Creating a (VERY) Basic Router for a Hyper-V Private Network – Part Two: Creating the Router VM


In Part One, I created the virtual switches to create a lab network that looks kind of like this:

Goal Virtual Network.png


One of the virtual switches is an “External” switch, which means it connects to the actual home network.  The other is a “Private” switch, which means it has no connectivity outside of itself, including the host computer.

Connecting the Virtual Machines

I have three virtual machines I want to use in my lab.  One is running Windows Server 2016 Standard, one is running Windows 7 Enterprise and the other is running Windows 10 Professional.

Each of these should be connected to the “Private” virtual switch.

I’ll need two virtual switches:  One for the lab environment network and one that connects to the home network.  For access to the home network, I’ll need to create a virtual switch and connect it to an “external” network.

Select one of the virtual machines and then click on “Settings” under the virtual machine’s section of the “Actions” pane.  It’s the bottom half of that pane:

VSM Select VS.png

In the left pane, under “Hardware”, select “Network Adapter”.  In the right pane, select the Private virtual switch created previously and then click “OK”:

VSM Select Connection.png

I did this for all of the virtual machines in the lab environment.  Next, I created the router.

Creating the Router Virtual Machine

I created a very basic virtual machine using the following settings:

  • 2GB RAM, using Dynamic Memory
  • Connection to the Private virtual switch
  • 80GB HDD

I’ve documented the VM creation in a different post.

Installing Ubuntu Linux

First step here is to get the latest distro.  Generally speaking, I tend to go with the most stable release rather than the latest and greatest.  I downloaded the LTS version and at the time of this posting, the version was 16.04.3.

I’ll give you a screen-by-screen walkthrough of the installation, but it’s pretty simple.

Connect to your VM and mount the installation media as a DVD drive:

Insert Disk.png

Start the VM and the installation should automagically start:

Start Install.png

You won’t have mouse support here, so just use arrow keys to navigate and then hit the <ENTER> key to select an option.

Assuming you want to use “English”, accept the default and just hit <ENTER>.  You’ll end up at the installation menu:


Leave the selection at “Install Ubuntu Server”, hit <ENTER> and you’ll end up at the language selection screen for the OS installation:

Lang Select.png

Select your language, or keep it at “English” and hit <ENTER>.  Next, you select your location:

Location Select.png

Select your location, or keep it at “United States” and hit <ENTER>.

The next screen is pretty cool.  The Ubuntu install will attempt to detect your keyboard layout.

Unless you want to change the keyboard layout, just accept the default and hit <ENTER>:

Auto Keyboard.png

The next two screens allow you to manually select the keyboard layout.  The first screen selects the language/nationality.  The second allows you to configure different layouts for the keyboard language.  Pretty cool stuff:

Key Lay.png

Key Lay 2.png

Again, change it if you need to; otherwise, accept the default values of “English (US)” and hit <ENTER> on both screens.

Next come some progress bars:

Progress Bars.png

It’s time to configure the network.  Since I’ve got this VM on an isolated private virtual switch, there are no DHCP servers available to hand out IP addresses.  Because of that, I get the following error:

Net Error.png

No big deal, we want a static IP address anyway.

Hit <ENTER> to get to a menu with some new options:

Net Config Menu.png

“Configure network manually” should be highlighted, so just hit <ENTER>.  Configure the IP settings in the next few windows:


Blank Router.png

Blank DNS.png

I don’t need a router address on this network, so I left the Gateway field blank.  Ditto with the DNS settings… I won’t need to worry about DNS resolution on this VM.  The next screen is for the hostname, which I will use:


Put in whatever hostname you want, and this press <ENTER>:

Blank Domain Name.png

Again, I’m not worried about DNS, so I’m not going to worry about a domain name, which is why I left it blank.

Enter whatever domain name you wish, then hit <ENTER>.

