Copy files between Windows and Linux computers

There are many tools to copy files between Windows and Linux computers, I have found this method the simplest.

It does not require any software installation on the Windows machine, and only one package installation on the Linux machine.

Share a folder on the Windows machine

Share a folder on the Windows machine and allow access to it for a user. If the Windows computer is in the Windows domain, the domain user does not have to be a member of any security group on the Windows machine.

If you copy files from Windows to Linux, make the folder read-only for the user. If you copy files to the Windows machine, allow write access to the folder for the user.

Set up the Linux machine

  1. Install the cifs-utils on the Linux machine
    1. On Red Hat, CentOS, and Amazon Linux
      sudo yum install cifs-utils
    1. On Ubuntu
      sudo apt-get install cifs-utils

Mount the shared Windows folder on the Linux machine

  1. On the Linux machine create a directory to mount the Windows folder to
    mkdir /tmp/windows
  2. Mount the Windows share
    sudo mount.cifs '\\WINDOWS_SERVER_IP\attachments' /tmp/windows -o domain=MY_DOMAIN,username=MY_USERNAME,password=MY_PASSWORD,vers=1.0

    First, you will be asked for the root password on the Linux machine.
    If you do not specify your password in the line above, you will be also asked to enter your password on the Windows machine.

Access the Windows share

  1. On the Linux machine navigate to the mount directory
    cd /tmp/windows
  2. List the files of the Windows share
    ls -al


If you get the error message when you issue the mount command

mount error(16): Device or resource busy

try to unmount (umount !) the share first and try the mount again

umount /tmp/windows


Edit the HKEY_CURRENT_USER Windows Registry keys of another user

The user-specific settings in the Windows registry are stored under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key. If you open the Regedit.exe application the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key contains the settings for your user account.

To access the registry keys of another user we need to

Find the Security ID of the user

  1. In Regedit navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\hivelist
  2. The key lists the Security IDs and usernames
  3. Save the Security ID of the user.

Another Security ID list location:

The partial list of the Security IDs is also available at
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

Not all user profiles are listed here.

Click the Security ID folders on the left to see the username in the ProfileImagePath.

Open the user-specific registry keys

  1. In Regedit navigate to the HKEY_USERS key
  2. Select the Security ID of the user you are looking for
  3. The user-specific values are under that key


Send Alt-Control-Delete to a Windows server via Remote Desktop

When you log into a Windows server via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) in some cases you need to send the Alt-Control-Delete ( in other notations Alt-Ctrl-Del, Control-Alt-Delete, Ctrl-Alt-Del ) key combination to the remote server.

From a Macintosh laptop

On a Macintosh laptop press the fn+control+option+delete keys to send Alt-Control-Delete to the server.

From a Windows workstation

If the Remote Desktop window is not in full-screen mode, Alt+Control+Delete will control your own Windows workstation.

On a Windows workstation press the Alt+Control+End keys to send Alt-Control-Delete to the remote server.


org.apache.jasper.JasperException: java.lang.IllegalStateException: No output folder

This error can happen on Linux and Windows, and the cause could be the same.

On Windows Server 2012R2 I opened a command prompt. To be able to delete a directory from the Tomcat webapps folder, I have issued the shutdown command.

When I started the server with the startup command, and navigated to my local website, my Java Spring MVC web application displayed the error message

org.apache.jasper.JasperException: java.lang.IllegalStateException: No output folder

The problem was, that the Tomcat service runs under root on Linux, and SYSTEM on Windows.

When you issue the startup command, Tomcat will run under the user account you logged in with.


Stop and start the TomCat Linux or Windows service instead of issuing the shutdown and startup commands from the terminal or command prompt.


Determine the Windows PowerShell version

To reliably display the version of the Windows PowerShell engine

  1. Open a PowerShell command window,
  2. Execute the command,

    PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> $PSVersionTable.PSVersion

    Major Minor Build   Revision
    —–   —–   ——-  ——-
    5       1        16299  64

  3. If no value is displayed, the version is 1.0, as it does not have the referenced variable.

Enable PowerShell execution in Windows

The default settings of Windows disable the PowerShell script execution. This protects your computer in case a malicious PowerShell script would try to make changes on your machine. The same settings prevent you from executing your own automation scripts too.

