Sunday, 23 August 2009

Useful Websites #2

A collection of websites I find useful to have handy.

Skydrive - For when you need to transfer a file to a different location or back something up and don't have your trusty USB pen drive. This service from Microsoft gives you 25GB of free online storage.

edugeek - For those IT professionals working in education. A source of help for all school techs. With a bit of fun too to get you through the day.

BBC Podcast Directory - Free podcasts for almost any taste. News, sport, comedy, movie reviews, all sorts to keep your mp3 player stocked up. May I also recommend Adam & Joe, hilarious.

Video Tabs - Ever wanted to play the guitar but didn't want to pay for lessons? Also good for people who can't read music. Be shown how to play your favourite songs through videos people have posted.

The Portable Freeware Collection - Free software that can be run from a USB drive.

Bugmenot - Shared logins for websites. Need that driver but you need to be a member to download it? Or just want to read a solution to fix your problem without having to spend time signing up and creating accounts? Bugmenot offers a solution. Type in the site you are trying to get on and a list of logins is displayed in return with users able to rate if they were successful or not.

Mopay - Sell your old mobile phone or send it to be recycled.

Media-Convert - Like Zamzar three weeks ago, An easy to use file conversion tool. Converts many different file types. - Test your broadband speed. Tests downloads, uploads and ping speed.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Windows 7 In Schools #1

Windows 7 was released through the schools agreement last Friday and so this week we have been installing it to machines.

The first thing I will point out is for those you who have been using Windows Deployment Services before Windows 7, your boot.wim will not work. You receive an error code and then on the next screen: Windows Could not apply unattended settings during pass (null). This is even when you don't try to do an unattended installation.

Although the instructions say to use the boot.wim from the server disc you will need to use the boot.wim from the Windows 7 iso you have downloaded. We have added the boot file to the one we had already that installed Vista, Server 2008 and XP. So our menu when you boot to network looks like this:

The next point is you will need to update Key Management Services from 1.1 to 1.2. This should be available via WSUS from 25th August. When we tried to download it it was not available yet from microsoft download centre. This is to activate your machines. If you have less than 25 computers you can request a MAK key from microsoft instead of using your KMS key that you should see on your schools agreement licence keys page.

So we have a few machines installed but not activated yet. Any more problems we come across will be posted here to help others.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Installing Adobe CS3

As promised here is a guide for how we install Adobe CS3 without a Software Management Server.

Step 1: Copy the contents of CD to a share on the server e.g.\\server\cs3 and change Adobe CS3 folder to Adobe_CS3 so that it contains no spaces.

Step 2: Run \\server\cs3\adobe_cs3\setup.exe --record=1
This will run through the setup but not install any software. Select what programs you want to install and where you want to install them. This will create 2 XML files in
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Installers\

Step 3: Put the 2 XML files you just created in \\server\cs3\adobe_cs3 and rename them install.xml and uninstall.xml

Step 4: In \\server\cs3\adobe_cs3\ identify which of the folders in the Payloads folder is the driver payload folder. To do this open the Setup.xml file and locate the following line:

Make a note of the driver pa
yload folder name (for us this is AdobeWebSuitePremiumen_US_Volume)

Step 5: Create an application.xml.override file. Open Notepad and type the following XML script putting in your serial number:

Save this in the driver payloads folder (e.g. AdobeWebSuitePremiumen_US_Volume) as application.xml.override

Step 6: Create a batch file to install CS3 (pointing the deployment to your xml file created and the executable). Either:

  1. Check if already installed (depending on what you want to install you can change the reg key to Photoshop, Flash, etc.) and if not install silently:

reg query HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Dreamweaver\9.0\Installation

if %errorlevel%==1 (goto DeployCS3) else (goto End)


start /wait \\server\CS3\Adobe_CS3\Setup.exe --mode=Silent --deploymentFile="\\server\CS3\Adobe_CS3\Install.xml"


  1. Just install silently:

start /wait \\server\CS3\Adobe_CS3\Setup.exe --mode=Silent --deploymentFile="\\server\CS3\Adobe_CS3\Install.xml"


Step 7: Create a group policy to install CS3 using the batch file as a logon script. You can now install the software two ways. Either create an ‘install cs3’ user, apply the group policy you just created to it and when you logon it will install the software (we use NetSupport School so we can log all the machines on as a user remotely). Alternatively, you can apply to users who need the software and use the check if installed script (script A above).

Just running the batch file will install the software silently (no need to put in product key, choose programs or register).

Hope this wasn't to difficult to follow.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Useful Websites #1

A collection of websites I find useful to have handy.

Filehippo - A collection of free or trial software to download in one place. Most things you need a piece of software for you can find here. Also has an update checker that checks your software for security and other updates.

Zamzar - Covert a file type to another file for free and without having to install any software. Select the file, choose what to convert it to and Zamzar will email you when it is done.

Trend Housecall - Excellent online virus scanner. Works with IE and Firefox.

Mailinator - Avoid spam by using a temporary email address. Sites that require your email but you don't want to give it to them, give them a mailinator email address instead. Each mailbox can hold up to 10 messages.

AlternativeTo - Alternative suggestions when looking for a piece of software. Can't afford Photoshop? See what else can do the job and what people think of it. - Sign up to the site and tell it what bands you like and get your own personal radio station. Or alternatively, just listen to music for free.

What Should I Read Next? - Enjoyed a book? Put the title and author in to this search engine and it will give you a list of other titles you might enjoy.

Musicmagpie - Sell your unwanted CD's, DVD's and computer games. No bank details needed. Post them freepost and receive a cheque in return.