What About Windows 8 Music App?

In case you are wondering about Microsoft Music app buzz on Windows 8 lately, I’d made a video to let you have a quick glimpse at it.  Anyhow, I forgot to mention few details about the Windows 8 Music app, but it was no big deal since the video wasn’t meant to be a complete tutorial or anything close to that sort for Windows 8 Music app.  Plus, the Windows 8 Music app is very simple to use anyway.  Besides you have to know when to do a right click on for whatever that needs to be right clicked on so a contextual menu could be brought up at the bottom of the Music app (or next to the very item within), Windows 8 Music app is rather self-explanatory.  Anyhow, check out the short video on Windows 8 Music app right after the break.  Enjoy!!!  (I wish I can do a screen capture correctly on Windows 8, but at the moment it is impossible since Camtasia Studio 8 isn’t working correctly on Windows 8 for me.)

Setting Up webDAV For Windows 7 Home Premium

Hacking WebDAV

Image by trey78 via Flickr

Some people prefer FTP, but other people want to use webDAV instead.  Both FTP and webDAV work well in regarding to allowing users to transfer files from one computer to another.  With webDAV, you can actually map a network drive and allow multiple users to use the same webDAV network drive.  I’d written on how to set up webDAV in Ubuntu (a Linux distribution) before, and so this time around I’ll show you how to set up webDAV on Windows.

Let us begin (wait, make sure you check the images above to correlate with certain parts of the tutorial below):

  1. Click on the Start button.  Inside the search box, type in Windows Features.  You should see an item says “Turn Windows features on or off,” click on it.  It will take couple seconds to open up Windows Features window.
  2. Inside Windows Features window, expand the Internet Information Services, expand the World Wide Web Services, expand the Common HTTP Features, and then check the boxes that say Static Content and WebDAV Publishing.
  3. Expand the Security box underneath World Wide Web Services.  Check the boxes that say Basic Authentication and Request Filtering.
  4. Expand the Performance Features box underneath World Wide Web Services.  Check the boxes that say Dynamic Content Compression and Static Content Compression.
  5. Now, expand the Web Management Tools and check the box that says IIS Management Console.
  6. Click OK to save the settings of Windows Features.
  7. If many computers of yours are connecting to the same router and belong to the same home network or network, then premium security software which has its own firewall should not require you to actually open up the port 80 on the Windows 7 Home Premium machine which hosts webDAV server.  Such security software I speak of are Norton, McAfee and so on.  If you aren’t turning a firewall on for the computer which has enabled webDAV, then you don’t really have to open up port 80 for this specific computer.  In case you are using the firewall which Windows 7 Home Premium provides, then you need to open up port 80 manually.  If you intend to access the Windows 7 Home Premium machine which hosts webDAV from different networks, then you should configure your router to allow port forwarding of port 80 for the specific IP address of a computer or network which hosts webDAV server.
  8. Let get back to Windows 7 Home Premium machine which you had enabled the Windows Features’ features earlier.  Click on Start button again.
  9. Inside search box of Start button, type in IIS Manager and you should see Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager item.  Click on this.
  10. A window of IIS Manager would pop up, and you should see your username.  Expand your username so more items/boxes would appear.  Expand Sites.  Click on Default Web Site.
  11. Now, you should see a center panel switch to something which has the item called as Authentication, representing by a half human figure with a lock icon.  Double click on Authentication.
  12. Make sure the status of Anonymous Authentication and Basic Authentication is enabled.
  13. Click on Default Web Site in the left panel again.  Double click on WebDAV Authoring Rules.  A WebDAV Authoring Rules window should now appear.
  14. On the right panel, click on Add Authoring Rule.  The easiest way to set this up is to Allow access to All Content and Allow access to this content to All users.  For permissions, make sure you check the boxes that say Read, Source, and Write.  Click OK to save the settings.
  15. Back out to WebDAV Authoring Rules window again.  Click Enable WebDAV on the right panel.

Let us map a network drive to our webDAV folder:

  1. Click Start button, click on Computer.  Double click on Local Disk (C:).  Double click on inetpub.  Double click on wwwroot.  Right click, select New, and select Folder.  Type in a new name for the folder.  In my case, I labeled it as webDAV.  If Windows asks for administration permission to add webDAV to the wwwroot folder, you should say yes to it.
  2. Double click on webDAV.  On the top you should see Share with.  Click on Share with and choose Homegroup (Read/Write).  Alternatively, you can also choose Specific people and then go ahead to allow specific user to have access to webDAV folder.
  3. Click on Start button again.  Click on Computer.  You should see at the top says Map network drive.  Click on it and map a network drive letter to webDAV folder that you had created and shared with Homegroup or specific people earlier.
  4. Now you should see a network drive which maps to your webDAV folder when you go to Start >> Computer.

