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From time to time I want to print off a list of MP3 titles or digital photos stored in a folder. On Linux you would just direct the output of the listing command to the printer - something like:
ls -l > lpt1
but on Windows there wasn't an easy way to do this.

Microsoft have now 'fixed it' for XP, Vista and Win 7 with a patch that you can download from:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/321379
Halfway down this Knowledge Base article is a link to 'Fix it'. Click on this and you can download the file: MicrosoftFixit50548.msi

Double click this and a "Microsoft Fix it" window will appear. Accept the license terms and follow the instructions to add a 'Print Directory Listing' option to the pop-up menu when you right-click on a folder. It's quick, simple and worked on my Windows 7 system.

THE ANATOMY OF AN EMAIL MESSAGE

An email message is a string of text characters which on their own cannot hurt your computer. They can be used to trick you into doing things you may regret - like inadvertently wiping your hard disk. This article explains what you will find if you look inside an email and explains why you should be careful about multimedia emails and attachments.

You can view the raw text of the email you are reading by:

  • Outlook Express: Ctrl + F3
  • Mac OS X Mail: Option-Command-U
  • Thunderbird: Ctrl + U

it starts with 'headers' describing the message and how it arrived at your inbox:

Return-Path: somebody @ xyz.net
X-Original-To: you @ abc.com

This article is about desktop virtualisation - running your own personal cloud computing environment at home. I've found it easier to describe how to do it than to explain why you would want to. It may help if I set out my problems and how virtualisation has solved them.

Old PCs under the deskOver the years computers accumulated under my desk at home. A Windows Home Server (WHS) streamed music around the house and backed up my home network. It had recovered my wife's PC following a hard disk failure so that box was essential. A Linux system backed up the ICUFR and other web sites on my internet server and ran an IMAP mail server. My old office laptop running XP had Quickbooks, Garmin maps and a few other applications that I needed from time to time. And finally there was my main machine - originally XP but now upgraded to Windows 7.

All three PC's and the laptop were wired into a 4 port KVM switch which let me switch the keyboard, mouse and monitor between them. At least two and usually three were always on. They kept my electricity bills high, contributed to global warming and were very noisy.

Installing a New Guest OS on VMware Player

Welcome to VMware Player

Click on 'Create a New Virtual Machine' ..

New Virtual Machine Wizard

For flexibility select 'I will install the operating system later' then click 'Next' ..

Select a Guest Operating System

Select Windows or Linux and choose the version from the drop down list ..

Name the Virtual Machine

Give the new machine a name and select a folder where you want to create it ..

Specify Disk Capacity

Specify the initial disk size (this can be increased later) ..

Ready to Create Virtual Machine

Click 'Customize Hardware' to adjust settings such as the amount of memory to be allocated ..

Edit the Virtual Machine Hardware

Set the Network Adaptor to 'Bridged' for the Virtual Machine to have its own address ..

When any adjustments have been made click OK to create the new virtual machine ..

Insert the installation disk in the DVD drive and click: 'Play virtual machine' ..

The Virtual Machine will start up as a new (blank) machine and boot from the disk in the CD/DVD drive.

Creating Virtual Machines with VMware vCenter Converter

To get the vCenter Converter browse to this page and and click the link for the Converter software. The download page appears with a panel for you to 'Register for your FREE Download' or 'Simply Login' for those who have already registered. Having done this the 'Product Download' page comes up to install the Akamai Download Manager (DLM) or to start a 'Manual download'. It's a 123 MB download so you may find the DLM the better option. Choose the Windows or Linux download depending on the system your host machine is running. Windows will be assumed from here on.

When the download has finished install the Converter software as normal and double click the desktop icon to run it. The 'Welcome' screen informs you that the software can create virtual machines from physical machines and a range of backups and other virtual machines such as Microsoft VirtualPC. To convert a running physical machine click 'Convert Machine'.

The 'Conversion' window appears and you need to select:
- Source type: Powered-on machine
Specify the powered-on machine and access details for example -
- IP address or name: 192.168.x.xx or MYWIN7
- User name: Fred
- Password: xxxx
- OS family: Windows (or Linux)

Click 'Next' and you will get an error message: 'Unable to contact the specified host'', 'Incorrect credentials' or 'Insufficient permissions'. Until the Converter software can install an agent on the target machine nothing can happen. This is the difficult step but don't give up - just work through the following points and you should get there.
Permission problems

Keep clear in your mind what needs to happen. To install the agent the host machine must:

1. Be able to contact the target - you need to:

  • Shut down any firewalls on the host and target.
  • If you are running a Win7 / Vista 'Homegroup' go to the 'Network and Sharing Center' and change to a 'Work' type Network. You can waste a lot of time if you don't do this ..
  • Make sure the host and target machines are on the same local net and are set to the same 'Workgroup'.

2. The Converter software must log in with administrative rights.

  • For XP it should be enough to specify any password protected user account with 'Computer Administrator' rights.
  • Win7 is more security concious and will only allow the Converter program to install its agent if it logs in as the hidden 'Administrator' account. This is another stumbling block that can waste a lot of time. See this Tech Tip on how to activate this hidden account and set its password.

3. The software will write files to the C: drive - so the C: drive must be 'shared'.

  • Go to the target machine and right click on the drive.
  • On XP select 'Sharing and Security' and click 'Share this folder'.
  • On Win7 select 'Share with ..' > 'Advanced sharing' and then click 'Advanced Sharing'.
  • In both cases click 'Permissions' and allow full access to 'Everyone'.

When you can access the target's shared C: drive from Windows Explorer using the Administrator account on Win 7 or any user account with administrative rights on XP, it's time to restart the Converter Standalone software and try to install the agent once again.

When the software has installed the agent it needs to know where you want to store the virtual machine that will be created. The natural response is to give the file path to the folder where you want it stored. Another stumbling block - the software wants a 'UNC' and will reject a file path.

Where to store the virtual machine

A 'UNC' is the nework address of a 'shared' folder and this easy to provide. Open up Windows Explorer and go to the folder where you want the virtual machine to be stored. This can be anywhere in the folder hierarchy. Right click on it and share the folder with some simple name such as 'VImage'. If the name of the host machine is 'MYWIN7' then the UNC of the shared folder is: \\MYWIN7\VImage. Enter the UNC and log in details when Converter asks for them. Note the log in user/password is needed for the agent to access the VImage share on the host, so this will be your normal log in details for the host machine.

Click 'Next' and a summary of what will be included in the virtual machine is displayed - including all the drives and partitions on the target machine. You can edit the options for example by clicking on the list of drives and unticking those not required. When ready click 'Next' and then 'Finish'. The Converter agent will start to build the virtual machine which will take some time As an indication it took under two hours to create an image of my 40GB XP laptop.

When complete the virtual image is ready to run. Start the VMware Player, click the 'Open Existing VM or Team' icon and browse to the folder you specified ('VImage' in the example) to select the virtual machine.

   

Memory Lane  

   
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