Windows Server 2012 on a Macbook

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On March - 23 - 2013

Server Manager, Windows Server 2012

After the failure of an old computer running Windows Server 2003, I setup Windows Server 2012 on a Macbook.

Years ago, I set up a Sony Vaio PCG-Z505HS running Windows Server 2003 at home so I could keep up with Macs and Active Directory. When I recently experienced problems with DHCP and DNS, I discovered that the Vaio had died. There was no LED power indication. My troubleshooting consisted of jiggling the power connector and checking the power supply voltage. When I measured voltage from the AC adaptor, I gave up, using the rationale that it had lived its useful life. The Vaio, with a Pentium 3, 500 MHz CPU, was introduced in January 2000.

Coincidentally, I had a hardware failure in my Macbook (late 2006), so I decided to repurpose it as a domain server using an evaluation version of Windows Server 2012.

The Windows Server 2012 installation was simple using the Server with a GUI mode installation. The Server Manager and configuration tools greatly simplify the setup. With Windows Server 2012 on a Macbook running silicon introduced in 2006 – an Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T7200 that has Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x), the next step is to try virtualization. As a Macbook running OS X, I successfully ran VMware Fusion VMs running Ubuntu and Windows 2000, though I forsee the 3 GB of RAM in the current system will be a limiting factor.

The best part about running an Active Directory domain at home is joining computeres to the domain. The welcome message says, “Welcome to the lower_slobbovia domain.

Macbook in a Mini-ITX Case

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On March - 12 - 2013

Macbook (late 2006), disassembled

 

My Macbook (Late 2006) has gone through many modifications and operating systems. Recently, it decided to stop responding to keyboard or trackpad input. Instead of trying to replace the trackpad/keyboard cable (which I’ve done once already), I decided to put logic board of the Macbook in a Mini-ITX case and try an evaluation version of Windows Server 2012.

ifixit’s MacBook Core 2 Duo Logic Board Replacement guide was helpful with the disassembly. After removing the logic board, I stripped the bottom case of the remaining parts (SSD, hard disk, speakers, display, etc). The MacBook logic board was short enough to fit in the case with the ports and connectors lining up with the opening for the Mini-ITX backplane.

Macbook in a Mini-ITX Case

I thought using the Macbook bottom case would be the best way to mount the system board because the case helps to align the MagSafe connector and the fan/heatsink assembly. I also wouldn’t have to mount other stand-offs in the Mini-ITX case. I used Dremel cut-off wheels to cut down the case bottom. To mount the logic board in the Mini-ITX case, I used double-sided foam tape.

The wiring for the ancillary devices – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and speakers – were routed around the inside of the new case. The Mini-ITX case came with a bracket to mount 3.5″ hard drives internally but with non-standard headers on the logic board, I abandoned that idea. There was also a power supply, which I removed. I wired the power switch on the front of the case to the trackpad/keyboard connector on the logic board.

I had already removed the DVD drive when it stopped working in the summer of 2011 and replaced it with an SSD. I used double-sided tape to mount the SSD and the second hard drive to a bracket mounted above the logic board. Eventually, the short cable for the second hard disk failed and when I replaced it, the connector on the logic board failed from too many insertions.

When I first powered it on, it actually worked. The Mini-ITX case is slightly larger than a Mac mini (200 x 225 x 56mm vs 197 x 197 x 36mm) and slightly less attractive but it works. My only regret was breaking the circuit board for the system LED when I was disassembling the case.

Macbook + OCZ Agility 3 SSD

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On July - 25 - 2011

OCZ Agility 3 SSD Packaging

On my nearly five year old Macbook (Late 2006), I’ve upgraded the RAM to 3GB and replaced the original 120 GB 5400 rpm hard drive with a WD Scorpio Black 320 GB 7200 rpm hard drive. When I managed to break the internal DVD drive, I decided to put in a SSD, the last performance upgrade for a computer that should be near the end of its useful life. The main reason that I decided to do a $225 upgrade was that it doesn’t feel like the computer has slowed down that much over the years, so I’m able to squeeze some more time out of it.

The SandForce controllers are starting to mature – the OCZ Agility 3 I bought on Amazon uses a second generation SandForce controller and falls more in the budget/midrange performance SSD category. Considering that my Macbook uses an Intel ICH7-M ACHI controller that is SATA revision 1.0 (SATA 1.5 Gbit/s) – the Agility 3’s SATA 6 Gbit/s throughput capability is way beyond this old Macbook. Maybe I can use it in my next computer too, he rationalized.

I bought a $99 (USD) MCE Technologies Optibay, a caddy that replaces the DVD and will hold a 2.5″ drive. Had I done more pre-purchase research, I might have purchased a $15 (USD) version on eBay. MCE Tech did include a case for my damaged DVD drive so it can be used externally connected by USB. And their tech support did promptly answer a question when I phoned them about the DVD interface using PATA – so my former SATA boot drive was now going to be using a PATA interface.

