jScripts - jQuery and Google prettyPrint

Friday, August 21, 2015

Installing Windows in UEFI Mode

For motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X99-UD4

Booting Windows in UEFI mode offers a couple mild advantages:
  1. it's more compatible with Clover if you're booting OSX this way already
  2. it's supposed to be the fastest way to boot
Notes / Lessons Learned:
  • Rufus flash usb boot tool - wound up going with mbr and uefi-csm - not the normal recommendation
  • bios settings
    • fast boot didn’t seem to matter
    • legacy usb worked in disabled mode
    • worked with “other OS” selected
    • machine would not display bios after reboot whenever i disabled CSM (even though that's what most UEFI guides recommendation)
  • what really seemed to matter was putting the usb stick in a certain USB port! i used the chassy USB header with 2 USB3 and 2 USB2… going from left to right it was the second USB3 port that worked and the left most one never would
  • Lesson Learned - Disconnect all other drives than the one installing to
    1. existing windows drives get targeted for reusing their boot partition to install the bootloader files and wouldn’t create all 4 "ideal" GPT UEFI partitions on my clean drive (Recovery, System, MSR, Primary)
    2. having my mac clover drive connected during these attempts allowed the setup utility to put the windows bootloader on that drive and ruin that clover boot…
      • reinstalling clover via vmware osx guest DID NOT put the UEFI clover bootloader back in charge!
      • had to delete/rename \efi\windows folder and then the old EFI option started showing back up on the “BBS” “F12” boot choice menu
  • to confirm you’re really booted into UEFI mode:
    • from “WinPE” environment:
      • shift F10 to open command window
      • wpeutil UpdateBootInfo
      • reg query HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PEFirmwareType
      • 0x1 = legacy, 0x2 = uefi
    • from real windows:
      • msinfo32
      • look for “BIOS Mode” under System Summary

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Code Readability = "Art"

The following quote by Bill Atkinson has been posed many ways by other clever folks and continues to resonate with me ... it's comforting that someone more cultured than i will ever be, considers this "art"... i naturally lean towards loving the code like one would take care with a fine wood piece, which does follow to the idea of a craftsman or artisan.

... I’m a firm believer that the best way to prevent bugs is to make it so that you can read through the code and understand exactly what it’s doing ...
--Bill Atkinson

It's pleasing this ties back to the computer era I came up in, the mid 80's, when i was first imprinted with the wide eyed sense of wonder that software offers... when these OG's were right there building the first versions of the contemporary user interface... sure things have been refined immensely but not really much has changed since then... i would say robust "touch" is a fairly big change since then and of course there will be new breakthroughs

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Minimal pure CSS Treeview with FontAwesome expanders

Update 2015-07-18: shux! not valid to apply ::before/after psuedo elements to <input> since it's not technically content (stack-o reference)
Works in Chrome and Safari but not Firefox or IE :(

Look ma, no JavaScript! :)

Leveraging (hidden) checkbox element to maintain expand/collapse state and
:before {content: "xyz" }
 css to avoid extra elements.
Not an original idea but wanted to see of i could trim down all the extra html markup & css required.
Turned out swell! The <input> is the only additional overhead above standard markup, sahweet!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

External Content in Blogger Post

  • pull content from 3rd party source, using crossorigin.me (CORS proxy) to avoid "no 'access-control-allow-origin' header is present on the requested resource"
  • from what i can glean, Blogger does not offer any kind of server side include facility so we have to resort to client browser tricks and that means this content is NOT going to be crawled/googlable
  • this approach relies on jQuery (Core) so you'll need to have that referenced as well - example here, but also make sure you point at the latest version

drop this helper function in a global JS/HTML widget via the Blogger Layout editor...
function pluginContent(url, containerSelector, boolPrettyPrint) {
function pluginContent(url, containerSelector, boolPrettyPrint) {
  var ctrl = $(containerSelector);
    .done(function (result) {

