Windows 7 Upgrade with a Clean Installation

Posted in Computers on July 5th, 2009 by chris – Be the first to comment

Directing your attention to the current promotion Microsoft has in place for people to purchase an upgrade to windows 7, I had a few questions and began to search around. After much reading I along many others, from my findings on the internet, still have one question left answered. It on the surface a simple question but people can’t find a clear answer because of ambiguous meanings of terms that have come up previously when upgrading to Vista. The question at hand is…

Can the upgrade version that is currently half off, for either version for x32 or x64 bit, be able to install Windows 7 without having to complete a full installation of our previously purchased OS?

I have seen several answers including:

  • The previous OS must be installed, and then that is upgraded to Windows 7 with all applications and settings being left in tact
  • The previous OS must be installed, and then when Windows 7 is installed the drive is formatted and a clean install then takes place.
  • You can boot from the Windows 7 disk and during the installation it will prompt to put the previous OS disk in and key entered for verification.
  • Depending on what a person’s intentions are, or preference, one or several of these are good solutions. My personal preference would be the third listed for when you want to install on a new hard drive, so there isn’t anything lingering or “brought over” from a previous OS. With only a week left in the promotion I sure hope this is clarified by an official source before it is up. If a person were to use the ‘Full’ installation and not an ‘Upgrade’ then there would be no question that this would be possible. But for either a $50 or $100 upgrade to the OS is a great deal and even better if it will install how you prefer.

    LSISAS3442E-R BIOS and Firmware v1.28.02.00 and ESXi 3.5u5

    Posted in Computers on June 27th, 2009 by chris – Be the first to comment

    This is partly a continuation of a previous post which I described my Esxi 3.5u5 I/O problems. Since that post I’ve searched google and read in the vmware community forums for any known performance issues with Raid 1E in a four drive configuration compared to Raid 10, checked if there was a known problem with the controller card itself I’m using (LSI SAS3442E), and also proper disk alignment with virtualization which is something I’ll probably revisit once other matters are taken care of.

    A point I didn’t mention in my previous post is that when I first purchased the raid card I checked the firmware and updated it as people should. This was around the first of the year and was version 1.26 of the firmware and version 6.24 of the bios, LSI Logic packages them together for ease of upgrade for the user. Good job to LSI on that one. A couple days ago I went back to their site to check for any updates and I happily saw there was, firmware v1.28.02. I’m not sure of what the new bios version is since I didn’t write it down from the screen after flashing and it’s not readily available from LSI’s support site, but since as I mentioned packaged together it’s in with the firmware download. Anyhow, v1.28.02 came out May 5th and scrapping bottom as to what to do I wasted no time in downloading it and prepared for the update.

    I created a standard dos boot disk from windows on one floppy and put the firmware files on another. I don’t have a floppy drive in the server but I do use a handy usb based floppy drive. I plugged it in, updated the boot options in the motherboard bios and it was up and running. It did error a couple times on not finding the ‘’ file on the firmware disk but I negated that by copying the one on the dos boot disk to the c:\ drive that gets created in memory. Then when the error came up I could leave the firmware disk in the drive and reference the file on c:\ drive. A couple adapter/chip selections and confirmations later and the new firmware is loaded.

    Upon the server booting I find the nearest file on my windows home server virtual machine that’s somewhat sizable to copy to my local machine just to see if there is any noticeable gain. I find a 1GB file and see the MB/sec in the windows transfer window be about 25-35MB/sec. A smile instantly comes to my face. Checking the network utilization that’s hovering around 45% on a gigE adapter. About half way through the file the speed drops to a piddly 2-3MB/sec. I think it has something to do with my local machine since the hard drive light was still ticking pretty steadily. I cancel the transfer and move onto something a little more scientific.

    I booted up a separate vm I use for software testing, which is an XP SP3 x32 build set to use an LSI Logic controller type within the vm settings. I re-run the same tests (again referencing my previous post) and for ease of reference below is the before results, taken from the previous post, and after results which are currently the latest.