The next few screens are used for assigning a full name, a username and a password for logging into the router OS:





Enter the full name, the username and the password you’ll use to logon to the router OS and hit <ENTER>:


If you want to encrypt your home folder (I don’t think it really matters for what I’m doing, but better safe than sorry, yes?), highlight “Yes” and hit <ENTER>:


Select your time zone and hit <ENTER>.

The next step is the disk setup.  You have a lot of options for partitioning the disks.  For what I’m doing, I don’t need anything fancy.  So, I’ll just go with the easiest options:


partition 2.png

partition 3.png

On the confirmation page, change your selection to “Yes” and hit <ENTER>.  More progress bars:

More progress bars.png

HTTP proxy.png

Unless you need one, which is highly unlikely, just leave the HTTP proxy field blank and hit <ENTER> so you can watch some more progress bars:

Even more progress bars.png

The next option gives the option of managing updates.  I recommend installing security updates automatically.  The other updates can always be downloaded manually:

Sec Update Install.png

Highlight “Install security updates automatically” and hit <ENTER>:

Package Select.png

For my purposes, I need nothing but the very basics.

Leave this at the default settings (“standard system utilities”) and hit <ENTER> for another round of progress bars.  After that, got GRUB?:

Yet more progress bars.png


GRUB is fine.  Accept the default value of “Yes” and hit <ENTER> for more progress bars and a friendly reminder to remove your installation media for the reboot:

And even more progress bars.png


This wraps up the installation.  Next is the configuration.


Creating a (VERY) Basic Router for a Hyper-V Private Network – Part One: Creating Virtual Switches


So, I need to set up a test network because I have problems with GPO settings not being picked up by Windows 10 clients.  I’m pretty sure it’s a problem with Windows 10, but I need to get my ducks in a row so I can talk Microsoft into refunding the $500 I’ll spend on the support call.

My home network looks like this-ish:

Home Network.png


It ties into some other networks, so I don’t want to add more stuff into it.  Instead, I want to create a virtual lab environment.  It needs access to the internet, but I want the traffic isolated(ish).

I have two NICs on my desktop computer, so one of those can be dedicated to Hyper-V.  Ideally, I’d like to accomplish something like this:

Goal Virtual Network.png


Creating the virtual environment isn’t particularly difficult.  The challenge is in routing the traffic from the virtual environment to the internet via the home network.  I figured there was some sort of virtual router I could download, but they’re all geared towards creating Wi-Fi hot spots.  So, I created my own.

Creating the Virtual Switches

I’ll need two virtual switches:  One for the lab environment network and one that connects to the home network.  For access to the home network, I’ll need to create a virtual switch and connect it to an “external” network.

In Hyper-V Manager, open the Virtual Switch Manager:

Open VSM.png

In the left pane, under “Virtual Switches”, select “New virtual network switch”.  In the right pane, select “External” and then click the “Create Virtual Switch”:

VSM Create.png

Give the Virtual Switch a name and then select the network card to use for the virtual switch:

VSM Select NIC.png

Clear the check box for the “Allow management operating system to share the network adapter” setting, and then click “OK”:

VSM OS Access.png

You’ll get a warning regarding network connectivity to the host OS which you can safely ignore, so just click “Yes”:


Go through the same process again, this time creating a Private virtual switch:

VSM Private.png

Give it an identifying name:

VSM Private 2.png

The networks are set up now, so it’s time to assign the virtual machines to the private switch and create the router.

That’s in Part Two.





Beware of Newegg’s Return Policy

If a policy is wrongheaded feckless and corrupt I take it personally and consider it a moral obligation to sound off and not shut up until it’s fixed. – David H. Hackworth

So, I ordered an ASUS ZenBook Pro on January 5th, and it’s one of the most disappointing experiences in recent memory.  It arrived on the 9th and I was impressed as soon as I opened up the box.

First off, the thing is absolutely gorgeous.  The entire thing is aluminum with a brushed circular texture that looks and feels great.  The display is beautiful and the NanoEdge Touchscreen has an extremely thin bezel.  The whole effect is stunning.

The keyboard and touchpad both feel great, too.

