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How to Create a DOS Bootable USB

So, you’re probably reading this blog post after lots of searching online about how to do this, likely after lots of reading of hardware manufacturer’s documentation about how to upgrade firmware or similar. And you’ll probably also realise that we live in 2019 (at the time of writing….), so when a hardware manufacturer recommends you install some software on a ‘floppy disk drive’ you realise that the hardware world is stuck in the stone age. But hey. It is what it is, and we have to deal with this nonsense.

So, let’s figure out how to get this firmware upgrade onto a ‘floppy disk drive” aka a USB Drive!

A bit of background before we do though. It used to be pretty easy to boot into a DOS environment when Windows owned the world back in 1995. But things have changed a little since then and we have things like non-Microsoft software and other hardware made by many manufacturers around the world. This is great, but does complicate things a little.

DOS is an operating system that runs from a hard disk (aka. Disk Operating System) – but typically refers to MS-DOS, i.e. Microsoft Disk Operating System.

Ultimately if you need to upgrade the firmware on a piece of hardware on a machine, then you need to Boot the Machine to your DOS USB (i.e. configure the Boot Priority in your motherboard BIOS to boot from your USB, not Floppy…., Disk Drive).

What this means in simple terms is that you need to have on your UBS Drive is the Bootable USB Operating System (more on how to do this shortly…) PLUS the Firmware upgrade files (likely a Shell or Bash or Executable file).

 

Create a DOS Bootable USB

If you’ve simply tried to move the firmware upgrade files to the USB and boot directly to the USB drive with these files present you’ll be sorely disappointed as you’ll probably have received an error along the lines of “firmware upgrade shell load.exe is not recognised as an internal or external command

What this basically means is that you cannot simply run the USB from Shell, but you must run the command from DOS instead. Semantics, but you’re working with underlying hardware here so you must be specific, so let’s create a DOS Bootable USB.

Firstly, download Rufus here, https://rufus.ie/, it’s pretty awesome, and more importantly allows you to create a bootable USB. Once you’ve opened Rufus, fill out the details as follows;

 

 

Prepare the Firmware Upgrade and Upgrade It

Basically, once you’ve created your DOS Bootable USB above, copy whatever files over to the same USB Drive as you’ll need to work with these once you’ve booted into the system.

Next, once you’ve booted into your DOS, simply run whatever commands your firmware upgrade tells you to.

And that’s it! This is a simple step 🙂 

How to Customise the Welcome Text When SSHing Into a Server

Ok, so if you’re reading this, you’re probably a bit of a geek like myself. We’ve all seen the “Welcome Mr Stark” message that appears on Iron Man when Tony Stark logs into his private server. i.e. in other words, SSH’ing into his server.

 

 

So, how easy or difficult is it to get this set up? Well, it’s remarkably easy to configure this and it is all down to configuring your ‘Message of the Day’ on your server. So let’s have a play around.

Firstly, generate some text that you want to display, you could simple try the basis such as “Hello”, but that’s a bit boring. Instead, let’s look to replicate the same message that we can see on Tony Start’s private server. You’ll find many different ASCI Art Generators online if you search, so find one that you like the look of. Here are just a few examples that I’ve generated to give you an idea of the different styles you can use.

 

 

So once you’ve got the text that you want to configure, simply SSH into your server and run the command;

 


sudo -s

 

Which will switch your user over to the Sudo user, you’ll need to enter in the password to do this.

Next, run the command;

 


nano /etc/motd

 

Which will create a new file for you, if it doesn’t already exist, or edit the current file if it is already there. Feel free to use the editor of your choice here, personally I prefer the Nano editor as I find it more intuitive to use. Simply paste your text into here, and save the file.

Simple, you’re done. Then the next time you login to your server via SSH you’ll be greeted with the nice message that you entered;

 

 

 

How to COMPLETELY Disable Windows 10 Automatic Updates

When it comes to technology, technology should work for you, you should not be a slave to your technology. And oh-my-god, Windows have got things SOOOOOO wrong with their automatic update system in Windows 10. For the average home user, you’ll probably be thankful that things are simply taken care of for you, and that’s great. Security is hugely important and this is where the Windows 10 automatic updates come in very handy. But Microsoft seem to have forgot one key thing with these updates and that is that not everyone is an average user and Windows is used by businesses that require stability and control.

