SOHO : Small Office Home Office
Freeware - Opensource software tips, tricks, tweaks & fixes for managing, securing, improving the performance of SOHO Desktop, Laptop, Networks

Monday, November 16, 2009

VGA over Cat-5 cable

DIY : VGA over Cat-5 cable
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Branding windows xp machines

Branding Your Machines - Windows 2000/XP/2003

This article is for Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 machines. If you are using Windows Vista then you should follow this article.

If you have purchased a machine from one of the big manufacturers, you will have seen that they have customised the "System Properties" window with their own logo.
In addition, there will usually be a button next to it, which gives you additional support information.
These two items are known as OEM information, and can be easily replaced with your own.

This is useful if you build your own computers, or in a larger office allowing you to place the company branding on the machines along with details on how to contact your internal support department.

All you have to do is create the files which are very specific and place them in the location.

Support Information TextScreenshot - System Properties with our OEM information.

Open a new notepad document and copy the text below in to it.

[general] Manufacturer=Your First line here Model=Your second line here [Support Information] Line1=" Your first line here" Line2=" A second..." Line3=" and a third..."

Replace the text with your chosen information.

For example, to get the text shown in the screenshot above... we used the following text:

Manufacturer=Amset IT Solutions Ltd.
Model=Exchange Server
[Support Information]
Line1=" Maintained by Amset IT Solutions Ltd."
Line3=" "


When creating your own text, it is important that you follow the pattern shown.
There must be no breaks between the lines and no spaces between the "=" and start of the text.
You can increase the number of lines by simply adding more and increasing the number.

Saving the File

Once you have finished creating the file, you need to save it.
The file name you MUST use is "oeminfo.ini". In order to be able to save the file without the ".txt" extension, choose in the "Save as file type" selection, change it from ".txt" to "All Files". You can then enter your own extension.

Support Information Logo

The logo also needs to be created in a specific way.

The image can be no larger than 182 pixels x 114 pixels. It can be smaller, but anything larger will be cropped. The file also needs to be in ".bmp" format. You will probably want to create a special image for this application so that you can make the best use of the space.

As it is a bitmap, you cannot make use of transparency options, so we suggest that you put your logo in a contrasting colour as in our example screenshot. This will ensure that no matter what colour scheme is in use, the image looks as you want.

However with Windows XP (and Windows 2003 Server), if you use an image that is smaller than the optimum size, then Windows will just centre it in the available space.
With any version of Windows older than XP (2000, ME, 98, 95) Windows will stretch it to fill the available space. This can look odd. Therefore you might want to consider having two images and deploy different ones depending on the OS. If this isn't possible, using a fixed sized image is best as it will allow you to control exactly how the image looks.

Saving the File

Once you have created the image, you need to save it with a special file name: "oemlogo.bmp". No other name can be used.

Positioning the Files

Once you have created the files, they need to be positioned correctly. Both files need to be located in the same place. As an alternative, you could use one of the batch files below.

Windows 2000


Windows XP, 2003 Server


Windows 95, 98, ME


Once the files are in place, you will be able to see the changes immediately. Right click on "My Computer" and choose "Properties". If you make further changes to the files then these will also be seen immediately.

Batch File Deployment

Single File Set

If you are using the same files for all operating systems, then you can use this batch file. This file will work out the correct location for the files and copy them to the appropriate location.

copy oeminfo.ini "%systemroot%\system32"
copy oemlogo.bmp "%systemroot%\system32"

Multiple File Set

If you are deploying to Windows 2000 and Windows XP with different logos, then you might want to consider an automated batch file deployment.
The script below detects what operating system the machine is running, then copies the required image across before renaming it so that Windows can pick it up. It is based on our "Detecting the Operating System" sample script which you can read about here.

