Zhixian's Tech Blog

2011-06-25

Installing Windows Live Essentials on Windows XP as a VirtualBox guest OS

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , , , — Zhixian @ 08:59:06 am

This is about a firewall issue that I encountered while installing Windows Live Essentials on a Windows XP guest OS.

I was setting up another copy of Windows XP on VirtualBox today and along the way, I decide I want to install Windows Live Essentials. So off I go to Microsoft Download Center and download a copy of the Windows Live Essentials.

Note: You cannot get the latest version of Windows Live Essentials which at this time of writing is Windows Live Essentials 2011. For some reason, Microsoft decide to ditch all the users in the Windows XP space in favour of users in Vista and Windows 7 space…Its almost looking as if this will be the last version of Windows Live Essentials that Microsoft will support for XP. Very sad 😥

Everything was fine prior to running the setup file.

Before running WL installer

Here’s the mysterious part. After I execute the installer, my network connection starts to shutdown.

WL running mod

 

After after a while, I get the following screen.

WL Stopped

Umm….I don’t think that’s the correct response. I WAS connected to the Internet before you came along. Clicking on the details button, I get:

WL Stopped in detail

Umm…Thanks for the advice. Its real helpful. I will take that into consideration once I figure out how to run the installer without it killing off my Internet connection at the same time.

So, what went wrong?

The problem lies with the Windows Firewall on the host OS. Recall that this copy of XP was running as a guest OS on VirtualBox. Hence all network traffic would flow through the host OS and its firewall as well.

Now theoretically, Vista should have notify me when the firewall blocked a connection.
However in this particular instance, it did not. 😦

image

 

And in case you are wondering, no, I did not block all incoming connections.

image

Nonetheless, under the Events Viewer, I see:

image

Hmm…Its time to google…which led me to Microsoft’s TechNet site for troubleshooting firewall. An article there led me to think that I need to enable IPSec and Firewall events audit events. You can find out how to do that by going to Enable IPsec and Windows Firewall Audit Events.

But quite honestly, that did not work for me.Vista still did not notify me when the firewall block a outgoing connection. But the message in the event viewer did changed to:

image

And

image

 

So, what’s next?

By this time, I’m starting to get tired of dealing with the firewall issue not to mention I have run out of concise solutions to this problem.

I decide its time for drastic measures.
So I simply turned off Vista’s firewall.
Then went off to my Windows XP guest OS and install Windows Live Essentials.
After the installation completed, I switched Vista’s firewall back on.

And it worked! Live Messenger and Live Writer all that Live Essentials stuff will continue to work.
So apparently, the issue lies with Windows Live Essentials installer.

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2011-06-19

Change the UUID of a Virtual Box hard disk

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , — Zhixian @ 10:09:06 am

At times while using a Virtual Box (VB) guest, I would find myself wanting to clone my current working environment so as to try out something. This involves cloning the hard-disk file (better know as VDI files for the .VDI file extension that it uses) that your current guest environment is utilizing (since the hard-disk is where your operating environment resides). There are 2 ways of doing this.

  1. The incorrect but no-brainer way
  2. The correct but involves you reading the included help files way

Both methods involves using a very useful command-line tool VBoxManage that can be found in your Virtual Box installation directory.

I’ll cover the correct way first. The proper way to clone the hard-disk is to use the command:

VBoxManage clonehd <source-file> <target-file>

This command in effect performs 2 operations:

  1. copies the source VDI file to the new target filename that you defined
  2. assign a new UUID to the new target file

Step 2 is important only if you are reusing a VDI file on the same Virtual Box machine. This is because Virtual Box tracks all the hard-disks attached by its guest operating systems by means of this UUID. A Virtual Box host cannot have 2 VDI files with the same UUID. This brings us back to the 2nd method of cloning Virtual Box VDI files, the no-brainer method.

The no-brainer method comes with the realization that each hard-disk utilized by Virtual Box is simply a file. This inspires the thought that “Hey! I can just simply copy the file to so-call ‘clone’ the hard-disk.” and that’s what most people do without reading the product documentation not realizing that the UUID of the hard-disk is a factor.

The realization of the UUID as a factor would come when we try to attached the copied hard-disk file to a the new guest operating system that we are defining.

image

“Hmm..So what do I do now?” would be a common thought. This is especially if you had copied a fairly large VDI file (50GB?!!). Luckily, there’s a hidden command in the VBoxManage command tool for circumstances such as this.

