Booting Samsung N130 from USB Drive

With Christmas time around again I’ve been doing a bit of the freebie IT support for friends and family that we all seem to do. This time I got well and truly stumped trying to get Windows 7 installed from a USB flash drive on Samsung N130. I used WinToFlash to create the bootable drive as I’ve previously blogged about here.

I couldn’t work out how to get this PC to boot off USB drive, tried selecting the drive with the boot menu and changing the boot device to the USB drive, with no luck. I stumbled upon this post here, where I found my solution. All I had to do was to change the boot order to make all the USB devices appear at the top of the boot order in the BIOS making the hard drive the last device and it worked a treat. Seems pretty odd you need to this, my thoughts would be this is a bug in the bios.

Anyway Netbook is now running a treat with Windows 7, only had to install the Wireless Driver.

Creating Win 7 & Server 2008 bootable USB Flash Drive Part 2

A while ago I blogged about installing windows from a USB Flash Drive. Since then I found an awesome tool called WinToFlash which is a point and shoot tool which will automatically create a Bootable USB Flash installation source. Try it out, it’s pretty simple and not only makes bootable copies of the install media, but also does some other cool stuff you can read about here.

Slipstreaming SQL 2008 Sp1

If you try installing SQL 2008 RTM on either Windows 7, Vista Sp2 or XP Sp3 you will find that install fails. There is a really easy fix for this by simply slipstreaming Sp1 with the RTM image by following these instructions here.

In terms of the actual problem I’m not sure of what the exact cause is here although I suspect it’s related to this issue with MSXML.

Creating a Windows 7 RTM bootable USB Key

*** UPDATED  17th August 2009  ***

For some reason the copy and paste of this last point of this post didn’t come through, thanks Jason for picking this, anyway it’s all updated now.

With the release over the weekend of the RTM of Windows 7 I’ve been doing a wholesale upgrade of all of our PC’s. On my laptop this was easy as I have a DVD drive, but we also have a couple of Netbook / Ultra Mobile PC’s a Fujitsu U1010 Tablet and an Asus EEEPC. What you  need to do this is a USB drive that is 4Gb or greater. Another thing to also note is that some of these USB drives come with a special partition installed by the manufacturer which will not allow the Win 7 partition to boot. In my case I used a San Disk 8Gb Cruzer which come out of the box with a U3 partition on it. I think this same process can be used for Vista installations but I haven’t tested this.

Remove U3 Partition

To remove the U3 Partition you simply have to download this utility, and run it as an Administrator. If you’d like to reinstall the U3 tools after you’ve finished you can download this utility to restore the partition to your flash drive.

Formatting the Flash Drive

  1. Plug in the flash drive and let windows detect it.
  2. Open a “Command Prompt” as “Administrator” Right Click on the Command prompt and select “Run As Administrator”, now type the following commands into this window.
  3. Type “diskpart
  4. Next we need to find the drive number of the usb disk for the next step by entering “list disk”. Each disk will be listed with a number next to it, in my case this was disk 1.
  5. The next step is to format the drive, simply substitute your disk number where I use 1. At this point it’s probably time for a coffee as this will take a few minutes.
select disk 1
clean
create partition primary
select partition 1
active
format fs=NTFS
assign
exit

Making the drive bootable

  1. Insert the Windows 7 DVD or mount the iso.
  2. In the same Command Prompt that was open before change the directory to DVD’s boot directory (“\boot”) which is “bootsect.exe” is located, this is the tool that will be used for the step of this process.
  3. Run following command, assuming the “F:” is the usb drive. “bootsect /nt60 f:

Copy the Contents of DVD to the Flash Drive

  1. Select all files on the Windows DVD and copy them over to the USB Key. The easiest way to do this is to use Windows Explorer.

Once you’ve done all the steps above your ready to go. Simply change the bios to boot off the usb device and the Windows 7 install should be ready to roll.

A March 2008 cumulative daylight saving time (DST) update is available for Windows Mobile-based devices

With Australia again changing the start of daylight saving again this year there’s yet another series of patches to run. Windows Update seems to have delivered all the patches without a hitch so that come Sunday October 5 all my servers and desktop Operating Systems seemed to change without a hitch but my phone didn’t. I had to run the patch KB950885 – A March 2008 cumulative daylight saving time (DST) update is available for Windows Mobile-based devices here manually to correct the time on it. This should make tomorrow easier as due to the phone running an hour early, it meant that I got up at 4.30 this morning instead of 5.30, Ouch.

I’m going to investigate why no updates have ever been delivered through Windows Update on my phone. My guess is it’s related to 3’s custom Windows Mobile build.

In Place Server 2000 Upgrades

As part of a MOSS implementation I’m currently working we need to include one of those intranet applications that every company seems to have, one of those legacy web apps that nobody seems to know how it works, but it’s mission critical running on a beige box, running on Server 2000. Well I’ve just been working to migrate on of these stunning applications for a client. We tried moving it but it was becoming painful as this had several MCSE 2000 Database, and access database in it.

We decided that best way to deal with this was to move it to a Virtual Machine using p2v, which once it got the drivers sorted, worked like a breeze. The problem we had was that we couldn’t upgrade it directly to Server 2003 R2 Service Pack 2. We have worked out that you need to Install Server 2003 without R2 and with no slipstreamed Service Packs to get the in place upgrade working. At this point we had all sorts of issues, we kept getting the error ”Unable to copy ac6639k5.sys to C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT\”. We originally thought this was a corrupt ISO of Server 2003 so we downloaded it again, same problem again. I found this post which describes a similar issue with an XP sp2 to sp3 upgrade. I followed this fix and it worked a treat and the server is now upgraded to Server 2003.

The fix is so simple it’s not funny, when the Windows upgrade complains it can’t copy the file, select skip file and press escape to stop the reboot, go back onto the C:\ and look for the “C:\$WIN_NT$.~BT\” or equivalent directory where you will find the file “unsupdrv.inf” simply look for the header for the randomly named file which in my case was “ac6639k5” and leave the headers in place and simply delete the line below the headers. Once you reboot the upgrade will proceed painlessly.

The only additional step that was required post install was to re-enable the IIS services and the application ran seamlessly, and yet another beige box bites the dust.

Reporting Services on Server 2008 64 bit

I was recently configuring Reporting Services for SQL 2005 on Windows Server 2008 64bit to get a System Center Essentials 2007 going. Each time we ran the installer we kept getting a message that Report Server wasn’t configured but the Reporting Services Configuration Manager wasn’t reporting any issues.

When connecting to the report server directly from Internet Explorer (http://localhost/Reports) we got the following error :-

Attempted to load a 64-bit assembly on a 32-bit platform. Use ReflectionOnlyLoad() instead if trying to load for reflect”

Not sure the exact cause of this but if you run the following command in the “\Inetpub\AdminScripts” it fixes everything.

cscript.exe adsutil.vbs set W3SVC/AppPools/Enable32BitAppOnWin64 false

Virtual PC 2007 Service Pack 1 Released

VPC 2007 SP1 has been released, the main changes are that Vista SP1, XP SP3 are now support host and guest Operating Systems while Server 2008 is supported as a guest operating system. Download both the 64 & 32 bit versions from here, and the release notes are here.

A quick warning make sure that you shut down your host operating systems before you upgrade as the installer warns there could be problems restoring images suspended prior to SP1 being installed. There also appears to be a new version of the Virtual Machine additions which you will need to install inside your guest machine.

Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog : Announcing the First Release of the Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit

Seem Like where going to start getting some great new and very welcome update tools in Sharepoint. Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog : Announcing the First Release of the Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit has just been announced. The good news is there are going to several updates a year, so there should be a nice collection of useful tools before we know it. The first two tools that have come out the Batch Site Manager tool and the Update Alert addition to the “stsadm” command.

