Posted by kyle on August 18th, 2015 filed in Virtualization, Windows 10, Windows Deployment
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With apologies to the Hansons and anyone who now has MMMBop stuck in their head.

Microsoft have release the latest version of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP 2015) – available to all MSDN subscribers here.

So, what is MDOP 2015? Well it is the new release of a bunch of tools that have been around for a while now with new updates including (from the MSDN website):

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization

Application Virtualization App-V 5.1

•    Support for Windows 10

•    Improved look and feel to the Management Console

•    Improved functionality in the Sequencer

o    Import and export the manifest file

o    Enable or disable Browser Helper Objects

o    Import and export virtual registry keys

o    Import a directory into the virtual file system

•    Support in Package Converter for multiple scripts on a single event trigger

Microsoft Bitlocker Administration and Monitoring MBAM 2.5 SP1

•    Support for Windows 10 and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP2

•    Support for Microsoft SQL Server 2014 SP1

•    MBAM Client now supports 13 new languages

•    Ability to escrow OwnerAuth passwords without owning the TPM

•    Ability to automatically unlock the TPM after a lockout

•    Support for FIPS-compliant BitLocker numerical password protectors

•    Functionality that enables BitLocker using MBAM as part of a Windows deployment

User Experience Virtualization UEV 2.1 SP1

•    Support for Windows 10

•    Compatibility with Microsoft Azure

•    Support Added for Roaming Network Printers

Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit DaRT 10

•    Support for Windows 10

•    Removal of Windows Defender from DaRT tools

Advanced Group Policy Management AGPM 4.0 SP3

•    Support for Windows 10

•    Improved process for upgrading



MDT 2013 Update 1 released

Posted by kyle on August 18th, 2015 filed in Windows 10, Windows Deployment
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For those that have been waiting to get going with developing your deployments of Windows 10 – well – wait no more! Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 Update 1 has been released – which means that there is now support for the Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK), Support for deployment and upgrade of Windows 10, Support for integration with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 (try saying that in a hurry 10 times!)

There are a few more updates – so head to the MDT deployment team blog here, for the full round up.

The relevant tools are:

MDT 2013 Update 1

Windows ADK for Windows 10



That time when you get a call from your mother…

Posted by kyle on August 11th, 2015 filed in Windows 10
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I got a call from my mother on the weekend about her computer. I should preface the rest of this story with a sideline that my mum is pretty computer savy – when I have helped in the past with remote support I have been able to ask for an IP address and have her give me one without much hesitation – a feat that a few “younger” users would struggle with. In the past she has happily been able to RDP to a server and perform changes for me – so she is as I say – savy in the way of computers.

Having said that – my folks have downsized their business and their computer needs – so now they have a laptop and a desktop – and I still get the occasional call when Mum gets stuck. So when I get a call that is “I have a problem with this computer” then I naturally do that thing that all IT admins do when getting a call from family… wondering what is wrong.

The conversation started with “I upgraded my computer to Windows 10 the other day and now I am locked out” – to which I immediately thought that perhaps Mum had been tricked in to the Windows 10 ransomware email. Then there was a further discussion that included clicking on the invite and reserving the update – which then lead to me starting to breathe again as I worked out that indeed Mum had reserved a copy of Windows 10 using the upgrade process that I have previously referred to.

So – what happened then? Well, sometime last week, the invite came live, Mum installed it and then is now in Windows 10 – and loving it – smoothest transition ever between operating systems – from the start to finish – it was the first time that there was a full upgrade between operating systems that did not involve me at all – normally I am there doing it not finding out about it afterwards! Only criticism from the update was from Dad “Can you set the home page for Edge to be Bing? – I really like the picture that comes up when it opens” and yes – that was all – just that the home page in Edge (Dad knew the browser was now known as Edge!) wasn’t Bing – so that got sorted out and he was happy. (if you are wondering – in Edge, click on the ellipsis button … , Settings, Open with, A specific page or pages and select Bing in the drop down).

But getting back to the original call, “I am locked out” – what was that about? Well – Windows 10 is linked directly (if you choose it to be) to a Microsoft Account (MSA) – and that was where Mum got tripped up – the MSA account was showing on the login screen but Mum didn’t know what to do with it – so a quick prompt of memory helped – and then she was back in.

Who knew that I would be telling a story about my mum and Windows 10?



It’s the final countdown….

Posted by kyle on July 26th, 2015 filed in Windows 10
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Cue the eighties classic by Europe (if you don’t know what I am taking about – head here) as we enter the final countdown to the official release date for Windows 10. July 29th approaches rapidly and therefore so does the RTM date.

However – what does this mean? In the past RTM (Released to Manufacture) used to mean that Microsoft would at that point release the bits to the OEM partners for use at the launch date, and then move on but we are in a whole new world now – Windows 10 is likely to be the last big release of Windows and therefore we are moving into the Windows as a Service solution with rolling updates and improvements.

So what actually is going to happen in the 29th? Well.. great question! Turns out – that’s when the magic starts coming to everyone – but not all at once. According to Microsoft Windows Blog “Starting on July 29, we will start rolling out Windows 10 to our Windows Insiders. From there, we will start notifying reserved systems in waves, slowly scaling up after July 29th. Each day of the roll-out, we will listen, learn and update the experience for all Windows 10 users.” So – not everyone will get Windows 10 on the 29th then – Given that the aim is to upgrade some 1 Billion devices then I guess it is understandable that they are ramping it up rather than going “big bang”. There will be notices sent to those who have signed up for the upgrade that it is available and then all the checks that have been part of the Windows upgrade process for the last few editions will kick in (so the upgrade will start with checking to see if you will have any issues with the upgrade – in the past this has included for me a notice to deregister iTunes before the upgrade process as it eats one of the computer registrations) and then after you have fixed or ignored the issues – then the upgrade process will continue.

One thing to note (for those of you that are using it) there is no Windows Media Center in Windows 10 – I have a machine that is in the lounge room that is a media center PC – BluRay player, media player, etc – that one has been offering me to upgrade to Windows 10 for the last little while – if I actually said yes it would warn me that Windows Media Center is not available so I could choose to continue or not. That one will be a Windows 7 machine for a while.

For those that have been part of the Windows Insider program – the last released build of 10240 has been updated almost daily since that build was deployed to the Fast ring. So we are in the home stretch now!

If you are near a Microsoft store on the 29th (any of the Microsoft stores worldwide – including the newly opened one in Sydney) there will be celebrations instore to attend.

While you are here – have a look at the new advertisement for Windows 10 – cuteness abounds!



Patch now – KB2919355!

Posted by kyle on July 22nd, 2015 filed in Uncategorized
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Howdy! Overnight Microsoft released an urgent fix for all versions of Windows to fix a security issue. The details of it are here. Basically there is a vulnerability in the way that Windows handles OpenFont fonts. So if you opened a document or went to a website that took advantage of that exploit then it is possible for someone to get control over your machine aka remote code execution.

So – what to do? Well, head to Windows Update and update your machine as soon as possible. If you are an administrator, then ensure that patch management is in place and WSUS is updating. For more information on the update itself you can go here.

One thing to note is although those links don’t mention it – you need to make sure you patch any Windows 10 devices as well. Spread the word!



It’s a date!

Posted by kyle on June 1st, 2015 filed in Windows 10
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Today Microsoft have announced the launch date of Windows 10 – 29th July 2015. This matches up with the date mentioned by one of Microsoft’s OEM partner last month. After having been using the technical preview for a while I am confident that the release will be a successful one as the base is pretty solid (not withstanding my issues with the last release).

Now the sell starts on getting the folk on Windows 7 and above ready for the update and signed up for the same. As previously announced – for the first year after RTM the update from Window 7 and above to Windows 10 will be free. This is a way for Microsoft to push folk forward to Windows 10 and ensure that we don’t end up in the same situation as Windows XP with a bunch of people still on an expiring operating system. Make it free and pull people forward.