        //force prettyPrint rendering after loading dynamic content
        // google on: "google code prettify" to get dialed in on this code syntax highlighting library
        // => https://code.google.com/p/google-code-prettify/wiki/GettingStarted
        if (boolPrettyPrint) {
    .fail(function() {
      ctrl.html('failed to retrieve external content.<\br>'+
        'try going there directly: <a href="'+url+'">'+url+'</a>')

Then use it like this in an individual blogpost:
<pre class="prettyprint linenums lang-powershell" id="prePoshDualExplorers"></pre>

  //pull code content from codeplex
  pluginContent("https://beejpowershell.svn.codeplex.com/svn/PoshDualExplorers/PoshDualExplorers.ps1", "#prePoshDualExplorers", true);

PowerShell Dual Windows Explorers

  • Nutshell: Hosting two Windows File Explorers inside a WinForm... with the potential of sprinkling some utility hotkeys on top - e.g. "copy from left to right".
  • latest powershell source code
  • Always wanted to try this and just finally got around to it... and it actually works to a decent degree.
  • This is obviously well covered ground with various other file managers... i just wanted to see if you could do it this poor man's way with PowerShell driving... so one could take it and make it one's own, w/o having to get into big C# compile fest... it's all relative of course
  • The obnoxious part is hunting down the COM interfaces necessary to pull stuff out of FileExplorer... it dips into silliness like how IE is somehow part of the equation.
  • See comments for all the good posts i drew from to cobble it together... lots of handy Shell programming nuggets to be had
  • oh yeah, thanks to a handy github project, Font-Awesome is now in the WinForms domain - too cool
  • notes to self
    • interop.SHDocVw.dll is generated from doing a Visual Studio reference to C:\windows\system32\shdocvmw.dll
    • interop.Shell32.dll seemed like it was going to come in handy but didn't wind up being necessary
    • these are the only real FileExplorer API calls necessary for the CopyFile piece
      • $objFolder = $objShell.NameSpace($explorerRight_SHDocVw.LocationUrl)
      • $objFolder.CopyHere($explorerLeft_SHDocVw.Document.SelectedItems())
    • there are a few wacky interfaces behind the shell objects but the neat thing is that runtime dynamic type binding makes using real types largely irrelevant... i feel that does lose some self documentation in the balance so i've tried to include the pertinent interfaces in the comments for future reference and expansion
Source Code

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Installing OS X (Yosemite) on native hardware via VMware

General guide for installing physical boot OS X from a Windows VMware hosted guest instance - Including some specifics for Yosemite, the Clover boot loader and my hardware.

Apologies, the nested outline below utilizes a pure CSS expand collapse approach that only works under Chrome / Safari).

This guide is pretty packed with comments but it's a lot like painting a house, the "work" is all in the preparation, and the core install steps are quite simple - basically just get into the OS X virtual machine and install OS X to your physical drive :)


  • This approach assumes you've got a PC already running Windows and you want to leverage that same hardware to physically boot OSX at times as well.
    • Once you're in OSX, Parallels and VMware Fusion do both support running your physical Windows instance as a VM... this corresponds to VM'ing your Bootcamp partition under a real Mac... so to be clear, we use a Windows host to run an OSX VM from where we install OSX to a physical drive, then boot that OSX host and run that same original Window host as a VM :) 
  • To put it out there up front - Prevalent ready-to-run VMware OSX images provide a convenient bootstrapping approach.
  • I had trouble getting my USB stick to boot with Clover – which appears to be a known issue on my mobo (Gigabyte X99-UD4) – so on the way to prepping a USB for UniBeast, I figured why not see how tough it is to install directly from VM OSX to my intended physical drive vs fighting the USB
    • This skips the whole slog of extracting the latest OSX installer from it's app store wrapper and getting it all setup on a USB boot copacetic with your individual hardware... one might argue that we're shifting dependency to a VMware image version rat race but all we actually need is the app store to download the latest OSX... so whatever VMware+OSX image you obtain now, will remain a viable stepping stone to install the latest greatest OSX you want onto your physical drive.
    • For what it's worth, this pretty much guarantees you won't run into issue just getting the vanilla OSX bits on your physical drive... of course you will still have to slog through whatever your individual hardware compatibility effort requires to actually boot up...
    • Yet when troubleshooting is necessary, it is much easier from the full working OSX VM environment vs the constrained OS X Installation / Recovery boot environment that comes with typical USB approach.

