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Apr
15
Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Update 1 Caveats
Posted by Philip Elder on 15 April 2014 09:56 AM

Original Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Update 1 Caveats

Whenever we hear about updates for any device firmware, application software, or operating system software it is _always_ a good idea to read the Release Notes (we probably all know the acronym that comes to mind here ;) ), README.TXT, _and_ do a search for the update to see if anyone is complaining about it.

Unfortunately, this major update for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 has its issues some of which are full-stop problems.

The first place to start for this update is here:

There is a lot of information there.

  1. Update 1 is the new baseline for all updates going forward.
    • Meaning, no more updates to that OS if the bits are earlier than 8.1 U1 or 2012 R2 U1.
  2. Update 1 breaks SSL communications between endpoints and WSUS

This last one is a deal breaker for many enterprises, medium enterprises, and especially in our own SMB/SME environments where WSUS is virtually everywhere for patch management.

We just stood up a new cluster on 2012 R2. After our Cluster-Aware Update run:

image

Our cluster nodes now have the update. Since this cluster setup is Greenfield with WSUS ultimately ending up _on_ the cluster the nodes were updated via Microsoft Update.

The workaround for this situation is to enable TLS 1.2 as instructed in the above blog post. Since we are deploying Windows Server 2012 R2 into client sites we will have no choice but to make this change.

Then, when Microsoft releases an update to the update to hopefully fix the problem we will need to test that update extensively _especially_ in a cluster setting!

Yo Microsoft! There is a huge pool of folks willing to test and break this stuff for you! Please get us involved in the early bits for operating systems, applications, and updates again. This ongoing situation of releasing patches and updates to the public without testing them on disparate systems is a _bad_ thing. :(

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


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Apr
14

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: A Small Chunk of Bandwidth for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 Pro/Enterprise with Update 1

Okay, so here we go updating our ISO library:

image

image

And:

image

image

And finally:

image

image

Note that all Windows 8.1/Server 2012 R2 operating systems in the field _must_ be updated to Update 1 or they will not receive any further starting with Patch Tuesday this coming May!

That does not give us a lot of time to test the patch setup. But test we must! :(

By the way, is there any need to download the 32-bit version of a desktop OS anymore? We’ve not had to use one in ages!

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Mar
7
Installing Windows 8.1 on a Toshiba Tecra Z50 with Secure Boot and uEFI
Posted by Philip Elder on 07 March 2014 12:52 PM

Original Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Installing Windows 8.1 on a Toshiba Tecra Z50 with Secure Boot and uEFI

There seems to be a bit of a caveat installing Windows 8.1 onto a Tecra Z50 when Secure Boot and uEFI are enabled.

We cannot use an enclosure that mounts an ISO and presents it as a bootable optical drive or a USB flash drive formatted with NTFS. Whatever method we tried we ended up with various errors that lead nowhere.

Once we formatted a 4GB stick with FAT32, set it to active, and copied the Windows 8.1 content over to the flash drive we were able to install the OS as expected.

Thanks to Chris G. of Toshiba Canada for helping us to work through getting a new Tecra Z50-A set up.

Oh, and for now we need to get the required drivers from the Toshiba US site as the Canadian site is not hosting any yet.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Jan
30
Create a LogOff Button
Posted by amy on 30 January 2014 03:04 PM

One of the little things that makes a 2012 RDSH server easier for the end user is when there’s a logoff button on the desktop for them. Loggin off is a much better solution than just disconnecting the session. Logging off closes up the applications and doesn’t leave orphan sessions out there. It’s really easy to create one too.

Right click on the desktop and choose New, Shortcut.

The file name is c:\windows\systems32\shutdown.exe \l  The \l is the important part as that will make the session logoff rather than shutdown the server. Click Next until you’re done.

image

You’ll now have an ugly shortcut on the desktop. Go to Properties of the shortcut and choose a new icon. Now copy that icon onto the user desktops and make them happy.

image

I’d also suggest adding the button to the Start menu. To do this right click on the shortcut and choose Pin to Start. It really is that simple.

image

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Jan
21
Somedays . . . IE11 Just Plain Stinks :(
Posted by Philip Elder on 21 January 2014 03:05 PM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Somedays . . . IE11 Just Plain Stinks :(

There are times where IE 11′s behaviours both in Windows 8 RTM and Windows 8.1 make no sense at all.

Bitly.com is a site we use _a lot_ to manage our links throughout our communications.

Here is what the site looks like in IE 11 on Windows 8 RTM today:

image

Now top that off with the Compatibility option having completely disappeared from any menu option and we have one frustrated user.

