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Windows 8.1 enhancements for business

poniedziałek, Lipiec 29th, 2013

Will new Windows release introduce substantial changes that may convince corporate IT to adpot it earlier? I remember my colleague desperately trying to get an executive’s brand new iPad working with office wifi. The authentication to the network was domain based. This is not so new a problem but I guess it will steadily grow as BYOD becomes more and more popular. Another example: how many of use have a (personal) mobile phone next to you computer? Everyone? And how many of you can use it to access corporate resources (like check this Excel sheet while you’re away from keyboard). Nobody? With Windows 8.1 new feature called Workplace Join IT administrators will be able to precisly which resources can be accessed from a personal device without giving too much permissions. It is quite neatly called „a middle ground between all or nothing access”.

Workspace Join works hand in hand, and is kinda extended by a feature called Work Folders. It is similar to old offline files synchronization but you don’t need a device in a domain or domain access. Files will be synchronized automatically and can be accessed from different devices. Corporate Dropbox by Microsoft?

One trick to overcome worries over BYOD security is an introduction of Remote Data Removal possible if a device is lost or stolen. 3rd party tools already exist but an embedded feature will probably convince IT departments to use it more. I will galdly welcome another improvement – support for Miracast. And, last but not least, option to boot directly to Desktop as well as „Improvements have been made to better support users who prefer a mouse and keyboard experience to access applications.” – namely the start menu is back.

More Windows 8.1 enhancemets can be found here. Windows 8.1 preview can be downloaded here.

MCSE: Server Infrastructure

piątek, Lipiec 26th, 2013

I have finally taken time to pass 70-413 and 70-414 and I obtained MCSE: Server Infrastructure for Windows Server 2012. The exam 70-414 was really tricky so be sure to prepare well before taking it.

Too bad Exam Ref 70-414 book by Microsoft Press has been again posponed, this time for October 2013. Some time ago it was September, even earlier April, etc. Moreover, say good bye to old-style classic Training Kits from Microsoft Press. Now to learn new skills you  can use two types of paper resources: Exam Refs and Training Guide. The difference is, as explained on MS blog: „Exam Refs are designed to give experienced professionals an exam objective-by-exam objective tour of the certification exam.” while „The new Training Guide series is a wonderful orientation to the job role for a less prepared candidate.” Which is good – if you’re more familiar with the subject you can buy a shorter (and cheaper) Exam Ref and do your research with Technet. Which I did for MCSE as Exam Ref is rather a condensed compendium of topic you need to learn to take (and pass) the exam.


iSCSI target on Windows Server 2012? Why not!

poniedziałek, Listopad 26th, 2012

I have recently described how to install, configure and use iSCSI target on FreeNAS virtual server. This time let’s have a look how to present an iSCSI target on Windows Server 2012.

iSCSI target is a service role of File and Storage Services. Go to Add Roles and Features and expand File and Storage Services > File and iSCSI Services and select iSCSI Target Server.

Click Next and finish the role installation. No configuration is needed during the installation.

When installed open Server manager’s dashboard, click on File and Storage Services on the left and select iSCSI. On the right, click on Tasks menu and select New iSCSI Virtual Disk…

Create a new LUN... ekhm... virtual disk

Create a new LUN... ekhm... virtual disk

Select a location for your new virtual disk (a disk that will be presented under iSCSI target, you can call it a LUN if you want, Microsoft preferes to call it a virtual disk). Give it a meaningful name and choose a size.

Now we’ll create a new target:

Creating a new target

Creating a new target

Give it a name and add a server:

Click on Add...

Click on Add...

Select the method to identify the initiator. You can use IQN and a wildcard * as a value to allow all of them.

On the next screen you can enable CHAP if you want.

That’s it. You can now use the LUN presented by Windows Server 2012 as a datastore on your ESX server :-)

New book: Exam Ref 70-417 from Microsoft Press and O’Reilly discount code

czwartek, Listopad 1st, 2012

As a part of upgrading by MS certifications to windows Server 2012, I’ve just bought Exam Ref 70-417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server® 2012 book by J.C. Mackin. The book costs 35.99$ but with the discount code MSINT you can get the book as cheap as 17.99$! AFAIK the code applies to all Microsoft Press books :-) Really cool!

Looking for some reading for a weekend?

poniedziałek, Październik 29th, 2012

I know it’s Monday but for those looking for an interesting lecture for the next weekend I have some interesting suggestions of free ebooks and articles.

From Microsoft:

Introducing windows Server 2012Free ebook: Introducing Windows Server 2012 (RTM Edition) – PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats




Intruducing Windows 8Introducing Windows 8: An Overview for IT Professionals (Preview Edition)




Programming Wiondows 8 Apps




For those more interested in VMware solutions:

VMware Architect Summit EMEA September 2012 documents

Checking installed KBs with a VBS script

środa, Listopad 23rd, 2011


Usually after patching a server in order to check for installed KB to make sure that patches were implemented correctly I run a MBSA scan. However, I was quite displease with MBSA (need for a new cab file, too much time, unsearchable results, etc.) so I created this very simple script:

On error resume next
Const ForReading = 1
Set objFSO = CreateObject(„Scripting.FileSystemObject”)
Set objShell = CreateObject(„WScript.Shell”)
Set objTextFile = objFSO.OpenTextFile(„servers.txt”, ForReading)
Do Until objTextFile.AtEndOfStream
 strNextLine = objTextFile.Readline
 Wscript.Echo „!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ” & strNextLine & ” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Set objWMIService = GetObject(„winmgmts:” _
    & „{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strNextLine & „\root\cimv2″)
Set colQuickFixes = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
    („Select * from Win32_QuickFixEngineering”)
For Each objQuickFix in colQuickFixes
    Wscript.Echo „Hot Fix ID: ” & objQuickFix.HotFixID
 WScript.Echo „”
 WScript.Echo „”
 WScript.Echo „”
 WScript.Echo „”

You will also need another text file (called servers.txt) with the servers you want to check for installed KBs. Put into it the servers, one in every line. Then the script may be run from the command line with the following command:

cscript script.vbs servers.txt > results.txt

The results go of course to results.txt. Have fun! :-)

Not-so-virtual volumes extension in Windows Server 2003

poniedziałek, Lipiec 4th, 2011

Trying to extend a partition under Windows Server 2003, I kept on forgetting how it goes and so I had to have a look back for instructions. So I’ll have it here to remember:

  1. diskpart.exe
  2. list volumes
  3. select volume # (change # with your volume that you checked in point 2)
  4. extend

Just make sure you’ve got enough space on the disk :)

Longer version here. In Windows Server 2008 it’s a piece of cake. I’ve heard you can use the mmc to extend a volume remotely from Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 on Windows Server 2003. Has anyone tried?