Hardware as of this guide:

  • Mobo: Gigabyte GA-X99-UD4 - LGA 2011-v3
    • bios: F12
    • onboard ethernet: Intel I218-V (kext required)
    • onboard audio: Realtek ALC1150 (vanilla support)
  • CPU: Intel i7-5820k - 6 core Haswell-E (vanilla via Clover flags)
  • Video: Asus Strix Nvidia GeForce GTX 750Ti 2GB ... this card is a perfect fit in my book:
    • No drivers necessary to vanilla boot into Yosemite - no QE/CI out of box but very workable for initial install and then full QE/CI via Nvidia "webdriver".
    • fanless unless pushed hard
    • 3 x digital display, INCLUDING DP - I can confirm this card supports at least dual monitors under Yosemite via any combination of DP / HDMI / DVI (dual- link) with any of them driving 2560 x 1600 res... I've seen mention of possible 4k support on this card and can't wait to confirm that myself :)
    • no more horsepower than I care to pay for => $160 at the time ... and was well stocked in major outlets circa April 2015

Obtain Software Bits:

Software versions only listed for reference as of this build, not crucial unless noted.
  1. VMware Workstation (v11.1)
  2. OSX VMWare image (Yosemite v10.10 14A389) - this package includes crucial patches enabling OS X guests
  3. Yosemite via App Store download (v10.10.*2* 14C109)
    • get this download running as soon as you can get into the VM since it takes a while
    • if curious, you can confirm which version of OSX you got from the app store via the "Startup Disk" popup that comes when you quit out of the installer.
  4. Clover Configurator (v4.23.0) - very very handy, seals the deal on Clover convenience
    1. while UniBeast still seems to cover more diverse hardware situations, Clover is pretty slick if your hardware is copacetic (basically starting with a UEFI capable mobo)
    2. the "EFI partition only" footprint is nice for vanilla segregation - it sits there intact if you want to completely wipe & reinstall OS X primary partition 
    3. Couple nice bits for my hardware
      1. HaswellE kernel patch is a checkbox vs manually patching the kernel - nice!
      2. no fuss NVRAM checkbox which effortlessly enables iMessage and App Store connectivity
  5. Clover (v2.3k r3241, change descriptions) - during install steps, you can use Cover Configurator to conveniently download and launch Clover installer
  6. KextWizard (v3.7.11) - one handy feature above other more well known kext loaders, it will target another drive which is perfect for this side-load scenario
  7. Kexts
    1. FakeSMC - bare minimum DSMOS avoidance for non apple hardware
    2. AppleIntelE1000e (v3.1.0) - for X99-UD4's onboard Intel I218-V ethernet
    3. VoodooTSCSync patched for 6 core (my hardware) - author site says this addresses "spin lock" issue
    4. GenericUSBXHCI - in conjunction with disabling XHCI in bios, enabled night and day difference in VM performance
  8. Nvidia's web driver

BIOS settings:

  1. SATA controller in AHCI mode - classic requirement
  2. xHCI = manual, xHCI handoff = disabled - (Reference) this made a major difference on running VM's

VMware Guest Configs:

