Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here are nine good reasons to stay away from Microsoft Hyper-V

Not in my own words, but I could not say it better. 9 Reasons to not put Microsoft Hyper-V into the Enterprise - keep it in you playroom.


Shrinking a VM Machine Disk by doing V 2 V

I have had to do expand a non-system disk and system disk from Virtual Machines. I described those in previous two blogs. But I found that I needed to shrink a disk(s) on my Web Server running inside VMWARE ESXi. Now, we could use a similar process we did with expanding a System disk by using GHOST. I did not want to do it that way. I used VMWARE converter to do a Virtual to Virtual conversion. By using that process we can change the hardware of the destination machine.

A couple of notes:

1. On one occasion, the conversion failed because the machine running the conversion went into power saving mode. I recommend you shut power saving off while you are doing conversions. When it failed, it left the source machine files locked so I could not restart it. Also it left the destination partly done. You cannot delete this from within the GUI.

What I had to do is SSH into the ESXi server, and go to the location of the VMFS files, and delete the disk file, and then the containing folder.

I also had to reboot the ESXi server to unlock files so I could restart the VM machine. There should be another way, because this would be real bad in a production environment.

2. I found that I could run the converter from another virtual machine in the same ESXi server at extremely faster speeds - it did it in minutes, the other way I was running from my PC was taking an hour and half.

Here are the screen shots of the steps. Click on an Image to see larger version.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Part 2 Expanding a system Virtual Disk

As in part one, I am using the same system.

I am assuming knowledge of setting machine to boot from ISO Image.
You also need GPARTED ISO image. You need to boot from this.

The difference in increasing the size of a system disk vs. a non-system disk is this:
You have to shut the machine down. This requires down time so plan accordingly.
Also, once you increase the size in the properties, and you click OK, you cannot change it.

1. Shut machine down.
2. Select the hardware tab.
3. In the properties of the disk you want to expand, increase to desired size.
4. You now boot from Gparted ISO.
5. Once in Gparted, Increase the disk size.
6. Boot back into Windows (Windows detects changes, and wants to reboot)
7. After reboot, you now have a larger system disk.

In the following screen shots. The size of the disk is increased, and we boot into Windows to show that the size has increased, but when you go to run "diskpart" as in part 1, and then "extend", it fails. So even though we can increase the size, we cannot "extend".

The following screen shots show the Gparted process. Click on a picture to see larger size.

Part 1 Expanding a non System Virtual Disk

Expanding the size of a non sytem Virtual Disk is fairly straight forward.

I am using VMWare ESX/ESXi. The Windows OS is Windows 2003.

Also, when you increase the size of the disk, you can see the added space as unallocated space.
You can view that in Disk Manager.

1. Without having to shut down the machine go to the Virtual Machine Properties.
2. Select the hardware tab.
3. In the properties of the disk you want to expand, increase to desired size.
4. In Windows, at the command line run "diskpart".
5. Select the proper volume "sel vol {vol number}
6. Run command "extend".
7. Run command "exit".
8. In Disk Manager, check the size of the disk.

Here are some Screen Shots of the process. Click on an image to see larger version.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shrinking a VM Machine Disk

Most of the time the problem with disks is that we run out of space. Yet, there are times when we need to shrink (decrease the size of a disk). Case in point with VMWare, I created a server and allocated 40 Gigs for the System Disk. In reality, I did not need that much since It is a pretty much static web server, and I created a second disk for the Web sites.

The biggest problem with it was the backups. When I say backups, I mean backing up the Virtual Disks themselves. With a 40 gig disk, which I happened to allocate all the space ahead of time for performance reasons, the backup is too long, I have to shutdown the server because I am only using a free backup utility that being the free version does not do the snapshot, then backup leaving the server running. Instead I have to shut it down to back it up. This leaves my server down for too long.

So I need to shrink it. This server is on ESXi. In the past a method I have used is to attach another disk (bigger/smaller) whatever, and then booted from a Ghost disk, then Ghosted to the second drive. Shut the server off. Then, change the SCSI Id of the second drive to the one from the first drive. Then I would disconnect the original drive, not delete the drive, and boot. This works pretty good.

Another method, which I find equally as efficient, and maybe better, is to create a second VM by doing a Virtual to Virtual copy using VMWare Converter. When you set up your converter job you can specify the size of the disks. You do have to have your machine turned off, but that is OK. Leave it off. When done, fire up your copy and test. When satisfied, delete the old one if desired.

In future blog, I will go into greater detail on both expanding and shrinking virtual hard drives in VMWare; but for now you get the idea.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

VMware Tools installation cannot be started manually while Easy Install is in progress.

I created a Virtual Machine using VMWare's Workstation version 7. I did not install the tools right away, and I think that because of a hurry I really did not pay attention during the install, so I think I installed it using the simple mode, maybe not. Not that is bad doing it that way, but I never usually do it that way.

Whatever happened, later, when I went to install the tools, I got this message:
"VMware Tools installation cannot be started manually while Easy Install is in progress."

Now, I did not have time to do extensive research. One web site said something about the floppy drive config. I did find something referring to simple mode floppy, but removing it from the config file did not help.

Here is the quick simple way I fixed it: Delete the *.vmx config file. Then create a new machine but point it to the same folder. You will get a "warning" about creating a machine in the same folder as an existing machine, but no worry. Just make sure you use an "existing disk", and point it to the original.

This fixed it for me and it only took me a few minutes.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Windows 7 Update

I have now been running Windows 7 since the first Beta Release with mostly good results. Here is an interesting situation regarding the Aero interface. I had RC2 running on an AMD with less than a gig and a no-name video card (I can't remember the chipset off the top of my head right now). The Aero interface worked on this PC. When I installed a Released version on another PC and moved the Video card over, I cannot get Aero to run. This is a much better PC with 4 gigs or RAM and a 3ghz processor, only the Video card is the same as the old. It is an AGP because that is the interface I have on both. I do plan on upgrading the Video Card, but I thought it was funny that it works on one and not the other. Only difference is that when it did work, the video card was in at the point of install, but on the second I put it in afterward. I will investigate and report back later. Maybe I missed something.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hack to install HP MFP printer in Virtual Windows Xp on ESXi

Here is how you can "byte" back on this one:

Set up a virtual Windows XP in my ESXi server. My goal: set up an XP machine with software that I am sick and tired of re-installing every time I switch machines, and that I have to have, like: Finance software, Some Family tree software and the like. I need this software, but is is a pain re-installing it all the time. So I created a virtual machine to use only for the times I use this software.

Here is the catch - one of my main printers is an HP C7180 Color, Scanner, Fax, and Microwave Printer. Uh, just kidding on the microwave, but ok. When I go to install it, the software from HP, and I was only doing the minimal, not the huge 500mb package, tells me that I don't have a USB capable machine and shuts down the install. Yep, USB is not really supported in ESXi so what to do?

The printer is a wireless printer along with being a USB device, but I still could not install it as an IP printer because the software demands to see a USB capable machine. Since the printer is connected to my other PC, I connected to it as a shared printer, which in turn installed the software. I created an IP port, and then changed the port from the share to the IP. Seems to have worked.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Video setting up Openfiler to be a iSCSI SAN

My first attempt at posting to YouTube. I created a video showing all the steps in setting up OpenFiler as iSCSI SAN. No audio, just a run through of how it is done. It looks better if you watch it in a separate screen so the detail comes in better.

Just go to this link.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Combofix and the Recovery Console

I have used and read about the Combofix utility and the Microsoft Recovery console. If you use Combofix, it will install the Microsoft Recovery Console. But after that some are having problems removing the recovery console. I usually leave it installed, but certainly it is best to be able to put a machine back in the same state it was in especially if you are working on it for someone else. So I decided to see how I could use Combofix and get rid of the recovery console.

The first test was actually to install the console myself before running Combofix. You do this from the CD that has your installation files for Windows XP. One note here is that you need the right version for the one installed. That is, if you have Windows XP with SP3 installed, you are better doing it with a Slipstreamed XP CD (To slipstream, you can also look at downloading Nlite which makes the job a lot easier). The command to do this is: driveletter_of_CD:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons.

Once you have done this, then you can install Combofix and run it. It will not install the Recovery Console because it is already there.

Once you are done, you can follow Microsoft's instructions for removing the recovery console. It will work just fine.

Now if you have the console because it was installed by Combofix, then this is where some have encountered the problem. I have read numerous post about this. If I have the chance (this will be my second test), I will try to remove the console after installing it with Combofix. If you can install the console yourself before using Combofix, then I suggest you do it that way. Of course you are running Combofix because you have a virus, so that might not be possible then. Since the times I have had to use it was in such a case, I just let Combofix install the recovery console because the computer already was in such a sad state.


Enabling SSH on Ubuntu

Ok, not sure why I want to blog this, but guess I ran into it today trying to P2V a Linux machine running Ubuntu. You need ssh enabled for Linux - since I normally do Windows, I had to quickly figure it out -- Here is basically my Terminal session and testing to see if worked:

1. First get the openssh-server software:

machine_name@ubuntu:~$ sudo apt-get install openssh-server
[sudo] password for machine-name:
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Suggested packages:
rssh molly-guard openssh-blacklist openssh-blacklist-extra
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 286kB of archives.
After this operation, 766kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 karmic/main openssh-server 1:5.1p1-6ubuntu2 [286kB]
Fetched 286kB in 2s (104kB/s)
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously deselected package openssh-server.
(Reading database ... 132547 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking openssh-server (from .../openssh-server_1%3a5.1p1-6ubuntu2_i386.deb) ...
Processing triggers for sreadahead ...
sreadahead will be reprofiled on next reboot
Processing triggers for ufw ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up openssh-server (1:5.1p1-6ubuntu2) ...
Creating SSH2 RSA key; this may take some time ...
Creating SSH2 DSA key; this may take some time ...
* Restarting OpenBSD Secure Shell server sshd [ OK ]

2. Next Test to see if it is running:

machine_name@ubuntu:~$ ps -aef | grep sshd

root 3663 1 0 15:38 ? 00:00:00 /usr/sbin/sshd
user_me 3679 3488 0 15:39 pts/0 00:00:00 grep sshd

3. Next ssh to it right there from your own machine:

machine_name@ubuntu:~$ ssh localhost
The authenticity of host 'localhost (' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is f0:7f:e7:82:6c:61:d0:61:85:66:31:10:1f:72:b1:7e.

4. Type yes
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes

Warning: Permanently added 'localhost' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
machine_name@localhost's password:
Linux ubuntu 2.6.31-14-generic #48-Ubuntu SMP Fri Oct 16 14:04:26 UTC 2009 i686

To access official Ubuntu documentation, please visit:

0 packages can be updated.
0 updates are security updates.

The programs included with the Ubuntu system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Ubuntu comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by
applicable law.

5. At this time your on and working, typing exit, brings you back to the terminal. You can test remotely with putty.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why does Microsoft name their OS so lame?

MAC has Snow Leopard, Ubuntu Karmic Koala, but Microsoft, Windows 7!!! Before that Vista, before that Windows XP, before that 2000, NT, 98, 95, Win3.1 ... no pattern, but inconsistent boring names. They should at least be named after planets, or better yet solar systems. If not, then I would like to name them after fish. How about "Barracuda", or "Hammer Head"?