echo off
rem Script for deploying OEM INFO and OEM LOGO to
rem different operating systems
rem Simon Butler, Amset IT Solutions Ltd. 12-12-03
rem see
rem Requirements
rem Image file for Windows 2000 named oemlogo-2k.bmp
rem Image file for Windows XP named oemlogo-xp.bmp
rem And oeminfo.ini file.
rem All three files should be placed in the same
rem directory as this batch file
rem If running from login script, place all three files
rem in your "netlogon" share on the domain controllers.
rem Remember - if you are running from a network share
rem it must be a mapped drive!
rem ***************************************************

rem Get the OS and dump to file
ver >%systemdrive%\ver.txt

Rem now find the operating system and act accordingly
findstr "4.0" %systemdrive%\ver.txt
if not errorlevel 1 goto nt4
findstr "5.0" %systemdrive%\ver.txt
if not errorlevel 1 goto win2k
findstr "5.1" %systemdrive%\ver.txt
if not errorlevel 1 goto winxp
findstr "5.2" %systemdrive%\ver.txt
if not errorlevel 1 goto win2003

goto win9x

set OpSys-NT4
echo %OpSys% >>%systemdrive%\result.txt
rem Windows NT4 settings

copy oeminfo.ini "%systemroot%\system32"
copy oemlogo-2k.bmp "%systemroot%\system32"
del "%systemroot%\system32"\oemlogo.bmp
rename "%systemroot%\system32\oemlogo-2k.bmp" oemlogo.bmp"

goto next

set OpSys=Win2K
echo %OpSys% >>%systemdrive%\result.txt
rem Windows 2000 settings

copy oeminfo.ini "%systemroot%\system32"
copy oemlogo-2k.bmp "%systemroot%\system32"
del "%systemroot%\system32"\oemlogo.bmp
rename "%systemroot%\system32\oemlogo-2k.bmp" oemlogo.bmp"

goto next

set OpSys=XP
echo %OpSys% >>%systemdrive%\result.txt
rem Windows XP settings

copy oeminfo.ini "%systemroot%\system32"
copy oemlogo-xp.bmp "%systemroot%\system32"
del "%systemroot%\system32"\oemlogo.bmp
rename "%systemroot%\system32\oemlogo-xp.bmp" oemlogo.bmp"

goto next

set OpSys=Win2003
echo %OpSys% >>%systemdrive%\result.txt
rem Windows 2003 settings

copy oeminfo.ini "%systemroot%\system32"
copy oemlogo-xp.bmp "%systemroot%\system32"
del "%systemroot%\system32"\oemlogo.bmp
rename "%systemroot%\system32\oemlogo-xp.bmp" oemlogo.bmp"

goto next

set OpSys=9x
echo %OpSys% >>%systemdrive%\result.txt
rem Windows 9x settings

copy oeminfo.ini "%systemroot%\system32"
copy oemlogo-2k.bmp "%systemroot%\system32"
del "%systemroot%\system"\oemlogo.bmp
rename "%systemroot%\system\oemlogo-2k.bmp" oemlogo.bmp"

goto next

echo done >>%systemdrive%\result.txt
echo Cleaning up!
del %systemdrive%\result.txt
del %systemdrive%\ver.txt
rem if problems, put REM in front of above two lines
rem to read the results files


If you do not see anything, check the names of the files - as they must be as shown.
Once you have checked the file names, ensure the files are formatted correctly.
If you are using the script file, put "rem" in front of the two lines that start "del" at the end so that the results files are not deleted.
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Brand your copy of Windows XP

Have you used someone's new Hewlet Packard with their OEM version of Windows XP? You've seen that HP has their own icon in the Start Menu, underneath Run, that goes to their Help Site. Now, you can have your icon that does anything you want (website, program, etc) and says anything you want. Basically, you are "branding" Windows XP (Home or Pro), great for if you are a computer builder and sell them, or you just want to make Windows XP your own. It involves Regedit.

1. Start up Notepad and create a new registry file (*.reg) and copy and paste the following into it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00











2. Edit where it says YOUR ICON HERE to a path to an icon (ex. c:\\icon.ico), it must be 24x24 pixels and in *.ico format. Use double back slash for path names.

