My job at LANDesk requires that I write code in C# for an application that only runs on Windows Server. I also have to test a lot of code on Windows 7. Like me, so many people are forced to run a version of Windows because they have special windows applications at work or because that is the platform we are developing for in our jobs.
If running windows is a must for you, as it is for me, then moving to FreeBSD exclusively is just not an option. I want to run an FreeBSD, but running Windows 7 is a must too.
At first VMWare Workstation looked like it was going to solve this problem. But while its early versions worked on FreeBSD, they failed to port newer versions over. Quemu just never could get to level of usability needed. Well, along comes VirtualBox from Sun. Sun, now Oracle, released an open source edition cleverly named VirtualBox Open Source Edition (OSE). Like many of Sun’s code, it is duel licensed.
- A FreeBSD desktop – Hopefully you are here because you already have this. If you don’t have a FreeBSD desktop, you can follow my guide to build one.
How to install and configure a FreeBSD 8 Desktop with Xorg and KDE?
Or you can install and use PC-BSD which is a nice desktop version of FreeBSD.
- A Windows 7 DVD or ISO and a product key. Please do not pirate!
Step 1 – Installing VirtualBox OSE on FreeBSD 8.1
Installing VirtualBox is not complex. It involves only a few steps.
- Go to the directory for virtualbox-ose in your ports tree.
- Configure your installation.
- Select Guest Additions, as it is not selected by default.
Note: The defaults are Qt4, DBUS, X11, NLS and they should remain checked.
- You may also want to select VNC.
- Install virtualbox-ose
Step 2 – Configuring FreeBD for Virtual Box
There are few things we need to configure on the FreeBSD system to make VirtualBox work.
- Add users to the vboxusers.
- Configure CD/DVD drive access.
- Configure VirtualBox kernel modules to load.
Step 2.1 – Adding use to the vboxusers group
- To add users to the group, use this command:
Ok, so I had a hard time finding Windows Color and Appearance in Windows 7.
It is pretty easy to get to the Windows Color and Appearance tool if you know where to go. The problem is that where to go is not obvious. So here is where you go:
- Right-click on Desktop and choose Personalize.
- Click the Windows Color icon at the bottom of the screen.
- Clikc the Advanced appearance settings… link.
Besides the problem that it is not obvious where to go, there are also some computer some diseases that make this harder than it should be.
Disease #1 – Limited Clicking Ability Disorder or LCAD
People have what is called Limited Clicking Ability Disorder or LCAD. In layman’s terms, click laziness. Yes, that means we want to get there in less clicks.
It is 4 clicks to get to the Windows Color and Appearance tool, assuming you know where you are going. Otherwise, you have to click all over till you find it. Whether it is four or more, this is way too many clicks for someone who suffers from click laziness or LCAD.
Create desktop shortcuts or shortcuts on your startbar.
Steps for creating a shortcut to the Windows Color and Appearance tool.
- Right-click on your desktop and choose New | Shortcut.
- In the Type and location of the item field type in:c:\windows\system32\desk.cpl ,5Note: Yes, there is a space between desk.cpl and the ,5.
- Click Next.
- In the Type a name for this shortcut field, enter this:Windows Color and Appearance
- Click Finish.
You now have a shortcut on your desktop which will all you to access Windows Color and Appearance in one click and cure your LCAD.
Note: If you want, you can right-click on the shortcut and choose properties and click the Change icon button and select a different icon if you want.
Disease #2 – Keyboard-to-Mouse Tropophobia
Tropophobia is the fear of moving and yes, Keyboard-to-Mouse Tropophobia is the fear of moving the hands from the keyboard to the mouse.
Learn to access as many features as you can without using the mouse.
So how can you access the Windows Color and Appearance tool without going to mouse? This one was not as easy as others, but the solution was found.
Steps for accessing the Windows Color and Appearance tool using only the keyboard
- Press the Windows Key and the R key simultaneously. This brings up the Start | Run tool.
- Type the following into the Open field:desk.cpl ,5Note: Yes, there is a space between desk.cpl and the ,5.
- Press Enter.
This page got me started and my own knowledge got me an easier solution than what was posted here:
Today I am writing this post using windows seven speech recognition.
I turned on windows speech recognition and found a surprisingly working well at times.
You must speak very clearly and be prepared to make a lot of corrections.
To turn on Windows 7 speech recognition, go to Start | All Programs | Accessories | Ease of access | Windows Speech recognition.
Say “Press pipe” to insert a pipe symbol.
…using the keyboard now…
I couldn’t quite finish it using just audio. I struggled selecting the Categories…everything else I was able to do. It is quite difficult and takes a lot of practice and a lot of corrections, but I have to say that I am impressed. However, as impressed as I am, it is a long way from being faster that a keyboard for me. Of course, I have about 20 to 25+ years experience typing and I don’t remember when I started to use a mouse, but only a short few hours of voice, so maybe if I gave this voice thing 25 years I would be just as good…
How to send an audio or voice email in Windows 7?
This can be done with special software and without specially software.
Without special software
- Microphone – Often laptops come with microphones built-in. But a head set or a stick microphone usually has better results. If you don’t have one, buy one here: USB Microphone from Amazon
- Email – any email that allows for attachments will do.
Step 1 – Record the email.
- Open sound recorder by going to Start and typing in “Sound Recorder” and choosing to open the application.
- Click “Start Recording” and talk into your microphone..
