SATA RAID problems during Windows Installation – Solution

29 01 2010

The dumb things Microsoft come up with never seem to amaze me. Yesterday I was loading a new server with Windows Server 2003. The machine had RAID 1 setup between the two 500GB SATA drives, installation started as normal and then I got a blue screen. Not any blue screen, the blue screen of death; the installation has not even started!!!

So doing some research I found that the problem is that Windows Server 2003 does not have RAID drivers for most systems, and that you can press F6 during start up to specify the RAID drivers, sounds good. But its NOT!

Typical Microsoft fashion, the installation can only read these drivers from a Floppy. A good old 1.44 MB Floppy disk. I do not own a floppy drive!! Had some hope that I might be able to use a USB stick; tried it, but the windows installation does not see the USB drive!!!

So I was about to give up when I found a article around making a streamline version of the Windows Disk, that contains all the required drivers etc, pre-packed.

What is required you may ask:

  • A machine that is already running windows and has a CD burner
  • The Windows Installation CD
  • The SATA RAID drivers, either on your motherboard CD or the manufacturers website
  • A freeware application named NLite
  • A Blank CD
  • 10-15 minutes

Download your drivers and unzip them to a folder on your hard drive. Then download and install the NLite application. When you start the Nlite application, you will be asked to provide the location for the Windows installation package. Insert the Windows Installation CD into the CD drive and, inside the application, select the CD drive letter.

To insert the SATA drivers within the installation package, you need to have it saved on the HDD. Hence, when the warning window appears click OK and select the destination folder for the files to be saved. Make sure that the destination partition / HDD has enough space to store the contents of the installation CD. Immediately after you have chosen the destination folder, the application will start copying the Windows installation files. When finished, it will display some version information regarding the newly copied Windows Installation Package.

Now, click next twice until you get to a screen where you get options sorted in 4 categories: Integrate, Remove, Setup, Create. We are interested in the integration procedure, therefore select the Drivers button and click next. From the next menu window, click Insert and select multiple drive folder option from the drop down menu. This option permits you to browse to the location where the downloaded drivers are found.

Select the containing directory and click next. You will get a list with the available drivers (in case there are more than one) or simply one driver. Select it (them) and click next. Now the application will ask for the permission to start the integration procedure. Choose Yes and wait for the drivers to be inserted into the installation package.

With problematic driver being included in the installation package you can install Windows on your SATA HDD…but…the installation package is on the HDD. You need a bootable CD in order to start an installation. Don’t worry, once the installation package has been adorned with additional user selected drivers it can be transformed into a bootable disk image and later burned on a CD. To encapsulate the installation into a ISO image use the same Nlite application.

Open it, make sure the HDD installation folder is selected and click next. Select “Last session” preset and click next again. Now from the options menu choose Bootable ISO and click next. In the following window, make sure that the mode is set to “Create Image” and click Make ISO. A destination folder is required where the resulting ISO image will be saved. Once the image saving process finished you have the freedom to burn it on a blank CD with whatever you favorite CD burner software may be.

The new CD will be the twin copy of the Windows Installation CD but with one difference, it includes the SATA driver.

Fellow XBMC Blogger

27 01 2010

Found this blogging site: XBMC Blog . Contains some nice information around linking python to the XBMC SQLLite database.

Found a nice tool to connect/view the SQLLite DB; SQLiteSpy [Delphi Inspiration]. So far it has all the features needed.

HOW-TO use XBMC and Vista Media Center with a MCE remote with EventGhost

27 01 2010

Following the comment Dave left on the MCE Remote, here is a link to the very nice little app called ‘Event Ghost’.




Ember Media Manager

22 01 2010
Ember Media Manager

Ember Media Manager

Need more flexibility when adding fanart/banners and movie info to your media library? Here is the perfect tool: Ember Media Manager, here is the official web site: . This tool provides many very nice features for managing information downloaded from IMDB or similar scrapper.

Current Features Overview:

At this point, only Movies are supported. Once we get all the features added and bugs worked out of the Movies section, we’ll move on to TV Shows, then to Music.