3. Edit both places where it says YOUR TITLE HERE to what you want it to say in the Start Menu (ex. Elranzer Homepage).

4. Edit where it says YOUR FUNCTION here to what you want it to do when you click it, it can be anything... your website, a local HTML document, a program, a Windows funtion, whatever your imagination can provide (ex.

5. Save this file as brand.reg, double-click it to enterin your information, and refresh Explorer (log off/on) to see it in the Start Menu!! This works in both Home and Professional (and probably 64-Bit Professional) Editions!
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Options to change wallpaper may be missing or unavailable on a Windows XP-based computer

When you try to change the desktop wallpaper in a Microsoft Windows XP-based computer, the options may be missing or unavailable. Therefore, you cannot change your wallpaper or use other options that are located in the Display Properties dialog box. This problem may occur after you remove spyware from the system.

This problem occurs when a registry key is set to hide or to lock the display settings on the computer. The registry key can be set by an administration policy or by malicious software.

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry ( )

To resolve this problem, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
3. In the right-pane, right-click the NoDispAppearancePage value if the value exists, and then click Delete.
4. Repeat step 3 for the following registry values if these values exist in the registry:
* NoDispCPL
* NoDispBackgroundPage
* NoDispScrSavPage
* NoDispSettingsPage

Note Locate any registry value that says "Wallpaper" if it exists. In the right pane, right-click the registry value, click Delete, and then click OK.
5. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
6. In the right-pane, right-click the NoDispAppearancePage value if the value exists, and then click Delete.
7. Repeat step 6 for the following registry values if these values exist in the registry:
* NoDispCPL
* NoDispBackgroundPage
* NoDispScrSavPage
* NoDispSettingsPage

Note Locate any registry value that says "Wallpaper" if it exists. In the right pane, right-click the registry value, click Delete, and then click OK.
8. For the changes to take effect, you may have to restart the computer after you delete these registry values.

The following list describes the previous registry values. The list also describes how the settings of these values affect the options that are located in the Display Properties dialog box:

Display Name: Disable Display Control Panel
Description: Prevents the Display icon in Control Panel from working
Value Name: NoDispCPL
Setting: 1 = Enabled and 0 (zero) = Disabled

Display Name: Hide Background page
Description: Prevents the displaying of the Background tab
Value Name: NoDispBackgroundPage
Setting: 1 = Enabled and 0 (zero) = Disabled

Display Name: Hide Screen Saver page
Description: Prevents the displaying of the Screen Saver tab
Value Name: NoDispScrSavPage
Setting: 1 = Enabled and 0 (zero) = Disabled

Display Name: Hide Appearance page
Description: Prevents the displaying of the Appearance tab
Value Name: NoDispAppearancePage
DWORD Setting: 1 = Enabled and 0 (zero) = Disabled

Display Name: Hide Settings page
Description: Prevents the displaying of the Settings tab
Value Name: NoDispSettingsPage
DWORD Setting: 1 = Enabled and 0 (zero) = Disabled
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10 things you MUST know before you register a domain name with anyone

10 things you MUST know before you register a domain name with anyone

A domain name insider speaks out and blows the lid off of the hidden "gotchas" domain registrars use to leverage your domains, your traffic and your money to their advantage.

General practice tricks

1. "transfer-out" fees
Buried in the fine print of a registrars' "Terms of Service" will be a hidden fee authorizing them to charge your credit card a "transfer-out" fee if you move your domain to another registrar. Often times, this transfer-out fee is 2 or 3 times the cost of the original registration.

This practice violates the ICANN policy on domain transfers. In most cases if this happens to you a simple call to your credit card company will have the charge reversed, if you notice. Registrars who use this practice play the numbers game as many will not.
2. the fine print from hell
Most people (read: nobody) actually reads the long, odious Terms of Service for anything they buy online. Some registrars bury truly chilling things in these terms like the aforementioned "transfer-out" fees and in one mind-boggling case a "power-of-attorney".
3. "Pay-as-you-go":
This is where you make a multi-year interest-free loan to the registrar. It works like this: You register a domain with them for example, 5 years (perhaps to obtain a discounted rate), you expect your domain name to be registered for 5 years. Think again, some registrars will pay the registry for 1 year and pocket the rest of your money.