    Test Name Total I/O/sec Total MB/sec Avg IO Resp ms Max IO Resp ms % CPU
    Max Throughput 100% Read 12,392.23 387.26 4.598 291.9839 36.33
    Real Life – 60% Rand, 65% Read 358.07 2.8 162.0115 1,115.5989 9.73
    Max Throughput – 50% Read 243.33 7.60 240.3390 2,361.3908 8.71
    Random 8k – 70% Read 390.20 3.05 147.6751 927.4924 9.53


    Test Name Total I/O/sec Total MB/sec Avg IO Resp ms Max IO Resp ms % CPU
    Max Throughput 100% Read 3,119.41 97.48 1.0043 150.996 23.23
    Real Life – 60% Rand, 65% Read 347.95 2.72 162.15 394.88 9.51
    Max Throughput – 50% Read 240.38 7.51 240.24 628.91 9.61
    Random 8k – 70% Read 387.74 3.03 146.42 442.96 12.66

    The first thing the jumps out at me is the ‘Max Throughput 100% Read’ test with how much it dipped. The others are about equal and since I did only run these once (I don’t have time to average out 3 5min tests on each) it could be within the margin of error for these. I do know one thing, and so far within the real world test of transferring files the difference is as clear as day in the direction of being a great improvement.

    I’ll give it a little more time and general usage before I fully make up my mind on this but I am very hopeful. I think the next change would be upgrading to ESXi vSphere 4 (aka ESXi 4.0), I think the LSI Logic drivers have used have been updated.

    Do you want BusLogic or LSI Logic? Choose wisely.

    Posted in Computers on April 20th, 2009 by chris – 2 Comments

    I’ve been setting up a new home server to host a few vm’s and noticed along the way the poor performance I was seeing from the server.  For an initial rundown of the specs:

    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
    CPU: Penryn E8200 2.6GHz
    Memory: A-DATA 8GB DDR2 800
    Storage: LSI SAS3442E
    Network: gigE

    At this time the RAID configuration I was running was RAID 1E with three WD 750 WD7500AACS hard drives.  The mentioned “poor performance” was a combination of the following.  Transfer speed from another computer on the network of about 3.5 MB/s from a Vista (64bit) physical machine to Windows XP sp3 32 bit virtual machine, downloading updates for another windows xp virtual machine, while trying to listen to mp3′s from a virtual machine to a physical machine the song’s buffer would cut out and sometimes end the song altogether and move to the next, and sometimes data transfers would stop mid-transfer and simply “complete” without an error but that data did copy or move.

    Having spend a fair amount of time troubleshooting hardware and performance issues before for desktops and servers I turned to the usual suspects of CPU, memory, network, hard drives (aka I/O).  I cut all activities (moving files, listening to MP3′s, etc) testing one at a time and adding one systematically to see if it was a particular one causing the trouble.  I used the very handy ESXi Performance tab within the ‘Infrastructure Client’ to gauge system performance.  I/O stood out as the culprit and I chalked it up hard drives I was running, which you may have noticed are Western Digital’s “Green” line.  This means that rather than running at a full 7200rpm it stayed mostly at 5200rpm increasing as needed.  The benefit here is that it draws a lot less electricity, and I already had them on hand when I built the server and were hoping they would be sufficient.

    Having it narrowed down to I/O I turned to the knowledgable VMWare Communities I came across the a thread (a newer thread was made since it was getting so long, accessible here) of people posting specific I/O performance using IOMeter and based on the IOMeter configuration file found there I ran some tests of my own.  (These test’s were all performed in Windows XP sp3 32bit, as well as the other IOMeter results later shown)

    Test Name Total I/O/sec Total MB/sec Avg IO Resp ms Max IO Resp ms % CPU
    Max Throughput 100% Read 1392.61 43.52 43.99 808.31 19.51
    Real Life – 60% Rand, 65% Read 113.25 0.88 528.28 1594.38 14.10
    Max Throughput – 50% Read 94.96 2.97 628.82 2266.18 14.57
    Random 8k – 70% Read 75.55 0.59 788.23 5399.25 13.85

    The numbers above caused my jaw to drop and over the following couple days from then pondering what to do I saw a sale Dell was having on Western Digital “Black” hard drives model WD1001FALS.  Unlike the Green drives these were made with performance in mind.  So I ordered up four of them in 1TB with the intention of configuring them up in RAID 10.

    Days pass, I get them in, install them, and set them up in RAID 10.  In short order I move the same virtual machines to the new datastore and re-run the same IOMeter test to see the results.

