Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

February, 2008

  • The First Person Shooter (FPS) gaming vest

    FPSVest I noticed this a couple of weeks ago and wondered if any of you have purchased one.  It's certainly an interesting twist on "force feedback".  Here's an excerpt from the description of the vest and game:

    "The FPS Vest is an impact-generating device designed to enable you to feel the game's action for the ultimate gaming experience. It contains eight active zones that simulate the direction and forces of bullet fire, crushing explosions, and fear-inducing finger taps as they occur in the game."

    This would be cool if it worked with Xbox360 and Halo 3.

    System includes FPS Gaming Vest, air compressor, USB cable, power supply, 3rd Space™ Incursion and Call Of Duty® 2 games.

    I wonder if the system includes Depends under garments in case you have an accident.  Ha!

    See all of the information at TN Games.

  • Server Unleashed

  • I Spy the Windows Vista SP1 x64 Full DVD (integrated)

    vista_wallpaper The Windows Vista SP1 x64 .ISO file is now online in the TechNet Subscriber Downloads center.  It's the fully integrated SP1 thus allowing you to install the operating system from scratch. Although it says English, it's my understanding it includes French, German, Japanese and Spanish as well.


    en_windows_vista_with_service_pack_1_x64_dvd_x14-29595.iso ISO-9660 DVD Image

    File Size

    3749 MB

    SHA-1 Hash



    This file contains the following:

    • Windows Vista™ Business with Service Pack 1
    • Windows Vista™ Home Basic with Service Pack 1
    • Windows Vista™ Home Premium with Service Pack 1
    • Windows Vista™ Ultimate with Service Pack 1
  • Windows Server 2008 Security Guide - now available

    As an IT professional focused on security, you know firsthand how essential your servers are to keeping your organization up and running. It’s your job to stand guard over these essential assets, and to prevent them from going down. Windows Server 2008 is engineered from the ground up with security in mind.

    The Windows Server 2008 Security Guide is designed to further enhance the security of the servers in your organization by taking full advantage of the new and improved security technologies and features in Windows Server 2008. Use the guidance to create, test, and deploy your security baseline quickly and reliably, harden your server workloads, and evaluate security setting recommendations to meet the requirements of your environment.

    The Solution Accelerator for the Windows Server 2008 Security Guide includes the following components:

    • Executive Overview. A summary for business and technical managers that briefly explains how you can use the guidance and the tool for this Solution Accelerator.
    • Security Guide. Recommended guidelines and best practices in a series of chapters that offer detailed guidance on how to harden servers running Windows Server 2008 that handle different workloads, including those for Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), DHCP, DNS, Web, File, Print, Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS), Network Policy and Access Services, and Terminal Services.
    • Security Settings Recommendation Appendix. A comprehensive technical reference that explains every prescribed security setting in the security guide.
    • Security Settings Workbook. A resource that lists all prescribed settings for each of the preconfigured security baselines provided by the guide.
    • Attack Surface Reference Workbook. A resource that lists the changes that installed server roles introduce in Windows Server 2008.
    • GPOAccelerator. A tool that you can use to automatically create Group Policy objects (GPOs) recommended by the guide, which is available as a separate download. To learn more about the GPOAccelerator and download the tool, click here.

    Get it @

  • Windows Server 2008 Core screencast - Installing Open Source Software

    ws2008 If you are going to run web workloads, you'd be remiss not to evaluate Windows Server 2008 and IIS7.  In fact, Windows Server 2008 includes a Core installation option that is an excellent platform for a variety of computing workloads.  One thing you might not have thought about is using open source software on our platform.  Well think again.

    In this screencast series, I'll show you how to take advantage of Internet Information Server 7 as a premier platform for some popular products including PHP, MySQL and Wordpress.  Now you might be thinking I've gone off the deep end.  No worries, I'm still sane (at this moment in time).  If you are going to run those products, we'd rather have you run them on Windows than Linux or UNIX.

    We don't really go into hosting provisioning, management and performance but you'll get an idea of how to setup and configure the products.  The screencasts were recorded using Windows Server 2008 Core.  I plan to record a similar screencast series in the next day or so on Windows Vista to give you an idea of how a developer workstation could be configured with open source software.  I hope you enjoy both.  It's always funny to listen to yourself after the fact when I record these things. Sometimes I sound like such a Texas hick from the sticks.  Oh well, it's me.  I'll try and work on my grammar pardner. 

    For this screencast series I decided to go through a brief description of each section and then I provided links to all of the videos later in the post.  I have also provided links to the non-streaming versions of the videos in case you want to download them and watch them offline.

    Part 1 - Installing IIS 7 Roles and Features in Windows Server 2008 (video length = 7:42)

    In this section we introduce you to Windows Server 2008 and the Core installation option.  Installation of the IIS7 web server roles and features are demonstrated and discussed. 

