Wednesday, October 30, 2013

System Center Advisor integration in OpsMgr 2012 R2

Last week I did a Operations Manager (OpsMgr) 2012 R2 installation already. One of the new features in Release 2 (R2) is System Center Advisor integration. OpsMgr now includes Advisor as an Attached Service, which will allow you to add Advisor monitoring to Windows management servers in your SCOM environment. Sounds nice isn't it?

Since March 2013 Advisor is free of charge and without the Software Assurance (SA) coverage requirement. Al you need is a Microsoft or Organizational account to start the integration. Then decide which servers will be monitored by Advisor. In OpsMgr console there will be Advisor alerts from now also. Just great to have this integration!

The following workloads are analyzed:
  • Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2:
    • Active Directory
    • Hyper-V Host
    • General operating system
  • SQL Server 2008 and later
    • SQL Engine
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2010
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013 (new in October 2013)
  • System Center 2012 SP1 – Virtual Machine Manager (new in August 2013)
  • Source: Welcome to System Center Advisor

Just some information on System Center Advisor ( is an online service that analyzes installations of Microsoft server software. Advisor collects data from your installations, analyzes it, and generates alerts that identify potential issues (such as missing security patches) or deviations from identified best practices with regard to configuration and usage. Advisor also provides both current and historical views of the configuration of servers in your environment.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Latest Release: What’s new on Xian Wings 2.0

Sponsor post

This time a new blogpost about the latest release of Xian Wings 2.0, Jalasoft’s mobile solution for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (OpsMgr) 2012. The product is released on Wednesday October 30th, 2013 already!

With Xian Wings for OpsMgr you have a real client application for your smartphone, which means states, alerts, performance graphs, and more are always at your fingertips. Find out what the Xian Wings 2.0 improvements are in this blogpost.

With Xian Wings HD for iPad you can run PowerShell and prompt commands directly from your iPad against the OpsMgr server or another computer. This is called "Remote Shell". No need to get connected to the computer that is experiencing the issues anymore. Sounds like a great feature to me.

With Xian Wings for Windows Phone there is support for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7 devices added. As a Windows Phone 8 user myself I really like this one ;) There will be support for Android and iPhone devices of course also. That way most mobile platforms are supported now.

With Xian Wings 2.0 Server there is support for Windows 7 and Windows 8 systems added. That way the Xian Wings server and/or console can be installed on any computer running these versions. No need to use Windows Server editions for this anymore. DotNet Framework 4.5 support is added also.

Hope you like the new features. Want to learn more about Xian Wings 2.0? Contact Jalasoft at 1-888-402-6717 or

On Friday November 8th, 2013 there is an upcoming webinar on Xian Wings 2.0 also. Don't miss that one!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Free TechSmith Software for Technology Leaders

If you are a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) or Most Valuable Professional (MVP) you can get Camtasia Studio and Snagit for free! That's what someone (another MCT) was telling me earlier this week. Seems that the deal is still active after many years (since 2009). Didn't know that myself actually, so therefore this blogpost as a reminder. Just go to MCT Request Form or MVP Request Form to request an activation key. Very cool as you ask me!
Download can be done here:
-Snagit PC or MAC
Record onscreen activity at your desk or in front of an audience and create eye-catching HD-quality training, presentation, and demo videos. Enhance them with editing effects like callouts, transitions and more. Then share for viewers to watch on-demand…anytime, anywhere.

-Camtasia Studio PC or MAC
Quickly create professional quality videos that you can share with
 anyone, on nearly any device – without formal training. Use Camtasia to give presentations, train audiences, share knowledge, and more.

@TechSmit Software Thanks for the software and free licenses!
@Kåre Rude Andersen Thanks for sharing knowledge!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

System Center 2012 R2 downloadable VHDs available!

Do you want to experience System Center 2012 R2 products?
Microsoft have made VHDs available for evaluation:

System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager Data Warehouse– Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator – Evaluation (VHD)

System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager – Evaluation (VHD) 
System Center 2012 R2 App Controller – Evaluation (VHD)

Just use them to have a look at all the new features!

Update: Password for above VHDs is pass@word1 or Pass@word1 
This cannot be found on internet actually, but because passwords were used on older System Center VHDs before, the're still working. Just make usage of it!

Update 17-2-2016: New download links available!

System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager Data Warehouse– Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager – Evaluation (VHD)
System Center 2012 R2 App Controller – Evaluation (VHD)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Repair Windows 8.x from a bootable USB device

Last week my colleague had an issue with his local Windows 8.1 installation. For this case of emergency, Always make sure you have a bootable USB device with Windows 8.x in your pocket. In this blogpost I explain how to create one. Let's have a look how to repair Windows 8.x from a bootable USB device.