- Click “Stop Recording” when finished.
- Save the file where you want to save it. It is a .wav file.
Step 2 – Send the .wav file as an attachment
- Open your favorite mail program or web-based email tool.
- Start a new email or compose a new email.
- Enter a recipient.
- Enter a subject.
- Add the .wav file as an attachment.
- Click Send.
With special software
There is special software for doing this, and there are lots of different types. I am only going to discuss one piece of software here called WaxMail that is an integration tool to Outlook or Outlook Express.
Step 1 – Download WaxMail.
- Go to the web site: http://www.waxmail.biz
- Choose the correct download based on whether you are using Outlook or Outlook Express and click it.
- Follow the download instructions and on step 3 click the download button.
- Save the file to where ever you want.
Step 2 – Install WaxMail
- Make sure Outlook or Outlook Express is closed.
- Run the downloaded executable: setup_waxmail_1_0_0_40.exe
- Follow the installation instructions.
Note: I use Outlook at work, so I am going to show you an example using Outlook. I am not going to post an example using Outlook Express but it should be similar.
Step 3 – Use WaxMail to send a Voice Email
- Open Outlook or Outlook Express. You should now have a WaxMail toolbar.
- Click New WaxMail. You get a new email message and the WaxMail voice recorder show up.
- Click big red Record button and talk into your microphone.
- Click Stop when you are finished talking.
- Click the rename option and rename the voice file. The voice message is named something generic and you can see it in the WaxMail tool in a white box and there is a Rename and a Delete button
- In the email under To: enter the recipient.
- Also give the email a valid Subject.
It should now look something like this:
- Click Send.
The one thing that I don’t like is that this line is appended to all emails unless you purchase WaxMail.
Tired of typing emails? WaxMail lets you record and send voice messages via email. Get your free copy from www.waxmail.biz
I looked for an open source or free version without advertising and that didn’t cost any money, but I couldn’t find one. If you find one, please let me know, otherwise you have live with the ad.
Ok, so I couldn’t get Cisco’s VPN client to work for Windows 7 64 bit. So I went in search of another VPN solution that would be more compatible.
(UPDATE: I got ShrewSoft’s VPN Client working, so keep reading down below.)
I came across ShrewSoft’s VPN Client a while ago, but it originally blue screened my Windows 7 box, but it was a version that didn’t support Windows 7. However they have a new version that is out that is for Windows 7 64 bit. Actually they now have a release version on their download site but there is a beta of the next version (Update 3/05/2010)2.1.6-beta-6 that your may want to use (or a later version if you are reading this well after I wrote or updated it). See the comments on why.
I installed it and it requested a reboot so I rebooted, and the first good news is that I didn’t blue screen when my workstation booted up. Horray!!!
After installing, I tested undocking my laptop from its docking station and then docking my laptop, and again, no blue screens, so I think it is good to go. Now I just have to figure out how to configure it to connect here at work.
I like the license, they say:
Stay tuned for more testing….
Ok…I am back for more notes.
At work we are using a Cisco VPN solution, so it turns out that when my Cisco VPN would install on a 32 bit machine, it used a .pcf file. Well, guess what is awesome about ShrewSoft’s VPN Client? It can import a .pcf file.
I imported the .pcf file and I appear to connect, then disconnect. Not sure what is going on. I am at work, but I should be able to connect to the VPN while at work, at least that is what my IT staff said.
So hopefully it connects when I am at home.
Here is my log:
I will try to debug later…
All right I am back again and I am trying to debug. I found this post:
There is a program under Start | All Programs | Shrew Soft VPN Client called “Trace Utility” that is installed with the Shrew Soft VPN Client can be used for debugging. However, it wouldn’t work for me. The buttons weren’t enabled.
I had to right-click on the “Trace Utility” shortcut and choose “Run as administrator” then I was able to turn on debugging.
Positives for Shrew Soft VPN Client
- It has a debugging utility.
- It supports Windows 7 64 bit
- It imports cisco .pcf files.
- There is a lot of documentation.
Negatives for Shrew Soft VPN Client
- I don’t have it working yet
- There is not really any clear failure reason for a user.
So I will keep at it. I think I am about going to email the developer, but I sure don’t want to bug him.
Hopefully for some of you, it worked first time for you when you imported the .pcf file.
Got it working
Another positive. The developer has a mailing list, as you saw with one of my links above. I found this link:
The key piece of information I needed was this:
In the tool, after importing my .pcf file, I only had to make one configuration change. I had to change the PFS setting to “group 2″. See this screen shot.
So I have this working now.
I have to say that I am very impressed with Shrew Soft. It took me some time to figure it out, but it works. Now the only question time will tell is how stable it is. Expect an update in a week or two about whether I think the Shrew Soft VPN Client is stable.
The steps are easy for me to connect to my VPN at work. Now every VPN is different so I am sorry if these steps don’t work for you:
- Use the correct (and latest) version: 2.1.6-beta-6 or later
- Install Shrew Soft VPN Client
- Import the .pcf file.
- Modify the configuration and change the PFS setting to “group 2″.
- Apply the configuration.
- Click connect.
- Enter your domain user and password and you will connect.
Also, I exported my configuration as a Shrew Soft VPN Client export, which is a .VPN file. When I import it, I don’t have to make a configuration change like I did with the Cisco .pcf file.
Key words: cisco vpn window 7 64 bit