Just a thought, What do you thing would be good names for Windows OS(s)?


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Could not delete or Edit Host file because of Virus

Recently, and yes this is definitely when Tech Bytes, I was cleaning a computer that was riddled with viruses. Ran all the tools - Conficker, Malwarebytes, Adware, Hijack This, etc., and removed pretty much over 244 infections of one type or another. One virus, and I have seen this before, decided to hi-jack the browser, and the host file. The hosts file was full of entries redirecting the browser to all sorts of crazy sites, of which then would continue to infect the machine. Booting to Safe Mode did not help. Still could not delete the hosts files. You could not change the attribute which was set to "read only", and it had also created a backup for itself in the hosts.sam, and a folder called !Killbox in the root with another host file in it.

What I did:

1. Took the drive out, and added it as a USB drive to my Windows 7 laptop.
2. Took Ownership of the file.
3. Removed the Authenticated Users from the rights of which they were set to read only.
4. Added everyone group and gave full rights.
5. Deleted hosts file, backup host file, and the folder !Killbox.
6. Ran Nod32 on it from my laptop.
7. Recreated the host file.
8. Put back into machine, booted, and rescanned again with Spybot, Malwarebytes, and installed Avast.
9. Ran Avast at boot scan after installing it. You have to reboot, then it scans before getting to Windows.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Windows 7 some problems noted

My experience with Window 7 so far has been over all positive, but this is not saying that I will not experience something drastic, and that others are not experiencing problems:

1. I have seen reports from friends saying that now that they have gone to Windows 7, Internet Explorer 8 is soooooo slow.
2. Printer driver issues still exist, and HP, on a particular model will not have new driver available until January!!!!
3. Endless reboots on upgrades.
4. Key problems.
5. Download problems.

Also saw this post: Windows 7 Problems Article in PC World


Friday, October 30, 2009

Windows 7 - XP Mode

Following my journey with Windows 7. I am glad to report, that I have installed and tested the XP Mode successfully. For those not knowing what this is, Microsoft in their infinite wisdom gave us the option to run Windows XP as a virtual session on Vista for free. You need two files: the Virtual PC, and the Windows XP mode file. You also need hardware that can support this. You need the VT technology from Intel, or the Virtual Technology from AMD.

Once you verify that you can run it, you download and install it from here. The cool thing that you can do is run applications, that you install in the XP as applications that run in the XP mode apart from being in the Virtual Machine window. Interesting, VMWARE Workstation has been doing it for quite a while with their Unity feature, but having as a free option really is a good thing from Microsoft.

So far Windows 7 is a hit. I think that Microsoft learned a little lesson, and finally released Vista in a form that it should have been in the first place. So far so good. I have not heard of any big negatives just yet.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows Home Server - Backing up the Server

Last night at our monthly Windows N(new) T(Technology) Users Meeting, we discussed Windows Home Server, and Windows Small Business Server. The Home Server got the Lion's share of the meeting as it got quite a lot of questions, comments, and general comments and statements from the whole group.

My contribution was on the part of backing up the server itself. While home server does a bang up job at backing up all the other PCs and Laptops on your network (really, it does work well - you don't need Acronis or Ghost or any imaging software), it does not back up itself. How is that? Well, like our presenter (Mr. Kenyon) mentioned, Microsoft probably thinks that the data duplication is sufficient since if you have multiple drives, and you have duplication on, the data is written in such a way that is duplicated on both drives (not RAID).

But the fact is that I still want to be able to backup the whole server besides that. The way you do that is to get an external drive (internal would work also) so you can take it with you somewhere else. Once you plug in a USB or eSata drive, a message will on the console will ask you if you want to add to the storage or use for backup. You tell it to use it for backup. Once you do this, then when you go to the Computer's tab of the console, you will see the Server appear there. Not until you do that will the server appear! Now, you can just right click on it, and tell it to backup. Point it to the drive, and you are on your way. There is no built in automation. It is manual process which is quite the opposite of the backups it (Home Server) itself does for all other PCs.

There are I believe third part utilities than can help with this, and being a geeky of sorts, you should be able to script something - maybe using Robocopy. A good article can be found here: Backing up Windows Home server on a Friday Night.


Windows 7 official birth is today!

Sort of like waiting for a new baby to come along, Windows 7 releases today. I don't think the hoopla has been as big in the media as it was with Vista, and I might be mistaken on that point. It just seems like it. Most of the press on it has been good from all sides.

I am happy to say that all my testing so far has been mostly positive. Running on my laptop now for three days without any visible problems or glitches. I have not installed or tried to install any of Lenovo software. I will go to their site and see what kind of updates they have, but I have no plans to put on much of the Thinkvantage stuff. I do miss my Fn utility and will consider that.

One of the positive things I noticed is that my battery life seems to be better now. I can go almost a full 2 hours on this T61 with the extended battery. This is pretty huge for me, because it never seems like I went more than one hour and a half before.

It also boots faster, but again I don't have all the Thinkvantage stuff running and have not yet polluted the sys tray with a lot of garbage. I also have 4 gigs or RAM vs. the 2 gigs I had in Vista, although I did run Vista with 4 gigs towards the end; but don't think it really was much of a boost, a little but not a lot.

Well, I will update if any big things happen, but right now I want to close with the two of the things I like about Windows 7:

1. Document Libraries
2. Bitlocker to go

Oh, and the themes - I figured out how to add the themes for other countries that are not visible Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the UK form How to Geeks. Seems like a minor thing, but I like the feel of it. This is even though I created my own theme for my "family" which includes family pictures for the wallpaper that cycle every 30 minutes. Pretty cool.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Windows 7 Official AntiVirus Software List

Because I was having some problem with Nod32 on Windows 7. I started doing a little digging, and found that Microsoft has a list of approved Antivirus software - curiously, ESET was on it.


