Recently in Vista Category

admin_prompt A neat (if not well known) feature of Windows Vista is the built in ability to do a "Command Prompt Here" by selecting a folder, keeping the shift key down and right clicking on the folder.  While this is neat, I've sometimes found myself needing an Command Prompt with full administrative privileges.

I stumbled upon an excellent tip from Randy Rants on how to get an elevated command prompt here

Personally, I like my admin command prompts to have a dark red background color so that I remember it is running with elevated privileges (see my previous post if you want a admin command prompt icon using this meme).  Anyway, my registry entires look something like:-

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="Admin Comm&and Prompt here"

@="cmd.exe /t:4f /k \"pushd %L && title Command Prompt\""

Have fun - usual warnings about registry hacking and backing up etc. According to Randy this should also work for XP users who run with non-Admin privileges.

Windows Server 2008 RC0

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Windows Server 2008 RC0 of Windows Server 2008 was made available earlier this week.  I am currently installing it inside a Virtual PC and I have to say I'm impressed so far.  The installation process is much faster and smoother.  Also, it is very strange to see how far the "secure as default" mantra of Microsoft has come over the past few years.  In Window Server 2008 when you first install even the Sound Service is disabled and you have to enable it before sounds will come out of your soundcard (this is made easy by some nice UI from the standard volume control).  How times have changed... 

BTW, when installing Windows Server 2008 inside Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 I said that it should use the Windows Vista soundcard when creating the initial VPC configuration and it seems to work great.

All Your Disks Are Belong To Us

The Microsoft Anti-Piracy Team With the Trustworthy Computing initiative, we'd all thought the days of easter eggs in Microsoft products had died, however three enterprising young men from the Anti-piracy Team at Microsoft managed to get themselves included as part of the security hologram on the front of every copy of the Windows Vista media.  If you have a copy of Vista handy, take a close look at the color windows logos, in the outermost circles you will see two large rectangles with two small rectangles either side (about 1mm high).  If you zoom into these rectangles you'll either get a public domain picture of an old master, or the picture above of the folks that designed the hologram.  Good work fellas!  For more information, see the Windows Vista blog, the site of the guy who noticed this picture or the Engadget post about the story.

Vista Admin Shell Icon


In Windows Vista, one of the first things I do on a new machine is create an "Admin Shell".  The steps I do are as follows:-

  1. Copy the shortcut of your favorite command prompt (PowerShell or cmd.exe)
  2. Rename the shortcut "Admin Shell" or whatever you want.  I use "Admin Shell" and then eventually the Windows, "Admin" keyboard shortcut works for it when I have use the computer long enough.
  3. Edit the shortcut properties.  (Right click, Properties).  In Shortcut, Advanced... check the "run as administrator" option. Then set the Colors, Screen background to be something that will let you know that this command prompt is running as administrator - I use 51,0,0 as the RGB value to give the shell a nice but slight scary red tinge.

The only thing that was missing was an icon to make this stand out more as my admin shell.  Here is a red version of the PowerShell icon that I just hacked together - enjoy (Right click, save as...)

File attachment: admin_shell.ico (72kb)

When debugging network issues, I tend to fallback to good old telnet as a way of opening a port to a machine.  Being able to do "telnet myserver 80" to check if a web server is up, listening, resolvable and no firewalls getting in the way helps you figure out where the problem is.

I'm staying in a hotel at the moment, and struggling with hotel WiFi.  While debugging the network problems I realized that the telnet client is not installed by default on Vista.

To install it,  go to Control Panel, Programs, and then "Turn Windows Features on or off" under "Programs and Features".  Scroll down a bit and then Telnet Client is available.

Remote Desktop Connection Dialog: Remote Desktop cannot verify the identity of the computer you want to connect to. This problem can occur if: 1) The remote computer is running a version of Windows that is earlier than Windows Vista. 2) The remote computer is configured to support only the RDP security layer. Contact your network administrator or the owner of the remote computer for assistance. Do you want to connect anyway? When running Remote Desktop from Windows Vista I've been getting the following error popping up everytime I connect.  It is a little alarming and I've never really sat down and figured out what this was telling me - basically I translated this to mean "Vista has a new, more secure Remote Desktop client, you are talking to an older version of the server - is this ok?".  I've been meaning to figure out how to make this dialog go away for a while and was just assuming I was dumb.  However a couple of few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the MVP Summit and every single Microsoft employee that used remote desktop to talk to his or her machine somewhere else on campus also got this dialog pop up - so I figured that I wasn't being that dumb after all - or maybe just as dumb as everyone else, which considering the company I was keeping at the time I would take as a compliment.

It took me a while to figure out how to get rid of the dialog when connecting to a known older version of the remote desktop server.  When doing the connection, click on the "Options >>" button and then the "Advanced" tab.  In the "Server Authentication" section, change the authentication option to "Always connect, even if authentication fails".

Then, after a bit of digging around I found this great post from Scott Forsyth who points out that there is a registry key you can also use to control this behavior, add a DWORD value called AuthenticationLevelOverride to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client and set it to 0.  You will no longer get prompted and the Server Authentication option in the advanced tab will be grayed out.  Obviously that reduces the security when remoting to your machine so it is up to you if you want to take that risk to save you the annoyance of seeing that dialog any more.

Bluetooth Logo Today, I received a fancy new Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter 8000 mouse courtesy of Microsoft.  This is a Bluetooth enabled mouse with some useful extra buttons for slide advance and a built in laser pointer when presenting.  It is a nice mobile mouse that, while not without flaws, I would still recommend.  Anyway, I wanted to use my Dell's built-in Bluetooth model (the Dell Wireless 350 Bluetooth Module) rather than the supplied Microsoft Bluetooth USB dongle.  It was then that I noticed my Bluetooth wasn't working properly under Vista - when I searched for new devices, it just wasn't finding any.

I had a bit of a search around, and people were suggesting all sorts of nasty hacks.  In the end, I came across the new official Dell drivers that were posted on the 26th January 2007 so I'm making this post to hopefully get caught in the search indexes and help out a few other fellow early adopters.  To download the Dell Wireless 350 drivers for Windows Vista - visit the official Dell site.  The install flashes the Bluetooth chipset and installs all the stuff necessary to get your Bluetooth up and running.  I also downloaded the Reliability update for USB stack in Windows Vista 32-bit (KB925528) (not sure if I needed to or not, it just sounded like a good thing) and the latest version of Microsoft excellent IntelliPoint software.


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