The first evidence of that has appeared today with Windows 7 users now seeing a new icon on the task bar in the form of an Arrow icon.

If you click on the icon you then are presented with:

So – it’s confirmed – free full version. Sounds good – go and “reserve” your download now!




What do you do when you get bad service?

Posted by kyle on June 1st, 2015 filed in Windows 10
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On the two most recent releases for the Windows 10 Technical Preview, I had my first issues with the servicing. It would constantly get stuck at 18% through the process and would move no further. I didn’t have time to troubleshoot the 1st time it happened (which was on the previous release of the Technical Preview) and had hoped that somehow it would be fixed on the latest preview. However when I went to upgrade to build 10130 – sure enough it got stuck at the same place.

For those curious, the machine I am using for my technical preview testing is a Dell XPS13 (model 9333) and has been flawless upgrading until now.

So where to start with the troubleshooting? First things first is the log file. This is located in C:\Windows\Panther (the Panther directory is the home of all the setup records – so if you are lost and wondering where they are – have a look in here). In the SetupErr.log file you will find the errors that were thrown during the setup. It should be noted that even with a successful refresh there may be errors (files in use, old drivers that are recorded but not found in the migration, etc). It should be noted though that if the setup is successful then the only record of the setup is the last one, if the previous setups had been failures then this will show those until the successful one wipes the list clean. (That makes sense though as you only care about the errors really if there was a problem that stopped the upgrade).

If you are keen to save away this file (or do any other troubleshooting while the setup is going on, then the trick is this – when the setup screen is appearing, press CRTL+F11 on the keyboard and viola! You have a command prompt, so you are free to navigate to the panther directory and save the file if you so need.

Anyway – back to my troubleshooting – in the log file there was errors regarding the drivers for a USB to Gigabit network adapter. I didn’t have it plugged in but it had been troublesome in the past so I removed the drivers and tried again. Still no luck.

There was an error that appeared to be pointing at an access violation to the SetUpPlatform.dll. Now – that is normally an issue that points to memory, or something at a lower level than the Operating System, which then made me recall the 2-3 Blue Screens that I had had during the last month on the last Technical Preview (which as you might recall was 2 previews ago now) – so what where my options? I looked on the Dell website and found there was a new BIOS update that was released in April that I had not applied. So – I then updated the BIOS to A07 (dated 27th March 2015) and then kicked off Windows Update again and the issue was now solved.

There you have it then – if you are having issues – don’t just look to the hardware drivers at the Operating System level, potentially look a little deeper into the hardware as well.





When service doesn’t mean what you think it does

Posted by kyle on May 31st, 2015 filed in Windows 10
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There has been much discussion over the last couple of months over a statement that came from a presentation from Microsoft about Windows 10. In that presentation, there was mention of a phrase “Windows as a Service” which some media and blog sites have taken and run with in a completely wrong direction.

So – what is Windows as a Service? Well, the way that it was meant (and has been clarified on a number of occasions) is service as a method of updates, rather than service as a rental. Microsoft have repeatedly stated that Windows will not be a subscription service (Office 365 is an example of a subscription service – consumers pay a yearly fee for access) Windows is not an example of this.

Windows as a Service then, what does it mean? Well, it is a shift in the update methodology of Windows, rather than updates being applied to a set version of Windows (this is the way that Windows has been up until now) instead there will be a continuous servicing of the operating system – which basically means that Windows will constantly get new features – or be serviced. You may have also read that this is the last version of Windows – this is what is meant by that statement – the product will not actually ever be finished so to speak.

One other bonus as well – the first year of release, Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for the first year after release for licenced copies of Windows 7 and above. (note the qualifier of licencing – not as reported earlier in the year a free for all for pirated copies Windows). It should also be qualified that this is not for enterprise versions, that is still going to have a charge for that one.

