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VHD in Windows 7

Given changes to Windows backup formats in Vista/7/2008 the following tools may be rather useful as W7 and 2008 become ever more common:


this 2nd one can even allegedly be used [with care] with Vista native VHD backups. or

which allegedly also allows one to write to the VHD as well.

Alternatively, if you need quick access to VHD backups, you can mount them directly from the 7/2008 Disk Manager, but the mount doesn't survive a reboot.

Also VHDTool - command-line tool which provides useful VHD manipulation functions including instant creation of large fixed-size VHDs.

Creating a low-cost, full feature dual WAN (load balance or fail-over) firewall.

I'm in love...

I guess I should qualify that statement. I've been working on finding a firewall to deploy to our customers. 

Gradually more and more of our customers want or need 2 ADSL lines for fail-over and/or VoIP traffic quality purposes. So the task was to find a robust router that importantly wasn't going to be deprecated or discontinued for a fair while so we could standardise on it. Our problem recently with low end ADSL routers is that we'd find a nice one, then after a few months we wouldn't be able to buy it anymore.

So low cost and sophisticated enough to do :-

  • Dual WAN failover - in both directions.
  • Ability to chose what traffic leaves which WAN interface. i.e. LAN to WAN/WAN2 control.
  • Standard firewall filtering
  • NAT and 1-1 NAT
  • Port forwarding and port mapping
  • Static routes

We bought a Netgear Dual WAN router to investigate the commercial dual WAN routers, as we have had good experiences with their equipment. However on testing it didn't quite do everything I wanted. Particularly be able to choose the exit route of different traffic on our network. It also left me worried that choosing a commercial solution would leave us open to having the product changed or upgraded.

We've been a fan of IPCop's for a long time as we've always found that standard firewall routers have either lacked features or been out of the range of the SME budget. For those customers that have needed a featured firewall we've always used IPCop's. Using an old PC or a new mini-ATX PC and putting IPCop on it has made our lives much nicer in the last 5 years. However IPCop doesn't support dual WAN and there was nothing on the roadmap to suggest it was going to be implemented. The other thing was that being hard drive based, IPCop's are always going to be more prone to failure than an embedded firewall due to the mechanical nature of hard drives. We'd considered putting IPCop on CF-cards, but figured that since they weren't optimised for flash based drives, that the OS would rapidly wear the drive out.

However there is the dual-WAN capable pfsense, and after checking out a virtual appliance and being suitable happy with it, I decided to buy an ALIX embedded PC. This company sells them with m0n0wall or pfsense pre-loaded so I bought 2 for testing and waited for it to arrive.


How do I RDP connect to the console with mstsc now I am using Vista?

How do I connect to the console with mstsc now I am using Vista?

The XP Way

Start > Run >  " mstsc /v:machine_name /console "


The Vista Way

Start > Run > " mstsc /v:machine_name /admin "

Latest Global Address Book (OAB) not showing correctly in Outlook

After updates to the Exchange contacts, client reported not being able to see the updated version.  All contacts are shown correctly when accessing webmail but not from within Outlook.

Outlook 2003 was in this instance configured to use the Exchange mailbox in cached mode, the OAB had not replicated to the local machine after 24 hours, so I followed the instructions in the Microsoft KnowledgeBase Article: Administering the offline address book in Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007

To Force Outlook to update it's OAB (Global Address List)

  • On the Tools menu, point to Send/Receive, and then click Download Address Book.
  • Exit Outlook and then restart it. After Outlook starts, the offline address book download will start one to five minutes later.

Pastebin - dump text online

Useful website that gives the ability to dump any type of text (or code) to transmit it as a URL (can be very useful in IM and IRC applications)
Has a post expiry time-limit that can be set.

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