Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Citizen Service Platform


Introducing the Citizen Service Platform
Microsoft’s Citizen Service Platform enables government organizations to transform their delivery of services through greater use of ICT more quickly and cost-effectively. Many governments worldwide at all levels – local, regional and national - are facing challenges in modernizing their services as citizen expectations increase and service delivery demands become more complex. The Platform provides Microsoft partners and customers with an easier way to build and deploy modern solutions by providing “building block” templates that are designed to meet many government application needs. Microsoft partners can provide many more compatible applications which integrate easily with the Citizen Service Platform to meet more specialized, complex or country-specific requirements.



Monday, September 29, 2008

SqlMonitoring Tool - Home


Project Description

The SqlMonitoring tool makes it possible to monitor SQL 2000, 2005, 2008 environments and send alerts to a central database (SQL 2008). A client can be used to view the alerts en perform actions on them. This tool is a good alternative if you do not have the budget or infrastructure for tools like SCOM. Sql Monitoring FAQ

This tool was designed to be an open source alternative for tools like SCOM 2007 and BMC Patrol. The tool also focusses primarly on SQL Server.
The feature complete version will be released on August 30th but this version is complete for as far as the service is concerned. Most work has to be done on the client, but the basics are available.

For a quickstart download the binaries and follow the steps in the included Quick Start Guide. To run the tool you will need at least SQL Server 2008. Any version will work, although for large environments it's recommended to use the Standard or Enterprise edition.


SqlMonitoring Tool - Home

Palin In Manhattan


What do we expect ..


This is more like it!


SET-ACL on registry key


SET-ACL on registry key

Man it was hard to find info on using set-acl on a registry key!   I was looking for a way to set an ACL that once set would be inherited by child keys and values.    We needed to give “Local Service” full control on the registry key below and have the subkeys inherit the permission.  You might say:  “Why not use SUBINACL?”, well due to a bug or by design SUBINACL doesn’t work for WIN7 server core (probably should look into that).  Besides, why call an exe when you can do it natively in PS.  Anyways here is the code that ended up working.  Hope next time someone goes looking for this it’ll be the first hit.

PS C:\> $acl= get-acl -path "hklm:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Reliability Analysis"

PS C:\> $inherit = [system.security.accesscontrol.InheritanceFlags]"ContainerInherit, ObjectInherit"

PS C:\> $propagation = [system.security.accesscontrol.PropagationFlags]"None"

PS C:\> $rule=new-object system.security.accesscontrol.registryaccessrule "LOCAL SERVICE","FullControl",$inherit,$propagation,"Allow"

PS C:\> $acl.addaccessrule($rule)

PS C:\> $acl|set-acl

And the output of GET-ACL shows local service now:

PS C:\> get-acl -path "hklm:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Reliability Analysis" | fl <—Verifying that it got set.

Path   : Microsoft.PowerShell.Core\Registry::HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Reliability Analysis

Owner  : BUILTIN\Administrators

Group  : DOMAIN\Domain Users

Access : NT AUTHORITY\LOCAL SERVICE Allow  FullControl

         BUILTIN\Users Allow  ReadKey

         BUILTIN\Users Allow  -2147483648

         BUILTIN\Administrators Allow  FullControl

         BUILTIN\Administrators Allow  268435456

         NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM Allow  FullControl

         NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM Allow  268435456

         CREATOR OWNER Allow  268435456

Audit  :


Published Monday, September 29, 2008 4:06 PM by Brad Rutkowski

Brad Rutkowski's Blog : SET-ACL on registry key

SCP is good for me


SCP is good for me

Customer today asked me about Outlook 2007 clients. They are planning on doing there schema update for Exchange 2007 and curious what this does to the Outlook 2007 clients. The 'service-connection-point' class is defined in the schema and the SCP objects published in AD contain information that various applications can use to direct clients to bind to a particular service.  Exchange 2007 makes use of SCP's to advertise autodiscover service information specifically.

Clients, such as Outlook 2007, will search against a GC to locate SCP's in the forest by querying AD for objectclass=serviceconnectionpoint.  In E2K7 during the setup of the Client Access Server role autodiscover will create an SCP object (obviously with an objectclass of serviceconnectionpoint) under the container:

CN=Autodiscover,CN=Protocols,CN=<CASServer>,CN=Servers,CN=Exchange Administrative Group,CN=Administrative Groups,CN=First Organization,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services

By default the serviceBindingInformation attribute of this object will be updated during setup with the autodiscover service url:


The client will follow this url to determine configuration information for some mobile devices for example, or to provide access to the OAB.

This url can be changed using the set-clientaccessserver cmdlet with the parameter -AutodiscoverServiceInternalURI.

To find out more about autodiscover have a read of this whitepaper on Technet: 'Exchange 2007 Autodiscover Service

Figure 1   The Autodiscover service process for internal access

Autodiscover functional process

For external access, the client locates the Autodiscover service on the Internet by using the primary SMTP domain address from the user's e-mail address.

Depending on whether you have configured the Autodiscover service on a separate site, the Autodiscover service URL will be either https://<smtp-address-domain>/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml or https://autodiscover.<smtp-address-domain>/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml. Figure 2 illustrates a simple topology with a client connecting from the Internet.

Figure 2   The Autodiscover service process for external access

Connecting to the Autodiscover service from the In

The Three UC Amigos : SCP is good for me

Command-Line Compression in Core


Command-Line Compression in Core

Hi, Ned here again. Today I’m going to talk about handling compressed files in Windows Server 2008 running as a Core server. You know, that thing with no pretty graphical interface and just a big command prompt that stares at you, daring you to try some successful administration.

Core mode is pretty slick – super-small footprint on the disk, great memory utilization, and plenty of useful roles that can be installed. But sheesh – it can be a real pain in the tail if your command-line skills are rusty or if you just haven’t ever had to deal with certain operations sans GUI.

So, quick question: have you tried to zip a file on a Core server yet? It’s sorta hard… because there is no zip.

With Core, there is no Explorer, so there is no file compression functionality. What if you need to compress a file on your Core server in order to copy it over some awfully slow connection and you want to do it all locally? You have two options:

  1. Make sure you have one of the 400 billion trillion zillion command-line zipping tools installed on your Core servers. Many of which are free even for commercial use, if you are that ‘frugal’.
  2. Cheat like a pro, and use MAKECAB.EXE and EXPAND.EXE.

Let’s talk about pro-style cheating.

Compressing a single file with MAKECAB

MAKECAB is a tool present in all later SKU’s of Windows. While it cannot create ZIP files, it can create cabinet (CAB) files. It’s an odd little utility as it was designed for developers to package files for installs, but it works well with decent compression.

So let’s take the scenario where you are remoted into your Core server through Terminal Services, WINRM, or (yuck) Telnet. You have a single file you need to compress and copy elsewhere. In your CMD prompt session, type:

MAKECAB <source> <destination> /l <some folder path>

So for example:

MAKECAB c:\somefolder\somebig.fil smaller.cab /l c:\

This will cab up the ‘somebig.fil’ into ‘smaller.cab’ and put that file at the root of the C: drive for easier access.

Compressing a bunch of files with MAKECAB

Things get trickier with multiple files. Remember that MAKECAB was designed for developers, so naturally it’s as complex as possible :-). Using MAKECAB for a bunch of files requires that you use a directives file. Let’s say we have a folder full of files, and we want to zip them all up into one cab:

1.  CD into the folder containing your files.

2.  Run:

DIR /B > mycab.ddf

3.  Run:

MAKECAB /d cabinetnametemplate=smaller.cab /f mycab.ddf

4.  You will now have a folder called ‘Disk1’ that contains ‘smaller.cab’

So a bit tricky, but not too terrible. If you want to get fancy you can add paths in a DDF file, and can even add more directives. If you want a definite cure for insomnia, you can read everything you ever wanted to know about cab files and the Cabinet SDK by going here. This includes further tools like CABARC that add advanced cabinet features.

Decompressing a cab file with EXPAND

Naturally, you’re going to want a way to decompress these files. If you had just copied to a Full Windows 2008 computer, Explorer is perfectly ok at reading CAB files. But let’s say you’ve been copying these CAB files between Core servers and now need to expand the data out. Simple:

EXPAND -R <cab file> -F:* <destination folder that must exist>

So using our smaller.cab from above:

EXPAND –R smaller.cab –F:* c:\

And now our file(s) in the CAB file are decompressed and ready to roll. All without any fancy Explorer shell.


