November 5, 2010

Installing Windows 7 into a virtual machine on FreeBSD using VirtualBox

Filed under: FreeBSD,VirtualBox,Virtualization,Windows 7 — J. Abram barneck @ 5:20 am
Tags: , , ,

My job at LANDesk requires that I write code in C# for an application that only runs on Windows Server.  I also have to test a lot of code on Windows 7. Like me, so many people are forced to run a version of Windows because they have special windows applications at work or because that is the platform we are developing for in our jobs.

If running windows is a must for you, as it is for me, then moving to FreeBSD exclusively is just not an option.  I want to run an FreeBSD, but running Windows 7 is a must too.

At first VMWare Workstation looked like it was going to solve this problem. But while its early versions worked on FreeBSD, they failed to port newer versions over.  Quemu just never could get to level of usability needed.  Well, along comes VirtualBox from Sun.  Sun, now Oracle, released an open source edition cleverly named VirtualBox Open Source Edition (OSE).  Like many of Sun’s code, it is duel licensed.


  1. A FreeBSD desktop – Hopefully you are here because you already have this.  If you don’t have a FreeBSD desktop, you can follow my guide to build one.
    How to install and configure a FreeBSD 8 Desktop with Xorg and KDE?
    Or you can install and use PC-BSD which is a nice desktop version of FreeBSD.
  2. A Windows 7 DVD or ISO and a product key.  Please do not pirate!

Step 1 – Installing VirtualBox OSE on FreeBSD 8.1

Installing VirtualBox is not complex. It involves only a few steps.

  1. Go to the directory for virtualbox-ose in your ports tree.
    # cd /usr/ports/emulators/virtualbox-ose
  2. Configure your installation.
    # make config
  3. Select Guest Additions, as it is not selected by default.
    Note: The defaults are Qt4, DBUS, X11, NLS and they should remain checked.
  4. You may also want to select VNC.
  5. Install virtualbox-ose
    # make install

Step 2 – Configuring FreeBD for Virtual Box

There are few things we need to configure on the FreeBSD system to make VirtualBox work.

  1. Add users to the vboxusers.
  2. Configure CD/DVD drive access.
  3. Configure VirtualBox kernel modules to load.

Step 2.1 – Adding use to the vboxusers group

  1. To add users to the group, use this command:
    FBSD# pw groupmod vboxusers -m SomeUserName

Step 2.2 – Configure CD/DVD drive access

Note: This is a copy of what is in my document for building a FreeBSD Desktop.

FreeBSD is more secure by default, so something as simple as accessing a CD or DVD or USB drive is not actually allowed by default. You have enable this.

These steps assume that your user is a member of the operator group. Remember above during the installation, I mentioned to make your user a member of both the wheel and operator groups.

  1. Access a shell and su to root.
    Note: The easiest shell to access now that you are in KDE is Konsole. To access Konsole, click the K and go to Applications | System | Terminal. Also you can add the shell icon to your panel by right-clicking on the icon and choosing Add to Panel.
  2. Enable vfs.usermount.
    FBSD# sysctl -w vfs.usermount=1
  3. Configure vfs.usermount to be enabled on boot.
    FBSD# echo vfs.usermount=1 >> /etc/sysctl.conf

  4. Open the following file with an editor: /etc/devfs.conf
    FBSD# ee /etc/devfs.conf

  5. Add the following lines:
    # Allow all users to access CD’s
    perm /dev/acd0 0666
    perm /dev/acd1 0666
    perm /dev/cd0 0666
    perm /dev/cd1 0666# Allow all USB Devices to be mounted
    perm /dev/da0 0666
    perm /dev/da1 0666
    perm /dev/da2 0666
    perm /dev/da3 0666
    perm /dev/da4 0666# Misc other devices
    perm /dev/pass0 0666
    perm /dev/xpt0 0666
    perm /dev/agpart 0666
    perm /dev/uscanner0 0666

    Note: Yes, I copied these from a PC-BSD install’s version of this file.

