Archive for the ‘Windows 8’ Category

Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference

Sign up for the first ever Microsoft online Virtual conference.  Two days of free sessions. 
http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualconference.aspx 

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  • · World-class free online conference that features technical content presented by Americas’ region MVPs that is open to the public
  • · More technical content (Level 200, 300, 400), less marketing
  • · 5 tracks: IT Pro English, Dev English, Consumer English, Mixed Spanish, Mixed Portuguese
  • · Event will be broadcast via Lync using L+ which enhances the conferencing capabilities of Lync
  • · Two full days of sessions with simultaneous webcasts running across all 5 tracks
  • · Thursday May 14th and Friday, May 15th
  • · Start at 8am PT and running until 6pm PT (Pacific)
  • · Day 1: 45 sessions + Keynote, Day 2: 50 sessions
  • · Keynote on Day 1 to be delivered by Steve ‘Guggs’ Guggenheimer, Corporate VP of DX
  • · On Demand content available via Channel9
  • · This event is not just for MVPs, it’s for everyone!
  • #MVPvConf   #MVPBuzz

Conference Promo Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9mnBYT3xro

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Disable WSUS on Managed Computers

The past 8 or more years most of us have managed PC updates using WSUS (Windows Server Update Service) and Group policy.  However, the structure of the modern office has changed to a large percentage of mobile employees who never ‘touch down’ at headquarters.   If these devices do not connect to the domain they do not have updates applied.

A client who has not returned to the office in 18 months, and likely will not for the life of their laptop, recently asked how they could update their machine manually.  Currently they were not able to do so as Windows Update showed “settings are managed by your system administrator”, in other words, by WSUS

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It is quite simple to disable WSUS management in the registry, however remember if the device is reconnected to the domain, the WSUS policies will be reapplied.  Therefore you may want to move the device to an OU not linked to the WSUS policy or remove the device in the policy under security filtering.

Disclaimer:  Be aware making incorrect registry changes can have disastrous effects to the health of the device.  Be sure to backup the registry before editing.  To do so see the following Microsoft article; “How to back up and restore the registry in Windows”  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756 

  • Open the registry editor, by entering Regedit in the Start / Run box, and browse to:  HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\
  • Locate the WindowsUpdate  Key and delete it
  • Reboot the PC (may take 2 reboots)
  • Now you can manually update and configure Windows updates to automatically check for and install updates directly from the Microsoft Update site

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You may want to consider using a newer service such as Windows Intune to manage your computers, especially mobile devices.  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/windows-intune/

Windows 8 connect to VPN before logon

Last year I did an article entitled “Connect to a Windows VPN at logon”.  Rather than duplicate, please refer to that article for details, but It has been pointed out the method outlined is not available in Windows 8.  Actually it is but Win 8 by default alters the standard domain logon that was present since Win NT of pressing “Ctrl+Alt+Del”.  Restore that and you will again have the option to connect to a VPN prior to logon so you authenticate to the domain, and have group policy and logon scripts applied.

To re-enable “Ctrl+Alt+Del” either open the Local Security Policy under Control Panel, Administrative Tools, or open the local Group Policy editor by entering in the “Run” box gpedit.msc.  The location of the policy is in pretty much the same location in both, and setting in one will update the other.

  • In the Local Security Policy editor (control panel) it is located under; Security Settings | Local Policies | Security Options | Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL
  • In the local Group Policy editor (gpedit.msc) it is located under; Computer Configuration | Windows Settings | Security Settings | Local Policies | Security Options | Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL

The default state of the policy in Win 8 is “Not Defined” which on a domain joined computer effectively results in enabled.  You need to set the policy to disabled which will force the use of “Ctrl+Alt+Del”.   After doing so, I recommend running from an elevated command prompt  gpupdate /force, though it should not be necessary when editing the local policy.  On that note; you can enforce the use of “Ctrl+Alt+Del” domain wide by creating a GPO on your Domain Controller and editing the same policy.