Oh, wait, no, the option has disappeared under the Gear but hit the ALT on the keyboard and:

image

There it is.

No Joy:

image

Okay, one last step before throwing the browser right out the window. Add the site to the Trusted Sites list.

Voila:

image

Jiminy Cricket, this process was frustrating enough for us, imagine what it must be like for users that may not know about Trusted Sites and Compatibility Mode.

What a complete waste of time and productivity to business users that need to jump through these hopes just to go about their daily business.

Yes, Firefox and Chrome (we won’t run with Google product. Period.) are “options” but the business world runs on Microsoft products. Once would hope to believe that somehow things could be done in such a way that users are not impacted in such a way as to lose their productivity to this kind of thing. :(

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Jan
6
Some Thoughts On ARM and Intel Windows 8 Devices and the Windows 8 OS
Posted by Philip Elder on 06 January 2014 02:16 PM

Original Blog Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog Some Thoughts On ARM and Intel Windows 8 Devices and the Windows 8 OS

This is a post to the SBS2K Yahoo List.

OP: Windows and ARM are essentially dead.

My thoughts . . .

I don’t think ARM is dead. Cost wise Intel can’t meet them especially with the new FABs they have built and their ongoing yield issues. There needs to be a cost tier in tech.

The ARM/RT/Surface 2 experience is aimed at the iDevice user. Folks that are used to a locked in experience where they need to purchase apps outside of the device to get what they need to be productive. The advantage goes to Surface 2 as it has everything one needs to be fully productive short of Enterprise features like DirectAccess _out of the box_. InTune takes care of the management side of things to some degree to give corporate IT some control over the devices.

I like my Surface 2. It’s flaky for sure. It reminds me of the day when we started to see motherboards with the “new” 32-bit PCI slots on them and the industry extolling “Plug and Play” as the new end to IRQs and Jumpers. We called it “Plug and Pray” for _years_ before the tech settled down and started doing what it was supposed to.

I believe that the Windows ARM line will, and already is, put a lot of pressure on iDevices and Android devices since users see a device that has their Windows experience out of the box.

Kill Microsoft with words over the new Metro/Modern UI and its app environment but Microsoft knows what they are doing. They _know_ user pain moving between different platforms and the cost in lost productivity due to the “where’s my cheese” between them.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been approached with a “my Android device updated and now my stuff is gone or changed how do I get it back” question. That’s one area that Google has totally wrong. It’s not about the devs and their toys it’s about the end-user and their need to stay productive. Windows Phone solves this pain point big time as does iOS as they don’t butcher the user experience between versions.

And that is the clincher: As the general public becomes more aware that their PC, tablet, and phone can host the exact same environment in a stable and ongoing fashion, especially through device changes, the Windows platform will grow. The Windows 8/RT platform is relatively stable, provides a methodology to move to new devices and inherit everything, and provides a seamless and similar user experience across ALL devices. That’s Microsoft’s long-term vision IMNSHO.

An example: I killed the screen on my Nokia 920. It pancaked on the floor. Box tape is holding the glass together and it still works just fine but seeing through the cracks is painful. So, I bought a new Nokia 1020. It took about an hour after signing in with my Microsoft ID to have EVERYTHING as it was on my 920. The device backup and restore process pulls everything back even my text message threads! I don’t have to plug my phone into a computer or WiFi sync it like the iPhone does (not sure if messaging threads come back with a restore to a new iPhone?).

I set up a new Windows 8.1 machine for home based on the Intel NUC. I signed in with my Microsoft ID, set up my app passwords, and pulled down my regular apps from the Store’s “What you purchased” list and I was fully productive. All I needed from there was Office, RD Manager, and Camtasia. Everything else I use is in Metro/Modern UI.

If you have not experienced the seamless setup between Windows 8+ systems then you are truly missing out again IMNSHO. I NEED to have every second available to me to stay on top of things. Windows 8 has saved gobs of time over the previous days when I was working on setting up new machines for myself. In fact, after signing into my Microsoft ID (it is 2FA protected so I always need my phone for this step) and setting my passwords into the Mail app (the new PC has all of my Exchange mailboxes ready for a password and to start syncing immediately) I can be productive immediately communication wise.

Maybe I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. Maybe not. But I can tell you the benefits of Windows 8+ far outweigh the cons. Oh, and the Start Button in Windows 8.1 rocks. I did not realize just how much I missed it for managing servers via a windowed RDP/iDRAC/iLO/RMM session. :P

One more neat bit: Hit the Start button after setting key mail folders on the Start Menu and the Live Tiles give me an at-a-glance view of all communications. I like that.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »




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