PC Repair & Support
 MS Removal Tool... Removal
 Codeine for Coding
 Chatty Man!
 vSphere vs. the domain!
 "Please could you have a look at...
 Windows 7 and Solid State Disks
 Late Nights, or Early Mornings?
 "Task Manager has been disabled ...
 How to export DNS Zone records i...
  Employers & Assignments
   Testimonials - Nortel/Avaya GTT
   Testimonials - Nortel S/W Dist.
  Certification & Training
  Curriculum Vitae
  3D Animation
   Video: The War of the Worlds Intro
   Video: Dalek Invasion
   Video: Fun with Toys
   Video: The Last Man
   Video: More Fun with Toys
   Video: Attack of the Aliens of...
   Video: The Trouble with Grass
  Apps & Utilities
   Process Checker
   AutoLogin Commander
   Boot & Nuke Image
  Other Stuff
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Welcome to dbyers.co.uk, the personal website of Darren Byers

MS Removal Tool... Removal
Published 14/04/2011 09:34:17

What a pain in the arse this is! I was casually "surfing the web" for SQL command info when I stumbled onto a site that was obviously harmfull. I'm usually pretty careful but by the time I noticed the address bar, it was too late. The application was installed and running, busy killing off my running processes, including my virtual machines... Not good.

So the idea is that the app prompts me that I have a virus infestation on my PC and that my license has expired. I then go to a website and hand over a losd of cash for... well, nothing. They take the money and run leaving me with a PC that will only work reliably in Safe Mode. It's pretty scary stuff and I dread to think how many innocent families have fallen foul of this evil scam.

If you are affected, I removed it by doing the following:

1. Reboot your PC - the chances are you can't do anything with it anyway!
2. As your PC is booting, repeatedly tap F8
3. Once the Windows boot menu appears, select Safe Mode
4. Once Windows has booted into Safe Mode, launch regedit (Start, Run, Regedit)
5. In regedit, browse to KEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/RunOnce
6. There should be a registry key here with a string of random characters as it's name. Mine looked like this:


7. Delete it, but note the location of the file because you'll want to delete that too.
8. Reboot your PC, Windows will boot normally.

After running through the steps above, it's good practise to run your usual anti-virus and anti-malware applications and double check that they're switched on. MS Removal Tool has a tendancy to switch off applications that are likely to discover it.




Codeine for Coding
Published 12/04/2011 13:49:03
Tags: drugs .net programming

Ahhhh coding can give you such a headache can't it? I can be found asleep at my desk most nights of the week because of the relentless issues thrown up by the bosses rediculous requests for additional features. Besides if it ain't broke, don't fix it I say.

The bosses call it "sharpening the saw", spending some of the time when you should be fixing issues to fix the underlying processes, which in turn lowers the number of issues. We call it "sweeping the floor", sticking a broom up your arse and sweeping the floor while fixing the issues allows for happy bosses and a clean office!

Now where's my codeine?




Published 10/12/2010 11:44:06
Tags: Pamper, Party, Treatment, JustPamperYourself.co.uk

Ok, so a very dear friend of mine (and indeed family member) is starting her own business, and I've been helping her with the website! She's due to open a shop real soon, hopefully just before Christmas. We are all very excited about this as I don't believe anyone in my family has done this before. She has the skills, determination and business accumen to make this a real success, and I know it will be.

In terms of services, I have had excellent feedback from my mates on the beauty and relaxation treatments she has provided for them in the form of pamper parties and personal treatment visits for birthdays and such. Hell if I ever stop biting my nails I might even be tempted to get some Minx nails of my own!! Shiny.

Please check out the website, and book a treatment, it'll be the best thing you've done this year!

Visit Candice-Lucy's Just Pamper Yourself site at http://www.justpamperyourself.co.uk




Chatty Man!
Published 30/08/2010 13:41:29

For those who haven't already noticed, you can initate a chat with the moving head on my home page, just click it.

You can teach him new stuff, it's awesome. The more people chat, the more he learns. To get rid, just click the head again.




vSphere vs. the domain!
Published 25/08/2010 20:50:35
Tags: vSphere Windows Domain Controller DC SAN VMWare vCenter Server

Ok so here's the problem:

How do you install vSphere 4 when you want the domain controller to be a virtual guest of your vSphere environment?

Answer: With difficulty!

If you try to install vSphere server onto a server that is not a member of a Windows domain, the installer will stop you in your tracks.

I've been working on this issue for a while, and unless anyone else has any better ideas, the best way is to create a temporary domain controller on a laptop or VM running on your vSphere server, then add the vSphere server machine to the domain. Next, install vSphere server and bring up your vSphere environment complete with SAN etc. Finally, create a new domain controller virual guest within your vSpher environment, and join the vSphere server to that domain rather than the temporary domain created earlier.

Be warned though, getting the vSphere software server installed is one thing, but you need that domain contoller running for vSphere Client logins to work, unless you're using local user accounts that is.




"Please could you have a look at my laptop?"
Published 24/08/2010 20:32:02
Tags: Licensing Vista Home Premium Activation Novatech HDD Microsoft OEM microsoft microsoft microsoft microsoft microsoft

It's been a while since I posted anything, probably due to the house move and the fact that I didn't really have anything good to report!