Final Raymond Chen-style preemptive strike: you’re probably firing up the Comment section below to lambast the developers about leaving zip tools out of Win2008 and how this is a conspiracy to… make people not like us? The real reason there is no command-line zip in Core is because there has never been a command-line zip in Windows. IT Pros just haven’t asked for it; they had their favorite zipping tools of choice, and there was always a GUI method for the home users. In fact, there was no MAKECAB in Core mode for most of its development history, because no MS beta customer had asked for it or for zip functionality after a year of testing! Yours truly raised a (polite, professional) stink and it was added in RC1. Don’t say I never did anything for you, folks.

- Ned Pyle

Ask the Directory Services Team : Command-Line Compression in Core

ESXi vs Hyper-V installation propaganda


Original VMware "Demo"


VMware Blog Post


Windows Server Core = MS-DOS 2008

If you haven't seen Server Core yet, here's the UI in its entirety.  It doesn't look like the Windows I know, in fact it looks like DOS!  Are we stepping back in time?  Who knows DOS anymore?  Actually, it makes you wonder why Microsoft didn't just call it MS-DOS 2008, especially since anyone using Server Core will need to resurrect some long lost command line skills to get any work done.



Technet Blog Post


I watched the first video and counted one net new command line for Windows Server 2008 (let alone core).  The command sequence is something like:
netdom (around since Windows NT 4.0)
shutdown (around since Windows NT 4.0)
netsh (around since Windows 2003)
netdom (see above)
netsh (see above)
ocsetup (Only net new command)

The second video shows setting up the ISCSI storage and I counted no net new command line tools there:
iscsicli (has been available as part of the ISCSI initiator for a while now - it's available for 2K, XP, 2003 - this is first time the iscsi initiator is in the OS) - it is probably fair to say that it's not the most intuitive command line in the world, but it is well documented.
diskpart (been around since Windows XP)

So far from being all net new command lines, we have one net new command line tools, and a bunch that have been around for a while (over ten years in some cases).  Guess you'll need to update that MCSE to the new Windows 2008 certification Mike? :)

The great thing about having all this command line stuff available is that it works on both Windows Server Core & Windows Server Full installs, and you can use all this stuff to automate your server builds (or even better, use System Center Configuration Manager to deploy your Windows Server with image based deployment and task sequences).



Sunday, September 28, 2008

SQL Server 2008's Report Builder (RC1) Released


SQL Server 2008's Report Builder (RC1) Released

For those that were looking for the latest Report Builder tool (for use with SQL Server 2008 RTM), look no further...its been published as a web released "released candidate" for a short while already.  Get the download here.

Want to know what's in this current build release?

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Report Builder 2.0 supports the full capabilities of SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services including flexibile report layout, data visualizations and richly formatted text. The download includes the following functionality above the RC0 release of Report Builder:

  • Easy to use wizards for creating table, matrix and chart data regions.
  • Support for directly opening and editing reports stored on the report server.
  • Support for using server resources such as shared data sources.
  • A query designer for Microsoft SQL Server data sources.
  • Enhancements to the Report Builder 2.0 ribbon.

Have fun!

Tips, Tricks, and General Info on the Msft BI Platform : SQL Server 2008's Report Builder (RC1) Released

Microsoft Announces SQL Server 2008 Experience


Microsoft Announces SQL Server 2008 Experience

On Monday, Sept. 29, Microsoft is launching the SQL Server 2008 Experience online at http://www.SQLServerExperience.com. With more than 500 short videos in 11 different languages, the SQL Server 2008 Experience is a Web site that helps Microsoft’s global customers and partners learn more about SQL Server 2008, Microsoft’s recently released data management and business intelligence platform. SQL Server 2008 provides a trusted, productive and intelligent data platform for business-critical applications. The launch of the SQL Server 2008 Experience kicks off a worldwide readiness outreach that will reach over 350,000 customers, partners and community members through in-person events over the next year.