    InstallCGI.cmd contents:

    Start /w pkgmgr /iu:IIS-WebServerRole;IIS-WebServer;IIS-CommonHttpFeatures;IIS-StaticContent;IIS-DefaultDocument;IIS-DirectoryBrowsing;IIS-HttpErrors;IIS-ApplicationDevelopment;IIS-CGI;IIS-HealthAndDiagnostics;IIS-HttpLogging;IIS-LoggingLibraries;IIS-RequestMonitor;IIS-Security;IIS-RequestFiltering;IIS-HttpCompressionStatic;IIS-WebServerManagementTools;WAS-WindowsActivationService;WAS-ProcessModel

    Part 2 - Configuring PHP (video length = 7:34)

    We need to configure IIS7 to use PHP as a CGI execution environment.  All of the .cmd files in this section were created by me to ease the typing pain in the webcast.  We'll first configure FastCGI to use PHP with the demonstrated PHP1.cmd script. 

    PHP1.cmd contents:

    appcmd set config /section:system.webServer/fastCGI /+[fullPath='C:\php\php-cgi.exe']

    The next thing we need to do is setup the handler and module mapping for IIS7 so that it understands the available verbs and how to call PHP for request processing.  This is demonstrated in the video by executing the PHP2.cmd file in the video.

    PHP2.cmd contents:

    appcmd set config /section:system.webServer/handlers /+[name='PHP-FastCGI',path='*.php',verb='*',modules='FastCgiModule',scriptProcessor='C:\php\php-cgi.exe',resourceType='Either']

    And finally for the PHP configuration section, we setup IIS7 default document processing with PHP3 and PHP4.cmd

    PHP3.cmd contents:

    appcmd set config "Default web site" /section:defaultDocument /enabled:true

    PHP4.cmd contents:

    appcmd set config "Default Web Site" /section:defaultDocument /+files.[value='index.php']

    You'll notice in the commands above we are using the IIS7 appcmd.exe program to modify the settings and therefore the behavior of IIS7.  In the screencast we also modify the INI file that contains the PHP configuration settings so that we can turn on the needed PHP extensions.  Lastly for this section we open the MySQL firewall port ahead of the actual installation and configuration of that product.

    Part 3 - Installing and Configuring MySQL (video length = 5:36)

    Wordpress needs a database for its operation and MySQL fits the bill nicely.  In this screencast section, we install and configure MySQL by creating the wordpress database, granting permissions to the database, assigning passwords, etc. 

    Part 4 - Configuration of WordPress (video length - 5:37)

    The last screencast is short and sweet as we create and modify the wp-config.php file which contains the userid, password and database configuration information.  Then it's time to test the WordPress interfaces from another virtual machine to see if everything above actually worked.  In the webcast I delivered, I left off a single ; in the MySQL configuration so the databases weren't created properly.  A one character error can do that to you.  Be careful and take your time. 

    Screencast Video Downloads - please right mouse click the links below and SAVE AS

    Program Downloads and Links

    Windows Server 2008 -

    PHP -

    MySQL -

    WordPress -

  • I spy the Windows Vista SP1 x86 Full DVD (integrated)

    Windows Vista SP1 x86 (FULL) is now on the TechNet Subscriber download center.  It's the 32bit fully integrated version of the OS.  I just downloaded it, burned a DVD and have the install running in a Virtual PC 2007 virtual machine.  Finally!!!


    My download took minutes.  Being first helps.  It flew down the fiber pipe to my house at 1.8meg per second.  I wish all my downloads were that fast.  Your mileage will vary.  I'm planning on "enhancing" my VM first thing.  I'm going to enable IIS7, then drop PHP, MySQL and Wordpress on it.  When I get it working, I am going to do a screencast on the process.  Getting ready to record how to do that with Windows Server 2008 in a few minutes.  Enjoy!

    [UPDATE for 2/25/2007] I compared the size of the .ISO I downloaded from the TechNet subscriber download area to the one I pulled directly from the internal build server.  Exact match on number of bytes.  Golden goodness.  I am also very happy with it's performance in the VM.  I'm told most of the speed is coming from Intel VT.  Rock and roll baby.

    To be clear, my host environment is a Lenovo ThinkPad T61p running Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 x64.  I'm running the x64 version of Virtual PC 2007 although very little of VPC 2007 is actually x64.  I am using the VM additions from Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 (13.813).  The VM is of course the x86 version of Windows Vista Ultimate SP1.

    [UPDATE for 2/28/2007] The x64 DVD .iso is now online.  See for more details.

  • A picture is worth a thousand words...


  • Friendly Windows Server 2008 Launch event reminder

    Have you signed up for the US launch event in your area?  I just signed up for about 20 different events across the country so I figured I'd remind you to get your name in the hat.  As you can see in the screenshot, NYC and LA are sold out.  Don't procrastinate and wait too late.


    Click the pic above to go to the registration site.

  • Windows Server 2008 Group Policy Planning and Deploying Guide

    ws2008 You can use Windows Server 2008 Group Policy to manage configurations for groups of computers and users, including options for registry-based policy settings, security settings, software deployment, scripts, folder redirection, and preferences. Group Policy preferences, new in Windows Server 2008, are more than 20 Group Policy extensions that expand the range of configurable policy settings within a Group Policy object (GPO). In contrast to Group Policy settings, preferences are not enforced. Users can change preferences after initial deployment. For information about Group Policy Preferences, see Group Policy Preferences Overview.

