Friday, May 18, 2007

Vista OEM BIOS emulation invalid key fix

Like me, some of you might have tried using one of the earlier activation cracks using a key that you obtained from the beta program. Although it allowed you to activate, the system would still expire shortly.

Now there are other methods of activating, the most complete being the OEM BIOS emulation method or by using an updated BIOS instead of the emulator. Quite a few people have reported that they can't import the required product key after using one of the earlier cracks, in my case one that replaced tokens.dat and pkeyconfig.xrm-ms.

From what I could find, people were suggesting that a clean install should be done. I thought that there must be an easier way and indeed there is, after a bit of trial and error I found a solution, so no re-install is required. I have tested this on 2 machines that had the activation crack using beta keys on them and it worked fine. It might not work for other cracks that you have used but if you used the same type as I did, then try the following:

Turn off UAC vis MSCONFIG and reboot.
Use the Paradox oemtool.exe to install the emulation driver, in my case I used the ASUS one or for the ASUS BIOS only you can right click on ROYAL.INF and select install which will install the ASUS BIOS. Afer that is done, reboot. When the system has booted, run the following commands from the command prompt:

1. slmgr -rilc
2. slmgr -ilc c:\asus.xrm-ms (Or alternative)
3. slmgr -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX (Insert appropriate key)
4. slmgr -rearm

Now reboot again. You should find that it is now activated and will not expire, run winver.exe and slmgr -dlv from the command prompt to check, you should also notice the status as activated on the system information page.

Note, that step 1 & 4 are the ones I have added to make it work in my case after an original modification of the 2 files was completed, without requiring a re-install. You'll need to enter the appropriate OEM key for the BIOS and version of Vista you have installed, which can be obtained from the Paradox package; it's available on lots of sites so just do a search.

You could also modify a new version of the BIOS firmware for your motherboard and then you would not need the emulator. There are plenty that have been done already, so check in case yours has already been done.

Although the OEM method is currently a total fix, you should just use it as a way to extend your trial period, before you purchase it if you like it. Thanks to all the people who put the effort into these fixes and I hope my fix helps some people, like it did me.

Post ID: 784, posted by jase at 05:23 AM
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Saturday, April 16, 2005

No support for IE7 on Windows 2000?

I'm sure a lot of people are looking forward to the release of IE7, mainly because of a large number of features that have been lacking from IE, such as the ability to use tabs when browsing instead of having to open a lot of Internet Explorer windows, which of course uses a lot more resources.

All is well if you use XP with service pack 2 or later. What about if you don't have SP2 or use Windows 2000? At the moment, it's not looking good. After reading this post about it, Windows 2000 users may well be left in the dark and forced to upgrade. Maybe it's really another marketing idea. There will be design issues to consider, especially if IE7 will really be such a great application as it being described.

Most people running Windows 2000 on desktop systems could upgrade to XP, but we all know how much trouble it can be to do an upgrade or migration and a lot of the time we put it off unless it is required. I've been looking for an excuse to wipe my Windows 2000 based system and then run XP on it, maybe to get IE7 support I'll have to do just that.

Post ID: 729, posted by jase at 09:50 AM
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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Longhorn 2005 , forward we go!

SuperSite for Windows is reporting on a roadmap schedule for Longhorn. Reading the article, it seems that Longhorn will provide a vast number of improvments over XP & 2000. Features such as better account administration, reduced number of reboots after applying updates (around 70% less) and faster application loading times are all said to be included with Longhorn.

The list contains a lot of other things which will be good to see, such as inclusion of the tool by Microsoft to detect & clean spyware, WinFS, EFS and lots more. Check out Paul Thurrott's article on his Windows SuperSite for all the details. It looks like a lot is to look forward to, as far as Windows goes anyway, with the release of Longhorn.

Post ID: 706, posted by jase at 04:09 PM
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Friday, March 11, 2005

I blame Windows

I think that most people blame Windows when something goes wrong, even when the problem in question has no relation to Microsoft or Windows at all. It's a worthy contender though when something is not working correctly or at all. Someone or something has to take the blame so why not pass the blame?

Although, for all its bad points, Windows sometimes works as it should without problems. One of the keys to running a stable Windows based system is to provide a lot of resources and not install too many applications as doing so will in most cases cause problems as a lot of applications do things we don't know about, unless an application is running which monitors system changes.

That is what I have found anyway. Keep the system clean and a fresh install or restore from a clean Ghost image will not be required as often. It's not the definitive key to Windows harmony, but it's a start.

Post ID: 689, posted by jase at 06:07 PM
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Monday, July 12, 2004

XP Service Pack 2

Microsoft has delayed SP again but only until August it seems. I'd be inclined to think it has something to do with recently discovered issues with IE and wanting to include patches as part of the update as well as other things.

The new version of the Windows Update site is online, but is still in testing but seems okay to use. From what I can see so far, it gices you more information about the updates available and also tells you information such as if your system is setup to download and install updates automatically.

My Windows 2000 Server box really needs to be re-installed. I'll probably put Windows Server 2003 or XP on it afterwards so that is a task for me to complete at some point.

