BT Test User Account

Test your ADSL line using the BT test user account Broadband test

If you are unable to connect to ADSL using the login details provided by your ISP, then try the alternatives below to test your connection.

Here are the login settings to use for your router or modem to connect to the BT test domain.

User: bt_test@startup_domain

BT will ignore any password present in the password box, and therefore is not necessary to delete or modify these settings.

If you are unsuccessful connecting to BT test account and are sure your ADSL line has been activated and all hardware wiring is correct then contact your ISP to let them know.

If you connect successfully you can determine whether your computer software (e.g. Internet Explorer settings & firewall)and DNS are configured correctly by going to this URL: If you can view this website then congratulations your software and hardware is configured correctly.

If the above is successful, then you have confirmed that your line is ADSL enabled and that the ADSL is working. The next test is to confirm that you can connect to your ISP. To do this, change the login settings again to use:

User: bt_test_user@your_connnection_pipe where your_connection_pipe is the bit after the @ symbol in your ADSL login.

This will test that you can login to your ISP using a default login. If this works, then it generally means one of two things: your ISP has not yet set up your account, or you have entered your details incorrectly.

Note that if you are successful with the above, you may now find that your login details work correctly even if they did not before. This can happen if the “session” you have with BT had failed to expire properly; reconnecting with a different login will usually clear this.
Test your ADSL line Speed Broadband speed test

This tutorial will explain how to use the BT ADSL speed test facility. This is a test often used by BT engineers when testing the speed on customer’s ADSL connections. It basically tests the time it takes your system to download a file from a BT server and thus determines the effective transfer speed of your connection. This test differs from the normal Internet speed test that PlusNet and websites like ADSLguide have, as the test only involves the BT network and not your ISP.

Here are the login settings to use for your router or modem to connect to the BT speed test domain.

User: speedtest@startup_domain

BT will ignore any password present in the password box, and therefore is not necessary to delete or modify these settings.

Once connected you will be able to access the bt speedtest URL

On that page you will be promopted to enter your telephone number then click the “GO” button.

After a short time your results will be displayed against the different speed internet connections to give you a fair idea of your ADSL line speed compared to your service.

It is recommended that you repeat the test several times to give an average tested transfer speed. To repeat the test just click your browser’s back button, which will take you back to the first page. Then just click the GO button again to repeat the test. Don’t be surprised if the test results vary from test to test, this is not an accurate test but again will give you a fair idea of your ADSL line capacity.

TrueCrypt Autorun Script for USB

You can easily create an Autorun file on a USB pen drive to mount and dismount the encrypted file systems. This is very useful for carry portable TrueCrypt USB drives.

The only downside is that using TrueCrypt on the move means that you need administrator rights to access the disk.

Once you plug in the USB stick, you should see the typical Windows menu pop up. You can also right-click on the drive icon to mount, dismount and run the truecrypt application.


action=Mount TrueCrypt Volume
open=truecrypt /v /li /q /a /m rm /e</code>
shell\mounttc\command=truecrypt /v /li /q /a /m rm /e</code>
shell\dismounttc\command=truecrypt /di /q</code>
shell\runtc=Run TrueCrypt

Stop Windows Server 2003 Hanging When Installing Updates

Some of the servers that I manage in locations have a nasty habit of hanging on the final stage of rebooting when trying to apply Windows Updates automatically.

In most locations, I use WSUS to deploy updates around the site which is OK, but when it comes to servers problems arise.

After roaming around on the internet, I found a useful thread at EggHeadCafe which describes the problem I’m having. Apparently, turning off the default user screensaver using the following registry key will solve the problem:

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\control panel\screensaveractive
Set the value to 0

This would make sense, as there is a similar problem in Windows XP where if you try to shutdown the system with the power button (or an update) while the screen saver is active, the system will shutdown until the screensaver is turned off by touching the keyboard or mouse.

I’ll find out if this works in a month’s time!

EDIT: Just logged onto one of my servers with this change and it works a treat.

New Phone

My new phone has finally been transferred. After living with the agonisingly difficult Nokia N80 for 2 years – I’ve arranged to try out the BlackBerry Pearl. Orange managed to cock up the transfer to the new SIM card, so I’ve been humping a spare phone around with me for 10 days because I wouldn’t know when the transfer would take place.

So far, the experience has been good. The phone is nice and responsive and the sound quality good. It charges through a standard USB connection without the need for drivers to be installed on the computer it is connected to.

Connecting to my wifi network was a cinch. I need to have a bit more of a play yet. I’m still to try out the instant messaging and synchronization tools – but that’s around the corner.

Here’s hoping that this wont be an agonising experience like the N80 ended up being.

Get Those Passwords

Today, I had to setup an Oki C5650 on a network, and find out how many pages had passed through it due to an surprisingly quick turnaround in toner. I was struggling to find the default admin password for the web interface as it wasn’t in the online manual.

