HowTo: Restore the Windows Master Boot Record (without using a Windows CD) using Ubuntu Karmic.

Tutorials
You know how it is - you take a client's Windows based machine, do a dual-boot installation of Ubuntu (which replaces the Windows Master Boot Record, or MBR, with GRUB and sets up an option to boot Ubuntu or Windows) so the client can evaluate Ubuntu, but then later on for whatever reason, Ubuntu is no longer wanted. It's removed and you need to restore the system's ability to natively boot Windows directly without a GRUB menu. You're probably thinking "why the hell would anyone want to do that?!"... well, the fact of the matter is you sometimes come across a client who is just too mind-set and refuses to use anything but Windows, so yes - sometimes you need to restore the Windows MBR, but how do you do…
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HowTo: Configure Ubuntu to be able to use and respond to NetBIOS hostname queries like Windows does

Tutorials
Users in the Windows world are very used to referencing PC's via their NetBIOS names instead of their IP address. If your PC has a dynamic IP address (DHCP-assigned) of 192.168.0.12 and its hostname (computer name) is "gordon", Windows users can happily jump into a command line or an Explorer window and ping the name "gordon" which will magically resolve to 192.168.0.12. If your host is not configured with a Hosts file entry on your local PC or a DNS entry to associate a name with an IP address, Ubuntu can only use the IP address of that PC to communicate with it which means you have to remember what that IP address is with your feeble grey-matter in your head. Likewise, Ubuntu will not respond to a Windows PC…
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HowTo: Image your hard-drive for transfer or backup using dd

Tutorials
Imaging, also known as Ghosting in the Windows world, is the act of creating a sector-by-sector copy of a hard-drive and saving it to a file, or transferring it to another hard-drive. Such uses for imaging include: Backup to an image file Clone to another hard-drive (eg: building multiple identical workstations) either directly or via an image file Data recovery (it's safer and easier to examine an image file than risk further damage to the hard-drive itself) Linux has a neat little command that can do this for us called simply "dd". It is completely filesystem independent, so you can backup any hard-drive regardless of whether it was Linux formatted, Mac formatted or Windows formatted. It copies the drive bit by bit, sector by sector, not file by file. (more…)
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Ubuntu vs Vista Resource Usage

Misc, Review
Everyone always rambles on about how much of a resource hog Windows Vista is compared to Linux, so I figured why not find out exactly how much of a hog it really is? For this comparison, I have pitted the following versions of Ubuntu and Vista against each other: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1 and all system updates to 29th October 2008 Ubuntu Linux 8.04.1 Hardy Heron with all system updates to 29th October 2008 Ubuntu Linux 8.10 Intrepid Ibex Release Candidate with all system updates to 29th October 2008 (just for kicks) The tests would be simple. A fresh vanilla install of Ubuntu and Vista doing four of the most common things a typical user might do everyday: Nothing View a web page Listen to an…
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Recovering an NTFS volume using Ubuntu

Misc
I have a friend who has an external USB portable hard-drive that inexplicably seemed to develop CRC errors when reading files off the NTFS-formatted volume. This rapidly developed into full-blown drive drive shutdowns on major errors and it was evident that something was seriously wrong with it. (more…)
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