HayesJupe's Blog

November 26, 2014

Online (at home) MS exams…. interesting idea

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 11:24 am

https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/online-proctored-exams.aspx

Conflicting thoughts about this….. obviously more convenient, especially in a place like Adelaide where we have a grant total of 2 testing centre’s, which aren’t available full time and often booked out.

On the other hand, It wont stop “exam factories” (nor can anything but changing exam content), and not even being able to take any notes what-so-ever is a bit harsh for the scenario type questions.

While I still am of the opinion that certification offers little value these days, come Dec 16th (when the program becomes available) – I think I might take one, just to see what its like.

 

October 7, 2014

Windows 10 – First thoughts

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 2:56 pm

I have been using Windows 10 enterprise tech preview for a few days now – and here are my initial thoughts

  • The new eval centre from where the eval is downloaded is odd. Apart from having to sign in multiple times, the download progress is not shown anywhere
  • A fresh install (which I opted for) is lightning fast
  • Skipping the “sign into your Microsoft account” still isn’t clear. You need to click on “create an account” then “use existing account”. Considering its meant to be the “enterprise” version, not wanting to sign in to a personal cloud account isn’t going to be an uncommon request
  • No option to skip the annoying “welcome” animation manually – but it is in group policy (and was with win8) – still, just be nice if it was available on non-policed machines
  • Option to boot to start menu or start screen is bleedingly obvious – hurrah!
  • Look and feel is still quite win-8-ish….
  • Still no option to include source files in the install. While I understand that doing so reduces the footprint, one of the nice things in win 7/2008r2 was that you didn’t have go searching for source media. Sure, the make the small footprint the default, but give us enterprise admins a setup option (/copylocalsource ?) to copy the local source, so we don’t need to perform steps in our SCCM builds
  • No media centre – at least for the moment – I hope MS realises that enterprise users like to use stuff like media centre while travelling – even if its a paid option, preventing it completely from being run like in 8/8.1 is a silly decision – and one that will hopefully be reversed
  • Client hyper-V – sure, nothing earth shatteringly different on the client side – but its just very nice to have it
  • The “multiple desktops” has potential – just might take a while to get used to it
  • The qtr screen snap can be useful on some occasions on large monitors, but not so much on laptops
  • Direct Access to a 2012 R2 DA server works with no modifications (yay)

All in all – its off to a good start. Its obviously early on in the dev cycle, lets hope that the rattling’s about win 10 being “enterprise focused” are true.

One thing I did initially leave off this list is “why oh why is there an x86 version”… surely its time to kill off x86 by now ? I understand there are still some applications which will not run on an x64 windows platform, but announcing the end of x86 Windows OS’ will, in some cases, help speed the transition of some applications – and for those that are no longer supported or have ludicrously long dev cycles, Win 7 and Win 8.1 offer supported x86 options for some time to come.

CurrentlyDownloading

“Currently downloading…” call me whacky, but a % downloaded, current speed etc. might be handy here.

October 10, 2013

Windows 7 SP1 sxs cleanup – now built into disk cleanup!

Filed under: Uncategorized,Windows — hayesjupe @ 10:05 am

Its taken a while, but its nice to see a helpful feature added to win 7 SP1.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2013/10/07/breaking-news-reduce-the-size-of-the-winsxs-directory-and-free-up-disk-space-with-a-new-update-for-windows-7-sp1-clients.aspx

September 13, 2013

KB2817630 – for when you dont want to be able to sort your mail or see your folders

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 8:19 am

Something that seems to be widely reported (such as http://www.zdnet.com/update-for-outlook-2013-breaks-folder-pane-7000020512/)

i had this issue yesterday on a few of my machines, declined the update in wsus, uninstalled it (it seemed to be listed twice, if i only uninstalled one of them, it didnt fix the issue) and all was good.

MS patching, with the possible exception of the exchange rollups, have been very good over the past few years…… and sure, everyone makes a mistake every now and again… the Lync Connectivity analyser in the post below is an example of a slightly less commonly used product, so while its disappointing that a patch killed it, its a bit understandable….. but folder view for what is (i think its fair to say) the primary mail client for a large percentage corporate customers…. thats not so good.

