How do I get to all my applications in Windows RT 8.1 Blue Preview?

With Microsoft releasing the Windows 8.1 (Blue) upgrade for download yesterday evening and us always wanting to jump into new technology, our first impressions of Windows 8.1 (Blue) upgrade on our test Windows RT tablet were pretty good. There were some good things, and some difficulties. One of those difficulties were around getting to our applications using the familiar ways we learned in RT. The following is from one of our consultant’s experiences. Keep checking back often as we blog about our experiences with the Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 previews!

All my apps are gone!!!

For those of you who have installed the 8.1 Blue preview, you may have found it more difficult to find any of your applications that are not pinned to the start screen.

Windows 8.1 Start Screen

Windows 8.1 All Applications

Previously in Windows RT (and in Surface Pro), you could just swipe up and then click on the icon in the corner to view all you applications.

Windows RT - All apps icon

However, in the update, this has been replaced by an icon for customizing the groups of apps in the start screen (sorting and naming groups). This is easier now than it was before for those functions, however it didn’t get me to what I wanted, which was access an application tile not on my start screen.

Windows RT 8.1 - Customize icon  image

All was not lost however. I could still search for an app (swipe from the right and choose search from the charms menu) and then open it. But to actually get to an app’s tile and then select it to pin to the Start, I found the following two ways:

First, the swipe method:

Once in the start tile screen, just swipe up from the middle of the screen to be presented all of your applications. Swiping up or down then swaps between all apps and the start screen. It makes sense, but wasn’t as intuitive as I expected and was discovered with some trial and error.

Second, the more apps icon:

The second isn’t obvious, but if you notice small things is pretty easy to catch. If you swipe your start screen all the way to the right you will notice an arrow in the lower left corner pointing down. clicking on that will take you to all of your applications, same as the swipe down does.

Windows RT 8.1 Start Screen - More Windows RT 8.1 - More apps icon

Take away:

While not immediately intuitive, I think my kids could have found these quickly enough and after using it a few times I find it to be a much faster way to get to my apps without having them on the start screen.

 

I hope our consultant’s experience can help some of you who are wondering where all of your applications are in the Windows 8.1 preview. We hope to have more of their experiences in the coming posts to give you some exposure to Microsoft’s newest version of Windows 8.

Jason Condo
Principle Consultant

Where did my Recent Items go in Windows 8?

I come across many people that have been asking me where the recent items list has gone in Windows 8. While the recent items list in Windows 7 (and prior) was useful, it is no longer available for Windows 8. There are a couple reasons for this with the most obvious being that we don’t have a Start Menu anymore. Possibly another may be the fact that Windows 8 Modern UI Style applications (formerly known as Metro) are meant to be “isolated” from the rest of the system. All well and good for mobile implications, devices, and Modern UI apps, but it leaves the dedicated desktop/laptop users with legacy applications longing for the old ways.

Not to fret though, there is some of this functionality still available to us, however the focus to use it is a bit different. Primarily you will find that your pinned start menu items are now functionally mimicked in the taskbar pinning. Because of this you most likely will find yourself pinning your most-used apps to the taskbar just as you did with apps to the start menu in Windows 7. I have mixed feelings about this, but irrelevantly, lets show you how to get some of your recent items functionality back.

Application’s recent list (Jump List)

Recent Items for applications (Jump Lists) are located in the application shortcut , just like Windows 7 had from the start menu . The problem though is that the list is not accessible from the start screen, but it is available if you pin it to the taskbar. I will show you how to do this using Microsoft Word 2010 as an example.

