Tuesday, July 29, 2008

VMWare ESXi resources

Well, the blogosphere is definitely talking about the fact that VMware released ESXi for free as of July 28th.

I've started putting together some resources for when I decide to try upgrading from my current free VMware Server to ESXi installable. Here's some starting points:

Good "help" site on ESX 3.5/ESXi 3.5
ESXi drivers, etc. on whitebox hardware
VMware ESXi website

Does anyone have any other good links for VMware support (hardware for ESXi, etc.)?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Workspace

Well, because of some staffing changes, my office was recently rearranged. During the "move", I gained some desk space. At the same time, I also setup a new computer. The fast workstation I now have under my desk will be used for a Virtual "Test Lab", server staging, and (eventually) a network monitoring station. Here's some pics of the new layout:

Desktop_1

Desktop_2

Here's the hardware I'm working with:
1. IBM Thinkpad T43: Centrino 1.86GHz, 2GB RAM, 2x HDD (160GB total), removable DVD burner.
2. Custom Built computer (outside of pic): Core2 Quad Q9450, 8GB RAM, 300GB 10k boot disk, 1.3TB of usable disk space (1TB RAID-5 and 300GB RAID-0 array), Dual Nvidia 8600GT, Logitech Z4 speakers and a DVD burner.
3. Displays: 2x Benq G2400WD on an Ergotron Monitor arm, 1x Acer AL2216WBD attached to an Ergotron Laptop/Monitor combo mount.

The 2 Benq LCD's and the Acer are currently all hooked up to the Quad-core rig, and I'm using the Thinkpad stand-alone (although I sometimes use the Acer with it).

Software I work with everyday:
ACS People Suite
Microsoft Office 2007
Mozilla Firefox 3
Mozilla Thunderbird
Putty
UltraVNC
VMWare Workstation 6.0
Winamp

I'm thankful that I've got such a great setup of tools to use every day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Data Execution Prevention and svchost error (fixed)

Today, while trying to complete a user's Windows re-installation, I ran into an interesting issue giving me Data Execution Prevention (DEP) and svchost errors. Here's how it went down:

1. Clean Windows XP install (including SP2)
2. Installed XP SP3
3. Installed our "standard" setup (Office 2k, Publisher 2k2, ACS, Foxit Reader, CD/DVD burner, Windows Defender)
4. Installed the user's "needed" auxilary apps: iTunes, Quicktime, Audacity, Lame MP3 encoder.
5. Installed "useful" apps (trying to help the user out, since this computer has been a nightmare): .NET framework 3.5, CDBurnerXP, Paint.NET

Up until step 5, the computer was working exactly as planned, and had zero stability problems. Now, after installing .NET 3.5, CDBurnerXP, and Paint.net, things went haywire upon reboot. Suddenly I'm getting DEP errors, svchost errors, and things just aren't right (hard locks, no GUI, etc.). The exact errors were Event ID "1001" and Source "Application Error". Searching eventid.net and some other places yielded few, if any, results that were useful to me.

So, how (I) managed to fix this issue:

1. Uninstall Paint.net, CDBurnerXP, and then uninstall .NET 3.5 (notice the order there). This puts me at a "stable" config again.
2. Install .NET 3.5. REBOOT (this will cause any DEP and svchost errors to reappear upon boot-up).
3. If there are no issue, go ahead and install apps again, one at a time, rebooting after every installation.
4. I was able to install paint.net (the latest version) with no issues. My old version, 3.22, (that I originally was using) had issues with .NET 3.5.

If an app gives you an issue, find a new version (or don't install it). For me, it looks like Paint.net is the issue.

The crazy thing about this is that I have a lot of other copies of paint.net installed (with no problems). The problem here seems to be related to paint.net (which I had an old version of) and .NET 3.5.

Have you had similar issues with other .NET enabled software?