IT guy toolkit

How did things work out with Nlite?

Pretty well so far. Having a few networking issues but I don't think they're nLite related.

Updated with Peer Guardian 2.

I bit the bullet and my Action Pack arrived today. Here's a pic of the contents.

Oooh, purty! How much does this stuff go for? Comparable to the MSDN Universal?

doihaveto wrote:

Oooh, purty! How much does this stuff go for? Comparable to the MSDN Universal?

It's 300$ for a year (325$ after shipping and the stuff doesn't stop working if you don't renew) and you get quarterly updates for that year. I bit the bullet (hopefully not too early) so I can get Vista next year on release.

Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel
Note: This is a direct download, the readme below is part of the self extracting zip.

Readme for Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel v2.0.1.1


System Requirements
- Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional

Installation instructions
1. Copy VCdRom.sys to your %systemroot%\system32\drivers folder.
2. Execute VCdControlTool.exe
3. Click "Driver control"
4. If the "Install Driver" button is available, click it. Navigate to the %systemroot%\system32\drivers folder, select VCdRom.sys, and click Open.
5. Click "Start"
6. Click OK
7. Click "Add Drive" to add a drive to the drive list. Ensure that the drive added is not a local drive. If it is, continue to click "Add Drive" until an unused drive letter is available.
8. Select an unused drive letter from the drive list and click "Mount".
9. Navigate to the image file, select it, and click "OK". UNC naming conventions should not be used, however mapped network drives should be OK.

You may now use the drive letter as if it were a local CD-ROM device. When you are finished you may unmount, stop, and remove the driver from memory using the driver control.

Account info is a DLL addition to a PC with Active Directory Users and Computers installed on it. It is part of the Win2K3 resource kit, but MCPMAG has more info.

We've had discussions about something like this before but I stumbled across this while researching the UPH Clean tool they've been pushing at work (turns out it's not doing us any good but I digress).

The Shared Computer Toolkit for Win XP introduces tools for shared computers in schools, libraries, Internet cafes, and other public places. The Shared Computer Toolkit helps make it easy to set up, safeguard, and manage reliable shared computers running Windows XP.

From the Handbook on technet:

Restrict Children on a Family Computer
Although not the intended purpose of the Toolkit, one exciting possibility the Toolkit offers is the ability to restrict the actions of other kinds of users in other environments. One such environment is a home computer used by children.

On a home computer, the User Restrictions tool makes it easy to control the Windows features and programs to which a child has access. For example, you could restrict a child in the following ways:

• Prevent the child from using Internet Explorer or Windows Messenger.
• Prevent the child from changing the profile used to log on to Windows.
• Apply time restrictions to the child's computer use.
• Restrict access to Windows features that would enable the child to modify configurations or run inappropriate programs.
• Restrict the features and programs that are available on the Start menu.

You could use the Windows Disk Protection tool to ensure children can't make permanent changes to Windows. Be careful using Windows Disk Protection on computers on which you want to save data permanently. Without careful planning, you might inadvertently clear documents, pictures, and other important files that you and your family want to keep.

PDF creation recommendations from this thread:


I added a new comparison chart for connection speeds.

Did this get unstickied for a reason?

The glue ran old. Someone get some duct tape!

What app do you guys use for checking if a hard drive is good? I picked up 16 hard drives (1666.4 GB) for my file server today and need to see if any of them are bad.

Edwin wrote:

What app do you guys use for checking if a hard drive is good? I picked up 16 hard drives (1666.4 GB) for my file server today and need to see if any of them are bad.

I use the manufacturer tools as I'll have to run them anyway to get the 'bad code' for an RMA.

What's everyone using for a firewall these days? Sygate got bought out last October so I need a new one.

For firewall i use NetLimiter And it works like charm. Used OutPost for a bit.

One app that i almost always use while fixing machines is FAR MANAGER. Norton Commander's windowsXP reincarnation. Somehow i never could let it go. It looks on par with an old NC, mening console fonts and all, but its win32 app. Still provides me with extensive shell control. Loads of plugins also.

