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Tutorial: Boot Ubuntu 9.10 Partition using Virtualbox inside Windows (deprecated)

This article is now deprecated as 10.04 has been released. Comments will be disabled. Check back for an updated version.

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So Ubuntu 9.10 got released several weeks ago and people have been asking about how to get my old tutorial working for 9.10.

The problem is that Ubuntu 9.10 uses the new grub 2 boot loader which changes LOTS of things. In this tutorial I will be showing you how to get Ubuntu 9.10 (or any other linux OS with grub2) working under your Windows installation.

Before we begin, you should have a dual boot setup. I will NOT be showing you how to setup a dual boot, if you need help plenty of other guides out there.

Step 1: Creating a grub 2 boot iso

The grub iso file will allow you to specify which partition to boot into.

  1. Boot into Ubuntu
  2. (OPTIONAL) Configure your /boot/grub/grub.cfg This is so that you don’t accidentally boot into your Windows partition from inside Windows! Bad things will happen if you do!!!
    $ gksudo gedit /boot/grub/grub.cfg
    Comment out your Windows Menu, should be towards the bottom
  3. Create the bootable iso
    $ grub-mkrescue –overlay=/boot/grub GRUB2CD.iso
  4. (DO THIS STEP ONLY IF YOU PERFORMED STEP 2)
    $ gksudo gedit /boot/grub/grub.cfg
    Uncomment out your Windows Menu, so you still can boot into windows after the reboot!
  5. Move the iso into a location that is accessible by windows

Step 2: Creating the .vmdk file

This creates a file which tells Virtualbox what partition to actually load as the harddrive. Unfortunately, unlike VMWare Workstation, Virtualbox does not support a GUI interface for selecting RAW hard disks as the “virtual hard drive”.

  1. Boot into Windows
  2. cd into the directory you installed virtualbox
  3. Find out which drive contains Ubuntu (if you don’t know already)
    Run the command: VBoxManage.exe internalcommands listpartitions -rawdisk \.PhysicalDrive1
    (where 1 is the number of the hard drive ubuntu is installed on. E.g. Master should be 0, you’re second hard-drive should be 1 etc…The output should be something like:Number  Type   StartCHS       EndCHS      Size (MiB)  Start (Sect)
    1       0x07  0   /32 /33  1023/254/63        902023         2048
    5       0x83  1023/254/63  1023/254/63         49677   1847346543
    6       0x82  1023/254/63  1023/254/63          2164   1949086188In this example, my Ubuntu partition is number 5 and the swap is number 6. So my Ubuntu partition lies in PhysicalDrive1
  4. We now create the VMDK file with the given information
    Run the command: VBoxManage.exe internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename C:ubuntu.vmdk -rawdisk \.PhysicalDrive1 -register

Step 3: Setup Virtualbox

Now everything should be ready to setup Virtualbox. Create a new virtual machine. Select the .vmdk file we just created as the hard drive and mount the grub.iso file we created at Step 1.

Step 4: Running the VM

Due to the way grub 2 works, whenever you put into it you now have to load the appropriate grub config file.

grub2

Just type the above into terminal and grub should load and boot into your Ubuntu 9.10 installation.

If this has helped you in any way, please take the time to drop a comment (or a donation)! If you have any problems, just post a comment or send me an email through the “Contact me” page.

ISSUES:

  1. For some reasons Grub does not recognise the partition if you specify the EXACT partition entry of Ubuntu. You have to specify the entire drive for it to be recognised.
  2. It doesn’t seem to like nvidia drivers in this release so you might have to reset your x.org for it to work inside a VM. Just have to live with the lack of acceleration!

References:

Boot an existing XP (Physical HD) install with VirtualBox

Linux Bash Commands for GRUB2

HowTo: Slimming down your Windows 7

When I was on Windows XP I had this crazy obsession with making XP as slim as possible. I made custom XP installs slipstreamed with the most recent updates, disabled all the unnecessary services and only used apps that had small memory footprints.

