November, 2012

  • Troubleshooting Pool Leaks Part 7 – Windows Performance Toolkit

    In Part 1 of this series we identified a pool leak in non paged pool.  In Part 2 and Part 3 of this series we identified what pool tag was leaking.  In Part 5 and Part 6 we got call stacks showing the memory being allocated.  In this article more
  • Working with multiple network adapters in a virtual machine

    Thanks for coming back to the CORE Team blog site. This blog will address working with multiple network adapters in a virtual machine. Many of you out there may not be interested in this because you work with virtual machines that only use a single network adapter. However, for those of us that frequently work with virtualized Failover Clusters, virtualized iSCSI Target Servers or even virtualized RRAS servers, we find ourselves in a position where virtual machines require more than one network adapter. I hope that the information here will provide some needed relief for you.

    We all know that we cannot 'hot-add' network adapters to running virtual machines. The choices we have are to either configure all the network adapters before starting the virtual machine, or configure them one at a time, which requires the virtual machine to be shut down first. As an example, here is what I typically have to deal with when configuring nodes in a Failover Cluster. I require three networks; one for Public access, one for Cluster only communications, and one for connectivity to the shared storage provided by an iSCSI target.


    I think we can all agree that the information displayed is insufficient to assist with the configuration of each of the networks. Let us address each scenario individually.


    Windows Server 2012

    The great thing about Windows Server 2012 is that there is lots of PowerShell help available to assist. We will use PowerShell to work through configuring the networks in the virtual machine. As shown above, here is the starting point -


    One thing that I like to do is to make sure the Hyper-V virtual switch configuration makes sense for what I am doing. My virtual switch names are Public, Cluster and iSCSI because they make sense and meet my needs. Using that information, I use the Get-VMNetworkAdapter cmdlet to get the information I will need.

    Get-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName 2012-Test | ft -Autosize Name,SwitchName,MacAddress,IPAddresses





    In the virtual machine, I use the Get-NetAdapter cmdlet to get additional information I will need.

    Get-NetAdapter | ft -Autosize Name,InterfaceDescription,ifIndex, MacAddress






    Using the MacAddress information, I can sort out the 'players.'


    Using the Get-NetAdapter and Rename-NetAdapter cmdlets, change the name of the connections in the virtual machine.

    Get-NetAdapter -Name 'Ethernet' | Rename-NetAdapter -NewName Cluster

    Get-NetAdapter -Name 'Ethernet 2' | Rename-NetAdapter -NewName ISCSI

    Get-NetAdapter -Name 'Ethernet 3' | Rename-NetAdapter -NewName Public






    Once the names of the adapters are changed, it is time to configure the IP addressing. To accomplish this, use the New-NetIPAddress cmdlet. 

    New-NetIPaddress -InterfaceIndex 13 -IPAddress -PrefixLength 8 -DefaultGateway

    New-NetIPaddress -InterfaceIndex 14 -IPAddress -PrefixLength 24

    New-NetIPaddress -InterfaceIndex 15 -IPAddress -PrefixLength 16

    If name resolution is required, configure a DNS server address on the Public interface

    Set-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 13 -ServerAddresses ("","")


    To verify the new IP addresses, in the Hyper-V Host, re-run the Get-VMNetworkAdapter cmdlet or in the virtual machine run ipconfig /all.

    This completes the configuration of the network adapters and it was accomplished without having to reboot the virtual machine.


    Windows Server 2008 R2

    Windows Server 2008 R2 includes PowerShell as well, but it does not come close to being as useful, or as powerful, as the PowerShell functionality found in Windows Server 2012. To complete the very same process as was executed in Windows Server 2012 requires a little different strategy. As shown above, here is the starting point.


    Use the Get-VMNetworkAdapter cmdlet to get the information I will need.

    Get-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName Contoso-FS2 | ft -Autosize Name,SwitchName,MacAddress,IPAddresses





    Windows Server 2008 R2 comes with PowerShell Version 2.0 installed. Use PowerShell to obtain the network adapter information we need. 

    Get-WmiObject -query "select * from Win32_NetworkAdapter where name like 'Microsoft Hyper-V Network Adapter%'" | FL Name,MACAddress







    Using the MacAddress information, I can sort out the 'players.'


    Next, use the netsh command to finish the configuration. First, rename the adapters.

    Netsh interface set interface name="Local Area Connection" NewName="Public"

    Netsh interface set interface name="Local Area Connection 2" NewName="Cluster"

    Netsh interface set interface name="Local Area Connection 3" NewName="ISCSI"


    Use the netsh interface show interface command sequence to show the new names for the interfaces.

    Set the IP Address configuration (set the Default Gateway on Public) on each interface and verify using ipconfig /all

    Netsh interface ip set address name="Public" static 1

    Netsh interface ip set address name="Cluster" static

    Netsh interface ip set address name="ISCSI" static


    If name resolution is required, configure a DNS server.

    Netsh interface ip set dnsservers name= "Public" static primary


    This completes the configuration for the Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual machine network adapters. Again, the configuration was accomplished without rebooting the virtual machine.

    I would also like to acknowledge the help from my teammate - Sean Dwyer. Thanks, and come back again soon.

    Chuck Timon
    Senior Support Escalation Engineer
    Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support
    High Availability\Virtualization Team

    Sean Dwyer
    Senior Support Escalation Engineer
    Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support
    High Availability\Virtualization Team

  • Revenge of Y2K and Other News

    Hello sports fans! So this has been a bit of a hectic time for us, as I'm sure you can imagine. Here's just some of the things that have been going on around here. Last week, thanks to a failure on the time servers at USNO.NAVY.MIL, many customers more
  • Just when you thought… (Part 2)

    In Part 1, I covered configuring the Hyper-V Failover Cluster and the Scale-Out File Server solution. In Part two, I will cover:

    • Creating the file shares in the Scale-Out File Server
    • Creating a virtual machine to use the SMB3.0 shares in the Scale-Out File Server
    • Verifying we can Live Migrate the virtual machines in the Hyper-V Failover Cluster

    Creating the File Share

    Execute the following steps to create a file share in the Scale-Out File Server

    1. In Failover Cluster Manager, right-click on the Scale-Out File Server role in the center pane and choose Add File Share. This starts the New Share Wizard
    2. In the Select Profile screen, choose SMB Share - Applications and click Next
    3. For the Share Location, choose one of the CSV Volumes and click Next
    4. Provide a Share Name, verify the path information and click Next
    5. In the Other Settings screen, Enable Continuous Availability is checked by default. Click Next
      Note: Some selections are greyed-out. This is because they are not supported for this share profile in a Failover Cluster
    6. In the Permissions screen, click Customize Permissions. In the Advanced Security Settings screen, note the default NTFS and Share permissions and then proceed to add the Hyper-V Failover Cluster Nodes Computer Accounts to the NTFS permissions for the share and ensure they have Full Control. If the permissions listing does not include the cluster administrator(s), add it and give the account (or Security Group) Full Control. Click Apply when finished

    Complete configuring the file shares.


