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  • David Wayne Johnson 9:46 pm on February 14, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: Republican   


    Here we have Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.


    I prefer Bernie Sanders.  Unfortunately what he feels are important will not be passed by Congress. Hillary Clinton brings in too much baggage and I don’t believe her to be POS material..


    Like I felt in the Canada Election (anyone but Harper) in this election Anyone But Trump

  • David Wayne Johnson 4:23 pm on April 11, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: SBS 2003, SBS 2011, SBS Migration, Windows   

    SBS Migration – Active Directory replication is taking longer than expected 




    Whilst migrating from SBS 2003 server to SBS 2011, I was receiving a message saying “Active Directory replication is taking longer than expected”.  I clicked “Wait” a couple of times, but nothing was happening.

    To try and find out what was going go; I pressed CTL-ALT-DELETE and loaded up task manager, then clicked on file selected run and entered "notepad.exe". Once notepad loaded I opened up the installation log (found in C:\Program Files\Windows Small Business Server) and saw that the section below kept being repeated in the logs:

    Setup: DsGetDcName returned: 0
    Setup: DsGetDcName returned name: sbs03.domain.local
    Setup: Expected name: sbs08.domain.local
    Task:       There are 0 pending replication operations.
    Setup:       Attempting LDAP bind.
    Setup:       Bind successful
    Task: Waiting for replication to finish

    First of all, I made sure all the correct services were running on the source server:

    Computer Browser
    File Replication Service
    Remote Procedure Call (RPC)

    Then after trawling the web, I found that there is one registry key on the source server, and two on the destination server that need to be changed.

    On the source server:
    Load regedit and change the following key:
    HK_LM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTFrs\Parameters\Backup\Restore\Process at Startup – change the BurFlags key to decimal 4.

    On the destination server:
    Press CTRL-ALT-DELETE, load task manager, then click on file select run and enter regedit to change the following keys
    HK_LM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTFrs\Parameters\Backup\Restore\Process at Startup – change the BurFlags key to decimal 2
    HK_LM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Netlogon\Parameters – change the SysVolReady key to decimal 1.

    Next restart stop and start the File Replication service on both the source and destination machines. (On the destination machine hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE, click on file, select run and enter services.msc)

    The migration should then continue as normal.

  • David Wayne Johnson 8:21 pm on January 16, 2012 Permalink |  

    Where can I download IE8 for Windows 7 

    For starters, let me emphasize that this question is asked on a regular basis, and there are a few myths surrounding this scenario.  The simple answer is that there isn’t a stand-alone download for IE8 on Windows 7 (and unfortunately, the Vista version of IE8 will not work).  The only way to get IE8 back is to remove IE9 using one of the following methods:
    Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> View Installed Updates (on the upper-left)
    Scroll down until you find Windows Internet Explorer 9.  Highlight and click the Uninstall button.
    As an alternate method, you can open up a command prompt with full admin rights… Start -> cmd -> Ctrl+Shift+Enter -> acknowledge the UAC prompt.  Within the elevated command prompt, paste in the following, run it and then reboot:
    FORFILES /P %WINDIR%\servicing\Packages /M Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-*9.*.mum /c “cmd /c echo Uninstalling package @fname && start /w pkgmgr /up:@fname /norestart”
    In the event that method still doesn’t work, execute a System Restore to a point prior to when you installed IE9:
    Windows 7 System Restore
    If that doesn’t work and you have also installed Windows 7 Service Pack 1 already, you may need to weigh your options.  If you really don’t like IE9, you would potentially need to temporarily uninstall SP1, then uninstall IE9, ensure that IE8 is working, and then re-install SP1.
    Finally, you would want to ensure that IE9 isn’t automatically installed again by Windows Update, so you should probably use the Internet Explorer 9 Blocker Toolkit:
    Disable Automatic Delivery of Internet Explorer 9

  • David Wayne Johnson 10:05 pm on January 2, 2012 Permalink |  

    Setting up a Data Center Guidelines 

    Tier 1
    Single path for uplink, servers, power & cooling distribution w/o redundant components & may not have an engine generator, guaranteeing 99.671% availability (28.8 hours of downtime).

