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Confessions of a Microsoft Consultant
Daniel Oxley is an Infrastucture Consultant working for Microsoft Consulting Services in Madrid, Spain. He specialises, amongst other things, in large-scale deployments of Microsoft Windows using technologies such as BDD2007 and the Microsoft Deployment
Business Desktop Deployment
Gears of War 2
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
Server 2008 R2
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Confessions of a Microsoft Consultant
Decorating Windows Explorer
This is a tip that someone recently showed me that I really liked. It allows you to display in Windows Vista (I haven’t tried it on any other Windows OS) a unique background image in Windows Explorer for each drive (internal or external) that you have in your computer. This is particularly...
19 Oct 2008
Application Installs, be gone!
As a follow up to my earlier post about modularising my computer, I wanted to add a couple of points which I either missed out, or did not explain so well :-S The first, which is a common question, is how to install Windows 7 into a VHD file without having to first install Window Server 2008 with Hyper...
17 Jun 2009
Ooops, that’s not right…
I have been asked twice this week if this is possible and if so how to do it, so I guess either the information is not readily available on the Internet, or the two people who asked me just couldn’t be bothered to look it up...! I’m sure you’ve seen the below screen appear during the first boot...
29 Oct 2009
Restarting the Microsoft File Transfer Manager
Unless you have been hiding under a rock this week you’ll no doubt be aware that the beta versions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 both were released on TechNet and MSDN. If you’ve tried downloading them as well then you’ll know that they will take a while as each one requires a download...
8 Jan 2009
Network Issues prevent certain Installations (otherwise known as 0xc000000f)
I have recently been setting up a Hyper-V laboratory for a Windows 7 project. I had all the machines installed, and I was configuring them using an RDP connection rather than using VMConnect (the reason is that it is nice and easy to get access to files that are outside the VM this way, simply...
2 Apr 2009
Job/Life/Reputation protector 2.0
Back in January I posted some simple VBA code for adding an “are you sure?” type question to the Reply To All button in Outlook. Since then I have received a few suggestions for improving the code, one of the most common of which was to add to the question box the list of names that the mail will be...
10 Nov 2008
PowerShell Script ExecutionPolicy
Seeing as PowerShell is included by default in Windows 7, and also because you get the PowerShell icon on your quick launch bar by default, I try to use that over the de rigueur cmd.exe command interpreter that we have all had since the dawn of time. Although, without thinking, I still often run...
5 Aug 2009
Putting iexplore.exe on a diet
I have gotten very used, very quickly, to the excellent tabbed browsing feature that was introduced with Internet Explorer 7. This feature was tweaked a fair bit for Internet Explorer 8, but the most noticeable change is that now each tab opens in a separate memory process; this really is great...
14 Oct 2009
Wasted Space, Begone!
A few months ago I won an 8Gb Zune in an internal Microsoft competition. I really like the device and use it all the time on the train to work to help with the monotony. The interface is simple to use, I like the way the music is organised in the library, and the Zune software is not bad at all. My only...
14 Jan 2010
Windows Server 2008 doesn’t have to ignore the MBSA if you don’t want it to
The Microsoft Baseline Security Analyser (MBSA) is an excellent free tool by Microsoft that provides a simple and easy-to-use method of identifying common security misconfigurations for your Microsoft Windows computers. The current version (MBSA 2.1) runs on Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista,...
20 Apr 2009
Family IT Nirvana
Working in I.T. also means fixing the computers of family members, friends and neighbours. Trying to do this over the phone (especially with my father, who consistently asks "but where is the Start menu?") is pretty much impossible because they just can't follow the basic instructions you try to give...
25 Jan 2010
Benchmarking Windows 7
A very common request that clients make when starting a Windows deployment project is that we must reliably and accurately demonstrate that Windows Vista or Windows 7 is worth upgrading to from Windows XP, especially if the purchase of new hardware is not part of the project; often, and logically, clients...
6 Oct 2009
Safely setting autologon for Windows
When configuring Microsoft Windows to auto-logon, most people just modify the following keys in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\AutoAdminLogon HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\DefaultUserName HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE...
22 Apr 2009
Quicker Access to Windows 7 Virtual PC settings
To edit the settings of a virtual computer using Virtual PC in Windows 7 requires the opening of the Virtual PC console, selecting the virtual machine you wish to edit, and then pressing the ‘Settings’ button, as shown in the screenshot below. In order to reduce the number of required steps to...
9 Aug 2009
IKEA-fying my computer
I have had this blog post in the pipeline for a while now, but I have been waiting until all the pieces fell into place, to make it something actually worthwhile to read! Be warned though, this is a rather long blog post – but please stay awake! Having access to earlier builds of Microsoft operating...
9 Jun 2009
Slimming Down Office Documents
Being a consultant means that I always have to write bucket-loads of documentation, and the documents tend to be rather long and include plenty of images. Writing a 50 page document is not uncommon, not because I like to waffle (believe me, I don’t), but mostly because I need to include step-by...
30 Nov 2009
Smartcard Needing Drivers In Order To Be Smart
My company laptop dual-boots between Windows 7 x64 and Windows Server 2008 R2. This is for the simple reason that Hyper-V is an indispensible tool for a consultant, but the comfort of a desktop OS like Windows 7 means that I don't want to do without either operating system. I keep the R2 installation...
18 Feb 2010
Converting Windows Error Codes To Something More Friendly
I can never remember how to do this, so I always end up looking it up. Therefore, I am posting it here partly for me as a reference, but also in case anyone else finds it useful :-) Sometime the error codes that are returned by Microsoft Windows are accompanied by a rather cryptic message...
5 Nov 2009
Just fix it for me please…
Articles on the Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) sometimes contain pretty straightforward solutions, such as changing a single value in the registry or running a simple command. They are often so simple that I always wondered why Windows could not just fix it for you, saving you the hassle of finding...
13 Jan 2009
Creating Your Own Search Provider in Internet Explorer
For me, this is possibly one of the most overlooked, but invaluable, features of Internet Explorer 7 and 8. I actually only discovered it a few days ago, but I now use it pretty much daily. First introduced with Internet Explorer 7, the Instant Search box in the top right-hand corner of the browser...
2 Sep 2009
Translating TechNet instantly
Here’s a little something I discovered the other day which I have found to be super useful. As anyone who is not a native English speaker knows, English is the predominant language on the Internet; and in the world of IT, this seems to be especially true. Product documentation often gets released...
18 Dec 2008
Kicking the tyres
Want to try out Windows Server 2008? Or perhaps Exchange Server 2007? You can download complete virtual machine environments for a whole list of Microsoft products, free of charge. Check out the Test Drive program here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/bb738372.aspx for more information and the download...
30 Mar 2009
Wallpapering your Windows 7 computer
As some of you may know, certain countries have personalisation packs for Windows 7 that are activated on during the installation of the operating system, depending on the regional settings you first set. So, if you tell Windows 7 setup that you are in the United Kingdom, one of the wallpapers...
26 Oct 2009
Faster Creation of Virtual Machines
I recently noticed a blog post on TechNet about a new tool that was released on CodePlex. WIM2VHD is a command-line tool allows you to create sysprepped VHD images from any Windows 7 installation source (and I suspect Windows Server 2008 R2 as well) that work with Virtual PC, Virtual Server, Microsoft...
8 Apr 2009
Saving The World, Printer Ink First
Saving something seems to to be the big thing in I.T. at moment, which is never a bad thing. The current big thing is the Green Computing initiatives, particularly with the prominence now of virtual computing and power saving features in new operating systems (hint, hint: Windows Vista and Windows 7...
5 Aug 2009
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