To enable PowerShell script execution

in Windows 10

  1. Click the Windows button and type powershell into the text box,
  2. Right-click the Windows PowerShell item and select Run as administrator,
  3. In the User Account Control window click the Yes button,
  4. In the PowerShell window execute
    Set-ExecutionPolicy unrestricted


  5. Press Y and the Enter key to enable the PowerShell script execution.

in Windows 7

  1. Click the Windows button and type powershell into the text box,
  2. Right-click the Windows PowerShell item and select Run as administrator,
  3. In the User Account Control window click the Yes button,
  4. In the PowerShell window execute
    Set-ExecutionPolicy unrestricted

The security database on the server does not have a computer account for this workstation trust relationship

Time to time Windows servers may lose the trust of the domain. When you try to log in with your domain credentials you get the dreaded message:

The security database on the server does not have a computer account for this workstation trust relationship

This can have many causes, and the most effective way to fix this is to detach and re-attach the server to the domain.

For security reasons the best if there are no local admin accounts on the Windows server, only domain accounts added to the Administrators group. If there is no local admin account on the server, how can we access it with the non-working domain accounts? When a Windows computer loses the trust of the domain there is no way to log into it with a domain account when the computer is connected to the network and has access to the domain controllers.

If the server is in your data center it is enough to unplug the network cables, the server cannot connect to the domain controller, and you can log in with the last cached password you used for the Administrator domain account.

How can we unplug the network cables from a cloud computer?

The Amazon Web Services (AWS)  Security Groups and Azure Network Security Groups (NSG) act as firewalls. Those control the inbound and outbound traffic rules.

To be able to access your Windows server, but prevent it to contact the domain controller, create a security group that contains all necessary inbound rules to access your Windows server with the remote desktop connection, but do not enable any outbound connections.

Open port 3389 for inbound traffic, but do not allow any outbound traffic.

  1. Change the security groups of the server

    1. Unselect the existing security groups to remove all other security groups from the server,
    2. Select the newly created recovery security group
  2. Use Remote Desktop to log into the server with your domain credentials you used the last time you logged into the server (it can be an earlier domain password). If you use stored credentials in your remote desktop client, enter your password again on the Windows login screen.
  3. Create a local administrator account, because once you remove the server from the domain, you will not be able to log into it with your domain account,
  4. To make sure the local administrator account credentials are correct, remote into the server with the local account,
  5. Change the security group back to the original one that enables outbound access to the domain controller,
  6. Remove the server from the domain by attaching it to a workgroup,
    1. Right-click This PC and select Properties
    2. On the Control Panel Home window select Advanced system settings
    3. On the Computer Name tab of the System Properties window click the Change… button
    4. In the Computer Name/Domain Changes window select the Workgroup radio button and enter WORKGROUP for the name of the workgroup
    5. Make sure you do these steps with the local admin account and click OK.
    6. Enter the credentials of a domain account that has enough rights to remove servers from the domain,
    7. Your server is out of the domain,
    8. Make sure again, you have a local admin account on the server and click OK,
    9. Click the Close button to continue,
    10. Make sure you have a local admin account with a known password, all your files are saved, and click the Restart Now button to restart the computer.

Remove the server from the domain controller database

To successfully add the server to the domain again, you need to remove the current entry of the server from the domain.

  1. Log into the domain controller,
  2. Open the ActiveRoles Console,
  3. Expand the Active Directory item, right-click the domain name, and select Find,
  4. in the Find drop-down select Computers, enter the name of the computer into the Name field and click the Find Now button,
  5. Right-click the name of the found computer and select Delete.


Add the server to the domain

  1. Using the local admin account log into the server,
  2. Follow the steps above to open the Computer Name/Domain Changes window,
  3. Select the Domain radio button, enter the name of the domain, and click OK,
  4. Enter the credentials of a domain account that has enough rights to add servers to the domain. Don’t forget to add the name of the domain in front of your username with a backslash.
  5. The server has been successfully added to the domain,
  6. Click OK to continue,
  7. Click the Close button to restart the computer.
  8. Click the Restart Now button to restart the computer.