    Test Name Total I/O/sec Total MB/sec Avg IO Resp ms Max IO Resp ms % CPU
    Max Throughput 100% Read 743.40 23.23 81.7536 495.4186 15.03
    Real Life – 60% Rand, 65% Read 148.70 1.16 401.6210 2453.4196 13.60
    Max Throughput – 50% Read 125.92 3.94 475.4601 1919.5262 13.35
    Random 8k – 70% Read 139.83 1.09 426.9836 2789.4462 14.05

    I was astounded, and rather frustrated at this point.

    I turned again to the VMWare Community and saw a couple scattered posts about choosing different ‘SCSI Controller Type’ based on the SCSI/RAID card that’s being used.  Checking the type in use I see it’s ‘BusLogic’, which I thought was odd since I’m most certainly using an LSI card.  The BusLogic setting is what ESXi created for me when setting up a new virtual machine and not something I was prompted to choose.  I proceed to change the SCSI Controller Type from ‘BusLogic’ to ‘LSI Logic’ for the previous configured vm but that resulted in nothing but blue screens with instantaneous rebooting once the blue screen was reached.  I conceded to creating a new vm and reinstalling Windows XP sp3, with changing the SCSI Controller Type after the wizard of creating a new virtual machine and the results were…

    Test Name Total I/O/sec Total MB/sec Avg IO Resp ms Max IO Resp ms % CPU
    Max Throughput 100% Read 12392.23 387.26 4.598 291.9839 36.33
    Real Life – 60% Rand, 65% Read 358.07 2.8 162.0115 1115.5989 9.73
    Max Throughput – 50% Read 243.33 7.60 240.3390 2361.3908 8.71
    Random 8k – 70% Read 390.20 3.05 147.6751 927.4924 9.53

    Certainly better than what I was getting previously and I don’t have the same issue’s mentioned previously.  I am not thrilled by any stretch about the write performance and the read transfer doesn’t hit that high outside of the test.  I don’t have a number offhand but its not even close to that, its under 10MB/s.  At this point I’m not sure right now what the next step may be.  Is it a limitation in ESXi since it is the free version?  Is it the RAID card?  Physical to Virtual data transfers (Vista to XP) cap’s out at about 6 MB/s with a more consistent speed of about 4.35.  Certainly nothing to get excited over but it is stable and I’m not having the same issues.

    The point of this is if you are deciding between BusLogic vs LSI Logic there is most certainly a difference and one should test prior to adding virtual machine’s to make sure the best is chosen.

    Installing a New Keyboard – Part 2

    Posted in Computers on November 12th, 2007 by chris – 1 Comment

    To continue on from an earlier installment, Installing a new keyboard – Part 1, I had time to look into this further and every turn I took it became more and more bleak until I succumbed to what I was ultimately hoping to avoid.

    I made a complete backup and formated the laptop with a clean, crisp reinstallation of Windows XP Pro. From the initial screens of going through the setup I was using the keyboard but was waiting until it booted into windows and was still recognized. I was very pleased that it was and upon looking at the driver it decided on I found that it was the generic HID driver that I tried oh so many times before. I left the laptop in the docking station during the whole process and to my surprise detected that find too now, which is great since I have about eight or so usb devices and only had two ports available before on the side of the laptop. It can get tricky syncing an ipod without a mouse but I’m very familiar with keyboard shortcuts so it wasn’t too bad. To even more of my surprise the internal bluetooth card was also detected which is great so I can now setup my phone to be recognized by it.

    As to almost anyone I talk with computers with can tell you, I dread formating because of the numerous programs I use and amount of little customizations I like. I think this time around was one of my smoothest formats yet. From time of format to almost a complete reinstallation of applications and setting was about four hours.

    This story ends with a happy ending of getting the keyboard to work but not without its heartache. To anyone else out there that may have problems on a Dell Latitude D620 installing a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 keyboard to it and it’s not being detected. If possible save yourself time and frustration and if you can’t get it to work right away keep in mind you very well may need to format. As to why I’m not sure and doubt I’ll look into the root of the problem of this, the docking station, or bluetooth since they’re all now working but if anyone can offer any insight please speak up.

    Using VMWare ESX 3.0 in a SATA drive environment

    Posted in Computers on November 4th, 2007 by chris – 1 Comment

    About a year ago I wanted to setup a VMWare ESX 3.0 server to test out their new (at the time) release, unfortunately, I didn’t have the funds needed to setup a true production environment with it. I was able to find a fantastic alternative that is great to learn off of at a much more cost effective price point. It seems that the LSI Logic driver included is compatible with scsi and sata controllers, which is great news for us small folks wanting to check out this virtualization environment.

