Posts Tagged 'Windows'



Windows 98 — I so don’t miss you!

I was tasked with setting up a virtual hard disk install for Windows 98 today.  Like many software companies, we are finding *great* benefit to having virtualized operating system install images.  In our case, we use Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007 at the desktop level, and Virtual Server 2005 at the server level.  Both are great products.  I’m also slated to check out VMWare for converting “live PCs” to virtual hard drives.  That’ll be very cool, if it works.

But I digress.

Setting up virtual hard disks is pretty easy, but Windows 98 presented some unique challenges.  For starters, finding an .ISO image of Windows 98 proved more difficult than I thought.  Actually, I ended up having to make my own .ISO image from a Win98 install CD that we had buried several years ago.  I put in the physical CD, and then used ISO Recorder to make an .ISO image out of it.  Easy.  The first real problem arose when it dawned on me that I couldn’t boot from a Windows 98 setup CD.  Hmmmmmmm.  Virtually speaking, I essentially have a completely unused harddrive and a Win98 CD, at this point.  Guess I need to bust out my FDISK and FORMAT skills again!  I downloaded a Win98 ERD “virtual floppy image”, mounted that in my Virtual PC session, and I was off and running.  I used FDISK to create an active, 10gig partition — way more than is necessary for Windows 98 — and after a reboot, performed a FORMAT C: /S, which copies the system files for a DOS-bootable C: drive.

After all that fun, I booted from the Win98 ERD once again — which enables CD-Rom support — changed to the D: drive, found the install directory, and started ‘setup.exe’.  The install itself was relatively pain-less, but the final installed version was quite slow.  No bother — I simply selected the Action menu within Virtual PC and installed the Virtual Machine Additions.  One reboot later, Windows 98 is running much more smoothly.  My custom install takes up slightly less than 250mb on the harddisk.  That’s almost laughable!

Anyhow, having not used Windows 98 is quite some time, I was really reminded how little I miss that operating system.  Don’t get me wrong: back in the day I was most definitely a “Win98” fella, but things have most certainly moved on over the past decade.  The default “sliding” menus, the “web view” folders, Active Desktop (ugh!), and the folders that pertually open new folders, instead of using the existing one.  What a mess!

That said, my task is complete.  I can copy this out to the network for the occasional employee to download and test against.  Otherwise, I think we’ll just be steering clear of the old Windows 98 install.  No “nostalgia” is worth the hassle of having to use that old, rickety OS again….

 

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Getting to know you, IIS 7.0

So… I’m finally getting around to installing and *using* some Windows 2008 servers around our office.  I like Windows 2008 so far.  It installs nicely, looks good, performs well, and appears to be very secure.   Not that previous versions of Windows Server were bad or anything.  In fact, the web server that I’ve just replaced was loaded with Windows 2000 Server “Standard” and was, at one point, up and running for nearly 3 years without a reboot!  That’s impressive, if you ask me.  Why replace the server then?  Well… eventually a dual P3-500mhz server starts feeling a bit sluggish 🙂

That said, I’ve just installed a Dell PowerEdge 1950 1U rack server with dual quad-core CPUs and 8 gigs of RAM.  It’s impressive today, but will be roughly the specs of my cell phone in a few years.  That’s technology for you.  Anyhow, a new box deserves a new OS.  Windows 2008 Web Server (64-bit) was installed, and that task went swimmingly.  The “web server” role in IIS 7.0 is a default for a “Web Server” OS, naturally, so that was taken care of.  Otherwise, IIS 7.0 is a different beast from its predecessors.  Very different.

In migrating to our new web server, I had forgotten to implement an “http redirect” off of one of our websites.  Basically, folks browsing to the old URL of http://www.mysillydomain.com/folder should be taken to http://www.myOtherSillyDomain.com instead.  I’ve been doing this for years, and it’s always been an easy task in IIS 5.0 and 6.0.  It should be just-as-simple in IIS 7.0, right?  Well, yes and no.  Basically, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I searched online, browsed some blogs, and even (*gasp*) checked the help files.  They mentioned this awesome “HTTP Redirection” module, but it was nowhere to be found.

Finally, I decided to check the Add/Remove Roles portion of Windows 2008.  This is a setup first introduced in Windows 2003 and has carried forward.  It’s a good thing, actually, because it means that Windows Server installs relatively cleanly, and doesn’t include server functions that you never intend to use.  It’s also more secure, since items like POP3 access or an FTP server aren’t installed and running upon OS install, thus less to exploit.

What do you imagine I found?  Right there in the “Web Server” role — installed by default, if you remember — is the much-discussed “HTTP Redirection” feature.  Evidently that particular feature is NOT part of the default configuration.  Perhaps the help files could’ve mentioned that?  How about under the “HTTP Redirection” heading it says something like “Optional Install” so that I have something to go on?  Am I asking too much?  Perhaps.  Regardless, after checking the box and hitting “Install”, that feature was installed and ready for me to use.  It works just fine.

Live and learn.