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Starting or Opening PowerShell on Windows 10

There’s tonnes of great PowerShell resources online, and quite often they’ll give you a script or a command to run, but fail to mention how exactly you should do that!

Here’s a couple of methods.

Open PowerShell on Windows 10

On Windows 10 the easiest way to open PowerShell is to click on the start button and just being typing PowerShell.



The PowerShell window with a blue background and white text should now display. Some commands may require you to run PowerShell as an administrator.

Open PowerShell from the Command Line

If you happen to be working inside a command prompt you can achieve a similar result by just typing and entering PowerShell on the command line.

When it is run this way the default background and text colour is not the familiar blue and white because that colour scheme is set in the properties of the start menu shortcut. You can alter these properties yourself though by pressing alt+space and selecting Properties.

Just type Exit to get out of PowerShell.

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Oracle VirtualBox how to Convert a Dynamic (Thin-Provisioned) Disk to Fixed Size

Oracle’s VirtualBox software is an amazing product provided for free, that can fulfill most people’s desktop virtualisation needs. Although I work with VMware vSphere and ESXi products all the time, I still use VirtualBox almost daily to prototype or test things out.

When creating new Virtual Machines in VirtualBox a tend to create my disks as a “standard” type. In the VMware universe we call this “thin-provisioning”. The idea is that the guest operating system “thinks” you have a disk of a particular size to work with, however the actual virtual disk file size only grows as it is needed.

Recently though, I later on has a need to upload the virtual disk file to Microsoft Azure which requires that the disk be configured as a “fixed” type.

Unfortunately, you can’t just seamlessly convert between the types. There is a solution however, as Oracle does include a tool with VirtualBox that can create a new virtual disk file and copy the contents of the disk into it.

First off, shut your Virtual Machine down. View the Settings for your virtual Machine and select the virtual disk. The Location of the file will be shown on the right side. Browse to the file location in explorer.

Open another explorer window and browse to the location of your VirtualBox installation. On my Windows 10 desktop the location is C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox – also leave this explorer windows open.

Enter the following command, substituting in the proper paths.

C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox>VBoxManage.exe clonehd <path-to-source-disk> <path-to-destination-disk> –variant Fixed

TIP: Save some typing! With both Explorer windows and a command prompt open, I find it easy to drag the VBoxManage.exe file into the command window which automatically places the full file path into the prompt. I also use the same trick for the source and destination disk files which saves a little typing (obviously the destination file won’t yet exist, but you can drag the source file into the window and change the file name).

The progress is shown in the command window. I’ve noticed that it stays at 0% for a long time, seemingly until the new disk file has been created and fully allocated, and then progresses quicker once data begins copying.

I have performed a conversion from the native .VDI disk format of VirtualBox, as well as .VHD file types with the same good results. I imagine a .VMDK file type would work equally as well.

Once the new disk file is created, you’ll need to go back into your virtual machine settings and remove the original disk. Then add a new disk and choose the option to browse to an existing virtual disk file. If you’re positive it starts and works fine you can delete the old disk file.


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The NBN is Coming – But Don’t Panic!

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is being offered in some locations in Rockhampton, with increased coverage coming over the coming months to homes and businesses. There seems to be a lot of confusion about NBN, and what changes will occur, and how this will affect homes and businesses.

First, without getting overly and boringly technical, the NBN as we will see it in most areas of Rockhampton is of the Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) variety. This means that NBN Co. and their contractors are running optical fibre cables to various “nodes” or cabinets around Rockhampton. If you drive around the CBD at the moment it’s hard to miss them as they seem to be installed on about every second street corner. The fibre cabling ends at the node cabinet and regular copper wiring then continues on, and enters into your home or business. Because the length of the copper wiring is therefore probably shorter than it used to be, greater speeds are possible over the connection.

At some point, NBN will be enabled at your home or business location and notification from NBN Co. should be received, probably along with offers of Internet service from various companies. Once you receive the notification you have the option to talk to any Internet provider that offers NBN in Rockhampton, and then work with them to transition your Internet service and possibly also your phone services over. Note that you probably will NOT have to make any immediate decisions and will have at least 18 months of grace period before any types of services will be switched off. Don’t feel pressured to make any hasty decisions.

Advice for business customers is much the same, although in many cases you may technically not have to even migrate phone services to NBN. Only “analogue” phone lines will be disconnected after 18 months, whereas the digital “ISDN” services will not be disconnected at all. There may well be commercial advantages to migrating from ISDN to NBN telephone services, such as lower call rates, but similarly there should be no pressure to do it for fear of having anything disconnected. Alarm systems, fire panels, medical alarms and other critical services should be discussed with your IT provider or your Internet provider early on in the process.

If I were to distill my advice into a few short points:

  • Don’t panic! Take a deep breath, you have time to do this properly so don’t be pressured into making quick changes.
  • At home, go with your current provider if they aren’t causing you grief, but don’t be afraid to shop around either. The underlying NBN network is exactly the same regardless of Internet provider, although you may well find that the “cheap and cheerful” ones seem a little (or a lot) slower.
  • For businesses, talk to your trusted IT provider and have a plan in place, and be wary of plans that involve buying a lot of new equipment unless there’s substantial benefit for you.