Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • If you can read this, it wasn’t you!


    Have you heard of “Botnets”?

    “You mean those legions of computers that are being controlled by criminals because they’re running malware that their owners don’t even know about; perhaps to use them to send spam e-mail?”

    Exactly.  And if you’re reading this post right now, you can breathe a little easier knowing that you aren’t currently operating on behalf of a particularly nasty network of infected computers.**  This week Microsoft petitioned for and received the ability to block the access to several domains that are listed as known sites working on behalf of the criminals involved in the “Waledac" botnet. 

    This blog post spells out what we did:

    “The takedown of the Waledac botnet that Microsoft executed this week – known internally as “Operation b49” – was the result of months of investigation and the innovative application of a tried and true legal strategy. One of the 10 largest botnets in the US and a major distributor of spam globally, Waledac is estimated to have infected hundreds of thousands of computers around the world and, prior to this action, was believed to have the capacity to send over 1.5 billion spam emails per day. In a recent analysis, Microsoft found that between December 3-21, 2009, approximately 651 million spam emails attributable to Waledac were directed to Hotmail accounts alone, including offers and scams related to online pharmacies, imitation goods, jobs, penny stocks and more.”

    For the full text of the complaint (including an interesting list of the 273 domain names that have been blocked), check out the actual document: “Microsoft Corporation v. John Does 1-27, et. al.”, Civil action number 1:10CV156

    What do you think?  Personally, I think it’s great when we’re able to help track down and hopefully eventually punish these criminals.  Anyone with an e-mail mailbox who gets spam should appreciate that we’ve been able to detect and help stop some of it. 


    **Note: Even though you aren’t going to be sending anymore e-mails on behalf of these particular criminals, you may still be infected.  “People running Windows machines also should visit, where they can find Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool, which removes Waledac. We also recommend that Windows users install and maintain up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware programs such as Microsoft Security Essentials and turn on auto updates and firewalls.   For our part, we will continue to work with both our industry partners and government leaders to explore possibilities for reaching out to the owners of compromised computers to advise them of the infection and remove malicious code from their machines.”

  • Do your kids know what YOU did today?

    Microsoft Career Streams

    As a parent of four (count ‘em!  4) kids, three of whom are in High School or College, I think it’s great when someone provides easy-to-use resources for young adults to help them figure out what they want to do with their working lives in the near future.  So I’m thrilled to see this really well-done “S2B Career Streams” site go live.


    That’s “Student-to-Business”.  The idea is to address the fact that students have a lot of questions about what sorts of jobs are available in the Computer Sciences.  So we want to make it easy for them to find out more about what kinds of jobs are out there.

    Here’s a portion of the blurb I received in e-mail about it:

    It’s hard for students to understand the wide variety of careers in the technology industry and even harder to know that their choices are connected to jobs when they graduate. Developer, technical sales, business analyst, Web designer... Students are asking: What do people in these careers do? What skills are needed to get started? How do you get experience? Are there jobs if you have the skills? At the same time Microsoft's partners and customers are asking: "Why can't we find the employees we want with the skills we need?"

    To address these gaps, we are thrilled to announce the launch of Microsoft S2B Career Streams.  Career Streams will introduce students to a variety of technical careers that are in demand today and tomorrow in the Microsoft community. It will help them get the skills they need to get started in a technical career and offer them opportunities to gain that vital first work experience. 

    Check out the site, and forward the link to your kids if you think they’ll find it useful.  Or simply use it to find out more about the “other jobs” that are out there. 

    And hey, if you like what you see… Consider becoming a fan on Facebook, or following on Twitter.

    (…and as an added bit of fun.. click on all of the displayed video links one right after the other, and listen to the mayhem.  It’s hilarious!)

  • Questions (and Answers) from our Kansas City TechNet Event

    TechNet Events! When I deliver a presentation, or during the breaks, I’m invariably asked a question that I can’t answer.

    “A single question?  Really?”

    Okay.. SEVERAL questions.  (Who’s counting?!)  The point is that I consider it a valuable learning opportunity.  I write the question down and then later find the answer.  Hopefully the person asking will check my blog and get the answer, or they’ll e-mail me and I can get the answer to them.

    Today was no exception.  My great Kansas City (Overland Park) audience had some super questions.  Most of them I could answer.

    “Most?  Really?”

    Yes, really.  (Stop picking on me!)  And I do have a few that I wrote down because I wanted to either find the answer, or give more details on the answer to these great questions.


    Question: “If I buy, for example, Enterprise Edition of Windows Server 2008 R2, I understand I get 4 licenses to use as virtual machines.  Where do I get product keys for those?  Or how do I activate them?”

