How To's

How to get iCloud, Windows XP and Outlook to work together

Apple doesn't support iCloud on Windows XP, however….

Apple's iCloud Control Panel for Windows clearly states its minimum requirements are Microsoft Windows Vista SP2 or Windows 7 (and for good reason I think, see below…). If you try to install it on Windows XP you get a message saying it won't work on that version. Some people are stuck on XP for various reasons. For me, my work place is very slow or reluctant to upgrade, sadly. I see on various posts about iCloud and Windows XP the (pointless) discussion going on about – well you should simply upgrade Windows! You can of course still sync your iDevice direct with your Win XP PC; and with iOS5 you no longer need to plug it in so can be done over your Wi-Fi connection in the background. And of course you can access your iCloud email etc via http://icloud.com.

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There are a couple of other ways you can integrate iCloud with Windows XP that I've discovered, one is simple synced access to your mail and one is a simple hack of the iCloud Control Panel for Windows:

Run your me.com email via IMAP on Outlook

You can easily set up your iCloud / me.com email address as an IMAP email account in Outlook (and other email programs). This gives access to your Mail folders and Notes, and any changes are synced across your devices. Settings to use for this in Outlook are: Add a new Internet mail account, and "Manually configure your server and settings"" Username, if your email isThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., it will be abcde. Password is obviously your iCloud password Account Type:IMAP
Incoming Server: imap.mail.me.com
Outgoing Server: smtp.mail.me.com If these servers don't work for you, can also try: Incoming Server: p99-imap.mail.me.com
Outgoing Server: p99-smtp.mail.me.com Or Incoming Server: p03-imap.mail.me.com
Outgoing Server: p03-smtp.mail.me.com It may be these different servers are suited to different countries – I don't know Go to "More Settings" On the Advanced tab: Incoming Server (IMAP). set Port to "993", …encryption connection select SSL 
Outgoing Server (SMTP), set Port to "587" …encryption connection select TSL or Auto On "Outgoing Server" tab
Check box "My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication" leave "Use same settings as…"

To view & sync special iCloud IMAP folders:

To access the iCloud special folders: Sent, Archive, Drafts, Junk or Trash in Outlook 2010 (which initially creates its own version of these folders): Right click the Mailbox, select "IMAP Folders" and then "subscribe" to the folders you want to see. Following this you can modify Outlook to use the iCloud folders for Sent and Trash instead of newly created default: Go to Email Accounts, Change, More settings and make the changes in the "Sent Items" and "Deleted Items" tabs. Noting that Outlook it sees Trash as "Deleted Messages" and Sent as "Sent Messages" – but they are the same folders. This is an essential thing to do if you don't want two different "Sent Items" (Outlook) and "Sent Messages" (iCloud) folders.

How to hack iCloud Control Panel for Windows to run in Windows XP

There's a simple hack I found here to get the iCloud Control Panel for Windows to work on XP. I have this running fine on Windows XP and Outlook 2010 (for the moment anyway). This gives me synced access to Contacts, Calenders, Reminders and Bookmarks. It also can be used to set up your me.com mail as above:

Here's the files you need:Following files are modified iCloud installation files:

  • iCloud.msi (Modified iCloud installation file)
  • iCloud64.msi (Modified iCloud installation file for 64 bit systems)
  • iCloud-exe_extracted.zip (The full extracted version of iCloud.exe, with all other msi files, including the two modified files above)
  • iCloudSetup.exe (Original unmodified file from Apple, October 2011)

If you want to do it yourself, know what was done to these files, or just know how it works, read on: Requirements:
iTunes 5.10
Unpacking program e.g. 7-Zip or WinRar
Orca MSI editor

The iCloud setup hack for Windows XP:

  1. Download iCloud Control Panel for Windows(Update: Apple version may be updated since this post – links to copies of the original version/files are above)
  2. Open iCloudSetup.exe file with WinRar or 7-Zip and extract.
  3. Navigate to and open the iCloud.msi or iCloud64.msi (for 64bit systems) with Orca.
  4. In the left table select LaunchCondition. Then change in the right table "VersionNT>; = 600" to "VersionNT>; = 200" and Save.
  5. Run modified iCloud.msi and install. (Modified copy of this file ; and 64 bit version ;)
  6. Run iCloud Control Panel, located in the Windows Control Panel, and set up as you want.

And you're done. Good luck!

PS: Why doesn't Apple support Windows XP?