The specs are off the charts for a laptop this size:

  • Intel Core i7-7700Q CPU
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB PCIe x4 SSD
  • GTX 1050 Ti GPU (4GB GDDR5)

Total size & weight – 14.4″W x 9.9″D x .74″W, 3.97 lbs.

Price – $1,699.00

I ran benchmarks on this and compared it to an HP Omen and an HP Spectre x360.  It blew away the Spectre, but didn’t compare that well to the Omen (but that was a full-on gaming rig with an NVidia GTX 1080 in it).

The end result was I was super thrilled with the laptop and looking forward to having it for a few productive years.  Once I buy a laptop, my first general step is to purchase a second AC adapter for it; I keep one under my desk and one in my backpack.

First Disappointment:
Try finding an extra power brick online. I dare you. Don’t bother asking ASUS either… they just tell you to check with online retailers.  The part number is ubiquitous with a couple of different variations, and finding one with the correct plug on it is pretty much impossible.

I attempted to reinstall Windows so I could use my own Windows 10 Pro license. Booting into the BIOS utility is a challenge and when I did, getting the BIOS to boot from the USB drive was impossible without some help from ASUS support. The instructions were nowhere to be found otherwise. I did an online chat with ASUS support and, to their credit, they were online within a few seconds and gave me the instructions I needed.  I’ve documented this process in case you need it.

Unfortunately, this led to….

Second Disappointment:
When you attempt to reinstall Windows, the keyboard mappings are non-standard. It ends up that the ‘0’ key, for example inputs an asterisk (*) and the ‘p’ key inputs a forward slash ‘/’. (I may have those backwards).

For this, ASUS support could only suggest updating the chipset drivers and installing another of their drivers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help when one is in the setup program and can’t change the drive partition size to the value one wants because the zero key produces an ‘invalid input’ error. ASUS support recommended I send it in for repairs. Instead, I RMA’d it to Newegg who cross-shipped me a new laptop.

Third Disappointment:
This laptop had the exact same issue with keys not mapping correctly.

Once I saw that was the case, I booted back to the pre-installed OS and updated the chipset drivers and other ASUS driver before I did anything else. At that point, Windows Update could no longer finish an update it downloaded and the laptop basically went through that attempt and failed every single time you shut it down.

After a day, it would no longer even shut down; only reboot. If the power key was held down until the power was off, it would start again as soon as the power key was released. If a shutdown was attempted through Windows, it would just reboot.

So, with a ton of regret, I decided to return the second defective laptop.

Guess what? I was out of my return window.

Fourth Disappointment:
Newegg screwed me over.

Newegg’s clock for my 30 day return policy apparently started ticking the moment I hit the “Submit” button on the order, and not when I actually received the laptop.

Here’s the timeline:

January 5 – Ordered the laptop with ShopRunner 2 Business Day shipping
January 9 – Laptop arrives
January 24 – RMA for defective laptop
January 25- Replacement laptop ships
January 30 – Replacement laptop arrives
February 6 – I’m told I can’t return the second laptop because I’m 2 days past the return window


1. The first four days of the return window, the laptop was in transit.
2. Worst case, my return window should have started January 9th, when I received it.
3. The first laptop was defective.
4. The replacement laptop was shipped on January 25th.
5. The replacement laptop arrived on January 30th… five more days of shipping
6. The return window wasn’t reset when the replacement arrived

If I had not asked for a replacement, I would have gotten a full refund. I could have then ordered a new one and gotten a new 30 day return window.


I guess I won’t be buying big ticket items on Newegg any longer.  That sucks… I’ve been a customer of their’s for years.


Booting an ASUS Laptop to a USB Drive

I purchased an ASUS Zenbook Pro laptop (UX550VE).  It’s a pretty amazing machine.  The specs are:

  • 15.6″ HD Touchscreen display
  • Intel Core i7 7th Gen 7700HQ @ 2.80Ghz
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB NVMe PCIe Gen3x4 SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB RAM
  • 2 USB C 3.1 Gen 2 (Thunderbolt)
  • 2 USB 3.0 Gen 1
  • HDMI

As it turns out, there are some issues with this computer, and I may not keep it.  Specifically, when one attempts to load a new version of Windows, the keyboard no longer maps certain keys correctly.

