MCSA Windows 7….getting ready for MCSA Windows 8 / Server 2012?

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Earlier today I received an e-mail from Microsoft telling me that I earned a new certification.

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Just like the MCSA Windows Server 2008 Certification it’s an another name for an ‘old’ certification, one of the two ‘MCITP Enterprise Desktop’ Windows 7 exams. With the MCSA Windows 7 Certification, I just can’t wait to add the two other MCSA certifications to my list : MCSA Windows 8 and MCSA Windows Server 2012, from which the results are expected next week! Or should we expect the Windows 8 and (first) Windows Server 2012 results somewhere this week…?

What do you think? Please leave your response in the comments…

Deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 (non-VL) with MDT 2012 & Windows ADK

Just a few weeks ago Microsoft has released MDT 2012 Update 1, with full support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. Microsoft did also release the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8, the replacement for the good old WAIK. With the RTM of Window Server 2012 I decided to upgrade my Deployment environment to the latest version. When I did some initial deployments of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 everything worked just fine, but when I tried to deploy Windows Server 2008 R2 (non-VL version) or Windows 7, I ran into a small problem.

The Issue
Just after the deployment I had to enter the Product Key.

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At first I thought I made a mistake during the built proces, but after I asked a question at the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Forum. Because the first responses suggested that there was something wrong with my Deployment Share. After some suggestions and a start from scratch (the first time I imported and upgraded the ‘old’ deployment shares), also not importing the ‘old’ deployment shares, the answer came from Michael Niehaus:

“MDT 2012 Update 1 switched from using SETUP.EXE to instead use ImageX to apply the image.  As a result, if you use retail or OEM media, you’ll get a prompt because the product.ini file isn’t being read any more (SETUP.EXE did that, ImageX doesn’t).

Fortunately the fix is pretty simple:  Look up the correct setup (generic) key in the product.ini file on your media and specify it in the unattend.xml (second location).  After you do that, it won’t prompt any more.

This won’t happen with volume license media.”

So that’s probably why the people who responded earlier didn’t have the same issue, they were (probably) using volume license media!

 

The Solution
So, to fix the issue had to specify the (generic) product key (from the product.ini in the Sources folder)

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Open the unattend.xml (in the correct Control  Task Sequence folder) and enter the product key at the second   start-tag.

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Now you can just restart the Task Sequence and you won’t be asked for a product key during the deployment!

Just a few weeks ago Microsoft has released MDT 2012 Update 1, with full support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. Microsoft did also release the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8, the replacement for the good old WAIK. With the RTM of Window Server 2012 I decided to upgrade my Deployment environment to the latest version. When I did some initial deployments of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 everything worked just fine, but when I tried to deploy Windows Server 2008 R2 (non-VL version) or Windows 7, I ran into a small problem.

The Issue
Just after the deployment I had to enter the Product Key.

image

At first I thought I made a mistake during the built proces, but after I asked a question at the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Forum. Because the first responses suggested that there was something wrong with my Deployment Share. After some suggestions and a start from scratch (the first time I imported and upgraded the ‘old’ deployment shares), also not importing the ‘old’ deployment shares, the answer came from Michael Niehaus:

“MDT 2012 Update 1 switched from using SETUP.EXE to instead use ImageX to apply the image.  As a result, if you use retail or OEM media, you’ll get a prompt because the product.ini file isn’t being read any more (SETUP.EXE did that, ImageX doesn’t).

Fortunately the fix is pretty simple:  Look up the correct setup (generic) key in the product.ini file on your media and specify it in the unattend.xml (second location).  After you do that, it won’t prompt any more.

This won’t happen with volume license media.”

So that’s probably also the people who responded earlier didn’t have the same issue, they were using volume license media!

 

The Solution
So, to fix the issue had to specify the (generic) product key (from the product.ini in the Sources folder)

image

image

Open the unattend.xml (in the correct Control  Task Sequence folder) and enter the product key at the second   start-tag.

image

Now you can just restart the Task Sequence and you won’t be asked for a product key during the deployment!

What about the quotes when publishing shortcuts with GPP

For a customer I’m building a custom Start Menu in Windows 7 which will be populated through Group Policy Preferences.

