Introducing the new Office 365 Admin Center Preview

The Office 365 Admin Center is being updated with the new visual style that Microsoft has adopted for the Microsoft Azure admin center.

We haven’t received the update yet on our subscription, but I like the look of it and so long as it is as easy for me to administer our company’s subscription I’ll be happy.

How to shrink a VMDK: Shrinking a virtual disk in VMware ESXi

First open up Disk Management in Computer Management in your guest Windows environment.

Right click the volume on the disk you want to shrink.

Windows will inform you the maximum amount it can shrink the disk by. Choose an amount that you wish to actually shrink it by and click Shrink.


Windows will start the shrinking process and it might take some time and appear to be hanging as Windows will actually be defragmenting the disk in order to consolidate the free space towards the end of the disk before resizing the volume.

Once it is done and you are satisfied that the volume on the disk is the size you want it then you need to shut down the VM.

SSH into the host and copy the VMDK file to make a backup of it, just the descriptor file not the flat file.

cp vmname.vmdk vmname-original.vmdk

Open up the VMDK file in a text editor and find the line that describes the size of the flat file. Similar to the following

# Extent description

RW 209715200 VMFS “vmname-flat.vmdk”

The number is the size of the virtual disk in terms of disk sectors, where each sector is 512 bytes. So a 100GB virtual disk is 209715200 sectors.

You will need to change this number to correspond to the new disk size where x = size in GB

vmdk_size = [x * (1024*1024*1024)] / 512

I have chosen to shrink my disk to 60gb, so my new Extent description now reads as follows:

# Extent description

RW 125829120 VMFS “vmname-flat.vmdk”

You now need to clone the drive to get it to the new size:

vmkfstools -i vmname.vmdk vmname-new.vmdk

The bit we are interested in is the newly created vmname-new-flat.vmdk file.

Rename the old flat file from vmname-flat.vmdk to vmname-flat-old.vmdk

and rename the vmname-new-flat.vmdk file to vmname-flat.vmdk

Start the VM up and it should show the new smaller disk. When you are satisfied that everything is working you can now delete the old unneeded files from your datastore.

How to download the Windows 10 ISO

It is July 29th 2015 and Windows 10 has been released. If you have reserved your copy it will probably have downloaded by now and is ready for you to install it.


  • If you reserved your copy and it hasn’t downloaded yet.
  • You didn’t reserve your copy and you’ve found that you can’t download and install it yet due to Microsoft’s staggered roll-out.
  • You wish to do a fresh install.
  • You have multiple machines to upgrade and you don’t want to download the installation files many times.

Then what are your options?

You can jump the queue and do an in place install or download an ISO file of Windows 10 via a handy little tool that Microsoft has published called the Media creation tool.

The Media creation tool is a small EXE file that you just need to download and run to start the process. It comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and both will allow you to create 32-bit and 64-bit ISO files.

When you run it you’ll be given the option to either perform an upgrade of the PC you run it on or to create installation media for another PC. Choose the latter option, click Next, then choose the language, Windows version, and whether you want 32- or 64-bit architecture, or both.

You will then get the option to either download and create a bootable USB medium or to download and create an ISO file. select the ISO file radio button, click Next yet again and choose a location to save it to.

The tool will download the files, verify them and then create the ISO file.

One of the most important reasons to upgrade to Windows 10: Security

The most secure Windows ever, Windows 10 has more built-in security protections to help safeguard you against viruses, phishing, and malware. New features are now delivered through always-enabled updates, helping you to stay current and your system to feel fresh, so you’re free to do.

Windows 10 is designed to be the most secure version of the operating system yet, but as is typical with software this complex there are likely to be new security flaws that have yet to be discovered that are unique to this version of Windows.

Introducing Windows 10

Official announcement from Microsoft that the release date for Windows 10 will be July 29th.

Learn about all the reasons you’ll love the new Windows 10 – available as a free upgrade on July 29th. It’s familiar, comes with exciting new innovations like Cortana and the brand new Microsoft Edge browser, plus apps, Xbox and more. Learn more and reserve your free upgrade at

I’m a Backup Academy Certified Professional now!

I’m a Backup Academy Certified Professional now! And you?


Microsoft recertification controversy

Microsoft are shaking up their professional certification programmes yet again following the news that they were introducing the ability to sit exams at home using a remote proctor rather than needing to go to an examination center.

Now they have announced that recertifications can be done via ongoing study through the Microsoft Virtual Academy.

This announcement stirred up a hornet’s nest and many felt that this devalued their credentials as it would make it easier for people to cheat their way through recertification. On the Born to Learn site Ken Rosen put some of these questions and concerns to Larry Kaye the Senior Product Manager – Certification that made the announcement.

Ken was won over by Larry’s answers and I have to say that I was too.

