Windows 10 is Windows 7 with a new-old skin

… with one little difference: It seems like you can install Windows 10 without any product key. According to this post, one can install Windows 10 from scratch, and when prompted for the product key, click “Skip for now”. Twice. The installation will have this “Activate Now” watermark, and personalization will be off. But otherwise, [...]

Moving a Windows 7-installed hard disk to a new computer

This has been documented elsewhere, but it’s important enough to have a note about here. In short, before switching to a new hardware, it’s essential to prepare it, or an 0x0000007b blue screen will occur on the new hardware. The trick is to run sysprep.exe (under windows\system32\sysprep\) before the transition. Have “Generalize” checked, and choose [...]

Windows 8 recovery notes-to-self

Just some jots as I tried to fix a Windows 8.1 laptop that didn’t boot (not mine, of course, I can’t stand Windows 8). It went “Preparing automatic repair” immediately on powerup, and then a light blue (not BSOD-blue) screen saying “Automatic Repair”, “Your PC did not start correctly”. Offering me to Restart or “Advanced [...]

System File Checker: The savior for Windows 7 and 8

When a Windows 7 or Windows 8 starts to behave weirdly, this is the general-purpose command that can save your day (in the Command Prompt): sfc /scannow It scans all system files and fixes whatever looks bad. In my case, it started off as a “Limited” Wireless connection on a laptop (after it had been [...]

Resetting a Windows XP/7/8 password, the Linux way

What happens if a Windows user loses his or her password? No problem, Windows was never meant to be secure. Only appear as if it was. There are several automatic tools out there. I preferred running my Fedora-based LiveUSB and fix it while actually seeing what I’m doing. The whole thing is about modifying the [...]

Windows: Tracking process launches and ends

I’m sure there’s a saner way to do this than the Perl script below, but jotting it down was so easy, that it wasn’t worth looking for another tool to do it. The idea is the simplest ever: Grab the list of processes 10 times a second or so, and write a line to standard [...]

A dissection of WDK’s PCIDRV sample driver’s IRP juggling

Scope The WDK arrives with sample code for a PCI driver, known as PCIDRV. It demonstrates the recommended old-school methods for avoiding mishaps when maintaining your own IRP queue. Frankly speaking, I’ve written this post as I learned the different corners of IRP juggling, so pretty much like certain operating systems, it’s a bit of [...]

An FPGA-based PCI Express peripheral for Windows: It’s easy

To make a long story short… There is really no need to work hard to make your FPGA talk with a PC.  Xillybus gives you the end-to-end connection interfacing FPGAs with both Linux and Windows computers. The challenge At times, FPGA engineers are faced with the need to transfer data to or from a regular [...]

Windows device driver loading logs

The log level is set in the registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\LogLevel. The key may need to be created (DWORD). The default on my computer turned out to be 0x2000ff00, which means maximal logging is achieved. The set bit 29 tells the logger not to flush data into the file after each entry (faster logging, but data [...]

Bug check on IoConnectInterruptEx()

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve experienced a bug check (blue screen of death, BSOD, if you like) as a result of calling IoConnectInterruptEx(). It’s also likely that you used this function to support MSI (Message Signaling Interrupt). You may have attempted to follow the horribly misleading example given by Microsoft itself. The [...]