How To Install Windows On Your Mac When All Else Fails

This one is more of a note for me than anything else.

Early Macs (such as our 2007 Mac Mini) have 64 bit CPUs but only support 32 bit UEFI. Things get annoying and complicated when installing dual boot.

This works great to resolve the issue.

3D Acceleration in Windows 10 on VMware Workstation Pro 12 and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

So, playing around with Workstation 12 on Ubuntu 16.04 and I found when booting a freshly installed copy of Windows 10 Pro, I’d get an alert that 3D acceleration was not working.

I thought this was Odd as it was enabled, and I’d previously checked I had 3d support configured in Linux.

Screenshot from 2016-08-08 15-36-25

Screenshot from 2016-08-08 15-38-00

Checking the test tool for unity, I again confirmed 3D Acceleration was working:

spathi@Loki:~$ /usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p
OpenGL vendor string:   Intel Open Source Technology Center
OpenGL renderer string: Mesa DRI Intel(R) Haswell Mobile 
OpenGL version string:  3.0 Mesa 11.2.0

Not software rendered:    yes
Not blacklisted:          yes
GLX fbconfig:             yes
GLX texture from pixmap:  yes
GL npot or rect textures: yes
GL vertex program:        yes
GL fragment program:      yes
GL vertex buffer object:  yes
GL framebuffer object:    yes
GL version is 1.4+:       yes

Unity 3D supported:       yes

The answer to this was to edit my vmware preferences file and add a string to allow Blacklisted drivers. Now, I am not sure why this is required when it can be seen above that the Intel drivers are not blacklisted, but hey, that requires some more research.

So I fired up vim and edited the preferences file in my home directory :

vim ~/.vmware/preferences

And in my case the missing flat wasn’t present at all, so I added the following at the end of the file. = "TRUE"

I restarted Workstation, low and behold I was no longer receiving errors about 3D acceleration not working.



Obtaining Windows embedded serial key for Surface Pro 3 using Linux

So after switching to Ubuntu on my Surface Pro 3 it occurred to be I would like to virtualise my Windows 10 instance in VMware workstation 12.

Unfortunately before blasting my windows partition away I didn’t grab my Windows Serial Key that is embedded in the UEFI/BIOS.

If I was installing Windows 8/10 directly on the device I’d have no need for the key, as Microsoft check the hardware layer and activate automatically. Unfortunately as this instance of Windows 10 is in a VM, the required hardware layer is not exposed.

I noted there were some windows tools available to grab the embedded serial key, but as I have no windows running on the bare metal, I searched for and found a solution using linux.

Running the following command should spit out the key. I’ve done this on Ubuntu 16.04

sudo hexdump -s 56 -e '"MSDM key: " /29 "%s\n"' /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM

It should look like:


If for some reason this command doesn’t work, you can also try this one:

sudo xxd /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM

And you will get an output as follows:

00000000: 4d53 444d 5500 0000 0309 4f45 4d43 0000  MSDMU.....OEMC..
00000010: 4f20 4520 4d20 4300 0003 0000 414d 4920  O E M C.....AMI 
00000020: 1300 0100 0100 0000 0000 0000 0100 0000  ................
00000030: 0000 0000 1d00 0000 4434 5143 4e2d 5039  ........XXXX-XX
00000040: 4647 342d 3842 524b 572d 5858 4734 582d  XXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-
00000050: 3643 4d38 52                             XXXXX

The last set of X’s will be the serial key.

Use this to activate Windows 8/10


Making a bootable usb key from the ophcrack iso

A friend of mine lost the password to a netbook he hasn’t used in years, to find it for him I used a program called Ophcrack.

There are ISO files for bootable cds on their website, but as his netbook doesn’t have a cdrom drive this wasn’t much use.

I tried several programs like unetbootin but none of these would boot correctly and gave messages such as ‘missing operating system files’

In the end I found that had support for Ophcrack in their Universal USB Installer.

I downloaded the installer, ran it and selected Ophcrack for vista/windows 7. The installer then downloaded the correct iso and made a bootable copy on an inserted USB key.

Download the Universal USB Installer and give it a try.