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Why you should think twice about leaving on the "public JRE" option of the Java JDK installer

This is a follow-up to a post I did in late 2014, CF911: 'Help! I've updated the JVM which ColdFusion uses, and now it won't start!'. In that post, I listed about a dozen common problems that befall people who try to update the JVM that CF is using (and it and this post apply as well to Lucee or BlueDragon, or indeed any Java application server).

In this post, I want to elaborate on one more common mistake. Well, mistake may be too strong word. It's about a default option when you run a Java JDK installer (see the other post for more on JDK vs JRE options).

In short, I make the case here for why you should NOT let the JDK installer implement its "public jre" option.

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Stuck running the ColdFusion 'Migration wizard'? Here's how to get past that

CF Admin migration wizard screenSomeone presented a problem on a discussion list where they found that upon installing CF, they got to the "migration wizard" screen, and though it offered the option to "continue" if it hung up, it did not continue for him.

In this post, I'll share how to get past that prompt, if this happens to you. (And despite that image on the right showing ColdFusion 11, this could conceivably happen in CF10, CF9, and so on, and this same solution applies to all.)

For the anxious folks who want to "skip the waffle" and context/setup, the solution is at the very bottom. :-)

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FusionReactor updated today: some general info related to getting/applying FR updates

How to update FusionReactorFusionReactor users will want to know that there was a new update released today, 5.2.6. The update is free for those on 5.2.x releases as well as those with maintenance agreements. And you can just download the installer and run it to update your current version (even back to FR 5.0, if you've not updated FR 5 since you first installed it).

But more than that basic info, I'd like in this post to take advantage of the chance to share a few things related to the topic of upgrading FusionReactor, including some common questions I often am asked as I assist people in using it:

  • Where do I get the update?
  • How do I find out what's new in the update?
  • Should I hesitate about applying the very latest FR update as soon as it comes out?
  • How would you I know there WAS an update to FR available?
  • Do I just need to run the full installer or can I update just one file perhaps?
  • Do I need to restart CF (or Railo/Lucee/Tomcat, etc.) for the update to take effect?
  • Can I update FRAM and choose NOT to update my monitored CF/Railo/Lucee/Tomcat/etc instance?
  • Why do you keep referring to "CF/Railo/Lucee/Tomcat/etc"? I thought FR was a CF monitor tool?
  • What if I'm on an FR version older than 5.0?

For these and more, read on.

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Solving slow CF startup: my elaborating on an Adobe blog entry on a possible solution

The fine folks at the Adobe CF blog posted a blog entry today, on "Sometimes ColdFusion services refuse to start normally post server restart" (by Rahul Upadhyay), which offers some helpful information on one possible solution to the stated problem of slow CF startup.

That said, there are some concerns I have, with respect to how I fear some may read and take action based on it (especially the notion of deleting the cfclasses files, as a possible solution to the problem).

I'm not contradicting Rahul here, just elaborating on some points, as someone who (like some on the CF team) helps people with CF server troubleshooting every day.

I started to write these thoughts as a comment there, and (as often happens) it grew long so I thought it better to be a blog entry rather than a long comment, and point people here. Once I did that I decided to go further still, hoping to really help those interested to consider the issue more carefully. (It also gives me a chance to highlight again the Adobe CF team blog, something I recommend EVERYONE reading this should follow!)

One quick point (and update) for the TL;DR cloud: My recommendation is that you move the cfclasses folder out of that location, as a temporary test, to see if it makes CF startup happen faster. If it does, I explain why and what the implications are in the choices of renaming, deleting, moving, or disabling the related "save class files" feature. Also, I add an update in E.1 below (since posting this) which you may really want to read: consider turning off your anti-virus software's real-time protection against the cfclasses folder to see if that alone helps with startup.

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CF911: 'Help! I've updated the JVM which ColdFusion uses, and now it won't start!'

Has this happened to you?
  • You wanted to update the JVM which CF uses to use a new version
  • so you found some resource on the web showing how to update, and it seemed simple enough
  • and then you tried restarting CF and wham, it won't start
  • and now you're stuck wondering, "what happened? and how am I supposed to fix this?"

It's a tragic position to be in, of course.

There are several reasons why your attempt to update CF's JVM can fail.

