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Last Build Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 01:00:00 GMT


Interrupt PhotoRec recovery, change the destination, and resume

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 01:00:00 GMT

During a PhotoRec session, if disk space on the destination starts running precariously low, you can interrupt the session, change the destination, and resume like so:
  1. Halt the session and exit PhotoRec: Stop > Y > Quit > Quit > Quit
  2. If desired, move recup_dir.* to new destination (while not required, you may wish to keep all of the recovered files together). In any case, do not move or edit, which is located in the current working directory)
  3. Launch PhotoRec again
  4. When "Continue previous session ? (Y/N)" prompt appears, press Y
  5. Browse to new destination directory then press C
  6. Recovery will resume where it left off

Combine an animated GIF with a static image while retaining the animation

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 07:00:00 GMT

in Adobe ImageReady CS2:
  1. Open both images in ImageReady
  2. Rotate the animated GIF if desired (Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary...)
  3. Make the animated GIF's canvas size larger than the static image's canvas size (Image > Canvas Size...)
  4. Copy and paste the static image as a layer into the animated GIF (Select > All > Edit > Copy > Edit > Paste)
  5. Using the Move Tool (V), drag the static image to the desired position, then use the Crop Tool (C) to crop it
  6. Set the static image as the background (Layer > New > Background From Layer)
  7. Check the delay timers and looping options in the Animation pane (Window > Animation)
  8. Save the new combined GIF (File > Save Optimized As...)

Building a triple-boot Mac: OS X 10.9, Linux Mint 18, Windows 7

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 07:00:00 GMT

This process was tested on a MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) and Samsung 830-Series MZ-7PC128B/WW 128GB Solid State Drive with OS X 10.9.5, Linux Mint Cinnamon 18 64-bit, and Windows 7 64-bit.
  1. Install SSD. Any existing data will be deleted.

  2. Boot from Mavericks installer

    1. Disk Utility > Partition (GUID), format (Mac OS Extended (Journaled)), and name (OSX) volume

    2. Install Mavericks to OSX normally

  3. Boot from SSD

    1. Boot Camp Assistant > allocate partition space as desired (keeping in mind that the Linux Mint partition will be carved out of the Windows partition)

    2. Install Windows normally

  4. Boot from Linux Mint 18 installer

    1. Install Mint normally, selecting "Install Linux Mint alongside them" and specifying the desired sizes of the Windows and Mint partitions

  5. When installation completes, boot to Startup Manager by holding the Option key. There are 3 options:

    1. OSX = Mavericks

    2. Recovery-10.9.5 = OS X Recovery

    3. Windows = GNU GRUB, from which Linux Mint 18 or Windows 7 can be booted (ignore the OS X 32-bit and 64-bit entries)


  • Of course, in lieu of steps 1 and 2, an existing OS X installation could be used, though the risk of data loss is very real and should be assumed.

  • If desired, rEFInd can be installed to manage boot options.

  • OS X can be installed normally to an SD card in the built-in card reader, but attempting to run Boot Camp Assistant from such a drive returns: "You cannot partition an external disk, a RAID disk or an internal disk on which FileVault encryption is in progress. Restart your computer using an internal disk that is not part of a RAID set or try it again after FileVault has completed."

Showing all programs in Windows 8.1

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 07:00:00 GMT

In lieu of a third-party Start menu replacement like Classic Shell (along with its attendant risks), you can create a taskbar toolbar to display all programs in Windows 8.1:
  1. Add %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs to a new Library called "Programs"
  2. Right click the taskbar then click Toolbars > New toolbar...
  3. Enter %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries\Programs.library-ms into the Folder: path and click "Select Folder"

That's it; now you've got a list of all programs easily accessible from the taskbar.


Mounting partitions from full disk images with guestfish

Sun, 02 Oct 2016 07:00:00 GMT

Just added a long-overdue update to Mounting partitions from full disk images with guestfish, part of the inimitable libguestfs:
"libguestfs can access almost any disk image imaginable. It can do it securely — without needing root and with multiple layers of defence against rogue disk images. It can access disk images on remote machines or on CDs/USB sticks. It can access proprietary systems like VMware and Hyper-V."

Installing ddrescue in Debian, Ubuntu, Mint,

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 07:00:00 GMT

A few ddrescue install tips for Debian-based distros:
  • Don't install from the official repositories unless you want version 1.19 from 2014 (current version is 1.21 from 2016):
    # apt install ddrescue
    E: Unable to locate package ddrescue
    # apt install gddrescue
    Setting up gddrescue (1.19-1) ...

    • (Note that while the repositories refer to it as "gddrescue", it is invoked via "ddrescue" once installed.)

  • If you decide to compile from source, you may need Lzip to extract the contents from the ddrescue archive.

