20 Feb 2010

Google Desktop Centralized Server

Google-DesktopWe have a client who makes extensive use of folders and files to store and processing incoming orders for their business. As they have experienced explosive growth the size of this system has made it harder and harder to find the correct client, or correct order quickly. What would be great for them is a centralized search index of that networked folder. Google’s product for this type of server is a $2500 Google mini, but why when Google Desktop will do this with a bit of tweaking and a third party plugin.

HOW TO: Use Google Desktop as a Centralized Server

You will need:

  1. Download and install Google Desktop.
  2. We’re mapping a network drive so we add the following to our login.bat script, or we create a login.bat and place it startup, however you want to do this.
    net use /delete * /y
    subst z: “E:netshare”
    The reason is we want to map our local location to be the same drive as the client computer. We use Subst b/c it creates a drive letter that will match our clients drive letter, b/c it’s a substitute path windows will access it natively and not over the network stack, consuming much less resources.
  3. Right click on your Google Desktop icon and visit Google Desktop in a browser. Click “Desktop Preferences” and under “Don’t Search These Items” enable all you local drive except the Z drive we made earlier. Not seeing the z drive … did you run you bat file?
    • Copy  the url that google takes you to initially,, you need the xxxx part to give to your clients.
  4. Next we install DNKA and run through the defaults with that. They should all be acceptable.
  5. Finally we need a user logged in for google desktop to work. So we enable auto login for this computer/server. Choose a user that has only the permissions the majority of your staff use, if you have protected folders under the index drive and you login as Administrator those users will see those file, they will see cached copies of them within google desktop. Either add them to the don’t index list or auto login as a more restricted user.
    • Open Regedit
    • Goto : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon
    • Open/Create : DefaultUserName – Enter your username
    • Open/Create : DefaultDomain – Enter your domain if you have one
    • Open/Create : DefaultPasswordyour password
    • Open/Create : AutoAdminLogonset to 1
  6. For good measure I also set the screensaver password lock and set the timeout to 1 minute. So the screen will lock pretty quickly after a reboot.
  7. Edit the host file on your computer and add “       desktop.google.com”, this prevents google desktop from calling home and automatically updating to a non working version.
  8. Lastly take the url you saved in 3 and change the part to the ip or host of the machine you installed google desktop onto. http://theserver:4664/?s=xxxxxxxxxxxx, give this to you users and have them bookmark it. You’re all setup.
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05 Feb 2010

Regain Access to a Locked Domain Controller


After the administrator left a local company Green-Light was called into to regain access to the domain and domain controller. Nothing really malicious occurred here but there were password issues after this staff member left and the organization was left without a local admin password and without the admin password for Active Directory.

Too many organizations find themselves in similar positions at one point or another. I wanted to outline how to recover from this problem.

Attached is a simple script that we’ve made to incorporates the instructions found at Geeks are Sexy. The purpose of this script is to setup a service that will change your domain admin password to ABcd123456.

  • Reboot, hit F8 to start in Directory Service Recovery Mode, Login as the Local Admin on the System.
  • Download FixPass.zip, Extract and Execute “start.bat”
  • The script will setup a service and start a 60 second countdown before rebooting the system.
  • When your done your password will be ABcd123456, if you need to change that modify the FixPass.reg file before you run the start.bat script.

**Note: In this particular case we were also locked out of the local admin on the system. Being that the system was running off a RAID controller our handy NT Offline Password tool did not work. A nice side option is to use the Ubuntu Live CD to boot the system. Once started you can download the source for the NT Offline Password tool and run it directly from an ubuntu terminal to reset your local admin.

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