Visitors to the SQL Server 2008 Experience can expect the following:

• Brief interviews with the SQL Server Engineering team, providing a behind-the-scenes view of the many technologies in SQL Server 2008

• Guidance on a wide range of topics such as business intelligence, compliance, upgrades and application development, including videos from customers showing how SQL Server 2008 is helping them be more successful. Customers that will be featured include Xerox Corp., Baltika Breweries and DriveCam Inc.

• Great deals on SQL Server 2008 books, courses and exams offered by Microsoft Learning

When: Sept. 29, 2008, at 8 a.m. (US Pacific Time)

Where: Online at http://www.SQLServerExperience.com

Nick MacKechnie : Microsoft Announces SQL Server 2008 Experience

Friday, September 26, 2008

Welcome to SQL Server 2008 Patching


Welcome to SQL Server 2008 Patching

We have posted the first cumulative update for SQL Server 2008 aptly named Cumulative Update 1 (CU1). I thought before you considered installing a patch for SQL Server 2008, you would like to see a tour of what it looks like compared to SQL Server 2005 patch installations.

The first thing I did was download the package for the update from the following KB article:


This article includes a list of fixes contained in CU1.

If you remember, I wrote a blog post back in April on how you can download your own fixes from KB articles as seen from this screen shot of the article on the web:


Once I received my email containing the hotfix download instructions, I downloaded the fix to the local drive where I had SQL Server 2008 installed. I then uncompressed the zip file, and ran the package (which for x64 is called SQLServer2008-KB956717-x64.exe).

Let's take a look at this journey of patching through a series of screen shots.

When I run the executable I am first presented with some setup rule checks to catch problems before I try to install. Notice how the screens look very similar to the user experience of the standard SQL Server 2008 setup you run from the DVD.


Read Full Post Below for complete details!

PSS SQL Server Engineers : Welcome to SQL Server 2008 Patching

Snippet Designer


Welcome to the Snippet Designer

The Snippet Designer is a plugin which enhances the Visual Studio IDE to allow a richer and more productive code snippet experience.


  • Visual Studio 2008


  • A Snippet editor integreated inside of the IDE.
    • Access it by opening any .snippet file or going to File -> New -> File -> Code Snippet File
    • It uses the native Visual Studio code editor so that you can write the snippets in the same enviorment you write your code.
    • It lets you easily mark replacements by a convenient righ click menu.
    • It displays properties of the snippet inside the Visual Studio properties window.
  • A Snippet Explorer tool window to search snippets on your computer.
    • It is located under View -> Other Windows -> Snippet Explorer
    • This tool window contains a code preview window which lets to peek inside the snippet to see what it is without opening the file.
    • Maintains an index of snippets on your computer for quick searching.
    • Provides a quick way to find a code snippet to use, edit or delete

Snippet Designer - Home

(Simplified) Pivot Table Integration


(Simplified) Pivot Table Integration

A business user wishing to integrate Excel pivot tables with an existing database implementation, such as Microsoft CRM, will face a number of challenges that may frustrate and intimidate our end users:

  • Connection points to the data sources are mysterious and so numerous in choice, that a user often times abandons trying to discover the proper combinations necessary to connect an application to a data source. SQL machine names and network paths are not (and should not be) in the forefront of our users knowledge.
  • Discoverability of database table connection points are obfuscated and documentation is not intended for an end user audience. The intent of database design is for data flow optimization not for end user understanding.
  • SQL, for all it’s strength and power, is a mystery to our end users and requires a very technical orientation to exploit all of it’s potential. Even those limited users in an organization well versed in SQL will find the mystery of joins in a sophisticated database daunting and unique from one database schema to another.
  • A strong business orientation and understanding the significance of underlying data should be the main emphasis required to evaluate and derive good business decisions. Bipolar understanding of business models and database schemas should never be a requirement of our end users.
  • Database field names are in English and their meanings hidden behind a short terse word. Our international base and often “single” language set of users will be lost in a database if not insulted by the rather brash assumption that everyone in the world needs to understand English to navigate their data.

