I had to analyse a minidump file after a blues screen crash and using Windbg it kept complaining that the Windbg symbols were missing.  I read a few guides, but none contained the exact commands to run.  I didn’t want to download all the symbols – just use Microsoft’s proxy to pull down the relevant ones seemed like the best idea:

!sym noisy
!analyze -v

The full error was: Either you specified an unqualified symbol, or your debugger *** *** doesn’t have full symbol information

wmic MEMORYCHIP get banklabel, capacity, caption, devicelocator, partnumber

Prepare VM for cloning without activating

Active a server 2008 VM

Install WAIK, run Windows System Image Manager

Load Server 2008 R2 DVD/Image – first of all extract the Windows Server/7/Vista ISO file or insert the DVD and browse to the location of the installation files when prompted after loading WAIK and creating a new catalog.

Create a new Distribution Share (right-click, select, then browse to the extracted files).

Right click under Answer File and create a new answer file.

From the Catalogs window drag amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP_neutral under 3 – Generalize.

Make any other changes required for customisation, but the important one to avoid re-activation is:

3 generalize

  • amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP_neutral
    • SkipRearm = 1

In Windows 7 this appears as :

  • amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Security-SPP_6.1.7601.17514_neutral


Place the newly created unattend.xml in c:\windows\system32\sysprep in the VM


On the VM when it is ready for sysprep run:

cd c:\windows\system32\sysprep\
 sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend:c:\windows\system32\sysprep\unattend.xml

Shutdown the server – do not restart.  It is now ready to be copied.

If you do accidentally start it up in the future, just re-copy the unattend.xml and rerun the sysprep command.


Just a few quick notes on my experience with Vista – the main reason I was forced onto Vista was because a customer had some Vista remote laptops and we needed to provide a hardware VPN solution.  As it was a small setup we normally just shove a WatchGuard in there as they are simple and do the job,  however WG were dragging their heels with a Vista compatible vpn client.

Cisco on the other hand, were already there.  Although only in Beta at the time of testing it worked straight away and connected up to the ASA.  From there after testing I left it on my laptop, instead of reverting back to XP.  I still use mainly XP as my main partition, and use Vista as the secondary.  The main reason is familiarity – when I’m out at a customer’s site troubleshooting a server or connectivity issue I don’t want to be learning a new OS at the same time!  So I thought I’d leave it on there and use it at my own will….which didn’t happen much.  In the end I started delving more into *nix.

IT must be possible, I’ve read it is with various other versions of *nix, so let’s have a crack.  Here’s the ideal:

XP Pro

Vista Business

Kubuntu 8.04.1

On my laptop, XP Pro and Vista Business have quite happily co-existed.  The main reason for this was because I was quiet an early adopter of Vista I didn’t (couldnt) just chuck away XP yet.  Also I needed 2 vpn clients that couldn’t co-exist on the same build (Cisco client and Safenet).

Now I want to chuck a 3rd item into the mix – Kubuntu.  Currently it is installing, having resized the last partition down to create space.

The laptop is a Compaq nx8220

It ran through the installer for kubuntu OK, on the first boot under Other OS we get:

Windows Vista/Longhorn (loader)

Windows Vista/Longhorn (loader)

Obvious what has happened here with 2 duplicate entries – to get XP & Vista to dual boot (XP instlled first), you have to load the Vista boot loader onto the XP partition. So we are seeing 2 lots of the Vista boot loader so it assumes we have 2 different Vistas.  Hmm, really the first one is XP and the second is Vista.

Selecting the first one takes us to the Windows Boot Manager where we can then choose Earlier Version of Windows (i.e. XP) or Vista.  This is how it was setup before you would boot straight to this menu.  Rebooting here and then selecting the 2nd Windows Vista/Longhorn then takes you to…the same Windows Boot Manager but this time Vista is the default option with XP the second.

Rebooting then finally selecting Ubuntu 8.04.1 for our first boot successfully boots to the login screen.  Logging in produces annoying chimes, I hate annoying chimes on any OS.

A quick cat of /boot/grub/menu.lst reveals our entries, changing the Vista/Longhorn entry to XP makes things a little clearer for future use.

Well, it certainly looks like we’ve found most of the hardware 🙂  No FF though as standard..