Simon May

Client and cloud

January, 2011

  • Windows 7 licensing and virtual machines clarified

    Licensing is a complex subject and to be honest it’s not one that I talk about much because it’s a complex discipline in and of it’s own and there’s too much fun stuff to talk about in the client and cloud world.  This document, Licensing Windows 7 for Use with Virtual Machine Technologies tells you all you need to know about licensing with Software Assurance and Windows 7 on Virtual Machines.  Such nuggets as if you have Volume Licensing, an SA and the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade License (Volume Licensing Upgrade License) or Windows 7 Enterprise then you can run 4 virtual copies of Windows 7 on a server or desktop, just like this:

    image

    What’s more there’s a great FAQ in the document, some of which is worth calling out:

    If I install and run four additional copies of the operating system, do I have to use Windows 7 Enterprise as the host operating system?

    No. You may use prior versions of Windows, including Windows Vista Business and Windows XP Pro. In addition to third-party product to host the four virtual machine environments, Volume Licensing customers have some flexibility in how they can deploy Windows 7 in their organizations.  As a benefit of Software Assurance coverage for Windows desktops, customers may leverage virtualization use rights.  This use right allows running the software in up to four local virtual machines.  While a customer’s right to use Windows 7 Enterprise may survive the expiration of their Software Assurance coverage, the Virtualization Use Right does not.

    Can I store my virtual machine in a .vhd file on removable storage media and open the .vhd file on another PC?

    Yes, as long as both PCs are licensed for Windows VECD and are not already running more than three copies of the software.

    Can other users remotely access virtual machines that I’m not using on my PC while I’m using my PC?

    No. The use of the software is limited to one user at any given time.

    How do I license my employee and contractor owned PCs so that they have access to my centralized desktop PC environment?

    Employee- and contractor-owned devices can be licensed with Windows VECD, which enables them to remotely access your centralized desktop PC environment. Additionally, for devices with a pre-assigned Windows 7 Professional license, they may run the permitted instances locally in a virtual machine on the Windows VECD licensed device.

    Go grab the document here (email it to your Licensing dude if you aren’t a licensing dude) and learn about Desktop Virtualisation

  • Application not found

    A very nice chap just wrote to Rachel asking for help with a problem* I think a few other people must have experienced so often so I thought I’d share how to fix it.  I just hope I’ve got it right from the problem description.  When clicking a link in an application, like your email program, you get an error that says “Application not found” and Internet Explorer doesn’t kick in to handle the link.  Basically Internet Explorer isn’t known to the PC as the default browser and nor is anything else so you get the error.  It’s simple to fix:

    In Windows 7

    Click Start and type default programs into the search, then select Set your default programs.

    image

    Then from the list select your broswer and click Set this program as default

    image

    Next select Set program access and computer defaults, select your browser under Choose a default web browser and click OK

    image

    That should sort things out.

    If you’re on XP, it’s just a little different:

    • Go to Start and select Set Program Access and Defaults
    • Then select Custom and select the down arrows to the right, select the browser you would like to use (I recommend Internet Explorer 8) and click OK

    Then you should be fixed.

    *people often writer to Rachel with problems, some of them are unprintable but she appreciated them all Smile

  • Using your PC as a Wireless AP and how to modify IP configuration

    Over the holidays I got into a sticky situation where I needed to use my Laptop as an access point to share a network connection. But it doesn’t give you much of a chance to change IP settings so if you have some other device that uses an overlapping IP range you might need to change some settings, thankfully there’s a KB on How to Change the IP Range for the Internet Connection Sharing DHCP. service.  It involves editing the registry so don’t forget to backup the registry first.

    To change the IP address that is assigned to the host and the IP address range that is used by the DHCP service on the Connection Sharing host, use Registry Editor to change the following values. These values are located in the following folder:

    HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\services\SharedAccess\Parameters

    • (REG_SZ) ScopeAddress
    • (REG_SZ) StandaloneDhcpAddress
    The ScopeAddress value is set to the address range that you want to use with Connection Sharing. The StandaloneDhcpAddress value is the address range that is used when Virtual Wi-Fi/SoftAP is enabled. For both values, a network mask of 255.255.255.0 is used and is not configurable.
  • I’m now a MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician 7

    Being a bit of a fan of exams (!) on Friday went to a lovely little training centre in Wokingham and sat a couple of hours worth of exams, 070-680 and 070-685.  Thankfully I passed both and I can now report back on them, just like I did with the MTA exams.  The first thing to say is that these were, just as you’d expect, much harder than the MTA exams requiring both depth and breadth of knowledge of Windows 7 and how to deploy, manage and troubleshoot it.  Why are they worth it?  How did I study?  What’s next?

