Manually Rebuild the Icon Cache using the Command Prompt

Manually Rebuild the Icon Cache using the Command Promp

Sometimes your icons go crazy and disappearing. More often Windows 7 and Firefox. You can fix it with a few lines in the command prompt

  • ie4uinit.exe -ClearIconCache
  • taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
  • DEL “%localappdata%\IconCache.db” /A
  • shutdown -r -f -t 0

Note: The last command will restart the computer, so be sure to close and save anything that you are working on first.

The IconCache.db file has now been rebuilt.

A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing

A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing

A required cd/dvd drive device driver is missing

Well…. if you come across this when you are trying to install Windows from a USB and search for advice in google most of the advises will be that your media is bad or your installation is too old or your installer has problems. I was pretty sure I didn’t have any of these so it must have been something else. In the end it turned out to be a BIOS configuration of my USB. Every vendor has a slightly different BIOS so play a bit with the USB settings and it will start running. Some guys were changing from USB 3 to 2. In my case I only changed my USB configuration to Auto and it started running fine. The core symptom with me was that I had a wireless USB mouse also connected which didn’t work. Hope it helps.

Cannot browse shares through a mobile phone/SMB

Cannot browse shares through a mobile phone/SMB

Have you ever had the problem of suddenly not being able to browse your Windows computer from your smart phone, using a file explorer like ES File Explorer?

The answer lies within your security settings of the computer rather than your phone. What affects the SMB connection to your computer is the windows firewall, third party firewalls like Anti-Virus software firewalls, external firewalls, nonpaged pool or local security settings of your computer. Also have in mind that the corresponding Windows Services that are responsible for the SMB protocol are “Server Service” and “Workstation Service“.

Windows Services – First thing is to make sure that the Server and Workstation services are running. Click Start -> Run -> type services.msc. Once the window is up, navigate to the above services and make sure they are “Started’. If not right-click them and start them if stopped. If the process of starting hangs it means that you have a problem with the service. Reboot the computer and check if the service has started normally. If it doesn’t start on it’s own or if it starts but at some point it goes unresponsive you will have to troubleshoot it. Search Google and use keywords like “Server/Workstation Service hanging” and etc.

Windows Firewall – First thing you want to try is turning your windows firewall off. If that doesn’t fix your problem and your computer is still unavailable from your smart phone through SMB, that means the problem might be somewhere else. Just informational the SMB TCP port is 445.  For SMB via NetBIOS API UDP 137,138 and TCP 137 and 139.

Third Party AV Firewalls – Every Anti Virus software has a “Real-time Protection” on its own. This is a firewall similar to the windows firewall and can many times be the cause of unsuccessful connections to the computer by many applications. Browse your AV and try to make a filter or exception rule for the SMB  protocol knowing its ports from above. Ultimately you can try turning it off for a brief moment just to confirm that it is the one blocking the SMB connections.

External Firewalls – External firewalls won’t be the problem if you are connecting to a VPN and  then browsing your shares at home or if you are already into the local network via your wireless connection. But if you use any other method to connect to your SMB shares the external firewall like a router might block the SMB connection. Perhaps looking at the router’s settings and port forward the SMB ports can help you.

Non Paged Pool in Windows 7 – If you have noticed not only that you cannot browse successfully through SMB but your Computer browser service starts but if you refresh your Services screen just 1 sec later you will notice that the service stops. Checking the Event Viewer and its System logs will reveal that every time you try an event is logged which is :

ource: srv
Event ID: 2017
Level: Error
The server was unable to allocate from the system nonpaged pool because the server reached the configured limit for nonpaged pool allocations.

Apparently you need to tell Windows that you want to use the machine as a file server and that it should allocate resources accordingly.  Set the following registry key to ’1′:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\LargeSystemCache

and set the following registry key to ’3′:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters\Size

After making these changes and restarting it will take effect.

Local Security Settings – This has to be the most significant and the most hidden purpose of why your shares are unavailable. File explorers like ES File Explorer do not support encryption of the passwords sent over the network to authenticate the SMB connection. It rather uses plain text which may cause conflict with the internal security settings of the computer.

Windows XP – Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools – > Local Security Settings

Cannot browse shares through a mobile phone/SMB

Windows 7 – Click Start and type Local Security Policy. Open it.

Cannot browse shares through a mobile phone/SMB

Reboot the computer.

If for some reason you can’t do it with the above, it can also be done by editing the registry responsible for it –

– Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkStation\parameters]
– Set “EnablePlainTextPassword”=dword:00000001

 

 

 

 

How to easily create bootable USB or DVD

How to easily create bootable USB or DVD

Create bootable USB or DVD has never been easier these days. There is a tool from microsoft design just to do that with minimum user knowledge.

It’s called Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tooand you can download it from here.

Once you download and install it there are only few steps ahead to create a bootable CD or a bootable USB flash drive.

create bootable usb

After your installation is done. Open the tool.

 

Choose the desired ISO image.

windows_7_usb_2.png

Choose the media you want to make bootable.

windows_7_usb_3.png

Let’s say you choose USB. The only thing left is to click Begin copying 🙂 and that’s it. It will copy over the image to your USB or DVD and make it bootable. Give it some time and if it stays on 95% for some time and you think something is wrong, just give it another 4-5 minutes and it will complete successfully 🙂 Be patient.

windows_7_usb_4.png

OR

if you want to create your own without this tool only using CMD and Diskpart – here is what you need to do

Run CMD

type diskpart

you now enter the Diskpart utility. What you type next is:

list disk (see which number is your flash drive. Let’s say it is Disk 3)

select disk 3

clean (deletes data from USB)

create part pri ( if it gives you error just skip this part )

select part 1

format fs=ntfs quick (formats it in NTFS)

active (this is the important part)

exit

Now mount your iso file and copy all the content to the flash drive. If you have a DVD do the same.

