Technical Fixes
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  • Changing the Windows drive letter

    Posted on November 18th, 2010 Matt Parkinson No comments

    Although it is not recommend there are some times when you may need to change the letter of your Windows drive from C: to another letter or it may have changed by itself to another letter and you need to change it back to C:. In my case after an automated Windows installation my Windows drive letter had come up as D: so I wanted to change it to C:. The reason this had happened was due to a USB disk being connected while the install was taking place so it had labeled that as C: instead. To change the drive letter please follow the steps below:

    1. Go to start > run and type in “regedit” and press enter.
    2. Expand the folders to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
    3. You should see something similar to the screen below. We are interested in the \DosDevices\ values.
    4. If you are in the same scenario as myself and something is already using the C: drive you will need to select it from the list and press F2 to edit the value. You should change this to a drive letter that is not in use which in my case would be “I:”. If you do not have a device using C: you can skip to the next step.
    5. You then need to find the value which has your current drive and edit that to be C:. So in my case I need to change “\DosDevices\D:” to “\DosDevices\C:”.
    6. You should now restart your computer and the drive letters should change. You do not need to worry about the boot.ini configuration as this is controlled using the disk and partition numbers rather than the drive letters.

    If you get an access denied message while trying to change these values it may be due to the permissions on the registry key. To change this you should right click the “MountedDevices” folder on the left hand pane and go to permissions. You then need to ensure that the “Administrators” group has full control of the folder. If you have modified these settings you should then close the registry editor and re-open it for the settings to take full effect.

  • Run Commands As System User

    Posted on April 11th, 2010 Matt Parkinson No comments

    Sometimes there may be a need to run a command as the system user however as you may have noticed it is not possible to log directly into this account. To get around this you can use the following work around.

    1. Go to Start>Run and type in CMD then press enter.
    2. In the new command prompt box type “at 09:00 /interactive cmd.exe” and press enter replacing the 09:00 with the time a few minutes ahead of what it is now. This creates a scheduled task in the interactive mode to launch at the time specified.
    3. Once you reached the time set you will see a new command prompt box open similar to the following
    4. This command prompt is now running as the system user and you should be able to issue any commands you want. As you can see I have run “intl.cpl” which loads the language and regional settings for the system user. In my case this was to change the time format for a service which was being run as the system user.
  • Installing Windows 7/Vista/2008 From USB

    Posted on December 14th, 2009 Matt Parkinson No comments

    Being able to install Windows from USB has a number of uses. For instance you may be trying to install a server which quite regularly come without DVD drives. I have also found it a lot quicker to install from USB so it is now my preferred method for performing new installs. To be able to install Windows from USB you first need to format the USB disk and then copy the Windows installation files to it which can be done with the following steps.

    1. Go to Start>Run type in ‘diskpart’ and press enter.
    2. In the new window type in ‘list disk’ and press enter. This will display all of the disks currently attached to your computer. Look for the number next to your USB drive and make note of it.
    3. Type ‘select disk #’ and press enter replacing the # with the number from the step before.
    4. Type ‘clean’ and press enter.
    5. Type ‘create partition primary’ and press enter.
    6. Type ‘select partition 1’ and press enter.
    7. Type ‘active’ and press enter.
    8. Type ‘format fs=fat32’ and press enter.
    9. Type ‘assign’ and press enter.
    10. Type ‘exit’ and press enter which should close the disk part window.
    11. Go to start>run and type in ‘xcopy d:\*.* /s/e/f e:\’ replacing D:\ with your DVD driver and E:\ with the driver letter of the USB disk. Both of these can be found by looking in my computer.
    12. Once the files have finished copying plug the USB drive into the computer you wish to install and when you start the computer look for the option for ‘boot menu’ and press the key it shows.
    13. In the boot menu find your USB drive and press enter which should start to load the Windows installation.
  • Manually Removing Printers and Printer Drivers

    Posted on December 13th, 2009 Matt Parkinson No comments

    From time to time you may have the need to delete your printers and their drivers however doing this from the printers control panel application may not be possible for some reason or another. Manually removing the printers and their drivers is most often used when the print spooler will not start due to a corrupt printer or driver. The other possibility is that the printer just won’t delete. To manually remove the printers and the printer drivers please follow the steps below.

    1. Go to Start>Run and type in “services.msc” and press enter
    2. Locate printer spooler in the list, right click it and press stop
    3. Go to Start>Run type in ‘regedit’ and press enter
    4. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print
    5. Right click the Print folder and go to export and save the file to your hard drive. This is a backup of the keys we are about to delete in case there are any problems.
    6. Expand the Printers sub folder and you should see a list of the printers on your computer. Delete these one by one by right clicking the folder and going to delete.
    7. Expand the Environments folder and under each Windows folder change to Drivers>Version 3 and you should see a list of the drivers. Delete each one of these in the same manner as before.
    8. Close the registry editor and go to Start>Run and type in ‘explorer.exe’ and press enter.
    9. Browse to ‘C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\’ and under each folder in this directory browse into it and if it has a directory with a number rename this to have ‘.old’ at the end.
    10. Restart your computer and try to install the printer and drivers again.
    11. If there are any problems you can simply double click the registry file you exported and rename the above folders back to their original name.