Notepad++ missing from Context Menu in Windows 7

Just upgraded my laptop to Windows 7. After installing Windows 7 and configuring devices, I started downloading all the good application without which I can’t survive a day on computer. Once of these applications was Notepad++. After installing Notepad++, I realized that the Notepad++ edit option was missing from context menu.

I am use to just right click on files and select Notepad++ so this was bit of disappointment. After doing some digging on google, I was able to create a registry entry to context menu and here are the steps which I had to follow:

  1. Launch registry editor using regedit command.
  2. Browse to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell registry tree.
  3. Create a new key under band name it Notepad++
  4. Under this key, create a new registry entry of type REG_SZ and enter Notepad++ as data for this registry key. (The data entry will appear as it is in context menu. You can also enter ‘Open with Notepad++’ if that’s what you want to appear in context menu.)
  5. Create another key entry under Notepad++ and name it command.
  6. Create a new registry entry of type REG_SZ and add C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\Notepad++.exe %1 as data. If you installed Notepad++ at different location that default, modify the path in command accordingly.
  7. That’s it, you can close the registry editor and you should have Notepad++ in context menu for all file types. Below screenshot shows the registry editor screen with entry.
    Notepad++ Context Entry

If it seems hard to follow all the above steps, you can just download the registry file and execute it 🙂

Subversion with WebSVN, WebDAV and Active Directory or LDAP Authentication

I just finished setting up subversion server running on CentOS. In addition to having subversion respositories, I have few other requirements which includes:

  • Ability to browse repositories using a web browser
  • Acccess to repositories using WebDAV
  • Repositories access should be protected and authentication/authorization should be done using Active Directory

First, I was looking at using TRAC which provides most of the above and some extra features (project management and bug/issue tracking). But we already have other project management (dotProject) and bug/issue tracking (Mantis) softwares in place and TRAC doesn’t seems like very straight forward to install and configure. So, I started looking at alternatives and there isn’t much out there in form of once package which can provide all of the above.

The solution which we ended up building is running on CentOS operating system, WebSVN and other dependency libraries. I ran into some issues while setting up the solution and went through number of articles and KBs available on Internet. Almost spent whole day on this and thought it might be useful for others if I put all the info in one article.

Target is to have a setup where we can browse all the repositories using WebSVN with URL
http://<hostname>/websvn
Each of the repository should be accessible using a URL which looks like
http://<hostname>/<repository name> Continue reading Subversion with WebSVN, WebDAV and Active Directory or LDAP Authentication

Windows Server 2008 Server Core Installation and Management

With release of Windows Server 2008, Micrsoft Windows team made some major improvements to overall architecture to make Windows operating system more stable, secure and reliable. Keeping the Windows 2003 tradition alive, Microsoft ships Windows 2008 in four versions – Web Server, Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter. But one major feature addition to 2008 is the ability to do the minimal installation of Windows 2008 without any graphical utilities which most of the admins don’t need. This feature is known as “Server Core” and its basically provides a minimal environment for running a specific server role. Admins can select to perform Server Core installation during the Windows 2008 installation. The result will be a stripped down installation of Windows without any traditional components installed such as desktop shell, GUI, Windows Explorer, IE and other MMC which otherwise get installed while doing full installation. With Server Core installation, all the management and configuration tasks will be performed using command line utilities.

You must be thinking, why would someone use the Server Core installation? Everything to be configured from command line…. that sounds like going back to era of DOS? Well, there are multiple advantages when using Server Core:

  • Reduced maintenance
  • Reduced attack surface
  • Reduced management
  • Less disk space required for installation as footprint is very small
But don’t get disappointed, Microsoft does allow you to manage Server Core installation using your favorite MMC from remote server or workstation. Continue reading Windows Server 2008 Server Core Installation and Management

Most Useful Free Applications for Windows

Unlike any Linux distrubution, Microsoft Windows lacks number of utilities or tools that you will need from time to time. If you are IT professional, there are number of utilities you will need to get through your day in addition to what Microsoft Windows comes with. Thanks to open source methodology and licensing, number of these utilities are available free along with their source codes. And there are bunch of softwares available for Windows which are free but closed source which is totally fine as long as you don’t have to go through number of hoops to get your hands on the software.

For me, the free software is one:

  • which is totally free as in free beer 😉
  • which doesn’t comes with adwares, spywares or other kind of hidden methods to make some profits from the users.
  • which doesn’t require activation or registration after few days or otherwise some of the features will be locked down and so called ‘free’ app will be stripped down version of what you were expecting.

On the other hand, I love the free applications which provide in-built update checks and auto-update features and…. well lets not get too greedy 🙂

Lets get started with our list of applications. The list below is not sorted out by popularity or functionality because why take extra headache of sorting and I will keep adding new apps in the future.

Continue reading Most Useful Free Applications for Windows

Customizing Windows install CD

Have you ever been into situation when you wish Windows can install the drivers for you hard disk drive controller from USB flash drive or network instead of Floppy Disk Drive which are becoming obsolete day by day. Well, I been into those situations where I need to provide SATA RAID controller drivers for my PC which unfortunately doesn’t have old fashioned ATA floppy disk drive. And even though I can use USB floppy disk drive to provide the drivers during first stage (text based) Windows installer, it will refuse to use the same drivers from USB floppy disk drive during second stage (Graphical based) installer. I started searching as how I can work around to this problem and one of the method which I came across is called slip-streaming. Basically slip-streaming means customizing the Windows install CDs.

Now there are number of other reasons for customizing install CDs other than just adding custom drivers to it. These include adding latest service packs to install CD, including custom softwares, automating the installation where you don’t have to enter Name, Company Name, CD Keys etc manually. This is very helpful if you manage multiple PCs or have test lab environment where you need to re-install Windows again and again and you wish that you don’t have to sit in front of monitor during the installation.

There are number of ways you can do slip-streaming and most of it includes copying files here and there and changing some INI files to include your custom drivers or automating installation. But as always, easiest and simplest method is to have some kind of GUI tool to do all of this for you. Many thanks to Dino Nuhagic, who created Windows based tool to do exactly this and its called nLite (http://www.nliteos.com). You can download this powerful tool from http://www.nliteos.com/download.html.

So, lets get started and customize that Windows installation CD of yours. nLite can customize any release of Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003. If you want to customize Windows Vista, than you will need vLite (http://www.vlite.net/). In this tutorial, I will be customizing Windows 2003 Standard R2 so all the screenshots and steps are related to nLite.

Continue reading Customizing Windows install CD