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I know, some of you probably prefer RES Workspace Manager to manage the settings on the desktop, but Group Policy Preferences is a great alternative if the customer doesn’t want to spend a lot of money Smile. When I was doing some tests with the Start Menu, some of the created shortcuts didn’t appear in the Start Menu.

Why use quotes?
I had to copy-paste the target path for some of the applications, because they weren’t installed on the machine where I created the GPP’s and therefore I couldn’t browse for the path. When using a path of created shortcut, the path is often started and ended with a quote.

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And in the old days, you would have to use quotes when using a path with spaces in it or the entire path won’t be recognized. But when I used quotes in the target path with the GPP shortcut, the shortcut wouldn’t appear on the client….how strange is that!?

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Only the shortcuts without the quoted target were published to the client, and the shortcut with quotes is skipped.

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Skip the quotes!
At first I didn’t even thought of the fact that loosing the quotes would solve this issue, in the end I even thought that there was something wrong with the GPO’s itself…but thanks go to Wilbrand, who was doing a cup of tea and mentioned…that the only difference were the quotes. He was right, so when I did loose the quotes and did a gpupdate on the client, the shortcut was appearing on the client! Problem solved!

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Conclusion
So when you are populating your Start Menu by using Group Policy Preferences, loose the quotes on the target path when using a already existing shortcut for an example. There is also another need to know when it comes to item level targeting when using the Security Group item, but more about that issue in the next blog post!

How-to : Digital TV always and everywhere available 1/2How-to : Digitale TV altijd en overal beschikbaar 1/2

In my previous blog post I already mentioned that I’m looking for a ‘modern’ way of watching TV. To achieve this I went looking for a solution to watch (live) TV via my HTPC, but also via our tablet and smartphone. There are undoubtedly more ways to accomplish this, but I choose for DVBLogic’s solution. Why? Their solution is the best fit for my needs.

In this blog post I will present which hard- and softrware you need and which steps you need to take take the proper preparations before you can use my ‘how-to’. It is not a problem to use your own ‘foreign’ hardware, as long the DVB-C TV card is supported by the DVBLogic software and you’ll be sure that the smartcard reader is ‘phoenix-compatible’.

What do you need?

It completely depends on your own setup. I’m using Windows Home Server 2011 for the TV Server, but you can use any version of Windows (the supported ones). My client is a Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit PC.

Hardware

Software

Preparations
During this how-to it is assumed that Windows has been successfully installed on both the machines. You also should install the latest Windows Updates.

Also be sure that all necessary software is already downloaded before you start. You should also have the other hardware (TV card, cardreader and Ziggo Smartcard) available, but you already knew that already.

You can setup the whole configuration without the smartcard and cardreader, but it will only be possible to watch the so called Free to Air channels. You can use any supported TV card and with the DVBLogic solution you can also use IP TV and Satellite channels (if you have a satellite dish).

You should also search for the correct transponder list for your region. On the Dutch website GratisProgrammas.nl you can generate the transponderlist (if you live in a Ziggo region). Too bad I had toe shuffle the list before the DVBLogic software would receive all the TV channels. To make things easy, you can download the transponder list for the ‘Zwolle‘ region right here.

In my third and final blog post I will explain how you can get your setup working and watch live digital TV on your iPad, smartphone or, of course, your HTPC.


In mijn vorige blogpost gaf ik aan dat ik op zoek ben naar een ‘moderne’ manier van TV kijken. Hiervoor ben ik op zoek gegaan naar een oplossing om zowel via mijn HTPC als ook de onze tablet en smartphone (live) TV te kunnen kijken. Ongetwijfeld zijn er meer wegen die naar Rome lijden, maar ik heb gekozen voor de oplossing die de firma DVBLogic aanbiedt. Waarom? Omdat die het meest aansluit bij de wensen die ik heb.

In deze blog post zal ik uiteen zetten welke hard- en software ik heb gebruikt en wat je allemaal moet voorbereiden voordat je aan mijn ‘how-to’ kunt beginnen. Het is op zich geen probleem als je zelf gebruik maakt van ‘afwijkende’ hardware, zolang de DVB-C kaart maar door DVBLogic ondersteund wordt en je ervoor zorgt dat de smartcardreader wel ‘phoenix-compatible’ is.

