Microsoft’s free product support for paid users of all versions of Windows XP officially ended as of April 14. What this means is that Microsoft will no longer give complementary product support to XP users.
This doesn’t mean the end of the free security updates. There will still be Hotfixes but no new Service Packs.
Time to move on.
The Windows Server Backup feature provides a basic backup and recovery solution for computers running the Windows Server 2008 operating system and offers significant improvements over its predecessor. Windows Server Backup introduces new backup and recovery technology and replaces the previous Windows Backup (Ntbackup.exe) feature that was available with earlier versions of the Windows operating system.
One or two people have asked recently how to schedule a backup using the Windows Server Backup feature in Windows Server 2008. This is certainly a legitimate question as the GUI tools provides little or no flexibility is choosing which volumes to backup and to where. As such we need to look to the command line for WBADMIN
In order to schedule the task you will either need a dedicated hard disk and it’s drive letter or a UNC path to a share.
The following command will backup drives H, I and Z to a share called weekly backup on server1.
wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:\\server1\weeklybackup -include:H:,I:,Z:: -quiet
The command can be broken down in to 4 parts:
Wbadmin start backup
Runs a one-time backup. If used with no parameters, uses the settings from the daily backup schedule.
Specifies the destination to which the backups will be stored.
This switch allows you to specify which volumes you would like to backup.
Supresses any prompts to the user allowing you to run the command unattended as a the task.
If you save a backup to a remote shared folder, that backup will be overwritten if you use the same folder to back up the same computer again. In addition, if the backup operation fails, you may end up with no backup because the older backup will be overwritten, but the newer backup will not be usable. You can avoid this by creating subfolders in the remote shared folder to organize your backups. If you do this, the subfolders will need twice the space as the parent folder.
I thought it would be interesting to see where things stand with Operating System usage in the Active Directory. These figures are based on 10984 active computer objects.
Windows Clients: 10398
Windows Vista: 472
Windows XP: 9894
Windows 2000: 32
Windows Server: 392
Windows Server 2008: 65
Windows Server 2003: 323
Windows Server 2000: 4
Windows 7 Ultimate: 9
No Operating System: 125
Mac OS X: 43
One of the first ports of call (at least for me) when troubleshooting performance issues on standalone PC’s is to have a look at the start-up programs using ‘msconfig.exe.’ While msconfig.exe is fine for IT Pros it’s not the most friendly of things for the average end user.
I was recently helping out a friend over IM and explaining the concepts and working out which entries to remove was taking a long time. I did some research and found this handy command.
wmic startup get caption,command,description > outputfile
Simply get the person at the other end to run this command and then they can send you the full list for you to inspect.
A bit of a gotcha with using the Active Directory Users and Computers tool on Vista is that it (very sensibly) protects the objects you create from accidental deletion but (very annoyingly) doesn’t inform you that it’s done this. If you are using the AD Tools on Vista and you suddenly find that you can’t delete something you created, then check the Object tab on the object in question. If the “Protect Object from Accidental Deletion” box is checked as shown here within the red circle:
* You will need to select ‘View’ from the menu bar and then check ‘Advanced features’ first. *
… you’ll need to uncheck it before you can delete or move it.
Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) are an excellent set of tools for managing Windows Servers and Active Directory environments from a desktop machine.
Windows Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate Editions
Windows Vista SP1
Administrator Account on local machine.
1. Browse to \\campus\software\ISS\Public\ActiveDirectoryTools\WinVistaAdminTools you can also download the tool from Microsoft [x86 or x64]
2. Choose either the x86 or x64 version.
3. Run the MSU File within the folder.
4. When the install is complete you need to enable the RSAT Features. Go to Control Panel and select ‘Programs and Features’ > ‘Turn Windows Features on or off’
5. Select the features you want to install and click OK.
6. There are a number of fixes required for the RSAT tools in order to reveal missing tabs and speed up the operation of the tool. Choose \\campus\software\ISS\Public\ActiveDirectoryTools\WinVistaAdminTools\32bit\fixes or \\campus\software\ISS\Public\ActiveDirectoryTools\WinVistaAdminTools\64bit\fixes as appropriate and run each of the hotfixes as applicable to your chosen installation of RSAT (32-bit or 64-bit). Inside the folder named ‘FixMissingRemoteInstallTab’ you need to run fix_rsatXX (x64 or x86) – this registers dlls. Note that you will need to run the fixes as an administrator.
9. The tools can then be found under ‘Administrative Tools’ in the Control Panel. You will need to right click and ‘Run as administrator’ if you are not logged on with your s-id.
