Posted tagged ‘IT’

F6 hack on XP installation

May 13, 2009

Those of you who have installed XP onto a hardware RAID drive know it’s a pain.  You have to make the floppy and use it to install a third-party RAID driver.  This also means you need an internal (not USB) floppy drive.  As these drives go more and more out of the mainstream, it becomes more and more of a pain to install XP on a RAID drive.  

I am having a particularly difficult time with this – not because of lacking a floppy drive.  I have a floppy/card reader combo.  The problem is, I don’t have POWER for a floppy.  I think I have a cable for it somewhere in the studio, but that’s the beauty of a modular supply – I don’t have it when I need it.  But I need XP, because 1) I don’t really want to use Vista anymore, and 2) Vista has issues and won’t even install  Gigastudio LE, and 3) Vista isn’t really compatible with my recording equipment for the home studio (do you see a trend developing?).  Virtually all the cool features (like motorized faders, jog wheel, recording buttons, EQ) don’t work.  So today I’m taking the plunge and going back to XP.

Back to the problem at hand.  I don’t have power for the floppy drive in Computer 1 (though I’m sure there’s an adapter out there somewhere).  But I do have Computer 2 (which does have the correct power).  And this brings me to the hack.  I powered up the Computer 2, and ran its floppy power cable into the floppy drive in Computer 1.  Bingo!  It works.  It probably shouldn’t, but it does work and my RAID drivers are installed.  Don’t have a camera handy, or I’d post some pictures of how crazy this looks.

Less bundled garbage in Win 7

March 13, 2009

I’m glad to hear of this one.  In the latest RC for Windows 7, MS has removed several useless (at least to me) features and allows more options when installing Windows as to which applets you want to include.  Check out the full post here.

Cisco in the server market?

February 16, 2009

I am still uber-busy with school, so here’s another bit of Tech Republic goodness.

10 changes to Win7 security

February 13, 2009

I’ve been taking a break from writing to work on classes for the last month or so – hopefully I will be back on track soon.  In the meantime, here’s a great 10 Things article from TR.

Open Source ‘LoggedOn2’ finds usernames for a domain PC

January 26, 2009

As the person essentially in charge of desktop support for a field office of about 100 users, I occasionally receive a phone call from a corporate network administrator who wants to know who’s using all the bandwidth, or who is downloading viruses, or the like.  Usually, they give me a NetBIOS name, and I take care of checking the user’s internet history and talking with them about their particular issue. 

More frequently that that, I have to track down a user who is using a particular resource.  For instance, this morning all of our available admin licenses for Alchemy (a document database) were in use, some by people who were idle for over an hour, and the person who really needed the license couldn’t get it.  But Alchemy only gives you IP addresses, not computer names or user IDs.  So I can use nbtstat to find the computer name from the IP address, but that’s still cumbersome.  In the past, I have had to make a spreadsheet (and keep it up to date) of which user has which computer.  It’s a good thing to have anyway, but I don’t need it for this process anymore.

Enter LoggedOn2.  It’s a simple (and incredibly fast) Delphi program that will grab the logged on user on any given box, either via NetBIOS name or IP address.  I tried a couple other alternatives, but this one was fastest and free.  The others either didn’t work (as in a VBScript someone posted), were too slow (one was trying to scan the whole domain for computers), or were shareware.  I don’t mind buying the shareware (and getting a 1.7 billion dollar company to drop 50 bucks for software isn’t hard) but this one works too well.  No installation needed, either. 

It is open source, so I did have a look at the source code.  I don’t write any Delphi, but I have enough knowledge to try to guess what it’s doing.  It looks like it checks the registry of the PC (under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive) for the domain ID of the user.  You do need administrative privileges on the remote machine (which you should have, if you’re an administrator).  It’s fast, simple, effective, and free.  Here’s a few screenshots:


 The main screen.  Click Scan Machine to continue…











Input the PC name or IP address, or select a computer from the list of domain PCs (which I conveniently blotted out)



 Output is the domain\username for the computer you entered (just like this screen, except instead of saying “domain\username” it would say “YourCompany\t_collins” or somethinglike that).  You can also click “Scan Domain” (if you have a small domain) and get the logged on user for every box.  This would make asset tracking especially easy as you could develop a list easily. 

Other features that would be great would be a comma-delimited or Excel report of all domain PCs and logged on users.  Especially great would be the ability to search by IP range so that I can grab only a few VLANs from our rather incredibly large domain.  At some point I would like to port this to Python, just for fun and to help my understanding of Python programming.

One minor annoyance (it’s a help too, but it’s annoying) is that the program is (in Windows terminology) “always on top.”  This is nice because I might be logged on to a server via RDP and need to grab an IP address from the server while switching back and forth between LoggedIn2 and the RDP session.  On the other hand, you have to minimize the window to get your screen back (it conveniently minimizes to the system tray).

This program is a great example of what old-school “hacking” was.  Make your own tool and use it to access the information you need.  Ah, makes me feel all nostalgic.

You can download LoggedOn2 here.  Does anyone have a similar program for Mac or *nix?

Windows XP installation error 47872

January 23, 2009

Today I replaced a hard drive on a Dell Latitude D630.  I booted from the XP SP2 cd (an OEM Dell CD), and received the error 47872 and a prompt to press a key to exit.  I didn’t find a lot on a quick Google search, but someone out there mentioned to try a different CD.

I checked the CD and there was a fingerprint and a scratch on it.  I tried a different CD in better shape, and it worked flawlessly.  Thought this might help you if you see the same error.

That begs the question – are there really 48000 errors that can happen in Windows XP setup?  Scary. =)

Review of Windows 7 beta

January 20, 2009

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a Win7 beta, but I just haven’t had the time (or the spare hardware) to make it happen.  But since I want you, the reader, to know what’s good, bad, and ugly about MS’s newest offering, I am just importing the opinions of others.  In the below post, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes lays it down for ZDNet. 

Adrian cites a major performance boost as 7’s primary appeal.  I guess they learned from Vista’s mistake.  In addition, the new features and eye candy get a rather uninspiring “meh.”  I’m not sure I will agree – I’m a big fan of the eye candy.  However, like most Vista users, I am willing to lose the visual effects for performance (that said, my current Vista box is rather speedy).

Anyway, read up.  I think there are still some beta licenses out there if you want to download it.