    Note: Change to 0660 to only allow users in the operator group to mount drives.

  6. Edit the /etc/devfs.rules file.
    FBSD# /etc/devfs.rules

  7. Edit the following file: /usr/local/etc/PolicyKit/PolicyKit.conf
    FBSD# ee /usr/local/etc/PolicyKit/PolicyKit.conf

  8. Change the xml’s config section from this…
    <config version="0.1">
        <match user="root">
            <return result="yes"/>
        <define_admin_auth group="wheel"/>

    …to this:

    <config version="0.1">
            <define_admin_auth group="operator"/>
            <match action="org.freedesktop.hal.storage.mount-removable">
                    <return result="yes"/>
            <match action="org.freedesktop.hal.storage.mount-fixed">
                    <return result="yes"/>
            <match action="org.freedesktop.hal.storage.eject">
                    <return result="yes"/>
  9. Edit the following file with ee: ee /etc/fstab
    FBSD# ee /etc/fstab

  10. See if there is a line in the fstab for your CD/DVD-Rom. Comment out or remove the line for your /cdrom. I usually just comment it out by adding a # sign as shown:
    #/dev/acd0 /cdrom cd9660 ro,noauto 0 0
  11. Restart the computer.

You should now be able to mount CD, DVD, and USB drives. You also should be able to both read and write to them, burn disks, write and format USB drives, etc…

Step 2.3 – Configure VirtualBox kernel modules to load

  1. As root, edit the /boot/loader.conf file.
    # ee /boot/loader.conf
  2. Add the following text:
    # VirtualBox
  3. Save and close the file.
  4. Edit the /etc/rc.conf file.
  5. Add the following text.
    # VirtualBox
  6. Save and close the file.

Step 3 – Creating your Windows 7 VirtualBox

  1. Launch Virtual Box.
    Note: VirtualBox registers itself with the KDE menu.  On my installation, it was in Lost & Found, but on PC-BSD it was under System.  Either way you can type VirtualBox in the KDE menu search and find it.  Also, VirtualBox is the command and it should in $PATH so you should be able to open any shell from your desktop environment and run VirtualBox and have it open.
  2. Click New. This brings up a Wizard.
  3. Follow the wizard.
    Ok, if you need help with the wizard, here are my steps.
  4. Read and click Next.
  5. Choose an easy name.  I used “W7”.
  6. Make sure the Operating System is set to Microsoft Windows.
  7. Change the Version to Windows 7 (64-bit) or if you are on 32 bit hardware still use just Windows 7.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Allow at least 1536 MB (1.5 GB) for the base memory size.  You can get away with less if you need to. You can do better with more if
  10. you want to.
  11. Click Next.
  12. The Virtual Hard Disk page is already configured correctly, Boot Hard Disk is checked and Create new hard disk is selected. So just click next.
  13. Read and click Next.
  14. For Hard Disk Storage Type, I left it set at Dynamically expanding storage.
    Comment: This means that even if you use a 100 GB drive, it will only physically use as much space as Windows 7 has used in the Virtual Drive. So if Windows 7 is using 10 GB, even if you have 100 GB drive, the physical size on disk is only 10 GB.  This is important information for the next screen.
  15. Click Next.
  16. I change the drive size to 50 or 100 GB.
    Comment: It doesn’t really matter, but it is best to not run out of space either virtually or physically. Read my comment in the previous step.
  17. Click Next.
  18. Read and click Finish.

You virtual Machine now shows in the list.

Lets move to the next step.

Step 4 – (Optional) Changing Settings on your Windows 7 VirtualBox

I make two changes to my Windows 7 virtual box. As noted above this is optional, but I like to do them.

  1. Click the settings.
  2. Click System.
  3. Change the boot order to be hard drive first.
    Note: I make this change because it annoys me it when I install and then reboot the machine after the install and it boots right back to the install media. So I make this change and the press F12 during boot to the CD once.
  4. Uncheck and get rid of the floppy. (Does anyone still use those?)