Let us now access webDAV folder on Windows 7 Home Premium machine from our Mac:

  1. Open up Finder.
  2. Click on Go.
  3. Click on Connect to Server.
  4. Type in this:  http://192.168.1.134/webDAV/.  Make sure you replace the 192.168.1.134 with the correct IP address of your Windows 7 Home Premium machine (i.e., the IP address of the webDAV server).  Make sure the spelling of the folder webDAV is indeed correct or replace it with the right webDAV’s folder name.
  5. Click Connect.  You should be prompted with an authentication window.  You need to enter the username and the password of the user you have allowed to have access to webDAV.
  6. Now you can move files and folders between your Mac and Windows 7 Home Premium machine using webDAV connection.

Some how, it’s difficult for Windows 7 Home Premium to connect to webDAV server of any environment (i.e., hosting by Windows or Linux machine).  The best way to go around this is to use BitKinex which can be downloaded on download.cnet.com.

The whole idea of hosting a webDAV server on Windows 7 Home Premium is basically to allow Mac and Linux machines to have access to Windows 7 Home Premium share folders.  In a way, Mac and Linux machines can see webDAV’s share folders as if their own folders, consequently allowing drag and drop files and folders between different machine architectures.  There should be an easier way than webDAV or FTP for Windows to Windows file sharing and transferring, therefore you need not to host webDAV on Windows 7 Home Premium machine if you just want to use another Windows 7 Home Premium or higher versions of Windows for file sharing and transferring.  I think webDAV feature is made available for all Windows 7 versions, except Windows 7 Starter edition.  As long you aren’t using Windows 7 Starter edition, you can follow this tutorial to have webDAV server up.  Good luck!

Sources:

http://makingwindowseasy.com/2010/10/09/setting-up-webdav-in-windows-7/
http://www.windows7news.com/2009/09/21/how-to-share-a-file-and-map-a-drive-in-windows-7/
http://download.cnet.com/BitKinex/3000-2160_4-10214947.html

Making Windows 7 As VPN Server And Mac As VPN Client. Surfing On Public Network Safer As VPN Encrypts Your Data!

Having a Windows 7 computer at home or office and you want to allow it to become a VPN server, but how?  Don’t worry, in this very post I’ll address that very question of yours!  First though, for whoever doesn’t know what is VPN server, I’ll quickly give a brief introduction to it.

VPN is virtual private network.  When you allow a computer to act as a VPN server, you basically allow computers outside your network to connect to VPN host and utilize the private network’s capabilities (e.g., accessing Internet, share files, etc…).  To make this a little clearer, you can sit in a coffee shop and access your office’s VPN to browse the Internet using your office’s Internet connection!

By now, you probably have a little question wiggles its way into your brain, wondering why you even need to access your office’s Internet connection even though you already connect to the coffee shop’s Internet connection.  You see, it’s somewhat safer for you to connect to your office’s Internet connection than from the public’s Internet connection such as one belong to a coffee shop.  With a private Internet connection such as your office’s Internet connection, you don’t have to worry about unknown users sniff your Internet traffic (e.g., prying on your Internet activities, stealing your plain text password).  In addition, the VPN connection will automatically encrypt all of your data from and to both ends of VPN (i.e., from the public to the private networks).

If you still don’t know why VPN is better for you while you surf the Internet from a coffee shop or a public Hotspot, then you just need to keep one thing in your mind that VPN helps secure your data by encrypting your data in strong encryption algorithm where hackers will find it very difficult to hijack your sessions.  So, now you know what VPN is capable of, but how to set it up?  Well, read on and I’ll promise you will be able to set up a VPN connection.

You don’t really need to download any special software, because Microsoft’s Windows 7 Home Premium or better allows you to create a VPN type of connection.  In this post, I’ll make Windows 7 computer as a host of VPN connection, and a Mac as a client of VPN connection.  Whenever I mention a VPN host, I mean Windows 7, and whenever I mention a VPN client, I mean a Mac.  Let us begin!

