Office 365 E-Mail Migration Performance

Last month Microsoft released a document outlining Exchange Online Migration Performance.  You can find the article here. While it’s not a bad read at 26 pages, I will highlight some of the important pieces.

It’s always important to keep in mind the data and how it will get to Office 365 when considering moving to Exchange Online.  Depending on the size of your total email data, the source mail platform, and the tool you will be using to migrate the data the time per user can vary drastically.

Let’s take a look at the following chart provided by Microsoft that highlights some of the throttling.

Migration tool Migration   method User   throttling Migration-service   throttling Office 365   resource health-based throttling Observed   average throughput per hour and per client (if applicable)
Native   O365/Simple Migration IMAP4   migration

No

Yes

Yes

5-10 gigabyte (GB) (50 concurrency)

Native   O365/Simple Migration Cutover   Exchange migration

No

Yes

Yes

5-10 GB (50 concurrency)

Native   O365/Simple Migration Staged   Exchange migration

No

Yes

Yes

5-10 GB (50 concurrency)

Native O365 Hybrid   migration

No

Yes

Yes

10-15 GB (per On-premise Exchange 2010   CAS)

Third Party MAPI

Yes

No

Yes

0.5-1 GB

Third Party EWS

No

Yes

Yes

5-10 GB

Client   Uploading Outlook

Yes

No

Yes

0.5 GB

As you can see there are a few different caps depending on what type of migration you are performing and what type of tool you are using.  For example, the native Office 365 tools in the Exchange Control Panel can perform either a Simple(think IMAP), Cutover(from Exchange on Prem) and Staged(Also from On prem).  Hybrid migration, in which a 2010 Client Access Server where Hybrid mode has been configured, is the fastest means to migrate which makes sense given Microsofts subtle push to have people with Exchange on prem migrate in this fashion.  If you’re using a 3rd party tool be sure it can use Exchange web services to connect to Office 365.

By far the slowest method of migration is 3rd party MAPI and Client uploading.  Keep these in mind because if your migration plan was export/import .PST files using either in house methods or some of the *free* migration tools out there you need to understand just how slow they will be.  Typically this type of method should only really be used in which the number of users is very small.

Looking over these #s that they’ve listed and I would say this is somewhat what I’ve observed performing migrations in the field.  For me though, the biggest factor is what platform you are migrating off of and the performance of that server and your network.  Some IMAP migrations from older systems or on servers that have been around for years can take much longer than you would see from other IMAP migrations such as Gmail.  I’ve seen 10 user mailboxes averaging 3gb each take 12 hours to complete in total with max concurrency set to 5(which according to the chart should take 3-4 hours).  It’s always important to pilot and test your migration to get expectations before planning production schedules and dates.

As I mentioned earlier Hybrid Migrations do seem to be the direction Microsoft is pushing companies to if they have Exchange on-premise.  My only concern with this is that it can be extremely complicated for Administrators who do not have a lot of experience with Exchange 2007+ and how web services and autodiscover work.  Putting in Exchange 2010 CAS with hybrid in an Exchange 2003 environment can be complex for a seasoned Exchange administrator, much less one that’s only experience is in Exchange 2003.  With Exchange 2010 SP2 it has made that process somewhat easier(wizard), but it still requires knowing how all the services work to get it right.  My advice is carefully determine what Hybrid mode offers your company and if those additional benefits are worth the extra efforts involved in implementing it.

