USB Docking stations and network speed

Jan 31

Unfortunately, nearly all notebook manufacturers have discontinued notebooks with dedicated docking connectors (Dell, HP, Lenovo) and Fujitsu has retires his clients from the European market.

As replacement, the notebook manufacturers are proposing universal docking stations using USB-C or Thunderbolt connectors. All these docking stations (until now I do not know any exception) have really slow network interfaces.

Most of our software packages store their data in DBF tables and therefore the network performance is an important thing. In the last years we have had many complaints from our customers regarding bad performance on I/O intensive operations done on notebooks.

Until now, we had only two solutions: connect the network cable to the internal port of the notebook (if there is one), or use a fast USB network adapter (better to use one with 2.5 Gbps like the StarTech US2GC30) directly on the notebook or even on the docking station. The latter shows clearly that the bottleneck is not the USB port on the notebook but something internal in the docking station.

When we talk about bad performance, we do not talk about 10% or 20% longer execution times, but about more than double the time, sometimes three times of the integrated NIC.

We have contacted some producers of docking stations and buyed some of their products, but they all had the same problem as the notebook manufacturers models: slow network performance.

The only exception we found until now was the Conceptronic model DONN22G – it was even a bit faster than the integrated NIC of your test notebook.

Our test notebook was a Fujitsu Liefbook U728, running on a 1 Gbps network against a Linux (Debian) server with Samba and a SSDs disks on a hardware RAID 1.

Addition April 2024: To our surprize, we now found also another docking station that works well and has also a reasonable cost: the Manhattan “USB-C PD 10-in-1 Dual Monitor 8K Docking Station”, model PD-714, part no. 130714. At the cost of about 100 Euro + VAT, this docking station not only has a fast nework port, but also 2 HDMI Ports (one supporting up to 8K, the other 4K), 85 W USB Power Delivery and a total of 6 USB ports, one of them USB-C 3.2 Gen 2.

3Ware/AMCC 9650SE and newer motherboards

May 04

In the past, the 3Ware/AMCC RAID controllers were an good choice for Linux servers, and I have several of them workingin the field.

One of them failed recently and I tried to replace the machine, maintaining the RAID cards and the disks, but unfortunately the machine locked up at the “Loading Linux” message. With a Linux boot DVD the machine started, but showed a reset of the RAID controller and locked up afterwards.

Trying to replace the new server (a Fujitsu TX1310 M3) with an older PC hardware worked.

I have also tried to upgrade the BIOS of the controller with the newest available version, but this failed too.

So, if you have the need to use this controller in newer machines: don’t loose your time – it will not work.

This is a hardware related issue – I have encountered it with Debian 9 and RIPLinux 11.7, but other people had it also with CentOS.

Please see the following page for reference:

The 1803 Update of Windows 10 and Samba

May 15

After the update to Windows 10 Build 1803 machines could not more connect to the Oracle server when the application was started from a network share or a mapped network drive.

These problems were caused by the fact that applications started from a SMB v1 share could not more connect to any network service (file based access was ok).

The server was a Debian Wheezy Linux machine with Samba 3.6. Samba 3.6 is the first Samba version that supports SMB v2 connections, but unfortunately they are disabled by default. To enable them, you must add the following line to the Samba configuration file /etc/samba/smb.conf:

max protocol = SMB2

Restart Samba and your Windows client, and the connection will be SMBv2.
You can check this opening a PowerShell with administrative (elevated) rights and the following command:


Applications that will not work from a SMBv1 share include: email programs, SSH Clients (putty), curl, database clients, and any type of program that opens some network connection.

In the upgrade of another customer server I had a very unusual issue: the server was using a Sernet Samba version, and the upgrade from Debian Squeeze to Debian Wheezy removed this Samba version. A new installation of the Debian version could not find any users anymore.
Strangely, the Sernet Samba version had their user database in /etc/samba, and the Debian Samba version in /var/lib/samba. Stopping Samba and copying over these database files fixed the issue.

Windows 10 do not likes the netlogon share on server (Samba or Windows)

Aug 28

Today, I had an interesting issue: Windows 10 (workgroup setting, local account) does not connect to the Samba netlogon share, even with the latest Samba version (4.2.3), it asks username and password.
Access to other shares works without any issue.
I had also checked the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters\AllowInsecureGuest setting – it does not change anything.
My temporary solution was to create a new share, identical to the netlogon share, with another name – I choosed netlogonw10. Calling the login script from this share works.

The same is true also for netlogon shares on Windows servers, if the machine is not in the Windows domain

Why does the instr function in kixtart seems to not work correctly?

Mar 25

Today, I had a problem with a login script specially for Windows 8 users with a microsoft account.

For these, the @userid macro of kixtart returns the full microsoft account, i.e.

Since I was interested in the part before the @, I wrote the following script part:

$len = instr( @userid, “@” )
if $len == 0
$localuser = @userid
$localuser = substr( @userid, 1, $len – 1 )

but it does not worked – $len was 0 all the time.

