Apple Fail Mango Microsoft Succeed Uncategorized WP7

Device upgrade – how #Apple was a #Fail and #Microsoft was a #Success

So yesterday was a bad day with apple.  You can read more – see the links below.  But I think the title of the post says most of it.

Apple upgrade woes
Where do itunes backups go on windows
With Apple it doesn\’t just work, in fact…
Oh and if you independantly download the IPSW
3 hours on tech support phone call
7 hours+ to do upgrade
Upgrade incomplete
Data lost
Result: Misery

Microsoft Upgrade works a treat
Want mango wp7 now but your network connection is not easy to get to?
0 hours on tech support
3 hours to upgrade
Upgrade complete
No data lost
Result: Happiness

Oh, PS I upgrade both of the family Satnav’s last night, Garmin’s upgrade tools worked a treat.
Fair Succeed Uncategorized vmware VMworld

#Success Yesterday I got angry with #VMware, at #VMworld but #congratulations are now deserved

Yesterday I blogged

Later that day, VMware proved they can be nimble and take out of scope decisions quickly, i have tired over recent years of large corporates telling me I have a good idea, but their policy/budget/manger/exec does not allow and that they are sorry that they cannot execute the good idea, so…

After the potential PR disaster of mistakenly telling a few hundred people at VMworld Europe they had won an iPod, VMware\’s initial response was simply sorry. Later that was upgraded to a free marketing t-shirt. Ho hum. I was not impressed.

So I wrote to them suggesting that for a few hundred quid (probably not even detectable in the budget for the conference!) they could have one extra iPod and hold a random draw for all those who thought they had already won one. It would not fix things, but it would at least give everyone a chance, and demonstrate that VMware understood the impact they\’d had.

It\’s NOT about \”compensating\”, it\’s about recognising the excitement and then disappointment that people will have experienced.

To my amazement, VMware not only agreed, but said they\’d give me an iPod to say thanks for the idea. I don\’t often get the chance to praise big companies, but I am happy to do so here.

But, I stress, even if they\’d not got a second for me, I\’d still have written this post

Begin forwarded message:

Subject: RE: Suggestion, was: Re: Congratulations, You are a VMworld Survey Prize Winner


Thank you for the suggestion.

Since you came up with this suggestion, we will provide you with one.

Please come by meeting room xx in the Bella Center to receive your iPod.


Name removed

Subject: Suggestion, was: Re: Congratulations, You are a VMworld Survey Prize Winner

How about you put an iPod Touch into a draw for all the people who got the email?

Cost you a few hundred quid/dollars/euros and everyone who thought they had one, would at least have had a bite at one.

Not trying to be troublesome, just making a suggestion to overcome the loss of goodwill and the major disappointment felt all round. It wasn\’t *inconvenient* it was exciting, and then massively disappointing.

Backdoor HTC Mango Microsoft OrangeUK PowerShell Problem Succeed Uncategorized Windows Mobile WP7

Want #Mango #WP7 now? But your network connection is not immediately adjacent to your desk, or awkward to break. #PowerShell

Mango is now available, and there is a cheat that seems to bypass the “wait until Microsoft/Your Carrier” make it available to you.  Read more here:
However the trick relies on disconnecting your internet connection within a few seconds.  This is fine and dandy if the cable is right by your keyboard, mouse and monitor, but not if it isn’t.
Obviously you can enable/disable the NIC, but Windows 7 (at least here) takes a variable amount of time to perform the disconnect.  Factor in UAC asking you for permission to disconnect then you have a bigger timing problem.
So a quick jump to the internet.  The following lines of code sort it out.
Firstly, start a PowerShell session (ISE or prompt), but with Run as Administrator rights to avoid issues.
Then use the line:
Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_NetworkAdapter | Format-Table Name, NetEnabled, NetConnectionStatus, DeviceId –auto
This lists all your network connections, (extract below)
Name                                       NetEnabled NetConnectionStatus DeviceId
—-                                       ———- ——————- ——–
WAN Miniport (Network Monitor)                                            6      
Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Server Connection     True       2                   7      
Identify the Device ID for your network connection.  In this case 7.
The following lines of code needs to run once only in your ISE session
$Nic = Get-WmiObject win32_networkadapter -computerName LocalHost -filter \”DeviceId = 7\”
Note that the number 7 at the end will need to be changed for your environment.
Then finally –
As you wish to switch your NIC on and off. 
So, having prepped all that, a quick click on linking on the Zune screen below
Followed by a click on UPDATE, and then immediately run the disable command, and Robert’s your mother’s brother.  When you click on the presented choice to download an update – don’t forget to enable your link again.
Note you may need to update teh Zune software, so you\’ll get a bit of this:

For a bit.

