Category Archives: Windows

Information about windows based operating systems

Mining on Nicehash

We have almost completely switched from Minergate and nanopool to NiceHash.  Minergate has a nice interface but their software just does not produce good hash rates and is windows based.  Mining XMR sgminer produces double the hash rate that Minergate software produces.  Windows based software tends to be much less stable than linux based systems and one thing you want for your mining operation is stability and performance.  So from Minergate we shifted to nanopool XMR.  Running sgminer there was alright but you have to mine 1 full XMR to see any payout.  At this point in the operation my miners are profitable but until we get a little bigger a more frequent payout is desirable.  So this brings us to Nicehash.  Great thing is you get paid in bitcoin regardless of what currency you are mining and payouts are every .001-.002 bitcoin to my external wallet.  So far the only real issue again is their software is windows based.  Running on windows 10 was horrible because its constantly updating…rebooting and screwing up the video drivers.  After a while of this nasty behavior we switched back to 7 and disabled updates….why not do that on 10 you ask?  Try disabling windows update on 10.  We even tested with an unregistered install and could not get it to stop updating…so without hacking windows update….its just easier to use 7 for the RX 550 and RX 560.  The RX 460 are happily mining on Ubuntu 16.04….yes a little more difficult to get up and running…but once they are…they just run.  Last night I switched the equihash mining over from sgminer at a hash rate of about 70-75sol/s per gpu to claymore zcash miner 12.6 because its producing 125-130sol/s per card so yes its worth paying his dev fee of 1%.

Supposedly the RX 5xx series does work with the linux drivers now so we will be revisiting that in the near future.  I am thinking there are a couple of steps that AMD left out of the instructions in the newer versions was my problem…but we shall see.

CPU Mining XMR – Monero revisited

We’ll be revisiting this topic because I just discovered that the wolf miner apparently is no longer or has been absorbed into something else.  So here’s another quick way to get started.  XMRIG has both support for linux and windows.  I’m using this primarily on ubuntu machines.

Download

Usage

Basic example

xmrig.exe -o pool.monero.hashvault.pro:5555 -u YOUR_WALLET -p x -k

Failover

xmrig.exe -o pool.monero.hashvault.pro:5555 -u YOUR_WALLET1 -p x -k -o pool.supportxmr.com:5555 -u YOUR_WALLET2 -p x -k

For failover you can add multiple pools, maximum count not limited.

Options

  -a, --algo=ALGO          cryptonight (default) or cryptonight-lite
  -o, --url=URL            URL of mining server
  -O, --userpass=U:P       username:password pair for mining server
  -u, --user=USERNAME      username for mining server
  -p, --pass=PASSWORD      password for mining server
  -t, --threads=N          number of miner threads
  -v, --av=N               algorithm variation, 0 auto select
  -k, --keepalive          send keepalived for prevent timeout (need pool support)
  -r, --retries=N          number of times to retry before switch to backup server (default: 5)
  -R, --retry-pause=N      time to pause between retries (default: 5)
      --cpu-affinity       set process affinity to CPU core(s), mask 0x3 for cores 0 and 1
      --cpu-priority       set process priority (0 idle, 2 normal to 5 highest)
      --no-huge-pages      disable huge pages support
      --no-color           disable colored output
      --donate-level=N     donate level, default 5% (5 minutes in 100 minutes)
      --user-agent         set custom user-agent string for pool
  -B, --background         run the miner in the background
  -c, --config=FILE        load a JSON-format configuration file
  -l, --log-file=FILE      log all output to a file
      --max-cpu-usage=N    maximum CPU usage for automatic threads mode (default 75)
      --safe               safe adjust threads and av settings for current CPU
      --nicehash           enable nicehash/xmrig-proxy support
      --print-time=N       print hashrate report every N seconds
      --api-port=N         port for the miner API
      --api-access-token=T access token for API
      --api-worker-id=ID   custom worker-id for API
  -h, --help               display this help and exit
  -V, --version            output version information and exit

Also you can use configuration via config file, default config.json. You can load multiple config files and combine it with command line options.

Algorithm variations

Since version 0.8.0.

