Howto convert a Windows 10 installation from legacy BIOS to UEFI boot

I’m currently trying to build a Hackintosh. I had some troubles with bootloaders and modified BIOS, as they weren’t able to detect my existing Windows 10 installation. Windows 10 was installed in legacy BIOS mode, which means you have a traditional boot layout using a Master Boot Record (MBR) instead of GPT (which is also used by Mac OS).The Windows 10 installation would be visible if I could somehow change it from MBR to GPT.

Normally you would do a reinstall and would create a new installation of Windows 10, but this time you would select the Installer as UEFI Installer and it would suggest to reformat the disk with GPT.

However, I don’t want to reinstall everything so I searched for a solution. With one of the recent Windows 10 updates Microsoft added support for a tool called MBR2GPT. This tool can update your existing installation to GPT.

WARNING: The following assumes that you’ve created a working backup of your installation and that your computer supports booting via UEFI.

The necessary steps are:

  • Start your computer, so that Windows 10 is loaded.
  • Select restart and press and hold the shift key.
  • The computer will restart into Windows PE mode.
  • Select Troubleshooting, Advanced options, Command Prompt.
  • Windows will ask you to select a user name with admin rights.
  • Login with that user.
  • The Command Prompt opens and you can start the process with
    • MBR2GPT /validate
  • If that command succeeds without errors, you can start the conversion with
    •  MBR2GPT /convert
  • You can exit the Command Prompt.
  • Reboot your computer.
  • It should boot from the found GPT partition scheme and should present you the Windows boot screen.

 

Slow SMB transfers in Mac OS 10.12.2

I’m using a 802.11ac WLAN to connect to my Synology NAS. With the last Mac OS 10.12.2 update the network performance was catastrophic when I tried to access the NAS via SMB. At first I thought this might have been caused by the WLAN connection but even with a Gigabit LAN connection my transfer rates were around 3-5MB/s.

After a short search online, I’ve a few hits describing the actual problem:

Apple uses their own version of SMB and enabled client signing to mitigate against Man in the middel attacks. Therefore all connections underly this signing process and are way slower.

Therefore I’ve disabled client-signing on my mac using this command:

printf "[default]\nsigning_required=no\n" | sudo tee /etc/nsmb.conf >/dev/null

This will write this content

[default]
signing_required=no

 

to the file /etc/nsmb.conf. After you’ve set this value you need to unmount all samba shares. If you’ll reconnect now, you’ll witness a much better performance, starting with faster loading of network shares.

You can revert this change with

sudo rm /etc/nsmb.conf

 

How to remove Spotify’s notification badge from the Mac OS X dock

Are you also annoyed and tired by Spotify’s notification badge in the dock of Mac OS X? I totally was and found a simple list of instructions on apple.stackexchange.com and want to show you how to remove this “feature”.

If correctly used, notification badges are a cool thing. They notify you when an app wants your attention. Spotify abuses this feature and shows the number of pending notifications inside its app. That means: If you ever subscribed to somebodies playlist and this playlist is updated, you will be notified. Same goes for stuff like new tracks of your favorited artists. You have no control over these notifications and will always be notified. Other users are also annoyed by this misbehavior but nothing changes 🙁 Thats why my Spotify is mostly minimized to the background and when opened it shows this ugly notification badge in its UI:

Spotify in app notification badge

Its annoying and always tries to steal my attention. Same goes for the Mac OS X dock icon:

Spotify Dock Icon with 99 notifications

Normally, you can open the system preferences and can disable the notifications. However, Spotify isn’t listed (although it uses the notification APIs of Mac OS X).

