Thursday, July 17, 2014

Server 2012 R2 Essentials shutting down from time to time

Sometimes I seem to forget to look at the INFORMATION event log entries as I’m looking for errors. Many times the unwanted reboots are intentional and don’t show as Warnings or errors. Like here:

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I had mistaken and installed Server 2012 R2 Essentials as a Member server which is not allowed. It’s my Direct Access server so I meant it to be Standard but had used the wrong USB key for installation.  The pointed Event Log told it to me in plain English as soon as I remembered to look at the INFO events as well Winking smile

Hosting Wioski.com

I just changed Wioski.com from GoDaddy to Bluehost. This link helps when deciding where to host: http://www.tcpiputils.com/domain-neighbors

On GoDaddy I was sharing the IP with thousands of websites and Bluehost with 16 Winking smile

Sami

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Uninstall MSI-packages in Safe Mode

I dug this up from a 10 year old course material I wrote but it’s still very usableSmile

One weird thing in Windows OS troubleshooting is that Microsoft wants software developers to use MSI as the installation method and at the same time says on their documentation that if you run into problems after installing some software you should boot into Safe Mode and uninstall it. The weird part is the fact that Safe Mode in Windows actually doesn’t allow the Windows Installer service to start thus preventing uninstallation of any software that was installed with an MSI!

You can get around this by tweaking the Safe Mode registry key with following command:

REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal\MSIServer" /VE /T REG_SZ /D "Service"

After this you can start the service with the following command or do it graphically with Services.msc:

NET START msiserver

Now you can uninstall any software that was installed by an MSI!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Why you need to manage your GPO’s from a Windows 8.1 and not with an RDP session to a Server 2012 r2

Inspired by Jeremy Moskowitz and his blog “RSAT is not Evil” http://www.gpanswers.com/rsat-is-not-evil/ I decided to give my 5 cents on this matter as well.

Most of my customers have adopted a style of administering their GPO’s from a central Server by establishing an RDP connection to it instead of using RSAT from a Windows 8.1 machine. This is not the case with just 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 but I’ll use them as an example. There are positive sides to using a server of course:

  1. A centralized location which always has the right ADMX-files even if no CentralStore has been created
  2. No need to install RSAT on workstations

But there are drawbacks as well which are the reasons why I on the other hand never do it but instead always use a management workstation for it:

  1. There are only 2 free RDP instances available on a server while infinite amount of RSAT’s can be used
  2. The most important: GPMC uses the underlying OS to gather settings you can administer even if you have a Central Store or the most up to date ADMX-files!

Let’s dig in to the second one a bit more with an example. Let’s say I have a scenario where my Boss asks me to:

  1. Change the startup type of WebClient service to Disabled to make connections to unknown UNC paths quicker
  2. Only allow the “Weather” Modern App on our Windows 8.1 machines

Here’s how the settings look from Windows Server 2012 R2 server:

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And here’s what it looks like from GPMC installed on a Windows 8.1 machine:

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Cheers,

Sami

Battery Life - Running with Hypervisor On or Off

I hear this conversation all the time about not running your Windows OS Hypervisor to save battery life. There’s instructions on building a different BCD Store entry so you can switch your Hypervisor OFF when your travelling and you don’t have need for running virtual machines. This does differ from hardware to another and especially from Workstation to Server. I don’t rely on  one advice but I test it on my hardware. Many good things come from Finland and one of them is a performance metering software called PCMark http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark

Here are my result from my new Dell Precision M3800 “Ultrabook”. And as you can see I won’t be using two different boot options but I’ll just run with my Hypervisor ON all the time.

Hypervisor ON:

HypervisorON

Hypervisor OFF:

HypervisorOFF

Monday, June 23, 2014

Preparing a new computer for personal use

There are certain steps I always follow when I get a new computer so I decided to write them down for everyone else to know as well.

I just received my new Dell Precision M3800. It’s got a 16 GB of RAM which is sad… Doesn’t it just suck that Intel doesn’t support 16GB modules of RAM with the i7-processors? AMD does but I wouldn’t buy a laptop with an AMD processor for other reasons.. So before Intel starts to support 16GB modules as well we are kind of stuck with 16GB Ultrabooks ..

Luckily drives on the other hand are getting bigger in capacity and smaller in size. So before I’m gonna take my Dell to production I’m going to change the mSata drive to a 1 TB sized Samsung one and the actual 2.5” SSD to another 1TB Samsung drive. Then what I’ll do is run Windows and programs on the mSata drive as well as store ISO files etc on it. Then I’ll steal the Dedup bits from the Windows Server 2012 R2 and use the 2.5” drive as a dedupped drive for my Hyper-V virtual machines. That’s the plan.

And what about my settings? I use UE-V, OneDrive and Folder Redirections (with Windows 8.1 having “Always offline mode” http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh968298.aspx I love it!) so I’m not that worried. It’s usually a case of installing a few pieces of software, reinstalling my modern apps, settings up a new Outlook profile as UE-V doesn’t sync it and I’m ready to go. With the addition of the concept of primary computers I’m really in a struggling between using UE-V or Roaming profiles as the latter would sync the Outlook settings and taskbar better http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj649076.aspx

While working with two computers for a while I love my new Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630 as it has two BlueTooth ID’s so I can change it from one computer to another with the press of a button.

What do I always to when I get a new computer?

  1. Unpack
  2. Finish off the installation for the preinstalled OS
  3. Make sure you have a working Internet Connection
  4. Update all drivers etc. in any way which is the easiest
  5. Open up C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\
  6. Copy every folder that is newer than 22.8.2013 (in the case of Windows 8.1) to a USB stick
  7. (change hard drives etc)
  8. Install Windows 8.1 Enterprise with Update
  9. Reinstall all device drivers from the USB stick
    1. for /r %i in (*.inf) do pnputil.exe –i –a “%i”
      1. Need to be run in the folder where you copied your DriverStore\FileRepository contents to
    2. If Device Manager still shows something not working then install drivers manually
  10. Some minor tweaking as always Winking smile

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wioski 2.1 Out Now!

I’ve finally released Wioski 2.1 out to production. Changes are minor or big depending on perspective. Head to http://www.wioski.com/

Changes:
- New and better Windows PE used for the installation

- Support for Windows 8.1 (update) added

- Changed the minimum disk size to 40GB instead of the old 20GB

ATTENTION!! For fully automated installation the WIM-file used as the install.wim for Wioski can only have one image. If you have many images you should use the following DISM command to export the image to a new WIM-file:

dism /export-image /sourceimagefile:install.wim /sourceindex:1 /destinationimagefile:install2.wim

Remember to rename the wim-file to install.wim before copying it to the Wioski installation folder.

If you don’t know how many images a wim-file has use the below syntax to figure it out:

dism /get-imageinfo /imagefile:install.wim

Sami