Like TechNet UK on Facebook
TechNet Team Blogs
On the last day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. A Present from the TechNet Team!
We’ve reached the end of this seasons big TechNet Geekmas giveaway, across twelve tech-twist days we will have rewarded 78 winners with a grand total of 201 prizes. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of packing for the TechNet team, thanks for your patience in contacting winners, expect your prize in the post mid January!
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Two Beta Tests’. Were you one of our two lucky winners? Find out who’s won what here, we will be emailing winners as soon as we can.
Today is the final day of our Geekmas campaign, and with that in mind, we’ve made it the most rewarding one yet. The entry period is a lot longer and requires more effort, but we hope it will be worth it.
One lucky winner will have the chance to win an MSDN subscription, A Windows phone and Tablet plus monster headphones with a few other tech goodies. In return for all these awesome gifts, we require a 2013 retrospective tech story on ‘What you wish you’d known this year?’ be it from a Developer, IT Professional, Start-up or Student perspective.
HOW TO ENTER?
The final day, final challenge. With a longer entry period, we’ve given you a few weeks to write a short well explained tech-based article on what you regret not having known this year, leading into 2014. Just complete a two step entry method for your chance to win.
Step 1 - Write a 500 word (+/- 10%) IT Pro, Developer, Start-Up or Student story on ‘what you wished you'd known this year?’
Step 2 - Email your story to email@example.com with the following as a subject heading - 'Geekmas: What I wish I’d known’
An article example: “I wish I’d known about MVA then I wouldn’t have spent loads of money of training courses”
We’re marking entries on – Originality of entry, Technical skills demonstrated and Creativity of story.
Please note: Only one winner will be chosen.
WHAT CAN YOU WIN?
We’ve been leading up to this day since the beginning of the competition and it’s by far the best TechNet bundle giveaway yet… one lucky winner will win ALL of the following:
- An MSDN premium subscription valid for one year (with an approximate value of £5169)
- A Windows 8 Asus Vivo Tab RT TF600 3G Tablet Complete with Removable Keyboard
- Nokia Monster Headphones
- A Nokia Radio Mug
- A Nokia keyring.
All entries from 09:30 on Friday 20th of December to 11:59pm on January 5th, 2014 will be considered, however only one winner will be decided by the team and announced on this page at approx. 09:30 Friday 10th of January.
Search for the Star leading to Bethlehem this Christmas with this amazing star gazing app.
Explore the wonders of the Solar System with Star Chart, the definitive star gazing and astronomy app. From our own star - the Sun, to the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn, Star Chart gives you a virtual window into the visible universe.
Download the app for free here. Give it a go! If you're a fan, show the developer some love and give it a rating.
Geekmas instructions here.
T&C’s found here.
Good luck, and be sure to tweet us and let us know your geekmas thoughts!
Be sure to have a great Christmas and a happy new year,
The TechNet Team.
What are the best gadgets to get for Christmas? An Xbox One, a Dell Venue 8 Pro, a Spider II, Lotus F1 Team USB Charger and a something to keep the coffee warm. Of course the real test is, are they any good for the IT Guy?
Over the Christmas period it’s hard to get the right gifts for people that they love and that they actually want. I decided to help out my loved ones this year by bypassing their need to buy me gifts and to just buy them myself so that I could write about them in this blog post, as a result I’ll be happy with socks!
First up is the Xbox One because the holidays are a time for fun not just working. The Xbox One comes in at around £520 with a game and is obviously one of the two next gen consoles on the market, there are reviews of it all over the web from core gamers, journos and the like so I thought I’d give you some observations about the console itself that they might have missed.
The Kinect sensor is built in and voice commands are really handy as is having the sensor automatically sign you in when you’re in the room. What I’ve noticed though is that the sensor doesn’t have to be front on, under the TV or over the TV to work. I have it off angle to the left of my TV since the Kinect’s two meter cable doesn’t quite reach from our media unit to our TV. The Kinect doesn’t always “see” me in the room for a start but starting a game by saying “Xbox go to Forza Motor Sport 5” it seems to be enough to recognise who I am and sign me in.
The games themselves look stunning, Forza Motor Sport 5 has an amazing level of detail in every single frame you see on screen. The bonnet of my shiny Shelby reflects all detail of the oncoming horizon and i get to see little helicopters hovering around the race track as I drive.
The controller is excellent, as you’d expect, but the best thing about it is absolutely the rumble buttons which give great feedback while breaking, accelerating and hitting rumble strips in Forza.
Is it any good in the Datacentre? Well that depends…In the past I’ve been known to move a sofa into the DC over holidays for the operators, combine that with an Xbox One and you’ll probably receive less support calls…
I can’t talk highly enough of this device, actually few can and indeed it’s been so popular that when the Microsoft Store in the US recently offered a holiday discount taking the device down to $199 it sold out in minutes. The device is now available in the UK and it’s *possibly* the best Windows 8.1 device I’ve ever used. You can find my full review here on my Infrastructuralist blog.
Windows 8.1 is great on this device, really snappy thanks to a quad core Intel Atom, which also supports any desktop app you want. I find it works really well as a Sonos controller in my house as a result. It obviously also means you can use apps like iTunes that aren’t available on Android tablets for example. I don’t and I use Xbox music but some people are hooked on other music platforms (sidebar: devices are important, apps are important but it’s the music infrastrucutre and data that people want access too).
The Venue 8 Pro ticks all the boxes for me because:
IS it any good for the IT Pro? Yes, it runs Windows 8.1 which means I can carry the RSAT around with me and remotely manage anything I want. It’s the best tablet in the world for this, right now in my opinion.
What the heck is it? Well I am a man of many gadgets and it’s good for many of my gadgets, it’s a USB cable to connect device. One of the things I always have to have in my kit bag is a micro-USB cable to charge my Nokia 925 phone and my Dell Venue 8 Pro before this bit of kit though one thing has always troubled me. Cable length!
I don’t need a 2m cable or even a 1m cable to charge my phone. Very often I only need a tiny, weeny 1 inch cable to do the job and that’s what the Spider II provides but for lots of devices. It comes with Apple Lighting, iPhone and Micro-USB so it can connect anything that most people have in their pockets. It also comes with a tactility pleasing rubber case emblazoned with a Windows logo.
I’ve also started packing one of these into my every day kit and it’s something I’ll be packing into Christmas stockings a plenty. Just like the Spider II it has an iPhone and Micro0USB charging adapter but that’s not this things strength. One of the big problems with tablets and ultrabooks for me is a lack of USB ports and this device helps out there.
This device has a pass through USB port for power and it has a Micro-SD slot built in. As a result I can always connect some storage and be able to power my devices.
It’s getting cold out there folks, it’s time to take some coffee with you but it’s going to get cold … enter the flask.
So you’ve probably guessed by now that I’m not going to review the flask and that the last three items in this article aren’t the usual types of gadgets I look at…but it’s Christmas (other holidays are available) and so I’m going to give away a Spider II, a Lotus F1 Team USB charger and a Microsoft Branded Heat Retaining Aluminium Flask to three randomly selected folks who retweet this article with the following tweet and also follow me on twitter - @simonster* competition closes on the 10th of January, three lucky winners will be notified after, please refer to the T&C's below.
Just two small steps needed to win:
Step 1 - Follow myself on twitter - @simonster
Step 2 - Tweet: "I’m asking Santa for some gadgets, having read @Simonster’s ‘Five Gadgets to ask Santa for’ on the @TechNetUK blog: http://aka.ms/gadgetsanta”
*you need to follow me so I can get your mailing address and contact the winners!
**Just to be really clear I’m not giving you my Xbox One or Dell Venue 8 Pro!!
T&C's found here.
Terms & Conditions
Employees of Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotion agencies are not eligible, nor are members of these employees’ families (defined as parents, children, siblings, spouse and life partners).
Follow @Simonster on the Website and Tweet the text “I’m asking Santa for some gadgets, having read @Simonster’s ‘Five Gadgets to ask Santa for’ on the @TechNetUK blog: http://aka.ms/gadgetsanta”.
To the extent that entry requires the submission of user-generated content such as photos, videos, music, artwork, essays, etc., entrants warrant that their entry is their original work, has not been copied from others, and does not violate the privacy, intellectual property rights or other rights of any other person or entity.
Entries will be ineligible for the prize draw if they:
Only one (1) entry per person will be accepted. No purchase necessary to enter the promotion. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Microsoft is not responsible for lost, corrupted or delayed entries. Microsoft reserves the right to disqualify anyone who violates these Terms and Conditions.
Winning entries will be determined by a random draw conducted by Microsoft Ltd. on 13th January 2014 and will be supervised by an independent adjudicator. Chances of winning depend on the number of entries received.
A maximum of one prize per eligible entry is allowed. Winners will be notified or through the Website by 17th January 2014. If a potential winner has not confirmed receipt of the notification within TEN (10) days after the first attempt, an alternative winner will be selected on the same basis as described above (either at random for prize draws or according to the same judging criteria for competitions). Winners may be asked to provide identification proving their eligibility before they are entitled to receive the prize. Winners may be asked to participate in further publicity or advertising.
Prizes are as stated and are not transferable. No cash alternatives available. Microsoft reserves the right to substitute the prizes with prizes of equal or greater value. All prizes will be sent by Microsoft or its agent no later than 28 days after the prize draw has been made by Microsoft. Unless otherwise stated, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer's warranty and/or terms and conditions.
Prizes may be considered as a taxable benefit to the winners. Winners will be directly responsible for accounting for and paying to HMRC, or other relevant tax authority, any tax liability arising on their prize. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any query related to the taxable amount for reporting to HMRC, or other relevant tax authority.
Participants in this promotion agree that Microsoft will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, costs, damage, disappointment or losses of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in this promotion. Nothing in this clause shall limit Microsoft’s liability in respect of death or personal injury arising out of its own negligence or liability arising out of Microsoft’s fraud.
Microsoft cannot guarantee the performance of any third party and shall not be liable for any act or default by a third party.
Promoter: Microsoft Limited (“Microsoft”), Microsoft Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1WG, England.
Please Note: This competition is now closed, winners below.
On the second day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Two Beta Tests!
Welcome to the second day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition, today’s challenge should be second nature to any devs, so good luck!
As this week draw’s to a close, it’s our pleasure to announce below some of the awesome prizes we’ve got up for grabs today.
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Three VM’s’. Were you one of our three lucky winners? It will take us a little longer to determine winners for this one due to the entry method. so please bare with us. Find out who’s won what here as soon as released, we will be emailing winners as soon as we can.
Today's competition is somewhat of a treasure hunt. Somewhere within the code of this blog post you’ll find a hidden Geekmas phrase. Once you've found the hidden message, simply tweet it to @TechNetUK using the hashtag #Geekmas.
Follow these simple steps to enter:
1. Find the hidden geekmas message in the source code of this blog post
2. Follow @TechNetUK
3. Tweet the hidden message to @TechNetUK using the hashtag #Geekmas.
We’ve two fantastic TechNet bundles to giveaway today… two lucky winners will win the following:
- A pair of VIP Gadget Show Tickets for April (tickets gain entry to the show and super theatre, terms apply)
- a Nokia Lumia 820 phone (Dev spec)
- a Nokia wireless charging docking station,
- a Nokia Keyring
All entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Thursday 19th will be considered, however only two winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at approx. 09:30 Monday 23rd.
Congratulations to @GeorgeDuckett and @TopFiveSoftware who've one the above prizes on the penultimate day of #Geekmas. We'll be in touch with both winners soon :)!
Angry Gran Run
Take to the streets with ANGRY GRAN RUN Christmas edition for Windows Phone!
Angry Gran Run is the best free 3D running game! If your a fan of grandma games (because everyone is, right?) then you’ll love this cool FREE running game! Download the app for free here. Give it a go! If your a fan, show the developer some love and give it a rating.
The TechNet Team
On the Third day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Three VMs!
Welcome to the third day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition.
With only three full days left the Geekmas competition is hotting up, we've got some great prizes left to give away!
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Four Jolly Nerds’. Were you one of our four lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
For today's competition we're changing gear and heading to the Microsoft Virtual Academy, our free training site full to the brim with courses for Developers and IT Professionals alike. A little insight into Microsoft Virtual Academy:
Successful technologists never stop learning and great technology never stops evolving. Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) offers online Microsoft training delivered by experts to help technologists continually learn, with hundreds of courses, in 11 different languages.
We have a specific MVA voucher code to share with all of you for today’s challenge, be sure to use it as this will be how we gage entries.
Follow these three easy steps to enter:
1. Visit the Microsoft Virtual Academy, and sign in or register if you haven't already.
2. Visit your MVA Dashboard, select the 'Redeem your Vouchers' tab and enter the code 'UKGeekmas2013', without quotation marks.
3. Benefit from all the brilliant free training courses on offer!
To wet your appetite for MVA, we've also hand-picked a selection of courses that are relevant to today's great prizes, so even if you don't win you still get an early Christmas present from Microsoft - the gift of knowledge!
What’s New in Windows® 8.1 for IT Professionals - What has changed in 8.1, covering Deployment, Security, Mobility and Windows Server functionality.Windows 8 for IT Pros Jump Start - IT Pro Tips & Tricks, Deployment, Productivity, Recovery and Security in Windows 8.C++: A General Purpose Language and Library Jump Start - Learn the basics of C++, including how to use the language and its Standard Library, coding and debugging within Visual Studio and writing efficient high-performance code.C# Fundamentals - Learn the fundamental concepts of C# applicable to video games, mobile environments, and client applications. Topics include getting the tools, writing code, debugging features, customizations and much more!
The guys over at Microsoft Virtual Academy also have some great free Windows 8.1 Developer Training courses coming up, so be sure to take a look and register if it sounds like you cup of tea.
We have Three TechNet goodies to giveaway today… Three lucky winners will win the following bundle of:
- A Kinect for Xbox 360 Dev kit
- A copy of Windows 8 ProAll entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Wednesday 18th will be considered, however only three winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at approx. 09:30 Thursday 19th.
A free app which allows you to search an entire database of patient information leaflets on health, conditions and diseases. Download the app for free here. If it helps you fight the December blues before Christmas, why not give the developer a rating.
By Dana Simberkoff, Vice President, Risk Management & Compliance, AvePoint.
With privacy breaches and security threats making headlines around the world each day, it’s becoming increasingly obvious to most enterprises that the personal information and sensitive data they hold is an extremely valuable commodity. Whether its personally identifiable information (PII), private health information (PHI), financial data, contract information, research and trade secrets, intellectual property, or contract data (and this list could go on and on), this kind of information has become a new kind of “currency” – and some have even called personal information the new “oil”.
However, shared inappropriately – whether by accident or intentional breach – this disclosure of sensitive data can have dramatic financial impacts on an organization and erode consumer trust. Do you really want to be on the front page of your local business newspaper for losing people’s sensitive information? Of course not. Companies may be subject not only to regulatory fines, censure and potential civil/criminal liability, but also may end up with government auditors reviewing their practices for decades to come. Talk about a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking.
A recent study by Forrester Research found that the highest percentage of data breaches (approximately 38%) are caused by employees simply making mistakes. The good news here is that this should be highly preventable as you look ahead to the New Year. However, as with so many New Year’s Resolutions that are made with good intentions, oftentimes just thinking about “data privacy” is so broad that you don’t know where to start … and therefore don’t ever really begin. It’s like saying you’re going to “lose weight” and you sign up for a gym membership on January 1, only to realize by next December that you went once a month and actually gained 10 pounds. If you don’t break down your goals into specific actions, you’ll never attain them.
I urge you in this coming New Year to latch onto this one action to ensure your enterprise is well on its way to protecting the private data it collects and stores: Set enforceable data security policies that make it easier for end users to do the right thing than the wrong thing.
In other words, break down “data privacy” into attainable goals with proper milestones, monitoring, and accountability in place to ensure you meet them.
What do I mean by this? It’s really easy to make broad statements such as “we do not allow PII data in SharePoint”; it’s like saying that you’re not going to eat cookies on weekdays. However, if you don’t back that up with the ability to enforce this policy or measure your effectiveness, it’s as though you’ve made the declaration without removing the box of cookies in your desk drawer or asking any of your co-workers to make sure you don’t cheat. Without any way to enforce your policy, you’ll be stress-eating chocolate chip cookies on a Tuesday as your company undergoes an inquiry for mistakenly storing PII data in its SharePoint environment. Ensure that your policies for complying with specific statutory and regulatory obligations can be measured, monitored, and enforced.
You can accomplish this by scanning content with out-of-the-box or customised compliance tests that map to the requirements and legislation for privacy by which you must abide, as well as help you subsequently block, delete, quarantine, move, or protect offending content. Instill IT controls and automation that make common sense for end users to do their jobs effectively with the systems and controls you want them to use. Don’t set up policies that are so cumbersome and restrictive that your employees are pushed to work “around IT” to get their jobs done. Make it simple to use the systems you can control in order to achieve your goal of data privacy.
Research shows that only approximately 8 percent of those who set New Year’s Resolutions are actually successful in their pursuit. When it comes to an initiative as serious as data privacy, it’s important you don’t become one of the 92 percent come 2014.
By Asavin Wattanajantra, writer at Metia.
Eddie Scrooge doesn't like spending money. He has a successful business, but likes to hoard his cash. He doesn't understand why he would need to spend money on the technology he's had for many years which is doing just fine.
But one Christmas Eve he was presented with the three geek spirits of Past, Present and Future.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
The Ghost of Christmas Past transports Scrooge to 2001. He was younger, fresh-faced and less cynical. He wanted to leave the Windows 95 and MS-DOS era, and find something which would work better for his business and crash less. Windows XP was the answer – it was easy to use and stable, with great hardware and software compatibility.
Millions of other people thought it was the bomb. Scrooge believed it so perfect that he would never need another system again. In a few years, it would become the most popular operating system in the world.
The Ghost of Christmas Present
Scrooge is presented with a vision of the present. Windows XP is working fine, but his business is using a system which is more than 10 years old – a lifetime in technology terms.
Windows is ageing – it’s designed to work on and interact with old technology. But it is working “fine”. Scrooge thinks “if it's not broken, why fix it?”
However, his rivals have already updated to new systems like Windows 8 and are feeling the benefits. They're saving time and money through increases in speed and efficiency. Their employees are less frustrated and increasing productivity.
The Ghost of Christmas Future
Finally Scrooge sees a vision of the future, and it's not good. His company has had some major security problems, as Windows XP is a system that hasn't been updated for a long time - April 2014. There are no patches available to fix vulnerabilities. He's also seen hardware vendors stop their support of XP quicker than he expected.
Scrooge's rivals have shot ahead due to their increases in productivity, together with a happier staff that can work anywhere, using devices such as smartphones and tablets with ease.
As dawn breaks, Scrooge is online looking at ways he can move his business to Windows 8.1 as quickly as possible. It turns out it's nowhere near as difficult as he feared, and before long he's ordering Surface devices for his entire workforce to spread some Christmas cheer (but in the back of his mind to get them to work harder :)).
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Please note: this competition is now closed
On the Fourth day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Four Jolly Nerds!
Welcome to the Fourth day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition.
We're getting closer and closer to our final few days of the Geekmas competition, and we've got some great prizes left to give away!
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Five old things'. Were you one of our five lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
Today's competition is for both IT Pro and Developer, sponsored by Azure. We've got four nifty Azure branded helicopters to help with your cloud journey.
To enter, we've three small rules for you:
1. Follow @TechNetUK
2. Register for an Azure Trial and take a screenshot of your azure portal
2. Tweet @TechNetUK with your Azure Portal screenshot, using the hashtag #Geekmas
We’ve Four TechNet goodies up for grabs today… Four lucky winners will win the following:
- An Azure branded Helicopter
- A Microsoft Arc Mouse
All entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Tuesday 17th will be considered, however only four winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at approx. 09:30 Wednesday 18th.
Our Lucky Winners:
Our four Jolly Nerds who will be the lucky recipients of an Azure helicopter and Arc Mouse are below. They 'flew' rings around the competition!
Congratulations to todays winners, we'll be in touch via Twitter.
New year, new house? If so, why not check out one of the latest Windows store apps - Mortgage Brain! A fast and simple way for you to search the UK mortgage market for a mortgage using UK's latest data. If you find it helpful, show the developer some love, give and em' a rating. Download the app for free here
Please note: this competition now closed
On the Fifth day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Five old things!
Welcome to the Fifth day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition.
We struggled to find five gold rings today, so instead gathered 5 old things, and 5 not so old but equally as gold things.
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Six Geeks-a-Playing'. Were you one of our Seven lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
Today, we're celebrating Instagram's arrival to Windows Phone - Share an Instagram image of your old tech kit laying around so we can pick 5 old things to win today!.
To enter, we've 3 small rules for you:
2. Download and use Instagram to photograph the oldest piece of kit you have in your office, caption it #Geekmas.
3. Tweet @TechNetUK 'Old Tech Instagram Image' #Geekmas
We’ve Five TechNet bundles up for grabs today, five old, and five not so old!… Five lucky winners will win the following:
- A Windows 7 mug plus sticker (Old thing)
- An X-mini v1.1 Capsule Speaker (Not so old. A surprisingly loud mini speaker, perfect to blast out a few Christmas tunes during dinner prep)
- A Nokia Rockstar T-Shirt (Not so old, Choose between a Black or White coloured rockstar tee)
All entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Monday 16th will be considered, however five winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at 09:30 Tuesday 17th.
We've got four winners from yesterday, clearly the odds for Swag are in your favour.
Congratulations, to todays winners. We'll be in touch via Twitter.
The official Instagram app for windows phone is here!
Use it to enter today's challenge, just tweet us an image of your old kit! Download the app for free here.
Please note: Competition now closed
On the Sixth day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Six Geeks-a-Playing!
Welcome to the Sixth day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition.
We’ve got Lego galore today, with a SQL Server twist courtesy of today’s sponsor Fusion-io!
The Fusion-io team have set up shop in the Microsost Research Center (MTC) all day today, to coincide wit the challenge. Follow them on twitter here for live updates throughout the day.
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Seven Sans-a-Spinning’. Were you one of our Seven lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
We've let Fusion-io decide the challenge today, they’ve chosen a SQL question for you, but with four possible answers!
All you have to do is comment directly below this post, with the answer - a), b), c) or d).
Please only choose one answer (winner chosen at random).
Question: Which of these options is most relevant in ensuring consistently high transaction rates in a performant SQL OLTP workload?
a) Adequate IOPS
b) Adequate Bandwidth
c) Low Latency
d) All of the above
We’ve Six TechNet bundles up for grabs today, we hope your a lego fan!… Six lucky winners will win the following:
- A limited edition Fusion-io Lego ioDrive2 set (for the kid in you)
- 2x Lego Hero Factory kits (for the kid in your house)
All entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Friday 13th will be considered, however the 6x winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at 09:30 Monday 16th.
Our Six lucky winners today are:
please get in contact by emailing email@example.com with the subject heading 'Day 6 Geekmas'
APP OF THE DAY?
Lego Hero Factory: Brain attack
You guessed it, lots of Lego! If your a fan of shoot-em-up’s this is a truly great official app.
The Hero Factory needs your help. Can you be its greatest defender? Download for free here, if your a fan, give it a rating!
My laptop running Windows Server 2012R2 looks like this when it starts:
This is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing if:
However if you are managing production servers at any kind of scale this is a bad thing as you don’t need all the tools and interfaces on every server you deploy. All those tools expose interfaces like File and Internet explore so if your servers are in the wild (so not in managed data centres) then curious local admins might wish to use those tools to surf the net or reconfigure your servers. Also these interface require patching and can consume resources.
This is why Server Core was introduced in Windows Server 2008 and in Windows Server 2012R2 Server Core is the default installation option. All you get if you install Windows Server with this option is:
Server Core wasn’t a popular choice in Windows Server 2008 for a number of reasons:
That has all been fixed in Windows Server 2012 and later and so Server Core should be your default option for all your servers except those used for Remote desktop Session Virtualization Hosts. You could achieve nearly the same result by doing an install and rip out all the interfaces once your server is configured they way you want in which case you would go to the menu remove features in Server Manager and in the features screen uncheck each of the options..
If you remove all of these from here or use PowerShell to do this:
Remove-WindowsFeature –Name Desktop-Experience, Server_Gui-Mgmt-Infra, Server-Gui-Shell
you essentially get Server Core. If you leave behind the Graphical Management Tools ..
Remove-WindowsFeature –Name Desktop-Experience, Server-Gui-Shell
You’ll get what’s known as “MinShell” all the management tools, but no extra fluff like IE and the Start menu, so this is also a popular choice.
If you do elect do a Server Core install and want then later decide to put the management user interface back in, you need to remember that the binaries for these aren’t on the server so when you add the features in you’ll need to specify a source switch, and before that you’ll need to have access to the source for these features by mounting the appropriate .wim file using the Disk Image Servicing Management command (DISM):
DISM /Mount-WIM /WIMFile:D:\sources\install.wim /Index:4 /MountDir:C:\WS2012Install /ReadOnly
Add-WindowsFeature –Name Server-GUI-Mgmt-Infra –Source c:\ws2012install\Windows\SxS
shutdown /r /t 0
DISM /Unmount-WIM /MountDir:C:\WS2012Install /Discard
This is actually quite a useful template as doesn’t have the binaries needed to put IE etc. back in but is still easy to manage. You could then use this as the the basis for creating VMs for your labs and evaluations by sysprepping it:
sysprep /generalize /shutdown /oobe
and if you wanted to save space you could then use it as a parent for the differencing disks behind the various VMs in your lab environment.
There is a free version of Windows Server 2012R2 specifically designed for Hyper-V, called Hyper-V Server 2012R2. This is very like Server Core, but you can’t add the UI back in and it only has a few roles in it specifically for Hyper-V, clustering and file servers as that’s all that is included in the license.
To finish up Server core is really useful, and much easier to manage remotely than it was, as Windows Server is setup by default for remote management within a domain. Just as importantly you might have dismissed a feature in Windows when it first shows up in a new version, but it’s worth checking back to how it’s changed in each new versions, be that Server Core, Hyper-V, storage or those big squares!