Jailbreak the Apple iPad iOS 3.2.2

Mobile Devices No Comments

limera1nI was asked by a friend to jailbreak his new iPad. The iPad had iOS 3.2.2 on it and my friend did not want to upgrade to the latest 4.1 version because he had heard there were issues when jailbreaking with the newest version. After some research, I found that Limera1n was the best solution for jailbreaking an iPad version 3.2.2.

I followed the instructions from Jailbreak iPad 3.2.2 With Limera1n. This web page has screenshots of the process. I’ve written up the steps I took below with additional notes. Hopefully between the original page and my additional notes, all your jailbreaking questions will be answered.

On your Mac or Windows PC:

  1. Download the specific Limera1n for your system (Mac or Windows PC) and unzip the executable.
  2. Connect your ipad to the computer with the USB cable. (You can do this with a freshly purchased iPad and without registering it with iTunes.)
  3. If iTunes appears and asks you to register the iPad, just ignore it. I suggest quitting the iTunes application. At different points below, iTunes will re-appear, just ignore and quit it.
  4. Run Limera1n, click on the single “Make it ra1n” button, and follow the instructions. (See this website for detailed Limera1n screenshots.) Limera1n will put the iPad into recovery mode and ask you to put the iPad into DFU mode by pressing the Power and Home buttons in sequence. Once the iPad is in DFU mode, Limera1n will start the jailbreak process.
  5. Wait until Limera1n is finish; you will see a disabled button labeled “Done” appear. There will also be a second window with the message “Enjoy your jailbroken iPhone”. Manually close both Limera1n windows.
  6. And you are done. Unplug the iPad.

On the iPad:

  1. The iPad will be shutdown so press the power button to start it.
  2. There will be a new Limera1n application icon on the iPad home screen.
  3. Run the Limera1n application on the iPad.
  4. Limera1n will just show a page with a single selection labeled Cydia. Click on Cydia and then click on the Install button that appears at the top to install the Cydia application. Cydia is the jailbroken alternative to the iTunes Store.
  5. Once Cydia is installed, you will see a new Cydia application icon on the iPad home screen.
  6. Run the Cydia application. The first time Cydia runs, it will want to update itself. When you are prompted, allow Cydia to update everything. Wait until the Cydia update is done.
  7. Optionally, on the Cydia home page, click on the “Help Cydia remember your iPad EID” option. I think this option is so Cydia will remember what applications you have installed, but I am not sure what for… maybe if you had to do a full re-install?
  8. Optionally, install the Installous application which is a much-easier-to-use store application than Cydia. I found instructions to do this at How to Install Installous on your iPhone/iTouch.
    • In Cydia, click on Manage, Source, Edit, and Add buttons (usually at the top).
    • Input “cydia.hackulo.us” as a new source and add it.
    • Click on Search in Cydia and find “Installous”.
    • Download and install “Installous”; you will then see a new Installous application icon on the iPad home screen.
    • Run Installous to find and install applications.
  9. And you are finally done. Enjoy your jailbroken iPad.

Note: If Limera1n doesn’t work for you, try Greenpois0n instead.

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Keep Your Digital Life Secured

Internet No Comments

keepassYou’re living more of your life and doing more of your business on the Internet. You’re paying bills with online banking, checking your credit cards on the web, and shopping at several dotcom stores. Every one of those sites may require you to have an account with a username and password. To make it easy, you’re using the same password for all the sites (I hope not). Or you use several passwords but there are so many to remember, so you put them all in a little text file on your desktop or write them on a post-it note. Does this sound like you?

You have decided to digitized your legal documents to save space and to speed up searching. Or maybe you have taken the step to receive all or some of your documents, like bank statements, in digital format. You scan and save everything onto your hard drive. Does this also sound like you?

You have anti-virus and anti-spyware software running on your computer and doing frequent scans, weekly and maybe even daily. (If you don’t, see my post on free anti-virus and anti-spyware software). Hopefully, the software will protect your computer from having unscrupulous programs installed, which for example, could capture your keyboard inputs when you are logging into your banking website. But what prevents someone from stealing your computer (especially laptops) and reading your password text file and digitized legal documents? Would you be one of the many who can only say “nothing”?

Don’t lose hope. There are free software solutions which can help you protect your passwords and digitized documents. (Thanks very much to the software developers who donate their time and efforts to create these free tools!) Below are the two free programs that I use to secure my information. They work on both Windows and Mac OS X.

The first is Keepass which is a simple-to-use, secured password keeping utility. It is a lightweight text editor that saves any inputted text to a single, encrypted file. The file will grow if you add more text. Just run Keepass and input your Keepass password (which you set when creating the file) to view the encrypted text file. Keepass will lock itself if you don’t use it after a certain amount of inactivity time (by default, I think it is one minute). I use Keepass to keep information that I need to access often, such as passwords and other textual data. With Keepass, I can use a different password for each website and the passwords can be gibberish. (Please make sure to use a long Keepass password and practice typing it so you won’t forget.)

The second is TrueCrypt which can be considered as a secured, virtual hard drive utility. You can use TrueCrypt to create an encrypted file which can appear as a virtual hard drive. The virtual hard drive will show up in “My Computers” as just another drive letter. Any files you put into that virtual drive is stored in the encrypted file. The size of encrypted file cannot grow; so when you first create it, please pick a size which will fit your secure storage needs. (If you run out of space, just create use TrueCrypt to create a larger file, open the old and new files as virtual drives, and copy everything over to the new, larger drive.) Because the encrypted file acts like a hard drive, you can create folders and subfolders inside it to organize your files. Like Keepass, TrueCrypt requires a password to unencrypt the file and open it as a virtual hard drive. I use TrueCrypt as a secure storage for all my digitized documents.

Update: I’ve been using Truecrypt to encrypt a whole partition as NTFS. (I’ve also encrypted with FAT32 when I need Mac OS X to have read-write access.) There is a slow write issue that is caused by a combination of TrueCrypt with different storage controllers. For example, on my current desktop with an Intel C600+/C220+ SATA controller, encrypted write speed is limited to 20MBps to my SSD. This is very bad because normally I get unencrypted 400MBps write speed. (Veracrypt should have the same issue because it uses the Truecrypt code base.) I’m considering giving up cross-platform support by switching to Windows BitLocker.

Well, that’s it. As the doctor would say, that wasn’t too bad, right?