  • --av=1 For CPUs with hardware AES.
  • --av=2 Lower power mode (double hash) of 1.
  • --av=3 Software AES implementation.
  • --av=4 Lower power mode (double hash) of 3.

Common Issues

HUGE PAGES unavailable

  • Run XMRig as Administrator.
  • Since version 0.8.0 XMRig automatically enables SeLockMemoryPrivilege for current user, but reboot or sign out still required. Manual instruction.

Other information

  • No HTTP support, only stratum protocol support.
  • No TLS support.
  • Default donation 5% (5 minutes in 100 minutes) can be reduced to 1% via command line option --donate-level.

CPU mining performance

  • Intel i7-7700 – 307 H/s (4 threads)
  • AMD Ryzen 7 1700X – 560 H/s (8 threads)

Please note performance is highly dependent on system load. The numbers above are obtained on an idle system. Tasks heavily using a processor cache, such as video playback, can greatly degrade hashrate. Optimal number of threads depends on the size of the L3 cache of a processor, 1 thread requires 2 MB of cache.

Maximum performance checklist

  • Idle operating system.
  • Do not exceed optimal thread count.
  • Use modern CPUs with AES-NI instruction set.
  • Try setup optimal cpu affinity.
  • Enable fast memory (Large/Huge pages).

Mining on Windows 10

We currently have one full time miner that is running windows 10.  While I much prefer a Linux system to mine with. Until I get the device drivers for the RX 550 and RX 560 to work I’m stuck with windows.  The windows 10 miner in question currently has 3 RX 550 and 1 RX 560 mining with SG Miner 5.5.5.  With its current settings its averaging 1.15x H/s.  I think there is probably still some room for improvement without overclocking/flashing bios etc.  Using Minergate software to mine with it worked but was pretty unstable.  Every few hours would randomly drop a GPU sometimes two.  Yes a reboot brought everything back.  Its the lost productivity I have a problem with and that’s where we switched over to SG Miner 5.5.5.  It is more stable but doesn’t seem like its going to be as stable as the linux systems have been thus far.  On another note on some GPUs I have observed that Minergate while very easy to get going may only hash at half the rate I get with SG Miner on a linux system.

AMD RX 550 Mining

My new RX 550 video card arrived yesterday.  Last night I installed it in a ubuntu 14.04 machine.  The latest drivers don’t really seem to install on 14.04…so upgraded to 16.04.  So far so good. Installed the AMD GPU Pro drivers for 16.04.  They install just fine but clinfo shows no available OpenCL platforms.  After a bit of research I find there is a bug in the AMD GPU Pro drivers for ubuntu AND that bug is the RX 550.  So for now the card is mining XMR using Minergate on windows 10 pro.  Not happy about having to use windows to mine this card but until the next version of AMD GPU Pro it is what it is.

I went with minergate over claymore because claymore automatically takes a percentage off the top before the pool fees.

Enable Windows 8 Safe Mode

How to Enable Legacy Advanced Boot Menu

To enable legacy advanced boot menu in Windows 8, step-by-step instructions given below must be followed:

  1. Restart the Windows 8 computer.
  2. Enter into the BIOS setup and configure the system to boot from CD/DVD Drive.
  3. Save the modified settings in BIOS and reboot the computer.
  4. Insert Microsoft Windows 8 bootable installation DVD into the optical media drive (CD/DVD Drive).
  5. When prompted to Press any key to boot from CD or DVD, press any key to boot the computer from DVD support.
  6. On the displayed Windows Setup box, click Next.
  7. On the next page, click Repair your computer.
  8. On Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot.
  9. On Troubleshoot screen, click Advanced options.
  10. On Advanced options screen, click Command Prompt.
  11. On the opened command prompt window, type C: and press Enter.
  12. On C: prompt, type BCDEDIT /SET {DEFAULT} BOOTMENUPOLICY LEGACY command, and press Enter to enable legacy advanced boot menu.
  13. Once the command executed successfully, type EXIT command to close the command prompt window.
  14. Back on the Choose an option screen, click Continue to restart Windows 8 computer.
  15. Eject Windows 8 installation DVD from the optical media drive when done.

Another method: Open a command prompt and run msconfig.  Then on the boot tab check the box for safe mode.

Have you been Windows 10 OS Raped?

We have had a number of customers complaining of their machines just being upgraded to windows 10 one day without their consent.  Some who work in law enforcement question the legality of this move by microsoft to force 10 on people who either don’t want it now or don’t want it at all.

I think the loophole here is due to the fact that 10 is being pushed out as a windows update and users have given consent for “critical” or “important” updates to be installed automatically.  Microsoft considers this beta version of 10 to be an important or critical update and takes advantage of your permission to install updates to rape your machine with a whole new OS whether you want it or not.  So now it seems that it would be wise to review just exactly what you have given microsoft permission to do to your systems.

Yes in most cases it can be rolled back but this may take several hours.  This in a business environment is several hours of lost productivity….which by rights microsoft should be financially responsible for….will they be held accountable….no probably not.

Microsoft Windows 10 Security…..not what you thought it was?

Recently saw a situation where a user running Windows 10 was doing just fine until he installed Microsoft Office.  I have no idea what Microsoft was thinking on this one.  But what they did was reset a number of security settings on this system to paranoid/delusional.   As well as changing their private to a public network.  Which this combination of settings refused to allow the user to goto legitimate websites and do things online that they previously were able to do.  Resetting the settings back to defaults in this case seemed to take care of the problem.  One of the sites in question was www.dickblick.com – No, not a porn site….its an art supply company in fact.

Windows 10 and WiFi Woes

Ran in to a situation today where while attempting to connect to a wifi network 10 says “checking network requirements” then “cannot connect to this network”.  This is a software problem and ideally I would have liked to just disable this “feature” in 10.  In this case I was able to install an EdiMax Nano N wireless adapter in addition to the builtin Atheros from Dell.  Manually create the wireless connection with 802.11 enforcement disabled.  The option is there if you manually create the connection; but not if windows creates the connection.  This method did not work on the Atheros adapter but was successful for the EdiMax.  Possibly switching to another driver for the Atheros would have also worked; but not having another machine or a wired connection available I was unable to explore this avenue while at the customer site.

Unison – Setup for Windows

This document describes step by step how to use Unison for a save back-up to a Linux server using ssh to make the thing more secure.

Install OpenSSH

Since Windows (still) does not come with its own ssh implementatin we need to install one. In this case we will use SSH for windows:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/sshwindows/
or here
Download the latest release and install it
Now try to connect to your ssh server
open a command promt
ssh username@serveripaddress
If you get a connection it will ask if you want to connect to the server
Type yes
Type your password
And you are connected to your ssh server
type exit to leave the ssh shell

Create a key pair

To prevent entering the password every time we create a backup we need to create a secret keypair
Open a ssh session to the server

ssh username@serveripaddress

Next type
ssh-keygen -t rsa

Some messages appear:

Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/myusername/.ssh/id_rsa): press enter
Created directory ‘/home/myusername/.ssh’.
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): (leave empty and press enter)
Enter same passphrase again: (leave empty and press enter)
cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
chmod 0600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

The sshd server has to be configured to accept these auto-logins, make sure the file /etc/ssh/sshd_config containes the following lines
sudo pico /etc/ssh/sshd_config

RSAAuthentication yes
PubkeyAuthentication yes
AuthorizedKeysFile .ssh/authorized_keys

Save te file and exit
logout of the ssh server

Get the id_rsa file into each of the windows users .ssh directorie .ssh This file is your private key (i.e. your password), so don’t leave copies lying around!

Since Open ssh comes with scp, use that to download and set the correct permissions of your private key:
cd .ssh
scp myusername@my.server.com:.ssh/id_rsa id_rsa

Now test if you can connect without entering a password:
ssh username@serveripaddress

If you get a ssh version you are ready to install Unison
Type exit to leave the ssh session again

Install Unison

Download winison:
http://code.google.com/p/winison/downloads/list
Or here (This is unison version 2.32.94)
The exe is configured to install in the current directory. You can do this during installation, just tell it where to put the files. Do not put it in the Program Files folder. Windows is very picky on that. Best place to put it is in a folder under the username you want the backup to run for.

Go to the folder you extracted winison and start winison.exe
The first time it asks you if a shortcut should be placed in the start menu.
Answer yes (so you don’t have to search for it later)
A window pops-ups up.