  1. Press the Windows Logo key on your keyboard and type “word” (you can stop as soon as you see the application appear). You can also just open the start screen and find Microsoft Word 2010 from the list of shortcuts and tiles.
    Windows 8 Start Menu search
  2. Right-click on the application to make the options appear at the bottom of the Start Panel. Click on “Pin to taskbar” to add the application to the taskbar (Press “Esc” to exit the Start Panel and go back to your desktop). Windows 8 Start Menu shortcut properties
  3. Once the application has been added to the taskbar, you can now see a list of recent files (Jump List) that you opened by right-clicking on it in the taskbar.
    Windos 8 Recent Items or Jump List

Editing setting for the Jump List

OK, now that you have added an application and have access to its recent items, you may want to make some modifications so that you can expand or shrink the number of files listed. This list of files and settings are known as the “Jump List” for the application. The Jump List properties are in the taskbar properties, just like previously in Windows 7. To view or change the settings, right-click on the task bar and select Properties from the options menu. Click on the Jump List tab and adjust your settings according to your preferences

taskbar properties dialog

Recent Items List

Applications and Jump Lists are all fine a good if you remember which app you were using or have it pinned to the taskbar. However, there are times that you just need to find the file you just saved from your seldom used application and locating it in the recently used list would be nice. The great thing is that this still exists, you just have to link to it.

This symbolic link to the recent items folder is similar to the Recent Items in Windows 7, however this list is of everything you have accessed and is not filtered down to a limited number of items. That means that you will have a large number of items to sort through. However, this is still way less than if you were doing a search for a file from the Start Screen. To add the recent items to your start menu  perform the following (this is an object and therefore not pinnable to the taskbar as a menu folder or application):

  1. Open explorer and browse to C:\Users\<your username>
  2. Right-click on “Recent” and select “Pin to Start”
    image
  3. You can then find it in the start menu and rename it to something you find faster to type in Search or leave it as is.

Bonus Tip

Now that you have the recent items folder and see all the shortcuts, how do you identify which file you want? If you hover your mouse over an item, the item’s location is displayed and you can use this information to assist you in determining the file you want.

Recent Items shortcut location

Closing

Windows 8 does take a little getting used to. However, after using it since Spring, I have a hard time going back to Windows 7 or previous OS’s. Hopefully these tips will help you better utilize your system and make finding your recent files a little faster process.

Jason Condo
Principal Consultant, Systems Management and Operations

Windows Server 2012 Beta Essentials Post 3: The Client View

In two previous posts, I talked about the installation process for Windows Essentials Server 2012 Beta and some of the configuration process. In this post, I am going to show the same lab environment with configuring a pair of clients, a Windows 7 client and a Windows Server 2008 R2 server.

The Windows 7 Client

I started with the Windows 7 Client. When I set up the server, it configured a local IIS installation with three web sites:

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The default, primary web site includes a virtual directory for connecting to the server, like the earlier product incarnations. I was able to connect to it from the Windows 7 client:

image

I clicked the Download link, and that gave me an EXE to run. Notice underneath the very large Windows link is a much smaller Mac link. I don’t have the ability to test this now (primarily because I can’t easily run an OS X VM), but at some point I hope to be at the office where a Mac Mini sits somewhat abandoned.

Moving on, I received the expected UAC prompt:

image

Notice it shows as “Downloaded from the Internet”. Out of curiosity, I clicked No, then enabled Intranet settings as I had be prompted to by Internet Explorer:

image

Then, I emptied the IE cache (to make sure the client really re-downloaded the connector), then clicked the Download link again. This time, UAC shows it as a local file:

image

I admit I had never tried this before, so I didn’t really know what to expect; this is somewhat interesting I think. Continuing, the Connector searched for the server:

image

The Getting Started wizard came up at that point:

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In this case the client was fully patched with all optionally offered components from Windows Update, so the client had everything the Connector wanted:

image

That said, notice the Connector is going to install the recent .NET Framework 4.5, which in fact wasn’t even RTM’d until just a couple of weeks ago. Continuing:

image

While that ran, I went ahead and started the server also, just to keep things moving. I had not done much on the server, so it still had the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration enabled, causing a warning when connecting to the Connect virtual directory:

image

That gave an interesting prompt in the Connect site:

image

“How do I…” is a link, although that’s not at all clear from the page. Someone went a little overboard on the CSS. Because of IE ESC, and because the Download link uses JavaScript to invoke the download action, it didn’t work. This struck me as silly, even stupid. There’s no excuse for using ASP.NET to make this simple web site doing a simple act. But because it is, I was faced with the choice of turning off IE ESC or adding the site as a Trusted site. I did the latter, although in real life I think I’ve disabled the IE ESC on almost every, if not every, server I’ve ever had to do anything on. I know that would work, but the page tells me to do it a certain way, so I did. When I refreshed, the warning went away, and the download and run worked:

image

Same process, just without the client Aero/desktop experience UI touches.

