Windows - Are You Sure About This?

Installation

USB Flash Drive

Is it possible to install Windows 10 to a USB flash drive? Seems like it might be but it’s definitely not easy if you have to use an install image compatible with some kind of license server.

Maybe this helps?

Physical DVDs

Note that CDs are too small. Often 4GB USB flash drives are less than 1% too small. Burn the image to the DVD with wodim or cdrecord or some such thing.

Check the results…

# Put the Disk in and give it some time to settle...
F=/path/SW_DVD9_Win_Pro_8.1_64BIT_English_-2_MLF_X19-49879.ISO
md5sum $F
dd if=/dev/sr0 bs=2048 count=$(( $( stat -c '%s' $F ) / 2048 )) | md5sum

This must be done to not hash the unwritten zeros at the end of the disk.

That tip comes from here which also reminds us that…

"Windows does not come with md5sum. You must download one from another location, preferably one that you trust." Facepalm.

Is this USB download thing from Microsoft useful?

Breaking into a Windows System - chntpw

Use chntpw which is already installed and ready for action on sysresccd.org.

You have to first mount the Windows main partition.

ntfs-3g /dev/sda2 /mnt/windows

Change directory to the place where the security guts are kept.

cd /mnt/windows/Windows/System32/config/

Have a look at the accounts database if you like.

chntpw -l SAM

I then just use the interactive mode to clear and unlock what needs to be fixed.

chntpw -e

How To Degunk A New Windows System

Did you know that when you buy a brand new Windows computer it is quite possibly infected with very bad stuff? I have actually encountered this kind of thing personally. Blows my mind. Apparently Windows users have an infinite capacity for abuse.

Fight creepy bloatware with creepy bloatware, of course! This one has been deemed kosher by someone I trust.

Note
This doesn’t get rid of the Vosteran or Superfish problems. But, hey, it’s a nice magic ritual.

Is it safe to download some utility? Probably not. Regarding "free" utilities that need to be downloaded to make Windows actually sane: "Because when the product is free the real product is YOU."

Here’s how to ask Google who they think might be icky:

WTF (Exactly) Is This Terrible OS

Don’t use PowerShell (bloody useless). Use cmd and try:

ver
systeminfo
wmic os get Caption,CSDVersion /value

Note that Windows 7 comes up as 6.1.

WTF Is This Machine Doing

Of course Windows has a process viewer. Of course it’s not installed by default. DIY here:

Don’t Hide Things

It’s very frustrating when you have a ‘myfile.doc` and a myfile but you can’t tell them apart because Windows’ interface wants to lie to you every step of the way.

To show complete file names including extensions do this.

  • Start Windows Explorer, you can do this by opening up any folder.

  • Click Organize.

  • Click Folder and search options.

  • Click the View tab.

  • Scroll down to "Hide extensions for known file types".

  • Un-check.

  • Click OK

WTF Is The Mac Address

Use cmd and:

getmac

License

Wonder what’s up with the license? Try this.

  • From the Start screen, type CMD and press the Enter key

  • At the command prompt, type slmgr.vbs /dli and press the Enter key

  • For a more detailed report run slmgr.vbs /dlv

Works on Windows 8 anyway.

Telnet

Sometimes you want to use echo > /dev/tcp/host/port but you’re fighting with Windows. Netcat? Nmap? Creepy shareware? Turns out that Windows does come with Telnet but, astonishingly, it is hidden and deactivated.

How to activate Telnet
  • Control panel

  • Programs

  • Turn Windows features on or off

  • Telnet Client

  • OK

Or try this untested method on the command line.

pkgmgr /iu:"TelnetClient"

Then restart the terminal.

This should return some HTML from a working web server.

telnet www.example.com 80
GET /

Using A Proxy To Keep This Insecure OS Off Of The Real Internet

Systemwide on Vista/Server 2008/Windows 7

From a privileged cmd shell.

netsh winhttp set proxy proxy-server="webproxy.ucsd.edu:3128" bypass-list="*.ucsd.edu"

If that doesn’t work, try the following method.

Windows 7ish - The Crazy IE Way

It’s crazy but it does work. I am told that the GUI proxy settings under Windows change the settings for only the current logged-in user.

  • Run IE.

  • Go to Tools menu.

  • Internet options.

  • Connections.

  • LAN settings.

  • Check "Use a proxy server for your LAN…"

  • Use: webproxy.ucsd.edu and port 3128.

  • Check with an outside web page.

  • Open a cmd shell and Netsh winhttp import proxy source=ie

  • Check with Netsh winhttp show proxy

  • Go to Control Panel "Windows Update" and check for updates.

Systemwide XP/2003

proxycfg -p "webproxy.ucsd.edu:3128" "*.ucsd.edu"

Troubleshooting

Keyboard and Mouse Don’t Work On Install

It seems that the Windows 7 (at least) installer can’t recognize USB3 ports. If your only keyboard option is USB and there are no USB2 ports you’re out of luck.

  1. Use a USB2 port.

  2. Use a PS2 keyboard (the mouse is not essential)

  3. Disable USB3 mode in BIOS (sometimes possible)

  4. Install elsewhere and move hard drive - ugly for fragile Windows

Here’s another possible solution.

Won’t Remember Credentials For Mapped Drive

You’re tyring to mount a Samba share and it finally works just fine. When you defined the network mapping and entered your credentials, you definitely clicked the box that said "remember credentials". Yet when you reboot, it needs the credentials again. Super annoying!

Here’s a web page with some answers. I haven’t tested these but it looks like the right place to start.

Maybe a command line approach? Try net use /h for help.

net use X: \\Hostname\Share /savecred /p:yes

I think the /p is for persistent.

Office Site License Fiascos

Problem: You install a copy of Office provided by your institution which has a site license. Then the user reports this:

Apparently I have just one more day of use on my Office product you downloaded about a month ago on my laptop - it is requesting a 25 character product key

Here is a troubleshooting guide sent to me by the people who set up the site licenses.

The software will connect to the license server via DNS, so as long as the
connection is via UCSD network, it should contact the KMS server. You can
follow these steps below on trying to get that host activated.  We have 2 KMS
servers on campus so you can use either option to connect to.

If you are using Office 2013 instead, please replace with "Office15".
Office16:

1: Type CD \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16 and Press Enter. This
+assumes you installed Office in the default location.

Note: If you installed the 32-bit version of Office on a 64-bit system, use
this path instead:

CD \Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16

2. Type the following command:

cscript ospp.vbs /sethst:acms-kms2-srv

(or acms-kms1-srv) and press Enter.

3. Type the following command:

cscript ospp.vbs /act

and press Enter.

4. You should receive <Product activation successful> messages at this point.

5. Close the command prompt window


If that still does not work, I can give you a key to type in that
would avoid having to use the KMS server.

Also based on this, the following Microsoft resource looks potentially helpful: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee624350.aspx

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How Windows "firewalls" work

So-called Firewalls

Does your operating system do what you want or do you do what it wants?

Windows 10

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