    Using Group Policy, you can significantly reduce an organization’s total cost of ownership. Various factors, such as the large number of policy settings available, the interaction between multiple policies, and inheritance options, can make Group Policy design complex. By carefully planning, designing, testing, and deploying a solution based on your organization’s business requirements, you can provide the standardized functionality, security, and management control that your organization needs.

    Get it @

  • SQL Server 2008 February CTP now available


    Microsoft SQL Server 2008, the next release of Microsoft SQL Server, provides a comprehensive data platform that is more secure, reliable, manageable and scalable for your mission critical applications, while enabling developers to create new applications that can store and consume any type of data on any device, and enabling all your users to make informed decisions with relevant insights.

    This CTP will automatically expire after 180 days.

    Register for a Guided Evaluation Experience

    Get it @

  • I Don't Own The Road

    And neither do you!  You can probably guess where I'm headed with this one.  Actually, instead of being the typical rant I should just say right off that I'm happy to be writing this.

    Let's face it, the streets can be downright scary.  I thought I was history last week.  Last Tuesday we were having a team meeting in Dallas.  I wasn't feeling particularly well (hay fever) so I decided to head home after the awards that afternoon.  On my way home, I'm watching this wreck/collision unfold on the opposite side of the freeway.  The fender bender is between a large 4 wheel drive Dodge truck and a mid size car.  The small car lost out but the 4 wheeler decided to tangle with the cement barrier that guards both sides of the freeway.  I thought the 4 wheeler was going to 4 wheel it right over the barrier into my windshield.  Thankfully the cement barrier did it's job, otherwise I would not be writing this.

    turbo Then of course there are the Friday night lunatics.  What is it about Friday night that brings out the worst in people?  A long week of crap from other people?  Alcohol?  Both?  You guessed it, I saw a blatant display of road rage last Friday night.  I didn't see what started it.  It must have been pretty minor.  You know, someone cuts someone off but doesn't realize it.  In this case, the SUV was one of those humongous Cadillac Escalade's.  The dude in the Caddy (making an assumption here) got really pissed off and roared around several lanes of traffic to get back in front of the car that he was pissed at, and starts slamming on the breaks.  We aren't talking light touches to the brakes.  We're talking 70 to 40 type slams.  What an idiot.  He put the lives of many people at risk with the dangerous antics.

    Then there was Saturday.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  After running some errands I'm heading home.  I usually drive at a pretty brisk clip.  I'm doing 70 in a 65.  The rest of the traffic is flowing at the same pace.  I live in a swanky part of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex.  It's called Southlake and it's home to many exotic cars.

    Sure enough along comes driver number one in a relatively new black Dodge Viper.  Great looking car.  However, the Viper is doing at least 90.  I would not have minded but there were quite a few people on the roadway and this is not the Autobahn.  So as I'm passed by the Viper, I notice a woman is driving the car.  You don't see many woman driving exotic sports but I must admit I see more in Southlake than most metro areas.  It gets better.  A few seconds later I get nearly blown off the road by a Porsche 911 Turbo.  This time, the driver had to be going over 100.  Over a 100 on a Saturday afternoon with a freeway full of families.  Does this sound sane to you?  We're talking driving a $125,000+ exotic car at those speeds as if you own the freeway.

    Once again, the driver was a woman.  I know because I caught up with her at the light at Dove Road.  I then followed her through the Southlake acreage on her way to what I'm sure is a villa in a gated community.  I had to turn off a different direction to go back to my safe little home.  And people wonder why I don't like to drive.  It's freaking scary out there now.

    You don't own the road no matter how much you make each year, and how expensive your automobile is.  Neither do I.

  • The Gold Standard of Flying

    Gold Early in my career at Microsoft I was traveling 50,000+ miles per year.  It was of course in the good ole days when First Class was still almost first class.  You know, back when they still had good food, drinks and sundaes.  After making America Advantage Platinum a few years, I realized flying that much was really for the birds.

    Of course for the mere mortals that travel between 25,000 and 50,000 miles each year, you have the privilege of making the "Gold" club.  What do you get for being gold these days?  Group 1, that's it.  For the uneducated, Group 1 gets to board after the First Class and Platinum folks.  For people who carry on a backpack and a roll-a-board, this is important because you pretty much guarantee a spot for your bags in the overhead.

    What else do you get for being gold?  That's pretty much it.  It used to be the days that Gold members could have a reasonable shot at an upgrade on one of the longer flights.  Those days seem to be long over.  Either there are more Platinum folks these days, or fewer flights and therefore fewer seats.  I think it's the latter.

    So my gold status is getting ready to expire, and I don't think I'll even notice.  I still book far enough in advance that I'll generally get a decent seat.  I will now be a lowly Group 2 or Group 3.  Who cares?  The airline sure doesn't.  Wait, I take that back.  They cared enough to ask if I wanted to pay for a year of Gold status.  I think the price was like $400.  Are they kidding?  Maybe for $50.

    Maybe I get honorary Gold status when I hit a 1,000,000 miles.  Big deal.  Gold has no value now.  Unless of course we're talking the mineral Au.

    Isn't travel great?  :?)

  • DreamSpark - I wish I had this when I was 15

    This week we announced a new program that I think is simply amazing.  Awesome in its own right.  I also like the program name, Dreamspark.  You've probably read all about this already, but just in case you have not, here's an excerpt from the press release:

    PALO ALTO, Calif. — Feb. 18, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates today will unveil a software giveaway that will ultimately provide millions of college and high school students around the world with access to the latest Microsoft developer and designer tools at no charge to unlock their creative potential and set them on the path to academic and career success.

    The Microsoft DreamSpark student program ( makes available, at no charge, a broad range of development and design software for download. The program is now available to more than 35 million college students in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Broad global coverage, as well as an expansion of the program to high school students around the world, potentially reaching up to 1 billion students worldwide, will continue throughout the next year. Gates will share details with students and faculty at Stanford University as part of a U.S. and Canada college tour that kicks off today.

    “We want to do everything we can to equip a new generation of technology leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to harness the magic of software to improve lives, solve problems and catalyze economic growth,” Gates said. “Microsoft DreamSpark provides professional-level tools that we hope will inspire students to explore the power of software and encourage them to forge the next wave of software-driven breakthroughs.”

    This means we're putting software in the young hands of the future.  No telling what they'll create.  It could be the next version of the internet or Halo 2020.  Who knows.  So what are we making available?  Check this out:

    Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all students whose studies touch on technology, design, math, science and engineering. Students of today are more technical in their everyday lives than ever — representing both their personal interests and what is expected of them when they arrive in the workplace for the first time. The following cutting-edge software will be available to empower students to unlock their ingenuity by building critical skills:

    Microsoft developer tools. Visual Studio is the Swiss Army knife of computer programming. These professional-grade products provide a security-enhanced and reliable environment, enabling students to program everything from a cell phone to a robot or to create their own Web page. Students will also be able to invent compelling new gaming content and make their dream game a reality by porting their creations to their Xbox 360 console.

    • Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
    • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
    • XNA Game Studio 2.0
    • 12-month free Academic membership in the XNA Creators Club

    Microsoft designer tools. This ultra-versatile suite of tools will enable students to vividly bring their creative visions to life in vibrant new Web site designs and more effective digital content, including animation, imagery and photography.

    • Expression Web
    • Expression Blend
    • Expression Design
    • Expression Media

    Microsoft platform resources. The foundation for development and design platforms, these products deliver a security-enhanced, reliable and manageable environment for students to more quickly turn ideas into reality.

    • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
    • Windows Server, Standard Edition

    See for the press release.

    See for the video with Bill Gates about this.

    See for the downloads.


    Talk to your teens about this.  This is very kewl!

  • That thang got a Hemi ???

    This looks like one wicked motherboard.  Based on the Intel Skulltrail chipset.  Love the name.  See the rest of the hardware porn at


    Doesn't this remind you of an Edelbrock high rise?

  • If you were in charge of Windows Server 2008 launch events...

    Let's say you had the responsibility for creating the slide decks, demo scripts and demonstrations for the Windows Server 2008 launch events getting ready to happen.  What would you produce for the IT Pro track?  I'm not talking about webcasts or screencasts.  I'm talking about the live events that will have 500+ people in the audience.  You get four 90 minute sessions.

    What's it going to be?  Why?

  • Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V 10 Minute Tour - Redux

    Windows Server 2008 is in the RTM process so for all practical purposes, it's shipped.  Inside is a beta of Hyper-V.  Hyper-V will be setting the stage for a whole new wave of technologies so with that in mind, I thought I'd give you a quick peek at the product via a screencast video I created.  I actually published this in September but have re-encoded it for Silverlight streaming.


    I love that name.  It's catchy and kewl.  It sounds like a supervisor for hyper space or something.  It does of course refer to the new thin layer that is installed on Windows Server 2008 also know at the virtualization parent partition.  It's also a a term used industry wide so when you hear the term, it doesn't just refer to the Microsoft implementation.

    Our hypervisor, code named "Viridian" and now called Hyper-V, is an installable Windows Server 2008 role.  After installation of this role, you can start installing one or more child partitions in which to run your virtualization workloads.  Installation of those virtual machines is fairly straight forward although there are some things you need to be aware of.

    Virtual Machine Additions

    In order to use the new high speed VMBUS, you'll want to uninstall any previous additions from Virtual PC or Virtual Server, then install the integration components for Hyper-V.  We're looking at making that transition as painless as possible, but you'll have to work through some of this manually until we get that work done.


    You'll notice when you start looking at the CTP (and the screencast demo below), that we've added the ability to take snapshots of your virtual machines in either an online or offline state.  This gives you a look into the VSS capabilities that are coming. This is going to offer much more flexibility in your high availability and disaster recovery planning.

    Double click the player for a full screen view.

    Management Tools

    We do of course ship a management console with Hyper-V which you'll see in the demos.  However, our strategy is to take advantage of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 product for advanced management of the virtualization partitions, VM workloads, monitoring, reporting, resource assignments, etc.  You simple won't believe what's coming and I'm not going to spill all of the beans just yet, but you can count on some deep dives later.