(S)PTI bridges the gap between obfuscated databases/servers and Excel pivot tables. (S)PTI can also be used as a model to integrate other application features (such as Word Mail Merge or PowerPoint Tables) with database based applications. The technical connection points and database schemas are automatically created by an (S)PTI compatible application, the only thing our users should be asking is: “What If…”. As an extension, (S)PTI can be used as a dynamic UDM (Unified Dimension Model) generator; dynamic because the user poses business question ahead of generating the views and different in that (S)PTI attempts to reduce the number of available data points to those selected or currently viewed by the user.

Full article linked below!

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog : (Simplified) Pivot Table Integration

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Microsoft ADTD (Active Directory Topology Diagrammer)


Microsoft ADTD (Active Directory Topology Diagrammer)

Brief Description

The Microsoft Active Directory Topology Diagrammer reads an Active Directory configuration using ActiveX Data Objects (ADO), and then automatically generates a Visio diagram of your Active Directory and /or your Exchange 200x Server topology. The diagramms include domains, sites, servers, administrative groups, routing groups and connectors and can be changed manually in Visio if needed.


With the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool, you can read your Active Directory structure through Microsoft ActiveX® Data Objects (ADO). The Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool automates Microft Office Visio to draw a diagram of the Active Directory Domain topology, your Active Directory Site topology, your OU structure or your current Exchange 200X Server Organization. With the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool, you can also draw partial Information from your Active Directory, like only one Domain or one site. The objects are linked together, and arranged in a reasonable layout that you can later interactively work withthe objects in Microsoft Office Visio.

Download details: ADTD

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Automating WSUS Cleanup


Automating WSUS Cleanup

By default WSUS only cleans up old computer objects that have not checked in recently.  This is not normally too much of an issue for a system with plenty of drive space and a system that does not do definitions.  However with FCS thrown into the environment WSUS will sync new definitions three times a day at a size of about 30megs each.  These definitions are then declined on a normal basis as new revisions come out which means that over a month you could build up about 1.8 gb worth of old definitions ( 5 business days 3 times a day 4 weeks a month 30mb per release).

There is a powershell script out that will allow you to automate this on your systems that you can find at http://www.pulsarit.net/cs/blogs/claudiog/archive/2007/05/16/eseguire-wsus-3-0-cleanup-manager-via-powershell.aspx however not everyone wants to install powershell on their systems.  So in lieu of the script there's an .exe now on codeplex that does the same thing.

You can find it at http://www.codeplex.com/WSUS/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=17612.  It's a small .exe just throw it in a folder somewhere and create a task scheduler task to run this on a periodic basis.  This should help you keep the disk space bloat down on your WSUS servers that are serving up FCS definitions.

Stuff n Things : Automating WSUS Cleanup

Querying the SQL Server System Catalog FAQ


SQL Server 2008 Books Online

Querying the SQL Server System Catalog FAQ

This topic contains a list of frequently asked questions. The answers to these questions are queries that are based on catalog views.

Frequently Asked Questions

The sections below list frequently asked questions by category.

Data Types
Tables, Indexes, Views, and Constraints
Modules (Stored Procedures, User-Defined Functions, and Triggers)
Schemas, Users, Roles, and Permissions

Querying the SQL Server System Catalog FAQ

Cumulative update package 1 for SQL Server 2008


Cumulative update package 1 for SQL Server 2008


Cumulative Update 1 contains hotfixes for the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 issues that have been fixed since the release of SQL Server 2008.
Note This build of the cumulative update package is also known as build 10.00.1763.00.
We recommend that you test hotfixes before you deploy them in a production environment. Because the builds are cumulative, each new fix release contains all the hotfixes and all the security fixes that were included with the previous SQL Server 2008 fix release. We recommend that you consider applying the most recent fix release that contains this hotfix. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

956909 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/956909/) The SQL Server 2008 builds that were released after SQL Server 2008 was released

Important notes about the cumulative update package

• SQL Server 2008 hotfixes are now multilanguage. Therefore, there is only one cumulative hotfix package for all languages.

• One cumulative hotfix package includes all the component packages. The cumulative update package updates only those components that are installed on the system.

• You must enable the SQL Server Management Object (SMO) extended stored procedures and the SQL Server Distributed Management Object (SQL-DMO) extended stored procedures before you apply the cumulative update package. For more information about the SMO and DMO XPs option, see SQL Server 2008 Books Online.


