Installing Windows Live Essentials on Windows XP – Error: OnCatalogResult: 0x80190194

Support for Windows XP from Microsoft has long since ended, and although Windows Update still kind of works (you have to run the “Express” option a few times, and install Microsoft Update, before “Custom” works), attempts to install Windows Live Essentials fail miserably with the cryptic error message “OnCatalogResult: 0x80190194″.

wlsetup

Downloading the installer manually was suggested on a few sites, however, downloading and running wlsetup-web.exe from Microsoft gave me the same error message on install. Cue the offline installer. However, the previous links to download the offline installer, such as http://g.live.com/1rewlive3/en/wlsetup-all.exe, are now dead. The Internet Archive came to the rescue, and I was able to download it from there.

I’ve archived my copy of it here, for future reference. Feel free to grab it, or use the archive.

Taking a screenshot of an entire page with Firefox, saved as a .png

I was recently asked for a way to do this, and since I figured more people might like to know, here’s how:
Go to Tools => Web Developer => Developer Toolbar (check it), or simply press Shift+F2, then at the command line that appears in the bottom of the browser window, type “screenshot –fullpage” followed by an optional filename ending in .png.

A screenshot of the entire page will end up in your default downloads directory.

Here’s an example shot of the OmniOS installation guide:
Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 21.18.16

Renaming an MSSQL instance (Invalid Urn filter on server level)

If you rename a host on which MSSQL is running, the MSSQL server will not be renamed internally, causing the error message “Invalid Urn filter on server level” to pop up. What this means, in this case, is that the connected SQL server doesn’t match the name the client has for it.

You can check this by running the following query:

SELECT @@SERVERNAME AS 'Server Name';

To correct the server name, from (for the sake of example) “foo” to “bar”, run this query:

sp_dropserver 'foo';
GO
sp_addserver 'bar', local;
GO

Restart the server and run the SELECT query again to verify the change.

More information available here, archived here.

Restarting a VPN client on pfSense through the CLI (SSH)

I recently had some issues with a flaky VPN service. I wanted to make a little script I could run on a different machine that would restart the VPN connection, should it break. This particular VPN connection included a DNS service for the remote .local-domain, which I decided to use for testing, but you could in theory use any valid connection test.

Either way, pulling the correct function names and options from /usr/local/www/status_services.php – following the reference to /etc/inc/service-utils.inc – I came up with this script:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
if ! nslookup -timeout=2 remote.server.local >/dev/null 2>&1; then
    echo "VPN not OK - restarting"
    ssh my.pfsense.ip /usr/local/bin/php -q <<-EOF
        <?php
            include('service-utils.inc');
            service_control_restart("openvpn", array('vpnmode' => 'client', 'id' => '3'));
        ?>
    EOF
fi

This will connect to my pfSense box using keyless login from a trusted machine, and restart the VPN connection.

The client ID was obtained from the restart link in the pfSense web interface:

vpnid

UPDATE

I ended up finding the browser VPN ID too hackish, and made a script that looks up the ID in the pfSense config instead. Might also be useful for adapting to future issues. Here: http://www.dhampir.no/stuff/bash/pfsense-vpnreset

Weakening Windows Server 2012

Sometimes, when I’m just screwing around with some software, Windows security just gets in my way.

Here are the things I wanted gone this time, and where to find them:

Strong password enforcement and password aging:
Administrative tools => Local Security Policy (secpol.msc) => Account Policies => Password Policy

Ctrl+alt+del to login:
Administrative tools => Local Security Policy (secpol.msc) => Local Policies => Security Options => Interactive Login: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL

Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration:
Server Manager => Local Server => IE Enhanced Security Configuration (it’s an option in the content view)

Force a given wallpaper on everyone (mwahahah!):
Server Manager => Tools => Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) => User Configuration => Administrative Templates => Desktop => Desktop => Desktop Wallpaper

Screw around with everyone’s color settings (double mwahahah!):
Server Manager => Tools => Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) => Computer Configuration => Administrative Templates => Control Panel => Personalization => *

Allow shadowing or full interaction with remote desktop sessions without the user’s consent
Server Manager => Tools => Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) => Computer Configuration => Administrative Templates => Windows Components => Remote Desktop Services => Remote Desktop Session Host => Connections => Set rules for remote control of Remote Desktop Services user sessions

Finish by running gpupdate /force in a command prompt to update the settings.

To be continued…

Using a Windows 8 upgrade key for a clean install

I recently faced reinstalling a Windows 8 machine, without knowing the key used for deployment on it was an upgrade key. Not wanting to wipe the drive (again), dig up a Windows 7 key, then installing Windows 8 again, I googled and found this advice at Lifehacker, which worked brilliantly:

If you do a clean install using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, you should be fine, but if you’ve already formatted your drive or you’re moving to a new drive, you can’t do a “clean install” without installing an old version of Windows first. It’ll let you install Windows 8 cleanly, but when you go to activate, you get an error 0x8007007B, saying your product key can only be used for upgrading.

If you get that error, here’s how to fix it:

  1. Press the Windows key and type regedit. Press enter to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Setup/OOBE/ and double-click on the MediabootInstall key in the right pane.
  3. Change the key’s value from 1 to 0.
  4. Exit the Registry Editor, press the Windows key again, and type cmd. Right-click on the Command Prompt icon and run it as an administrator.
  5. Type slmgr /rearm and press Enter.
  6. Reboot Windows.

When you get back into Windows, you should be able to run the Activation utility and activate Windows as normal, without getting an error. Obviously, you could use this trick for evil, but it has its legitimate place too—if, say, you’re upgrading your hard drive and want to do a fresh install on it, or if you formatted your drive before upgrading.