I travel a LOT and find myself in 2-3 time zones per week. In Vista, a user could change time zones without elevation but it was nearly impossible to automate the process. Windows 7 includes a command line utility to make time zone change automation a trivial step.
I authored the attached gadget as a simple way for me to swap time zones when travelling. I have since grown dependant upon it so I wanted to post to the blog to share with others and so it never gets lost… :-) Note: if it downloads as a (dot)zip file just rename it to (dot)gadget.
The coding is simple (possibly too simple to the point of redundancy). I just call tzutil.exe and pass a time zone. If you are in Arizona or Indiana, you may want to tweak things a little to account for the daylight savings time exceptions in those states. You could also just click the “wrong” zone.
In case you are interested in tzutil.exe and do not have a Win7 machine handy, here are the options.
Windows Time Zone Utility
Usage: TZUTIL </? | /g | /s TimeZoneID[_dstoff] | /l>
Parameters: /? Displays usage information.
/g Displays the current time zone ID.
/s TimeZoneID[_dstoff] Sets the current time zone using the specified time zone ID. The _dstoff suffix disables Daylight Saving Time adjustments for the time zone (where applicable).
/l Lists all valid time zone IDs and display names. The output will be: <display name> <time zone ID>
Examples: TZUTIL /g TZUTIL /s "Pacific Standard Time" TZUTIL /s "Pacific Standard Time_dstoff"
Remarks: An exit code of 0 indicates the command completed successfully.
I try to hit on this point in every Hyper-V presentation. Snapshots are GREAT for maintenance and roll-back, but they are very, VERY different than what you might be currently using as “snap-mirrors” on your SAN environment. The similarities in syntax have lead to some understandable misunderstanding. (how’s that for prose)
Snapshots are storing all changes out to .AVHD files. Yes, you can expect these AVHD files to grow over time because only “reads” are now being drawn from your original VHD, all “writes” are now going in to the .AVHD file for your current position. That’s why it is important to consider where you are going to store snapshots. This value is configured in the properties of each virtual machine. If you are planning to take a snapshot and make changes that involve a lot of incoming data, you will want to first make sure your volume has enough free space available for this data until you are ready to delete the snapshots which will merge your changes back in to your original VHD.
So you are about to apply some change to a file server vm. You take a snapshot:
Notice that in either case, when the maintenance for my VM is complete I DELETE the snapshots so changes are merged. You might even consider checking the snapshots location after the merge is complete to ensure nothing is waiting for a VM reboot to finish merging active files. Why is this important?
Let’s assume my datacenter has been completely wiped out by natural disaster. Also assume I have not setup Windows Server 2008 to cluster my VMs across physical locations and my only recovery option is off site VHD file backups. I can take my VHD file and from any server running Hyper-V I can boot that VM and be back up and running in seconds. If I have snapshots still in place, I have to restore the host and then restore my VM to that host with the original configuration so my snapshot is still available when the machine boots. Otherwise I risk losing some data.
If you find yourself in the second case and are searching for any possible solution, see this community article. Although this would not be technically on the “support” list, it may be your shortest path out of a bad situation.
Community Link: How to Manually Merge Hyper-V Snapshots Back into one VHD http://blog.networkfoo.org/?p=384
Each year we host around 100 IT Pros from universities all around the country (and the world) in Redmond for a three day conference. This is organized by a committee from the Windows HIED listsrv hosted by Stanford University and has a focus on NOT being a sales event, rather a chance for administrators in higher education to interface directly with product teams in Redmond and listen in on technical presentations regarding infrastructure focused solutions.
Even if you are not a subscriber of the listsrv but you are a technical resource from a college or university, you are welcome to join us! If you are curious about the technical focus, see the agenda posted to the HIED wiki. You must be willing to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement form as some of the content is “next version” planning information. The official invite details are below. Hope to see you there!
Working in conjunction with Windows-Hied listsrv representatives, Microsoft Education is pleased to host the 5th Windows Hied Conference at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, WA, March 30th – April 1st, 2009.
As has always been the case for this event, it is NOT a sales or marketing event. Attendees generally have deep technical background in both Microsoft as well as UNIX/Linux operating systems. Presentation responsibilities are being split by Microsoft and customer attendees and focus the following primary goals:
NOTE - This event is limited to administrators from education. To ensure adequate capacity, please do not register unless you are an administrator from a school/university. We cannot guarantee refunds for those who register from other industries.