    NOTE: The data center must be shut down for annual predictive maintenance & repair work. Operation errors or spontaneous failures of infrastructure components will cause a data center disruption. An example of a Tier 1 data center may be a small businesses where IT is intended for internal business processes.

    Tier 2
    Tier 1 + Single path for cooling distribution w/redundant components & has UPS & engine generators but their capacity design is N+1, w/o single power path, guaranteeing 99.741% availability (22 hours of downtime).

    NOTE: Maintenance of the critical power path & other parts of the site infrastructure will require a shutdown of computer processes. An example of a Tier 2 data center may be internet-based companies w/o serious financial penalties for QoS commitments.

    Tier 3
    Tier 1 + Tier 2 + Multiple active power & cooling distribution paths, but only one path active, which has redundant components, and is concurrently maintainable. Dual-powered equipment & multiple uplinks, guaranteeing 99.982% availability (1.6 hours of downtime).

    NOTE: This topology allows for any planned site infrastructure maintenance activity w/o disrupting the computer systems operation in any way. An example of a Tier 3 data center would include companies that span multiple time zones or whose IT resources support automated business processes.

    Tier 4
    Tier 1 + Tier 2 + Tier 3 + Multiple simultaneous active power & cooling distribution paths, has redundant components, and is fault tolerant. All components are fully fault-tolerant including uplinks, storage, chillers, HVAC systems, servers, etc. This fault-tolerant architecture provides the ability of the site infrastructure to sustain at least one worst-case unplanned failure or event with impact to the critical load. This typically includes a System+System topology. Everything is dual-powered, guaranteeing 99.995-99.999% availability (at most 0.4 hours of downtime).
    NOTE: Typically, the better Tier 4 Data Centers include the following:

    • Strategically located on Airport power grids to prevent rolling blackouts as airport grids are the last to go and are more protected.
    • They have 3-day fuel reserves on-site and same-day contracts with fuel providers for helicopter transports.

    Data Replication

    • In addition to all the redundancy & backups within the data center there are real-time site-to-site replications generally in different geographical regions & climates. This way if one data center goes down completely the end-users never know.

    Multi-tenant platform security

    • Multiple redundant, enterprise-class firewall systems integrate firewall, VPN and traffic management to prevent unwarranted intrusions and ensure only authorized users access the environment. IDS (Intrusion Detection System) to detect malicious network traffic and computer usage that often cannot be caught by a conventional firewall.

    Physical Security

    • Dedicated, full-time security staff monitoring & guarding the data center 24x7x365 w/sophisticated pan/tilt closed-circuit TVs, led by a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) analyst. Secure access is strictly enforced using the very latest technology, including electronic man-trap devices between lobby & datacenter, bio-metric authentication, motion sensors, & controlled ID key-cards. Security guards are stationed at every entrance to the site.
    • Every employee, regardless of their role, undergoes a rigorous background check.
    • Employee access to passwords, encryption keys and electronic credentials is also strictly controlled.


    • SAS70 Type II certification. It is a rigorous certification requiring an independent auditor to validate, in their opinion, that the controls and processes in use are effective over its one year evaluation period.
    • SOC 2 & 3 are the new version reports of SAS70 Type II, which are being phased out as of 6/15/11. They more directly address all of the 5 concerns: Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, & Privacy.
    • PCI DSS. This assures credit card payments processed through a hosted site are secure from fraud and data compromise.

    NOTE: Examples of a Tier 4 requirement include companies who have extremely high-availability requirements for ongoing business such as E-commerce, market transactions, or financial settlement processes.

    Aspects to consider in Data Center Site Selection:

    • Earthquake Zone
    • Flood Plains
    • Hurricanes or Tornadoes
    • Proximity to Major Highways
    • Proximity to Railway Lines
    • Proximity to Hazardous Areas
    • Proximity to Airports or Flight Corridors


    • Availability of Electrical Capacity
    • Availability of Diverse Power Feeders
    • Utilities Expansion/Upgrades
    • History of Outages


    • Diverse Source Supplies
    • Water Storage


    • Availability of Diverse Carriers
    • Availability of Diverse Services
    • Physical Security
    • Alarms & Monitoring


    • Land
    • Construction
    • Utilities
    • Labour
    • Communications


    • Accessibility
    • Public Transportation
    • Recreational Facilities
    • Housing
    • Amenities