Macbook (Late 2006) with OCZ Agility 3 SSD

I dual boot into OS X and Windows 7 using rEFIT as a boot manager. With a new SSD as a boot drive, I wanted to do clean installs of OS X and Windows 7. The latter was a major hurdle. I could boot Snow Leopard from the external DVD drive or USB flash drive to install OS X, but I couldn’t find a way to boot the Windows 7 install DVD from the external DVD or a USB flash drive. I found some convoluted solutions that involved making a Windows VM but it was way too much work.

Instead, I took the computer apart and put the DVD drive back in the internal bay and booted the Windows 7 disk from the DVD drive. I had to try this a couple of times and ended up breaking the flex cable from the DVD to the motherboard. An eBay purchased fortunately solved that problem, though in frustration, several times I thought Ice-T’s Mac repair method would have been way more satisfying. If you’ve been able to boot your Macbook with a Windows 7 install DVD in an external DVD or flash drive please let me know how you did it.

The only other question I haven’t solved with this setup is the second hard drive (non boot drive) needs the Windows bootmgr file or Windows 7 on the SSD will not boot. Disk Manager sees the SSD as Disk 0. The NTFS partition on the second hard drive is marked Active, Primary Partition and I get the feeling that has something to do with it. Figuring out this problem is a back burner operation right now.

The end result was worth it. I managed to pare down my applications so I can have all of them installed on the SSD in both operating systems. Movies, music, photos and virtual machines are on the 320 GB hard drive.

I’ve since installed OS X Lion (Lion problems in a future post) and the computer boots to the iOS-like linen login screen in about 25 seconds. In OS X, Chrome and Firefox launch with less than one bounce in the dock. Windows 7 boots in about 45 seconds and applications are similarly snappy compared to the rotating media.

5 Year Old Macbook vs the Latest Macbook Air

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On May - 4 - 2011

Apple Macbook (late 2006) Geekbench score

I recently noticed that my Apple MacBook, (late 2006), doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I’d think that an almost five year-old computer would start to be sluggish.

I don’t use that many processor intensive applications, but with Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.7), I am able to run SETI@Home, VMWare Fusion running Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat, Remote Desktop Connection, Photoshop, iTunes, Transmit, Chrome (with 10 tabs open) and Firefox, all at the same time without bogging down. When I boot my Macbook to Windows 7, the performance is similar.

My Macbook has an Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T7200 (4M Cache, 2.00 GHz, 667 MHz FSB). The only hardware upgrades I’ve done on it were to increase the RAM to 3GB and install a 320GB 7200 rpm hard disk. I have three paritions on the disk: a 100GB Mac OS Extended for OSX, a 75GB NTFS for Windows 7 and a 140 GB NTFS for data.

While browsing EveryMac.com for the specs for my computer, I noticed that the Geekbench score of the latest Apple MacBook Air (late 2010) – 2698 – wasn’t that much higher than my Macbook – 2603. The current Macbook Air uses an Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor SL9400 (6MB Cache, 1.86 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB). I would think that the MBA, with a larger L2 cache, faster FSB and SSD would at least be a lot faster than my Macbook. In fact, when I run Geekbench on my Macbook, it scores 2706.

Of course the Macbook Air is 2.3 lbs (1.04 kg) lighter and has a much greater cool factor than my Macbook, but I’m strong enough to handle 5.2 lbs (2.36 kg). When my Macbook starts to feel slow, I’ll probably go to an SSD and replace the DVD drive with my current hard disk in a MCE OptiBay.

The latest 13″ Macbook Pro, with an Intel® Core™ i7-2620M Processor, has a Geekbench score that 6796. That would probably be OK for another couple of years.

Android Macbook

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On July - 15 - 2009

Android running on Late 2006 Macbook

I downloaded LiveAndroid, a LiveCD for Android running on x86 platforms from Google Code, to try on my Macintrash.

Currently I am running OS X 10.5.7 and Windows 7 (build 7100) on my Late 2006 Macbook (Core 2 Duo, T7200). I’m also using rEFIt as my boot manager. The Android LiveCD showed up as Tux on the boot screen and I got to the Android desktop with the message, “Please connect charger, the battery is getting low: less than 15% remaining”. I was running on AC and the battery was fully charged. I dismissed that warning and went into the console (alt+F1) to try to configure networking.

Android running on Late 2006 Macbook

The liveandroidv0.2.iso supports DHCP, so I tried to get the network running using the howtouse live-android instructions:

ifconfig eth0 yourip netmask yourip’s mask

e.g. ifconfig eth0 192.168.1.10 netmask 255.255.255.0

That resulted in ifconfig SIOSIFADDR: No such device

I also tried ifconfig eth1 but received the same message. I didn’t look at the startup log. What’s the use of anything

Windows 7 – Can’t Play DVD Video

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On April - 26 - 2009

Windows Experience Index for Macbook

I’ve been trying several builds of Windows 7 x64 on my Macbook that uses the Intel 945 Express Chipset. Recently, I did a clean install of Windows 7 build 7100. The display driver that is installed is a Prerelease WDDM 1.0 Driver (8.15.10.1620).

