Set up L2TP/IPSec PSK on Surface RT

Surface RT stock imageAt this time, Microsoft’s Surface RT has a very limited GUI for editing VPN parameters. For example, there’s no input field for a pre-shared key commonly used with L2TP/IPSec VPN type. Since there’s limited information for setting up more advanced VPN connections on Surface RT, I figured I would post these simple steps.

  1. Use Windows 8 powershell vpn cmdlet: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj613766.aspx
  2. Open up Powershell
  3. Example:Add-VpnConnection –Name “My VPN” –ServerAddress vpn.mydomain.com –TunnelType L2tp –L2tpPsk 5E2BBC9D423B50A2 –RememberCredential 1 –SplitTunneling 1
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S Symbol in Your Emails

I recently ran into an issue where the š character appeared in a client’s emails that weren’t there when she sent them. This was apparently caused by Outlook 2011′s autoformatting options that replaced … with a special ellipses character, which wasn’t supported in all mail clients.

Here’s how you can disable that feature and thus avoid unintentional symbols in your emails.

1. Open Outlook and go to Outlook preferences.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 10.41.31 AM

2. Select AutoCorrect under the Personal Settings category.

3. Select AutoFormat tab and uncheck “…” with ellipses.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 10.43.42 AM

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Pesky RunDLL Virus Errors at Logon

One of our user’s computers was infected with a virus that, after being removed and cleaned up, left these annoying RunDLL errors for DLL files with randomly generated filenames which occurred every time the user would login:

logon errors

I didn’t get far trying to google some keywords related to the errors. However, some results did point me in the right direction for resolving the issue.

Basically, you want to check every possible repository of startup items or commands. In the registry, most google results told me to check the following locations.

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Run
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Run

However, where these virus-caused items actually ended up being was under a specific user profile in HKEY_USERS:

HKEY_USERS/userprofile/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Run

I should mention that CCleaner did not list them under the startup category and neither did msconfig, so registry might be the only way to find them that I know of.

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A 23-year-old Learns About Retirement Accounts (and their tax benefits)

So I didn’t really know about this, but apparently opening a retirement account and putting money into it instead of savings is a really nice way to get higher tax return (or owe less taxes) and a much better interest rate as well.

Contributions to traditional IRA still count for the previous tax year if you make them before April 15.

You can quickly see how much of a difference it would make by using this tax estimator (under the retirement button): http://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/taxcaster/

So basically you can open an IRA (I did through betterment.com cause it’s cheap and quick), move some money from savings, and put the retirement contribution on your tax return.

The only drawback is you cant withdraw it without a 10% penalty until you’re 59 years old, unless it’s for education, buying/building first home, or medical expenses – which are some of the primary uses of my savings anyway.

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