How to put AT&T U-Verse’s Motorola NVG589 in Bridge Mode!

Thinking about getting an AT&T U-Verse connection for your home or business? Better make sure you get the right router from them! Why? Because some genius at AT&T had the audacity to think that their “basic” modem/router would be good enough for all their customers. This is of course laughable as their routers lack the wattage to push out any real wireless speed, have no directional antenna’s, and aren’t rated for any of the new wireless standards such as “AC” (Some of their routers don’t even have wireless “N”.) They also lack basic wireless security like guest networks, multiple channels, etc. etc. AND I won’t even go into advanced features such as VPN, QOS, and port forwarding.

Bottom line is that you are going to want a “real” wireless router and that means putting the “basic” one you got from AT&T into “Bridge Mode”.

Bridge Mode means turning off all features and using their (AT&T’s) router as nothing more than a “pass though”.

So far, the only router they have that you can do this on is the Motorola NVG589. You will have to ask for it specifically, or you will end up with a router that CAN’T be put in “Bridge Mode”.

Below I have created a document that you can follow to do exactly that.

Oh, and you should also know that AT&T no longer has ANY techs above level 1. They laid them all off and now contract to a support company in India. I’m not going to comment on the quality of that support company other than to tell you to feel free to contact me for a paid support incident after you have finished pulling your hair out dealing with them.

thanks for reading and I hope this document helps!

How to Put the Motorola NVG589 in Bridge Mode by robert3671

How to set up OneDrive for business in Office 365

Here is a quick tutorial on how to set up OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) for Business in Office 365. This will become especially useful now that Microsoft has increased the meager 15GB to 1TB for business users. Note that this tutorial shows how to link the existing OneDrive application to the business’s Office 365 SharePoint site in the cloud. Here’s the skinny:

How to Set Up ONE DRIVE for Business

Office 365 “The Hard Way”! – What you really need to know about how to migrate your email to the cloud!

If any of you have tried to implement an Office 365 migration one of the first things you will encounter is a complete lack of “decent” documentation from Microsoft.  Especially when it comes to all the “undocumented features” and limitations you will come up against that will have you pulling your hair out by the roots.

Here’s some key points you need to know BEFORE you begin any kind of migration to Office 365.

1. Active Directory integration means sacrificing redundancy and disaster recovery if you are in the SMB market space.  The quick and dirty is that if you want all your usernames and passwords to sync between your AD and Office 365 you have to set up an “active directory connector” which will directly tie your AD to Office 365.  If for any reason your AD on premise goes down, users will NOT be able to use ANY of the Office 365 services.  There is no “independent”  functioning of any of the cloud services if you set up federation between your on premise AD and the Office 365 cloud.  This means that either you will have to invest in redundant architecture (which most SMB’s can’t afford) or you will just have to manage two complete sets of usernames and passwords.  UGH!

2. Office 365’s “Administer on behalf of” feature lacks many of the things you need to set up new users (such as downloading and installing the connector software that actually builds the link between the end users office suite and the cloud exchange/lync servers). Plan on wasting a lot of time having to log in as the business admin or one of the end users to get anything done for setup. Think you can pre-deploy software without logging into EACH individual users account? Think again.  Do it and you end up tying your own partner software licenses to the end users computers and have to go through a lengthy process of uninstalling and re-installing to fix it. And while we are on the subject… I don’t recommend deploying the new Office 2013 suite.  At the time of this writing it is NOT ready for prime time.  I have experienced multiple issues on several different clients, including but not limited to; random crashing, extreme slowness, multiple different plugins breaking, macros no longer functioning, and much more.  NOT FUN! Oh, and don’t even think about installing this on a Terminal Server. Maybe Microsoft will fix these issues in the near future but for now you should stick to Office 2010.

3. There is a major bug involving recurring appointments in Outlooks calendar. BEFORE you sync your calendar with the office 365 cloud you should delete any recurring appointments, otherwise these appointments will not be able to be deleted.

4. If you are using Office 2010 suite (or just Outlook 2010) you must have Service Pack 2 or later installed or Outlook will not connect to the Office 365 Exchange servers.

5. The Exchange portion of Office 365 DOES NOT support any Single mail over 20MB in size. This means if you are doing an Exchange to Office 365 migration you had better plan ahead if your client had their exchange attachment settings allowing even 20MB in total per email.  To help you guys with this problem I have detailed a step by step guide on how I handled this exact problem below:

How to Prepare Your Email Accounts and Mailboxes for Importing Into Office 365

How to set up Hyper-V Replica for WorkGroup or Non-Domain SMB!

OK folks here’s the scenario:  Got two Hyper-V boxes (either running the stand alone hypervisor, or within the Server 2012 platform) and you want to set up a Disaster Recovery (DR) site.   Maybe if you were like me, and had a few small / medium businesses who’s boxes you were hosting out of your home office, or a business location that is not set up like a Tier 3 data center and wanted to do the following:

  1. Reduce the number of physical boxes by converting them to virtual (let heat, and more free space).
  2. Provide both hardware and software redundancy (remove single points of failure).
  3. Provide true Disaster Recovery (DR) in the event of a major power outage, or weather conditions (like a flood, hurricane, etc. etc.)
  4. Tired of paying crappy hosting companies (I’m lookin’ at you 1and1) for server rental on cheap hardware that breaks every year, and terrible service that has your customers screaming and pulling their hair out.

Then the new Hyper-v Replication features in Hyper-V 2012 are just the thing for you.

There already are a bunch of great articles out there with really nice graphics so I’m going to link you to them shortly, but there are A LOT of missing pieces of the puzzle when you actually want to make this happen.  THIS ARTICLE is going to fill in the gaps and provide you with a TRUE start to finish guide.

Start with THIS ARTICLE, then come back here before you continue on to PURCHASE AND INSTALL THE SSL CERTTIFICATES.

STEP 1:  Get TWO certificates.  I recommend using the 30 FREE RAPID SSL certs from TRUSTICO to get started since they are free, and if they don’t work for your scenario, you can just let them expire and it has cost you nothing but time.  That said you should know that they will only provide you ONE FREE RAPID SSL per DOMAIN, and YES you have to have an ACTUAL DOMAIN (two different domains, one for each cert) to certify and validate the certificates.  NOTE:  During the process of signing up for your free certificates, which you MUST certify/validate with an email registered to the root of the domain.  This email is NOT one of your choosing, but one that is part of the ICANN registration process when you first registered your domain name.   But hey, if you’re like me you should have 10-15 domain names laying around, so using one of these should be rather easy.  I used the following format: servername.domainname.com/net/us/etc.  So as an example if one of my servers was named hypervhost1 then the FQDN (and certificate) I would register would be hypervhost1.shofkom.com for example.

STEP 2:  Convert the cert to the correct format (PFX)using this tool.  NOTE:  The certificate code is sent to in a DIFFERENT ORDER than what is presented in the conversion tool, so be sure to READ what CODE it wants in what box.  I also recommend highlighting the code from the bottom up, then copy (Control C) and paste (Control V) without any additional spaces.  Other wise the tool won’t work.  Also don’t forget to add a password that you will not forget.  If all else fails Trustico has chat representative available in the morning hours that will convert it for you if you ask nice enough!

STEP 3:  This article will show you how to add the snap in and import the certificates.  You will need to do this with BOTH machines.

Now head back over to the original article and continue noting that you have to do everything to BOTH machines (It doesn’t do any good to have a FAIL OVER, if you don’t have a FAIL BACK!)

Lastly:  You will need to use some HOST FILES in order to get these boxes talking locally. (I recommend setting them up locally first, before breaking up your set and shipping one off to another location.)  Add an entry with your created FQDN and the IP of the NIC or NIC Team for your HOST box.  Don’t forget to do this on BOTH machines.

How to Get to and Edit the Hosts File:

If you want to edit the hosts file, you first need to locate and open it – on Vista and newer with UAC enabled from an elevated process (with admin rights). The procedure is a little tedious. Here is how to do it with 64-bit Notepad:

Click on the Start button, type “notepad” and press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER. Acknowledge the UAC dialog.Type CTRL+O. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. Select “All Files” in the bottom right corner.

Now you see the hosts file. Select and open it. Make your changes and save it.

Finally, when you are ready to break apart the pair and set them up you can use Static IP’s or redirects from NO-IP.  Make sure you don’t forget to port forward in your firewall!  🙂

 

 

How to fix, “My Game Will Not Work” Issues!

Many people ask me “what I do for fun”?  Being as I am so into technology… Well the answer is easy.  Gaming!

My Steam account is worth well over 3 grand, and I am always trying out new games.  Because of this, I’ve had to do a lot of trouble shooting when it comes to getting all kinds of games to work on various hardware, with various operating systems, in various configurations.

Like wise I have many friends that do the same, and end up asking me for assistance.  So to save myself some time I’ve doctored up a guide I found elsewhere and posted it below to assist everyone who has a game that is “not working”.

Drivers:

Your computer needs drivers to work properly. That CD/DVD that came with your hardware is outdated and that can cause problems. If you experiencing slowdown/crashes, chances are you are using outdated drivers.  You will need to find those drivers and get them updated.  More on how to do this later in the post.

Audio:

Unless you bought a separate sound-card (and who does that nowadays?), you’ve probably got a Realtek chip on your motherboard. If you actually have a separate card, you probably know what it is – you can just download updated drivers from the manufacturer’s website.

Note on Creative cards: Don’t bother downloading “updated” drivers from Creative’s website. This is a rare case where the drivers you got on the CD are always going to be better than those they offer on the website.

Video:

If you are using Intel Integrated Graphics, you are using a laptop (for example a Dell non XPS) I’ll just pause here to laugh at you because that’s not a gaming platform.  Otherwise you’ll have either an ATI/AMD or Nvidia card or Internal chipset to work with and will need to go to the sites below for the latest and greatest drivers.

ATI/AMD/Radeon
Nvidia/GeForce

These two often release Beta versions of their drivers in order to optimize support for big-name titles that have come out in the middle of their release cycle. Be careful! It might seem tempting to squeeze as much out of your card as possible for your favorite new game, but those drivers are labelled as Beta for a reason. Always keep the installer handy for the last stable driver version that you had installed, should the Beta end up making things worse. Of course, on the other hand, sometimes the game will run like utter crap without the Beta update, so it’s a toss-up. I generally advise that you try your new game with the existing stable driver version to see if you even need the Beta in the first place.

What else?:

It can be a good idea to also update the drivers for other hardware on your PC (Network, Chipset, RAID, etc.) – this is generally a good place to start when it comes down to other problems you’re having. Sometimes, the manufacturer of your motherboard will supply updated drivers for all the hardware that came with that model (or, as it is referred to, hardware that is “on-board”). If you can get updated drivers for the individual components direct from their manufacturer though, that is usually better (especially in the case of Intel Chipset Drivers).

There are also updates for SSD harddrives (especially on older model SSDs that don’t use technology that is as efficient as newer models).

If you’re having RAID problems, look for updates for on-board Intel RAID (ICHxR southbridge), Intel Chipset drivers, and the Matrix Storage Manager; for non-Intel on-board RAID, either check the manufacturer’s website, or if you don’t know who that is, check the website of your motherboard manufacturer. For a dedicated RAID card, check the manufacturer’s website.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!:

Here are the websites for some motherboard manufactures (if you’re using another manufacturer; LOL):

GIGABYTE
MSI
ASUS
INTEL

If you’re using Windows 7/8, Windows Update should have updated drivers for you (though it is still better to get drivers direct from the manufacturer – hardware drivers in Windows Update can sometimes be outdated or altered from manufacturer specs). If you’re not using Windows 7/8, why not? Windows XP has a bus-pass and a zimmer, and no longer receives any updates. If you are using Vista, just go away. Leave. Now. Seriously. I’m not helping you.

If you have a Dell PC, DO NOT use Windows Update for hardware drivers! You can’t even trust updates from the manufacturer’s own website, unfortunately; Dell has a habit of doing funny things to their hardware that can mean that the manufacturer’s drivers wont work – or worse (especially in the case of graphics cards).

Your best bet is to go direct to the Dell support page
(support.dell.com)
And either enter your service tag or select your PC model from the options towards the bottom. Once selected, you will be presented with a picture of your PC and a row of tabs below that, one of which will take you to the drivers page. Be sure to then select the correct operating system from the drop-down menu, and then select the correct drivers for the devices you have within the available categories – sometimes (especially if you haven’t entered your service tag), the page can list drivers for devices that you don’t actually have, so use some common sense when downloading updates.

Dell also has an FTP site with all their drivers on it here.

Furthermore, ALWAYS create a restore point on your system drive before updating hardware drivers like these, no matter where the update has come from! — especially in the case of Chipset, Network, and RAID drivers. If updating one of those goes tits-up and you don’t have a restore point, you may not be able to recover your system.

Dependencies:

So you got the drivers, that’s it, right? Nope! Software depends on software. This is the part you probably want to pay attention to if your game spews errors after you installed it.

DirectX – Windows 7 covers DirectX10/11, but not 9 by default. Always install to be sure. This is super important, and you should always keep it up to date – 99.9% of PC games use DirectX. (DirectX Link Here.)

VC++ (x86) || VC++ (x64) – Missing a “dll”? Most likely because you’re missing this. Windows 7 will auto-update it once you have it installed. Again, exceptionally common, so get this anyway. x64 versions of Windows require both x64 and x86 packages below.
(VC++ (x86) || VC++ (x64) Links here.)

PhysX – nVidia drivers include PhysX, but if you don’t have a card from the green machine, you’ll need this. It’s a very common requirement in those dazzling super-sparkly high-end modern games, so if you don’t have a nVidia card, you should download this anyway.
(PhysX link here.)

OpenAL – Software sound driver – allows you hear the screams of the pixels you’re murdering in crystal clear definition! More common in indie games, but is actually still quite widespread. It’s a tiny, super-fast installer. Even if your game doesn’t specifically require this, get it anyway. (OpenAL Link here.)

.NET framework – Less common in games, but lots of applications out there require this. You should always have it installed. Be wary, however: some software may require older versions in order to function, so if you still encounter issues after downloading v4.5, try v4.0, v3.5 SP1, v2.0, SP1, SP2 or even v1.1

XNA – Microsoft likes runtimes. This allows you to play XNA games (games made using the Microsoft XNA SDK). This is version 4. Try other versions as well. (XNA Link here.)

If you download a game, and it has a redist/drivers folder, install all that stuff.

Now what?:

Still not working? I highly suggest you run Ninite, FileHippo and/or PSI Secunia and update everything that’s outdated. And install Windows Updates (see note in Drivers section first). Also, the above Dependencies section is not an exhaustive list – some games may have other requirements. Generally, reading the .NFO, manual (RTFM) and the game’s system requirements is a good place to start when trying to find out what dependencies it may have. Honestly though, you should be reading the .NFO of any release that you download anyway.

NINITE
FILEHIPPO
PSI Secunia

Still not working?:

In a word, permissions. In Windows Vista and above, some games may require elevated permissions to work properly – while sometimes it may start up fine, you may encounter certain bugs unless you run it as administrator. Here’s a quote for you:

Just because you’re on an account that is an administrator, doesn’t mean that UAC wont run some things as non-admin by default. A lot of installers have a ‘run me as admin’ call that UAC will then ding you about, but some things are not coded to automatically ask you. Forcing something to run as Admin causes it to elevate itself before it even gets that far.

Basically, if you are using UAC (which you probably are and should be by default), being on an admin account just keeps you from needing to input your password manually when a UAC prompt comes up asking for elevated rights. If you were not on an administrator account, it would have the same prompt but also ask you for another password from an actual admin-flagged account.

That’s the difference between being on an admin account and having things run as the administrator.

If that doesn’t do it for ya….. Format and Reload!

Upgrading WordPress on 1and1 linux host need PHP 5 or higher.

Just upgraded this bog from WordPress 2.8.0 to 3.2.1 (long overdue) and changed the theme so it would render properly in IE9.  I followed the directions in these two posts:

Backing up your Database (Using PHP MyAdmin).

and

Updating WordPress to the latest version.

Everything was working fine until i got an error message saying that WordPress required PHP 5 or higher to run.  After some expert “Google” searching I was able to find the answer to my problem.

If you are on 1and1’s shared hosting packages you will need to do the following:

1. Log into your admin panel and select the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then use the drop down menu to change from what ever older version you are running to PHP5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all there is to it.  Hopefully this will save some time for a few of you who use 1and1 for hosting.

And for my regular visitors, enjoy the new look and feel of the site!

 

My Recommended #1 piece of software every System Admin needs to have in his arsenal: EaseUS® Todo Backup Technician 2.5

First let me state for the record that I am in no way affiliated with, or receive any monetary compensation for the following review.

That out of the way, I wanted to let you guys know about an incredible piece of software that has saved me HOURS, even DAYS of time in the restoration and recreation of system images.  The product is EaseUS® Todo Backup Technician 2.5.  I’m currently working with a group of software testers whose job it is to test code on all different “target” machines with different software and hardware configurations.

What this software does is allow you to backup and restore EVERY computer in your environment including physical and virtual machines, regardless of OS.  (Note: As of this writing I have only tested out Microsoft Windows based system images, and will likely write up a second report when I have had the chance to test on Linux based machines.) It performs all the traditional backup methods (Full, Incremental, Differential, etc.) and can send these backups to network shares, removable drives, off site ftp’s, etc.  You can set up schedules and lock down times for backups just like most other backup suites and has messaging capability built in to email you alerts for the success and failure of said backups.  However, I want to use this review to highlight what this software can do that others can’t.

The advantages this software has over the others are the following:

  1. The ability to convert a backup image into a .vmdk file for direct mounting to a VM in any of the ESX product lines.  (This does require the installation of a tool from VMware that you can download from here).  In my testing of the product I was not able to get the VM to boot directly from a single converted image, but it worked flawlessly when simply attaching a converted image to an existing VM.  For recovering a physical machine to a virtual machine I simply created the VM, attached the EaseUS® Todo Backup Technician 2.5 Boot .iso (The BOOT disc is a Windows PE Environment that will work with sysprep and contains the FULL Version of the software with the UNIVERSAL RESTORE.) to the VM and then pointed it to the image without even converting it and it worked like a dream.  I have tested both physical to virtual and virtual to physical and the software performed flawlessly.
  2. The ability to “mount” an image to get a single file or folder.  The ability to do a UNIVERSAL RESTORE or HARDWARE INDEPENDENT RESTORE where you can do a sector by sector backup of a system and recover it to a completely different system with completely different hardware.  I have tested this with ALL versions of W2K3 and W2K8 (32/64 as well as R2/non R2) and it worked flawlessly every time.  I have moved and recovered system images not only to different DELL hardware, but also cross platform moving a system image from a DELL server to an HP server, to an IBM server, and all worked flawlessly.  The software appears to do complete system prep and will ask you for any drivers that it can’t find during the initial boot up.  In the 12 test cases I have tried, only once did it ask me for a driver, and I was able to find it via the support.dell.com website.  You will have to reactivate windows and so far as I can tell has not given me any SID problems.  Please see these blog posts on changing SIDS as well as using SID changing software before you attempt to change SIDS in windows: REFERENCE 1REFERENCE 2REFERENCE 3
  3. The ability to create a system image from within the Windows GUI without having to use a Boot Disk or even reboot the server.  Again, this is especially convening when you are doing work remotely and can’t be there to physically insert a disk into the servers CD tray.  You can download this software, install it and perform the backup without having to boot the system via bios or use any iDrac features.

The only product I have seen that is comparable to this one is made by Acronis, but the license fees are much, much higher.  Acronis wants around $1200 to protect a single server while EaseUS® Todo Backup Technician 2.5 only charges around $600 for 10 licenses.  (I do not know what protection scheme Acronis uses but it appears that the EaseUS® Todo Backup Technician 2.5 licensing is completely on the honor system as I have never entered a single key since paying for and downloading the software.)

The only drawback I can see for using this software is that EASEUS is not an American company, so I do not know how difficult getting support would be.  However, I have not had to use any support or even open a single trouble ticket as the software just WORKS!  Also, the user manuals are very well written, with easy to follow instructions, and the software itself is very user friendly.  Grab the trial from here: and test it out yourself.  (The only thing you can’t do from the trial is the universal restore.)

So again, if you’re looking for backup software that is both affordable and works I would highly recommend you grab a copy of EaseUS® Todo Backup Technician 2.5 and implement it in your IT environment.  If you would like me to show you how to implement this software into your existing infrastructure, or replace your old Ghost or Backup Exec suite just hit me up on the contact form located here!

How to recover your virtual environment using an HP Falconstor CDP and VMWare ESX!

Recently I tasked to create some technical documentation for one of my clients on how to restore and recreate servers replicated to an HP Falconstor CDP.

The clients environment consisted of a multi-site virtual environment running on the VMware ESXi 4.1 platform.  Their primary method of off site protection was to use two HP Falconstor CDP devices and have the primary on-site unit replicate to a secondary unit off-site.  The CDP device does not do an OS replication, but rather only the data stored on each of the servers hard drives.  In the event the primary site was completely lost (for example a fire or flood) the method of recovery would be to recreate the VM’s on an ESX host at the secondary site then re-attach the replicated drives.

The following is a document I created that will show you how to bring up the production servers in the event of a disaster recovery situation. The method used to do this is to create virtual machines (servers) in ESX, and attach the replicated drives from the HP Falconstor CDP device. This will create a bootable server and essentially use the CDP device as a SAN (attached storage).

How to Recover Your Virtual Environment Using an HP Falcons Tor CDP and VMWare ESX

Looking for Credential Tiles freezes up Remote Desktop on Acer Machines.

File this under “everyday it’s some new problem with Windows” category.  This past week I have been working with a new Law Firm client setting up their hosted server to run “Needles” a case management database/software.  They are on a Windows 2008 R2 box running “Remote Desktop Services” (formerly “Terminal Server Services”).  I was finishing them up when I noticed this bizarre issue with Remote Desktop.

Out of the blue, when I attempt to connect to RDC, it shows a dialog “Looking for Credential Tiles”. The dialog is up for ever and if I click cancel instead of getting a login screen RDC freezes up my PC and I have to shut it down from the Task Manager.

credtiledelay

I jump over to one of my other systems and it works flawlessly.   Since this was working earlier in the week without issue I determine that it must be bumping heads with some other software on the system.   As a System Admin for over 15 years my experience is that Windows OS’s biggest strength is also it’s biggest weakness.   The ability to run literally thousands of different programs means that occasionally one or more programs will not play nice with each other.  In this case the problem lies with the ACER Bio Protection/Fingerprint software.  In order to fix this issue all I needed to do was uninstall the ACER BIO PROTECTION ATU software.

MAC vs. PC? Put this in your MAC and smoke it! My first experience with a MAC.

 

 

Just recently my wife’s step mother purchased a brand new mac book pro.It ended up in my hands because she wanted me to “boot camp” it or basically have me set up the computer to run Windows 7 on a separate partition.The “Boot Camp” software is pre-installed on the Mac’s operating system so all that is really needed was a Windows 7 license/media, and a bit of time.Since I had never used a Mac before, I figured this was as good a time as any to test out all the claims that I have heard from my “Apple Loving Friends” about what a superior product MAC was both in hardware and software.