There were some attempts to clone it into graphics environment, but all miserably failed - Total Commander, Windows Commander. Functionality was good, but GUI ruined everything.

You can get FAR at

threedee wrote:

One app that i almost always use while fixing machines is FAR MANAGER. Norton Commander's windowsXP reincarnation.

NC was awesome. But this thing, it looks like a completely different sort of a beast... wrote:

Far Manager is so tightly integrated with its plugins that it is simply meaningless to talk about Far and not to mention the plugins. Plugins present an almost limitless expansion of the features of Far.

Without going into details, some of the capabilities can be noted:

syntax highlighting in program source texts.
working with FTP-servers (including access through proxy).
search and replace in many files at the same time, using regular expressions.
renaming groups of files with support for complex compound masks consisting of substitution symbols and templates.
NNTP/SMTP/POP3/IMAP4 clients and sending messages to a pager.
working with non-standard text screen resolutions.
conversion of texts from one national code page to another.
manipulating the contents of the Recycle Bin.
Process priority control on local or network PC.
Words autocomplete in editor and working with templates.
Windows system registry editing.
Creating and modifying Windows shortcuts.
File and text operations making it more comfortable to use FidoNet.
Files UU-encode and UU-decode.
WinAmp control and MP3-tags modifying.
Quake PAK-files processing.
Printers control, both connected to PC and network.
Connection and debugging of queries to ODBC-compatible databases.
RAS service control.
External programs executing (compilers, converters etc.) while editing text in Far editor.
Windows help files contents displaying (.hlp and .chm)
Calculators with different possibilities.
Several games
Spell checker functions while editing text in Far editor.
Removable drives catalog preparation and much more...

Sounds like... emacs!

Nice to see another Far fan. I've been using it for years. Nothing even comes lightyears close in terms of convenience, flexibility, compactness, and pure power.

P.S. me name is in the list of Colorer contributors

SimpleFindBar -- a free IE add-in. Excellent replication of non-modal, wheeling-capable text search functionality found in FireFox. If you have to use IE at work, check this out.

Umm. Did this get unstickied for a reason?

I think its a forum bug. If anyone edit's the first post since it is a book, it un-stickies.

*whips Baggachipz*

Edwin wrote:

I think its a forum bug. If anyone edit's the first post since it is a book, it un-stickies.

*whips Baggachipz*

My solution: Stop editing the first post

Stickied again.

Crossloop, an easy to use remote control program (based on VNC) that will get through NAT firewalls without any configuration changes needed, in other words great for helping grandma two states away.

For web developers and designers, Firefox has several add-ons that are enormously useful:

  • Web Developer - This is a whole crate full of fantastic tools. There are tools for validating your code, toggling CSS and scripts, finding broken images, magnifying the page, displaying div order, displaying block sizes, etc. If you could have only one add-on this is it.
  • Firebug - Well, you're not restricted to only one add-on, so get this, too. Some of the functionality of the Web Developer Add-on is duplicated here, but the real value here is the code inspection and realtime editing that can be done. For instance, you can click on any location on any page and you can see exactly which styles are being applied to it from any number of stylesheets, then you can edit them in the browser to see how they would look.
  • View Source Chart - This is a bit more singular in purpose than the other two. It gives you a graphical representation of the structure of the document.

Might as well at YSlow to that.

Edwin wrote:

Might as well at YSlow to that.

YSlow is an add-on to Firebug, which is an add-on to Firefox. That reminds me of this.

Making a bootable CDROM and a bootable USB stick with a customized BARTPE install was one of the best things I ever did. It's been extremely useful. Getting it ti where I wanted it took a lot of trial and error, but now that it is put together and has what I need, it is simply invaluable for troubleshooting and fixing PC problems.

Thanks to whoever threw that in this thread.

Didn't see this here.

The makers of nlite have a version for Vista installs called vlite.

I'll be giving it a try within the next couple of days or so.