Category: Computing

Auto-ignore unreadable disks on macOS

I have recently built myself a Hackintosh running MacOS X El Capitan, but along side the Mac disk, I have a number of other Windows disks. Unfortunately, some of these disks have some weird and wonderful partitioning that  only Windows can understand.

As a result, whenever I boot up into my MacOS X build, I constantly get prompted with a message stating The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer with options to Initialize, Ignore or Eject.

This guide explains how to use diskejectd to avoid this message from popping up every time you boot up the machine.


openSUSE Tumbleweed: Basic Installation Guide

OpenSUSE_official-logo-color.svgopenSUSE is one of the most popular Linux distributions available with some claiming it to be the best Linux desktop environment for sysadmins and desktop users alike. It comes in two flavours; Leap, which is a complete regular-release distribution, and Tumbleweed, a rolling release distribution that gives you quick and easy access to the latest updates.

This guide describes the basic steps to get up and running with the default openSUSE Tumbleweed installation.


Forcibly eject CD on a PowerPC-based Mac

The Apple Mac has always been a piece of equipment heavily based around design. As a result, you end up with a beautiful piece of kit, but lacking in some simple functions; one of these being an eject button on the CD drive!

I have on numerous occasions found that I have inserted a bad CD, usually a bootable CD of some sort, and then found myself unable to eject the disc. The machine often enters an unresponsive state with some horrid noises coming from the CD drive.

This guide will show you how to use Open Firmware to forcibly eject a CD on any PowerPC equipped Mac.


Proxy Server Checker v1.0

This PowerShell script runs a basic test of functionality for a proxy server. It sets up a web request via a specified proxy server address, then retrieves the HTTP Response Code. If the code is returned as HTTP 200 OK, it'll add 200 to the final status code. At the end, it'll compare how many sites it was passed to how many OK responses it received to determine if the proxy server is functioning correctly.

I wrote this script to work with our monitoring system so that we could test the functionality of a proxy server. Passing it three sites to test and having it report OK if it received a 600 OK, WARN if 200 or 400, or go CRITICAL if 0. This proved to be a more reliable test than just a connectivity test, as the proxy server may be contactable, but not actually processing requests. This test proves that it is processing requests.

This script is compatible with Powershell 2 and above. I had originally written the script using some cleaner cmdlets, but the server we needed to run it on only had Powershell 2 and upgrading for this script was going to be more hassle than it was worth due to the server needing to be available at all times.

Usage: .\ProxyServerCheck.ps1

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Mac OS X: Show Hidden Files

By default, as you'd expect from any good operating system, certain system files are hidden from the view of the user. This is often for security or simply to stop the user breaking their system by moving/editing/deleting files that they don't understand. In some cases, however, you may need to be able to view these files. In Mac OS X, we need to use the Terminal to edit some of the default properties of the Finder application to do this.

This guide will show you the steps to show these hidden files.


RDP Connection Setter v1.0

Following on from my Windows XP & 7 guide, Enable RDP using the registry editor, I have created this PowerShell script to automate the task. This script will check if the "Remote Registry" service is started. If it isn't, it'll start it. It will then dig through the registry to find the DWORD we need to change and it'll switch it on/off depending on your parameters.

The registry keys are in the same location, so this PS1 should work for Windows XP & 7 target machines. I assume this means it will work for Windows Vista as well, and probably 8, 8.1 and 10 as well, but these are all untested.

Usage: .\SetRDP.ps1 -PC computername [ -enable | -disable ]

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Editing the Hosts file

The hosts file is a vital file built into Windows. Its purpose is to convert IP addresses to host names, much like DNS would. This can be useful in pointing an individual PC to a specific server where DNS may point it elsewhere.

For example, normally example.com would point to 93.184.216.34, however you may want it to point to 10.87.1.5 on only one PC. You could use a host file entry to point this one PC to 10.87.1.5.

This guide will show you how you can easily edit the host file on your Windows machine


Network Scanner v1.0

This PowerShell script is a network scanner. Utilising the Invoke-PingSweep function, it will attempt to ping each host in the specified range and if it gets a response, it will attempt to find open ports from a specified list.

The Invoke-PingSweep function is available from the TechNet gallery and I take no credit for writing this integral part of the script. https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Invoke-TSPingSweep-b71f1b9b

This script will then output a list of discovered IP addresses, hostnames and open ports. There are options to then export to a CSV and/or TXT file as well.

Usage: .\NetScan.ps1 -StartIP 0.0.0.0 -EndIP 1.1.1.1 [-CSV file.csv] [-TXT file.txt] [-CSVHostsOnly] [-TXTHostsOnly]

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Find/Replace Script v1.0

This PowerShell script is a simple find/replace tool, much like the ones you find inside your favourite text editors. Unlike most text editors, however, this will run against all files of a certain extension within a specified folder. This enables you to edit, say for example, every CSV file in folder C:\LotsofCSVfiles.

I wrote this script as I had a large number of CSV files that I needed the same find/replace function performed on all files. Rather than opening 100+ CSV files and running a find/replace one-by-one, I could simply tell this script to search for all files in the folder and do the find/replace.

By default, the script looks for CSV files, but using the -Ext parameter, you can select a different file extension. As the standard functions work via regular expressions, I have also added a line to escape any characters to prevent failures.

Usage: .\FindReplace.ps1 -Path C:\folder\path -String "findme" -Replace "replaceme" [-Ext txt]

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Replace iPod Classic HDD with SSD

iPod Classics are still sought after devices despite Apple having discontinued production. A common point of failure is the spinning HDD failing, but you need not throw the device away when it fails.

This guide shows you how to upgrade your iPod Classic’s HDD with a newer technology SSD.