Test the backup

Now the configuration starts. It is advised to start with a folder containing 1 or 2 small files to make sure everything works as expected. This prevents frustration while waiting. Because all data is encrypted it can take a while to synchronize large files and folders.

Make a new folder: test
Add a simple text file a.txt
Start winison from the folder you extracted it.
In the profile field enter something like Test (we will remove this later)
In the local root window: browse to your test folder
In the remote root window enter
ssh://username@serveraddress

Press Go when asked to save the changed profile click yes
Since it is the first time unison runs it give some info because no archive is found. Just press enter
Now the 2 systems must synchronize. It can take some time so don’t worry, just wait for it to finish.

When all goes well the 2 folders will be synced. You can test by changing the test file or create a new file in the test folder. Or create a folder in the test folder.
If the 2 servers finished checking questions will be asked what to do. Just press enter

Now we check if the folder and test file is created:
Open a command prompt
ssh username@serveraddress
cd test
ls

The test file a.txt (or the name you used) should be there.
If you want more testing done you can find a tutorial here.

Configuration

Copying files over an Internet connection can take a lot of time depending on the Internet speed. It can take days to copy files to your server.
You can manage this 2 ways:
1. Make the first copy to your server using FTP
2. Manage what to backup adding folders one by one (see Final thoughts on how to manage that).
You can just backup My Documents completely but you may want to specify what you want unison to do. Some files you don’t want in your backup like thumbs, tmp etc.
In the unison profile file you can include and exclude files and or folders.

Here are some basic profile settings that can be used. Modify it as needed.

#Folders to synchronize
root = Your folder to backup
root = ssh://username@servername/sync

# Folders to backup
path =

#Folders to exclude
ignore = Path

Files to exlude
ignore = Name *.tmp

#Don’t ask about normal files
auto=true

# Prevent chmod issues
perms = 0
dontchmod=true

#Work silent
batch=true

#Prevent deletion of all files if all files are localy deleted
confirmbigdeletes=true

#Check fast, don’t compare bit by bit
fastcheck=true

# Make a backup if the same file is changed local and in the backup
prefer=newer
backuploc=central
backupcurr=Name *
backupdir=/home/username/backup/conflict
backupprefix=$VERSION.conf.

# When running from the command line be silent, only show errors
silent = true

#Use file time not folder time for changes
times=true

# Don’t delete old files but keep them (it is a backup)
backup= Name *
backuploc=central
backupdir=/home/backup
maxbackups=4
backupprefix=$VERSION.

See the offical unison manual for more settings.

Schedule the backup

We are all human and forget things. Computers never forget anything and are good at keeping track of time. So why not use that to schedule the backup?
Winison comes with a handy feature: it creates batch files for you to do the work. You will find them in the directory you install winison <profilename> full background.bat is the one you can use if you use the windows scheduler.

Make sure the user has a password or the windows scheduler will not run.

Thats it. That is how you can backup your windows file to a linux machine.

Make Bootable USB Flash Drive

I did this on a Windows 7 machine.  It should work on any version of windows that has diskpart.  So go ahead and plug in the flash drive you want to make bootable (note that this process will wipe the contents of the drive you select to use)

Open Command Prompt

diskpart

Now that you are in diskpart we need to identify the flash drive.

DISKPART> list disk

Gives you a list and status of drives available to use.  In my case disk 0 is my hard drive and disk 1 is my flash drive.  If yours is a different number use the number for the flash drive you want to be bootable.

DISKPART> select disk 1

This tells diskpart we are working with the flash drive.

DISKPART> clean

This wipes the drive we previously selected.

DISKPART> create partition primary

Tells diskpart to create a primary partition on the previously selected drive.

DISKPART> select partition 1

Says to select partition 1 on the selected drive.  list partition can be used to show a list of partitions on a disk

DISKPART> active

Makes partition 1 the active partition.

DISKPART> format fs=fat32

Formats a FAT32 filesystem on the active partition.  For bootable flash drives this seems to work the best right now anyway.

DISKPART> assign

Assigns a drive letter to this partition.

DISKPART> exit

Now look and see what drive letter your flash drive is and copy the OS disk you want to boot over to the flash drive and you now have a bootable USB flash drive.