Vol. 19, #24 - June 16, 2014 - Issue #984
Tips and Tools for Bootable USB Drives
- Editor's Corner
- From the Mailbag
- Tips and Tools for Bootable USB Drives
- Tip of the Week: Accessing Hidden Boot Options in the BIOS
- Recommended for Learning
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Events Calendar
- Asia Pacific
- Webcast Calendar
- MSExchange.org Webinar: What Exchange Administrators Need to know about Hybrid Deployments
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Enterprise IT
- SharePoint, Exchange, and Office
- Windows Server News
- DRaaS puts enterprise recovery in reach, at a cost
- Hardware acceleration two ways
- A different cloud option that will fit your budget
- How can you use clones as templates in VMware workstation
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- The World's Fastest Police Cars
- The Amazing Chladni Plate Experiment
- Road Bicycling Freestyle In Italy - Vittorio Brumotti
- Nike Football: The Last Game
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Import Active Directory Objects with Hyena's new 'Active Task'
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER to a colleague who you think might find it useful!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's newsletter is all about making bootable USB drives for deploying Windows installations and performing other tasks. As part of my research for this week's issue I looked up the word "boot" in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary and found out that boot (verb) or booting probably derives from the word bootstrap which means either (1) unaided efforts, as in "by one's own bootstraps" or (2) carried out with minimum resources or advantages. The first usage originated around 1875 while the second dates to 1926. Gee, I didn't know they even had computers back then. A computer dating from 1975 must really be a dinosaur. Of course, the real question is, did they use Cobol back way back then for programming? A line of inquiry like this leads us to our obligatory Dilbert comic:
Seriously though, I wonder who first used the word bootstrapping or booting with reference to electronic computers. Any experts in early mainframe history among our readers? Email me at [email protected] if you know the answer, thanks.
From the Mailbag
We have a couple of items in our mailbag that we wanted to pass along to readers. First, a reader named Robert asks for help on an issue involving adding new file extensions to Windows 7:
I have just copied several Hi8 tapes, successfully to DVD's, and they are playing well on both my DVD player and on my PC with Windows Media Player. However, the files created on the DVD, are shown as (example) -- VTS_01_3.VOB. My windows system does not recognize the file extension .VOB, and it is not registered. The default program shown within the Defaults, is Windows Movie Maker. This program will not play the DVD files, but I can make them play, when I select the default as Windows Media Player. This temporary default only works for the individual file selected, and when that particular file is closed, the default program returns to Windows Movie Maker. I require to import these .VOB files into Windows Movie Maker, so that I can edit them, and create an edited DVD compilation. Windows Movie Maker at the moment, cannot open and play a .VOB file. I have had a frustrating time, trying to add a new file extension, and I wonder if there is a free program out there, which will help me with this task. Your help would be much appreciated.
Can any of our readers help Robert out by responding to his query above? Email us at [email protected]
In Issue #980 Free Security Tools our guest editor Sasa Kranjac said "Microsoft Security Essentials is available for download in 33 languages, supports Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7." A reader named Rich sent us an email clarifying the support policy of MSE on Windows XP and said:
You might want to note an error in the latest newsletter. Microsoft Security Essentials as of April 8th no long works in Windows XP. I believe this was updated and MSE is supported on XP 'til next year. Per:
Microsoft Security Essentials will continue to receive engine and definition updates. The program will not be updated for XP.
XP will no longer receive any security updates.
XP can be reinstalled and activated with a valid key. MSE will not be available for download. All updates and service packs for XP will continue to be available via Windows Update.
XP Mode in Windows 7 is the same as standalone XP -- unsupported.
Thanks for that.
Tips and Tools for Bootable USB Drives
I saw a movie recently (an action movie and definitely a low-budget "B" movie) that was made only a few years ago in some eastern European country. While I usually enjoy movies like this (I've collected almost all of Dolph Lundgren's movies for example) what surprised me in this particular movie was the appearance of a floppy disk which one character handed to the other. When I saw this, I almost said, "What's that?"
It's pretty amazing how the USB flash drive has displaced the floppy disk for such things as storing files, flashing system BIOS, and installing Windows from portable media. For example, if you want to create a bootable flash drive for installing Windows 7, you can following this Ars Technica article:
....which references a free tool called the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool which you can download from the Microsoft Store here:
If you want to install Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 from a bootable USB flash drive, you can follow the steps outlined in this post on Windows EightForums:
Note that this procedure uses the same Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool described above.
Windows To Go
That's not the whole story however when it comes to Windows and bootable USB drives. Enterprise editions of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 include a new feature called Windows To Go that can use to create a fully manageable corporate image of Windows installed on a certified bootable USB drive. You can then simply plug your USB drive into a compatible computer and boot directly into the Windows image on the removable drive. For more information on Windows To Go, see these two TechNet articles:
Windows Server and USB flash drives
What about Windows Server? Can you create a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows Server 2012 for example? Yes you can as this TechNet article demonstrates:
In fact, you can even boot the standalone Microsoft Hyper-V Server from a USB flash drive as explained here:
This post by Blain Barton, a Senior IT Pro Evangelist at Microsoft, explains how to boot to VHD with Windows Server 2012 using a flash drive:
The next post from The IT Pro Exchange blog on TechNet demonstrates you can use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool for installing Windows Server 2012 from USB flash drives:
Of course this works with Windows Server 2012 R2 as well as MVP Thomas Balkestahl explains here:
Creating bootable images from an ISO
If you need to quickly create a bootable USB drive from a bootable ISO image of Windows (or Linux for that matter), my colleagues recommend you check out a free utility called Rufus:
Rufus is great if you need to flash the BIOS or perform other low-level actions on a system that doesn't have an operating system installed on it. And Rufus is twice as fast as the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool for creating Windows installation drives from an ISO.
Rufus can also be helpful when you accidentally brick your flash drive as it can allow you to see unmounted drives on your flash drive so you can reformat them. In short, if you screw up your USB flash drive, Rufus may be able to help you rescue it from the trashcan.
A few tips
If you want to make a bootable USB drive to install Windows on a UEFI system, you need to format it with FAT32. You'll also need to make the partition as active, and you can't do that from Explorer, you'll need to use diskpart instead. On the other hand, you can simply use Rufus instead to load your ISO file, then click, and you're done.
Note that the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool doesn't work with UEFI systems since the tool formats your USB drive as NTFS instead of FAT32. Well, that's not exactly true. Bootable USB drives formatted with NTFS will work on UEFI systems that have Compatibility Support Module (CSM), which provides a BIOS emulation layer for UEFI. And most UEFI systems available today include CSM. Very few available systems nowadays are pure UEFI systems i.e. without a BIOS emulation layer. Note however that x64 UEFI doesn't support x86 UEFI devices i.e. the architectures must match.
You can even create bootable USB drives that allow you to choose an operating system to install. For example, this post on the TechPowerUp Forums explains how create a universal Windows 7 image that includes both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. Once you've followed the steps in this article you can then use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool or Rufus to make a bootable flash drive with this capability:
Finally, for Windows 8.1 installations from bootable media, consider using USB 3.0 flash drives. See the Admin Tools section of this issue for some recommendations in this regard,
Send us feedback
Got feedback on anything in this issue? Let us know at [email protected].
Tip of the Week: Accessing hidden boot options in the BIOS
A colleague told me about the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 having hidden BIOS options you might want to know about. The scenario was trying to boot the system when it was in UEFI-only mode from a bootable USB drive formatted with FAT32. Should work, right? Unfortunately the BIOS hides untrusted boot devices like flash drives when it is in UEFI-only mode, so your flash drive won't even be displayed in the boot order screen of your BIOS.
The trick to booting the system when it is in UEFI-only mode from a flash drive is to open the boot order screen in the BIOS and use the down arrow to go beyond the end of the list of available devices. When you do this, a list of disabled boot devices (like your flash drive) will be displayed. Select your flash drive and press the exclamation point ("!") key and your flash drive will miraculously be added to the list of available (trusted) boot devices. Exit the BIOS (saving changes) and reboot your system, press F12 to go into the boot override screen, select your flash drive from the boot order list, and now you can boot from it.
I haven't tested this yet but I've heard it works.
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]
This week we have a few recommended books for PC hardware junkies:
Upgrading and Repairing PCs (21st Edition)
Building a PC in Easy Steps: Covers Windows 8
A+ Guide to Managing & Maintaining Your PC
Start Your Own Computer Business: Building a Successful PC Repair and Service Business by Supporting Customers and Managing Money
IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software Companion Guide (5th Edition)
Tech For Anyone - Build Your Own Desktop PC
Microsoft Virtual Academy
Some announcements from the Microsoft Virtual Academy:
July 15: Programming the Kinect for Windows Jump Start
Kinect for Windows v2, launching this summer, opens up countless possibilities for developers, from 3D modeling and new virtual environments to Face Tracking and accessibility. In the "Programming for Kinect for Windows" Jump Start, on July 15, skill up on the platform and explore the brand new SDK. Experts from the Kinect engineering team even show you how to start building an app without a sensor! Register here:
On-demand from MVA: Bing Ads & Bing Search Engine Optimization Jump Starts
Web professionals, cloud developers, online marketers, and anyone interested in SEO and SEM can use the Bing Ads platform to drive brand awareness and online and in-store traffic. Learn how, in these two on-demand Jump Starts: "Bing Ads", and "Bing Search Engine Optimization". Industry experts from Cardinal Path, a leader in online marketing training, explore proper keyword search, link strategies, and much more:
Quote of the Week
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon BonaparteUntil next week,
Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don’t receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we’ll try to troubleshoot things from our end.
