Clandestine Development Guides and utilities for sysadmins

VBoxManage CloneHD GUI now supports VirtualBox 4.2.12

Posted 12. May 2013 12:09 in Tools

I was contacted by a Canadian user the other day with a request for a new version of VBoxManage CloneHD GUI. The old release only supported VirtualBox 3.x and since there's been some changes to the functionality in VirtualBox 4.x, it seemed like it was time for an updated version. 

So I've spent the last couple of days adding features, fixing bugs and testing functionality. The end result is that the VBoxManage CloneHD GUI now supports VirtualBox 4.2.12, and you can now use the tool to change UUID of an existing VDI file too.

Download the newest version for free here.

IPv6 support in Batch DNS Lookup

Posted 14. February 2013 22:13 in Tools

There's a new version of Batch DNS Lookup ready for download. 

It's another minor update where I have fixed a critical bug with reverse lookups. I have also added support for IPv6 lookups through AAAA records and PTR records.

Get the new version here.


Posted 24. November 2010 18:00 in Tools

I've been using Parallels Virtuozzo Containers for a couple of years, and I think it is a really great product. But there's one point I always have had a problem with, and that is the backup process. Either I'm just not smart enough to configure it correctly through the GUI, or else there's some parameters I don't know of in the console app. The fact is that I find the backup process lacking a feature to send the backup logfiles to an e-mail address, as a quick and easy way to keep track of the health of the whole backup process.

So I developed a small application that fires up the VZBackup command with your normal parameters, parses the logfile it prints to the screen, gets the result and nodenames, generates a report and sends it to you as an e-mail. Quite simple, actually. I've done plenty of testing with it, and it is working great.

You can download for free here.

Password Generator

Posted 12. November 2010 21:32 in Tools

I dusted off an old project of mine today, a password generator I called PassGen (original, I know). The original version was developed a couple of years ago when I needed a quick and easy password generator for a job, where I had to generate a large amount of random passwords.

I have cleaned up the sourcecode and user interface, added a couple of options and released this as a free download. You can get it here. Enjoy!

Minor update of Batch DNS Lookup

Posted 2. August 2010 20:16 in Tools

I have just uploaded a minor update for Batch DNS Lookup. You can download the new release here (Batch DNS Lookup v1.2.1.0).

You now have the option to specify a custom delimiter when exporting data. It is also possible to export data directly to the clipboard. And there's a few new settings available. You can now specify the timeout and retry count for the DNS queries.

Batch DNS Lookup 1.2 released

Posted 13. July 2010 14:03 in Tools

Batch DNS Lookup 1.2 has just been released!

There's a lot of new features available, which you can read more about on the download link, but the biggest improvement is definitely the addition of multithreaded lookups.

The application will now lookup several domains at the same time, which gives a total speed increase of up to 80% compared to the old version.

You can download the new version for free here.

Windows Deployment Services

Posted 12. April 2010 22:14 in Support

I've been messing around with Windows Deployment Services (WDS) lately, and it seems like it's a very nice tool. I used to distribute images to our various platforms using the otherwise brilliant Paragon Hard Disk Manager. So far it's been pretty easy to setup a new machine with the desired image, capture it to a USB drive and distribute it manually to other machines of the same model. But what if the hardware changes? What about new drivers? Then it usually gets a bit more messy. And the problems just seem to expand at the same rate the company does.

In comes Windows Deployment Services. It's the successor of Remote Installation Services (RIS), and I never quite became good friends with RIS. Don't know why really. But WDS on the other hand seems to be pretty easy to get going, and if you're only interested in distributing images of Vista, 7, Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2, then there's a lot of benefits. It's pretty darn easy to setup the WDS server. It's pretty darn easy to set up your first blank standard OS images, and it's just as easy to setup driver packages for different kinds of hardware. The unattended installs can still be a bit quirky if you haven't messed around with that bit before, but luckily I found a bunch of articles on the matter, that explains everyting pretty well.

So if you ever want to experiment with WDS yourself, get a hold of a Windows 2008 R2 server with plenty of diskspace, some clients and these tutorials. Good luck.

Augusto Alvarez: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
His focus is mainly on getting the WDS server up and running and deploying a Vista image. But it translates directly to other image types as well.

Midteq: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.
The focus here is on XP images, HAL independency and WDS on 2003 R2 servers. Also some Sysprep gold here.

Sharepoint George: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
WDS, Windows 7 deployment, WAIK, unattended installs and driver injection.

Tsaysoft: MySysprep2
A custom Sysprep utility that might come in handy.

Media is write protected

Posted 12. April 2010 14:23 in Support

I ran into a problem a while back with a testserver. It used Windows 2008 and a cheap Promise RAID controller for it's data drive (4 SATA disks, RAID 5). After rebooting the server, I was suddenly unable to write or modify any files on the data drive, but I was able to read and copy all files to the system drive. I constantly got the error message "media is write protected".

Apparently it's a problem in a SAN policy in Windows, that resets the readonly attribute of the disk. Microsoft states that it is a SAN only problem, but it also seems to apply to SATA drives (or the cheap RAID controller).

To fix this, use DiskPart to clear the readonly attribute on the faulty disk.

Run "DiskPart" from a command prompt. Then type:

  • SELECT DISK <number>
  • If the disk is offline, then type: ONLINE DISK
  • DETAIL DISK (note: ignore the read only attribute here, it's probably wrong).
  • EXIT

    You should now be able to write or modify files on the disk again. The operation won't harm any files on your drive. For more information take a look at the Microsoft knowledgebase article on the problem.

    SQL Server Diskspace Usage

    Posted 12. April 2010 13:57 in Support, Tools

    If you have a SQL server running and need to do some cleanup (or just figure out who's using all of your precious space on the harddrive), then just run this query on the master database.

    It will list the name, size of the db + logfile, compatibility level and recovery model for each database on the server. Compatible with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and up.

        convert(decimal(18,2),(sum(size)*8)/1024.0) as db_size_in_mb,
                dbid = saf.dbid
                and groupid=0
        ) as log_size_in_mb
        sys.sysaltfiles saf
        join sys.databases d on saf.dbid=d.database_id
        groupid > 0
    group by 
    order by 

    VBoxManage CloneHD GUI

    Posted 11. April 2010 16:06 in Tools

    I've been using Sun's VirtualBox software for a while now, and it irritated me that there wasn't an option in the GUI to handle the cloning of harddrives. If you want to do that (and it's a feature I use often) then you have to use it through the command line. Not really a huge problem, but for some people it is easier just doing it through a graphical interface instead. Since it seemed like noone else had made a GUI for it, I thought I might as well do it myself. I hope someone out there can use it.

    I have built it upon VirtualBox v3.1.6, and currently only support the CloneHD parameter from VBoxManage. Read more about it here.