Post ID: 440, posted by jase at 11:59 PM
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Monday, January 12, 2004

Windows 98/ME - Extended Life

It appears that Microsoft have given Windows 98 & ME an extended life, at the last minute. I suppose this is good, since 98 is still used qiute a lot. But even so, is it really worth extending the life?

It's not like there are many updates and such released for these OS's these days. They were good, in their time.

Rest, at some point in the future.

Post ID: 230, posted by jase at 11:05 PM
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Sunday, December 28, 2003

Windows XP & Games

It seems that a lot of games need admin rights on an XP box to run. I've found this out after setting up an XP box for my brother, which he'll be using for a lot of game playing. After a recent post on Slashdot about the same issue, there are a lot of methods people have suggested.

The easiest of course would be to give full admin access to the user, in this case my brother. For the moment I think I will aviod this option and try something else until he gets used to things and won't mess.

A lot of the time the problem will be down to file permissions. For example, you would usually need to use an admin level account to install the game, but when you try running it as a normal user the game can't write to the files because they are owned by another account and if you're not an admin level user, you're going to be stuck.

A simple solution to this would be to change the file permissions and ownership after install, but with some games the problem will go deeper and this alone won't work. I'll probably opt for creating an admin account, not allowing login and then setting games to run as another account, being the new admin account.

But since you can't login as that account, no harm should be done.
There are a number of other suggestions made on the /. post, but this one I thought of initially and it seems other people are using this method too without problems, so I'll see how it goes.

Of course the need for administrator level access to run a game seems silly, but even after sorting out the permissions and things, some of these games still won't run under a normal user account. There are a number of reasons for this, but maybe these should be addressed in future, in the OS and individual games.

These problems are not only specific to Windows XP, but since most home systems these days will be running XP the problem seems to stand out more on this OS.

Post ID: 213, posted by jase at 11:26 PM
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Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Windows 2000 Professional install

You might recall the new box I built for my brother. I've just got round to putting Windows on it for him. Well, attempting to. For some reason, the box won't boot from the Windows 2000 CD, instead I get a very informative message telling me it can't boot from it (maybe not).

So, I headed over to bootdisk.com and downloaded boot disk images then had issues trying to locate working floppy disks. I managed to locate 4 and then another for the SATA driver.

So far so good, I installed the SATA driver then continued to run setup from the other floppy disks. The drive was now detected and was then formatted. I came back to find an error on the screen regarding a problem in one of the files relating to the SATA driver.

I needed sleep by this point so I went to bed. I can't remember the error off the top of my head, but I'll have to check it out tonight as I could really do with getting this box up and running by tomorrow.

Feeling the way I am I should stay at home, but I'm going to work. I should have time later / tomorrow / boxing day to work on it. I'm sure a Google search will help if I have no luck!

Post ID: 208, posted by jase at 11:22 AM
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Saturday, October 18, 2003

New Windows bugs

Of course there are always bugs with any software, but there are some new critical Windows vulerabilities which should be patched. Head off to Windows Update or check out the advisories on Tech Net.

Post ID: 102, posted by jase at 11:53 PM
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Saturday, September 20, 2003

New Windows Worm - W32.Swen

Only a matter of time and people were suggesting that it would happen - and it has. Another Windows Worm. Just reading some more information about it on Slashdot & Washington Post has a story with some screen shots of what the received email looks like.

It's obvious that we've entered a new era and these things will just keep coming...

Thursday, July 31, 2003

So far so good...

Well I ghosted an image of NT 4 Workstation over onto one of the new boxes. That is up and running on the network using DHCP. I've left another seperate box which was running Red Hat 8 to install 9 as a fresh install over night, as a lot of stuff was missing so a fresh server install was the better option. I've removed stuff that we probably won't use as a complete install is over 4GB & it would be better if it was all downloaded by the time I get there. Of course, you can always add stuff later if needed.

Tomorrow I'll get MySQL, Apache, OpenSSH, Sendmail, PHP and everything else sorted, as this box will be sitting online providing services. Hopefully after securing it up as desired, I'll have time to play with some other boxen. If not, can work on things on Monday.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Windows Vulnerabilities

Well it had to come sooner or later...more major Windows security issues...
As you will already know if you keep your head out of the sand!

Well I say major, but not critical...or are they?. I guess it depends on how you look at it. Some firms would issue an advisory as critical when a discovered bug may give full access to a box, but may only affect 5% of computer users worldwide.

Another firm may issue an advisory as non critical even though it affects all users of a particular OS or application...Why would they issue a non-critical advisory if it is affecting all users? Example reasons may be that it may be harder to exploit or easy to exploit but does not have any real security threat.. Of course there are more things to consider than that, but these are a few initial thoughts I had.

You can check out some reports on these new windows bugs on The Register , Microsoft TechNet & Ben has a nice story too.

What is the moral of this post?

If a security patch exists & you're affected then apply the patch regardless of if you use the affected service or security threat status, afterall...

A security issue is a security issue & a system is only as secure as its weakest point!