Another OS X tool updated for Lion

The folks at Titanium’S Software have a new version of a great tool out for the latest version of OS X – Lion. The tool is called ‘Deeper’. It gives you quick access to a number of Mac OS system options and tools that are normally buried in different utilities and menus. You can find the Lion version and versions that work on older OS X systems here along with Onyx for all versions of OS X.

As I have written about before, Titanium makes some great software. I put Onyx, a multifunction utility for Mac OS X, on every Mac I work on or own.  [Read more here]

The guys at Addictive tips have a super run down on how to use Deeper. You can read and should read about that here.

Also, all their software is FREEWARE!

Re-Installing Windows 7 if you don’t have original installation media.

Many people who purchased a computer with Windows 7 installed have found that nearly every manufacturer no longer provides you with the Operating System Media (DVDs). You will only be provided with a ‘restore to factory settings option’. Which will only work if the system ‘restore’ partition has not also been corrupted. And if like a recent case I had (you can read that here)you have ‘dual booted’ or otherwise changed your partitions configurations you may not be able to get to the ‘Factory Restore’ option. And if, when you purchased your system you didn’t immediately create the ‘restore media/DVD’s disc(s) you may be hosed if you have to re-install your your Windows 7 Operating system because it died, became corrupted or was otherwise compromised.
Well fear not!
As long as you have your installation Key – contained on your COA (Certificate of Authenticity) you can download and re-install your system! COA is that sicker put on by the manufacturer somewhere on your system

If you cant read it or it has been rubbed off, you can also use one of these tools to find out your installation Keys. [You must use your legally obtained key on the same hardware by the way, or you are breaking the law!]

LicenseCrawler (Excellent tool by Martin Klinzmann!)
Download here

More information

Or you can try Aporah KeyFinder:

Or Majic JellyBean (I’ve used this one many times too)

[note – these applications will be flagged by 90+% of all virus scanners as a ‘key finder/logger’ IT IS A KEY FINDER OBVIOUSLY. So often you must disable you AV protection for the brief moment you download and use this. Get your key information. then Copy the information to paper and TURN YOUR AV SOFTWARE BACK ON!]

Windows 7 comes in various editions like Ultimate, Professional, Home Premium, Home Basic and Starter. Now there might be many cases when you would like to choose the edition during setup. But in reality they are pretty much the same except for one configuration file!

Here are the individual downloads:

Windows 7 Home Premium x86 SP1 (bootable) download

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 (bootable) download

Windows 7 Professional x86 SP1 (bootable) download

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1 (bootable) download

Windows 7 Ultimate x86 SP1 (bootable) download

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1 (bootable) download

BUT I recommend downloading the ‘Ultimate version’ (either 64bit or x86) and then deleting the configuration file that ‘tells’ the installation program which version it is. This way you will have ALL options available and then should be able to use YOUR LEGITIMATE installation Key.
I also recommend that you make a bootable USB installation. It will make things much quicker and easier in the long run. If you have multiple Windows 7 Systems (netbooks especially, as most don’t have DVD drives etc.) you can use the single USB with your valid installation keys on every one. [Again you must have valid/legal keys for each installation.]

Simplest way to make you installation ‘version free’ is to delete the file ‘ei.cfg’ from the sources directory of the installation media. Doing this step is what makes the USB memory stick allow you to install any version of Windows 7 as it no longer has a default version configured.

I wrote about the simplest way(s) to do that (create Bootable USB) using Microsoft’s USB tool here. You can run “del F:\sources\ei.cfg” (replace ‘F’ with whatever drive you’re USB is) from the command prompt and you Windows 7 Bootable USB memory stick is ready to go.

You can now either boot from the USB memory stick or just run setup.exe from the drive to start the install process. Either way you will now prompted for the version of Windows 7 you want to install!

If you are going to burn the ISO directly to DVD then you can can also use a free tool "ei.cfg Removal Utility" to delete "ei.cfg" file so that you can choose the desired version at the time of installation.

OR you can use another free tool "Windows 7 ISO Image Edition Switcher" to modify "ei.cfg" file so that you can convert a specific Windows 7 edition setup ISO file (e.g. Windows 7 Ultimate) to another one (e.g. Windows 7 Professional).

I hope this helps for those who asked.

Problems connecting VPN. Error 609 and error 800 WAN Miniport

I just updated some of my home Virtual Machine software this weekend. Virtual Box and VMware.
Also last week there were numerous Windows, application and Browser(s) updates.
Somewhere along the line my ability to connect VPN stopped working.
The errors I was getting were:
"Error 800: Unable to establish the VPN connection. The VPN server may be un-reachable, or security parameters may not be configured properly for this connection."
"Error 609: A device type was specified that does not exit"
"VPN Connection Error 800: Unable to Establish Connection"

I searched long, deep and hard and found all kinds of information but none helped. Until I found one article that suggested my actual ‘devices’ and their listing in the ‘inf’ file(s) may have been removed. So I dug deeper and tried to find the entries for the PptMiniport. And found it. It was however missing on the machine that wasn’t working!

Seems that a bunch of entries in one of the very important ‘inf’ files got ‘wiped’ along with the devices!

So how to easily fix this.

This is how to do it:
Download devcon.exe from some Microsoft site HERE.

Open netrasa.inf in c:\windows\inf (c:\winnt\inf on win2k3) (I used notepad.exe to view the file – "open with")

In the DeviceID column, you can see the installable devices.
Look for the section [Msft.NTx86] You will probably see a bunch of the below listed devices missing – I did!

Open a command prompt (choose ‘Run as administrator’ if on Vista or Windows 7).
Navigate to whatever folder you extracted the devcon.exe file to – example c:\Devcon
Run these commands (one at a time/individually) to install the WAN Miniport (PPTP) and other devices:

devcon.exe install c:\windows\inf\netrasa.inf MS_PptpMiniport

devcon.exe install c:\windows\inf\netrasa.inf MS_L2tpMiniport

devcon.exe install c:\windows\inf\netrasa.inf MS_PtiMiniport

devcon.exe install c:\windows\inf\netrasa.inf MS_NdisWanIp

devcon.exe install c:\windows\inf\netrasa.inf MS_PppoeMiniport

The commands may take a while to complete.
Once done try and connect your VPN again and see if it works. You may have to reboot.
This was one heck of a bugger till I figured it out. I hope some others will benefit from this information.