Primitive Blog (Tag: emergency)

Taking a screenshot for fun or profit...

A lot of people will know this one now but a few of you might not. It's a basic tool most techies use to capture an image of exactly what is happening on the screen. Why would you want to use it? Maybe you tried to buy something online and it's thrown up an error message. Maybe you've got a weird error screen from a program you use. Maybe you simply want to keep an image of your desktop for posterity - "Look I really did do that online game in 30 seconds!". The Print screen option has been available since the dark ages of IT back when it would simply output whatever was displayed to your dot matrix printer! Nowadays it simply allows you to create an image.
How do you do it? Easy. In all versions of Windows simply hit the "Print Screen" button. it should be a little key on your keyboard over to the top right next. Once you hit it nothing will actually happen as it siply stores a capture of the screen in memory. You need to paste it into something. The easiest way to do that is fire up MS paint that every Windows machine should have. Either find it under "All  Programs - Accessories" or go to the Start menu, select "Run" and type in "mspaint". It should fire up a simple painting application. Select "Edit" and "Paste". The screen should now appear in the program window. Now save the image by selecting "File -> Save as" I'd suggest saving it as a JPEG rather than a BMP (this isn't a problem in newer versions of windows)
You can get additional software such as "greenshot" that does a better job, and Windows 7 and beyond comes with the "Snipping Tool" but the method outlined above works on everything Windows and usually is the simplest method.

By Primitive Designs

When you just want a web browser...

So recently I lent someone a LiveCD of Linux to help them get round a trashed computer. As far as I know they are still using that! Linux used to be complex and hard to learn (but very powerful) now you can get running with it in minutes. Android is based on it. So what's a LiveCD and how would it benefit you to have one? Well basically it's an installation of an operating system on a CD or DVD. The idea is you boot your computer from it and as long as you have a fairly normal home set up you can get straight onto the internet. You would use it in the following situations -

1: You've got a virus or something is broken on your Windows install.
2: You're letting your kid brother/nephew/niece/other on your computer and you don't want them installing aforementioned virus.
3: You're worried about what's in your browser history.

For the first reason alone it's worth having a disk like that handy. Simply download an ISO file and burn it to a blank DVD/CD. You may have to learn how to boot the computer from the CD drive but that's normally hitting something like "F11" when the machine is first switched on. Check the messages on the screen when you hit the power button. There are lots of Live CD's out there. I'd recommend two. Firstly there's Mint.

Select the "32bit" Cinnamon version if you've got a newish PC. It's pretty and nice to use.
Alternately if you just want something really simple download EasyPeasy

Just download the ISO file and burn it to disk. Don't bother with the USB stick installer unless you want to use that to boot from instead of the CD. It gives you a very easy to use system. It won't have much installed but lets face it most of the time all you want is a web browser!

By Primitive Designs

Something nasty happened and need to reboot?

I've got a server which something nasty has happened to. The filesystem is giving me errors and although I can log in to ssh (it's loaded into memory) I can't run any commands. Now normally I'd copy off what I could and plug in a rescue CD. However in this case I think it might have been a temporary issue and all I need to do is reboot. How do you reboot if /sbin/reboot isn't available? Simple -

echo 1 > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq
echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger

In this case I think I knocked the SATA cable on the live running system. Stupid I know but these things happen. If it really is a disk problem then you're better not rebooting I guess, unless you can get a rescueCD put in the machine first of all!

By Primitive Designs