    Aspects to consider in Data Center Site Evaluation:

    • Electrical
    • Utility Service
    • Lightning Protection
    • Power Backbone
    • UPS Systems
    • UPS Batteries
    • Engine Generator
    • Load Bank
    • Critical Power Distribution
    • Grounding


    • Raised Floor Cooling
    • UPS Cooling
    • Mechanical Plant

    Support Systems

    • Contamination
    • Fire Detection & Protection
    • Physical Security
    • Alarms & Monitoring

    Standards & Compliance

    • SOC 2 or SAS70, Type 2
    • TIA-942
    • PCI DSS

    There are a few different ways to rank the aspects that comprise a data center. Syska Hennessy Group offers a method, unlike the four-tiered system from the Uptime Institute, which examines 11 different aspects of performance & measures them on a scale from 1 to 10.
    Below are the 11 items that Syska Hennessy Group ranks:
    1.      Power
    2.      HVAC
    3.      Fire & Life Safety
    4.      Security
    5.      IT Infrastructure
    6.      Controls & Monitoring
    7.      Commissioning & Testing
    8.      Operations
    9.      Maintenance
    10.      Operations & Maintenance Procedures, And
    11.      Disaster Preparedness.
    Here are some good references: and
    In the meantime while you are figuring which route you want to go down, you might want to look into SonicWALL’s CDP (Continuous Data Protection) offering. They have two flavors: a) you can host the data yourself or b) you can use their data center and have them carry the liability. The great thing about their solution is that it’s a policy-based backup, Site-to-site LAN-to-WAN or LAN-to-LAN w/Universal system recovery (BMR) and offsite/DR backup all-in-one with central management and remote management should a local site location go down. It has built-in AES 256-bit encryption in data transit & at rest. It uses fileset backup methodology combined w/data de-duplication & advanced granular versioning & trimming to efficiently capture catalogues and preserves each backup in chronological versions while excluding duplicate data. Bandwidth throttling…point/click recovery…the list goes on. We have had a lot of success with the deployments we have made. More info:
    Hope this helps!

  • David Wayne Johnson 11:47 pm on November 10, 2011 Permalink |  

    8 Is Enough: When Bad Things Happen to Good OSes 

    The first time I installed Windows 8 on my main desktop, a Core 2 Quad-based Dell Optiplex 755 tower PC with 8 GB of RAM, it didn’t go so well. Windows 8 installed fine, but after getting all my core applications installed, I started experiencing seemingly random system freezes, which required me to manually shutdown the PC and restart. It happened pretty frequently, so frequently that I quickly gave up and went back to Windows 7 on that PC.(That didn’t go so well either, and while I was curious how or whether Windows 8 might have contributed to the problem, it took some doing to get Windows 7 reinstalled on that PC again. I’ve come to believe that this was the first sign of what is now a complete SSD failure and was not at all related to installing Windows 8. In fact, Windows 8’s issues may have been tied to that faulty SSD as well.)

    Since then, as previously described, I’ve reinstalled Windows 8 on my PC, using a different SSD. And I’ve reinstalled my set of core apps, configured things as I want, and pretty much transitioned cleanly to the new OS. I wrote about this previously as well, but one point I’d like to make here is that this process still takes a long time. And that makes it hard to even consider doing it all over again.

    If you’ve been following along for a while, then you know this is where the fun starts.

    Windows 8, inexplicably and seemingly randomly, began spontaneously restarting. I’d open a new email and Gmail and–boom!–the screen would go dark and the PC would reboot. I’d click a hyperlink in a web page, same thing. There was no rhyme or reason to it, but Windows 8 would unceremoniously reboot from time to time.

    Leaving aside the happy news that Windows 8 reboots quite quickly for a moment, this is obviously troubling. I record two podcasts every week, for example: What if it decided to give up the ghost in the middle of recording? Or what if I lost or scrambled some critical data because the PC died at just the right moment? This lack of trust is what doomed my first Windows 8 install on this PC.

    This situation was a bit different, however. The system was rebooting without warning, not just freezing up. Maybe there was a different issue causing it.

    At least I know where to look: The Event Viewer, which still exists in Windows 8, of course, as a traditional MMC-style application. (Use Start Screen Search to find it.) Here, you can examine various system events, and after a crash like the kind I was experiencing, you can find out exactly what happened.


