Simon May

Client and cloud

Simon May

  • 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:


    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

  • Manually configure Outlook 2010 for Exchange Online (BPOS)

    I live in Outlook, I think most people probably do too, so having recently moved the email for my domain over to something a little more reliable – BPOS – I thought it’d be nice to have access to that inbox through my Outlook, in addition to my Microsoft email.  To help with the setup of email the Sign In application can do it all for you the client’s available from the Administration Center or the download site.

    This however results in you having a separate profile within Outlook so it’s not quite what I wanted.

    This is what you need to do to add an Exchange Online mailbox to an existing Outlook profile in Outlook 2010 (the basic steps are universal):

    1. Close Outlook
    2. Open Mail32 (32-bit") from Control Panel
    3. Click E-mail Accounts… and then New… account settings
    4. Select E-mail Account and click Next on the wizard mail32
    5. Select Manually configure server settings or additional server types and Next again
    6. Select Microsoft Exchange or compatible service and Next again add new account
    7. Now fire up your browser of choice, IE nach, and log into your Outlook Web Apps.
    8. Look in the top right and you’ll see Options, then select About and copy the name next to Mailbox server name
    9. Go back to the mail settings dialogue and paste the name of your Exchange Online server in Server and your full Exchange Online email address in User Name
    10. Click the More Settings… button in the lower right and select the Connection tab, tick Connect to Microsoft Exchange using HTTP and click Exchange Proxy Settings… exchange proxy settings
    11. Next you’ll need the address of the mobile device URL for your region which you’ll enter in the first field, then click OK a couple of times to get back to the wizard

    Done, if you start Outlook you’ll find your new account is available for you

    multi accounts



  • Error Code1 in Windows Update & 0x80004005 in ccmsetup.log

    Today I’ve been playing with my System Center Configuration Manager SP1 lab and came across a very painful little bug.  A little searching and I came across this thread on the TechNet forums.  Essentially the problem I suddenly started having today, after it was working fine last week, was that my Config Manager client wasn’t installing through Windows Update.

    It started by giving me a Code 1 message, as below:

    Windows Update Code 1

    That 1 update is the Config Man client being deployed through WSUS.  So the next thing I did was ran the ccmsetup.exe install from my Primary Site Server.  Nothing. So I checked out the ccmsetup.log file that’s in c:\windows\ccmsetup\logs and low and behold spotted the following:

    Couldn’t verify ‘c:\windows\ccmsetup\MicrosoftPolicyPlatformSetup.msi’ authenticode signature

    That line that says Couldn’t verify ‘c:\windows\ccmsetup\MicrosoftPolicyPlatformSetup.msi’ authenticode signature is a bit of a problem.  It turns out that there’s a bit of a bug luckily there is already a hotfix for it and there are some updates on Windows Update already to solve the issue…that said there is still work to do…

    In order to now install the Config Manager client on a new device we first need a patch in place on that client machine:

    KB2749655 for anything other than Windows 8 or Server 2012 and KB2756827 for Windows 8 or Server 2012.  I tested this on my Windows 8 client by manually running the MSU, then installing the update and the Config Manager client installed like a champ!

    Now however I need to be able to do OSD on a regular basis, so I just offline serviced my Windows 8 image with DISM to get the job done quickly…here’s what you need to do:

    • Make a directory (I use c:\test) to mount into.
    • Open a command prompt and type dism /mount-wim /wimfile:C:\sources\os\Win8\Sources\install.wim (obviously pointing to the right source wim).
    • Then Dism /Image:C:\test /Add-Package /PackagePath:C:\packages\ where dism is the name of the msu file for the OS
    • And finally Dism /Unmount-WIM /MountDir:C:\test\offline /Commit

    Then I updated my distribution points and jobs a good-un.  I did the same to my Windows 7 OS image too.

  • Moving your website to SharePoint 2010–guest post by Applicable

    Applicable Limited, a Microsoft Partner in the UK has rebuilt its website at using SharePoint 2010 with the help of an extended team drawn from its own service delivery group, and associate Microsoft Partners with specialist development and design skills.

    Applicable chose SharePoint 2010 because of the enterprise social collaboration and web site themes of the 2010 release. You can read from Microsoft directly about the capabilities of SharePoint 2010 so I won't repeat that positioning here, but this isn’t just a web site it is a response to the culture shift towards social enterprise collaboration we are observing in the community that includes our customers, suppliers, partners and competitors.

    In building the site Applicable kept in mind several objectives:

    • To clearly position what the company does, and showcase its capabilities in managing and hosting its own complex SharePoint 2010 farm.

    • To provide a razor sharp focus on the purpose of the business, what is going on 'now' through social media including Twitter, YouTube and Linked-In; and case studies, services, information for the CIO or head of IT, and positioning about cloud collaboration services.

    • To provide a focus area for key partners including Microsoft. Driving potential customers to very specific pages, with a call to action, to respond to our marketing.

