Windows 7

Location of all user’s desktop and start menu in Windows 7

All user’s desktop: C:UsersPublicDesktop
All user’s start menu: C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart Menu

SSH Server and Windows 7 w/ Cygwin

In order to install openssh server correctly for Windows 7, you will need to do the following:

  1. Install Cygwin in the normal way. Make sure you’ve got openssh and cygrunsrv as selected packages to install.
  2. Right-click the Cygwin shell icon, and Run as administrator.
  3. Run ssh-host-config. Follow the prompts carefully: if needed, it will tell you which permissions you need to set and where. Remember to say yes to privilege separation: it will create a user for you called cyg_runsrv which all cygwin services will run under in Windows 7.
  4. You should be able to start the service using cygrunsrv –-start sshd, or by starting it as a normal service under Administrative Tools > Services.
  5. This does not automatically create and open firewall rules, so you will have to do this manually.

Problem Steps Recorder

A quick pffffft:

The Problem Step Recorder (PSR) is a little known feature of Windows 7 which allows you to record your desktop along with applications and activities so you can later show someone such as a tech support person or even give a demo on how to use something in Windows.  This is very handy if you are remote from the user or supporting them during hours where neither of you are able to work together in real time.

Thumbs up to Microsoft for adding this feature!

How-to use:

Click Start and type PSR and press Enter.  A window will open with some basic control features such as ‘record’. Now setup your environment so that you are ready to reproduce your steps and click Start Record.  When completed you stop the recording.  Problem Steps Recorder will record every click and key press, take screen grabs, and package everything up into a single zipped MHTML file.

As you can see, no need for third party apps, because you have what you need.

I hope this helps you one day or helps you help someone else.

 

VHD! Booting Windows 8

Why wipe your system clean to preview Windows 8 developer preview when you can simply use the good old VHD to boot it up on your system.

Here is the quickest method to do this.  <Warning — This is GEEK / not GREEK >

  • Boot from the Win8dev DVD or USB
  • When in setup the disk selection appears where to install to you press SHIFT-F10
  • A cmd window appears.
  • Now your drive letters may have shifted so do some DIR commands where you want the put the VHD file also choose a volume that has enough free space.
  • Then run diskpart:
    • create vdisk file=d:win8dev.vhd type=expandable maximum=50000 (for better performance do not use expandable, but creating the VHD may take some time.
      I choose about 50 GB in size
    • select vdisk file=d:win8dev.vhd
    • attach vdisk
  • Now alt-tab back to the disk selection window and click refresh, the VHD volume should appear, select it to install Windows in it.
  • Click next, Windows will install and reboot into next phase of Windows 8 setup
  • After another reboot the new Metro style boot menu appears where you can choose to boot from Windows 8 or Windows 7. Advanced options lets you set the default and change timeout. Also troubleshooting options are here.
  • The default is Windows 8 and it will run direct on your hardware

Install Updates on an EWF-Protected Image | Windows Thin PC

To update a run-time image that is protected by EWF RAM mode


  1. Use EWF Manager to disable the overlay by typing the following command:ewfmgr c: -disable
  2. Restart the system.
  3. Install the application or update.
  4. Wait for the install to complete and restart the computer if required.
  5. Re-enable the EWF overlay by using the following command:ewfmgr c: -enable
  6. Restart the system to re-enable the EWF overlay.

To update a run-time image that is protected by EWF RAM Reg mode


  1. Restart the device to clear the RAM overlay.
  2. Commit the overlay to the protected volume and disable the EWF overlay by typing the following command:ewfmgr c: -commitanddisable

    Because RAM Reg modes store EWF configuration data in the registry, you must commit the disable change to the protected run-time image. For more information, see Configure EWF RAM Reg Mode.

  3. Restart the system to disable the overlay.
  4. Install the application or update.
  5. Wait for the install to complete and restart the computer if required.
  6. Enable the EWF overlay by typing the following command:ewfmgr c: -enable
  7. Restart the system to re-enable the EWF overlay.

Disabling Windows Error Recovery

 

While doing some testing with Windows 7 ThinPC  I noticed that when locking the system state to revert to the base image each restart would show the Windows Error Recovery.  This is shown regardless of shutdown type; clean, dirty…

So to avoid seeing this, I have used the following command to set changed this behavior.   First open the cmd prompt as an administrator then type:  bcdedit /set {current} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures.

I later read that there is a command switch in my enabling of EWF named BootStatusPolicy which would IgnoreAllFailures.

 

 

 

Windows Vista/7 – Regain Lost Admin Access

Recently someone I knew decided to change their password, and later forgot it.  This account was the only Administrator account on the system.   And while their data was just fine they had no access to their desktop.  So they called upon ‘jermsmit’ to assist them in getting logged onto their system once again.   Here I will be providing the steps I took to get admin account to their system.

What you do with this information is for you to decide.

What is required?

