies are nowadays and especially​ the Marvel Netflix collaborations. 

On an unrelated​ note I am typing this from my Android phone (I never do that usually) and God! it’s such a torture. I hate the keyboard on Android. Keep making mistakes and most of the time the auto correct suggestions are not what I wanted. 

Oh and I almost forgot. Iron Fist has a good score by Trevor Morris. Strangely they don’t mention this in the opening credits but I found the album on Apple Music. Good stuff. 

Citrix breaks after removing the root zone from your DNS server?

Two years ago I had removed the root zone on our DNS servers at work. Coz who needs root zones if your DC is only answering internal queries, i.e. for zone sit has. Right?

Well, that change broke our Citrix environment. :) Users could connect to our NetScaler gateway but couldn’t launch any resource after that. 

Our Citrix chaps logged a call with our vendor etc and they gave some bull about the DNS server not responding to TCP queries etc. Yours truly wasn’t looking after Citrix or NetScalers back then, so the change was quietly rolled back as no one had any clue why it broke Citrix. 

Fast forward to yesterday, I had to do the change again coz now we want our DNS servers to resolve external names too – i.e. use root hints and all that goodness! I did the change, and Citrix broke! Damn. 

But luckily now Citrix has been rolled into our team and I know way more about how Citrix works behind the scenes. Plus I keep dabbling with NetScalers, so I am not totally clueless (or so I’d like to think!). 

I went into the DNS section of the NetScaler to see what’s up. Turns out the DNS virtual server was marked as down. Odd, coz I could SSH into the NetScaler and do name lookups against that DNS virtual server (which pointed to my internal DC basically). And yes, I could do dig +notcp to force it to do UDP queries only and nothing was broken. So why was the virtual server marked as down?!

I took a look at the monitor on the DNS service and it had the following:

Ok, so what exactly does this monitor do? Click “Edit Monitor” – nothing odd there – click on “Special Parameters” and what do I find? 

Yup, it was set to query for the root zone. Doh! No wonder it broke. 

I have no idea why the DNS monitor was assigned to this service. By default DNS-UDP has the ping-default monitor assigned to it while DNS-TCP has the tcp-default monitor assigned to it.  Am guessing that since our firewall block ICMP from the NetScalers to the DCs, someone decided to use the DNS monitor instead and left it at the default values of monitoring for the root zone. When I removed the root zone that monitor failed, the DNS virtual server was marked as down, and the NetScaler could no longer resolve DNS names for the resources users were trying to connect to. Hence the STA error above. Nice, huh!

Fix is simple. Change the query in the DNS monitor to a zone your DNS servers. Preferably the zone your resources are in. Easy peasy. Made that change, and Citrix began working. 

As might be noticeable from the tone of the post, I am quite pleased at having figured this out. Yes, I know it’s not a biggie … but just, it makes me happy at having figured it coz I went down a logical path instead of just throwing up my hands and saying I have no idea why the DNS service is down or why the monitor is red etc. So I am pleased at that! :)


[Aside] NetScaler newnslog files

Some links to myself on the newnslog files (these are binary log files; high precision; need a tool called nsconmsg to view them). 

A typical format of the command is like this:

The <operation> can be one of these (this is just a copy-paste from nsconmsg -?):

The newnslog files are rotated every 2 days (or a certain number of events if I remember correctly). The older ones can be accessed by putting a path to that file (e.g. /var/nslog/newnslog.28.tar.gz in the command above). This will extract the file and show the logs. The Citrix page says we have to extract the logs first, but am guessing that’s old info. 

That’s all for now. Will add more to this post later …