May 16, 2013

Windows 8.1 a free update

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 11:57 am

http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2013/05/14/windows-keeps-getting-better.aspx

So, this is SP1 ? Sounds like it…..

Notice how the windows store is mentioned but not SCCM/WSUS updates or deployment options (i assume it will be available as a new iso ?). I think it says something about how much MS cares about corporates at the moment….

September 14, 2012

Microsoft and management interfaces….

Filed under: Active Directory,Exchange,Lync,Windows — hayesjupe @ 1:19 pm

Consistency…. its what we spend a great deal of time fixing for clients…. sure, they see us writing standardisation documents for AD/Exchange/Group Policy/Logon scripts etc….. but really, what we are doing is trying to delivery consistency – simply because the more things that are consistent within an environment, the more logical it is – and the easier it is to support.

Take for example the very simple case of mapped drives….. some clients have the whacky situation where S: is mapped to \\server1\common for some people and \\server7\finance for others…. this ofcourse makes the job the the helpdesk much harder – as users dont know (nor should they need to) what a unc is…. they just cant find the file on their S: drive. A consistent naming standard for user accounts, email addresses etc are commonly used by the majority of places we deal with – as it just makes sense.

Anyhoo – onto the point of the post – Microsoft products and their management interfaces.

A while ago, the NT 4 option pack to be exact, MMC was introduced, with talk about MS products standardising on using MMC’s for management…. this kind of took off…. AD tools, computer management, event viewer, services etc etc all were (and still are) available as mmc snap-ins….. very handy for standardised management and also creating your own snap in. Other products such as Exchange, ISA/TMG, OCS and SCCM used an MMC-like management console….

Some of these weren’t necessarily the best….SCCM 2007 was universally panned for its shit interface (but it still did the job)…. OCS 2007 i didnt think was that bad, but the devs apparently did…. and exchange 2010 EMC was fucking awesome (a bit slow… but functionality and layout wise it was great)

On the upside, the SCCM 2012 interface is not an MMC at all, and its awesome… well laid out, relatively easy to find stuff, responsive etc….

The we have Lync 2010 with the silverlight interface…. for some of the admin tasks, but an MMC for the topology tasks and powershell for all taks, but some must be completed via powershell. While i find it usable – and dont mind it, its a bit dis-jointed.

Then we have the slight shift to the side – in powershell. Basically the only was to do all the tasks required in exchange 2007/2010 and Lync was to use powershell…. this was a little annoying for clients, but offered an absolute crapload of scripting power… so it was, on the whole, awesome.

Now, we have the wave 15….. SCCM 2012 interface is awesome…. Lync 2013 interface is the same a 2010…. a bit of a (oddly ok) thrown together mees…. Exchange 2013 has thrown out the awesome 2010 EMC and replaced it with a web interface, which is ok… but not as good as the interface it replaced!

So, whats the point of this article… give us some consistency!

1) Having a powershell interface for products is awesome…. keep doing it – and keep exapnding the number of features it covers. The commandlets however need to keep consistency as well… which so far, has been reasonable (i have a vague memory of a few of the Lync commandlets not quite fitting wtih the get/set/new/remove nomenclature)

2) A web interface for certain admin tasks as an option is fine – but a web interface should never be the primary interface in my opinion…. sure the silverlight ones are slightly less painful – but they still suck compared to a GUI

3) Give us a consistent GUI interface…. i get that the teams internally at MS might not see eye to eye a lot of the time and that the interface has to be right for the product…. but FFS… the reason that the OCS 2007 interface sucked, wasnt because mmc sucks, its because the OCS interface sucked. The SCCM 2012 interface is awesome – and even though its not an MMC, I think that same type of interface would also fit well for exchange/lync/AD etc….

4) i’d be disappointed if MS went all web with every interface, but if they did it for every product – at least it would be consistent!

In short MS – please give us some consistency with your management interfaces across product lines….

