All posts in “General”

Install Windows XP Guest Services in Windows 10 HyperVisor

I needed to do a test in a windows xp environment today. Since I am running Windows 10 I simply created a new Virtual Machine in Hyper-V Manager and installed an old copy of Windows XP from an ISO image.

After completing the install, I could not find any way to install the Integration Services (aka Guest Services). I never had this issue in Windows 8.1, so I wondered if I could just use the drivers from Windows 8.1.

Since I have a backup of Windows 8.1 before I upgraded, I went searching the backup and found this folder:

C:\WINDOWS\VMGUEST

I restored this folder and downloaded an application to create an ISO image from a folder. The program I used was http://sourceforge.net/projects/iso-creator-cs/

Once I had a vmguest.iso file, I just mounted this in my guest operating system and ran

D:\support\x86\setup.exe

Now I am running Windows XP with integration services in Windows 10

Copy Windows 10 Update Build 9860 to another computer

I have a couple of computers and Virtual Machines running Windows 10 Technical Preview. A few days ago Build 9860 was released but I didn’t want to have to download this update on each computer or vm. I found a work on around.

Download and Backup the update

On one of your computers, you will need to download the update by going to Start -> Search -> Windows Update Settings and then choosing Preview builds and click “Check Now”. Download the 2.7 gb update to your computer but DON’T click install. Instead open your windows explorer and go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download folder.

In that folder you will find another folder named 90e20608895b69e99c2e15487a65d780. It should have three files in it
9860.0.141008-2044.fbl_release_CLIENTPRO_RET_x64fre_en-us.esd
state
WindowsStoreSetupBox.exe

Copy the entire folder to another location such as an external hardrive or usb thumbdrive. This step is very important as the update deletes itself after the install.

Now go ahead and update your system.

How to use this back up?

On your second computer or virtual machine instance, open the windows explorer and copy the 90e20608895b69e99c2e15487a65d780  folder you backed up to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download

Now when you go to the Preview builds update and click check, your computer will have the Install Update option instead of download. Go ahead and install the update. (Note: you may have to reboot if the computer didn’t find the update.)

Happy Updating!

Top 8 settings to make Windows 8.1 Preview more usable

I have been running on the Windows 8.1 preview for a few weeks now and I have to say that it is an improvement over their first release. The first release I don’t think I could get past 1 day before going back to Windows 7. I have not powered up my Windows 7 desktop in over a week and do not think I will ever need to use Windows 7 again.

Out of the box, though, Windows 8.1 preview wasn’t perfect. Here are the 8 changes I made to make windows 8.1 more usable. Most of the changes I made favored convenience over security, however I think they are worth the compromise.

1. Disable lock Screen

If you are on a desktop the lock screen is pretty annoying.

  1. Click on the Start Screen button Type gpedit.msc
  2. administrative templates – control panel – personalization
  3. Double click on Do not display lock screen
  4. Set to Enabled

Disable lock screen with gpedit.msc

2. Install .NET 3.5

There are still a lot of applications that are dependent on the older dot net frameworks. Install them to save your self some time later. You will need the original install media to perform this tip.

  1. Click on start and click the down arrow
  2. Find and run Command Prompt (cmd.exe) as administrator
  3. In the command box type: (bes sure to update the path to the install media)
    DISM /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:NetFx3 /All /LimitAccess /Source:d:\sources\sxs

ref: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh506443.aspx

install .net 3.5 via cmd.exe

3. Boot to desktop

This is a new feature for Windows 8.1 but by default it is not enabled. Change this setting so you login straight to the desktop.

  1. Right click on taskbar, choose properties
  2. Click on Navigation tab
  3. Place a check mark on “Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in”

Boot to desktop settings

4. Enable Remote Access

Enable Remote desktop so you can log in from a remote computer when you need to. Note: You may still need to configure your router/firewall to allow remote access.
This is necessary step if you are running windows 8.1 preview as a VM because using RDP to access your VM is very convenient.

