Sunday, December 16, 2012

Find Microsoft Windows Files with Linux

The rainbow tables were unable to crack the password of the account with administrator access, though it did crack password for a non-administrator account.  The next approach, which will always work, is to boot the machine from another operating system that can mount the ntfs file system.  Then read every file.

Download Knoppix Live-CD and and create a bootable CD.

Turn on the PC and bring up the boot order menu.  This could be a press of the <esc> key or a function key.  Refer to your machine manual for the proper key press.

In a later step, an sftp server is useful.  If you need an sftp server for MS Windows, try Xlight FTP Server.

Allow Knoppix to boot into the windowing environment.
Mount the Windows filesystem.  Open File Manager (lower left corner) and click to "/media/sd2/Windows".

Open Terminal emulator (lower left corner).
cd /media/sda2/Windows
mkdir test
cd test

The following find will show errors when it finds the file it just copied.  Ignore those errors or send to /dev/null.  If desired, add lines for additional file name extensions.
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.bmp -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.jpg -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.jpeg -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.pic -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.pict -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.png -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.psp -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.tif -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.tiff -exec cp '{}' . \;

find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.avi -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.mov -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.mp4 -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.mpg -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.vob -exec cp '{}' . \;
find /media/sda2/Windows -name \*.wmv -exec cp '{}' . \;

Create compressed file.
zip imgfiles *
ls -l

Transfer the file to another machine.  
Use the network if hardwired or wireless is configured.  Midnight Commander, a GUI ftp, is available on Knoppix.  Or use sftp.
sftp <ipnumber>

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Recover Windows Vista Password

A friend had two laptops from his son (who died).  He didn't know the passwords and wants to retrieve the photos on the laptops.

Download the free Ophcrack live CD and burn it with ISO Recorder.  ISO Recorder can be found by right-clicking the file iso file to burn:

Boot the Ophcrack CD and let it run.  It can quickly use rainbow tables, those this won't break every possible password.  Brute force is needed to break every possible password.  If it doesn't find a password, make sure all of the tables are installed.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Microsoft Windows 8 Upgrade

A desktop 4 core PC has Windows Vista (virus) so it suffers from frequent hangs for no apparent reason.  No amount of patching and disabling services has cured it.

Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade is currently offered at $39.99, including Media Center upgrade to play DVDs.  The upgrade was surprisingly pleasant.  As promised, data files were saved and everything else was removed during the clean install.  After the install, don't forget to request the Media Center upgrade key.

Screen shots of the Windows 8 upgrade process.

Checking compatibility

Price and license agreement

Choose to create media or download on the fly

Choice to keep personal files and settings


Personalize color scheme

 Express settings, or not

Sign in means to sign in to web account.  Downloading apps through web store will require this account.

Installation complete

Begin re-installing applications and customizing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wifi Router Fixes for Actiontec and Zytel

I encountered a Verizon Actiontec home wifi box that would connect for hard-wired, a laptop, and a tablet.  It would not connect to a smartphone.  The security was WEP.  I changed the security to WPA2 and every device was able to consistently connect.

I encountered a CenturyLink Zytel PK5000Z wifi box that would not allow connections for transient devices.  Devices that were consistently at the store were able to reliably connect.  Transient devices would start to connect then fail to get IP address.  There was no WEP/WPA security.  Changing to WPA2 made no difference.  Removing NAT made no difference.  The firmware was up-to-date.  I changed the DHCP expiry from one day to five minutes.  This allowed all devices to consistently connect.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tools for Website Maintenance

A friend asked for help with a website.  These tools have been useful.

Reference Guides
Font examples:

Color wheel:

PhotoFiltre Portable
Simple yet feature rich image editing suite.  Doesn't use Windows installer.

FTP client.

Text editor supporting many software languages.

Place syntax validators in page footers:
<a href="" title="This page validates as XHTML 1.0 Transitional"><abbr title="eXtensible HyperText Markup Language">XHTML</abbr></a> | <a href="" title="This page validates as CSS"><abbr title="Cascading Style Sheets">CSS</abbr></a>

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Removing GoogleUpdate.exe

How to stop GoogleUpdate.exe from running on MS Windows.

With task manager, end the GoogleUpdate.exe process.

Run services.msc from a command prompt. Set the googleupdate entries to DISABLED.

Run taskschd.msc from a command prompt.  Delete the task.
Start --> Control Panel --> Scheduled Tasks
Delete the task.

Run msconfig from a command prompt.
On the "Startup" tab, uncheck "GoogleUpdate".

With these changes in place, over time the entries will return.  Now remove the actual program.
Remove GoogleUpdate.exe from the following paths.  Drive letter could be different on your system.  If you are administrator, go to your user name.
C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator User Name\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Update

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Microsoft Windows 8 Upgrades

Anyone who is still suffering with MS Windows Vista may be interested in upgrading to Windows 8 Pro.  Considering the frequent slowdown and hangs with Windows Vista, a $40 upgrade is reasonable.

After upgrading to Windows 8 Pro, an upgrade to turn on the Media Center features is no charge.  "... you can add Windows Media Center for free through the “add features” option within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade."

The upgrade pricing is available through January, 2013.