Upgrading my Lenovo Thinkpad T61 from Vista to Windows 7 - Update 2

As I mentioned in the previous update, NOD32 is the only application so far that has squawked as I was installing it on Windows 7; but I tried again. It seems that when I got the message last time I canceled it but it really did not cancel it completely. When I tried it again, it did a repair. I still got the warning message, but I just went ahead and finished it anyway and it seems to be working fine. I think when Windows releases ESET will update their software, but I still think they are going to push their version 4 as the compatible version.


Upgrading my Lenovo Thinkpad T61 from Vista to Windows 7 - Update

To date - the only problem has been NOD32 - When I went to install it (this is what I had on Vista), Windows 7 told me it had compatibility issues. The Windows Easy Transfer had transferred the NOD32 plugin into Outlook just fine because when I re-installed Microsoft Office 2007, the plugin was there. On ESET's site they do not seem to have any information on version 3, they seem to be pushing 4 and mention that they seem to say that they are not providing support on 7 until it releases. I have run AVG and and AVAST and they both clearly state that they support 7. FYI.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Upgrading my Lenovo Thinkpad T61 from Vista to Windows 7

Well, you know when doing upgrades or changing Operating Systems, I am always on guard about what is going to Byte me. Two Wednesdays ago I received my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate and I have been chomping at the bit to install it on my laptop. This morning I got up real early to do this since it was the first opportunity I have had to have my laptop down. First, I wrestled with the idea of just doing an in-place upgrade since this would be the fastest way since I would not have to re-install all my programs. I decided against that because frankly I was not that happy with a lot of the stuff already on my laptop. Especially the Lenovo Thinkvantage software, which I think is sluggish. And I just wanted to see a clean install.

Instead of just wiping my drive, or doing dual boot, or virtualizing it or whatever, I just bought a new hard drive. Good excuse to get a little more room anyway.

So I took out my old and put in the new. I can go back to Vista if I want that way. Also, I got to say that before I even attempted it, I used DriverMax to back up all my Vista Drivers and stored them on a network drive. I also used System Information for Windows to print out a whole report of all software installed on my Vista, and along with Recover Key, I also printed out all my software keys that were installed. Next, I ran the Vista Easy Transfer utility which I downloaded from Microsoft and backed up all my user settings to a USB Hard drive.

OK. I popped the new hard drive, powered up and booted to the Windows 7 DVD. It was a very smooth process. It even detected my Wireless Network, asked me for my security key and noted that it saw another Windows 7 computer on the network and wanted my WorkPlace password. I don't have that setup, so I just skipped that part.

Once the installation was done, I ran the easy transfer utility that comes preloaded in Windows 7. Pointed it to my external Hard Drive. It fond the file that the Vista Easy transfer wizard had created, and put all my settings back. Nice reports too. It tells me all the programs I should put back and more.

Next: I usually right away go into device manager to see what hardware did not install. I saw three things. I then without doing too much research, I just pointed to them, told it to update drivers, and manually set it to point where DriverMax has put all the drivers. Leaving at the top folder, and telling it to search sub-folders, one by one it found the drivers. All except the Intel Turbo Boost, which it did find, but has a problem with it. Probably just incompatibility. I just disabled it since I was not that impressed with it when running in Vista. I will visit it again later.

The main one I was interested in was the fingerprint reader driver and software. While it did find the driver, I still went to UPEK's site and downloaded the software since Thinkpad uses their technology. Installed it and Voila. It all works. Added my Workgroup, set user name and password for my network, and I am working no problem.

While starting this around 6:45 A.M, I ate breakfast twice, drank a half pot of coffee, took a shower, watched the news, and worked on another PC next to me. It is not even 10 A.M - wow! Pretty cool. Now I will start loading the whole gamut of software which will probably take me three times, if not more, to install than the Operating System. I will keep this blog updated updated until I am done.


Friday, October 2, 2009

They were once lost, but now they are found!

If you are multi-usb-thumbdrive carrier, or maybe you just carry one, then you are always afraid you might lose them. You might or might not have sensitive data on them, or even if it is not sensitive, you might have a lot of hours and/or information and programs that you have saved on them.

Recently I lost both mine! I lost them at different times and at different places. I knew when I lost the second one, and when I turned back to get it, it was gone! It was then that I noticed that my other one was missing. I usually carry them with my numerous keys on one of those Caribiners.

Well, I thought that is that. I will never see them again. But low and behold, two days later, the one I knew I lost finds its way into my mailbox at work. Then, a week later, I get an email from someone who someone else found my usb thumb drive in a parking lot 30 miles from where I thought I lost it, but I was at that location, so I must of lost it and never knew. The person knew me and my name is the name assigned to that thumb drive.

What a renuinion! What are the odds? Man I will never lose them again. I never in my life have lost any drives of any kind.

The one good thing was that I did not keep too much data that was sensitive on them. I had taken care of getting any thing that could damage my personal information off of it.

But this is a lesson to all of us: guard and protect your data on these things by encryption. Never put your soul on them if you can help it; and better yet, get one of those usb drives that are mission impossible self-destructing types: Iron Key, or Kingston.

Thank you honest people. You have redeemed mankind a little bit from the power of darkness that has us in it's grip.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Create your own iSCSI SAN with Openfiler

If you have wanted to have a SAN (Storage Area Network), but:

1. You don't have the money.
2. You don't know how or have the resources.

I have had a SAN before, an iSCSI SAN. They are cool, they work, and they provide a very good flexible storage environment. I have been playing with Openfiler. Openfiler has free version that you can use to create your own iSCSI SAN using your own hardware. Now, it is best to use an enterprise server with hardware RAID, multiple Hot Swap drives and all that, but you don't need to, and really, you really can find an old one at a fraction of the prize you would pay for a iSCSI anyway. But, there is even better news. There is a VMWARE virtual machine that you can run in vmware to play with before you even install it on hardware.