Tech-ED Aus 2012

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 1:11 pm

I went along to Tech-ed this year – my first time…. I’ve always stayed away from tech-ed, as most/all of the technical info is available on the web via blogs, documentation etc anyway…. and, well, its quite expensive… (especially this year as I took the entire team along)

First impressions were not positive, the keynote was just weird…. the people that ive spoken to are quite divided…. some loved it, others, like me, hated it…. it was weird for the sake of weird.

Anyhoo – things got substantially better the next day – went to a bunch of technical deep dive sessions that were quite good…. (and a couple of others that weren’t the best – but that’s to be expected)

My first session – an exchange deep dive, changed my mind a little on tech-ed straight away…. sure I would have been able to find all that info on the web and in doco at some stage – but having delivered by a knowledgeable speaker in a packages 75 minute slot was quite an efficient way of getting some good info – and small bits of additional insight from someone that knows the product really well.

It would have been nice if the session builder was a bit more flexible…. the products are named inconsistently (e.g. ConfigMgr, Configuration Manager etc) – so searches aren’t the best and there’s no ability to filter via product or technical level – which is pretty poor – as realistically me and the guys only want to go to deep dive style presso’s… sales rubbish or basic fluff sessions are pointless for us.

I also found that I had 3 or 4 sessions that I would like to go to at the same time regularly – and quite a few time slots with none… I know it would be hard to keep everyone happy here… but I had a whole day (Thursday) where there was only one session of interest…. that was disappointing.

All in all, it was actually much better than I expected…. im not necessarily in a rush to go back….  but it probably was worth it this year with so many new releases either here or on the way. The only other downside is that it was very hard on the liver…. I think I’ve got a total of 8 hours sleep over 3 nights….

August 25, 2012

Win 8 & 2012 RTM – thoughts and impressions

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 5:49 am

So ive been using Win8 RTM on my work laptop for a little while now – and these are my thoughts/impressions

Good bits

  • Boot and shutdown times
  • Recently used apps in top left hand corner – like it
  • being able to change the front boot up screen – I use a fallout 3 picture – but is good for corporate branding….
  • General speed and zippiness
  • .net 4.5 includes .net 4…. and .net 3.5 includes 3 and 2.o… good stuff
  • Once you work around the new UI – many things are familiar
  • iso mounting
  • file copy pausing/single window for multiple copies
  • Workstation-level Hyper-V….. yay!

Not so good or confusing bits

  • Lack of clarity around differences between pro and enterprise
  • Lack of media centre – one of the best features of Win7 – is now an paid add-on….
  • screen split – good idea, but implemented poorly (e.g. I wanted to enter all my stock codes into the stock app…. so I split the screen, so I can see all the codes in an excel spread sheet while the stock app is still open…. however when its in split screen mode – I cant actually add any codes to the stock app!). Once the desktop is in the left or right pane – you cant drag/drop one of the apps into the centre pane…. which isn’t very intuitive and kinda pointless
  • Need of 3rd party utility to go straight to desktop (I used stardocks start8)… sure, this is a tablet aimed OS – but give corporates the option via group policy
  • I have no huge issue with metro – but don’t force it on people
  • in my opinion the UI in general looks just that bit worse than Win7….
  • Download on demand for windows features…. grrrr! so after making that great progress of no longer needing the media (in 7 and 2008 R2), you’ve gone back to having to manage source media…. you fucking clowns. Who cares if it uses up another 20Gb of HDD…. i cannot express how incredibly fucking stupid i think that is
  • Turn UAC off, local admin, still have to run cmd prompt elevated to run all my scripts etc… im sure there is a way around this – just haven’t found it yet. Stop assuming we’re all HP employee level dumb and run task sequences that bring down banks. Having it on by default is fine – but at some stage you have to let the user claim they know what they are doing – even if they don’t.
  • Why would you get rid of aero? sure, turn it off by default… but getting rid of it is just silly
  • Its a “forced” OS…. its very much trying to go down the apple model of “You will use these applications and use them in this way and you will give us lots of money via our marketplace”…. apple already has the “i dont want to think for myself” market stitched up…. and even apple weren’t dumb enough to force iOS onto full blown PC’s….

