September 14, 2011

BCDboot - Failure when attempting to copy boot files

I was deploying a W2K8 R2 image on a ML350 G5 some time ago and was unable to make the system partition bootable. Never thought of writing about this but the issue reappeared lately on a G7 so here it goes..

Running “bcdboot.exe c:\windows /l en-usreturned a “Failure when attempting to copy boot files” error. And yes, I did check if the partition was active and it was. I heard that this issue was resolved by some by destroying the array, rebuilding it and installing the image again. I did so but with no further luck – unfortunately a huge waste of time over iLO and a slow connection (you probably know what I mean).

Turns out that the command which finally worked correctly was “bcdboot c:\Windows /s c: /l en-us” while running it from the WinPE drive.

The “/s” option according to the manual “Specifies an optional volume letter parameter to designate the target system partition where boot environment files are copied. The default is the system partition identified by the firmware.”

I guess the default system partition could not be properly identified thus all the fuss. Weird, I haven't found a reason for this. Didn't look deeper since I found a fix. Anyway, hope this helps!

May 16, 2011

RTFL: Read The Freakin' License

After seeing this license agreement for the first time in a long long time I decided to say "hell no!" and delete the installation files. The installer was for a "free" FPS game called PRISM. But still, I shouldn't be surprised... it's a game sponsored by the US Army National Guard ;) Most probably came from the budget of the Patriot act (or some other citizen control law) :P

The moral: Read the F@#$%^ license agreement...

May 14, 2011

BackTrack 5 is out!

A new version of the security enthusiast's favorite linux pentesting distribution is now out. Updated with even more security tools also based on community suggestions. Now in an Ubuntu flavor with your choice of 32 or 64 bit and KDE or Gnome. A 32 bit VMware GNOME image is also available for download. If you use Backtrack as an installed system you won't unfortunately be able to upgrade from Backtrack 4.

Here is a promo video of of the new geek toy :)

Go ahead and visit the Backtrack 5 download page to fetch a copy of your most desired flavor!

Stay tuned for BT5 updates..

April 12, 2011

Installing a Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controller

I have been installing Windows Server 2008 R2 and AD so many times in a test lab that I finally decided to make use of it and make a quick how-to and share it with others (no fuss, mainly defaults to be used in a test environment for other purposes that make use of Active Directory).  

This is not meant to be a guide on Microsoft's best practices, just a walk-through of the screens that you will encounter while going through the process.

You do not need broad experience in the field but I would expect that you have a copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 installed on some virtualization solution (I personally like VMware). I might make another quick guide on installing W2K8 R2 at some point but I'll skip this part now as it's as simple as installing any version of Windows.

On a fresh installation of W2K8 R2 you mainly need to configure the following before starting:
  • Proper time zone
  • Static IP address
  • Computer name
 You can choose to start in either the Initial Configuration Tasks window that pops up on every new W2K8 R2 installation or in Server Manager. In this case I started with the Initial Configuration Tasks window as it was already open on my screen ;)

1. Click on Add roles

2. Click Next on the informational page, then select Active Directory Domain Services in the list of roles

A dialog will appear asking you to approve the installation of required features, confirm the installation (.NET Framework). This is what you will see after the confirmation:

3. Introduction to Active Directory Domain Services will show you a few useful links which could come in handy so take your time and have a look (under "Additional Information)

4. Confirm installation

Don't worry about the Windows Update warning if you have previously patched your system.

5. Once this is complete, you'll need to run dcpromo from a command line or from the start menu

6. Once the Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard starts up choose "Use advanced mode installation" and click Next

 7. Take notice of the operating system compatibility nad click Next

8. Select "Create a new domain in a new forest" and click Next

9. Enter the FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) for your new forest root domain

10. Choose the NetBIOS name for your domain

11. Select the forest functional level of your choice

12. Select additional options. I will be installing a DNS server role as well. Confirm the warning message

13. I changed the default values for DB, Log files and SYSVOL location although it is suggested to separate only DB and logs from SYSVOL. But still, this is only for lab use so I will do as I please ;)

14. Choose your Directory Services Restore Mode Administrator Password

15. You can choose to export your settings to a file which you can later on use for unattended installations

16. The Wizard will continue it's installation

17. Wizard completes the installation tasks

18. You will now need to restart your computer/VM in order to finalize ADDS installation

19. After rebooting you will be able to authenticate with your Domain Administrator password

20. Go ahead and type dsa.msc in your Start Menu -> Run or simply go to your Start Menu -> Administrative Tools -> Active Directory Users and Computers and check the Domain Controllers OU to see that your computer has been added as a GC Domain Controller.

21. Open dnsmgmt.msc from Start Menu -> Run or go to Start Menu -> Administrative Tools -> DNS and see if you can spot your DC DNS records

22. After joining other machines to your domain you should also be able to spot the LOGONSERVER=\\DPTAKDC01 line after typing the set command in your command prompt such as below

Done! :)

March 26, 2011

Firefox 4 - A subjective opinion

Firefox 4 did not manage to beat its' older brothers "first 24 hour" record with "only" a bit over 7 million downloads. I now understand why that might be the case.. after reading a few reviews and checking out the latest benchmarks of FF4 and Chrome 10 it seems that FF4 is way behind. I guess that this might change a bit with future updates but most likely won't flip the current speed ranking.

When first installing FF4 you will notice the obvious (IMHO) resemblance to Microsoft's Office suite and Google's Chrome browser. The FF GUI has been simplified and menus have been moved to a central FF button from where you can access options, add-ons and so on. Thanks to this Mozilla managed to save some screen space and while this won't make much of a difference for those who use higher resolutions it sure will save a few vertical pixels for netbook users.

On a daily basis I use a few different browsers due to personal preference, functions and most often compatibility with a few specialized web based applications (who unfortunately often need the use of IE which I do not appreciate as much as Chrome or FF). I love the speed of Chrome and the vast amount of FF plugins, scripts (vide Greasemonkey + I have encountered a few issues with the FF4 upgrade. Although I am a conscious user and don't expect all previous plug-in versions to be compatible right away with a new browser release but I would expect javascript to work flawlessly.. This was not the case with FF4. I agree that this is a niche problem as most sites display properly and are rendered quickly, especially that FF4 uses some graphics acceleration in this release but still - a bit disappointing. I must however say that the plug-in compatibility was surprising which was not the case with the previous major FF upgrade when we had to wait for new versions of add-ons and plug-ins to be released.

For the time being I have reverted my installations back to FF3.6. Hopefully Mozilla will address these issues soon. Patience is a virtue :)

You can of course download Mozilla Firefox 4 from