Note that hidden command is development tool, is completely unsupported and is subjected to changes in incompatible ways without warning (ie. use at your own risk). Having said that the command we will be using is:

VBoxManage internalcommands sethduuid <target-file>

Note the command parameters “internalcommands” and “sethduuid” are case-sensitive.

After entering this command you should see something along the lines:

UUID changed to: 8c9882f0-95f8-46ad-8e93-79cb53fa24b9

After which you should be able to attach the copied file to the guest operating system now.

Virtual Box

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , , , , — Zhixian @ 09:05:06 am

These days my PC virtualization software of choice these days is Virtual Box (or as VB for short). This is due to 4 key reasons.

  1. My current workplace current supports its usage.
  2. Its cross-platform (runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Solaris).
  3. It supports 64-bit operating systems (OSes)
  4. Its free

Having to use it on a daily basis in workplace means I would (or should) be quite familiar with most of its quirks (read limitations) after a few months of usage. But reasons 2 and 3 are the real key reasons Virtual Box is my choice over say, Microsoft’s PC virtualization software Virtual PC (or VPC for short).

Strictly speaking I don’t find anything seriously wrong with Virtual PC. I think it’s a fairly good product and it does offer better integration between the operating Windows host and the guest os in comparison to Virtual Box. Having said that, its not cross-platform (does not run on Linux) and as of this time of writing does not support 64-bit OSes.

2011-06-15

PeaZip

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , , , — Zhixian @ 21:26:06 pm

If you are looking for a file-archiver that is open-source, supports a wide variety of archiving formats and has a graphical interface in both Linux and Windows, look no further than PeaZip.

image

PeaZip is currently a free product. However, do take note that it does advertise other third party products during the installation process. A sample of this would be the below screen. The product mentioned PC Speed Up is a commercial product. The only redemption is that you can opt not to install the product.

There are no advertisements after the product is installed (the installation prompt for installing the third party product only appears during the installation process). But if you are the paranoid type, stay away from this product and stay with 7-Zip.

image

7-Zip

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , , , — Zhixian @ 20:57:06 pm

The file archiver that I use most these days would be 7-zip.

This is a free and open-source product that is able to handle most of common file archiving formats.

The sad thing about this product is it supports mostly Windows and only has a command-line interface for Linux. It would be better if it had a Linux interface so as to allow users to streamline their working experience with file archiver regardless of operation system platforms.

FastStone Capture

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , , , — Zhixian @ 20:50:06 pm

If you are looking a good and free screen capturing application on Windows, I would recommend you try FastStone Capture version 5.3 

Version 5.3 is not the latest version but it is the last freeware version of FastStone Capture. It is currently distributed over at The Portable Freeware Collection (a good site to look for freeware that are both free and portable).

Despite not being the latest this remains one of the best screen capture application I used on Windows.

The latest version of this product (version 6.9) cost $19.95 currently at this time of writing and you get a lifetime license. So its quite a good deal too.

Another comparable commercial product would be Techsmith’s SnagIt

2011-06-14

My first Ubuntu blog post

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , — Zhixian @ 20:55:06 pm

I just install Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) onto my desktop. Installation was quite smooth 😀

And since I have not touch this blog for quite some time (since April), I decide to use this blog to post more of my experiences (read struggles) with Ubuntu on this blog. I feel that this is needed since I tend to forget what are the exact procedures to perform to do certain tasks in Linux (I’m a Windows user in my everyday working life).

I am writing this blog post using the latest version of BloGTK which currently seems to be one of the better offline blogging client available on Linux although I must admit, its still pretty painful to use as it is mainly a html editor not a WYSIWYG editor but I guess functionality-wise, its ok. At least it allows me to post blogs to Windows Live Spaces. Complains, complains…;-)

Blogging via email

Filed under: personal — Tags: — Zhixian @ 08:18:06 am

For blogging via email, the basic 3 tags that you must remember is TCT. T-title
C-category
T-tags

2011-06-13

Mobile blogging

Filed under: personal — Tags: — Zhixian @ 23:30:06 pm

This is my first blog post using my Samsung Wave II phone.

What I’m really doing is composing an e-mail on the phone and then posting it to WordPress.

This reminds me, I need to find some time to write up some material on Bada development.

My email post

Filed under: personal — Tags: — Zhixian @ 23:15:06 pm

This is my sample post to try out e-mail blogging.

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