But then you should see an update offered, something like this.

7403 offered to user
7403 ready to download

Repeat until you have Mango installed


Fail King Crimson PowerCLI PowerShell Succeed Uncategorized vmware

#LFMF #PowerCLI Get-Folder contents #PowerShell

Because a “copy folder from the Datastore browser” backup of VM files is so inefficient, I’m writing a PowerShell process to improve my backups of the virtualised world.  Because I can move VM’s around onto different storage locations a hard coded “goto this datastore, download these VM’s” is going to need rewriting every time I do this.*

So I resolved to use as a starting point the Get-Folder command (and spawn a generic process for each Folder) that I have.

So I started to look at a folder (from the VMs and Templates view, not Hosts and Clusters) to do some testing on.  As the only, completely non active folder is Templates, I thought I’d start with that.

So the line of code I was looking at was something like:

Get-VM -Location (Get-Folder Templates) | Sort Name)

However I was getting nothing back, the code would run (there’s a lot more, but I won’t bore you with it until it’s all working), and there was a null result.  I didn’t quite spend days and days looking at it (see King Crimson – Indiscipline, Lyrics here), but I did spend quite a while thinking I’d got something wrong.

Then I had a thought – isn’t there a Get-Template command too?

Coded like this:
Get-Template -Location (Get-Folder Templates) | Sort Name)

I get some results.  Stupid of me to test a folder with wholly atypical contents

More later!

*I know some will wonder why I take flat file backups of VM’s.  It’s because I’m paranoid OK?  I copy them to external USB/FireWire drives for complete recoverability.  It’s not like I do it every day or anything

Coffee London Succeed Uncategorized

When near Holborn (Leather Lane to be precise)

One must not forget the Department of coffee and social affairs

12-14 Leather Lane

You can see why….

Active Directory Microsoft Succeed Task Scheduler Uncategorized

Scheduled tasks not running in Windows 2003 Server Domain Controller

I’ve a couple of virtualised DC’s in the farm that (to make AD restore much easier) do a daily backup to a second partition which then gets farmed out for protection.
The purpose is that when you start a VM in DRSM mode access to backups is, ahem, somewhat tricky.  So by having a partition within the machine with the latest backup (or a restored copy of an earlier one…) can mean a simple NTBACKUP restore can be swiftly executed to give peace in our time.
Well… for some time one of the machines had tasks in scheduled tasks that “Could not start”, and as an added function when you inspected the task properties you’d be prevented by error 0x8009016.
Now there are oodles of ideas out there, and over the past few months (yes, months) when I found time I would give it a go.
Finally today, it seems to be fixed.
Solution Pointer:
Was suggested at although this is for SBS 2003…
Taking the hint about stopping services, I went for broke and ran this PowerShell command
# stop all running services
Get-Service * | where {$_.status -eq \”Running\”} | Stop-Service –Force
Thus the server was reduced to absolute minimum of operating features.
Then taking step 6 on its own
“Delete all of the files in the ‘C:\\Documents and Settings\\All Users\\Application Data\\Microsoft\\Crypto\\RSA\\S-1-5-18’ folder”
But I did (and do recommend) take the more precautious approach of renaming the single file contained therein.
Then a start of all the automatic services by
# start Automatic services that are not Running:
Get-WmiObject Win32_Service | Where-Object { $_.StartMode -eq \’Auto\’ -and $_.State -ne \’Running\’ } | start-service
And tried to inspect a task’s properties, and it failed.
On further inspection I found the RSA folder was still empty, so decided a reboot would be worth it.
After the reboot, the RSA folder was populated, the task properties were available again, but the task would not run.  A quick delete and re-create of the task and Robert was my mother’s brother again.
Backdoor Fail Fixed Problem Succeed Uncategorized vmware

ESXi 4.1 Update 1 travail – lessons learned.

I’ve been biding my time over the last few months to migrate to ESXi.  Knowing that ESX4.1 is that last edition of the “full fat” VMware, I knew my next move would have to be to ESXi, so rather than make a bigger job whenever (cough) 5.0 is launched. I thought I’d change over the long weekend when I knew clients would be closed.
It was entertaining.
Building a boot and install USB stick rather than using a DVD burned with an ISO image was an important part of the test.
This is going to come in useful next month as I have some client work then, where the dirty nature of the computer room (a breeze block room in the corner of the warehouse) means that DVD drives become unusable within a few months – I dread to think (and am not responsible for!) the state of the servers and SAN…  So anyway I want to be able to boot and install from USB if necessary. didn’t really work for me, but proved to be a good source of a procedure on how to do this.  However there are some caveats to the process:
  • Syslinux 4.0.4 (the latest) does not work (or at least did not for me) – stick to 4.0.3!!
  • When modifying the contents of the stick remember to do everything!
  • Whilst the storage in my instance is software iSCSI IT IS IMMENSELY PRUDENT TO DISCONNECT STORAGE.  As this install process initialises some storage, you do not want to accidentally wipe a LUN.  My recommendation is always to build ESX(i) hosts disconnected from storage.  It prevents an easily avoidable mistake.  Likewise I avoid “Boot from SAN” setup.
  • Make sure you follow all the steps. I managed to miss 1 or 2 a few times before I got it right.
  • Don’t forget that the KS.CFG is YOUR INSTALL SCRIPT.  It’s easy to forget this and take the content and run with it.  If you do, you’ll get an ESX box with as its IP, VMware01 as the root password, and ESXi-01.beerens.local as its full name connected to a domain “beerens.local”.  I could be wrong, but I think this is unlikely to work in your world J
So once the stick is done:
  • Check for any Anti-Affinity rules in DRS, this will make sure your VM’s can have maximum mobility around the farm during the change.  You may want to weaken them
  • Move any non-running servers off local storage (if there is any) to SAN or other shared storage – cut and paste or storage migrate.  If you storage migrate you can change the host as well to unregister them from the server.
  • Storage migrate all running VM’s on local storage off the server to shared storage (no downtime here).
  • Put the ESX host in maintenance mode (and take the option to migrate all paused and stopped machines off the host).  All running guests will migrate off
This will leave you with a host doing no work, and having no VM’s stored in its local storage.
Now, and this is optional, but I highly recommend it.
  • Document the server setup – including network settings, iSCSI paths, vSwitch names and configs.  In fact everything you can!!!  If you are licenced for it, then consider Host Profiles as a means to the end.
  • Disconnect all external storage connections, and verify this by checking via vCentre.
Now you can start, insert the USB, boot the server, select boot from USB if required and watch it install.  If you have boot from USB as default, then at the end of the install you should remove the USB before it boots again.
Your KS.CFG will do the initial configuration and you have a new ESXi server.
This is where some of my fun started.  Now please bear with me – some of this was done late at night over a bank holiday, so I did not do my more normal thorough investigation, and I do not have answers to all the questions, but a list of issues encountered and some observations.
  1. vCentre
I thought my vCentre was up to date.  I was lazy, it was not.  I discovered on adding the new host to my network that there were some management issues from VC to ESX.  So I needed to upgrade vCentre.  I also discovered that some VM’s would not start when running on the new host – it seems they were mostly VM Version 4; but also (to make things harder) VMtools needs to be updated too!
  1. vCentre upgrade ISO
This is a 2.2GB download.  You do not want to do this on a 512KB ADSL connection.  I hoiked out my 3G MiFi unit, and downloaded it over the air instead to the laptop.  I achieved a 10 fold performance benefit by using this.  Fortunately I had 3.5GB left on the monthly allowance, so all was well.
  1. vCentre Upgrade action
