Sep 18

Customize Windows 7 with themes and Rainmeter

Have you ever wished that your Windows installation was a little more customized to your liking? You Like the idea of a Widget bar but not the implementation Microsoft has chosen? Then this topic is specially for you!

I will show you how to add totally custom themes to Windows (not just the ones that Microsoft has), Customize the start button, login screen and windows startup animation.

 

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Jun 15

Create a bootable USB drive to install Windows

Its very common for servers to be delivered without a DVD-ROM drive these days and PC’s are not far behind in this regard. Ofcourse you can use a portable DVD drive for installation purposes, but that’s hardly ideal and not very fast. Since modern computers have the option to boot from USB a better approach is to put the install media on a USB drive and install from there.

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Apr 24

Use Xplorer2 and customize the [Windows]+E key shortcut

If you like some control over your files and directories you probably have a filemanager installed for Windows. Recently I discovered Xplorer2 as a great alternative for Windows Explorer. It handles a bit like the good old Windows Commander, but with more options and a lot easier on the eyes. You can download that here. I use the professional version, cause I don’t have much use for portable versions. Its not free, but as the most used software on my PC, I don’t mind spending a few bucks on good software I use daily. On installing it, at the very end of the process, you get an option to make Xplorer2 your default filemanager for Windows.

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Apr 02

Installing VmWare ESXi 5.0 from USB drive

While installing a server you often don’t have the option to boot from a CD/DVD-drive because current hardware quite often just doesn’t have such a drive. To circumvent this problem you can attach a USB DVD-drive, but booting the installer directly from a USB disk is less hassle and speeds up the installation process significantly.

Below I will outline to make a simple USB disk with the VmWare EXSi 5.0 iso image as a base (this should however work for most VmWare versions).

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Mar 29

Tips and tricks for Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

Most of my work on servers is done for small and medium offices, involving a maximum of 50 clients. These networks are usually managed by a domaincontroller with Exchange and a terminal server. Not so long ago this would be installed on 2 different pieces of hardware to keep up performance, but in the current times one box is enough to manage both servers virtually and still be fast enough to give access to the employees. .

There are several hypervisors to make this happen, best know is probably VMWare, which I use on occasion as well. Problem with VMWare however is the high costs for the licenses and loads of options I don’t have a use for in these environments. Microsoft’s Hyper-V is a great option for this, its fast, reliable and cost effective.

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Mar 26

Remove files older than x days

I love using cli scripts to make my life easier, both in Linux and Windows. On this site you can see several examples of that, including the use of backup scripts for several systems/applications. Making a script that does this can sometimes give you a headache by having to remove logfiles or accumulated compression files (zip, rar, tar) manually. Below are commands for both Windows and Linux to check the files in a directory and remove them if they are older than a certain amount of time. Very useful to keep your hard disks clean of junkfiles.

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Mar 26

Remote access to IASO online backup (Linux) on a Windows client

IASO’s Online Backup software has many advantages and there is even a client for Linux. Maintaining the backup on Linux without a GUI can be a real pain though, not to mention the fact that usually the admin installing the backup software on the server, and the one maintaining and checking the backups are not the same person. There is a workaround to this though, you can access the Linux client via a Windows machine in the same (VPN) network.

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Mar 15

Brilliant battery life for Android

Some applications can use up a lot of system resources and thus drain your battery of much needed power. Specially things like task killers, WLAN and video recording/playback hog a lot of CPU and memory. After a while you start to notice a steep decline in the amount of time your battery will be able to power your Android device. Rooting your phone and installing a custom ROM is also one of these things that makes the battery somewhat less effective. I recommend to use these steps when you think your battery is not what it used to be, or specially after flashing a new ROM to your phone (always do a wipe of your system before doing this otherwise the drain can be huge). Do not under any circumstance allow a task killer to monitor your memory usage, this takes a lot of battery time!

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Mar 15

My favorite Android apps

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a big Android fan. My HTC Desire HD is the best phone I’ve ever had, and after 2 years its still fast and reliable. I have rooted my phone (its a branded Vodafone model, so basicly to get rid of the pre-installed Vodafone apps) and installed the Cyanogenmod ROM. The ROM itself is pretty great, with lots of customization options and tweaked to be fast and low on resources. On a later post I will explain how to flash your own Android device, but for now I want to share my favorite apps with you. This list is also not complete at all, so feel free to leave a comment with your personal favorites. Take note that most of these apps are free or ad-supported, but not all.

 

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Mar 15

My favorite Chrome extensions

The Chrome browser, I think everyone has at least heard of it, it’s fast, reliable and most importantly nice and clean. Well maybe a little too clean, sometimes you just need more functions that just aren’t there or are a bit hidden in the interface. That’s where extensions come in. I have made a list of my favorite Chrome extensions, I admit its far for a complete list of cool extensions, so feel free to share.

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