    • To engage with people outside Applicable; from customers, partners, suppliers, and even with competitors. Engagement is two-way. Static web sites do not foster two-way engagement. Consequently the site must be editable by people with no special skills in web formatting or HTML.

    Together with our partners, we achieved all these objectives, and more.
    There is one click access to the topics we are interested in engaging with customers about, as well as all the usual information such as links to events, offices, partners, products and jobs. The sites contain SharePoint 2010 blogs and enterprise wikis for specific information, and have different permissions pertinent to the teams responsible for them.

    Curating content is being devolved to managers in the company who use the Office 2010 style 'ribbon' user interface in the browser and the WYSIWYG editor to edit directly the content for which they are responsible. Content owners do not require special knowledge of web content management technologies in order to achieve their objectives. All that is required is the ability to use Office 2010, and a web browser. The AJAX enabled interface means that most end user actions do not require page load, making for a very positive user experience.

    To keep the main pages under control there is a light touch publishing workflow to ensure governance of the main content pages.

    Keeping the content on the site fresh and engaging was a major goal for the SharePoint implementation too. Bliss Systems, a specialist development partner, built our Social integration with Twitter, and several custom format regions through special Applicable web parts for SharePoint 2010. Our Twitter feed @appl1cable is on the home page. The web part is reused inside the site to highlight focus areas and events by twitter hashtag.

    The SharePoint site runs on a server farm, with an additional SQL Server 2008 backend, which is setup in a mirror configuration across 2 datacentres for high availability.
    The SharePoint servers and SQL Servers are running Windows Server 2008 R2 64bit.

    The SharePoint servers are virtualised servers which have been assigned Dual CPUs and 8GB of RAM each. The use of virtualisation combined with the ease of adding additional servers to the SharePoint farm, allows for rapid expansion of the farm if resource requirements increase.The content databases are stored within SQL Server on a NetApp SAN which also allows us to provision large amounts of extra disk space when and if required and gives very low latency access to the SQL content which is at the core of SharePoint.

    The farm is hosted within a datacentre with 1 Gbit/s bandwidth and links to other international networks to allow for fast page loads when combined with the virtualised hardware. The front end web servers accept incoming requests and serve the site content, while indexing and searching - synchronisation with Active Directory and the central administration of the site is separated.  The web servers are separated in a DMZ network to provide the best security and separate the website from the SharePoint administration and our Active Directory environment. Only limited traffic is allowed to reach the web frontend servers on port 80 and any traffic destined for our internal network will be filtered by an additional firewall level.

    The combination of Applicable best in class service delivery capability plus specialist help from Microsoft Partners with the skills required has allowed Applicable to deliver the new site with the latest technology, hosted on its own high availability infrastructure, with a great set of engagement capabilities that can be adapted and grown to support business objectives for the foreseeable future. Of course everyone involved learned a lot as well, and that will directly help Applicable SharePoint customers as they look to move to the latest release to enjoy these benefits for themselves.

    Angus Fox, Product Management , Applicable Limited @appl1cable

  • I’m now an MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate)

    Find the MTA certification path that meets your needs 

    A few minutes ago I rocked over to the ultra high tech Microsoft Learning centre and took a few exams, just for some Friday fun…I might need help!  I’ve always been a big fan of certification (when it’s done right).  I started on the road to MCSE in NT4 back in the day, completed that, upgraded to 2000 and have kept things going since then.  There have been lots of changes to the programme though over the past decade (GULP!) and we now have a set of exams designed for the new crop of IT Professional entering the business out of the academic world.  The MTA.

    Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification helps schools teach and validate fundamental technology knowledge [and] provides students with a foundation for their careers

    That’s a pretty darn important thing in the ultra competitive market and I thought it was a great idea when I was at Uni to do my MCSE to get me real world experience – I then rocked into a better job for more money than most of my peers.  Nice.

    What I can say having just taken the exams is that they’re pitched at about the right level, they aren’t super deep dive exams that require the depth of experience of a seasoned IT Professional but they are exams that let you demonstrate to an employer that you’ve got more of a grasp of Networking fundamentals and Security fundamentals than you might just get by attending some lectures.  The Windows Server 2008 exam was actually quite tricky, offering up some more complicated Active Directory Directory Services questions that you wouldn’t be able to answer without some real world experience.  To my mind that would make it a perfect exam to round out an industrial placement or internship year.

    If you’re an employer looking at a candidate with these exams you can rest assured that your not just getting someone who’s sat through some lessons.

    I took:

    • Networking Fundamentals: Exam 98-366
    • Security Fundamentals: Exam 98-367
    • Windows Server Administration Fundamentals: Exam 98-36

    But there are developer and C# focused exams too to prove your skills.

    As a result I can now add this logo to my business cards and blog and I’ve got a greater chance of standing out.

    If you want more info on the MTA program and how it builds into the MCTS exams then check out the Microsoft Learning website