  1. USB Stick – Loaded with a live distribution of Linux, or even a live Linux CD will work just fine
  2. A little bit of Linux and Windows cli knowledge (The live CD may also have a desktop UI, I still personally prefer using the cli for these operations)
  3. How to create a windows user account and elevate permissions via the windows command prompt

Now for the steps:

Boot the computer using the Live USB stick or Live CD
Once booted into the system; proceed to mount the windows file system
Once mounted browse to Windows System32

Here will we be renaming the file named ‘Utilman.exe’ to something like ‘Utilman.exe.backup’ I do not suggest deleting this, you will need it later to restore the system back to its normal behavior

Once the ‘Utilman.exe’ has been renamed, make a copy of ‘cmd.exe’ and name it ‘Utilman.exe’.
At this point you can reboot into Windows as you would do normally.

-After the reboot-

Windows will start up to the normal log-on screen.  At this point you will press the ‘Windows key’ and ‘U’
A command prompt window will open and be running at system level access (you have windows root)
Here you will be able to create a new account and give it administrator rights on the system:

How-To:  add account via the command prompt:

net user jermsmit password /add
net localgroup administrators jermsmit /add

After you have created your new logon account and granted it administrator rights, reboot and logon, you now are the administrator and can reset your other windows account password.

HowTo: Make a Windows 7 USB Flash Install Media while in Linux

Recently I had a need to install Windows 7 on a computer and I was out of DVD media to use. The only media I had was a 8GB USB Thumb drive. I have done this many of time in Windows itself with various of tools and eve manually. Now I do it in Linux also.

Here is a small list of items one would need:

  1. Windows 7 ISO Media
  2. 4GB or larger USB Pen Drive
  3. And Linux Install with root access (sudo, will work fine)

Open up a terminal and location the device that your USB drive is mounted to.

In my situation I had my USB Pen drive mounted at the following location /media/usb, the device was location at the following location /dev/sdb1

I first unmounted the drive using the following command:

sudo umount /dev/sdb1

I then changed directories until I was in the path of my Windows 7 .ISO image. This is not necessary; I do this out of habit. I then use the ‘dd’ command to copy the .ISO image to the USB Device (USB Pen Drive). Example: dd if=windows7.iso of=/dev/sdb1

After a short while the image is fully copied to the USB Pen Drive and you can then boot from this device to begin the Windows 7 Install

cently I had a need to install Windows 7 on a computer and I was out of DVD media to use. The only media I had was a 8GB USB Thumb drive. I have done this many of time in Windows itself with various of tools and eve manually. Now I do it in Linux also.

Here is a small list of items one would need:

  1. Windows 7 ISO Media

  2. 4GB or larger USB Pen Drive

  3. And Linux Install with root access (sudo, will work fine)

Open up a terminal and location the device that your USB drive is mounted to.

In my situation I had my USB Pen drive mounted at the following location /media/usb, the device was location at the following location /dev/sdb1

I first unmounted the drive using the following command:

sudo umount /dev/sdb1

I then changed directories until I was in the path of my Windows 7 .ISO image. This is not necessary; I do this out of habit. I then use the ‘dd’ command to copy the .ISO image to the USB Device (USB Pen Drive). Example: dd if=windows7.iso of=/dev/sdb1

After a short while the image is fully copied to the USB Pen Drive and you can then boot from this device to begin the Windows 7 Install

By |How-To, Technical|Comments Off on HowTo: Make a Windows 7 USB Flash Install Media while in Linux

No more ‘thumbs.db’ for me

I fist must state that these steps I am about to provide are to be used by those of us whom are neurotic about files stored on the file system.  While there are some good security reasons one may want to do this; I do what I am going to describe because I feel they clutter up my drive and dislike seeing or even knowing they are there.

My default windows (Win7 in my case) generation a file called thumbs.db in the folder that I am working in. The file thumbs.db is a thumbnail cache, used to store a small (thumbnail) image for Windows Explorer thumbnail view.  The idea is to speed up the display of images as the smaller image does not need to be recalculated (regenerated) every time the use views the contents of a folder.

So what do I do about it?  At first I use to delete them; that only makes me happy for that moment, as they come back like some kid with acne who pops one pimple to later show up again.

By using the Local Group Policy Editor I have found a better way to keep these guys /or gals from coming back.  You can start the Local Group Policy Editor by typing gpedit.msc in the search or run text box.

The Editor will open to the top-level Local Computer Policy, so you will have to expand the User Configuration item in the left-side pane of the Editor window.  Drill down through Administrative Templates, then Windows Components, and click on the Windows Explorer item.  Near the top of the list in the right-hand pane of the Editor window you will find the setting “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files”

To edit this policy setting, either double-click on the title of the policy or click the link titled “Edit Policy Setting” to the left of the setting list after you select the policy.  Check the “Enabled” button and click OK

Close the Local Group Policy Editor.  You may want to unhide all hidden file sand system files and do a search for the files and delete them.  And now I can be happy knowing they are gone.

By |How-To, Technical|Comments Off on No more ‘thumbs.db’ for me

UAC from Windows 7 Command Line

UAC (User Account Control) is the most obnoxious, nagging  windows that will drive you crazy and frustrate you while using Windows 7 or Vista.

One way to stop being annoyed is to disable it.  However doing so will make your computer less secure.  I in no way recommend anyone disable UAC, but I will provide a quick way to disable and enable via the command line.

Disable UAC

C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /k %windir%System32reg.exe ADD HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Enable UAC

C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /k %windir%System32reg.exe ADD HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

Both require a reboot to take effect.

By |How-To, Software, Technical|Comments Off on UAC from Windows 7 Command Line