Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How To Delete 7-Zip Extraction / Folder History

1. Open the Registry Editor (Start -> regedit.exe) and find the following key:
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\7-Zip\Extraction
2. Delete the entry "PathHistory".

You'll need to be logged in as a Administrator to make registry changes. As always, consider backing up the registry before making any changes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

How To Block All Internet Traffic / Connections If Not Connected to a VPN

This post will outline a method using the Windows 7 Firewall to block all Internet traffic unless you are connected to your VPN.

This post assumes you have already followed the steps in the earlier post, How to only use the VPN Connection and Block ISP.

If you implement these rules, your system will have no Internet access unless you are connected to your VPN. That is to say, your system will be connected to the Internet, but no traffic can get in or out unless specifically permitted by a separate firewall rule. If a rule allowing an application exists, that application's traffic will still be able to pass through the firewall.

I have used these rules on my system without ill effect (Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit). Depending on what other applications you use, you will likely have to create additional rules. If you break your system, don't blame me. Always back up before messing with system settings, and take notes as you go.

It is possible this method could still potentially leak data by way of the system process svchost.exe. If you attempt to block svchost.exe, your PC will not be able to communicate with your router/modem, and you really will have blocked all network functionality - i.e. nothing will work.

That being said, I have monitored VPN disconnects using TCPView and spotted no leaks - just all processes (including system processes) engaged in Internet traffic instantly changing from ESTABLISHED to TIME_WAIT, and shortly thereafter vanishing.


If this method is too restrictive / complex for you (or if you use Windows XP / 2000 or Mac OS X), you may wish to consider using a VPN service offering a VPN client that allows you to securely bind applications to the VPN, such as HideMyAss:

http://hidemyass.com/vpn/r1669/


Steps:

1. Open Windows Firewall with Advanced Security (in this guide, start at step #4)

2. Select Inbound Rules. The New Inbound Rule Wizard will appear.

3. Select Custom Rule (see below).


4. Select All Programs.

5. Select Any IP Address, for both Local and Remote.

6. Select Block The Connection (see below).


7. Select Domain and Private, leaving Private and Public unticked (see below)



8. Name your rule and click Finish. Repeat steps 1 through 8 for Outbound Rules.

9.  In the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security window, select Windows Firewall Properties (see below).


10. In the resulting window, choose to block both inbound and outbound traffic for the Domain and Private profiles (see below). You may also want to block outbound traffic on the Public profile as well, but you will need to create specific allow rules for every application that needs Internet access.


You should test your configuration at this point to ensure it is working. Connect to your VPN, start up some downloads, and disconnect. All traffic should die immediately.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How To Transcode Media / Video Files Permanently With TVersity Media Server (PS3 Guide)

This is a simple fix to avoid transcoding / converting media multiple times. I've used the PS3 as the example playback device (because that's what I use), but this should work for any device capable of connecting to TVersity Media Server.

If you use TVersity Media Server with a PS3 (or 360), you might notice that some files are very stubborn to play, particularly if you attempt to fast forward or browse the video with the PS3's thumbnail browsing (i.e. pressing the square button during playback to browse specific intervals). Flash video (.FLV extension) is perhaps the most stubborn of all.

These problems are often caused by TVersity being unable to transcode the media quickly enough to provide the PS3 with the data requested. I've found the method described in this guide is particularly good for playing / transcoding flash video content into a format that will fast forward and rewind.

Be aware, some files might suffer a degradation in quality (as well as an increase in size) - however, for most downloaded content, there is little or no noticeable difference whatsoever. If you're just getting started with TVersity on the PS3, I highly recommend the post Optimizing TVersity for the PS3.


10 Steps To Permanently Transcode Media:

1. Place all of your stubborn media into a directory of your choice, e.g. C:\tmp

2. Share this directory in TVersity Media Server, with the setting "Always Transcode"


3. On the TVersity Settings tab, set Temporary Media Files to a nice big number (the default is 8192mb, I'd go for at least 20 or 30gb, depending on how much media you intend to transcode).




4. Browse to your newly-created directory on your PS3, and test that each file will play individually. If something refuses to play whatsoever, even with Transcode set to "Always", get it out of there. The file is either broken, or you don't have the correct codec to play it.

5. Ensure that the PS3 has Sequential Playback turned on (In the PS3 XMB, Settings -> Video Settings -> Sequential Playback).

6. Play the first file in the folder on the PS3, and sit back and relax. Turn off the TV if you like. All the files are going to have to play in their entirety, in real time (could be many hours depending on what you have queued up). This is a good thing to run overnight while sleeping, when the PS3 is not in use. You should ensure sequential playback is working; occasionally some files can cause playback to stop rather than continuing to the next file.

7. When the files have completed playing, browse to the temporary media folder on the PC running TVersity. The default locations are:
  • XP: C:\Program Files\TVersity\Media Server\data
  • Vista / 7:  C:\ProgramData\TVersity\Media Server\data
If you can't find the directory, simply click the "View Files" button under Temporary Media Files (see screenshot above).
    8. Look for files with the extension MPEG16 and a whole lotta characters after that. See screenshot below.


    9. Rename those files to their original names, changing the extension to .MPG.

    10. Move files to desired location, share (setting TVersity to Never transcode), and playback without the need to ever transcode them again. You'll find that not only will fast-forwarding / rewinding work much better, but you will experience less glitching over WiFi, and take a huge CPU/memory load off your PC.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    How to Disable IPv6 and Teredo in Windows 7

    Steps to Disable IPv6 stack and Teredo Tunnelling Protocol in Windows 7

    There are privacy issues abounds related to the Windows 7 implementation of IPv6. I won't get into them here, I'm assuming if you're reading this page, you are aware of these issues and wish to disable it.

    If you need a desk reference for tweaking Windows 7, consider Windows 7 Tweaks: A Comprehensive Guide. It's a lot better than the O'Reilly Windows 7 book, and it's cheaper too.


    (NOTE: You must be logged in as a Administrator to make these changes.)

    To Disable IPv6 stack:

    1. Open the Registry Editor. (Start -> type "regedit" in search box)
    2. Find the following key:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip6\Parameters\
    3. Right-click on "Parameters", and select "New", and then "DWORD (32-bit) value"
    4. Enter the following in the resulting window:
    • DisabledComponents
    5. Modify the DisabledComponents key by right-clicking it. Enter the following hexadecimal value:
    • 0xffffffff
    Upon entering this value, it may display as "0x41ffffff". 

    Some web pages say you should enter a "0" here, but that actually will enable IPv6.


    To Disable Teredo Tunneling Protocol:

    1. Click Start -> Control Panel
    2. Click System and Security
    3. Click Device Manager (the UAC prompt will appear, click OK)
    4. In the Device Manager Windows, click View -> Show Hidden Devices
    5. Find the Teredo Tunneling Pseudo-Interface in Network Adapters
    6. Right-click Teredo Tunneling Pseudo-Interface, and select Disable.