  1. Right click on the start button
  2. Choose System from the menu
  3. Click on Remote Settings
  4. Change the radio button to Allow remote connections to this computer.

I personally uncheck the “allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network level Authentication (recommended)”. This will allow insecure connections to your computer from older operating systems (pre-windows 7) and Linux machines. I often connect from my android tablet so I have to uncheck it to support access.

Emab;e Remote Access in System Options

5. Disable desktop Dim for admin prompt

  1. Go to Control Panel – System and Security – Change User Account Control Settings (at the top under the blue flag)
  2. Change slider to 3rd option
  3. Click OK

User Account Control to disable desktop dim

6. Disable system maintenance from waking up from S3 sleep

I have had trouble getting windows 8.1 to sleep for me. I think this is due to it being beta software and not all of the drivers updated yet. However when I do get it to go sleep, the last thing I was is Windows 8.1 waking itself back up.

  1. Go to the Control Panel – System and Security – Action Center
  2. Click on Maintenance
  3. Change Maintenance Setting
  4. Uncheck “allow schedule maintenance to wake up my computer at the scheduled time”
  5. Click OK
To completely disable system maintenance:
  1. Right click on Start Menu and choose “Computer Management”
  2. Go to Task Scheduler – Task Scheduler Library – Microsoft – Windows – TaskScheduler
  3. Right click and Disable Regular Maintenance.

Note: If you install other software such as Office 2013, it may create new tasks that will wake up your computer such as “Microsoft Office 15 Sync Maintenance” which may need to be disable to keep your computer sleeping soundly.

Disable Automatic Maintenance from Waking up computer from s3 sleep

7. Disable AutoPlay for all media and devices

This will actual make your computer more secure.

  1. Move your mouse to the bottom right corner
  2. Click on the Settings (gear icon)
  3. At the bottom right corner click Change PC Settings
  4. click on AutoPlay
  5. Slide to Off

Disable Autoplay or Autrun

8. Install Hyper-V virtual machine support

Not all computers support this feature, but if you have hardware that supports SLAT and like to play around with different operating systems this is a must have feature in Windows 8.1 Preview.

  1. Go to Control Panel – Programs
  2. Click on “Turn Windows features on or off
  3. Place a checkmark in Hyper-V
  4. Click OK to install.

Install Hyper-V Windows Features

Like I said, I found Windows 8.1 to be a usable operating system. If there was one more additional feature that the Microsoft guys could add, it would be to include a “Recently Used Applications” section on the Start Screen. Windows XP and Windows 7 had a recently used menu, why can’t Windows 8.1 do this?

Install cygwin sshd on Windows

Here is a quick tutorial to install cygwin on your windows computer to make your windows computer an SSH and SFTP SERVER.   A couple of house cleaning things before we get started.

  • Note:  If you are looking for a SSH client then download putty.exe as it make s a great SSH client.
  • This tutorial only applies to Cygwin 1.7, installer version 2.774
  • I have only installed this twice so I am by far no expert.  If I missed a step you will have to figure it out yourself.

Now lets get started.

  1. First thing you need to do is download the cygwin setup.exe  from here Cygwin.com.
  2. After downloading, run the setup.exe.  Click Next and choose Install from Internet.
  3. Leave the install directly as c:\cygwin  (unless you have some specific reason to change it.   if you do decide to change, you will be on your own).
  4. Click next and chose a Local Package directly.  In my case I made it my downloads folder “C:\Users\xxxxx\Downloads”
  5. Click next and leave the default option: Direct Connection.
  6. Now you will need to choose a download mirror.    Go to http://cygwin.com/mirrors.html and find the download location closest to where you live.  Find it in the list and select next.
  7. After a moment you will get a list of packages to install.
    1. In the Search box type “ssh”
    2. Expand NET
    3. Click on the “skip”  for the openssh:”The OpenSSH server and client programs”

