Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

September, 2012

  • Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 8 - now available for download

    ws2012Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 includes Server Manager, Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins, consoles, Windows PowerShell cmdlets and providers, and command-line tools for managing roles and features that run on Windows Server 2012. In limited cases, the tools can be used to manage roles and features that are running on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008. Some of the tools work for managing roles and features on Windows Server 2003.

    Got get em @

  • White House Releases Honey Ale Recipe under the Freedom of Information Act

    The White House finally does something I can support with my tax dollars, they brew beer.  Sorry, that’s as political as I can get. Smile

    Full story, directions and video at  The video is actually pretty interesting.  Wouldn’t that be impressive on your resume, White House Brewmaster?  Grin.


  • DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant (DCA) 2.0 - now available for download

    ws2012Microsoft DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant (DCA) 2.0 can be used by computers running Windows 7 when connecting to internal corporate networks with DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012. It improves the DirectAccess connection experience, supports one-time password (OTP) authentication for DirectAccess users and helps organizations reduce the cost of supporting DirectAccess users.

    Microsoft DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant (DCA) 2.0 provides the following functionality:

    • Provides DirectAccess users with connectivity information. Users can view their DirectAccess connectivity status at all times.
    • Provides diagnostics and troubleshooting features. DCA 2.0 provides tools to help users reconnect if problems arise, and create diagnostics to provide IT administrators with troubleshooting information.
    • Supports one-time password (OTP) authentication for DirectAccess users required to authenticate using OTP.

    Note: DCA 2.0 can be installed on Windows 7 computers that connect to the corporate network using DirectAccess running on a Windows Server 2012 computer. It can be installed on Windows 7 computers that do not have DCA installed, or on computers running DCA 1.0 or DCA 1.5. DCA 2.0 should not be installed on computers running Windows 8 Consumer Preview. It should also not be installed on Windows 7 computers that connect to the corporate network using DirectAccess running on a Windows Server 2008 R2 computer or on a Forefront UAG server.

    Go get it @

  • Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Group Policy spreadsheets - now available for download

    These spreadsheets list the policy settings for computer and user configurations that are included in the Administrative template files delivered with the Windows operating systems specified. You can configure these policy settings when you edit Group Policy Objects.

    You can use the filtering capabilities that are included in this spreadsheet to view a specific subset of data, based on one value or a combination of values that are available in one or more of the columns. In addition, you can click Custom in the drop-down list of any of the column headings to add additional filtering criteria within that column.

    To view a specific subset of data, click the drop-down arrow in the column heading of cells that contain the value or combination of values on which you want to filter, and then click the desired value in the drop-down list. For example, to view policy settings that are available for Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8, in the Administrative Template worksheet, click the drop-down arrow next to Supported On, and then click At least Microsoft Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8.


    What's New?

    The Administrative Template spreadsheet contains three columns that provide more information about each policy setting's behavior related to reboots, logoffs, and schema extensions. These columns are the following:

    • Reboot Required: A "Yes" in this column means that the Windows operating systems requires a restart before it applies the described policy setting.
    • Logoff Required: A "Yes" in this column means that the Windows operating system requires the user to log off and log on again before it applies the described policy setting.
    • Active Directory Schema or Domain Requirements: A "Yes" in this column means that you must extend the Active Directory schema before you can deploy this policy setting.
    • Status: A "New" in this column means that the setting did not exist prior to Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. It does not mean that the setting applies only to Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. Refer to the column entitled "supported on" to determine to which operating system the policy setting applies.

    Go get the download @

  • System Center 2012 SP1 Beta - Supporting Windows Server 2012, Azure Virtual Machine Mgmt and more!


    Microsoft’s Private Cloud is built on the industry leading foundation of Windows Server and System Center. The System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) update enables System Center to run on and manage the final version of Windows Server 2012, released earlier this week. System Center 2012 SP1 brings System Center manageability to many new capabilities in Windows Server 2012 as well as a range of other improvements.  You can read about the System Center 2012 SP1 on the product overview page.