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Downgrade An iPhone 3G Using T-Mobile From iOS 4.0.2 to 3.1.2

Mobile Devices No Comments

iphone3gtmobileA friend had a jailbroken and unlocked iPhone 3G with his T-Mobile service. He had paid someone to upgrade the iOS to the latest 4.0.2. Unfortunately, the hardware on his iPhone 3G was incapable of running iOS 4.0.2 efficiently and would freeze every minute for several seconds. In his words, it was unusable. When he asked that same person to downgrade the iOS, he was told that it was impossible. Which is when he turned to me for help. (Cue Mission Impossible theme music.)

After some research, I found that iOS 3.1.2 was the best version to downgrade to because it was the version most commonly jailbroken and unlocked with by others. There is an iOS 3.1.3 version but I figured it was better to stick with the tried and true. Also, I found that it was easy to downgrade an iPhone 3G but not an iPhone 3GS. For 3GS and later models, you had to save some configuration data off the iPhone before doing the upgrade in order to allow the possibility of doing a downgrade later. Whew, dodged that one.

One area of concern was that my friend’s iPhone 3G’s baseband version was also upgraded to the latest 05.13.04 version (used by the phone functions) which usually came with iOS 4.x. All references to 3.1.2 unlocking referred to older baseband versions, such as 04.26.08. So I was concerned that downgrading to iOS 3.1.2 but keeping the later 05.13.04 baseband version would make unlocking unfeasible. However, I found that the latest UltraSn0w was reportedly able to unlock 05.13.04 baseband and decided to use it with success. (There is an iPhone app called FuzzyBand that reportedly makes it as easy as pushing a button to downgrade the baseband version.)

Note: I did the downgrade steps on a Windows 7 64bit platform but it should work fine for Windows 7 32bit or Windows XP.

Here are the steps that I took to downgrade the iPhone 3G (these steps may not be 100% comprehensive because I am writing this from memory and some notes):

  1. You can leave the T-Mobile SIM card in the iPhone during the whole downgrade process.
  2. In the last steps, you will need a wireless wifi network which the iPhone can access.
  3. Make sure you the following installed or on your hard drive:
    • Install an iTunes 9.x version such as iTunes 9.1.1. iTunes 9.x is commonly used by everyone when jailbreaking/unlocking iOS 3.x.
    • Use a non-IE browser such as Firefox or Chrome to download the iPhone 3G iOS 3.1.2 firmware from apple. You will download an .ipsw restore file. (If you use Internet Explorer, you will end up with a .zip restore file; you should be able to rename it to be .ipsw but I’m not sure I would trust IE.)
    • Download the RecBoot utility for Windows. You will need this program to force your iPhone out of recovery mode below.
    • Download RedSn0w 0.9.4 for Windows, which will be used to jailbreak the iPhone iOS 3.1.2. There are later versions of RedSn0w but 0.9.4 is the last version to recognize iOS 3.1.2. (When you click on the download link, it will take you to a RapidShare page which is a little confusing… just click on the “Slow Download” button on the bottom right.)
  4. Run iTunes.
  5. Connect the iPhone 4.0.2 to the computer. You will get an iTunes error saying that you need iTunes 9.2 to sync with an iPhone 4.0.2. According to the web, this is not a problem when you put the phone into Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) mode. (I went the long and wrong route of installing iTunes 9.2, restoring iOS 3.1.2, and then re-installing iTunes 9.1.1.)
  6. Put the iphone into DFU mode by holding the power and home button for 10 seconds, releasing the power button but keep holding the home button until iTunes detects that the iPhone is in recovery mode. Here is a nice visual guide on how to do this.
  7. In iTunes, when you select the iPhone details, you will see a Recover button. Hold the shift key and click on the Recover button.
  8. Select the iPhone 3G iOS 3.1.2 restore .ipsw file that you downloaded above. iTunes will then restore the iPhone to that image.
  9. When the restore to iOS 3.1.2 is completed, the iPhone will come up in recovery mode. This is okay; the iPhone has been downgraded to iOS 3.1.2 successfully and you do not need to do another iTunes restore.
  10. Run the RecBoot utility and hit the “Exit Recovery Mode” button to take the iPhone out of recovery mode. The iPhone will restart and you will see a “Slide for Emergency” screen.
  11. Exit RecBoot. RecBoot may leave an orphaned black command “cmd” window behind; if you see it, manually exit it by clicking on the top-right X button.
  12. Exit iTunes.
  13. Run the RedSn0w 0.9.4 utility to jailbreak the iPhone iOS 3.1.2.
    • Browse to the same 3.1.2 restore .ipsw file.
    • On the next screen, make sure “Install Cydia” is selected. Leave the rest of the options unchecked.
    • On the third screen, RedSn0w will prompt you with onscreen instructions and countdowns to put the iPhone into DFU mode. (According to one source on the web, if you have problems with this step, you can put the iPhone into DFU mode first and then run RedSn0w… but I have never tried this method.)
  14. Once RedSn0w is complete, the iPhone iOS 3.1.2 will be jailbroken. However, the T-Mobile phone service will not work until after we do the unlock step below.
  15. At this point, you can disconnect the iPhone from your computer if you wish to.
  16. Configure your iPhone to connect to the wireless wifi network.
  17. On the iPhone, disable the auto-lock by going to Settings->General->Auto-Lock and selecting Never. The steps below will take longer than 1 minute and it is annoying if the iPhone locks while you are waiting for some task to complete.
  18. Run the Cydia application. You will need to have patience as Cydia will take like 10 minutes or more to load, reorganize, and upgrade its packages; answer yes to upgrade all packages when you are prompted. You may need to exit and restart Cydia more than once. The second time you run, Cydia may take several minutes so have patience. (Later times when you run Cydia, it will take about a minute to load but that is way shorter than the initial run.)
  19. Once Cydia is up and running, search for “UltraSn0w” and install it. You don’t need to explicitly run UltraSn0w; just installing it will unlock the iPhone to be able to use T-Mobile.
  20. At this point, you should be able to make and receive phone calls and do text messaging.
  21. Configure the T-Mobile EDGE Internet service:
    • Go to General->Network and set “3G” to off and “Data roaming” to off.
    • Go to General->Network->CellularData and input into the “APN” field the value “epc.tmobile.com”.
    • Under MMS section, input the following:
      • MMS APN: wap.voicestream.com
      • MMSC: http://mms.msg.eng.t-mobile.com/mms/wapenc
      • MMS Proxy: 216.155.165.50:8080
      • MMS Max Msg Size: 1048576
      • MMS UA Prof URL: http://www.apple.com/mms/uaprof.rdf
    • Leave anything not mentioned above as blank values.
  22. Disable the Wifi in order to check that your T-mobile broadband is working by running the browser. You should see a “E” symbol (I guess it stands for T-Mobile’s EDGE network) near the top-left corner of the iPhone screen.
  23. I could not get Youtube working. There used to be an app on Cydia called “Push Fix” or “Push Fix & YouTube” that would easily fix this issue, but I can no longer find it. I did find some hints that it may be related to security keys and found some steps to manually fix it… but didn’t try it.
  24. Re-enable the auto-lock by going to Settings->General->Auto-Lock and selecting “1 Min”.

