Friday, February 26, 2010

Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Hyper-V

Hyper-V customers are running both SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux as guests. We have provided Linux integration components for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, but customers did not have the same level of performance with Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a guest since the IC’s were not supported for RHEL.

We are excited to announce the availability of Linux integration components for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL 5.2, 5.3, and 5.4) which provides synthetic network and storage drivers enabling RHEL to work with the optimized devices provided by Hyper-V.  We’ve already submitted these drivers to the upstream Linux kernel in July 2009 (read here for more information) and are looking forward to these being integrated with a future version of RHEL.  In the meantime, Microsoft will provide full support for these drivers.  Red Hat provides best effort support for these components. Customers interested in understanding how these are supported by Red Hat prior to their inclusion natively into to their distribution can read the details at the Red Hat Knowledge Base article.

To download this new version of the Linux Integration Components, visit this link on the Microsoft Download Center.

Mike Sterling

Hyper-V Program Manager, Microsoft

Source : Windows Virtualization Team Blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Working with VHD and differencing disk in VirtualBox

I recently switch to VirtualBox (from VirtualPC), but i was not ready to dump all my VHD files. So i decided to keep working with VHD. The other thing I use a lot is “differencing disk”, VirtualBox also support these, but, as with VHD the documentation is not always very clear on how to use them.

First you have to understand a difference between Virtual PC and Virtual Box about “differencing disk” :

In VirtualPC In VirtualBox
You create a normal VHD that will become the parent, then you create a child VHD pointing to the parent You create a normal VHD and flag it as “immutable”, then you create new VMs using this “immutable” VHD. VirtualBox will automatically create the child VHD that will appear like a snapshot ({GUID}.VHD)

Here’s how I do it :

Step 1 : Create a 20Go dynamic disk VHD

vboxmanage createhd --filename "F:\.VirtualBox\HardDisks\WinXP_Parent.vhd" --size 20480 --format VHD --variant standard --remember

Step 2 : Change the new VHD into an immutable disk

vboxmanage "F:\.VirtualBox\HardDisks\WinXP_Parent.vhd" --type immutable

I Also like to force it to read-only as an additionnal precaution :

attrib +R "F:\.VirtualBox\HardDisks\WinXP_Parent.vhd"

Step 3 : Create a new VM using the WinXP_parent.vhd

VboxNewVHD

Yon now have a new virtual machine with a differencing disk in the VHD format.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Everything you need to know about DHCP as a Systems Administrator

Nice article By Netanel Ben-Shushan about DHCP.

Abstract

This article will help you to learn everything that you need to know as a systems administrator (or SysAdmin) about this protocol and what can you do with him.

Source : Bink.nu

What's the Opposite of "Buzz"? Because That's What Google Is Generating with Buzz.

Google's belated second shot at social networking with the Gmail-based Buzz service was supposed to catapult the company into competition with Twitter and Facebook. But instead, it has created an amazing uproar among Gmail users who feel the service is invasive at best and privacy-adverse at worst.

How this piece of junk escaped internal testing is unclear, given how poorly implemented it was at launch last week, as well as its complete lack of configuration. But with Google now facing a class-action lawsuit over the service, maybe it's time for the online giant to step back and ask itself what the heck just happened.

For all the bad stuff Google has done over the years—working with the Chinese and scanning copyrighted books without asking permission, for starters—it's interesting to see that a silly and pointless service is what brought this clueless and insular high-flyer down to Earth.

The issue here is simple, however, and although I wish I could take credit for this observation, it comes from my friend Fabrice: No one cared when Google was violating IP and copyright laws around the world by scanning books, because that was other people's data. But when Google opens up actual users to privacy invasion, it gets personal. I think Fabrice is right. Google is a smart company full of smart people. But this is one the dumbest things I've ever seen.

Source : WinInfo Dailey by Paul thurrott

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Powershell 2.0 download

« Where is the Powershell 2.0 download ? »

Don’t ask me why, but the official release of PowerShell 2.0 is not available in a standalone download. It is now part of the «Window Management Framework».

The framework includes :

  • Windows Remote Management (WinRM) 2.0
  • Windows PowerShell 2.0
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) 4.0

It is available for Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista and Windows 2008 (already included with Windows 7 and 2008 R2).

You will find all the download links and infos at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968929/en-us

Note : Don’t forget, PowerShell shortcuts are in Programs/Accessories/Windows PowerShell

Monday, February 15, 2010

How Strong in your Password?

This is common knowledge; you should use a combination of alphabets, numerical digits, and special characters (!, @) to create strong passwords. Yet, the most commonly used password on the Internet is 123456 followed by 12345 – see full list.

… Microsoft too offers an online tool that will instantly tell if your password is strong or weak.

Enter Password Meter – this is an online tool that will not only rate your password’s strength but will offer clues on what you kind of characters can you add or remove to improve the password’s strength. 

Source : Digital Inspiration Technology Blog

Friday, February 12, 2010

How to troubleshoot Outlook and certificates problems

In the past days I had to troubleshoot a problem with an SSL certificate and Outlook. I didn’t found any useful infos on the net to help me so I thought I could share one little tips that help me solve my problem.

First my problem :

We have a Sharepoint site configure with HTTPS. Everything works fine in Internet Explorer, but when we try to connect a calendar or a document library in Outlook it wouldn’t synch. If a replace my normal SSL certificate (on the web site) with a self signed one it works like a charm, so I suspect it is a certificate problem.

What’s bugging me is that Outlook never showed any error dialog. Nothing in the system event log either and no way to get kind of a trace or log of what’s happening from Outlook.

Here’s my tip :

Outlook is using the Microsoft Cryptography application programming interface (CAPI) or simply put Crypto API.

Starting with Windows Vista the Crypto API has an operational event log, you just have to enable it to see what’s really happening.

  • Open the Event Viewer
  • Look For CAPI2 under Applications and Service Logs > Microsoft > Windows
  • Right click on “Operationnal” and select “Enable Log”

capi error

From the log you may be able to spot the problem with your certificate. Worked for me, I was able to see that it was trying to reach an non-existing server to get the certificate revocation list (CRL).

Don’t forget to disable the CAPI2 operational log when you’re done with the debugging.

Hope this could help someone else,

Monday, February 08, 2010

Using Windows Server 2008 Core on Windows Virtual PC

First, a caveat.  This is not supported.  Most of what I am about to talk about is not supported.  Feel free to use this information, but do not call Microsoft if it does not work for you.

With that out of the way – this morning I was asked how to get a Windows Server 2008 core installation working on Windows Virtual PC, with integration components.  This is possible, and very handy, but is a little tricky to do.

Windows Server 2008 will install onto Windows Virtual PC in a core configuration with no issues.  But when you try to install the Integration Components, the installer will fail.

The problem is that the installer is trying, and failing, to initialize the sound card driver that is part of the integration components.  What you need to do is to disable the sound card in the virtual machine.

Source : Virtual PC Guy's WebLog

Friday, February 05, 2010

Fixes for 64-bit Adobe Reader preview handler and thumbnails

For the past two years, Adobe has neglected a simple issue with Adobe Reader that broke the default and extremely useful file thumbnail and file preview features in Vista and 7 under 64-bit. The problem also extends onto other applications that use the preview APIs such as Office Outlook, throwing out the window what would have been an elegant and streamlined PDF viewing experience, especially since you can scroll within the PDF without awakening the beast that is Adobe Reader.

After some detective work by Leo, not only did he pinpoint the root cause of both the preview and thumbnail issues, but today released a dead-simple fix in a neat executable package that fixes both problems faster than you can say “what the hell Adobe”.

Source : www.istartedsomething.com

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Installing Windows from a network server without Windows Deployment Services

I’d like to start this post with a statement:

Windows Deployment Services (WDS) is a useful role in Windows Server 2008 R2.  It’s free (to licensed Windows users), supports multitasking, and is a perfectly good method of pushing Windows images to clients…

Unfortunately that statement has a caveat:

… but it needs to be installed on an Active Directory-member computer.

For some, that’s a non-starter.  And sometimes, you just want a quick and dirty solution

Source : markwilson.it

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Windows Server Performance Team: Increase VMBus buffer sizes to increase network throughput to guest VMs

The Windows Server Performance team have done a really interesting post on how to optimize network performance inside of virtual machines by increasing the size of the VMBus buffers used by our network adapters.  They also do a very good job of explaining the causes and implications of performance issues around virtual networking – so go check it out:

http://blogs.technet.com/winserverperformance/archive/2010/02/02/increase-vmbus-buffer-sizes-to-increase-network-throughput-to-guest-vms.aspx

Cheers,
Ben

Source : Virtual PC Guy's WebLog

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Cross-site Scripting & SQL Injection quick reference

The Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle web site shows two interesting documents :

  • Quick Security References: Cross-site Scripting
  • Quick Security References: SQL Injection
  • You can download those at www.microsoft.com/downloads