What is an OOB update and why should you care?

Posted by kyle on November 20th, 2014 filed in Windows 2008, Windows 2008 R2, WIndows 2012, Windows 2012 R2
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So – firstly – an OOB update is short for Out of Band update – in Microsoft terms, it is an update that is outside of the regular monthly “Patch Tuesday” cycle. Normally this is reserved for urgent patches and those that really do need your attention. So when you see an out of band update, or a critical security bulletin – then make sure you have a look to see if it applies to you and the systems you manage.

This week Microsoft issued Security Bulletin MS14-068 (yeah – sexy name right?). The actual issue is “Vulnerability in Kerberos Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (3011780)”. Essentially there is a possibility that an attacker could use a standard user account and then make it have the same privileges as a domain administrator. The attacker has to have a valid domain account to start with – but then after that – then if they know the exploit then yes – you are in trouble. And don’t think this is blue sky thinking – there are known targeted attacks already happening.

So – does this apply to you? If you have a Windows Server 2003 and above then – yes it does. There is also a patch for Windows Vista and above on the client side – although it is part of a defense in depth policy rather than due to a risk.

For further details – head here



Windows 10 – Technical Preview Fundamentals for IT Pros

Posted by kyle on November 18th, 2014 filed in Learning, Windows 10
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Coming up this week there is a free Microsoft Virtual Academy course which will give you a great insight into the enhancements in Windows 10 from an IT Pro perspective – a technical overview of the technical preview as such.

The official blurb reads IT Pros, want a sneak peek at enhancements in Windows 10? Get a technical overview, and find out how these improvements can help you meet your enterprise IT and security challenges, including device management, multifactor authentication, and deployment, plus a familiar UI for end users.

In this Jump Start training with live Q&A, join us as the lead Windows 10 Enterprise Product Managers roll back the covers on the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Learn about new UI enhancements, find out how management and deployment is evolving, and hear how new security enhancements in Windows 10 can help your organization respond to the modern security threat landscape. Be sure to bring your questions!”

The session will be recorded however if you have a chance to attend live, then you will be able to ask questions of such folk as Simon May, Michael Niehaus, Brad McCabe, Chris Hallum and Fred Pullen.

The reason I mention it will be recorded is that it is November 20th 9am-1pm PST, which means that it will be Friday 21st 3am-7am Brisbane time, or 4am – 8am AEDT, for those in NZ – 6am – 10am. I will be attending live – but if you are not keen due to the time – then make sure you grab the recording when it becomes available.

Register here



Do you like it fast or do you like it slow?

Posted by kyle on November 14th, 2014 filed in Windows 10, Windows Insider Preview
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That has become the important question – around Windows 10 naturally. Microsoft has now given those on the Windows Insider Preview program the option to join the fast update option or the slow option (Slow is the default).

So what is the difference? Well – it is probably obvious – if you want to be on the bleeding edge of the Preview program – then you can adjust your update speed. If you are still keen for updates but want to take it a little easier and wait for what is potentially more stable builds – then you want to take the slow option. (Of course, as discussed in previous posts – you are on the edge anyway if you are on the Insider program – but with the fast updates you are a little closer to the sharp side)

Microsoft refers to these as Rings – so you are on the fast ring or the slow ring – if you are on the slow ring you will get the update from the fast ring still – just not straight away.

So – how do you get on the fast ring?

In PC Settings, Update and Recovery, Preview Builds, there is now an option for the speed. Choose the Fast option. If you then click Check now, that will force the system to check immediately.

If you don’t click check now (or if you are already on the latest build then you will simply get the next update automatically delivered via Windows Update during your next normal maintenance window.

Can’t install .Net Framework 3.5 – this is probably why

Posted by kyle on November 13th, 2014 filed in Hyper-V
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I tried to install .Net Framework 3.5 on a fresh Windows Server 2012 R2 machine and found that I could not. It was fully patched and ready to go – which as it turns out was the issue.

If you had installed all the August updates on your server then you would have installed KB2899628 (on a Windows Server 2012 server you would have installed KB2899627). These were updates to .Net Framework which seemed to get the servers all confused about what was installed and what wasn’t. So if you used the add features GUI option or the add-windowsfeature powershell command, you would have gotten an error that the source was not available. Even if you pointed the commands at a source.

I came across this first in a Virtual Machine that I had spun up in Windows Azure – fresh and updated and.. well.. not working for the purpose I needed. Uninstalled the KB update and then I was able to install as expected.

I will note that I just spun up a test virtual machine in Windows Azure and it has been fixed now – but this still might be a remnant issue for you – if so – then – now you know how to fix it!



It’s the end of the world as we know it!

Posted by kyle on November 11th, 2014 filed in Learning
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And I feel fine… Thanks to Pierre Roman from the Microsoft Canada IT Pro site for the tag line – he swears it was him that invented it J

So – what the heck am I referring to? Windows Server 2003’s retirement of course. The end of support date for Windows Server 2003 is July 14th 2015 – so we are well into the final year now and if you haven’t started planning your migration from Window Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2 (yes – make that jump) then you are really starting to cut it fine. Fortunately there are a few resources available to help you to make the migration as painless as possible.

First stop should be the Microsoft Virtual Academy, Andrew McMurray, Pierre Roman and I recorded a MVA course entitled “Migrating Legacy Windows Servers to Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure” – this will give you some good insight in migrating roles, services and workloads – not only from 2003 to 2012 R2 but also to the cloud (in the form of Microsoft Azure).

Next – start looking at the migration guides – naturally different roles will require different plans and tools – and there is detailed plans located here.

Another set of utilities to look at to make the move easier – is the Windows Server Migration Tools – found here.

So– there are some good places to get started – it is not too late to make the switch – but you really need to get moving with the plan if you haven’t already! And as the front page of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says in warm comforting letters – DON’T PANIC.(If you have no idea what I am talking about – click now)

Don’t forget you can reach out to me via Twitter if you have any questions – @windowspcguy



So you disabled the network connection on your Microsoft Azure virtual machine…

Posted by kyle on November 5th, 2014 filed in Uncategorized
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The other day I was deep in a Windows Azure virtual machine and forgot where I was, so I disabled the Network Card – confirmed it and everything when I asked me if I wanted to do it, then gave myself an upper cut when the remote connection stopped – looked blankly at the screen and then wondered how the heck I was going to reconnect. For those that have not thought about it before – all the access to a Microsoft Azure VM is via an RDP connection. In a traditional Hyper-V environment, the connection to a Virtual Machine is using vmconnect – so you can connect to a VM that has no network. This is not the case in Microsoft Azure.

Turns out the fix is not really obvious – but it is pretty easy.

  1. Sign into the Microsoft Azure management portal – you are probably there already looking at the Virtual Machine objects.
  2. If the Virtual Machine is running, use the management portal to shut the machine now.
  3. Head to the Configure tab and then select the Virtual Machine Size.

  4. Change the Virtual Machine Size to anything else (it makes no difference – just has to be different) and then click Save.
  5. Wait for the change to commit and then change it back to the original Virtual Machine Size and click Save.
  6. Wait for the change to commit and then start the Virtual Machine.
  7. Do the happy dance when you reconnect.

I will leave it to you to choose what dance to do for step 7 – I recommend something subtle like the Macarena: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiBYM6g8Tck




Windows 10 – a fresh start – for all of us!

Posted by kyle on November 4th, 2014 filed in Windows 7, Windows 8
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Well – so the Windows 10 Technical Preview is upon us – and as a student in a class pointed out – great time to start back with the blogging. Yup – I agree.

This week I am in Seattle with the Microsoft MVP Conference –getting the lowdown on Windows 10 and a bit more of a pear under the hood. Whilst the majority of the information is under NDA – it will give me some information to share with you over the next few months as features start to appear.

So – Windows 10 – questions that I have had from folks so far and first impressions now that I have been using it for a while now as my “daily driver”.

Q: Hey Kyle, Windows 10, should I install it?

A: To quote Paul Thurrott of http://winsupersite.com/ – “if you have to ask then it probably isn’t for you”. I will qualify that with “At this stage” – it is a Technical Preview – which means a few things – it is not feature complete and it is not final – so it might be flaky at times.

Q: So you are saying I shouldn’t install it then?

A: Well, no, that’s not what I am saying – I am running Windows 10 on my daily machine and have had mostly a good experience. Mostly in that I have had some little buggy things, mainly to do with drivers not being stable as yet I suspect. But it is good to be a part of the shaping of the next generation of the operating system – so don’t be afraid to install it – just with the caveat that it is not a final build.

Q: Oh, Ok – so where do I get it?

A: Here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/preview

Q: What do I do with it?

A: At this stage it is an Enterprise preview – so just bear that in mind, from what Microsoft have said so far “Windows 10 Technical Preview for Enterprise is an early look at some of the features and functionality in store for Windows 10, the next version of the Windows client operating system” – have a look here: http://blogs.windows.com/business/2014/09/30/introducing-windows-10-for-business/

First impressions that I have had is that it is a good balance between Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1. I have likened it to an evolution rather than a revolution. It tries to keep everyone happy – and so far it looks like it achieves that. There are more things to come – last week at TechEd Europe, Microsoft revealed the next release of the preview (or “flight” as it is being referred to) that has features such as Continuum and touchpad gestures will be in January. There will be builds released in between and each of the builds appear to be testing small little options – all of which Microsoft are asking for feedback on – and appear to be listening to!

More to come .. no honestly!



In the process of installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Posted by kyle on March 2nd, 2012 filed in Windows 8
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and I thought I would take a moment to point you to some resources that are available.

1. Download from here – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download

2. The Answers forum for Win8 – http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8

3. The Springboard series blog – http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/springboard/

4. The Windows Store Blog – http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsstore/

5. Springboard page for Windows 8 – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hh771457.aspx?ITPID=tnforum

Lots of resources – lots of excitement – go get it and try it today.

I have a survey up on the WindowsPCGuy facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/#!/WindowsPCguy about how you are looking at using the Tech Preview as well – take a moment to make a selection.



Funny how you forget how cool something is..

Posted by kyle on February 28th, 2012 filed in Misc

In this case – Mouse without Borders – a little utility I have been using for a while that enables you to use a keyboard and mouse across multiple machines and screens. You can have mouse that moves from one machine to another (even when you have multiple monitors, different Windows OS’s) and then have the keyboard just work on the other machine.

when I am doing demo’s (or even just when I am working from home) I have multiple laptops set up and it is handy to be able to use one central keyboard when going from machine to machine. It works over IP so I have had an odd incident at home where I had a laptop in the lounge room and the mouse and keyboard had gone off the screen – in fact onto the laptop that was in the office Smile

It also allows copy and paste and even drag and drop between the machines – very handy!

Anyway – go get it – from http://blogs.technet.com/b/next/archive/2011/09/09/microsoft-garage-download-mouse-without-borders.aspx



Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Posted by kyle on February 9th, 2012 filed in Windows 8
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No – not available yet – but soon – the date has been set for the 29th February 2012.

It is interesting to note that the launch is being held in Barcelona – during the Mobile World Congress. I see that as being an indication of the alignment between the desktop, laptop and the mobile devices and promises then to provide a seamless journey through all of them.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out – I have been using the Build developer preview since it was released on one of my tablet PC’s and have found it to be fairly user friendly – there are some reservations I have with the Metro screen in a corporate, non-touch world – but it remains to be seen how that is implemented. I personally spend the majority of my time at the desktop – and so the metro screen is more a big start menu that I go to every now and then.

The other thing that will be interesting will be the introduction of the “marketplace” for the desktop – particularly with the promise of being able to have an app that is developed once and then can be used on mobile, desktop and tablet without any modification – now that sounds like a great plan – but again – lets see how it runs out.

When the CTP is released I will be loading it onto the tablet – and will report back.



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