  8. Click Next
  9. You will get a screen to automatically Resolve dependencies.  Make sure the RECOMMENED option is selected and Click Next.
  10.   The install may take a few minutes to download the necessary packates.   (they will be save to the location you selected in step 4)
  11. After the packages are downloaded and installed,  you will get an option if you want to create shortcuts.   I chose to let the install create the shortcuts and clicked finish.
  12. After installation is finished, open the cygwin terminal as Administrator by righ clicking on the shortcut   and choose Run as Administrator.
  13. In the cygwin terminal type in ssh-host-config
  14. At the first option “Should privelage separation be used? (yes/no)”  type “yes”  (this is the default option)
  15. “new local account ‘sshd’? (yes/no)  type “yes”
  16. “Do you want to install sshd as a service?”  Type “yes”
  17. Next you’ll be asked to “Enter the value of CYGWIN for the daemon: []”  Type “ntsec”
  18. Cygwin will now need to create a user for the service.  The default is ‘cyg_server’.  To use the default Type “no”.
  19. You will be prompted for a password (twice) to assign to this account.  Enter a password.
  20. You have completed the install.   Type “net start sshd” to start the server.
  21. Now you will need to create the user keys.
  22. Exit cygwin by typing in “exit”
  23. Re-open cygwin-terminal as a normal user by clicking on the cygwin-terminal shortcut.  (This will be the user that you will log into ssh terminal with)
  24. In the Terminal type “ssh-user-config”
  25. At the prompt “Shall I create a SSH2 RSA identity file for you? (yes/no)”  Type “yes”
  26. enter a passphrase.  it can be anything you want.
  27. At the prompt “Do you want to use this identity to login to this machine (yes/no) Type “yes”
  28. Next, you’ll be asked to create an SSH2 DSA identiy file, if you want to use password-less access. I declined at this step so I typed “no”
  29. Next you’ll be asked to create an SSH2 ECDSA identity file.  Again I declined and so I typed “no”
  30. Last you’ll be asked to create a (depricated) SSH1 RSA identity file.  I declined this step so I typed “no”
  31. You have now completed setting up your user.
  32. The final step is to add the program C:\cygwin\usr\sbin\sshd.exe to your firewall rules.
    1. Windows Control Panel -> System and Security -> Windows Firewall -> Allow a program through Windows Firewall
    2. Click Change settings
    3. Towards the bottom of the screen click “allow another program…”
    4. Browse to C:\cygwin\usr\sbin\sshd.exe
  33. Also, I needed to set my password before I could log in with putty from a remote computer, so at the cygwin prompt I typed in “passwd” to set my password.  (Note: this will change your windows login password also).

You will now have putty and sftp access to your computer.

Joomla 1.5 and link rel canonical seo

I have several sites running on Joomla! but I have been suffering with the my search engine optimization ever since google released Panda.  I think the primary reason was due to duplicate content.    After researching on the issue I really could not find a  good solution that met my specific need.

What I wanted, was if I had several menus that pointed to the same article generate a <link rel=”canonical” href=””> meta tag.

Below is the code that I came up with to generate a meta tag on every page.   I will attached a text file with the code to the post also and you can download the joomla_code here.   Simply copy this code and put it in between the <HEAD></HEAD> tags if your /template/[TEMPLATE_NAME]/index.php file.

To see this code in action visit my Pest Control Site at www.callprobest.com and view the source and you will see that every page has the new meta tag.


<?php
$db =& JFactory::getDBO();
$menu = &JSite::getMenu();
$active = $menu->getActive()->id;
$query = "
SELECT m2.".$db->nameQuote('alias')."
FROM ".$db->nameQuote('#__menu')." m1
JOIN ".$db->nameQuote('#__menu')." m2
ON m1.".$db->nameQuote('link')." = m2.".$db->nameQuote('link')."
WHERE m1.".$db->nameQuote('id')." = ".$db->quote($active)."
AND m2.".$db->nameQuote('published')." = ".$db->quote('1')."
ORDER BY m2.".$db->nameQuote('ordering')."
LIMIT 1;
";
$db->setQuery($query);
$relLink = $db->loadResult();
printf("<link rel=\"canonical\" href=\"%s/%s\" />\n",JURI::base(),$relLink);
?>

Disable windows 7 dnla streaming

I have started using the Samsung AllShare windows application on my Windows 7 computer to share/stream my digital content to to my dnla capabable Samsung TV.

