Updated Hyper-V Planning and Deployment Guide version 1.1 is now available for download


The Hyper-V Planning and Deployment Guide version 1.1 is now available for download.

Topic covered include:

Hardware Requirements
Supported guest operating systems
Installing Hyper-V
Configuring Hyper-V for Remote Administration
Configuring Virutal Networks

Boot .iso images in Windows using free MobaLiveCD


MobaLiveCD is a freeware GUI front end to the QEMU emulator that allows you to test boot .iso images from your Windows desktop.

How often have you downloaded images and burned them to CD or DVD, only to find they don’t work?  With one click you can test the .iso before wasting blank media on a bad download.

MobaLivdCD menu

MobaLiveCD menu

MobaLiveCD is portable and does not require installation.  Download it and try it out before you burn any more coasters!

Free VMware ESXi licenses


VMware is now offering free licenses of it’s popular ESXi hypervisor.  Your license includes VMware ESXi, VMware Virtual SMP, and VMware VMFS.

VMware ESXi is a full fledged bare-metal hypervisor that fits into a 32MB footprint.  VMware ESXi is essentially VMware ESX without the server console.

You can run virtual machines created by Microsoft Virtual Server, Microsoft Virtual PC 7 or greater, VMware Server on VMware ESXi by using the free VMware Converterto import virtual machines.  VMware Converter also supports conversions from sources such as physical machines and certain 3rd party disk image formats.

Virtualizing servers is not a trend, but the future of the datacenter.  If you’re still maintaining all physical servers, now is the time to give virtualization solutions consideration.

Interesting technical links for Monday June 30


While I was mindlessly surfing I came across a few interesting links I thought I’d share.

Justin Ho posted about the D-Link router emulator pages and Blue Lock.

The D-Link router emulator pages show you what the configuration pages look like for various models of D-Link devices, which makes it nice when remotely supporting friends and family and you can’t see what they see.

Blue Lock is an open source program that locks your Windows PC if a particular Bluetooth device is not detected. For example, if you register your Bluetooth mobile phone with the program but then move away from your desk, the program will detect your phone is out of range and automatically lock your system, requiring the password to be entered to reactivate the system. Full Delphi source code is provided.

Dan Cunningham has released version 1.01 of his Workstation Migration Assistant program. As Dan puts it,

“The Workstation Migration Assistant is a visual wrapper for Microsoft’s User State Migration Tool, designed to simplify the capture / restore process for your end-users, and at the same time being highly configurable so that it can be customised to suit your organisations needs. Some of it’s features include:

  • Migrate via a pre-defined network storage location, external USB drive, or user-specified location. USB drive detection is automatic, and you can decide whether drives below a certain size are ignored (ie, memory sticks)
  • Optional Hard Disk Health Check will run a CHKDSK prior to capture and fix errors if any are found
  • Optional Encryption using a pre-defined company encryption key, or per-user customised encryption (for highly sensitive data that can’t be stored on a server without being encrypted)
  • Use different configurations for “XP Only” (XP > XP) migrations via Standard (XP > Vista and Vista > Vista)
  • Automatically run pre and post-capture / restore scripts and programs (very useful to further configure machine settings)
  • Migrate domain only accounts, or domain and local
  • Automatically exclude certain domain or local accounts from the migration
  • Automatically send log files to an e-mail address via SMTP after the migration
  • On-screen status during every stage of the migration, including ETA
  • Option to limit migrations to a certain size, i.e. if over 20GB of data to backup, then fail and inform user. This is also overridable
  • Automatic checks for USMT installation and optional download
  • Command-line automation
  • Super-pretty UI “

Cameron Fuller writes about his experience with Adding the first Windows 2008 DC running Server Core to a Windows 2003 Domain. I’ve previously used his data posted in Active Directory Stress Testing and Memory as a basis for sizing my virtual domain controller’s memory allocation.

The Sean Blog discusses diagnosing Windows crashes (blue screens), and mentions the Crash Analyzer Wizard. I’ve played with this tool before, since we get it with our Microsoft Volume License agreement. The wizard is a component of the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset, which is available from Microsoft as a 30 day evaluation.

Howto: Uninstall the SLES Virtual Machine Driver Pack for Windows on Xen


Disclaimer: I recently fell off the turnip truck with respect to Xen, the virtualization platform included with SLES 10. All my past virtualization experience has been with VMware or Virtual Server, so this may be blatantly obvious to the rest of the IT world…

We are running Groupwise Mobile Server (GMS) on a Windows Server 2003 R2 guest loaded on a Xen/SLES10 Linux server. The GMS keeps bluescreening every time a user attempts to sync a Palm (but not iPAQ/PocketPC) device. The BSOD says the problem lies with ndis.sys, the guest’s nic driver. It was suggested to us to uninstall the paravirtualization driver pack to see if the problem kept occuring.

Little did we know that actually figuring out how to uninstall the driver pack from the Windows guest would be so difficult. I thought I could go into Yast on the host or Add/Remove programs on the guest to uninstall and that would take care of it, but that was not the case.

To uninstall the paravirtualization drivers on the Windows guest:

1 Make sure the installation CD is detached from the virtual machine.

2 Browse to c:\Program Files\Novell\XenDrv

3 Double-click uninstall.exe

You will be prompted to reboot the system.

4 Close all applications that are running and click OK

The system restarts. The Found New Hardware Wizard appears, indicating that it has found new hardware.
5 Click Yes, this time only, then click Next. The wizard asks to install software for the PCI Device.

6 Click Cancel.

The driver pack is now uninstalled from your system.

This also may seem blatantly obvious, but once the driver pack is completely uninstalled from your guest OS, you’ll lose the benefits of the paravirtualized drivers.

On a related note, if you want to upgrade the Driver Pack, you need to uninstall the current pack before you install the new one.

Since we uninstalled the driver pack the VM hasn’t blue screened once, which is good. But I’m bummed about not getting the benefits of the paravirtualized drivers. If anyone has any idea how to solve this, I’d love to hear about it at thebackroomtech[at]gmail[dot]com