Remember though, what is cool, is that if you get this running, you can attach VMWARE servers to it, and/or Guests within VMWARE. That means you can actually store the virtual disks on the Openfiler, or create LUNs on Openfiler and connect them to guests.

I have done all of the above. I have screen shots of installing the VMWARE appliance of OpenFiler on ESXi. Give it a try. I also have installed on Dell 1550 PowerEdge servers also.

Here are the screen shots of how I got it to work. It was a bit of a trick getting on the ESXi, so look at the first series. I think you can install it also on Server or Workstation, but I did not try that.

Note: The first series of screen shots are assuming you have enabled SSH on ESXi. See my previous post.

My installation Screen Shots.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Installing VMWare tools in Ubuntu 8.x

Ok, for Window Geeks, this is a situation when Techbytes. Let's face it, a whole lot of Windows guys can't even use the Command line well. That is because we have become so groomed on the GUI, we forget that we also need to get under the hood once in a while. This is no more clear to me teaching tech classes. Hardly anybody in the class knew how to use the command line.

Ok, also the Internet is great for help, but Linux gurus forget that some Linux commands are foreign to Window geeks. This is no more frustrating than when we want to install the VMWare tools in Ubuntu. I love this distro; but I always forget how to get the tools installed. In Windows it is pretty much a cinch. It is easy in Linux Ubuntu also, as long as you know the steps.

1. Start Ubuntu, go to the Applications Menu, Accessories, and start Terminal
2. Type this command: sudo apt-get install build-essential
3. Enter uname -r It will return a string like 2.6.27-14-generic
4. Enter sudo apt-get install linux-headers-
5. After it finished installing, got to the VM Menu, and Install/VMWare tools
6. This will mount the CD Drive you will see it on your desktop. Open it and Extract the vmwaretools-x.x.x-xxx.tar.gz to your desktop
7. Go back to the terminal, and change to your desktop cd Desktop
8. Change to the vmware-tools-distrib folder: cd vmware-tools-distrib
9. Run sudo ./ Hit the ENTER key to take all defaults. Don't change anything.

That is it.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Youtube videos to mp4

Here is a Techbyte. I have been teaching classes at a local Technical Institute, and I needed to show some Youtube videos about certain topics. But the Institute locks down the Internet in the classroom - go figure, anyway, I needed to figure it out. I found this site: KeepVid to be the answer for me.

Very simple:

1. Find the Youtube video.
2. Copy the URL
3. Go to the site and put the URL in the URL field just below their banner and click the download button.
4. Look where it says "Links found" under "Download Links" Green banner.
5. If found, then just click the format you want to download it.

One thing I found is that a lot of the videos are poor in resolution, but that is the nature of a lot of the videos I have been getting. They just don't scale well in a bigger screen. But, they work for my purpose.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Enable SSH on VMWare ESXi

How do you enable SSH on ESXi so you can Putty over to it using SSH?

1. At the actual server (you need keyboard and monitor of course). Alt + F1

2. You will see black screen: Type: unsupported {ENTER} [Now you will not see anything being typed on the screen!] --- Also, one occasion, I must of messed up, because I had to reboot before this would work --- no idea why, but it should work the first time for you.

3. Now, put in the "root" username.

4. Put in "root's" password.

5. Here comes the scary part for us Window users - You have to use Vi!

6. Type vi /etc/inetd.conf --- This should open the inetd.conf file. Note: "#" means a line that is commented out.

7. Using arrow keys, find the line that starts has #ssh

8. Remove the "#" by putting cursor on it and pressing "x" key.

9. Hit the ESC key to allow you to be vi command mode.

10. Type :wq to save and exit.

11. Type ps | grep inetd

12 Look at the process ID. This is like going to Task Manager in Windows.

13. Type kill -HUP [Remember Linux is case sensitive]. This is like ending a task in Window's Task Manager.

14. Go back to Putty and now you should be able to SSH over to it.


How to open a pre-created Virtual Machine is VMWWARE ESXi

Virtual appliances are cool. They are pre-configured virtual machines you can import in ESXi and then start them up. But I found a Virtual Machine that was not created with the ability to use the import function. In other words it has the Virtual Disk and the Configuration file. In VMWare Server all you have to do is go to File, then Open, and point it to the virtual machine; but in ESXi you don't have the ability.

Now I don't know if there are other ways, but this is the way I found worked for me. First I tried creating a virtual machine the traditional way, and then copying the files over the top. That did not work, and then when you went to delete the machined of the disk, it did not get rid of all the files. Now keep in mind that I am using Veeam FastSCP to move and copy files. One thing also to note, is that while you can copy files into a folder created by ESXi ViClient, you cannot delete or create the folders themselves because of Linux folder security I assume.

OK, so let's recap the situation and my solution:

1. Wanted to play around with Openfiler - downloaded a VMWare pre-configured machine. Now they have ISO to install on "bare metal", but I don't have a lot of "bare metal" laying around. So I just wanted to look at it with it installed in a virtual machine.

2. After downloading and extracting the gz then the tar. It left me with a folder and the three necessary VMWare files for the virtual machine. I wanted put these in the ESXi server.

3. Problem: How do I do that? Copy them over yes with Veeam.

4. Second Problem: You have to create a directory like I said above but you cannot do this with Veeam. At least not with the default Linux rights set on the vmfs folder.