    It depends upon how you bought the Server license:

    • For volume license customers, they have two types of keys that are offered to them; KMS and MAK.  KMS will take care of activating them auto based on that activation method.  The MAK key has a lot of activations and that number is based off of their agreement.
    • Full-Packaged Product and OEM customers are given two keys; physical and virtual.  The activation limit on the virtual key is set for each edition.  For instance, with Standard you have the right to use activate 1 VM.  The key will allow you to activate 1 time.  Enterprise it’s 4, and Datacenter is unlimited. 


    Question: “How easy is it (or is it even possible) to expand the size of a .vhd file?”

    It’s actually pretty easy.  Ben Armstrong (the “Virtual PC Guy”) documents it like this:

    Hyper-V adds the ability to increase the maximum size of a dynamically expanding or fixed-size virtual hard disk.  To do this you need to open the Edit Virtual Hard Disk Wizard (by selecting Edit Disk... from the Hyper-V manager), select the virtual hard disk you want to expand, select Expand on the Choose Action page and then enter the new size of the virtual hard disk that you want.

    Three things to note:

    • You can't do this to a virtual hard disk that is associated with a running or saved stated virtual machine.
    • You shouldn't do this to a virtual hard disk that is associated with a virtual machine that has snapshots (as you will invalidate the snapshots).
    • After expanding the virtual hard disk there will be an empty space at the end of the virtual hard disk.  You will either need to create a new partition to use the new space, or expand an existing partition into the new space.

    Question: “When I create a snapshot and then later remove (delete) a snapshot, I want a merge to happen.  But it won’t happen until I stop the virtual machine.  That’s not an option for me, because this server needs to be running at all times.  And I also am programmatically taking snapshots daily for a fallback option.  I don’t want to give that up, but when I finally do shut down the machine the merge takes forever.  What can we do about that?”

    I posed this question to an internal Virtualization discussion list, and the response from a couple people was “Snapshots are not supposed to be (or not designed to be) a backup solution”.  To this I pointed out that you weren’t using it as a backup, but as a convenient “just in case” rollback option. 

    That said, the reality is that there isn’t any way to do what you want currently using snapshots.  Merges can’t happen unless the machine is turned off.  Sorry I don’t have better news for you.


    Question: “Clustering changed in Server 2008 in removing support for SCSI disks.  iSCSI or Fiber-Channel only.  What are my options in Hyper-V?  And is Microsoft going to fix this in future versions of Hyper-V?”

    Due to my personal lack of experience with clustering, I wasn’t able to give you a good answer because, to be honest, I didn’t fully understand the question.

    A quick BING on “windows server 2008 r2 cluseter hyper-v” found some good resources.  Hopefully you’ll find your answer there.  And as for future versions of Hyper-V and what they’ll support or fix, I really can’t say. 


    Question: “In XP we configured the ‘default’ options in images that then were populated when we rolled them out.  How is this done in Windows 7?”

    Take a look at this screen snip:

    Under C:\Users\Public 

    This is the list of folders that are found under C:\Users\Public by default.  Notice that I’m showing the hidden folders (they display slightly dimmed), and that they include the kinds of folders that we might pre-populate so that the items within them (Favorites, Libraries, the Desktop) will be available to all new user profiles.  I think that’s what you’re looking for.


    Thanks again to my Kansas City TechNet Event attendees!  I look forward to seeing you next time.

    Thursday – it’s Omaha!  (If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time.)

  • Are you moving to Windows 7? Are you looking for IE6-to-IE8 Migration Information?

    Chris "The App Compat Guy" Jackson

    “Hey Kevin.. I want to deploy Windows 7, and hear good things about IE8, but I don’t know how to start evaluating what I need to make the move off of Internet Explorer 6.  I am sure I have at least one critical application that might not work in IE8, and need to know what it takes to plan for and perform the upgrade.”

    Chris Jackson (“The App Compat Guy”) is hosting a set of webcasts that will help you answer those questions, and give you a good summary of the options you have as well as the tools available.  And it’s not just one webcast held at one time, but at several times so that you can attend the one that fits your schedule best, and get your questions answered LIVE as well.

    From an announcement I saw about the webcast:

    imageYou are probably excited about the new Windows 7 operating system, and the Windows Internet Explorer 8 Web browser comes as part of the package. You may have seen the demos of new features and tools that are available, but you are still using Internet Explorer 6. The demos are sometimes simplified, with pages with a single issue conveniently fixed using a click of a button. But it is definitely not that easy. You could have thousands of apps, many of them packaged, or you could be prevented from accessing the code because it is part of a product you bought.  

    Attend this demonstration-heavy webcast, have your questions answered by the experts and learn what IT professionals do in real-world scenarios to configure, manage, deploy, and ensure the compatibility of their Web applications with Internet Explorer 8.

    Click this link to sign up for a webcast that best fits you schedule. Each session will include a 45-minute pre-recorded session, with live chat Q&A with an IE expert during the session, and 15 minutes of phone Q&A at the end. Times have been varied to maximize coverage across international time zones.

    The LINK above is the webcast “month view” calendar, on which you’ll find the links to the webcasts.  But if you’d like to know the specific dates and times…

    “What are the specific dates and times?”

    I was just getting to that.  Here they are:

    • Tues, Feb 16 10 am PST
    • Fri, Feb 19           3pm PST
    • Mon, Feb 22       1 pm PST
    • Tues, Feb 23       8 am PST
    • Wed, Feb 24       6 pm PST
    • Thurs, Feb 25     10 am PST
    • Fri, Feb 26           12 pm (noon) PST
    • Mon, Mar 1        11 am PST
    • Tues, Mar 2        7 pm PST
    • Wed, Mar 3        4 pm PST
    • Thurs, Mar 4       8 pm PST
    • Fri, Mar 5             2 pm PST
    • Sun, Mar 7          10 pm PST
    • Tues, Mar 9        6 am PST
    • Thurs, Mar 11    7 am PST
    • Sun, Mar 14        9 pm PST
    • Tues, Mar 16      9 am PST
    • Thurs, Mar 18    12 pm (noon) PST
    • Mon, Mar 22      1 pm PST
    • Tues, Mar 23      5 pm PST

    So look for these on the calendar.  Register.  Register for more than one.  Attend, learn, and ask your questions.  And move to IE8 when you’re ready!

  • Webcast Coming Up: Forrester on Windows 7 ROI

    Webcast Registration

    Are you still on the fence about Windows 7?  Are you wondering whether it is worth your time?  Are you wishing you had some proof that would help you convince your boss that now is the time to start rolling it out?

    “How did you know?”

    I’m a lot like you.  And I got an e-mail about this webcast coming up on Monday, Feb 22, 2010 entitled “Momentum Webcast: Windows 7 Enterprise Return on Investment: New Forrester Study and Model (Level 100)”.  Here is the webcast description:

    Event Overview

    On the fence with Windows 7 operating system adoption? In this challenging economic climate, every IT investment needs to show a strong, tangible financial return. To help organizations assess the business value of migrating PC infrastructures to Windows 7, analysts Ben Gray and Jeffrey North of Forrester conducted an in-depth study of 12 enterprise early adopters. This informative webcast details the results from these industry thought leaders and illustrates how the new Forrester Total Economic Impact model can be used to estimate Windows 7 savings in a variety of organizations. We discuss the impact Windows 7 has on operating costs, client manageability, help desk calls, remote PC management, power consumption, management automation, and compliance; and we show you how to use the Total Economic Impact model.

    Presenters: Benjamin Gray, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research and Jeffrey North, Principal Consultant, Forrester Research

    You can register to attend the live webcast, or to watch the recording from the webcast, HERE.

  • Breaking News: System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 (DPM) Release Candidate - Now Available!

    Download the DPM 2010 RCJason Buffington announced on his blog that DPM 2010 RC is available for download.

    Get it HERE.

    “What is Data Protection Manager?”

    It’s one of the Microsoft System Center set of tools for Enterprise-class IT Management.  Basically DPM is Microsoft’s solution for data protection (backup, recovery, and archiving).  It works natively with our biggest products (Exchange, SharePoint, SQL, Virtualization) as well as Operating Systems (both client and server) to provide a powerful backup and recovery solution. 

    “What’s new that’s coming in DPM 2010?”

    Check out the video interview with Jason on the DPM site

    Watch that site, plus Jason’s blog, for additional news around this product. 

  • Do you like Pizza? What about the Super Bowl?

    Pizza Slices.  (Get it?)

    Both Domino’s Pizza and Papa John’s Pizza have come out with new Web Slices for Internet Explorer 8 in advance of the Super Bowl on Sunday, as this is one of their busiest times of the year.

    I think every kitchen PC should have those slices on the IE8 Favorites bar.

    “What’s your favorite pizza, Kevin?”

    I honestly like Papa John’s, as far as delivery pizza goes.  But I love the deep dish pizza at several restaurants (Green Mill, Old Chicago, and Boston Pizza)


    Wow… is anybody else hungry?

  • Which is it?

    Just saw this on my Windows Media Center…

    Am I not getting what I'm paying for?

    Good for a chuckle, I thought.

  • Kevin's TechNet Event Resources - Feb-Mar 2010

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