It seems kixtart interprets the @ character even if quoted. This is the fixed script:

$len = instr( @userid, chr( 64 ) )
if $len == 0
$localuser = @userid
$localuser = substr( @userid, 1, $len – 1 )

Port reservation on Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 included SBS 2011

Jan 28

If you need to reserve a port in Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 or SBS 2001 (which is in fact a 2008 R2), it does not make any sense to modify the registry value




as indicated at in the Microsoft KB 812873, because Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 does not support this setting anymore.
You need to request a hotfix from this page KB 2665809, install it and then you can control your port ranges with the commands (from an administrative command prompt of course):

netsh int ipv4 show excludedportrange protocol=tcp

to display active reservations, and add with

netsh int ipv4 add excludedportrange protocol=tcp startport=8000 numberofports=1

The command is documented at the MS KB page where you can find the hotfix.

WSUS and Windows 8/Windows 8.1 .NET Framework 3.5 installation from Windows Update

Nov 04

This weekend, I have installed an SBS 2011 server that comes with WSUS for all domain PCs.

Unfortunately, after adding two Windows 8.1 PCs to the domain, they needed the .NET Framework 3.5 – not installed on Windows 8.x, but available as optional feature in the control panel (Programs and Features). This “feature” is installed through Windows Update, and not from the installation media.

With WSUS, this is not possible, and also the installation of printer drivers through Windows failed (HP does not delivers drivers for its OfficeJet K5400 printer, available only through Windows Update), and gave error 0x800F0906.

After a bit of searching, I found this article:

referring to exactly my problem.

Using the group policy editor (gpedit.msc) to modify the Administrative Templates, System, “Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair” to “Enabled” and checking the box “Contact Windows Update directly to download repair content instead of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)”, followed by a gpupdate /force in an administrative command prompt, solved the problem.

So I would recommend to anyone in such an environment to change this setting in every Windows 8.x machine that is integrated in the domain.

Add Windows 7 PC to Samba Domain after IP address change

Aug 16

Today, I had to change all IP addresses on a customers Samba network. (Really, the customer had two separate networks, and I have unified them to one).

After this, I had to add several Windows 7 PCs to the Samba domain, but the process failed, and the logs on the Samba server had no entries on this.

The error message was:

“The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted”

I had added the registry entries specified here:

but nothing.

Finally, the nblookup tool downloadable from Microsofts website pointed me in the right direction: incorrect wins data!

The solution was simple:

/etc/init.d/samba stop
rm /var/lib/samba/wins.*
/etc/init.d/samba start

This recreated the correct wins database wins.tdb and the PC could be joined to the database.

Buffalo NAS: Change language from Japanese to English

Jul 27

The Buffalo Technology TeraStation of a customer needed a firmware update – and after this the Web GUI was in Japanese language.

Unfortunately I could not find any solution because all I could find were targeting an older web interface (before 2010) totally different from the actual one.

Fortunately I had another LinkStation Mini in my network with the same Web GUI, so I could look where to find how to switch the language.

Please look at the screen shot below:

Language setting

Setup shared Fax on SBS 2011 for Windows XP computers

Jun 09

Problem: Windows SBS 2011 don’t has 32 Bit drivers. You can use the ones from Windows Vista, but they don’t work for Windows XP.

You need:

–         A Windows Vista 32 Bit machine, and precisely the folder c:\windows\system32\driverstore\FileRepository\prnms002.

–         The fax driver files from a Windows Server 2003. Alternatively you can find them here:

There is a Microsoft KB article on this:

The solution comes most from the Technet forums post, but was tested by myself.


  • In the share properties from the fax printer on the server, add 32 bit drivers, using the ones from the Windows Vista installation
  • Stop the spooler: net stop spooler
    This will ask you to stop also the fax service.
  • Copy the files FXSAPI.DLL, FXSDRV.DLL, FXSRES.DLL, FXSTIFF.DLL, FXSUI.DLL and FXSWZRD.DLL from the Windows Server 2003 installation (please look at the KB article where to find them or download them using the link in the Technet forums) to the folder c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3 overwriting the existing ones
  • Insert this in the registry:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows NT
x86\Drivers\Version-3\Microsoft Shared Fax Driver]
“Configuration File”=”FXSUI.DLL”
“Data File”=”FXSUI.DLL”
“Help File”=””
“Dependent Files”=hex(7):46,00,58,00,53,00,57,00,5a,00,52,00,44,00,2e,00,44,00,
00,00,46,00,58,00,53,00,41,00,50,00,49,00,2e,00,44,00,4c,00,4c,00,00,00,00, 00
“Previous Names”=hex(7):00,00,90,90
“OEM URL”=””

  • Restart the spooler: net start spooler
  • Restart the fax: net start fax
  • Install the fax on the XP clients like a shared printer. It could be that the client is asking for a Windows XP CD, so better you have one.
  • Done!