Then for the rest of your five year term they'll renew each year for one year. Usually this is coupled with a strict "no-refunds" policy, so an odd situation occurs: they stand to make more money from your original registration if they lose you as a customer before your full 5 years are up, so providing poor service to the point where you leave actually adds to their bottom line.

You can use a Free whois lookup tool like EasyWhois to verify the real expiration date for your domain. It should match up with the number of years you paid your registrar for.

Whois database scams

4. whois edit fees and locks
Every time you register a domain name, the details of that domain registration must be published in a publicly accessible database called Whois.

One of the functions a registrar is supposed to be providing to you is the ability to change those whois records. Some registrars (especially the bargain basement outfits) register your domain for a dirt-cheap price and then ding you with an "administration fee" when you want to edit your Whois record.

Some others may also "lockdown" your domain for 60 days everytime you make an edit to your record, preventing you from moving the name out to another registrar.
5. premium whois privacy services
Because your domain record is public for all to see, some registrars want to upsell you to "privacy services" or "whois masking", "private registration", where they put their own info in the whois record instead of yours.

The important thing to know here is that in the eyes of the domain Registry to which all the Registrars interact, and the Registry's oversight body (like ICANN, or in Canada, CIRA), whoever is listed in the domain whois record as the domain Registrant is the legal owner of the domain name. Keep that in mind, if you use a service like this, they own the domain, not you, notwithstanding whatever contract or Terms of Service you enter into with them to "own" this name on your behalf. If it lands in a dispute proceeding it will be an open and shut case: they own the name.

Taking it one step further, some "privacy" services will get you to sign up for the whois privacy service and then they turn around and happily offer to sell your true data to anybody else who cares to pay for it.
6. mining whois and domain slamming
Because all the data is there for the taking, spammers and marketers "mine" the whois database and harvest registrant data including addresses, fax numbers and email addresses. This is a real problem, and there have been very slow moving Whois database reform processes creeping through ICANN as well as CIRA in Canada.

In the meantime though, people may wonder why is it that shortly after they register a domain name, they start getting all kinds of marketing spam in their mailbox. This is because their email address is being harvested by robots from the Whois database. There is a free service to protect your email address called

The variation on this is some registrars (and there is one outfit who is particularly notorious for this) which is mining the whois database for registrant information, and then mailing out what look like renewal invoices for either those domain names or variations of them.

Unsuspecting recipients think they've received a renewal invoice on their domain and then remit payment, initiating a domain transfer without realizing it. Surprise, you've been slammed. In the worst cases your website and email comes crashing down as your DNS services terminate with your old provider.
Domain lock-in
(a.k.a You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave)
7. the registrar-lock
There has historically been a real problem with "domain slamming" (see above) and unauthorized domain transfers, so the "registrar-lock" was created to protect a domain against this. If the registrar lock is set, nobody can transfer your domain away from you. This is actually a good thing and best practices include having this set for all your domains. The sharper registrars enable it by default when they register or transfer a domain for you.

Alas, this lock can become a real problem for you if it is turned on and the registrar will not turn it off, or give you the ability to turn it on or off yourself.
8. the domain auth-code
Some of the Top-Level-Domains (TLDs) run on a protocol called "EPP" and to further guard against unauthorized transfers, a domain must have an 8-character auth-code supplied before it will transfer. Current examples are .BIZ, .INFO and .ORG. The current or "losing" registrar holds this code. You need it if you want to move your domain away. Hopefully they will give it to you.
Traffic and monetization scams
9. domain parking
You may not know this, but domain parking is big business. You know, when you click on a link somewhere or make a typo entering a web address and you wind up on some crapola "search page" optionally throwing up a million pop-up ads? That is a parked domain and the larger players can park thousands of domains and make literally millions of dollars "monetizing" them via domain parking.