5. Third Problem: ESXi has no "console" like ESX.


1 Enable SSH on ESXi.

2. After being able to Putty in to the console, create a folder with the exact name as the folder I am trying to copy over.

3. Using Veeam, copy files over into it.

4. In the ViClient, go to Summary, Data store, and browse the data store. Find the configuration file, and select "Add to inventory"

5. The machine will be added and now you can boot it up!

Voila! My solution to the problem. Got another? Let me know.


Setting up Microsoft FTP Correctly

For years I have shied away from using Microsoft FTP on a IIS server because I felt that it was not secure enough, well folks, there was one thing I did not know, and really, it was not for lack of searching. If Microsoft had a good article on it, then I did not find it. That was a real BYTE!

Here is what I knew virtualDirectory = user's name, so that always worked for me; but since you had to give "list" rights to all in the FTP site (this is because I only used one IP address [if you can give one IP to each FTP site then it is not an issue, but who can do that?], then a user could always go up to the root, and see all the virtual directories for every body else. I showed this to an ISP who really did not know about this. To my knowledge they never fixed it. Big, big problem.

1. User has account on the server like: usera, userb, userc

2. Domains, each with their own folder, and they have rights on each of their folders set with NTFS permissions: = c:\domains\usera-domainname = c:\domains\userb-domainname = c:\domains\userc-domainname

3. You then set up a new virtual directory for each user under the FTP site naming the virtual directory with the same name as the "username", and of course point them to the actual directory.

4. Here is the key I did not know: It seems like the whole key is to set the "Default" directory to go nowhere. What I mean is, create a folder somewhere on the drive, call it "deadend", "blackhole", "abyss", or whatever, and give everyone "list" rights. Point the "Default" folder for the FTP site to it. That is it.

So now I have multiple domains, each with a separate user loging-in to upload their web files, and none of them can "escape" back to top and see the rest of the domains. Pretty cool. Fairly secure, and all with the built in stuff and not having to use separate FTP software - Next on my list as far as FTP - Microsoft Secure FTP - what a concept!

The best article I found on it explaining that last piece of the puzzle for me, is here. Thanks for the article guys. I really appreciate it and love sending some of my readers over to you. Keep up the good work so we can Byte back at Technology.



Monday, July 27, 2009

Using VMWare ESXi to create a sort of DMZ

Back on July 16 I wrote about how I used ESXi to create a totally safe and isolated test network. I used this principle when I wanted to create my web server.

I wanted it to be:
1. Virtual
2. Isolated from the rest of the network
3. Having only one static ip, I needed to Nat ports, some to my production, some to the web server which would be isolated in it's own LAN.
4. Behind my firewall
5. Accessible from the production LAN to administer.

The solution was to create my Web server in ESXi and again on a dual homed Box. Each Nic on it's own virtual switch on different LANs.

Between the firewall and my router lies another private lan. One Nic, the one for web server was on that LAN. On the other side of my router was the second LAN where the other NIC of ESXi was attached to through the other virtual switch.

In this scenario, I can have isolation, and also I can point different ports going from the one IP to different locations. Worked pretty good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Useful Links that I used for VMWARE Installs

At the time of posting, all the links were active and working, but I make no promises. If the break, I will try to repost with my own instructions. Again, no promises ;=)

1. When trying to install Windows XP, you will get error that there is no disk. you need the the LSI driver. Here is the how to: Getting the LSI driver to work

2. ESXi, how do you SSH over to it, see this link, and this link.

3. How do you expand a VMWare Virtual disk. Quite useful if your disk is getting full. One thing I have done before, is to add a second virtual disk, boot with Bart's PE, and ghost one disk to another. Then I shut down the machine and switch the SCSI drive information in the properties of the VM Machine (careful with the SCSI numbers). I remove the original (but I don't delete it just in case, and I also make a copy of the whole thing and you can snapshot the whole thing also just to be sure). Then I boot into the new bigger drive. That has worked for me in the past. Here is a way to EXPAND IT without having to Clone it.

4. What files make a virtual machine? See this link.

5. How VMWARE creates Disk Files - follow this link.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gparted and VMWARE

Here is a situation that has come up now I think four times when I have been installing ESX or ESXi, the second drive I put in usually for the Guests and it is going to be formatted by ESX or ESXi, it cannot be seen until I reboot and use Gparted, then it seems like it is better to have it formatted in NTFS or FAT32 rather than Linux native extfs for some reason.

I keep Gparted with me all the time, not just because of VMWARE, I have used it successfully for getting disks that have been wiped by dban, or need to be repartitioned without losing data, and to just plain fix disks gone haywire.

Great free tool. If you don't have it, get it. Get it here.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Enabling Root Access for ESX Servers

The name of the blog is "Techbytes" which could be taken as a journal about technology in which I write about it, and hence "bytes" constitutes the data being posted, or it can mean that sometime technology "bi(y)tes us. Both are true.

I want to write today more about VMWare, and specifically about ESX server. If you ever talk to me about virtualizing servers, you will hear my praises for VMWare. I think they are hands down the best. No, this is not a forum for arguing about which is best. Sorry.

Here is a little bit of a byte. I have been using VMWare going way back to when it was Workstation 1.x/2.x or whatever. I went through the GSX server days using both products in production by the way, and successfully. Later I grew up to ESX, then added ESXi to my experience.

Enough of that. I love Veeam FastSCP. Why? One it is free. I have used it successfully with both ESX and ESXi now since version 3 supports both. The problem is that it will not work out of the box, you have to do some more work on both ESX and ESXi. In ESX you have to enable "root" access for SSH. This is not simple to do especially for maybe a newbie or maybe if you are just me ;=)

If you install Veeam FastSCP and you try to add ESX Server to it, it will fail when you put in the "root" user and the password with an error about not being able to elevate root.