    The Screencast

    Take a look at the screencast and go on a tour of Hyper-V.  The video is a little over ten minutes in length and I tried to hit some of the key areas so you can get a quick technical overview of the product.  If you want to save this local and review it offline, please right mouse click the second link and "SAVE AS".

    Save Local -

    Other Resources

    A number of new websites have gone live in the past week or so.  Here are a few of my favorites.  You haven't seen anything yet.  We are just getting started.

  • Windows Server 2008 - NAP IPsec, DHCP and 802.1x Updated Guides

    ws2008 As you can probably tell, now that Windows Server 2008 is done and out the door, it's time to finalize a lot of the documentation and get it published.  NAP is no exception (hee) and here are the links to the latest guides.

    Step-by-Step Guide: Demonstrate NAP IPsec Enforcement in a Test Lab

    Network Access Protection (NAP) is a new policy enforcement technology in the Windows Vista® operating system and Windows Server® 2008 operating system. NAP provides components and an application programming interface (API) set that help administrators enforce compliance with health requirements for network access and communication. This paper contains an introduction to NAP and instructions for setting up a test lab to deploy NAP with the Internet Protocol security (IPsec) enforcement method.

    Get it @

    Step-by-Step Guide: Demonstrate NAP DHCP Enforcement in a Test Lab

    This paper contains an introduction to NAP and instructions for setting up a test lab to deploy NAP with the DHCP enforcement method.

    Get it @

    Step-by-Step Guide: Demonstrate NAP 802.1X Enforcement in a Test Lab

    This paper contains an introduction to NAP and instructions for setting up a test lab to deploy NAP with the 802.1X enforcement method. The lab requires two server and two client computers, and an 802.1X compliant switch that supports the use of RADIUS tunnel attributes to specify the 802.1X client VLAN. With this test network, you can create and enforce client health requirements using NAP and the 802.1X features on your switch.

    Get it @

  • Windows Vista or Server 2008 - Quick Launch large icons


    I get asked pretty frequently about the icon size I use for my task bar.  I typically run pretty high resolutions (1680x1050 or 1920x1200).  When you run at those high resolutions, the default icon size for the Windows quick launch toolbar is pretty tiny.  Heck, not only are they hard to see, but they are hard to click.  I like the OS X and KDE approach to this problem (hover zoom).

    Since we don't have zooming of icons in the explorer shell that is the host to the quick launch toolbar, I do the next best thing.  I change the setting for the icon size.  It isn't real tricky but most people never see the option because they lock the quick launch bar.  Here's how to make the change:

    1. Right mouse click the taskbar and unlock it if it isn't already.
    2. Find a space on the Quick Launch toolbar and right mouse click it.
    3. You should see the menu popup as depicted in the screenshot.  Click the View menu and select Large Icons.

    This works on most of the Windows versions out.  I do this on Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista.

  • Windows Vista SP1 - the case of the missing Search item

    SearchMIA Now that we're starting to open the floodgates to the masses, one thing that will likely become apparent is that there are some subtle user interface changes.  For those of you that like to click the Windows Pearl (also known as the Start button), then click Search, you are in for a little surprise.

    As you can see to in the screenshot at right, the Search menu item is missing in action.  Why?

    Well, for the gory details, you'll want to review the KB article at and some of the developer documentation at

    From the KB, here are some of the changes to the user interface for Windows Vista SP1.

    Control Panel

    • The Associate a file type or protocol with a program dialog box lists the search protocol under Protocols.
    • The Set your default programs dialog box lists Windows Search Explorer as a selectable program.
    • The Indexing Options dialog box includes a Pause button. When you click the Pause button, the Windows Search Indexer stops indexing new content for 15 minutes.

    Start menu

    • The Search option on the right side of the Start menu is removed.
    • The See All Results option is changed to the Search Everywhere option.
    • The Search Everywhere option passes the search arguments that are typed in the text box to the default search application by using the search protocol syntax

    This update also sets many of the general search entry points in Windows Vista to use the new search protocol. The new search protocol calls the default desktop search application. These search entry points include the following:

    • When you press the Windows logo key+F, the default application for the search protocol starts.
    • When you click Start and then press F3, Windows Explorer opens the default application for the search protocol.
    • When you press CTRL+F in Windows Explorer, the default application for the search protocol starts.
    • In Windows Explorer, the Search Everywhere option appears on the toolbar as soon as a search starts. When you click this option, the default application for the search protocol starts.
    • You can no longer right-click the Search option on all containers.
  • Vista SP1 "Update" now available

    Since 2/4 I've been working on your behalf to get the official Window Vista SP1 bits posted to the TechNet Plus Direct subscriber download area.  It's been fun.  Grin.  The "Update" version of SP1 is available for your downloading pleasure so now you can update your RTM install.

    Strangely, you don't see it on the main webpage at  Nor do you see it (yet) in the full downloads listing area.  You will however see it on the subscriber page at  It's in the "Top" downloads section of that page.

    Later this month the "FULL" Windows Vista SP1 .iso will be made available so you can install a SP1 machine from scratch.  I tried to get them to do it today.  It didn't happen, but I tried. Enjoy.

  • How much power is your PC consuming?