At this point the client was ready for me, so I left the server going for the time being and went back to the client:

image

I put in my account credentials for an administrator and was told, basically, “don’t do that!”:

image

So I said Yes, and used a standard user account:

It would have been nice if the user login dialog made it clear that they would recommend a standard user account, perhaps saying something like “we recommend you do not use an administrator account for connecting…” but at least in this release it doesn’t.

At this point, I hit an error, and retrying didn’t help:

image

So I decided I’d let the client go for now, and switch back to the server, where I saw something very interesting:

image

So this was a surprising thing to see – server against server isn’t officially supported, but you can try it. Well, this is all about experimentation and learning, so of course I said “Continue anywhere”. At that point, I was told that I might need to have some server components added, which might require a reboot. I didn’t screen capture that because, well, I clicked “Next” like everyone normally does, so you don’t get to see that dialog here. But would I lie to you about what it said?

So that left the server doing the prerequisite work, so it was a chance to check the client out again. I put on my “normal person” hat again, and rebooted the client, because when in doubt, reboot, right? So I did that, and checked the server in the meantime to see that two automatic services had stopped – Software Protection and Remote Registry. I started them both and went back to the client. I logged back in to the client and restarted the Connector installation. The installation moved past the prerequisite check much quicker this time because there was no work for it to do, and then asked for credentials again. This time, there was a much longer wait, but again, the client couldn’t connect to the server. The troubleshooting link wanted to go online, which didn’t help me any as I had no Internet access. But looking at the server again, the Remote Registry service had stopped again! Software Protection had also, but I didn’t really care about that one. Remote Registry is a much bigger deal – lots of different weird remote connection scenarios fail without it. But still no dice.

So now, I had to figure out what happened there. I was able to ping the server by name through IPv6 but not IPv4, so I added the server as an IPv4 host to the local client HOSTS file. I have to do this with Windows Home Server, so I thought it might help here:

image

And that’s why I figured out that DHCP actually wasn’t working in the lab, so I had no IPv4 address. What an idiot I was! Well, that was easy to fix – I just gave the client an IPv4 address and ta da, it worked. So then I commented out the HOSTS entry as I shouldn’t have needed it, and ran the Connector yet again. I should point out how interesting it was that IPv6 automatic addressing worked completely to access the server at this point including accessing IIS, downloading the Connector installer, and doing the initial steps to here, all of which shows that IPv6 pretty much “just works” for a lot of stuff in this scenario, but not everything.

This time, things made it slightly further:

image

So I checked the date/time information and it was fine. But the server showed something more interesting:

image

Active Directory Certificate Services denied request 7 because The revocation function was unable to check revocation because the revocation server was offline. 0x80092013 (-2146885613). The request was for CN=MIKEBAZ-PC. Additional information: Error Constructing or Publishing Certificate  Resubmitted by BLOGDEMO\BLOGDEMOSERVER$.

OK, well, let’s bounce Certificate Services. It is common for a VM save/restore cycle to break CS revocation checks, actually, and restarting AD CS solves it, so I did that.

And look, finally, more progress!

image

What was really going on here, although it wasn’t completely telling me, was that it was migrating local user profiles for domain user use, much like a tool like Quest Migration Manager’s VMover tool would do. I chose the simplest option of setting up for myself and letting it migrate. Note that I had placed the Connector installer on the desktop at this point, so that would be a way to see if the Desktop migrated correctly. At that point, it was time to reboot:

image

After the reboot, there was an automatic login, then a prompt for the computer’s description:

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This is not that different than the previous product releases. This is also true of the backup wake prompt:

image

I was then asked about the CEIP:

image

The user profile was migrated:

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There was a quick “configuring the computer” step I didn’t get a picture of, then a download of the full Connector software:

image

The computer was then “connected” to the server:

image

In the previous Windows Home Server releases this was a relatively light operation but in this case, it was a domain join operation. It then finalized:

image

And told me it was done:

image

I chose not to run the Dashboard at this time. I was logged off as promised, so I logged in with my domain credentials – noticing the machine was indeed now configured to log in to the domain as would be expected:

image

The login worked, and my Desktop came back correctly, with the new look of the Launchpad showing up:

image

The three complaints were about lacking virus and spyware protection and not having Windows Update configured, all of which is accurate:

image

But one interesting thing in the viewer that I didn’t expect was this:

image

This computer is not connected to the server.