  1. On Windows 7, go to Control Panel >> Network and Internet >> Network and Sharing Center >> Change adapter settings >> hit Alt key on your keyboard >> File >> New Incoming Connection.
  2. A new screen will pop up and show couple available users that you can allow to connect to your new VPN connection.  Make sure you check the boxes of the users you want to allow to have access to VPN connection, and then click the Next button.
  3. A new screen pops up with an empty box next to the description which says Through the Internet.  Just check the box so you will be able to connect to your VPN connection later over the Internet from a public network such as a coffee shop.  Click the Next button.
  4. At this point, you will see a screen with couple features with boxes that had been checked.  Highlight the feature with description as Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP4).  Click on Properties button.  Make sure the box says Allow callers to access my local area network is checked.  Pick the radio button that says Specify IP addresses — this to fix the problem where Windows 7 fails to assign a proper internal IP addresses which leads to no Internet access for VPN clients.  Enter a starting static local IP address inside the box with the label From (i.e., 192.168.1.10).  Enter an ending static local IP address inside the box with the label To (i.e., 192.168.1.15).  You notice that the IP address in the To box determines how many static IP addresses can be assigned to more VPN clients (i.e., included the host and additional VPN clients).  In the configuration above, it shows that we can have 5 static local IP addresses to be used with our VPN clients and one IP address is used by VPN host.  VPN Host will assign one of these IP addresses to a VPN client of yours so you can connect to the Internet through your private network.  Oh, your internal IP addresses might be different, because it’s depending on how your router assigns the local/internal IP addresses.  Some routers may use local IP addresses starting not with 192.168.x.x but with something else.  It’s up to you to figure that out.  Now you can finish this process by clicking the OK button.
  5. A new incoming connection is now created, and the last screen shows you your computer name.  Remember the computer name so you might have to use it inside your VPN client later.
  6. Open up a command prompt by click on Start button, type cmd inside search box, and then hit Enter key on your keyboard.
  7. Inside the command prompt, enter the command ipconfig /all.
  8. If your Windows 7 computer is currently connecting to the Internet/router through ethernet connection, looks for the IP address that maps to an ethernet connection.  If it’s a wireless connection, look for the IP address that maps to your wireless connection.  Write it down so you can use it later.
  9. Open up your router’s configuration panel (i.e., access it through the browser).  Usually you can get to your router’s configuration panel using a browser.  The address of your router’s configuration panel may not be the same as mine, and so you have to look that up with your router’s manual or router’s official website.  An example of Linksys router’s configuration panel can be accessed at 192.168.1.1.  In the router’s configuration panel, you need to do a port forwarding for port 1723/TCP (PPTP).
  10. It’s time for you to configure your Mac so you can connect it to your VPN.  Go to Settings >> Network >> click on the lock and type in your administrator password so you can add a connection >> click on the plus sign >> choose VPN for Interface and PPTP for VPN Type and type in any name for the new VPN connection in Service Name >> click Create button.
  11. Leave Configuration as default.  Type in the IP address of your Windows 7 machine (i.e., I told you to write down the IP address in step 8).  Type in account name (i.e., username of the user you allow to have VPN access to your Windows 7 machine) in Account Name.  Try to choose Maximum (128 bit only) Encryption for stronger security.  Check the box that says Show VPN status in menu bar.  Click on Advance button, in Option tab, check the boxes of Disconnect when switching user accounts and Disconnect when users log out and Send all traffic over VPN connection.  Go to DNS tab and click the plus sign under DNS Servers box — enter Google’s Public DNS servers (e.g., 8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4).  Click OK button to exit and save everything!
  12. Don’t you see a little icon on your menu bar?  It looks like a rounded corner mini bar with many smaller vertical bars within.  Anyway, click on it and choose to connect to your VPN connection.  A password prompter will ask you for your password, just enter a password of a Windows 7 machine’s user that you had allowed to use VPN in step 2.  At this point, you either connect or don’t.  If you can’t connect to your VPN connection on Windows 7 machine, then you have to retrace back to previous steps to see what you had done wrong.
  13. How do you know that by now you’re actually tunneling into your VPN and using your VPN’s Internet connection to surf the Internet and not your current Internet connection?  Well, just open up a terminal on your Mac, type in ifconfig, and scroll all the way down where you see something that looks like this:
  14. You can also open up a browser such as Chrome and try to see if you’ll be able to browse the Internet or not.  Also, you can always use one of those IP check service on the web.  How?  Go to Google, and type in what’s my IP.  Click on the first link you see!  If the IP address is of your VPN (e.g., of your office or home), then you know you’re browsing the Internet using your VPN connection!

