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Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment

Weekly Reading

I wanted to share with the world the blogs I read weekly. I figured the best way to do this was to export my RSS feeds from Outlook and post them here, but thought it was a strange path I had to take:

clip_image001

File: Ok, pretty normal so far…

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Open: Hmm, I’m not really trying to open anything…

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Import: Ok come on now, who would think to click import when they want to EXPORT something?!

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Well, at least I found it!

Anyway, I really enjoy the materials that come from these blogs so I figured I should give them all a plug here. If you’re interested in the topics, I give these feeds a thumbs up!

[In random order because I’m feeling lazy]

 

· System Center Virtual Machine Manager

o http://blogs.technet.com/scvmm/rss.xml

· Telnet Port 25

o http://www.telnetport25.com/index.php?format=feed&

· Dgoldman’s WebLog

o http://blogs.msdn.com/dgoldman/rss.xml

· The MED-V Team Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/medv/rss.xml

· You Had Me At EHLO…

o http://msexchangeteam.com/rss.aspx

· The Official SBS Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/rss.xml

· Carpe Diem: Flaphead.com

o http://flaphead.com/rss.aspx

· Ask the Directory Services Team

o http://blogs.technet.com/askds/rss.xml

· BPOSitive

o http://blogs.technet.com/bpositive/rss.xml

· Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services) Team Blog

o http://blogs.msdn.com/rds/rss.xml

· Elan Shudnow’s Blog

o http://feeds.shudnow.net/eshudnow

· Beta Exam Announcements 

o http://blogs.technet.com/betaexams/rss.xml

· Roger’s Security Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/rhalbheer/rss.xml

· UK Live@Edu Blog

o http://blogs.msdn.com/ukliveatedu/rss.xml

· Microsoft Enterprise Networking Team

o http://blogs.technet.com/networking/rss.xml

· All Backed Up

o http://blogs.technet.com/jbuff/rss.xml

· Ilse Van Criekinge’s Weblog

o http://blogs.technet.com/ilvancri/rss.xml

· Live@edu Partner Blog

o http://cs.mseducommunity.com/blogs/liveatedu_partners_blog/rss.aspx  

· Is this thing on?

o http://blogs.technet.com/scottschnoll/rss.xml

· Windows Server Division WebLog

o http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver/rss.xml

· Forefront Team Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/forefront/rss.xml

· Windows Client Demos and Tutorials

o http://www.microsoft.com/feeds/technet/en-us/how-to-videos/Windows_Client_Demos_and_Tutorials.xml

· Visio Insights

o http://blogs.msdn.com/visio/rss.xml

· Exchange Server Share

o http://feeds2.feedburner.com/ExchangeServerShare

· System Center Data Protection Manager – DPM  SCDPM

o http://scdpm.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

· Windows Virtualization Team Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/rss.xml

· TechNet Recent Downloads

o http://www.microsoft.com/communities/rss.aspx?&Title=Recent%20Downloads&RssTitle=Recent%20Downloads&CMTYSvcSource=MSCOMDownloads&CMTYRawShape=list&Params=~CMTYDataSvcParams%5E~arg%20Name=’languageID’%20Value=’F49E8428-7071-4979-8A67-3CFFCB0C2524’/%5E~arg%20Name=’sortCriteria’%20Value=’date’/%5E~arg%20Name=’sortOrder’%20Value=’descending’/%5E~sParams%5E~params%5E~item%20name=’Consumer’%20value=’scdataconsumer’/%5E~/params%5E~/sParams%5E~/CMTYDataSvcParams%5E&NumberOfItems=50

· Steve Goodman’s Tech Blog

o http://www.stevieg.org/feed/

· Active Directory Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/ad/rss.xml

· Tim McMichael

o http://blogs.technet.com/timmcmic/rss.xml

· Microsoft Online Services Team Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/msonline/rss.xml

· Ctrl P – The Data Protection Manager Blog!

