Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Breaking News: Virtual PC is now FREE!

    Happy Virtualized PersonBreaking Virtualization News

    Now, like Virtual Server 2005 R2, you can download and use Virtual PC 2004 (SP1 version) for free.

    “No way.”

    Way.  But I understand your disbelief.  That’s what I said when I heard the news late yesterday.  And by the time you read this it will be true. 

    [I see the VirtualPC home page is already announcing it prior to the official 9:00am PST launch time, so I will insert the Microsoft PressPass Link here when it’s live.]


    And it gets better.

    “There’s more?”

    Yep.  We’re announcing that the next version of Virtual PC (2007) will be free also.  So now you folks looking to use Virtual PC Express (the limited version that was going to come as a part of Windows Vista Enterprise) will be able to use the full-blown Virtual PC product instead… and with an additional benefit.  If you’ve purchased Windows Vista Enterprise, you are now allowed to run 4 additional copies of Windows Vista Enterprise guests on your Windows Vista Enterprise host.  So whereas previously you would have had to buy those licenses for your guest machines; now they’re INCLUDED, as long as your host is Windows Vista Enterprise edition.  And that’s also true if you’ve purchased Windows Vista Ultimate edition with SA (Software Assurance).

    “But I suppose I can’t run those additional licenses if I’m using VMWare or some other product, right?”

    Wrong.  But I’m not surprised you would think that.  This is a little confusing to a lot of people who assume Microsoft is trying to use this to push it’s own virtualization stack. 

    So here it is in a nutshell:
    The licensing benefit isn’t tied to the virtualization technology you’re using, but to the OS version you’ve purchased. 

    So that means that, yes, you will have the right to run 4 additional copies of Windows Vista Enterprise edition on top of your Windows Vista Enterprise desktop, laptop, or tablet, and you WILL NOT have to be using Virtual PC to do it.

    “So – What happens to Virtual PC Express?”

    It is gone.  There’s now no longer any need for it.  Virtual PC does all of what Express was going to do, and more.  And did I mention that it’s free?

    “When can I get Virtual PC 2007?  And what will it do that 2004 doesn’t?”

    It’ll be out in the first part of 2007, and include being able to run it on a 64–bit host machine.  There are also said to be performance and virtualized memory-allocation improvements.

    And it’s free. 

    Here’s the thing that I think is the most interesting about this change (other than it’s just very good news for virtualization as a whole):  Microsoft is once again reacting to the great competition that is out there.  One of the big value propositions of Windows Vista Enterprise was that it included the virtualization (VPC Express) needed for the sake of application compatibility scenarios, among others.  But other virtualization products are out there now that are free and would do the same or more, so the “perceived value” of Windows Vista Enterprise took a big hit. 

    So now that we’re giving the full Virtual PC away for free, and we’re including the additional licensing perks for Windows Vista Enterprise, it again becomes a very valuable reason to go there in the enterprise.

    What do you think?  Are you heading off to download your free copy of Virtual PC 2004 now?  I hope so!


  • Resources for Webcast - Imaging Windows Vista (July 31, 2006)

    WindowsVistaStartButtonWebcast Resources: Imaging Windows Vista

    Here are some resources relating to the webcast I presented on July 31, 2006, entitled “Imaging Windows Vista”.

    Make good use of them!



    Windows Vista Home Page:


    Windows Vista Product Overview for IT Professionals


    How Unattended Installation Works


    Remote Operating System Installation


    Choosing Between ADS and RIS for Bare-Metal Deployments and Re-Deployments


    Key Reasons to Upgrade to Windows Vista


    ImageX and the WIM  Image Format


    Windows PE 2.0 for Windows  Vista Overview


    Microsoft Windows Server "Longhorn" Beta 1


    Deploying Windows Vista


    Official Resource Page for this session

    Microsoft TechNet


    Live TechNet Events


    Microsoft Events page:

  • NEWS FLASH: BIG TechNet Subscriptions Program Changes

    Quick news:

    The TechNet Subscription Program Director, Scott Stout, just gave us the okay to blog about this.  Beginning August 1st, there are big, GREAT changes to the TechNet subscription program.

    First of all – TechNet Standard is going away.  Not  an option.

    “Huh?  Taking things away?”

    Don’t feel bad.  Believe me.. it’s being replaced with TechNet Plus benefits everywhere.

    First of all – all TechNet Benefits, and now SOFTWARE, will be downloadable from the TechNet Subscription site.

    And now it will come in three flavors (on the price list starting August 1st):

    “TechNet Plus Direct” – $349

    This is the base-level, ON-LINE ONLY subscription.  Yes, it’s Earth-Friendly, no discs.  All TechNet Plus content that you’re used to is available online.

    “TechNet Plus Single User” - $499

     This is the TechNet Plus you’re used to – and again now adding all of the online-access to software and tool downloads as well.  Single user license.

    “TechNet Plus Single Server” – $999

    Put it on a server for your workgroup.


    All-in-all, TechNet Plus Subscriptions are a no-brainer; considering that it comes with 2 support calls included – so it can pay for itself!

    Watch the TechNet Subscription Page for the changes on August 1st.

  • Best of Questions and Answers from Webcast: Windows Vista Built-In Diagnostics (July 17, 2006)

    Happy Webcast ViewerBest of Webcast Q&A:
    Windows Vista Built-In Diagnostics

    Below I’ve pasted an edited and cleaned up copy of most of the Q&A from today’s webcast on “Windows Vista Built-In Diagnostics” (July 17, 2006). 

