Ajit Monteiro

How to Enable Concurrent Users/Sessions in Windows Vista

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on March 13, 2007

My MCE computer is used completely for home theater purposes, and so it is very rarely used outside of the MCE environment. It also does not have a keyboard and mouse hooked up to it. This makes it very hard to accomplish any maintenance tasks without using remote desktop.

Unfortunately, by default Vista does not allow concurrent users logging in at the same time. So, until recently, if I wanted to rearrange some files on the computer, I would have to log in using remote desktop (which logs out the MCE user), rearrange the files, log out, connect a keyboard to the MCE computer so I can enter the password, and re-login with the MCE user.

Fortunately, the relentless folks at The Green Button have put in a lot of effort to find a work around. After some clever hacking you can log on with multiple users to the same Vista machine. Here is a link to the discussion so you can see the progress they have made.

And finally a how to taken from Missing Remote

  1. Download Sunmorgus’ hacked Termsrv.dll file HERE (If you’re using Vista HOME PREMIUM, use this link and follow the reg instructions below.)
  2. Now, Vista’s security needs a little massaging to allow you to modify the original termsrv.dll file, found in C:\Windows\System32, so….
  3. Click Start, then type “cmd” in the search box & hit enter. This will launch the Command prompt
  4. Type the following & hit enter: takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\termsrv.dll
  5. Then type this & hit enter (NOTE: Replace USERNAME with YOUR USERNAME!! If your name has a space in it, enclose it with quotes, like “Mike Garcen”): cacls C:\Windows\System32\termsrv.dll /G USERNAME:F
  6. Then go to your Windows Explorer, and go to C:\Windows\System32
  7. Rename the original termsrv.dll to something else, like “termsrv.dll.ORIGINAL”, just in case
  8. *NOTE* If you are unable to do the above, try rebooting into SAFE MODE
  9. Then copy & paste the Hacked DLL you downloaded in Step 1 into the C:\Windows\System32 folder
  10. And voila!

More details at Missing Remote and at Ricky’s Web Review

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My Work/Play Environment

Posted in Cool stuff, Microsoft, Random Thoughts, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on February 7, 2007

Over at Channel9 they have a post called “Vista Desktops – Post yours“. Since I talk about Vista a lot, I thought some of my readers might be interested in seeing what my system(s) look like.

DesktopThis is the main computer I use, a Dell Inspiron 6000, 1.6Ghz with 1GB of RAM. Not a powerhouse by any means but its proof that Vista doesn’t need a high end computer to run smoothly. Aero is turned on and it runs very similarly to XP, although I don’t game on it at all.

  1. The background image is from Mandolux – The left half is another laptop (more on this later)
  2. The top two gadgets are clocks that come with Vista for India and Chicago since I have to keep track of both time zones
  3. The third is the custom gadget I wrote to control winamp
  4. I also use Microsoft OneNote a lot, whose file is store on the server so that all computers are automatically up-to-date. It works better than I anticipated. I can press the windows key + N, write a note and its immediately updated on all computers. More on how to do this here…

The other computers in the network I get to by using a program called Synergy. It allows me to control them using the same keyboard and mouse over WiFi (without a KVM).

So if I move my mouse passed the edge of the screen left, it moves on the desktop of my Windows XP computer. It is a work computer so I can’t post any screenshots; however I use that for all my work related tasks.

HTPC DesktopIf I move the mouse up passed the edge of the screen I end up on my server/HTPC computer across the room. This also uses Windows Vista but is always in Media Center mode. It is an older custom built Athlon 3000+ 64bit with 1.5GB RAM (although it runs Vistas 32bit version). It can also be accessed using the windows media center remote or keyboard.

There is also an XBox 360 in the network that gathers media from the HTPC. Here is a full network diagram (note the XP computer doesn’t show up on it for some reason)

Network Map

Vista MCE: Online Media/Program Library

Posted in Microsoft, UI, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on January 18, 2007

There was a little surprise waiting for me in the Online Media/Program Library section of Vista’s Media Center today. Microsoft has (finally) released content from their partners. This was seen at CES but wasn’t available to Vista RTM users until today. I took some screen-shots to share…

Online Media/Program LibraryOnline Media/Program LibraryOnline Media/Program LibraryOnline Media/Program LibraryOnline Media/Program LibraryOnline Media/Program Library

I tried to capture all the images and sections in each category but haven’t gone through them all yet. If you have any questions or need more details about a particular section feel free to leave it in the comments and i’ll get back to you.

Vista (RTM Release), MCE, Installation and Walk Through

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on November 29, 2006

I was going to write up a walk through of how my Vista install went, and the pros and cons of upgrading, but I came across this write up that seems to have said everything I would want to…

MCE Shortcuts and Registry Hacks

Posted in Microsoft, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on November 29, 2006

Vista finally installed (The system performance rating)

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on November 21, 2006

Finally got Vista installed using the x86 version.

Actually the final install took less than an hour, since I could leave my motherboard’s caching and shadowing on.

MCE looks really pretty on it, although vistas system performance rating, rated my system as only a 2.0. This was because I have only 512MB of RAM and a far from stellar video card. The detailed rating was as follows…

Category HTPC Specs Rating Comments
Processor AMD Athlon 64 3000+ 4.1  
Memory 512MB RAM 2.9 No surprise here.
Graphics GeForce 5200 128MB 2.0 No surprise here either, but this puts me in the no aero category.
Gaming graphics GeForce 5200 128MB 2.5  
Primary hard disk 40GB 5.0 The primary HD is only 40GB but the rest of the system totals 850G

It doesn’t average the scores but rather takes the lowest common denominator which is a 2.0. MCE does crash on me sometimes when i’m doing multiple things at once, like watching a DVD and browsing music album cover art, which is of-course unacceptable for an HTPC (I guess I wil be shopping for RAM and a new video card this black Friday after-all).

Vista Released!

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on November 17, 2006

Ofcourse, only if you are an MSDN subscriber, but that means that Microsoft will meet their release dates, and I will be able to upgrade to Vista MCE .

On another note, I just got back from Best Buy since I needed a DVD-R to write Vista on, and it seems the PlayStation 3 is coming out tonight at midnight. There were a lot of people in line outside the store. I must be getting old if I kept my eye on an Operating Systems launch date, but not a next generation console.

Update 11/17/06 3:21PM

After about 20 hours of downloading, I finally got it written on a DVD and started the install. The first time it booted up it showed a blue screen almost immediately. But for once the blue screen was informative enough for me to fix the problem.

10min later, after I turned off shadowing and caching in my bios there was no blue screen and the install started. Its going really slow though, but i think thats because its reading everything off the dvd and not my harddrive yet. More updates to come soon…(hopefully)

Update 11/19/06 7:46PM

No news is not always good news, the install went smoothly but somewhere in the middle of the first boot up (and every subsequent one) it reboots. If I try booting using safe mode it seems to reboot right after trying to load “crcdisk.sys”. Googling it seems to find a lot of people having a similar problem, but the solution is not that straightforward.

I did try to do all this using the x64 version since my desktops processor is a AMD Athlon 3000+. I might try to install using the x86 version sometime this week.

Vista: Windows Media Center Walkthrough

Posted in Microsoft, Video, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on October 31, 2006

Here is Charlie Owen from the Windows Media Center team showing a demo of the new Windows Vista Media Center (Diamond)

The new interface looks really slick, however I am concerned since they seem to have reduced font sizes a little.

– Via Charlie Owen