o http://blogs.technet.com/dpm/rss.xml

· The WSiX Network Connection

o http://blogs.technet.com/wsnetdoc/rss.xml

· AD Troubleshooting

o http://blogs.technet.com/instan/rss.xml

· MSExchange.org

o http://rss.msexchange.org/allnews.xml

· Microsoft Forefront Server Protection Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/fss/rss.xml

· Email Migrations – Guides and practical experience

o http://emailmigrations.com/feed

· The things that are better left unspoken

o http://blogs.dirteam.com/blogs/sanderberkouwer/rss.aspx

· Microsoft Learning 

o http://microsoftlearning.simplefeed.net/f/100001s2a18al81me12.rss

· TechNet Edge

o http://edge.technet.com/Feeds/RSS/

· ExchangeInbox Updates

o http://exchangeinbox.com/rss.aspx

· Mike Crowley’s threads

o http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/user/threads?user=Mike%20Crowley&outputAs=rss

· The Official MDOP Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/mdop/rss.xml

· BPOS Rocks

o http://feeds.feedburner.com/BPOSRocks

· Ask Perry

o http://blogs.technet.com/perryclarke/rss.xml

· Live@edu

o http://cid-c76eae4d4a509fbd.users.api.live.net/Users(-4076128965741207619)/Main?$format=rss20

· Brettjo :: Microsoft Exchange Messaging

o http://blogs.technet.com/brettjo/rss.xml

· A Collection of Random Thoughts

o http://blogs.technet.com/benw/rss.xml

· Scott Feltmann’s Blog

o http://feeds2.feedburner.com/scottfeltmann/burn

· The US Partner Learning Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/uspartner_learning/rss.xml

· The App-V Blog

o http://blogs.technet.com/appv/rss.xml

· Jim McBee’s Mostly Exchange Web Log

o http://mostlyexchange.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

· FISH EXCHANGE

o http://cid-7e30379b059646b8.users.api.live.net/Users(9092828786614224568)/Main?$format=rss20

 

[OPML File Here]

Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment

Microsoft’s many uses of the word “Virtual”

 

It’s really amazing how many smart people are misusing the various product names of Microsoft’s virtualization technologies. I blame this partly on Microsoft’s lack of effort to clarify, but also the topics are just confusing. Here I just wanted to provide a short list of Microsoft’s “virtualization” technologies and a description in easy to understand language.

 

Presentation Virtualization

This is a fancy name for Terminal Services, which is now called Remote Desktop Services in Server 2008 R2.

Official site: microsoft.com/rds

 

Hardware Virtualization

Products include, Virtual PC, Virtual Server and Hyper-V. These technologies allow a complete computer operating system to run within another operating system.

Official site: microsoft.com/hyperv

 

Now the confusing ones:

 

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Use of abovementioned RDS combined with abovementioned Hyper-V. In Server 2008 and earlier Microsoft VDI wasn’t an actual product. It was a licensing scheme that allows use of these technologies:

· Hyper-V for hosting your desktops

· System Center Virtual Machine Manager for managing your VMs

· System Center Operations Manager for monitoring everything

· System Center Configuration Manager for building and managing your desktop images

· The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack so you can use App-V to virtualize your applications

· All the Remote Desktop infrastructure components, like RS Web Access, RD Session Broker, RD Gateway, etc.

In Server 2008 R2, the licensing still applies, but there is now a “Server Role: Role Service” called “Remote Desktop Virtualization Host”. This role also adds the Hyper-V role and should not be virtualized, as it is to be considered a virtualization host itself.

Using the RD Virtualization Host role, you can create pools of virtual windows desktops (such as Windows 7) for users to access over Remote Desktop Services. The use of Hyper-V allows for many computers to reside within a single server, but it also can employ snapshots to automatically revert a PC back to its administrator-defined state when a user logs off.

To connect to this magical environment, you can use another computer with the Remote Desktop Client (yes even MAC), or you can use a thin terminal sych as a Wyse WinTerm.