Well, in my opinion, why should they? Even though iCloud works on Windows XP with this easy hack, which is to simply fool the installer that it is compatible with XP, I can fully understand why they don't want it to be officially compatible. Yes, they could just change the installer at the source and make it compatible – probably not hard… But, think of the numerous issues and support queries that everyone running XP could come up with related to iCloud running smoothly – whether they be the fault of the iCloud software or (more likely) an issue with Windows XP itself, or very specific installation/configuration of XP and the machine it's on, or just the user's misunderstanding. Then imagine the resources to reply and deal with those queries if it was officially supported. I would certainly rather Apple leave behind legacy systems (as they often do) and focus on new and future products, wouldn't you? As Steve Job's said, death is life's greatest invention, out with the old to make way for the new…

How to connect to wireless on Windows 7

A growing number of people use laptops, notebooks and netbooks instead of desktop PCs. As a result of this trend, lots of wireless networks appear every day and more people use them on a regular basis. Windows 7 might not be very suited for netbooks but it works perfectly well on all other types of mobile PCs. Also, it offers all you need to connect to wireless networks effortlessly. In this tutorial I will show you how to detect wireless networks in Windows 7 and how to connect to them. As you will see, the procedure is very simple and requires very few steps.

On the right side of the taskbar, you will see a wireless network icon like the one below. Click on it.

Wireless Networks

A window with available network connections will open. As you can see from the screenshot below, the list is split by the type of available network connections. At the top you will have dial-up and virtual private network (VPN) connections, while at the bottom you will have a list with all the wireless network which Windows 7 has detected. To refresh the list of available networks, click on the button highlighted in the screenshot below.

Wireless Networks

You can scroll down through the list of available networks. If you leave your mouse cursor over a network for a second, you will see more details about it. Windows 7 will show the following: network name, signal strength, the type of wireless security used (if any) and its Service Set identifier (SSID).

Wireless Networks

Once you decided on which network to connect to, click on it. If you plan to use that network in the future, make sure you check the box that says 'Connect automatically'. This way, when you start your laptop next time, in the same area, it will automatically connect to this wireless network without requesting any manual intervention. Next, click on the Connect button.

NOTE: be cautious with wireless networks which have no security enabled. They can be used to steal personal data. If you connect to such networks make sure your security solutions are turned on.

Wireless Networks

After a few seconds, you will be asked to enter the security key. Ask the administrator of the network for the wireless security key or, if you are in your own home network, take it from the control panel of your router. If you are in a public place, it is best to check the 'Hide characters'box so that other people don't see what you are typing. Then type the security key and click on OK.

Wireless Networks

If you typed an incorrect password, Windows 7 will request you to type it again and again until it matches the password of the network you are connecting to. If everything is OK, Windows 7 will connect to the network you selected using the given security key. When the connection is successful, the wireless icon from your taskbar changes as shown below.

Wireless Networks

NOTE: this procedure works only if your wireless adapter is enabled. If it is not enabled, you won't see any wireless networks being available. The procedure of enabling the wireless adapter is different for each model of laptop. In one of our future articles we will publish a guide on how to troubleshoot problems with your network connections, so don't hesitate to come back.

Troubleshooting: If you cannot connect to a wireless network from your Windows 7 PC and all your other computers with older operating systems can connect, chances are you need to upgrade the firmware on your wireless router. Please consult the internet page of your router's model and see if there are any upgrades available. If there are, download and install the latest version of firmware.

Install and Configure XP Mode

Windows XP Mode is a premium feature which is been offered only to Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate system. Windows XP Mode, essentially a virtual machine which runs fully functional and fully activated Windows XP SP3 operating system, provides a backward compatibility solution to corporate productivity software where RemotApp allows applications installed on Windows XVM to seamlessly run from Windows 7 desktop.

Though Windows XP Mode is not allowed and not supported on Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Home Basic editions, there is trick to manually install and activate Windows XP Mode in Windows Virtual PC. For people who is looking for a faster way to setup Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 Home Basic or Premium system, indeed there is a faster way to install the Windows XP Mode. The hack to install Windows XP Mode works in any editions or versions of Windows 7. In fact, the trick can be used to install and setup more than one copy of Windows XP Mode on supported Windows 7 flavors. 


1. Download and install Windows Virtual PC.
2. Download XP Mode (just select Windows 7 Ultimate and the desired language in the drop down boxes for people who download from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx – genuine Windows validation required, else you will be prompted that you’re not eligible to download Windows XP Mode).
3. Install the pre-configured and pre-activated XP Mode. During installation, the following error will occur on Windows XP Home Basic and Premium edition:

Windows XP Mode cannot be set up 

Windows XP Mode is not available on this edition of Windows 

or, 

You are not using the correct version of Windows 7 to install Windows XP Mode. Please click this link to upgrade. 

Ignore the error. The Windows XP Mode is still been installed.
4. Restart the computer.
5. Despite Microsoft claims that Windows XP Mode cannot run on Windows 7 Home Premium and Basic edition, the VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) of Windows XP Mode is installed to the following folder nonetheless: 
C:\Program Files\Windows XP Mode\ 
Navigate to the above folder.
6. Take ownership and grant full control permissions to the Windows XP Mode base.vhd file.
7. Right click on Windows XP Mode base.vhd file, then select Properties. Uncheck the Read-only opiton.
8. Start Windows Virtual PC from Start Menu (Start -> All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Windows Virtual PC).
9. Click on Create Virtual Machine at the command bar.
10. Name the new virtual machine as Windows XP Mode or any other preferred name.
11. Continue the new virtual machine creation wizard, until “Add a virtual hard disk” window. Choose the Use an existing virtual hard disk option, then click Browse to select the location of Windows XP Mode VHD (e.g. C:\Program files\Windows XP Mode\Windows XP Mode base.vhd). 

