Deployment: It Gets Better
- Editor's Corner
- From the Mailbag
- Guest Editorial
- Deployment: It Gets Better
- Tip of the Week
- Recommended for Learning
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Webinars & Seminars
- Conferences, Expos and Other Events
- Upcoming Microsoft Webcasts
- Upcoming O'Reilly Webcasts
- VMware Webcasts
- Cisco Events
- Oracle Events
- Tech Briefing
- Now available: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 RC1
- Customizing Wizards with MDT 2012
- MDT 2012 New Feature: Monitoring
- Windows 7 Deployment Options for Small and Midsize Businesses
- Windows Server News
- BriForum 2012: Register today!
- Private cloud computing projects: The next frontier
- VDI storage requirements: Do you need a new storage array?
- Common storage and virtual machine snapshot challenges
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff.
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Deploy 3rd party patches with Microsoft WSUS or SCCM
From the Mailbag
Some feedback from readers concerning Data Recovery Options in the March 12 issue of this newsletter:
- RAID Data Recovery NJ. They once saved the day for a non-profit of mine.
- Spinrite from grc.com. THE best at recovering data from a drive that has "grown" defects on the platter, in my personal experience. Controller board must be operational for this program to be of use. I have even recovered a Novell server using this utility (yes, they were running Novell on a computer with a single hard drive, no RAID). This utility does not care what OS is on the drive to work.
- In our experience, the amount of time required to recover and resume production is as important as the data. We try to get customers to do backups and images to minimize this lost time. Our tip is to ask what they or their employees do to get company income while they are waiting for data/system recovery.
And here's a hot tip from a reader:
Just wanted to alert you that the Microsoft has dropped prices for their Office365 product range. It is already in effect if you sign up now. The drop is about 20%. [To see this] just go and do a dummy purchase. The prices are already lowered. It might not be reflected on their static pages, but proceed with the purchase and you will see the lower price.
Thanks! Send your hot IT tips to me at [email protected] and I'll share them with our readers!
Feel bored? Got time to browse? Check out the back issues of our newsletter here:
This week I've invited Johan Arwidmark to provide us with a guest editorial on the topic of deploying Windows 8 Beta using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 RC1. Johan is a well-known deployment expert and is Chief Technical Architect at Knowledge Factory, a company based in Stockholm, Sweden that specializes in infrastructure, design and implementation of IT infrastructure and security:
But first: OK from reader feedback to our mailbag it looks like a lot of you don't like the new Metro user interface for Windows 8. Many of you said it's only good for tablet computers that don't have a keyboard. Well, perhaps. But then there's another possible solution for computers that don't have keyboards, namely voice recognition software, so let's check out what User Friendly has to say about whether voice recognition software can make you more productive in your work:
Deployment: It Gets Better
By Johan Arwidmark, Chief Technical Architect, Knowledge Factory
With Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and the underlying Windows AIK and Windows Deployment Services (WDS) infrastructure, Microsoft has put a strong platform for Windows deployment in place. The latest release of the MDT solution accelerator (MDT 2010 Update 1) has been downloaded more than 500,000 times and has become the de facto standard for how to deploy Windows client and servers.
With the release of MDT 2012 RC1 you can now use the same platform to deploy the Windows 8 Consumer Preview as well as Windows Server 8 beta. In addition, Microsoft is updating WDS in Windows Server 8 and is also replacing Windows AIK with the new Assessment and Deployment Toolkit (ADK). You are still not supposed to use new ADK and WDS for the actual Windows deployments, but they once again become the critical deployment infrastructure for the MDT deployment solution.
While MDT 2012 RC1 is the solution driving the deployment tools from ADK, and using the PXE and Multicast options from WDS to do network-based deployments, this doesn't mean there haven't been any changes in these infrastructure components. In the ADK for example you will find Windows PE 4.0, adding new features like PowerShell and .NET Framework support to your boot images as shown below:
Figure 1: The PowerShell command window in WinPE 4.0 listing some hardware info using WMI
In addition WinPE 4.0 supports encyrpting the volume with Bitlocker before you actually start the deployment i.e. while the volume still has no data on it, making the entire encryption process add only a few minutes overhead rather than a few hours as you may experience with the current version WinPE 3.1.
WDS in Windows Server 8
In the Windows Server 8 beta version of WDS you will also find improved performance, both when downloading the MDT boot image and when multicasting the operating system image from MDT. In our testing we found WDS in Windows Server 8 performed up to twice the speed which is very impressive. Configurations that previously had to be done by obscure registry entries are now visible in the WDS Console, and you will also find new options for controlling for example the download speed of the boot image:
Figure 2: WDS Server Properties showing the new TFTP tab where you can set the TFTP maximum block size and the variable window size
MDT 2012 RC1
In MDT 2012 RC1 Microsoft added more than just support for Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Windows Server 8 beta, and the ADK. Here is a summary of the major additions in MDT 2012 RC1:
- Centralized monitoring of MDT 2012 Lite Touch deployments
- Deployment of Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)
- Deployment of Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT)
- Deployment to computers that use the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
- Deployment to computers that require the globally unique identifier (GUID) Partition Table (GPT) format
- Deployment to virtual hard disks (VHDs) for native boot
- Support for deploying Windows Thin PC
- Support for deploying Windows Embedded POSReady 7
In addition, MDT 2012 RC1 adds quite a number of other small enhancements and bug fixes.
