g4u and Virtualization

A quick note about g4u – g4u (Ghost for you) is a hard disk imaging tool similar to Norton Ghost, but without the cost. g4u allows you to image hard disks to both files and physical media. This can be accomplished within a physical machine, a virtual machine, or by using an FTP server on either of the two.

Leopard Server on Leopard with VMware Fusion 2.0!

VMware has just announced support for their 61st OS supported by Fusion 2.0 – Mac OS X Server 10.5 (Leopard). This is great news for those looking to test things like the new Active Directory wizards, calendar server and enterprise blogging that come with the new version of the server. Not to mention that because it’s supported by Fusion 2.0, you can do it on your laptop.

Check out the full blog post on Fusion 2.0 Leopard Server support at the VMware VMTN blog site here.

Parallels Server Beta 2 Download

You can now register to download Parallels Server Beta 2!

From the announcement:

Key Features (Parallels Server Beta 2)

Hardware-optimized hypervisor-based virtualization solution.

Installable on host servers running Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, including the Windows Server 2008.

Bare metal version for non-OS server installation.

x64 (64-bit) and x86 (32-bit) host and guest OS support, including any combination of more than 50 different guest OSes in secure, high-performing VMs.

4-way guest SMP and multi-core support.

Integrated toolset includes Parallels Tools, VM backup and Parallels Transporter (the P2V migration tool).

Parallels Management Console, an easy-to-use, multi-server management tool is included.

Support for Intel VT-d hardware acceleration extension for hardware resource dedication to VMs.

Intel VT-x and AMD-V hardware-assisted acceleration support.

Open APIs and SDK for extensible management.

Command line interface (CLI) and scripting.

Modding CoD4

Modding Call of Duty 4 is not as easy as modding other versions, but here are some tips to get you started if you never done it before.

First off, in order to get into the IWD files, you simply need to rename them to have a .ZIP extension, and open them in WinRAR, WinACE or 7zip. Alternatively, I found that associating all of the files to WinRAR, then opening the Main folder in WinRAR, I was able to select all of the IWD files and extract them to a new location so I could play with them.

In order to open the IWI files that you get after extracting the IWD files, you can convert them to DDS by using this IWI to DDS converter.

The cfg files that you have extracted are plain text and easy to edit.

Once you are done modding, you can repack the files as a ZIP file – just make a new archive, and specify the name to be the same as before, for example:  C:\Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare\main\iw_00.iwd would be  “iw_00.zip”. Once the new archive is made, change the extension to IWD, the reload the Call of Duty 4 server.

VMWare relases VMWare Converter 3 Beta Refresh

From the VMWare Converter 3 beta refresh release notes (found at virtualization.info):

VMware Converter provides an easy-to-use, scalable solution for migrations of machines, both physical to virtual and virtual to virtual. Optimized for mass migration, VMware Converter is equally effective for single-machine conversions. With its comprehensive and comprehensible wizards and task manager, VMware Converter imports virtual machines faster, with fewer manual steps required, and fewer source hardware limitations than other methods. Converter can, with its ability to hot clone, import with no downtime on the source physical machine.

VMware Converter combines and expands the functionality available in P2V Assistant and Virtual Machine Importer. It eases interoperability among VMware hosted products (Workstation, VMware Server, and VMware Player), VirtualCenter-managed ESX Server 3.x and 2.5.x, and unmanaged ESX Server 3.x.

