OS X Virtual Machines Two Methods

I recently had the need to test some ‘fixes’ for a co-workers iMac. Since I don’t like to make system changes on ‘live’ machines I went to my Virtual Machines (VM) and was able to easily test what I needed. I mentioned that to a colleague and they asked me to explain how I was able to create VMs of OS X.  So I thought I would put together some of my older tutorials I’ve created and update and add loads of information for those that want it.

I have three Virtual Machine solutions I use. One is based on the industry leader – VM Ware, another the open source (and much improving) Virtual box and finally Microsoft’s Virtual Server (now HyperVisor). I will not discuss Microsoft’s VM solution here because I have not used it to create OS X VMs.

There is lots of information on how do create an OS X VM on both of these VM platforms but I hope I can give some of you some direction. There are now some greatly improved and easier to use ‘boot loaders’ and patches (kexts) for getting OS X to run in a VM or as a Hackintosh as mentioned in some of my previous posts. For some information on that check out these sites.

Hackintosh.com

OSx86 Project

myHack

Chameleon OSx86

Here is my workhorse server System configuration and specs:
Windows 2003 Server SP2
QuadCore Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
Abit IP35 Pro
8GB RAM
1.5TB SATA HDD (7200RPM)
GeForce 9600 GT (512 MB)
2 Realtek RTL8169/8110 Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Using VMwave Server Console:
Version 1.0.0 build 28343

First up the solution I have been using the longest – VM Ware. I have included as many screen captures where necessary to show some of the configuration changes I made. The VirtualBox solution is actually really easy now so I will explain that one last.

To get it up and running I followed the steps here:

I followed that fairly closely with some exceptions which are in the screen captures below and I will note later*. These guys are great and should be recognized.

Some other sites that were of great help:

http://wiki.osx86project.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

I run an older version of VMware Server and so did not use the freely available VMware Player or the new VMware Server version2.x. Since my version is older, I suspect the newer free version would have worked as well. [After writing this and doing a lot of reading on the new – version 2.x of VMware Server- I now don’t think I would recommend it. Stick with the new free VMplayer/workstation version or VMWare server 1.5x or lower.]

I may try the new VMWare server versions on my other server eventually.  But if it’s not broke don’t futz with it.

VMware products are available here:

http://www.vmware.com/

http://www.vmware.com/download/player/

I own Virtual CD v9, Alcohol 120, and a few other CD emulators but I am sure you can find free ones. Here are a few:

DAEMON Tools lite

MS Virtual CD

MagicDisc

I have a few copies of Mac OS’s around from 9 on up to 10.5 (Legal for my Mac’s – some alive and some put to rest), But I decided to try a version that had already been prepped/patched for running on x86 – it is named the “Mac OS X 10.4.8 [JaS AMD-Intel-SSE2-SSE3 with PPF1 & PPF2].iso distro”. I some others I’m going to try too – “Kalyway_10.5.2_DVD_Intel_Amd.iso” and “JaS.OSx86.10.5.4.Client.Server.Intel.SSE2.SSE3.iso”

If you want those you will have to ‘hunt’ for them (there is a torrent of information available to you hunters our there…). There are continuing updates to some of these builds to include the latest loaders built in.

Also did an ‘upgrade’ with a new Snow Leopard disk I have.

And just so you know;

“Even though Apple suggests Mac users without Leopard buy the $169 Mac box set to get Snow Leopard, anyone can purchase the $29 Snow Leopard disc and install Snow Leopard in its entirety without having already installed Leopard. This means the $29 Snow Leopard DVD isn’t an "upgrade" at all; it’s the full-on Mac OS X operating system for 30 bucks.”

I bought a few upgrade disks here, since I will be upgrading my physical a well as virtual/Hackintosh ones.

Below is a capture of my ‘vmx’ file with the changes I made:

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OS X ON VM Ware: Follow these instructions in the link I posted above. Just take note where I changed some options.

Here are some captures of one of my OSX ‘Virtual Machines’ running on my pc.

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I have reduced the plethora of VMWare VMs I was running to two for now (OSX and an Ubuntu desktop/client).

But I did have a couple of Vista’s instances, an Ubuntu Desktop, an Ubuntu Server, 2 WinXP, and Windows Server 2008 with Exchange 2007 and SQL2005(time limited) all running and talking to each other!