Summarising then – is Microsoft going to charge folk a subscription charge for Windows 10? No. (simple answer to that one really)



At least Cortana listens to me

Posted by kyle on February 13th, 2015 filed in Tips 'n Tricks, Windows 10
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So, you have your shiny new installation of Windows 10 Technical Preview up and running. What next? First things first, let’s get Cortana set up.


Out of the box, Cortana is the search function in Windows 10 now and does the normal sort of thing that you would expect from a search function – it will do local and web searches now. So far pretty much the same as the Windows 8.1 Start Search function. So what is the excitement then?

In Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana has existed for a while however in Windows 10 – it gets taken to the next level. (And Windows Phone 10 will include the new flavor of Cortana)

To truly bring Cortana to life in Windows 10 you need to do a little configuration.

  1. Click in the Cortana text box and click Allow (this means that you are giving Cortana access to your data – important to note that you can withdraw this permission at any time)

  1. Cortana then asks you what you would like to be called, equally important that your assistant knows how to address you! (Cortana then tries out the pronunciation as well – so you can check that she has your name right)

  1. Then you get to choose some interests. This then gives Cortana some help to bring news to you. Again this can be changed at any time.

  1. Clicking on the Hamburger brings up the rest of the configuration for Cortana. At this point go to Settings.

  1. In the settings, you can do some changes to the name you are called by Cortana, the permissions and such. In my case I enabled all the options – the “Let Cortana respond when you say “Hey Cortana.”” is the important one here for the moment.

  1. Click on the Hamburger again and then go to places. This is where you can put in locations that will be relevant to you – On the phone, Cortana starts to learn where you go and what you do and will suggest locations such as home and work (as an aside – I work from home a lot and some days my only journey out will be to take the kids to daycare – which meant that Cortana was convinced that I worked at the local daycare!)


And there you have it – you are now good to go with Cortana – so you can now casually speak to your computer to do things like, reminders, appointments and searches.

Kyle’s handy tip is this – when you say “Hey Cortana”, don’t pause before you say the next bit. Cortana is already listening and gets confused by the pause. So if you want to set a reminder for 2 hours from now, simply say “Hey Cortana, remind me of something in 2 hours” rather than “Hey Cortana” (pause) “remind me of something in 2 hours”





Elsa, Do you want to install a Win 10 build?

Posted by kyle on February 12th, 2015 filed in Windows 10, Windows Insider Preview
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(I hope that popped into your head with the tune of “Do you want to build a Snowman?”)


So – you decided to install Windows 10 – you read all the previous caveats and still decided it was ok for you? Excellent – well – read on dear reader.


Last week I had my Dell XPS 13 replaced (twice as it turned out – but that is a separate issue) and I had need to therefore rebuild it as Windows 10 from the Window 8.1 that was installed. Rather than do a dump and burn of the existing OS I decided to do an inplace upgrade. In place upgrades will be the norm rather than the exception with Windows 10 so it seemed timely.

So here are the steps:

  1. Sign up to the Windows Insider program – this is the easy bit and has also been documented previously in another post. (here is a hint though :
  2. After signing up you will then be able to download and install the Windows 10 Technical Preview. First step is to start the setup wizard:


  3. Read and accept the End User Licence Agreement (we all read EULA’s right?)


  4. The setup will now run a system check to make sure that you are ready to go with your setup.


  5. As long as that goes ok – then you are good to go – and can then decide when you want to the upgrade.


  1. If you decide to schedule the upgrade then you can go ahead and select a time and date and then click Upgrade at a scheduled time.


  2. In my case, I just wanted to get it started so clicked on Start upgrade now. Then after a couple of reboots, 18 Minutes and 18 Seconds later – I had my desktop back and updated to Windows 10.


    So there you have it – the upgrade process – simple, easy and quick!


    In the next post I will look at configuring Cortana to take advantage of the new functionality and also setting up OneDrive.




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