    The beta of System Center 2012 (SP1) is now available for download on the Microsoft Download Center.  This blog post focuses on some of the new capabilities for Datacenter and Cloud in System Center 2012 SP1.  For information about the Configuration Manager capabilities of System Center 2012 SP1 and Windows InTune, read the client management blog post.

    • Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012 Support - With this Beta release, all System Center 2012 SP1 components are now enabled to manage and run in a Windows Server 2012 environment.  System Center 2012 SP1 Beta also now supports the use of SQL Server 2012.
    • Network Virtualization - With System Center 2012 SP1 you can take advantage of the Virtual Machine Manager’s ability to manage Hyper-V network virtualization across multiple hosts, simplifying the creation of entire virtual networks.
    • Windows Azure Virtual Machine management - System Center 2012 SP1 now integrates with Windows Azure Virtual Machines enabling you to move on-premises Virtual Machines to run in Windows Azure and then manage from your on-premises System Center installation enabling a range of workload distribution and remote operations scenarios

    There are many other capabilities in the System Center 2012 SP1 Beta.  Read the full blog post at

  • Samsung ATIV S website now live

    I know I did a blog post about the IFA announcement not long ago, but I wanted to bring the Samsung ATIV S website to your attention with all of the specific features and specifications.  It is the global site so I don’t know what we’ll get here in the USA.  Looks like a really nice handset.  Click the pic or the link below it.  There are some other cool devices at the site, too.  Hint hint. Grin.


  • HTC reveals new Windows 8 Phone devices for November launch

    HTC8X htc8s

    Here’s a great video from Microsoft Windows Phone spokesperson Ben Rudolph.

    Here’s the infomercial.  It has some pretty good views of the device.


    See the Windows Phone 8X specifications at

    See the Windows Phone 8S specifications at

    This is going to be a tough decision.

  • Windows Azure AD Rights Management Admin Tools and Utilities

    office_symbol_clr_56x56Windows Azure AD Rights Management provides the ability to enable the use of digital rights management technology in organizations that subscribe to the Office 365 preview services. Office 365 Preview customers can enable rights management capabilities within the Preview versions of Exchange Online, SharePoint and Office. These downloads enable an administrator to manage Windows Azure AD rights management features and configure Office 2010 for the Windows Azure AD Rights Management service.

    Go get it @

  • Windows Server 2012 is now available for download


    For those of you that have been patiently waiting for the bits, they are now available on the MSDN and TechNet subscriber download centers. Ready to find out more?  Be sure to visit the Windows Server 2012 Launch site at  You’ll see a wide variety of information on our cloud OS from a business and technical perspective. The site is getting crushed right now so you might want to come back a little later this afternoon.

    Also see Satya Nadella's blog post on some of the key development aspects of Windows Server 2012.. We do of course have a press release on if interested.

    For those of you that are TechNet or MSDN subscribers, Windows Server 2012 is now available for download. If you don’t have a subscription, no problem.  Download the Windows Server 2012 Trial Evaluation.  This link is currently describing the release candidate but will be updated soon. is always a good starting point for overview information, the data sheet, downloads and case studies.

    For those of you that are looking for technical information, be sure to go to the tech center.  There’s a wealth of deployment, security and management information there and you’ll see the release documentation light up through the course of the day.

  • Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Compat Cookbook - now available for download

    ws2012Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 introduce the latest operating system technology and software development platforms for use by app developers and enterprises worldwide. As part of further enhancing the security, reliability, performance, and user experience of Windows, Microsoft has introduced many new features, improved existing features, and removed others.

    While the goal of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 is to stay highly compatible with most of their respective apps written for previously released operating systems, some compatibility breaks are inevitable due to innovations, tightened security, and increased reliability. Overall, the compatibility of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 with existing apps is high.