I use some of my images of existing (real world/live business servers – PDC, Exchange, SQL and other application servers) virtualized to experiment with upgrade/optimization strategies.

I just convert my recent images – (Acronis and Ghost type)together and converted to Virtual Machines [http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/get.html]. Big time and space issue now.

OS X on Virtual Box

First you will need the newest Virtual Box application, get it here. You will also need a ‘patched’ ISO version of OS X Snow Leopard such as one of the latest as mentioned above. Or  The group Hazard has put out a good patched Snow Leopard installer that should do fine (just search for it on Google). Of course, if you feel bad about downloading the ISO of Snow Leopard, you could always go buy a copy to feel a bit better, karmically.

Install VirtualBox.

Then click on New at the top left. At the Create New Virtual Machine window, click Next.

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At this window type OSX as the name and it will automatically change the system and version. The next window will let you choose your RAM amount:

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If you can spare it, crank it up as far as you can go, but 1024MB should be sufficient.

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This is where you’ll make your hard disk. 30GB should be enough so what it comes down to is dynamic or static. Dynamic will expand on use and Static will be a fixed 30GB no matter how much data is actually in it. Dynamic is better for not taking up your hard drive but static will give you better performance. I normally use dynamic. Click next unless you want to change it from dynamic or if you want to increase the disk size or file location.

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It will show a summary of your settings. Click Finish, then click Settings at the top.  Make sure you choose only one ‘core’ for processor too.

At this window click on System in the left pane and uncheck Enable EFI

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Now click on the Storage button on the left. From there click on Empty under the OSX.vdi, then click the folder with the green arrow on the right (next to "CD/DVD Device").

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At this window click the Add button at the top. Then find and add the OSX86 ISO (Hazard or other) you downloaded earlier. Then highlight it and click Select at the bottom.

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Then click OK, and hit the Start button on the left side of the main VirtualBox window.

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As it starts up, click inside the window and hit F8. Then at the boot: prompt type –v so you can see what exactly went wrong if something does go wrong. All the services will run and eventually you should come to the language screen. Choose your language then click next.

If you are unable to move your mouse around then hit Right-Ctrl + I.  To ‘free your mouse to move outside of the VM window hit the right ‘Alt’ key.

Click Continue and Agree. Next, start up Disk Utility by going to Utilities in the menu bar.

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At this screen highlight 20GB VBOX HARDDISK. Then click the Erase tab, name it what you want in the name box and click the Erase button on the bottom right of the window. It shouldn’t take long. Then click Disk Utility in your menu bar and quit it.

Now you’re back at the installer. Highlight the drive that is now showing up and click Continue.

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The next window is important!

Don’t click ANYTHING YET!

Click the Customize button on the bottom left. Expand the options (arrows) and check the necessary boxes for your processor.

AMD Users check:
Any Updates included at the top.
Drop down Kernels and choose Legacy kernel.
AMD option below System support.

Intel Users check:
Any Updates included at the top.
Drop down bootloaders and check the newest Chameleon.
Drop down Kernels and choose Legacy kernel.

Then click Done and hit the Install button. To speed up the process you can click Skip when the disc check pops up.

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As soon as it says "installation finished" and starts counting down to restart, press the right Ctrl key. Click on Devices at the top of the VirtualBox window, hit CD/DVD Devices and click Unmount CD/DVD Device.  Remember you will probably have  to hit the right ‘Alt’ key to ‘free’ your mouse! Do that before you get to the end of the install.

Then go to Machine > Reset and click Reset at the prompt. Next you’ll see the Chameleon loader , click inside the VM and hit and hit enter and then OS X will begin to boot.

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After it boots you will see the setup screens for OS X! You’re good to go.

On a side note if you use NAT for networking you can control your Virtual Machines from any computer on your network or even remotely using a multitude of remote access solutions.

WordPress 500 internal Server Error xmlrpc.php fix part 2

I had this issue previously and it appeared resolved. But it has returned after upgrading my WordPress installation to 3.x.

So I tried the simple thing of just disabling all my plug-ins but that didn’t do it this time.

I had to do that (disable my plug-ins as described here) and all this too!

I hope this helps some of you. Please make sure you have a complete backup of our MYSQL dbase AND your blog in case you hose something! I am a nut about backups and you should be too.

OK so..

Do this:
1. Using either FTP or CPanel, navigate to your WordPress root directory.
2. You should find the file “xmlrpc.php” there. Make a back up copy of it, just in case. Download it and then.
3. Open xmlrpc.php in an editor
4. Go to the end of the file.
5. Put your cursor after the final ?>
6. Delete anything there, including spaces, or blank lines.
7. Save the edited xmlrpc.php back to your WordPress root directory. [I also changed the permissions on this file to allow the Owner to ‘Execute’ too!]

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Then:

If you don’t have one (php.ini) then create a text file and name it “php.ini” (without the quotes 😉 ) and with a single line of code in it:

memory=20MB

[If you have one just add that line.]
This file has to be placed into the root directory OR /wp-admin/ within your WordPress installation.
It caused me problems being in the /wp-admin/ directory so I deleted it from there and place it in the root of my blog /mysite/blog/
So keep that in mind!
Also if you are creating the file locally and then uploading it make sure you change the file to a .ini and it does not still have the .txt extension on it.

Then you might want to find your .htaccess file
[It is a hidden file! So if you are using an FTP client make sure you set your ‘filter’ with the ‘-a’ option to ‘see hidden files’ and directories.]
Add this line to the beginning of the file:

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php
<Files xmlrpc.php>
SecFilterInheritance Off
</Files>

And lastly I did this

Run the following database query to change the data type on the post_parent column:

ALTER TABLE wp_posts CHANGE post_parent post_parent BIGINT;

So after a few hours of aggravation I can now publish posts with loads of content from Window Live Writer again!

UPDATE: This guy here has a new solution for 1&1 users that works well!

Windows Live Writer WordPress 500 Internal Server Error

This problem cropped up and recently and really got me pissed.

I absolutely LOVE Windows Live Writer. If you post often to sites or blogs this is probably the best tool I’ve found for easy posting, short of a full fledged website/content management application or system [Dreamweaver, SharePoint or the like]. I will post much more in the future on all you can do with this application or you can just ‘Google’ your time away and look for tips.

But.
Basically what happed when I used Windows Live Writer to upload my blog post to one of my websites that has a WordPress installation I then got the error message with the xmlrpc.php:

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So I set out to find the solution with the best support tool around – Google

I tried this:
http://affiliate-minder.com/wordpresstutorials/livewriter-500-server-error-xmlrpc/
and this:
http://www.codedifferent.com/2009/01/12/solution-for-500-internal-server-error-after-upgrading-to-wordpress-27-at-1and1-server/
and this:
http://www.mindtweaks.com/wordpress/?p=233
and this:
http://ardentdev.com/fix-for-wordpress-xmlrpc-500-internal-server-error/
and this:
http://wordpress.org/tags/500-internal-server-error/page/2
and this:
http://www.43things.com/things/view/425695/find-out-why-xmlrpcphp-isnt-working-on-my-wordpress-blog
and a whole bunch of others.

I messed with php files, ini’s, mysql tables, and on and on.

NONE WORKED!

Then I found a site that suggested something silly:

“disable/deactivate all your plug-ins, try uploading and see what happens.”

Well dang if that didn’t work!!

I then just re-activated my plug-ins and all was good.

Maybe some of you might use this info one day.

Managing Passwords – Using KeePass

In the digital age remembering your usernames and passwords can be very difficult. You need a password for the Windows network logon, your e-mail account, your homepage’s FTP password, online passwords (like website member account), etc. etc. etc. The list is endless. Also, you should use different passwords for each account. Because if you use only one password everywhere and someone gets this password you have a problem… A serious problem. The thief would have access to ALL your e-mail accounts, banking, mortgage, homepage, etc.

Here is a list of what I have to manage.
My corporate accounts: 64, my logmein accounts: 22,Personal Internet sites and services: 38, my internet email accounts(gmail, hotmail, yahoo): 14,personal banking/credit: 9.
That is a total of 147! And there are probably some I can’t remember!
As you can see having to manage these could be a nightmare without some kind of password management system.

To that end I use KeePass.
KeePass is a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish). I also use KeePass to store my non-digital passwords such as ‘PINs’ for banking and credit cards. Because the database is digital and can be exported it can be copied to many locations for back up purposes – such as USB drives, CDROMs, place in a save deposit box and/or to an Internet storage solution.

http://keepass.info/features.html

There are versions for Windows, Linux, OSX and portable devices such as Blackberrys, iPhones and Windows Mobile (PPC).

There are also ‘Portable Versions’ that can be installed on a USB drive with your Key database for use on other non-secure machines.

Here is a good video how to:


Here is another pretty good video on how to setup and use KeePass. It is a little ‘slow’ and it is covering the portable version but the instruction is right on.
http://showmedo.com/static/flowplayer/flowplayer-3.1.5.swf

More on Freeware that I use

I keep getting asked about what applications I would ‘install on a new system’ or what apps to I use for this or that and how can I find them. So I put together a list of  most of them I use again. I already have posted on my affection for Firefox used with add-ons and extension. So I’ll skip that here. This list is by no means complete I am sure there are many things I left off or that you can add.

Before I get to the tools and links;
Remember when installing any application to TAKE YOUR TIME AS YOU CLICK THROUGH THE SETUP PROCESS!!
And do NOT agree to install/add anything else other than the actual software you are planning on installing.
The same care should also be taken when applying application or ‘security updates’
Many Freeware applications contain an added ‘toolbar’ or ‘update checker’ NEITHER OF WHICH YOU NEED OR WANT. Make sure to ‘uncheck’ any options for such crap.
[Where do they get the nerve to sneak tool bars onto unsuspecting Users systems in the guise of updating their applications/runtimes/etc ?
And, why are they allowed to behave like the criminals who install malware on unsuspecting Victims’ systems ? ]

I understand that some of the developers are trying to get paid for their services and they deserve it, but to have that ‘check/option’ clicked by default is downright deceptive. If I feel an application is worth paying for I will donate directly to the developer, and I often do. In fact many applications on my personal use list were originally ‘purchase’ type applications that I bought and are now freeware!
This also occurs for ‘SECURITY UPDATES’ and upgrades too.
For example:
A notice appears on your PC about an update for Adobe Flash Player. Adobe, in their infinite wisdom, doesn’t inform Users why this update has come out.
The User, thinking that it improves the Flash Player, hurries to install it, clicking quickly through the installation pages.
When the update is done, guess what ? There’s another toolbar installed to Internet Explorer !!!
In the US, it will likely be either a Yahoo or Google tool bar.
Lord knows which tool bar Users in other regions of the world will find installed.
Or, there’s an update to Sun Java. Again, there’s no explanation about why there’s an update. Once more, the beaten down weary from constant updating User doesn’t notice that Sun is also offering a tool bar, which in the US is probably the MSN or Bing tool bar. European Users will likely have other unwanted tool bars stuffed on to their systems.
So be careful no matter what applications you install whether purchased or freeware.

Also note that ‘freeware’ doesn’t always mean no support. Many freeware applications have a very active ‘developer community’ and support forums.

There is no particular order to how I listed these applications and tools, I just started going through my applications install folder. Use any and or all of these at your own risk. They are ‘freeware’ and I make NO warrantees or guarantees to their safety or effectiveness for you. I have had no issues with any of these but you may. So have a complete system back up available incase something ‘bad’ happens. [see my posts on backups and images]
So here you go:

Log Me In
Access and back up your home or work computer from anywhere with an Internet connection. Even access your desktop from your Smartphone or iPhone or the dash of your Ford truck. It’s fast, easy and secure.:
https://secure.logmein.com/US/home.aspx

Format Factory a multifunctional media converter:
http://www.formatoz.com/

Flv Player is a tool to play Flash (.FLV) video files:
http://www.martijndevisser.com/blog/flv-player/

Firefox with extensions and greasemonkey
See my previous posts:
http://mikemartinezonline.com/blog/2010/01/16/improving-productivity-and-fun-with-browser-add-ons-and-scripts/

Driver Max let’s you back up and restore the drivers installed on your computer:
http://www.innovative-sol.com/drivermax/

Handbrake is an open-source program designed to convert MPEG video (including DVD-Video) into an MPEG-4 video file in MPEG-4 Part 14 (.mp4) or Matroska (.mkv) containers.
http://handbrake.fr/

Spybot Search & Destroy
Don’t confuse this application with other that are trading on the ‘Spybot’ name and are in
and of themselves ACTUALLY spyware. The one and only original FREEWARE application is here:
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/ownmirrors3/index.html

Microsoft Security Essentials
http://www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials/

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner.
http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download/slim

LookInMyPC is a free utility that allows users to generate complete and comprehensive profiles, audits, and diagnostic reports on their computers.
http://www.lookinmypc.com/download.htm

DVD Shrink is a versatile freeware tool for fitting a DVD-Video disc on a single DVD-R:
http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/dvd_rippers/dvd_shrink.cfm

DVD Decrypter is a highly versatile VOB-ripping utility.
http://www.freewarefiles.com/DVD-Decrypter_program_15586.html

Dvdflick is a simple but at the same time powerful DVD Authoring tool. It can take a number of video files stored on your computer and turn them into a DVD that will play back on your DVD player, Media Center or Home Cinema Set. You can add additional custom audio tracks, subtitles as well as a menu for easier navigation.
http://www.dvdflick.net/

Keepass is an open source password manager. Passwords can be stored in highly-encrypted databases, which can be unlocked with one master password or key file.
http://keepass.info/

µTorrent is a lightweight and efficient BitTorrent client for Windows or Mac with many features.
http://www.utorrent.com/

Media Monkey (free & Pro) Free music manager and jukebox for large collections of CDs, MP3s and other audio files. It rips CDs, converts audio formats, edits tags, renames files, creates playlists, etc.
http://www.mediamonkey.com/

Tuxguitar (opens Guitar taps pro too)is an opensource multitrack tablature editor. You can read and write Guitar  Pro files using TuxGuitar.
http://tuxguitar.he
rac.com.ar/

Defraggler can defragment individual files, groups of files in a folder, or free space on any FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, RAID partition. Defraggler can defragment the master file table when needed. It also displays the location of these files on a map of the partition.
http://www.piriform.com/defraggler/download/slim

Recuva is a freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This includes files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images and other files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera memory cards or MP3 players. It will even bring back files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses.:
http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download/slim

Speccy is an advanced freeware system information tool for personal computer.
http://www.piriform.com/media/10110/spsetup100.zip

Virtual Box is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use
http://www.virtualbox.org/

GIMP (the GNU  Image Manipulation Program) is a free software raster graphics editor. [think Photoshop without the $600.00 price tag]
http://www.gimp.org/

OpenOffice.org (OO.o or OOo), commonly known as OpenOffice, is an open source software application suite.
http://www.openoffice.org/

VLC Media Player is a cross-platform open-source multimedia framework, player and server. VLC  media player is a highly portable multimedia player and multimedia framework capable of reading most audio and video formats (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, DivX, MPEG-1, mp3, ogg, aac …) as well as DVDs, Audio CDs VCDs, and various streaming protocols.:
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

k-lite Mega codec package allows you to play almost every movie file that you can find on the Internet.
http://www.free-codecs.com/download/K_lite_codec_pack.htm

Mozbackup is a simple utility for creating backups of Mozilla Firefox.
http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/

Magicdisk is a utility designed for creating and managing ‘virtual’ CD drives and CD/DVD discs.
http://www.magiciso.com/tutorials/miso-magicdisc-overview.htm

GPVR is a mature, robust, full-featured Personal Video Recorder (PVR) or Media Center which runs on Microsoft Windows. It’s main function is scheduling tv recording and watching live tv.(tv card necessary)
http://www.gbpvr.com/

7-zip is an open source file archiver and can read and write to several other archive formats.
http://www.7-zip.org/

ImageBurn is a lightweight CD / DVD / HD DVD / Blu-ray burning application that everyone should have in their toolkit!
http://www.imgburn.com/

Funduc Search & Replace is a fast, easy to use grep utility for search and  replace in multiple files, directories and archives.
http://www.funduc.com/search_replace.htm

UnLocker is a tool that can trace and "unlock" the locking protection commonly used in system files.Its main use is to terminate the processes that are using a certain file, or force the processes to stop using the file, so the user can safely delete, rename or move the file.
http://ccollomb.free.fr/unlocker/

WhoLockMe is a Windows Explorer extension that will help you identify which programs and/or process have locks on your files.
http://www.dr-hoiby.com/WhoLockMe/

Open DNS  makes networks in homes, schools and businesses safer, faster, smarter and more reliable through Web content filtering and navigation services.
http://www.opendns.com/

