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Free Partition Recovery Tool

 Recently I was adding a second drive to my laptop and I was extending the partition on the old drive to use all the space.  During the extending it error ed and I lost the partition.  So I found some tools and tried to recover some of the files.  Well after running the supposedly free tool for about 8 hours it found all the files I wanted to save.  The popped up the warning saying it would only recover a Gigs worth of files.  That was no where what I needed.  So I looked into buying a tool.  After an hour of looking most tool were anywhere from $100 to $500.  Well I didn’t want to spend that much on a tool I would use one time.  I did some more searching and found this tool called TestDisk.  This tool recovered the partition and best of all was free.  So I gave it a shot.  In about 5 minutes I had my files back and the drive was up and running.

The tool it a portable app and it is a command line tool but it works great.  Here are some pic of the interface and a brief from the website it is hosted on.

TestDisk Free Portable Data Recovery

TestDisk is a Free Portable Data Recovery Software tool. The tool was designed to help recover lost partitions and or make non bootable disks bootable again. TeskDisk is particularly useful when a system is not bootable because of a virus, software, or human error (accidentally deleting a Partition Table). This tool can fix a partition table, recover a deleted partition, rebuild or recover NTFS, FAT boot sectors, fix MFT, undelete and or copy files from NTFS, FAT, ext2, ext3 partitions. Backup recovery is also supported.

You must remember I used this on a drive that I killed the partition on.  I didn’t format it or re partition it.  So I can’t say it will work in thoughs situations.  But it worked quickly and recovered the disks partition with out any problems.  So if you find your self needing to recover a partiotion give this app a try.  You can download it at:

If you need to recover deleted files you may want to try Portable Data Recovery also.  This is also a free portable app that recovers deleted files.  You can find this at as well.

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DHCP MAC filtering on Windows Server 2003 and 2008 R1

Recently I needed to setup MAC filtering on our DHCP server and being familiar with Windows Server 2008 R2 I thought it was a standard feature.  However I couldn’t be more wrong.  It turned out none of the previous server versions had this feature.  So after a little searching I found an addon from Microsoft Technet that does the trick.  It is called DHCP Callout.  It is an MSI for 32 and 64 bit operating systems. So the installation is easy but it took me a minute to figure out how to configure it.

So after the installation you can access the files in the C:\Windows\system32\dhcp.  In that directory a few files are installed.

  • MacFilterCalloutErrorlog.txt
  • MacFilterCalloutInfolog.txt
  • MACList.txt
  • SetupDHCPMacFilter.txt

It adds log files, a config file, and a setup document.  It also adds a few registry entries in HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\DHCPServer\Parameters.  These entries are as follows.

  • CalloutDlls                                   –  This specifies the dll path for the dhcp server
  • CalloutEnabled                           –  This loads the dll
  • CalloutErrorLogFile                   –  Specifies the Error log path
  • CalloutInfoLogFile                      –  Specifies the Info log path
  • CalloutMACAddressListFile     –  Specifies the name and location of MAC filter list

This is all covered in the setup guide as well.  To setup the MAC filter list is pretty simple as well.  You simply take you MAC addresses without and colons, dashes, or spaces and add them to the MACList.txt file.  However at the top of the file you have to tell the DHCP server to allow or deny the MAC addresses that you have entered.  Below is an example of the MAC filter list.


We used this to improve security and to keep machines that are not ours off our DHCP server.  All in all this works well.  We found this out when we couldn’t get some of our systems to pick up an IP address from our server.  Turns out we forgot to add them to the list.  Anyhow we no longer have problems with systems controlled by another group of admins using up our IP space.  So if you find this may be something that you are looking for you can download it at the following address.


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Tweaks to make Ubuntu 12.04 LTS the perfect Linux desktop


I recently install Ubuntu 12.04 on a older system to try it out.  I will say that I was truly impressed with the functionality of this distro.  First lets start with the specs of the machine I used.  It was an Acer 3850 with a single core 1.86 GHz processor , 3 gigs of 666 MHz memory, and a 60 gig SSD hard drive.  I also install the 64 bit version.  I have been using Linux for almost a decade now and by far this is one of the best GUIs I have ever used.

Once it was installed you have to setup a few things to add some creature comforts.  First I had to get my wireless to work correctly.  The laptop had a Broadcom wireless card so I had to install the Third party driver.  Here is the syntax to install I used to install the driver.

  • sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter
  • sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer
  • If you have a legacy device you may need to us this instead:    sudo apt-get install firmware-b43legacy-installer
  • sudo modprobe b43

I still had a problem getting the driver to work when I rebooted the device so I had to add the modprobe b43 to the a file that I will update the name once I get the right name.

Then I added Unsetting.  This gives you a GUI that can be used to change certain aspects of the Unity interface.

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa: diesch/testing
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install unsettings

Then I added weather to the menu bar.  I like to have easy access to it.  This can be done with a simple command.

  • sudo apt-get install indicator-weather

Finally i like to have the System Monitor in the menu bars as well.  You will need to install another package using apt-get.

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:indicator-multiload/stable-daily
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install indicator-multiload

I did have to get use to the fact that you need to search the programs you are looking by using the Dash Home icon.  But it is really easy to use and anyone can figure it out.  However you do need to have an idea of what you are looking for.  One other thing that really makes this easy to use is the Ubuntu Software Center.  This makes it really easy for anyone to install applications to the OS.  Installing applications on other versions of Linux is one of the problems that Windows users have.  Let me put it this way, my 6 year old figured out how to use this and really likes how this OS works.  Plus if Windows keeps going in the direction it is going I can see myself moving to Ubuntu as my primary OS used on my computer.

  Anyhow here are some must have programs that I would install to make Ubuntu a little more user friendly.  First I would install VLC, everyone has heard of it and it is one of the best video players.  Second would be Wine.  This is a program that allow you to install some Windows programs into Linux.  This works great and I use it for programs like Photofitre, which is a graphics editor.  I just like using this program even though you can use Gimp.  Finally I like to install some games.  This would include Assault Cube, Battle for Wesnoth, and xScorch.  Great for stress relief and killing time.

  I also like Libre Office and it works with MS Office docs so it is very functional.  Plus the long term support will keep your computer patched for years to come.  This may also be another way to squeeze more years out of that old computer that will not run the newer Windows versions.  If you are looking to try something different you may want to try this easy to use version of Linux.  I think this could be the version of Linux that has a change to really cut into the Windows market.  It also runs as a LiveCD if you just want to try it.  Plus it has a built in boot loader program that will allow you to easily set up a dual boot system with Windows.  Give it a shot.  Go to to download it.  Ubuntu 12.10 is now out and it is suppose to have several improvements.