Download Links are below.

x64: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=F8EEA8F0-FA30-4C10-ABC9-217EEACEC9CE&displaylang=en

x86: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=263CD480-F6EB-4FA3-9F2E-2D47618505F2&displaylang=en

VMWare for Linux Fedora 8 Core

Yes before anyway says it, this is a little left field but for those of you who don’t know, I actually started off my IT career as a Unix Administrator so old habits just die hard. To cut a long story short, as a parting gesture from Avanade. I was able to blow the remaining balance of my gadget balance, which was spent getting the bits I needed to complete a new server at home. To try to reduce my carbon footprint and thanks to mathematical genius and fellow ex-Avanade’r Dr Phil Mizzi, who has proved to me that each server on is worth about a coffee a day to run, it’s time to rationalise at home. There were a few options for virtual platform, Virtual Server from Microsoft and VMWare server. I’d already decided that the performance increase that I got from the VMWare products made them the preferred choice. Also the option to be able to install VMWare on linux, thus reducing the resources was a big bonus when it came to getting an entire network running on Virtual Machines. I’ll post the guest servers config in a later post once I’ve got them nailed down, but this post concentrates on firstly how rusty I’ve gotten with Linux and some of the pitfalls to do with getting VMWare Server installed on the “UNSUPPORTED” Fedora 8.

WARNING THIS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED !!!

Hear’s how I did it :-

  1. Install Fedora 8. There seem to be a few variations on this but my host OS had some extras such as apache, sendmail, samba, dns to name a few, the critical packages I’m going to list below.
  2. Once you have the server up and running ensure the following packages are installed. The easiest way to do this is to use the “Yum” utility which is available in X-Windows & via the shell. You can also use “rpm -q” to query if it’s installed.
    • gcc
    • kernal source
    • xinted (yeah it’s a bit of worry this isn’t installed by default)
  3. If you have opted to use a Linux kernal with the “Zen” visualisation compiled into it, this WILL NOT work with VMWare. Trust me on this I spent 2 days figuring this one out for myself until I realised that I had a 2nd kernal boot option which worked. There should be an option under the boot loader to boot with a kernal without “Zen” compiled into it. I’d recommend at this point you modify the boot loader to have the Fedora Core as the default boot option.
  4. Get your free VMWare Server license key from VMWare, you will need this soon.
  5. Download and install VMWare server from here. Do NOT run the configuration tool yet. I personally installed the tarball but from the few listing’s I found on the web they recommended the rpm. I must be a bit old school, I always prefer the tarball’s as if I need to I can always debug them if required where is I wouldn’t know where to start debugging an rpm Install. For those who don’t know how to extract a tarball it’s pretty easy, just use the following command:-
      • tar -zxvf <filename.tgz>
    • the flags in this stand for “Zip”, “eXtract”, “Verbose”, & “File” which needs to be followed by the filename.
  6. Download and install the latest vm-ware=any-any-update from http://knihovny.cvut.cz/ftp/pub/vmware/vmware-any-any-update115.tar.gz. Extract this (as described in step 5). Run the setup.pl in here (./setup.pl).
  7. Run the VMWare configuration tool, you will prompted to run this once the updates have completed sucessfully.
  8. REBOOT. Remember that VMWare does a recompilation of the kernal during the configuration process, failing to re-boot at this point will cause problems. Yeah I know this goes against the norm of linux never needing reboots.
  9. Log back in and start building you virtual machines your in business.

That’s how I did it, feel free to share any other experiences anybody has with this. The end goal of my install is to have this PC running as a headless server, so I now have a few more things to do such as getting vnc going, moving all my old dev work onto the webserver and looking things down. I will share what the progress is over the next few weeks, but so far I’m very impressed as I’ve got a machine that has an idle footprint hovering around the 200-300 Meg of RAM usage which allows plenty of grunt for running the guest machines. This post  http://www.alivedata.com/2008/01/fedora-8-and-vmware-server.html, proved to be my saviour.

So far we have uptime of 2 weeks on this server and all seems well. Also VMWare’s support for Server 2008 seems to be pretty stable. The real test will come in the next few weeks when I commission the new network and find how reliable things are. Stay tuned to find out more.