Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

VirtualBox Error 0x000000C4

November 21, 2013 5 comments

I recently tried to upgrade a Windows 8 VirtualBox virtual machine to Windows 8.1 and ran into an error during the process. If I tried to run the upgrade from within the operating system (which is the required way), I received an error stating that my system did not meet system requirements. Specifically it mentions that my processor does not support “CompareExchange128”. After doing some research, I figured out how to turn on support for that in VirtualBox.

In Linux type the following in a terminal:
VBoxManage setextradata [vmname] VBoxInternal/CPUM/CMPXCHG16B 1
NOTE: Be sure to replace [vmname] with the name of your virtual machine.

In Windows type the following in a command prompt:
"C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxManage.exe" setextradata [vmname] VBoxInternal/CPUM/CMPXCHG16B 1
NOTE: Be sure to replace [vmname] with the name of your virtual machine.

This also affects individuals installing Windows Server 2012 R2 on VirtualBox.

How to Use a Command Prompt During GUI-Mode Setup

June 29, 2013 2 comments

In some cases, it may be helpful to have access to a command prompt during GUI-mode Setup for the purposes of troubleshooting, partitioning the disk, copying drivers, starting and stopping services, starting tools such as Task Manager, or other for other needs.

To gain access to a command prompt during GUI-mode Setup, press SHIFT+F10.

New exploit for IE 7, 8 & 9 on Windows XP, Vista, and 7

September 17, 2012 2 comments

There is a new exploit for Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9 browsers running Windows XP, Vista and 7. Computers can be compromised simply by visiting a malicious website, which gives the attacker the same privileges as the current user logged in. Since Microsoft has not released a patch for this vulnerability yet, Internet Explorer users are strongly advised to switch to other browsers, such as Chrome or Firefox, until a security update becomes available.

Microsoft has issue a security advisory about the situation:


  • Sep 19th, 2012 – Microsoft released a “fix-it” solution. It has been verified working. More information can be found here.
  • Sep 20th, 2012 – Microsoft updates the “fix-it” advisory to revision 2.0.  Requirements clarified: 1) “For computers that are running 64-bit operating systems, the following Fix it solution only applies to 32-bit versions of Internet Explorer.” 2) Before you apply this Fix it solution, you must ensure that Internet Explorer is fully updated by using the Windows Update service.
  • Sep 21st, 2012 – Microsoft releases Security Bulletin MS12-063 and Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (KB2744842). Users and Administrators should install the update as soon as possible.

Activate Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008R2, and Windows 7 From the Command Line

August 28, 2012 4 comments

Beginning with Windows Vista, Microsoft introduced a powerful command line tool to handle Windows activations. This tool is called ‘slmgr‘. Slmgr works under Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2. The most common options you may need to use are ‘/ipk‘ which installs a product key, and ‘/ato‘ which tells Windows to try and connect to Microsoft’s servers and activate. This tool can also be used to manage remote clients. I have included below some more advanced parameters and examples.

NOTE: All actions (other than displaying status) require elevated administrator privileges. Slmgr.vbs script is not intended to work across platforms i.e. between Vista and Windows 7

slmgr [MachineName [Username Password]] [Option]

machinename   The machine to administer, by default the current local machine.

username      An administrator equivalent user account for the remote computer.

password      The password for the user account on the remote computer.

/ato   Activate Windows license and product key against Microsoft’s server.

/atp Confirmation_ID   Activate Windows with user-provided Confirmation ID

/ckms  Clear the name of KMS server used to default and port to default.

/cpky  Clear product key from the registry (prevents disclosure attacks)

/dli   Display the current license information with activation
status and partial product key.

/dlv   Verbose, similar to -dli but with more information.

/dti   Display Installation ID for offline activation

/ipk Key  Enter a new product key supplied as xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

/ilc License_file   Install license

/rilc               Re-install system license files

/rearm Reset the evaluation period/licensing status and activation state of the machine

/skms activationservername:port
Set the Volume Licensing KMS server and/or the port used for KMS activation
(where supported by your Windows edition)

/skhc  Enable KMS host caching (default), this blocks the use of DNS priority and
weight after the initial discovery of a working KMS host.
If the system can no longer contact the working KMS host, discovery will be attempted again.

/ckhc  Disable KMS host caching. This setting instructs the client to use DNS auto-discovery
each time it attempts KMS activation (recommended when using priority and weight)

/sai interval
Sets the interval in minutes for unactivated clients to attempt KMS connection.
The activation interval must be between 15 minutes and 30 days, although the default (2 hours)
is recommended.
The KMS client initially picks up this interval from the registry but switches to the KMS
setting after the first KMS response has been received.

/sri interval
Sets the renewal interval in minutes for activated clients to attempt KMS connection.
The renewal interval must be between 15 minutes and 30 days.
This option is set initially on both the KMS server and client sides.
The default is 10080 minutes (7 days).

/spri  Set the KMS priority to normal (default).
/cpri  Set the KMS priority to low.
Use this option to minimize contention from KMS in a co-hosted environment.
Note that this could lead to KMS starvation, depending on what other applications
or server roles are active. Use with care.

/sprt port
Sets the port on which the KMS host listens for client activation requests. The default TCP port is 1688.

/sdns  Enable DNS publishing by the KMS host (default).
/cdns  Disable DNS publishing by the KMS host.

/upk   Uninstall current installed product key and return license status back to trial state.