Restore Windows Server 2012 R2 from backup

Windows Server contains the Windows Backup functionality. It can create full backups of your server that contain all volumes. With the bare metal recovery, you are able to fully restore the server even if the hard disks fail, after a virus attack, or security breach. Depending on the size of the server drives and the backup media, set up frequent backup times, so when you need to restore the server, less data has to be entered again.

To restore a Windows Server from a backup image

  1. Insert the Windows Server 2012 R2 installation DVD into the DVD drive of the server
  2. Boot the server from the DVD
  3. Connect the drive, that contains the backup images, to the server
  4. On the first screen select the language and keyboard options
  5. On the next screen, select Repair  your computer
  6. Select the Troubleshoot icon
  7. Click the System Image Recovery
  8. Select your operating system as the target operating system
  9. Select the backup image to restore; latest or from a previous date
  10. If you selected Select a system image option
    1. In the table select the backup device
    2. Select the time of the backup
    3. If you want to clear the drives of the server select the Format and repartition disks option

Configure the Windows virtual machine in VirtualBox

Enable shared folders on the virtual machine

To be able to use shared folders between the host ( your workstation ) and the Windows virtual machine.

  1. Start the Windows virtual machine in VirtualBox,
  2. Select the virtual machine window on your workstation,
  3. In the Devices menu of VirtualBox select Insert Guest Additions CD image…
  4. In the virtual machine start Windows Explorer,
  5. Open the VirtualBox Guest Additions CD,
  6. Start VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe,

  7. On the User Account Control popup click Yes,
  8. Click Next on the setup page,
  9. Click Next on the path selection page,
  10. Click the Install button,
  11. Save all your documents on the virtual machine, and allow the reboot of the virtual machine for the changes to take effect.

The shared folders will be available in the virtual machine’s Windows Explorer under Network locations as the E: drive



When an application copies or deletes files and folders in the displayed shared folder, click the Refresh button to see the new state of the directory. Windows usually does not refresh the view of the shared folder.


Command window

On a Windows 10 guest machine, the Git Bash and Command Prompt windows cannot see the mapped shared folders. To execute commands in shared folders, use the PowerShell window. For more see Git Bash and Command Prompt cannot see the VirtualBox shared folder on Windows 10 guest

VirtualBox installation and configuration on Windows

Download Virtual Box from and follow the instructions to install it.

At the time of writing this was the section where the installer files were referenced


Run the downloaded installer file and accept all default values.

The installer starts the Virtual Box application.You can close it, we will use other tools to start it in the future.

To be able to launch 64-bit guest operating systems turn off Hyper-V in Windows Features

  1. In the Windows search box enter Windows Features and select Turn Windows Features on or off,
  2. Uncheck Hyper-V and click OK,
  3. Reboot the computer for the setting to take effect.

Create a virtual machine

To create a new virtual machine

Download the  OS image from the manufacturer’s web site.

  1. Start the VirtualBox application
  2. Click the New icon
  3. Enter a name, select the operating system type and version, and set the memory size,
  4. Set the initial size of the virtual hard disk
  5. Select the virtual machine icon and click the Start button,
  6. Click the Browse icon and select the OS image file in the Downloads directory,
  7. Click the Start button

Configure VirtualBox for each virtual machine


To share the connectivity of the host computer with the virtual machine, mainly if you use VPN

  1. In Virtual box click Settings
  2. Select Network
  3. Attach the network adapter to NAT

Copy and paste

To enable copy and paste between the virtual machine and the host ( your workstation )

  1. On the General tab of the Settings page select the Bidirectional shared clipboard

Shared Folders

Specify the shared folder on your workstation

  1. In the VirtualBox menu select Preferences
  2. On the Shared Folders tab click the + icon
  3. To share the entire system drive, select the C: drive of your workstation

Configure the virtual machine OS

To configure the virtual machine operating system in VirtualBox, see Virtual machine configuration on the VirtualBox page.