Optionally, you may wish to install the app Installous which is much nicer and faster than Cydia for finding applications.

Hopefully, the above will help you should you encounter this same downgrade situation. Good luck!

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Windows XP Optimizations

Windows No Comments

windowsxpoptimizeIf you are running Windows XP on older hardware, you might wish to make some of the following adjustments. The optimizations below were gathered over the past decade. These modifications range from simple to dangerous, so proceed at your risk. (Some of these optimizations may be outdated.)

These changes are generally safe:

  • Open up Internet Explorer fast:
    1. Edit the Internet Explorer shortcut.
    2. Add parameter “-nohome” to the shortcut command to force opening up IE with a blank page.
  • Open up the C drive in Windows Explorer by default:
    1. Create or edit the Explorer shortcut.
    2. Use this path and arguments to open up the C drive by default: “C:\windows\explorer.exe /n,/e,c:\”
  • Quickly open the Windows Search Results dialog:
    1. Go to menu Start->Search. The Search Results dialog will appear.
    2. Click on the “Turn off animated character” option on the left menu.
    3. Click on “Change Preferences”.
    4. Click on “Change files and folders search behavior”.
    5. Select “Advanced…” option.
    6. Hit OK
  • Set a fixed size for the Virtual Paging File (potentially reduces hard drive usage):
    1. Open My Computer properties.
    2. Select “Advanced” tab.
    3. Click “Settings” button under “Performance”.
    4. Go to “Advanced”.
    5. Leave “Programs” and “Programs” selected.
    6. Under “Virtual Memory”, click “Change” button.
    7. Select “System managed size” and input the size of the paging file. The initial value is usually 1.5 times memory. Maximum value is 3 times memory. You have greater than 512MB, you can set to 0.5 times memory.
    8. Click OK.
  • Disable Fast User Switching (if you only have one default user):
    1. Go to Control Panel->User Accounts.
    2. Click “Change the way users log on or off”.
    3. Leave the “Use the Welcome screen” check (this is required so Windows won’t prompt for password).
    4. Unselect “Use Fast User Switching”.
    5. Click “Apply Options”.
  • Set DMA Mode on IDE Drives (for fast hard drive transfers):
    1. Open Device Manager (My Computer->Manage).
    2. Go to “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers”.
    3. Double-click on “Primary IDE Channel”.
    4. Go to “Advanced Settings” tab.
    5. Make sure all “Transfer Mode” boxes have “DMA If Available”.
    6. Repeat for secondary IDE channel, etc.
  • Turn off File Indexing (reduces hard drive usage):
    1. Go to Computer Management (My Computer->Manage).
    2. Go to Services and Applications->Indexing Service->System->Directories.
    3. Double-click on each directory (with yes in “Include in Catalog”):
      • select “no” under “Include in Index?”
      • click OK.
    4. Open My Computer.
    5. Right click on the Hard drive and choose properties.
    6. Uncheck the “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching”:
      • A new window will pop up, choose include folder and subfolders.
      • click OK.
  • Remove built-in support for ZIP files and also prevents Search from looking into compressed files (very slow operation):
    1. Go to menu Start->Run
    2. Type “regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll”
    3. Optionally, install another zip application like Winzip to take over the extension; otherwise, if you open a zip file, Windows XP will re-register the zipfldr.dll.
  • Improve shutdown speed (by immediately killing applications at shutdown or reducing the wait to kill timeout):
    1. Go to Start->Run and type “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop”.
    3. Set the key AutoEndTasks to value 1 to immediately kill applications (without giving time to save) at shutdown.
    4. To reduce wait to kill timeout, change the following:
      • Set “HungAppTimeout” to 8000 (default is 5000).
      • Set “WaitToKillAppTimeout” to 8000 (default is 20000; 4000 if you are brave).
      • Also, go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control” and set “WaitToKillServiceTimeout” to 8000 (default is 20000; 4000 if brave).

These changes can be dangerous:

  • Increase System CMOS/realtime clock IRQ priority:
    1. Find out the interrupt that the System CMOS/realtime clock is using by opening Device Manager, System devices, and properties on “System CMOS/realtime clock”.
    2. Click on the “Resources” tab (usually the interrupt is IRQ 8).
    3. Increase the IRQ priority by running “regedit” and going to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\PriorityControl”.
    4. Create DWORD value named “IRQ#Priority” (where ’#’ is the IRQ number).
    5. Set the value to 1.
    6. Restart Windows.
  • Ensure that L2 Cache is used (Windows XP sometimes doesn’t detect it so we must manually set it):
    1. Run “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management”.
    3. Adjust “SecondLevelDataCache” to your processor’s L2 cache size (aka 512 kilobytes). (Note: Make sure to use “Decimal” input!)
    4. Tweak Memory Performance by boosting the system cache (if you have 256MB memory or more):
    5. Run “regedit”.
    6. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management”.
    7. Set “LargeSystemCache” to 1 (default is 0) to boost the system cache (only if you have tons of memory) by telling XP to allocate all but 4MB of system memory to the file system cache. (Note: This option can be accessed under “My Computer->Manage->Advanced->Performance Settings->Advanced->System Cache”.)
    8. Optionally, set “IOPageLockLimit” (create this DWORD value if necessary) to 8-16 MB (value in bytes; if exists, it is usually set to 512KB). This improves Input/Output performance for large file transfer operations (good if running a server).
    9. Restart Windows.
  • Improve NTFS Performance:
    1. Run “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentContolSet\Control\Filesystem”.
    3. Create DWORD entry “NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate” with value 1 to disable updating the last access time.
    4. Optionally, change “NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation” DWORD entry to 1 to disable creation of short names (if not supporting MS-DOS or Win 3.x). (Note: If we disable this, some programs like PowerCD and games like Return/Revenge of Arcade will not work!)
    5. Optionally, add “NtfsMftZoneReservation” DWORD entry to reserve the appropriate space for the master file table. If your NTFS volumes generally contain relatively few files that are typically large, set value to 1 (the default). Use a value of 2 or 3 for moderate numbers of files, and 4 (the maximum) if your volumes tend to contain a relatively large number of files. (Note: be sure to test any settings greater than 2 because these higher values cause the system to reserve a much larger portion of the disk for the master file table.)
    6. Reboot Windows.
  • Prevent QoS from reserving bandwidth (Not necessary because if QoS is not used, then bandwidth
    is used by other applications):

    1. Go to Start->Run and type “gpedit.msc”.
    2. Open Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->Network->QoS Packet Scheduler.
    3. Double-click on “Limit reservable bandwidth”.
    4. Set it to Enabled and the Bandwidth Limit to 0%.
    5. Go to Network Connections.
    6. Right click on your connection and choose properties.
    7. Go to General or Networking tab.
    8. Make sure QoS packet scheduler is enabled.
    9. Reboot Windows.
  • Enable UDMA66 (for faster hard drive I/O):
    1. Run “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10319}\0000”
    3. Create a DWORD named “EnableUDMA66”.
    4. Set value to 1 to enable (set to 0 to disable).
  • Speed up Diskcache:
    1. Open “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management/IoPageLockLimit”
    3. Modify the value in Hex depending on the size of your RAM: For 64M, use 1000. For 128M, use 4000. For 256M, use 10000. For 512M or more, use 40000.
    4. Reboot Windows.