    Adam Carter just posted an interesting video over at about PC power consumption.  I thought it was pretty interesting.  See for the details and of course the video.

  • Got your Warthog on order?


    Gee, I wonder where the idea for this vehicle came from.

  • Metallica will rip Bonnaroo 2008 to shreds


    Bonnaroo 2008 goes from hill billy to mainstream.  I guess next year they'll have a big corporate sponsor and Amy Winehouse. I don't know why she isn't there this year.  She's a trip.  I'm going to see Little Feat, Vampire Weekend and the Allman Brothers Band...then of course... Pearl Jam and Metallica.  I think I'll just take the whole month of June off and live in Tennessee. 

  • Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 Guides now available

    Getting Started

    The Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 Getting Started Guide provides quick access to tasks required to protect and recover your data, and includes a Quick Start Guide that provides scaled down instructions for installing and configuring DPM 2007.  Get this guide and some other important implementation guides below.

    Get it @


    This document explains the features of DPM 2007 and how DPM works. It also provides the information that you need to plan a DPM deployment, including protection group and DPM server configuration.

    Get it @


    Deploying DPM 2007 provides step-by-step instructions for installing and configuring DPM 2007, and includes an introduction to the DPM user interface. Deploying DPM 2007 also provides information on troubleshooting your DPM installation and how to repair and uninstall DPM 2007.

    Get it @


    Provides troubleshooting guidance for DPM 2007 issues such as performance, tape library management, and data recovery.

    Get it @

  • Windows Server 2008 NAP IPsec whitepaper now available

    Network Access Protection (NAP) is a platform for Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008, Windows Vista™, and Windows® XP Service Pack 3, that provides policy enforcement components to help ensure that computers connecting to or communicating on a network meet administrator-defined requirements for system health. Internet Protocol security (IPsec) is a set of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards that provides cryptographic protection for IP-based traffic. This document provides an overview of the Network Access Protection platform and IPsec and how IPsec enforcement in the Network Access Protection platform works to provide system health policy enforcement for IPsec-protected communication.

    Get it @

  • The Book of Longhorn - get it here

    longhorns As you'll recall, there was a really nice book about Windows Vista and explored all of the features in the desktop operating system.  Wouldn't it be nice if such a book existed for Windows Server 2008?  Your wish is my command.

    Unfortunately the title of the book isn't near as sexy as "The Book of Longhorn".  Instead the real book is called, "Changes in Functionality from Windows Server 2003 with SP1 to Windows Server 2008".  Got that?  ZZZzzzzzzzzz. 

    The Book of Longhorn (grin) is over 300 pages of goodness.  Be nice to your printer.  In fact, make sure you either print on a duplex printer (both sides of the paper) or spend a couple of bucks to get it printed at the local professional printing shoppe.

    Get it @

  • Group Policy Object (GPO) Settings Reference for Windows Server 2008

    ws2008This spreadsheet lists the policy settings for computer and user configurations included in the Administrative template files (.admx/.adml) delivered with Windows Server 2008. The policy settings included in this spreadsheet cover Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Professional, and Windows 2000. You can configure these policy settings when you edit Group Policy objects (GPOs).

    In addition, this spreadsheet includes the following categories of security policy settings:

    • Account Policies (Password Policy, Account Lockout Policy, and Kerberos Policy)
    • Local Policies (Audit Policy, User Rights Assignment, and Security Options)
    • Event Log
    • Restricted Groups
    • System Services
    • Registry
    • File System policy settings.

    Note: This does not include security settings that exist outside of the Security Settings extension (scecli.dll), such as Wireless Network extension, Public Key Policies, or Software Restriction Policies.

    Get it @

  • Will the real Core please stand up?

    ws2008Imagine a huge data center.  Rack and racks of web, music and video servers all tied to racks and racks of spinning hard drives.  Your monitoring console sends you an alert and you investigate by establishing an RDP session to the Windows Server 2008 Core machine that sent the alert.

    Of course if you have a really big data center, it's possible you already have some other sessions open.  There's one small problem.  Unless you change some default settings, it isn't terribly easy to tell those sessions apart. 

    Want an easy way?

    Head on over to and checkout Arlindo's post about changing the command prompt information so that you will always know what server you are working with.  Good stuff.

    Maybe I should do a post on how I change the resolution and colors... naw, gotta keep a few secrets for later.

  • My Next Phone ???


    Looks pretty kewl to me.

  • I want to go 4000 miles per hour


  • I got your back - Windows Vista SP1 coming sooner than you think

    It goes without saying that there has been a considerable amount of feedback around our release schedule for Windows Vista SP1.  Don't think for a second that because I'm silent about such issues on my blog, that I am not working our internal communication channels to be your advocate.

    Being an advocate means I get an opportunity to assess the situation with my "customer base", which is now world wide, and offer my opinion on what we should or should not do.  I've done that in the past and will do it in the future.  It doesn't mean I'll get what I want, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

    vista_wallpaper However, I support our product groups and senior leadership decisions.  If Microsoft chooses not to release some software when you think it should be released, we usually have a darn good reason for the decision.  I am not privy to all of the details of those decisions so when I offer an opinion back to our senior leadership, I can't get away with the type of comments I've seen posted on a variety of blogs and websites this week.  I have to be a lot more diplomatic.  Diplomatic doesn't mean I can't be direct, and I'm known for being direct. 

