For this poor, unfortunate soul – absolutely nothing. I spotted the fox from my train which was just about to enter Wimbledon station. I’ve reported it to Network Rail so they could clear the corpse from the track.

If only the fox decided to cross the railway lines during the upcoming strike action by RMT against South Western Railway (2nd December through to the 20th), he or she would have probably been safe because of so few operating trains. And even fewer trains are likely to be available if there are any signal, track or train defects which has been plaguing the SWR network like mad for the past two years.

If I were the UK government, I’d be looking to withdraw SWR’s franchise as early as possible if the deadlock isn’t resolved…

Packed in like sardines, but without the brine..

Last Monday’s South Western Railway strike was fun. Trains were considerably busier than usual – it took a good half an hour to wait for another train with enough capacity to get me home.

Wall to wall humans. Lovely. I’m happy to wait, thanks.

Another calamity had befallen me earlier that day, however. I was trying new backup software for the local Active Directory server and I had to cancel it due to hogging too many resources. I was forced to shut down windows and reboot – but – ALAS! – the server came up and wouldn’t allow me to log in as administrator via remote desktop. Wouldn’t let me log in with my own user account which has administrative privileges. The Active Directory service was borked.

I rebooted the machine again. I physically booted it into Safe Mode with Networking and was – physically at the machine itself – able to log in. In the end, I had to:

  • Create a Windows Server bootable USB from ISO
  • Boot from the USB stick
  • Select “Repair this computer”, go to Troubleshooting then select Command Prompt
  • Rename utilman.exe to utilman.bak, then copy cmd.exe to utilman.exe

Utilman.exe is called whenever the accessibility feature is used prior to logging into Windows Server (at least prior to Windows Server 2016). By replacing it with cmd.exe, you’re presented with a command-line prompt that allows you to change the administrator password.

With this in place, I changed the admin password (net user administrator <password>), rebooted the machine (which can back up in Safe Mode with Networking), used msconfig to set the boot mode back to Normal, rebooted again – and everything came back up and Just Worked(tm).

It took me two days to figure that out. Windows. So helpful.