How to obtain Cumulative Update 1 for SQL Server 2008
A supported cumulative update package is now available from Microsoft. However, it is intended to correct only the problems that are described in this article. Apply it only to systems that are experiencing these specific problems. This cumulative update package may receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by any of these problems, we recommend that you wait for the next SQL Server 2008 service pack that contains the hotfixes in this cumulative update package.

Cumulative update package 1 for SQL Server 2008

Windows Vista, please can you stop changing the view of my folders without asking me?


Windows Vista, please can you stop changing the view of my folders without asking me?

Something that really bugs me with Windows Vista is that it ‘decides’ all by itself what view you want for your folders in Windows Explorer; and it seems to always get it wrong (as least for me anyway).  As you can seen in the the picture below, I have 5 files in a folder but Vista has deduced that I want to view information such as the author of the file and a 5-star rating of it.  Why????


I want to define my views in Windows Explorer; me, and no-one else.  I would not mind as much if the views were often correct, i.e. seeing MP3 tag information for a folder containing MP3 files, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.  Consequently, I get columns appear in Windows Explorer for information that the files could never contain, or for information that I would never be interested in.

If you feel the same, then don’t fret; you can fix this permanently by editing the registry fairly simply.  Just follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  2. Navigate to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell
  3. Right-click on the Bags entry in the left-hand column and delete it.
  4. Right-click on the BagsMRU entry in the left-hand column and delete it.

You have now deleted any existing saved views that Windows Explorer “detected” that you would want to see, but we are not finished yet.  Still in the registry, follow these next steps:

  1. Right-click on the Shell entry (the parent of the now deleted Bags entry) and create a new key called Bags.
  2. Right-click on the newly created Bags, and choose New –> Key and name the key AllFolders.
  3. Right-click on AllFolders and choose New –> Key then name this one Shell.
  4. Select the key Shell from the left pane, and then in the right-hand pane right-click and create a new String Value and name it FolderType.
  5. Double-click FolderType and in the value data box enter one of the following items:
    • Contacts
    • Documents
    • Music
    • Pictures

The items in the list are the default views that you can choose.  Enter the one that you want to be used as the default, i.e. Documents.  Choosing Documents is probably the best bet as it will give you the ‘normal’ view that you are used to.

OK, almost there!  Open Windows Explorer and navigate to your user profile folder (normally at C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME).  For each of the main folders in your profile directory you need to customise the columns as you want them to appear, and also their widths.  For example, go into the Downloads folder, and remove any columns you do not want, add those you do, and then adjust all their widths.  Repeat this for the other folders you commonly use, i.e. Documents, Pictures etc.

Don’t forget to save your customizations before exiting each folder by clicking Organize –> Folder and Search Options – > ‘View’ tab - ‘Apply to Folders’ button (shown in the picture below).  By doing this you will be setting your configured view for that folder, and that all subsequently created sub-folders will inherit that view.


Finally, remember that this is a per user setting so it will not affect any other user profile other than your own.  If you wanted to apply it quickly to multiple computers/users, it would not be difficult to script using the tool reg.exe that comes with Windows Vista.

Confessions of a Microsoft Consultant : Windows Vista, please can you stop changing the view of my folders without asking me?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Expanding disks attached to Hyper-V VMs may not reflect adjusted size immediately on WS2008


Expanding disks attached to Hyper-V VMs may not reflect adjusted size immediately on WS2008


If you Inspect the disk in Hyper-V Manager that you just altered it will show the correct new maximum size however.


Even though the disk is a Dynamically Expanding type disk, we still need to tell the Operating System about the container size change. If you look in Storage Manager, you'll see the new unallocated space:


To take advantage of the newly allocated space, simply right click on the container and choose Extend Volume:


Make any size adjustments to the total space to extend, then choose Next


Verify the total size is what you want, and click Finish


Enjoy the extra new space on the VHD!


Windows Server 2003 Scenario:

The same behavior can be seen in Windows Server 2003, however the method to extend the volume is different than in 2008.

So when looking in Disk Management, we see the unallocated space available to expand into:


We have no Extend Volume option in 2003 though! Now what?