    For the full story, you’ll want to examine the Details tab, which can be copied to the clipboard in XML format if needed. But in my case, the EventData contents–"LMS Service cannot connect to HECI driver"–was enough information. These terms seemed familiar for some reason. After a bit of research, I discovered that LMS stands for "local manageability service" and HECI is "Host Embedded Controller Interface (HECI)." So it was likely a driver issue related to Intel’s management chipset, which is common to many PCs these days and used in businesses to remotely manage PCs. It’s also something that doesn’t need to work properly in a consumer’s PC.

    And sure enough, for this particular PC, there are two Intel-related drivers I’ve set aside on my home server because they’re hard to find and install, even on a shipping OS like Windows 7. And that’s partially because Dell only provides Vista-level drivers for this machine. And these drivers need to be installed in compatibility mode to work properly in Windows 7.

    I did so in Windows 8 as well–we all desire that clean Device Manager, after all–but in this case, doing so was apparently a mistake. So I uninstalled the driver, leaving an ugly hole in Device Manager. But it would be worth it is the sudden reboots stopped.

    That was Wednesday.

    I woke up this morning, sat down in front of the PC and clicked on an email message. Bang! The screen went black and the PC rebooted again.


    OK, back to the drawing board. When the PC booted up, I immediately went to Event Viewer. The time was 9:07, so the actual crash–and whatever caused it–must have happened at 9:06, given the speed with which Windows 8 boots. And sure enough, starting at 9:06:32, there are a couple of Critical issues. One particularly pertinent error, "Windows failed to resume from hibernate with error status 0xC00000BB," is followed by a few post-crash errors noting that the PC had rebooted.


    Here’s the thing. Microsoft has said repeatedly that Windows 8 will be fully compatible with any PC that can run Windows 7. And as you may be realizing, too, my particular PC is a Vista-era PC, and it was never brought up to date with Windows 7 drivers. (And really, damn Dell for that.) I’ve been kind of mulling over in my head whether it wouldn’t make more sense to move to a more modern PC–say, one based on a second-gen i3, i5, or i7 processor, given that the Core 2 Quad processor in my current PC is already two generation behind. But the OS compatibility issue may end up being the more daunting one. And that’s a shame, because this system performs quite well regardless of its supposed obsolescence.

    You know, aside from the spontaneous rebooting thing.

    So I’ll keep troubleshooting this, and I’m open to any ideas you may have. I did look at the Power Management control panel and noted that Hibernation was already disabled. But I turned off something called "hybrid sleep," which I believe combines the old Sleep and Hibernation modes. We’ll see how that goes.

    Barring a miracle stay of execution, it may be time for a new PC, or at least a newer PC, for daily use. I’m not going to give up on running Windows 8. But it may need to occur on a different box.

  • David Wayne Johnson 11:46 pm on November 10, 2011 Permalink |  

    8 Is Enough: Post-Setup Configuration 

    Every Windows power user has a default set of steps they perform right after installing Windows, which involves configuring Windows the way they want it, downloading any pending Windows Updates (a painful multi-step process today), setting up a backup regimen, installing key applications, and the like. I’m no different, and over the years I’ve honed the post-Setup configuration with each passing Windows release, as well as the set of applications I install. This is changing, again, with Windows 8, and will change even more as useful Metro-style apps become available.

    For now, with the Windows Developer Preview, we’re pretty much stuck with installing and using "classic" desktop-style applications, not newer Metro-style apps. So the list of stock applications I install hasn’t changed, yet, compared to what I use with Windows 7. I’ll discuss application compatibility in a future "8 is Enough" article, but the short version is that it’s been pretty successful overall, with just a few notable exceptions. Ditto for hardware compatibility.

    Post-Setup configuration is another matter entirely, as this process has already changed dramatically since Windows 7, and I expect the Developer Preview experience to closely match that of the final shipping version of Windows 8. (There will be some differences, of course. Microsoft will make changes to Windows 8 based on feedback, and some configuration options–like themes–just aren’t available yet in this earlier preview build.)

    A couple of notes up-front:

    User accounts. You can now choose between an old-fashioned local user account and signing in with your Windows Live ID. I recommend the latter, if you have one, since it comes with some additional functionality. I’ll write more about this in the future, and as the feature develops.