Please note that Windows ADK beta is only supported for deploying Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Windows 7 in lab environments, not in production environments.
Figure 3: MDT 2012 RC1 task sequence for deploying to a VHD file
Be sure to check out Johan's blog and also his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites:
Tip of the Week
WMI filters can be used to define the scope of Group Policies based on computer attributes such as operating system, free hard disk space, brand and model, and so on. But to use them properly you should use them sparingly and test the performance of the filters before using them in your production environment since they can cause delays in Group Policy processing if you use too many of them or make them too generic in nature.
For example, try and avoid the "select * from" approach when making WMI filter queries and instead try to only include the objects from the WMI class you need to evaluate your filter query. Thus, instead of using something like this:
Select * From Win32_OperatingSystem where BuildNumber >= 7600 AND ProductType ='1'
use something like this instead:
Select BuildNumber, ProductType from Win32_OperatingSystem where BuildNumber >= 7600 AND ProductType ='1'
Recommended for Learning
Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out from Microsoft Press is an introductory-level on how to maintain, repair and recover Windows 7 computers. The book is less advanced than most Inside Out titles from Microsoft Press, but for ordinary users who want to become "power users" the book has the advantage of covering lots of ground and has lots of screenshots, so I definitely recommend it if you consider yourself in that audience. But don't expect to find KB-level treatment of Windows 7 support issues. Experienced IT pros who need to perform advanced troubleshooting will probably go directly to the Microsoft Support site for the information they need.
Quote of the Week
This week's quote comes from a back page interview with Nick Nolte in a recent issue of Men's Journal magazine:
Q: How should a man face his fears?
Nolte: To allow the fear to come on you and then pass through. If you keep cutting the fear off by intervening - let's say, taking a Xanax to try to cure it - you'll never understand what fear is really for. Fear is part of a survival mechanism. The way you conquer fear is to feel it all the way, and then you'll find out that there's nothing there - it's just emotion.
Fear is a part of life for many if not most of us. "What happens if I can't finish this project on time? What's going to happen now that we have a new boss? What will happen to our consultancy if our biggest client goes into receivership?" And so on. So I find Nolte's thoughts highly relevant for my life and work, but only half correct. As I understand it, fear isn't "just emotion" as Nolte suggests. Fear is something that begins in the mind and then affects our whole body. When we become aware of something that may cause harm to our career, reputation, or safety, our body reacts to what our mind has perceived by making our heart beat faster, breathing more shallow, vision more focused, and so on. The perception of fear by our mind results in hormones being released which affect our body, which in turn has an impact on our ability to think and reason. And during a fearful situation we need to be able to think and reason clearly so we can choose the correct course of action to take in order to preserve our career, reputation or safety. But it's hard to think and reason clearly when your mind is racing because of too much adrenaline in your bloodstream.
Nolte's suggestion is that the way to conquer fear is to "feel it all the way" and I think he means we need to become more aware of what's happening in our bodies. "Aha, my heart is beating faster and my breathing has become shallow! That's just my body reacting to the hormones released because my boss just yelled at me. It's just the result of some hormones, so no big deal. Now, how should I address this situation?" I wonder if that's the sort of mental conversation that goes through the mind of an MMA fighter who is about to enter the ring against an opponent who has a formidable reputation.
Here's an example of the above principle at work in a tangential kind of way. The other day I stubbed my little toe pretty hard. But instead of crying "Ow! Ow! Ow!" while hopping around on one foot, as soon as my mind became aware of the pain I had the following thought: "Oh, that's just some pain in my toe I'm experiencing." I then began focusing on feeling the pain in my toe instead of paying attention to what was happening in the rest of my body (rapid heartbeat, shortened breathing, clenched jaw, and so on) and then a few moments later I dismissed the pain and moved on with whatever I was doing. Afterwards I realized that by feeling the pain "all the way" I was able to dismiss the hormonal response it had caused and thereby mitigate the emotional impact of the situation. Interesting, eh? Anyways, let me know at [email protected] if you have any thoughts concerning this. And be sure to watch where you walk ;-)
And for the full interview with Nolte in Men's Journal, see here:
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Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
Download a free, fully functioning 30-day trial of Patch Manager from SolarWinds and get visibility into patch compliance with an extensive collection of simple, built-in reports.