IMO: This is what most people mean when they say “we want to virtualize our desktops”

There are 3 videos that cover this in just the right amount of detail here:

1. http://edge.technet.com/Media/Microsoft-VDI-Part-I-Server-Side-Configuration

2. http://edge.technet.com/Media/Microsoft-VDI-Part-II-Virtual-Desktop-Configuration

3. http://edge.technet.com/Media/Microsoft-VDI-Part-III-Client-Side-Experiences

Official site: microsoft.com/vdi

 

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V)

MED-V is the most confused in this list. While it sounds like this is a product that allows you to do what I just described in the above VDI section; this is actually far from the truth.

MED-V addresses the issue of application to operating system incompatibility. However before you walk down the MED-V road, you should realize that applications that don’t seem to be compatible with the operating system may actually be “fixed” with ACF. I’m not going to get into ACF here, but you can read about it here: Application Compatibility Factory (ACF) Program

MED-V used to be called “Virtualization Player” before Microsoft bought Kidaro, the parent company. MED-V allows a given workstation to run a modern operating system such as Windows Vista or Windows 7 while also running otherwise incompatible applications on Windows XP which is hidden in the background.

This is accomplished by first installing Virtual PC on the workstation, and then the MED-V client. When a user access an application that the administrator configures to run from the XP environment, it is seamlessly merged into their Windows Vista/7 experience without knowledge of a full XP installation running in the background.

If you are familiar with Windows 7’s “XP Mode” you have a head start into this concept. XP Mode is a derivative of MED-V. The “E” in MED-V stands for enterprise, so of course this means the environment can be controlled in a way that is suitable for large environments. This is done by centralizing the images used for the background environments, and controlling their level of interaction with client computers who run the client.

In addition to incompatible applications there could also be incompatible websites. An example here would be when a user types http://oldsite IE6 is called to access the URL when all other applications would run from IE7 or 8. Applications and URLs that are defined as incompatible are configured within the MED-V management application.

MED-V requires better hardware for workstations that run it; however it does not require virtualization support from the CPU architecture like Hyper-V does.

This software is only available through the MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack) offering via Software Assurance.

Official site: microsoft.com/medv

 

Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)

This product was purchased from Softricity who named it SoftGrid. It has since been renamed to App-V 4.6

App-V, like MED-v is an MDOP offering that deals with application incompatibility. The difference is that MED-V addresses application to operating system incompatibilities, whereas App-V solves application to other application incompatibility issues.

Java for example can only exist once on a computer. If a user requires an older AND a current version of Java, they cannot run them both from the same computer. App-V changes this rule.

App-V creates a sort of “bubble” for an application to reside within. The bubble itself interacts with the operating system but not with other bubbles. This allows us to put Java v.old and Java v.new into separate “bubbles” and then run them both on the same computer. At the same time if desired.

This bubble means the application is never “installed” onto the computer.

Another cool thing about App-V is its ability to stream these bubbles to the client. App-V uses RTSP to send the application to the client. App-V is Microsoft’s “application streaming” technology. The advantage of streaming an app is that the computer is able to run the app while all the program bits are being sent over the wire as necessary.

With App-V all application processing and workload is done on the client. I mention this because many people believe the “stream” or the streaming server somehow assists the workstation. This is not true. If you run an application within App-V you need the same hardware you would need without App-V. This also means an app that is incompatible on Windows 7 will remain incompatible with Windows 7 even if packaged via App-V. Remember, this is MED-V’s job.

Official site: microsoft.com/appv

 

I hope this helps you in your future discussions with customers or at least your own personal understanding of Microsoft’s Virtualization offering!

Posted in Virtualization | 1 Comment

The Psychology of a TechNet Forum Thread

I like spending my free time on Microsoft’s TechNet Forums site. I feel like it’s a great place to test my mettle by helping to solve people’s problems, but also it helps me gain a deeper perspective into the issues the technical community faces with a given product. This in turn, of course, makes me a better engineer and consultant – But before you try this at home, let me warn you: it’s addicting!