Rname It
Another great Win95/98/NT app that renames multiple files. Files can easily be organized and grouped by a new common prefix and/or padded with a unique numerical or alphabetical value for sorting purposes. Features Real Time Preview and Full (Final) Preview for complicated renaming procedures.:
ftp://ftp.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/local/jk.collection/win/rname-it.zip

Sysinternals Suite
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb842062.aspx

CombiMovie is freeware which can combine two or more mpg/mpeg files into a single continuous mpg file. It works very fast, almost as fast as copying the files itself! Suitable for digital camera or internet movies.:
http://www.bobyte.com/CombiMovie/CombiMovie.asp

Look@Lan is an advanced network monitor that allows you to monitor your net in few clicks.
Extremely easy to use and very fast in discovering your network’s active nodes. Full of relevant features such as: auto-detect of network configuration, monitoring, reporting, trapping, statistics and graphs, network tree view, network log, proof single node scan, os detection.:
http://majorgeeks.com/downloadget.php?id=3365&file;=9&evp;=243ad7f7dbd42ca50abe8bf849b4423b

KarenWare Tools
Directory Print:
http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptdirprn.asp
 
Hasher:
http://www.karenware.com/powertools/pthasher.asp

TightVNC  is a cross-platform open source remote desktop software application that uses and extends VNC ‘s RFB protocol to control another computer’s screen remotely.:
http://www.tightvnc.com/download.php

UltraVNC is an open source and free application for the Microsoft Windows operating system that uses the VNC protocol to control another computer’s screen :
http://www.uvnc.com/download

OsX VNC server is protocol lets you connect to and control another computer.:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/osxvnc/
 
OsX VNC Client:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/cotvnc/

PDF-XChange Viewer is a free alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader–allows users to View Adobe compatible PDF files:
http://www.docu-track.com/product/pdf-xchange-viewer

Notepad++ Opensource notepad on steroids:
http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/about.php
Appinstall:
http://superb-west.dl.sourceforge.net/sourcef
orge/notepad-plus/npp.5.4.2.Installer.exe

Onyx (Mac)is a multifunction utility for Mac OS X. It allows you to verify the Startup Disk and the structure of its System files, to run misc tasks of system maintenance:
[Looks like Apple swallowed this project]:
http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/system_disk_utilities/onyx.html

CutePDF Writer
Create professional quality PDF files from almost any printable document. FREE for personal, commercial, gov or edu use! No watermarks! No popup Web ads! Now supports 64-bit Windows.
http://www.cutepdf.com/download/CuteWriter.exe

How to create a bootable upgrade or installation USB thumb drive to install Windows 7

Before you begin, you will require the following:

  • USB Flash Drive (4GB minimum)
  • Windows 7 ISO Image file (or DVD as explained in how to create ISO section)
  • Reading all of my notes completely as things change if you are doing an upgrade vs. new installation. (see the upgrade section for important info.)
  • You must be careful when using any tool that formats drives – you could toast your current operating system if you are not careful!! I take no responsibility for your lack of attention to detail or inability to read and FOLLOW ALL of these instructions!

The VERY easy ways first!
Method one:
Use the Windows 7 USB/DVD tool!
You will need and ISO image of Windows 7.
Installation:
To install the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool:
1. Download the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool installation file.
2. When you are prompted to, either save the file to disk or run it, choose Run.
3. Follow the steps in the setup dialogs. You’ll have the option to specify where to install the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool and whether to create shortcuts on your Start Menu or Windows Desktop.
[You need to be an administrator on the computer you are installing the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool on.]
Launch the tool, navigate to your ISO file (usually purchased directly through Microsoft store or created by you – see the creating and ISO section), and walk through the wizard.
(Note you can use this tool with Windows Vista ISO too to create a Vista USB install)
That’s it.
The wizard lets you select your source ISO file (Win 7 install), it formats your USB drive/stick, and then copies all your files over and makes that USB drive/stick bootable.

Once you have created your ‘bootable USB Thumb drive you are ready to install.

To do that, reboot your computer.
Now while your system is starting up press the appropriate button (usually F1, F2, F12, ESC, Backspace, or Escape) to bring up Bios Boot Menu.
Change the startup order to boot USB by default. Once done, save changes and restart the system.
On some systems (like Dell) you can just press F12 for a ‘select boot’ option too – very easy.
The install (or upgrade to) your new operating system.
 
