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Tag Archives: Windows

Microsoft – Important changes to the update mechanism in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012

For a very long time, the update mechanism for both Windows clients and Windows servers have been the same. With Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 this has changed.

Even though I’d already found out that something had changed with the Windows 8/Windows Server 2012 update mechanism by using it, I didn’t really know what changed and why.

  1. Windows 8 Modern (Metro) Apps security patching does not work the same as regular security patching. For more information, read “Microsoft’s new security patching routine raises concerns“.
  2. Default behavior after you install an important update in Windows 8 or in Windows Server 2012 is that you receive a notice that you have to restart the computer in three days. If the restart does not occur in three days, the computer displays a 15-minute countdown and then automatically restarts. By default, this automatic restart is delayed if the computer is locked, and the countdown will begin the next time that you sign in to the computer. Update KB2835627 has been released that introduces a new registry key called AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime which enables you to configure a forced restart after installation if desired.
  3. This great blog post provides more insight: “Managing Updates with Deadlines in an era of Automatic Maintenance“. The reactions are also very interesting.Some of the key takeaways from this post:
    • A new feature called Automatic Maintenance, runs nightly and performs various tasks such as lightly defragmenting hard drives (or TRIMming SSDs if necessary), checking, repairing, and optimizing the system component store, running anti-virus scans, installing updates, and more.
      • The setting for when to download and install updates doesn’t work in the same way as it did. While you can still set Windows Update to download updates and install them automatically or not, the day-of-the-week setting is not effective. It is included in the automatic maintenance and there isn’t a way to individually specify which maintenance tasks run on which day.
      • The Windows Update Agent doesn’t have to be active in the background all the time because of this. This consolidation reduces system resource usage and battery usage.
    • If you want to be in control of when updates will be installed you have to use WSUS and set deadlines for updates.

Even though I understand the reasoning behind the change, I would have preferred that Microsoft gave customers options to choose their preferred method. In my opinion this method makes sense for clients, but not so much for servers.

Also for some (smaller) companies the specific day and time patching method (including downloading from Microsoft Update) worked fine and now they might have to install, configure and maintain a WSUS server (including patch approvals) to achieve the same result.

What do you think about this ? Leave a comment on either my blog or on the original blog post : Managing Updates with Deadlines in an era of Automatic Maintenance

 

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Windows 8 – What’s new in Windows 8.1 and how to prepare for the preview

As some of you might know, the Windows 8.1 Preview and Server 2012 R2 Preview (code name Windows Blue) will become available on the 26th of June. Personally I’m looking forward to both of them and can’t wait for it. Also for those who missed it, The Windows 8.1 / Windows RT 8.1 update will be free. The final RTM version of Windows 8.1 is expected to be available August 1st.

When you’re planning to install a new version, you might want to prepare for it. Even though I tried to keep it as generic as possible, some of the steps described are not applicable to Windows RT but you should be able to understand what the goal is. You can probably also re-use these preparations when you want to update from the Preview version to the RTM version.

Preparations could include, but are not limited to:

  1. Determining if you can/want to install the update.
  2. Determining how you are going to run the Windows 8.1 Preview. Some functionality is best tested on hardware installations, but virtualized installations can be more convenient/flexible.
    • Virtualized (by example using Client Hyper-V)
      • Install Windows 8 already and wait for the 8.1 Preview to become available.
        • Will consume more space.
        • Will allow you to install the 8.1 RTM.
      • Wait for full Windows 8.1 Preview ISO to become available.
        • Will consume less space.
        • Might not allow you to install the 8.1 RTM version.
    • Physical
      • Create a new Windows To Go (WTG) installation.
        • On an officially supported WTG certified storage device.
        • On an unofficial non WTG supported storage device.
      • Create a dual/multi boot environment on a physical disk.
        • Create a new installation.
          • Gather required drivers and store them in an easy to access location.
          • Gather applications you want to install.
          • Install.
          • Installation directly to disk.
          • Use the boot from VHD method
      • Update your existing installation.
        • Ensure your important data is safe prior to updating. Even though the update should not destroy data, there is always a chance that it might.
          • Ensure you have recovery media and/or create a USB recovery drive.
          • Move/backup your data.
            • Verify if the new location / backup contains all your data. With backups, verify if you can restore
          • Sync to cloud services (Skydrive, Dropbox, Google Drive).
            • Realize this is not the same as a backup.
        • Document the installed applications (using PowerShell):
          • For Modern/Metro applications:
            Get-AppxPackage | Export-Csv -NoTypeInformation -path “C:\MyMetroApplications.csv”
          • For regular applications:
            Get-ItemProperty HKLM:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\* | Select DisplayName, DisplayVersion, Publisher, InstallDate, HelpLink, UninstallString | Export-Csv -NoTypeInformation -path “C:\MyRegularApplications.csv”
        • Check if your current Windows 8 installation is healthy and if it is not, make it healthy again before installing the 8.1 Preview.
        • Install 8.1 Preview when it is available through the Windows Store
          • In the past I’ve seen issues with Service Pack updates caused by anti-virus solutions. So you might want to disable it until the installation has completed.
          • If you get an error “The windows 8.1 preview isn’t available right now. Please try again later.” take a look here.

With TechEd Europe 2013 in Barcelona and the Microsoft Build 2013 in San Francisco this week there’s probably a lot more news coming. So you might want to keep an eye on news on all websites. You can also check live streams on Channel 9.

I hope this was informative. If you have any other questions, suggestions or just want to share what you’re looking forward to the most, please leave a comment.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in ICT, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8

 

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Create Active Directory Visio diagram automatically using Active Directory Topology Diagrammer ADTD

One of the least favorite tasks of many administrators is to document. Good administrators also don’t want to manually do things when it can be automated. This is where Active Directory Topology Diagrammer (ADTD) can help to automate documenting your Active Directory environment.

Recently I have been working on a new Active Directory OU design and used the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer to create a Visio diagram for the AS-IS situation. I have to say it worked great. Keep in mind though that it will show the OUs and not any other containers.

Besides documenting AD OUs, the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer can document many other things as well. Take a look at the article “How To Use The Active Directory Topology Diagrammer” or play around with it yourself to see what it can do.

The tool can also be very helpful when:

  • You’re in a new environment and need to get a quick overview of the Active Directory.
  • When there’s no documentation available or when the available documentation is outdated.
  • When you’re auditing the quality of documentation.

For more tools, take a look at my website: http://bjornhouben-web.sharepoint.com/Lists/Applications/Summary.aspx

 

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Summary of 2nd Dutch PowerShell User Group – DuPSUG meeting with additional resources

Future events

Before starting with my summary of 2nd DuPSUG meeting, I want to inform you about some future events first:

  • Dutch PowerShell User Group Meetings
    • To keep track of news, use the links  to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the RSS feed on the DUPSUG website.
    • In the future, the plan is to meet every June and November.
    • The next meeting will probably be at November 7th at VX Company.
    • The idea is that community members will also present their own experiences, use cases, scripts, tools, methods. If you want to do so, please contact the DUPSUG group.
      • Remko Weijnen | Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn might be one of the people presenting at a future DUPSUG meeting.
    • Jeff Wouters might be able to arrange one or more copies of the PowerShell Deep Dives book from Manning since he’s contributing to it. The book isn’t complete and released yet, but Manning has an Early Access Program which means that you will get access to the completed chapters now and will get the full version when it’s done. Until June 13 there’s even a promotion to get a 40%-50% discount and it also applies to other great PowerShell books.
  • Inter Access Microsoft Summer Summit (Hilversum, July 2nd 2013 17:30-22:00 CET)

This event

Last Thursday I attended the second Dutch Powershell User Group meeting in Hilversum hosted at Inter Access and sponsored by Sapien Technologies Inc.

Just like I mentioned in the summary of the first meeting there were manu interesting sessions that provided me with more insight and inspired me for practical uses. It was also great to discuss current developments with other knowledgeable and passionate people. The main differences with the previous meeting was that:

  • This meeting was completely in Dutch, while the previous one was completely in English. As such, the workshop descriptions were also in Dutch and you needed to bring your own laptop.
  • The format of this meeting was more of a workshop, while the previous one was mainly presentations.

Thanks go out to all attendees, especially those presenting, organizing and sponsoring the event. Special thanks to Daniel Bot for helping me fix a (stupid mistake in a) script I was working on 🙂

Goodies and giveaways

Workshops / presentations

And now on with the really interesting stuff, the sessions/workshops. Below are the sessions with some info about the speakers and their sessions. I also added notes I took and other information I looked up afterwards. If you come across any errors or have comments, please leave a reply so I can fix it.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Microsoft – Recordings for “Using Microsoft VDI to Enable New Workstyles Jump Start” available on MVA

The recordings for “Using Microsoft VDI to Enable New Workstyles Jump Start” are available now on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA).

These Jump Starts are a great way to quickly get up-to-date about a subject. Also there’s a great team of people working behind the scenes to answer questions and provide more detailed resources. Other attendees often also share their experiences and provide valuable insights. So be sure to check out the Q&A log as well.

 

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Microsoft – Free Windows Azure for IT Professionals Jump Start

Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is hosting the “Windows Azure for IT Professionals Jump Start” at May 16th. Information and registration is available on the website: https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/liveevents/Windows-Azure-for-IT-Professionals?CR_CC=200206715

I’ve attended a couple of Jump Starts and I think it’s a great way to quickly get up-to-date about a subject. Also there’s a great team of people working behind the scenes to answer questions and provide more detailed resources. Other attendees often also share their experiences and provide valuable insights.

Also it’s only been a couple of weeks since Windows Azure IaaS is live in production backed by an enterprise SLA, supported by Microsoft Support, and ready for your production applications. Therefore it is a great time to start learning more about it.

I hope to see you there.

 

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Windows 8 / RT – Metro Internet Explorer 10 flash whitelist to be replaced by a blacklist

Up until now in Windows 8 and Windows RT, the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10 would only run flash on websites that were whitelisted in the Internet Explorer Compatibility View list. Even though you could add websites to the whitelist (I even made a script for it), most people didn’t knew it or just aren’t that handy with computers to fix this themselves. This ofcourse leads to a bad user experience.

Now Microsoft has decided to allow all flash websites and only blacklist some that don’t meet the standard (apparently less than 4% of the tested websites). You can read more about it here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2013/03/11/flash-in-windows-8.aspx

I think this is a good move, because it gives an advantage over other tablets. I think this should’ve been this way from the start, but better late than never.

 

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Windows 8 – Use Windows 8 apps when behind a proxy including the Windows 8 Store

In the past I’ve heard numerous people mention they couldn’t get the Windows 8 Store from behind a proxy on the corporate network. Many even thought it was a design flaw by Microsoft and that it wasn’t possible.

A colleague of mine Kuo Wei Lau informed me about this article that specifies how to configure the proxy for metro apps in Windows 8.

So it is possible to use Windows 8 apps from behind a proxy, but I have to admit that in my opinion the configuration is hidden in a not very obvious location. Nevertheless, it is possible 🙂

Apparently there are also other solutions and apparently there are also some issues to take into account. So you might want to take a look at these articles as well:

http://www.thewindowsclub.com/setup-proxy-metro-application-windows-8
http://drdebmath.blogspot.nl/2012/11/use-proxy-windows8-iitg.html
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2778122

[EDIT 04-07-2014] With Windows 8.1 Preview configuration of the proxy has been improved. For more info take a look at: https://bjornhouben.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/windows-8-1-use-windows-store-apps-when-behind-an-authenticated-proxy/

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 1, 2013 in ICT, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8

 

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Powershell – Rename-redirectedprinter

This script renames a redirected printer and sets it as default.

The reason this needs to be done, is because some older programs require a specific (short) printer name and will not work otherwise. With SAPlpd by example the printer name may only consist of x characters, no spaces, etc.

By default however with Remote Desktop Services in Server 2008 R2, a redirected printer will show as “<printername> (redirected <session ID>)” by example “Lexmark X1100 series (Redirected 2)”.

Note:
-Renaming a redirected printer is not supported.
-The script assumes there’s only one redirected printer that matches the comment filter.

All the hard work of determining what had to be done was performed by my colleague Peter Scheilen. I just converted it to PowerShell.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2013 in ICT, Microsoft

 

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Powershell – Get WSUS clients Without Sync Or Report In X Days

One of the tasks of a WSUS administrator is to make sure that WSUS clients are up-to-date. This requires the WSUS clients to report to the WSUS server on a regular basis.

So if clients do not report to the WSUS server, you need to investigate and resolve the issue.

This script will show you which WSUS clients haven’t reported in X days:
http://bjornhouben-web.sharepoint.com/Lists/Scripts/DispForm.aspx?ID=21

Another use case would be if you manage a WSUS infrastructure with an upstream server and multiple downstream servers for each customer. If one or more 3rd parties are responsible for managing the WSUS clients, you could use this script to automatically mail them the clients they’re responsible for that haven’t reported for X days.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2013 in Automation, ICT, Microsoft, Powershell, Windows, WSUS

 

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