And fortunately I can offer several things you can consider/look at, some of which may quickly recover from or be able to undo (depends on what you did). And all this applies to Lucee, Railo, and BlueDragon as well, though folder locations will differ.

In brief, here are the things you may have done wrong. See below for solutions or recommendations:

  1. You may have told the Java installer to install itself WITHIN the CF directory. You should not do that.
  2. You may have gotten the wrong kind of Java installer
  3. You may have gotten the wrong bit-level of Java for your bit-level of CF
  4. You may have gotten the wrong JVM for your OS
  5. You may have tried to use a JVM not supported by the version of CF you're running
  6. You may have pointed CF to the wrong JVM location
  7. You may have updated the JVM config for the cfusion instance, but not your other instances
  8. You may have forgotten to change the path's directory separator slashes on Windows
  9. You may have to copy the msvcr100.dll from the JVM's lib to CF's when updating older CF's to Java 7+
  10. You may have to copy the tools.jar from the JVM's lib to CF's when updating older CF's to Java 8+ (and delete some files compiled for the old JVM)
  11. You may find that Solr integration (and/or PDFG in CF11+) stops working, because you didn't realize you needed to edit *its* jvm config file

While I'm at it, I also cover:

  • Why you'll find that CF can't even STOP (let alone START) if you make a mistake with the JVM configuration
  • What JVM version(s) are supported by what versions of CF
  • Dealing with SSL Certificates you may have imported into a previous JVM
  • Beware leaving the Java installer to choose the "public jre" option

So this really became quite a compendium of resources on changing the JVM CF uses, but again the focus is on why CF may not start if you make certain very common mistakes.

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Hidden Gem: Importing CF Admin settings in ANY release via 'import wizard', even AFTER installation

Have you ever faced the challenge of needing to migrate the CF Admin settings (datasources, mappings, scheduled tasks, etc.) from one machine to another, and from one CF version to a newer one? Did you know that there is an "import wizard" that you can (with proper configuration) run at any time to import settings from one release to another?

Before I discuss that, you may know of a couple of other solutions for this challenge: the CF admin ColdFusion Archive/CAR mechanism, available in some but not all editions (more below), and this same "import wizard" which runs at the end of CF installation, importing settings from an older CF version if found on the same box.

But what if either of those solutions don't work for you, and you have dozens of dsn's, scheduled tasks, mappings, or other settings you want to get from one machine/version to another?

You are NOT stuck having to manually copy settings from one screen to another! (And you should be very careful about the common hack solution of copying neo*.xml files from one instance to another, which may not always work and may break things.)

In this entry I'll discuss how you CAN indeed import the CF admin settings from nearly ANY release of CF into nearly ANY OTHER release of CF, in a fully supported way, and which CAN be done even after installation of a new CF release. (I say "nearly", because I worked with someone wanting to do this import of CF7 settings into CF10, and that large a jump was was not supported.)

I'll also mention an important potential gotcha to beware, as well as how to to get around that.

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Finding ColdFusion installers, updaters, hotfixes, and docs for all recent releases

This won't be new info for some, but many folks remain confused by the fact, that after Adobe released ColdFusion 11 2016, they can seem to only find ColdFusion 11 2016 installers on the Adobe site. What if you need installers for 11, 10, or 9, or 8, and so on?

(Update: I wrote this post originally after CF11 came out, but it applies as well and still now that CF2016 has come out, so I have changed the references to that from here on.)

Find CF installers, updaters, and docs for past several releases

The good news is that if one wants to find ANY installers for most ANY version of CF, they can be found on an external repository setup by Gavin Pickin (and added to by myself and others, to include updates, hotfixes, and docs):

Gavin Pickin's CFML Repo

The name, CFMLRepe, may confuse some if they presume it's a repo of CFML. It's not. What it is is that originally it did originally have only CF installers (and updates, etc.) but then some contributed installers for Lucee and such, so he chose the more "generic" name.

(There used to be a longer and hard-to-remember URL, when I posted this originally in 2014, and I had created a shortened url, http://bit.ly/cfdownloads. It's now not "shorter", so I leave this here for posterity.)

Thanks so much to Gavin for creating the repo, and to him and others for maintaining it. Let's hope it remains a viable solution to find downloads for years to come.