I believe I got it down to around 18 processes on start up. Then I moved to Ubuntu and all these obsessions went away. I mean, Ubuntu would just keep chugging no matter how much crap I chucked at it.

Now I’m on Windows 7 and whilst those crazy obsessions have NOT returned, it does interest me as to what I can disable to get the most out of my system.

So here is a list of all the services I decided to disable. Just type services.msc in the start menu and hit enter. Double click the service, select stop and then “disable” from the drop down.

Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for ANYTHING yada yada yada.

  1. Diagnostic Policy Service
    This is basically that thing that goes “Windows have detected a problem, would you like to check for solutions?” TBH, the advice from that thing is actually quite useful. But I don’t really need it.
  2. Distributed Link Tracking Client
    Keeps tracks of all the “linkages”. E.g. You create a shortcut to document A. You move document A to another location. Windows will automatically update all shortcuts to point to that new location so you don’t get “File Not Found” errors. Not very useful if you ask me, unless you’re a shortcut junkie.
  3. Function Discovery Provider Host
    Used for Home Groups. Not useful if you don’t care about sharing files or have other methods of doing so.
  4. Function Discovery Resource Publication
    See 3.
  5. IP Helper
    It’s meant to help transition to IPv6 but I don’t know of any ISPs that even support IPv6 so until they do this service can go bye bye.
  6. Offline Files
    Disgusting.
  7. Peer Name Resolution Protocol
    When was the last time anyone used Remote Assistance?
  8. Peer Networking Grouping
    See 7.
  9. Peer Networking Identity Manager
    See 7.
  10. Problem Reports and Solutions Control Panel Support
    This can be disabled in the control panel. I don’t care too much for error reports.
  11. Windows Connect Now – Config Registrar
    Unless you have a “Compatible with Windows 7” sticker on your router, this is useless.
  12. Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service
    Interesting service, but I won’t ever be sharing music over the network.

I recommend you keep a list of all your changes and revert back if there are any problems.

That’s it for now. I have several other blogs lined up but just haven’t been bothered posting them. The lack of comments saddens me.

[Script] Chatlog to Email Converter Plus! RC

Today I will be releasing the Release Candidate of my Chatlog to Email Converter Plus!

I added “Plus!” as it is designed for Messenger Plus! chatlogs.

It now supports every form of Messenger chatlogs text or html and also has emoticon support.

Requirements:

Wishlist:

  • Remove Thunderbird requirement and support direct upload to specified imap server

Download:

I’ve setup a google code project for my script. Yes it’s open source!!!

Download Script

Instructions for use:

  1. Place all your chatlogs inside one folder
  2. Place my script within the same folder (make sure the folder does not contain any files apart from chatlogs or images)
  3. Open up a command window inside that folder
  4. Type “python chatlog2email.py -p -t” to convert all plain text and html chatlogs to mime format (type python chatlog2email.py –help for advanced usage)
  5. Once it’s done you shold see a file called “Chatlogs”  move that file to <Path to thunderbird preferences>Profilesxxxxxxxx.defaultMailLocal Folders
  6. Open up Thunderbird and drag drop the chatlogs to an email account that supports imap

Easy!

If you have any problems either post here or file a bug report on google code.

If you found this useful, drop a comment or send me an email. It makes me happy 🙂

Tutorial: Cleaning your WLM Contact List

Over the years you will find that your contact list gets cluttered. You’ve deleted people, blocked people or even both. Maybe others have deleted you, blocked you or both. For the people that have blocked or deleted you…why bother keeping them on your contact list?

Why not delete them? But then how do you tell who’s actually blocked and/or deleted you?

I present Noroom’s ListCleaner. I’ve had this app for many years now, although never bothered to share it with anybody. The original author no longer supports it, I would love to see it ported to a nice .net application or even the features incorporated into Messenger Plus! Live. Maybe I can write a script for it 😛

Here’s the description from the readme.

