Internet Explorer 10+ Group Policy – The Curse of F5

I was asked this week to develop a new group policy for IE10+, I’m very new to group policy and quickly discovered that it is very different to IE9 and earlier where the proxy setting were stored in the Internet Explorer Maintenance Tab.  After a quick Google (or Bing if your being sponsored by Microsoft), I discovered that the Internet Explorer settings for Internet Explorer 10 and above are stored in User Configuration -> Preferences -> Control Panel Settings -> Internet Settings. Right click and choose New -> Internet Explorer 10.

So what if you want to do an Internet Explorer Group policy for IE11 or above? Well Internet Explorer 10 covers Internet Explorer 10 to 99!!!

The options were virtually identical so I set up the group policy to match the one that had been developed for IE9 and below and then clicked Apply and clicked OK and waited for the group policy to come down…… and nothing happened, the group policy did not apply.

Bemused I looked around on a few forums and lots of people seemed to have the same difficultly getting the policy to apply but I couldn’t really find an answer, until I came across this an excellent post which told me that my group policy did not apply because I didn’t press F5!

Your policy will only apply if you press F5 to apply settings on the currently selected tab or F6 to apply the currently selected setting. if the changes have not been applied then any changes are underlined with red dots. Once you press F5 or F6 and the changes have been applied the changes will be underlined with green dots.

Sounds simple when you know how, but trying to solve this was frustrating and yet the solution was so simple, so I thought it was worthy of a blog post.



SQL Lighthouse

A few months ago I was one of a number of Database Professionals who were asked by Redgate to provide feedback about a new product that they were developing called SQL Lighthouse. SQL Lighthouse is used to monitor Database Drift, I must admit a term that confused me a little when I was first told about the product but once it was explained it made perfect sense.

SQL Lighthouse monitors changes within a database, for example if the code in a stored procedure changes the DBA would receive an alert informing them that somebody had changed the stored procedure. It would show the stored procedure code before it was modified and what it looks like after the change was made, it will show who made the change and when the change was made.

I think this product is great for monitoring changes to a SQL environment particularly if you work for an organisation that has a team of DBA’s who could all be making changes to different SQL instances within a SQL Environment at the same time.  SQL Lighthouse would ensure that all DBA’s within the team were aware of the changes that were being made. It also allows DBA’s to monitor any changes Developers maybe making to the SQL environment. In my case it highlighted that some developers had permissions to make changes that they should now have been able to do.

This was a product that I found really useful. I will write some more in-depth blog posts about SQL Lighthouse soon. SQL Lighthouse is now available as a Beta release and can be downloaded here. Take a look and see if it would benefit your organisation.



My First Blog Post – A Bit About Me

My name is Shaun Atkinson (although I’m guessing you’ve already worked that out). I’ve been thinking about writing a blog for a while and on what was sunny but is now dull November Saturday afternoon here in the UK I’ve finally decided to take the plunge.

I have worked as a Junior DBA in Local Government in the UK for the last 5 years  and have worked with SQL Server for the last 9 years. starting with SQL Server 2005 through to SQL Server 2012, I also have SQL Server 2014 on my personal laptop so I can play with all the latest features!  I started my career as a .Net Developer working primarily with C# and VB.Net and of course SQL Server, as well as doing a little ASP.Net.

My interest in databases started when I was at university completing my undergraduate degree. I studied a module about Database Design and it taught me about set theory and gave me my first proper introduction to the SQL language which we were taught using Oracle PL\SQL. Looking back I think this was a fantastic way to learn the SQL language as we had to enter all the commands manually, while it was long winded it was a fantastic learning experience. It’s a feeling that is difficult to describe but I just felt comfortable working with databases and I knew that it was something that I’d like to persue in the future.

In 2007 I got my first role as a Junior DBA in a team of four DBA’s working with SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 instances, the SQL environment had about 60 SQL Server instances which was a much larger SQL environment than the organisation I previously worked for. I was responsible for writing SQL scripts, code reviewing and running SQL scripts against production databases, checking backups, log shipping, I could go on and on but I’ll stop there. This role also gave me my first exposure to building SQL Server instances and SQL Server clusters which was fantastic because previously I’d only used SQL Server as a developer.

After 6 months in this role I made an incredibly tough decision to take a up a job offer as a .Net developer again. I’d really enjoyed my time as a Junior DBA but felt that it was best to change roles. For the next 18 months I worked a developer primarily using BizTalk, however during this time I missed being a DBA and decided that while liked being a .Net developer it was something that I wanted to dip in and out of as part of a different role, rather than do on a full time basis.

In 2009 the organization I was working for were restructuring and as part of the restructure a Junior DBA post became available, I applied for the job and was successful. This is the role I have occupied since 2009. During that time there have been many challenges but I have thoroughly enjoyed the role. It has presented it’s day to day challenges of queries running slow, assisting developers in writing to T-SQL, working with third-party databases and an electricity company cutting through a power cable! (I was actually asked once what our biggest threat to availability was and I said the electric company because they cut through the cable so many times! but we have a backup generator now so it’s cool!) to the longer term challenges such a Migrating the SQL Server environment from one version of SQL Server to another and things such as High Availability and Disaster Recovery.

In 2011 was role was expanded as well as being a Junior DBA I started to get involved in a bit of IT Security things such as Active Directory, Group Policy, Firewall Rules and Internet filtering. I have enjoyed this and it has improved my all round knowledge. I often find that there is a lot of overlap between the two roles with things like encryption and certificates.

I’ve decided to start this blog because learning SQL Server in a journey that all SQL DBA’s, Developers or BI Developers go on and I thought that I’d use this blog to document mine. I’ve been telling myself that I have to document everything I do (mainly because my memory is hopeless) so that if I need it I can go back to it in the future because I tend to hit the a similar issue 6 moths later and then have to try and remember how I fixed it! As well as being a record of what I have done I thought that if I blogged about it I might pass on knowledge to others who maybe having the same issues. The blog will primarily be about SQL Server.

I am new to this, so yes I will make mistakes, yes I may blog about things you already know, yes there maybe mistakes in some of the articles I write or ways they could be improved, if there are please point them out.  As well as passing on knowledge I want to use this blog to increase my own knowledge. the other good news is my blog posts won’t always be as long as this 🙂

Enjoy your weekend, I’m off to try and muster up another blog post.