David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

February 17th, 2009 at 12:48 pm Print This Post Print This Post

Comcast Home Internet without the cr*pware

This morning we switched at home from 1.5Mbit AT&T DSL to 6Mbit Comcast Cable internet (yay!). I remembered from last time we had Comcast that they (like AT&T) like to send a CD that you are required to use to activate your modem, but also happens to install things that no sane IT person would want on their computer. Things like a PC Doctor. And (years ago, maybe not this time), custom IE throbbers. Also, McAfee antivirus software (ewww!). Yeah, not gonna happen here.

What was my solution this time? VMware Player and Windows XP! I grabbed a Windows XP virtual machine and ran it on my laptop in VMware Player, which worked just fine on Windows 7 (another reason not to run the Comcast stuff…who knows if it’s Windows 7 compatible). The biggest “issue” I had was that I had to disable all protocols bound to the LAN adapter on my laptop except for the VMware Bridge Adapter (to allow the virtual machine network access). That way the virtual machine got the DHCP and proxy settings from the cable modem when I turned it on, rather than my laptop (leaving the VM unable to connect). Once the VM had the “only” network connection, the wizard proceed normally and I got everything connected just fine (the wizard is much more streamlined than it used to be at least).

After it’s working, I just turned off the cable modem and plugged the WAN port of my wireless router into the modem, and turned it back on. Everything was smooth sailing from there. It does apparently lock to your MAC address but that is reset when the modem reboots.

Interestingly, the modem is an RCA brand modem, which is funny since I asked specifically when I talked to Comcast yesterday what brand the modem would be and they specifically said a Surfboard, which is by Motorola. Oh well, as long as it works I don’t care too much. Better than my old DLink from last time!

Now, if only Comcast would expand their trial of 16-20Mbit speeds (instead of 6Mbit) from South Bend to Indy, life would be awesome!

I’ve gotten a few draft posts written but nothing finished yet (I know it’s been a while!). However, the big news today is that Veeam Backup 3.0 was released this morning, which I already have a license for and I’m working to clean off the server that I’ll be running it on! It will definitely get a review when it’s up and running. I’m excited!