This was a little odd. I clicked Shared Folders in the Connector, and I could connect fine:

image

So I don’t know what was up with “not connected” message. I’m thinking it’s a beta bug but I don’t know that for sure.

For now, that’s far enough – I’ll come back to it later in the post, but I want to get back to the server and finish it. When I went back, it was waiting for login credentials, which I gave it just like on the client machine. I then had to restart the server:

image

So I restarted, and again I got the screen for profile configuration:

image

Notice this time I did not get the “I do not need to migrate..” checkbox. I don’t know if that is because there was only the local Administrator on the server or because it was a server OS – there’s likely a good investigation point there – but in any event I chose just the one account again. The remaining steps were exactly the same as on the client, as you would expect.

That said, something odd next happened. Because the migrated account was Administrator, I couldn’t log in with it, because by default that account is disabled in the domain. It seems there’s a small edge case gap here; the Connector should probably warn about this edge case.

Anyway, the server was joined to the domain when it came up. So let’s look now at backing up a machine. I brought up the Dashboard, and was prompted for credentials:

image

Why was I prompted for credentials when I’m logged in to a domain account in the domain for the Essentials server? Well, after I entered credentials, I was told I wasn’t an administrator… so that’s why, it wanted administrative credentials. It didn’t say explicitly that’s what it wanted, but of course it makes perfect sense.

I closed the Dashboard because I just wanted to see it came up. What was not available though was Launchpad. It wasn’t in the Start Menu at all:

image

The executable was there, it just didn’t launch:

image

I tried Windows 7 Compatibility Mode but no go. So there’s an issue there – can’t run the Launchpad on a server. Doing it is not supported, so it’s not 100% surprising, but in a small business environment I can see it being a nice thing to have.

After seeing that, I launched the Dashboard again, to see if I could manually launch a backup, but I couldn’t, so I’m going to have to let it run long enough at some point to hit the scheduled window and see the backup work.

However, I could go back to the client, and try to back that up, and I did:that just to see that it worked, and it did. No screen shots here as it’s the same as it was before, so nothing remotely interesting here. Just enough to say that it works like it did and that’s that.

A coworker (hi, DNC) had asked me about backing up a server that was in another domain or a workgroup, but I haven’t run this test because he actually found this:

http://tinkertry.com/windows-server-2012-essentials-fine-with-pcs-in-domain-or-workgroup/

And that answers the question, for the odd edge cases where it matters, so that’s good. In real life (not lab or enthusiast environments) I would think this would only matter for integrating a new server for media/backup into an existing full environment, but even that is a bit of an edge case IMHO.

So at this point, I’ve covered all of the basic stuff except media and remote access. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I will have time to revisit this piece, but I will certainly try.

Thanks for reading!

Michael C. Bazarewsky
Principal Consultant, Server and Security

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

Windows 8 CP/Beta RSAT

For those of you testing Windows 8 CP and Windows 8 Beta, you will need to install the RSAT tools to leverage the new Server Manager as well as the updated GUI based tools.

You can download the RSAT here: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28972

These are similar to the Win7 RSAT except that instead of all the tools being disabled by default (turning windows feature on or off) in  the RSAT for Win8 CP/Beta, tools are once again all enabled by default (like in XP/2003). You can open Turn Windows on or off to disable tools that you don’t want to use.  In RSAT for Win8, GUI-based tools are accessed from within the Server Manager console, on the Tools menu.

ImportantImportant !!

