How to access data from a headless m1730 DELL with broken graphics card

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wscp

dem17ll30I have one of those DELL XPS M1730 ‘s with a fried Nvidia graphics card. It still booted, but I obviously couldn’t do much, as the screen was not functioning.

These were the steps I took to access the data:

I downloaded rescuecd pld-linux , a linux live cd that has a SSH Server enabled : http://rescuecd.pld-linux.org/ and burned it to a CD.


download from here : http://rescuecd.pld-linux.org/

Then I booted the XPS from that CD. It didn’t boot right away. As I couldn’t see what was on the screen, I could only guess what it said. But pressing ESC a few time worked for me. If your laptop’s BIOS is not configured to boot from CD, you can press F12 and then one down + enter (you can’t see anything, so try to guess what order the entries in the boot menu are. Normally “CD boot” is the second entry.).

Once booted, I logged in from another PC using SSH. On windows you can use PUTY for that: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html
Login using ‘root’ and password ‘pld’.

pld-screen

I wasn’t able to access the drive, cause it’s RAID0 and (in my case) wasn’t set up. To set up raid I first loaded a config into the mdadm.conf using the mdadm utility used to manage and monitor software RAID devices.

I then rebooted the PC.

After it rebooted, I looked for available drives using lsblk

I examined sdb, and it seemed to be part of a raid setup:

I scanned for the array:

Now I had a new layout for the drives, as the Array came online:

Finally mounted the drive:

To get the data of, you can either use SSH or (if on windows) use WinSCP. You can donwload it here: https://winscp.net. Start WinSCP, Create a new site, fill in IP address, login and password, and connect.

wscp

Check out the man pages of the tools used:

Mdadm : https://linux.die.net/man/8/mdadm
Lsblk : https://linux.die.net/man/8/lsblk
Blkid : https://linux.die.net/man/8/blkid
Mdadm cheat Sheet : http://www.ducea.com/2009/03/08/mdadm-cheat-sheet/

Hopefully this log will help anyone. You can leave comments if you like, but I’m not experienced with mdadm. I probably can’t answers questions, but maybe other readers can. 🙂

Summary:

  1. write the config using mdadm -Es
  2. mount the array, using mount.
  3. Connect using WinSCP and recover the files

VMWare Player : NAT not working when forwarding some ports

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!!!

When using NAT with the VMWare Player, you might want to make sure that there aren’t applications on your PC that are using the ports you want to forward.

When you try to forward a port that is in use, the network will stop functioning as a whole.

netwcfg

Here is an example of a NAT setup. The proxy is a tunnel over ssh, that acts as a socks5 proxy and is working fine. Then I tried to forward port 80, so that I can access the websites I’m working on in the Linux guest.
As soon as I activated this configuration, I lost all network connections in the guest os.

When I looked at what ports were used by the host system, using the netstat -nba command:

netstcfg

I noticed Skype used port 80 and that’s why I couldn’t forward port 80. Once I disabled port 80 in Skype it worked.

To disable these ports in Skype, click Tools -> Options -> Advanced tab -> Connection. Uncheck “Use port 80 and 443 as an alternatives for incoming connections”. Save and restart Skype.

Links:

How to use NAT in VMWare
https://www.vmware.com/support/ws45/doc/network_nat_details_ws.html

Where to find vmnetcfg?
https://ninety9names.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/download-vmnetcfg-exe-vmnetcfglib-dll-for-vmware-player-6-x-7-x/

Hikvision NAS storage HDD initializing returns to uninitialized state.

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When using a NAS for storage of video from Hikvision surveillance cameras, you may encounter a situation where the HDD keeps returning to the uninitialized state.
The reason for this is that the camera can’t cope with large drives. I tried to attach a 33 Terra-byte share to the camera and that didn’t work.
Only when I put a quota on the share of 150 Gigabyte, the format succeeded and the status stayed normal
I guess 150 GB is not the limit, try 200 or 300.. see what works.

Samsung TV as a monitor for PC ( UE22D5003 )

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When using a Samsung TV , for example the 1080p budget UE22D5003, you will notice that the picture quality is mediocre to say the least. That’s because the monitor is acting as a television, applying all kinds of filters to the video, rather than passing the source “as is”, like a monitor does.

Here is an easy fix to put your “tv” in monitor modus:

Press the “Source” button on the remote and select the HDMI input where you have connected your pc. (Normally it is already selected)
Then select “Tools” on the remote. The select “Edit Name” from the menu and scroll down to “PC”. Press “OK” and your screen will refresh.

That’s is. The pricture should now be good.

Works for most Samsung LED TV’s.

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