For those purchasing a new system with Windows 7, the upgrade will cost $15 after registering for the promotion.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

How to Install Android on HP Touchpad

Follow the following instructions to install a boot manager and Android on an HP Touchpad.  One benefit of Android is a larger application catalog in the Google "Play" store.

First complete the steps in this post.  Java and novacom will then be installed on the PC.

Download the following into a folder on the PC:

On the PC, place file ACMEInstaller in the Novacom directory, like "c:\Program Files\Palm, Inc".

Connect the Touchpad to the PC and enable the USB drive.

Using the PC Windows Explorer or a command prompt, create a new folder on the Touchpad named cminstall.

Copy the other downloaded files from the PC to the cminstall folder on the Touchpad.

Restart the Touchpad and quickly press the up volume button so the Touchpad displays the big USB symbol.

On the PC:
  • Open a command prompt then go to the "Palm, Inc" directory, typically "c:\Program Files\Palm, Inc"
  • Type: novacom.exe boot mem:// < ACMEInstaller2

The Touchpad will display many lines of text for several minutes.  The Touchpad will restart and display the Moboot boot manager.

Install Android:
  • Reboot the Touchpad.
  • From the Moboot menu, choose ClockworkMod.
  • Use the volume keys to choose the entry that says “install a zip from SDcard” and press the home button to select it.
  • Using the volume button, highlight the Android (tenderloin) zip file.
  • Scroll to select yes.

If desired, install Google Play:
  • Copy the Google apps zip file from the PC to a folder on the Touchpad OR within Android open the web browser and download the file.
  • Reboot the Touchpad.
  • From the Moboot menu, choose ClockworkMod.
  • Use the volume keys to choose the entry that says “install a zip from SDcard” and press the home button to select it.
  • Using the volume button, highlight the zip file.
  • Scroll to select yes.
To boot in Android from the Moboot menu, choose "boot CyanogenMod".

How to Fix a Hung HP Touchpad and Modify the Kernel

HP Touchpad developed a problem booting.  The HP logo would display forever, and it would never boot.  Multiple hard resets (press power key + home key for 15 seconds) did not fix it.

I used HP's support documents and their "Web OS Doctor" and was able to fix the Touchpad.  It then connected to the online backup and restored most of the applications and settings.  Upon reboot, it again hung with the HP logo.  Several times I redid everything and was disappointed that it would hang on reboot.  Never shutting down or rebooting is not a viable long term solution.

Use HP WebOS Doctor to fix a Touchpad 
  • Verify a recent Java is installed on your PC.  This may be done in the Windows control panel.
  • Log in to your HP account and download WebOS Doctor.
  • Place Touchpad in USB mode by simultaneously pressing power and home buttons for 15 seconds.  When the Touchpad restarts, quickly press and hold the volume up button. 
  • Run WebOS Doctor on the PC.  It will prompt when to plug in the tablet.

  • Enter WiFi settings
  • WebOS will prompt for logon credentials for the HP website, and will reinstall applications and many of the settings.

Enable WebOS enhancements
This will allow installation of enhancements to do things like increase CPU speed.  I was able to install these, though upon reboot it would hang with HP logo.
  • Verify a recent Java is installed on your PC.  This may be done in the Windows control panel.
  • Novacom allows for Touchpad USB communication with the PC.  Download novacom and install it.  On both a Vista and XP PC, the install hung.  This turned out to not be a problem, as the proper files had been installed.
  • Test the novacom install by starting a command prompt, going to the novacom directory, and running the program.
  • Enable developer mode by entering webos20090606 in the "Just Type" box in WebOS.  Leave the password blank.
  • Plug the Touchpad in to the PC.  Do not enter USB mode.  The PC drivers will be installed.

  • Press the globe icon that is on the right-hand side of the webosquickinstall application.
  • In the search box, type preware and install it.

  • On the PC, close the webosquickinstall application.
  • On the Touchpad, go to the downloads folder.
  • Open preware
  • Click yes to associate files
  • Install UberKernel
  • On the PC, run the webosquickinstall jar.
  • Press the globe button.
  • Search for application Govnah and install it.
  • Search for application UberKernel and install it.
  • On the PC, close the webosquickinstall application.
  • Restart the Touchpad.
  • Run the new application.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Windows XP HOSTS File

To avoid web tracking and web ads, it is often useful to blacklist domains in the HOSTS file.  On Windows XP, the HOSTS file is drive:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc.

Make a backup before editing the file.  To avoid breaking the earlier entries, add new entries to the bottom of the file. 
An entry to black hole a domain will look like the following.

This shows before and after for a host lookup of  In the second ping, it resolves to the localhost.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Anonymous Web Browsing

This TOR bundle allows for easy anonymous web browsing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tools to Download Webmail

For downloading webmail to the desktop for archiving, these free programs are useful.

Windows Live Mail work for Hotmail and others.  Setup instructions.

I use Zimbra Desktop with Yahoo webmail.  It has nice search features.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Windows XP Registry Hack To Disable Kernel Paging

Registry hack to speed up Windows XP by disabling kernel paging.  Only do this on machines with sufficient real memory.

Set DisablePagingExecutive to 1.