The Windows 8 team have just posted an interesting blog post about the new version of Windows Explorer in Windows 8.
I particularly like the fact that you can assign a shortcut key to open a command prompt as an admin.
We recently got a batch of new workstations on campus that are using USB3 for half of the supplied USB ports. We had some problems during the WDS setup of these as there is no native support for USB3 in WinPE 3.0 as supplied with Windows 7 Service Pack 1, and of course our WDS boot menus use WinPE 3.0.
After hitting F12 to initiate the WDS setup WinPE happily loaded but obviously offered no mouse or keyboard support when using the USB3 ports. Okay, you could swap mouse and keyboard to USB2 and this would immediately resolve the issue. However, best to get the USB3 drivers into PE. I did this using the driver injection method as blogged about previously: WDS How To – deploy drivers See the section titled: “Boot image driver injection has become very easy!” (WDS dynamic driver management is excellent, I may have mentioned that before… )
For those of you who don’t know, USB3 ports are coloured blue on the inside, so you can easily spot them if they’re there:
If you’ve discovered that you can’t view Windows Help Files in Windows 7 you need to install the following http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=917607
As I can never find them here are some videos showing how to build/manage a virtual server as hosted by ISS
Virtual machine access ILO/KVM type interface:
Installing VMware tools:
WDS building a virtual machine:
Happy New Year everyone. A New Year and a new team for us! The Information Systems and Services (ISS) function of Newcastle University has recently been restructured and The Windows Infrastructure Team (who, amongst many, many other things, have written this blog for the past couple of years) have now merged with the Unix Infrastructure Team to become the Infrastructure Systems Group…. Not sure what will become of our blog over coming months but whilst it’s still here, I thought I’d go ahead and make the first posting of 2011 anyway.
Back in July last year I wrote a post about Dynamic Driver Provisioning via WDS: https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/blogs/index.php/wit/2010/07/16/title_405
We’ve now been running with DDP for supplying drivers to Windows 7 builds for quite a while and this has, so far, been working extremely well without any issues or conflicts. Whilst doing a little New Year’s cleanup, I realised that the setup notes I posted with the above had a couple of syntax errors in them, so I thought I’d post them again with corrections. I see a lot of questions about WDS driver provisioning in various forums and hope that my notes can be of use to others who are setting up WDS servers. My amended notes are linked from the original post and are also linked here:WDS How To – deploy drivers
A few useful utils I’ve come across recently
Sandboxie – runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer. http://www.sandboxie.com/
MagicDisk – a free alternative to Daemon Tools for mounting ISO images as disks – http://www.magiciso.com/tutorials/miso-magicdisc-overview.htm
EasyBCD – a free tool to manipulate Windows boot menus – http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1
Just a bit of info for those who are considering using WDS Dynamic Driver Provisioning to add hardware support to Windows images, and also for anyone who is curious to know how we provide operating system support to the myriad of PCs, servers and laptops out there on campus
In order to fully support Windows 7 client deployment and to start to wind-down support for Windows XP, recently we converted 2 out of 3 of our Mixed-mode WDS servers to Native Mode. The Native Mode servers run on Server 2008 R2 and therefore include the option to use Dynamic Driver Provisioning (DDP).
So what is DDP and why is it good for us?
Microsoft tell us that this new WDS functionality provides the following benefits:
- Eliminates the need to add driver packages manually by using the tools in the Windows Automated Installation Kit.
- Minimizes the size of install images.
- Makes it easier to update and manage drivers because the drivers are stored outside the images.
- Eliminates the need to maintain multiple images for different hardware configurations.
- Eliminates the need for additional tools to manage drivers (for example, the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) or non-Microsoft solutions).
- Eliminates the need to use an Unattended installation file to add drivers.
And Microsoft are quite right. So far, DDP is working beautifully in our environment. I wont say it’s not a little clunky in places, because it is. Certainly some of the Filters could be better. But this will hopefully come in later versions.
For us, DDP is the perfect solution because we don’t need anything fancy to deploy our operating system images – the MDT is a sledgehammer to crack a nut in our environment, where software is deployed separately using Group Policy and SpecOps (http://www.specopssoft.com/web/home.aspx).
For those who are interested in the detail of how we use DDP here at Newcastle, please feel free to browse my setup notes
Facebook and Windows Live social connectors have been released for outlook 2010, see http://www.liveside.net/main/archive/2010/07/13/outlook-social-connector-update-here-s-the-links.aspx. These allow you to display social network info directlty in outlook
Useful FREE software to recover deleted files from a PC as used by the people in the ISS laptop clinic.
I use Windows Skydrive to backup my home photos. This useful and cheap tool allows me to map a network drive to my Skydrive account and use Windows Explorer to copy files to/from skydrive (it also works with other cloud providers). It’s cheap if you have a .ac.uk email address.