The instructions from stackoverflow write this missing entry into the notification database, so that it shows up in the list. Only after that you are allowed to disable Dock notifications:

Disable Spotify Badge App Icon Here’s the code of Ryan Patterson’s stackoverflow entry, in case it ever gets deleted:

# "Usernoted" seems to be the "user notifications daemon", so get it's PID.
pid=$(ps aux | grep -i [u]sernoted | awk '{print $2}')

# Find the sqlite3 database that this program has open. It's in a "private" folder (app sandboxing).
db="$(lsof -p $pid | grep com.apple.notificationcenter/db/db\$ | awk '{print $9}')"

# I got the bundleid from Spotify.app/Contents/Info.plist
bundleid="com.spotify.client"

# I use 0 as the flags because you can change all the settings in System Preferences
# 5 seems to be the default for show_count
# Grab the next-highest sort order
sql="INSERT INTO app_info (bundleid, flags, show_count, sort_order) VALUES ( '$bundleid', 0, 5, (SELECT MAX(sort_order) + 1 FROM app_info) );"

# Run the command
sqlite3 "$db" "$sql"

# Restart usernoted to make the changes take effect
killall usernoted

 

WP-Sweep plugin helps you to clean up your WordPress data

Inspired by this tweet, I’ve decided to give WP-Sweep a try:

https://twitter.com/chemik3r/status/572127624346148864

WP-Sweep is a new WordPress plugin which only uses the official WordPress API to delete and clean up orphaned and unused data.

I’ve given it a try on my personal blog and it worked flawlessly. Unfortunately I’ve forgot to write down the exact percentages on what could be sweeped and saved but I have now a good feeling that at least my > 3000 blocked spam comments are finally gone 🙂

Don’t forget to backup your data, before you try this!

VMWare Fusion 4.1.3 does not accept Bootcamp installation

I’m currently switching from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and I wanted to make a clean install. Therefore I completely removed the Bootcamp Partition with the Bootcamp assistent of Mac OS X. However, it could not remove the partition. I’ve decided to delete the partition manually and to recreate the partition.

The Mac OS X disk utility only allows me to create exFAT or FAT partition, because NTFS is not natively supported. I’ve decided to use ExFAT and deleted my old Windows 7 installation. After installing Windows 8, I wanted to use my Bootcamp installation on Mac OS X. So I started VMWare 4.1.3 (The latest version is 5, but I’m not willing to buy the upgrade, the old version works fine under Mountain Lion.), removed the old entry for my Windows 7 Bootcamp installation and wanted to create a new one.

But this failed with several error messages, indicating that the Bootcamp disk could not be configured. After a short Google search, I’ve found the problem with the exFAT format of the Bootcamp partition: VMWare Fusion only supports NTFS formatted partitions.

 

The lessons learned from my experience:

  • If you create the Bootcamp Partition with the Mac OS X assistent, you will get a 32GB large Partition in the correct useable format.
  • If you delete yourself old Bootcamp partitions and want to reinstall, make sure you format the partition with NTFS instead of any other offered formats. Instructions for this can be seen here.
  • If you use Paragon NTFS4Mac or if you use MacFuse, you could preformat the partition with NTFS. But Windows 7 and 8 want to create a small boot partition for themself, so I would not recommend to go this path. Format the partitions from Windows setup.

 

A small update:

I was not able to use VMWare again with Bootcamp. Therefore I decided to delete the partition with the Bootcamp assistent, which crashed during this operation. I had to enter the recovery mode of Mac OS X and had to recheck and repair the complete HDD and its partition. I’ve then changed the size of the HFS+ Volume on the HDD back to its original size and created a new Bootcamp partition using the assistent:

Creation of a  Bootcamp partition on Mac OS X 10.8
Creation of a Bootcamp partition on Mac OS X 10.8

 

Next Update:

No good news to report… Windows was finally recognized correctly by VMWare, but I couldn’t add the Bootcamp installlation. The setup wanted me to reboot into Windows and reboot into Mac OS X, because it thought the Bootcamp partition was not cleanly unmounted:

Bootcamp partition is not prepared - VMWare Fusion 4.1.3
Bootcamp partition is not prepared – VMWare Fusion 4.1.3

 

So I decided to try the new VMWare Fusion 5.0.1 version and suddenly my problems were all gone… It’s sad to see, that you always need a newer software version to work correctly. Especially when Windows 8 runs just fine inside a normal VMWare VM, but not when you are using Bootcamp. My guess would be that you could install Windows 7, configure Bootcamp correctly in VMWare Fusion and then upgrade to Windows 8. But this takes awefully long, so I’ll stick to the newer Fusion version. You can test it 30 days for free and after that you have to buy it for 44,99Euro 🙁