Yes, I am still alive! Thanks to a couple of people who recently motivated me to get another post online.
I’ve been travelling with my HP Mini 1000 for 2 months now. I can honestly say I have no major issues that would cause me to turn back and carry a full sized laptop again while travelling. I really enjoy the day to day experience of using this device. The keyboard is a good size and the low resolution is workable for most if not all daily operations.
I have had numerous people come up to me in airports, coffee shops, and in meetings, to ask about it. The best comment so far has been “so, is that like a fully functional laptop?”
I want to confirm which upgrades I completed and which have stuck with me through 16 cities in the last 6 weeks.
Memory – I’ve been very happy with the 2GB upgrade. I never powered on this machine with the OEM 1GB default, so I can’t offer any opinion on performance comparison, but I haven’t had any issues while running with 2GB.
Mouse – The “Arc” is awesome. Saves a lot of space in the bag. I have found it to be a very naturally fitted mouse to the size of my hand, much better than other “travel” mice. It also draws a fair amount of comments on its own from interested passers by.
OS – I’m happy to say, Windows 7 has been running on my Mini 1000 since the day of public release and I have been very happy with it. Performance has been great. I have no empirical data collected but my user experience has been that Win7 on this netbook feels more responsive and overall faster than the stock WinXP OEM image. All drivers loaded out of box, some updated over Windows Update. The only device that isn’t functioning is the internal microphone, but serious VOIP users have long ago given up hope for using a laptop internal mic for acceptable call quality. The overall experience of window management has added a lot to my personal user acceptance of this device and having a cleaner taskbar is obviously a benefit at low resolution. I also docked the new taskbar to the left side of the screen given this is a widescreen device. This took over a week to get comfortable with but now it feels very natural and moving it back to the bottom of the screen feels cramped and almost stale in some way. I will likely do a seperate post to expand upon these notes.
Hard Drive – As one of you commented, my original SSD drive that I ordered for this machine was too large. I have repurposed that disk for other projects (btw, that disk is great, as it also supports a mini-USB connection). I ended up ordering an MTRON 1.8” SSD from Amazon. It looks like the price has now gone up by over $100 from mid-December. This was a simple hardware change requiring only a screwdriver, quality light, and something small and flat to deal with the tiny PATA ribbon. There are plenty of online articles on how to change out the drive in the Mini 1000 if you do some searching. I have found performance thus far to be excellent but I haven’t experienced any significant increase in battery life. It is surreal to use an SSD during daily operations where you are expecting to feel the vibration of a disk spinning up. The only moving part in this netbook now is the fan.
Review of the MTRON 1.8” SSD - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/mtron-ssd-32-gb,1729.html
Other – After watching some YouTube videos and looking over forums, it appears there isn’t a WWAN device in this netbook after all. The port is there, but there is no card behind it. I’ve given up on that project in favor of a “personal wifi hotspot” which I will be blogging about soon. I did end up with the Tom Bihn laptop bag which has been awesome and I will also write-up my thoughts on that in more detail.
I am still waiting for HP to release the VGA dongle. I am currently using a USB-VGA adaptor which actually is working very well, but I am hoping the dongle comes in a little smaller as part of this project is reducing the weight of my travel pack as much as possible.
I caught this in an RSS feed earlier this week and just had a request to share the link in our presentation today. Here you go!
When searching for the link, I discovered additional learning resources:
Got this question twice this week so I’d say it is blog worthy. How to configure a Hyper-V server to be remotely managed (manage stand alone server or across domains). You might also consider reviewing the ACLs he describes if you are troubleshooting some anomaly in a trusted domain environment.
John Howard has instructions but he also has written a tool specifically more making the changes easier.
John Howard - Hyper-V and virtualization blog : Configure Hyper-V Remote Management in seconds
This is really great news, particularly for the vast number of administrators in Higher Education who have adopted Hyper-V for all or part of their virtualization workloads! This entry from the Hyper-V team explains a new support agreement between the two organizations that will bring integration components on both sides (Windows virtualized on Red Hat and Red Hat virtualized on Windows).