Just start your system with this bootable USB-device for installation/ upgrade or refresh/ reset actions. Then start the following actions:

1. Choose "Language to install", "Time and currency format" and "Keyboard or input method".
2. Then choose "Repair your computer", NOT "Install now".
3. At "Choose an option" select "Troubleshoot" and then "Advanced options".
4. Choose "Startup Repair", Operating System Windows 8.x first, which doesn't actually fixed the issue (Startup Repair couldn't repair your PC).
5. Choose "Advanced options" after the issue instead of shutdown.
6. At "Choose an option" select "Troubleshoot" and then "Advanced options".
7. Choose "Command Prompt" and type the following lines:
-bootrec /fixmbr
-bootrec /fixboot

8. Start your PC again and the issue should be fixed now.

Hope it helps!

Thanks to Frans Oudendorp (@oudendorp) for this one!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Guide to install Windows 8.1 from a bootable USB device

Last week I did an upgrade on my notebook from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. I prefer by doing this with a bootable USB device, Always having the Operating System with me for refresh or reset actions. This because you can use it in case of emergency also. The following steps are needed to get it done.

1) Download the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool and install it on your Windows device. Download
2) Start the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool and follow the steps. Select the Windows 8.1 ISO and use a empty USB device (4GB min.)

Select the Windows 8.1 ISO file on the hard disk

Use an empty USB device for installing Windows 8.1

Select the empty USB device and start/begin copying

Copy job is done and the USB device is ready to use now!

Just start your system with this bootable USB-device for installation/ upgrade or refresh/ reset actions. You can use it in case of emergency also! I will mention that in my next blogpost.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New System Center 2012 R2 releases available now!

As from yesterday (10/17/2013) new System Center 2012 R2 releases are available! Just go to Microsoft TechNet or MSDN and download the bits. You can also download Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 (RT) as from yesterday.

At last Windows Intune v5 will be available later today!

Still happy with my MS TechNet subscription for MCT's! :) Expect more blogposts on this topic soon.

Update: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 available now!
Update: Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) for Windows 8.1 available now!

Update 19-10: The Hydration Kit for ConfigMgr 2012 R2 is available for download
Update 22-10: Windows Intune v5 is same as v4.0.14221.0

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Next Release of Windows Intune (v5) coming in 3 days!

During Microsoft TechEd Europe in June 2013, the next release of Windows Intune (Wave E) is announced. This release will focus on deeper System Center integration, more consistent experiences across different mobile devices, and better data protection. Windows Intune 5.0 will offer direct management for Android also, so no need to use EAS for that anymore.

Here is what we know so far:
 -Choice between Company-owned or Personal-owned to decide management
-Native self-service portal apps for Windows, iOS and Android devices
-Registering and Enrolling devices through the cloud
-Deploy VPN profile and Wi-Fi profile policies and configurations
-Supports more policies on all supported device types
-Selectively and remotely wipe corporate data from managed devices

It will be coming in 3 days (Oct. 18) when Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 is released. Stay tuned for more news next week!

Mark Your Calendars for Oct. 18: The R2 Wave is Coming!

Reminder: Microsoft will release Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and the latest update to Windows Intune in 3 days (Oct. 18), the same day Windows 8.1 will be released.

According to Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Windows Server and System Center Brad Anderson, it’s no coincidence that all four updates will be available on the same day. This will be done every time from now on! You can read more about it In the Cloud blog.

Recent posts about this topic:
Updates and New Features in ConfigMgr 2012 R2 (about System Center 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 and Windows Intune v5)

Monday, October 14, 2013

What’s new on Netflow Monitoring with Feature Xian NM 2012 SP2

Sponsor post

Jalasoft is proud to announce the upcoming release of service pack 2 for Xian Network Manager (NM) 2012. Among all the new features and improvements that will be present in SP2, we can highlight several enhancements on the side of Netflow monitoring:

-Support for Netflow version 9: Xian NM can now properly receive and process Netflow traffic from any device that has Netflow version 9 enabled.
-Dashboards: You can now create an OpsMgr dashboard that contains performance graphs from the top N elements associated to a default or custom filter.
-Monitoring of Top N elements: Define the top N elements that will be sent to OpsMgr, to avoid many objects visible.
-Sampling: Choose if all the Netflow packets received from the devices sending their data to Xian NM.

Just have a look at this blogpost, which mentions What’s new on Netflow Monitoring Feature with Xian NM 2012 SP2.

News as of today is that Xian NM SP2 will be released this coming Tuesday October 15th.

Friday, October 11, 2013

ExaGrid with Veeam (Virtual Machine Backup without Compromise)

Sponsor post

According to industry statistics, the costs associated with downtime due to system failure or disasters ranges from $70,000 to $161,000 per hour of downtime.

The ESG Lab Review offers guidance on how to minimize VM downtime and restore VMs in as fast as minutes in case accidental deletion, failure, or disaster. Key takeaways from the ESG Lab Review:

-How deduplication can negatively affect your ability to instantly recover VMs in VMware and Hyper-V environments
-How the ExaGrid disk backup and Veeam solution allows for the benefits of deduplication and instant recovery
-How Veeam's source-side deduplication and ExaGrid's post-process deduplication minimize storage needed for backup

Download Your FREE Lab Review here: Click

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to install CU3 and recognize the update afterwards

This week I did a new ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 installation, and installed Cumulative Update (CU) 3 afterwards. In this blogpost I explain how to install the update, and how to recognize it afterwards.

Just download CU3 here: Click
or have more information here: Click

Start the installation and choose:
-Welcome to setup > Next
-Prerequisite Check > Next
-Install the update for the ConfigMgr console
-Yes, update the site database
-Select all (site servers, consoles, clients)
-Choose to create update packages (4x)
-Setup Summary > Next
-Installation Progress (You should see this now)
 -Installation Complete > Finish

Let's have a look now to recognize it. It can be done on multiple places!
-ConfigMgr console properties (5.0.7804.1400):
Installed software updates (KB2882125):
Registry check (HKLM\Software\Microsoft\SMS\Setup):
Installed software packages (4x):
ConfigMgr client version (<ConfigMgr folder>\Client):
This one must be File version 5.0.7804.1400 now!
SCEP client version (<ConfigMgr folder>\Client):
This one must be File version now!

As you can see all is okay now. Don't forget to update other ConfigMgr consoles and already existing ConfigMgr clients with the new software packages. After that you are ready and set again!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How to Reset Surface from a Recovery Drive

Today I wanted to revert my Surface RT from Windows 8.1 Preview to Windows 8.0 again. Lucky me I created a Recovery Drive before, so no worry about that. How to create a Recovery Drive is described here: Guide to create a USB Recovery Drive for Windows RT. This time I mention the steps to revert it back again.

You have the choice to Refresh or Reset your Surface. When Refresh your PC you don't lose any files. When Reset your PC all of your files are removed. Tost be careful!

Important warnings: Things you need to know before resetting Surface. After a reset, Surface returns to its factory settings.
-All your personal files, settings, and apps will be gone. You’ll have to set up Surface as if it were brand new.
-Windows and the apps that came with Surface will be reinstalled as part of the reset process, but you will have to reinstall Windows Store and desktop apps that did not come pre-installed on Surface.

Reset Surface from a USB recovery drive

  1. Open the Settings charm, tap or click Power, and then tap or click Shut down. (Or, tap or click the Power icon in the lower-right corner of the sign-in screen.)
  2. Attach the USB recovery drive to Surface.
  3. Hold the volume-down (-) rocker.
  4. Press and release the power button.
  5. When the Surface logo appears, release the volume rocker.
  6. Choose your language options.
  7. Choose your keyboard layout.
  8. From the BitLocker screen, tap or click Skip This Drive.
  9. Tap or click Troubleshoot.
  10. Tap or click Reset your PC.
  11. Tap or click Next.
  12. Tap or click Windows RT 8.1 as the operating system currently on your Surface to be reset.
  13. Tap or click No, keep the existing partitions.
  14. Tap or click Just remove my files.
  15. When Surface displays All ready to go, tap or click Reset.
Surface will reset back to factory settings.

Everything went fine in my situation. As long you have a Recovery Drive, you can revert to default in just a few minutes. Just great!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Starting this year we are merging MMS with TechEd

Last month I wrote a blogpost about "Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) is officially no more". Last week there was a statement from Microsoft finally. Let's have a look what Brad Anderson have to say:

Over the past 11 years, the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) has grown from a small user group event focused on systems management and managing PCs, to a large and passionate gathering of the world’s best and brightest IT Pros. Now it’s time to look ahead to the next step for our industry and this community. Starting this year we are merging MMS with TechEd..

It’s true that TechEd is a massive event, and its scale will accommodate the MMS community in addition to adding great content of its own. I can promise you that MMS content, experts, and community will be alive and well in this new format within TechEd (see Venn diagram below).

More about this here: What’s Next for MMS

On TechEd NA 2014 there is also a MMS message:
We are excited to announce that in 2014, we are bringing together the best of TechEd and MMS at TechEd NA in Houston. The brightest and most skilled technology professionals from both communities will meet to increase their technical expertise through deep hands-on technical learning, sharing of best practices and interaction with Microsoft and a variety of industry experts and their peers.

More about TechEd NA 2014 here!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in Houston, You?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Failed to open the local machine group policy

System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection (SCEP) is build-in ConfigMgr 2012 to manage anti-malware and antivirus on devices. Most of times the product is doing well, and no issues are seen. Last time however there was a policy issue: "Failed to open the local machine group policy". Because of this no SCEP policy was active on the clients. Here's what to do in this situation.

In the ConfigMgr logs folder, there's a filed named: EndpointProtectionAgent.log
In this logfile the error message is displayed to search for.
-Failed to apply the policy C:\Windows\CCM\EPAMPolicy.xml with error (0x80004005)
-Failed to open the local machine group policy (SCEP)
Also in Event Viewer there will be error messages which send you to the right direction.

To fix the error there are a few steps needed:
-Browse to the Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\Machine folder on the client and delete the file: Registry.pol
-Then restart the "SMS Agent Host" service to enforce ConfigMgr download all policies again. Sometimes this is not enough and re-installation of the ConfigMgr client is needed.

After that policies must be applied again well.

Source: SCCM.BIZ