/xpr   Show the expiry date of current license (if not permanently activated)

Token-based activation:
/lil   List the installed token-based activation issuance licenses.

Remove an installed token-based activation issuance license.

/stao  Set the Token-based Activation Only flag, disabling automatic KMS activation.
/ctao  Clear the Token-based Activation Only flag (default), enabling automatic KMS activation.
/ltc   List valid token-based activation certificates that can activate installed software.
/fta Certificate Thumbprint [PIN]
Force token-based activation using the identified certificate.
The optional personal identification number (PIN) is provided to unlock the private
key without a PIN prompt when using certificates that are protected by hardware
(for example, smart cards).

C:\> cscript C:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs wkstn64 administrator pa55w0rd1 -dli
C:\> cscript slmgr.vbs -skms
C:\> cscript slmgr.vbs -skms KMSServer:8090

PDQ Inventory and PDQ Deploy

July 11, 2012 2 comments

Today there are countless Windows tools for system administrators to manage and deploy software/updates to machines. I recently came across a set of applications from Admin Arsenal called PDQ Inventory and PDQ Deploy that I love and have implemented at the organization where I work. These applications are worth their weight in gold and thought I would share them with you all. At the organization where I work, we use to rely on text files with different groups of computers and psexec to deploy software to machines before these tools. It was a nightmare to keep track of what software machines was installed and what updates were missing. PDQ Inventory and PDQ Deploy save us so much time and work.

The first tool, PDQ Inventory, is used to track the hardware, software and O/S configurations in your Windows network. Using PDQ Deploy you can gather detailed information about installed software, services, hardware, printers, and a lot more for all the machines on your network. With PDQ Inventory you can import your machines individually by name, as a list from the clipboard or a file, or from your Active Directory. You can organize your computers in collections based on their inventory. PDQ Inventory is very light-weight and does not require any agent to be installed on the client machines. It also does not interrupt users at all. PDQ Inventory has a very powerful report builder that can generate basic or more advanced SQL reports. PDQ Inventory also allows you to execute remote commands on machines and provides additional tools for rebooting, initiating remote desktop, Wake-on-LAN, and more.

The last tool, PDQ Deploy, is used to deploy software and updates to machines silently without user interruption or interaction. You can deploy software and updates to Active Directory Groups and OUs or target lists that you create. PDQ Deploy installs software on as many computers as you want. No need to “advertise” an installer and then wait to find out whether the installation succeeded. You will know right away if the deployment was successful or encountered errors. PDQ Deploy installs simultaneously on up to eight computers, queuing other targets until it is their turn. PDQ Deploy supports MSI, EXE, MSU & MSP, PowerShell, VB Script, Batch, and REG. PDQ Deploy is built to be small and impact your environment as little as possible. No need to pre-install anything on the target computers. Just put PDQ Deploy on a workstation, pick the installers, and go. PDQ Deploy communicates entirely through SMB File Sharing making firewall and security policies easy to configure. If you can remotely access the Administrative Shares (C$, RPC$, ADMIN$) on a computer you can use PDQ Deploy.

PDQ also has an excellent support staff and forum. The staff is knowledgeable, polite and extremely helpful. I personally have created several support tickets which were answered within a couple of hours. Admin Arsenal also offers both of the great tools FREE! The free version is completely free and has no ads or annoyances. They offer a ‘Pro Mode’ licenses for both applications that provides extra features and advantages. For more information on these tools, visit Admin Arsenal.

Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder

July 9, 2012 Leave a comment

I found an interesting tool built-in to Windows 7 that I wanted to share with you all. The Problem Steps Recorder in Windows 7 is a feature that enables users to record their interactions with an application and provide a detailed screen-by-screen view with accompanying information. You can use Problem Steps Recorder to automatically capture the steps you take on a computer, including a text description of where you clicked and a picture of the screen during each click (called a screen shot). When you record steps on your computer, anything you type will not be recorded. If what you type is an important part of recreating the problem you’re trying to solve, use the comment feature described below to highlight where the problem is occurring. It can be used by clients trying to describe an issue or by administrators trying to show users how to complete easy tasks. Once you capture these steps, you can save them to a file that can be sent to an individual for viewing.

Here is how you use it:

There are several ways that you can invoke the application. 1. Click Start and type ‘psr’ in the search box of Windows 7 start menu and press Enter. 2. In Run, type ‘psr’ and press Enter. 3. Or in a command prompt, type ‘psr’ and press Enter. After you have invoked the application, simply click ‘Start Record’ and perform the necessary procedures. The Problem Steps Recorder will not record any text that you have typed.If you want to add some sort of explanation, just click the “Add Comment” button while recording. Once you have finished, select ‘Stop Record’. A save dialog will open, prompting you to select where you would like to save your new instructions. The instructions are saved as a ZIP file. Once you extract the ZIP file, you will have an MHTML web archive file that can be viewed in a web browser such as Internet Explorer.

Microsoft Releases Windows 8 and Server 2012 Previews

May 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, Microsoft has released the Windows 8 Release Preview and the Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012. We have already seen developer previews and betas released in the past couple of months for both of these products. The Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate includes a made-over Server Manager and replaces the Start Menu with the new Metro UI. Windows Server 2012 will include new features such as the new Resilient File System for handling heavy-duty data and managing shared storage across machines. Applications that run on Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are expected to be compatible with the new version upcoming version.