When I tried to play a DVD with Windows Media Player, I received the message “Cannot play DVD video.” Microsoft gives several possible reasons for this message:

  1. Your video card driver is out-of-date.
  2. Your computer is missing a compatible DVD decoder.
  3. Your computer hardware is not powerful enough to play DVDs.

Since build 7 is Windows 7 Ultimate, I assumed a decoder was built in to the OS. I was indignant that suggestion 3 was questioning the manhood of my Macintrash.

Then I remembered the OpenGL problem I had with one of my programs. After I installed the Intel Vista 64 bit drivers 7.14.10.1504 for the 945GM Chipset from downloadcenter.intel.com, WMP was able to play DVDs. I’m not sure why the Prerelease WDDM 1.0 Driver didn’t allow the decoding, but the released Vista driver works – just be sure to run the installer in the compatibility mode for Windows Vista.

My Windows Experience Index also went up a tad compared to build 7068; compared to build 7000, the WEI from 2.0 to 3.0. So my computer is getting faster as it ages or Microsoft is improving Windows 7.

Windows 7 Build 7068 on a Macbook

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On April - 5 - 2009

Windows Experience Index for Macbook

I did an upgrade installation of Window 7 build 7068 (x64) over build 7000 that I installed in January on my Macbook (13-inch Late 2006 with an Intel Core2 Duo Mobile Processor T7200, 3GB RAM). Winver gives: 7068.0.amd64fre.winmain.090321-1322

I ran the Windows Experience Index assessment again, and the base score went up from 2.0 (build 7000 64-bit) to 2.8 (build 7068 64-bit).

With build 7000, my Macbook’s low score was because of the 2.0 subscore of the disk data transfer rate of the primary hard disk, a 120 GB Toshiba MK1234GSX. With build 7068, the subscore of disk data transfer rate of the same primary hard disk went up to 4.3.

Windows Experience Index for Macbook

With build 7000, the Processor and Memory (RAM) subscores were 5.0, while the Graphics and Gaming Graphics subscores were 3.1. With build 7068, the Processor and Memory (RAM) subscores were 4.8, while the Graphics and Gaming Graphics subscore was 3.1. The Desktop Performance for Windows Aero dropped from 3.1 (build 7000) to 2.8 (build 7068).

The main problem I’ve been experiencing with build 7000 is that Windows Explorer will get sluggish or hang after waking from sleep. Trying to switch directories or file copying, even locally, will trigger the problem. Ending the explorer.exe process and restarting the process doesn’t always solve the problem. A reboot does.

Windows 7 and OpenGL

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On January - 26 - 2009

I installed Windows 7 (64 bit) on my Macbook that uses the Mobile Intel 945GM Express Chipset. One of the apps that I use is ClearView, an RC flight simulator for radio controlled planes and helicopters, so I can learn how to fly my Heli-Max Axe CP. On the first run, ClearView said that OpenGL wasn’t installed. The Windows 7 Beta display driver (Pre-release WDDM 1.0) didn’t have OpenGL.

I installed the Intel Vista 64 bit drivers 7.14.10.1504 for the 945GM Chipset from downloadcenter.intel.com, which installed OpenGL 1.4. ClearView seems to work OK.

July 22, 2009: Windows Update notified me that there was a updated Intel display driver for the 945 Express Chipset for Windows 7 RC. I installed it, version 8.15.10.1825, and it runs OpenGL on my flight sim program. It also works with these Intel chipset families:

Intel® 3 Series Chipsets
Intel® 82945G Express Chipset
Intel® 82946GZ Graphics Controller
Intel® 82G965 Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (GMCH)
Intel® 82Q963 Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (GMCH)
Intel® 82Q965 Graphics and Memory Controller Hub (GMCH)
Intel® 945 Express Chipset Family
Intel® 946 Express Chipset Family
Intel® 965 Express Chipset Family
Intel® G31 Express Chipset
Intel® G33 Express Chipset
Intel® G35 Express Chipset
Intel® Q33 Express Chipset
Intel® Q35 Express Chipset
Mobile Intel® 945 Express Chipset Family
Mobile Intel® 945GM Express Chipset Family
Mobile Intel® 965 Express Chipset Family

Update, January 19, 2010 (backgrounder): Why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX

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About Me

I like Alfa Romeos, art, barbecue, baseball, bicycling, cars, cigars, computers, cooking, eating, electronics, fly fishing, football, Formula 1, friends, golf, horology, jazz, movies, museums, photography, r/c cars, r/c helicopters, reading, restaurants, Scotch whiskey, softball, slot car racing, tennis, the internets and travel

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