[How to] Create a bootable USB stick on OS X

A couple of days ago I decided to reinstall my operating system since it was failing. I quickly realized that the only functional system that I had at the time was my MacBook Pro. After a bit of Googling, I came up with a pretty straightforward guide, but they really could have formated it to make it easier to follow.

I’m going to run you through the same steps and you should be able to use this guide to create a bootable USB stick for Windows, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.

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Free Windows Vista to Windows 7 Upgrades

windows 7 startup boot screenAccording to Tech ARP, Microsoft has been drafting a plan that will allow some Windows Vista users to upgrade to the next version of Windows, Windows 7, for free.

This upgrade plan, which is temporarily named “The Windows 7 Upgrade Program,” is being developed in order to “assist Microsoft’s OEM partners in minimizing the number of end users who may postpone acquiring a new computer because of the impending release of the Windows 7 operating system. This program allows OEMs to offer an upgrade to Windows 7 to end users who qualify.”

While plans and drafts have been developing since December 10, 2008, there is still no official word on the exact eligibility rules. However, according to a draft, eligibility will apply as follows and a requirement must be met before you are eligible.

End users must purchase a new PC that is pre-installed with an eligible Windows Vista Operating System (OS), during the program eligibility window.

The PC must have a valid Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached.

The only Windows Vista® versions eligible for the program are :

  1. Windows Vista® Home Premium
  2. Windows Vista® Business
  3. Windows Vista® Ultimate

* Microsoft Windows Vista® Home Basic, Windows Vista® Starter Edition, and Windows® XP (all editions) are not qualifying products under the program.

The Program does not support multiple upgrades for medium, large, or enterprise customers. Customers that want to upgrade multiple PCs should use the appropriate Microsoft Volume Licensing program. See www.microsoft.com/licensing for more details.

The following are the only valid upgrade paths under the program :

  1. Windows Vista® Home Premium -> Windows® 7 Home Premium
  2. Windows Vista® Business -> Windows® 7 Professional
  3. Windows Vista® Ultimate -> Windows® 7 Ultimate

For those of us who forked out the cash to buy Windows Vista Ultimate, it looks like we are getting the shaft end of the deal to the extreme. If the program is revised and Vista Ultimate users are allowed an upgrade then I will continue to support Microsoft with future releases. However, if I am forced to purchase Windows 7 after having purchased Vista Ultimate with absolutely no benefits then I plan to simply boycott Microsoft. (Period).

How-To: Share your Internet connection between multiple computers (Ad-Hoc)

If you’ve ever been in a situation similar to mine where you have multiple computers, one Ethernet cable and no wireless router then don’t sweat it. You’re still in luck!

If one of your computers has at least two network cards, for example an Ethernet port and wireless capabilities, then you can connect one computer via the Ethernet connection and broadcast that same connection over that computer’s wireless card so that other computers can connect. I’ll show you how below.

I will be walking through the steps in Windows Vista, but the steps should be the same across all platforms. If you’re using a different platform then just try to find the same dialogs and options on that system and everything should work fine.

  1. Open the Control Panel. To do this, go to Start->Control Panel
    If you’re in Windows Vista and your Control Panel window looks like this:

    You will need to click on the option labeled “Classic View” in the upper left corner of the window. This will change the layout of the Control Panel so that I don’t have to rewrite this How-To in multiple different directions. After changing the layout, your Control Panel should look like this:
  2. In the image above, the icon for “Network and Sharing Center” is selected. Double click on this option. When the window changes you should see a list of tasks in the left column. Click on the item from the list labeled “Manage network connections“. This will open a new window that should show the network cards available on your computer.
  3. Make sure that your Ethernet cable is plugged into your computer and your Internet source and that the Internet connection is working fine on that computer. Now right click on the option labeled “Local Area Connection” and select “Properties” from the menu (User Account Control will most likely ask you if you wish to continue and just agree and click continue if it does).
  4. The Properties window will open on a tab labeled “Networking” with a list of items that the connection uses. Just ignore all of that and switch to the tab labeled “Sharing.” The options on the “Sharing” tab should be selected as follows. Enable the option labeled “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.” Disable the option labeled “Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection.” After matching these settings, click “OK” to save the changes.
  5. You can now close the window for “Network Connections” and reopen the window for “Network and Sharing Center.” If you have already closed this window by accident then you can follow steps 1 and 2 again, except this time instead of clicking on the option to “Manage network connections” you want to select the option to “Setup a connection or network.
  6. When the “Setup a connection or network window opens, it will have a list of networks that you can setup. The one that you want to setup is selected in the image above and is labeled “Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network. Setup a temporary network for sharing files or an Internet connection.
  7. When the “Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network” window is open, it will explain a little bit about the network. Just click “Next” until you get to a form that is empty and looks like the form below:

    You need to give the network that you are creating a name that you will be able to recognize and it can be anything that you want!

