Tag Archives: windows

Windows Server too Demanding for dd-wrt

I have begun running dd-wrt on my router (on my network).  The advantages of using this open-source firmware over using that which was supplied by the manufacturer are numerous: great control, greater security, ease of use, a plethora of documentation, good community support.

There are two sides to the coin of adding a new device to your network.

As with any new addition to a network, this firmware upgrade brought some unpredictable troubles.  It didn’t take much to sort them out.   As mentioned, the documentation is plentiful and their forums are loaded with solutions and examples.

The other side of the coin in adding a new device to your network is that it offers you an opportunity to discover some problem that was invisible under the previous configuration.  I found that my Windows SBS 2003 server was making spurious DHCP requests.

My server has a static IP address.  This just makes the whole port forwarding thing a lot easier and is a good practice for this type of machine under these network conditions.  So why was it making all these DHCP requests?

Before we answer that question, let’s look at a different question:  How did I discover it was making these requests?  There is a page in the dd-wrt configurations which displays the DHCP clients table (Status —> LAN —> DHCP Clients).  I noticed that an unnamed machine with the same MAC address was receiving several DHCP leases.  In fact it was receiving all of the available DHCP leases in the pool.   I also noticed that the MAC address was my server’s MAC address (NIC address).

This wasn’t causing me any troubles.  Other machines were able to get DHCP leases from the DHCP server (the router running dd-wrt).   I suppose that is because since none of the leases were active they were bumped whenever a new lease request came in from another machine (MAC address).  So no troubles but annoying as hell.

I hopped on my server and disabled the DHCP Client service.  No change.  Even with the service which makes DHCP requests disabled my server was still making DHCP requests.

What if I use DHCP instead?  So I turned the DHCP Client service back on and set up a static DHCP address for my server on dd-wrt (Services —> Services —> DHCP Client —> Static Leases).  I thought “Let it make a DHCP request and maybe it will quit whining after one”.  Nope.   It requested and received its static DHCP address; then it requested and received all the available DHCP leases in the pool.


I disabled the DHCP Client service again left it alone, preferring to pursue problems I could actually fix and which were causing actual troubles.

Well earlier today I noticed that I was getting an error in my event log:

The WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service service depends on the DHCP Client service which failed to start because of the following error: The service cannot be started, either because it is disabled or because it has no enabled devices associated with it.


I don’t need to auto-discover any proxies.  If I use a proxy I’ll set it up manually.  I turned WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service off as well. No more rampant lease requesting for a period of more than six hours.

Go figure.

Hope that helps you out and keeps you from wasting a lot of otherwise valuable time working on this problem.

No go have some fun.


Ubuntu Sends a Print-Job to WindowsLand

Another of the more basic computing needs is the ability to print to a shared printer.  Now if you are running all Ubuntu systems, that’s certainly a boon for you.  But what happens if you have that old, clunky Windows box you are using as a sort of private server for your music hard drive and your printer?  You will want to set your Ubuntu machine up to print through the Windows shared printer, that’s what.

I’m going to assume you have shared your Windows printer.  You will need some information from that machine, so have it handy (see my article concerning remotely accessing a Windows machine here).

Open your Ubuntu printers dialog:

  • System (menu) —> Administration —> Printing

Now prepare a new printer:

  • New —> Printer

On the New Server dialog under Select Connection choose Windows Printer via SAMBA.  On the left the SAMBA area will appear.  In the “smb://” text field I was successful by entering serverIP/printerShareName (for instance “”).  It ought to work also using serverName/printerShareName.  (You can find the share name for your printer on the Sharing tab of the Properties dialog for the printer in question on your Windows machine.)

NOTE: Do not use spaces in your share names; it can only cause trouble.

Neither the “Browse” nor the “Verify” buttons worked for me.  You, I suspect, may safely ignore them.  Instead, once you have entered the information for the server and printer share, click on the “Forward” button.

Now we get to an area that may be more familiar feeling.  Under “Select printer from database” find your specific brand under “Makes” (mine was an HP).  Then click the “Forward” button.

Now locate your specific model under “Model“.  Once you have done so a list of potential drivers will appear under “Drivers“.  Prefer the one listed as “(recommended)” (there ought to be one).

This is the last page of the New Printer dialog.  This is information largely for your benefit and not something Ubuntu or Windows needs to get along.  The Printer Name (short name) field should auto-fill.  You may leave it alone.  The (optional) Description field may be used to give the printer some name you like to call it (Old Mr. Crappy or Sweet Dumpster Laserjet or anything else that strikes your fancy).  The Location field is for if you want to say something like “The printer in the kitchen” or “Pass the printer on the left-hand side”.  Click the “Apply” button and you are ready to send a test page to the printer from your Ubuntu machine.

Happy hunting, you crazy campers.


Well, that worked for a few days and then, for reasons obscure to me, it stopped working. I had to go back and re-create the print queue on my Ubuntu machine this time using the printer port. So now my entry looks more like this:


So, either:



Ok, now you can have some happy hunting.


ComboFix and the Magic Bullet

I was working to root out some nasties on a laptop and I ran into a rather persistant little bugger.  Even though I had removed everything suspicious I could locate using Revo Uninstaller (another of my favorites), I was not able to run updates or download any spyware or virus protection because calls to those URL’s were being redirected to localhost (  The redirect in the browser would then, of course, take me to some site where I was told of the dozens of problems with my computer and how I should download their software.

I was able to download both of these applications from another machine, but the redirect simply made it impossible for Spybot and AVG to gather their updates from their respective servers.  I was even able to download an installer which was Spybot’s update; however, neither of these applications would actually show their GUI’s (they appeared in the Task Manager but neither made an appearance on-screen).

After a bit of searching I found an article which talked about an application called ComboFix.  Turns out it’s a great little utility.

Just to recap: I wasn’t able to run any viral/spyware updates or visit any site (like avg.com or safer-networking.org) because of the re-route to localhost (; the machine was seriously hijacked; and I couldn’t find anything that would be doing it.

This utility does a pretty brutal scan, reboots the machine automatically, and starts itself up before anything else—and keeps doing that until it’s found nothing at all.  It found a rootkit problem and rebooted maybe 3 times before it gave its final report.  Only then was I able to run Spybot and AVG, run their updates, and run their respective scans.

You’ll want to pay special attention to the section where the article discusses the recovery console (XP) and recovery environment (Vista), but the whole thing worked great.  (I used the XP SP2 recovery console because I could not find one for SP3.)


Open Office Opens Doors

I have recently downloaded and installed Open Office for my Windows XP machine.

The installation was smooth and simple.

The only application I have tested to any extent is Writer (their answer to MS Word).

Each application  includes a PDF’er.  It’s output is clean and functional.

I can see no reason why the vast majority of consumers would not find full benefit and enjoyment from this office suite.  I was able to create my current resume (using an old .doc Word file) and then save that into a .doc, a .pdf, and the open format .odt (among many others).  It opens fast and is intuitive to use.

If using an office suite is part of your lifestyle/business there may be some very particular feature which you may innitially miss, but I would recommend taking it for a spin to see if it won’t satisfy all of your needs in this software area.  It does mine.

(Ubuntu, the OS to which I am switching, comes with essentially a version of the same suite.)