Peter Gleek

Exchange 2010 RTM Setup Fails with Event ID 1002

While working through an Exchange 2010 RTM installation (to be updated to SP2 of course when the time came) at a customer site, we ran into an error that at first had us baffled:

Exchange Server component Mailbox Role failed.
Error: Error:
The following error was generated when “$error.Clear();
$name = [Microsoft.Exchange.Management.RecipientTasks.EnableMailbox]::DiscoveryMailboxUniqueName;
$dispname = [Microsoft.Exchange.Management.RecipientTasks.EnableMailbox]::DiscoveryMailboxDisplayName;
$dismbx = get-mailbox -Filter {name -eq $name} -IgnoreDefaultScope -resultSize 1;
if( $dismbx -ne $null)
{
$srvname = $dismbx.ServerName;
if( $dismbx.Database -ne $null -and $RoleFqdnOrName -like “$srvname.*” )
{
Write-ExchangeSetupLog -info “Setup DiscoverySearchMailbox Permission.”;
$mountedMdb = get-mailboxdatabase $dismbx.Database -status | where { $_.Mounted -eq $true };
if( $mountedMdb -eq $null )
{
Write-ExchangeSetupLog -info “Mounting database before stamp DiscoverySearchMailbox Permission…”;
mount-database $dismbx.Database;
}

              $mountedMdb = get-mailboxdatabase $dismbx.Database -status | where { $_.Mounted -eq $true };
if( $mountedMdb -ne $null )
{
$dmRoleGroupGuid = [Microsoft.Exchange.Data.Directory.Management.RoleGroup]::DiscoveryManagementWkGuid;
$dmRoleGroup = Get-RoleGroup -Identity $dmRoleGroupGuid -DomainController $RoleDomainController -ErrorAction:SilentlyContinue;
if( $dmRoleGroup -ne $null )
{
Add-MailboxPermission $dismbx -User $dmRoleGroup.Identity -AccessRights FullAccess -DomainController $RoleDomainController -WarningAction SilentlyContinue;
}
}
}
}
” was run: “Couldn’t resolve the user or group “domain.local/Microsoft Exchange Security Groups/Discovery Management.” If the user or group is a foreign forest principal, you must have either a two-way trust or an outgoing trust.”.

Couldn’t resolve the user or group “domain.local/Microsoft Exchange Security Groups/Discovery Management.” If the user or group is a foreign forest principal, you must have either a two-way trust or an outgoing trust.

The trust relationship between the primary domain and the trusted domain failed.

The bolded portion was the key, although we (okay, I – MCB) completely misread it.  We took this to mean that it was an issue with the member server trust, but that of course is a completely different error:

The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain failed.

We (okay, I – TB) finally figured out what was up – the customer had two broken domains trusts in the environment.  When asked, the customer said, “oh, yeah, I think we know about that, they are before anyone’s time and we were afraid to touch them.”  That of course was not a helpful answer, but they were onboard with whacking the trusts since they didn’t work anyway.

One of the things that caused us pain here is that there are substantial number of web pages and forum posts about this particular error, but they all relate to SP installation on an existing installation.  They go through recreating system mailboxes and all kinds of other hoops, but that was in our case the completely wrong thing to do.

Once we removed the bad trusts, the installation worked.  Yay.  It’s a case perhaps of “RTFEM.”  There’s a good question here of exactly why Exchange Setup cares here – it knows enough information to find the group in question without going through trusts, but it insists on doing so anyway.  One could even go so far as to this being a bug, although without knowing the team’s reasoning it’s difficult to jump to that conclusion.

In any event, hopefully this post helps other people out.

– Tom Bridge and Michael C. Bazarewsky
”Exchange Rock Stars” (Tom made us say that)

The New Cloud Certifications!

One of the questions that came up during the Columbus Windows 8 Preview Roadshow last week involved the changes to Microsoft certifications for the Windows 8 release cycle.  At the time, all I was allowed to say was that Microsoft was working on some changes, and that development was underway.

Well, now a lot of the information is out there and public – and it’s big!

“MCSE” Returns, Sort Of, and MCSD Returns

Folks who have been working in IT for long enough remember the “old” certifications that existed before the Windows 2000 cycle.  The premier certifications were the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer).  I hold both of those from back then, for example.

Today, Microsoft announced the new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert – MCSE.  Yes, same initials, but a completely different certification.  Or more accurately, set of certifications.  Meanwhile, MCSD is also back as a certification with the same definition.  Both of these are on a new “Cloud” track.

