Windows XP Work

How to Verify you have .NET 3.5 SP1

Today I was asked how I could verify .NET 3.5 SP1 installed successfully on several PCs running Windows XP Professional.  I searched the Internet and found several answers:

  • Check Add Remove Programs under Control Panel
  • Open Internet Explorer and enter this Javacript in the url bar:       javascript:alert(navigator.userAgent)
  • Open the registry and look for this key  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent\Post Platform\.NET CLR 3.5.30729
  • Finally click on Start => Run and enter C:\Windows\Microsoft.Net\Framework\v3.5.  You should see a folder called Microsoft Framework 3.5 SP1

Thanks to Walker News for the information.

Fedora Core Ubuntu Windows XP Work

Rebuild Linux PCs at Work

Today is the Friday before Labor Day in the United States.  Many of the employees of the client I support are off today.  So I am taking this opportunity to rebuild my Fedora Core 11 PC (completed) and my Ubuntu 9.04 PC.  I am also building a new Windows XP PC for R&D.

So far everything is going well.

Of course I backed up my Ubuntu PC using rsync to an external HDD.  Since I decided to rework my partitions I also backed up the /home directory too.  Everything is being built from scratch.  Hopefully I can have everything finished by end of business today.


Netowork Issues for the new AC Unit

Every few weeks I switch sites with a colleague for cross-training.  This allows each of us to cover if someone calls sick, or leaves for a better opportunity.  The cross-training has worked out very well with positive feed back from the client at both sites.

This morning at 8:00 while looking over backup logs of laboratory PCs, I was asked by Brian (a contractor who is working on the some building automation) for some network assistance.  We have installed a new AC  unit which has ether-net connections for remote monitoring.  The unit was working about 2 weeks ago, but today it is not functional.  I tried to ping the unit from my desk but received “Host Unreachable”.  So I ran nslookup to see if the IP address I was trying to ping was assigned to this AC unit; confirmed that we have the right IP address.

I asked Brian if he knew what number was written on the data jack so I can see if it was disconnect in the network closet.  Brian said he was unable to read the writing on the data jack.  So I said I would check it out with him.  After getting on the roof we shut down the old AC unit to open the access panel.  Right in front of us was the data jacks with 2 connections – one for each AC unit with writing that was faded.  Maybe if the guys from CSI were with use  they could tell me what numbers were.  I swapped the ports to see if the connectivity lights activated on the new AC unit.  They did but I lost the lights for the old AC unit.  I reset the cables, closed the panel and power on the AC unit…looks like the problem is in the network closet.

At the network closet I check to see if any ports were labeled AC units – of course not.  So now I started up my PC and started one of my company provided network monitoring tools.  Brian supplied the IP address of the working AC unit and I began my search. I was able to find the exact data port connection on the switch and trace the wire back to the unlabeled patch panel.  So I took a guess the next unlabeled port would be the second connection on the roof.  And wouldn’t you know it, the cable was not connected to the switch.

After making the connection we tried to ping the new AC unit again – still host unreachable.  I had Brian go back to the roof and cycle the power for the new AC unit to see if that would resolve of connectivity issue.  We also verified the lights would come on and blink when we disconnected / connected the cable from the patch panel.  Still I could not ping the assigned IP address.  I contacted the network engineer and left him two voice messages with updates.  Brian gave me his business card and asked to be notified if there are any changes or new information.

Near the end of my work day, I decided to check the connection again for the new AC unit.  After receiving the same error messages from the ping command, I used the network monitoring tool to see if any information was available on the port I connect to.   Finally I had some information and called Brian.  It looks like the static IP address was reset to the factory standard IP of  I could also see MAC address and who the MAC Vendor was.

So now we wait for the vendor to come back and reprogram the ether-net card.  I sent an update by e-mail to my colleague to hopefully expect someone tomorrow or early next week.

Geek Stuff Work

HDD Platters…Not Mode from Snips and Snails and Puppy Dogs Tail

What are hard disk platters made of?  At first I thought it was aluminum alloy or some other light weight material.  And to be honest I never gave it much thought – until today.

When we take a hard drive out of service at work, we destroy the disk.  Usually we bust out the TORX screwdriver (size T8 and or T10) and remove the outer case.  Then we remove the circuit board, the magnets for the actuator arm,  and then the actuator arm.  Finally you are left with a stack of platters which you can leave in the bottom of the case or remove them.

So this afternoon I was on the phone with my wife and playing with the platters I removed from a drive about a week ago.  I dropped on the floor and to my astonishment it shattered!  So after cleaning up my mess I was curious and needed to know.  Click the link from Wikipedia and scroll down to Manufacture.

From Wikipedia – Hard disk platters

Windows Vista Work

Running NetMeeting in Vista Update

So Wednesday July 22nd came and I attended the company meeting using NetMeeting in Vista.  Everything was going well at first, but then our manager had a document written in Excel 2007 and he was running Office 2003.  Although he had the Office 2007 Compatibility program installed some features were not available, such as clicking on a link in a chart to open the sheet which displayed additional information.