Win server 2012

There really isnt much more to say here apart from “you put a tablet interface on a server product, are you fucking insane ?” (to which the unfortunate answer is yes)

i dont know what these guys are smoking, but they need to stop smoking it soon….

In summary

I”ll be sticking with Win7 on the majority of my client devices, apart from my work laptop. I dont hate Win8, but i dont really like it either

My servers will be staying on 2008R2 up until i build new ones (for example – exchange and Lync 2013) with the exception of my hyperV hosts…. there are quite large benefits in hyperV in 2012… large enough that its worth the shit interface (and it will be managed remotely the majority of the time anyway)

I’ll be hoping the MS see the common sense approach that the-interface-formerly-know-as-metro is an option, not something that should be forced…. and it is completely inappropriate for servers… and in many cases, not appropriate for desktops either….. recognise that and give us options around how to use the OS… thats what an OS is meant to be, a platform from which you can anything you want…

MS will however, do the same as vista… crap on for around 2 years about how great win 8 is and how its the fastest selling OS ever…. then when win 9 is 6-12 months off…. admit in their own way that Win8 was shit… but Win9 will be here soon!

August 16, 2012

Windows 8 editions – WTF?

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 11:05 am

Now that win 8 has RTM’ed…. im going to stop pkaying with it in virtuals only and install it on my main work laptop….

But which version ? Well, apparently finidng out the exact differences isn’t as easy as a quick google search….

Some of the hits bring up pages like these…

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/04/16/announcing-the-windows-8-editions.aspx

http://windows.about.com/od/windowsosversions/a/Which-Version-Of-Windows-8-Is-Right-For-You.htm

http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/making-sense-of-the-windows-8-versions-1076505

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/253990/windows_8_which_version_should_you_choose.html

What amazes me is how incredibly vague all of these articles are – and why would you take some of these features out ? isnt that much more work ?

So – Windows 8 and Windows RT are effectively useless for anyone that is likley to be reading this blog – “cannot join to a domain”…. fair enough, most home users dont need to do this – but are you actually gaining anything by taking it out ?…. woohooo, you’ve crippled 2 versions from being able to be managed in the most basic ways – that your comsumer market are never going to use anyway. You’ve maybe stopped a few cheap-skate corporates from using the standard version…. but there is market segmentation and then there is market confusion and annoyance…. you’re engaging in the latter.

and from the windows team blog (top link) – in regards to the differences between Pro and Enterprise….

“As with previous versions of Windows, we will also have an edition of Windows 8 specifically for those enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements. Windows 8 Enterprise includes all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and much more. ” 

Can we have some specifics? what have you taken out? (i am skeptical that it really contains “all the features of pro”) whats the much much more? (e.g. in win 7, media centre wasnt included with enterprise – which for traveling consultants is nice to have…. is Direct Access available in Pro or only in enterprise ? etc.)

It’s all well and good to release a product – but c’mon…. you guys (MS) know what the differences are between the versions – how about publishing that info in a concise way to remove confusion, rather than vague fucking sales bullshit.

I short – provide clarity around the features of your versions at release – its not an unreasonable request – and it will stop your TAM’s from getting hammered with support calls.

September 9, 2011

Windows 8 boot times

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 8:03 pm

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/09/08/delivering-fast-boot-times-in-windows-8.aspx

as always – lets wait and see what it turns out like in RTM… as MS is run by marketing people and lawyers, that, well, never let reality get in the way of a good PR opportunity… but the fact that boot times have finally been seen as important is definately a good step….

The fact that they’re only looking at boot times because win8 will be componentised and partially aimed at tablets – is something we can thank the un-managable ipad for – but the result is that we get better boot times across all machines – greatly improving business productivity and OS usability in general.

August 26, 2011

windows 8 – copy jobs

Filed under: Windows — hayesjupe @ 9:06 am

http://bink.nu/news/new-copy-features-in-windows-8.aspx

a step in the right direction….. now base everything off of robocopy – the most awesome command line file copy tool ever 🙂

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