if (ms) blog++;

Random bits of (hopefully) useful technical information on Windows, with a focus on understanding and troubleshooting.

if (ms) blog++;

  • More info on SP1 for Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2

    Following on from my previous blog entry , there is now a public FAQ to address the questions being asked practically every day – below are my top 5 of which to be aware: Q: When will SP1 be released? A:   Service Pack 1 will be released within the...
  • SCVMM Self-Service Portal

    The Self-Service Portal is a web application provided as part of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and allows “non admin” users to be able to work with specific VMs, and possibly even have the right to deploy new ones. Being a web application...
  • View TS/RDS Configuration Remotely

    Here is a VBScript which can be used to get the following information from a W2K, W2K3, W2K8 or W2K8R2 server via WMI: - is Remote Desktop enabled? - is Terminal Services / Remote Desktop Services configured for Application Server or Remote Administration...
  • GDR & LDR : The Next Generation

    Following on from: GDR, QFE, LDR… WTH? Branching Out Service Packs – Levels vs Installers One of the questions I have received a few times after publishing the previous blogs is “how do I see if a given binary is on the GDR or LDR branch on my system...
  • Service Pack 1 BETA available for download for Windows 7 & Server 2008 R2

    If you need to test the new RemoteFX or Dynamic Memory features in W2K8R2 RDS or Hyper-V respectively, then you can download the beta of the upcoming first service pack for Windows Server 2008 R2 (and Windows 7 for the client-side bits) here . I wouldn...
  • Windows Server 2008R2 Server Core Installation & Setup Notes

    After setting up a W2K8R2 “Server Core” Hyper-V host recently, I thought it a good idea to jot down some notes as to how to navigate the command prompt (mostly) so it can be configured – a flashback to the days of MS-DOS in some ways ;) NOTE: All of the...
  • Debugging Process Startup

    Attaching a debugger to a hung process or one that is running that we can cause to crash through an action is one thing… but sometimes a process will not even reach a running state and simply throw an error at the very start. If you’re lucky the error...
  • Remote Desktop Client 7.0 KB979425 now available for Vista

    KB979425 (A combo box item in a RemoteApp application is updated incorrectly when you connect by using Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) 7.0) is now available for Vista. RDC 7.0 ships in-box in Windows 7 and had this fix a while ago, but the OOB (“Out Of...
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 public beta ETA announced

    Pop on over to the Windows Server Division Weblog for the detailed announcement, but the snippet of interest to people waiting for SP1 is this bit: “ …the public beta of Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 will be released by the end...
  • Batch Files – Basic Error Checking and Running as Scheduled Tasks

    Batch files may be considered “old hat” by a lot of people (or a complete mystery to the younger ones!) but they are sometimes still the easiest way to execute simple jobs as they have practically no requirements other than a command shell process to...
  • Windows 7 & Server 2008 R2 – What to expect from SP1?

    Windows Service Packs are traditionally roll-up packages of hotfixes into a single, manageable package for easier updating of the OS to a known (minimum) state – they almost certainly contain extra changes that were not in any package delivered through...
  • Hyper-V VMs in a Lab Environment

    Before I start, a note on “differencing disks”… these are .AVHD files which contain a list of the changed sectors when compared with a parent VHD, and their data, and they are always dynamic. Without its parent, a differencing disk is useless – they can...
  • SCVMM Console-ation - Addendum

    Update to my blog entry from March 30th , there is now a public KB article describing the issue. Exactly the same information (I did the tech review), but it’s a more “official” article.
  • Trust what I say… but make sure you understand what I’m saying

    As a general rule we trust software, to various degrees (based on its source, reputation of vendor, purpose and our own personal sense of paranoia). Some types of software we place more trust in than others because of what it is designed to do – one example...
  • Printers in sandboxes

    Previously I have described how the spooler process can fall over due to any 3rd party module loaded into it: http://blogs.technet.com/mrsnrub/archive/2009/04/24/who-is-more-the-spool-the-spool-or-the-spool-who-follows-the-spool.aspx With Windows 7, and...
  • VDI Connection BrokeN?

    There a couple of step-by-step guides available for setting up VDI deployments that are very good reads: Deploying Virtual Desktop Pools by Using RemoteApp and Desktop Connection Step-by-Step Guide Deploying Personal Virtual Desktops by Using Remote Desktop...
  • SCVMM Console-ation

    The Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, other than being a mouthful to say and hence referred to as SCVMM, is a great consolidation tool for managing Virtual Server, Hyper-V and even VMWare ESX hosts and the VMs on them. This isn’t a sales...
  • You U2U? Me too!

    Windows Vista and 7 have a “Remote Assistance” feature where users can attempt to share control of another user’s desktop in order to assist them – there is a full description over on TechNet , and it can be invoked from the command line using msra.exe...
  • Remote Desktop Services & WebSSO

    With Windows Server 2008 R2 we introduced “Web Single Sign-On” (WebSSO) to eliminate some of the authentication prompts when users open up RemoteApps.   There is a very detailed introduction here , but there are some points worth highlighting as...
  • Avoid expansion if you’re snap-happy

    Occasionally the purpose of snapshotting VMs in Hyper-V is misunderstood (and hence misused), and people find that their initial guesstimate as to required disk space was insufficient, so try to extend it after the fact. If there was an eleventh commandment...
  • Q: When is a validity period not a validity period?

    A: When it’s a Certificate Authority after Windows 2000.   Back Story… Those helpful chaps over at the Windows PKI Blog provided a script ( setupca.vbs ) to install a Certificate Authority on Windows Server 2008 and R2, and recently we had a request...
  • The Browser Choice in Europe - Addendum

    For those that wish/need to block the Browser Choice from being presented (for example in large deployments with lockdown policies), there is now an article which describes how to prevent it from appearing (note it will still install the update, and the...
  • Registry Marriage

    “The Registry” is something most, if not all Windows users have heard of – but I would guess that only a fraction understand what it is or does, so I shall give a high-level overview here to enlighten those people… The registry is essentially a hierarchical...
  • The Browser Choice in Europe

    Last year it was agreed with the European Commission (EC) to promote the existence of alternative web browsers to Internet Explorer for Windows XP, Vista and 7 users in the European Economic Area (EEA) countries. http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press...
  • Hyper-V VM State Dump Tool

    vm2dmp is a newly released tool to create a complete memory dump of a Hyper-V virtual machine: http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/vm2dmp Along with the Debugging Tools for Windows , it can be used to view the valid memory pages of a virtual machine’s snapshot...