Tag Archive: dynamic

Testing Windows 8 Developer Preview Version

Windows 8 Developer Preview

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

I’ve finally decided to test the next Windows edition, probably to be called Windows 8, although things like that are never certain in Microsoft-land.

Virtual Box

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

Win8 Dev VirtualBox Installation

I did a Virtual Box install, which is fairly straightforward.  There are many tutorials on-line now which show how to do this, so I won’t do a walk-through. I installed the 64-bit version which I downloaded from MSDN using my licence.  You can get the installs from the Microsoft Website here, which come in ISO format.  You can also find out more from the horse’s mouth here.

You can also set aside a partition on your hard-drive and install to that.  However, Virtual Box is the safe way to go should the partition install fail and corrupt your current installation somehow.

What I will say, is to use more memory allocation to the virtual installation than recommended elsewhere or as the default,  and to use as many virtual processors as your host machine has.….. My machine is an AMD 955BE, which is quad-core running at around 3GHz.  In other words, if you don’t want it to run like treacle, give it plenty processor and memory room;  at least the recommended values for Windows 7.  You can see all of this in the VirtualBox settings screenshot above.

Fast Install (added 24/11/11))

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade

Microsoft, on their MSDN blog, have made a big thing about the rapid installation for Windows 8, particularly for the upgrade route.  See Improving the setup experience.  I can say now that the clean install into the VirtualBox environment was very fast….

Briefly:

  1. You make a virtual machine in Virtual Box
  2. You set it’s parameters – processors, memory size, footprint size, IDE/SATA storage etc
  3. You set the downloaded ISO image to boot from in the settings.
  4. You boot by “Starting” the virtual machine.
  5. You install Windows into the filespace that you’ve previously set aside for it – I gave it a dynamic sized 50Gb.
  6. After that, let windows do it’s thing.  It took 10 minutes or so.
  7. Let it reboot.
Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Win8 Dev Loggged On Screen

Following this, you get a green screen from which country specifics are added, a username and finally, you enter your Live.com identity, if you have one, and if you want to!

Appearance

It’s a big green screen.  I don’t have a touchscreen, but it’s obviously designed for one.  It has massive buttons to a host of online services like weather & stocks, plus a few to your computer’s functions.

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

Win8 Dev Logon Screen

If you log off, you get presented with an American Rockies vista of a lonely winding road.  Essentially, the entry into Windows 8 is like a smartphone.  But what’s it like beneath the surface?

Windows 7 Legacy, and Vista Too!

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Obviously, this is a development preview release, and we can expect more of the same to come.

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Explorer Screen

But most work has gone onto the main intro screen because beneath the surface, all the various apps and settings controls are the old (current) Windows 7 interface.

Bizarrely, some screens even have vestiges of the green Vista, notably the main screen itself.

Personally, I think it’s very, very dour.  I can’t believe that two years of effort has gone into doing something that Android does on a more than twice-annual cycle….

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Win8 Dev Left Corner Hover Screen

Accessing the menus is the most unintuitive thing I’ve seen for ages!  Following on from the impressive Windows 7, it’s truly not just a user let-down, but somewhat infuriating as well…….    Whereas previously I just typed into the run bar to do almost anything, now I can’t even find programs or files!   No doubt there’s a way – but after Win7, it’s not intuitive and not helpful either.

I hope that’s not the end of the run box, because that feature in Windows 7 is awesome.

Control Panel

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

Win8 Dev Double Click Control Panel Screen

I haven’t checked through many apps (except a few desktop ones like the weird child-like paint thing and the weather which won’t do anywhere except California) but this is the control panel.

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

Win8 Dev Control Panel More Settings Screen

You then drill-down to get the old Win7 control panel on “More Settings”.

Initial Investigation Ends

Well that’s it for now.   To say I’m un-impressed by the big green monstrous front doesn’t give my opinion justice.  There doesn’t appear to be an easy way out of the front-screen apps and to have an app made for a  3-inch screen sat on a 23 inch desktop monitor really demonstrates the infantile  apps for what they are.