Fortunately, the guys over at Veeam have another product called "Veeam RootAccess". Now, when you install that there is a license requirement, but you do not need it, just pick the "Enable Root Access" only product. It is free. In other words, when you download the install, it will give the option of either. Oh, and you have to create an account on their site. But that is OK.

Ok. So you have installed it. Here are some screen shots to show you what to do:

1. In Configurator: RootAccess, Click on Add Server

2. Used default or custom username, usually it is root. This is the root account and password you gave when installing ESX Server

3. After you click Next, if the process is successful, you will see your server added in.

4.Right Click your server and run the root access template

5.Read, and select Next

6. Select Next

7. Next

8. Here you will see a "RED X" on root access. It is not here because I already did it before. Select your server, and select Next

9. Next (If all goes well, you will have root access)

10. Now in Veeam FastSCP, Add Server

11. Enter IP and select Next

12. Enter info, and Next

13. Select Use Service Console, and Next

14. Voila

15. Your server

I guess the next question would be: Why would I want to do all of this? Well, I will blog on that if it is necessary. But with Veeam FastSCP you can now copy files to and from ESX/ESXi - this is specially useful in transferring iso files back and forth. It really has been a life saver for me.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Using VMWare ESXi to create two networks, one on the edge and one on the LAN

At my last postion I needed to create a test network that was totally isolated from the production LAN, yet I still wanted to be able to manage it from the LAN, but the Test Network could not in any way send any traffic over to the production LAN. My solution was to use VMWare ESXi with three NICs. Two nics connected to the internal LAN switch, and one nic connected to a totally different LAN with it's own router and internet connection.

Internally, I configured the Guest OSes to only communicate within the virtual environment. I set up the domain controller up with two virtual nics. One nic on the virtual LAN communicating with the other Guest OSes and one virtual nic connected to the isolated LAN with it's own router. This gave the test lan access to the internet as the domain controller provided routing services.

This setup gave the following capabilities:
1. A totally isolated test network. No traffic can pass over to the Production LAN.
2. I had access to the whole thing because I could manage it with the VI Client.
3. The test network was for all purposes a fully working LAN with access to the Internet.

The only down side, or better said extra cost was that I needed a second Internet connection; but a cheap DSL worked just fine for this purpose. This was an extemely cost effective test LAN. What a change from the bad old days where Virtualization was not possible. So essentially with the cost of a medium cost high end pc with plenty of Storage (all SATA drives), and a cheap DSL connection, voila, job done.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Internet Explorer 8 Install

I have installed Internet Explorer 8 now multiple times through the automatic updates, and I just have been so irked about how it puts the window to accept the ULA behind other windows. I am usually doing something else while I am doing the updates, so I get bit because I think that it is running and forget that the darn thing is sitting there waiting behind the other screens. This is more problematic when you have a slew of updates because it might not be the only one, which in that case you are usually watching it.

I just think it is so dumb. I mean at least bring it to the forefront!!!!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

30 Steps to install PHP 5.x.x on Windows Server 2003 SP2 with IIS 6

OK, so you tried installing PHP and it did not go well. Here are the steps I used.

When using the installer, I believe there is a universal agreement that though it might work, that

too many things can go wrong. Ok, here we go:

  1. Install Server 2003/SP2 and IIS 6 on your server

  2. Got to, upper part of page, download php 5.2.10

  3. Make sure you download the Win Bin Zip Package

  4. Create a folder for php, like c:\php5

  5. Open the Zip File

  6. Copy all the files to the folder you just created - c:\php5

  7. Go to the Windows directory

  8. Copy php.ini.recommended to the Windows Directory

  9. Rename the file to just php.ini in the Windows Directory

  10. Got to system32 Directory under the Windows Directory and copy php5ts.dll to it from the c:\php5 folder

  11. Go to IIS

  12. Right click Web sites, and select Properties

  13. Select the HOME tab

  14. Select Configuration

  15. Add button, then browse to c:php5

  16. Select php5isapi.dll

  17. Add the extension .php

  18. Ok, Ok

  19. Select Document Tab

  20. Add index.php

  21. Select the Web Services Folder

  22. Right Click on it

  23. Select Add new Extension

  24. Add PHP

  25. Add phpisapi.dll

  26. Check the "set allow extension"

  27. Go to the root of your web site, like inetpub\webroot\ Create an index.php with Notepad

    and add:




  28. Save

  29. In browser go to url http://localhost

  30. PHP Info should pop up

Giving due credit where credit is due, there is a great How to video on the above steps at: Video Tutorial

Friday, May 29, 2009

Small Busines Server 2008 in Vmware ESXi

It has been quite a while since I have added to my Blog; but since my employer decided to let their top Administrator go because they could not handle the economic downturn, I have found a new lease on life. Thanks employer!

A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday, a bunch of Geeks gathered together to do a load fest of sorts of Windows Small Business Server 2008.

Each of us brought our own equipment and our best intentions to load the newest version of SBS. Each of us was trying different methods. One person was trying to do a migration of 2008 SBS to 2008 SBS but from physical to Virtual using MS hyper V. Another did a brand new install, but also on MS hyper V. The others, I don't remember but I believe they went standard on the hardware installs. I attempted SBS 2008 on a box running VMware ESXi 3 v4.

My Box was a thrown together: how cheap can I get this done type. I did use a brand new Intel Micro Board with 8 Gigs or RAM. Two Hard Drives: one 2.5 laptop Sata, and a 3.5 Samsung Terabyte drive. Oh yeah, make sure you have the VT turned on and the ACHI turned on.