Your USB is bootable and ready !

 

Installing Windows 8

Installing Windows 8 Enterprise

Installing Windows 8

If you want to run Windows 8 on your PC, here’s what it takes:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM drive

This is a video of a simple and clean Windows 8 Enterprise installation. It will go through all the steps as you would expect on your own workstation.

Enjoy

Mount a VHD file in Windows 2008 or SBS 2008

Mount a VHD file in Windows 2008 or SBS 2008

Note: This can also be used on Windows Server 2003 and SBS 2003

Finding yourself in a situation where you need to browse a vhd file, whether because you need to restore files from a backup and Windows Server Backup console doesn’t help you or you just need to get some files off a vhd file, the sad truth is that attaching/mounting a VHD file in Windows 2008 and SBS 2008 is a bit more complicated compared to the easiness that this happens in the newer versions 2008 R2 and SBS 2011( 2008 R2 article here ). Here we don’t have Attach VHD in Disk Management nor we have a smart Diskpart that can mount it for us. It comes to the help of another Microsoft product called Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 which is FREE. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=2994

You don’t need to install or use the whole software, you just need one of it’s features called VHD Mount and you can install only this component if you chose a Custom installation. It is a command line utility so after you are done with the Virtual Server installation you will have to open CMD and navigate to the installation path, usually C:\Program Files\Microsoft Virtual Server\vhdmount.

So here is how it goes to mount and unmount an image.

vhdmount /m “C:\blabla\blabla.vhd”

Then it mounts the image and it will appear in Computer as an additional partition

Do what you want to do with the image and once you are done you should unmount it. There are two ways to do it.

– If you have done any changes to the vhd file you can unmount it and save the changes:

vhdmount /u “C:\blabla\blabla.vhd” /c

– Or if you want to discard any changes:

vhdmount /u “C:\blabla\blabla.vhd” /d

A software engineer wrote a regkey script that should enable you to right-click a .vhd file and have the option of Mount and Dismount. Personally it didn’t work for me and command line is far too easy to use so it doesn’t really matter that much, but for those that want to give it a try here is the file.

These are the vhdmount switches you might be using. Chose the appropriate combo. Best advise if to use /m with F

/p – Plugs in the specified VHD as a virtual disk device without mounting the volume.

/m – Plugs in the specified VHD as a virtual disk device and mounts the volume.

/f – Performs the specified operation without creating an Undo Disk. This parameter is applicable for /p and /m. All changes to the mounted disk are directly written to the specified VHD.

/u – Unplugs the virtual disk device for the specified VHDFileName.

/c – Updates the original VHD with all changes that were stored in the Undo Disk anddeletes the Undo Disk after unplugging the disk. This parameter is only applicable if the VHD was mounted without using /f.

/d – Discards all changes to the mounted disk and deletes the Undo Disk after unplugging the disk. This parameter is only applicable if the VHD was mounted without using /f.

/q – Displays the disk name of the mounted virtual disk device for the specified VHDFileName.

VHDFileName – VHD name including full path.

DriveLetter – Optional parameter for /m option. If drive letter is specified the volumes are mounted starting at the specified drive letter. If drive letter is not specifiedit is automatically assigned.

All – Applies the operation on all mounted virtual disk devices. This parameter is applicable for /u and /q.

By default, VHDMount creates an Undo Disk in current user’s temporary folder. All changes to the mounted disk are written to this Undo Disk. Use /c to commit or /d to discard these changes at the time of unplugging the disk device. Use /f option to mount a VHD without an Undo Disk.

Examples:
VHDMOUNT /p [/f] VHDFileName
VHDMOUNT /m [/f] VHDFileName [DriveLetter]
VHDMOUNT /u [/c | /d] VHDFileName | All
VHDMOUNT /q VHDFileName | All

 

 

Useful shortcuts of Control Panel items and others

Useful shortcuts of Control Panel items and others

Useful shortcuts of Control Panel items and others are something really useful in the everyday life of an engineer or administrator. I know everyone has its own style of speeding through the servers. Sometimes you are in a mood of going Windows button + R and typing services.msc fast, sometimes in a mood for going in Start Menu -> Administrative Tools -> Services. Here are some of the most famous shortcuts.

Useful shortcuts of Control Panel items and others

Computer Management – compmgmt.msc

Disk Management – diskmgmt.msc

Event Viewer – eventvwr

Services – services.msc

Active Directory Users and Computers – dsa.msc

Local Users and Groups – lusrmgr.msc

Resultant Set of Policies – rsop.msc

IIS – inetmgr.exe

ADSI Edit – adsiedit.msc ( if installed on 2003. Info and Download here )

Device Manager – devmgmt.msc, also hdwwiz.cpl in Win7

Add Hardware Wizard – hdwwiz.exe in 7 and .cpl in XP

Control Panel items ( removed the stupid ones like joystick or speech ) Sorted by importance

Network Connections properties – Ncpa.cpl

Firewall – Firewall.cpl

Add/Remove Programs properties – Appwiz.cpl

System properties ( My Computer – > Properties in XP or Computer -> Properties ->  -Advanced System System Settings in later versions ) -sysdm.cpl

Display properties ( With the resolution ) – Desk.cpl

Internet Explorer properties – Inetcpl.cpl

Regional Settings properties – Intl.cpl

Mouse properties – Main.cpl

Multimedia properties ( Sound and playback devices ) – Mmsys.cpl

User Accounts properties – Nusrmgr.cpl

Power Options properties – Powercfg.cpl

Phone and Modem Options properties – Telephon.cpl

Time and Date properties – Timedate.cpl

Action Center ( not in XP ) – wscui.cpl

Accessibility properties – Access.cpl

Enjoy!!