Way back in the nineties Microsoft tried their in-house Microsoft Network (MSN) which was a disc install that gave you a black desktop that gave dial-up access to features giving almost the same as this big green toy-town monster.

Not happy.

Watch this space as I delve more….

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How to Convert a Dynamic Disk to Basic Disk in Windows 7

How to Convert a Windows 7 Dynamic Disk to Basic Disk When  Microsoft says It’s Irreversible!

Firstly, Do Not Dance with the Devil!

I made the mistake (again!) of trying dynamic disks with my new Windows 7 installation.  I must have been asleep – the use of this system is seriously frowned upon for most users.  It has several pitfalls not least that it’s high-end Windows specific (i.e not home, basic etc), and it’s impossible to clone partitions for backup or moves, say.

But mainly, it’s supposed to be irreversible AND un-do-able!

Dynamic Disk Option

Dynamic Disk Option

To convert from basic to dynamic is frighteningly easy (see screen shot).  The reversing option disappears once it’s done and in virtually all Disk Partition Software,  any ‘partitions’, now called volumes, just show as one big monolithic slab of pale yellow disk that has any possible action greyed out!  This was really bad as it was on the system drive…

You’ll see in the screen-shot that there are 3 disks.

Disk 0 & disk 1 were an effort at user-data mirroring originally until I realised what I pile of poo I’d just landed in.  All the initial  recommendations were negative and the prognosis didn’t look good.  See:

Solution

HxD Screenshot

HxD Screenshot

However, this post gave me a pointer which eventually led to here and the HxD disc editing tool, here.   The Dynamic Disk Converter is a paid for solution and would have worked.  But I tried the Hex Editor approach after a bit more reading around the subject….  WARNING: See my comment on Dynamic Disk Converter here – added 27/7/2010(SP)

The trick, as in Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is 42!

Specifically, all 42‘s must be converted to 07.

The highlighted area contains the bit to edit and the numbers to edit in this area are those in column 02 that are 42.  So change all the 42’s to 07’s in column 02 in the four highlighted lines.  (n.b. The screendump was taken after I’d fixed the disc, so all the 42s are now 07 and some partitions have been deleted.)

That’s all.

Do NOT twiddle anything else.

Caveat

This post in the thread says to just alter one line – this is wrong!  (There’s a confusing addition at the bottom.  This relates directly to my experience, so yes, all real primary partitions are numbered 07)

And this post says to do them all – this is right.  It shows 3.

In my original pre-editted state, I had 4!  Handily, this shows the reason (I think), why you can only have 4 primary partitions on a drive.

Finale and Actual Actions Summary

Current Disks

Current Disks

Now you’ll see I have only two 07’s in the column (in the screenshot above).  These map to the two partitions showing in my Disk Management full screen-shot here.  For some reason, it had ‘remembered’ other volumes I’d made on the disk – that’s why I had 4 to do.

I was quite prepared to buy the paid-for software.  It looked good and worth the cash.  Instead:

  1. I very tediously moved ‘volumes’ into ‘partitions’ onto a third disk I entered into the system.
    1. This later disk needed it’s partitions resizing first to make room.
    2. It was hot-plugged using it’s SATA into the wire from the DVD as I didn’t have any spare SATA wires!  Doh!
  2. The moved data was from disk 0 & disk 1, all relevant stuff going to disk 2.
  3. Deleted all the volumes from Disk 1
  4. I could then set Disk 1 to basic using Windows as per Microsoft instructions.
  5. Moved all user data back to C-Drive volume (I had been in the process of separating data from programs).
  6. Backed up C-Drive volume and system state using Windows 7 Backup tool to new partition ‘BACKUP’ using all of Disk 1
    1. This was in case the following hex stuff failed.  It would allow an easy restore by:
      1. Install windows from DVD onto Disk 0
      2. Use Windows backup to reset system state and all the files & programs on the C-Drive on Disk 0
  7. Now used the Hex editor to edit the disk sector information as described above.
  8. REBOOT (fingers crossed!)
  9. WAHAY! It worked.
  10. Removed pseudo partition remaining on Disk 0 to leave unallocated space  – I think this was due to the invisible 1Mb database that exists on dynamic disks.