I have never ever installed any version of SBS, so I was and consider myself a newbie to this OS. I am a seasoned techie when it comes to MS' other Server versions and Desktop OS(s). I am looking to learn more about this product.

Here is a step by step experience of what happened:

1. ESXi was installed on the 2.5 and working. I had put the second drive, the 3.5 Samsung in with the intention of putting all the Guests OS there; but ESXi would not see the second drive. So I booted the box with Gparted. Created a partition. Booted again to ESXi. Now I could see it and was able to add it to ESXi's data store.

2. Create VM using the Server 64 2008 choice. There is no choice for SBS 2008.

3. Could not boot VM from DVD:
  • Set VM boot to dvd 1st
  • Set time out to 10,ooo in VM so I can get to Bios better
  • Still could not connect so then:
  • I created an ISO of the SBS DVD
  • Using Veam, I moved it to iso folder I created on the first hd of the esxi
  • Connected the iso in the guest. It has some problems - I don't know why, but anyway I redid the boot order and it booted up.
4. Note: on Firefox, Going to the ESXi on browser, gave me Sec_error_ca_cert_invalid pop up.
  • In the address bar type about:config
  • goto browser.xul.error_pages_enabled and set it to true by double clicking
  • try again
  • accept certificate

5. Installed SBS 2008

6. Decided to put second NIC in server

7. Created second Virtual Switch

8. Attached SBS to the 2nd Virtual Switch

9. SBS Wizard - Internet
  • Because I did not have my own router (all the other guys did), It had me put in a static IP - It still bombed out, but I kept going and put a static also for server IP.
10. This is where I stopped at the load fest.

11. At home now - I put SBS back on the first Virtual Switch

12. Put SBS on my home network.

13. Ran Wizard
  • Connect to Internet
  • Disabled DHCP on m y router
  • Finish config for internet
14 . Did the Forefront One Care thing

15. Read Using the Windows SBS console.

16. Setup Internet address.

17. Configured Smart Host for Internet email.

18. Added two user accounts.

19. Attached a workstation and connected users to it.

20. SBS became my DHCP server automatically. It configured itself. The main thing is that you have to make sure that the DCHP is turned off on your router.

This is where I stopped for now. I plan to wipe it and start again. I need to get the Exchange piece going, but I need a second static IP from ISP for home because my Home Server is on my only one. Oh, yeah Home Server. That is a pretty cool product.

See you soon.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Loading DWRT54G Linksys with DD-WRT

This is about the coolest thing I have done lately. I first read about this on Maximum PC, then on LifeHacker - changing the Operating system on a Linksys router from the default manufacturer with something better. There are two that I know of, Tomato and DD-WRT.

The Router I used was a Linksys DWRT54G v.6

The best information I got to do this with, was at this location: Bitsum Technologies .

Why would I want to do this? Well, there are all kinds of reasons, but here are just a few:

1. I am able to boost the power of the signal.
2. I am able to control which antenna is used to send or receive.
3. Radius authentication

I also have a Microsoft Router, that I have been using for years, but the darn thing is so locked down, that outside basic configuration, you can't do much at all. But I got it really cheap, and it was my first wireless router. I found that according to DD-WRT site, I can flash and change the firmware on that also.

One caution: Only do these if you are not afraid to completely bricking your router - I use routers that I can spare. If it fails, and I cannot recover, I am not out some crucial piece of equipment. On the other hand, success gives me a huge advantage and is like getting a new piece of hardware.

Here are the Step by step:

For the WRT54G v5, v5.1, and v6 ONLY

  1. Download [] and extract.
  2. Download [] and extract, OR create a custom firmware image with your MAC address embedded in it. See the 'Changing your MAC address' section below for more information.
  3. Download [DD-WRT micro generic]. You may want to check [DD-WRT] to make sure there isn't a newer version than v23 SP2 beta 08/03/06. Do not use the one labelled 'WRT54G' or 'WRT54GS', use the 'generic' version.
  4. If you don't know how to use (or don't have) a console mode TFTP tool (i.e. tftp.exe), download the [Linksys TFTP transfer tool].
  5. You will want to assign your network adaptor a manual IP address, since you may loose your automatically configured one and have trouble TFTP'ing the firmware. To do this see the troubleshooting section or google it. It's done at the properties dialog of your network connection, in the 'Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)' properties.
  6. Go to your router's web based interface and enter the 'Administration' tab. Then select 'Firmware Upgrade' and choose the vxworks_prep_v03.bin file. Hit apply. After a minute, your browser window will go blank. At this point, power cycle your router.
  7. Again point your web browser to You'll see a different sort of firmware upgrade screen. This is the Management Mode. Select and apply the vxworks_killer_g_v06.bin firmware upgrade. WAIT for your browser window to turn to report 'Success'. Have troubles? Try a different web browser, the http daemon in management mode is very finicky.
  8. Now unplug the power cord of your router, then plug it back in. The power LED should now be blinking.
  9. Now you need to do a binary mode TFTP transfer of DD-WRT micro generic to your router. To do this you can use the Windows TFTP console mode utility, the Linksys TFTP Windows GUI utility, or some other TFTP client. You may have to disable your firewall if by some chance it is blocking outgoing connections on port 69. Many TFTP clients don't default to binary mode, so be sure to specify it (i.e. the -i switch with the Windows console mode TFTP utility).
      • For Windows TFTP console mode utility (example, adjust accordingly):
        • tftp -i put dd-wrt.v23_micro_generic.bin
      • For the GUI utility
        • simply enter your router's IP (, select dd-wrt.v23_micro_generic.bin, leave the password field blank, and initiate the transfer.
Do NOT reboot your router after TFTP'ing, this will happen automatically. It takes a couple minutes after the TFTP transfer finishes for the firmware to actually be flashed.