Knowling that searching the internet is much better than my library abilities, I managed to find the password at Art of Hacking. In true form, there’s a very useful page that has user collected default passwords for thousands of devices. And in true hacking form, it’s called etc/passwd.

Vista, Why You Eat my Computer?

So, Vista’s been out for a while now – some people think it’s great (usually they are selling it), some think that it’s pants.

Now, I’m not far from the front of the queue when it comes to raving about Linux. Ubuntu was the second Linux distro that I have tried, and I’ve stuck with it quite happily. In fact, things have remained pretty good from my initial post about my first experiences with Ubuntu.

On the other hand, Windows has it’s own place in the world. If you’re a person who can afford Microsoft’s astronomical licensing costs – then Microsoft can offer you some great things too.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel that Windows Vista is one of those great things.

Slug on Mogadon

The thing that strikes me whenever I use Vista is that it is so slow. Not just slow, but slooooooow. I have to use a variety of systems, and when I need to fix somebody’s laptop that is running Vista I should be putting an afternoon aside.

This isn’t entirely Microsoft’s fault. Consumer greed, business greed and the general desire to get more for less has also led to this rocky road to Hell. Computers and notebooks are generally sold cheap. Cheap means under-spec. Even up to the end of Windows XP’s golden lifespan (I’m not saying it’s past it, by the way), computer manufacturers were selling new systems with 256MB RAM. I’m sorry, but I’ve used Windows XP enough to know that as soon as you put on Service Pack 2, some anti-virus software, maybe some anti-malware package and then decide to run a few applications – time begins to speed up around you. Either that or the computer is running slowly. You decide.

Now Vista has mammoth requirements for what is essentially a core program. The minimum amount of RAM to run Vista is 512MB. That’s what I say is minimum for XP nowadays. I recommend having more than 1GB RAM installed for a pleasant Vista experience.

The problem is, noteboook manufacturers might even stump up the extra £5 to put 1GB of RAM in – but when 256MB of RAM is then being stolen by the onboard graphics so that you can see the Aero effects, things are clearly still not right.

Vista will run well on a decent, modern computer system. The problem is that Joe Public will be sold some tat from PC World by a part-time A-level student who will bestow Vista’s Flip-3D as a major selling point. Oh, it can burn DVDs as well.

Real Life

When real-life steps in, this is unsuitable for a lot of computers. Microsoft wants business to be using its latest baby, but on any existing hardware – Vista just doesn’t make the crunch.

My computer is almost 4 years old and runs Ubuntu beautifully. I have 1GB which more than meets any application requirements. In fact, this only becomes a problem when I run Windows XP in a virtual machine. Ironically, XP demands more memory running a few apps than the operating system that it is running on! And Ubuntu has a barrel more services, a 3D desktop, and (when I’m using it), about 10-15 application windows open!


So I’m dual-booting into Vista at the moment. I do this when I fancy a game of Command and Conquer Generals with my brother over the internet. I often say, “I’ll just boot into Windows – give me 15 minutes.” Usually by the end of that time Windows may have finished messing around with updates, defragging, loading unneccesary services and generally being slow (on a 2.4GHz P4 with 1GB RAM), before I feel that I can get the thing to behave and run reasonably well.

I’ve been stung enough times when Vista decides that the ideal time to start defragging my hard disk drive and running an anti-spyware scan is during the middle of a game.

False Hope

When I was using the Beta versions of Vista, it was slow – but I figured that it was due to being a Beta. There was a clear effort from Redmond to meet Vista’s release date and there was a buzz. Vista naysayers were told to wait for the RTM (release to manufacturing) version. But overall, the performance wasn’t a great deal better in the RTM version.

More False Hope

Service Pack 1 was a glimmer of hope. Some performance increases and a rollup of some updates that fix what I can only describe as stupid problems that should never have been in the RTM version (such as having to Activate Windows after it has already been activated).

I thought I’d give this a try on my system. Guess what? It didn’t install. I wasn’t surprised. The update need prerequisites installed, and othr bits and bobs. I’d already had difficulty getting these installed on other computers, so I have a grave thought that it would mess up my system.

It didn’t install – but at least it didn’t wreck my system. Microsoft’s answer is to just keep trying until it works. Umm, I don’t have hours to piss away waiting for my work computer to continuously fail to install an update that takes around an hour to work out if it wants to install or now.

So, I gave up after attempt 3 or 4. I tried installing manually from the downloads. It’s not right. Vista feels inherently broken.

Time to Upgrade

So it’s time to upgrade to XP. It’s a joke I’ve seen floating around the internet for a while now, but it’s exactly how I’m feeling. I’m going to dual-boot into XP for playing games. It can run fast, and doesn’t have some of the hardware quirks that I’m still experiencing with Vista.

Over time, my disappointment with Vista has settled. It’s OK – but it’s extremely lacking in key areas. And these key areas tip the boat for me.

I’m just thankful that I run a Linux O/S as my main home operating system. I know it’s stable. I know it will behave itself most of the time. It’s still frustrating to use occasionally, but these times of frustration occur much less than when I use Vista.