    The good news is that there are some changes coming to the release schedule I think you will like.  Keep an eye on the Windows Vista Product Group Blog @ for the update.

    You should know that I, and members of my team take IT Pro satisfaction and dissatisfaction seriously.  My team no longer just includes the US IT Pro Evangelists.  I consider the IT Pro Evangelists world wide to be part of my team and I assure you, there is plenty of discussion around what happened this week.  The release schedule was only part of the discussion.

    Suffice it to say I listen.  So do my peers.  You may not always know we have your back, but we do.  We try really hard to keep you informed, educated, entertained and happy.  It doesn't always work out that way, but we try.  So if you're so inclined, give us an F on our report card for the week or month.  We'll try hard to get an A+ next time.

    With that in mind, come see us at the launch events.  We'll have some fun.

    [UPDATE for 2/9]  I thought Mike and the Windows team were going to provide an update yesterday.  Obviously they didn't.  Maybe we'll get one Sunday or Monday.  Got a crystal ball?

    [UPDATE for 2/11]  Mike's update is now at the link above. 

  • Gamer Heaven


    Click the picture above for Peter's website and pictures of an amazing room.

  • See? Bill has a great sense of humor!

    "President Bok, former President Rudenstine, incoming President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, parents, and especially, the graduates:

    I’ve been waiting more than 30 years to say this: “Dad, I always told you I’d come back and get my degree.”

    I want to thank Harvard for this timely honor. I’ll be changing my job next year… and it will be nice to finally have a college degree on my resume.

    I applaud the graduates today for taking a much more direct route to your degrees. For my part, I’m just happy that the Crimson has called me “Harvard’s most successful dropout.” I guess that makes me valedictorian of my own special class… I did the best of everyone who failed.

    But I also want to be recognized as the guy who got Steve Ballmer to drop out of business school. I’m a bad influence. That’s why I was invited to speak at your graduation. If I had spoken at your orientation, fewer of you might be here today."

    See the rest of his remarks and the serious stuff at

  • I Dodged Tornados Tonight

    I'm in the beautiful US state of Tennessee.  I started this week on Monday in Knoxville which is the far eastern portion of the state.  After I completed my Angelbeat event there, I headed to Nashville.  I must admit I enjoyed the drive.  This state has a lot of terrain I would love to explore.  I need to come back and spend more time.  It brought back memories of the piney woods where I grew up in Houston and east Texas.

    I was in Nashville this morning until about 4pm then headed for Memphis.  While I was watching some of the other presenters today, I was checking the radar so I knew mother nature had some stuff she was going to throw my way.  It looked like it was going to be nasty.  Being a native of Texas, you get a seventh sense for extreme weather events.  Not knowing the state very well, I was a little nervous about the drive.

    As soon as I got in the car, I gassed up and found a good radio station that was broadcasting weather related information.  Let me say that TV broadcasters are clueless.  The entire time I'm listening they are talking like I have a high definition TV in front of me and can see everything they are talking about.  They kept calling out county and city names.  This of course does me zero good because I don't know the area.  If the boneheads would just say this stuff is 10 miles south of highway x, or 20 miles west of Memphis, I could have at least formulated a better bearing of the location, speed and direction of the storms.

    Eventually, I was able to discern enough information to know I was headed smack dab into a deadly storm.  This particular storm had already spawned multiple tornados over the course of the past 45 minutes and was getting ready to intersect with the freeway I'm on, right in front of me.  Time to pull over.

    I pull in to the local Dairy Queen in Brownsville, TN and hunker down with a couple of the employees and another dude from the same Angelbeat show we just left in Nashville.  We didn't really get under the tables or get in the walk-in cooler, but we did discuss it.  I fired up my laptop and hit the cell phone network with my Verizon EVDO card.  I'm watching the doppler radar updates on and can clearly see it's coming right for us.  The storm cell weakened and only dropped 1" hail and we experienced 40-50 MPH straight line winds.  There was no damage to the location I was at.

    I was lucky.  Many other people were not.  Prayers for the folks that weren't lucky.

    Watch the news tomorrow after sun up...

    After the cell blew by, I headed to Memphis.  I almost hit a tree that was down and covering the right lane of the freeway.  The remainder of the travel into Memphis was uneventful for me.  But another round of tornados hit the freeway behind me (I-40) in Jackson.  Lots of bad stuff on the radio.  Scary stuff.

    The last wave of storms just blew through here a little while ago, thankfully.  Now people can start picking up their lives.  Mother nature is scary sometimes.  Be careful out there.  Night.

  • Windows Vista Ultimate x64 Installation Notes for the HP 6910p

    vista_wallpaper Here are the notes I took during my Windows Vista Ultimate x64 installation on my HP 6910p notebook.  The notes below were written primarily for my team but I like to share.

    In case you were wondering, the HP 6910p has performed remarkably well with Windows Vista Ultimate x64 and Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64 with Hyper-V.  I don't dual boot.  Instead I have several hard drives for the various operating systems I use and test.