MCSE: Private Cloud

The MCSE: Private Cloud certification focuses on building a private cloud in your organization (or a customer’s organization as the case may be), and monitoring and maintaining that private cloud, using the System Center 2012 suite.  It builds on the existing Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA – that’s a new definition also, replacing the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator definition for that acronym) on Windows Server 2008.

MCSE: Data Platform

The MCSE: Data Platform certification (exams not quite available yet) focuses on building on-premises SQL Server 2012 data processing solutions.  It is somewhat a replacement for the MCDBA certification.

MCSE: Business Intelligence

The MCSE: Business Intelligence certification covers SQL Server 2012 BI solutions (e. g. Analysis Services and Reporting Services).  These exams are also not quite available yet; more details will be coming later.

What about MCSD?

Although this is primarily an IT Pro blog, I did want to at least touch on the MCSD.  That certification has been reintroduced, but no public details are available at this time.

The Other Levels

Microsoft is effectively positioning the MCSE and MCSD as “flagship” “Expert” certifications but not the top level.  Let’s look at what the certification site shows:

Tracks

Notice we still have the entry-level “Associate” MCTS and MCSA, and the very top-level “Master” MCM and the new Cloud version, MCSM.  We also have the current MCITP and MCPD certifications, although not showing under the “Cloud” banner.

“Cloud-built”?

Yes, when Microsoft says they are “all-in on the cloud” they are not just saying that for the heck of it.  As a company, top to bottom, it’s the new world order.  The certification changes are just another reflection of that; previously on this blog and in some presentations we’ve touched on the new Hyper-V functionality that is clearly cloud-related, and the new functionality in System Center 2012 for managing the cloud.  Therefore, these changes are really just the Microsoft Learning reflection of this mindset.

Oh Yeah, Recertification!

When Microsoft announced their Windows Phone 7 development exam, one tidbit that was there but was not called much attention to was the fact that to maintain the certification a developer would need to recertify:

Recertification requirements for Windows Phone developers

Windows Phone technology is updated frequently. As a result, the skills required to be a successful Windows Phone developer will evolve rapidly. To ensure that developers who hold the MCPD: Windows Phone Developer certification keep pace with the evolution of Windows Phone skills, they will be required to recertify every two years. This recertification will help demonstrate the developers’ continued competence as the skills needed to develop applications for Windows Phone change. Through recertification, we can maintain the value of the certification as the technology changes. More information about this recertification requirement will be provided at a later date.

This could be seen as a “testing the waters” for the new paths announced today.  The press release for example says:

The MCSE certification — or its developer equivalent, MCSD — also demonstrates an individual’s commitment to staying up to date on cutting-edge technologies because it requires recertification.

The details of this are not really fleshed out publically yet, but there’s enough time for Microsoft to sort that out before it will start to matter.

Uh Oh, More Exams!

True, this will mean more exams.  However, the official Microsoft exam provider, Prometric, currently has a 2-for-1 offer available.  Essentially, this offer means you can take the current exam now, and take the next generation replacement when it is available for free:

image

You can find more details on this at the linked site.

So Now What?

For those of us at BA, this means we will be looking at more exams (across many of our employees).  For you, this means that you need to think about what your career path and goals are and start thinking about your certifications.  Perhaps you can talk to your manager/supervisor about a certification goal – “if I get my new ‘Cloud’ certification will you finally start paying for my cell phone?” for example Winking smile

Michael C. Bazarewsky, MCT, Old-School MCSE
Principal Consultant, Server and Security

DPM 2012 RTM: LAB in Place Upgrade from DPM 2010 and SQL 2008

In this post, I am going to upgrade a LAB DPM 2010 server to DPM 2012 RTM.  This process will require several hours and take your backup environment offline during the entire process.  Be sure to do this during a time period where no backups are needed to be created or restored.  Additionally all backups will have to have a consistency check run against them which is very intensive process for both the network and protected machines.