VMwoes: Purple Screen of Death E1000PollRxRing

VMwoes Purple Screen of Death: VMware ESXi 5.5 host experiences a purple diagnostic screen mentioning E1000PollRxRing and E1000DevRx

VMware Purple Screen of Death

VMware Purple Screen of Death

VMware ESXi 5.5.0 (Releasebuild-1331020 x86_64] #PF Exception 14 in world 264638:vmm1:AGB-Dub IP 0x418039010c57 addr 0x0
cr0=0x80050031 cr2=0x0 cr3=0xa5a4f3000 cr4=0x42668
frame=0x4123a6f9cf30 ip=0x418039010c57 err=9 rflags=0x10206
rax=0x0 rbx=0x51 rcx=0x18
rdx=0x2 rbp=0x4123a6f9d3d0 rsi=0x1
rdi=0x4108a8348d40 r8=0x1 r9=0x1
r10=0x41122413a080 r11=0x4 r12=0x41001651cef4
r13=0x1 r14=0x4123a6f9d2e0 r15=0x4123a6f9d334
Code start: 0x418038e00000 VMK uptime: 60:02:35:05.115
0x4123a6f9d3d0:[0x418039010c57][email protected]#nover+0xb73 stack: 0x8
0x4123a6f9d440:[0x418039013bb5][email protected]#nover+0x3a9 stack: 0x4123a6f9d658
0x4123a6f9d4e0:[0x418038f92164][email protected]#nover+0x174 stack: 0x0
0x412306f9d530:[0x418038f79e22][email protected]#nover+0x136 stack: 0x4108ff01f780
0x4123a6f9d590:[0x41803952ff58][email protected]#+0x4c stack: 0x183c21
0x4123a6f9d7b0:[0x418039530f51][email protected]#+0xe25 stack: 0x418000000015
0x4123a6f9d820:[0x418030f7a7d2][email protected]#nover+0x192 stack: 0x412fc57f4a80
0x4123a6f9d870:[0x418038f7ba39][email protected]#nover+0x25 stack: 0x0
0x4123a6f9d8e0:[0x41803901763a][email protected]#nover+0x112 stack: 0x4123a6f9da60
0x4123a6f9d950:[0x418030fadd70][email protected]#nover+0x218 stack: 0x410800000000
0x4123a6f9dab8:[0x418038eeae77][email protected]#nover+0xcf stack: 0x0
0x4123a6f9daf0:[0x418038eeb93c][email protected]#nover+0x54 stack: 0x0
0x4123a6f9db80:[0x418038e2e94f][email protected]#nover+0xf3 stack: 0x2ff889001
0x4123a6f9dbc0:[0x418038e63e03][email protected]#nover+8x1af stack: 0x4123a6f9dce8
0x4123a6f9dbd0:[0x418038ef1064][email protected]#nover+0x64 stack: 0x0
0x4123a6f9dce8:[0x4180391a32d3][email protected]#nover+0x237 stack: 0x418086e64100
0x4123a6f9dd58:[0x41803904e859][email protected]#nover+0x4bd stack: 0x4123a6f9dec8
0x4123a6f9deb8:[0x418039054938][email protected]#nover+0x1630 stack: 0x4123a6f9df20
0x4123a6f9df28:[0x418039055c65][email protected]#nover+0x245 stack: 0xffffffff00000001
0x4123a6f9df98:[0x4180390561cb][email protected]#nover+0x197 stack: 0x410000008000
0x4123a6f9dfe8:[0x418038ecde30]VMMVMKCall [email protected]#nover+0x48c Stack: 0x0
0x418038ecd484:[0xfffffffffic223baa] vmk_[email protected]#
base fs=0x0 gs=0x418046000000 Kgs=0x0
Coredump to disk. Slot 1 of 1.
VASpace (00/12) DiskDump: Partial Dump: Out of space o=0x63ff800 l=0x1000
Finalized dump header (12/12) FileDump: Successful.
Debugger waiting(world 264638) -- no port for remote debugger. "Escape" for local debugger.

Apparently it is a known issue with the particular release of the VMware ESXi 5.5 hypervisor we use on just one of our host servers. It has since been patched, but we went with the workaround as there wasn’t a huge number of virtual machines to modify.

The workaround is to replace the E1000 network adapters with the VMXNET3 adapters.

There is further information on regarding this bug Purple Screen of Death caused by E1000 adapters and RSS (Receive Side Scaling).

Know it Prove it – Identity and Access Management

Know it Prove it

100% completed with 2 days of February 2015 (and the challenge) to go.

Moving TempDB to a new location.

We had a process running on a particular SQL server virtual machine which was causing the TempDB file to grow exponentially and as a result caused the C: drive to run out of space. In this case the best solution was to move the location of the TempDB from the default location to a new location on the very large second Virtual drive.

The process is pretty straightforward.

Firstly locate the current file path of TempDB.
SELECT name, physical_name AS CurrentLocation
FROM sys.master_files
WHERE database_id = DB_ID(N'tempdb');

Secondly perform the actual move with the following code. Modify it to choose new locations appropriate to your system.
USE master;
MODIFY FILE (NAME = tempdev, FILENAME = 'E:\TempDB\tempdb.mdf');
MODIFY FILE (NAME = templog, FILENAME = 'E:\TempDB\templog.ldf');