    I won’t get into the details of a step by step setup installation but will jump ahead to the post installation changes needed. I’m probably going to miss or incorrectly state a technical term here or there but if there are any corrections needed or questions let me know.

    The hardware (least the parts that matter for this writeup) I ended up using is as follows:
    Motherboard: Tyan Transport GX28 (B2881)
    Controller: LSI MegaRaid
    Hard Drives: Seagate 320GB SATA 2

    Keep in mind that the installation of ESX can be on any drive, including IDE, the datastores are what need to be on a supported device such as SAN, iSCSI, etc, or in this case a budget SATA setup. After the initial installation is complete you’ll need to check on and modify a file. It took some rummaging around at the time and after some good old trial and error along with a couple installations I was able to narrow it down to the following steps.

    #cat /etc/modules.conf

    alias eth0 e100
    alias eth1 tg3
    alias eth2 tg3
    alias scsi_hostadapter megaraid2
    alias usb-controller usb-ohci

    From the above lines I think I did this to either check that “alias scsi_hostadapter megaraid2″ was there or I added it in.

    #lspci | grep LSI

    020:0e.0 RAID bus controller: LSI Logic / Symbios Logic: Unknown device 0409 (rev 0a)

    This is to find out what the device number is for the controller, in this case it is “0409″.

    #cat /etc/vmware/ | grep LSI

    vendor ,0x1000,Symbios,LSI Logic / Symbios Logic
    device 0x1000,0x0050,scsi,LSI1064,mptscsi_2xx.o
    device 0x1000,0x0054,scsi,LSI1068,mptscsi_2xx.o
    device 0x1000,0x0056,scsi,LSI1064E,mptscsi_2xx.o
    device 0x1000,0x0058,scsi,LSI1068E,mptscsi_2xx.o
    device 0x1000,0x005a,scsi,LSI1066E,mptscsi_2xx.o
    device 0x1000,0x005c,scsi,LSI1064A,mptscsi_2xx.o
    device 0x1000,0x005e,scsi,LSI1066,mptscsi_2xx.o
    device 0x1000,0x0060,scsi,LSI1078,mptscsi_2xx.o
    device 0x1000,0x0407,scsi,LSI Logic MegaRAID,megaraid2.o
    device 0x1000,0x0408,scsi,LSI Logic MegaRAID,megaraid2.o
    device 0x1000,0x0411,scsi,LSI Logic MegaRAID SAS1064R,megaraid_sas.o
    device 0x1000,0x1960,scsi,LSI Logic MegaRAID,megaraid2.o
    device 0x1000,0x9010,scsi,LSI Logic MegaRAID ,megaraid2.o
    device 0x1000,0x9060,scsi,LSI Logic MegaRAID ,megaraid2.o

    The spacing in there is exactly how it was returned, without the word wrapping. I’m generally pretty organized with files and code so seeing this I needed to keep myself from fixing it :) Take note of the device line with 0×0408 in it, this will be changed to 0×0409 which we found out from the previous command.

    From: device 0x1000,0x0408,scsi,LSI Logic MegaRAID,megaraid2.o
    To: device 0x1000,0x0409,scsi,LSI Logic MegaRAID,megaraid2.o

    Now that the updated the file to see the controller card we’ll need to update ESX and reboot. I’m not fully sure if each of these are needed, I would think that at least the first is, but I have done in before for safe practice to make sure the system is up to date.

    #esxcfg-boot -p (reloads PCI data)
    #esxcfg-boot -i (reloads initrd information)
    #esxcfg-boot -b (sets up boot information)

    Upon rebooting and logging into the VMware Virtual Infrastructure Client you should be able to access that datastore and begin to create virtual machines. Watch out with keeping snapshots around too long, I talked about this some in a previous post. I now also recall watching the various services starting on boot and that it would begin to fail on a particular one until this was fixed. I didn’t write that down but I’ll try and find out what it is and add it here.

    VitalStream/InterNap the brand you can’t trust

    Posted in Computers on October 26th, 2007 by chris – 4 Comments

    I wanted to write up a short and sweet review of an experience we had with VitalStream (, now part of InterNap (, in case someone is doing searching about their CDN (Content Delivery Network) and streaming services before they sign up.