    Security software. Windows 8 ships with the equivalent of Microsoft Security Essentials built right in, so there’s no reason to download and install this software separately (or trigger the download through Windows Update). Windows 8’s security software is now managed through the reinvigorated Windows Defender, which also provides real-time protection against malware too.

    Two places for configuration. As with Windows 8 itself, the Windows 8 post-configuration tasks (and any future configuration) occur through two separate user experiences. That is, there are separate Metro-style and desktop versions of Control Panel, each of which provides different options. You’ll want to examine and use both.

    OK, so you’ve installed Windows 8 and you’re staring at the new Start screen in disbelief. Now what? Per the first article in this series, you may want to cull unwanted tiles from the Start screen and organize the remaining tiles in a way you like. There’s a lot less reason to do this now than will be the case in the future (remember, few Metro-style apps are available right now), but I don’t like how every single shortcut that’s added to the Start menu during application installs is also plastered as a tile on the Start screen. You may want to spend some time cleaning it up. (I did.)

    Windows Update

    As with Windows 7, it’s probably a good idea to get Windows Update up to date first. You can access a minimal version of Windows Update through the Metro-style Control Panel, but you’re better off just hitting the desktop and launching the classic version first. Of course, there’s no obvious way to do this, since the old Start menu is gone. That’s OK, since Windows 8 includes a new version of Start Menu Search, which I call Start Screen Search.

    From the Start Screen, simply start typing (no need to tap the Windows key first): windows update. As you can see below, the new Search experience appears when you type, and by default, you’ll see a list of apps and applications that meet the criteria of your search.


    For windows update, there aren’t any apps or applications, but there are some Control Panel choices. So click the Settings choice to change the search results list from apps and applications to Control Panel. You’ll see something like this:


    Click "Check for updates". The Windows desktop will appear, with the classic version of Windows Update. So install any pending updates, restart as need, rinse, wash, and repeat.

    Device manager

    Once that’s done, it’s probably a good idea to check and make sure that all of the devices attached to your PC are correctly identified and provided with an up-to-date driver. In Windows 8, as with previous Windows versions, the best way to do so is via Device Manager. The process for finding and launching this interface is similar to how we found Windows Update: Use Start Screen Search, this time with the search term device man. You see Device Manager located under Settings.


    If there are any missing device drivers, remember that Windows 8 is fully compatible with Windows 7 drivers, so the process for finding and installing them is the same as it is with that OS.

    Application install

    Once the system is properly configured with updates and your hardware is working properly, it’s time to install whatever applications you typically use. (In the future, this will involve installing Metro-style apps as well.) There’s nothing unusual about this process per se, and it should work as it does in Windows 7. (Again, there are a few application compatibility issues I’ve seen; I’ll discuss this in a future article.)

    Control Panel (Metro)

    You should spend a bit of time examining each setting in the new Metro-style Control Panel.


    Some of the notable settings include:

    New account protection options. While you can and should protect your PC and user account with a password (mandatory for Windows Live ID-type accounts, of course), you may want to make the logon process simpler, especially if you’re using a touch-enabled device. So in addition to standard alphanumeric passwords, Windows 8 supports two new alternatives: Picture password and PIN logon. With Picture password, you can optionally configure a photo that you’ll use as the basis for some touch gestures (two touches and a swipe). Apply these gestures over the photo to logon. With PIN login, you can use four numbers to logon, instead of your full password, similar to how you can access your bank account with an ATM card. Neither of these approaches replaces your account password. Instead, they are used to make logging in simpler.

    Wireless. Windows 8 supports an Airplane Mode, similar to that feature on a smart phone. This option only appears on PCs with wireless networking capabilities, and only makes sense on portable computers.

    Location awareness. Cribbing from another smart phone feature, Windows 8 can also relay your location information to compatible (Metro-style) apps. Note that this feature is disabled by default because of privacy implications. You can find it in the Privacy settings area of Control Panel.

    PC Reset. This is one of Windows 8’s greatest features. It allows you to completely reinstall Windows in just minutes and, optionally, restore all of your data (documents, photos, music, and so on) and other personal files, and Metro-style apps and their settings. This can be found in General.

    Sync PC. If you logon with a Windows Live ID, you can optionally sync configured settings to the cloud (in SkyDrive) and then reapply those settings anytime you logon to another Windows 8-based PC. Synced settings include personalization (colors, background, and lock screen), themes (background image, sounds, and other desktop configurations), ease of access, language, apps settings, web browser (IE history and favorites), and more.

    Homegroup. If you use homegroup sharing as I do, you’ll want to enable this feature, logon to your homegroup, and then configure which homegroup features (documents, music, pictures, videos, and printers and devices) your PC shares.

    Control Panel (Classic)

    In the Developer Preview, the classic Control Panels appears to look and work just much that in Windows 7. There are a few differences, including a few new control panels like Location Settings (previously called Location and Other Sensors), File History, Language (previously part of Region and Language), Region (previously part of Region and Language), and Taskbar (previously Taskbar and Start Menu). There are also some control panels missing since Windows 7, including Backup and Restore* and Getting Started. (Desktop Gadgets is present in the Developer Preview but could be removed, as Microsoft is not supporting this feature further.)

    (*Note: Windows Backup is actually available in the Developer Preview. Just choose Restore Windows 7 Backups and then click Set up backup.)

    Configuring Startup Applications

    In previous versions of Windows, you would use different tools and methods to prevent applications from auto-starting when Windows booted. In Windows 8, this is now consolidated in the new Task Manager. To find this interface, right-click on an empty area of the taskbar (in the Windows desktop) and choose Task Manager. You’ll see a window like the following:


    Click the More Details button to expand the view. The window will change to resemble this:


    Click the new Startup tab to view the Startup process management functionality. As you can see, each application and process that auto-starts when Windows boots is listed here. (Note that no Metro-style apps are listed. According to Microsoft, Metro-style apps cannot be auto-started at boot time.)


    To prevent any of these items from auto-starting at boot, right-click and choose Disable. Repeat for each item you’d like to prevent auto-starting.


    Final thoughts

    At this point, you should have a fairly clean and well-configured Windows 8 PC on your hands. Of course, there’s a lot more going on here, and additional worries around hardware and application compatibility that could prevent this from happening fully. I’ll look at these issues, and other related Windows 8 Developer Preview concerns, in future articles in this series.

  • David Wayne Johnson 11:45 pm on November 10, 2011 Permalink |  

    Q: How do I shut down Windows 8? 

    A: By design, this is meant to be difficult to figure out, because why would you want to turn it off?
    All joking aside, there are numerous ways to shut down Windows 8 using the GUI. (The old command-line shutdown.exe is still an option as well, which you can run from the Run box, Win+R, or by using a normal command prompt.)
    Here are some other options:
    • If you log out of the machine, you will see power options enabling shutdown (see screen shot below).


    • Select Settings on the Charms bar (Win+C), then shut down via the Power button. You can also open Settings directly by pressing Win+I.


    • Press Ctrl+Alt+Del, then use the power button in the bottom right corner.


    • Most new machines will also let you just push the power button on your machine, which will either power off, hibernate, or put your machine to sleep depending on your power configuration.

  • David Wayne Johnson 11:45 pm on November 10, 2011 Permalink |  

    Q:How can I deploy Windows 8 to a Virtual Hard Disk on my Machine for easy Dual-Boot? 

    A: Windows 7 introduced the ability to install an OS on a physical box to a virtual hard disk (VHD), and the process is exactly the same for Windows 8. I’ve done this for both Windows 8 client and Windows 8 server.

    Just replace Windows 7 with Windows 8 media.

    If this is an existing machine, and you want to dual boot rather than wipe the disk, then don’t perform the first three blocks of commands. The process will be as follows:

    1. Boot from the Windows 8 media (USB, CD, etc.).

    2. At the Install screen, press Shift+F10 to open a command prompt.

    3. Start diskpart and create the VHD file you want to install to:

    create vdisk file=c:\wind8.vhd maximum=8000 type=expandable

    select vdisk file=c:\win8.vhd

    attach disk

    create partition primary

    format fs=ntfs label=”Windows 8” quick

    4. Exit diskpart, and when you install Windows 8 you’ll be able to select your VHD volume (ignore the warning that you won’t be able to install).

  • David Wayne Johnson 11:27 pm on November 10, 2011 Permalink |  

    Windows Backup Tips 

    windows backup with windows7/server2008r2 uses the disk guid so you can use either wbadmin to change the backup when you change disks and yes it does try and do incremental backups at least for the ‘file backup’ part..  Windows backup has 2 parts (file and image) . Image for system/boot drives and file for the rest is the normal backup scenario. Images are always full backups, depending upon how you have configured Windows Backup
    You have two options: you can use the command-line WBADMIN to perform backups to a drive letter and schedule it via task scheduler, and you can swap drives out as much as you want, or you can configure the GUI with a backup schedule and add the extra targets via a command at a prompt.
    To use the GUI + adding targets via command line:
    1.) Label your drives starting from 1 with some fancy stickers using hearts and stars.
    2.) Attach drive 1 to the server.
    3.) Configure the WSB GUI to use your drive 1 as the target, specifying whatever source needs you have.  (Note it will format the drive and label it Servername_BLAHBLAH_Disk_01.)
    4.) Safely remove drive 1 from the server, then attach drive 2 to the server.
    5.) Make sure disk management is able to see the drive.
    6.) Jump to a command prompt, and type: wbadmin get disks > c:\disks.txt.
    7.) Open c:\disks.txt and check for the GUID of the disk you want to add as a target, highlight the GUID, then copy it to clipboard.
    8.) Go back to your command prompt and type: wbadmin enable backup -addtarget:GUID  (Note: immediately after the colon, paste in your GUID including the squiggly brackets.) and push enter.
    9.) It will verify that you indeed are adding a target, and indeed do want to format this next drive and it will label it Servername_BLAHBLAH_Disk_02.
    10.) Repeat steps 4 through 9 for all your drives.


    1.) The first drive it finds at time of backup, it will use for its backup, then consider the job complete; don’t plug in two USB drives and expect WSB backup to both of them one after the other.
    2.) It will maintain full/incremental status on each target drive independently, and they’re never reliant on each other AT ALL.  It doesn’t care if you leave the same drive connected for a year then swap out to a different disk, or never even use one of the drives you’ve added to the target pool.  (This makes month-end or yearly drive rotations insanely easy to implement.)
    3.) If you need to perform a restore, you go to recover and pick your date/time, and it will display which drive is needed, so if you’ve labeled your drives correctly, then it’s very simple to find which drive has your goods.
    4.) If a drive dies in your rotation, you have to relabel them all when you replace the drive from what I understand.  (If you need them to be sequentially labeled because you’re OCD like me.)  Perhaps it’s possible to use the powershell commands to fix the naming schemes of the target drives, but it’s never been that big of a deal for me to do, so I’ve relabelled them all.
    5.) If your target drives are nearing capacity, it’ll automatically purge old incremental history (effectively moving the last ‘full’ date to more recent and removing the previous incremental) and it does this well.  However, if you make significant changes to your server while your target disks are near capacity, WSB will only purge up to 1/8 of your target disk capacity before it will fail with an ‘out of drive space’ message, and you’ll have to manually purge the VSS copies on the target.  (This is extremely rare, but I have seen it on small target drives.)
    My solution is as follows. I delete ALL of the VSS copies on the volume on a schedule. It’s a shotgun approach but I’m not using VSS for anything else on the machine the backups are performed on. If the backup shadows always have the same identifier you can probably be more specific.
    Another way to force a full backup is to delete the VSS shadow copies
    Step 1: Create a script for DISKSHADOW. I called mine delete_shadows.dsh and placed it in the root of C:\
    Step 2: Place "delete shadows all" without the quotes in that file and save it.
    Step 3: Create a new scheduled task and set it to run as SYSTEM. Set it to trigger daily on a schedule that’s convenient.
    Choose "Start a program" as the action. Set it to run "diskshadow" with the arguments "/s c:\delete_shadows.dsh".

  • David Wayne Johnson 11:50 pm on November 4, 2011 Permalink |  

    8 is Enough: Living with Microsoft’s Developer Preview 

    When Microsoft released the Windows 8 Developer Preview at BUILD in September, I immediately vowed I’d install it on all of my PCs and begin using this early, buggy pre-release product every single day. And when I arrived home from Anaheim, I proceeded to do just that: Installed the Developer Preview on each of my daily use machines, either as the sole OS or in a dual-boot configuration.