So far it seems to work really well and I am having much better luck with streaming different formats to the tv.  However now my desktop computer shows up twice on my TV and it is confusing not only to me but to my family.  I disabled the sharing in windows but that only added to the confusion because the computer name is still displayed but when selected an error displays.

After digging around through windows media player and the services menu, I found a better solution.

  1. Open the services menu (Start Menu, in the service box type in services and hit enter.)
  2. Scroll down to Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service and double click.
  3. Change the Startup Type to Disabled
  4. Click the Stop button
  5. Click OK to apply your changes

 

Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service

Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service Properties Window

 

Changing your phone number on your Eaton Home Heartbeat console

I was playing around with my base station and came across the serial command ‘n’.

If you log into your base station via console mode and type in ‘n’ followed by the new number you want the device to dial and then hit enter folowed by ‘a’ debug mode you will see your device has updated the outbound phone number

 

Home Media Server Part 1 (the requirements)

Its time to update the living room and bring it into the digital age.   This really is a big under taking because over the past 25 years I have amassed a large collection of VHS, DVD, and Blu-Ray movies that I just am not ready to part with.  One could argue that “owning” media is a concept of the past, but I still like the idea of having physical control of my content and not rely on a content subscription with my satellite/cable company or some other online streaming service.

The first step to upgrading my living room experience was to come up with a list of requirements

  • Use inexpensive hardware (less than a few hundred bucks)
  • Media accessable in all rooms that have a tv
  • Compatible with Samsung devices (all of tvs, dvd player, home theatre system, blu-ray are made by Samsung)
  • Backup/Play my content I already own (VHS tapes, DVD, blu-ray)
  • low power consumption and/or only consumes power only when in use
  • remote power on/reboot
  • Intuitive and easy to use for family members

There are the requirements.  In the next post I will discuss what hardware/software combination I chose to meet my requirements.

Microsoft HomeOS

The lightswitch hMicrosoft HomeOS Logoas been around for 100 years and it still is basically the same technology then as it is now.  Over the last century and more so in the last few decades we have seen companies and technologies come and go.  Many companies like Radio Shack and IBM dabbled with X10 switches in the 90’s.    Today we are starting to see a re-emergence and reinvestment in home automation by some big name companies.

Microsoft introduced the Xbox 10 years ago and the Windows Home Server about 5 years ago.  With their latest announcment it looks they will continue to play in the consumer electronics market with HomeOS.  It looks like they already support a wide range of electronics such as cameras, televisions, and z-wave devices.

I will post more details as I dig into the product myself, but they do offer an SDK for developers to start writing apps and adding functionality.

More information from microsoft and home automation can be found on their research site

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/homeos/

x10 Airpad vs Ployer Momo9 vs Skypad Alpha2 vs Benss B7

I have found another clone. That makes 4 tablets that are almost identical clones sold under different brands and names and different price points.

Model X10 Airpad 7p Ployer momo9 SkyPad Alpha2 Benss B7
Vendor X10.com PandaWill.com Skytex.com Benss
CPU/GPU 1.2 GHz Allwinner A10 Cortex A8processor + 395 Mhz DSP All Winner A10, 1.2GHz GPU: Mali 400 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A8 A10 CORTER A8 / MALI400
OS Android 4.0(no root) Android 2.3/Android 4.0 Upgradable (root access) Android 4.0 Upgradable (root access) Android 2.3
RAM 512MB 512MB 512MB 512MB
Storage 4GB 8GB 4GB 4GB
Price $149.00 $119.49(free shipping/drop ship discount) $158.33 Amazon.com $133.05 FocalPrice.com