I have been surfing, helping, contributing, asking for around 2 years now and I’ve noticed some funny behaviors from the people who post there. I have also noticed what “types” of posts seem to get answered the fastest and which posts seem to linger unanswered indefinitely! This is what I want to point out today. Hopefully with my advice you’ll get your questions answered faster and with more accuracy! See below for 7 do’s and do not’s of online tech forum etiquette:

1. Do use punctuation! I am not talking about proof reading your English exam here, but it’s surprising how distracting a lack of: periodslinebreaksandspaces can be. Remember that other than the few paid Microsoft employees who roam this site, we are all answering questions voluntarily. I won’t say :) how many times I have skipped a question because the reading the article was going to take more energy than I felt like expending at the moment.

2. Do a quick internet search for your error code or problem description before you post! I don’t think anyone REALLY minds looking the error up and pasting the link back for you, but I can’t understand how people will post their error on a technical forum, which takes considerably more effort than to just look it up in the first place! I have reminded myself to hold back on many occasions from posting lmgtfy.com links in my answer!

3. Do not put ***URGENT!!!!!!!!1!!! in the subject line. A mentor of mine once taught me the subtlety of Urgent vs. Important. Many things are important, but not all of which are urgent. The accuracy of the definition, of course isn’t my gripe. It’s the impatience or perhaps arrogance of the poster. I can assure you that adding “urgent” to your subject will not move you higher in the mental queue of the participants. In fact when I answer these types of quotes I typically roll my eyes before reading the thread, expecting a question from someone who has taken no time to think about the problem for themselves.

4. Do Use paragraphs. Yes, this is similar to #1 but I wanted to give its own attention because having your problem reported in paragraph form makes it easier to digest and analyze. I love it when someone breaks their post out into: background info, specific conditions, and question sections! This allows our analytical minds to work better and to focus on specific areas of the problem.

5. Do ask one question at a time (ok maybe two). These threads usually come from people looking for design help. They often have no idea about the technology they have suddenly found themselves managing, and ask questions about anything and everything all at once. The reasons for this number should be obvious but it’s often forgotten in the panic of the poster. Ask a single question about a single procedure, or possibly how two or three items interact, or pros and cons, etc. Remember, there is no limit of threads you can start! Don’t try to cram everything into a single request. Also bear in mind the forum serves two purposes, only one of which is to answer YOUR question. The other is to serve as a reference for others. With long winded design discussions, this second objective is lost, the first is rarely accomplished either. Either RTFM or pay a consultant to come and assist.

6. Do not bash Microsoft’s products. It is perfectly acceptable to ask “on system “x” I could do this – how do I do it with Microsoft’s solution?” But on occasion I have seen that turn into whining or outright insults to the people who work at Microsoft. This type of post is immature and unwelcome. If you have something that you need to air, start a blog, and if it’s worth reading people will find it. In the mean time get out of the way of people trying to do real work here.

7. Do keep it short and sweet. Please provide enough information so that the problem can be analyzed without requiring a bunch of back and forth questions, but let’s not start with huge memory dumps or lots of event logs. I offer this advice only because it makes the problem seem more complicated than it may actually be. That in turn means you may have people shy away from reading your post entirely.

And there you have it! Happy posting!

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Remotely Enabling Remote Desktop (the 1337 way)

So this one is a little
obscure, but lemme paint a quick picture:

A few years back, I had
a small client site that had some remote users and executives that would
connect to their office workstations from home via VPN / Remote Desktop.  One day an executive got a new computer and “we”
forgot to enable Remote Desktop for her. 
Normally this could have been addressed by a GPO, but it was a really
small client site, and we just didn’t put that much complexity into the
configuration.  Anyway, this same day the
user wanted to work from home and she was not able to connect.  She proceeded to call me during dinner to
inform me of this situation!  I wanted to
help but was thinking it would be tough to allow remote access REMOTELY!  But I thought of a way!  After I completed the below steps I contacted
the user and she was able to connect!

I was so proud of myself
I saved the steps and now I want to share it with everyone today.  I used a combination of a free utility called
psexec which can be downloaded here.  I also used the built-in command prompt and
registry editor that comes with Windows.  
Look at the below window, and follow the command prompt progress.  I’ve commented along the way in green.

 

C:Documents and Settingsadmin>"C:Documents
and SettingsadminDesktoppsexec.exe" \computer0123 cmd.exe

 

PsExec v1.94 – Execute processes remotel

Copyright (C) 2001-2008 Mark Russinovich

Sysinternals – http://www.sysinternals.com

 

 

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]

(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

 

C:WINDOWSsysteadmin2>hostname

computer0123

#verify hostname

C:WINDOWSsysteadmin2>netsh firewall add portopening
TCP 3389 rdp enable

Ok.

#now I’m sure remote desktop will be allowed through
the firewall

 

C:WINDOWSsysteadmin2>netstat -a

 

Active Connections

 

  Proto  Local
Address          Foreign
Address        State

  TCP    computer0123:epmap      
computer0123.Eedge.net:0  LISTENING

  TCP    computer0123:microsoft-ds 
computer0123.Eedge.net:0  LISTENING

  TCP    computer0123:39259      
computer0123.Eedge.net:0  LISTENING

  TCP    computer0123:netbios-ssn 
computer0123.Eedge.net:0  LISTENING

  TCP    computer0123:netbios-ssn 
computer0123.Eedge.net:0  LISTENING

  TCP    computer0123:microsoft-ds 
kaserver.eedge.net:10442  ESTABLISHED

  TCP    computer0123:1332       
kadata.eedge.net:microsoft-ds  ESTABLISHED

  TCP    computer0123:1535       
kaserver.eedge.net:netbios-ssn  ESTABLISHED

  TCP    computer0123:2033       
kaserver.eedge.net:1025  TIME_WAIT

  TCP    computer0123:1060       
computer0123.Eedge.net:0  LISTENING

  TCP    computer0123:10001      
computer0123.Eedge.net:0  LISTENING

  UDP    computer0123:microsoft-ds 
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:isakmp     
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:1025       
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:1026       
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:1027       
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:4500       
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:ntp        
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:netbios-ns 
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:netbios-dgm 
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:1900       
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:ntp        
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:netbios-ns 
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:netbios-dgm 
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:1900       
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:ntp        
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:1028       
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:1044       
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:1209       
*:*

  UDP    computer0123:1900       
*:*

#I see Remote Desktop is not enabled, as port 3389 is
not in the list

#I then use regedit from my machine and remotely connect
to the registry on her workstation and enable remote desktop.  (HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlTerminal
ServerfDenyTSConnection=0)

 

C:WINDOWSsysteadmin2>shutdown -m \computer0123 -r

The machine is locked and can not be shut down without
the force option.

 

C:WINDOWSsysteadmin2>shutdown -m \computer0123 -r
–f

 

C:Documents and Settingsadmin>

#it works now

 

For those who are lost
in the command prompt, just look at these steps instead:

  1. Use psexec to open a cmd
    session on the computer0123

  2. Use netsh to open a hole
    in the remote computer’s firewall for TCP 3389. 
    This is the port Remote Desktop uses.

  3. Use netstat to check to
    see if remote desktop is currently listening/running

  4. Use regedit (not shown)
    to connect to computer0123’s registry and change the 1 to an 0 in the fDenyTSConnection
    key.

  5. Use the shutdown command
    to restart the computer, which is required when enabling Remote Desktop via the
    registry.

Posted in Computers and Internet | 2 Comments

LinkedIn

So, I’m not really sure how I feel about LinkedIn.  It’s kinda like MySpace, but for adults.  Anyway, for now, I have a profile here: www.linkedin.com/in/mikecrowley.  This is where I’ll keep my professional profile.

Posted in Organizations | Leave a comment

Clean Sweep Plug

Live in NOVA and have got no time to clean your home?  Check out my buddie’s home cleaning services site:  www.yourcleaningteam.com

Posted in Plugs | Leave a comment