Are you a “just-in-time” learner? If not, you need to be! Two situations in the last few days have brought home again how important it is to be able to sift through online content then solve a problem by applying it.

“What do you mean you forgot your password?” I challenged a colleague. He’d just bought a new Windows 8.1, super fast, gaming machine–the keyboard had red lights on it, blinding fast graphics card–but when he received it, the first thing he did was put a super-complicated password on it…even though he knew I’d be coming over to help him get innoculated/immunized against malware and viruses.

Rather than spend an hour with, installing programs (actually, less than that, a service that makes it easy to select critical free and/or open source software then download an installer that automates the process for you rather than making you do it), I had to spend time figuring out how to “blank” his administrator username and password.

Fortunately, there’s a web site for that. And, I found it fairly quickly, followed the instructions, and voila, all was back on track. The steps for that were simple:

  1. Put 64bit Ubuntu on a USB flash drive and boot up the computer from flash drive. 
  2. Enable all the software repositories in ubuntu
  3. Install chntpw (from command line, sudo apt-get install chntpw)
  4. Mount your Windows drive, switching to Window/Systems32/config then 
  5. sudo chntpw SAM
  6. Use the options to unlock the Administrator account and then “blank” out the password. If you know the username (“Vince”), then the command would look like this:
    sudo chntpw -u Vince SAM
You can find the instructions I followed online here and here.
“Any ideas on how to create a Mac OS X Yosemite install media?” I asked a friend of mine. My plan was to repurpose a Macintosh and I needed Yosemite install for the machine, to give it a “fresh start.”
He didn’t know but suggested, “Why don’t you download a torrent?” I didn’t think that was such a good idea, not because bit torrents are bad or anything for these purposes, but because, well, that just seemed the hard way to do stuff.
Earlier tonight, I did a google search. About 5 minutes into skimming sites, I stumbled across MacLife’s EasyMacHacks article on How to Install OS X from a Bootable USB Drive. The process involved download a copy of the following:

And, you need at least an 8gig USB drive. Wow, what an easy process. At the end, the computer even “roared” like a lion to let me know it was done. I’m not kidding, an actual lion! 

There you go…two tasks that would have been impossible or difficult, but were actually quite easy. Of course, I’m glad I had a few USB flash drives laying around. 

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure