Robert Borges

About Robert... I have been in the IT industry since 1993 focusing mainly in networking. Though I got an early start as an amateur computer enthusiast, and wrote my first database app at age 12, I started my professional career working in the MIS department of one of the largest liquor distributors in the northeast. I started out there as a systems operator on the company’s two mainframe systems. From there I moved into PC support, and help design and implement the company’s first client-server network… This was back in the days of Win NT 3.51. I also worked on my first migration to NT 4.0 back then. From there I went on to work with Novell 3.x and 4.x along with Windows domains and active directory environments. Working my way up from technician, to specialist, to administrator, and eventually all the way up to Sr. Engineer. I spent many years working for consulting firms, 9 of which I owned and operated my own firm. Over the years, I have worked with (at an expert level) various versions of: Windows client and server operating systems (including Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016); various virtualization technologies (Hyper-V, VMware, etc.); MS-SQL server 6.5- 2014 R2; Exchange 4-2016, and much more. I am now vCIO at Spade Technology, Inc. focusing on Information Technology strategy including: cloud computing, IT Infrastructure & Architecture, IT Security, and Cloud Computing platforms & technologies (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS). Outside of my day job, I serve as president of the board of Boston User Groups, Inc., as well as IT-Pro User Group. In 2017/2018 Microsoft awarded me the Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Award, with a focus of Microsoft Azure cloud, for my efforts in the IT community. I am in a constant state of learning about new products, and new versions of products. Many of which we end up implementing in lab environments and sometimes for our clients. I have a very broad range of expertise and experience. It is my goal to share some of this experience on this blog to help enrich the IT community.

Most commented posts

  1. Importing & Exporting Hyper-V VMs in Windows Server 2012 R2 — 11 comments
  2. Windows Server 2012 Feature: Share Nothing Live Migration in Hyper-V — 6 comments
  3. A Real IP Phone System "On The Cheap" — 5 comments
  4. Using SYSPREP Before Creating a System Image — 4 comments
  5. What printers work best with a Windows Remote Desktop Server? — 4 comments

Author's posts

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. Continue reading

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

First Impressions: Acer Iconia W3 8″ Windows 8 Tablet

AcerIconiaW3Acer has recently released an 8.1″ Windows 8 tablet called the Acer Iconia W3.  Due to a few different reasons this model has received mixed reviews.  Keeping in mind that this is the world’s first Windows 8 tablet in the 8″ form factor, and the retail price is currently $299 for the 32 GB and $379 for the 64 GB model, I wanted to review this device for myself.  Acer was nice enough to send me a new unit (64 GB version) to evaluate.

In the iOS and Android realms the 7″ and 8″ tablets seem to be outselling their larger counterparts.  The smaller form factor of the mini tablet seems to be more natural to hold than the larger 10″ models.  I am excited to see whether the same is true with this Windows 8 tablet.  I will be reviewing this Acer Iconia W3 on both a personal and professional level. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.robertborges.us/2013/09/mobile-computing/first-impressions-acer-iconia-w3-8-windows-8-tablet/

Free eBook: Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Release

The past few years Microsoft has been on a trend of releasing free eBooks to the IT-Pro and Developer community. These are a good free way to stay ahead of the curve and learn what’s new in the newest version of Windows Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.robertborges.us/2013/09/learning-resources/free-ebook-introducing-windows-server-2012-r2-preview-release/

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. Continue reading

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

How To Split an Internet Connection Between Two or More Computers

I was asked by a client recently: “Can we use a splitter on one of our internet connections so we can have two computers plugged into one? We only have one internet port in that office, but I need to plug in two computers.” Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.robertborges.us/2013/07/questions-answers/how-to-split-an-internet-connection-between-two-or-more-computers/

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. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://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. Continue reading

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

Microsoft’s TechNet Subscription Service is Going Away for Good

Microsoft

Microsoft has announced today that they will be discontinuing the TechNet Subscription program. Microsoft’s TechNet Subscription Program is a paid program which allows partners to download full copies of most software titles to be used for lab or testing purposes. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.robertborges.us/2013/07/learning-resources/microsofts-technet-subscription-service-is-going-away-for-good/

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). Continue reading

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

Getting Better Performance for Your Virtual Machines

As a seasoned virtualization expert (mostly with Hyper-V environments), I totally agree with the concept of building your VMs (virtual machines) and virtualization hosts to meet a particular need.

Often, I talk to SQL DBAs (database administrators) or Exchange administrators who swear that these platforms can NEVER be virtualized. This line of thinking is so wrong that Microsoft itself has bet their business around it (e.g., Office 365, Microsoft.com, etc.).

The most important piece of advice I give to virtualization newcomers is to treat a VM like you would a physical server. If a physical Exchange server needs 16GBs of memory and 4 CPUs, then building a VM with only a single virtual processor and 2GB of memory is going to result in a bad user experience, obviously.

HDD (hard disk drive) performance is always a concern with VMs. If you are creating a VM to run a disk intensive SQL server, then you will certainly care about your disk performance. With the more recent versions of Hyper-V, there is little noticeable performance reduction when choosing dynamically expanding VHD (virtual hard disk) vs. using a fixed size VHD. The big downside is that you now have to monitor and manage your storage on the host since your VMs can quickly consume physical space.

If extra disk performance is really needed, there is an option of using a pass-through disk. Pass-through disks will use an unused volume on the physical Hyper-V host as if that volume were its own. With pass-through disks you’ll get true hardware-level performance. The downside is that your VM is now tied to this physical storage making it difficult (or impossible) to migrate to a different host… so plan accordingly.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.robertborges.us/2013/05/virtualization/getting-better-performance-for-your-virtual-machines/

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. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://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 Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://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).   Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://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. Continue reading

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