Lab Environment – Requirements

  1. A server (or virtual machine) running Server 2008 R2 SP1.
  2. DPM 2010 installation.  DPM 2010 must have the latest QFE rollup (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2465832) installed along with a DPM 2012 required hotfix (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2615782).  Additionally you must push the client update to all protected sources.  This server will be named BACLEVDPM01.
  3. SQL 2008 R2 Standard or Enterprise (as required by DPM 2012) media (or already installed with DPM 2010)
  4. System Center DPM RTM media

Setup – SQL 2008 to 2008 R2 Upgrade

Since my lab environment was running SQL 2008 and not the required 2008 R2, the following steps are required to upgrade SQL.  If your environment is using SQL 2008 R2, you can skip these SQL based steps.

Setup – SQL Upgrade

  1. Launch setup.exe from the SQL 2008 R2 media
  2. Select Installation on the left sideimage
  3. Select Upgrade from SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008image
  4. Select OK to continueimage
  5. A new Setup Support Rules screen will appear.  Continueimage
  6. Enter your product key (or evaluation)image
  7. If you accept the license terms continueimage
  8. Ensure your instance is selected in the drop down field and continueimage
  9. Feel free to look at the features that will be upgraded and continueimage
  10. Validate the Instance Configuration and continueimage
  11. Verify the Disk Space Requirements and continueimage
  12. Verify Authentication Mode and continueimage
  13. Decide if you want to send error reports and continueimage
  14. Ensure the Upgrade Rules pass and continueimage
  15. Verify the settings and continueimage
  16. The upgrade will run for a long time.  If you get an error stating a *ReportServer-rsctr.dll is stuck in use, kill “WmiPrvSE.exe” and continue the upgrade.
  17. A reboot is required after the upgradeimage
  18. Verify the upgrade was successful and continueimage
  19. Reboot the machine as requested
    image

Verify – DPM 2010 Works with SQL 2008 R2 Upgrade

  1. Launch the DPM 2010 console and verify DPM 2010 continues to function as it did previously.  if all goes well, you are ready to upgrade to DPM 2012!  You may also want to apply SP1 for SQL 2008 R2 however it is not required for DPM to install or function.
  2. Setup – DPM 2010 to 2012 Upgrade

    Since SQL 2008 R2 is now running (because of the upgrade or because you started with 2008 R2) we can now upgrade to DPM 2012.

Setup – DPM Upgrade

  1. Launch setup.exe from the SCDPM folder
  2. Choose to install Data Protection Managerimage
  3. If you accept the license terms continueimage
  4. Acknowledge the Setup wizard information and continueimage
  5. Choose to Use the dedicated instance of SQL Server and click Check and Installimage
  6. Assuming the prerequisites are met, you will get a message stating The required hardware and software prerequisites are met on this computer (don’t be silly and assume it states they are not met like I first assumed…).  Then continueimage
  7. Enter your product keyimage
  8. Verify the Installation settings and continueimage
  9. Enter the password for your existing account and continue (it will not re-create the account)image
  10. Feel free to choose your update method and continueimage
  11. Select your Customer Experience Improvement Program option and continue with the upgradeimage
  12. After a long time, it will finish.  If you want to have fun follow the link to the latest DPM updates (it goes to DPM 2010 information).image

Setup – DPM Agent Upgrade

  1. Launch Microsoft System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager.  You will likely notice a lot of Critical Alerts.  We will work towards resolve the Replica is inconsistent errorimage
  2. Click on Management (so you can see all your Agent Status showing Needs updating)image
  3. Mass select all computers with the protection agent and click on Update (on the top ribbon)image
  4. Acknowledge the warning and continueimage
  5. If all goes well, your agents will have a status of OKimage

Setup – DPM Protection Group Consistency Check

  1. Launch Microsoft System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager.
  2. Navigate to Protectionimage
  3. Select a protection group and click Consistency checkimage
  4. Accept the warning message and allow the consistency check to runimage
  5. You will need to repeat steps 3 and 4 for each protection group.
  6. You can monitor the status of the consistency check by going to Monitoring, All jobs in progress
  7. Once the consistency check is done, normal backups should continue as scheduled.

Setup – DPM Email Notifications

The upgrade apparently removes previously setup email notifications (it’s a feature ;).  To enable email notifications you will need to do the following:

  1. Launch Microsoft System Center 2012 Data Protection Manager.
  2. Navigate to Management
  3. Selection Options from the top ribbonimage
  4. Select the SMTP Server tab
    image
  5. Enter the appropriate SMTP information for your environmentimage
  6. Select Send Test Email and enter your email address to send a test email toimage
  7. You should get an email within a few minutes if you have setup SMTP successfully
  8. Navigate to the Notifications tab
    image
  9. Select the appropriate alerts and enter the recipients before selecting OK

System Center Configuration Manager RTM: A Lab Installation

Since System Center Configuration Manager has been released, I thought it might be helpful to provide a how-to guide on a lab install of System Center Configuration Manager.  For this lab environment we will install both a Central Administration Point, and a Primary Site.  The instructions assume are familiar with SCCM 2007 and its install.

So many of you may ask why I am installing a CAS for a lab environment.  For this lab I want to experience a full SCCM architecture.  This requires an additional machine (or VM) to host, and likely isn’t needed in all but extremely large environments, but will provide the ability to experience a large design implementation.

Lab Environment – Requirements

  1. A server (or virtual machine) running Server 2008 R2 SP1 for the Central Administration Site (CAS) install.  This will be named BACLEVSCCM12CAS.
  2. A server (or virtual machine) running Server 2008 R2 SP1 for the Primary Site install.  This will be named BACLEVSCCM12.
  3. SQL 2008 R2 Enterprise, SP1, and SP1 CU4.
  4. System Center Configuration Manager RTM media.

Setup – Active Directory

Your AD environment must give Full Control rights to the SCCM Servers to the System\Systems Management AD container.

Setup an AD account called SVC_SCCM which is a member of the Domain Admins Group.  All installs to the servers will use this account.  This is done as a best practice to ensure the SQL and SCCM install is not tied to an individual user.

Install the Central Administration Site on BACLEVSCCM12CAS

Setup – Install SQL on CAS

We will be using SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, with SP1 and SP1 CU4 (not to be confused with the non-sp1 CU4) for our install.  The following options must be enabled in SQL during the install.

  1. Only the Database Engine Services feature is required for site server.
  2. Reporting Services (if you want to add this feature to SCCM, which you do)
  3. I am installing the Management tools so I can manage it locally however as well. Be sure to patch to SP1, and then apply the SP1 CU4 update.

Setup – Server 2008 R2 on CAS

I will be installing on a Server 2008 R2 SP1 system.  The following features (and roles that will be forced because of the features) must be enabled:

  1. .Net 3.5 SP1
  2. Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) including Compact Server and IIS Server Extension
  3. Microsoft Remote Differential Compression
  4. IIS 6 WMI Management Compatibility – IIS 6 WMI compatibility

Setup – SCCM Assess Server Readiness on CAS

Login in as the SVC_SCCM account.

Launch Assess server readiness and ensure there are no errors.

image

As you can see we have some warnings, but can install.

image

Setup – SCCM Install CAS

  1. Launch Installimage
  2. Click Nextimage
  3. Choose to Install a Configuration Manager central administration siteimage
  4. Enter your key or run in evaluation mode.image
  5. If you accept the license terms, continue.image
  6. More license terms, if you accept continue.image
  7. Select a location to download the prerequisites and click next.  This will then download all the necessary files in multiple languages (just in case).  You will wait a while for this to finish.image
  8. Select your Language for the console and reports.image
  9. Select your client languages.image
  10. Setup your Site Code, Site Name, and Install Folder.  Ensure you install the console as well.image
  11. Setup the Database Information (The defaults are perfectly fine).image
  12. Verify the FQDN of the server.image
  13. Feel free to Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program.image
  14. Verify the Settings Summary and continue.image
  15. The prerequisite check will now run again (aren’t we glad we did this first to ensure we pass?)image
  16. The install will then run for a while.image
  17. Your Central Administration Site is now installed!