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview should not be installed on a computer that is running administration tools packs for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server®. Remove all older versions of Administration Tools Pack or Remote Server Administration Tools—including earlier prerelease versions, and releases of the tools for different languages or locales—from the computer before you install Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Some System Requirements for Servers to be managed:

To use this release of Server Manager to access and manage remote servers that are running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, you must install the Windows Management Framework Targeted Release (WTR) package on those servers. Server Manager in Windows Server “8” Beta or Windows 8 Consumer Preview cannot manage down-level Windows operating systems until updated Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) providers are installed on those systems. For more information, see Windows Management Framework 3.0 on the Microsoft Download Center.

Windows PowerShell and Server Manager remote management must be enabled on remote servers to manage them by using tools that are part of Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Remote management is enabled by default on servers that are running Windows Server “8” Beta. For more information about how to enable remote management, see Manage multiple, remote servers with Server Manager.

Additional Notes:

If running the tools from Windows 8 CP/Beta, you will notice the inability to launch as a different user from the start screen. This is a definite problem if you are in an organization the abides to good security standards and enforces a different account be used to access server resources than that of your desktop.

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However, don’t give up hope, you can still create a shortcut on the desktop and then launch as a different user form the options menu by holding the shift key while right clicking the shortcut (just like in Windows 7). Hopefully this will be fixed in the production ready release.

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Hope you enjoy the new single pane of glass as much as I do.

 

Jason Condo, MCITP
Principal Consultant, Systems Management and Operations

Windows 8 Road Show!

 banner

Windows 8 Server Road Show

Do Way More with Way Less (Money, Effort & Time)

Description: C:\Users\bwittig\Desktop\images\spacer.gif

You’re hearing about Windows 8 Server, but why should you care?
IT continues to feel budget pressure as businesses try to increase efficiency and resource utilization. In today’s Technology Roadmap, you saw some of how current technology can help with that goal. But what about tomorrow? Bennett Adelson and our partner Veeam can help. Come see us present new and important features in Windows 8 Server including demos on the Consumer Preview release. Let us show you how this new server release will help you do way more with way less!

TARGET AUDIENCE

Technical Decision Makers
Team Leads
Server Administrators

Description: C:\Users\bwittig\Desktop\images\HR2.gif

REGISTRATION DETAILS

(location/date are registration links)

Cleveland (April 2nd)

6050 Oak Tree Blvd, Lower Level
Independence Ohio, 44131

Columbus (April 3)

8800 Lyra Dr. Suite 400

Columbus Ohio, 42340

Detroit (April 4)

1000 Town Center, Suite 1930

Southfield Michigan, 48075

Cincinnati (April 6)

4605 Duke Dr. Suite 800

Mason Ohio, 45040

TENTATIVE AGENDA

Keynote: “Do Way More with Way Less (Money, Effort, and Time)”

Breakout 1: Windows Server  8 Overview

Improvements to the Shell, GUI, and Tools

Server Manager
PowerShell

Improvements to Storage

Files System
Repair
Storage Spaces
Data De-duplication
Windows Storage API
Offloaded Data Transfer

Breakout 2: Hyper-V Deeper Dive

Management Improvements

PowerShell support
Resource Metering and Chargeback
Hyper-V Replication

Scalability and Reliability Improvements

SMB 2.2 for VM hosting
Concurrent Live Migration
SMB Live Migration
Live Storage Migration
Shared-Nothing Live Migration
Virtual Fibre Channel
Network Virtualization

Breakout 3: Veeam – Top Hyper-V Data Protection Challenges Dissolved

Closing/Raffle

Windows 8 Consumer Release – Notes from the field

As if there won’t be enough tidbits of information coming out about Windows 8 now that it is a bit more polished. I will post things as I discover them and think they are useful.

First Impressions

First off, Windows 8 is very similar to Windows 7. I have yet to find something that I could do in Windows 7 that I can’t do in Window 8. However, what it does do, it does WAY FASTER. For example:image

  • My fingerprint swipe to unlock my system used to take 2-8 seconds, now it is a blink.
  • I a noticing about a 2x-3x disk speed improvement in moving data between drives than when I was on Windows 7.
  • IE 10 loads and is available at least twice as fast as IE 9 on Win 7
  • Driver installations occur in a blink. Refreshing all the drivers from the installation PNP happened impressively quick.
  • The actual installation of Windows was faster than the burning and verifying of the installation DVD.