Sadly this is a lengthy process, but by using full documentation from the installation (you do have this don’t you?) I was able to breeze through the dialog boxes and get everything up to date except Update Manager.  For some reason that part of the ISO is corrupt.  I am downloading it again as I type.
For prudence I snapshotted the VM that is the VC before starting.  At times later on, I would be tempted to restore to this, put ESX4.1 back on the host and give up.
Oh, and don’t forget to take the in place upgrade option – if you go for a new database your whole farm is screwed! (no, I didn’t)
  1. vCentre Client upgrade
On starting the vCentre Client, the new VC edition wants an upgrade before I can connect to it.  This install fails…
Now this was fun… My main management server (physical still – for good historical reasons), is where I do most of the work.   However this is now 6 years old and has a large number of VMware components go through it.  Unfortunately… some old MST file was hanging around and the VI Client upgrade failed.  By now it was late at night after a quick burst of investigation I decided on a more radical approach.  I stopped all VMware services, hacked out all the VMware stuff from the registry, killed VMware folders in Program Files, and rebooted the machine.  This did not completely fix the install, and found a few more VMware folders in the Documents and Settings tree, they went too.
  1. DNS and AD failure
Yes, you read that right.  When this box came back DNS was down, and AD was not working as a consequence.  Fearing I’d ripped something out I hadn’t meant to I was tempted to hit the backup tape (you do take backups don’t you?) but waited a bit…
This being more a test lab than a production network the primary physical box on which I was working is the original DC of the network.   The other DC’s are virtual, and it turned out that neither had started properly when I had restarted the ESX hosts a bit earlier.  We had had a power cut earlier in the day, and whilst the kit had all stayed up, it seemed (only with hindsight) that whilst I have UPS’s all round a slight barf on one UPS had impacted a network switch and the virtual world was not talking to the physical world properly.  Taking the IT Crowd “Turn it off and on again” philosophy to its logical limit… I shut down all the VM guests (you do have a PowerShell script for this don’t you?!) and shutdown the hosts.  I then power cycled the switches and waited for them to come back.  I then booted the ESX boxes, and the physical server and all was well.  A quick check round logs and events proved this was the case.
I’m not going to try to work out why, as this was now 1am…
  1. vCentre client now installed properly and I can connect to vCentre Server again.
A quick bit of configuration of vSwitches, and all seemed to be well except…
  1. iSCSI connections
One of the iSCSI connections relies on decent security from the SAN side – and with the new ESXi installation the IQN’s on the software iSCSI had changed, so the SAN had to be told it was allowed to connect!  A quick fix there, and the new ESXi box can see all storage, and works a treat.
  1. Finally all was well
  1. So I just need that good ISO for the Update Manager installation so that I can now manage updates across the VM’s (VM Version and VMTools for now).
  • Well you can see from the above that Douglas Adams was right when he wrote “Don’t Panic” – I could have given up with the backups, snapshots and original ESX4.1 that I had and gone back to square one.
  • Document your setup, NOW.  You never know when it might come in useful
  • In ESXi the Service Console no longer exists – look for the Management Network in your ESXi networking setup
  • IQN’s can change
  • Check your VM version – some of your older VM’s may be 4 instead of 7.  In my experience, a VM version 4 had some issues starting and seeing network hardware on a new host.
  • Anti-affinity – keep an eye on it, and restore it when done
  • If you use ESXTOP on ESX, don’t forget – without the service console, you won’t get this on the host
  • ILO – if you have it, make sure you know the password – it saves a lot of hassle connecting to the host
  • Lastly NEVER FORGET you can use the VI Client directly to the host to work things.  If the VC goes down, it means you can still start stop guests, enter/exit maintenance mode, reboot and shutdown an ESX box.  This can be your friend.  A lot.
Oh, and very lastly – if you finish work at nearly 3am in the morning after some problems like this, then the early morning Radio4 news on the day Osama Bin Laden is killed makes for a pretty good wakeup call.