  1. add 'smc.version = 0' to the VMX file in order to resolve error: vmcore/vmm/main/physMem_monitor.c:1123
  2. Add physical disk to guest - In addition to the main vmware virtual drive that your guest OSX boots from
    1. i found SATA interface to *never* work vs IDE or SCSI... SCSI gave some minor warning so i went with IDE / full disk / persistent
  3. MBR trick to allow boot utilities (e.g. Clover installer) under vmware guest to write to physical disk:
    • sure am glad those guys figured out how to hack around this issue otherwise this whole approach would be dead in the water with no way to write to the physical disk
    • pretty surprised vmware hasn't been blasted into fixing this issue... it doesn't seem OSX specific but maybe that's why it's remained obscure
    • In my experience, on Windows 8.1 at least, simply taking the drive "offline" via DiskManagement was not enough
    1. ** This must be done BEFORE firing up vmware guest
    2. hide the physical disk from Windows by temporarily clearing the "MBR magic" signature in the very last 2 bytes of sector 0 (see DirectDisk tool screenshot at bottom under "MBR Trick")
    3. then refresh Disk Management (or DiskPart.exe > rescan) and the drive will show that it's now completely unknown
    4. now put the 55AA signature back so the Mac guest can see the drive - but be careful not to refresh Disk Management or DiskPart
    5. now fire up vmware guest and you're good to slam that drive all day long

Lessons Learned:

  1. Major Parallels/Fusion VM performance fix!! - the nutshell is apparently the xhci stuff has a major impact... i had mine disabled but then didn't have xhci manual mode selected nor the GenericUsbXhci.kext loaded and after doing both of those my Parallels 10 performance was respectable...prior to that all Windows VM spinups were major slow and obviously just hammering the first core from Activity Monitor, afterwards all cores jump around randomly.
  2. Bootcamp under Parallels, fix "missing operating system" - first shutdown the Bootcamp guest VM so you can make configuration edits, then "Edit Partitions" and for me, my little recovery partition wasn't selected vs the main Windows OS partition, just had to select it (in addition) and restart.
  3. Updating Nvidia drivers - SEE THIS POST - they can put you in a non-bootable state pretty quick, like when you upgrade OSX and the currently installed driver is no longer compatible... so the main thing to be aware of is using nv_disable=1 in your boot args to temporarily remove them from loading, which then gets you back into working low res where you can install another version of the drivers.
    1. Using MacPro6,1 for your SMBIOS requires a special patch - see Fix#4
  4. starting from a completely bare drive - just format it as GPT Journaled with a single partition via DiskUtil - this will create an unavoidable ~200MB EFI partition which is good for clover
  5. Yosemite installer or Recovery script will add "Recovery HD" partition - however, i don't particularly see the need for Recovery mode vs booting into full OSX VM for any troubleshooting
  6. on the VM image i had major kernal_task CPU crunches that would storm in and bring everything to a stand still... guessing thru googling that some IO kext is getting hung up... i disabled sleep and this issue no longer occurred, no big surprise.
  7. easy success with Migration Assistant restoring from Time Machine backup after booting into a fresh OSX install makes this my preferred approach - see "Time Machine saving to Windows share" under Misc tweaks below.

Install Steps:

  1. Fire up the VMware OS X guest on pre-installed virtual Yosemite image (Bits 1 & 2 above)
    1. Make sure BEFORE launching OS X guest, perform "#3. MBR trick" under "VMware Guest Configs" above
    2. if you install the darwin.iso tools the resolution does get a nice little bump from 1024x768 to 1920x1080... and it seems to be slightly more responsive - find in: C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\darwin.iso
    3. Physical drive must be formatted before Yosemite installer will recognize as a valid installation point (specify GPT & Journaled)
  2. Install Yosemite to the physical drive via Apple App Store download
    1. I count 3 restarts (few mins stuck on 1 sec remaining, then maybe a 20 mins run) - the 3rd and final looped me back to the beginning of the install, so then just bail out and reboot back into virtual Yosemite
    2. If you wind up hosing that last profile setup stage like i did :| this article is handy :)
    3. Recommend selecting the virtual disk for startup as convenient to making repairs on the broken physical from the working virtual
  3. Use Clover Configurator to download and install latest Clover - Remember to select the physical drive as the installation point
    • I went with the EFI only install with no other checkboxes necessary
  4. Clover Configurator settings - these need to get saved to your EFI partition/EFI/Clover/config.plist, so you'll need to mount your EFI partition and make sure to select this file before you start applying settings, and then don't forget to save before quitting.
    1. Boot tab:
      1. -v - verbose, you're going to want to watch for any clues if it blows up
      2. npci=0x2000 - everybody says this one is crucial
      3. nvda_drv=1 - (my hardware)  enables loading Nvidia kexts
      4. kext-dev-mode=1 - this enables loading of unsigned kexts
      5. slide=0 - pulled this from a guide (not sure necessary)
      6. (my hardware) Legacy = LegacyBiosDefault - this enables Windows to boot when it's been installed in MBR (aka Legacy) mode vs UEFI mode
    2. GUI - hiding entries on the clover boot menu is complicated by all the different combinations... this is the strategy that was the most rational for me
      1. Scan = Custom, then select Entries & Tool (leave Legacy and Kernel unchecked) - i couldn't figure out how to hide my Windows EFI partition from the legacy scan so this disables legacy scanning entirely
      2. Hide Volume => Recovery HD - this was the only one that still needing specific hiding
      3. Custom Entries
        1. one for the OSX volume by name (not the mac/clover EFI volume), don't forget to set the Type field or it won't save to config.plist, no other fields required, but you might want to set a specific image file (e.g. EFI\CLOVER\themes\thinkpad\icons\os_yos.icns)
        2. one for Windows volume by UUID, always set the Type field, no others required
    3. Kernel and Kext Patches
      1. KernelHaswellE (my hardware)
    4. Install Drivers - for Yosemite everything will be 64bit and I'm doing UEFI only so we'll be selecting only from the two bottom sections on the Install Drivers tab (i.e. "Drivers UEFI 64 bit" and "Extra Drivers")
      1. remove VBoxHfs
      2. add HFSPlus UEFI
      3. ---- my hardware --- otherwise Clover will hang trying to allocate contiguous memory right after OS selection
      4. add OsxAptioFixDrv
      5. add OsxLowMemFixDrv
      6. add OsxFatBinaryDrv UEFI
    5. Theme - my chosen them never seemed to save to the config.plist for me so i just found the <theme> section and put the one i wanted manually (textedit works fine here).
    6. Copy kexts to EFI\EFI\CLOVER\Kexts\10.10
      1. FakeSMC
      2. VoodooTSCSync (my hardware)
      3. GenericUSBXHCI (my hardware)
      4. AppleIntelE1000e (my hardware)
    7. You should now be able to reboot into this new physical OS X - *** I've needed to include "nv_disable=1" in the boot args until i've gotten the Nvidia WebDrivers loaded ***; THIS POST is very helpful for all the different issues
    8. Play it safe, do a Time Machine backup of this pristine install before you do anything else to screw it up (see "Time Machine saving to Windows share" below) - *** especially before the Nvidia drivers ***, i've had them black screen me... if that happens, try nv_disable=1 boot arg first before starting completely over.
    9. Last juicy step is to go ahead and install latest full Nvidia web drivers (Tip: confirm your specific OS X version via Finder > About This Mac > and hold ⌘ when you click the version number)

    Misc tweaks and tools:

