Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Windows 7 Shared folder on All Users Desktop

This is very similar to a previous post that I've done, but I thought it is worth mentioning since this is done differently than XP. I wanted to create a shortcut to a shared folder for all users that log in to a Windows 7 machine. In XP, you can just create a shared folder in shared documents, and create a shortcut to it in the all users desktop. In Windows 7 you can't do this, so you'll have to create a symbolic link.

1. Create the folder you want to link. I just created a folder named "Shared" in C:\Users\Public\Documents. Everyone already has access to this folder, but it's not super easy to find.

2. Open the command prompt as administrator. (find "cmd" and right-click then click run as admin, you'll see administrator in the window title)

3. Run this command to create the link: 
"mklink /J C:\Users\Public\Desktop\Shared C:\Users\Public\Documents\Shared"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Change your blog URL to dot com

I haven't had a ton of experience with blogs, so I wan't sure if I could purchase a domain name and still have my blog hosted by blogspot. I was thinking that I would have to purchase from godaddy.com and do some funny business like redirecting to my blog website, or move the content and possibly pay for server space. I've seen some solutions say that you need to move where your hosted content is if you want to get a .com, .net or something similar. Google has made it super easy to change the URL (if you purchase the domain from them). Domains from Google are $10/year which is reasonable. I don't know if WordPress or other blogging sites have options to purchase domains, but it only makes sense. The good news is that the old URL and new URL both work, so your countless hours of SEO won't be wasted.

This website is available from both places:

Making the change was super easy, but was still new to me, so this is what I did:

1. Log in to blogspot, and go to Settings
2. Click Publishing
3. Click buy domain and take it from there. Google will do the rest.

This site is still a little test project for me, but now I'm committed to $10/year. Hopefully it will be worth it with a more professional looking .com site.

I also realized that Google gives you a free apps account with up to 50 users for the domain, so I think that getting the domain through Google was definitely a good move.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Move Windows 7 Users folder to another drive

If you've already installed your operating system and want to move the entire Users folder to another drive use these instructions. This will create a symbolic link which will leave the operating system using the same path to avoid breaking anything pointed to the Users through the C drive. You will still be able to get to this directory through the normal C:\Users path. This is an alternative to making changes with the unattend.xml file on installation.

Moving the Users Folder

1. Copy C:\Users to your secondary drive, or wherever you want it to be located. This works best if you boot into a Linux disc or some other boot drive since windows will lock files while you are logged in. If you have a WinPE disc, you can make all these changes at once.

2. Rename, delete, or move the original folder after making sure that the files have copied. It is difficult to rename that folder while you are logged in to the operating system, so I would do this step while booted to another drive.

3. Log in to the original OS with the built-in Administrator and rename the folder again, or delete any User folder that was created. For some reason the OS treats this folder differently, and maintains the Users folder name. If you don't do this then you won't be able to create a symlink. If you use WinPE, you'll be able to create the link without fixing any of the changes that are made from logging in.

4. Now create a Symbolic Link for the Users folder. This is done in the normal command line by using the "mklink" command. If your secondary drive is E, then the command will probably be:

"mklink /J C:\Users E:\Users"

Don't forget to use the /J tag or you'll have problems!
I accidentally forgot to use the /J tag above, and it created a soft link instead of a hard link.

More on symbolic links: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/using-symlinks-in-windows-vista/

It should look like this when you're done:

The Users SymLink should look like a shortcut.

I'm sure you can use this for almost any folder in windows. This might be especially useful if you have a lot of data and have a smaller OS drive, or if you want to back up all users data, including application data from one drive (i.e. outlook pst files). I see this being more common since it's relatively cheap to get a relatively small SSD and a large, slower secondary storage drive. Remember that users can still add other folders to their "library" so be careful when making assumptions for the location of data.


Desktop.ini popping up on logon?
It probably looks like this:


go to C:\Users\[user]\Appdata\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup and move the file or delete it. Renaming it won't help.

More on desktop.ini problem: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/330132

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Remove Ads from most websites

The web is a lot nicer without ads all over the place. There are a few tools out there that are designed to remove ads from your web experience, some more functional than others. I've tried a few, and by far, the best is Ad-block plus which is only on Firefox. There's an add-on in Chrome called ad-sweep, but I've tested, and there's still a lot of ads that come through. Too bad, since I really like Chrome otherwise. Ad-Block Plus is easy to install, so I'll just direct you to their website: http://adblockplus.org/en/

Alternatively, you can just click tools, add-ons, get add-ons, and search for "ad-block plus". You'll want to subscribe to the "EasyList" to get current lists of ad urls.

You can temporarily disable it from the icon that it puts in your web browser. Typically I hate adding toolbars or anything to my web browser, but this isn't that big, and is a must since the only thing more annoying than toolbars is ads.

Below is an example of with and without it enabled. You can test it on this site. I know this is reducing traffic to my ads, but trust me, I'm not making any money on them anyways. Actually, I think I'll increase the amount of ads to encourage you to either click on one or install ad-block.

There's also something called flash-block, that will block flash ads, but I don't see a huge number of flash ads, and it's annoying to have to allow all kinds of flash animations.

I've now converted to Google Chrome since I've found "AdBlock" for it: https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bypass Cisco NAC Agent

The Cisco NAC agent is run either in Java or ActiveX to check your windows update and virus definition status. If your operating system or antivirus is not up to date, you won't be able to fully access the (wireless) network until you install the required updates. This is all nice, except that it doesn't tell you what updates are required, which ones failed, and it sometimes takes an hour or more to update your machine. This, plus the fact that there is a ridiculously small amount of time between the new updates being released and them being required. This makes your computer fail to access the network at the most inconvenient times. I've found myself spending many class periods failing to listen or take notes because I had to get connected. Here's how you can get logged on without having to even run the NAC agent.

Simply put, change your operating system to either Mac, or Linux. Rather, change what your web browser is reporting as your operating system. Currently there is no Cisco agent for either of these operating systems, and I don't expect one to be required, at least for Linux. You can make this change manually if you know your web browser intimately, or you can download an extension to make a quick change and change back after you have logged in. I recommend using Firefox, but I've heard that there's an add-on in Chrome as well.

Below is step by step instructions on how to do this with Firefox.

1. Install the Firefox plug-in found here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/59 This will require you to restart Firefox.

2. Look in "Tools". You should have a menu item that says "Default User Agent". Get into the sub-menu and click "Edit User Agents".

3.  Click "New..." and Replace everywhere that says something like "Windows" to "Linux". I just guessed all of these and it worked, so I wouldn't worry about  being exact, versions, etc.

4. Click OK. Now you can get into that same Default User Agent menu and change it to Linux before you connect to the network. You will still have to authenticate, but the NAC agent won't run since it thinks you are a Linux machine.

5. I would change it back to default after authenticating since content might change based on your operating system setting.

The tool has other uses, such as web development testing and streaming video on Linux.