You know who has access to thousands of domains? Domain registrars. Some of them offer domain registrations and rock bottom prices just so they can monetize the parked names. This may not bother you, but some people don't realize they're paying for something their registrar then uses to generate more revenue for themselves.

(Update: since the time of writing one registrar in particular rolled out a "Make money from your domains' parked pages" initiative, which surprised me since I knew them to be one of the biggest parked page monetizers around - they make millions per month monetizing their customers' parked domains - until I looked at the details: Packages start at 3.99/month. They are actually charging their customers for domain parking monetization. What audacity. If you actually have a domain that's actually worth something parked, take it to a parking service. They pay you to park your pages. Not the other way around).
10. "free" URL Forwarding
Some people may wonder why the price ranges vary so much for domain registrations and what the difference is between somebody who offers everything but the kicthen sink for $2/year while others charge more than 10 times that much for basic DNS and URL forwarding.

Well the low cost one often has other tricks up their sleeve for making money, either by adding your domain to their parked pool (above) or in this case, they offer "free" URL forwarding for your domain, and then sell pop-up or pop-under advertisements on your domain. You know, those things people like so much.
Bonus item:
11. Domain Front Running
This is where a domain registrar or an intermediary (like a domain lookup site) mines the searches for possibly attractive domains and then either sells the data to a third-party, or goes ahead and registers the name themselves ahead of you. In one case a registrar took advantage of what's known as the "grace period" and registered every single domain users looked up through them and held on to them for 5 days before releasing them back into the pool at no cost to themselves.

Again, there are domain lookup sites like EasyWhois which have a "Guaranteed No-Frontrunning" lookup policy.

There are many gotcha's in the arcane and Kafkaesque world of domain name registrations. There is no free lunch, the rock bottom priced domain registrar has other plans to boost their revenues and at the end of the day a good rule of thumb is....
You get what you pay for
So if you want to register your domain with a registrar who doesn't play any of these games, a domain registrar who:

* never hides any fees
* pays the registry for the same number of years you order, up front
* gives you direct, unfettered access to your whois records, your registrar locks, your auth codes and even total control over your domain's DNS settings like hostname records, mail exchangers and nameservers
* offers a free whois email privacy service and will never sell your data to a third party
* who doesn't "monetize" your domains
* who never "front runs" prospective domain searchers
* a domain registrar who answers the phone and basically doesn't try to upsell you or sell you a bunch of services you don't need or want, who is courteous, professional and has over 10 years experience providing rock solid domain and DNS services...

Then you want to be dealing with these guys :

Continue Reading...

Friday, November 13, 2009

How to install Vbox in ubuntu?

Debian-based Linux distributions

Add one of the following lines according to your distribution to your /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb karmic non-free
deb jaunty non-free
deb intrepid non-free
deb hardy non-free
deb gutsy non-free
deb dapper non-free
deb lenny non-free
deb etch non-free
deb sarge non-free
deb xandros4.0-xn non-free

The Sun public key for apt-secure can be downloaded here. You can add this key with

sudo apt-key add sun_vbox.asc

or combine downloading and registering:

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

The key fingerprint is

AF45 1228 01DA D613 29EF 9570 DCF9 F87B 6DFB CBAE
Sun Microsystems, Inc. (xVM VirtualBox archive signing key)

To install VirtualBox, do

apt-get update

apt-get install virtualbox-3.0

Replace virtualbox-3.0

* by virtualbox to install VirtualBox 1.6.6
* by virtualbox-2.0 to install VirtualBox 2.0.12
* by virtualbox-2.1 to install VirtualBox 2.1.4
* by virtualbox-2.2 to install VirtualBox 2.2.4

Note: Ubuntu users might want to install the dkms package (not available on Debian) to ensure that the VirtualBox host kernel modules (vboxdrv, vboxnetflt and vboxnetadp) are properly updated if the linux kernel version changes during the next apt-get upgrade.

installing dkms
sudo apt-get install dkms
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

how to control and monitor apc ups with apcupsd?

