Tag: Microsoft

Huge collection of Free Microsoft eBooks for you

Microsoft are giving away more eBooks. Previous ebook giveaways

I grabbed Administrator’s Guide for Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset and TCP/IP Fundamentals for Microsoft Windows.



BSkyB and Microsoft in trademark dispute over SkyDrive

Ars Technica reports that Microsoft is in danger of losing “SkyDrive” name in UK following a ruling Friday by Justice Sarah Asplin of the England and Wales High Court.

The ruling agrees with BSkyB’s argument that Microsoft’s use of the name SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service for both consumers and business customers, infringed on the company’s “Sky” trademarks.

This is just yet another blow in the long-running battle between Microsoft and BSkyB over the SkyDrive name. In November 2007 Microsoft tried to get a European trademark for the SkyDrive name but this was successfully opposed by BSkyB.

Microsoft is not going to give up the name yet, though. In a statement reported by TechCrunch, Microsoft said, “The decision is one step in the legal process and Microsoft intends to appeal.”



Installing SQL Server 2012 Express on Windows Server 2012

As part of updating the server infrastructure I have built a replacement for our 8-9 year old backup server and a requirement of that is to have a local instance of SQL server to hold a small database of backed up objects and their state.
Moving the database from the old server to the new turned out to be more problematic than I first thought. The first part was that SQL Server 2012 Express didn’t want to install itself on Windows Server 2012 and I received the message below.

The following error has occurred: Error while enabling Windows feature: NetFx3, Error Code: -2146498298, Please try enabling feature: NetFx3 from Windows management tools and the run setup again.

The following error has occurred:
Error while enabling Windows feature: NetFx3, Error Code: -2146498298, Please try enabling feature: NetFx3 from Windows management tools and the run setup again.

Fine, I’ll just stop and go install the NetFx3 feature.

Except there isn’t a feature called NetFx3! In fact what SQL Server needs is the .NET Framework 3.5 Features, it was something that SQL Server 2008 R2 would install automatically if it detected that it wasn’t present, but apprently not not the 2012 Express version.

So go into Add Roles and Features and tick the box for the .NET Framework 3.5 Features and click next.
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Unfortunately you hit another snag here as .NET Framework 3.5 is a feature on demand i.e. one that is copied to the disk when Server 2012 is installed so you need the installation disk and then direct the installer to that as the source.
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Then installation is straightforward.
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Unfortunately you can’t just continue the SQL Server installation at this point as you’ll get the following errors. You’ll need to start the installation process again, but this time it will be quick and easy.
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Promoting a Windows Server 2012 RODC to become a writeable domain controller

Having now moved the rest of the business into the new office it is no longer functioning as a branch office and so the RODC (Read-Only Domain Controller) I set up sometime ago is no longer required.

The plan was it would be demoted and we would return to having just the two domain controllers. However I changed my mind as the other domain controllers are VMs on ESXi which I don’t think is an ideal situation and I’d prefer to have at least one physical domain controller.

Unfortunately the process of converting a RODC to a writeable DC isn’t quick as you can’t go from one to the other you need to demote it and then promote it again.

Starting in Server Manager click on Manage > Remove Roles and Features
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Select the server from the list. In my case there is just the one server to choose from.
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Then counter-intuitively you need to select to remove Active Directory Domain Services even though you do want to continue using it as a Domain Controller. But it all becomes clear in the next step.
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The AD DS role cannot be removed until the domain controller has been demoted. This is what we wanted to do all along so click on Demote this domain controller.
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I don’t want to force the removal as it is able to communicate with the other domain controllers and so can be removed normally (See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc816826%28v=ws.10%29.aspx about forcing removal of domain controllers)
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Warning that removal of AD DS role could break Active Directory, only a concern if clients can’t communicate with the other domain controllers. Tick the box to Proceed with removal and click Next.
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The next bit is a crucial step as you are asked if you wish to Retain domain controller metadata. The only reason to do so would be if you planned to reinstate the server as a RODC in the future. If you wanted to remove it entirely as a domain controller or if you wish to promote it to being a writeable domain controller as I do then you need to ensure you leave the box unticked. Click Next.
I’ll show you later the error you would get if you ticked the box and then tried to promote it as a full domain controller.
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Need to recreate a local administrator password for the server as domain controllers do not have local admin accounts they only accept domain accounts.
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Review your selection. You can view the Powershell script at this stage that is actually run under the hood when you click the Demote button. As this is a one time only affair there isn’t a reason to do so.

The process runs and the server reboots.
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Then we’re back looking at Server Manager and there is a flag indicating that you need to promote the server for it to become a domain controller. If you were removing the server as a domain controller you would in fact return to Manage > Remove Roles and Features and then complete the removal of the AD DS role.
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But I do want to Promote it so I click on Promote this server to a domain controller.
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Then the process is the same as shown in a previous post when I set the server up originally as a Domain controller.
Select Add a domain controller to an existing domain and select the desired Domain from the list and enter a domain administrators credentials.
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Specify domain controller capabilities and site information. Click through the DNS delegation error.
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Specify install/replication options. Install from media or replicate from another domain controller.

Choose the file paths for the AD DS Database, log files and SYSVOL. Defaults are fine with me.

Then the prerequisites will be validated before AD DS is installed on the server. In the case of installing AD DS on a former RODC where the metadata had been retained you would get the following error.
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Otherwise the prerequisites check will pass and you can click Install to finalise the process.

Microsoft’s official instruction on Demoting a Server 2012 Domain controller is to be found here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj574104.aspx




Could the Xbox One emulate the 360?

There will not be any backward compatibility for the Xbox 360 on the Xbox One. Unusual position for Microsoft as typically they are all about the compatibility with older versions of their products. However in this case it makes sense as the hardware is significantly different between the two systems.

But I do have a thought about this. Given that the Xbox One is running three operating systems could the hypervisor in the new console run an emulated version of the Xbox 360 operating system?

It would not be a simple task to accomplish this but I believe it is within the realm of possibility. Even back in 2011 people were talking about creating an Xbox 360 emulator on a PC, and there is apparently now a working Xbox 360 emulator available for both PC and Mac.



Xbox One thoughts

So Microsoft revealed their forthcoming replacement for the Xbox 360 last night and I sat down and watched it with my wife as we are both gamers and were excited about this event.

I’m still excited about the Xbox One even if the presentation didn’t go down particularly well with a lot of people. Hardcore gamers are annoyed that there was very little about games last night, but that wasn’t what last night was really about. E3 will be the big reveal for the games.

My favourite comment by Amy was when she talked about how cheap she thought the suits were. Can’t Microsoft employees afford better suits!

The Xbox One was being heavily promoted as the entertainment hub of the living room which is fine with me. We’re pretty much using our 360 as the entertainment hub already, we used to watch DVDs on it until we finally got a Bluray player about 6 months ago and still watch BBC iPlayer and 4OD on it. I have no complaints in that regard and I’m sure given that the Xbox One is designed with that in mind from the start it will be better at these kind of things.

I don’t give a fuck about the partnership with the NFL, they never even explained what the fuck that entailed anyway. Halo television show was a cool bit of news but not really relevant.

The most interesting thing for me last night was this line from Marc Whitten.

The soul of the new system is the Xbox One architecture. Three operating systems in one.

Three operating systems in one and the instant switching between gaming and other Xbox features made me think straightaway that they are using virtualisation. I’ve since seen that this has been confirmed.

So it will be running a hypervisor, and then two virtual operating systems a cut down version of Windows 8 and then the Xbox gaming OS. This is a very sensible thing to do in my opinion and the instant switching if it works exactly as it did in the demo will be great.

Amy wasn’t as fascinated as I was with the underlying technologies of the system but she did like the design of the controllers a lot and the responsiveness of Kinect to voice and hand gestures. In addition she was excited by the idea of full screen Skype on it using the Kinect’s 1080p camera.

Overall even despite not seeing much in the way of gaming this household will be purchasing One on release.



Windows Server 2012 in production

As part of setting up the new office for my company I needed to set up a server to act as a RODC in what would effectively be a branch office until the rest of the company moved in sometime later.

This gave me the perfect opportunity to use Windows Server 2012 in a production environment and as such gain some real world experience with the new OS in preparation for sitting the 70-417 exam to gain my MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification.

I had previously downloaded a trial version of Server 2012 but after a failed attempt to install it as a VM on VmWare’s ESXi 4.1 I didn’t do much more with it lacking the resources and time. I have since found a method that would enable it, also for Windows 8 which could be useful for our developers who may need to be coding applications for Windows 8 and need test environments.

Installation on our new Dell R620 could have been easier, but this was not the fault of Windows at all. The server arrived sometime yesterday and without a disc so I’d assumed that the OS had come pre-installed. It had not, which caused a little panic. But once I actually received the Windows Server 2012 disc from our suppliers and then pre-configured the server for the OS (which was somewhat straightforward but didn’t work as it should in my opinion) it was very quick and straightforward to install Server 2012.

My experiences were pretty much as described here
http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/how-to-deploy-windows-server-2012-on-dell-uefi-nownotes-from-the-field/

Microsoft has been radically improving Windows Server with every release and Server 2012 is possibly the most radical of all. It is fast, efficient and has made server configuration and management a breeze. The new Server Manager has had a very welcome upgrade in functionality. From a single server I can now monitor and manage the critical production servers in my domain, being able to view server infrastructure via role as well as individual server is extremely useful.

Controversially it has the ‘Metro’ interface as it was developed in parallel with Windows 8. Unlike others here I don’t have an issue with it at all, I rarely have to see the dreaded Start Screen spending what time I’m connected via RDP into the server in the desktop environment and Server Manager. Going forward I can see that the new interface will be useful when I’m wanting to do minor server admin tasks via my smartphone or tablet.

I haven’t due to our environment been able to make full use of the native data deduplication that now comes with Server 2012 but it is again a brilliant new feature.

New and improved Hyper-V is a real contender against VMware’s ESXi now.

The only downside is that the RSAT tools to manage it remotely rely on having Windows 8.



Child of the 90s | Internet Explorer



Alex Clare – Too Close

Watch Alex Clare’s music video for “Too Close” – the song featured in the Internet Explorer (the browser you loved to hate) TV commercial.

It is pretty damn cool.



Windows Blue is Microsoft’s future low-cost OS with yearly updates

http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/28/3693368/windows-blue-update-low-cost