So the other day, a guy at work asked me to check out his laptop. It was booting Windows Vista to the desktop then freezing until eventually it blue-screened. Turned out it was a hard disk fault, so I wondered over to my nearest PC shop (Novatech) and bought a replacement. Once I ripped out the old one and installed the new, a thought entered the back of my mind regarding the re-activation of the Vista license, which understandably was an OEM license.

For the benefit of those that don't know, the Microsoft activation process derives a special code from your PC's hardware. Since OEM licenses (and indeed most licenses in general) can only be used on one PC, this "special" code isn't likely to change. Problem is, if some hardware needs replacing, this "special" code is going to change right?! This will mean that Microsoft product activation will fail.

So I completed the Microsoft Windows Vista install and rebooted with activation at the forefront of my mind. Once the laptop had rebooted [insert pretty Vista welcome sound here!], I headed straight for the activation, and guess what? IT FAILED! Now, I'd already told this bloke at work that a repair was likely to cost between £30 and £40 all in. I wasn't banking on forking out for a new OEM license on top of a new HDD.

So for the hell of it, I picked up the phone and called the Microsoft automated hotline. After entering a string of numbers, the favour was returned. On completion of the process, I clicked the "Next" button to find that, thankfully, the activation process had completed! Question is... why?! What's the difference between the automated hotline method of activation and the web based activation?

I heard a long time ago, that Microsoft, out of the kindness of their hearts, actually let you re-use the OEM license as long as it's clear that not all the hardware has changed. I guess this still holds true, but beware, if this happens to you, I also heard that they only let you do it a couple of times.

So all in all, a positive yet puzzling outcome. I'm due to hand the laptop back to the owner this week - needless to say they'll ask if I can "put Microsoft Office back on - for free"... No will be the answer, unless they already have a license that is! :o)




Windows 7 and Solid State Disks
Published 30/03/2010 17:56:19
Tags: Windows 7 SSD Solid State 32-bit 64-bit Aria Novatech

Whilst in New York I decided it's time to upgrade my PC to Windows 7. It would be a good project to work on whilst dealing with jet lag and the holiday blues, and, since I'd just passed my "70-649 Upgrading MCSE 2003 to MCTS 2008" exam only days before jetting off, It would be a good way to prepare for my Windows 7 exam.

I decided to go for the Ultimate Edition since it comes with 2 DVD's, one with 32-bit and one with 64-bit. I purchased the retail version from Aria (www.aria.co.uk) for £176.19.

I installed the 64-bit version onto a RAID 1 volume containing 2 Seagate 160GB disks. Install time was about 30 minutes give or take and was painless. Once the install was complete, I played around for a bit and was genuinely impressed with what I saw, although it wasn't "XP on speed" as I had been led to believe, but that was down to the hardware.

Being a 64-bit OS, I was expecting many issues with applications, but so far, no issues!

Now, having upgraded my OS, and having some spare dosh left over from my trip, I decided to buy and install a new SSD for Windows 7 to run on, as I'd heard that this will produce a massive boost in performance, specifically, load times. I chose the OCZ 60GB SSD from Novatech (www.novatech.co.uk) for a reasonable £174.98.

Installation of Windows 7 was blazingly fast, and the general feel of the OS is quick off the mark. For the people that don't like hanging around waiting for their apps to load, I'd definitely reccomend Solid State Disks, although they're not cheap.

The next step would be to buy one, maybe two more SSD's and configure them in a RAID 0 configuration. Thats one for the future!




Late Nights, or Early Mornings?
Published 07/03/2010 23:44:11

One of the problems with having a job that I am interested in is the sheer amount of personal time I dedicate to it. The lines between work and pleasure are blurred. Sure there are things I don't like doing in my job, but those things are few and far between, and I have adapted to do those jobs quickly and efficiently enough to practically not notice them as being a pain in the arse anymore. Either that, or write a tool that does the boring stuff for me, which is not uncommon.

Over the years I have learned that work must suffer as much as my social life, i.e. although the lines are blurred, you should always take as much as you put in, it's all about getting the balance right.

And when there never seems to be "me time", and work is all I ever seem to do, there's always caffeine. Caffeine, the miracle drug, allows you to "extend" your waking hours to fit more "me time" in.



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"Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator"
Published 06/03/2010 18:04:49

Ok, so last night I was browsing and stumbled into some nasty pop-ups which installed a whole load of viruses and spyware onto my PC. One of the most annoying this was that it disabled the Task Manager, so I couldn't see what processes were running. Anyway, I left my Adaware and SAV scans running overnight hoping that they would fix that issue for me as well as clear out the other crap.

This morning, I found that the Task Manager was still disabled. It just goes to show, if you wan't something doing, do it yourself! So here's the Registry key that needed changing:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy Objects\LocalUser\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]

Basically, if it's set to 1, change it to 0.



1 Comment

How to export DNS Zone records into a text file
Published 05/03/2010 20:44:00
Tags: dns zones export dnscmd

Today, I was asked by a colleague to supply a list of A records for all of our DNS Zones. Sadly, I couldn't remember the command, but a quick Google session soon remedied that. So the command is as follows:

dnscmd [dns server] /enumrecords [zone] @ /type [record type, A, CNAME etc] > [output file]

For example:

dnscmd domainctrlr1 /enumrecords contoso.com @ /type A > c:\contoso.com_A_records.txt




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Published 05/03/2010 20:40:12

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