Wat heb je allemaal nodig?
Nu is het natuurlijk compleet afhankelijk van je eigen setup. Zo gebruik ik Windows Home Server 2011 als TV Server, maar je kunt hier natuurlijk elk willekeurige Windows versie (die wordt ondersteund) voor gebruiken. Als client maak ik gebruik van Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

Hardware

Software


Voorbereidingen
Tijdens deze how-to wordt er vanuit gegaan dat de installatie van Windows op beide machines al succesvol is afgerond. Zorg er ook voor dat je de laatste updates hebt geinstalleerd. Ik heb op beide machines (Windows Home Server 2011 en Windows 7) de laatst beschikbare servicepacks en updates geinstalleerd.

Zorg er ook voor dat je alle benodigde software en drivers al gedownload hebt. Ook is het verstandig om de overige hardware (tv kaart, cardreader en Ziggo Smartcard) al in huis te hebben, maar dit spreekt natuurlijk voor zich. Overigens is de hele configuratie ook zonder de smartcard en cardreader uit te voeren, maar dan zal het alleen mogelijk zijn om de zogeheten Free to Air kanalen te ontvangen. Je kunt natuurlijk iedere ondersteunde TV-kaart gebruiken en met behulp van de DVBLogic oplossing kun je zelfs gebruik maken van IPTV en Satelliet kanalen.

Ook is het ‘handig’ om alvast de transponderlijst voor je regio op te sporen. Op GratisProgrammas.nl kun je transponderlijsten laten genereren. Helaas moest ik de lijst wel een beetje verbouwen voordat de DVBLogic Software er iets mee kon. Om het makkelijk te maken kun je hier de transponderlijst downloaden voor het gebruik in de regio ‘Zwolle’.

In mijn derde en laatsts blogpost zal ik uitleggen hoe je e.e.a. installeert en via bv. je iPad, smartphone of natuurlijk je HTPC naar digitale TV kijkt.

Finally Minority Report in the living room

UPDATE : (22/11) Added a new video…

Don’t know about you, but when I saw the movie Minority Report I immediately wanted this in my living room. Since about a week I’m the proud owner of a Kinect ‘controller’ for my XBOX 360. It works really nice in combination with my XBOX 360, but what I was hoping for is going to be reality real soon! Controlling Windows with your hands, just like in the movies.

Check out the video below which demonstrates controlling Windows 7 with Kinect!  The German company Evoluce has developed some drivers which makes this possible. On Wolfgang Herfurtner’s blog you can also find some interesting info about Kinect and Windows 7.

 

Control Windows 7 with Kinect

 

Today Wolfgang uploaded a new video in which he demonstrates the control of Windows Media Center and some other cool stuff!

 

P2V Windows XP and Deploy Windows 7

In my previous post I showed how you can configure the P2V Migration Add-on. In this post I would like to show you how the created task sequence can be started to P2V the Windows XP installation, followed by the installation of Windows 7. When that is finished the Windows XP VHD is configured to run as a virtual machine inside the just installed Windows 7 client.

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Continue reading “P2V Windows XP and Deploy Windows 7” »

P2V Migration with MDT 2010

With the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit it was a piece of cake to deploy your machine with Windows XP, Windows 7 or even Windows Server 2008 R2. From now on it is also possible, with a MDT 2010 Add-on, to P2V your existing Windows XP, Windows Vista and even Windows 7 machine. Only (for now) the 32-bit version of these operating systems can be P2V’d. A virtualized version of the operating system can be used as a virtual machine inside your 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 machine.

The P2V Migration add-on is still in the beta stage right now, but because this add-on can be another positive vibe to (finally) migrate to Windows 7 I really would like to share it with you.

