Archive for November, 2006

Fixing my missing ntldr problem for the second time

November 30, 2006 10:02 pm

This happened to me once before, and I didn’t write down how to fix it then. This time I will, just so I can look it up easily next time.

If your ntldr goes missing, here’s one way to fix it:

  • Boot from your Windows XP SP2 CD.
  • Choose the “R” option to repair using a recovery console.
  • copy ntldr and from the i386 folder on the boot CD to the windows hard drive root.


  • Double check that the boot order of the hard drives in the BIOS is still how it should be (for some reason my order was messed up, so the system tried to boot from the wrong drive, which puzzled me quite a bit.)

That last point messed me up for a good twenty minutes this time around.

But now everything is good again.

Goodbye, old 120 MHz Pentium S network server, you’ve done your duty

9:56 pm

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. The PC I built about 10 years ago finally turned flaky and had to be replaced. It started out as my desktop machine originally. I can’t remember what I had running on it, but probably Windows 95 or Windows 98. It had a Pentium S processor (not Pentium II, not Pentium III) running at 120 MHz…

After a few years of service, I got a new machine and decided to put the old one to work as an Internet gateway server hooked up to my cable modem. I used an OS which was known at the time as “E-Smith”, a derivative of RedHat Linux, cut down to essentials and hardened to make a secure access point to the Internet. E-Smith has since been renamed “SME Server“, and my system was running the 5.5 release for about 5 years nonstop (okay, with an occasional reboot). It had 64 MB of RAM and a 4 GB hard drive to start out with. On that, it faithfully provided firewall, email, web, ftp, samba and ssh services.

I added a 20 GB drive at some point to have more room for music files, thinking I would use the machine as a central repository for a network jukebox. It never really took with the rest of the family, though, so that pretty much went unused.

Recently I started having problem with the box locking up and not providing Internet access any more. I looked into the logs and saw some attempts at hacking passwords. At that point I decided it was time to upgrade to version 7 of SME Server (for better security), and at the same time retire the old hardware.

I had a spare box prepared for just this purpose, got it out of the garage and upgraded the software to version 7 (I had prepared it a long time ago with version 6). Then I swapped out the boxes, did a little work and was up and running again. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that smooth, since I messed around with my wireless router and various other things at the same time.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the retired server “in memoriam”.

Booting up for the last time, part one Booting up for the last time, part 2 Dust around the CPU There sit the 64 MB of RAM Look at those five years of dust accumulated! An old SoundBlaster AWE32 ISA full length card

UPDATE: Since upgrading to version 7 of SME Server, my spam email count on the domain that server hosts has gone way down. This version has built-in spam filtering at the server level. I just hope normal emails go through. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve had a normal email come through yet. I’ll have to double-check that.

Getting wireless to work under Vista RTM on a Compaq nw8000

November 17, 2006 11:28 am

Since MSDN now has keys for Vista available, I started getting my developer laptop ready. One problem I ran into was that the built-in wireless adapter on the nw8000 wasn’t recognized by the RTM bits. On previous releases it worked just fine, so I don’t quite get what the issue is.

Anyway, I found that the in-box drivers for an “Atheros Wireless Network Adapter” seem to do the job.

Here’s the drill: Start Menu – Computer – Right click – Properties – Tasks: Device Manager – Find the device in the list – Right click – Update driver – Browse my computer… – Let me pick from a list… – Find “Atheros Communications Inc.” and pick “Atheros Wireless Network Adapter”.

Vista RTM bits on MSDN now (and keys, too)

November 16, 2006 9:24 pm

If you’re a lucky MSDN subscriber and have been waiting for the final Windows Vista bits, they’re available for download now.

What I’ve been waiting for is also ready: the ability to request a key for your Vista development system. I’ve got mine and am writing this from Windows Live Writer running on my shiny new Vista Ultimate work laptop. Yay!