Install the Primary Site on BACLEVSCCM12

Setup – Install SQL on Primary

We will be using SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, with SP1 and SP1 CU4 (not to be confused with the non-sp1 CU4) for our install.  The following options must be enabled in SQL during the install.

  1. Only the Database Engine Services feature is required for site server.
  2. Reporting Services (if you want to add this feature to SCCM, which you do)
  3. I am installing the Management tools so I can manage it locally however as well. Be sure to patch to SP1, and then apply the SP1 CU4 update.

Setup – Server 2008 R2 on Primary

I will be installing on a Server 2008 R2 SP1 system.  The following features (and roles that will be forced because of the features) must be enabled:

  1. .Net 3.5 SP1
  2. Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) including Compact Server and IIS Server Extension
  3. Microsoft Remote Differential Compression
  4. IIS 6 WMI Management Compatibility – IIS 6 WMI compatibility

Setup – SCCM Assess Server Readiness on CAS

Login in as the SVC_SCCM account.

Launch Assess server readiness and ensure there are no errors.

image

As you can see we have some warnings, but can install.

image

Setup – SCCM Install CAS

  1. Launch Installimage
  2. Click Next image
  3. Choose to Install a Configuration Manager primary site (do not select Use typical installation options for a stand-alone primary site)image
  4. Enter your key or run in evaluation mode. image
  5. If you accept the license terms, continue. image
  6. More license terms, if you accept continue.image
  7. Select a location to download the prerequisites and click next (or point it at the files we downloaded on the previous install).  This will then download all the necessary files in multiple languages (just in case).  You will wait a while for this to finish.image
  8. Select your Language for the console and reports.image
  9. Select your client languages.image
  10. Setup your Site Code, Site Name, and Install Folder.  Ensure you install the console as well.image
  11. Enter the Central administration site server (FQDN).image
  12. Setup the Database Information (The defaults are perfectly fine).image
  13. Verify the FQDN of the server.image
  14. Choose Configure the communication method on each site system role and Clients will use HTTPS when they have a valid PKI certificate and HTTPS-enabled site roles are available.image
  15. Setup the management point and distribution point to use HTTP communicationimage
  16. Feel free to Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program.image
  17. Verify the Settings Summary and continue.image
  18. The prerequisite check will now run again (aren’t we glad we did this first to ensure we pass?)image
  19. The install will then run for a while.image
  20. Your Primary Site is now installed!

Future Activities

In future blog posts I will detail configuring the site for use, and migration from an existing SCCM 2007 environment.

David Norling-Christensen
Senior System Architect

System Center User Group – Embracing the Consumerization of IT

Presented by Jason Roundy & David Glass – Quest Software
Wednesday April 11th, 2012 from 5:45pm – 7pm

Register Here

The culture of work is changing. Tech-savvy and always-connected people want faster, more intuitive technology, uninterrupted services and freedom to work anywhere, anytime, on a variety of devices. It’s time to give people the freedom to get things done their way. In return, you’ll unleash passion and productivity like never before.
Quest’s User Workspace Management solutions enable the modern business desktop and ‘Flexible Workstyle’ by easing the migration to modern Microsoft platforms such as Windows 7 & 8, SCCM 2012, MDOP, Remote Desktop Services (RDS), VDI and Mobile Device Management.
Jason Roundy is the product manager for Quest’s Management Xtensions (QMX) for System Center and has been in the IT industry for 20 years. During this session Jason will provide an overview of the QMX solution and how you can extend System Center to seamlessly manage your Apple Desktop, iOS & Android Mobile devices along with Windows and your other platforms – under one single pane of glass. Jason will also show us the console integration, HW and SW inventory, reporting and distribution in a small demo environment. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to say ‘YES’ to your clients’ enterprise management requirements for Apple and more!

Refreshments and pizza will be provided.

Registration is recommended as seating is limited.

For further information and questions, please contact:
Andrew Thorne
athorne@bennettadelson.com
216.369.0140

Location:
Microsoft Corporation
Park Center III
6050 Oak Tree Blvd, Suite 300
Independence, Ohio 44131

About the Cleveland System Center User Group
This group’s focus is on the Microsoft suite of applications for managing and maintaining the infrastructure environment bundled under the System Center umbrella. This suite includes Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr), Operations Manager (OpsMgr), Virtual Machine Manager, Reporting Services, Mobile Device Manager, and Data Protection Manager. Please join the Cleveland System Center User Group for introductions to Microsoft technology, technical deep dives, as well as advanced topics to extend and support your solutions. This is a great opportunity to join with your peers in the Cleveland area and learn from both the presenter and the group.

© 2010 Bennett Adelson. 6050 Oak Tree Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44131

System Center Configuration Manager 2012 RTM

Microsoft quietly released the full System Center 2012 suite on April 1st.  It appears however that Microsoft will not talk more about this until later this month at MMS 2012.  You can download it now from all the normal Microsoft locations (VL, MSDN, TechNet).

David Norling-Christensen (MCSE, MCTS)
Senior Systems Architect

Windows 8 Road Show slides

I would like to thank all those who attended the Bennett Adelson Windows 8 Preview Roadshow.  In all, we had almost 100 attendees, many good conversations and received  a lot of great feedback.  We enjoyed putting on the event and hope that you will join us for the upcoming System Center 2012 Roadshow……..Details to be released soon!

We have attached the presentations in PDF format and hope that you all walked away having learned something and are considering the business value of implementing Windows 8.

Thanks Again,

Jarrod Roark | Bennett Adelson | Columbus
Director – Advanced Infrastructure

Winner of Microsoft 2011-2012 Partner of the Year, Heartland District

0 – Windows 8 Keynote

1 – Windows 8 Tools and Storage

2 – Windows 8 Hyper-V Deeper Dive

3 – Windows 8 Backup and Recovery Strategies for Hyper V

4 – Windows 8 Contact Us

Windows 8 To Go with the Consumer Preview… The right way.

Windows 8 will include a new feature called Windows 8 to Go.  This feature will allow you to install a full installation of Windows 8 on to a USB device.  The USB device has the following advantages:

  1. It will auto detect the hardware of any PC it is booted into the first time.  This means it can run on any hardware that supports Windows 8.
  2. If the USB device is removed the OS will “pause” for 60 seconds allowing the USB device to be plugged back in so the system can be resumed.  If the USB device is not inserted by 60 seconds, the system will shut down.
  3. You get the full performance of the hardware on the computer.  This is real Windows 8 running on the system.

Microsoft released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, however this feature was not yet released for testing with the Consumer Preview.  This has not stopped many websites and blogs from posting how to create a bootable Windows 8 Consumer Preview to Go instance on a USB stick.  Their guidance boiled down to 3 steps:

  1. Format the USB stick into NTFS and make it active
  2. Use imagex to copy Windows 8 to the USB device
  3. Create a boot loader on the USB device.

While this method works, it has one major drawback.  When Windows boots, it sees the USB stick as drive C (as it should), however it is still considered a removable drive.  This causes several issues. 