* apcupsd

Apcupsd is the daemon which will monitor your UPS to shutdown the system when the UPS' power is going to fail. The homepage for apcupsd,, has very helpful documentation for doing complicated setups.


* An APC UPS. Apcupsd works with most of APC's Smart-UPS models as well as most simple signalling models such a Back-UPS, and BackUPS-Office.


First of all, we have to install apcupsd package. Install the apcupsd package in the Synaptic Package Manager. See SynapticHowto. If you want to see the stat of the UPS through the browser, you can also install apcupsd-cgi package.

Edit the file /etc/apcupsd/apcupsd.conf which by default includes good comments on usage:


For UPSCABLE you have to specify the type of cable connecting the UPS to your computer. Read the comments in the file to see which possibilities you have. For example, if the UPS used is the APC Back-UPS ES 700V, you have to write usb.

You must also look for and modify the UPSTYPE. The comments in the file describes the different possibilities available. You may choose the appropriate one. Again, from our example of an APC Back-UPS ES 700V, you would write usb.

The final setting you must fix is DEVICE. As the comments note, with a usb type UPS apcupsd can autodetect the device, so you should comment out the DEVICE setting (by putting a '#' in front of it). Otherwise, you will need to know which /dev node your device is connected to. If your UPS cable is a serial type then your device may be something like /dev/ttyS0.

Then you must edit the file /etc/default/apcupsd and change the no of the ISCONFIGURED with a yes.

Once you have apcupsd configured, running and the device connected to your computer you will be able to check on the status of the device using the apcaccess command. Output from the command will vary based on the type of UPS you have. Most likely, the better the UPS the more detailed the information you will get.

Optionally, if you want your computer to reboot after a power fail, you must edit the /etc/init.d/halt due a bug that it has. You must change the poweroff="-p" with poweroff=""

The following applies to Drapper Drake (LTS 6.06), but does not apply to most Ubuntu default setups, where /usr is simply part of the root filesystem. You only need to do this if the /usr filesystem has a separate entry in /etc/fstab:

* You need to uncomment the line 10 in file "/etc/apcupsd/killpower" which means changing "mount -n -o ro /usr" to "mount -n -o ro /usr"
* This will ensure that the shared libraries,, and are visible to apcupsd after shutdown when it runs "/etc/apcupsd/apccontrol killpower" to shut off the ups power otherwise the UPS will stay on and your system will not automatically reboot when utility power returns.


The following changes to a Ubuntu system should allow APCUPSD-CGI web interface to be accessible. Note that for this to work you MUST have Apache2 installed and configured properly for your Ubuntu system.

Start by installing the apcupsd-cgi package with:

sudo apt-get install apcupsd-cgi

This will drop several files into /usr/lib/cgi-bin/apcuspd.

For this to work you MUST have CGI enabled in your Apache configuration and the CGI directory should be pointed at /usr/lib/cgi-bin/

The only thing left is to go to the web address:


I would also recommend installing gapcmon from synaptic

Source :
Continue Reading...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

what are the different User accounts and passwords in Clonezilla?

In Clonezilla live, two accounts are available: (1) account "user" with sudo privilege, password is "live", (2) administration account "root", no password. Therefore you can not login as root, the only way to get root privilege is to login as user, and run "sudo su -" to become root. Note, for old clonezilla live (naming is
clonezilla-live-2007XXXX), root's password is "drbllive".

For better security, it is recommended to change the passwords of user and root by command "passwd" before you allow remote access. When Clonezilla live boots, the ssh service is NOT automatically started, and the setting in /etc/hosts.deny does NOT block any connection. If you want to remotely ssh login into your Clonezilla live, you have to start ssh service by "/etc/init.d/ssh start".
Continue Reading...