Import from Physical Machines

  • VMware Converter can hot clone and reconfigure any local or remote physical machine running an operating system noted in Platforms
  • VMware Converter Boot CD can be started from, and clone, local machines outfitted with storage controllers and network adapters that Microsoft lists as supported in Windows 2003

Import from Various Third-Party Formats and VMware Products
  • Microsoft Virtual PC (version 7 and higher)
  • Microsoft Virtual Server (any version)
  • Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery images1
  • VMware Workstation 4.x virtual machine (compatible with VMware GSX Server 3.x)
  • VMware Workstation 5.x virtual machine (compatible with VMware Player and VMware Server 1.x)
  • VMware ESX Server 3.x
  • VMware ESX Server 3.x (when managed by VirtualCenter 2.x)
  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.x (when managed by VirtualCenter 2.x)
Export to a Virtual Machine for
VMware Workstation and Datacenter Products
  • VMware Workstation 4.x virtual machine (compatible with VMware GSX Server 3.x, ESX Server 2.5.x)2
  • VMware Workstation 5.x virtual machine (compatible with VMware Player and VMware Server 1.x)3
  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.x (when managed by VirtualCenter 2.x)
  • VMware ESX Server 3.x (when managed by VirtualCenter 2.x)
  • VMware ESX Server 3.x

Not Supported:

  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.x when managed by VirtualCenter 1.x
  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.x unmanaged

1. The Symantec family of products includes the Backup Exec System Recovery (formerly LiveState Recovery) products and the Norton Ghost 9 (and higher) products. Only images from the Backup Exec System Recovery products are fully supported, but images from Norton Ghost 9 (and higher) are likely to work.

2. For ESX Server 2.5.x the .vmdk files must be imported using the vmkfstools utility.

3. Only Workstation 5.5 can power on linked imports of .sv2i images.

For more info please visit VMWare’s Converter 3 Beta Refresh page.

Virtual Server VM Disk Usage via WMI


Continuing on our saga through the undocumented Virtual Server WMI interfaces, we now arrive at disk usage information. Here is a sample script that will create a list of the currently running virtual machines, and display the amount of disk activity they have had since they were powered on.

Set vsWMIObj = GetObject(“winmgmts:\\.\root\vm\virtualserver”)
Set vms = vsWMIObj.ExecQuery(“SELECT * FROM VirtualMachine”,,48)
For Each vm in vms
Wscript.Echo “==============================================”
Wscript.Echo “Virtual machine: ” & vm.Name
Wscript.Echo “MiB read from disk: ” & vm.DiskBytesRead / 1048576
Wscript.Echo “MiB written to disk: ” & vm.DiskBytesWritten / 1048576

As you can see these disk counters usually report values in bytes. It is important to note that these counters are also reset to zero every time the virtual machine is turned off.

Use RDP Client 6 (from Vista) on Windows XP

UPDATE! The newest client found in the release candidate of Vista does not require MUI files at all. There is some speculation that this may in fact end up as the Windows XP RDP 6 client. Download RDP 6 Client for Windows XP using this link.

I’ve been trying to get the Remote Desktop Connection v6.0 client from Vista to run on Windows XP for months now. Microsoft has announced many times that it’s available tobeta testers through the Connect site, but try as I may I still can’t find it (I’m not alone). So I went ahead and popped the new RDP 6 client from Vista onto Windows XP and tried everything from dependency walking to regsitry hacks to get it going but to no avail. So i kept testing, and set up a Google alert to let me know if anyone had found a method or any information that I could use to get this done.

I got results from the hook today, and what a big fish it was. It seems that I had probably fixed it early on, but hadn’t followed the proper procedure of changing one setting, testing, then moving to the next. I had simply set up all the hacks I thought were needed and plowed ahead. This is what happens when you test with a bottle in hand.

So here is what I found out today: originally from a thread by Caelum over at AtomicPC, this quick hack allows you to install the Microsoft Vista RDP v6 client on a Windows XP computer. Caelum was trying to get widescreen working in RDP on XP, and most of you know that works fine already. But Caelum, you’ve solved another problem in the process!

The 6th iteration of the MSTSC binary has a bunch of outstanding feautures. The biggest one for me is better support for sound and video over terminal services, but also includes ClearType support for those with LCD monitors so fonts look much nicer now.

Let’s get cracking.

