Autarchy of the Private Cave

Tiny bits of bioinformatics, [web-]programming etc

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    How to: install Windows 7 on a recent laptop/PC from a bootable USB drive

    12th June 2016

    If you had ever seen the not-so-descriptive error message
    A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing,
    then you have been trying to install Windows 7 (possibly using a bootable flash drive) on a recent laptop or desktop.

    There are two major obstacles for a somewhat-dated Windows 7 when it sees modern hardware:

    • USB 3.0
    • SSDs and newer disk drives in general

    Fortunately, both problems are easy to fix.
    Just follow the steps below; skip steps 1 and 2 if you already have a bootable Win7 flash drive.
    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Posted in how-to | No Comments »

    Converting an existing Windows XP installation to a VirtualBox image

    29th June 2013

    Can be done in 2 steps, where 2nd step is optional:

    1. From Windows itself: use Disk2vhd to create the .vhd image (e.g. NOVA.VHD).
    2. (optional, requires VirtualBox) convert the VHD to VirtualBox-native VDI with VBoxManage clonehd NOVA.VHD nova.vdi --format VDI --variant Standard
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    Posted in Software | 2 Comments »

    Debunking the widespread myth of 2^32=4GB being the architectural limit

    10th April 2011

    Quite a number of people are aware of the PAE which can extend the addressable space from 32bit up to 36-48-52bit (depending on the implementation; as I understand, Windows PAE extends to 36 bits, or 64GB of addressable space). However, overwhelming numbers of internet pages continue insisting that a not-more-than-4GB limit for the 32bit Windows is the consequence of 2^32 = 4GB architectural limit.

    There is an excellent, in-depth, well-argumented article by Geoff Chappell on the issue. Highly recommended in its entirety to those who want a complete understanding (additional side-reading and facts verification might be necessary).

    A single citation to get you started:

    There is already on the Internet and elsewhere an awful lot of rubbish to read about this question. Hardly any of it would be worth citing even if I didn’t want to spare the authors the embarrassment. A surprising number of people who claim some sort of attention as expert commentators would have you believe that using more than 4GB of memory is mathematically impossible for any 32-bit operating system because 2 to the power of 32 is 4G and a 32-bit register can’t form an address above 4GB. If nothing else, these experts don’t know enough history: 2 to the 16 is only 64K and yet the wealth of Microsoft is founded on a 16-bit operating system that from its very first version was designed to use 640KB of RAM plus other memory in a physical address space of 1MB. Some remember this history and add seemingly plausible qualifications that exceeding 4GB is possible only at the price of nasty hacks that require everyone—well, all programmers—to jump through hoops. Fortunately, Intel’s processors are a lot more advanced than the 8086 from all those years ago.

    P.S. Unfortunately, patching the kernel won’t help make Windows XP see more than 4GB RAM: even though the kernel itself does support more RAM (with PAE), starting with SP2 the HAL was modified in a way prohibiting access to any RAM beyond 4GB. Patching may only be suggested to devoted geeks with Vista’s and 7′s.

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    Posted in Hardware, Links, Misc, Software | No Comments »

    Panda USB and AutoRun Vaccine against autorun.inf viruses

    11th April 2009

    Linux users are not affected with a plethora of autorun.inf “viruses”, but that seems to be a real plague for Windows users.

    Ideologically correct solution is offered by Panda software – a free Panda USB and AutoRun Vaccine. It can do two things for your Windows box:

    1. with a single click disable auto-execution of programs from USB sticks and CDs/DVDs, and
    2. with one more click – make the autorun.inf file on your pendrive inaccessible, so as to prevent infecting your USB stick with an “autorun.inf virus”.

    Program does not require installation, but requires Administrator privileges. It supports FAT/FAT32 pendrives, but NTFS-enabled version is being tested and should be made available shortly.

    Note, that if you perform step 2, re-enabling access to autorun.inf may require pendrive formatting. Also, after step 1 your favourite CDs and DVDs won’t start automatically anymore – but you will be able to start them manually.

    And, of course, Linux users have nothing to worry about (yet).

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    Posted in Links, Misc, Software | No Comments »

    Vista Ultimate has a Linux benefit

    12th September 2008

    One of the benefits, offered exclusively by the Windows Vista Ultimate (not even by the Windows Vista Business), is

    running UNIX applications (via SUA, Subsystem for UNIX Applications) , which provides higher flexibility for Windows workstations.

    Where is the world going? :)

    And how soon will all the Windows users (not only Ultimate Users) benefit from the higher flexibility by running UNIX applications? :)

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    Posted in *nix, Humour, Misc | No Comments »

    Windows XP Home Edition: gpedit.msc (group policy) editing via registry

    15th November 2007

    It is possible to install gpedit.msc snap-in for MMC in Windows XP Home Edition. I found the list of necessary files on pagesperso-orange.fr (in French), which also had the archive of all the necessary (again, French) files and the installation batch-file.

    Warning: you proceed at your own risk. If you do not know what you are doing – please don’t :)

    Download (original) French gpedit-pour-xp-home.zip.

    Download English gpedit for windows xp home.zip (also in 7zip archive).

    Here are instructions for manual MMC snap-in installation. Original French-version archive had a batch file which does installation automatically, which I also added to the English archive (gpedinst.bat). But you must manually verify that batch file fits your system before running it! It might be safer to follow the instructions manually.

    • Put these files:

      appmgmts.dll
      appmgr.dll
      fde.dll
      fdeploy.dll
      gpedit.msc
      gpedit.dll
      gptext.dll

      into %SystemRoot%\system32 folder (most often it’s just c:\windows\system32)

    • put these files:

      system.adm
      inetres.adm
      conf.adm

      into %SystemRoot%\system32\GroupPolicy\ADM\ (create if this folder doesn’t exist)

    • finally, run these commands one by one in the CMD window:

      regsvr32 gpedit.dll
      regsvr32 fde.dll
      regsvr32 gptext.dll
      regsvr32 appmgr.dll
      regsvr32 fdeploy.dll

    That should make gpedit.msc callable as Start -> Run -> gpedit.msc.

    Other language versions of the necessary files can be retrieved from corresponding-language installations of WinXP Professional; English version can also be downloaded directly from Microsoft website ( e.g. here , or search for “Group Policy ADM Files” at microsoft.com). Also, you can extract necessary files from available Windows distributions: just don’t forget, that “filename.dl_” is a compressed version of “filename.dll”, and can be uncompressed by using XP-bundled extract command.

    See also this comment for alternative gpedit installation (get the file from badongo first), and also this comment for one more explanation of manual installation.

    Geeks corner:

    1. a comprehensive list of the “Group Policy/User Configuration/Administrative Templates” settings in Windows XP Home Edition
    2. an extremely comprehensive Excel sheet, which maps numerous *.adm-file options to their registry equivalents – Group Policy Settings Reference (PolicySettings.xls). This file is for Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003

    Disclaimer: I do not know if modifying (e.g. by adding gpedit) your WinXP HE is a violation of any EULAs. It’s your own responsibility to check this out and comply with any such regulations. Also, be advised that modifying any settings using gpedit.msc on WinXP HE may render some parts of the OS inoperable (in my opinion). You have been warned!

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    Posted in how-to, Links, Notepad, Software | 91 Comments »

    ext2 and ext3 linux partitions read-write support in Windows

    25th October 2007

    Get the driver!

    There’s also another one, but provides read-only support.

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    Posted in Links | 3 Comments »