I just got my mother a new Dell laptop from Best Buy and I am going to connect it to her Windows Home Server. This usually is not a task worth mentioning but the Geek Squad at Best Buy opens the PCs they sell before you get them. You would think it was nice of them to “check” the new PC for you, but the Geek Squad, bless their little capitalist hearts, load it with cheapie virus protection software and other useless trial applications. In this article I will explain how to work around what those Geeks screwed up.
My parents have two Dell laptops and a HP MSS EX470 and it is time for an upgrade to one of their old laptops. I usually order directly from Dell but our local Best Buy had the same model and as-built specs for the same price. Same price, right? Why not get it today?
While they were picking up the laptop I connected via Remote and added a new User account so she could run both laptops concurrently until she was comfortable retiring the old one. The new laptop has Vista Premium and I want mom to transition from XP Home so she can use Windows Media Center. Viva WHS!
My parents picked up the laptop and had the opened box waiting for me when I arrived and planned on spending just FIVE minutes to connect it to their server. Opened box?
Mental note: Best Buy may have a FIVE minute pick up guarantee but to undo their software crap takes a hour!
What I did not know at the time of purchase was that Best Buy was going to open the box and load a bunch of crap on it. In addition, they were going to give it a name "OWNER-PC" that Mom, and her WHS, did not recognize.
The already opened, now taped up, box is waiting on their kitchen counter which has a label over the tape that say something like "Thank you for shopping at Best Buy. A Geek Squad technician has made changes to your new computer because Corporate can probably trick the average consumer into accepting crappy software that even Dell (believe it or not) would not ship with this computer."
I am not sure if that was exactly what it said, but I think it was close. Lets set this pig on fire!
PC with WHS password or user name errors (Available at your local Best Buy)
One Beer (Optional as always)
Windows Home Server Connector CD
I start the laptop and it boots right to the desktop. This is not good since not seeing a Vista set up screen is the first sign that I am going to have to change settings. Your first thought is to navigate to System Properties and change the name of the PC or even to change the default User Account prior to running the CD. For the purpose of this article I am going to follow that process. I make the changes to her PC and change the names to Mom.
I connect to their wireless network and insert the WHS Connector CD. After the installation my cell phone starts texting me with all of the alerts on their WHS. I am getting alerts for no backup and out of date virus protection. I will fix that. Stop texting!
I can open the WHS Console but as you can see below the Name of the new PC is "OWNER-PC". I want the name to be MOM. It is my preference to keep the PC names and User Accounts in sync. You may have other preferences or not be as strange as I am. Viva WHS for letting us be individuals!
Right after I close the Console I get a balloon that a new Connector Upgrade is Available. I am prepared for this since the WHS Connector CD is the original once from a few years ago.
Before I start the upgrade process I need to fix the name. Since I already created a User Account for "MOM" I need to make the changes to this PC. But I already changed them in User Accounts and System Properties.
Get to a CMD line or type ‘control userpasswords2’ in the Run box.
This is the actual User Accounts box where you can change account names AND passwords that do not match. Have you been getting those annoying password match errors? This is where you fix it! Forget the standard interface. This one is the way to go if you need advanced controls.
Click on Properties.
Even though I had changed the name to Mom before I need to change it here to really get the names synchronized. Change the User name to the correct name.
See how the User Name is now "MOM"? This PC is now in sync with WHS!
While I am making these changes the virus protection has updated and WHS is Yellow now. In addition I have spared you the details of removing the other applications, toolbars and icons. If you would like more information on those applications see you local BB.
I click on Yellow and my only remaining Risk issue is updating the Connector. I click on the link to start the process.
Once you click on the link a browser window will open. Click on "Download Now" to start the upgrade.
The standard File Download box appears. Click on Run.
When the exe. file opens click on Run.
I am on wireless so the download takes about a minute. You mileage will vary.
Once it downloads it sees the old connector and asks to replace it. Click on Yes.
Once the new connector is installed it will guide you through the connection process. Click on Next.
Watch the pretty green bar. Consider opening a second beer.
The connector will ask you for your WHS password. This is NOT the PC password unless you made it the same.
This part of the setup is to verify the backup settings. You can always change this later. Click on Yes.
Wait for the pretty green check boxes and click on Next.
You are now done with the connector upgrade. Click on Finish.
WHS is now Green and I am good to go. Seriously. My wife wants to go home so we are done here.
I will start the first backup before I leave (so I never have to repeat this again) and mom is all set!
Overall the installation was easy since I was expecting to make User Account changes. The main scope of this article was to show you the ‘control userpasswords2’ dialog box so you can easily make changes to User Accounts. This access route is good for when you add a used computer to your network or have password match errors.
See you next Friday night,