Good luck with turning your old Windows XP machine into a speed demon!

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Common Windows XP Annoyances and How to Fix Them

Windows No Comments

windowsxpbugThrough the years of using Windows, I’ve encountered common issues and their solutions. I’ve documented a couple, Enabling Tab-Completion for Windows 2000 and Accelerator Keys for Address Bar Text Alignment (Internet Explorer), and wanted to capture the remainder below. (The tips below may also work for Windows 7.)

Where is my Show Desktop icon?

On Windows XP, there is a nice Show Desktop icon in the Quick Launch toolbar which when clicked on, will minimize all windows. (On Windows 7, this is replaced by an empty vertical bar at the right-most position in the system tray.) The Show Desktop icon was a quick way to get access to all the icons on the desktop. Unfortunately, through system or user error, this icon may get deleted.

The Show Desktop icon is not a Windows shortcut. It is a Shell Command File (SCF) containing text which Windows understands and can execute. To re-create the Show Desktop icon, create a text file named “Show Desktop.scf” with the content below, and drag it to the Quick Launch toolbar:

[Shell]
Command=2
IconFile=explorer.exe,3
[Taskbar]
Command=ToggleDesktop

How to automatically log into Windows on startup?

If you did not input a password when creating your default user during Windows XP installation, Windows will log you in automatically. However, if you did input a password, Windows will prompt you to login with a Welcome screen. If you would like Windows to log in by default, here is how you can create an automatic login to bypass the Welcome screen:

  1. Go to Start Menu->Run, type “control userpasswords2”, and click Ok.
  2. Uncheck the “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” option and click Apply.
  3. A dialog will appear that asks you what user name and password should be used to logon automatically. Type your username and password, and click OK.

How to add my own “Send To” menu command?

When you left-click on a file, you will see a list of options including a menu called “Send To”, which contains a list of applications which you can pick to open the file. If you would like to add your own choice of applications to that list, here are the steps:

  1. Run Start Menu->Run, type “shell:sendto”, and click Ok. This will open up your user’s “Send To” folder.
  2. Create a shortcut to any application (such as Notepad.exe or Wordpad.exe) in the folder.

How do I cancel a print job?

Eventually for whatever reason, you will find yourself with a print job which is stuck and cannot be cancelled using the Printer properties dialog. The dialog would keep saying that the job is in “Deleting” state. To avoid having to reboot the computer, try this command line method to delete that print job:

  1. Run Start Menu->Run, type “cmd”, and click Ok.
  2. Execute the following commands:
    net stop spooler
    del c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\*.shd
    del c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\*.spl
    net start spooler

How to debug my wireless connection?

The Windows network diagnostic help has improved greatly from Window XP to Windows 7. However, even in Windows 7, you may eventually need to run some command lines to diagnose the network problem. Below are some useful commands.

  • Type “ipconfig” to find the assigned IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway.
  • Type “ipconfig /all” for the above with even more details.
  • Type “ipconfig /flushdns” to flush the dynamic name service cache (used to resolve hostname to IP addresses).
  • Type “ping [hostname]” to see if you can reach a particular hostname. (Note that for security reasons, some hosts may disable the ping response and this command won’t succeed.)
  • Type “nslookup [hostname]” to resolve a hostname to an IP address.
  • Type “tracert [hostname]” to show the servers that participate in the communications pipeline between you and that host.
  • Type “route print” to show the routing rules in effect.
  • Type “netstat /a /o” to list all the active connections and listening ports.

Note: You can always press the Control + C keys to abort long-running commands such as “ping” and “tracert”.

If all else fails, reboot both the wireless router and your computer.

How to increase the number of folders Windows will remember custom settings for?

When you customize the settings on a folder (such as list instead of icon view), Windows will remember your settings for the next time you open that folder. However, Windows will only do this for a limited number of folders. (Windows XP Service Pack 2 alleviates this issue by increasing the original, default 400 folders to 5000 folders.)

To increase the number of folders that Windows will remember custom settings for, do the following:

  1. Start the Registry Editor by going to menu Start->Run, type “regedit”, and click Ok.
  2. Go to the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ShellNoRoam” key.
    • Delete the “Bags” and “BagMRU” subkeys. One can also delete the “MUICache” subkey.
    • Create or modify the DWORD key called “BagMRU Size” with the desired number of folders in hex. For example, for 5000 folders, input the Hex “1388” value.
  3. Repeat the above steps for the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell” key.
  4. Restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

How to remove deleted Windows programs from the “Add/Remove Programs” dialog?

Sometimes, a program which you know have been deleted will still show up in the “Add/Remove Programs” dialog. To remove it from the list of installed applications, do the following:

  1. Start the Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall” key.
  3. Remove the entry for the deleted program in question. You will need to click on each subkey to locate the one with the correct program title.

Hope that these tips will prove useful. For other annoyances (for all flavors of Windows), check out the Annoyances.org website.

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Install Apache, PHP, MySQL, and phpMyAdmin on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Mac OS X 12 Comments

mac-os-x-snow-leopardMac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard comes with Apache and PHP installed by default. However, the Apache HTTP server is not configured to use PHP and is not set to run by default. This post will provide instructions on configuring and starting the built-in Apache server. In addition, this post will provide instructions to install MySQL Server and phpMyAdmin.

