Monday, November 19, 2012

Restore Windows 8 from a .wim file

1) Download the WAIK (W7 version is fine) 2) copy file IMAGEX.EXE from the WAIK to a directory -- use the correct IMAGEX file for the Windows you want to restore -- it sits in the TOOLS directory of the WAIK. (AMD64 for Windows 8 x-64, or the version in x-86 for 32 bit version. Don't use the one in the IA directory). 3) then simply run the command : imagex.exe /apply install.wim 1 d:\ (d is the assumed drive you are using for your target system and the .WIM is the name of your .WIM file --I've just taken as an example the standard "INSTALL.WIM' file that exists on the install media for Windows 8 Consumer Preview). Note this must be a device (can be a USB etc) which already has an ACTIVE partition on it. You'll also need to create the Boot image after the WIM has restored run bcdboot.exe d:\windows /s d: /f ALL (assumed d is the device where you have restored the WIM image via imagex). You will actually need a Windows 8 system to create the boot record --the W7 version of this program has slightly different parameters So the easiest way if you don't have a Windows 8 system is just quickly install a "Mickey Mouse" one -- takes about 10 mins - 15 mins -- doon't bother with finding drivers etc -- all you want it for is to run the bcdboot command and then you can get rid of it. You could even use a VM.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unexplained black screen using Windows 8

This may be why. Okay I just came across some new information that I think explains the random black screens I get sometimes in Windows 8. I've seen it trying to start Flight Simulator X for example. Makes sense since in Windows 7 starting FSX you always get message that aero has been temporarily disabled but not in Win8 because it's not possible to turn it off Application fails due to graphics and display issues Since Desktop Window Manager (DWM) is always on in Windows 8, some older Windows XP era apps can fail if the app uses mixed mode graphics APIs, as in using both GDI and DirectX APIs to draw to the screen (mostly older games), and tries to use full screen mode: DWM will prevent painting directly to the desktop and the game or app will either fail, or draw a black screen on to the desktop and none of the graphics will be visible In such cases, when the app quits, Windows detects that the app or game has a problem with full screen mode, and applies the DXMAXIMIZEDWINDOWEDMODE compatibility mode that allows the app or game to run in a maximized windowed mode instead of a full screen mode.

Gen Petraeus dead drop email and Skype

I always knew Skype employed it's own encryption so the following is an easy way to make use of it if you don't want to end up like Gen. David Petraeus and have all your secrets revealed to the work. Petraeus and his mistress should have taken far more measures than the rudimentary ruses they used that were already well known and ineffective. The dead drop email account works well if the server where the account resides is in a nation that has no diplomatic relations with the USA or any of its allies. That way, any requests from US authorities will be ignored. So the only way that US authorities can get into the account and examine it is to know the actual URL and the username and password. That can easily be hidden from authorities. Petraeus and his girlfriend should have taken the following measures and I would advise anybody else to do this: 1. Set up the email dead drop account on a server out of any US jurisdiction. 2. Ensure that your computer does not have any malware such as keyloggers. 3. Access the dead drop email account via an anonymous proxy server in another nation. 4. Encrypt the actual message with strong encryption software that has no backdoors. Only problem with above scheme is that with cloud computing servers could be spread across the globe and you have no idea if it's using one in the US or Amazon. There is another very good way of exchanging messages and it's so crude and simple that I'm surprised that Petraeus and his mistress didn't think of it. It is literally unbeatable. Here is the way: 1. Set up a Skype connection to your target. 2. Call your target and establish a video call. 3. When connected, make innocuous conversation. 4. While talking, write your message on a piece of paper and hold it up to the webcam. 5. Your target can respond with her own message held up to her webcam. How simple is that? Unless the authorities actually intercept the actual video feed, which is highly unlikely, as Skype is encrypted on the fly, then nothing is sent or received and the paper that the messages are written on can be destroyed on the spot. So folks, there's a couple of ways to avoid scrutiny by anybody. Good luck

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Windows 8 and Linux mounting bug

Just came across this bug by accident now that I'm running Windows 8 24/7. ntfs-3g refuses to mount Windows8 not using hibernation HOW TO REPRODUCE: 1) Boot into Windows8, use its "Restart" button 2) From Ubuntu 12.04, try to mount the Windows8 partition: sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb8 /media/Windows8partition EXPECTED RESULT: The Windows partition is mounted in write/read mode. OBSERVED RESULT: The partition is not mounted. The output of the command is: Windows is hibernated, refused to mount. Failed to mount '/dev/sdb8': Opération non permise The NTFS partition is hibernated. Please resume and shutdown Windows properly, or mount the volume read-only with the 'ro' mount option, or mount the volume read-write with the 'remove_hiberfile' mount option. For example type on the command line: mount -t ntfs-3g -o remove_hiberfile /dev/sdb8 /media/Windows8partition Remarks: - this bug is not present in 11.10 - this bug is severe as it makes Wubi fail on Win8 ( Bug #1042159 ) Hopefully it'll get fixed soon. p.s. I think the most interesting thing I've learned out of the whole thing is how Windows 8 gets it's faster boot times is by lying to you and not actually shutting down your pc at all when you tell it to "Also, the fact that Microsoft consider "Restart" a true restart and "Shut down" a hidden, system hibernation is not intuitive or logical" Delivering fast boot times in Windows 8

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How to deactivate your Windows key if you ever have the need to: "slmgr.vbs –upk" command Note: Yes you can reuse the key on another computer, but phone activation will be required.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Windows 8 first impressions

