Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hey Sysprep.exe, Factory Reseal This!

I use Samba running on Debian for my Domain Controller at work with Windows 2000 & XP Professional desktop clients. I find it's helpful to buy identical desktop workstations in batches from my local vendor PC Club, 5 or more at a time, and automate their configuration.

If you've ever tried to update a master image(Ghost, Acronis Trueimage, etc.) in order to deploy multiple Windows XP Pro systems, you may have run into this special error message:

"Your grace period limit has been reached and will not be reset"

[quote source=" thread"]
In Windows XP Professional, Sysprep can reset Windows Product Activation a maximum of three times.

This causes a problem when deploying the image on other pc's as the image is redundant after 30 days of it being created.

e.g. create image on 1st sept - can deploy on other pc's in sept but when deploy the image on a pc in Oct it has expired and wont let me log on.

There is a solution buried in Microsoft KB308554:

(all actions tested on Windows XP Pro SP2 with an OEM Product Key - a big thanks to Amit in MS Tech Support!)
1. Update your master system with applications and patches.
2. Run 'sysprep -factory' & reboot.
3. Activate windows.
4. Run 'sysprep -reseal -activated'. No error message about the grace period appears this time!
5. Use the prepped system's drive as your fresh master image for deployment.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sharing HD Videos with Non-Geeks

As many geeks have discovered, commercial-free television via bittorrent downloads lets you watch only what you want to watch, when you want to watch it. An hour long TV program is usually only 40-42 minutes in length without those pesky commercials. PVR software such as MythTV combined with an HDTV tuner & capture card allows better than DVD (MPEG 2) quality playback, if you have a computer set up for playback, or burn to media for playback on an MPEG-4 compatible DVD player such as the Philips DVP642. Now there's another option I like even better.

Vantec just introduced a new product that will facilitate sharing your archive of video files with non-geeks, the Avox Jukebox. It comes with a remote control and all the cables you'll need to lend it to a non-geek friend for playback on their low-end TV or plush home theater HDTV setup.

You'll need a spare 2.5" laptop hard drive and $100 to spend.

Supported Formats:
Movie: MPEG 1, 2, 4 (MPG, MPEG, AVI, M2V, DAT, VOB, IFO etc.) DivX, XviD (except GMC, Qpel option applied)
Music: MP3, OGG Vorbis, WAV, WMA (except WMA9 pro.lossless)
Photo: JPG(JPEG)
Available OS: Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP, Mac OS 9 or Higher, Linux 2.4 or Higher

Video: COMPOSITE _or_ COMPONENT Y, Pb, Pr (480p, 720p, 1080i Progressive Scan)
Audio: STEREO L-R _or_ DIGITAL COAXIAL (DTS Pass-Through Only)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

36 Cisco 79xx Ringtones

Dump all the files from cisco-ringtones.tgz into your tftproot, reboot your Cisco 79xx phone & you should be good to go.

Note: The cisco-ringtones.tgz archive creates a cisco-rings folder for convenience only - the files should be copied into your the root dir of your tftp server without the containing folder. I tested on a Cisco 7940.

34 of these ringtones were already available, I just added the 2 CTU ringtones from the TV show "24" and created a RingList.xml file.