    During the spring of ’07 a company I’m affiliated with began to offer flash streaming services for their clients.  We looked at a few companies and in the end choose VitalStream because the quality, service, and products were right up our alley.  They sounded great and and we were off and running with their service in just a couple days.  Responses from the sales rep were always friendly and timely with a thorough answer.  When we received our invoice there was a mistake and made a call to him to get it worked out.  One call turned into two, then three, as well as emails.  We were given the contact information of someone in accounting to help us out and after numerous calls and emails there was not response.  We then in turn contacted our representative again and was given another person.  We promptly received the same treatment when we contacted the first person in accounting.  By this point the problem has turned to be quite annoying for us and unfortunately it was the tip of the iceberg.

    Skipping forward to late summer/early fall and the transition to InterNap began and we started to experience random outages, and while the technical support dept was good to talk with on the phone I got the distinct impression they were over burdened and when an email was sent with a question or status update more often than not they never responded to it.  This was even after they asked us to send an email for them to follow up with from a conversation.  At one point the outages became really bad and did receive some great support at that time with phone calls back on status updates.  After some digging with questions the problem had to do with the content not making to all of their delivery servers. The transition as a whole between the two companies for their flash streaming and CDN network was chaotic and were becoming very nervous with them.  At one point while calling about one outage we were told the problem was related to various typo’s on the server which took down part of their service, and was given quick and vague excuses to what we felt was to get us off the phone.  From that point we began to sought out alternate providers we know can maintain a quality service.

    Jumping forward again to present day, we’re about to switch providers and still trying to resolve numerous billing issues which we’ve been blown off, passed around, and many ignored emails and voice mails in addition to what was previously mentioned.  It is to the point that we will only get some form of direct answer or progress if they happen to pick up the phone when we call and spell out precisely what they should do while on the call.  The whole relationship has been a nightmare and is the worst experience I have encountered with a company both professionally from another business and personally with a service provider (comcast, verizon, etc).

    To be fair to InterNap these dealings have been with VitalStream and their CDN network in particular. InterNap is only mentioned because of the acquisition that occurred.  As far as InterNap’s other services and network I have no comment or opinion on them since they were not used.

    Email Branching – It’s time to put an end to the madness

    Posted in Computers on October 17th, 2007 by chris – Be the first to comment

    One pet peeve of mine that has been increasing over time is when an email is sent with all the various information and someone in the list of people that received it decides to respond to the second or third latest to the chain, thus throwing the flow of the conversation out the window. I’m not sure if this is a common practice in a lot of companies, or maybe only specific types of people, but I would be curious for someone to comment on this and explain what they see. For example and generally what I’ve seen, let’s say an email went out involving four people for either a specification requirement, questions on a project, issue that came up, or anything. I’ll try and break this down so its easier to follow

    1. Initial email sent from chris to adam, stacey, jamal
    2. adam responds to chris, stacey, jamal
    3. chris responsds to adam, stacey, jamal
      1. stacey responds to only chris because she forgets to reply to all
      2. jamal responds to adam’s email from bullet 2, completely ignoring chris’ email from bullet 3
    4. chris responds to stacey’s email reincluding adam, and jamal. chris also answers the question from jamal since adam is a tool and will only forward it on to someone else anyhow
    5. chris finds out more info and responds to his own email still including adam, stacey, jamal — at this point we’re about back on track and the previous email is kept so nothing is missed
    6. jamal, as if he’s living in the past, sends another email replying to bullet 2, not the email he already sent to bullet 2, to adam, chris, stacey and now also includes jessica

    More often than not, say 7/10 times, it goes further downhill from there. If an attachment becomes involved then it turns into a disaster, without fail. I can understand that people get a fair amount of email but this is senseless. I sometimes wonder if those people do it deliberately so if something gets screwed up they can blame it on some “miscommunication” in the email to cover their ass.

    Much like source control I wish there was an option to require the server to not allow and email to send if there is a more recent version. This would probably be easier to accomplish if this was all on the same domain email server but I’m not here to work out the technical details at the time. If people followed a few basic rules to emailing conversations would take less time and be more meaningful. I think those include:

    1. Always respond to the latest email, even if you sent the previous one. Send a follow up response to that so the entire chain is kept in tact.
    2. Make sure to include everyone that should be on the email. But if you’re going to send a response that should be private then make sure you choose the right button. I’ve seen it happen.
    3. In the case of files, have a share on a type of file server with a version scheme in the name of the document. In this case if it does need to be emailed the version can be referenced instead of something abstract such as “from the email titled ‘newest doc’”. I’ve seen this happen too.

    Am I asking too much? Is it out of line? Thought of a way to have people to follow rules? Let me know.

    Installing a New Keyboard – Part 1

    Posted in Computers on October 16th, 2007 by chris – 1 Comment

    Couple months back I picked up a new Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 keyboard to replace my current one. I’ve used it at work for quite a while and thought it would be a good replacement. Being familiar with technology and having assembled a few computers over the years I didn’t give installing it a seconds thought. I figured “great, it gets in tomorrow so I’ll plug it in and start using it.” Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

    First off I’m quite fond of my current keyboard (pic to come). I received it as a Christmas present from my brother in 2004. It’s a completely modified Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite with a Half-Life 2 theme, the game was released about a month and a half before hand. You maybe not be able to tell from the picture but each of the keys are the actual keys that came with the keyboard each being modified with the sides being cut off individually. The rust color is also a paint type mixture over the silver and yellow, and on top of them are numerous layers of a lacquer coating which I somehow managed to wear off in a few places. My reason for replacing it is because, quite simply, I wear the hell out of my computer gear. I couldn’t even guess how much I’ve typed on this during the past few years. In addition to the paint beginning to wear in a few places a few of the common letters such as the vowels, backspace, and space bar are jamming. This makes for a consensus stream of typing semi-frustrating at times. I suppose it could be related to cruising around a bumper-car track and suddenly getting it from the front. – a very abrupt stop. It’s not quite at the point of being retired but it is time for it to be moved to another spot where it won’t receive as much use. So, what’s all the fuss about installing the new one?

    I’m running a Dell Latitude D620 with Windows XP SP2. The laptop actually came with Vista but since it’s used for a lot of development, and I’m not about to put up with the various Vista issues, and since I had an XP license I decided to format it and install XP. It has a couple usb ports on the back and the side, and since I prefer running dual screen I also have a docking station I connect it up with at home. I have a run of the mill Logitech usbmouse and the aforementioned keyboard is ps/2. For some reason I wasn’t able to get the mouse working in the docking station and since I needed to get some things done I just haven’t looked into it enough and plugged it into the side usb right into the laptop. Worked like a charm. I later purchase the new keyboard and go to install it…device not found. It sees I plugged in a usb type device, but it is unable to detect it as a keyboard. I manually add the device and repeat the process attempted at the assorted drivers. By this time I’ve also installed the Microsoft Keyboard software and driver. I’ve tried at countless combinations with reboots and different usb ports with all of the same result. The message that’s displayed after it attempts to detect the device is

    The hardware was not installed because the wizard cannot find the necessary software.

    Then checking the Device Manager there is a usb device that isn’t found. The device status reads:

    This device is not configured correctly. (Code 1)

    Which after searching for some time on google find it may have to do with an IRQ conflict. At this point I’m confused for a couple reasons:

    1. How is it a keyboard can cause such a conflict?
    2. Why do other usb devices (mouse, thumb drive, camera, ipod, phone) work just fine?

    For those who may be wondering if the keyboard may be broken, it’s been tested on two desktops and another dell laptop. I also checked the driver it uses on the desktops and its the same general hid device driver which I tried on my laptop.

    As a side issue with this, I think the problems I have with using the docking station’s usb ports are along the same lines. When it’s in the dock I see an additional unknown usb device with the device status showing:

    This device is not configured correctly. (Code 28)

    I haven’t looked into this as deeply but since I was focusing on the other. At this point after a friends suggestion I’ll probably end up backing up the laptop, with ghost or another utility, and install a clean build on it and see what happens. We suspect it may have to do with the various dell drivers that need to be installed since there is a EVDO modem and bluetooth in addition to the modem and network card. I’ll definitely post an update but if there are any thoughts or suggestions let me know.

    Who moved my…website?

    Posted in Computers on October 13th, 2007 by chris – Be the first to comment

    Since I began thinking about starting a blog, about a week and a half ago, I’m finding more and more things related to them and RSS that I haven’t paid much attention too. What comes to mind at the moment are things like the feature’s I’ve seen in WordPress from the ease of adding a new post and category and it’s nice little additions such as the change notifications at the top and how something new is highlighted then faded out. RSS has come a long way too from the amount of feeds out there, advertisements in them, and the many readers out there to aggregate all of them for someone. On a quick side note I’m testing out one called GreatNews right now which is shaping up to be pretty nice, but more about that in another post.

    For the past several years I’ve been spending time with technology and business but in a different realm. It has been focused much more on bringing them together with a business logic and backend kind of administration. I’ve also been involved with building, and in part creating, numerous websites and while I have the knowledge to programmatically built it I feel that I’m somewhat out of touch with some of the present day concepts around what comprises a useful traffic generating site. But it’s not to late to change my ways and get back up to speed, never too late to learn or change. I’m in fact encouraged that I am becoming more exposed to these and think they will be of good use both for my own blog and professionally. If you can’t tell from the title of this post I’m reminded of a book by Spencer Johnson, but instead of cheese I think it’s my website.

    VMWare: Watch out for those snapshots

    Posted in Computers on October 12th, 2007 by chris – 1 Comment

    I consider myself to be fairly cautious when implementing a new server level application, especially so for the level in which ESX runs and how much depends on it to be stable. Something escaped my attention, or perhaps it wasn’t talked about much in the docs I read. Either way it’s too late now and I’m not about to dig through all of those pdf’s to see if I missed it.The ESX 3.0 server was setup just over a year ago and from my previous trials with ESX, and VMWare’s other virtualization products, snapshots have been fantastic and the ability to revert to them in various scenarios such as if a recent OS/Application patch went sour saved a lot of time for peoples. Unfortunately I forgot the saying “if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is”, and such is the case it turns out with the snapshot.

    Over the past couple weeks I’ve noticed that the space in the datastore was decreasing at a more accelerated rate then usual. Peeking my curiosity I poke around and with a recent influx in data I contributed it to that, but I didn’t tally precise number to see if they balanced. Being a busy time and a lot to do I took it for what it was and moved on. A couple days later I wake up to one of the virtual machines no longer being accessible and checking the datastore again I see it dropped over 30gb’s during those couple days and reduced the free space down to 2mb. I’m surprised, confused, and aggravated that a machine went down. I’m sure many admin’s have experienced this at one point or another. By either browsing the to virtual machine’s folder in the service console or through browsing the datastore when you right click it by looking for files with the word “delta” in them will indicate if they are from a snapshot. I no longer have the exact error message that was displayed at that point but I was given the option to “Retry” or “Abort”. I clicked retry and then was faced with:

    There is no more space for the redo log of ComputerName-000002.vmdk. You maybe be able to continue this session by freeing disk space on the relevant partition, and clicking Retry. Otherwise click Abort to terminate this session.

    I proceed to run various commands in both the console and virtual client to work the problem. One of the threads in vmware communities that came up more than once in the searches is I’ve tried various suggestions in there and I think some additional ones as well. I first tried to remove the snapshot that was in the snapshot manager (this was by clicking delete and not delete all) and after several hours of processing it removed the snapshot from the gui but the vmdk files were certainly still there. After which I tried:

    vmware-cmd <cfg> hassnapshot
    hassnapshot() =

    Yes, thats a blank. For whatever reason it wasn’t detecting that any snapshot exists even though there are numerous delta files in the virtual machines directory. I then proceeded to create a snapshot in the snapshot manager and then delete it, this time with delete all. Still no luck, they were all still there. I continued by removing the vm from the inventory (not from the drive! – be careful there, there’s a big difference) and re-added it. No dice. With the outlook becoming more gloomy I tried creating the snapshot in the service console with:

    vmware-cmd <cfg> createsnapshot <name of snapshot>

    and was returned with the error of

    VMControl error -11: No such virtual machine

    I checked the path then checked it again, it was correct. I searched around google for a while too and didn’t find anything helpful with the message. I was thinking that it may have been a somewhat generic message that could have meant several things.

    In the end I have resorted to removing a vm that was recently built to clear up enough space to boot it, and thankfully it has not been configured yet so not much time gone there, and remove the data from the vm so it can be completely removed to be removed and a fresh vm built. This particular server was used as storage for the network and to hold backups so I am thankful there isn’t much configuration that needs to occur once it’s rebuilt. I thought as the data was transferring, all 75gb or so, that I would write this article up. There sure is a lesson learned here – regardless of how much you may trust a piece of software to work right, it can always turn on you. This goes for the mac users out there too.

    On a side note, the <cfg> tag’s above is a common abbreviation used in VMWare’s documentation which corresponds to the full path and file name of the vmx file. For example, in this scenario mine is similar to: