Create Bootable Windows Server 2016 USB Installation Drive Step-by-step

After upgrade my home server by adding some memory and an SSD, I decided to reinstall my server using Windows Server 2016.

The ISO I downloaded a while ago from Microsoft is 5.5GB big, so it is not feasible to burn to a DVD, since I don’t have a double-layer burner. Although I stocked a hundred DVD/R and CD/R, who is using disk these days?

So I searched online, and found this is post is quite useful. It’s by the same guy – Dan Stolts.  One link is on MSDN:

Another link is on his own blog site:

Despite one small typo, this is quite authentic. I tried it out this afternoon, it’s easy and quick as long as you understand a bit of DOS command and how to read help. (Be very careful on the drive letter).

Basically in three steps:

  1. Create and activate a partition on your new USB drive, and format it;
  2. Prepare the boot sector on this USB drive;
  3. Xcopy all content extracted from ISO to the USB drive.

The USB drive I used is 8GB, enough for the 5.5GB install image. I like this way because USB drives are reusable. I threw out dozens of optical disks every year, some of them were just used once or never used, I felt guilty when I got rid of them.


Hi Hadoop!

Heard Hadoop for many times, never got deep into it. Now is a chance, so I started the experiment in Microsoft Azure.

First, you can find a number of Hadoop packages in Azure Marketplace. I chose Hortonworks Sandbox with HDP 2.5.  I tried Hadoop by Bitnami as well, but it’s usability is a bit tricky, I couldn’t find a way to make Bitnami work without creating a number of accounts and expose more of my own information. I may try it later (and enable the boot diagnostic to find the password in the log when the image starts the first time) when I have time. For now, I stick to Hortonworks.


Then just follow the standard Azure procedure –

  • Basics: filling in the VM name, username, SSH key or password, subscription, resource group, location, etc.
  • Size: choose the size of the VM.
  • Settings: choose the storage, network, etc. I suggest to leave boot diagnostics enabled.
  • Confirm on the Summary and Buy.

Notice that on the price page, there is warning on the charge besides the Azure VM itself, also since the HDP Sandbox just showed 0.0000 CAD/hr, I don’t think you need to worry too much about it. BTW, Bitnami’s Hadoop is also free, explicitely mentioned.


Wait for a few minutes until the deployments succeeds. You can then check the status of your new Hadoop VM.  Hortonworks suggests that you make the public IP static. You can find more detail information on its tutorial page.

Next is to configure your SSH client. I am using PuTTY on Windows, so there are more mouse-clicks than the config example given in the tutorial.  Basically these settings let you connect to your VM in the Azure cloud using various ports from localhost to the remote VM via the SSH tunnel you set up here.


Here is how to configure PuTTY:

  • Fill in the public IP of your Hadoop VM
  • Expand Connection – SSH
  • Click Tunnels
  • Fill the source and destination, then click Add button


According to the document, you need to add 8 forward ports


So in PuTTY, you can add one by one, it should eventually look like this (scroll up and down to see total 8 lines/ports).


You can then go back to the Session page, give a name in “Saved Sessions” and save the configuration. Next time, you only need to load it from there.

One trick is that the VM need some time to start and become stable. My first few login attempts failed, only after 20 or 30 minutes can I eventually login. so be patient. After login, you should be able to see the following directories.


Then according to the tutorial, keep the SSH session active, you can use brower to visit this page on your VM.


Click on the left icon, you will see the dashboard.


Click on the right, you can read more advanced topics including the default username and password, and how to change them.

That is the first step into Hadoop.

Open file error when start Excel

Recently, it must be after some sort of update pushed from the corporate server, whenever I open an Excel file or just start the blank Excel program, it gives me two errors.

This is the first:







Once I click OK, it gives me the second:





This is so annoying that every time I have to see this and sometimes, I just wait it open then find those pop-ups are waiting for me to click OK again.  So I did some googling and found the solution.

In general, first check would be in the Excel settings, here are the steps I got from ExpertsExchange (Q_26790488):

1) click office button
2) Select Excel Options
3) On the left pane, click Add-Ins
4) You’ll see a list of add-ins, try to identify which addin is the one mentioned in the error message
5) You can also select "Manage Excel Add-Ins" and click Go, to see the standard add-ins (XLA and XLAM)…
6) in any case (4 or 5) make sure you disable the one causing the issue.

Since I don’t have such Magic.xlam file or anything funny in my settings, so I continued my research.  Then the Accepted Solution down in the thread gave me a hint to search for the ~$Magic.xlam, which obviously looks like a corrupted file.  I found it in "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\XLSTART" folder, and then deleted it.

After that, Excel opens without a problem.


