Ever wondered what is under the Costa Express hood?

i’ve been pretty quiet recently… work, triathlons and dad duties have meant I’ve been pretty slack…

To get me back in the rhythm – first a fun post. If you’ve been driving around London recently you will have seen the recent explosion of Costa Express dispensers at almost every petrol station.

I was filling up the other day and encountered some technical difficulties while trying to get my daily Cappuccino.

What to do? Reboot of course! Managed to grab some pics while they reset the Dell PC running Windows Vista.

Costa have no taste I tell ya! Dell… urgh… Vista… double urrgh.



Microsoft DART

If you’ve never used (or had to use) Microsoft DART (ex ERD Commander), give this a once over.

Some great utilities that can be a life saver in the event of a hardware failure, system crash, administrator account lockout, etc.


Even better it can be integrated into the Windows Recovery Environment so you dont have to boot off a DVD to initiate. More on this to come.

15 Incredibly Useful (and Free) Microsoft Tools for IT Pros

A bunch of utilities I’d never heard of. A couple have definitely come in handy… Love the screen recorder app.

  • Windows System Control Center
  • RichCopy 4.0
  • Microsoft Attack Surface Scanner
  • Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper Tool (included with MS DART)
  • NoReplyAll add-in for Outlook 2007 and 2010
  • VMMap
  • Disk2VHD
  • Joulemeter
  • Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE)
  • Microsoft Windows Performance Toolkit
  • Speed Launch
  • Screen Recorder
  • TCPView
  • Autoruns
  • Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit 2.0


Launching Red Hat from within Altiris Linux Automation Environment

I spent a couple of days last week pulling my hair out trying to get our RHEL5 Linux build to install from within Altiris.
The most common approach uses the Altiris DOS Automation environment to configure GRUB4DOS which launches the RHEL5 kickstart installation on the next reboot.
I couldn’t get the Altiris DOS Automation environment to work (the shared drive mapping failed) and I couldn’t be arsed picking through our policies to fix it.
Another approach linked here, creates a custom PXE boot menu option that starts the RHEL5 install. I wouldn’t recommend this approach as it takes away the manual step of dropping a job on a computer object in DS to deploy server images. You know it would only be a matter of time before some butter fingered monkey starts rebuilding all your RHEL servers.
What I really wanted was to just launch the kick start install from within the Linux Automation environment ala the way you launch Windows in WinPE.
Thanks to viddect for pointing me in the right direction.
Hopefully this will save other linux n00bs a few headaches. I separated the different steps into multiple ‘Run Scripts’ tasks for error checking. I tried to combine them afterwards but they didn’t act the same. Who knows why. I have learnt not to ask too many questions of Altiris.
—————————————cut here————————————————-

Run Script #1
## Partition Disk /dev/sda
fdisk /dev/sda << _EOF
sleep 5

Run Script #2
## formats /dev/sda1 to ext2
mke2fs /dev/sda1
sleep 5

Run Script #3
## Mount /dev/sda1
mkdir /mnt/setup
mount -t ext2 /dev/sda1 /mnt/setup
sleep 5

Run Script #4
# # Copy RHEL 57 Kernel Files to /dev/sda1
cp -R /mnt/ds/lib/osdist/linux/RHEL57/isolinux/vmlinuz /mnt/setup/
cp -R /mnt/ds/lib/osdist/linux/RHEL57/isolinux/initrd.img /mnt/setup/

Run Script #5
## Copy GRUB Files to /dev/sda1
mkdir /mnt/setup/boot
cp -R /boot/* /mnt/setup/boot/

Run Script #6
## Create menu.lst
cat > /mnt/setup/boot/grub/menu.lst <<EOF1
timeout 5
default /default
title RHEL SOE
root (hd0,0)
kernel (hd0,0)/vmlinuz text ks=ftp://x.x.x.x/PXE57/Config/ks.cfg
initrd (hd0,0)/initrd.img

Run Script #7
## Configure GRUB
/sbin/grub –batch <<EOF
root (hd0,0)
setup (hd0)