New updates for Coldfusion 11, 10, and 9 (security update for 9, 11; still more for 10)

If you'd not heard the news, there were several updates released today, for CF 11, 10, and 9.

As for CF11 and CF9, it's mainly a security update. For CF10, it's got quite a bit more. (And there is another update for CF11 to come in the future which Adobe mentioned when it came out with its first update last month.)

For more on each, see below.

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Applying hotfixes to ColdFusion 9 and earlier? A guide to getting it right

I realize that title may seem anachronistic. Why talk about hotfixes in CF9 and earlier, in 2014, indeed as CF11/Splendor is in beta? But I'll tell you that I still help people daily who are still on those older releases, and often they have problems that may have long since been solved by a hotfix or a cumulative hotfix they never applied--or may be caused by misapplication of such hotfixes.

Of course, in CF10 it's easier now because of the built-in "server updates" feature of the CF Admin. But in earlier releases, it was all on you to both keep up on the updates and to apply them manually. And a lot of people either never bothered, or may have tried and failed, or did it but got it wrong.

What you need to know

So in this blog entry, I some key info that will help you, if you may be in need of applying one or more of those updates to CF9 and earlier. Indeed, I'll point to some past entries I've done where I shared a lot more detail that I find is vital and rarely mentioned when some people try to share just the bare minimum of info (often leaving people hanging).

For instance, I'll help you answer such questions as what hotfixes do you already have applied? How do you find out? And you need to know exactly what version of CF you have, whether 9.0/9.0.1/9.0.2, 8.0/8.0.1, 7.0/7.0.1/7.0.2, and so on. I'll explain how to tell and why that's important, and especially when it comes to finding and applying hotfixes. And if you have applied hotfixes, are you sure you have done it right? It's easy to get things wrong and botch things. I'll help you avoid several very common mistakes.

(That's why it's so great that CF10 finally handles things for us. But this entry, focused on 9 and earlier, is not the place to discuss concerns with the CF10 hotfix mechanism. If you have questions or concerns about that, see the substantial CF10 Hotfix Installation Guide from Adobe, a 50-question FAQ on all things related to that feature.)

I'll also point you to where to find hotfixes and installers for CF9 and earlier (not as easy as it may seem), and still more.

If any of that's of interest, and I hope it is if you're on CF9 or earlier, then read on.

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Understanding the 9.0.2 release of ColdFusion, a FAQ for those who missed the news last year

So perhaps you're currently running CF 9.0 or CF 9.0.1, and you may have noticed that there is a CF 9.0.2. Have you wondered what it's about? And have you noticed that it's not something you can just update to from 9.0 or 9.0.1? It's a complete installer, meaning you need to uninstall CF 9.0 or 9.0.1 before you can move up to it.

Should you? What do you gain? what do you lose? what are some gotchas? That's what this blog entry is about, answering the following questions:

  • First, what is ColdFusion 9.0.2? Why did Adobe create it?
  • What about the 9.0.1 updater? Can we still get that? Yes.
  • So what all does 9.0.2 add and remove?
  • If I download CF 9 today, what do I get?
  • "But if I download 9.0.2 today, I get the latest version of it available, right? I don't need to add hotfixes, do I?" Wrong.
  • Warning: DO NOT install 9.0.1 atop 9.0.2 (nothing will stop you)
  • If I am on 9.0 or 9.0.1, how can I get to 9.0.2?
  • Why might I want to get to 9.0.2 from 9.0 or 9.0.1?
  • How did i miss this? Was 9.0.2 discussed? Yes it was.

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CF911: New Adobe document about ColdFusion security hotfixes: required reading, I'd say

Here's a new document from Adobe (new as of last week, it seems) that you may have missed, but which I would argue is REQUIRED READING for all CF admins and developers:

Important hotfix-related notes for ColdFusion 9 and ColdFusion 10

What is this about? and why is it important? Read on below, as the document itself and current links from Adobe don't quite convey its significance, I think. For more perspective, I discuss below both what has happened to many folks after applying ColdFusion security hotfixes in recent years, and how this document helps.

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Part 3: Adobe hotfix released for "Serious security threat for ColdFusion servers"

Adobe has come out with a new security hotfix for a very serious attack on ColdFusion servers which had hit many (perhaps most) CF shops over the past couple of weeks, and it's vital that all shops apply that fix. (Even if you think you've protected yourself in other ways

There is a new Adobe CF blog entry pointing to the new hotfix, and I point that out rather than the technote for the hotfix itself, because as often is the case, there has been some useful discussion related to applying the fix. Indeed, there's a warning I've shared there about a problem (hopefully temporary) with the hotfix file for users of ColdFusion 9.0.2. (Update: the confusion about 9.0.2 is resolved. The technote has been corrected. See the comments in the Adobe blog entry for more details.)

Users of ColdFusion 10, 9.0.2, 9.0.1, and 9.0 should certainly proceed to implement the fix.

I address several questions and other observations about this hotfix below.

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Part 2: Serious security threat for ColdFusion servers [now covered by a hotfix]

Since I posted my entry earlier today about a Serious security threat for #ColdFusion servers [not now covered by a hotfix], I have had many questions and discussions which lead me to share more info.

At first I was adding these as updates to the previous entry, but I fear that some who may have read it earlier in the day may then miss some of this new info, thus this "Part 2". You will definitely want to read part 1 before proceeding here.

[Update: And since writing this entry 2 weeks ago, Adobe has indeed now come out with a hotfix. I have more to say about that in the new Part 3: Adobe hotfix released for "Serious security threat for #ColdFusion servers". While you should proceed to get that fix in place, you'll likely benefit from reading parts 1, 2, and 3, as there's more discussed than just the thread and fix, itself, which could benefit you down the road.]

Among the new information shared below are such things as how the hack worked (not too much detail, though), how to determine what the exploit may have exposed, how to handle resolving things for many sites via scripting, how to lock down the /adminapi, /administrator, and /componentutils directories, and most important, why you should not skip all this just because "we already block all access to the CFIDE/adminapi" (and /administrator and /componentutils)". There may be exposure you're not considering.

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Serious security threat for ColdFusion servers [now covered by a hotfix]

Hey folks, there's a fairly serious security threat out in the wild, and you may want to check if your server's been hit. (It may be old news to some, but for now it's hitting people in the past week or so.) It's been confirmed to have hit at least CF9 (9.01 and 9.0.2) servers, but it seems it would apply to as well to CF10 or down to CF 7, as it leverages the Admin API.

And note that it's NOT one that you're protected against by having applied CF security hotfixes. (Updated Jan 15 2013, as Adobe now has a hotfix for this. More below.)

There's quite a bit for you to consider regarding this recent threat, as I discuss here.

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Clearing the ColdFusion template cache programmatically

I was asked today how one might clear the template cache ColdFusion template cache programmatically, as opposed to clicking the button in the CF Admin (Caching) page. The good news is that pretty much anything done in the CF Admin can be done programmatically, via the CF Adminapi, since CF 7. And there is in fact an AdminAPI method to clear the template cache. I'll show the code in a moment.

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What's the situation with ColdFusion and Java 7, Java 6 updates, Windows 8, and OS X Mountain Lion?

I see the above questions all the time on lists, forums, twitter, etc., and while I point out the following when I see them, I wanted to share them here as well, in case others have missed them or might find them by searching.

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How to identify what jvm.config a ColdFusion instance uses (and vice-versa)

If you run ColdFusion in its Multiserver mode (multiple instances), you may know that you can configure things so that different instances use different jvm.config files, otherwise by default, all instances share just one. (If you didn't know how to change that, particularly if running CF as Windows Services, I'll offer some references explaining more.)

But have you ever wondered which jvm.config is used by a given instance? Or perhaps found multiple jvm.configs in your [jrun4]\bin directory and wondered which instance each went with? The answer isn't as straightforward as it may seem, when you're running CF as Windows Services. There's no single CF feature that reports this, but I do offer a solution here.

The simple answer is that one can find the information in the registry. The longer answer, including how to find that, as well as how to get that info more easily from the command line if you may prefer, follows.

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Getting ColdFusion 8/9 downloads (with Verity): ways that may work even after today

By now most in the CF world (who are connected to community news, at least) should have heard that today is the last day Adobe will be offering a release of CF 9 including Verity, and CF8 at all. I offer here a little more news on that, but more important I offer how you can still find and get those downloads if you want them, even when no longer listed as links on the site. They're now no longer easy to find.

