Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IE9 overtakes IE6?

Wow, its not even been released yet, but IE9 is ahead of IE6 in my stats for the last few days.  God bless Beta software, and all those who crash their computers with it.  Just that IE8 mountain to climb now, then.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Preparing a Windows 7 installation USB key

This is hardly rocket science, I’m mainly blogging it in case I have to find it in the future!  Installing Windows 7 from USB key is a much more pleasant experience than messing about plugging an external DVD drive into your netbook…

To prepare a USB storage device as an installation source for Windows 7:

1. Connect the USB storage device to a computer running Windows 7 or Windows Vista. Ensure that the storage device has no data stored on it that you want to keep as you will wipe it.  This needs to be 4gb or greater unless you have done something exciting like used vlite to slim down the Windows 7 installation files to just the ones you need.

2. Open an elevated command prompt (click Start, All Programs, Accessories, right click Command Prompt and select Run As Administrator) and type diskpart.

3. At the DISKPART> prompt, type list disk. Identify which disk connected to the computer represents the USB storage device.

4. At the DISKPART> prompt, type select disk X where X is the number of the disk that you have identified as the USB storage device.

5. At the DISKPART> prompt, type clean. When the disk is clean, type create partition primary.

6. At the DISKPART> prompt, type format fs=fat32 quick. When the format is completed type active and then exit.

7. After you have completed these steps, copy all the files located on the Windows 7 installation DVD to the USB storage device.

8. Configure the BIOS computer on which you want to install Windows 7 to boot from the USB storage device. Attach the USB storage device and then reboot the computer to start installation.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Windows Live Writer Has Stopped Working (for no good reason)

I love Windows Live Writer, I really do.  Its the best way of blogging with blogger and one of the main reasons I have not completely abandoned Windows for Ubuntu on my netbook - but there is one annoying bug in it.  When you try to add an image which is already open in another program you get the useful error “a problem caused the program to stop working correctly” – and it then doesn’t crash, but does not actually add an image.  Anyway, just close the other program and try again.

A more useful error message please Microsoft?

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Windows 7 – Always show icons in the System Tray

Windows 7 changes the default functionality of the System Tray to hide icons created there by default.  Instead, users have to click a strange up arrow:

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It can be fixed per user and per application by clicking Customise, and changing icons to “Show icon and notification”.

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There is also a checkbox for “Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar” – again, this is per user.

To stop this behaviour for all users you can force all System Tray icons to be visible on the Taskbar in regedit.  Open Regedit and find:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorerimage

Create a new DWORD value called EnableAutoTray.  Leave its value as 0 (zero).  Log off and log back on or reboot and regardless of what you have previously set, all icons are now visible.  Setting it to 1 will set it back to default for everyone, and removing the key lets you define it per user by putting it in HKCU.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Windows 7 overtakes Windows XP?

Now I know that Windows 7 already makes Vista look like an unpopular and almost forgotten relation who hasn’t come round for Christmas for years, but I was surprised to see on my stats for the last month (and I had quite a lot of hits this month, so these aren’t mostly me or anything) that Windows 7 had overtaken the aged and wrinkly Windows XP as the biggest Windows OS among my visitors.

Anyway, I’m quite glad to see this sudden and long overdue demise of Windows XP, since I had started to think in the Vista years that I would be seeing it hanging around more or less forever. 

In non Windows operating systems, Linux came second with 5%, followed by Mac on 2.2%.  I had one iPhone visitor.  Crazy. 

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Scripting an uninstall of any Windows program

Something I’ve had to figure out for a script to uninstall any version of the Citrix client without prompting the user is to find how to uninstall any specific program.

This is saved in the registry for every installed program and the string for a program from one PC should work on any PC – providing its the same version of the program. 

Open Regedit and go to this location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\

Below this location are lots of folders with GUID names – press CTRL-F and type something from the name of the product you need the uninstall line for.  It should jump to the right folder (check it has!) and then look for the value “UninstallString”.  The contents of this are what you are after.  Mostly this will start msiexec.exe…

You might well want to edit it before you include it in a script – for instance on an MsiExec.exe command adding the switches “REBOOT=ReallySuppress /qb!-“ will suppress a reboot and make it completely non-interactive, so the user just sees a brief status bar as it uninstalls.  Without it, it might prompt for uninstall or a reboot.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Installing XenApp 6

It seems like a long wait (because it’s been a long wait) but finally the wait for XenApp 6 is over.  This is something I’ve been waiting for after forming a low opinion of XenApp 5 in benchmarking and I’m looking forward to seeing what a more developed version of XenApp is like, especially running on Windows Server 2008 R2 (or “Windows 7 Server” as they really should have called it)

Downloaded the massive 4.8gb ISO of XenApp 6, so its time to install a test farm.

  • Install Windows 2008 R2, with .NET 3.5 sp1
  • Logon to the server again but NOT USING REMOTE DESKTOP!  Use VNC, use ILO, plug a monitor in, just don’t use Terminal Services.  It won’t work.
  • Extract the XenApp 6 ISO to a folder on the network with 7zip
  • Run autorun.exe (as administrator)
  • Click Install XenApp Server

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  • Click Add Server Roles

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  • Select your XenApp edition.  In my case, its Enterprise. 

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  • Choose your server roles.  You will need at least a license server as well, but if you have a spare machine (a virtual is fine) its a good role to have a dedicated server for.  Remember it will have to be Windows Server 2008 R2 as well if its going to be serving your Terminal Services CALs.

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  • Choose your server roles.  XenApp Server is the only required one for your first server, but the XenApp Management role might be a good idea for one of your servers so you can host the app on the farm.  You can also install the XenApp Management tools to your PC, which is a good idea for when there’s a problem with your farm that stops you launching apps!  I’ve also selected the EdgeSight Agent as well since I’m planning to deploy an EdgeSight server later on.

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  • That’s a lot of Visual C++ Redistributables.  No Java pre-req though, thank God.  Click Install to carry on, agree to any UAC prompts and log back in after reboots as needed.  If you have not installed the Remote Desktop roles before install you’ll need to restart it manually when it tells you the restart was pending.  After reboot, run XenApp Server Role Manager to carry on.

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  • After install, click Finish.  Select the Role Manager from the Start Menu if its not launched and click Configure to set up your farm.

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The server should now be ready to join to a farm or create a new one.  After this it will need licensing – so the licensing components seen above need installing somewhere and some Citrix licenses adding.  You will need Terminal Services CALs within 120 days as well.

The web interface install is the other requirement for actually using your farm.  Older versions work fine with XenApp 6 (at least the XenApp 5 ones do), but the web interface 5.3 ships new with XenApp 6.  All this can be installed on a single server but its best to separate the different functions if you can.