Make Windows 7 USB installer in Linux

So for whatever reason you need to install Windows 7 from a flash drive that’s not a problem!

In Linux:

  1. Format flash drive: mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdx
  2. Set Label: mlabel -i /dev/sdd1 ::WIN7x64 (optional)
  3. Download Grub4Dos – http://download.gna.org/grub4dos/
  4. unzip grub4dos-0.4.4.zip
  5. Run ./bootlace.com /dev/sdx
  6. Copy grldr and menu.lst to the root of the flash drive
  7. Add to menu.lst
    title Install Windows 7
    root (hd0,0)
    chainloader (hd0,0)/bootmgr
  8. Copy Win 7 Install files to root of USB flash drive.
  9. Boot Flash Drive – Select Install Windows 7

TIP: To install any version of Windows 7 (Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate) remove ei.cfg from the sources directory. However, you still need a product key for the appropriate version.

In Windows:

  1. Format Drive as Fat32
  2. Copy Files from Install DVD to Flash drive

That’s it, boot from the flash drive you are all good.

Note: The windows disk formater writes code to the MBR and VBR. This obvisouly doesn’t happen in Linux therefore we need to use grub4dos as our bootloader.



Remote Assistance – Win XP/Vista/7

I was looking for a solution that would allow me to remotely connect to machines on the local network. We often get phone calls form users asking for help. It is way easier to provide help if we can see their screens and we usually end up having to visit their workstation. This can be time consuming, especially when we are in the middle of a project.

In my search, I came across a wonderful gem called Microsoft Remote Assistance which happens to be included in Windows XP/Vista/7.

How does it Work?

  1. Tech enters the Machine name of the client that he/she wants to provide Remote Assistance to.
  2. User is prompted to allow Tech to view their computer (Yes/No)
  3. Tech then can request to take control
  4. Again, the user is prompted to allow the tech to take control

Enabling Remote Assistance on the Domain (via Group Policy)

Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Admin Templates -> System -> Remote Assistance

  • Offer Remote Assistance -> Enable
  • Solicited Remote Assistance -> Disable (If you don’t want your users requesting others for Remote Assistance)

You then have two choices “Allow helpers to control the computer” or “Allow helpers to only view the computer”. In addition to selecting one of these choices, you have to add the users and groups that should be able to provide remote assistance.

Offering Remote Assistance

  • Start -> All Programs -> Maintenance -> Windows Remote Assistance or type in msra.exe
  • Click “Help Someone who has invited you”
  • Click “Advance connection option for the help desk”
  • Lastly, enter the machine name or ip address of the machine you want to provide Remote Assistance to

 

How can I possibly remember all the host names?

I’ve created a small C# application that you can have your users run. I would put it on a shared drive and push out a shortcut via group policy.

WhoAmI

Source: WhoAmI.zip
Bin: Included in source ./WhoAmI/bin/Release/WhoAmI.exe

Offering Remote Assistance – A nice GUI app

Although the method mentioned above works it is long and convoluted. I put together a small  C# app to easily offer Remote Assistance to a user.

The app simply calls msra.exe /offerra <hostname>

Source: RemoteAssistance.zip
Bin: Included in souce ./RemoteAssistance/bin/Release/RemoteAssitance.exe

Ideas for the two Easy GUI apps came from SYNACK over at edugeek. http://www.edugeek.net/forums/coding/49448-easy-gui-remote-assistance-support.html

More Information: