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

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  • Blog Post: VMWare working great on my computer

    I was at a conference a while ago and got talking to someone about virtualisation.  When the guy found out that I worked at Microsoft he gave me a VMWare ESX Server 3i VMVisor USB Flash Disk to try out, telling me that it was the best thing on the market and that I would love it.  I was extremely...
  • Blog Post: Windows 2008 Certification

    I often get asked about the changes to the certification roadmap for Windows 2008, but I have never had the time to go find the answer out as it did not seem straightforward.  So, I always said to the person asking that they should go see http://www.microsoft.com/certification as it is all explained...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Getting my bits in a twist

    This week I installed a new Windows Vista virtual machine in Hyper-V.  I installed the OS, added it to the domain, then realised that I had not added the integration services for the guest OS.  Launching the install for them gave me the following error message which I had not seen before. As...
  • Blog Post: Windows Vista Service Pack 2

    Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista (SP2) has been a hot topic recently.  While Microsoft has not released an immense amount of information regarding this upcoming important update, some interesting stuff has appeared ( here and here , for example). As normal, the service pack will include all previously...
  • Blog Post: Windows Live Installer - without the installer??!?!?

    To install a Windows Live product(s) you need to download and install the WLInstaller.exe file, which is a rolled-up package of all the Windows Live services.  You run the installer and then you can choose the components that you want to install from the main screen.  This is a great way to...
  • Blog Post: The final nail in VMWare's coffin?

    Warning, this post may offend some of the diehard VMWare fans, especially my brother... I have refrained from blogging about the Hyper-V RTM release a few weeks ago, simply because of the fact that almost every Microsoft employee has already posted something about it on their blog. I have been waiting...
  • Blog Post: Getting burnt with DVD Burning

    For a pretty long time I have used Nero Recode to create DVDs from the movies I take with my video camera. The other day it decided to stop working and crashed whenever I added my avi files to it with a nice helpful "StackHash_1703" error. The solution given by Nero was to buy Nero 8 which quite frankly...
  • Blog Post: Application Compatibility List for Windows 7

    A very common misconception that I am hearing regarding Windows 7 is that Microsoft has removed all of the problems that Windows Vista had caused with application compatibility. While it is true that certain features of Windows 7 have been improved/tweaked, such as User Access Control (UAC), there will...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Self-writing code

    If you do a lot of scripting for Windows, then you probably use VBScript (VBS) to do it. With VBScript you can easily retrieve information about pretty much anything that is in your computer, or connected to the network, which is what makes it a good choice as a scripting language. When working on...
  • Blog Post: Yet Another Core Configurator

    In the true spirit of Linux, it seems that everybody is re-inventing the wheel – because they can.  So, just as your favourite Linux distro had 9,999 different versions of the same basic calculator tool (but all written by different people), it seems lately that everybody has written a graphical...
  • Blog Post: Hyper-V on the side

    I noticed today that someone has written a new cool gadget for the Windows Sidebar that lets you display what multiple Hyper-V servers are doing, all from your workstation. Double clicking on a server will also allow you to connect straight to it. You can get the gadget, and more info about it...
  • Blog Post: Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2008

    I came across the following document the other day that contains plenty of useful tuning parameters and settings that you can tweak in order to improve performance in Windows Server 2008.  The nice thing is that each setting and its effect (or side-effect) are explained so that you can decide if...
  • Blog Post: I want that text, and I want it now!

    How often have you had an error pop up in a dialog box full of useful error numbers, filenames, return codes, and plenty of other stuff, only to start cursing because you could not get a hold of the text content of the dialog box?  Normally people resort to a screengrab of the error box but the...
  • Blog Post: HTAMount – Simplifying the mounting of Hyper-V VHD files to your computer

    HTAMount is a HTML application that I wrote a while ago that provides a no-nonsense interface allowing you to mount/unmount offline Hyper-V virtual disk images (VHD) to your local file system, in read-only mode. It consists of a HTML Application (HTA) front-end with some VBS script doing the mount/unmounting...
  • Blog Post: All spaced out

    Well, as this is my first post on my blog I thought I'd use it to share the solution to a problem I had recently so that nobody else needs go through the stress of debugging it! My current project is to install and configure BDD 2007 so that my client can create images for their standard desktop build...
  • Blog Post: Hyper-V - Hooray!

    I am sure that this has been blogged about at least a trillion times, so I am going to make it a trillion and 1. I have been running Windows Server 2008 64bit Enterprise Edition RTM on my company laptop (a 64bit dual core with 4GB of RAM) for about a week now and I think that it is fantastic; my single...
  • Blog Post: Letting Hyper-V get some sleep

    I blogged a few months ago about how activating Hyper-V on a laptop that is running Windows Server 2008 will disable all hibernation and sleep functionality. It seems that most people had not known this because I got quite a few comments on the post about it. The comments varied from simple complaints...
  • Blog Post: Insomnia-causing Hyper-V

    I am in Seattle at the moment at an internal Microsoft conference.  Yesterday I attended a presentation by one of the product managers for Hyper-V where he really stressed a point that people ask me all the time, he also explained to everyone the reasoning behind the decisions made.  The 'issue...
  • Blog Post: Closing time for the bar

    If you run Outlook 2007 on a Windows Server 2008 machine, then you may have noticed that your Outlook persistently shows that little yellow bar saying "Click here to enable Instant Search".  Unfortunately, clicking on the bar does not enable Instant Search because the Operating System...
  • Blog Post: Doesn't this thing go any faster?

    A Knowledge Base (KB) article and related software update was released on the May 20th 2008 that seems to have gone fairly unnoticed by quite a few people.  The article ( http://support.microsoft.com/kb/952830 ) is rather vaguely titled "Description of Windows Script 5.7 for Windows XP"...
  • Blog Post: Anti-Virus Software, That's Free!

    I am probably the last Microsoft blogger to actually get round to writing something about this… but hey, I have been busy! Microsoft recently released to the public their free anti-virus solution, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). I had been trialling the beta versions for a few months on a Windows...
  • Blog Post: Group Policy migration, without the headache

    Someone asked me recently if it was possible to import GPOs created in a laboratory into a production environment, which was obviously a completely different Active Directory forest/domain. The answer is of course, yes you can. With the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) you can export a policy and...
  • Blog Post: Trigger happy events

    The new Task Scheduler functionality that was introduced with Windows Vista is superb, it knocks spots off what Windows XP ever had; my favourite feature is the ability to fire a task if a certain event is logged in the Windows Eventlog, which is great because it opens up all sorts of possibilities....