TideLog Posts Tagged “how to”

Mika recently gave me her old eMachines E625 laptop after she bought a new one from me. I dual booted it with Linux Mint, as there was still some of Mika’s files under Vista that she wanted to keep. The only thing that didn’t work was the wireless. The card appeared to be installed under Device Driver Manager, but I received the message “Device not ready – firmware missing.”

I was scratching my head for ages. Using Ethernet for the time being, I tried downloading official Broadcom wireless Linux drivers and building them, but that hit a wall with Error 3 (I never did find out what that was). I swapped drivers under Device Driver Manager, still no luck. Admitting defeat, I phoned my linux chick, Kana, and her simple solution made us both laugh! She told me to open Software Manager, search for “b43”, and install the package “firmware-b43-installer”. It worked! The wireless on/off button light also worked!

She said you can also use Terminal by typing “sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer”, but to do that you’d need to have known the package name first. I love you, Kana, my gorgeous Japanese geek goddess xxx Seriously, everyone should have a Japanese geeky programmer for a ladyfriend!

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I needed to do this recently because I had to clone a friend’s hard disk, both drives were SATA and my power supply only has one native SATA power connector. My optical drives are both SATA too, running off a Molex to 2xSATA adapter, but connecting 2 hard drives to one 12v plug causes power problems for the drives as they are high current, whereas optical drives aren’t.

So I’ve disconnected my optical drives to use just one of the 2 piggybacked SATA power leads. This left me with no drive to run Hiren’s disc from, so I decided to make a USB boot drive instead. here’s how I did it! This is also very useful if you’re on a laptop or desktop with a failed drive, simply use an ISO image instead of physical disc.

You will neeed:

  • A copy of Hiren’s Boot CD 10.3 or newer in either disc or ISO format, you can extract the ISO or mount it using a virtual CD program such as MagicDisc (freeware, yay!)
  • A USB pen drive of AT LEAST 1GB (gigabyte)
  • A copy of USB Disk Storage Format, which I’ve hosted on TideLog, HERE.
  • A copy of  GRUB 4 DOS installer 1.1, also hosted on TideLog, HERE.
  • A computer with CD drive (for copying the disc files if you have a Hiren CD)
  • Your computer MUST be able to boot from USB if it is the one you are working with in recovery. Most computers about 3 or 4 years old will be fine.

How to perform:

1. Download, extract and run USB Disk Storage Format tool. Follow my steps in my screengrab below, in numbered order:

The reason we’re using this is it needs to be FAT. A lot of people have tried using exFAT in Vista and Win 7 but it won’t work and sometimes Win XP gets it wrong. I prefer third party apps to format external drives.

2. Run GRUB4DOS Installer, and follow the numbered steps as below. MAKE SURE you select the correct drive:

3. Insert your BootCD (10.3 or newer) in your CD Drive and copy everything from the CD to your USB Drive. If you have an ISO image, you can either extract all files from it, or mount it using a virtual CD program like MagicDisc mentioned in the requirements, then copying and pasting from the virtual CD as you would a physical disc.

4. Copy grldr and menu.lst from grub4dos.zip (or from HBCD folder) to the USB drive:

5. Finished! Restart the computer it is to be used on, and make sure the BIOS is set to boot from USB. Most BIOSes allow you to bring up a boot menu, by pressing F12 or similar, it will then autodetect bootable devices, select your USB drive and off it goes!

Configuring different BIOSes

To enter the BIOS press the “Del” key on your keyboard. Alternatives are “F1”, “F2”, “Insert”, and “F10”. Some PC BIOSes might even require a different key to be pressed. Commonly a PC will show a message like “Press [Del] to enter Setup” to indicate that you need to press the “Del” key. Some AMI BIOS require you to enable the option “USB Keyboard Legacy support”.


  • Go to “Feature Setup”. “Enable” these options: “USB Function Support”, “USB Function For DOS” and “ThumbDrive for DOS”. Go to “Advanced Setup”. Set the “1st Boot Device” to “USB RMD-FDD”.
    Reboot the PC and it now should boot from your USB drive.
  • Go to “USB Mass Storage Device Configuration”. Select “Emulation Type”, and set it to “Harddisk”. Go to the “Boot Menu” and set the “1st boot device” to “USB-Stick“. Exit the BIOS, saving the changes. You can try setting “Emulation Type” to “Floppy” or “Forced FDD”.


  • Go to “Advanced BIOS Features”. Go to the “1st Boot device” and set it to “USB-ZIP”.

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Kassie has just ever so kindly given me her iPhone 3G, as she’s upgraded to a 3G S. So, before it arrives (she’s shipping it back home for me later this week) I decided to write an article on how to Jailbreak an iPhone. Before I start, don’t confuse the two iPhone phrases Jailbreaking, and Unlocking. They’re two completely different things:

Jailbreaking: Allows the use of unsigned Apps

Unlocking: Removing the SIM restriction to allow your phone to be used on other networks.

Please note that Unlocking IS NOT illegal, 02 themselves here in the UK can do it for you for free, whereas Jailbreaking possibly is. Apple have bricked phones in the past by releasing updates that disable iPhones that are jailbroken. Luckily I’ve never had one that I’ve done for a customer actually do it! Kassie’s always backed off from doing it to hers herself. Even though she’s helped in OS X x86 dev before, having her £400 phone wrecked is a scary thing to take in, even for a financially well off lady as herself.

The best thing to do once jailbroken is to not update the iPhone firmware, unless you notice any bugs or new features you want to use. This itself though is risky, as we never know what Apple are up to. That aside, let’s begin:

First of all, I WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE for damage or bricking caused by you following this article. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, don’t do it, or get someone to do it for you!

1. Before we start, MAKE SURE you’re on FW 3.1.2 or earlier. The newly released 3.1.3 in February is currently unable to be jailbroken. What we’re going to do is RESTORE to a hacked 3.1.2 firmware on our hard drive, we don’t UPDATE to newer hacked, it doesn’t work like that.

2. Download the 3.1.2 hacked restore firmware from TideLog, by clicking HERE (Link not ready, file being uploaded, check back later!). Download it anywhere you like. Update to iTunes 9.

3 Open iTunes, connect your iPhone. Click on your iPhone in the left sidebar of iTunes when it appears.

4. Hold the Shift key, and click the Restore button. Browse to the .ipsw file you downloaded from TideLog earlier. Let the process complete, and you’re done!

Enjoy your Jailbroken iPhone! The world of Apps is much nicer when you’ve not got Apple holding the reins on what you can buy from the App Store, because you DON’T need the App Store!

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