    As a test, connect to each of the shares from the Hyper-V Failover Cluster and verify you can write to each location before proceeding to the next step.

    Creating a Virtual Machine to use an SMB 3.0 Share

    Execute the following steps to create a new virtual machine

    1. On one of the nodes in the Hyper-V Cluster, open Failover Cluster Manager
    2. In the left-hand pane, click on Roles and then in the right-hand Actions pane click on Virtual Machines and choose New Virtual Machine
    3. Choose one of the cluster nodes to be the target for the virtual machine and click OK
    4. This starts the New Virtual Machine Wizard. Review the Before You Begin screen and click Next
    5. In the Specify Name and Location screen, provide a name for the virtual machine and enter an UNC path to a share on the Scale-Out File Server and then click Next

    6. Configure memory settings and click Next
    7. Configure network settings and click Next
    8. In the Connect Virtual Hard Disk screen, make a selection and click Next
    9. Review the Summary screen and click Finish
    10. Verify the process completes successfully and click Finish

    Testing Live Migration

    Once all the virtual machines are created, you may want to test Live Migration. Depending on how many simultaneous live migrations you want to support, you may have to modify the Live Migration settings on each of the Hyper-V Failover Cluster nodes. The default is to allow two simultaneous live migrations. Here is a little PowerShell script you can run to take care of the settings for all the nodes in the cluster -

    $Cred = Get-Credential

    Invoke-Command -Computername Fabrikam-N21,Fabrikam-N22,Fabrikam-N23 -Credential $Cred -scriptblock {Set-VMHost -MaximumVirtualMachineMigrations 6}

    In my cluster, I have all the virtual machines running on the same node -


    I will use a new feature in Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters, multi-select, and select all of the virtual machines and live migrate them to another node in the cluster -


    Since there are only four virtual machines and the maximum number of live migrations is equal to six, all will migrate.


    If I were to rerun my script and make a change back to two, then two migrations will be queued until at least one of the in progress migrations completes.


    You can use the Get-SmbSession PowerShell cmdlet on any node in the Scale-Out File Server to determine the number of sessions. For illustration purposes, I have all virtual machines running on the same Hyper-V Failover Cluster node (Fabrikam-N21) and the CSV volumes are running on the same node in the Scale-Out File Server (Fabrikam-N1) -


    Distributing the virtual machines across the multi-node Hyper-V Failover Cluster (Fabrilam-N21, Fabrikam-N22, and Fabrikam-N23) is reflected on the Scale-Out File Server -

    Finally, I re-distribute the CSV volumes across the Scale-Out File Server nodes as shown here -


    This is reflected in the Get-SmbSession PowerShell cmdlet output -


    Thanks, and come back again soon.

    Chuck Timon
    Senior Support Escalation Engineer
    Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support
    High Availability\Virtualization Team

  • Just when you thought…..(Part 1)

    Just when you thought you had things figured out - in the words of the legendary Bob Dylan, "the times they are a-changin." With the release of Windows Server 2012, Microsoft introduces a load of new features, which, in some cases, translates into doing some of the same things in different ways.  Up to now, highly available virtualized workloads meant multi-node Hyper-V Failover Clusters configured with Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) hosting virtual machines.  In Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, the rules have changed. Now, virtual machine files can be stored on SMB 3.0 file shares hosted in standalone Windows Server 2012 File Servers, or in Windows Server 2012 Scale-Out File Servers.

    This multi-part blog will walk through a new scenario, one that we may start seeing more and more as IT Professionals realize they can capitalize on their high-speed networking infrastructure investment while at the same time saving themselves a little money.  The scenario involves both Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Failover Clusters and Windows Server 2012 Scale-Out File Servers.

     In this multi-part blog, I will cover the following:

    • Setting up a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Failover Cluster with no shared storage
    • Setting up a Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster with the Scale-Out File Services Role
    • Configuring  an SMB Share that supports Application Data with Continuous Availability in the Scale-Out File Server
    • Deploying virtual machines in the Hyper-V Failover Cluster while using the Scale-Out File Server SMB 3.0 shares to host the virtual machine files

    To demonstrate the scenario, I created a 3-Node Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Failover Cluster with no shared storage and a 2-Node Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster connected to iSCSI storage to provide the shared storage for the Scale-Out File Server Role.

    Create a 3-Node Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Failover Cluster

    First, create the 3-Node Hyper-V Failover Cluster.  Since the cluster will not be connected to storage, and it is always a 'best practice' from a Quorum calculation perspective, to keep the number of votes in the cluster equal to an odd number, I chose a 3-Node cluster.  I could have just as easily configured a 2-Node cluster and manually modified the Quorum Model to Node and File Share Witness.  To support this Quorum Model, the Scale-Out File Server could be configured with a General Purpose file share to support the File Share Witness resource.

     Since the cluster is not connected to storage, you do not have to run the storage tests in the cluster validation process.

    In the interest of highlighting some of the other new features in Windows Server 2012 Failover Clustering, I created the cluster using a Distinguished Name format which provides greater control over the placement of cluster computer objects in a custom Organization Unit (OU) I created in Active Directory.  It is recommended that you configure the OU to protect the Failover Cluster computer objects from 'accidental' deletion prior to creating the cluster. To accomplish this, implement a custom Access Control Entry (ACE) on the OU to deny Everyone the right to Delete all child objects.


    This configuration on the container automatically checks the Protect object from accidental deletion on cluster computer objects when they are created.