Enable PHP and Start the Apache HTTP Server

  1. Make sure that PHP support is enabled on Apache
    • Open “/etc/apache2/httpd.conf” and search for:
      #LoadModule php5_module        libexec/apache2/libphp5.so
    • Uncomment the line by removing the # character at the beginning.
    • Save the changes.
  2. Start the Apache Server
    • Go to System Preferences > Sharing and check/uncheck Web Sharing to start/stop Apache server. Note that this setting will persist even if you reboot the mac.
    • Or by command line, execute either of the following commands:
      sudo apachectl start
      sudo apachectl restart
  3. The Apache docroot is set to the “/Library/WebServer/Documents/” folder. In addition, a relative home page (ex: http://localhost/~yourusername”) is set to the “~/Sites” or “/Users/yourusername/Sites” folder.
  4. To verify that PHP is working under Apache, create a file “/Library/WebServer/Documents/phpinfo.php” with the following content:
    <?php
    // Show all information on PHP
    phpinfo();
    ?>
  5. Browse to the PHP info script using http://localhost/phpinfo.php. You should see a bunch of info concerning your PHP installation if Apache is configured to use PHP correctly.
  6. If you have problems, check the Apache “error_log” in the “/var/log/apache2” directory.

Install and Start MySQL Server

  1. Download the latest MySQL Server distribution; I selected the “Mac OS X ver. 10.6 (x86, 32-bit), DMG Archive” package.
  2. Double-click to mount the “mysql-5.1.46-osx10.6-x86.dmg” downloaded disk image file. Double-click on the resulting “mysql-5.1.46-osx10.6-x86.pkg” package file to install MySQL Server.
  3. The MySQL Server will be installed under the “/usr/local/mysql-5.1.46-osx10.6-x86” directory. In addition, a symbolic link to that directory is created as “/usr/local/mysql”.
  4. Install the “MySQLStartupItem.pkg” package file also to facilitate starting and stopping the MySQL Server. This will also configure MySQL Server to start on bootup.
  5. Start the MySQL server by running “sudo /Library/StartupItems/MySQLCOM/MySQLCOM start”. (You may be prompted to input a password; this password is the Mac OS X admin password, not the MySql root password which is blank by default.) Later, you can stop the MySQL Server with “sudo /Library/StartupItems/MySQLCOM/MySQLCOM stop”.
  6. Add the following line to the end of your “~/.profile” to facilitate executing mysql commands:
    export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/mysql/bin
  7. Connect to the MySQL Server by trying out these commands in a terminal:
    mysql -u root --version
    mysql -u root -p
    mysql> show databases;
    mysql> use mysql;
    mysql> show tables;
    mysql> quit

Install phpMyAdmin

  1. phpMyAdmin requires that the PHP mcrypt extension be installed for performance and for 64-bit operating systems such as Snow Leopard. We will have to compile it from source.
    • I think you will need to install Xcode from Apple in order to compile the mcrypt extension. If you run into problems below without Xcode, try installing Xcode and then repeating the procedure.
    • Download the latest libmcrypt .
      • Unpack the downloaded file “libmcrypt-2.5.8.tar.gz” by double-clicking it in the ~/Downloads directory.
      • Run the following commands in a terminal:
        cd ~/Downloads/libmcrypt-2.5.8/
        ./configure --disable-posix-threads --enable-static
        make
        sudo make install
      • Input your Mac OS X root password if you are prompted to input a password.
    • Download the PHP source code so we can generate the mcrypt PHP extension.
      • First determine your currently installed PHP version by opening Terminal and running “php -version”.
      • Unfortunately for me, the latest PHP source version on the website is 5.3.2 and my installed version is 5.3.1. To get the source for my specific version, I copied the link out, which is “http://www.php.net/get/php-5.3.2.tar.bz2/from/a/mirror”.
      • I manually edited the link to change “5.3.2.tar” to “5.3.1.tar”, pasted the modified link back into the browser, and downloaded the source for 5.3.1.
      • Unpack the downloaded file “php-5.3.1.tar.bz2” by double-clicking it in the ~/Downloads directory.
      • Run the following commands in a terminal:
        cd ~/Downloads/php-5.3.1/ext/mcrypt
        phpize
        ./configure
        make
        cd modules
        sudo cp mcrypt.so /usr/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20090626/
      • Input your Mac OS X root password if you are prompted to input a password.
    • Configure PHP to load the mcrypt extension.
      • Create the “/etc/php.ini” file if it doesn’t already exists (copy from “/etc/php.ini.default”) and edit it.
        cd /etc
        sudo cp php.ini.default php.ini
        sudo vi php.ini
      • Input your Mac OS X root password if you are prompted to input a password.
      • Search for “;extension=” in php.ini. When you find the “Dynamic Extensions” section, add the following line to the end of that section like so:
        ;extension=php_xsl.dll
        ;extension=php_zip.dll
        extension=mcrypt.so
      • MySQL Server under Mac OS X puts its socket file under “/tmp/mysql.sock”. We’ll need to adjust the php.ini to point at this location instead of the default “/var/mysql/mysql.sock”. Search for and set the following variables in php.ini:
        pdo_mysql.default_socket=/tmp/mysql.sock
        mysql.default_socket = /tmp/mysql.sock
        mysqli.default_socket = /tmp/mysql.sock
      • Enable php error logging by searching for and enabling these variables in php.ini:
        error_log = /tmp/php_errors
      • Do not create the php_errors file; PHP will create it with the appropriate permissions. Note that putting php_errors log file in a directory other than the “/tmp” directory (like “/var/log/apache2”) may not work due to permission issues.
    • Restart the apache server by running the “sudo apachectl graceful” command.
    • Browse to the PHP info script using http://localhost/phpinfo.php. Search for “mcrypt” and you will now see a section containing info concerning it. You should see that the “mcrypt support” row has an “enabled” value. phpinfo_mcrypt.png
    • Search for “mysql” and double-check that three “default_socket” variables are using “/tmp/mysql.sock”, instead of the default “var/mysql/mysql.sock”. phpinfo_msock.png
  2. Download the latest phpMyAdmin.
  3. Unpack the downloaded file “phpMyAdmin-3.3.3-english.zip” by double-clicking it in the ~/Downloads directory.
  4. Copy the resulting “phpMyAdmin-3.3.3-english” folder to “/Library/WebServer/Documents”. I suggest renaming the folder to just “phpMyAdmin”.
  5. Make a copy of “/Library/WebServer/Documents/phpMyAdmin/config.sample.inc.php” in the same directory and name the copy as “config.inc.php”.
  6. Edit “config.inc.php” and change the “AllowNoPassword” variable to true. This will allow us to login with MySQL user “root” and a blank password.
    $cfg['Servers'][$i]['AllowNoPassword'] = true;
  7. Browse to http://localhost/phpMyAdmin/. Log in with user “root” and leave the password field blank.

Alternatively, you could just use XAMPP or MAMP which also includes MySQL. However, I have a preference not to install software if I don’t have to.

