Thursday, March 28, 2013

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mount Folder as Drive in Windows XP

If you need to mount a folder as a driver letter in Winodws XP use the following command.

subst e: e:\folder
See the following link Microsoft Windows XP - Subst.

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/subst.mspx?mfr=true

Thursday, August 5, 2010

*Improved Single Click* UltraVNC is No Longer Slow in Windows Vista

Update 1/30/2012: Before reading the following visit joinme.com. They offer an amazing service that might suite your needs.

In some conditions is it necessary for the user to initiate the help-desk connection. Perhaps they are behind a firewall, at a hotel, or some other hard to reach location. In this case UltraVNC's SingleClick tool is very useful. However, since Microsoft has released more advanced operating systems such as Windows Vista the tool has ran very slow. I offer a solution to this problem.

Up to this point the only solution I had to offer was including a "hacking tool" in the self extracting package, and then launching it before the user initiated the connection. This worked well until many anti-viruses identified the tool and alerted the user that it may be unsafe. To be perfectly clear I have seen a very popular anti-virus attack UltraVNC for being some sort of hacking tool. So be sure that the user understands why anti-virus software would falsely warn them about the tools you are using.

I spent some time working on a solution that eliminates the need for the hacking tool. The solution was to run a rundll32 command and shutdown a system service, and then undo the changes after the connection was closed.

Please note that I only tested this once on a Windows Vista machine, but I believe that it will work on a Windows 7 machine. You may download the configuration files and compiler here. If it doesn't work on Windows 7 you could always have the user turn off all visual styles using the advanced performance settings.

To configure the tool unzip the file you have downloaded and open the SC_VNC_Files folder. The folder contains a file named "helpdesk.txt". Open this file and change the server to your IP address and modifiy the information accordingly. When you are finished configuring the tool, run the Compile.bat file to make "Single_Click.exe"

If you are having trouble with your quest to create your own tool, leave comments and I will reply quickly.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How to Run a Headless Virtual Machine

When running a virtual machine (using VirtualBox) on top of your primary system sometimes you might wish for the window to just go away. In the event that you want to log into the machine you could just use Remote Desktop instead of having a window open at all times. I searched the web looking for bits and pieces of information on how to "close VirtualBox but keep [the] machine running." Eventually I came up with a solution that I thought was acceptable.

My solution ended up being a special VB script. One that could even be launched on startup via a simple shortcut. Before you create your script you may want some background on starting VirtualBox in headless mode. VBoxHeadless.exe is a command line application that allows you to start a virtual machine that you have already created without a graphical interface. In a default installation VBoxHeadless.exe is located in "C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\". Below I have shown you the proper usage for version 3.2.2. You may also download this information from my box.net account.


Oracle VM VirtualBox Headless Interface 3.2.2
(C) 2008-2010 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

Usage:
   -s, -startvm, --startvm [name|uuid]   Start given VM (required argument)
   -v, -vrdp, --vrdp on|off|config       Enable (default) or disable the VRDP
                                         server or don't change the setting
   -p, -vrdpport, --vrdpport [ports]     Comma-separated list of ports the VRDP
                                         server can bind to. Use a dash between
                                         two port numbers to specify a range
   -a, -vrdpaddress, --vrdpaddress [ip]  Interface IP the VRDP will bind to
   -c, -capture, --capture               Record the VM screen output to a file
   -w, --width                           Frame width when recording
   -h, --height                          Frame height when recording
   -r, --bitrate                         Recording bit rate when recording
   -f, --filename                        File name when recording.  The codec
                                         used will be chosen based on the
                                         file extension


So in my case I am launching a virtual machine I have named "Debain", without quotes of course. My command would be:

C:\Progra~1\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxHeadless.exe -s Debian

Now if I were to launch that from a regular "Run" box in windows it would show me a black DOS-like box. If your goal is to get rid of that black box then you should continue. Still reading? Glad to hear it. Below I have copied some code from a Yahoo Answers post.

'=====================================
Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
obj = WshShell.Run("H:\test.bat", 0)
set WshShell = Nothing
'=====================================

Copy that code into a blank notepad document and save it as "HIDECMDWINDOW.vbs". The file extension must be ".VBS". Replace the "H:\test.bat" with your command to launch "VBoxHeadless.exe". My code looks like this:

'=====================================
Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
obj = WshShell.Run("C:\Progra~1\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxHeadless.exe -s Debian", 0)
set WshShell = Nothing
'=====================================

When you open the VB script, VBoxHeadless.exe will open in the background (you will not receive feedback). Your computer may ask you to allow port 3389 to open. If it does this is OK, because it is your remote desktop port.

Now if you want to log into the virtual machine using remote desktop all you have to do is open Remote Desktop Connection and type in local host as your server. (127.0.0.1 or localhost)

If you have any questions or comments please use the comment feature.

Sources/useful links:
http://johnmee.com/2008/10/start-headless-vbox-on-windows/
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071011212557AAofTy6

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Amazon EC2 Needs Automated Power Management

I have been experimenting with Amazon EC2 for the last few days. It turns out Amazon wants its users to leave their servers running at all hours of the day. Imagine if you were a small business and have recently expanded to the cloud. You may only need your cloud server to run from 7:30am to 5:30pm during normal weekdays. Amazon EC2 had no form of automated power management. It seems that the developers of the product have gotten caught up in making new features work, but have forgotten about how the customer feels about paying per hour.