I have been a huge fan of SysInternals long before Microsoft acquired the company a few year ago and rebadged its founders/super talents Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell.  If you ever get a chance to see/hear Mark in person I highly recommend doing so.  His sessions at TechEd, etc. are always among the highest rated and his depth is unbelievable. In addition to Mark and Bryce’s speaking abilities, they have written some of the best utilities for Administrators and Developers (maybe ever!). Hyperbole intended. 

One of my favorite, everyday use, Administrator must-have utilities is SysInternals’ BgInfo.  BgInfo is a program that simply places data that typically requires lots of typing or clicking on a computer such as the machine’s name, its IP address, its uptime, disk space free, etc. on top of the computer’s background wallpaper.  Here is a screen capture from my Essential Business Server’s Management Server:

MgmtServerwBackgroundInfo

You can download BgInfo from here (read the EULA) to see for yourself what it does to your computer(s). 

Since I love EBS Administrators, I’ve gone a step further and saved my BgInfo configuration/settings file so you to can display the information in the above screenshot on your EBS servers.   Download the settings file, a batch file to load the settings file, and exported a Task Scheduler setting file that enables it to run every morning at 6 AM from here (its a Windows Live Skydrive public folder) and place them on a USB flash drive.  The bat file is 130K but the other two are ~3K and completely transparent (no malware). 

Instructions to configure BgInfo on your EBS servers:

  1. Create a directory named “Background Info” under “%SystemDrive%\Program Files (x86)”
  2. Copy BgInfo.exe, BackgroundInfoRefresh.bat and EBS_Background_Settings.bgi from the flash drive to the aforementioned directory. 
  3. Launch BgInfo.exe and choose to Accept/Decline the EULA.  Assuming you Accept, then close BgInfo and run BackgroundInfoRefresh.bat   You should now see the system’s information in the lower left hand corner of the screen.
  4. Open Task Scheduler (enter Task Scheduler in the start search control after hitting the Start button).
  5. Click Import in the right-hand pane and select “Refresh Background Information.xml” file.  Change the time, frequency, etc to your liking and Save
  6. Open the All Users’ Startup folder (“%Systemdrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup”)
  7. Change the account in which the Refresh Background Information scheduled task to someone other than me (unless you want to give me Admin access to your server <grin>).
  8. Create a shortcut to the BackgroundInfoRefresh.bat file to make sure the background information is refreshed each time you or another IT Administrator log in.
  9. Rinse and Repeat on the other two servers.

Enjoy.  

Note: The background information will not be visible if you’re using Remote Desktop Connection with “low bandwidth” settings.  Make sure your RDC settings (Experience | Desktop Background) are On so you can see this info.  Otherwise, its a KVM-only solution.