Monthly Archives: February 2010

Dlink DSL-502T fails to save DMZ

Damn Dlink.

Trying to update the firmware because the DMZ setting was not saving or at least was being reset to disabled despite my best efforts to save it into the modem. A restart seemed to be ok, but a while later the DMZ was disabled again.

So I downloaded the most recent firware and used the upload option to install it. I then did the reset via the pinhole button on the rear and boom!

Power LED comes on but no-one is home any more. The damn thing has trashed itself internally. In this location I had a spare and replaced it straight away which gets the site back on the internet, etc. But what pain that is when a simple firmware update blows up the modem.

So why was it not saving the DMZ. Guess I’ll never know.

Windows server 2008 install error

Installing a new server with Windows Server 2008 to a blank hard drive and during the install process it fails at the disk format stage with

“Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation”

There is a Microsoft KB article KB927520 about this and I figured that the obvious issue was that the drivers for the main board SATA controller did not match with the MS supplied drivers.

There are a couple of issues with this:

  • the suggested solution to download/update the drivers cannot be undertaken on a bare metal system, particularly when the network card is yet to be enabled to allow for communication
  • the Intel mainboard came with a special self-booting driver and management disk, but it failed to read the DVD because it could not recognise its own controller until the drivers were available, a real catch-22

So having tried a number of options, I opted to grab one of our 2003 Server install disks just to verify that there was no actual hardware issue. Having successfully installed Windows Server 2003 I then loaded the Intel CD to do the BIOS and system updates.

Once that was loaded I checked the disk via the Disk Manager utility and converted it to Dynamic, as I would be doing a software mirror later and then I loaded the Windows Server 2008 disk to try again.

Guess what, it all works like there was never an issue. Upgrade option worked a treat.

As a side issue I was mildly peeved to have a new Feb 2010 server delivered with a new motherboard that required patches and updates that were dated September 2008 which implies that the last time Intel did any on board updates was around 3 years ago!

Windows Recovery Console Admin Password

Trying to launch the Recovery Console from the Windows Server disk gave me a bit more trouble than I expected this morning.

The issue I think arises from the initial setup of a server being done with a basic password and then the server is promoted into a domain controller role and gets effectively another password for the Administrator account. The user will use the Administrator password and ‘knows’ that the password is correct, but when entering this password at the Recovery Console login gets an invalid password message and after 3 attempts the computer logs out and restarts.

The issue is that the Directory Service Restore Mode Administrator password is still the original old administrator password from years ago when the server was first installed.

The solution is well documented at the Petri IT Knowledgebase which is where I sourced the correct commands for changing the password.

If you have a server that you cannot boot then this will not help as you need access to the GUI to do this. I have not tried but you may get some success by using a password clearing utility along the lines of my recent experience with my Windows 7 netbook and earlier Windows XP password lockouts.

Recovering Passwords for Windows, XP, Vista & 7

As I have previously related in Windows Lost or Forgotten Password I am really impressed with the toolkit provided by PC Login Now available from SourceForge.

I have used this previously to recover a system where we had forgotten any/all passwords.

So this time I am working with my HP Mini Netbook and its happily working with my Samba domain for months when for a reason yet to be determined the domain controller cannot authenticate the machine account. Which in turn means that none of the user accounts are working either.

Over the 6 months or so since I got the netbook I’d not had any need to access the system locally, ie using the local administrator account, and naturally I discovered that I did not have any password or username that I could get to work.

Ok, so I have Windows 7 on the netbook and no password, so I reach for my bootable CD of PC Login Now, and Doh! It’s a netbook with no CD, and I cannot connect to the network for a drive share because the login is not working.

Bootable USB!  That would have to be the solution. But having trawled the web and read reams of guff about how this and that will work I ended up with what should’ve been a simple solution but it took a number of tries to identify the complete sequence.

#1. Format your USB stick in a FAT 16 mode. Windows XP allows for this – select the drive and right-click then select Format, the rest of the process should be obvious. If it is not, then find your computer guru to help you.

#2. Do not attempt to use the PCLoginNow iso I mentioned previously as it will not work for a USB.

#3. I’ve summarised the info provided on the Parted Magic support site specifically for my Windows desktop environment.

#3.1 Download the file “” from the Parted Magic site.

#3.2 Extract it to a local folder using Windows’ ‘Compressed (zipped) Folders’, or similiarly, ‘7-Zip‘ (another fine, Open Source project – which I thoroughly recommend!)

#3.3 Download the additional PC Login Now modules from Parted Magic. You can also read more about this process in the forum thread at Parted Magic.

#3.4 Copy the pcloginnow.txz file to the pmagic/pmodules directory on your computer. This directory exists and in my version has a file pmagic-4.8.sqfs already there. This is correct. You are now ready to setup the USB stick.

#4. In the notes for their step 4 the syslinux.exe that you need in a Windows environ is already there for you. (/boot/syslinux/syslinux.exe). Just open a command window and find the /boot/syslinux directory under the partedmagic directory you created earlier. Run the command

syslinux.exe -d bootsyslinux -ma X:

where you swap X: for the drive letter of your USB stick.

#5. Copy the /boot and /pmagic folders from your computer to the USB stick root directory and you are ready to go.

#6. Boot your USB driven computer with the resulting USB stick

#7. When doing this on a netbook, the screen settings are too small (height wise) to allow for the full screen of PC Login Now to be shown. You need to use the TAB key and make some educated guesses as to which button is selected and then use the Enter key to commit that button. If you make a mistake there are confirmation prompts which allow you to cancel. However, the main game of stepping through PC Login Now and setting a user to have a cleared password can be done.

#8. After setting the clear password option, shutdown the Parted Magic installation politely and then remove the USB stick and restart. Login with your user name and no password to get access.

#9. Set up your administrator passwords and user accounts again, this time writing down what password goes with what local account so that you dont need to do all of this again.

Hope this shortens the process for someone else.