Windows Server 2003 Command Line Tab Completion

I ran across a server that was running Windows Server 2003, but it was actually an upgraded Windows Server 2000 machine. This meant that the glorious tab completion function didn’t work within a command prompt window.

In order to enable this functionality a simple registry change is required.

Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor and edit the CompletionChar value to the hex equivalent of the key you’d like to use. to use the tab key a value of 9 is required.

Registry Screen Shot

Here’s the Microsoft page on this topic (KB 244407)

HP Fax Test

An excellent way to test both sending and receiving faxes is to use the free HP fax service. Remember that this services uses your caller ID to determine what number to send the return fax to.

  1. Simply send a fax to 1-888-HPFAXME (1-888-473-2963).
  2. Within 5 minutes you should receive an incoming fax confirming receipt of your original fax.

Here’s a link to HP’s documentation on this service

Another service I’ve used to generate test faxes from a web browser (not requiring you to have a fax machine) is faxZero.

General Cisco IOS Debugging Reference

Many engineers have been scared away from running debugs in production network due to bad experiences with high CPU utilization requiring drastic action like powering down the device and letting it reload. The CPU impact of debugging can be greatly decreased by changing the configuration of IOS. The snippet below shows a basic template that both reduces the performance impact of debugging and also helps improve the accuracy of logged debugging information.

Router(config)# service timestamps debug datetime localtime msec
Router(config)# service sequence-numbers
Router(config)# logging buffered 1000000 debug
Router(config)# no logging console
Router(config)# no logging monitor

I love config templates as much as the next guy, but a better understanding of what each of these commands does is important too!

Let’s break it down line by line:

service timestamps debug datetime localtime msec Ensures that debug logging entries include millisecond time stamps based on the router’s clock. Millisecond level precision is desired as debugging can generate a lot of messages very quickly and it’s important to know what order things happened in

service sequence-numbers Assigns numerically increasing values to the beginning of log entries to quickly identify the order in which messages occurred.

logging buffered 1000000 debug Increases the size of the onboard log buffer to 1 MB and enables logging of debug level messages. Be aware that issuing this command will erase the current log entries.

no logging console Disables logging output to the console port. By default all logging output is sent to the console port whether or not anything is even connected to it. Not configuring this is one of the biggest contributors to the high CPU utilization and sluggish response. Simply put Cisco IOS schedules the output of text to the console port ahead of many other tasks. The default baud rate on the console interface is 9600 bps, which further amplifies the problem. This means that when lots of things are being sent to the console other tasks must wait before they are allowed to execute.

no logging monitor Disables logging output to other terminal interfaces (telnet or SSH). This prevents us from being able to use the “terminal monitor” command which can be a useful way to see the output of a debug while connected to a router over telnet or SSH. The downside of examining debugs in this way is that depending upon how quickly the messages are being generated there is a good chance some won’t ever show up on your screen. It’s best to simply log them to the internal buffer and view them using “show log”.

Both of the previous commands could be altered to prevent just debug logs from being displayed. Simply add the word “debugging” after one or both and you’ll still be able to see everything that isn’t a debug message.

As wise network professionals always say be sure to test and validate these configurations in a lab environment before implementing anything in production. Even with the optimizations above be sure to check CPU and memory utilization before enabling any debugs.