1. Download this MSTSC zip(1.3MB)

2. Unpack the ZIP file to a folder

Vista MSTSC Folder

3. Run the “Install.cmd” file

4. Once the installation has completed, press any key to close the window

5. The script does everything but copy the MUI files to SYSTEM32, so we’ll do that now: open your Windows folder, then SYSTEM32, and then en-US. Copy the *.MUI files from your unzipped folder to the en-US folder

6. Run your remote desktop connection application the same way you normally would

RDP 6 Screenshot

Note: If you use Windows XP 64bit Edition you’ll want to grab the 64bit bit files from a 64bit version of Vista.

Now we can connect to Vista and Longhorn Terminal Server using the most up to date client and test the new features offered by Remote Desktop Client 6. I’ve tested this out on both using my VMWare Server virtual machines and the results are very favorable so far – it’s faster than before!

Copy Files From a Mac to Windows Using SCP

Whenever you start adding funny-flavored operating systems to a network, you eventually run into filesharing problems. Even if you only have a few machines, coming to a consensus on how to get files from point A to B can be quite taxing – especially if there’s work to be done.

Over the years I’ve tried FTP, Samba, NFS and a host of others. When configured well they work like a charm. However, when a new node joins the network (that shiny new Mac Pro of yours), things need to be reconfigured and can generally be a royal pain that´s why i always chose the best web hosting.

That has changed, though. We now have an acceptable solution that is free, easy to use and above all, secure. Introducing… SCP.

SCP has been around for a while now, and is gaining quite a bit of traction in the hosting world where it is (albeit slowly) starting to replace FTP for upload and download tasks. SCP stand for Secure Copy (CP being Copy on *nix variants). SCP works a lot like FTP in that you require an address to connect to, a username (login) and a password (we won’t get into stored keys today).

Now that we’ve decided what to try in our ad hoc network, how do we set it up? If you’re blessed with any variant of Linux or Unix, the work has been done for you already – the tools come with the operating system, and are generally found under the network tools in your fancy menus.

Fugu on OS X Server

It’s a different story on Apple Macs and PCs, though. For example, Tiger comes with an SCP server, but no client. Right, about the Mac server. In order to activate it in Panther, Tiger and even Leopard, head on over to the System Preferences pane, and choose the Sharing applet (the folder with the caution sign on it). Once it has opened, check the Remote Login checkbox. This will enable SSH, and in turn, SCP. We’re halfway there. You can connect to an SCP server by using the Terminal on a Mac, but from what I can tell most Mac users are frightfully scared of it. But that gives me the oppurtunity to tell you about one of my favorite applications – Fugu (japanese for blowfish – and sporting a suitably cute icon to boot). Fugu allows you to connect to an SCP server to both download and upload files. Fugu is quite easy to use, so we won’t get into that, but will save it for another time if need be (just like stored keys). Oh, and as the screenshot shows you, it works with Mac OS X Server 10.4.7 too! (as well as Leopard)

WinSCP Screenshot

In the PC world, WinSCP is Fugu’s sibling. You get an extremly easy to use interface, complete with drag and drop. Installation is a breeze, and best of all it’s free as in both beer and speech. Just like those soapbox ramblers. Getting a Windows SCP server is a bit more difficult, but currently exists in the form of BitVise WinSSHD. WinSSHD is slightly complicated, but most of the configuration is done during the installation procedure. They supply you with the needed variables, and one you have finished you will have set up an account you can use to test from your other workstations. The screenshot above was taken with the wonderful WinSnap – it comes highly recommended.
Let the cross-platform filesharing begin!

If you have any questions, or would like to suggest a topic for a future article, head on over to the blandname contact page and we’ll see what we can do!

Oh, and by the way, since you’ve noticed I always talk about virtualization, this certainly applies to getting files to and fro from your virtual machines in VMWare Server, Virtual Server (Virtual PC if need be) and Parallels – I have even found it to be faster than any other technique!