Download Hyena v11.0. New features include updating and creating Active Directory objects from a delimited text file with the new 'Active Task' feature, plus improved Microsoft Exchange integration.
Free Study Guide for Microsoft Certification Exam 74-409: Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center. Read it now.
Microsoft Office 365 has become an option for organizations looking to move content – particularly Exchange – to the cloud. Learn about the capabilities of Office 365 and get ready to make the move.
Kingston DataTraveler Workspace is a USB 3.0 flash drive that is certified for use with Windows To Go:
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) on July 13-17, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Microsoft SQL Server PASS Summit 2014 on November 4-7, 2014 in Seattle, Washington
TechEd Europe on October 27-31, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain
TechEd New Zealand on September 9-12, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand
Add your event
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 95,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
MSExchange.org Webinar: What Exchange Admins Need to Know about Hybrid Deployments
A recent Osterman Research survey indicates that 54% of organizations will migrate to hybrid environment over the next few years. Join Microsoft Exchange MVP Michael Van Horenbeeck, on Wednesday, June 25 2014, at 2pm EDT | 7pm BST for an informative discussion on how to avoid pitfalls in a hybrid environment and how to keep your system tuned and running smoothly.
During this interactive webinar you'll learn:
- What issues will you likely encounter when transitioning to a hybrid environment?
- What steps must you take before you begin moving your users to the cloud?
- What are the most common reasons for outages?
- How can you ensure that our ADFS infrastructure is working correctly?
- What are the common problems with DIRsync?
- What's next for hybrid platforms and MS Office 365?
- And, have the chance to ask your top questions!
Register for Webcasts
Add your Webcast
PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
To scale out or not to scale out, that is the question (File Cabinet Blog)
Introducing Script Browser - A world of scripts at your fingertips (Ask the Core Team)
Windows Server 2012 R2 and BYOD (Part 1) (WindowsNetworking.com)
Hyper-V: Update List for Windows Server 2012 R2 (TechNet Wiki)
Understanding and Using Shared VHDX in Windows Server 2012 R2 (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
What You Need to Know About Software Defined Networking in Hyper-V (Part 1) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
SysInternals AutoLogon and securely encrypting passwords (Keith's Consulting Blog)
TMG Firewall Options for Scalability and High Availability (Part 1) (ISAserver.org)
Unsupported configurations of Forefront TMG (ISAserver.org)
SharePoint, Exchange and Office
Deploying an Exchange 2013 Hybrid Lab Environment in Windows Azure (Part 3) (MSExchange.org)
Monitoring Exchange 2013 with SCOM 2012 (Part 3) (MSExchange.org)
Product Review: Vircom's modusGate 5.52 (MSExchange.org)
DRaaS puts enterprise recovery in reach, at a cost
Cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is used most often for addressing major enterprise concerns, such as lowering costs and increasing flexibility, but employing this tool also requires an enormous amount of time and effort. Find out if DRaaS is an investment worth your while in this new resource, which weighs the pros alongside the cons.
Hardware acceleration two ways
GPU offload and protocol offload are two hardware acceleration methods that can improve your virtual desktop performance, but it can be very difficult to decide which option to use. Weigh the pros and cons of each method with help from this exclusive guide, and decide which hardware acceleration tactic is best for your organization.
A different cloud option that will fit your budget
There are an abundance of cloud providers in the IT market. Eucalyptus is quickly setting itself apart amongst its competition, however, by offering affordable cloud services for those with a more budget-conscious focus. Find out about all of the benefits Eucalyptus offers from an end-user perspective, and see if it is the right cloud option for your business.
How can you use clones as templates in VMware workstation
There are several known ways virtualization admins can use templates to create multiple VMs. A lesser known method, cloning, is just as effective once you're trained in using it. Follow these clear and simple steps to learn how you can use clones as templates in VMware Workstation, and start cloning today like a pro!
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
The World's Fastest Police Cars
The Dubai police force is the the proud owner of a Bugatti Veyron, McLaren MP4-12C, Aston Martin One-77, Lamborghini Aventador, Audi R8, Ferrari FF, Mercedes-Benz SLS, Bentley Continental and a Nissan GT-R. These vehicles are not used to chase criminals, but mostly for PR.
The Amazing Chladni Plate Experiment
A metal plate vibrating at different frequencies creates beautiful geometric wave patterns.
Road Bicycling Freestyle In Italy - Vittorio Brumotti
Vittorio Brumotti, a former bike trial World Champion and a 10-times Guinness World Record Holder, can do the most amazing things with his bicycle.
Nike Football: The Last Game
A five-minute animated film created by Nike showing that the football game should be brilliant, daring and bold. Playing it safe is not always the right thing to do!