Okay I've been running Windows 8 Pro for the last couple of days and wanted to give my initial impressions of the top of my head as someone that's been using Windows forever i.e. Win 3.11 First, it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be and then again not really impressed either. First I ran the compatibility checker of course and it said all hardware was compatible and only had a couple of software problems like it said I had to uninstall security essentials and wireshark not compatible. Not bad I thought. First impressions are important and the Windows 8 setup program I had to use since I bought the download version didn't give a good impression. It was more confusing that the older Win7 installer. I mean I couldn't tell if I could install on separate partition. Only options were erase everything or upgrade everything. Later I figured out you can get the more familiar win 7 installer where it lets you choose what partition to install on and let's you erase, create new partitions only if you rerun the win8 setup program and choose to burn it to dvd or make bootable usb stick! Anyways, I did a dual boot install just to play it safe and keep Win7 around if needed and sure enough I did The reason is that after finishing the install ,which didn't really seem much faster than Win7, and actually I thought it locked up at one point but hard to tell now with the new plain blue 4 square logo which doesn't even pulsate anymore like the Win7 did when you booted After the install finished I found out that my wireless didnt' work That's right even though it said my wireless was compatible it didn't work and I just got yellow exclamation next to it. I was about to give up but I figured I just try the trick I did when Vista first came out which is use another wireless usb stick to connect to the net and see if windows could find any drivers for it and sure enough that worked, well sort of, I got a message earlier today saying windows disabled it even though it seemed to be working fine last couple of days so I went back into device manager and disabled and enabled it and seems to be working again Also, I noticed before the first time you log into Windows 8 it plays a video showing you how to use Windows by moving your mouse to the edges. I thought this is pretty bad that they have to show a video just so people can figure out how to use the GUI! If you don't want to waste time fumbling around trying to figure out where everything went disappeared to I recommend watching this great video they explain all the new changes and tips and tricks like the Win+X shortcut! Windows 8 Jump Start Module 1: After watching that video I didn't hate it so much anymore since I was able to pretty much recreate everything just like in Win7 and stay in the desktop instead of the new metro stuff Only thing that still annoys me and don't know if there is way to fix it is how slow the start icon and everything else takes to come up when you move your mouse to a corner of the screen. I know it's only a fraction of a second but it's still noticeable and that's why I just use the Windows key now to switch between things! Otherwise, every program I've installed other than Wireshark seems to work in Win8 just like Win7. My WEI score is the same in Win8 as it was in Win7 so seems no performance change according to that benchmark. Seems to be way more stable than Vista or even Win7 when it first came out. Haven't had a crash or even a pause in the GUI like I used to get with those when they first came out so that's a good sign. Second thing I didn't like is that there was like a 200MB update as soon as I logged in and unlike Win7, Win8 rudely rebooted my computer in the middle of a browsing session and didn't warn me or give me option to postpone reboot At least on Mac OS X there is option now to restore all your windows and browser to the way they were even after a reboot Some of the things I like about it so far that I have found is that you can now read pdf file without having to install acrobat just like mac os has always been able to, and IE comes with Flash already built in too. It's always annoying the first thing you have to do when you do a clean install of Windows is having to install all those basic programs. I really like the new task manager it gives you a lot more info than before and Microsoft now has something that even mac os does which is very cool and needed by people nowadays with bandwidth caps, metered connections. If your right click your wireless it'll tell you how much bandwidth you have used. Now that I think about it a lot of the new stuff in Win8 seems like it's copied directly from OS X. For example, there are no games included now and you have to get minesweeper and solitare from the app store! The icons on the metro screen are just like a cross between the widgets in OS X dashboard and launchpad if you ever used that. It's like they stole some of the Xbox gui and brought it into windows. Smartscreen, which caught me off guard first time I tried installing something, is Microsoft's version of Gatekeeper which does the same thing on OS X. So that is one of the new security features they added to Win8. Secure boot is another but I haven't messed with that. Biggest disappointments to me is that Win8 isn't 64bit only like we thought it would be a couple of years ago Also, the registry is still there which IMO sucks because it's to easy to corrupt and grow out of hand and eat up all your diskspace! The .net stuff is almost as bad. I've been saying since XP why can't they include .net into windows instead of making you download it like Java? A couple of programs I tried to run said I needed the .net 2 or 3 mainly Steam games and so I had to download another 20-200MB file for that to work and you have to be connected to net to download it since there is no standalone version Also, only the server version got the new filesystem ReFS, win8 only got storage spaces, which sounds like more software raid stuff to me? I think the hardcore geeks like myself are going to have to accept the fact that the future of Windows and Mac OS X is going to become and more geared to the iPod and Xbox crowd with their simplistic touch gui. I guess I'd probably be way more impressed if I had a touch capable PC since a lot of the new stuff seems to be geared towards that? I mean the command line is still there somewhere but it's hidden pretty good just like in OS X. Only thing I've really seen for geeks is something that macs and linux have been able to do for a long time already which is run the operating system from an external or usb stick, called windows to go. Finally, haven't really seen any performance increases or disc space savings to warrant being in a rush to upgrade. My boot times are pretty much the same as with Win7 but then again I have an SSD drive so it's always been pretty fast with that. In fact upgrade said I need at least 20GB of space min! I thought Win7 was only 15 and xp only like 10? Personally, I think I'll stick with Win8 it since I need to do a clean install on my SSD anyways since I have a whole bunch of old Windows 7 updated hogging up my SSD and haven't really had any major show stoppers so far p.s. Make sure you get the free media center upgrade while you can otherwise you can't even play dvd's without installing powerdvd or some other program!
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