The amount of times I have gone to make a brew (that’s a ‘Cup of Tea’ for the Southerners reading…), or turned by back for only a few minutes to come back to my machine and find that bloody Windows 10 has turned itself off, in the middle of the flipping day, in the middle of when I was doing something!!! Thankfully, I have a good habit of saving every 2 seconds so I’ve never lost anything, touch wood, but by god is this annoying.

What’s more annoying is the fact that when Windows 10 built the feature as part of this update to helpfully re-open all the things you had open, they forgot one thing…. not everything you use is a bloody Microsoft product! The amount of things that people use in the working day, particularly myself with the amount of techie things I have open at any one point, that simple turning things off and back on again causes more problems than it solves (ironic for an IT product!). Even on powerful machines, for users who have things on the go, it’s going to take you a good 10, 15, 30 minutes to get everything back up and running that you were working on. It’s such a time wasting activity that I’ve decided to outline the steps required to just turn everything off for Windows 10 automatic security updates…

Just do this;

Open the Run Dialog

Press Windows Key + R – This will open the Windows Run window where you can type handy shortcuts to run programs

Open Windows Services

Type services.msc into the available field then click OK. This will open the Windows Services settings where you can control a lot of the background processes and tasks that run on your system.

Find ‘Windows Update’

In the rather large list of services, find the ‘Name’ of ‘Windows Update’ and Select It. Then Right Click and select Properties

Stop the Service if it is Running and Disable it on Startup

Simple, job done. No more annoying, interrupting, ill-thought-out Windows 10 automatic updates at inconvenient times!

Word of Warning

Don’t do any of the above if you aren’t sure what you are doing. Changing things within your Services can really mess up things that you would want to work.

Clearly security and feature updates are important and you need to schedule time to do this. So don’t simply turn this off and never run security updates again, that would be bad. Schedule some time in, on a regular basis, at your convenience to run the security updates. Simple start the service and the rest will take care of itself.

Hope the above is some use to people going through the same pain…

Calling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-in

Yesterday marked the start of the 7th year of Google Code-in (GCI), our pre-university contest introducing students to open source development. GCI takes place entirely online and is open to students between the ages of 13 and 17 around the globe.

Open source software makes up the backbone of the internet, from servers and routers to the phone in your pocket, but it’s a community-driven effort. Google Code-in serves a dual purpose of encouraging young developers and ensuring that open source communities continue to grow.

The concept is simple: students complete bite-sized tasks created by 17 participating …Read More

Source:: Calling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-in

How to Create a Bootable USB for Ubuntu Server

If you’re reading this blog post then you’re probably in the realms of playing with hardware and building a mini server, media server, web server or something along those lines. Great! So now you’ve got your hardware pieced together, it’s now time to start installing software on it. For the purposes of this blog post, I’m not going to go into the details of what/why/when/who/how for the vast array of choices and options available for configuring software on your server. Instead, I’m just going to look specifically about how to create a bootable USB for installing Ubuntu Server. Simple and straight to the point.  

 

Step 1: Install Universal USB Installer 

Download here, https://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ 

This software will turn a .iso file into a bootable partition on a USB drive.  

 

Step 2: Download Ubuntu Server 

Download the relevant version here, https://www.ubuntu.com/download/alternative-downloads#alternate-ubuntu-server-installer 

Note, make sure you’re downloading the correct version for what you require, there are quite a few different versions! 

This step will download the .iso file to your computer. You’ll need this file in the next step.  

 

Step 3: Create the Bootable USB 

Follow the instructions here, https://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ 

In essence, you’re installing the .iso file you downloaded in the previous step onto your USB Pen Drive. Note, make sure you install on the correct drive on your computer or you can really really really mess things up! 

When you are creating the bootable USB for Ubuntu Server, make sure you actually select Ubuntu Server from the dropdown list, as there is also an option for installing Ubuntu (desktop) version too, which you don’t want.  

 

Complete! 

That’s it! You’re done. You’ve just created yourself a bootable USB that can be used for installing Ubuntu Server. Simply plug this device into your server, make sure that it has priority boot settings so your installer can then run and you’re on your way! 

 

Note for Ubuntu Server 18.04

The above software doesn’t seem to like Ubuntu Server 18.04, so you’ll probably need to use the Rufus software instead – https://rufus.akeo.ie/