    Specify a Distinguished Name for the Cluster Name when creating the cluster (Create Cluster Wizard).


    The Create Cluster report reflects the Active Directory path (container) where the CNO computer object is located.


    Create a 2-Node Windows Server 2012 Scale-Out File Server

     Configure a 2-Node Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster to provide Scale-Out File Services to the virtual machines hosted by the 3-Node Hyper-V Failover Cluster.  

    Note:  To read about Scale-Out File Services access the TechNet content here -

    The Scale-Out File Services cluster requires storage to support the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) that will host the virtual machine files.  To ensure the entire configuration is supported, run a complete cluster validation process, including the storage tests, before creating the cluster.  Be sure to create the cluster with sufficient storage to support a Node and Disk Majority Quorum Model (Witness disk required) and the CSV volumes to host the virtual machine files.

    Note: While a single CSV volume supports multiple virtual machines, a 'best practice' is to place virtual machines across several CSV volumes to distribute the I/O to the backend storage. Additionally, consider enabling CSV caching (scenario dependent).  To find out more about CSV Caching, review the Product Team blog on the topic -


     With the cluster up and running, configure the Scale-Out File Server Role by following these steps:

  • In Failover Cluster Manager, in the left-hand pane, right-click on Roles and choose Configure Role to start the High Availability Wizard
  • Review the Before You Begin screen and click Next
  • In the Select Role screen, choose File Server and click Next
  • For the File Server Type, choose Scale-Out File server for application data and click Next
  • Provide a properly formatted NetBIOS name for the Client Access Point and click Next
  • Review the Confirmation screen information and click Next
  • Verify the wizard completes and the Role comes Online properly in Failover Cluster Manager
  • A properly configured Scale-Out File Server Role should look something like this -


    What happens if the Scale-Out File Server Role fails to start?  Check the Cluster Events and you may find an Event ID: 1194 indicating a Network Name Resource failure occurred.


    The Event Details section provides information for proper corrective action. In this case, since we are placing the cluster computer objects in a custom OU, we need to give the Scale-Out File Server CNO the right to Create Computer Objects.  Once this is accomplished, and Active Directory replication has occurred, the Scale-Out File Server Role should start properly.  Verify the Role comes online on all nodes in the cluster.

    To review what we have accomplished:

  • Active Directory is configured properly to protect the accidental deletion of cluster computer objects
  • A 3-Node Hyper-V Failover Cluster has been created and validated
  • A 2-Node Scale-Out File Server Failover Cluster has been created and validated
  • The Scale-Out File Server CNO permissions have been properly configured on a custom OU
  • Well CORE Blog fans, that wraps it up for Part 1.  Stayed tuned for Part 2 where we will:

  • Configure SMB 3.0 shares on the Scale-Out File Server
  • Configure highly available virtual machines in the Hyper-V Failover Cluster using the SMB shares on the Scale-Out File Server Cluster
  • Demonstrate Live Migration of virtual machines in the Hyper-V Failover Cluster
  • Thanks, and come back soon.

    Chuck Timon
    Senior Support Escalation Engineer
    Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support
    High Availability\Virtualization Team

  • ADAMSync 101

    Hi Everyone, Kim Nichols here again, and this time I have an introduction to ADAMSync. I take a lot of cases on ADAM and AD LDS and have seen a number of problems arise from less than optimally configured ADAMSync XML files. There are many sources of more
  • Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012: Let the fun begin!

    Over the past 2 weeks, we’ve touched on a number of different features of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. We hope you have enjoyed reading our Launch Series as blogs much as we have enjoyed writing them for you.

    Don’t fret – we’ll have plenty more to write about regarding both operating systems in the near future. And with that, we’re done with our Launch Series! Again, we certainly hope you’ve enjoyed it and would love your feedback:

    • What did you think about our Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Launch Series?
    • What do you think about the AskPerf blog in general?
    • Are there any topics you would be interested in seeing on AskPerf?

    I would like to say a BIG Thank You to the following people who helped make this Blog Series a success:

    • Aaron Maxwell
    • Jim Martin
    • Don Geddes
    • Jeff Worline
    • Craig Marcho
    • Raul Martinez
    • Adam Richards
    • Syed Yusuf
    • Ankit Oberoi
    • Tushank Java
    • Ishu Sharma
    • Ritika Ahuza
    • Ritesh Kumar
    • Shahnawaz Ahmad
    • Rahul Sharma



    P.S. Don’t forget to check out the following links for more information on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

    Windows 8

    Windows 8 Blog

    Windows Server 2012

    Windows Server Blog

  • Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012: A brief look at the new Server Manager

    Well, we are about finished.  Only one post left after this one.  Today marks the 15th post in our Launch Series and I know you’ll enjoy reading this one.  With that said, let’s dive right in!

    If you have installed Windows Server 2012, I'm sure you have noticed that Server Manager looks a lot different.  The previous MMC-based Server Manager worked very well in many respects.  The hierarchical organization was very logical and the familiar MMC snap-ins were easy to use.  So why change it?

    Server Manager has been rewritten from the ground up with a focus on providing true multi-server management support from a single console, as well as extended capabilities for Windows role and feature installation.

    Like any UI changes, it might be a little disorienting at first, but once you learn the basics of navigating it, I think you will find it easy to use and very powerful.

    When Server Manager first launches, it defaults to the Dashboard configuration view for the local server:


    Understanding the layout is key to becoming productive with the new UI. Let's take a look.

    Navigation pane(s)

    The pane on the left side is the primary navigation pane.  It always includes the Dashboard, the Local Server, and the All Servers group by default.

    The installation of some roles and features adds groups specific to them to the navigation pane.  Examples of roles that do this are File and Storage Services, Remote Desktop Services, Hyper-V, and DNS.  The entry in the navigation pane for such a role (File and Storage Services in the screen shot above, for example) often has a ">" to the right of it.  If you click that entry, it will expose a secondary navigation pane that includes the rest of the management hierarchy for that role.


    From that point, you can select entries in the secondary pane to expose tasks related to each topic.  This is where most of the management work will be done for a lot of roles and features.