    I need to send out a BIG thank you to David Zipkin, Shawn Travers, and Michael J. Murphy for handling the Q&A on the backend, and who’s work this really represents.


    Questions and Answers:

    “Is there a CompletePC backup tool?”

    Yes, it is built into Windows Vista.


    “Does VISTA provide a complete BLUETOOTH stack and profiles for popular devices like Headsets, GPS, phone connections, and PDA sync and are there diagnostic tools for correcting Bluetooth problems?”

    Yes. More info at:


    “Can you install the Recovery Console on the Beta?”

    You can boot from the beta DVD and find it there.  That’s just what I did in my demo.


    “What is CompletePC?”

     “CompletePC Backup” is a tool that is included in Windows Vista.  It is a disk image backup and restore solution.  You can think of it as being similar to Ghost – however it is actually a file-based (rather than sector-based) backup. 


    “That seems to only allow me to run the tools I would like them permemantly installed.”

    If you have access to the full Vista bits (via a program like MSDN or TAP), you can install the OPK (OEM Preinstallation Kit) and add a second partition as a recovery partition.  I don’t think it’s been decided yet which or how many of these tools will be available to everyone or just to System Builders and OEMs.


    “Is WinRE built into all skus?

    Yes, WinRE works with all skus. Whether it is included as a separate recovery partition is dependent on whether it is included by the OEM or on the corporate image.


    “Can the Vista recovery tools be installed on a system instead of having to rely on the DVD?”

    Yes, many OEMs and enterprises will choose to deploy this way.


    “Is there a hidden partition that holds the memory tools?”

    No, it's kept in the system32 folder. You can run it anytime. It is named MdSched.exe, and it's found in the %SystemRoot%\System32 directory. You'll get the usual User Account Control (UAC) prompt when you try to run it, so it is protected by administrator level credentials.


    “Is there a system partition that retains a backup image?”

    It depends upon how you've configured the installation. It is a recommended best practice for most environments to keep a system partition with a clean image, but that won't happen by default. You'd want to create it from your original install.


     “Is USMT in Vista?”

    More information on the USMT can be found here:


    “What is the URL for archived TechNet web casts?”


    “However, after reboot, where is the mdsched.exe run from? Is there a special boot partition?”

    I believe it is run from it's location in system32/, but early in the boot process.


    “Any more technical documentation on Vista's firewall available?”


    “Where is the Advanced Sec option of Win Firewall”

    It's available as a snap-in. So you could create it as a new MMC and save it for later use, or you could use it as found under Administrative Tools. 

    The confusion is that “Windows Firewall” is found in the Control Panel, and looks and acts very much like the Windows Firewall configuration in Windows XP SP2.  “Windows Firewall Advanced Security” is found under Control Panel -> Administrative Tools.


    “Can Windows Vista restore a full backup to a different size HD?”

    Currently the limitation is that you can restore CompletePC backup to a disk that is the same size or bigger only.


    “Will there be a Vista Resource Kit?”

    Yes, it's underway.

    Here is my blog resource page for this session again:


  • NEWS: Microsoft Acquires Winternals Software

    Ever use the free SysInternals tools?


    If you’re an IT Pro for any length of time, you will definitely have heard of these.  They are awesome, free tools for doing deep-level stuff with Windows, both locally and remotely.

    A great example is the  PSTools suite for powerful command-line utilities.  Or the Process Explorer, which graphically lists all processes running, their dependencies, and the executable file location.  Awesome troubleshooting tools.  Tools that you really wish were included with Windows client or server software.  But since it was all free, it was nearly as good as having been included.

    I’ve always wished these sharp guys who run SysInternals – Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell – worked for Microsoft.  Apparently so did Jim Allchin.  So… we bought the company.

    “Huh?  SysInternals is now owned by Microsoft?”

    Yep.  Microsoft announced the purchase today.  (NASDAQ News here) And what’s more; now Mark and Bryce are working for the company.  (Welcome, guys!)

    Mark talks about it in his blog post here.

    Here’s the Winternals Press Release

    I’m really excited about this.  When so much press has been made about a so-called “brain-drain” at Microsoft, it’s just wonderful to see such great talent being brought on-board.  And the possibility of bringing these tools into the default tool-set in the products can only be good news for IT Pros. 

    UPDATE: Just wanted to add this.  I see in the June Edition of the Top TechNet Webcasts that Mark Russinovich delivered the first one listed.  So if you want to get a feel for Mark and his skills, check it out!

  • Resources for Webcast - Windows Vista Built-In Diagnostics (July 17, 2006)

    WindowsVistaStartButtonWebcast Resources:

    Windows Vista Built-In Diagnostics

    Here are some resources relating to the webcast I presented on July 17, 2006, entitled “Windows Vista Built-In Diagnostics”.

    I hope you find them useful.



    Windows Vista Home Page:


    Windows Vista Product Overview for IT Professionals


    Resources for IT Professionals: Windows Vista Management Features


    Resources for IT Professionals: Selected Scenarios for Evaluating Reliability Diagnostics in Windows Vista


    Resources for IT Professionals: Windows Vista Networking 


    Microsoft Online Crash Analysis – Windows Memory Diagnostic


    New Networking Features in Windows Server "Longhorn" and Windows Vista


    This session’s resource page:


    Microsoft TechNet


    Live TechNet Events


    Microsoft Events page: