Category Archive: Windows

Why Do Servers Need More Memory As Time Goes On?

Have you ever noticed how a server tends to slow down over time? No, this isn’t simply your server getting old and tired. This is often caused by the same server needing more and more memory (RAM) as time passes. There are good reasons why this happens, and ways to minimize the effects. Here are a few common reasons why a server requires more memory as time goes on. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2014/08/windows/windows-server-2008-r2/why-do-servers-need-more-memory-as-time-goes-on/

Importing & Exporting Hyper-V VMs in Windows Server 2012 R2

HyperV_LogoThough often a less frequently used feature of Hyper-V, the import and export functions offer some very useful benefits.  In Windows Server 2012 R2 these benefits get even better.  I will explain how this functionality works, and why it is useful.  I’ll also discuss how these functions are very different from the commonly used checkpoints in Hyper-V. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/10/windows/windows-server-2012/importing-exporting-hyper-v-virtual-machines-in-windows-server-2012-r2/

Upgrading to Windows 8.1 RTM from Windows 8.1 Preview

On September 17, 2013, contrary to former public statements, Microsoft released the RTM (released to manufacture) version of Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows Server 2012 R2 to TechNet and MSDN subscribers.  This is before the October General Availability (GA) release date. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/10/windows/windows-8/upgrading-to-windows-8-1-rtm-from-windows-8-1-preview/

Windows Server 2012 Feature: Share Nothing Live Migration in Hyper-V

Live Migration is the process of moving a virtual machine (VM) from one Hyper-V virtualization host to another Hyper-V host without any perceived downtime of the VM being moved. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/08/windows/windows-server-2012/windows-server-2012-feature-share-nothing-live-migration-in-hyper-v/

Shutdown Computers from Command Line

SHUTDOWN Notification in Windows 8

SHUTDOWN Notification in Windows 8

I was recently surprised by how many seasoned IT Pros didn’t know that they had the ability to shut down a server or workstation from the command line using the SHUTDOWN command. Not only is it possible to shut down the local machine from the command line, but it is also possible to shutdown other machines on your domain as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/07/windows/shutdown-computers-from-command-line/

Using SYSPREP in Audit Mode Before Creating a System Image

SYSPREP is a Windows utility that allows a computer to be generalized. If you’re restoring system images (using Ghost or a similar technology) to multiple PCs on a network, then it is imperative that you first run SYSPREP to generalize the system. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/07/windows/using-sysprep-in-audit-mode-before-creating-a-system-image/

Windows Server 2012 R2 (Blue) Preview Available for Download

Microsoft has released the preview of Windows Server 2012 R2 to the public. This is available for download for users with a Live ID at Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 Preview site.

If you’re not familiar with Microsoft’s “Preview Releases”, then let me explain a little. The preview is not a finished copy, but rather a beta version which contains most (if not all) of the features and improvements we should expect to see in the final version for GA (general availability). Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/06/windows/windows-server-2012/windows-server-2012-r2-blue-preview-available-for-download/

Closing a Crashed or Hung Application Using the Windows 8 Task Manager

Task Manager in Windows 8 (less details  view)

Task Manager in Windows 8 (less details view)

Regardless of how much time and money software companies put into writing their programs, we still have application crashes. An application crash is when a program or part of the operating system ceases to function properly. Preventing application crashes is usually difficult since the only way to permanently ensure you never get a crash again is to fix the bug in the software. We may not be able to prevent these crashes from happening but dealing with a crashed application, in Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012, is easier to deal with than many realize.

If you have a program which has crashed, you can close that program from the Windows Task Manager in Windows 8 or in Windows Server 2012.  If you have used Task Manager in previous versions of Windows, you will see significant differences in the new version.  By default, Task Manager displays a minimalist view (called less detail view), which only displays applications running (not processes).

You can access Task Manager by pressing the <CTRL>+<ALT>+<DEL> keys on your keyboard. You will either be brought directly into the Windows Task Manager or to a menu where you can open Task Manager. Once Task Manager has opened, click on the Processes tab. This will display all processes running on your computer. If you do not see any tabs in Task Manager, this is because Task Manager is in its less detail mode.  You can change to the detail mode by simply clicking on the “More Details” button at the bottom of the window.

Task Manager in Windows 8 (more details  view)

Task Manager in Windows 8 (more details view)

To close the process for the hung or crashed application, highlight the appropriate line (for Microsoft Word choose WINWORD.EXE), then click on the End Process button. You will be prompted to make sure you really want to close this program. Click on the End Process button on this confirmation if you are sure. If there are multiple lines for the same program, make sure you highlight each (one at a time) and end that process as well.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/05/windows/windows-8/closing-a-crashed-or-hung-application-using-the-windows-8-task-manager/

Windows Server 2012 Feature: Storage Spaces

There has always been a need to consolidate disks into a single large disk in order to store more data than any single drive can contain.  In the past we used hardware or software RAID to accomplish this.  Hardware RAID can be expensive due to the extra controller needed.  Software RAID is slow, and requires all disks to be identical. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/04/windows/windows-server-2012/windows-server-2012-feature-storage-spaces/

Windows Server 2012 New Feature: Hyper-V Replica for Failover

For mission critical systems, we often want to try to achieve the highest level of up time as possible, and the best disaster recovery strategy.  Often this involves expensive software which replicates servers or data for failover purposes.  This means Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/04/windows/windows-server-2012/windows-server-2012-new-feature-hyper-v-replica-for-failover/

Windows Server 2012 New Feature: Large Disk Support for Hyper-V

One of the biggest limitations of Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2 was that it didn’t support storing a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) on physical disks larger than 2 TB.  This was actually due to the sector size of the physical disk which was supported by Hyper-V.  Larger disks tended to use 4096-byte sectors (also known as 4k sectors).   Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/03/windows/windows-server-2012/windows-server-2012-new-feature-large-disk-support-for-hyper-v/

Windows Server 2012 New Feature: Store Hyper-V VHDs in a SMB 3.0 Share

When building high-performance Hyper-V host servers for a production environment, we often buy high-end servers with lots or memory and fast SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) or SSD (Solid State) drives.  These drives are fast but usually expensive, especially after adding in RAID redundancies. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2013/03/windows/windows-server-2012/windows-server-2012-new-feature-store-hyper-v-vhds-in-a-smb-3-0-share/

Using SYSPREP Before Creating a System Image

SYSPREP is a Windows utility that allows a computer to be generalized. If you’re restoring system images (using Ghost or a similar technology) to multiple PCs on a network, then it is imperitive that you first run SYSPREP to generalize the system.

Not doing this will not only result in several PCs with the same computer name, but their unique identifiers (used by Active Directory and others) will all be identical. As you can imagine, having multiple PCs with the same computer name can be a real issue for network admins. Running a
SYSPREP allows the PC to be generalized with new unique IDs so that you get an “Out of the Box” experience (OOBE) on the next boot. While a SYSPREP can be done to any PC before attaching it to the network, I suggest running SYSPREP before you create a master image.

How to SYSPREP a Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC:

  1. Browse to “C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep” folder and launch the SYSPREP executable.
  2. In the System Cleanup Action drop down select “Enter System Out of Box Experience (OOBE)”
  3. Make sure to check the Generalize checkbox
  4. In the Shutdown options I suggest selecting Shutdown. This way after the system is prepped, the PC will shutdown, and will be ready for you to create your master image.

Once your system has gone through the SYSPREP process, before the computer boots again, it is safe to create a master image using your imaging software.

This method works not only on Windows 7, but Windows 8 and Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012. I do also want to mention that it is a good idea to run SYSPREP on any virtual guest templates before rolling them out in masses on a Hyper-V or VMware host.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2012/12/windows/using-sysprep-before-creating-a-system-image/

Adding SkyDrive to your Document Libraries in Windows

Microsoft Live Essential Suite 2011 included tools such as Live Messenger, Live Writer, Mail, and Live Mesh.  Microsoft Live Mesh allowed users to synchronize data between different PCs on your network, and even keep up to 5 GB out on the cloud for free.  The big downside to Live Mesh was that you could never increase your 5 GB limit. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2012/09/windows/windows-7/adding-skydrive-to-your-document-libraries-in-windows/

Introducing Hyper-V Quick Migration

In the Hyper-V world, lots of us talk about Live Migration. That is where a virtual machine (VM) is moved from one host to another with no perceived downtime. The caveat is that both hosts need be configured to use the same shared storage (such as a SAN or external drive array). Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.robertborges.us/2012/07/windows/windows-server-2008-r2/hyper-v-quick-migration/

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