What I like:

  • Speed!
  • Everything is very similar to Windows 7 so the learning curve to get things accomplished is minimal.
  • Love the file copy functionality and the ability to pause copies. Many times if I have had a huge file copy going that bogs down the system and need to perform a quick task and have had to wait. No more now with the pause button.
  • The new task manager rocks.Much more information and better control of what is happening.
  • That I can still do what I need to do with minimal change.
  • Since I use a Windows phone and have gotten used to it, the tiles and store functionality is similar and has grown on me.

Some issues seen

Currently, I only have only come across one bug. It occurs when you are doing multiple file copy tasks and the file copy list is trying to update. You get an interface lockup in which you can move the mouse around but none of the apps respond, hotkeys don’t imagework, and the screen does not refresh.

Multiple monitors don’t play nice

It was nice that they have permitted the four corners for use with a mouse, the pain however is when you are using multiple monitors or have a large screen that you have a LOT of screen space to drag across to perform functions. It seems I find myself performing the slide-and-pickup of the mouse a lot to launch or switch apps.

On the topic of two screens, only allowing Metro apps to take that main screen is cumbersome although it is nice that you get a psuedo-taskbar on the second screen to launch pinned applications. However you are missing the taskarea so you cannot view or modify anything that is in there without switching out of your application.

Another issue is that it is much more difficult to select the corners or the charms on the right side of the screen (the image to the right). I find myself missing and moving the mouse to the second monitor which closes it and I have to start the process over again.

Some useful “tricks”

Since I had issues with multiple monitors and the ability to use the corners, I decided to poke around for some shortcuts. Here are some I found useful.

Hotkeys

Pressing the Windows key and some specific keys can make you life easier. Here are some useful shortcuts:

  • Windows + X : pseudo start menu.
  • Windows + C : Windows Charms. Same as dragging you mouse to the lower right corner.
  • Windows + M : Minimize all apps and show the desktop, including Metro apps.(does not toggle).
  • Windows + D : Show the desktop (toggles).
  • Windows + F : search for files
  • Windows + Q : search for apps
  • Windows + 1 through 0 : toggles between your apps you have open in the taskbar
  • Windows and then start typing : switches to Start and launches the app search with the letters you typed.

 Closing Metro Apps

Metro apps don’t have the classic window bar at the top that allows you to minimize or close the application when you like and are designed to suspend when you swap out of the app to another. However, you can still close the application if  you are truly finished with it. To do so, grab to top of the app window with your mouse or finger and pull down. You will see the application reduce and become slideable to the left or to the right. This allows you to dock the application to a resizable bar on the left or the right. If you would like to close the application, just continue to pull the application downward to the bottom of the screen. Not necessarily intuitive on a pc, but makes sense and is kind of like throwing it a way when you are done with it.

Want more info?

There are also a bunch of documents you can read to understand all the new features (trust me, there are many new things)

Jason Condo
Principal Consultant – Systems Management

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Available!

The Consumer Preview of Windows 8 is available for download. This release is the first official Windows 8 build drop from Microsoft since the Developer Preview, which was released last September. This was downloaded quite rapidly, surpassing the 500,000 downloads mark within 24 hours of release, and the 3 million mark by December, so I would expect this to surpass that easily.

If you are like me and ready to jump on the download follow the links below. I was able to download at a pretty good speed so I know Microsoft is ready for this Smile

[Official Links from Microsoft]

Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview (64-bit)
Sha 1 hash — 1288519C5035BCAC83CBFA23A33038CCF5522749

Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview (32-bit)
Sha 1 hash — E91ED665B01A46F4344C36D9D88C8BF78E9A1B39

You can follow some live feeds from the MWC here: http://live.theverge.com/Event/Microsofts_Windows_8_Consumer_Preview_event_at_MWC_2012

Jason Condo
Principal Consultant – Systems Management