Plans

I’ve now got two new hard drives in the post.  When these have arrived and are installed, I’ll use standard tools to move partitions and get user data onto a RAID mirror assembly.  This will increase data integrity and give me a better backup.  You’d think that outboard backups would be fine, wouldn’t you?  Well I bought a Western Digital 1TB Studio Edition which worked okay for a while….

But it ran so hot the eSATA/USB circuitry failed!  I dismantled it and found the drive to be okay – this is the third disk, Disk 2 in the screen-shots!

Now, I have a new system with a better,  heavy-duty power supply, adequate (and quiet cooling), with the whole thing protected behind an APC UPS which I’ve had for a year.  Sticking to basic disks should make backups simpler and the whole thing should be more reliable – certainly more so than the WD Studio thing which is a pile of hot plastic pants.

p.s. added 5/12/2010: read this for my new recommended fast backup solution: http://strangelyperfect.tv/10155/what-is-the-best-backup-for-windows-in-a-small-home-or-office/

p.p.s. added 01/03/2012: I now recommend that folks use the free Easeus software, http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm  This will fix dynamic discs using a familiar graphical user interface so is way less scary.  Thanks to those that pointed this out.

p.p.p.s. added 11/11/2014:  I now find AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition works very well and I use it very much.  It has a large feature set for a free utility.

Stick to basic Disks – you know it makes sense!

Further Reading

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Early Morning Walk with New Camera (and dog!)

Strangely post on March 21st, 2009
Posted in Art Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[singlepic id=1745 w=480 h=360 float=center]These are a few pictures taken with my new Panasonic Lumix TZ5.  They show the first real flowers in the back garden, some daffodils across the canal and some ethereal and dynamic shots from down the canal that demonstrate the effect of sunlight on reed beds with the sun for and against you!  There are a few ‘burst mode’ shots of his majesty, George, the dog,  running – before he’s had his hair hacked off, that is.

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The Problem with Microsoft and Oledb32.dll

Another day, another Microsoft security alert..

This morning, another raft of advisories arrived in my mail from Secunia, this is one;
Internet Explorer Data Binding Memory Corruption Vulnerability

This rivetting title is like deja-vu.  Time and again we’ve seen this.  This is the fault of a company, Microsoft, that puts form before function, functionality before security.

Yet again, the core problem stems from years back when Microsoft had the bright idea to get everything linked together, like the internet is now, but different.  The key is the method of linking.

When you connect to a web page, like this one, you connect, when you decide you want to.

Microsoft, unfortunately, have everything set up as they originally envisaged it, that is, everything is permanently connected to everything else!  And that’s the problem!

If you have Visual Studio, say 2008, as I have, when web applications are constructed, one of the key things you’ll notice is the data-binding going on.  The wizards and the help system are all permanently geared to doing this!

This is totally at-odds with a dynamically connected internet

This latest problem hangs around OLEDB32.dll   In M$ shorthand, this stands for “Object Linking and Embedding Data Base 32-bit Dynamic Linked Library”

There we have it, Linking & Embedding.  This is wonderful technology for putting spreadsheets in Word documents within the corporate offfice environment.  However, when passing secure information over unsecured internet lines, it’s not!  Of couse, you can delete oledb32.dll, but then you cannot access any data….doh!

Despite the continuous obvious failings of this methodology, just listen to the sanctimonious obfuscatory speech in their “Security Advisory” here: Microsoft Security Advisory (961051): Vulnerability in Internet Explorer Could Allow Remote Code Execution

Our investigation so far has shown that these attacks are only (my emphasis!) against Windows Internet Explorer 7 on supported editions of Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 Service Pack 4, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, and Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 on all supported versions of Microsoft Windows are potentially vulnerable

Basically, this means all their current operating systems and browsers!  Not “only”….

The vulnerability exists as an invalid pointer reference in the data binding function of Internet Explorer. When data binding is enabled (which is the default state), it is possible under certain conditions for an object to be released without updating the array length, leaving the potential to access the deleted object’s memory space. This can cause Internet Explorer to exit unexpectedly, in a state that is exploitable.