    See the rest of the information in the cookbook download @

  • NOKIA Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 Announced


    NOKIA announced the new Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 today.  The 920 pictured above in gray looks pretty nice if you ask me. The changeable shells on the 820 are pretty cool, but I also like the idea of the solid 920.  I’ll definitely have to go see them up close and personal when they arrive in the USA.  Exact availability isn’t specified in the press release.

    See The Verge hands on post at for more information.  Engadget also has a hands on at

    If you are interested in the Lumia 820 as I am, see and  I’m liking it’s smaller form factor but I’m going to need to see the prices and actual device before making up my mind. 

    The fall phone season is looking pretty good, eh?

  • Migrate VMware VMs to Hyper-V using a free, simple, standalone tool

    ws2012Windows Server 2012 is generally available for evaluation and purchase by all customers around the world. Additionally, there is great news for organizations that are looking for a way to migrate virtual machines hosted on VMware vSphere to the Hyper-V host in Windows Server 2012.  The production (RTW) version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) and the Beta version of the VMware console plugin version are both available to download. We extend a huge thank you to our beta participants who have taken the time to evaluate the pre-release versions of the tools and provided us with extremely valuable feedback. MVMC is one resource available as part of the Switch to Hyper-V program announced at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference earlier this year. The Switch to Hyper-V program helps partners and customers go beyond virtualization to true cloud computing by providing guidance, resources, and tools that take the risk out of virtual migrations, reduce the time and effort required, and define best practices.

    See the full post @

  • Just in case you want to test 85mph on the Austin’s Toll 130


  • iSCSI Target Storage Providers (VDS/VSS) for Windows Server 2008

    ws2012iSCSI Target Storage Provider enables applications on a server that is connected to an iSCSI target to perform volume shadow copies of data on iSCSI virtual disks. It also enables you to manage iSCSI virtual disks by using older applications that require a Virtual Disk Service (VDS) hardware provider, such as the Diskraid command.

    This download package must be installed on any application server running a Windows Server release prior to Windows Server 2012 that plans to use iSCSI Target Server in Windows Server 2012. This is required in order for VDS/VSS hardware providers to communicate with iSCSI Target Server in Windows Server 2012.

    System requirements - Supported operating systems: Windows Server 2008 with latest service pack, Windows Server 2008 R2 with latest service pack.

    Go get it @

  • System Center 2012 SP1 Beta - tons of new features now available for testing

    SysCnt12_v_rgbThe Beta of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (“SP1”) enables System Center customers to jointly evaluate System Center 2012 with Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. The Beta is for evaluation purposes only and not to be used in production as described in the EULAs associated with the product. No license keys are required to do this evaluation. The Beta includes updates and enhancements to the following System Center 2012 components:

    • Virtual Machine Manager
      • Improved Support for Network Virtualization
      • Extend the VMM console with Add-ins
      • Support for Windows Standards-Based Storage Management Service, thin provisioning of logical units and discovery of SAS storage
      • Ability to convert VHD to VHDX, use VHDX as base Operating System image
    • Configuration Manager
      • Deployment and management of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
      • Distribution point for Windows Azure to help reduce infrastructure costs
      • Automation of administrative tasks through PowerShell support
      • Management of Mac OS X clients and Linux and UNIX servers
      • Real-time administrative actions for Endpoint Protection related tasks
    • Data Protection Manager
      • Improved backup performance of Hyper-V over CSV 2.0
      • Protection for Hyper-V over remote SMB share
      • Protection for Windows Server 2012 de-duplicated volumes
      • Uninterrupted protection for VM live migration
    • App Controller
      • Service Provider Foundation API to create and operate Virtual Machines
      • Support for Azure VM; migrate VHDs from VMM to Windows Azure, manage from on-premise System Center
    • Operations Manager
      • Support for IIS 8
      • Monitoring of WCF, MVC and .NET NT services
      • Azure SDK support
    • Orchestrator
      • Support for Integration Packs, including 3rd party
      • Manage VMM self-service User Roles
      • Manage multiple VMM ‘stamps’ (scale units), aggregate results from multiple stamps
      • Integration with App Controller to consume Hosted clouds
    • Service Manager
      • Apply price sheets to VMM clouds
      • Create chargeback reports
      • Pivot by cost center, VMM clouds, Pricesheets
    • Server App-V
      • Support for applications that create scheduled tasks during packaging
      • Create virtual application packages from applications installed remotely on native server

    Go get the SP1 Beta @

  • Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run Preview

    OfficeBy default, Office 2013 installations that use Click-to-Run will download the Office product from the Internet, with full UI, and with automatic updates enabled.  Some administrators will need more control beyond the default Click-to-Run installation behavior in order to work best in their environments.

    Using the Office Deployment Tool, an administrator may:

    • Download an Office installation source to a network share location
    • Configure an installation to use a network share as the installation source instead of the Internet
    • Configure an installation to suppress all UI
    • Configure the logging for an installations
    • Configure whether Office will automatically update or not
    • Configure which products and languages to install
    • Remove Office Click-to-Run products

    Sound interesting? Go get the Preview @

  • The Office Team reveals the new Office 365 Subscriptions

    ofc-brand_v_rgbWith a single subscription, you can use Office across a wide variety of devices - everything from PCs and tablets to Macs.  You can easily save to and access your documents from the cloud and personalize your experience with Office.  We will update Office more frequently to support new scenarios, and subscribers will always be current with the latest innovations.  Subscriptions also open new possibilities like integrating web services into Office in ways never before possible; in this release, we've added Skype calling minutes and SkyDrive storage, and in the future, we'll do more. 

    In this post, you'll find details on how to get the new Office 365 subscriptions for consumers and small businesses when available.

    Get the full details @

  • Bring Your Own Corporate VM

    ws2012Raise your hand if you are getting a little sick of the phrase “consumerization of IT”.  I know I am.  But the concepts around it are interesting and they pose some interesting challenges for IT organizations as they are increasingly forced to support connections to the corporate network from a wide variety of devices that aren’t corporate assets.

    As I was perusing the new downloads on the download center, I stumbled across an interesting guide called, “Consumerization of IT Test Lab Guide: Hyper-V Windows 8 corporate virtual machine on personal computer”.  This is an interesting guide.  In essence it describes a design where you could deploy and manage a virtual machine that is part of the corporate managed infrastructure, but it is running from a non managed consumer PC running Windows 8.  There are of course some interesting requirements to allow for such a design.

    I’m not sure how mainstream a design like this will become, but nevertheless, this is probably worth a read and your consideration.  If nothing else, it will be good training to walk through the guide and design principles.  Here’s the abstract:

    “Thinking about Consumerization of IT (CoIT) necessarily leads to some security and management challenges.

    Microsoft has enabled CoIT through many technologies for many years and now helps IT managers face security, compliance and compatibility issues they might deal with and give users access to corporate intellectual property from ubiquitous devices, both managed and unmanaged.

    More specifically, this document deals with the situation where a company would like to put in place a “Bring You Own Device” (BYOD) environment. For that purpose, the document demonstrates how Microsoft technologies such as Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 can allow to work anywhere with an employee's Windows 8 computer hosting a corporate virtual machine (VM) protected by BitLocker, while enjoying connectivity to his workplace. In such a context, the Windows 8 Client Hyper-V technology and DirectAccess technologies are used to implement this CoIT scenario.

    This document is part of a series of documents on Consumerization of IT, and more especially aims at demonstrating the Hyper-V Windows 8 Enterprise Virtual Machine on personal computer scenario in a logical progression.”

    Go get it @

  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Announced

    Today Amazon announced several Kindles.  I have been using their eBook readers for quite a long time now and was very intrigued by the new Kindle Paperwhite.  I have one on order.  Looks like I’ll receive it around the middle of October.  I can’t wait to try it out with some books this winter.