  1. Windows Update will not work.  This also means you can’t add features like .Net 2 and 3.5 because these are downloaded from Windows update upon install.
  2. Many applications have issues installing because they see the C drive as removable.
    Since I really wanted to learn about Windows 8 to Go, I figured I had to solve this issue.  Upon looking around the web, the only way I saw people attempting to resolve this was by either using hacked drivers that would trick windows into thinking the USB was a fixed disk, or trying to use a Lexar utility to flip the “removable” bit on a USB stick so it would report it was a fixed disk.  Having looked into both options, they both had big issues, and were extremely hard to get working (if even possible depending on your USB stick, and your ability to sign 64 bit drivers).  After struggling for several days on this it dawned on my that Windows 7 had included the ability to boot from USB drive.  Windows 8 should also include this.
    Upon testing the install of Windows 8 to Go on a USB hosted VHD, I found everything worked as expected.  Windows 8 would boot up, provide all the Windows 8 to Go goodness, but see the C drive (the VHD) as a fixed disk!

So if you would like to try out a fully functional version of Windows 8 to Go here is what you will need:

  1. A USB device with at least 32 GB (a USB hard drive or thumb drive) that will have all data deleted off it.
  2. Downloaded copy of Windows 8 Consumer Preview x64 or x86, your choice (Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO images)
  3. Imagex.exe (Part of the Windows 7 Automated Installation Kit)
  4. Windows 8 installed on the machine you will do the following steps on

Here is how to do it.

Create a bootable USB with VHD

  1. Open an Administrative command prompt
  2. Type: Diskpart
  3. Type: List Disk image
  4. Take note of the disk number of your USB (mine is Disk 1 in the picture above)
  5. Type: Select Disk #          (Where # is the number from step 4)image
  6. Type: Clean          (THIS WILL DELETE ALL DATA OFF THE USB DEVICE)image
  7. Type: Create Partition Primaryimage
  8. Type: Format FS=NTFS Quickimage
  9. Type: Activeimage
  10. Type: Create VDisk File="E:\BA-Win8ToGo-01.vhd” Maximum=29696 Type=Fixed        (Please replace E: with the drive letter of your USB device)  (If you create the VHD on the wrong drive, you can simply copy it to the USB device before continuing)  This step will take a while depending on the speed of your USB device.image
  11. Type: Select Vdisk File="E:\BA-Win8ToGo-01.vhd"
  12. Type: Attach Vdiskimage
  13. Type: Cleanimage
  14. Type: Create Partition Primaryimage
  15. Type: Format FS=NTFS Quickimage
  16. Type: Activeimage
  17. Type: Assign Letter=G          (Replace G with any open drive letter)image
  18. Type: Exit 

Add the boot loader to the USB device

  1. Open an Administrative command prompt
  2. Type: BCDBoot.exe C:\Windows /s E: /f ALL          (Replace E: with the drive letter of your USB device)image
  3. WARNING:  FAILURE TO POINT TO THE STORE ON YOUR USB DEVICE WILL MAKE YOUR PC UNBOOTABLE!
  4. Type: bcdedit /store e:\boot\bcd /set {default} device vhd=[locate]\BA-Win8ToGo-01.vhd          (Replace E: with the drive letter of your USB device)image
  5. Type: bcdedit /store e:\boot\bcd /set {default} osdevice vhd=[locate]\BA-Win8ToGo-01.vhd          (Replace E: with the drive letter of your USB device)image

Mount the Windows 8 ISO

  1. Locate the Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO.  Right click and select Mount.  This will mount the ISO to a drive letter.  Take note of the drive letter.

Extract Windows 8 to the VHD

  1. Open an Administrative command prompt
  2. Change to the folder that contains imagex.exe (Downloaded above as part of the Windows 7 Automated Installation Kit)
  3. Type: Imagex.exe /apply F:\sources\install.wim 1 G:\          (Replace G:\ with the drive letter you assigned to the VHD)image
  4. Eject the VHD by locating the drive letter in explorer, right clicking and select Eject.
  5. Eject the USB by locating the drive letter in explorer, right clicking and select Eject.

Enjoy!

The USB can now be booted on any machine you want (be sure to boot from USB).  The first boot will run through setup, so ensure you have the Windows 8 Consumer Product Key DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J).

 

David Norling-Christensen