  5. Now click on Storage.
  6. Under the Storage Tree, select your optical drive.
  7. If you are using an ISO, change the CD/DVD Device to point to the ISO. If you are using a DVD, as I am, choose Host Drive.  My host drive says: Host Drive Optiarc DVD RW AD-7910A (cd0).  I assume everyone drive will show up slightly different, but should start with Host Drive.
  8. Click OK.

Your settings should be good to go.

Step 5 – Install Windows 7

Now it is time to install Windows 7.

Don’t pirate! Use a legal product key. Again, just because I like open source does not make me anti closed source. I am not a Microsoft hater and I would hope you aren’t either. Even if you are, that is no excuse for pirating.

  1. Insert the DVD into your DVD drive, unless you are using an ISO and have already connected it.
  2. Click the Start icon.
  3. A new installation window will popup.
    Important! You may get a lot of popups telling you about important tips for using VirtualBox. Take time to read them. If you don’t read them or don’t already know what they are telling you, you will wish you had read them.
  4. Click in the window and to have it take control of your mouse and keyboard.
  5. Press F12 to choose your boot option.

    Note: If you miss this, that is OK,  you can restart the VM and try to be quicker.

  6. Once you have pressed F12 in time, you will see the following screen. At this screen, press the letter next to DVD drive.
  7. Press a key when prompted to boot to the Windows 7 media.

Well, you are off to installing Windows 7.  Hopefully you can get Windows 7 installed on your own, cause I am not here to walk you through doing that. Don’t worry, the install media for Windows 7 should be easy enough for you to follow if this is your first time.

Once finished, you will be running Windows 7 on FreeBSD.

Step 6 – Install VirtualBox Guest Additions

Even though all the devices are virtual, drivers are still needed. VirtualBox guest additions installs most of these drivers as well as other features of VirtualBox.

  1. Log in to your Windows 7 install.
  2. Select Device | Install Guest additions.

    This will mount an ISO and start the installer for VirtualBox Guest Additions inside Windows 7.

  3. Click Run VBoxWindowsEditions.exe.
  4. Follow the wizard.
    Note: I use the default install location and I check the option to Use Direct 3D support.
  5. Reboot when prompted.

Step 7 – Install the sound card driver

The sound card driver must be installed. VirtualBox uses a virtual device representing the Realtek AC’97 sound card.

  1. Log back into Windows 7.
  2. Go to the following web site:
  3. Download and install the Realtek AC’97 Driver.
  4. Reboot when prompted.

Your Finished

You now have Windows 7 running. Now you can have the great experience of using FreeBSD as your primary OS and load Windows 7 when you need something requires windows, like I do.

The virtualbox-ose port’s pkg-message


October 20, 2010

Adding an alias in Windows 7 or making ls = dir in a command prompt

Hey all,

I don’t know about you but I switch between FreeBSD and Windows a lot.  So it drives me crazy when I type the command ls on windows and get the error message.

‘ls’ is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.

So I want this to go away.

I looked for the alias command in Windows and couldn’t find one.  So I made a batch file that solves this.

Windows doesn’t seem to have the equivalent of a .shrc or .cshrc or .bashrc. I couldn’t find a .profile either.  So I decided to go with the batch file route.

Creating a batch file as an alias

I created an <AliasName>.bat file that just forwards calls the original file and forwards all parameters passed when making the call.

Here is how it works.

Create a file called ls.bat. Add the following text.


REM Run a command with as many parameters as are passed.
REM This is used as a wrapper for any command.
REM It may also be used to alias a command.
REMREM Change this variable to equal the command you want to alias.
SET RealCMDPath=dir:getparams
SET cmdparams=%1
SET cmdparams=%cmdparams% %1
IF NOT %1.==. GOTO addparams

%RealCMDPath% %cmdparams%

Copy this batch file to your C:\Windows\System32 directory. Now you can type in ls on a windows box at the command prompt and it works.