Often, whenOften, when u sign in to Messenger, the server sends a list with containing
users who have permission to see you online, who do not have permission, who
have you on their contact list, and who you have on yours. Sometimes you delete
some users, and people delete you from their list, too. Even though they don’t
have you on their list anymore, their email will stay on the list of people who
can see you online. Why allow them to see you online, if they don’t have you on
their list anymore? It is pointless to give them persmission to see your status
when they don’t have the ability to do so.
Now, let’s say you block someone and then delete that user from your list.
Imagine that the person you blocked also deletes you. That person’s email will
stay in your block list, even though it is not likely they will talk to you,
because you are not on their contact list anymore.sign in to Messenger, the server sends a list with containing
users who have permission to see you online, who do not have permission, who
have you on their contact list, and who you have on yours. Sometimes you delete
some users, and people delete you from their list, too. Even though they don’t
have you on their list anymore, their email will stay on the list of people who
can see you online. Why allow them to see you online, if they don’t have you on
their list anymore? It is pointless to give them persmission to see your status
when they don’t have the ability to do so.
Now, let’s say you block someone and then delete that user from your list.
Imagine that the person you blocked also deletes you. That person’s email will
stay in your block list, even though it is not likely they will talk to you,
because you are not on their contact list anymore.

“Often, when u sign in to Messenger, the server sends a list with containing users who have permission to see you online, who do not have permission, who have you on their contact list, and who you have on yours. Sometimes you delete some users, and people delete you from their list, too. Even though they don’t have you on their list anymore, their email will stay on the list of people who can see you online. Why allow them to see you online, if they don’t have you on their list anymore? It is pointless to give them persmission to see your status when they don’t have the ability to do so. Now, let’s say you block someone and then delete that user from your list. Imagine that the person you blocked also deletes you. That person’s email will stay in your block list, even though it is not likely they will talk to you, because you are not on their contact list anymore.”

All you have to do is download the app and login with your WLM account. The app will then collate all the people that you can delete. Simple!

I know this isn’t much of a tutorial but it’s something that I thought people would find useful. I bet most people would be quite surprised at the results.

Too bad it’s not opensource, I would love to take a quick look under the hood of that application.

In case you missed the download link above here it is again.

DOWNLOAD

My First Messenger Plus! Live Script – Gravatar Sync

I wrote my first MP!L script last night. Took me around 2 hours. Downloaded the documentation, created my first hello world script…again, created a test gui window, played around with toasts and what not. I was testing everything using Francis. Quite hilarious.

Well I finished the script at around 12:30am. It was quite amazing. I didn’t think it would be that easy.

The script basically syncs your display pic with your gravatar account. It does this when you sign into WLM. You can also manually evoke the sync option by typing “/gsync” whilst in a chat.

If you have any problems using it you can either comment here or post a reply here

Download Gravatar Sync!!!

Tutorial: Getting Firefox to Remember Password for WebCT

One thing that has frustrated me for MANY MANY years is the fact that Firefox does not allow you remember the username/password for WebCT. I cannot express how annoying this is. Opera was able to do it fine why can’t firefox?!

Usually I’m fine with just typing in my password and my relatively weak password to get access to WebCT. But today I really couldn’t be bothered any more. Did a bit of searching on the Internet and realised that it really isn’t Firefox’s fault that it doesn’t remember the password, it’s todo with the way that WebCT is written.

Okay so how do you get Firefox to remember the password?

  1. Press ctrl-b to open up your bookmarks in firefox
  2. Drag and drop this LINK into your bookmarks
  3. Open up the login screen to WebCT
  4. Click on the bookmark you just saved
  5. Type in the your username and password and firefox should give you an option to Remember it!!!

If you want to extend your password manager capabilities take a look at Secure Login

Note: The above method will work for any website that does not want you to remember the password.

Edit 07/06/09:

If you’re annoyed at WebCT logging out after 10 minutes of inactivity you can simply get Firefox to reload the webpage every 5 minutes. It’s not so elegant but I guess it works.

References:

From Bookmarklets

Quick Guide – Setting up Pop3 for new USYD Uni Mail

Quick and dirty guide on setting up pop3 for the new USYD Uni Mail.

unimail