    And then I hit my main desktop. Something about the Windows 8 Developer Preview didn’t sit right with the desktop machine, a Dell Optiplex 755. It did install, but would randomly freeze. And after a few aggravating days trying to make sense of that, I finally gave up and went back to Windows 7. Or at least I tried to: I started receiving boot errors related to the SATA-based SSD drive I use as my boot device. I finally got it to work, but it was unsettling and I can’t honestly say I know why it began working again. Another weekend lost, I forgot about it and moved on.

    The thing is, I sit in front of my desktop for most of the day, so my daily computing experience for the past two months has been largely about Windows 7, not Windows 8. I have tried to use Windows 8 when possible otherwise, on various laptops and the Windows 8 Developer Preview tablet. But I’m not using it fully, and that was the goal.

    I was reminded of this over the past week by Mark Minasi. Like me, Mark is writing a book about Windows 8, and like me, he has some pretty strong opinions about this release. We were in Las Vegas for Windows Connections, and held a panel discussion about Windows 8, and one of the things he challenged me on was how much time I actually spent with the new OS.

    That one kind of hurt for the aforementioned reasons. But I made a mental note to change that when I got home. I would try installing Windows 8 on my main desktop again. And I would live in this environment as I previously intended.

    If you’re used to technology and its almost surreal ability to undermine productivity, you may even be able to predict what happened next: I arrived home from Las Vegas after a sleepless red eye flight on Friday morning, slept through most of the morning and then walked into my office and woke up the PC. Here’s what confronted me on the screen:


    Wa-wa-waaaah. Yep, that’s the same SATA error I had seen before. Only this time, it was occurring on a fully-configured desktop OS with multiple, activated software applications. Meaning, I’m facing another lost weekend.

    I’ll deal with that later. In the meantime, I pulled out a spare SSD drive, swapped it with the "bad" drive in my desktop (which may or may not be bad; again, I’ll deal with that later), and installed the Windows 8 Developer Preview. This time, I’m not seeing the freezing issue (lending further credence to, but not proving, my notion that the other drive may in fact have issues). And after installing all the applications I used regularly, and determining that everything was up and running properly, I arrived at the point I wanted to be at in mid-September: I’m finally using Windows 8 on my main desktop.

    OK, fine, but what’s the point of all this?

    I’ve argued, repeatedly, that the most controversial aspects of Windows 8–the new Start Screen and underlying runtime environment–will become less and less controversial as the OS is improved and Metro-style apps begin appearing. This will most likely happen with the Beta release, which I expect to at least be announced at CES in January, and the corresponding public opening of the Windows Marketplace, by which Microsoft and third party developers will release such apps.

    We have no such apps today. Well, we have those sample, intern-created apps. But no "real" apps. So what we do, today, is install all those classic Windows applications we use, every day, in order to get work done. It’s a temporary situation. But it’s reality. And classic Windows applications don’t integrate in any way with the new Start screen. So you get that jarring back-and-forth action.

    On previous installs of Windows 8, I haven’t really configured or customized the Start screen in any way. This time, however, I decided to do things a little differently. And that means getting rid of (or "unpinning") all of the app and application tiles I don’t actually use regularly, and uninstalling all the Metro-style apps I’ll never use. This is time consuming: You need to right-click each tile and then choose "Uninstall" or "Unpin," depending on what you want to do.

    You also can’t create or modify the tile groups, not yet, since this feature isn’t available in the Developer Preview. So I worked with the pre-made groups to create groups of related tiles, with the most-frequently used tiles in the left-most group. When I was done–and this took a while–my Start screen actually fit on one screen width. It looks like this.


    This is useful because it’s currently pretty hard to navigate horizontally on the Start screen with a mouse and keyboard, yet another aspect of this OS that will be fixed post-Developer Preview. (This is a bug Microsoft knew about before the Developer Preview shipped, but it was too late to fix it.)

    So, I’m using Windows 8. Really using it. And while I’ve got a lot to do with regards to a little upcoming book called Windows 8 Secrets, I think it makes sense to report back every couple of days, at least, and see how it goes. So I’ll be doing that going forward.

    And looking forward to the coming Beta release, which I’m sure will simply fix all the problems. 🙂

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