    You can add servers to the All Servers group by right-clicking it and selecting Add Servers.  You can also create your own group by selecting Create Server Group from the Manage command menu on the command bar (the Command bar is discussed below).  Server groups allow you to monitor and manage servers that have been delegated to an administrative person or team, that have related roles, or for which it otherwise makes sense to configure and manage them collectively.

    Address bar

    That's the wide gray bar that contains "Server Manager > Dashboard" in our first screen shot.  It simply indicates where your current focus is within Server Manager.  It functions much like the address bar in Windows Explorer.  You can overtype the path, or click on the ">" to select different locations within the path.

    Command bar

    The portion of the wide gray bar that includes the flag icon and command options to the right of it.  Again, these work like the menus in command bars of applications like Office apps.  Click on each to see what commands are exposed.

    The notification flag alerts you about actions that need attention.  These can include such things as further configuration of a role required or the restart of the system to complete role installation.  The notification flag shows the number of available tasks as a number underneath the flag as shown below.

    clip_image006 clip_image008

    Selecting the flag displays more details about the additional action(s) required.


    You can click Task Details to even more details about the specific tasks (I'll spare you the additional screen shot).

    The Manage menu includes actions that can be performed to configure Server Manager, or actions to be performed against the server or group selected in the navigation pane(s).  The most common tasks are adding or removing roles or features, creating server groups, and adding servers to the selected group.


    The Tools menu allows you to launch commonly used administrative tools and applications from within Server Manager.  Role or feature installation can add additional tools to this menu based on whether the role or feature includes a tool as part of role installation so the list of available tools can grow with server configuration.


    Server thumbnails

    At the bottom of the Dashboard page, you will see a box for each server and group listed in the navigation pane.


    These "thumbnails" allow you to monitor and be alerted about issues that might affect the operation of the server(s).  Each thumbnail includes a quick status of one or more of these:

    • Manageability - Whether servers in the group are accessible and otherwise manageable.
    • Events - Recent events that met or exceeded a configured threshold.
    • Services - Services that are configured to auto-start, but are not currently started.
    • Performance - Whether configured performance thresholds have been exceeded.
    • BPA results - Best Practice Analyzer results that indicate errors.

    As you might guess, Red indicates a threshold has been exceeded and the number of those within each category that exceeded it is displayed.  Green means all is well.  If you click on each category, you will see more details about each alert, plus you can configure the alert thresholds to suit your needs.  Again, I will spare you the gratuitous screen shots.  You will get the most benefit from exploring on your own once you know the basics.

    Configure this local server

    On the Dashboard you will see Configure this local server as the first configuration task. As it implies, this is the first place you want to go to perform basic configuration tasks for any server, including changing the server name, joining a domain, configuring networking, setting time zone, etc.


    Each of the items on that page are self-explanatory and are what you would typically see in WS 2008 R2 on the home page of the old Server Manager, in the properties of the Computer, or in the Initial Configuration Tasks.

    I'll leave you with a parting tip!

    There are perhaps a handful of ways to launch tools or tasks to be performed on a selected server or group.  Each can have different options depending on the context (which server or group is selected, for example).

    In general, I use Manage and Tools on the Command Bar when I want to perform a task on my local server, or a global task not specific to an individual server or group.  For example, I don't want to be in the context of a Hyper-V server within Server Manager to launch Hyper-V Manager on my local machine.

    But when you want to perform tasks on a specific server, the fastest way often is to right-click the server under All Servers or another group and choose the task from the list.


    When managing a specific role, the Tasks drop-down in the upper right corner of each details pane provides a list of tasks that are relevant to the node selected in the navigation pane(s).


    That’s it folks!  We’ve come to the end of our Launch Series.  We’ll have one more blog tomorrow to recap and talk about what lies ahead for upcoming posts.  In the meantime, you can check out the AskCore Blog site for their launch series:

    Ask the Core Team

    -AskPerf blog Team

  • Upgrading to Windows 8 – Part 5

    Known Issues


    Hi Again,

    Welcome back to the Upgrade to Windows 8 Series. In today’s post we want to cover some of the know issues you might hit when you move to Windows 8. The following are the top issues we found customers reporting on our forums.

    Black screen after performing an Upgrade:

    We have noticed several instances where customers see that after the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8, they are not able to get to the desktop. They see that the files are copied and after the reboot, the machine goes past the Splash screen where the modern Windows logo is displayed, and then is stuck at a black screen. This does not mean that the upgrade failed, a majority of these issues was caused by older firmware, and incompatible graphics card drivers. To resolve this, you can try booting into the low-resolution mode or safe mode and then un-installing/upgrading the driver, then boot back to normal mode and visit the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers.

    To boot into Safe mode follow these steps:

    • Hard reset the machine twice. One the next reboot, Windows will go into Recovery.
    • In the screen you see below, choose “See advanced repair option”.


    • In the screen that follows, click “Troubleshoot”, and then click “Advanced options”

    clip_image004 clip_image006

    • In the screen that follows, choose “Startup Settings”, in the next Page, click “Restart”. This will cause your machine to reboot and launch the Advanced boot options menu in the next reboot.


    • On the following boot, choose to go into Safe mode by pressing the number key or the function keys that corresponds to “Enable low-resolution video”. If this fails to boot to the desktop, you need to repeat the steps and choose “Enable Safe Mode”


    • Once you are able to log in to your machine, Go to Start, and type devmgmt.msc to launch the Device Manager. Choose the Display adaptor and un-install the driver. Boot back into the normal mode and install the latest driver from the vendor’s website.


    We do not have a list of graphics card models where we have seen issues, but we have been working with our vendors to ensure that the drivers are up to date, and to ensure that sufficient testing is done on most of their hardware models available in the market. We recommend that you run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant tool before performing the upgrade. This will give you a detailed list of drivers, devices, and applications that needs changes before the upgrade. Also, check your manufacturer’s website for the latest driver and recommendation. Dell, for example, has this advisory which lists most of their Inspiron series laptops and provides firmware and driver updates to make them compatible with Windows 8. HP has this site to give you more details about their models.

    Known Issue with Volume Type and Layout:

    Only Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise editions support dynamic volumes. If you are running a Windows 7 machines with dynamic volumes, then ensure that you take a backup of all the data in these volumes before the upgrade. Dynamic volumes are not available after the upgrade to Windows 8. If the dynamic volume is a mirrored volume, Windows 8 will fail to boot and will roll back the installation.