So he asked who has Office 2007, which I do, but I can’t share my Desktop or application in NetMeeting within Vista.  Solution… email everyone a copy of the Excel document and have everyone follow along manually.  Now to resolve that issue on a more permanent fix, I will install Office 2007 on my XP PC.  So when asked in the next meeting when my manager asks “who can resolve my problem”, I’ll be ready.

Windows Vista Work

Running NetMeeting in Vista

My employer uses NetMeeting 3.0x in Windows XP to hold bi-weekly meetings.  This is all good in all and runs well, but I have Vista on my PC at work and guess what, it doesn’t come with NetMeeting.  Meeting Space is standard with Vista. So I spent my lunch searching for a solution to my problem.  This is what I found and it works.

  • Download a version of NetMeeting from this link.
  • Right click the file and select Properties (see picture below)
  • Click on the Compatibility Tab
  • Enable the check box for Compatibility Mode and select Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 5
  • Click Apply and OK buttons.

Now run the file and complete the installation of NetMeeting 3.0x.  One feature that is not available is Remote Desktop Sharing. This is OK if you don’t have to host a meeting or share a program, but if you do than you out of luck.  Some people has stated you need version 3.02 in order to enable Remote Desktop Sharing.  I was able to get a copy of NetMeeting 3.02, install it on my Vista PC, and still cannot enable Sharing of applications.

Net Meeting 3.01 Properties

Windows Vista Work

SATA Emulation

I asked a colleague of mine to come over and look at the HP system I was trying to load the Vista image on.  After about 5 minutes, he asked if I went into the BIOS and changed the SATA Emulation from AHCI to IDE.  Of course I didn’t, it never occurred to me. Once we made the change, the image loaded with no problems.  It is good to have colleagues who are smart and can look at your work so you  can take care of your customers.  Thanks!!

Network Tools Work

Using Real VNCViewer

This was a busy week at work.  Usually is when you come back from vacation.  Every month we generate a report which displays which PCs are out of our 95% compliance for all Microsoft patches.  Usually we are at or just over the company compliance of 95%, which is amazing considering we have three times as many PCs as other sites in the U.S.

In order to get the PCs up to date and complete my work at my desk, I am using Real VNCViewer to connect to the PCs who need a little manual love for one reason or another.  I am connect to 2 PCs on the production floor using Real VNCViewer and using No Machine for access to my Ubuntu Linux box (which I am using for this entry).  Plus Windows Vista (YIKES!!) is busy doing it’s own stuff such as connecting to the Ticket Monitor System, running Outlook 2007, checking e-mail at home, and a separate Citrix connection that I forgot to disconnect from.

If you have never took advantage of using VNC, No Machine, Terminal Server Client or Remote Desktop Connection, you should try it.  The only thing you need to be careful of is which PC you have displayed.  You don’t want to be deleting something from PC X when you thought you were in PC Y.

Now, if I can only figure out why this Vista image won’t load.

Ubuntu Windows 7 Work

Trying Out Windows 7 RC at Work

Well a co-worker of mine gave me the latest RC of Windows 7 to reinstall the previous version of Windows 7 on a HP PC that kept suffering from the standard BSOD.  The reason I asked for it, the PC came up on a report that it was not on, receiving any updates, and it was not reporting to the Symantec Anti-virus server.

So after installation I changed the theme from Sky Blue to Slate and changed the background from the Beta fish to something I did not expect to find, PENGUINS!  I was shocked to see penguins, and I also saw a koala bear in there too.  Does Windows 7 have a secret envy of being Linux or Ubuntu 10.04?  Here are the screen-shots from my PC.

Windows Vista Work

The New Job

Well it’s been a few days, and I can say I really like my new job!  First all the building is nice, probably the nicest build I’ve ever worked in.  I work in a cube on the first floor, with a nice big window looking over a nice patch of grass with a walkway.  I an only a few cubes from the free coffee, which is a bonus in my opinion.  After all, I love having coffee while at the computer.  I think it is a little weak, but hey, it’s free and I have a big cup from Krispy Kremes.

The client gave me a HP Elitebook 2530 with Vista (which I am going to see if I can dump it for XP or maybe Linux, but we’ll have to see), plus 8 other PCs running Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7.  All the PCs are connected by Belkin KVM switches.  The guy I replaced fixed a HP 4250 Laser Printer and left it connect to the network in the cube.  So I don’t have to go far for my print outs.

I am supporting 450 PCs which are connect to GCMS and LCs.  I can’t get into more detail, but it is a cool assignment.  There is also a chance to learn and support Linux in a production environment.

One downside is the building is shielded from all outside radio signals, so I can’t receive calls on my cell.  I tried to get the phone right up against the windows, but there was no signal.  They installed an AT&T micro cell to cover the service the client uses.  So now I have to check my voice messages during lunch, which is no big deal, but I still like to answer the phone when someone calls.

All in all, I think this was a smart move for me.  I am closer to home, making a few extra dollars, and doing something I like.  So hopefully I will be here for a few years, and gain a ton of experience.