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Tag Archives: Windows Server 2012

Windows 8 – My view on the re-added start button in Win 8.1 and 2012 R2

As you may have read already, with Windows 8.1 Preview (and Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview) the start button has been re-added:

win8.1_start

Basically by left clicking you will switch between the modern/metro interface and the desktop (similar to pressing the windows key). By right clicking you will get the menu shown in the image above (similar to pressing windows key + X). For more information and tweaks take a look at:
http://www.thewindowsclub.com/shutdown-restart-sleep-hibernate-windows-8-1

Another often requested feature was to be able to bypass the metro/modern interface start screen. This boot to desktop is now also possible: http://www.thewindowsclub.com/boot-to-desktop-windows-8-1

A lot of people have been complaining and discussing the absence of the start button and the start menu and that the shutdown/restart options where too hard to access.

Personally I simply press CTRL+ ALT + DELETE, click the power icon and choose the action to perform. Or I press the physical power button on my laptop, pc or tablet.

I also don’t really need the start button/start menu. I added my most used apps on the modern/metro start screen and/or added them to my desktop and taskbar. Other apps  I simply search for by starting to type on the modern/metro start screen.

The lack of a start button does irritate a lot when you’re accessing Windows 8/2012 through RDP or any other remote method. Trying to access the hot corners to switch between the metro/modern start screen and the desktop can sometimes be hard, especially on laggy connections (ILO/RSA/DRAC). The same is true for accessing the charms bar (which you use to restart/shutdown).

The re-added start button does solve the switching between the metro/metro start screen and the desktop I described above,but the charms bar is still an issue. You can use the start button for restart/shutdown though.

What I hate most though, is that the start button is simply a button. It doesn’t include the start menu people want to access their programs and settings in a way to are accustomed to. To make it even worse the re-added official start button makes it harder to use some 3rd party start button/menu replacements that were working well (but this will probably be sorted out soon since 8.1 has only been released a couple of days). Classic shell still works well though: http://www.classicshell.net/

Even though I think Microsoft has been doing a lot of great things lately, the way they’re handling the start button/start menu isn’t one of them in my opinion. People want the start button and the start menu they’ve grown used to and that has been available for many Windows versions. This start button without the start menu will probably lead to more disappointed users because they expect the start menu to be included with the start button. I think this will also hurt adoption in the enterprise. All in all I think it’s a missed oportunity

The preview version with this start button is not the final version. While I don’t expect Microsoft to re-add the start menu before the finl release, I sure hope they prove me wrong. If you want to have the start menu back, be sure to voice your opinion. This did work for the Xbox one, where Microsoft changed course with regards to Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Even though the start button isn’t what many people have hoped for, there are a lot of other great improvements to Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 though. I’ll try to post more about it in the next couple of weeks.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 1, 2013 in ICT, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 2012, Windows 8

 

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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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Milestone of 50.000+ views reached !!! Thanks everybody.

My blog reached 50.000+ views. Thanks everybody, this really exceeded my expectation and motivates me even more to keep going. Special thanks go out to my fellow bloggers in my blogroll and to those who shared my posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

Even though my blog exists since January 2012, I really started to blog actively around August and ever since I’ve tried to keep posting on a regular basis. At the start of 2013 I even intended to blog every day. I was able to keep it up for a short while, but it was just too time consuming. Now I try to blog something at least once every 5 days. The blog post count is now at 170.

Personally I think Microsoft is on the right track. I’m really looking forward to all new Microsoft product (preview) releases including Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 and you can expect some blog posts about this in the near future.

Popular posts

From the stats, it turned out these are the blog posts that are being viewed most, if you’ve missed any of them you might want to take a look at them:

Stats

For those interested in the view stats, here they are:

Views

Comments and suggestions

If you have suggestions about what I can do to improve, please let me know. Also if you’d like to see some things covered more or in more detail, just leave a comment.

 

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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 – Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V 3.0 best practices checklist

Roger Osborne has posted a great article with a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V best practices checklist.

I especially like the fact that it’s not just a checklist, but it also explains what it does and why it is considered a best practice to do it this way (in specific situations).

Additionally you might also want to take a look at “Top 20 Hyper-V Performance Metrics You Should Care About” and System Center Advisor.