    Microsoft Certifications are available for most Microsoft technologies and all skill levels

    When I started my IT career just over 10 years ago I met a bunch of guys who had their NT4 MCSE and I also had a boss who knew his onions, the guys he hired with MCSEs knew their onions too, they didn’t just have the bit of paper.  They formed my view of why it’s important to be well trained and why it’s worth getting the cert.  What I learnt was that studying Microsoft’s products according to the official curriculum helps you flesh out all the facets and features of a product that you might not necessarily see in your day to day life.  Overall the biggest thing that certifications do is make sure you cover all the bases and widen your knowledge.

    Some people expect that when they get a certification they should suddenly earn more money.  Wrong.  Some people expect that when you get a certification you should suddenly get a promotion.  Wrong.  It’s about how you apply the skills you’ve learnt to your business and add value, not about a bit of paper.  There’s one place that certs matter and that’s when you’re getting hired as a contract employee.  In my experience certifications get you past the junior recruitment consultants who vet CVs.  When you’re passed there you are back to how you’ve applied your skills again.

    So why are they worth it?  Studying for a cert improves your knowledge and that improves the skills that you apply to your day to day life as an IT Professional.  I think of extra skills as extra tools in the kit bag, making me more capable in more situations.

    Over the years I’ve developed a pretty good understanding of how I learn, every IT Pro probably has.  The way I do it is to grab a nice thick study guide, in this case I used MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Microsoft Windows 7 by Ian McLean and Orin Thomas (review here tomorrow) and I grabbed it in eBook format from Safari Books Online downloaded it to my Kindle and took it away with me to Tenerife over Christmas.  There I proceeded to read it all, including all the bits I thought I knew.  As always in those sections I picked up new nuggets of knowledge that I’d never picked up before.  When I got back to the UK I sat down a couple of days before the exam and did all the exercises that I don’t do all the time…I use MDT quite a lot so I skipped those.  Finally I read all the chapter summaries over again in one sitting.  Essentially I was packing my brain with focused information about what I needed at a particular time.

    I could not have done the exam with just that information.

    If I hadn’t had experience to apply to the scenario questions in the exams there is no way I’d have made it.  In fact I didn’t think I had made it on either exam until I got the results.  The current crop of exams are really taxing.  They aren’t as taxing as the Windows NT to Windows 2000 upgrade exam but they really aren’t easy.

    For me certifications are also a matter of professional pride and I don’t under estimate what that professional pride will drive me to.  I used to work in a team (of contractors) where certification was a competitive sport and that’s still with me.

    So what’s next?  I’ll be doing Exam 70-686 next but I’m currently proofing some books and reading previews of others so it’ll probably be a few months.

  • Estonia now using the Euro (or how to set currency in Windows)

    On January 1st 2011 Estonia joined the single EU currency and is now getting to grips with using the Euro on a daily basis.  Funny thing is with money that it affects all sorts of things, not least the layout of all those keyboards!  Imagine everyone in Estonia now needs a new keyboard with the correct symbol.  Also they need the correct mappings for the keyboards.  Luckily we’ve released updates to make that happen but it’s a good time to explain the manual way of changing currency.

    1. Click Start, type Change the date, time, or number format in the Start Search box, and then click Change the date, time, or number format in the Programs list.
      Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
    2. In the Region and Language dialog box, click Additional settings under the Formats tab.
    3. Click the Currency tab and then change Currency symbol from kr to €.
      Note If you have applied the update that is described in the "Resolution" section, and you want to change the currency symbol to the earlier version, click the Currency tab, click to select in the Currency symbol list, and then type kr.
    4. Click OK two times to apply the change.
    After you make this change, the new currency symbol is displayed as your system currency in all Windows and Microsoft Office products.