What we need to do is boot to WinPE and run Diskpart. What we need to do is boot to WinPE and run Diskpart or the Microsoft Diagnostic and Recovery Toolkit. The key point is that in order to extend a System managed partition,  we need to be OUTSIDE of the OS. Understanding that there are third party and freeware tools that can accomplish the same task as WinPE or MS-DART 5.0, those options are beyond the scope of this posting.

If you are not able to obtain a copy of WinPE, MS-DART may be a great option. The link below brings you to a 30-day Evaluation download page.

For information about obtaining WinPE visit http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/sa/default.mspx

For information about obtaining the MS-DART 5.0 product, visit http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5D600369-0554-4595-8AB4-C34B2860E087&displaylang=en

Once booted into WinPE or MS-DART 5.0, open a command prompt and run Diskpart.

You’ll notice that Diskpart isn’t fooled, it sees the disk size as we intend it to be, 130gb.


Now we select  Disk 0 and then bring up the disk detail. (The Disk number may change obviously based on the disk you’re wanting to extend.)


We see here that the actual volume size is smaller, only 127gb. Now we have to select the Volume we want. Volume 1 in this example.


Now we extend the volume to encompass the newly added free space


Just to make sure – we look…


And we’re good to go! Simply reboot to the OS and enjoy the newly added disk space.

Sean Dwyer
Senior Support Engineer
Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2008 12:34 PM by jeffhugh

Ask the Core Team : Expanding disks attached to Hyper-V VMs may not reflect adjusted size immediately on WS2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Testing for Database Null Values from PowerShell


Testing for Database Null Values from PowerShell

PowerShell is super, but its documentation is still lousy. You might think that how to test a database field for a null value would be straightforward, and indeed it is, but it ain’t documented anywhere. I’ve just spent the afternoon searching and eventually had to work it out for myself. So here it is, with my compliments:

The class System.DBNull has a static field Value, which represents the sole instance of the class, so in effect [System.DBNull]::Value is the database null object. Like all objects, it has an Equals method. So [System.DBNull]::Value.Equals($DBField) returns true if $DBField contains a null.

How I use it is to declare the null object up front with script scope

$DBNull = [System.DBNull]::Value

and then use this wherever in the script I need to test for null, thus

  <null >
  <not null>

The Industry Insiders : Testing for Database Null Values from PowerShell

Monday, September 15, 2008

Windows 2008 Server Core Configurator


Windows 2008 Server Core Configurator

Andrew Auret pinged me the other day to tell me about a tool that he has been working on with Tony Ison. I remembered him telling me about this months ago when we were on a project together! Well the boys have done good and released the tool on CODEPLEX :


This tool is awsome when you want to configure Hyper-V on server Core. Which is exactly the use case for me using this tool set!

Unlike the tool from Guy Trovesky, this is uncomplied code (Script based) therefore making the life of an it admin easier to include his|her extra additions.

If your using Server Core in Windows Server 2008, you'll know that there are always certain tasks you need to do upon installation to enable things like Activation, Firewall.
This Tool is a collection of scripts which will help provision and configure a Base Windows 2008 Server Core installation, The Server Core Configurator enables you to do all those 'little jobs' via a GUI, quickly and easily!
Product Licencing
Networking Features
DCPromo Tool
ISCSI Settings
Server Roles and Features
User and Group Permissions
Share Creation and Deletion
Firewall Settings
Display Settings
Add & Remove Drivers
Screensaver Settings
Windows Updates (Including WSUS)
and so much more...
Go on give it a try

  • Download latest release
  • Run Setup-Core
  • ...Happy configuring

There will be regular updates to Core Configurator so always check back for future releases and additions

The World Simplified is a Virtual World : Windows 2008 Server Core Configurator

First Look: Hyper-V Server | TechNet Edge


First Look: Hyper-V Server


Entry Media

The Virtualization Launch this week revealed Hyper-V Server for the first time ever - a dedicated OS just for hosting Hyper-V virtual machines.  Bryon Surace took some time out from his launch activities to give us a quick tour around the product. Hyper-V Server will be a free download, available in about a month.