  • If you receive an error like this one while running make:
    c++ -W -O2 -c -o arg_parser.o
    make: c++: Command not found
    Makefile:64: recipe for target 'arg_parser.o' failed
    make: *** [arg_parser.o] Error 127

    you need to install build-essential first:
    # apt install build-essential

  • The rest is straightforward:
    $ lzip -d ddrescue-1.21.tar.lz && tar xvf ddrescue-1.21.tar && cd ddrescue-1.21 && ./configure && make

  • Bonus tip for Fedora users: The closest equivalent to build-essential is
    # dnf install make automake gcc gcc-c++ kernel-devel

Virtualizing Snow Leopard

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 07:00:00 GMT

Hot on the heels of our 2011 post, Mac OS X P2V, comes a new guide for those who just can't let go of OS X 10.6's superior speed, stability, or PowerPC emulation: Installing Snow Leopard into VMWare Fusion 8 on El Capitan. Enjoy!

Automatically prompt for elevated permissions when running a batch script

Sun, 04 Sep 2016 07:30:00 GMT

Add the script below to the beginning of your batch scripts to automatically request elevated permissions when run. It was written by Matt, who credits for inspiration a post by NIronwolf, which credits OpenELEC, who apparently does not host the original script any longer (this may be it: create_installstick.bat). As Winhelponline points out, simply add your instructions under the "START" label.
:: Automatically check & get admin rights V2
@echo off
ECHO =============================
ECHO Running Admin shell
ECHO =============================

setlocal DisableDelayedExpansion
set "batchPath=%~0"
for %%k in (%0) do set batchName=%%~nk
set "vbsGetPrivileges=%temp%\OEgetPriv_%batchName%.vbs"
setlocal EnableDelayedExpansion

if '%errorlevel%' == '0' ( goto gotPrivileges ) else ( goto getPrivileges )

if '%1'=='ELEV' (echo ELEV & shift /1 & goto gotPrivileges)
ECHO **************************************
ECHO Invoking UAC for Privilege Escalation
ECHO **************************************

ECHO Set UAC = CreateObject^("Shell.Application"^) > "%vbsGetPrivileges%"
ECHO args = "ELEV " >> "%vbsGetPrivileges%"
ECHO For Each strArg in WScript.Arguments >> "%vbsGetPrivileges%"
ECHO args = args ^& strArg ^& " "  >> "%vbsGetPrivileges%"
ECHO Next >> "%vbsGetPrivileges%"
ECHO UAC.ShellExecute "!batchPath!", args, "", "runas", 1 >> "%vbsGetPrivileges%"
"%SystemRoot%\System32\WScript.exe" "%vbsGetPrivileges%" %*
exit /B

setlocal & pushd .
cd /d %~dp0
if '%1'=='ELEV' (del "%vbsGetPrivileges%" 1>nul 2>nul  &  shift /1)

REM Run shell as admin (example) - put here code as you like
ECHO %batchName% Arguments: %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9
cmd /k

Recover Windows product key from BIOS / UEFI

Sun, 04 Sep 2016 07:15:00 GMT

while booted via Windows installation media, then determine which version of Windows corresponds to the recovered key:
  1. Boot via Windows installation media (DVD, USB flash drive, etc)

  2. When the "Windows Setup" window appears, press Shift + F10 to open a command prompt

  3. Launch one of these tools from the command prompt to retrieve product key from BIOS / UEFI:

    1. Windows OEM Product Key Tool 1.1 - Purpose-built app; simply returns the product key

    2. FirmwareTablesView - Displays list of firmware tables; look for "MSDM" under Signature column or "Microsoft Software Licensing Table" under Description column

    3. RWEverything - Digs deep for a plethora of hardware details; head to ACPI > MSDM > Data.

  4. To identify which version of Windows the recovered product key corresponds to:

    1. Ultimate PID Checker - Works with product keys from XP through 8 (not 8.1); runs inside the Windows installation environment

    2. ShowKeyPlus - Works with product keys from Windows 7 through 10; does not run inside the Windows installation environment

For OEM computers still shipping with Windows 7 or 8.1 (slated to end on October 31, 2016), the firmware-embedded product key likely differs from the product key on the hard drive. Recover the latter with ProduKey.

For more information on embedded product keys, see Windows 10 Embedded Product Key Tool and Where is my Windows product key, and how can I tell that my Windows installation is genuine?

Booting Dell Venue 10 Pro 5055 from USB device

Sun, 04 Sep 2016 07:00:00 GMT

  1. With the Venue turned off, hold the volume button down.
  2. Turn on the Venue
  3. When the BIOS / UEFI screen appears, let go of the volume button
  4. Tap "Boot" > "Secure Boot" > "Disabled"
  5. Tap "File Browser Add Boot Option" > select .efi file on a bootable FAT32-formatted device (e.g., tap "USB: DataTraveler 2.0" > "Select Media File" menu appears > tap "efi" > "boot" > "bootia32.efi") > "Input File Name" menu appears > enter desired name (e.g., "USBFlash") > tap Return > Ok
  6. Change "Boot Option Priorities" if desired, or simply reboot while holding the volume button up for the "Boot Options" menu.