I find the following Vista sidebar gadget invaluable to keep track of the status of the integrated search database in Vista http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=45c441a6-edbc-454d-9262-d264728d6a3a&bt=1&pl=1
6. We’ve been testing it for years and it works!
The Windows Infrastructure Team and some others within ISS have been testing Windows Vista since it’s Beta stages over 2 years ago and now use it day to day as their main operating system. More importantly it works with all of the core software including Microsoft Office, SAP, Adobe Products, Apple Products and VMWare to name but a few. Vista was designed to be compatible with applications written for XP. Thats said, if you have applications that you know do not work with Vista then now is the time to start working with ISS ASSD and the developers to find solutions.
7. Built-in Undelete
Have you ever accidentally saved over a file you were working on? Accidental file deletion or modification is a common cause of data loss. Windows Vista has Shadow Copy enabled by default so you will be able to access ‘previous versions’ on your local machine as well as the network.
8. New and hugely improved administration and deployment tools.
- Better, quicker and more manageable deployment using WDS (no more multiple RIS builds)
- 800 new GPO settings allow for central management of just about any part of the OS.
- Automatic background disk defrag. Vista will automatically begin defragging the hard disks when required.
- Performance and Reliability Monitoring combines the functionality of previous stand-alone tools including Performance Logs and Alerts, Server Performance Advisor, and System Monitor. It provides a graphical interface for customizing Data Collector Sets and Event Trace Sessions.
- You can use Snipping Tool to capture a screen shot, or snip, of any object on your screen, and then annotate, save, or share the image.
9. It looks great and is very pleasing to use!
Whatever else you say about Vista no one can argue that it does not look great! Moving between applications is a far better experience using Windows Flip and Flip 3D. Windows Sidebar is a pane on the side of the desktop where you can keep your gadgets. Gadgets are mini applications with a variety of possible uses. They can connect to web services to deliver business data, weather information, news updates, traffic maps, RSS feeds, provide search boxes, Internet radio and more.
10. If you still need More Reasons…
Offline file support * Increased x64 Bit Support * Photo Gallery * Movie Maker 6 * Media Center Extender * DVD Maker * Fast Sleep and Resume * SideShow * Dynamic Security Protection * Fast Sleep and Resume * Fax Support * Better Wireless Networking * Sync Center * DirectX 10 * Games Explorer * WMP 11 * New Movie Maker * New Windows Update Interface * Up-to-date driver base and better driver handling on installation * Better file navigation * Windows Vista Compatibility Centre * File and registry virtualization * IPv6 * GP Software & Hardware restrictions * Media Sharing * Network and Sharing Centre * Self healing filesyfeature * Network Projector *
1. Power Saving
Power saving is becoming an increasing important aspect of computing. Recent efforts to switch off equipment when not in use could save the University over 4500 pounds per year in ISS alone.
With Windows Vista power savings can be increased further.
Windows Vista is Microsoft’s most energy-efficient operating system to date. With features including Immediate responsiveness to Sleep or Resume, per machine settings, Hybrid Sleep and management by group policy.
For a full guide to Windows Vista Energy Conservation follow see this white paper.
2. It’s here, it works and it’s the future!
As of 6 months ago Microsoft had sold 180 million licenses for Windows Vista with more than 10 million a month being sold since then. The OS has now been released for 18 months and is now the standard for all new machines.
Staff and Students who have purchased machines in this period and those who buy in the future will be using Vista as their service providers and support staff we must be able to support it.
The recent beta of Windows 7 shows that the next version of Windows will be the same as Windows Vista in every way which matters (see my earlier post).
- UAC: User Account Control allows Administrators to quickly elevate their privileges in order to make system changes so no need to logoff and login again with your admin account.
- ASLR and NX support. Stops attackers predicting hardware memory addresses.
- Heap buffer over-run detection. Protection from this favourite area of exploits.
- Windows Service hardening reduces the chance of exploits such as blaster, slammer, sasser…
- Windows Defender gives built-in spyware, malware detection. No need for third party products.
- Windows Firewall now has inbound and outbound protection plus many other advances over XP.
- CompletePC backup backs up everything on a PC, including the Operating System and applications.
- BitLocker is a new drive encryption technology introduced with the Vista operating system. With BitLocker enabled, all files on PC or laptop hard disk drives are automatically encrypted helping to prevent information from being read by others if a computer is lost, stolen or sold.
- A new Kernel supports many security and performance improvements.
- Internet Explorer runs with lower privileges than a standard user (not possible in Windows XP).
A new tool in Windows Vista called Instant Search helps ensure that you’re never more than a few keystrokes from whatever you’re looking for. Search boxes are available almost everywhere in Windows Vista. Just type a file name, a property, or even text contained within a file, and Instant Search will return pinpointed results and when used with Outlook 2007 this can include your emails.
The new Ease of Access Centre in Windows Vista centralised place to locate accessibility settings and programs including On-screen Keyboard, Magnifier, Narrator, Keyboard shortcuts, Visual Notifications and Captions and one of the more powerful speech recognition systems available.