 

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Microsoft – Resources to get more familiar with Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS)

Nowadays more and more work, communication and collaboration involves multiple external parties. This can involve by example employees, customers, partners, suppliers, cloud providers/platforms/applications.

This means it is becoming increasingly important to have proper authentication and authorization methods in place for single sign on (SSO) so users can be more productive. Besides the ease-of-use It can also lead to better security.

Microsoft’s Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) will make this possible. For more information on ADFS, here are some resources. Keep in mind though that while some information may be outdated, it will give you a broad idea of the concept and the inner workings. The current version of ADFS in Windows Server 2012 is 2.1 , while Windows Server 2008 uses 2.0

PS: Microsoft is moving more and more towards claims based authentication. Examples include Windows Server 2012 Dynamic Access Control and also SharePoint 2013 that has switched to claims based authentication by default now.

If you have some other resources that might be useful, please let me know so I can add them as well.

 

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Microsoft – Security Compliance Manager 3.0 (SCM) has been released

Microsoft has released the Security Compliance Manager 3.0 (SCM). This version includes support for Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, and Internet Explorer 10.

SCM enables you to quickly configure and manage computers and your private cloud using Group Policy and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. It provides ready-to-deploy policies and DCM configuration packs based on Microsoft Security Guide recommendations and industry best practices, allowing you to easily manage configuration drift, and address compliance requirements for Windows operating systems and Microsoft applications.

Basically in SCM 3.0 you can use predefined baselines, customize them or create completely new ones. Then you can export it from SCM 3.0 and apply it using an Active Directory GPO. To do this, create a new GPO in Group Policy Management, right click the GPO, import settings and complete the wizard.

You can also export existing GPO and then import it into SCM 3.0 and compare the differences.

 

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Microsoft – Exam preparation resources wiki for Server 2012 and much more

Guido van Brakel (@guidovbrakel) has posted the great “Preparation resources for the exam 70-417: Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012″ on his blog http://www.enduria.eu some months ago.

Apparently he has now partnered up with the Microsoft Learning / Born To Learn team and is moderating wiki posts containing preparation resources for all kinds of exams including:

70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012
70-412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
70-413: Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure
70-414: Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure

From what I can see in the wiki based on the placeholders, a lot of great content is planned for the future as well.

The Born To Learn blog , Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) and Server 2012 Virtual Labs are also great resources you may want to check out.

PS: If you’re Dutch or Belgian, you might also want to take a look at the Tweakers.net forum and especially the “[Microsoft Certified] Ervaringen en discussies – Deel 9″ thread where lots of Microsoft Certification information is shared.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2013 in ICT, Learning, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 2012

 

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Windows 8 – Running Windows 8 from USB stick or USB hard disk using Windows To Go (WTG)

Summary of what Windows To Go (WTG) is

In short, Windows To Go is a Windows 8 Enterprise feature that allows you to boot and run Windows 8 from a USB flash drive (USB stick).

Potential reasons and scenarios for using Windows To Go

There are many potential reasons and scenarios for using Windows To Go, but here are some of them from the top of my head:

Read the rest of this entry »

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 24, 2013 in ICT, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 2012, Windows 8

 

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Home LAB – How to use Windows 8 Client Hyper-V and VMware Workstation on the same machine

In yesterday’s post I described that for my purposes it was still necessary to run VMware Workstation sometimes despite having Client Hyper-V installed on my Windows 8 machine.

What you have to keep in mind though, is that you’re already running a hypervisor when you have Client Hyper-V installed in Windows 8. Installing and running VMware Workstation might cause problems. So unfortunately you cannot run them at the same time. This is also true for other virtualization products like by example virtualbox.

As a workaround you can either uninstall or (temporarily) disable Hyper-V. When you want to switch between Hyper-V and VMware Workstation it is ofcourse best to just temporarily disable Hyper-V.

In this forum post, a couple of methods are described to (temporarily) disable Hyper-V. It includes creating a seperate boot menu entry to boot with Hyper-V disabled and modifying the setting either through registry or a command. All methods do require a reboot however.

PS:

  • This kind of configuration is ofcourse not supported and should only be used for testing purposes in non production environments.
  • Depending on both your hardware and what your planning to do, you might also want to consider:
    • Running VMware ESXi from a USB stick
    • Running Windows 8 from a USB stick with Windows To Go (WTG).
  • It should also work on Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 and up, but I haven’t tested it.
 

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