VMWare: No Keyboard on Newly Virtualised Machine

As the years pass by we find ourselves moving on from an old computer to making a clean start with something more relevant, and when migrating to a new PC or laptop its always a worry that you may leave something behind. Luckily these days, instead of having a laptop laying about in its last used state for fear of losing that once forgotten file or program, the whole system can be virtualised on a server or donor machine for such eventualities, paving the way for the physical machine to be reused or recycled.

My method is to use VMware Standalone Convertor Wizard to convert physical machines to an ESXI 6.5 host. All previous conversions have been seamless however the latest conversion of a Fujitsu U904 laptop didn’t go as so, the conversion process completed without a hitch, but when starting the newly created VM I found that keyboard input was unresponsive.
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Windows 7: Startup Repair Loop

An interesting call came in this week; I say interesting but in reality it is a call we all dread. A user that is reporting that the computer keeps displaying “Trying to recover Windows” followed by the inevitable “Unable to recover Windows”. Unable to remote on and look, there was no choice to bring it into the office.

On first inspection it was indeed booting to the recovery console, and displaying recovery choices including 4 restore points. These were the first port of call but were all unsuccessful. This machine has been in use by the user for many years, and so had many years of settings and obscure software installed, so there was a lot to gain from repairing the issue instead of a full Windows re-install.

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Automated Timelapse: Update

Its been a year since my time-lapse post, and since my server has been working away without external input capturing and archiving the view from from my window the entire time.

Something I wanted to capture is a time-lapse of of summer and winter from the same perspective, in order to see the difference between the two polar seasons in terms of sunlight.

Now with a year’s worth of capture and as a tribute to the reliability of the code, I thought to quickly splice together a June and December time lapse video:

 

 

Its interesting to see how the webcam when left at the default settings interprets light values over a sustained period of time. As even in the summer it will get as dark as the winter night at some point, I thought of this as a natural reset point for the cam’s light values.

Choosing a similar weather conditions at both ends of the daylight spectrum (23/06 and 19/12) the camera seemingly registers a different light strength.

Anyways it is still an interesting watch regardless of the date its being viewed at, hope you enjoy, and wishing you a happy new year!

 

Netgear – Wireless Power To It’s Full

Living in a block of flats is a nightmare when it comes to getting reliable wireless network coverage, especially when only having 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi as it is a heavily congested frequency. Over the last few months I’ve found the connection constantly dropping on my wireless devices, even within a few feet of the access point.

I use a Netgear FVS318N for my wireless connections and a frustration is that the region is locked to Europe, where the radio power is limited more than other parts of the world.

This means the highest achievable power is half, raising it to full results in this dead end:

Very annoying, this post shows how to get a region locked Netgear use all the power available, and to discover what devices in the area are competing for the wireless space.

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Fujitsu U904 – Temperamental Touchpad

I use a Fujitsu U904 as my job’s daily driver. It’s approaching three years old and was subject to a few hand-me-downs along the way but it’s still a very capable Ultrabook and with the QWUXGA touch screens its perfect for onsite visits.

One remnant of its hard life was the temperamental touchpad, that would work on a level flat surface but moving it to a lap or similar and the “pinch to zoom” would kick in when trying to move the mouse.

Usual troubleshooting commenced with the latest drivers being installed, as this issue co-incised with a fresh install of Windows 10. Suspecting a grounding issue of the capacitive touchpad, off came the underside cover and checked to see any missing covers/captain tape that could have caused a short, without success.

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Windows 7, Office 2013/2016 and the print bug

Something that I’ve noticed to be cropping up more recently is an issue where Office applications hang when a users attempt to print, failing at the Print Preview stage. When this occurs there seemingly is no return for the program and has to be closed from the Task Manager.

From the experiences I’ve had with this error there have been a few constants. All machines are running Windows 7 Pro 64bit with Office 2013 or later installed. Also a factor is the use of Konica Minolta Bizhub printers as the default device but after research this is less of a contributing factor.

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Realtek HD Audio – Left Channel Only

Something that’s been bugging me since starting my new role was that I could only listen to audio through the left channel. I initially chalked this up to using Apple earphones with integrated mic not being compatible with the audio out port of the PC.

Despair set in after investing a whole £3 on a dedicated set of headphones that turned out to exhibit the same issue. This narrowed it down to 2 main issues, hardware or drivers.

I found a hardware issue hard to justify, as audio through the working channel was fine, and considering how integrated a sound card is on a modern motherboard these days sound would be all or nothing. Moving on to drivers, the simple trouble shooting was fine, with the balance centred on both the Realtek software and the Windows sound manager.

Getting frustrated I methodically went through every obscure setting on the Realtek manager, choosing that as its usually undeveloped manufacturer software rather than the OS at fault. Then finally I found it:

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Windows 2012 Server Backup 0x80780119 Error

While setting up a backup solution for my home network, I had an issue where my Windows Server 2012 R2 backup task would fail, with the following status:

“There is not enough disk space to create the volume shadow copy on the storage location. Make sure that, for all volumes to be backed up, the minimum required disk space for shadow copy creation is available. This applies to both the backup storage destination and the volumes included in the backup.

Minimum Requirement: For volumes less than 500 megabytes, the minimum is 50 megabytes of free space. For volumes more than 500 megabytes, the minimum is 320 megabytes of free space.

Recommended: At least 1 gigabyte of free disk space on each volume if volume size is more than 1 gigabyte.

Detailed error: Insufficient storage available to create either the shadow copy storage file or other shadow copy data.”

This doesn’t really explain the issue, as setting up a schedule with Windows Server Backup in 2012 involves the utility checking available storage before creating the backup task, and a manual check showed there was ample storage on the destination volume, with the source volume having 86% free space.

Delving into the Event Viewer for more detailed error message, I get this:

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Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera

A little treat when ordering the latest Raspberry Pi was to add a camera module to it, at a price of £7 for the Noir (Not French, just meaning No Infrared filter) it was easy to justify getting even if there was not a set purpose to it.

For the price the Pi Noir camera was generous on the specs, with a 2592 x 1944, 5 Megapixel sensor it seemed capable of capturing high detail images. However, the 5Mp tagline applies to still images only, with video capped at a still respectful 1920 x 1080p.

PiCam

The difference between the Noir and standard camera module is the lack of an IR filter on the lens, resulting in some washed out colours in daylight but still acceptable in a surveillance capacity, but has the ability to capture images in darkness with help of separate Infrared lighting.
Using the camera module on the Pi is pretty straight forward, connecting is done via a ribbon cable plugged into a dedicated port on the Pi board.

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