Figuring this out, of course, required actually booting from installation media for Windows 10 and figuring out how to boot from installation media for Windows 10 proved to be a challenge in and of itself.

When you boot up this laptop, it goes straight to the installed OS; in this case, Windows 10 Home.  It takes about 2 seconds to boot and there’s no indication of any kind to let one how to get into the BIOS.

After trial, error and a chat with tech support (who was pretty helpful), here’s how to accomplish this daunting task….

1. Power on the Laptop
If you don’t know how to do this, then I’m not sure anything else here can help you.

2. Hit the <F2> Key as if Your Life Depended On It
Seriously… spam the hell out of this.

3. Welcome to the BIOS Utility

2018-01-30 21.59.22.jpg
Pardon the pictures… no screenshot functionality available, and I didn’t dress up for this.

Notice how under “USB Port”, you can see the SanDisk USB stick is detected, but it doesn’t show up under “Boot Priority”.

This particular USB drive is formatted as NTFS because of its size.  If it had been FAT32, it would have been detected:

2018-01-31 13.19.07.jpg

4. Enter Advanced Mode
Enter Advanced Mode by hitting the <F7> key:

2018-01-31 13.39.37.jpg

5. Change Boot Options
Go to the Boot screen by using the left and right arrow keys.  Once there, you need to disable the “Fast Boot” option:

2018-01-31 13.41.05.jpg

From there, go to the Security screen and set the Secure Boot to “Disabled”:

2018-01-31 13.41.51.jpg

Back to the Boot screen, set CSM Support to “Enabled”:

2018-01-31 13.42.15.jpg

You’ll see the Launch PXE OptROM Policy, which needs to be set to “Enabled”:

2018-01-31 13.42.31.jpg

6. Select Boot Device
Reboot, hit <F2> to enter the BIOS Utility and then hit <F8> to select the boot device, which should be your USB drive.

2018-01-31 13.52.21.jpg

Isn’t that easy?

Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, or “How I Turned to the Dark Side”

“ I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.” – Luke Skywalker

So, with great trepidation, I saw The Last Jedi.

To all of the readers of my post on The Force Awakens, you both know I wasn’t a fan.  Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I really liked this one.


For the most part, my complaints with TFA were addressed in Last Jedi (I guess they read my blog).  Leia’s character was well-developed and more along the lines of what one would expect from her.  The only thing I found silly was when she started flying through space.  If one is familiar with the books, it does fit with her strength in The Force, but I’m not sure that came through as clearly in the movies.

The light saber battle in TFA between Kylo and Rey has been explained pretty well.  I still think there’s a big plot hole there:  Proficiency with a light saber is about technique augmented by The Force, and technique takes training and practice.  She needs both.  Sure, she can fight with a staff, but staves and swords are different weapons and require totally different training.

I appreciate the reference to the Jedi Temple, and Luke’s attempt to rebuild the Jedi Order.  That was a HUGE issue for me in the last movie.  Why in the world would Luke be out in the middle of nowhere when he should be out rebuilding the Order?

There are still some issues fans have with the movie, and most are legitimate:

  1. No backstory for Snoke
    I agree with this.  I was curious to see who Snoke was and how he came about.  I mean, how did he turn Ben Solo into Kylo Ren?  How did he start The First Order?  These should have been explained, and other entire story lines (Finn/Rose, anyone?) could have been cut to make room.
  2. Luke Skywalker attacks Ben Solo
    I agree with this, too.  Luke would NEVER have tried to kill a student.  But, here’s the twist:  He didn’t.  The version given by Kylo Ren is different than the version given by Luke.  According to Kylo, Luke attacked him in his sleep.  According to Luke, he was tempted to, but didn’t.  Which is the truth?  Well, I think I trust Luke more than Kylo.  Also, I can see how the devastating consequences of a momentary wavering of his conviction would cause Luke to abandon his role as Jedi Master and choose to live as a hermit.  To me, this was believable, if not what I wanted to see.
  3. Luke’s death
    I didn’t like this.  First, it was ambiguous… was it suicide, or did something involving his encounter with Kylo kill him?  Or, was it just the sheer effort required to pull off that kind of force projection?  That needed explanation.  Also, I don’t think Luke needed to die.  Rey needs training… and she’s not going to get it from the books she stole from the tree (even Yoda said the books don’t have the right info).  It would have made more sense, in my mind, to have Luke survive and join up with the rest of the resistance so he could train Rey.  Then again, it does take death to turn a hero into a legend.  So, maybe this plays out in the third installment.
  4. Humor
    Fans complain about the humor being forced and “un-Star Warsy”.  I disagree.  I thought the humor was well done.  I liked the “crank call” at the beginning because it fit Poe’s personality.  Also, I laughed out loud to the pilot’s response in the scene where General Hux argues with Kylo Ren about Kylo descending to the surface to face Luke.  On the other hand, it did kind of turn General Hux into a buffoon, so maybe the fans have a point.
  5. Finn/Rose
    I honestly thought there was no point to the whole Finn/Rose plot line.  It’s kind of like Raiders of the Lost Ark.  At the end of the day, nothing Indiana Jones did mattered.  The Nazis got the Ark, God killed them and the US Government recovered it and stored it away.  Indiana Jones didn’t even need to exist.  Ditto with Finn and Rose.  Their mission failed completely, the skimmer attack was unsuccessful and even Finn’s attempt to valiantly sacrifice himself didn’t work.  So, what was the point?  They could have sacrificed that entire story and used the time to answer a lot of questions from the first movie, namely:  Snoke’s origin and rise to power, Rey’s parentage, Kylo’s turn to the Dark Side and the Knights of Ren, the fate of Luke’s other students, etc.  Quite frankly, Rose didn’t need to exist and killing off Finn would probably make things simpler in the next installment.

Even given the complaints above, I have to admit I liked it.  I walked out feeling like it was a good movie.

I also thought it was a good Star Wars movie, and that’s a different thing altogether.

The Netflix Match System – A Study in Generating Random Numbers

The problem with binge-watching on Netflix is that you lose three days of your life.”  – Harland Williams

Has anyone ever figured out how Netflix comes up with the match percentage that appears on the stuff that comes up on your main page?

I, for example, watch a lot of stand up comedy on Netflix.  So, I expect to get Bill Burr, Mike Berbiglia, etc.  I’ve also watched most of the Marvel movies that are on there as well as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and  Jessica Jones.

So, it makes total sense I’d get things like Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (or, as I like to call it, “Try Hard 2″… or is “Try 2 Hard” better?) or The Punisher to come up as matches for what I like to watch.  (Both of those are 98% matches).

So, why is Luke Cage a 74% match?  Because I watched Friends, does Netflix automatically assume I don’t like black people?

Here’s the one that just stuns me:  On my top bar, the movie “8 Mile” is a 98% match.

8 Mile.


Right next to “Ace Ventura:  When Nature Calls”.

Never mind that I really can’t stand anything about Eminem/Marshall Mathers/Skinny Shadow/Whatever.  And, forget the fact I haven’t watched anything at all like Ace Ventura on Netflix (and thought the first one was pretty abysmal).

How in the hell did Netflix determine that BOTH of these shows somehow rated a 98% match?

Which begs the question… Of what is this a 98% match?

I think it goes something like this:

  1. I just watched House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey.
  2. Kevin Spacey was in The Usual Suspects with Kevin Pollack.
  3. Kevin Pollack was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon.

Wait… no, that’s the Kevin Bacon degrees of separation thing.

But, I did it in three degrees and all three are named Kevin, so I think that’s a 98% match for something.