How does this work to make your aliased command?

  1. Name the batch file the name of the alias.  I want to alias ls to dir, so my batch file is named ls.bat.
  2. In the batch file, set the RealCMDPath variable to the proper value, in my case it is dir.

So if you want to alias cp to copy, you do this:

  1. Copy the file and name it cp.bat.
  2. Edit the file and set this line:
    SET RealCMDPath=dir

Now you have an alias for both ls and cp.

Using different versions of msbuild.exe

You can also use this so you don’t have to add a path.

I need to use C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\msbuild.exe but sometimes I want to use C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\msbuild.exe. Both files are named the same. So I can easily use my alias command.

  1. Create two files in C:\Windows\System32: one named msbuild35.bat and one named msbuild40.bat.
  2. Change the line in each file to have the appropriate paths for the RealCMDPath.

Anyway, this is really a useful batch file.

October 7, 2010

VirtualBox: It seems ready

Filed under: FreeBSD,PC-BSD,VirtualBox,Virtualization,VMWare,Windows 7 — J. Abram barneck @ 7:32 pm

Ok, so because my work has given me a license to VMWare Workstation, I have never really gone to the trouble of using VirtualBox.

But I really want to move to use FreeBSD (well, PC-BSD) on my laptop but I have to have a Windows 7 box for work.

So I had Windows 7 with PC-BSD in a VMWare Virtual Machine.

However, I am switching that as we speak.

I now have PC-BSD installed as my primary operating system, and Windows 7 in a VirtualBox Virtual Machine.

There are some features we use at LANDesk a lot, such as many snapshots, and PXE booting, and more.  I will test and follow-up on whether this is a good solution for me.

August 24, 2010

A windows annoyance: Copying folders with thousands of files

Filed under: Windows 7,Windows XP — J. Abram barneck @ 11:46 am

Ok, so have you ever started to copy a folder from the network and had it crash on you? And the folder of course has hundreds of subfolders and thousands of files, so you have to copy it again.

Why doesn’t windows handle this better. Why don’t I get a nice prompt that says: The copy failed…do you want to try again?  Yes / No

If i drag the folder over again, it seems to copy everything and give me annoying prompts for whether I want to overwrite the folder and the prompts can be endless.

I know I could avoid this by zipping the directory first, but really, zipping 1.5 GB of thousands of files takes even longer.

Sorry to drop a complaint today, but restarting massive folder transfers seems like an area where Microsoft has really not put any effort.

I will say that on my Windows 7 64 bit box, the number of annoying prompts to copy and replace were far less if I checked the box to not copy, so that is a positive.

April 23, 2010

How to open Windows Color and Appearance from the command line or a shortcut?

Filed under: Windows 7 — J. Abram barneck @ 10:25 am
Tags: , ,

Ok, so I had a hard time finding Windows Color and Appearance in Windows 7.

It is pretty easy to get to the Windows Color and Appearance tool if you know where to go. The problem is that where to go is not obvious.  So here is where you go:

  1. Right-click on Desktop and choose Personalize.
  2. Click the Windows Color icon at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Clikc the Advanced appearance settings… link.

Besides the problem that it is not obvious where to go, there are also some computer some diseases that make this harder than it should be.

Disease #1 – Limited Clicking Ability Disorder or LCAD

People have what is called Limited Clicking Ability Disorder or LCAD.  In layman’s terms, click laziness. Yes, that means we want to get there in less clicks.

It is 4 clicks to get to the Windows Color and Appearance tool, assuming you know where you are going.  Otherwise, you have to click all over till you find it. Whether it is four or more, this is way too many clicks for someone who suffers from click laziness or LCAD.

The Cure

Create desktop shortcuts or shortcuts on your startbar.

Steps for creating a shortcut to the Windows Color and Appearance tool.

  1. Right-click on your desktop and choose New | Shortcut.
  2. In the Type and location of the item field type in:c:\windows\system32\desk.cpl ,5

    Note: Yes, there is a space between desk.cpl and the ,5.

