Category Archives: Windows Vista

Using DISKPART to create a Bootable USB of Windows 8

Windows 8 was released today on MSDN and Technet. It will soon be released publically. With that comes the many GBs of downloads for the ISOs. Many may have newer Ultrabooks, which do not feature DVD drives anymore. Rather than burning the ISO to a DVD disc, why not put it on a bootable USB stick? There are many ways to do this, and I have found that the best way to do this is to use a command tool called DISKPART. The commands are fairly easy.

  1. Open an elevated Command Prompt and type DISKPART. You will open up the Diskpart tool, as evidenced by the DISKPART> prompt.
  2. DISKPART>LIST DISK <- This will give you a listing of the disks on your system. It is very important to identify the USB disk, as you really do not want to format your system drive.
  3. DISKPART>SELECT DISK n <- this will make select the USB disk n, as identified in step 2
  4. DISKPART>CLEAN <- This effectively does a quick format/wipe of the USB disk
  5. DISKPART>CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY <- This will create a primary partition on the disk
  6. DISKPART>SELECT PARTITION 1 <- Since there is only one partition, this will select it.
  7. DISKPART>ACTIVE <- This makes the partition active
  8. DISKPART>FORMAT FS=FAT32 <- This formats the disk and sets it up as a FAT32 formatted drive. This will take a while to complete
  9. DISKPART>ASSIGN <- This assigns the next drive letter to the drive
  10. DISKPART>EXIT <- To exit the utility

Once the USB drive has been prepared, you can now use a utility like 7-Zip to extract the ISO directly to the drive.

BTW. This process will also work when creating bootable USB disks of other Windows ISOs – Windows Server 2012, Windows Small Business Server 2011, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and even Vista.

 

 

Error: Cannot connect the computer to the server because either another software installation is in progress, or, the computer has a restart pending.

I have been seeing quite a number of systems coming up with this error message when attempting to install the Client Connector Software for SBS 2011 Essentials.

“Error: Cannot connect the computer to the server because either another software installation is in progress, or, the computer has a restart pending. Either complete the installation process, or, restart the computer and try to connect again.”

The first thing to do is obvious – Reboot the computer. But then again, there would not be anything to blog if it were that easy. Obviously, that has been attempted and the error remains. Apparently, this is often caused by programs not cleaning up their installation settings.

The fix is fairly simple, if you can remember where the registry setting is.

Open up Regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager. Rename the key named PendingFileRenameOperation to something else.

That should resolve the issue.

Use your iPad as an extra monitor

There are a number of programs available to turn your iPad into an external monitor in Windows. The most recent of these was released by Displaylink (http://www.displaylink.com/support/downloads_ipad.php). The big difference with this application is that it supports the Windows 7 Aero interface. And it’s FREE.

Initial testing so far indicates that it is also the fastest driver around so far. One issue I have run into is that it occasioanlly runs into a connect-disconnect loop, rendering the screens unsuable, until the app on the iPad is stopped and restarted.

Fix File Associations following Malware cleanup

This scenario has been coming up fairly often recently. A PC becomes infected by a Fake-AV software. MalwareBytes (www.malwarebytes.org) cleans up the infection. Suddenly, EXE files cannot run. Not even Regedit.

 There are a couple off good resources which help fix up the registry and restore the EXE file association back to normal. Download and unzip the reg files. Right Click on the Reg file and select Merge.

Thanks and acknowledgements to Doug Knox and Ramesh Srinivasan. They have more file association fixes listed below.

PowerShell Not Your Father’s Command Line

There is a great 31 part blog post on PowerShell that is in developement (part 23 of 31 at this moment). Everything you wanted to know about PowerShell and some great scripts that can be used.

The main landing page for the blog is here – http://blogs.technet.com/b/matthewms/p/powershell.aspx

Here are the titles.

Part 1 of 31: Why PowerShell?
Part 2 of 31: The Basics on How to Read PowerShell
Part 3 of 31: Where Did All the Good Cmdlets Go?
Part 4 of 31: Who Ya Gonna Call For Help?
Part 5 of 31: What’s in it for Devs?
Part 6 of 31: A Cmdlet By Any Other Name Would Be An Alias
Part 7 of 31: Conjunction Function PowerShell What Are Functions?
Part 8 of 31: Won’t You Take Me To Functiontown?
Part 9 of 31: Another Side of PowerShell Profiles
Part 10 of 31: PowerShell Protecting You From Yourself
Part 11 of 31: PowerShell Providers and You!
Part 12 of 31: PowerShell and The Registry
Part 13 of 31: The Provider Active Directory Style
Part 14 of 31: Sorry I’m Not Home Right Now, Walking into IIS Webs…
Part 15 of 31: ISE, ISE Baby…
Part 16 of 31: PowerShell Take Me Out To The Grid
Part 17 of 31: Who Wants to Manage Active Directory?
Part 18 of 31: So You Deleted A User…On Purpose
Part 19 of 31: Small Business Server, PowerShell, and Me
Part 20 of 31: Hanging with Hyper-V
Part 21 of 31: Knock Knock PowerShell Calling!
Part 22 of 31: Good PowerShell Things Come in Nifty Packages
Part 23 of 31: HUGE Announcements, Disagreements, Best Practices and A Party…Oh My!
Part 24 of 31: PowerShell Did What!?!? How to Mitigate Risk!
Part 25 of 31: Did You Know PowerShell Can Talk VMware?
Part 26 of 31: Start Spreading the News…
Part 27 of 31: It Takes a Community to Raise a Language
Part 28 of 31: What is the .NET Framework?
Part 29 of 31: Demystifying MSDN and PowerShell static syntax
Part 30 of 31: PowerShell Likes the Pretty Blue Eyes of Azure Too
Part 31 of 31: That’s a Wrap and We are Not Done Yet!

Daylight Savings for Western Australia 2009

… is not happening.
 
Therefore, a hotfix has been released to deal with this issue. This is an out of band update, and should be applied to all systems used by WA users.
 
The Daylight Savings Planning Guide (September 2009) can be found here – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-au/bb821275.aspx
 
The hotfix (KB974176) can be obtained here – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/974176
 

Remove User Profile in Vista

**Note this also works for Windows 7**
If you need to delete a user profile in Vista to clear some issues, there is an added step.
1. Delete or rename the user profile in C:\Users. If you were logged in to this user, you may need to reboot your PC and log in using another administrator level account.
2. In the registry, go to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Pofiles List. Expand the key and search for the username. Delete the GUID key, which will normally contain a .BAK at the end.
If the second step is not done, you will end up logging on to the system with a temporary profile.

Vista networking issues with SBS2003

I have come across an issue which has come up regularly when using Vista workstations in a SBS2003 network. A network share cannot be accessed properly from the Vista PC. Files can be created, copied to, or deleted off the network share. However, when an attempt is made to rename the file, or edit and save the file, an error pops up similar to the following – “The file cannot be found” or “The network resource is no longer available”.
 
One way to fix this is to reset the Offline Folders database, which may be corrupted. To do this:
 
1. Open Regedit
2. Go to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\CSC\Parameters
3. Edit or add the DWORD value called FormatDatabase to 1
4. Restart the computer
 
Alternatively, disable Offline Files in the Control Panel and restart the PC.
 

Using Dual Monitors in Terminal Services with Remote Desktop

How to obtain dual monitor mode within Terminal Services when connecting with Remote Desktop.
 
The prerequisites are Remote Desktop Connection client version 6.0 or higher. Windows XP and 2003 users can obtain the client here – http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/details.aspx?familyid=6E1EC93D-BDBD-4983-92F7-479E088570AD&displaylang=en
Windows Vista and 2008 user already have this version.
 
Obviously, you would already have two or more monitors. Some rules are:
  • The monitors must be the same resolution
  • The total resolution must not exceed 4096 x 2048
  • The top left monitor must be primary
  • The monitors must be horizontally oriented

From the start menu, open a Run dialog. Type in mstsc /span /v:servername

Optionally, you can also use the /w:HorizontalResInPixels /h:VerticalResInPixels switches.

 

Vista is unable to Rename/Move Files/Folders on a network drive

Upon installing a new PC on a SBS2008 domain, the following symptom showed up when trying to save, rename or move files and folders on the network drive.
 
“The “\\servername\sharedfolder” does not exist. The file may have been moved or deleted. Do you want to create it?”
 
I was able to create a new folder or file, but could not rename it. I could also delete the folder or file.
 
The problem appears to happen with new PCs, possibly caused by the way the vendor packaged the OS.
 
A resolution was to turn off Offline Files Synchronization from the control panel.
I also needed to create a DWORD value named FormatDatabase with a value of 1 in HKLM/system/currentcontrolset/services/csc/parameters.
Reboot, and problem solved.