Content above derived from the following online resources:

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Replace the System Drive With a Larger Hard Drive

Windows No Comments

harddriveNormally, to replace a hard drive with a larger hard drive, you would just install the replacement hard drive, copy the data over, and remove the old drive. Very simple. Unfortunately, if the drive you are replacing is the system drive (where the Windows operating system is installed), it gets more complicated.

After living with an 80GB system drive for many years and running out of space repeatedly, I decided to replace it with a 500GB drive. The goal was to do the replacement without re-installing my Windows XP operating system. The secret weapons are BartPE (to generate a bootable CD) and Ghost (to clone the system hard drive).

Create a BartPE bootable Windows XP CD which includes Ghost

  1. Pre-requisites:
    • Symantec/Norton Ghost 8.x (the version I have is 8.2)
    • Windows XP Installation CD
    • CD or DVD Burner drive
  2. Download BartPE builder. I picked the latest “PE Builder v3.1.10a – zip package”.
  3. Unzip the archive (ex: pebuilder3110a.zip) to a directory like “c:\temp\pebuilder”.
  4. Copy the ghost 8.x files to the “c:\temp\pebuilder\plugin\ghost8\files” folder. From my Ghost 8.2 distribution, I copied the following files: ghost32.exe, Ghostexp.exe, Ghostsrv.exe, and GhostCast.chm.
    • BartPE builder expects a file called “Ghostcdr.dll” which did not come with my Ghost 8.2 distribution. I managed to download it from the internet; you can download it from here.
    • Put “Ghostcdr.dll” into the same “c:\temp\pebuilder\plugin\ghost8\files” directory.
  5. Insert the Windows XP installation CD into your CD-ROM drive (say D: drive).
  6. Run “”c:\temp\pebuilder\pebuilder.exe”.
  7. In the first field, “Source: (path to Windows installation files)”, enter the CD-ROM drive letter which contains the Windows XP CD (ex: input “D:\”).
  8. Select “Create ISO image” or “Burn to CD/DVD”. In my case, I selected “Create ISO image” and then later burned the image to a CD using Nero Burning ROM.
    pebuilder.jpg
  9. Click on the “Plugins” button. BartPE builder will verify that your Windows XP CD is accessible and then show a dialog window.
  10. If you want a startup option to boot from the CD or not, then click to select “Boot Fix (Enabling “Press any key to boot from CD”)” and hit the “Enable/Disable” button. The Enabled column value for that entry will change from No to Yes.
  11. Click to select the “Symantec Ghost 8.0” entry at the bottom and hit the “Enable/Disable” button. The Enabled column value will change from No to Yes. If any required Ghost files are missing, clicking the Enable/Disable button will throw an error message.
    pebuilder_plugins.jpg
  12. Hit Close to close the dialog.
  13. Hit the Build button to create the ISO image or burn to CD/DVD.

Replace the System Hard Drive

  1. Shutdown the computer and install the replacement hard drive. Feel free to re-arrange the drives to connect the replacement hard drive to the first SATA or IDE interface.
    • If you have extra drives, to be on the safe side, you might want to connect only the system drive and the replacement hard drive.
    • Take note of the hard drive sizes so you can distinguish them later on.
  2. Boot the computer with the BartPE bootable CD that was created above.
  3. As BartPE loads, answer No to the “Start Network Support” prompt.
  4. Once BartPE has finished loading, select menu “Go->Programs->Symantic Ghost v8” and launch “Ghost32”.
  5. In the Ghost program window, select menu “Local->Disk->To Disk”.
  6. Select the Source Disk/Drive by clicking it and hit Ok. You can distinguish the source hard drive from the replacement drive by the smaller size information.
  7. Select the Destination Disk/Drive and hit Ok. The destination drive will be your replacement hard drive which should have a larger size information.
  8. Keep the default size selection and hit Ok.
  9. Double-check the source and destination drive info and click Yes to proceed with the disk cloning. Ghost will start cloning the hard drives. (It took 30 minutes for Ghost to clone my nearly full 80GB drive to the replacement 500GB drive.)
  10. Ghost will complete the process with a “Clone Completed Successfully” message.
  11. Hit Continue, Quit, and select menu Go->Shutdown to shutdown the computer.
  12. Remove the old system drive and make sure that your new replacement system drive is connected to the first SATA or IDE interface (which the BIOS will use as the boot drive). Or simply, connect the replacement hard drive to the interface cable that the old system drive was attached to.
  13. Start the computer and everything should work exactly the same as before, except now you have a lot of free space. Good luck!

Some content above derived from Setup Bart PE and Ghost How to.

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Installing Eclipse with Subversion for PHP and Javascript Development on Mac OS X

Mac OS X 6 Comments

eclipseappleMac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard comes with the 64bit version of Java 1.6 installed by default. Unfortunately, Eclipse 32bit and older subeclipse plugins are not 100% compatible with the 64bit version of Java 1.6. You may encounter errors when using Eclipse such as “Unable to load default SVN client” (which can be solved by installing JavaHL), and an unknown exception when creating a “project from svn” (you’ll need Eclipse 64bit to fix this). The best, simplest solution is to get the latest version of Eclipse Cocoa 64bit for Mac OS X, codenamed Galileo.

Installing JavaHL Library (Pre-requiste for Subclipse)

In order for subclipse to work on your Mac OS X machine, you will need to download and install the JavaHL which provides a JNI binding layer from Java to the subversion binaries. The quickest way is to just install the latest subversion binaries, which includes the JavaHL library.

  1. Double-check what is installed on your Mac OS X by opening a Terminal and running the following:
    java -version
    svn --version
    ls /Library/Java/Extensions

    The last should show a symbolic link to the JavaHL library if you have a version installed.

  2. To install the latest subversion and JavaHL, go to Collabnet Website.
  3. Select the appropriate subversion binaries for your Mac OS X version; currently “Subversion 1.6.9 Universal”.
  4. You can leave the contact info form blank and just hit the Submit button to download the .dmg image (ex: Subversion-1.6.9-10.6.x.dmg)
  5. Check that the /opt directory (which is a symbolic link to “/private/opt”) exists. If not, you can create it by running this command:
    sudo ln -s /private/opt /opt
  6. Launch the .dmg image and double-click on the subversion icon to install the binaries into the default “/opt/subversion” directory.
  7. Once installed, you will need to prepend “/opt/subversion/bin” to your PATH environment variable. Open up your bash environment profile “~/.profile” and add this line:
    export PATH=/opt/subversion/bin:$PATH

    Note that the path separator is a colon, not a semi-colon (used by Windows).

  8. Double-check that the JavaHL library is accessible. You should find a symbolic link (ex: “libsvnjavahl-1.jnilib”) for the JavaHL library in the “/Library/Java/Extensions” directory. This is the global location that the Mac OS X JVM will look for when loading libraries via JNI.