Continue reading “P2V Migration with MDT 2010” »

Windows 7 RA vs. VNC Viewer

A customer came to me with the question which of the two does a better job for delivering remote assistance to the end-users : the built in remote assistance function of Windows 7 or the (3rd party tool) VNC Viewer. Because I’m a big fan of the Request Remote Assistance function in Live Messenger for supporting friends and family with their computer issues I advised them to use the default remote assistance.

image Continue reading “Windows 7 RA vs. VNC Viewer” »

24 Years Ago : The Launch of Windows 1.0

Today it has exactly been 24 years ago since Microsoft launched it’s first version of the Windows Operating System (pfieww..I was only 9 on that date) : Windows 1.01

Because of this 24th birthday of Windows I would like to share a video with you. And of course, just like most fo the hilarious Microsoft video’s on Youtube, it’s featuring Steve Ballmer who is trying to sell you Windows 1.0! In that time Windows wasn’t much more then a graphical layer of MS DOS.

 

Windows 1.0 Features

 

Windows 1.0 offers limited multitasking of existing MS-DOS programs and concentrates on creating an interaction paradigm (cf. message loop), an execution model and a stable API for native programs for the future. Due to Microsoft’s extensive support for backward compatibility, it is not only possible to execute Windows 1.0 binary programs on current versions of Windows to a large extent, but also to recompile their source code into an equally functional "modern" application with just limited modifications.[3]

Windows 1.0 is often regarded as a "front-end to the MS-DOS operating system", a description which has also been applied to subsequent versions of Windows. Windows 1.0 is an MS-DOS program. Windows 1.0 programs can call MS-DOS functions, and GUI programs are run from .exe files just like MS-DOS programs. However, Windows .exe files had their own "new executable" (NE) file format, which only Windows could process and which, for example, allowed demand-loading of code and data. Applications were supposed to handle memory only through Windows’ own memory management system, which implemented a software-based virtual memory scheme allowing for applications larger than available RAM.

Because graphics support in MS-DOS is extremely limited, MS-DOS applications have to go to the bare hardware (or sometimes just to the BIOS) to get work done. Therefore, Windows 1.0 included original device drivers for video cards, a mouse, keyboards, printers and serial communications, and applications were supposed to only invoke APIs built upon these drivers. However, this extended to other APIs such as file system management functions. In this sense, Windows 1.0 was designed to be extended into a full-fledged operating system, rather than being just a graphics environment used by applications. Indeed, Windows 1.0 is a "DOS front-end" and cannot operate without a DOS environment (it uses, for example, the file-handling functions provided by DOS.) The level of replacement increases in subsequent versions.

The system requirements for Windows 1.0 constituted CGA/Hercules/EGA (listed as "Monochrome or color monitor"), MS-DOS 3.1, 384K RAM (512KB recommended), and 2 double-sided disk drives or a hard drive.[4]

Windows 1.0 runs a shell program known as MS-DOS Executive. Other supplied programs are Calculator, Calendar, Cardfile, Clipboard viewer, Clock, Control Panel, Notepad, Paint, Reversi, Terminal, and Write.

Windows 1.0 does not allow overlapping windows. Instead all windows are tiled. Only dialog boxes can appear over other windows.

Windows 1.0 executables, while having the same .exe extension and initial file header as MS-DOS programs, do not contain the so-called MS-DOS stub which prints the "This program requires Microsoft Windows" message and exits when the program is run outside of Windows. Instead, the file header was formatted in such a way as to make DOS reject the executable with a "program too large to fit in memory" error message.

From the beginning, Windows was intended to multitask programs (although this originally only applied to native applications and for many versions the multitasking was co-operative, rather than preemptive).

Originally Windows was designed to have the pull-up menus at the bottom of windows, as it was common with the DOS programs of the time; however, this was changed before the first release.

Source : Wikipedia

Update : Passed The Final Windows 7 MCITP Exam

Almost 14 days ago you could read that I passed the first MCITP Windows 7 exam, just today Prometric published the results of the second (and last) MCITP Windows 7 exam. I also passed this one!
 

The first MCITP exam doesn’t give you a new credential at once (at least not at the moment), but with passing the second one I can add the MCITP Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Administrator to the list of Microsoft credentials.

UPDATE (Nov, 20th) : The 686 is also available in the MCP Transcript

A new credential has been added to my transcript (bringing it to a total of 19 credentials) 
And both the exams also show up on the Exam List (pff..already passed 27 MCP exams)

To see all my exams, just go to this MCP Website and use these credentials :

Transcript ID: 656731
Accesscode: hzandbergen