  1. Click Next.
  2. In the Type a name for this shortcut field, enter this:Windows Color and Appearance
  3. Click Finish.

You now have a shortcut on your desktop which will all you to access Windows Color and Appearance in one click and cure your LCAD.

Note: If you want, you can right-click on the shortcut and choose properties and click the Change icon button and select a different icon if you want.

Disease #2 – Keyboard-to-Mouse Tropophobia

Tropophobia is the fear of moving and yes, Keyboard-to-Mouse Tropophobia is the fear of moving the hands from the keyboard to the mouse.

The Cure

Learn to access as many features as you can without using the mouse.

So how can you access the Windows Color and Appearance tool without going to mouse?  This one was not as easy as others, but the solution was found.

Steps for accessing the Windows Color and Appearance tool using only the keyboard

Do this:

  1. Press the Windows Key and the R key simultaneously.  This brings up the Start | Run tool.
  2. Type the following into the Open field:desk.cpl ,5

    Note: Yes, there is a space between desk.cpl and the ,5.

  3. Press Enter.

This page got me started and my own knowledge got me an easier solution than what was posted here:

March 29, 2010

Windows 7 speech recognition

Filed under: Windows 7 — J. Abram barneck @ 7:55 pm
Tags: ,

Today I am writing this post using windows seven speech recognition.

I turned on windows speech recognition and found a surprisingly working well at times.

You must speak very clearly and be prepared to make a lot of corrections.

To turn on Windows 7 speech recognition, go to Start | All Programs | Accessories | Ease of access | Windows Speech recognition.

Say “Press pipe” to insert a pipe symbol.

…using the keyboard now…
I couldn’t quite finish it using just audio. I struggled selecting the Categories…everything else I was able to do. It is quite difficult and takes a lot of practice and a lot of corrections, but I have to say that I am impressed. However, as impressed as I am, it is a long way from being faster that a keyboard for me. Of course, I have about 20 to 25+ years experience typing and I don’t remember when I started to use a mouse, but only a short few hours of voice, so maybe if I gave this voice thing 25 years I would be just as good…

How to move a window that is off the screen in Windows 7?

Filed under: Windows 7 — J. Abram barneck @ 7:02 pm

Ok, so I had a window that was off the screen when I opened it. This is really annoying and easy to fix, but not obvious to fix. In fact, I didn’t find it, my manager Beau found it and showed me.

In the past version of windows, you could find the application on the start bar and right-click and choose move. However, in Windows 7, you cannot do this exactly the same way, though it is close to the same.

For example, Notepad++ opened off the screen for me one day. I right-clicked on the icon for Notepad++ in the start bar, but there was not a move option.

Method 1 – Right-click on the mini square representation of your window
So, what you have to do is really easy, though not exactly intuitive. Instead of right-clicking on the icon, just let your cursor hover over it until the small square representation of the window appears. Then right-click in the small square to find the move option.

Select the move option and you can now use the arrows or the mouse cursor to move the window back onto your screen.

Note: If the window is minimized the move option is grayed out, so make sure the window is not minimized.

Method 2 – Shift + Right-click on the Icon (Only works if only one instance is open)
If you only have one instance of the application running, you can also use Shift + Right-click.

However, if you have two instances of the application running, this method doesn’t work for you, but gives you a different list of options, which I didn’t screen shot but here are the options:

Show windows stacked
Show windows side by side
Restore all windows
Minimize all windows
Close all windows

I found the Shift + Right-Click method here:

Now that I think about this it makes sense, because the icons on the task bar have a one to many relationship with the instances of the application they are running, while the pop up boxes have a one to one relationship.

March 22, 2010

How to send an audio or voice email in Windows 7? (Steps should work in Vista or XP as well)

Filed under: Windows 7 — J. Abram barneck @ 5:44 pm
Tags: , ,

How to send an audio or voice email in Windows 7?