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Once you do so, and log off, you will see the familiar “Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to sign in” message in the top left corner of the logon screen.

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After pressing “Ctrl+Alt+Del” there will be a small network icon in the lower left corner

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Click on the network icon and you will be presented with any VPN connection created on that computer.  Note these VPN connections must have been created using the “Allow other people to use this connection” option.  This discussion also applies only to domain joined computers.

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Enter you domain credentials, the VPN will connect, authentication to the domain will be processed, and group polices and logon scripts, including your mapped drives, will be pushed to the client.

 

UPDATE:  Should the PC not be domain joined and you wish to automate the VPN connection, please see: https://blog.lan-tech.ca/2013/06/08/rasdial-automate-vpn-connections/

Canadians – Win a Trip for Two to Mexico!

Microsoft Canada has created a great opportunity for free on-line training in Microsoft Private Cloud services, while at the same time entering your name for a chance to win a trip for two to Mexico.  Free evaluation software is available for System Centre 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, and Windows Server 2012 RC, as well as 6 free Virtual Academy courses, and 14 guided labs to introduce you to the Microsoft Private Cloud.

Keep in mind contest regulations state; “Sweepstakes is open to individual legal residents of Canada “ so your odds of winning are far greater than with global sweepstakes.

Learn About The Microsoft Private Cloud to Win a Trip for Two to Mexico!

Mexico2Microsoft has released new and exciting products that will change the way IT Pros utilize Virtualization and Microsoft Private Cloud solutions.   Two products which are a part of these great changes are the newly released System Center 2012 and the soon to be released Windows Server 2012.  Both of these solutions were designed to make virtualization and extending to the private cloud simpler and much more efficient.

With these new changes to Infrastructure and the IT world, it’s a great time to learn about these new solutions and keep yourself and your organization ahead of the curve in terms of where technology is headed.  In fact, Microsoft has even added an incentive to learn about their Private Cloud solutions through the Skyrocket Sweepstakes!

Entering is easy!  All you have to do is register, and then download a free TechNet evaluation like Windows Server 2012 RC or System Center 2012 to get started.  Every applicable evaluation you download gives you an entry into the sweepstakes! And the best part is the more evaluations you download, the better your chances.  And what’s the prize you may ask? Oh, just a 7 day, 8 night trip for two to Cozumel, Mexico!

The contest ends September 6th so don’t wait!  Register now!

Windows 8, Hyper-V, and SLAT

Windows 8 desktop O/S will include Hyper-V support, however there seems to be some confusion about hardware requirements.

Hyper-V server has always required:

“Processor : x64 compatible processor with Intel VT or AMD-V technology enabled.
Hardware Data Execution Prevention (DEP), specifically Intel 😄 bit (execute disable bit) or AMD NX bit (no execute bit), must be available and enabled.”  (from
http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=3512)

This hasn’t changed with the Hyper-v server version of Windows 8, but the desktop version of Hyper-V will require the processor also be SLAT compatible.  So, how do I know if my system will support Hyper-V?  Microsoft has a simple little command line tool called CoreInfo that will check for all requirements.   http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc835722

Simply open a command window with elevated privileges and run  coreinfo –v  to display the supported virtualization features.  An asterisk indicates supported and a dash means unsupported.

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Intel64 Family  –  indicates 64 bit support
Hypervisor is present  –  shows if the Hypervisor role is currently enabled
Supports Intel hardware-assisted virtualization  – verifies Virtualization support
Supports Intel extended page tables (SLAT)  –  confirms SLAT compatibility

Another little utility worth mentioning is Securable by GRC.com   This has been a standard for testing for Hyper-V compatibility, but so far does not include tests for SLAT support.  It does however have a specific DEP check. http://www.grc.com/securable.htm

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I should also point out, if you plan to enable Remote FX support on a Hyper-V server (a server O/S), whether Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 8, you will need a SLAT compatible processor.

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