I think I’d pretty much cover all the steps, but I’m not 100% sure.  After all, I’m writing this post very late in the night!  Nonetheless, I wish you all good luck in creating a VPN connection by following this guide of mine!

Windows 7 Backup Complains Mcx1’s Search and Contact Have Gone Missing, Backup Won’t Be Completed

Don’t you hate when your Windows 7 cannot complete a backup?  There are various things that can contribute to such a fatal possibility which as well could ruin your very happy day.  I don’t know all the answers to every backup situations that can go wrong on your Windows 7, but I’m familiar with when Windows 7 complains about it cannot complete the backup since the two directories, Search and Contact, inside a directory Mcx1-User-PC (User = to the user on your Windows 7) have gone missing.

In case you don’t know, Mcx1 is a Windows Media Center Extender directory.  So don’t sweat it, I’m going to show you how to fix this so your Windows 7 can complete its backup.  What you need to do is to open up Control Panel >> System and Security >> Backup and Restore >> Change Settings >> (Select the backup drive) >> (Choose Let Me Choose) >> (Expand Data Files Section) >> (Expand Mcx1 directory) >> (Expand Additional Locations) >> (Remove the check marks beside Contacts and Searches) >> (Save the settings).  Do the backup again, and your Windows 7 will complete its backup this time!

The tip above works?  If not, don’t hesitate to chime in on the comment section below the post!  Have fun tinkering with your Windows 7.

Zorin, A Ubuntu Derivative, Fast Look-alike Windows

Zorin OS may have become my next favorite Linux distribution right after Ubuntu.  I’ve tested Zorin inside VirtualBox, and I’m surprised that Zorin behaves superbly even though it is only using a virtual environment.  For your information, VirtualBox is one type of software that capable of providing virtual machines.  As I say I’m impressed with Zorin for its performance inside a virtual environment, and it’s because I’ve found out that installing Zorin is a little faster than Ubuntu — that’s installing Ubuntu inside VirtualBox seems to be a little slower.  I haven’t yet compared the speed of the installation for both of these Linux distributions on the normal environment (i.e., without virtual environment).

Zorin is mimicking Windows for its user interface, but its user interface out of the box is still powering by Gnome.  Windows users may find Zorin is even more friendlier than Ubuntu.  Everything inside Zorin seems to be very responsive such as its menu.  Zorin is a derivative of Ubuntu which is a derivative of Debian which makes Zorin is a Debian also.  Thus Zorin works exactly like Ubuntu under the hood.  Opening up a terminal in Zorin, and you can execute Ubuntu’s commands.  Thus Zorin can be further customized to be more secured as how I’ve always done so for Ubuntu following the instruction here and here.

I’ve little to say about Zorin besides I’m very impressed with it since it’s a derivative of Ubuntu.  If you are familiar with Ubuntu, then you already know how to use Zorin.  If you’ve read Essayboard often, then you already know that I’d written many essays on Ubuntu.  It seems redundant if I’m writing more about Zorin since you can always look up the essays about Ubuntu on Essayboard.

Personal opinion, I like Zorin.  It’s impressive as it’s running very smooth and fast.  What makes it different than Ubuntu is that its user interface — mimicking Windows.  Some users may criticize why on earth another Linux distribution mimics Windows, but I’ve to say I don’t mind about that since Linux can be customized to look like however it wants to.  Some Windows users may find the similarities to Windows as a blessing; Zorin may be on their mind.

My testing specification of Zorin with VirtualBox is below (i.e., the settings inside VirtualBox for Zorin):

4GB of RAM
4 processors
PAE enabled
Nested Paging enabled
300 GB of Hard Drive
core i7
128 MB of graphic card memory
USB enabled
64 bit machine
VirtualBox 4.0
Zorin 4

Zorin can be downloaded at http://www.zorin-os.webs.com/.  Also, Distrowatch has ranked Zorin at 45.  A distant away from Ubuntu in term of ranking on Distrowatch, but I do recommend you to try Zorin out.  Ubuntu ranks as number one at this very moment on Distrowatch.  Have fun Zorin!