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This is a really exciting season for IT Pros across Canada. Last week Microsoft released Windows Server 2012 to the public, and on October 26th they will release Windows 8. As an IT Pro you are going to want to test these out, whether that be in your own environment at home or at the office, or at an IT Camp or install fest like the ones we are holding in cities across the country.
Although we will be holding full day IT Camps with teams and challenges and prizes like we did earlier in the year for Virtualization and Private Cloud, if you are coming out to one of our Launch Events (and yes, they are all sold out!) in Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa, or Montreal we are dividing the events into two parts: the keynote sessions in the morning, and an install-fest in the afternoon. So if you bring your laptops you will have the chance to install Windows Server 2012 along with us.
At the Toronto event there were a number of people who did bring their laptops, but were still unable to install Windows Server 2012. Here are some of the reasons:
We understand that most of us do not have spare laptops to dedicate to testing new operating systems, but in each case there could have been a solution, had they known in advance a few tips.
Whether you are preparing to come to one of our Install-Fests or IT Camps, or if you are just planning to install the OS at home or at work to try it out, there are a few steps you can take to prepare for the task that will increase your chances of success:
Which option is right for you?
My first choice for testing any operating system used to be directly on the physical hardware. However virtualizing the OS does have its advantages, such as being able to snapshot and roll back if you make a mistake; as well the performance of virtual machines (in Hyper-V, as well as in some competitive products) is nearly as good as it would be on the physical server. Balance that with the fact that more planning is required, and a working knowledge of the hypervisor is critical to your success.
Booting from VHD is a good hybrid between these two. You are installing mostly on the physical hardware, with the only exception being storage. While you cannot snapshot a Boot-from-VHD, you can make an occasional copy of the VHD file (not when booted into that VHD) and revert back when necessary. It does require a few extra steps, but it works well, and the only feature that I have found that does not work in this scenario is the Windows Experience Index (see article). However for most of us this is a small price to pay for the convenience.
In short, the right option for you is the one that you find best. My students often hear me refer to the Universal Consultant’s Answer (UCA): It Depends. There is no right or wrong answer here, but based on what you have and what your preferences are, isn’t it great that there are so many options for you to choose from?
Some automation goodies for you Mitch
If you'd like to automate the DiskPart Query you can pull off the following
diskpart /s c:\script.txt
(where script, a simple text file contains)
select disk 0
diskpart /s c:\scripts\script.txt > c:\scripts\diskinfo.txt
Or in Powershell (my personal favorite) you can get the same information doing including getting the available free space on the partitions!
Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from win32_diskdrive where MediaType="Fixed hard disk media"' | ft
Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from win32_logicaldisk where DriveType="3"' | ft DeviceID,FreeSpace,Size
If you'd like to automate the defragmentation of the C: and shrinking you could do the following in Diskpart
defrag C: /X
diskpart /s c:\shrinky.txt
(where shrinky.txt contains)
shrink MAXIMUM=50000 DESIRED=25000
This will attempt to get you 50 gig of free space but will shrink of 25 gig is at least available.
But are you the IMPATIENT type? If you're in DISKPART just enter the command
This will tell you how much you COULD shrink it by. This could be quicker and let you run to the local computer shop to buy that new drive to take Server 2012 for a test.
Mind you, I'm running mine on 25 gb vhd with space to spare :)
Awesome, Sean - thanks for the additional information!