Category Archives: Howto

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

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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/

Application blocked by Java Security

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After countless security issues, Oracle has decided that only applets that can present a valid certification can run. And there is no “opt out”. Well, I guess they just got fed up with being blamed of all sins in the world and made their security ridiculously strong. As such, many applets, especially those on small devices like cameras, switches, etc, won’t run at all.

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Application Blocked; Click for details. Your security settings have blocked an application signed with an expired or not-yet-valid certificate from running.

Until version 8, the solution was to put Java in “medium security” mode. But the slider is gone now and the only options are High and Very high.

Anyway. To make those applications run again you’ll need to add the URL of the application in the Exception Site List in the Java Control Panel. Here is how that works.

( 1 )First you need to know URL where the application runs. If you know it already, skip to section 2.

Open the page with the blocked application.

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Right click the application and choose “inspect element”. That will bring up the source code of the application.

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Look for codebase= and copy down that URL ( in this case http://10.0.0.182:8989/admin ). This is the URL we will use to put in the exception list.

( 2 ) Configure Java

Go to control panel and search for the Java configuration.

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Double click to open the Java Control Panel.

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Go to the tab Security and click the Edit Site List button.

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In the Exception Site List window click the Add button. There you can enter the URL of the application as you found it in section 1. Note that you need to add a slash to the end ( / ). The slash will tell java to allow execution of applications that run from there and all sub-directories.

Click ok.

Dismiss the security babbling by clicking Continue.

Click ok again to close the Java Control Panel.

Now KILL Chrome (or firefox or internet explorer), because the changed settings will only work if the browser is restarted.

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Note that just closing Chrome will not end the browser. It will still be running. Kill it in the task manager.

If you don’t want to kill them one by one, you can use following command from the DOS prompt.
taskkill /F /IM chrome.exe

Restart the browser and try again. It should work now.

Downgrade Hangouts to get swiping feature back

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With version 2.3 of Hangouts Google introduced some new features, but unfortunately also disable many good things like swiping. Before you could switch between hangout chats, archive chats or delete messages just by swiping. Until they bring back that feature you can downgrade to the last version that supported swiping: 3.1.317


++== Disclaimer ==++
I will explain how to go back to version 3.1.317, which normally is a very harmless process. However, if for whatever reason, things go south, I can’t be held responsible. Please proceed on your own risk. That being said, in 99,9% of all cases, your personal data, messages and settings will be preserved.

First you need to do is to uninstall “Hangouts updates”. That can be done in the Play Store or through settings. On my Samsung this action reversed the version to an old initial state that was shipped with the phone. It will disappear from your launcher or it may change icon. Do not run or click it.

Uninstall Hangouts in Play Store. Press Uninstall.

Uninstall Hangouts in Play Store. Press Uninstall.

Or uninstall updates in the Application Manager ( Settings - More - Application Manager )

Or uninstall updates in the Application Manager ( Settings – More – Application Manager )



Do not run or start the old version after you uninstalled the updates, because that can potentially do damage.

Now download the APK of version 3.1.317. It is located here: http://hangouts.en.uptodown.com/android/download/74129

After you have successfully downloaded it, move the APK file to your phone. Or, alternatively, surf to the download directly on your phone by scanning this QR code or type this short URL:
download_hangouts_21317 short link:
http://goo.gl/nOgtgl ( Mind the capitalization )


If everything went right, you’ll have version 2.1.317 of Hangouts. After some initial questions, like if you want to merge SMS with messaging, your old Hangouts icon will re-appear and you can run it as before.

Disable auto updates.
Unfortunately, Play Store will try and update the app again as soon as it does it’s regular update rounds. Go to Hangouts (in Play Store) and press the menu button (bottom left). A pop-up will show a setting “auto update” with a check-box that is checked. Try to disable it. For some reason I could not disable the check-box. Unless you want to repeat the above for every time Play Store does the update, you’ll need to disable automatic updates altogether. This means of-course that you need to update other apps manually. 🙁
You can do that in the settings of Play Store.

Go to settings in Play Store (icon top left)

Go to settings in Play Store (icon top left)

Disable automatic updates.

Disable automatic updates.


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