    The following KB article will give you more details on this issu


    Dynamic volumes are unavailable after you install Windows 8

    Upgrade will also fail if you have a partition layout where one of your volumes does not have a drive letter assigned to it. We had discussed this in the known issue section of this blog:

    Upgrade failure if the POSIX subsystem is enabled on Windows 7:

    The POSIX subsystem is no longer available starting with Windows 8/Server 2012. If you need to run an application that uses Subsystem for UNIX based application (SUA), you will have to virtualize the older machine and run this on Hyper-V. An issue was discovered late in the release cycle that causes upgrades from Windows 7 to fail if the POSIX subsystem is enabled.

    The core issue is that Windows 7 machines where SUA enabled, write a registry key that causes the session manager to try to start the POSIX subsystem. However, after the upgrade to Windows 8, the binaries required by the POSIX subsystem are no longer available. This causes the system to fail to boot, which causes setup to roll back.

    This can easily be worked around by disabling the Subsystem for UNIX feature in Windows 7 before the upgrade.

    A note about RSAT for Windows 7 and WMF3.0:

    Windows 8 will only run Remote Server Administration tools for Windows 8, it cannot run the Remote Server Administration tools package that was released for older operating systems like Windows 7 or Vista. If you have RSAT installed on your Windows 7 machine, ensure uninstalling RSAT before the upgrade so that you do not run into any unforeseen failures.

    RSAT for Windows 8 will be able to manage most roles on older versions of Servers, however there are a few important features that cannot be managed. For example, you cannot manager Failover clusters running on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 using failover cluster manager on Windows Server 2012, or using RSAT for Windows 8. You can only use PowerShell or WMI to do this. For a more complete list of tools that are not backward compatible, refer this KB article:


    Description of Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8

    Also, ensure that you remove the Windows Management Framework (WMF 3.0) if this is installed. There is a known issue where Server manager refresh would fail if WMF 3.0 is not removed before the upgrade. The issue is documented in the following KB article:


    Server Manager Refresh fails with error 'Incorrect function'' in Windows Server 2012

    That is it for now. Keep the “Upgrade to Windows 8” tag handy. We will be back soon when we have more information to post about issues that may cause inconveniences during the upgrade.

    Good day!

    Vimal Shekar
    Windows Core Team @ Microsoft

  • Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012: Windows PowerShell Web Access

    Day 14 is upon us!  In today’s post, we are going to take a look at the new feature in Windows Server 2012 called PowerShell Web Access.

    What is PowerShell Web Access?  Glad you asked!


    Windows PowerShell Web Access is a new feature in Windows Server 2012 that acts as a Windows PowerShell gateway, providing a web-based Windows PowerShell console that is targeted at a remote computer.  It enables IT Pros to run Windows PowerShell commands and scripts from a Windows PowerShell console in a web browser, with no Windows PowerShell, remote management software, or browser plug-in installation necessary on the client device.  All that is required to run the web-based Windows PowerShell console is a properly-configured Windows PowerShell Web Access gateway, and a client device browser that supports JavaScript and accepts cookies.

    Examples of client devices include laptops, non-work personal computers, borrowed computers, tablet computers, web kiosks, computers that are not running a Windows-based operating system, and cell phone browsers.  IT Pros can perform critical management tasks on remote Windows-based servers from devices that have access to an Internet connection and a web browser.



    Here is diagram with a high overview of how PowerShell Web Access works:


    Supported desktop computer browsers

    • Windows Internet Explorer for Microsoft Windows 8.0, 9.0, and 10.0
    • Mozilla Firefox 10.0.2
    • Google Chrome 17.0.963.56m for Windows
    • Apple Safari 5.1.2 for Windows
    • Apple Safari 5.1.2 for Mac OS

    Minimally-tested mobile devices or browsers

    • Windows Phone 7 and 7.5
    • Google Android WebKit 3.1 Browser Android 2.2.1 (Kernel 2.6)
    • Apple Safari for iPhone operating system 5.0.1
    • Apple Safari for iPad 2 operating system 5.0.1

    We could go on and on about the new PSWA, but this blog is just to wet your appetite.  To give you a little jump start with PSWA, here is the three-step process for setup and configuration.

    Step 1: Installing Windows PowerShell Web Access

    Step 2: Configuring the gateway

    Step 3: Configuring authorization rules and site security

    This concludes our post for today.  For more information on PSWA, check out the following link:

    Use the Web-based Windows PowerShell Console

    Come back tomorrow to learn more about the new Server Manager.

    -AskPerf blog Team

  • Introducing Server Manager in Windows Server 2012

    Hello AskCore! Today I will discuss the Add roles and Features of the new interface of Server Manager in Windows 2012..

    To begin a role or feature installation using the Server Manager interface, launch Server Manager first. Once launched, selecting the Add Roles and Features or Remove Roles and Features option from the Server Manager Command Bar launches the Roles and Features Wizard. Upon launch, the Before You Begin pane displays to administrators to provide an overview of the wizard and the operations it can perform.


    Add Roles and Features Wizard Introduction pane


    The Installation Type pane of the Roles and Features Wizard allows for two installation types.

    • Role-based or feature-based installation: This installation type installs or removes the various roles and features included with Windows 8 Server operating system editions.
    • Remote Desktop Services scenario-based installation: This new installation type enables the installation and configuration of Remote Desktop Services.


    Add Roles and Features Wizard Installation Type pane

    The Select Destination Server pane displays options to select the destination of the addition or removal operations. The destination options include:

    • Select a server from the server pool: Use this option to select a server from the server pool on the local computer. Confirm the destination by verifying the destination server in the upper right hand corner of the wizard.
    • Select a virtual hard disk: Use this option to select a local or remote Windows 8 Server virtual hard disk file. Only virtual hard disks that contain a Windows 8 Server operating system are valid destinations. Blank virtual hard disks or hard disks that contain an operating system other than Windows 8 Server will fail.


    Add Roles and Features Wizard Server Selection pane




    Add Roles and Features Wizard Virtual Hard Disk selection pane


    The Select Server Roles pane is for selecting the role or roles to install or remove on the destination source previously selected. Confirm the destination server at any time by verifying the name of the destination server in the upper right hand corner of the wizard. Selecting a role shows a description of the role on the rightmost pane.

    Roles may have required dependencies, which must be installed for the role to install and operate properly. These required roles and features display during role selection. Optional management tools can be removed during role installation if desired by de-selecting the Include Management Tools (if applicable) checkbox.


    Add Roles and Features Wizard Select Sever Roles pane


    The Select Features pane is for installing or removing Windows defined features from the destination server. Confirm the destination server at any time by verifying the name of the destination server in the upper right hand corner of the wizard. Selecting a feature shows a description of the feature on the rightmost pane.


    Add Roles and Features Wizard Select Features pane


    The Confirmation pane of the Roles and Features Wizard displays the previously selected roles and features targeted for addition or removal from the destination server. Additional options available on the confirmation pane include:

    • Restart the destination server automatically if required -used to restart the server upon installation or removal completion if required.
    • Export configuration settings - exports the current servicing operations to a deployment configuration XML template. The default filename is DeploymentConfigTemplate.xml. Configuration files allow deployment of a common set of roles and features to an environment.
    • Specify an alternate source path - specifies the path to the Windows source binaries for a computer that has used the Features on Demand option to completely remove a role or feature from the hard drive.


    Add Roles and Features Wizard Confirmation pane


    A new feature in role installation is the ability to install applicable management tools for a specific role or feature. In the example below, the Fax Server role was selected for installation. Because this role has applicable management tools, they display as required additional features needed to complete the role installation. Administrators can now choose to uncheck the Include management tools (if applicable) option during installation to not include the management tools with the role installation. Required features for role installation are still displayed if the management tools are deselected.


    Optional features to complete role installation



    Role installation required additional features shown with management tools deselected

    I hope this new interface finds useful to all users using Server 2012.

    More blogs on Server 2012 are coming!

    Ranajoy Dutta
    Senior Support Engineer
    Microsoft Windows Core Team

  • Upgrading to Windows 8 – part 4

    Restoring the older OS in case the Upgrade fails

    Hi again everyone,

    You tried upgrading to Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012, but something bad happened midway. You didn’t take a backup when you started. Can you go back?

    Sure you can. Starting with Windows Vista, we actually save all files from the previous version of Windows in a folder called Windows.old on the root of the C drive. Assuming that something went wrong the installation and your machine is in no boot condition, the first thing you should do is to boot into the Windows 8/Server 2012 media and check the state of the partitions on the disk, and ensure that the Windows.old folder exists. If you have this folder, you can always roll back the system to the earlier configuration. All you need to do is move the contents of this folder to the root, and replace the boot files in the system reserved partition. The steps below should work if the earlier operating system was Windows 7, Server 2008/2008R2 or Vista.

    Step 1: Boot into the Windows 8/Server 2012 media and determine if the Windows.old folder exists.

    Insert the media and reboot the machine. Once the setup starts, choose the keyboard and language and click next. Once you get to the “Install Now” page, click on the Repair your computer option on the lower left screen.


    In the next screen, choose the “Troubleshoot” option and then click use the Shift+F10 key combination to launch the command prompt. You can also use the Shift+F10 key combination to open the Command prompt.

    clip_image004 clip_image006

    At the Command prompt use Diskpart, and list the volumes using “list volume” command. Note the drive letter and sizes of the volumes.

    Ensure that the boot and system volumes are assigned drive letters.

    If the partition does not have a drive letter, you need the select the volume using “sel volume #” (where # represents the volume number) and then assign a drive letter using “assign letter=X”. Then exit from Diskpart, by typing “exit


    Launch Notepad.exe from the command prompt, and use the File > Open dialog box. Change the file types to show all files. You can use this to browse the drives and ensure that your files are intact in the old installation.


    In my case, the 100MB(C drive) System Reserved Partition is where I need to move my boot files for the earlier installation. The 49GB partition (D drive) contains the Windows.old folder, along with any files from my new installation. The drive letter you see here may be different from the actual drive letter for the volume.

    Step 2: Moving the Windows 8/Server 2012 folders.

    From the command prompt, we will create a folder called Windows.New and move the files from the failed installation to this folder. Since my original C drive appears as D drive in the recovery command prompt, I would need to go to D: to make my changes. If you have a different drive letter, for your boot volume, use that drive letter for the commands below.

    Type the following commands at the command prompt and press Enter after each command:

    md Windows.New
    move /y “Program Files” D:\Windows.New
    move /y “Program Files (x86)” D:\Windows.New
    move /y Users D:\Windows.New
    move /y Windows D:\Windows.New
    move /y *.* D:\Windows.New

    We will leave the other folders to be overwritten, as the new installation is no longer important to us. Also note that Program Files (x86) is only present on 64-bit machines. You can use the same File > Open Dialog box in notepad to do the Copy, however this does not show you any progress indicators, notepad will appear hung while the copy is in progress in the background. You would have to continuously refresh the view to find out when the copy has completed and notepad becomes responsive again. Also, hidden files are not visible in this view.


    Step 3: Move the visible contents of the Windows.old folder to the root of the drive, and xcopy all the others including system files and hidden files.

    move /y D:\Windows.old\Windows D:\
    move /y D:\Windows.old \Users D:\
    move /y “D:\Windows.old\Program Files” D:\
    move /y “D:\Windows.old\Program Files (x86)” D:\
    xcopy /S /R /H /Y D:\Windows.old D:\

    Step 4: Restore the System Reserved Partition and boot sector for the previous Windows installation.

    You can copy the bootable files from the given image using bcdboot. The C drive is the system-reserved partition. If Diskpart output in step 1 showed a different drive letter for the system-reserved partition, use that drive letter. To write the boot sector for the partition, you can use a tool called BootSect.exe that comes with the Recovery Command prompt. (This tool is available in the Boot folder on the DVD)

    bcdboot D:\Windows /s C:
    bootsect /nt60 C:


    Close the Command prompt and click the Back Arrow next to the Advanced Options Heading. Then click Turn Off your PC. After the Machine is turned off, power it on again and you should see the machine booting back to the earlier version of Windows. Make sure you copy any other files from the Windows.New folder before deleting this permanently.

    Vimal Shekar
    Windows Core team @ Microsoft

  • Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012: How do I print in Windows 8 Modern UI Applications?

    It’s day 13 of our Launch Series and we are nearing the finish line.  Today we are going to look at ways to print from your Modern UI Apps.

    So you have loaded Windows 8, and need to print from one of the new Modern Apps that have installed, but you do not see a ‘print’ icon, and there is no “File, Print, …” menu.  Windows 8 includes a new user interface that is designed to help users easily discover and install devices.  Print, Fax, and Scan devices are installed from the Settings or Devices charms:

    Charms Bar with Devices and Settings



    Adding Devices

    To install a Printer using the Windows 8 Modern App style interface, do the following:

    1. Activate the Charms bar by swiping in from the right edge of a touch screen, pressing the Windows+C keys on the keyboard, or moving the mouse to the upper right corner of the display.
    2. Click or touch Settings, and then More PC Settings.
    3. Click or touch Devices, and then click or touch Add a device.
    4. Windows will scan the network for devices and display the list of printers that were found.  If the administrator has published printers to the active directory then they should show up at the top of the list.

    Searching for Devices


    5. Click or touch the device that you wish to install and it will be added to the list of devices. If the printer is using a Version 4 driver then no other user interaction is necessary to install the device.

    Installed Printer


    Printing from Windows 8 Modern Apps

    Windows 8 has a new user interface for discovering and printing to print devices on a network.  A Modern App that runs in the Windows 8 interface may have a custom printing interface that is accessible via the application bar or it may provide a printing link similar to the Modern App style Internet Explorer application.

    Additionally, the CTRL + P hotkey will activate the shell print dialog.

    Note Not every Modern App will allow you to print from it.

    To print a document from a Windows 8 Modern App, do the following:

    1. Use the application user interface and select the Print option or use the CTRL + P hotkey to activate the Printing interface.

    2. Choose a device to print to by clicking or touching the Print device icon:

    Choosing a print device


    3. A print preview and basic print settings are displayed. The document can be printed using the Print button:

    Basic print settings


    4. Clicking on More Settings will activate the advanced print settings dialog where page layout, paper and quality, and output options can be specified:

    More settings


    But now you’ve launched the Bing News app, and you are trying to print.  You do not see printers when you open the Charms and go to Devices.  You may see something like this:

    No Printers


    When you see this, it indicates that this app does not support printing, or that you have no printers installed.  We covered adding printers at the beginning of this blog, so we’ll take a guess that this app does not support printing.  What do you do from here?  Well, no need to worry.  Some Modern Apps do support opening the article in Internet Explorer, and you can then print the article from there.  To do this, you can right click in the article you are viewing, and see the following at the bottom of the screen:

    View in Browser


    Click on View in browser, and you can then print from Internet Explorer the same way we mentioned above.

    The following apps installed with Windows 8 support printing from within the app:

    • Mail
    • Photos
    • News (only when viewing My News and use the open in browser method)
    • Bing Finance (when you use open in browser)
    • Maps

    The following apps do not support printing from within the app:

    • Bing
    • Finance
    • Sports
    • Travel
    • Weather
    • Messaging
    • People
    • Calendar
    • SkyDrive

    And there you have it, everything you need to know about printing in the new Windows 8 Modern App interface!  Thanks for reading!  We'll take a brief look at Windows PowerShell Web Access in tomorrow's post.

    -AskPerf blog Team

  • Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012: What’s new with Printing in Windows 8?

    Hello AskPerf!  Welcome to day 12 of our Launch Series.  Today we are going to take a look at what’s new in Printing with Windows 8!

    With Windows 8, we have redesigned the printer driver model; it has remained relatively unchanged since the introduction of Version 3 or V3 drivers in Windows 2000.  The v3 model relies heavily on OEMs to produce customized drivers for each specific device to make sure that specific features of each print device can be accessed by Windows applications.  Managing a printing infrastructure using the v3 driver model requires the administrator to manage a large number of drivers, and to manage drivers on client machines as well as servers, resulting in the requirement to manage both 32-bit and 64-bit print drivers to support both of these client architectures.

    V4 Model Overview

    The version 4 print driver model provides a simple but flexible management experience. Some of the benefits of version 4 drivers are:

    • Printer sharing does not require the installation of drivers that match the client architecture
    • Driver files are isolated from each other, preventing driver filename conflicts
    • A single driver can support a single device or multiple devices
    • Drivers are typically smaller than version3 drivers, and installation times are typically faster than comparable version 3 drivers

    Using the version 4 driver model, OEMs can provide Print Class Drivers that support features that are common to a broad set of devices that use the same printer description language, such as PCL, PS, or XPS. Print Class Drivers also provide the following benefits:

    1. Driver packages are smaller and printer driver files are less likely to cause stability problems
    2. The administrator has to manage fewer drivers

    Version 4 print drivers can be distributed via Windows Update or Windows Software Update Services (WSUS), but are not distributed to print clients from the print server.

    Printer Sharing Changes

    Printer Sharing has been updated in Windows 8 as well, primarily to meet demands of modern users and to support the new Driver Model.

    Previously, we relied on both server and client machines to use identical drivers.  If you have ever had to manage a print server with x64 and x86 print drivers, you know this can be difficult to get working.  Sometimes driver versions may be incompatible and cause client connection errors, or errors when establishing connections.

    With the new v4 driver model and the sharing implementation that it supports, the goal is to make the end-user and administrative experience as easy as possible.

    The new features that define the changes that were made are summarized here:

    • Clients can use enhanced Point and Print to generate print jobs that the server can use without using a device specific driver.
    • Servers contain the configuration and capabilities of the printer and communicate that data to a client computer in a way that the client can use without needed a device specific driver.
    • With the new v4 driver model the print server will no longer be a software distribution mechanism.  Previous versions of Windows provided a method for print clients to obtain a driver from the print server.  This functionality has been removed for enhanced point and print.  Several reasons brought this change such as security, compatibility, serviceability and reliability.  Down-level client computers like Windows 7 will still be able to receive the enhanced Point and Print Compatibility driver from Windows Server 2012 to enable compatibility with v4 print shares.  Client computers running Windows 8 have enhanced Point and Print support built into the operating system, and they can use standard point and print mechanisms to obtain matching v3 drivers if the administrator wants to continue using older drivers.  Device specific v4 drivers can also be deployed to Windows 8clients, or downloaded from Windows Update/WSUS in order to provide additional features or capabilities, such as client side rendering when connecting to enhanced Point and Print shares.

    With the new changes that arrive with Enhanced Point and Print and the new v4 Printer Driver Model in Windows 8 and Server 2012, printing is about to be much easier for administrators and more trouble free for end users!  Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoy Windows 8.  For more in-depth information, please see the following TechNet article:

    Print and Document Services Architecture

    In tomorrow’s post, we’ll take a look at Printing within Windows 8.

    -AskPerf blog Team

  • Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012: Session based Desktop Deployment

    It’s day 11 of our Launch Series, and day 4 of our RDS series.  The past few posts, have covered the numerous User Interface changes and enhancements that have been made within Windows Server 2012 with regards to Remote Desktop Services (RDS).  Today we are going to do a walkthrough of creating a Session Based Desktop deployment and describe the supported methods of accessing session-based collections.

    Session-based Desktop Deployment Walkthrough

    1. Open Server Manager, Click on Add Roles and Features , Select Remote Desktop Services Installation and Click Next


    2. Select Deployment Type


    3. Select the Session-based desktop Deployment and Click Next


    4. Click Next


    5. Select the RD Connection Broker Server and Click Next


    6. Select the RD Web Access Server and Click Next


    7. Select the RD Session Host Server and Click Next


    8. Confirm Selection and Check Restart the Destination automatically if required and Click Deploy


    After completion of this process, the RD Connection Broker , RD Web Access , and RD Session Host roles will have been installed.

    The next step is to create a collection.

    1. Open the Server Manager, Click Remote Desktop Services and Select Collections


    2. In Collection Section, Click Tasks and Select Create Session Collection


    3. Create Collection Window and Click Next


    4. Type the Name of the Collection and Click Next


    5. Specify the RD Session Host Server and Click Next


    6. Specify User Groups and Click Next


    7. Specify the User Profile Disk with the UNC Path if you want and Click Next


    8. Confirm Selections and Click Create


    It will take several minutes for the creation process to complete. When the collection has been created, you can publish RemoteApps within the collection:

    1. Select RemoteApp ( Name of Collection) under Collections Tile and Click on Publish Remote App Programs


    2. Select Remote APP Programs and Click Next


    3. Confirmation and Click Publish


    4. In RemoteApp Programs, you will see the Remote Apps Listed.


    5. We can assign the Remote apps to Specific Users. Right Click on Calculator ,Select Properties.



    6. We can publish the remote apps in virtual folders.

    7. Expand the User Assignment and Select Only specified users and groups


    A RemoteApp has now been published.

    There are two supported methods of accessing sessions and RemoteApps that are part of a session collection:

    1. Web Access
    2. WebFeed ( Remote App Desktop Connections)

    Web Access

    The Web Access method can be used to access (launch) RemoteApps or Desktop Sessions. The screenshot below shows the RDWeb page without Folders.


    WebFeed (RemoteApp and Desktop Connection)

    RemoteApp and Desktop Connection allows RemoteApps to be deployed and accessed on the client machine's Start menu (Windows 7) or Start screen (Windows 8).  To configure RemoteApps and Desktop Connection on the client:

    1. Open Control Panel , Select Remote App and Desktop Connections


    2. Type the Url and Click Next. URL should be your web access sever name/rdweb/Feed/webfeed.aspx


    3. Click Finish



    4. We should now see the shortcuts on the Start screen.



    That concludes our 4 part mini series on RDS.  Hopefully now you know how to install the RDS components in Windows Server 2012.  We will go into more details surrounding these features at a later time.  With that, tomorrows post is going to take a look at what’s new in Printing for Windows 8.

    -AskPerf blog Team

  • Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012: VDI Personal Desktop Collections

    Welcome to day 11 of our Launch Series, and part 3 of our RDS series.  The past few posts have covered the numerous User Interface changes and enhancements that have been made within Windows Server 2012 with regards to Remote Desktop Services (RDS).  Today we are going to look at creating Personal Desktop Collections with VDI.

    To Create a Personal - Managed Virtual desktop Collection

    1. Open the Server Manager, Click Remote Desktop Services and Select Overview


    2. In Deployment Overview Section, Click Tasks and Select Edit Deployment properties.


    3. Expand Active Directory and Select the Organization Unit if you would like to add the Virtual desktops to the domain , Click Apply


    4. Select Collections tile


    5. In Collection Section, Click Tasks and Select Create Virtual Desktop Collection , Click Next


    6. Type the Name of the Collection and Click Next


    7. Select the Personal Virtual desktop collection and Click Next


    8. Specify the Virtual Desktop Template which you must configure in Hyper V and Make sure sysprep the virtual machine once you have install the software required by users and Click Next


    9. Specify the User Assignment and Click Next


    10. Click Next


    11. Specify the unattended installation settings and Select the OU


    12. Specify the Users and Groups and Specify the Prefix and Suffix for the Virtual Desktop


    13. Specify Virtual Desktop allocation and Click Next


    14. Specify Virtual desktop storage and Click Next


    15. Confirm Selections and Click Create


    16. View Progress and Click Close


    17. In Collection Section, Right Click Personal( Collection Name) and Select Task Status details


    Personal - Unmanaged Virtual desktop Collection

    1. In Collection Section, Click Tasks and Select Create Virtual Desktop Collection , Click Next


    2. Type the Name of the Collection and Click Next


    3. Select the Personal Virtual desktop collection and Uncheck Automatically create and manage virtual desktops , Click Next


    4. Specifying the Existing Virtual Desktops and Click Next


    5. Specify the User Assignment and Click Next


    6. Specify the Users and Groups and Click Next


    7. Confirm Selection and Click Create


    8. View Results


    9. In the Virtual Desktop Section under Personal Unmanaged Collection, we can see the Virtual machine which we have added and we can add more virtual desktop.


    10. We must assign the Virtual desktop to the specific users if we use Disable automatic user assignment.


    Well, that’s it for the post.  Tomorrow we will conclude our 4 part RDS series with Session Hosts and RD Web Access.

    -AskPerf blog Team