    • DiskPart cheat sheet
    • XtraFinder - F2=rename, Enter=launch file, Delete=delete file, dual pane tabbed Finders and tons of other must haves
    • Kext Utility
    • Clover Preference Pane
    • Installing Windows in UEFI Mode - this makes it more straightforward to target the drive for booting from Clover... it's also supposed to be the fastest way to boot up
    • Fix Home/End keys: Karabiner > "PC style" keys options
    • Show All Drives in DiskUtility:
      defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled 1
    • Avoid Microsoft Remote Desktop self signed certificate lockup (ref#1, ref#2)
      1. Use Activity Monitor > View > All Processes to kill SecurityAgent which will dump the hung authorization popup
      2. Open Keychain Access app in OSX
      3. Select Certificates under the category heading - trusted certs are marked with a white plus in blue circle
      4. double click your untrusted certificate
      5. expand Trust section
      6. select Always Trust for SSL
      7. close, done
    • Enable Time Machine saving to Windows share (smb)
      1. Save a "sparsebundle" image to your share via DiskUtil > new image... 500GB or whatever... it's "sparse" so it won't use all the space right away... go with "Single Partition - GUID" and Journaled
      2. "Mount" your share via Finder ⌘-k, confirm by Finder > prefs > SideBar > Devices > {your machine}...  look for share as a drive icon there
      3. Double click the sparsebundle to get that mounted as well
      4. Terminal: sudo tmutil setdestination /Volumes/{sparsebundle drive}
      5. Fire up Time Machine prefpane and select that drive, yay!
      6. Use Users prefpane > Login Items to make the two mounts automatic after reboots so that Time Machine has continuous access to do its background backup magic
      7. CONFIRM THAT YOU CAN RECOVERY RESTORE from this rather unsanctioned source - traditionally one does this from a "Recovery HD" partition with the special Time Machine Restore tool available to that environment but i ran into enough snags that my preferred approach is to reinstall OSX from scratch from the OSX virtual machine, then boot back into the fresh install and use Migration Assistant to restore from the Time Machine backup. This is a resilient solution because if we somehow trash this guest VM, we can readily recreate it from the source vmdk file.
        1. If you're still interested, here's notes on creating a bootable Clover recovery partition - i had a lot of trouble modifying the BaseSystem.dmg to include my NIC's kext such that i could point the Time Machine tool at my backup volume over the network
        2. (unsuccessful) Time Machine restore over NFS from Recovery mode
          • SMB is not supported in the limited Recovery environment so NFS is the next obvious choice to restore from a network source
          • NFSAxe was the one Windows NFS server that did at least support the basic OSX client to Windows mount (after trying both FreeNFS and haneWin NFS)
          • Time Machine via NFS on Mavericks and Mac NFS client tutorial - details pertinent Terminal commands... but ultimately ran aground with "sparsebundle not compatible" error which seemed like a limitation of the mount util (hdiutil) or the underlying filesystem libraries not available under recovery mode
            • make root drive writeable: mount -uw /
            • create mount point: mkdir /private/MacBackups
            • mount -t nfs beejquad:/m/macbackups /private/MacBackups
          • If curious to try, the Recovery mode tools can be fired up under standard OSX
            • mount any "Recovery HD" partition you can get your hands on
            • then under com.apple.recovery.boot, find BaseSystem.dmg and mount that (it is hidden)
            • Then the special Time Machine full restore app is under: /System/Installation/CDIS/Time\ Machine\ System\ Restore.app/Contents/MacOS/Time\ Machine\ System\ Restore ... but again, this didn't pan out for me since i wasn't able to mount my sparsebundle image that contained the Time Machine backups... it seemed to be a Recovery mode limitation because the sparsebundle file continues to mount fine under standard OSX boot
    • Mounting EFI partition under windows
      1. launch cmd.exe, then:
      2. diskpart
      3. list disk (looking for the right drive)
      4. select disk x (where x is drive number)
      5. list part
      6. select part 1 (EFI will be first on a normally formatted GUID drive)
      7. assign letter=e
      8. (when done) remove letter=e
      9. Then need to launch explorer.exe as admin to access this E: drive
        1. cmd.exe as admin
        2. taskkill /im explorer.exe /f
        3. explorer

    MBR Trick:


    Saturday, December 13, 2014

    Chrome Blacklist Blocker (PowerShell)

    If you need this, you'll know why ;)

    Save ChromeBlacklistBlocker.ps1 somewhere local.

    You can run it via right mouse > "Run with PowerShell".
    It will dump out some event text whenever it notices a registry change.
    (this is currently commented out and latest code hides the powershell console window after launch)

    Or more permanently, put a shortcut like this into your auto "Startup" folder:
    powershell.exe {path}\ChromeBlacklistBlocker.ps1

    It will monitor the HKLM\Software\Policies registry branch and delete the value named "1" under Google\Chrome\ExtensionInstallBlacklist.
    This value is specific to my scenario but is of course editable to your specific needs.

    You can test it is working by creating the "1" value yourself and it should disappear.

    Another good way to test is to fire gpupdate.exe force a group policy update - again, if you need this, that should make sense :)

    More Google search keywords: block registry key