Install Eclipse Cocoa 64bit

  1. Get the Mac OS X Cocoa 64bit version of Eclipse.
    • Go to the Eclipse Downloads page.
    • Find “Eclipse IDE for Java Developers” and click on the Mac Cocoa 64bit link to the right.
  2. Unzip the downloaded .gz archive and copy the resulting expanded eclipse directory to your /Applications directory.
  3. Go to the “/Applications/eclipse” directory and run the “eclipse” program.
  4. Install Subclipse for Subversion integration
    • Go to Eclipse menu Help->Install New Software…
    • Input “http://subclipse.tigris.org/update_1.6.x” into the “Work with” field and the table will be updated with installation packages available at that location.
    • Check just the Subclipse package and keep clicking Next until the end. Half-way through, you will be asked to accept the license agreement.
    • If you wish Eclipse to remember the URL, hit the Add button and name it “Subclipse”.
  5. Install PHPEclipse, also known as PHP Development Tool (PDT), for PHP Development
    • Input “http://update.phpeclipse.net/update/stable/1.2.x” (evidently, “http://phpeclipse.sourceforge.net/update/stable/1.2.x/” is the same URL) into the “Work with” field.
    • Just pick PHPEclipse. If you want to debug, install DBG or XDebug. (I haven’t tried XDebug yet so I can’t recommend DBG over it.)
  6. Install JSDT (Javascript Development Tool) for Javascript Development
    • JSDT is a part of the Eclipse Web Tools Platform (WTP) repository. Input “http://download.eclipse.org/webtools/updates” into the “Work with” field.
    • Locate (but don’t check) the latest WTP (Web Tools Platform); currently “Web Tools Platform (WTP) 3.1.2”.
    • Click on the right-facing arrow (to the immediate right of the checkbox) to expand the packages inside the WTP.
    • Check just the “Javascript Development Tools” and click Next, etc.

Uninstalling Subversion and Eclipse

  • To uninstall Subversion, just remove the “/opt/subversion” directory, remove the /Library/Receipts/Subversion-1.6.9.pkg directory, and delete the JavaHL symbolic link at “/Library/Java/Extensions/libsvnjavahl-1.jnilib”.
  • To uninstall Eclipse, just remove the “/Applications/eclipse” directory.
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Migrating from Windows XP to Mac OS X

Mac OS X No Comments

billgatesRecently, I got a Macbook Pro. It was high time to migrate away from the Windows XP running on my trusty but old Lenovo Thinkpad T60. I have to say it was interesting moving from Windows XP to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Below are some of the tips I recorded as I went through the process.

Configuring the Trackpad

For Windows two-button mouse users, the first thing to get used to is the Mac’s one-button mouse. The Macbook Pro’s trackpad is large and acts like a left-click button. There doesn’t appear to be a separate right-click button. How the heck does that work? The right-click button can actually be activated by tapping the trackpad with two fingers simultaneously or by clicking the trackpad’s button while holding the Control key down. Alternatively, the trackpad supports enabling a bottom-right corner click if you want the physical sensation of pressing a right-click button.

  1. Go to the apple icon (top-left), System Preferences, Hardware section, Trackpad
  2. Under “One Finger” section, check the “Secondary Click (Bottom Right Corner)” to enabling right-click by physically clicking on the bottom-right corner.
  3. Optionally, if you want to disable the two-finger right-click tap, you can just unselect “Secondary Tap” under the “Two Fingers” section.

When I first used the Mac trackpad, it was very stiff and required a lot of pressure to depress. Besides, I was used to the tap click support on my Thinkpad’s trackpad. To enable the tap click and other trackpad options on the Mac, do the following:

  1. Go to the apple icon, System Preferences, Hardware section, Trackpad
  2. Under the “One Finger” section, check the “Tap to Click” option.
  3. Also, check “Dragging” if you want to tap twice to drag.

Once I did the above, both the tap click and double-tap drag operations act the same on the Mac as on my Thinkpad laptop. Most importantly, my fore finger is saved from getting bruised.

Locking your Mac Laptop

Windows supports a Lock Windows feature which forces a login before someone can use your machine again. Under the Mac, the closest equivalent is to use the Screensaver which forces a login when stopped (by default).

  1. Go to the apple icon, System Preferences, Personal, Desktop & Screen Saver
  2. Select “Screen Saver” tab, click on “Hot Corners…” button on lower-left
  3. Click on the selection-box next to the bottom-right corner and select “Start Screen Saver”
  4. Click Ok

To lock your Mac, just move the mouse pointer to the bottom-right corner to activate the screen saver.

Location of Applications and Utilities

Windows has File Explorer, while the Mac has the Finder. The Mac uses the Finder application to explore the hard drive. The Finder can be launched from the dock; look for the blue/grey split face icon, usually it is the leftmost icon on the dock. The Finder is also launched if you open up any folder on your desktop.

The Finder doesn’t show the exact directory path of files and folders. To see the path, just select the file or folder, do a right-click, select Get Info, and the parent folder info will be shown in the Where field. You will see that all your files and folders will be located under your home directory, which looks like “/Users/yourname”.

The applications are located under the Application folder. To find your program, select its icon, and then double-click on the icon to launch the program. Under the Application folder, there is a Utilities folder which contains some useful programs, such as the Terminal which is similar to the Command Prompt on Windows.

One Application Menu to Rule Them All

Strangely, on the Mac, there is only one application menu visible at any time and that is the menu bar located at the top of the screen with the apple icon. This menu will change to become the menu of the application which currently has the focus. The apple icon will always remain in the left-most position in the menu though. To the immediate right of the apple icon, the current program’s name is displayed as the program’s primary submenu; you can find the About and Preferences under this primary submenu.

Really Quitting an Application

Stranger still, when you close a program window, the program doesn’t quit; though there are some very rare programs which will really quit. You can tell that a program is still running by looking for a little blue light underneath the program’s icon in the dock. To quit a program, you can give focus to the program, click on the program’s name in the top menu, and select Quit. Alternatively, you can right-click on the program’s icon on the dock and select Quit.

If you’re a keyboard nut, just use the Command + Q shortcut to quit the current program with the focus and its name in the top menu bar.

Tabbing Between Applications

Unlike Windows, the Mac OS X has two levels of tabbing between open applications. The first is between different application types using the Command + Tab keyboard shortcut (like in Windows). The second is between different windows belonging to a single application type (the application currently selected with its menu showing on the top menu bar). The second level tabbing can be performed by using the Command + ` keyboard shortcut. The ` or ~ key is right above the Tab key.