After doing some Google searches and finding an article on “Life Hacker” I set out to complete the task at hand.The instructions seemed simple enough.Find the little “magnifying glass” in the upper right hand corner and type “Boot Camp Assistant” then run the program following the prompts until completion.So that’s what I set about doing.

The first screen came up and told me to download Windows Support Files that would be needed after the setup had finished.I clicked yes, and the next thing I get is a retarded barber pole.

barber_pole

Hmmmm, I thought.What a completely useless graphic.It doesn’t give me any idea of the progress of the file download, and it didn’t even ask me what location on the hard drive I wanted to download the support files to.After about 5 minutes the bar went away and the next screen came up asking me to either;

A. Insert a CD or DVD to burn the support files to disk OR

B. Insert removable media (like a usb drive) that is formatted in DOS Fat to store the files on.

I select A and grab a blank DVD+R and insert it into the slot on the side of the computer.  After a few moments I can hear the disc spinning and a menu pops up saying the disc is ready to be burnt.  I hit Continue and…… nothing happens.  It just takes me back to the previous menu.  OK, I think, maybe it just doesn’t like the brand of media.  I try a different brand…same thing.  I try a DVD-R…same thing.  I try a CD-R still no luck.

Hmmmm, not really liking this MAC so far.Alright, lets try the second option.  I grab a couple of usb drives.  I have heard of “fat32” before but not “dos fat” so I stick the drives into my wonderful windows box and sure enough there is the option to format in fat.  I format one drive in fat and the other in fat32 and stick the first drive into the MAC’s usb port.  I select option B and wait.  A box pops up telling me that there was an error coping the files to disk.  I try the other drive…same thing.  Now I’m getting irritated.  “MAC’s are a superior product”, my mind hears an annoying voice say.  Alright, maybe there is just something I’m missing.  I grab my Droid Based phone and call the only two people I know that are MAC experts.  Neither of them answer.  I wait an hour and try again…same thing.  Finally the phone rings… It’s Ashley.  She runs an IT Service Business and is considered an Apple Expert.  (We have had many a heated discussion about Apple / MAC products in the past so I figure if anyone can set me straight it would be her.)  After fiddling around with ichat she is able to remote in the MAC (which also proves that the internet connection was working fine, so the Windows Support files should have been able to downloaded without a problem) and goes through the same process that I did.  The only thing she did different was to have me format the usb drives directly from the MAC rather than from my wonderful windows machine.  She went through all the same troubleshooting steps that I did, and low and behold… got the same results.  Perplexed, she told me to give Apple support a call.  (I was rather relieved that it wasn’t just me!)  We said goodbye and off to Apple support I go.

Apple support was relatively painless and all the support agents spoke English as their native language (a real plus in my book), but the end result was that even the Apple Support Engineers couldn’t figure out what the issue was either.  They asked me if I bought the computer through a third party, to which I told them, “No, it was ordered directly off the Apple website.”  They told me that I could skip the Windows Support files, as all the drivers for Windows 7 would be on the Apple OS disk.  I told them, “Fine, but you do realize that the first menu specifically says, not to use the disk that came with your computer or one from another MAC…right???”  I skipped over the section that I had just spend 6 hours trouble shooting and eventually was successful in getting a dual boot with both the MAC OS and Windows 7.

The reason I am writing about this experience is to debunk the myth that MAC’s and the MAC OS is a superior product to Windows, and PC’s in general.  In fact, given the closed nature of the OS and the software written for it I shouldn’t have had a single issue period.  Ever.  Especially for the amount of money this hunk cost.  If anything this experience has proven to me that MAC’s are no better than PC’s.  They BOTH have issues with hardware and software, and can both cause you to want to take a hammer to them.

Oh wait, there is a difference…….My wife’s step mother paid $3256.00 for her MAC book pro and a Window’s Based PC with the EXACT same specs would have cost around $1200.00.

So to all you Apple Fan Boys out there it’s time to come clean.  Just admit you bought it to be trendy and because you think it’s cool.  I promise I won’t hold it against you. NOT!