Well that’s what’s wrong.  So what are Microsoft going to do, I can hear you asking?  It’s their software design, after all?

We are actively investigating the vulnerability that these attacks attempt to exploit. We will continue to monitor the threat environment and update this advisory if this situation changes.  On completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to protect our customers, which may (my emphasis) include providing a solution…   Microsoft continues to encourage customers to follow the “Protect Your Computer” guidance of….having a firewall and anti-virus…

So Microsoft is looking, and if it gets worse they’ll let us know!!!

Let’s have the final word on this  from the Secunia Advisory;

NOTE: Reportedly, the vulnerability is currently being actively exploited.

The vulnerability is confirmed in Internet Explorer 7 on a fully patched Windows XP SP3 and in Internet Explorer 6 on a fully patched Windows XP SP2, and reported in Internet Explorer 5.01 SP4. Other versions may also be affected.

We all bought into the “Welcome to Microsoft” world.  We are all fully patched.  Caveat Emptor.

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The Air Powered Car – Better than Batteries

Finally it’s starting to dawn on a few people that battery powered cars are not the way out of our low-carbon energy conundrum.

Bolivia holds key to electric car future.  In this piece, the BBC note that Lithium, the 3rd element in the periodic table, a major power source for everyone’s laptops and mobile phones, is actually a finite resource as well!  

Within 10 years, lithium supplies will be hard to find….

So for transport, batteries are out because of the costs of materials and recycling, biofuels are out because we have to eat, nuclear is out because it’s too heavy and er..well, yes quite, hydrogen is too fanciful.

But as I’ve said several times in these pages, Guy Negre already has a clear concept of a clean and practical transport power source.  Like all other solutions it’s dependant on another source, in this case electricty, just like battery cars.  But the motive power is his highly efficient (because of the knuckled con-rod) and clean compressed air engine!

Previous Articles

The future is bright!  The future is air powered!
Now to the real world…   In these credit crunching slumping times, the survivors in retail are those shops that actually have a product to sell at the exact time a potential customer wants to buy it! The world’s car makers are having a hard time, especially the big US ones who continue to make huge montrosities that no-one wants to buy!
Their resistance to change, given the dynamic and creative nature of the US economy and people, is staggering!  Why don’t they change?  
Guy Negre is showing the way forward with his concept of local factories making the vehicles suitable for a local market, but using his efficient low pollution power source.  It would not be a big change for them to follow suite.  After all, Dagenham in the UK is a US owned and run factory of Ford’s.  If they had 20 little Ford factories it would be the same as one big one….  They’d at least make a profit!

Whatever happens or how we do it, the realities of inadequate resources to power transport for the global masses must be faced.  The Air Powered Car is a good solution.  It’s primary energy source is electricity, which can be made in a multitude of ways and can be best stored using the potential energy of water, pumped up a hill for controlled release through generators, to take account of diurnal and other fluctuations in demand.  This is old, known technology that can be implemented now!  The UK has had a facility like this at Dinorwig for years…  This pumped storage system, even though it’s smallish and unique (with all the problems that that entails), paid for itself within 10 years.  Stuff like this must be done on a global scale….

For example, the United States, huge, sunny, mountainous, large coastline and deserts.  It also has the largest demand for transport and fuel…

The US is so fortunate!  It has a bounteous resource in sunshine, wind and tides – more than enough to make as much electricty as they’ll ever need.  There’s no need to keep digging coal in Pennsylvania or drill for oil in Alaska or the Gulf of Mexico.  They just need to open their eyes, use the energy of the sun and pump water up the Rockies!  Air powered engines can easily use this energy.

Air powered engines aren’t new (they power torpedoes for instance), but Guy Negre’s patented engine has been developed almost solely by himself for a decade now, against huge industry opposition.  The internal combustion engine (ICE) has been around for just over a century.  Now who would (or could) have imagined the changes in engines and transport that have happened after looking at Benz’s first, very, very expensive car?  

That’s the kind of conservative pessimism we have to overcome.

That’s the kind of potential we’ve got with the air-powered car!

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