For Windows XP Users
The following applications must be installed prior to installing the tool:
* Microsoft .NET Framework v2 must be installed. It can be downloaded here.
* Microsoft Image Mastering API v2 must be installed. It can be downloaded here.

Once the USB is created, by any method describe here, search for and delete the file named ‘ei.cfg’. This is usually located in the ‘\sources\’ directory.

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.

[Warning: This procedure will allow you to install a copy of Windows 7 that you may not be licensed to have. Therefore you need to be very careful to only select a version that you have a licensed key for as you will not be able activate Windows without valid a key!]

Method Two:
This is much like method one just using an open source tool.
Use the UNetbootin (Universal Netboot Installer) tool found here.
Insert the USB drive, run UNetbootin, and select Disk Image as ISO. Browse your local drive for Windows 7 ISO that you downloaded and click Open. Now Select Type as USB and choose the drive. Once done, it will look like a bit similar to the screenshot shown below.
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Click OK and it will begin extracting all installation files to the USB drive. The whole process will take some time, so have patience.

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 Follow same method as above to boot to the USB drive.

 How to create ISO:
If you have a CD or DVD and not an ISO you can try and create and ISO from your DVD using one of these Freeware tools:
LC ISO Creator creates ISO files from CD/DVD-ROM.
clip_image005download (LCISOCreator.zip – 14 kB)
ImageBurn
ImgBurn is a lightweight CD / DVD / HD DVD / Blu-ray burning application that everyone should have in their toolkit!
Get ImgBurn here

About upgrading to Windows 7:
This section was taken from here.

When doing an upgrade MS limits you to what ‘type or flavor’ of the OS you can upgrade to.
Example; Vista Home Premium can only be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 RC(and therefore ‘Ultimate’) can only go to Windows 7 Ultimate etc.
BUT HERE IS THE GREAT PART!
That is not entirely true!
You can upgrade to a different version with a simple registry adjustment.
Open a command prompt on your Vista or (Windows 7 Release Candidate) machine and type in:
Regedit
Navigate to HKLM(HKEY_Local_Machine)Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion
Change EditionID on the reg key from “Ultimate” to “[youreditionhere]”
and
Change ProductName on the reg key from Windows 7 Ultimate to “Windows 7 [youreditionhere]”
(minus the quotes of course)
Example:
EdittionID Professional
ProductName Windows 7 Professional
Close the registry editor, restart and do your install.

I have used this registry trick to upgrade some corporate Netbooks that came with Windows 7 Starter to Volume Licensed versions of Window 7 Enterprise.


Method Three – the hard(er) way:

Creating bootable Windows 7 USB install using Vista and Windows 7 installation DVD:
Step 1. Insert the Windows 7 DVD into your computer and the USB memory stick into your computer
Step 2. Open a “Command Prompt” and run “DISKPART”.
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This will launch the diskpart utility in a separate window and perform a UAC prompt (allow access)
Step 3. Type “LIST DISK” and take note what the disk number is of the USB memory stick. This will be the same size as the USB memory stick (eg. 3824 MB = 4 GB).
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Step 4. Then type “SELECT DISK X” where X is the disk number of the USB memory stick.clip_image011
Step 5. Type “CLEAN”. Warning – This will wipe all data from the USB memory stick.
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Step 6. Type “CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY”
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Step 7. Type “SELECT PARTITION 1”
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Step 8. Type “ACTIVE”
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Step 9. Type “FORMAT FS=FAT32” (and wait about 5 minutes depending on the size and speed of the USB memory stick)
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Step 10. Type “ASSIGN”.
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You will notice the auto play window now appears. Take note of the drive letter (e.g. F:\ ) and close this window.
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Step 11. Type “EXIT”
Step 12. Back at the command prompt type “xcopy d:*.* /s/e/f F:” where D: is the drive letter of you DVD and F: is the drive letter of your USB Memory stick.
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Don’t worry if it takes a long time to copy boot.wim and install.wim as these are the two largest files on the DVD.
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Step 13. Once the xcopy is finished  run “del F:\sources\ei.cfg” from the command prompt and you Windows 7 Bootable USB memory stick is ready to go. 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.
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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.
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