WHS Drive Balancing Tool

The AV Science Forums have a post for Windows Home Server users about a new tool that helps with drive balancing.

The utility balances all the data on your drive pool equally, the main purpose being that when a person adds a drive to the pool, it doesn’t necessarily start getting used for a while. While Microsoft has made changes to the usage of the Landing Zone (as in it doesn’t exist anymore), some people’s systems might still be in a non “evened out” state and wish to correct this. On the authors own system, he routinely gets within 2% of perfect balancing on all pooled drives.

NOTE: Usage instructions are available in the following forum post. Make sure you download the latest version, which at the time of publishing is version 1.01 and remember it can take a few hours to balance some systems.

Extending Windows Home Server with WSUS

A while ago now, Kevin Royalty wrote an article on how to use the Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) using your Windows Home Server. What this meant is that you could use WSUS to download any Microsoft updates and have your computers get the updates from the WSUS instead of each one having to go out to the Internet for updates. This also meant that you could control what updates are installed.

Kevin has since updated the article to include an automated way of performing maintenance. So, here it is – thanks Kevin!

By Kevin Royalty, SBS MVP

Thanks to many of the Small Business Server and Home Server MVPs for their invaluable input and suggestions to improve this document. I’m proud to be one of you.

Thanks to Andrew Edney for hosting this update on UsingWindowsHomeServer. Continue reading

Run Gadgets In Windows 7 With Disabled UAC

The Windows 7 Sidebar and Gadgets do not work correctly if a user disables the User Account Control in Windows 7. There is however an easy way to make the gadgets and sidebar work again without having to replace system files (that was the way suggested in many forums).

All that needs to be done is to change one value of a parameter in the Windows 7 Registry to make the sidebar and gadgets work even with UAC disabled.

Open the Windows 7 Registry by pressing [Windows R], typing [regedit] and hitting [enter]. Now navigate to the Registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Sidebar\Setting and change the value of AllowElevatedProcess to 1.

Restart the computer or logout and login again to see if the changes work as intended. The Registry setting ensures that the gadgets and the sidebar are working in Windows 7 properly even if UAC is disabled.

Update

This post was originally written for Windows 7 beta but since the Windows 7 RTM has arrived the reg path has changed to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Sidebar\Settings

You should probably notice that settings is not present so you will need to right click sidebar and create key called settings. Once created you will now need to create a “DWORD” inside settings called “AllowElevatedProcess” and giving it the value of 1 when asked, click ok and then logoff and then log back on, you should now find your gadgets working without fault.

How To Install Windows 7 From a USB Hard Flash/Hard Drive

Windows 7 can run on machines with lower specs than required for Windows Vista, and many users are actually finding it runs better than Windows XP on lower spec machines. It’s also ideal to run on newer netbook machines, but unfortunately many of these do not include a DVD drive so how do you install windows 7 on a machine without a DVD drive?

I spent yesterday researching this exact problem and I managed to install Windows 7 on my Acer Aspire One netbook in around 20 minutes using a 4GB USB Drive. Setting up the USB drive to install Windows 7 was fairly easy in the end, and the installation was quicker than a DVD drive, so this method is perfect if you want to install Windows 7 quickly on several machines.

How To Install Windows 7 From A USB Drive

  1. Find a standard 4GB USB Drive and plug it into your machine
  2. Click Start in your enter ‘cmd’ in the run field. Once cmd is open type in ‘diskpart’ and a new window will open
  3. In the new diskpart window type:
  • ‘list disk’ : This lists all the disk drives attached to your machine
  • Look for your USB drive and note the number and then type: ’select disk #’, where ‘#’ is your USB disk number
  • then type ‘clean’
  • then type ‘create partition primary’
  • then ’select partition 1?
  • then ‘active’
  • then ‘format fs=fat32 quick’

diskpart

Once you’ve finished these steps you then need to copy your Windows 7 files to the USB. To do this you have to mount your Windows 7 ISO as a virtual DVD. Doing this is easy:

  1. Install MagicDisk (free)
  2. once installed, right-click on MagicDisk in your system tray click on ‘Virtual CD/DVD-Rom’, select your DVD drive
  3. then ‘Mount’ and in the dialog window that opens up, select your Windows 7 ISO
  4. Now in windows Explorer, click on your DVD drive and you should see all the Windows 7 Files. All you have to do now is copy and paste all the files to your USB key and you have a Windows 7 USB Installation Stick!
  5. Install the stick in the PC you want to install Windows 7 on and boot up. Remember to change your bios to allow booting from USB

If you follow the steps above then you should have no problems installing Windows 7 from a USB key. But if you do, leave a comment below.