12. Finish the create new virtual machine wizard.
13. Windows XP Mode is not install on the Windows 7 system. 

Apparently, Microsoft is suppressing the OEM:SLP string (Windows_Virtual_XP_F9161D8E7FCC11DDB FAA369856D89593) in the Windows Virtual PC’s BIOS for unsupported Windows 7 editions such as HomePremium and HomeBasic. The lack of the required SLP marker in the BIOS causes Windows XP Mode became not activated. Upon log on, an activation (registration) dialog box will be presented. User can key in any valid Windows XP Professional product key or old OEM Windows XP Professional product key from desktop or notebook computer to activate the Windows XP Mode. 

Tip: It’s also possible to extract Windows XP Mode VHD from the downloaded setup installer. To do so, use 7-Zip to extract WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe (file name may be different depending on language) to a folder. Then, inside the unpacked folder, use 7-Zip to extract xpm file inside the sources folder. The Windows XP Mode VHD is named as VirtualXPVHD. Rename VirtualXPVHD to a file name with .vhd extension, e.g. Windows XP Mode.vhd.


source: mydigitallife.info

Installing PHP on IIS

There has been numerous post on the IIS forum where people have difficulty installing PHP on Windows. There are many reasons for this. However the main issue is that people try to do the installation manually and any manual step is prone to error. It is not a bad idea to do the installation manually but I would suggest to leave that to an advanced user who knows PHP well and has successfully configured it many times. For novice user or people who are just starting using PHP, I am going to talk about an easy way to install PHP on Windows and IIS. This article applies to user running IIS from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Let me introduce you to Microsoft Web Platform Installer. Let's call this WPI in short. WPI is a single stop shop for all the major component installations for IIS. Once you have WPI installed, go to 'Web Platform Section' and click on 'Frameworks and Runtimes'. Click on 'customize'. You can see PHP listed as one of the 'Runtimes'. Select it and say install. And you are done. Yes, that's it. Amazed!!! But trust me it is as simple as this.

Now let's go in detail and see what happens when you say 'Install'. WPI does the following things for you:

  • Figure out all the dependent component if any is required. In PHP case, the dependent component is IIS FastCGI.
  • See if the IIS FastCGI is enabled/installed or not. The reason I am stating enabled/installed is because FastCGI comes out of the box on Vista SP1+ OS, where as the previous versions of OS release (XP/2k3) FastCGI comes as a separate component which needs to be installed. WPI depending on OS you are running either grabs the latest version of FastCGI or enables it. If FastCGI is already installed nothing is done.
  • Now that FastCGI is installed, it runs the PHP MSI (Non thread safe) by passing it as an argument to MSIEXEC.EXE. It also passes additional argument to it like auto configure IIS FastCGI and enable by default popular extensions.
  • You have PHP up and running.

Okay, you got FastCGI but what about all the handler mapping and other things. Who does that? This is done by PHP MSI. This is good enough reason to use the PHP MSI. Let me now explain what PHP MSI is doing:

  • As explained above one of the switch passed to MSIEXEC.EXE was to configure IIS FastCGI. As part of this PHP installer does two things. One adds the FasCGI handler mapping appropriately and other adds 'index.php' to default document list. Again the command used internally is different for Vista SP1+ OS and OS prior to that, but you are saved of all the pain of figuring out which command to use or how to do it from IIS Manager.
  • It installs all the popular extensions. Yes, you don't need to worry about that.
  • It also sets some of the critical and useful PHP INI directives. Couple of example include 'max_execution_time' is set to a higher value because some PHP application install takes more time to run the install script and setting it to a higher value ensures that script will not time out. It also sets 'error_log' to a file where all your PHP errors will be logged rather than on the browser. There are few other useful directives which are set. Overall less problem while you are running your PHP application.
  • It also sets some of the FastCGI settings like fastcgi.impersonate is set to 1.

So now you know, how helpful WPI is in setting up PHP on your Windows machine with IIS. I would advice people to start using WPI for doing the PHP installation. It's less time-consuming, less error-prone and gets you up and running in seconds.

Before I end this post, I would like to tell few important things:

  • The current WPI offers PHP5.2.11. I will explain how to upgrade to PHP5.3 smoothly in another post.
  • If you have PHP running as ISAPI already, you will need to uninstall it manually. Uninstall means removing the PHP as well as removing all the handler mapping from the configuration file. I would advise to use IIS Manager to do that rather than doing it manually. In IIS Manager go to 'Handler Mapping' section and remove all the handler for *.php before you continue your installation. This is because PHP MSI doesn't have ability to find out that PHP is configured to run as ISAPI and hence cannot remove it.
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