Configuring Wireless Access

Wireless configuration on the Mac is as simple as the Windows wireless configuration if we avoid getting fancy. To configure wireless:

  1. Go to Apple icon, System Preferences…, and Network
  2. Click on the lockbox in the lower-left corner and input your password to allow changes
  3. Select AirPort on the left and click on the Advanced… button on the right.
  4. Click on the plus icon right under the Preferred Networks listbox
  5. Click on “Show Networks” and select an existing wireless network. Or just input the network name and security type.
  6. Input the requested wireless network password.
  7. Close the System Preferences dialog and subdialogs.
  8. Left-click on the Airport icon on the top right and select “Turn Airport Off”.
  9. Repeat and select “Turn Airport On”. The mac will then connect to the wireless network that you have just configured.

Select, Copy and Paste Keyboard Shortcuts

The select, copy and paste keyboard shortcuts work almost the same on the Mac as on Windows. Here are the common shortcuts on the Mac:

Action Shortcut(s)
Select a character to the right/left shift + right/left arrow key
Select a word to the right/left shift + option + right/left arrow key
Select to the end/beginning of the line shift + control/command + right/left arrow key
Select line above/below shift + up/down arrow key
Select to beginning/end of document shift + command + up/down arrow key
Copy selection command + C
Cut selection command + X
Paste selection command + V

Beware of Folder Overwrites

Unlike Windows, when you copy or move a folder to a destination which already has a folder with the same name, the Mac will delete that folder. Do not expect the Windows behavior where the contents of the two folders with the same name are merged. Instead the Mac will replacing the existing folder with the new folder. Unfortunately, the removed folder does not show up in the Trash bin and is totally gone. So be careful!

Accessing Windows Share

To access Windows shares from your Mac, just do the following:

  1. Launch the Finder, go to the application menu “Go->Connect to Server…”. Alternatively, you can right-click on the Finder icon in the dock (bottom left) and select “Connect to Server…”.
  2. Input your Windows share “\\host_ip\share” in the “Server Address” field like so: “smb://host_ip/share”.
    • “smb” indicates the network protocol (the language two computers should use when talking to each other) which Windows uses to share.
    • Mac OS X is unix-based and so uses the forward-slash / character, rather than the backward-slash \ character used by Windows.
  3. If the remote Windows machine is on a Windows domain or has a share password configured, you will be prompted to input the username and password.
    • To input the password for a domain user, input the username as “domain_name\username” and then the password. (The “domain_name” is case-insensitive.)
    • To input the password for a local user on the remote Windows machine, input the username as “machine_hostname\username” and then the password. (The “machine_hostname” is case-insensitive.)
    • If you want to pre-input the username, in the above step, you can input this text into the “Server Address” field: “smb://domain_name;username@host_ip/share”.
    • If the above doesn’t work and you are using a hostname, you may want to try again using the IP address of the remote Windows machine, not the hostname. One way to get the IP address of the remote Windows machine is to go to that machine, open a Windows command prompt, and run “ipconfig”.

Re-installing Mac OS X

If you ever need to re-install your Mac OS X operating system from scratch, here’s how to do it.

  1. Your Mac should come with two or more DVDs: a Mac OS X Install DVD, a Mac OS X Application DVD, and optionally, the 3rd party vendor’s Recovery DVD.
  2. Insert the Mac OS X Install DVD into the DVD drive.
  3. Restart the system and hold the C key as the system starts up. This will cause the Mac to boot from the DVD drive.
  4. Follow the instructions to install the Mac OS X operating system.
  5. Once you have successfully installed the Mac OS X and rebooted into it, you can insert the Mac OS X Application DVD. If the installation wizard does not automatically launch, just open up the DVD to launch it. The Application DVD has non-core applications like Garage Band so it is totally optional.
  6. If your Mac comes with a 3rd party vendor’s Recovery DVD, you can insert that DVD to install any applications or Mac OS X customizations on it.

All in all, migrating from Windows to Mac OS X is not so bad. I’m surprised at how similar the two operating systems are, once you get used to the differences.

Checkout my followup post called Migrating from Windows XP to Mac OS X, Part 2.

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Free Microsoft Antivirus and Spyware Protection

Windows No Comments

Microsoft has just released a free virus and spyware protection software for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 called Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). The nice thing about this news is that MSE is just one program that you can run for total protection from viruses, spyware, and rootkits (a specific form of spyware). MSE is from Microsoft so it should work very well on Windows. (In practice, I found MSE had very little impact on the system, unlike the bloated McAfee or Norton monstrosities.)

Update: By default, MSE is included with Windows 8 and Windows 10. Confusingly, it has been renamed back to Windows Defender. So, if you have Windows 8 or Windows 10, you are all set in terms of having basic virus and spyware protection. It is still worth it to do an occasional MalwareBytes scan because MalwareBytes does find spyware that Windows Defender misses.

Note: For those using Mac OS X, I recommend installing the free Sophos Home virus protection. It has very minimal impact on the system. The chance of getting spyware or a virus on Mac OS X is low, but not impossible.

Before installing MSE, make sure to uninstall any existing spyware and virus real-time protection program (these real-time programs run all the time). You will want to go to Add/Remove Programs and uninstall the following programs if you have them:
MicrosoftSecurityEssentials

For those running Windows Vista or Windows 7, you will not be able to uninstall Windows Defender and will have to disable it manually before installing MSE. Supposedly, MSE will automatically disable Windows Defender, but there have been some feedback that this might not occur.

It is not necessary to uninstall non-real-time scanners such as the free MalwareBytes Anti-Malware, which only runs when you launch it and tell it to scan for spyware. If you don’t have MalwareBytes, I recommend installing it and once in a while, updating and running it as a second layer of protection, in case MSE misses some spyware.

Also, I recommend downloading ComboFix and leaving a copy of “combofix.exe” on your hard drive. ComboFix is a spyware and rootkit scanner which I have found to work when everything else failed.

  1. Disable your virus scanner before running ComboFix. (McAfee may falsely detect ComboFix as containing an Artemis trojan.)
  2. Reboot after ComboFix finishes. If you see any issues after restarting, you may wish to scan and repair Windows system files by running the “Command Prompt” as an administrator and executing the “sfc /scannow” command.

Finally, I’ll end this post with a tip on recovering from a spyware infection. The newer spyware knows about the popular anti-spyware and antivirus programs and will prevented them from being run. For example, if you have an infection and attempt to run Ad-Aware or Spybot, their windows will not appear (their processes are frozen in Task Manager). To get around this, find the executable file (right-click on the program shortcut and select Properties) and rename it. For example, I may rename ComboFix.exe to Dandelion.exe before running it.

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