    You also have the option to add security to your network. I highly advise this as you have more control over your network, so just select the option for “WEP” and below it enter some form of a password.

    You can click the option to “Display characters” while you are entering the key/passphrase. This will make it easier to make a new key for your network.

    Don’t forget to also enable the option to “Save this network” if you plan on using it later!

    If you hover the text box for the key/passphrase, you will see a notification tooltip that explains how the passwords work. You should follow those instructions to create your password and make sure it is the correct length as specified in the tooltip.

  8. Click “Next” to complete the setup and close any open windows. Your Ad-Hoc network is now setup and you should now be able to see a wireless signal on your other computers. Connecting to your network will require the users to know the key/passphrase that you entered, but once connected..all of the other computers should be able to browse the web and connect to instant messengers…anything you need!

If you have any questions then please ask them in the comments! Just remember to follow the steps closely before asking. Enjoy!

Vista: Repair with boot disk

vistaIf you ever experience problems with your Vista installation and it fails to boot, you’ll quickly learn that “fixmbr” is no longer used the same way (fixmbr is to be valid for Windows XP and several previous Windows platforms).

If you need to fix your then you may have trouble finding the remedy as I did. I searched for a little while not finding anything helpful. However, not that I’ve found it and had to use it a few times I am going to share it with you (and all just post it so I can reference it later more easily).

The recover steps are as follows:

  1. Power-on your system and immediately insert your installation disk.
  2. Press any key to boot your PC from the installion disk.
  3. Once booting has completed click “Next” after making sure that options such as language are appropriate for you.
  4. From the list of options provided, select repair. (This may take several minutes while the installation disk tries to find supported bootable partitions. Just be patient. 😉 )
  5. If the automatic scan does not detect your windows installation then you may have a lot of trouble regaining any information stored on your drive. If this is not the case for you then move on tot he next step. Otherwise, if this is the case then I suggest the following:
    • Obtain another hard drive, by purchase or borrow from a friend and install Windows on thenew hard drive.
    • Now install some freeware undelete software to recover your important files to the borrowed hard drive so you can use it later to move the files back to your system.
    • After recovering the files that you need to keep, format and reinstall Windows on your old hard drive.
    • Now you are ready to copy and paste the recovered files over.
  6. Now that the install disk has detected your old installation click next to continue.
  7. The next screen offers several things. Go a head and click to repair startup, but don’t count on this fixing anything (it has never fixed anything for me in the past, but it never hurts to try).
  8. Now click on the option to manually repair via the console.
  9. Once in the terminal/console, you will be using “bootrec“. Go a head and type “bootrec” without the quotes into the terminal and press enter to get an idea from the description that it provides for what it does. Now the commands that will fix your system are as follows (without quotes):
    • “bootrec -FixMbr” – this command will rewrite the contents of your master boot record since it is most likely corrupt, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be here.
    • “bootrec -FixBoot” – this command may not be necessary, but I use it just incase.
  10. Now that you have enter both of those commands to repair your boot process you just need to restart and see if everything is working again!

I’m not sure how you got into this situation in the first place, but if you have not been trying to install another operating system to dual boot along side Vista then you might want to look into the issue further. You can always use your best friend Google.com to find where other people have had similar problems and found solutions. I would suggest looking into this immediately to ensure that your data is not lost in future incidents. It might be that you have corruption in your hard drive and need to run checkdisk to repair any bad places. I hope this has been helpful to someone. If it has helped you at all, please let me know! Post a comment!

Mac OS X86 and Vista in perfect harmony

So I’ve been looking up some information trying to figure out how to install Mac OS X on my AMD machine which already has Vista Ultimate installed. I came across several helpful sites in my search and although I don’t have it setup successfully just yet..I thought I’d share the information that I found.

mac vista

First off, to install Mac OS X on a regular pc you have to get a *patched* version of the install disk. Please don’t ask me where you can get a hold of a copy of this. 😉

I used a prepatched version called “Mac OS X JaS 10.4.8 Intel/AMD Install DVD”. The steps are pretty easy.

  • Get a pre-patched install disk and burn it with your favorite program.
  • Create a partition on your hard drive at least 6GB..leave it unallocated.
  • Insert your install disk and restart.
  • Make sure that during installation you select all of the appropriate settings to install for your computer’s hardware.
  • After installation completes successfully you will need to restart your computer.

You can play around in OSX for a while if you wish, but you need to configure your boot loader to dual boot Vista and OSX. You can find a guide for this here. There are also plenty of other guides out there that you can use.

It would also be wise to take a look at a compatibility list to make sure that your hardware is supported. You can check that here.

Updates will come soon when I successfully get Mac OS X installed. I’ve heard that a version of 10.4.9 by uphuck is pretty reliable, so I’m in the process of installing it.