Monday, 21 September 2015

Creating bootable USB disk from Windows OS

Today, I would like to share my knowledge on how to make bootable USB drive without any third party applications. To begin with, you will need a USB flash drive, any version of Windows OS ISO or DVD and Windows running PC. As part of the process, USB disk will be erased fully. Please make sure that you have copied or removed your important data from USB disk.

I will use DiskPart command to make bootable USB disk. Let’s start with the process:
  • Run Command prompt as an administrator.
  • Type DiskPart and press Enter. You will see that command prompt is changed to DISKPART> now.
  • Type List Disk Command. It will show you all available disks in PC.
    • DISKPART> List Disk
  • Next step is to select the correct Disk that reflects your USB disk. To find this out, type below command:
    • DISKPART> Select Disk n (n should be the number of your disk from previous command)
      • You should see a message: “Disk 3 is now the selected disk.”
  • Now, clean the USB disk using Clean command.
    • DISKPART> Clean
      • It will show, “DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.”
  • Now, enter the following sets of commands in this order
    • ACTIVE
  • Formatting of your USB drive may vary from its size. Once it’s completed, type below two commands:
      • It shows, “DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.”
  • DISKPART> exit
At this point, you will come out from DiskPart utility and will use your command prompt to follow next process.

Type D: cd boot (D: represents my DVD drive, please change it to appropriate drive letter as per your PC’s configuration)

Enter command, cd boot

Now, type bootsect.exe /nt60 E: ( E: drive represents my USB Disk drive)

Once this command has been executed successfully, you can exit the command prompt. Now, copy all files on Windows 7 DVD to the USB drive.

Your USB Disk is ready with bootable option. To test this, please restart your PC and choose boot from USB. I hope you liked this article, please leave your comments below.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Group policy – Basics explained

One of the followers of my blog requested to explain the basics of Group policy in simple words. Group policy itself is a very wide topic  in this single post. But let's start with basic first.

Group Policy is a feature from Microsoft server operating systems. It allows modifying working environment of user accounts and computer accounts. It offers centralized management and configuration of OS, applications and users’ settings in domain environment. You can outline, impose or modify configuration by using the settings in Group Policy Objects (GPO). Once you create relevant GPO, you can link it to site, domain, OU or child OU.

You can divide group policies into two categories:
  • Domain based policy: These types of policies are created in AD DS and stored in domain controllers. They are used to manage configuration of domain users and computers.
  • Local group policy: These types of policies are configured locally on a PC. You can configure users’ settings who log on to that PC or Computer settings.
If you are an administrator of your network or have administrator privileges, you can create new or edit existing group policy from Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). In the Group policy management editor, you can double click on policy to open policy’s properties box. Within properties box, you can select Not Configured, Enabled or Disabled for given settings. By default, policy setting is set to Not Configured in new GPO. When you modify it to either Enabled or Disabled, a change is made to user or computer configuration to which GPO is applied.

When PC is switched ON, computer configuration is been applied. When user logs in to PC, user configuration takes effect.

Group policy is been processed in following processing order:
  1. Local GPOs – The local policies apply first.
  2. Site-linked GPOs – Policies configured at Site level applies second in Domain joined PC/user.
  3. Domain linked GPOs- Policies that linked to Domain applied after Site-Linked GPOs.
  4. OU (Organization Unit) linked GPOs – Policies applied to OU applied after Domain linked GPOs.
  5. Child OU linked GPOs – Child OU linked policies apply fifth in processing order.
In case of configuring conflicting GPOs, whichever policy applies last wins. For example, between local policy and domain policy settings, domain policy settings are in effect.

As stated earlier, group policy is a huge topic to cover. If you would like to know more on this, please let us know. We will publish further posts with advance information on group policy including how to create, modify and link it to OU and many more.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Excel file opens up with blank screen in Excel

I have been asked to help a user with her Excel issue. At first, I thought I may have to write some Excel formula. But I was wrong. When I called her, she explained to me that she was unable to open certain Excel spread sheets. She said that whenever she opens these files, Excel opens with blank window.

I thought let me check it myself. Hence, I logged in to her PC remotely and tried to access same files. Yes, Excel window comes up but it does not show any data. User claimed that she had accessed file couple of hours back. Other users can open same files on their PCs without any issues.

I asked her to press CTRL + F10 key together while the file is open in Excel. Issue is resolved. It is a shortcut key to maximize or restore the selected workbook window. Now, she is able to view all files. I would suggest trying some other steps also, they are mentioned below:

  • Check if Excel has been setup as Run as Administrator.
  • Check the box “Run as administrator” on Excel shortcut.
  • Load Excel file. Go to View, select Full Screen. If you can see the file properly, close and restart it same way.

I hope you will find this article very useful.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

How to print multiple files without opening them

During my recent conversation with one of my friends, he mentioned that he had to print a large number of PDF documents. He was frustrated as he had to open each file to send it to a printer for printing. He asked me if there are any ways where he can avoid opening each file before sending it to printer.

Yes, it is possible. I did my testing on Windows 7 PC. There are two ways to achieve this. The easiest way is:

  • Select the multiple files of same format e.g. all PDFs or all DOCXs
  • Right click on any selected file
  • In context menu, click on Print
In this method, you can print up to 15 files together and cannot mix two different types of file format like one PDF document and one word document.

There is another way in which you can print different file formats together. To achieve this, follow these steps:

  • Click on Start and select Devices and Printers
  • Double click on printer to open print queue box
  • Drag files you would like to print into print queue box.
  • Click OK on a dialog box that confirms that you want to print multiple files at once.
I hope you find this article very useful. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Unable to log you on because of an account restriction

One of my friends asked me to help him with his IT issue. He is trying to connect to a PC using Remote Desktop connection and getting error “Unable to log you on because of an account restriction.”

To begin with, I verified that the user account is part of local administrator group and Remote Desktop users on a remote PC. Also, I asked him to make sure that he has enabled Remote Desktop on that PC. He replied affirmatively that user account is part of necessary groups and PC is enabled to accept remote connection. He also mentioned that he can log in locally using same account but receives error message when he is trying to connect remotely.

During further questioning about his current setup of a PC, I figured out that, he is using blank (null) password for the user account. If you are trying to log in to a PC remotely with a user account which has been setup with blank password, Remote Desktop connection cannot be established and you receive above error message.

There is an easy fix for this, log in to PC locally and set a password for the user account. Now, you will be able to log in to PC remotely using new password.

Please leave your comment below if you find this article informative.