BitLocker Fixed Hyper-V Microsoft Problem Succeed twitter Uncategorized vmware Windows 7

Hurrah – a hibernating Hyper-V laptop!

Well, almost J

I got a new laptop last year and having bumped up the RAM and disk, I wanted to use for a virtualised lab on board whilst travelling or at clients.  Having experimented and asked around on Twitter there was no way (my preferred method) of having Windows 7 with ESXi running under VMware Workstation and then have 64bit guests in vCentre – the VT is not exposed to the ESX guests.  This would have given me the best of ESXi (and a VMware lab), and the VM’s I wanted for carrying a lab in the bag.  VMware workstation was not much use to me as without any memory management I would run out of headroom (although the tree cloned drives would be nice).
A non-trivial additional factor was that I insist on encrypted disks in my laptops.
I then experimented with getting a dual boot world going.  BitLocker and Boot from VHD work well, but not together.  I got a Bitlockered guest machine under Hyper-V as a VHD to boot, but the content was a bit flaky – device drivers).  I then tried getting a dual boot to work with the second boot from a VHD but BitLocker got in the way.  See: Am I really asking too much of Hyper-V  I learned a bit about BDCEDIT along the way.
Eventually after a couple of gotchas/glitches I gave up on the BitLocker VHD or alternate boot option as it was taking too much time (and I had read in a few places I was asking the impossible).    And besides: Word from the wise on BitLocker
Becoming impatient, I then restarted my thinking.  I continued with the Windows 2008 R2 build (Bitlockered drive), with the intent of then building the VM’s that I wanted.
The first bit was to get Windows Server 2008 R2 look more like Windows 7 so it could be my standard desktop-like working world along with some other bits and pieces – I added the following to the machine (some are dependencies):
  • Web Server (IIS)
  • .NET Framework 3.5.1 Features
  • BITS
  • Desktop Experience
  • Ink and Handwriting Services (it’s a tablet)
  • Remote Server Administration Tools
  • Telnet Client (I never usually remember this is off by default!)
  • PowerShell ISE
  • Windows Server Backup Features
  • Wireless LAN Service (it’s a laptop!)
  • BitLocker Drive Encryption
  • Group Policy Management
  • Windows Server Migration Tools (just in case)
I then installed all the usual productivity tools, Office, DropBox, the loathsome iTunes etc. etc.
However, Hyper-V cannot use a Wi-Fi network for external access.  My Lab network is behind a Threat Management Gateway 2010 Server, so only this needs true connectivity.  So a quick bit of research, and I came across the idea of a bridge between the Hyper-V network and the Wi-Fi here: Connecting Hyper-V over WiFi and it works a treat.
So the laptop was where I wanted it to be, the VM’s were being created.  BUT….  You cannot hibernate a Hyper-V machine.  This is clearly a sensible idea, but for the road warrior, it’s more than a nice to have.  To wait for a machine to fully shutdown can be embarrassingly long.
So over to the internet.
The first hit was “Create Dual Boot” solution.  This works by duplicating the boot entry (back to BCDEDIT), and then you choose to run with or without Hyper-V.  Without Hyper-V you can hibernate the machine and bring it back quickly.  But you need to reboot the machine to get Hyper-V back, and then you can start your VM’s.  After that you can run your productivity apps, but can no longer hibernate the machine.  This can be found here: Creating a no hypervisor boot entry on Windows Server 2008
And then I found this:
Hibernate and sleep with Windows Server
All you do is the following three steps:
  • Set Hyper-V to start on demand “SC CONFIG HVBOOT START= DEMAND” (note the space after the = sign); then reboot the machine
  • Enable Hibernation “POWERCFG -HIBERNATE ON”
  • Then when you want to run VM’s – “NET START HVBOOT”
Lo and behold.  I have a single boot machine.  Until I start HVBOOT then the machine will hibernate.  Once you have started HVBOOT, then you have to shut down the machine instead, but this is good enough for now.  I’m not certain what impact not running Hyper-V will have on the performance of the machine, but not much I guess.
What next?
Well I guess that I might put VMware Workstation on as well to get some VM’s running whilst still being able to hibernate – maybe just 1 or two so that I can PowerShell in Windows 7 as well…  If only Workstation could use VHD’s (or Hyper-V VMDK’s!!!!)
Oh, and if you try to start a VM without HVBOOT running?  You get this:

Fair Photography Shooting Succeed Uncategorized

"At the fair" – I\’m quite pleased with these shots – one has a (handheld) exposure of 1.6s, can you tell which one?

On our hols last year we came across this weekend fair that was quite unexpected.  I happened to have my camera with me (unusually for dinner on a Saturday night!), and thought I\’d see what I could do.
All in all the results were much more pleasing that I expected.  I was especially pleased that without a tripod or any other means exposures of 1/2 to 1.6 seconds all came out well.
I attribute that to the shooting I do – an accurate small bore rifle shot and a good long exposure camera shot both require good slow gentle breathing, the knowledge to stop about 2/3rds exhaled, and a well constructed stable platform.
I hope you like them.

Coffee London Succeed Uncategorized

5* Nude Express off Brick Lane, and close to Truman Brewery for Queen Exhibition

Fabulous coffee, superb water station, yummy brownies

Will return 🙂

After going to Stormtroopers in stillettos.