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# Saturday, March 17, 2012

During this past Thursday night’s Montgomery Windows IT Pro user group meeting, I gave a demonstration of the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview operating system.  I showed how Windows 8 Consumer Preview (CP) has a hypervisor and can run Hyper-V as a feature.

The Windows 8 CP I’m using is actually a virtual machine I built in Windows Server 2008 R2.  So, on my laptop I’ve installed Windows Server 2008 R2 and I’ve created 3 virtual machines:  Windows 7, Windows 8 CP and Windows Server 8 Beta.  I added all three as native boot VHDs so I can boot to them and directly access the laptop’s hardware, etc., without going through the Windows Server’s hypervisor.  It’s not hard to do (see previous blog entry) at all as long as you have the disk space to accommodate each OS.  In fact, I almost always boot to the Windows 7 vhd as my primary when actually using the laptop apart from demonstrations.

So, at the meeting I had booted to the Windows 8 CP vhd to demonstrate all the functionality of the new OS (minus touch, as I do not have a touch screen on the laptop).  I showed the group how to install the Hyper-V feature and explained the requirements (CPU with AMD-V or Intel VT-64 plus Second Level Address Translation or SLAT, enough memory to run the VMs and the host).   ----

ASIDE--- How to, without the Control Panel?  My way:  Go to Search (get to search by putting mouse cursor in far right bottom, search icon “floats” up on screen above), change Search parameter from Apps to Settings, type in “add Windows features”. This causes a “Windows Features” icon to “float” up on the screen which you can click on and then it will cause the traditional “Turn Windows Features On or Off” menu to appear.  Scroll down to Hyper-V.  You can install Hyper-V Manager and Hyper-V Management Tools at this point by expanding the list item and checking both boxes, then clicking on Apply.  Your Windows 8 CP machine will then reboot a couple of times and then viola, you’ll have Hyper-V to add vm’s, import and export them, and there are a bunch of new features available like creating a virtual Fiber Channel SAN and virtual switches…  Enough to geek me out and the group!

So the next step was adding a vm.  Since the host WAS a Hyper-V server I had plenty of vhd’s lying around on the hard drive.  I simply created a new vm in Windows 8 CP Hyper-V by using an already existing Windows Server 2008 R2’s vhd…  This worked fine and I was able to bring up the vm and use it from within Windows 8 CP.  So somebody asked if it would work within running the Windows 8 CP OS I had as a vm itself, and then bring up Hyper-V on that vm and try to run the Windows Server vm I had just created as a vm….  Hmmmm, now why not?  That would be, as Butthead says, Cool!

This I did.  Booted back to the original Win Server 2008 R2, launched the Windows 8 CP virtual machine, logged in, started Hyper-V on it and started the new Win Server vm I just made!  It worked!  It booted up!!!! 

 

Still, a couple of problems.  Each time I went into the Windows 8 CP vm it captured my mouse and my video experience was scroll bound.  I tried to install the Integration Services but got a “This version of Windows does not Support Integration Services” message.  I’m assuming that’s a Windows 8 CP issue.  Also, not all the virtualization services on the Windows 8 CP vm would auto start; I had to start them manually.  Still, I’m not done.  My next step is to try to native  boot into the new Win Server vm and add the Hyper-V role and then add a new vm to it.  Then I’ll boot back to the original Windows Server and bring up the vm’s in vm’s in vm’s!

Wish me luck!!!  If I keep going, how far do you think I’ll get?

 

Perhaps it will be like in the end of Poltergeist, when the house collapses on itself and is swallowed into a black hole?

 

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Dave put too many vm’s in vm’s!!!!
Saturday, March 17, 2012 2:37:30 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0]   Windows | Windows 8 | Windows Client  | 
# Sunday, June 13, 2010

One of our client’s file servers crashed this weekend but they were able to get the system to boot one last time in order to copy over the most important files and directories.  It was an older server; originally running Windows NT 4.0 and later upgraded to Windows 2000 Server.  They didn’t have a good backup! The last four backups had a disk error in the early part of the file copy they were using for the backup (something the NT 4.0 admin from years past had scripted for them) and it was aborting, which they didn’t notice as the file copy backup script didn’t log anything. So they got the system to come up despite the disk error—I had them start copying the files over to a newer system while we figured out what to do.  We were able to copy over the files.  Their plan was to decommission the older server anyway.  It had been running since 1998!  Miraculously they were able to copy all the shared folders. After that, it went belly up and would not come back up.  Still, they had to re-share everything.  They did not have a list of who had access to what.  Not in ntfs or the file share permissions. 