(And I have updated the entry as of Aug 3, 2012, and all below still applies, unless stricken out.)

First, as for what's changing, it's that Adobe has to "pull from the shelves" any releases of CF that include Verity. But while many have been asserting that CF9 was going away, that's not true. And even CF8 can be obtained formally under certain conditions.

But I also offer here some ways you may be able to get these files even if Adobe no longer offers links to them.

But let's tackle a few points of common misinformation this week.

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Could CF image processing be killing your ColdFusion server? Explanation and solutions.

Are you having slow ColdFusion pages and wondering what may be the cause? There can of course be many root causes, but a common one that I'm finding lately as I help people is due to using certain of CF's image processing features, especially resizing such as to create thumbnails after a file is uploaded (or when many files are uploaded).

Such folks may be using the CFIMAGE action="resize" tag, or the imageResize() or ImageScaleToFit() functions to do resizing. (Or they may be also processing images using ImageRotate, ImageShear, or ImageTranslate, though the defaults for those are not problematic like the resize/scale tag/function processing).

The "problem" (if this is the cause of a slow page) is due to a default "interpolation" setting for CFIMAGE resizing, imageResize, and ImageScaletoFit. The default may not perform well at all. The good news is that the value is configurable, and you can test to compare quality/performance of difference values, as will explained below. There are still some other things to consider also. (If you're currently using CFIMAGE to do resizing, jump to the last section of this entry to see an example of code switching from the "slow" approach to the faster one. But really, you ought to read the rest of this entry to understand what's being proposed.)

While I offer all the info here for your consideration, if you need help implementing the solution, or better understanding how to find and resolve these or other problems affecting your CF server performance, see more on my CF server troubleshooting consulting services.

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CF911: Looking for info on handling IIS 7 integration in CF9 Updater 1? Not in the docs

Are you looking for info on the change in handling of IIS 7 integration as of CF9 Updater 1? Sadly, it's not in the primary docs you may think to look at. There's also another gotcha that I will explain in a follow-up entry.

What's changed about IIS 7 support in 9.01?

Some folks will know that ColdFusion 9 Updater 1 (9.0.1) has finally added full support for IIS 7, without need to rely upon enabling IIS 6 Compatibility (which IS still required for CF 9.0, 8.0, and 8.0.1). This is indeed great news, whether you're running on Vista, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008, which all have IIS 7 by default, and for which you can enable IIS 6 Compatibility mode, but it's not on by default and not always straightforward to enable.

So bottom line, if you're on 9.0.1, you no longer need to go through the hoops described in the CF9 Admin/Install docs (nor in helpful blog entries like here and here, though those are still great for those running on CF 9.0 and 8, and may even offer tips of value to anyone setting up CF to run on IIS, which has other challenges on Server 2008.)

Gotcha 1: The IIS 7 Compatibility change is NOT documented where expected

Sadly, though, if you go looking for help on this in the CF docs, such as Chapter 6 of the manual, Installing ColdFusion 9, you will find that it has NOT been updated with the info that is new in the updater.

It opens, "If you are configuring IIS 7 ... ensure that you have the options IIS Metabase and IIS 6 configuration compatibility ... and ISAPI Extensions ... selected".

What a shame.

Solution 1: Where the change IS documented

So with respect to change in 9.0.1, where you no longer need to enable IIS 6 compatibility, the details are covered instead in the installation guide that was created just for installing CF9 updater 1 itself, called "Installing the Coldfusion 9 Update", available online at:

http://www.adobe.com/support/documentation/en/coldfusion/901/cf901install.pdf

It's certainly reasonable to expect that the primary install manual would have been updated with the info above.

But that's why I'm pointing this out. I have also added a comment explaining it on the page pointed to in the first link above. Hope that may help someone.

(The same info is also offered as a chapter in the manual, "ColdFusion 9 Updater 1: New Feature Notes", available at http://www.adobe.com/support/documentation/en/coldfusion/901/cf901features.pdf, which is of course very interesting if you may have missed it.)

I'll explain the second gotcha in a follow-up blog entry.

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