Monday, June 20, 2005

Install via RDP...

I don't know if you have ever tried installing stuff via RDP and got the error 'You must be logged on as an Administrator blah blah' even though you actually are logged on with an Administrative account... here is how you fix that:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Go forth, and install...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

WiX Rocks!!!

I remember reading about WiX a while ago, back I when I was doing more packaging. Never really gave it a good look at the time though.

Recently I was looking at creating a few custom installers (like an updated OpenSSH for Windows) and I immediately turned to NSIS. I started reading through the doco, and then remembered something about an xml based Windows Installer tool... WiX. A Google later I had found the binaries and a veeeeery nice tutorial.

And let me just say, it fucking rocks. I haven't even scratched the surface of what it can do, but I'll get there and share my learnings along the way.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Something to watch late...

This is pretty cool... watching it by myself in the darkness of 1am made the impact greater, I am sure.

It's funny how you stumble across stuff like this... I was trying to find some more info on Windows Installer internals when I came across it. But then again, that's what makes the web, the web.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Alas, another sleepness night... anyway, a quick note on extending vmware disks.

vmware comes with a command-line disk utility called 'vmware-vdiskmanager'. You can use this to do a number of things, but the main things are creating disks before you create a new vm, or extending existing vmdk's. I like to use it to create disks for any new vm I'm configuring, and then hitting the resulting -flat.vmdk file with contig.exe (from sysinternals) to ensure my vm is being built on a contiguous file. I'm also in the habit of creating fixed size disks so they don't become fragmented at a later date. I think it's a good practice to just create smallish primary disks for your OS (2Gb-4Gb, depending on your pagefile requirements), and then adding a second disk for whatever else you want to install. This is in line with how most enterprises would like to run their servers - not with such a tiny system drive, but segregating the OS disk from any application / data disks (even if that separation is only based on logical volumes). It also helps with fitting more vm's onto one physical disk. Quite often you're not using vm's for big installs anyway - more likely messing around with additonal OS components like DNS/DHCP/IIS/clustering/ etc or testing GPO's or other OS level config changes.

So anyway, to create a 2Gb IDE fixed-size disk, you issue the following command from the shell vmware-vdiskmanager -c -s 2Gb -a ide -t 2 "Windows XP Professional + SP2.vmdk" and then run contig -v "Windows XP Professional + SP2-flat.vmdk" after the disk is created. To see all the available parameters, just run vmware-vdiskmanager on it's own.

BTW, if you want to use the LSI Logic SCSI adapter with Windows 2000, you need this driver.

Thats about it for now... I'm feeling sleepy again.

Monday, June 13, 2005


I doubt you're ever needed the CAPSLOCK key... I know I never have. But if I had a dollar for everytime I've accidentally hit it mid-password, and then wondered why the hell my authentication failed, I'd be $2 richer... $3 tops. But 2 or 3 times is enough to annoy me - hey, when was the last time you met a tolerant sys admin?

So here's how you can turn it into an extra LShift.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,2a,00,3a,00,00,00,00,00
"Scancode Comment"="CAPSLOCK is now the same as LShift"

Schweeeet :). Windows being Windows, a reboot is needed to bring it into effect. If you want to just make it a null key, change the '2a' to '00'. Or if you want to make it some other key, download this and have a read. And if for some reason you ever want to go back, just:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]

and Robert is your father's brother!