    I plan to upgrade this machine to Windows Vista SP1 when the update becomes available on the servers.  I don't expect this to take place until mid-March per the information provided by Mike Nash.

    Initial OS and Driver Install

      1. Installed Windows Vista Ultimate x64 fresh to a new hard drive or format an existing drive.  This is a clean install not an upgrade.  The 6910p built-in Ethernet adaptor is properly detected and operational after install.
      2. Download drivers from the HP 6910p Windows Vista x64 driver area.  I generally rename the download and like to precede the cryptic spNNNN.exe name with something that makes sense like “ati video sp36486b.exe”.  I usually download the majority of the stuff I’ll need but skip things like BIOS updates.  As I install drivers, if prompted for a reboot, I do it then.  I know this means twice as many reboots but it’s just the way I roll so you won’t see reboot instructions below.
      3. Install intel chipset drivers sp36881.
      4. Install ati video sp36486b.  Turn on Aero after reboot.
      5. Install intel wireless sp37754.
      6. Install intel matrix storage mgmt sp38088.
      7. Install fingerprint sp36525.
      8. Install tpm sp34876
      9. Install rich media slot sp36255.
      10. Go to Control Panel then Windows Update and update the machine.  This is about 55 updates and picks up the remaining drivers.

    Microsoft Security, VPN and Anti-Virus App Installs

    Section removed for the blog post.  Employees can email me for my notes.

    hp6910p Windows Vista Tweaks

      1. Do not install the drivers and software that came with the PCMCIA eSATA card included in your hardware bundle.  This was an untested card that came with the bundle for my group.  Thumbs down.
      2. Turn off System Restore Points for your disks.  I am pretty religious about doing Ghost 12 backups weekly so this is unnecessary for my needs.
      3. Disable the Widows Search service.  I like to squeeze as much processing and disk I/O out of my machine as possible so this is a controversial step.  I’m just telling you what I do.
      4. Set the Superfetch service to manual.  See the above step for why I do this.
      5. Set the Offline files service to manual.  Again, I squeeze performance out of my machine in order to give it up to the VM's I run on a regular basis.
      6. If you install IIS7 and Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, set their respective services to manual.
      7. I remove all but the Default and StartCCC keys from HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run node.
      8. I remove all but the Default, Synaptics, Defender, Intel Matrix Store Mgr keys from the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run node.

    Applications I Install

    I install a number of applications I use on frequent basis.  Most if not all of them are 32bit applications right now.  They include Office 2007 Enterprise, Nero, Streets 2008, Ghost 12, Live Writer, Communicator 2007, LiveMeeting 2007, Acrobat Reader, Flash, Quicktime, Zune, Camtasia 5, Expression Suite, Virtual PS 2007, Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, RichCopy 3.5, ATT Comm Mgr, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Premiere Elements 4, Vegas Movie Studio Platinum, Visual Studio 2008, ISA Proxy client and others.  Some of the applications are personal purchases.  All of them work but Visual Studio is getting the least use at the moment.

  • Server 2008 and Vista SP1 Automated Install Kit (AIK) location - get it here

    ws2008 Looking for the AIK and came up dry?  No worries, come get it here.  Never heard of the AIK?  Well, time to come out from under the rock and get cooking with some great tools.

    The Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) is designed to help corporate IT professionals customize and deploy the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 family of operation systems. By using Windows AIK, you can perform unattended Windows installations, capture Windows images with ImageX, and create Windows PE images.

    Get it @

    Now you need to find Windows Vista SP1 gold bits.  Hang on, I'm working on that. 

  • Congratulations New York!!!

    WOW.  The Giants defense was really on their A game tonight.  Excellent throw for the win Eli.  Nice to see the team that beat Dallas become the Superbowl Champions.  And the commercials were pretty good, too.  My wife was cracking up at that baby.

  • Do we really need 4 hours of Superbowl Pregame coverage ???

    The Arizona stadium is empty.  Clue number one.  It's 11am Pacific.  Clue number two.  Even the party animals on the west coast are probably just getting up.  All I have to say is that the commercials had better be great.

    Who do you want to win?

    Considering the Giants whipped the Cowboys, I'd like to get a small amount of revenge by having the Patriots whip the Giants.  Then we can vote Brady into the White House.  Ha!

  • Updated IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Security Whitepaper

    Although wireless LAN networks provide freedom of movement, they also require you to address security issues that are not as prevalent on a private cabling system for a wired LAN technology such as Ethernet. The main security issues are the authentication of wireless clients and the encryption and data integrity of wireless LAN frames. This paper discusses the security issues of IEEE 802.11 wireless networks and shows how Microsoft Windows operating systems can be used to make 802.11 wireless networks as secure as the current set of 802.11-related technologies allow.  This is an update to the original Windows Server 2003 guide.

    Get it @

  • TCP/IP Registry Values for Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

    This white paper describes the registry values for the TCP/IP protocol stack in Microsoft® Windows Vista™ and Windows Server® 2008.  The intended audience for this paper is network engineers and support professionals who are already familiar with TCP/IP (both IP version 4 [IPv4] and IP version 6 [IPv6]).

    Download it here.