Reset LEDE/OpenWRT using Failsafe boot mode

I had just installed OpenWRT and was making changes (of course without reading the documentation) when I had changed the networking settings losing access to the router’s interface.

Fortunately OpenWRT provides a way to recover according to OpenWRT’s website: “LEDE allows you to boot into a failsafe mode that overrides its current configuration. If your device becomes inaccessible, e.g. after a configuration error, then failsafe mode is there to help you out. When you reboot in failsafe mode, the device starts up in a basic operating state, with a few hard coded defaults, and you can begin to fix the problem manually.”

First, thing is to set your computer’s IP address to something like 192.168.1.2. The router will use 192.168.1.1 when booted in Failsafe mode.

Then connect the computer to the router’s WAN port.

Now the hard part. According to the documentation the router’s LEDs will display a moderate 0.1 second blinking rhythm during those two seconds, when router waits for user to trigger the failsafe mode. After plugging in the router I just guessed at when the 2-second window arrived and pressed the QSS/WPS button. After which the SYS LED started blinking rapidly.

Back on the computer I SSH’d to the router using root@192.168.1.1 for the username and address. There is no password for root.

joey@HAVEN-E6520 ~ $ ssh root@192.168.1.1
The authenticity of host '192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is SHA256:PAkYhCNr1sBDT/ADAn/iPh3ztT1yvlgR+RTHYVM0/fA.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added '192.168.1.1' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.

BusyBox v1.25.1 () built-in shell (ash)
     _________
    /        /\      _    ___ ___  ___
   /  LE    /  \    | |  | __|   \| __|
  /    DE  /    \   | |__| _|| |) | _|
 /________/  LE  \  |____|___|___/|___|                      lede-project.org
 \        \   DE /
  \    LE  \    /  -----------------------------------------------------------
   \  DE    \  /    Reboot (17.01.4, r3560-79f57e422d)
    \________\/    -----------------------------------------------------------

================= FAILSAFE MODE active ================
special commands:
* firstboot	     reset settings to factory defaults
* mount_root	 mount root-partition with config files

after mount_root:
* passwd			 change root's password
* /etc/config		    directory with config files

for more help see:
http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/generic.failsafe
=======================================================

=== WARNING! =====================================
There is no root password defined on this device!
Use the "passwd" command to set up a new password
in order to prevent unauthorized SSH logins.
--------------------------------------------------
root@(none):~# 
root@(none):~#

Because I had just installed OpenWRT I decided to just reset the router and start over. To do this I just entered the command firstboot and hit enter.

TP-LINK 300M Wireless N Gigabit Router
Model No. TL-WR1043ND
https://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/generic.failsafe
https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/troubleshooting/failsafe_and_factory_reset
https://openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-wr1043nd#installation

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Transfer files using Bluetooth in Linux Mint

On Linux computer make sure Bluetooth is enabled and is discoverable. I’m running Linux Mint 18.2 using Blueman package.

From the Bluetooth applet open devices. This is not necessary to pair the device but, is helpful to have open. This will display all the devices already paired with the computer.


On the phone the computer should be listed under Available Devices if the computer is discoverable. If it is not listed press Scan on the phone.

Tap the device that represents the computer. The phone will display a message about confirming the passkey for pairing.

A message will appear on the computer prompting you to confirm. This is not readily apparent and the message is not displayed for long. Click on the word Confirm to allow the pairing. The phone will display the key icon indicating it is paired.

On the phone the computer will be listed under Paired Devices.

On the computer trust the phone to allow receipt of files from the paired device.

Now that the phone and computer are paired we can trasnfer files between them. In this example I am going to transfer pictures from the phone to the computer. Starting the Gallery app select the pictures to transfer and tap Share. The following screen appears where Bluetooth is an option.

After tapping Bluetooth this screen appears where you select the Bluetooth device to receive the files. Tap the paired device that represents the computer.

The phone will start transferring the files to the computer.

In Linux Mint a notification will display stating that a file is being received from the phone.

Bluetooth is configured on my computer to put received files in the Downloads folder. Opening the Downloads folder shows the new files received from the phone.

To change the location where received files are saved click on View in Bluetooth Manager and select Local Services. Then change the location under Incoming Folder.


How to format SD card on Linux Mint

When an SD card is inserted into a computer running Linux Mint the card is automatically mounted and an icon is displayed on the desktop. Using this icon you can view and modify files. It also would appear that you could format the card as well by right-clicking on the icon.

When the option to Format is selected a dialog box to format the card is displayed but, the button to Format is not clickable:

The trick is to use the Disks utility to format the partition on the card. First, open the Disks utility:

Next, select the SD card on the left then click the gear icon under the partition on the SD card:

Then select Format… from the context menu:

Now a dialog box is displayed with the Format button enabled. Provide a name then click the button Format:

The next window is confirming your actions. Click Format to begin formatting the partition on the card:

That’s it!

Note: if you click the single gear icon at the top-right corner (near the SD card’s name) the same dialog box will be displayed. It will appear to format the card but, it doesn’t. You have to format the partition on the card.

PDF files not included in Windows Search on Windows 7 and 8

As you probably know searching is the most efficient way to find documents, applications, and settings in Windows 7 and 8. By clicking on the Start button and typing you can quickly find files containing specific text and phrases.

The mechanism that allows this is Windows Search that runs as a Windows service. Windows Search has it’s roots in the Indexing Service that first appeared in NT4 and Internet Information Services (IIS). Indexing involves building a catalog (index) that contains the meta-data for files and applications. The meta-data is retrieved via plugins called IFilters.

Windows Search by default includes IFilters for common filetypes, including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, HTML files, text files, MP3 and WMA music files, WMV, ASF and AVI video files and JPEG, BMP and PNG images. PDF files are indexed by Windows Search using an IFilter installed automatically when Adobe Reader is installed. However, on 64-bit versions of Windows the IFilter is not installed and the Indexing Service is unable to parse and index these files. Fortunately, the fix is easy and can be done without a reboot.

First, to confirm the IFilter is not installed you need to open Indexing Options in the Control Panel. To do this click on Start and enter the text index. Windows will search for anything with “index” and display the Control Panel option Indexing Options.

Search for Indexing Options

When selected the Indexing Option window appears. This window tells you the status of the Indexing Service, the number items in the catalog, and the options to add or remove search locations. In the following example my computer has indexed 12,033 items.

Indexing Options before installing the PDF IFilter

Click on the button Advanced and then click on the tab File Types. Scroll down to the PDF extension. If the IFilter has not been installed the filter description will state Registered IFilter is not found as in the following screenshot:

Missing IFilter in Indexing Options

After confirming the IFilter is missing you can close the Indexing Options window and download Adobe’s IFilter for 64-bit Windows. The current version as of the time of this writing is PDF iFilter 64 11.0.01 and can be downloaded from Adobe’s HTTP site or FTP site.

Once downloaded, you can install it using an elevated command prompt (run Command Prompt as administrator) with the following command:

msiexec /i “C:\Install\PDFFilter64Setup.msi” REBOOT=R /qb /L*v c:\temp\install_ifilter.log

After the installation completes go back into Indexing Options and confirm the IFilter was installed and registered. The following screenshot shows that the Indexing Service will use an IFilter named “PDF Filter”.

Installed IFilter

Now, all that is left to do is to rebuild Windows Search index. Click on the Index Settings tab and then on the button labeled Rebuild.

Rebuilding Windows Search index

After clicking the Rebuild button Windows will display a warning, click OK to start the rebuild.

Rebuild warning

The status of the rebuild can be monitored on the Indexing Options window. While you are using your computer Windows will reduce the speed of the indexing operation.

Eventually (within an hour or two, depending on size of catalog) the index will be rebuilt and now contain search items from PDF files. On my computer the number of indexed items increased to 40,913.

Indexing Options

How to re-enable Recovery Media creation on Lenovo T530

I had to restore a Lenovo T530 laptop running Windows 8 back to Windows 7. I tried to use the recovery media that I put on an SD card but, the laptop couldn’t boot from the SD card. So, I decided I would just recreate the recovery media using DVDs.

I went to another T530 laptop running Windows 7 to create the recovery media but, was presented with the following message:

You can have only one copy of the Microsoft Windows operating system.
The Product Recovery Media Creator will exit now.

Apparently, I had already created recovery media from this machine. Setting aside the stupidity of this tactic or it’s implied meaning (creating recovery media = piracy), I needed to trick this machine into letting me do this.

A quick Google search shows just how common this problem is and fortunately a fix. Unfortunately, many of the results are for older Thinkpads that reference a file that no longer exists. Fortunately, the latest fix was found in this forum post on superuser.com.

To fix, just run this command from a CMD prompt:

echo 0 > Q:\FactoryRecovery\RECOVERY.INI:Done

After running go back into ThinkVantage Tools and retry creating recovery media – it should work.

Create custom wallpaper for your servers

I like to set the Windows Desktop to a specific color to easily identify it from other desktops I may have open. This way when I have multiple Remote Desktops running I can quickly see which one I need to click on. At a minimum I usually set the background color of the Desktop.

Recently though, I started making custom images that I use as wallpaper that incorporate color idea and adds information to positively identify the server I am working on. This information usually includes the host name, IP address, a brief description, and the type of OS running.

I try to make the color the same as the color associated with the primary software installed on  the server. For example, our Prophet21 server is purple since that was their primary color in their logo, orange is used for our Shoretel server, etc. Some servers just have a color that was picked randomly years ago and stuck. Our database server uses olive while our webserver uses teal.

I use Gimp to make the images and put them on the root of the C: drive of the server. Since these are servers themes are usually disabled. To make the image appear as wallpaper I have to open them in Paint and from the File menu select “Set as Wallpaper”. The following are examples of wallpaper for a few of my servers.

This is a screenshot of my Taskbar showing how helpful these wallpapers are:

Use 7-Zip to install ISO files

Challenge: You download an ISO (like Office 2010 from Microsoft) but, cannot install it because your computer doesn’t have a CD-ROM.

Solution: Use 7-Zip to extract the contents to a folder and install from there.

Note: Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 can mount ISOs to virtual CD drives natively but, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 cannot. However, Microsoft has created a utility to enable this functionality which can be downloaded from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38780