University Improves Service Availability, Reduces IT Workload with Virtualization
Indiana University is one of the largest state university systems in the United States, with nine campuses, 100,000 students, 7,000 faculty members, and 11,000 staff members. The university’s Auxiliary Information Technology (AIT) department had a hard time keeping up with the server growth needed to support services such as dining halls and residence centers. It also wanted to eliminate server failures that interrupted services and revenue flow. AIT turned to server virtualization using Windows Server® 2008 with Hyper-V™ and the Microsoft® System Center family of management tools. The department has whittled its physical servers from 150 to 32, has trimmed server deployment time by 90 percent, and can deliver higher availability and meet new service requests faster. The department is also saving U.S.$85,000 annually in hardware costs.
Educators Aim to Improve Education, Trim Servers by 60 Percent using Virtualization
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) wanted to streamline data center and administration costs so it could direct more resources to new educational services. It also wanted to improve server redundancy for higher availability of teaching applications. As a cost-effective way to achieve these goals, KDE has embraced server virtualization using the Windows Server® 2008 operating system with Hyper-V™ technology. Using Hyper-V, KDE plans to reduce its centralized physical server holdings by 60 percent by 2010. Fewer servers will reduce the server management workload. To attain further efficiencies, the IT staff is considering using Microsoft® System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008. More importantly, by using virtualization, IT resources will be freed up and available for new services that support better teaching, and will improve server uptime to reduce classroom interruptions.
School District Uses Virtualization to Improve IT and Cut Costs During Budget Crisis
Volusia County Schools serves residents on the east coast of Central Florida. To reduce costs, the school district’s IT department wanted to cut its server acquisition rate and consolidate existing servers—while continuing efforts to improve the quality of education. The department used the Windows Server® 2008 Enterprise operating system with Hyper-V™ virtualization technology to consolidate 70 servers to 6, a 90 percent reduction. It also uses Microsoft® System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 for easier server management. With Hyper-V, the district centralized its servers and expects to reduce server acquisition by about 80 percent annually. Most importantly, the IT department improved business continuity and its ability to deliver new applications to students and staff in less time, at a fraction of the cost it took to deploy them on dedicated physical servers.
School District Improves Teaching Support with Integrated Technology Management
Highline Public Schools, south of Seattle, Washington, had big plans for making better use of technology to enhance teaching and learning—but technology disarray stood in the way. The IT staff needed to standardize district computers and implement tools for monitoring and managing technology before it could move forward with new teaching aids. With bond funding, Highline upgraded its computers and deployed Microsoft® System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to automatically deploy software and is configuring Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 to remotely monitor and manage servers. With standardized technology in classrooms, teachers are better able to enhance teaching with technology. The results include more time for the IT staff to help teachers with technology needs and the ability to detect and remove unauthorized software from its network.
Virtualization Halves Management Effort for Campus Technology Support
Established in 1968 the University of Canberra delivers education to approximately 10,000 students in a technology-leading environment. However, the university’s IT department was constrained by the effort required to maintain network security and the time it took to commission new servers and maintain its existing large server environment. IT staff did not have the resources to explore or implement new technology services that the university wanted to retain premium technology support for its teaching. In 2008, the university installed Microsoft® Windows Server® 2008. As a result, servers could be configured faster, and firewalls were easier to install and were more effective. In addition, by utilising Hyper-V virtualisation functionality, the university drastically reduced its server hardware requirements and server environment maintenance needs.
University Improves Security and Access to Information for Campus Community
The University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 in France wanted to improve access to applications for students and employees while strengthening security. To meet these goals, the university is implementing a solution based on Windows Server® 2008. Users will be able to more easily connect to multiple applications while on campus and from remote locations through single sign on and Terminal Services. Network Access Protection will help ensure the health of their computers and the network. In addition, better management and deployment tools are expected to improve the productivity of IT administrators, who will have more flexibility and control in managing the infrastructure. Finally, the university expects to improve performance and availability through server virtualization and support for 64-bit technology.
This is a great blog Janssen. Keep them coming!!!
The top three posts (as of today) are all related to managing Hyper-V with PowerShell. Especially interesting is the code he has written to provision his SAN on the fly!
I guess I should start another (Links) section and point out to bloggers in EDU writing about virtualization technology. If you have a suggestion, post a comment and let me know. I’ll add it in shortly.