Using Microsoft Hyper-V? Altaro Hyper-V Backup Freeware Edition is an easy to use Hyper-V aware backup solution. Watch the YouTube Video.
rDirectory’s free Community Edition web-based directory deploys in minutes and immediately allows users to search Active Directory data anywhere, anytime, from any computer.
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 RC1 is now available (Windows Live ID required):
Anyplace Control allows multiple users to connect to a shared session:
Webinars & Seminars
Conferences, Expos and Other Events
April 16-20, 2012 - Microsoft Management Summit 2012 is where skilled IT professionals can meet to increase their technical expertise through hands-on training, breakout sessions and interacting with industry leaders in desktop and device management, datacenter, and cloud technologies:
July 8-12, 2012 - Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Canada is the premier event for Microsoft partners to spark connections, deliver insight, and build business. Learn about the latest Microsoft programs, strategies, and cutting-edge technologies, while meeting Microsoft staff and other partners from around the world:
Upcoming Microsoft Events and Webcasts
- April 6, 2012 - TechNet Webcast: The Baker's Dozen: What's New in SQL Server 2012 (Part 3 of 13): New FileTable Enhancement (Level 300)
- April 11, 2012 - Microsoft Office System Webcast: Microsoft Office Tips and Tricks: Outlook 2010: Customize Your Outlook Environment, and Work with Options for Email, Calendar, Tasks, and More (Level 200)
- April 11, 2012 - Business Insights Webcast: Office 365: Business Utilization of SharePoint Online (Level 200)
- April 11, 2012 - Microsoft Office System Webcast: Microsoft Office Tips and Tricks: Excel 2010: Control Data Entry, Secure Your Workbooks, and Do More with Excel 2010 (Level 200)
- April 12, 2012 - Business Insights Webcast: You Can't Hack Yourself Secure (Level 100)
- April 13, 2012 - TechNet Webcast: The Baker's Dozen: What's New in SQL Server 2012 (Part 4 of 13): New Capabilities in SQL Server 2012 Integration Services (Level 200)
Sign up for these and other Microsoft events and webcasts at:
Upcoming O'Reilly Webcasts
- April 4, 2012 - Manually Removing Viruses and Malware from Windows 7
- May 3, 2012 - Building and Upgrading a PC
- June 6, 2012 - IPv6 Address Autoconfiguration and DHCPv6
Sign up these and other O'Reilly webcasts at:
Browse for VMware webcasts at:
Browse the Cisco Corporate Events Calendar to find Cisco at events, trade shows and conferences around the world:
Browse the Oracle Events page to find in-person events and live webcasts for your location:
Would you like to list your IT event, webcast, or seminar in this section? Contact Michael Vella, the WSN Account Manager at [email protected]
Now available: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 RC1
A post from the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Team Blog that provides details concerning new functionality in this release:
Customizing Wizards with MDT 2012
Michael Niehaus explains how to add new wizard panes to MDT 2012:
MDT 2012 New Feature: Monitoring
With MDT 2012 you can now monitor what deployments are currently in progress:
Windows 7 Deployment Options for Small and Midsize Businesses
From the Deployment Guys blog comes a link for a printable poster that can help small and mid-sized businesses plan their deployments better:
Windows Server News
BriForum 2012: Register today!
The most advanced, technical, hands-on desktop virtualization event is returning to Europe this May and Chicago this July. Independent industry experts, led by Brian Madden, share the latest tips and strategies around desktop virtualization, VDI, application virtualization, Remote Desktop Services, and consumerization of IT. Register today!
Private cloud computing projects: The next frontier
Private clouds allow organizations to manage their hardware locally while letting the end users access the infrastructure remotely. This is sometimes the best option for an enterprise, often due to legislation of regulations. Check out these best practices for planning and implementing your enterprise’s private cloud project, including how to choose the right hypervisor, software, hardware, and more.
VDI storage requirements: Do you need a new storage array?
Having the wrong storage array can hurt an enterprise’s VDI deployment. Before you virtualize desktops, it’s crucial to determine your VDI storage requirements and decide whether your array can handle the extra load. Learn more about VDI’s storage depending on the deployment size before making any decisions.
Common storage and virtual machine snapshot challenges
Unfortunately, even minor storage and virtual machine snapshot mistakes can ruin a virtual infrastructure. For this reason, it’s crucial to be cautious and keep an eye out for possible common snapshot pitfalls before they happen. Learn more about VM snapshot difficulties, storage issues, and support for thin provisioning with this expert tip.
WServerNews FAVE Links
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
Enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery from the viewpoint of an F15-D Eagle co-pilot. Best in Full Screen and HD:
A symphonic comedy about the many features of a remote-controlled "automated conductor":
Avi Rubin, Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University, talks about the security risks in medical devices and modern cars:
In case you missed it: Cirque Du Soleil stole the 84th Academy Awards with their movie-themed dance performance:
WServerNews - Product of the Week
WServerNews - Editors
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.