  • Supports IMDB Data
  • Supports OFDB Title, Outline, Plot, and Genres
  • Supports TMDB Posters and Fanart
  • Supports IMPA Posters
  • Supports MPDB Posters
  • Supports Downloading Trailers From:
    • YouTube (Scraped or Manual Entry)
    • IMDB (Scraped)
  • Scrape Movies
    • All Movies – Automatic/Ask – All Items/NFO Only/Poster Only/Fanart Only/Extrathumbs Only/Trailers Only/Meta Data Only
    • Movies Missing Items – Automatic/Ask – All Items/NFO Only/Poster Only/Fanart Only/Extrathumbs Only/Trailers Only
    • New Movies – Automatic/Ask – All Items/NFO Only/Poster Only/Fanart Only/Extrathumbs Only/Trailers Only/Meta Data Only
    • Marked Movies – Automatic/Ask – All Items/NFO Only/Poster Only/Fanart Only/Extrathumbs Only/Trailers Only/Meta Data Only
    • Custom Scraper (Pick specific items you want to scrape. ie – Actors only, Rating only, Title only, etc)
  • Single-Scrape
    • Re-scrape IMDB
    • Change Movie
  • Edit Movie Information
    • GUI
    • Manual
  • Tools
    • Clean Files (Standard/Expert)
    • Sort Files Into Folders
    • Export Movie List to HTML
    • Sets Manager
    • Offline Media Manager
    • Revert Media Info Studio Tags
    • Bulk Renamer
  • Supports Both Movies in Single Folder and/or Movies in Separate Folders
  • Select Multiple Fanart Images to Save to \extrathumbs\thumb#.jpg
  • Extract Specific Frame(s) to Save to \extrathumbs\thumb#.jpg
  • Custom Studio Images (via XML and/or “Native” Studio Flagging)
  • Custom Media Flag Images (via XML)
  • Custom Genre Images (via XML)
  • Custom Rating Images (via XML)
  • Supports Multiple File Naming Schemes
  • Image Caching (Optionally Persistent Between Sessions)
  • Global Locks for Specific Items
  • Movie Level Locks
  • Command-line Operation
  • Multiple Filter and Searching Options
  • Database Backend
  • LOTS More…

Avatar 3D- Love It/Hate It?

22 01 2010
Avatar Movie



Headlines the last few weeks have been full of Avatar news; and well deserved. The movie itself is great. Awesome graphic effects, good story line. Aliens with genetalia in their pony tales, scary monsters and the anal army generals make it a good sci-fi. But here lies the problem I have with Avatar.

James Cameron is a great writer/director, at time of this post; Avatar is sitting at more than $ 1.6 billion in revenue. The story follows our ‘hero’ Jack Sully on his mission to be come a member of the Na’Vi tribe using a Avatar body; and so convince them to leave their home (home tree) before the mining trucks arrive. As expected our ‘hero’ turns soft, falls in love with a blue alien and starts killing humans, his own race. Does this not bother anyone else who watched this film? Would you turn against your own race, even if they were killing an indigenous tribe in-order to save the human race?

XBMC – Microsoft MCE Remote Control – Review

21 01 2010

The wonders of XBMC continue. After much research, I finally decided on the MCE Remote Control from Microsoft for my media centre.

MCE Remote Control

MCE Remote Control from Microsoft - Remote and IR unit

As with most new devices, it is simple Plug & Play. It worked easily under Windows and Linux (Running XBMC 9.11 Camelot). I have to thank the developers for adding support for it. I did not want to sit and map my keys using Lirc…

Pros of MCE Remote:

  • Plug & Play
  • Nice Layout, all the buttons in one place.
  • Good Reception with add-on IR receives
  • 2 meter USB cable for IR unit


  • Its a Microsoft product…
  • Stop Button is out of the way, not where you need it.

Overall Impression:

  • Awesome Remote
  • Money well spent

XBMC Weather Service – Change Display to Celcius – How To

21 01 2010

Like many new XBMC users; I find the Weather service awesome! Here is an example:

XBMC Weather Plug-In Fahrenheit

XBMC Weather Plug-In Fahrenheit

But wait; there is a problem. As you can see from the view above, this is in Fahrenheit? My location is configured correctly, but still it displays as Fahrenheit? So what to do? Easy, a few simple steps will solve this problem:

  • From the Home Screen, go to Settings
  • Go To Appearance
  • On the left pane, select international
  • The second option is Region
XBMC Regional Settings

XBMC Regional Settings

  • Now change the region to match somewhere that uses Celsius, and bob is your uncle.
XBMC Weather Plug-In Celcius

XBMC Weather Plug-In Celcius