They wanted me to do a miracle fix for them.  Not possible given what they didn’t do.

So, a word to the wise.  It’s a good idea to have written documentation of your file, folder and share permissions.  Oh, and keep a current backup using a good backup program! 

 

Sunday, June 13, 2010 6:55:59 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [4]   Windows  | 
# Wednesday, March 24, 2010

 

WinPE2_0_thumb[3] Over the next several blog posts I’m going to be teaching about the Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) 3.0 minimal operating system.  This is the 4th iteration of this system, previous versions were 1.0 (pre-Vista/Longhorn), 2.0 (Vista), 2.1 (later Vista/Server 2008) and now 3.0 (Windows 7).

 

What is it? 

 

 

From the Windows PE User’s guide:

Windows® Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) is a minimal operating system designed to prepare a computer for Windows installation. It can be used to:

  • Start a computer with no operating system (a bare-metal system)
  • Partition and format hard drives
  • Copy disk images or initiate Windows Setup from a network share

Windows PE is available as a stand-alone product to customers with the proper licensing agreement. It is an integrated component of many Windows Setup and recovery technologies, including Setup for Windows® 7and Windows Deployment Services (WDS).

Windows PE 3.0 is the latest release based on the Windows 7 operating system.

What do we mean by minimal?  To answer that, let’s take a look at the history of operating systems (OS) and how they developed.

 

Originally, up through the late 1960’s, operating systems where made for a specific set of hardware.  A mainframe’s OS was made specifically for the hardware created for that mainframe.  Every mainframe vendor made an different OS for their different hardware models. 

 

Ritchie & Thompson

The UNIX OS, developed in 1969 by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson of AT&T’s Bell Labs, was the first truly portable OS.  Portability is defined as the ability to run on different hardware sets.  They wrote UNIX in a high level language (The “C” language, which Ritchie also wrote) compiled to the instruction set on the machine the wanted to install it on.

 

After that, portability became the rage.  Numerous university computer courses were taught thanks to UNIX and old, cheaper hardware.

 

When IBM came out with the PC  in 1981, they created it using off the IBM PC XTshelf parts.  Because of this they could not patent the design, and the one thing they didn’t have was an operating system.  Additionally, the 8086 CPU was 8-bit and could not run in protected mode, so UNIX couldn’t be used.  That’s where Bill Gates came in.  He licensed MS-DOS to them.  What this meant was, a.) others could clone similar systems to the IBM PC, and b.) they had a ready OS to run it--MS-DOS.  This led to an explosion of growth to the computer industry, and basically ushered in our modern age.

Windows made it’s debut by the end of the decade, and the PC had a full blown Graphical User Interface (GUI) OS.  Back in the day of DOS, the entire OS could fit on a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk.  When Windows 3.0 came out, it fit on a couple of 3 1/2 inch floppies.  Then with Windows 95, it fit on a CD-ROM disk.  So OS’s, specifically Windows, kept getting larger and larger, and more complex.  Much of this size and complexity comes down to the GUI.  Much of the code in the OS is used to create the GUI and maintain it—creating and sizing windows, painting the screen with color, even integrating sound.

Of course DOS doesn’t do all that.  It doesn’t do windows or any GUI.  However, in order to install an advanced GUI OS one can either boot from a CD or DVD, or install over the network.  Installing over the network requires an OS already present.  So people used DOS to get a network install going.  The problem with DOS is it’s only 16-bit, and cannot use modern hardware’s 32 and 64 bit drivers.  So if you have a new network card, DOS won’t work for a network install.

Hence Windows PE.  It will work on any bare metal system, that is, a system without any OS installed on it.  It boots into a RAM disk so the hard drives present on the PC are available for partitioning, formatting, and, of course, OS installation.

 

In our next lesson, we’ll learn more about the reasons to use Windows PE.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 12:08:01 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [1]   Windows  | 
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