Product Page : http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/default.mspx

First Look: Hyper-V Server | TechNet Edge | TechNet Edge

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Create an Interactive Whiteboard for $55



From : http://blogs.technet.com/ucedsg/archive/2008/09/12/create-an-interactive-whiteboard-for-55-vs-2000.aspx

I love gadgets so I am taking this project on. I figured it may be an interesting way to kick off a demo of OCS/Exchange with schools when I am onsite. :)

Here is a great link on how to set this up for your school here.

They are selling whiteboard IR pens here already and if you want to make your own IR pen go here.

Some cool free whiteboard software for download here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

XML Explorer


Project Description
XML Explorer is an extremely fast, lightweight XML file viewer. It's supports multiple document tabs, with support for middle-clicking to close tabs. It can handle extremely large XML files. It has been tested on files as big as 150MB. It allows fast viewing and exploration, copying of formatted XML data and evaluation of XPath expressions. An expression library is included to store and manage commonly-used XPath expressions, much like Bookmarks in FireFox.
XML Explorer does not currently have any edit capabilities. If you need to edit XML files, I highly recommend the excellent XML Notepad.
For more information and a walk-through of the code, see the Code Project article at http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/XmlExplorer.asp.

XML Explorer - Home

Updated GP 10.0 System Requirements for SQL 2008 and Peer to Peer Networks


Updated GP 10.0 System Requirements for SQL 2008 and Peer to Peer Networks

The System Requirements for Dynamics GP 10.0 have been updated with the following:

1. SQL 2008 compatibility for both GP 10.0 and all GP 10.0 Web Applications. KB 953978 will be updated with the SQL 2008 compatibility. NOTE:  GP 9.0 is not compatible with SQL 2008.  This is under review.

2. We added a Peer to Peer Customer Profile to the GP 10.0 System Requirements for our Rapid Customers.  This does not apply to the GP 10.0 Web Applications System Requirements pages.

This includes compatibility for Windows Server 2008 and virtualization using Hyper-V, and SQL Server 2008.

US Dynamics GP Field Team : Updated GP 10.0 System Requirements for SQL 2008 and Peer to Peer Networks

On-Demand Webcasts for Dynamics GP 10 Rapid Implementation Tools


Now Available: On-Demand Webcasts for Dynamics GP 10 Rapid Implementation Tools

Now available is a 2 part on-demand training webcast for Dynamics GP 10.0 Rapid Implementation Tools! Each webcast is only 1 hour in duration and is free to partners.

1. Part 1 of 2: Rapid Configuration Tool

· Overview: Learn how the tool can be used to configure Microsoft Dynamics GP with an industry configuration template, with a partner customized Excel configuration template, or with a configuration template that was exported from an existing Microsoft Dynamics GP company.  Also, learn how you can work with and customize the Excel configuration templates.

2. Part 2 of 2: Rapid Migration Tool

· Overview: Learn how the tool can be used to quickly and easily migrate key data from Inuit QuickBooks to Microsoft Dynamics GP.  See how the tool can migrate master records, open transactions, and configuration settings with an easy-to-use interface.

Published Wednesday, September 03, 2008 10:47 PM by jeffk

US Dynamics GP Field Team : Now Available: On-Demand Webcasts for Dynamics GP 10 Rapid Implementation Tools

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Microsoft server software and supported virtualization environments (KB957006)


This article discusses the support policy for running Microsoft server software in the following supported virtualization environments:

Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008

Supported partners' virtualization software
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

944987 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/944987/) Support partners for non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software

Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP)
For more information, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

http://www.windowsservercatalog.com/svvp/ (http://www.windowsservercatalog.com/svvp/)

Microsoft supports Microsoft server software that is running in the supported virtualization environments that are listed in the "More Information" section. This support is subject to the Microsoft Support Life-Cycle policy. For more information, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

http://support.microsoft.com/?pr=lifecycle (http://support.microsoft.com/?pr=lifecycle)

In some cases, specific versions of Microsoft server software are required for support. These versions are noted in this article, and the supported versions may be updated as needed.
Note Not all software applications are good candidates for running in a virtualized environment. For example, if an application has specific hardware requirements, such as access to a physical PCI card, the applications cannot be supported in a virtual machine. This is true because virtual machines generally do not have access to underlying physical hardware.

Microsoft server software and supported virtualization environments