VMWare 6.5.0 – NAT service crashes on VM Start

Just a quick tip for today – when I upgraded VMWare Workstation to 6.5.0 I found that any VM using NAT (network address translation) would cause my NAT service on the host to crash. I’m using Windows Vista as the host OS.

Well, it turns out that 6.5.1 fixed this. I upgraded, and now my VMs start without issue, and NAT is up and working.

VMWare 6.5.0 – NAT service crashes on VM Start

PowerPoint Slideshows (.pps) open as PowerPoint Files

Hmm. One of our salesmen called up today with an interesting problem. We’d published some PowerPoint presentations as slide shows (.pps files). If you open one of these, it should just launch PowerPoint into the presentation. However, he was opening them from our website and they were opening as a normal PowerPoint (.ppt) file. That is they were opening ready for editing, not in presentation mode. Weird.

I remembered having seen this before, but a bit of poking around showed that my fix was still in place. Curious. When I clicked on the link to the presentation I got the ‘Download or Open’ dialog thingy:

Vista's File Open or Save Dialog in Internet Explorer

First off I noticed that the file extension was .pps – good. I tried opening the file – and it opened it as if it were a .ppt file. Weird. So then I tried the other option – I saved it to my local machine and opened it locally. This time it opened correctly – it opened as a slideshow.

Hmm. So, they’re the same file, but something different is happening when they open. I wondered if it was to do with the HTTP headers, but the same difference occurs when the file is being served with the application/vnd.ms-pps or just text/html (we run MCMS 2002 on a IIS webserver but publish as static content to an Apache server. They serve the file as different mime types, but have the same result – Open opens the file for editing and Save and open shows the slideshow).

Next up, I tried the same experiment using Firefox. If you choose to Open the file rather than save it, it opens the slideshow – correctly! And if you save it, well, it saves the .pps file which, again, opens correctly.

text/html mime-type application/vnd.ms-pps mimetype
“Open” “Save” and open “Open” “Save” and open
Firefox OK OK OK OK

So it looks like Internet Explorer will not open a .pps file as a slideshow irrespective of the mime type sent by the server and the .pps extension (and it’s file association in windows). However, if you save the file locally, it will. Weird.

The only thing that I can think is that this is some sort of security feature, but it’s a bit odd – after all, shouldn’t Firefox do this then?

PowerPoint Slideshows (.pps) open as PowerPoint Files

VMWARE: WinXP Pro SP2 License Key doesn't work with MSDN Disc

I was trying an installation of a volume license edition of Windows XP Professional from MSDN disc 2430.2 (January 2007) to a new VMWare virtual machine. Our license key didn’t work though, despite use checking the key repeatedly, and trying every WinXP license key in the building.

In the end, on the advice of another developer, I started again with a new VM. I left the memory at 256Mb (my previous one was 1024Mb), removed the floppy, and previously I was running the ISO image from a CD, and this time I ran it from a hard disc. This worked. I don’t know which of these three factors was the relevant one, but if you’re doing an installation like that, I recommend trying those things.

VMWARE: WinXP Pro SP2 License Key doesn't work with MSDN Disc

Restrict or Permit formatting changes in Word Documents

Word 2007 lets you restrict the styles and formatting people can use in documents based on a particular template. I suspect that this will be useful for me in restricting the styles used in SharePoint’s Rich Client Authoring (aka Smart Client Authoring – I wish they’d pick a terminology).

Just as a quick example, though, you get do this through the manage styles dialog. To open this, open the styles menu from the ribbon, and select the manage styles option: Continue reading “Restrict or Permit formatting changes in Word Documents”

Restrict or Permit formatting changes in Word Documents

Error "You do not have access rights to this file"

I had an interesting problem over the weekend. I had been working on a VM several times last week. When I went to open it on Saturday, I got an error:

Could not open virtual machine: I:MOSS003 – OCT07 BaseWindows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition.vmx.

You do not have access rights to this file

Naturally, it struck me that a) I’m admin on my own machine, so privileges seems unlikely, and b) it had worked fine on Thursday. As I: is a USB hard disc, I copied the VM to my local drive, but the problem persisted.

I made sure that permissions were the same for this VM and others – they were.

I tried upgrading VMWare from 6.0.1 to 6.0.2, just on the off-chance – the problem persisted.

I was trying to open the VM by double clicking on the .vmx file. I tried opening the VM through the ‘file open’ dialog too – that didn’t work either. In fact, that caused VMWare to crash.

In the end, one of my colleagues suggested removing all spaces in the VMX file name (based on a post in VMWare’s community forums ) – and that fixed it. If I put the spaces back into the VMX file name – errors again. The really weird thing is, though, that I have plenty of other virtual machines with spaces in the file name, and they seem to work just fine. Further, why did it work and then it start to raise errors when the file names hadn’t changed?

Sounds like a bug. Something isn’t right there.

Oh, I’m using VMWare workstation for Windows 6.0.2 on Vista.

I’ve posted this to the VMWare community site here, but I’m blogging it too, as you have to log in to get the the VMWare site, and I don’t know if Google will pick it up.

Error "You do not have access rights to this file"

Extending VM discs – notes for myself

  1. Shutdown your VM.
  2. Make a copy of the latest state (or the one you want to extend the disc for). You can’t keep snapshots across extending the disc.
  3. Open command prompt, and go to “c:program filesvmwarevmware workstation”
  4. Run the command vmware-vdiskmanager -x 10GB -t 1 “path_to_VMDK_file” . This will extend the virtual hard disc at the path defined to be a 10GB disc, stored as growable 2GB files.
  5. Start the VM. Go to Disk Management, and you’ll see a bigger disk, now with a large unallocated space. You need to extend the partition into that space.
  6. If it isn’t installed already, install DiskPart (which can be downloaded from Microsoft). This is a Microsoft tool, and is built into Windows 2003 Server. However, it works on 2000 and XP too.
  7. Open a command line, and run DISKPART
  8. Type list volume
  9. From the list, identify the volume you want to extend (2 in my case)
  10. Type select volume 2, where 2 is your volume from 9) above.
  11. Type extend.
  12. Job done.

Based on some instructions from here, but I think mine are simpler…

Extending VM discs – notes for myself

Why I wrote simplyxiangqi.com

A long time ago, my Dad got me the game ‘Battlechess 2’. Much time my surprise, it was some strange variant called ‘Chinese Chess’, and I enjoyed it (even though I’m not much good). It doesn’t have the whole ‘pawn-shuffling’ start or drawn out end games, so it appealed.

A lot of time passed, and I became a developer. One day I was looking at an online chess site and I just thought ‘I could build this’. I had recently started learning about JSP and Servlets to work towards Java Web Developer certification. So, I sat down, worked out the logic, learnt about ‘bit boards’, and build the engine for working out valid moves, given a position. And I wrote it all in Java.

After that, all I had to do was build the website to support that engine, and at this point I stalled. Building websites out of Java was excessively hard – security filters for login, carefully planned data structures, lots of JDBC to connect to the database. To be honest, the hard problem cracked, I lost interest.

Time passed. I started to read about this new thing ‘Ruby on Rails’, and so I thought I should take a look. I went through a couple of tutorials and I was impressed. In minutes I could make a (very basic) site that dealt with security, database interaction, etc., pretty much for me. I just thought “Now this is a simple way of building that site”. So, I did.

I ported my code from Java into Ruby in about 4 hours – most of which was getting to grips with the Ruby language itself. I built a database schema, and based the site around that structure.

And that’s pretty much where simplyxiangqi came from.

Why I wrote simplyxiangqi.com