How to fix KMS error in Office 2013 Activation

First of all assume that your KMS is functional, having Office 2013 key installed.  Also the client is able to reach the KMS server on port 1688, and the setting in your internal DNS system is correct.

You can check registry on the client for this:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform\KeyManagementServiceName (REG_SZ)

Here are the two commands you can try specify the KMS server and do manual activation.

cscript ospp.vbs /sethst:fqdn_of_your_kms_server

cscript ospp.vbs /act

For Windows activation, the commands are like this:

  1. cscript slmgr.vbs /skms fqdn_of_your_kms_server
  2. cscript slmgr.vbs /ato

Further, you may want to try uninstalling the product key on a client and then reinstalling it.

slmgr /upk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
then slmgr /ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

Reference page from Microsoft:

Intel 530 SSD

Thinking about a SSD for an old laptop, HP 2000-208CA, just want to try if SSD can help in general usage like browsing Internet, viewing photos etc.

Intel has its brand reputation, so no doubt after comparing other name brands like Samsung, Kingston, I narrowed down to Intel 530 series, which always has some promotion in this or that big reseller.  To replace the HDD on the laptop, I just need a similar size, 240GB is enough for the O/S Windows 7 or 8, and maybe Office, nowadays we don’t really need a lot of local disk space.  Also this laptop is not really for running as a VM host.

After quite some search, basically on the physical size and interface.  I cannot really tell the difference between SSDSC2BW240A4K5 and SSDSC2BW240A401.  There is always about 20 dollar difference.  According to this Newegg page, they are almost twins.

But looked further, I found there is a big issue in this series SSD – BIOS recognition after restart.  In many laptop models, install O/S won’t be a problem, but the system cannot see the SSD after a (warm) reboot.  Many users told that cold restart is not an issue.  It sounds a big concern to me.

Here is the Q&A in Amazon, a big chuck is about this issue: Intel 530 Series 240GB 2.5-Inch Internal Solid State Drive (Reseller Kit) SSDSC2BW240A4K5

Even Intel itself has a forum thread regarding this: Intel SSD 530 startup problems – Bug in SSD?

Before reach any decision, I also need to check this HP page for the laptop BIOS upgrade, which I found through another thread.  If everything works, I might also consider upgrade the memory, like this.

Hope there is a fix in the Intel SSD, although I don’t know how to upgrade an SSD firmware.

Reset iLO password on HP ProLiant server

Hardware reset:

I found that there is an ILO security Overide switch on the motherboard. By default it’s set to 0 for off, if you set it to 1, it turns it on. When it is turned on you can get into to ILO with no username or password and then go in and change the user account passwords. Once you’ve changed the password(s), you change the switch back to 0, of course this requires you to shut down the server twice.

You need to set jumper (J29)the Integrated Lights-Out Security Override Switch.
To set the iLO Security Override Jumper:
1. Power down the server.
2. Remove the server from the rack.
3. Remove the server access panel.
4. Locate the three pins of J29 and move the jumper from the front and center pins to the center and rear pins to override password security. J29 is to the front of the 30 pin Remote Insight Connector.
5. Replace the server access panel and put the server back into the rack.
6. Power on the server.
7. Logon to the iLO and reset the passwords.

A warning message will be displayed on the iLO Web pages indicating the iLO Security Override function is currently active. An iLO log entry will be added recording the use of the iLO Security Override. An SNMP alert may also be sent upon setting or clearing the iLO Security Override function.
In the unlikely event it is necessary, enabling the iLO Security Override also enables the iLO boot-block to be flashed. The boot-block will be exposed until the iLO is reset. Compaq recommends the iLO be disconnected from the network until the reset is complete.

Software reset:

This will only work if the server is online and if the hp management tools are installed in the OS. If they are not then refer to this:

1. Install SNMP on the windows server (neede by HP Insight Management Agents.)
2. Ddowloaded and install the HP Insight Management Agents.
3. Download and install HP Lights-Out Online Configuration Utility.

Ok now that everything is in place, open a notepad file and enter the following :

<ribcl VERSION="2.0">
<login USER_LOGIN="Administrator" PASSWORD="somerandompassword">
  <user_INFO MODE="write">
   <mod_USER USER_LOGIN="Administrator">
    <password value="yournewpassword"/>

** somerandompassword in the second line doesn’t have to be a real password.  The utility just needs this parametre to run.

Now save the file as resetilopwd.XML , and copy it to your hp\hponcfg directory (normally under prog. files)
When done that open a command prompt , navigate to c:\program files\hp\hponcfg directory and issue the following command:

HPONCFG.exe /f resetilopwd.xml

Now it should successfully reset the password, but please note that the min. password length is 8 characters.