This can be done with special software and without specially software.

Without special software

  • Microphone – Often laptops come with microphones built-in. But a head set or a stick microphone usually has better results. If you don’t have one, buy one here: USB Microphone from Amazon
  • Email – any email that allows for attachments will do.

Step 1 – Record the email.

  1. Open sound recorder by going to Start and typing in “Sound Recorder” and choosing to open the application.
  2. Click “Start Recording” and talk into your microphone..
  3. Click “Stop Recording” when finished.
  4. Save the file where you want to save it. It is a .wav file.

Step 2 – Send the .wav file as an attachment

  1. Open your favorite mail program or web-based email tool.
  2. Start a new email or compose a new email.
  3. Enter a recipient.
  4. Enter a subject.
  5. Add the .wav file as an attachment.
  6. Click Send.

With special software
There is special software for doing this, and there are lots of different types. I am only going to discuss one piece of software here called WaxMail that is an integration tool to Outlook or Outlook Express.

Step 1 – Download WaxMail.

  1. Go to the web site: http://www.waxmail.biz
  2. Choose the correct download based on whether you are using Outlook or Outlook Express and click it.
  3. Follow the download instructions and on step 3 click the download button.
  4. Save the file to where ever you want.

Step 2 – Install WaxMail

  1. Make sure Outlook or Outlook Express is closed.
  2. Run the downloaded executable: setup_waxmail_1_0_0_40.exe
  3. Follow the installation instructions.
  4. Finish.

Note: I use Outlook at work, so I am going to show you an example using Outlook. I am not going to post an example using Outlook Express but it should be similar.

Step 3 – Use WaxMail to send a Voice Email

  1. Open Outlook or Outlook Express. You should now have a WaxMail toolbar.

  2. Click New WaxMail. You get a new email message and the WaxMail voice recorder show up.

  3. Click big red Record button and talk into your microphone.
  4. Click Stop when you are finished talking.
  5. Click the rename option and rename the voice file. The voice message is named something generic and you can see it in the WaxMail tool in a white box and there is a Rename and a Delete button
  6. In the email under To: enter the recipient.
  7. Also give the email a valid Subject.

    It should now look something like this:

  8. Click Send.

The one thing that I don’t like is that this line is appended to all emails unless you purchase WaxMail.

Tired of typing emails? WaxMail lets you record and send voice messages via email. Get your free copy from http://www.waxmail.biz

I looked for an open source or free version without advertising and that didn’t cost any money, but I couldn’t find one. If you find one, please let me know, otherwise you have live with the ad.

March 16, 2010

Net-Worm.Win32.Koobface.fwz virus passed through Facebook and Youtube

Filed under: Operating Systems,Windows 7,Windows XP — J. Abram barneck @ 9:25 am

Hey all,

I got a post today in Facebook:

You Tube

When I click on it, I am taking to a Youtube video that downloads a file called Setup.exe.

Three obvious things tipped me off that this was a virus:
1. The video said it needed Flash 10.37 to run, but I had the latest Flash.
2. The file was named “setup.exe” and not something like
3. I didn’t notice at first that it was asking for flash 10.37 and the lastest version is 10.32.

So working for LANDesk which provides Antivirus (using Kaspersky) I naturally noticed this as a virus right away. It is pretty close to a Zero day virus. A Zero day virus means that most Antivirus companies don’t have content to detect and scan for a virus. However, about half the anti virus companies have released updated virus definitions for this virus today.

So it was probably released yesterday or as long as a few weeks ago and just now got detected.

This the the Net-Worm.Win32.Koobface.fwz virus according to Kaspersky.

March 13, 2010

More right-click options in Windows 7 when you press shift

Filed under: Windows 7 — J. Abram barneck @ 2:00 pm

Hey all,

I recently noticed that their are more right-click options in Windows 7 when you hold down shift as your right-click.

You get different options based on the different items you right-click on, such as a folder, executable, etc…

I am not going to write a whole post, because I found this on another post.


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