September 2009 Archives

So let’s start off with something simple with WinRE.

WHERE IS IT?!

I had to prepare for a Demo at Techdays_CA and really got DEEP DEEP DEEP into WinRE.   I truly learned and appreciated the finer differences between the Windows 7 and Windows Vista Versions for deployment.

Let’s touch on some basic questions I got asked first.

“Do you have to have a different version of Window Recovery Environment for X64 vs X32 ?”

Yes.  The Recovery Environment (As far as I can see) tuned for it’s own O/S .  So for example you CANNOT fix a Vista 32 with a Windows 7 WinRE.  That’s on the “automatic Repair” side of things.  Now I DO NOT think (and I will play with this) you are unable to control System Restore.  But I would think since there seems to be an issue out of the box with the different Winre’s wanting to TRY to fix a different O/S I personally wouldn’t recommend trying that option.

“Can you use the Windows Recovery Environment to Fix a Windows XP Machine”

Well let’s look at this.  YES and NO.  (Yes we ALL hate that answer)

From an “Automatic Fix” … Nope.  But I would suggest this.  (And this is where customization comes into play) .  Since it’s based on Windows PE, if you were to remove WINPESHL.INI or better yet, give it a DIFFERENT thing to launch on auto startup, you would be able to launch into a PE system and at least have a SOLID ability to manipulate issues with the files system. 

You’d have Regedit to fix issues with Malware in Winlogon.   And if you NEEDED to fix your source O/S (whether it was Window 7 or Windows Vista, you could STILL manually run RECENV.EXE and use the features).  This would also I BELIEVE not be a “supported solution” if you called Microsoft support, but if you’re a Tech, it’s a tool you could have handy.   And sometimes, especially when you’re in the trenches, you need every tool you can get.

“Can I legally make a custom Winre environment and pass it out to my friends?”

Ahem.  I hate licensing questions.  So do you.  *NARF!* “’’Allo Brain! If I used Jello to start my Car would the tree sing in the key of F#?”

“Shut up Pinky.”

I’ll stay away from legality but I would surmise it SHOULD be reasonable to say you could provide instructions to modify the environment to meet their needs.  That is reasonable.  You might even be able to help them.  But “Rogue” copies of Windows RE floating free will probably have a team of vicious angry (but probably very nice at home, and excellent Xbox360 players) Lawyers chasing you down.

“Will WinRE solve world peace?”

No but it will solve your inner peace.  And I think the more people that have inner peace resolved on some level, well that could lend to World Peace.  Or perhaps slightly higher quality hamburgers at McDonalds.   Maybe even vending machines with Good Kosher (sp?) Hot Dogs at Major Conventions that don’t Vanish Magically When Really Cool Nerds Try To Taste Test Them.

Things like that

All fun aside, We’ll look into a little more of the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) next time.

Sean
The Energized Tech

“Powershell and Winre, my Wife doesn’t know.  I’m torn between Geekiness and a Frying Pan”

Well we’re going to be going into what the Windows Recovery Environment is.  I learned a lot about this ONE feature, and I’m going to spend my days and postings sharing this information with you.  If you’re a tech or not, it won’t matter.  This ONE feature within Windows 7 ALONE makes it worth the purchase.  It does something that presently no operating system today does.

It can fix itself.

Or more correctly it can perform many automated features that can lend to recovering from many situations independent to the operating systems.  Bad drives, Power issues, flaky ram, software or drivers not up to the specs of the operating system or just simply our old friend, “Murphy”.

The Nemesis of MANY an IT Professional, Developer, Manager, Mom, Dad or even little Joey or Adam; Murphy S Law.  

The Windows Recovery Environment can be added to Vista but is not presently enabled by default.  It *IS* built into both Windows 7 and Server 2008R2 by default.   The automatic repair is more powerful with Windows 7 and Vista because of it’s ability to leverage System Restore but in Server 2008R2 you CAN leverage the “Repair Booting” issue if you’re stuck dead in the water.   But because when you’re planning a Server infrastructure you' really don’t want to plan on having the ability to let somebody boot up and access your console, I consider it “nice to have” as an option on a Server, but something I personally for security reasons might disable.  And that is VERY easy to do in Windows 7 and Server 2008R2.

But it is a small and incredibly powerful Environment.   And being a technician I FULLY understand about alternate options such as “Windows Ultimate Boot CD” and various other outside repair environments.   WinRE does not quash or negate those.

What it DOES do is be a built in, useful, repair / recovery environment that is READILY there no matter what.

So *IF* you don’t have other methods to repair it’s there in Windows 7, always ready to help.

It can automatically repair boot issues, It can run a System Restore OUTSIDE of Windows (negating a Dead O/S problem where a System Restore would be able to bring you back).  You can check memory for issues.  Combined with the backup features WITHIN the operating system, you can restore a full image of the operating system into a NEW machine if the old one falls off DEAD!

With the Power of Windows PE tied in, you can use REGEDIT, Manipulate disk partitions and EVEN add drivers and connect to the NETWORK!  Yes!  You’ll even have the ability to access a RAID5 controller to move data from a crippled environment as a result!

It’s BEAUTIFUL!

Now to avoid confusion, in Windows 7 you’ll notice a partition split on the hard drive.  The first “hidden” partition is NOT the O/S . 

No, you’re now looking at the Operating system INSTALLING and USING Best Practices OUT of the box!  That little 100meg space, is your “SYSTEM” partition (which is the actual drive BOOTING up).   Your stock Windows Recovery Environment DOES share space with the O/S drive.  But again, you can change and extend that easily.

You can add drivers to it, you can add custom applications to it, you disable it or enable it, you can place it elsewhere.

You can even setup a way to access it via PXE over the lan (using WDS in Server 2008)

Why you can EVEN put it on a 256 mb USB flash drive. :)

So pardon the passion flying through my fingers.   The Energized Tech is about to rip through and launch a technical barrage of information.

And you’re about to benefit

Sean
The Energized Tech

“I have two Mistresses, Powershell and WinRE”

Techdays day One here in Toronto has completed

I didn't have 100 cans of RedBull as some feared and run Amok. Nor did I start singing into song after song ( although I did show the "Bing" booth the "Bing it" video on Youtube )

My first day I didn't get much of a chance to check out the other tracks. I was too busy "in the crowd"

I was engaging whomever wanted to be engaged. Whether it was helping man the "Experts" booth, roaming about the various areas so questions could be answered, or meeting people just cuz.

What a strange change! The same guy who would hide in the corner, the ultimate "Introvert" was changing.

And then of course the biggest change of all. Presenting to a crowd of approximately 200 in a packed room all about the Windows Recovery Environment.

I found I had a few wrinkles (as I was warned about in previous Influencer sessions) that I would and did encounter. Problems will happen on stage. And when they do, GO WITH THE FLOW! In my case, I gave my lead the wrong Powerpoint deck, my Microphone fell off in the middle of the crowd and one of my demos (even with the correct line of code) wouldn't work.

But we are in the IT World, we are ITPros, we Devs, we people who fight the good fight daily UNDERSTAND that fellow "Mr. Murphy" is a sneaky guy. And we roll with the punches.

And contrary to my original thoughts on presenting (and the same will apply to you if you speak to a room full of people, the following things did NOT happen.

The floor the did not open up and swallow me up

I did not fall off the stage

The crowd did not light up torches and begin burning effigies of me

I had no hecklers

People laughed at appropriate times

I did *NOT* make a fool of myself

Many GOOD questions came from the crowd

and most important

I GOT GOOD APPLAUSE!

And why was all of this possible? Microsoft invited me to sessions called "Influencer Days" and they told me all the mistakes THEY encountered. Shaughnessy-Howell told me useful things to work with.

And yes, in between all the funnies, the singing, the mad blog posts, I LISTENED CLEARLY!

And you will learn, as I will, that when you present, especially to a large crowd, that although you look up to your heroes as models here's what I know and you will too.

I am not the DPE's of Redmond Washington, I am not the MVP's or the MCT's of Microsoft, I am ranot Rodney Buike, Rick Claus or Damir Bersinic. I am not Mitch Garvis or Cameron McKay.

I am not any of my heroes that I aspire to me

Nor will I ever be (nor will you)

I am (and you are) something unique. As we aspire to our heroes, we grow and change.

I am Sean Kearney, Energized Tech and Energized about Technology and my speaking will reflect myself, my personality and my passion in it's OWN truly unique way.

And so will yours. Don't be afraid to present or speak. Because remember this.

No matter how polished others are, THEY ALL STARTED AND FAILED AT SOME POINT!

And more importantly, practice practice practice. The more you know your timing the better you are. The more familiar you are with the flow of your content, the better you will be. And eventually, you may not even look at speakers notes! (*Whoa*)

And yes, practicing speaking to your AVATAR on Xbox360 DOES qualify as a test audience!

Just go to a #failcamp sometime and see how others failed, and learn with them. And learn like I did.

DON'T feed "Green Eggs and Ham" to your computer.

Cheers all and we'll see you here at Day Two of Techdays_CA here in Toronto

Sean
The Energized Tech

I’d like to toss out a personal thank you to the Systems Center DPM 2007 team at Microsoft.   Here was a personal experience I had, you need to know about.

I had a problem.   A major problem.  

It was a report of all things.   The application was working fine but the output from one report wasn’t the way we needed it.

So I went to the blogs and submitted a simple statement

“HELP ME OBIWAN, YOU’RE MY ONLY HOPE!”

Or something along those lines.

So instead of getting a generic response like.  “We thank you for your request.  A representative of some type will examine your comments and smugly ignore them…”

I got a human.  Within minutes.

Listen clearly folks.  Microsoft LISTENS.   To the GOOD and the BAD.  In my case, I stated the bad with clear defined reasons as to what I needed.

And I got a response.  From the Team that handles Systems Center Data Protection Manager.  Not a blank, “We’ll think about it…” but a response of  “Hey can you help Sean out?   See if we can get him this report from DPM.”

This was in MINUTES from a simple request.  Not a $400 Technet call, not a hammering through the forums.  A simple, request through a Blog site for DPM on Microsoft.

They read it.  They acted on it.  They responded.   They are still working on it too!  A barrage of emails flew in and out of my mailbox from various members of that team.  Some just about to step off on vacation too!

But within 24 hours I was emailed a new Powershell script written by a gentleman in Microsoft Consulting called Ruud Baars.   A script that would access my Jobs queue across any DPM server and build the logs I needed.

This was done without fuss.   This was done efficiently.  This was done professionally.

And so I would like to pass along a Thank you to the many that man the front (and mid and rear lines) in Microsoft.   Often all you get to hear is that bad, the negative, the harsh criticism.

Today, you all get the positive.

Thanks for listening to my critique.   Thanks for responding quickly.

Thanks for being there.

Sean
The Energized Tech

You had to know with ALL the Techdays_CA stuff and getting a product in my head a SONG HAD to come out of it.

I promise no Audio for Techdays_ca but pass amongst yourselves and snicker away ;)

WINRE (Sung to AC/DC's WHO Made WHO)

The PC went and did a "BLUE SCREEN"
System did a core dump, ruining your plans for this whole day
Then you went and hit F8,
Saw Repair Computer, life's getting great, oh what can I say?

Now you can play

There's no reason to panic
Recovery is easy, Boot away and you're all done
Stress free and Easy too
Extendable, Expandable for ITPros, and just for you

Tell ya TRULY

WINRE, Recovery
WINRE, Taking away your nightmares
WINRE, Simplicity

If you can't boot up, It starts right up
Launching you away to Recovery!

WINRE! Set you FREE!

Yeah, Power kicked off the system
It freaked and dropped, belly flopped wouldn't start,
screamed and shout, thought you're done
Then it came right through for you
WINRE brought you back
Oh baby

It's so TRUE!

So sing aloud!

WINRE, Recovery
WINRE, Taking away your nightmares
WINRE, Simplicity

If you can't boot up, It starts right up
Launching you away to Recovery!

With it you're a Hero,

oh WINRE

yeah WINRE

WINRE, SIMPLICITY, WINRE

I'm back up and running!

I’m going to introduce you quickly to a feature I just found out how to use.  Multiple monitors with Remote Desktop.

To use this feature, you Hosting Remote Environment MUST be Windows 7 or Server 2008R2.

You must have Multiple displays on your client environment.

So in my scenario, I have a laptop that has two display connectors and CAN run both a projector AND a regular display.  But it’s an older unit that is NOT Hyper-V Capable.

My main system where I do all my fun work, is running Server 2008R2 with Hyper-V enabled.  There’s my Demo environment.

My problem was my nice server only has only Video output and is in the basement and not very good for hauling around.

So I’ve heard you can do multiple desktops with Remote Desktop and Server 2008R2.  And you know what? It’s a piece of cake.

Start up Remote Desktop on the client system

image

 

Just click on the “Display Tab” and select “Use all my monitors for the remote session”

 

image

Connect up to that Server 2008R2 box and you are now running the same display setup as your client system!  This will allow you to PRETEND you have a cool Hyper-V capable laptop if you need to say, oh practice for a cool demo for cooooool Conference coming up :)

You can even run Powerpoint on the Remote system in Presenter mode allowing to view your Presentation on the Presenter’s side and STILL use the second display on the client side for the presentation!  And there appears to be no loss in speed since we’re running that incredibly efficient Terminal Server technology on the backend!

It was so easy to use!  Just clicked a box.  And if the remote system is running Windows 7?  The SAME FEATURE WORKS EXACTLY THE SAME WAY!

W00t! I LOVE TECHNOLOGY

Sean
The Energized Tech

image_14

I am truly looking forward to Techdays this year personally.  

For this year I will be having the honour of presenting at Techdays on using and implementing the Windows Recovery Environment, here at the Toronto sessions.

What is the Windows Recovery Environment?  How can you use and implement it?  What can you do with it?   How is it a benefit to you or your organization?

image_98 Come to Techdays 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Sign up for the Client Track, Session 4 on Day one and I’ll tell you.

 

Sean-Kearney

You’ll have questions., I’ll have answers.

And I’ll be there the entire time at Techdays 2009 in Toronto wearing a Tilley hat with an odd stove burn, No beard or moustache (unlike the picture) and a big smile.   Grab me by the hand and say hello.   Ask me about whatever, Windows Recovery Environment, Powershell, or even how my Tilley got that “funny mark on the top”.  Tell me what excites you about technology. 

Let’s have a coffee (or whatever you prefer) at Techdays 2009 and chat about ANYTHING.  Even who’s better, Captain Kirk or Captain Picard, or whether Darth Vader should have just gone into Karaoke Singing. Whatever! :)

Because Techdays 2009 is not just about learning and listening, it’s about Community.

See you there for those thoughts all fresh and new

Sean
The Energized Tech

Powershell

So last time, we saw how we could pull up this monster list of WMI objects and throw them into a CSV file to see just what objects were available.

But we’d like to do something a little useful with the WMI Objects.

We can pull out a multitude information from various WMI Objects.   And you can send commands to WMI objects as well (certain ones)

So how do you see what you can get?

For the most part, WMI Objects are pretty descriptive about what they might contain.   To pull information from a WMI Object in Powershell, the basic method is to type

GET-WMIOBJECT WMIOBJECTNAME

 

Now this is not the only parameters you can type in, but this is just to give you a feel for what you can do.

So if we type in

 

GET-WMIOBJECT WIN32_BIOS

We’ll get an output similar to

image

Which tells us the revision of the BIOS on this particular computer, my service tag (No, it’s not REALLY 7654321 and I’m not telling you what it is) and EVEN the manufacturer of the BIOS.

Or

 

GET-WMIOBJECT WIN32_OPERATINGSYSTEM

 

Will quickly yield results like

image

 

But there’s a lot more to WMI Objects.  If you pipe the last command through a “GET-MEMBER” to see what’s REALLY available you’ll get a list of Properties accessible well beyond this small piece displayed.

Here’s a few Examples.

(GET-WMIOBJECT WIN32_OPERATINGSYSTEM).Installdate

Yields the date you installed (or somebody did at least) the operating system

(GET-WMIOBJECT WIN32_OPERATINGSYSTEM).CSName

Gives the NETBIOS or Computer name.   With WMI Objects we can even tell a system to reboot.

(GET-WMIOBJECT WIN32_OPERATINGSYSTEM).Reboot()

Because WMI Objects not only contain information, it’s also a controlling interface.   Reboot is a “METHOD” which is a special type of property.   It can DO things do the Object, whether it is to send information or modify the outcoming content.

 

This is not an End all Be all introduction to WMI.   All this is meant to do is introduce you to Powershell and how you might be able to use it to access and work with WMI.

 

Remember, Powershell is not the ONLY way to do it, but it is another tool to arm yourself with and make yourself more productive.

 

Cheers

Sean
The Energized Tech

So last time we restored the DPM Database and reallocated the Storage pool

Now we’re going to bring back the report history.  If you don’t NEED that report history in the DPM server from it’s predecessor?  You’re done.   But I wasn’t

Now BEFORE you can into the SQL server database to manage it, you’ll need permission. 

Hmm?

Yes.  I have found when you’re using a completely integrated DPM 2007 server install with the provided database, YOU can’t manage the SQL database.   But that’s an easy fix.

The account that can is automatically created by DPM 2007 to run the Report Server.  It’s name is “MICROSOFT$DPM$ACCT”, it’s a local computer account and the password is WHATEVER you provided to DPM at the beginning of the install process.  You did document it right?

So you’ll need to login locally on the computer with that Account name and the password you gave to DPM.   Access SQL Server Enterprise Manager and grant yourself rights to the Report Server (and while you’re there anyhow) the DPM Database.  You could just restore the Report Server in this account, but you’ll need rights to the Report Server database in order to access those old reports.   I found I had some rights issues initially when I brought it back so I wanted to eliminate problems and granted myself full Database and Sysadmin access.  You can always turn things down and remove it when you’re done.

So log back in as yourself and test you can access via SQL Server Enterprise Manager.  We’re ready to restore the Report Server database so you can get your history back.

 

Now personally, I backed up the Report Server Database on the new install first before trying to restore so I *COULD* just give up in case the reports wouldn’t migrate and still have a working DPM server.

You’ll need to login to the SQL Server and restore the database for the Report Server.  Again, you may have to down the ReportServer service to allow this restore to happen.   Also make sure when you do the Restore in the SQL Enterprise Manager you select “Overwrite old Database” or it will fail everytime.

Once you’ve restored the Report Server database, you’ll need to put the Security key back into the Report Server.   Start the ReportServer service backup and run RSKEYMGMT.EXE.  We’re “assuming” the keyfile is called “KeyFile.txt” with a password of “DuMbPassw0rd” from the previous article.

 

RSKEYMGMT.EXE –a –f C:\DPMBACKUP\KeyFile.txt –p DuMbPassw0rd

 

This is absolutely necessary in order to access the configuration and content of the old Report Database.   If you don’t it will APPEAR to run as far as the configuration is concerned but you’ll get a lot of strange errors if you don’t.

You should probably restart the services when you’re done (for good measure).

If all goes well, you should find all your DPM configuration completely intact.  You will need to run an Integrity Check on all the Storage groups to get everything operational.   You should however be able to view your Reports, History and Content from the original DPM Server.

 

You should also as a result, be able to immediately pickup and go.   Your agents for DPM ONLY care about the name of the DPM server and as such, work immediately.   No redeployment necessary.  

 

If you run into problems, here’s what I’ve noticed that helped me

  • Service Pack.  If you’re not at the same revision of SQL *OR* DPM when you do this, you’ll have problems. 
  • Agents.   Agents will complain if again, you’re not at the same service pack.  But in the Management console, if you click on a Server?  You can see it’s agent version.  A query against Microsoft and DPM will tell you what Service Pack it’s expecting for DPM.
  • DPM Keeps Crashing over and over when I try to modify the configuration.   I had that when I tried to change the machine name.  Give up.  It doesn’t and it won’t work. :)

Some positive results I’ve discovered

  • If you use Server 2008R2, you’ll have fewer issues with the Report Server and won’t get the classic “ID: 3013” error for your Handler Mappings in The DPM Management console
  • Expansion.  You CAN replace your storage pool from the old Server with a larger on the new server. 

And one thing I’ve found with the Report Server, every issue I’ve encountered was well documented online.

Life will be good, and your boss WILL be happy :)

Sean
The Energized Tech

Last time we got ourselves prepared to transfer our standalone DPM 2007 Server to a new environment.  Backing up the necessary information.  And remember, the data from the Storage Pool will not move.   You will have to keep the old server (Even powered off and cable unplugged) until the data in the pool is too old (IE: If you have a 5 day storage of data? Until you have 5 days of data on the new server, don’t do ANYTHING to the old one)

 

Now for the fun stuff.  First off this is going to be a BLANK storage.   The data will be on a “Go forward basis”, but if you do this right you will have all the Report history from the older DPMserver.

 

You first task is to restore the DPM Database

Restoring the DPM Database isn’t nasty all you have to do is run DPMSYNC to bring the Database back to DPM 2007.  the command (assuming DPMDB.BAK is in C:\DPMBACKUP)

 

DPMSYNC.EXE –dbloc C:\DPMBACKUP\DPMDB.BAK

DPMSYNC.EXE –sync

 

This will Restore the DPM database.   Now as normal, Use the Systems Center DPM2007 Console and add your disk under Management.   You will see the reference to the old disk you can (and should) remove this.  You *WILL* get a warning about having to reallocate your storage.  This is fine.

Now that you’ve put storage back into the pool you will have to reallocate your groups to the new Storage.   The command to run for that is

 

DPMSYNC.EXE –reallocatereplica

 

Now of course, depending on how much information you HAD backed up (Terabytes anybody?) This process will take time.   Also if you notifications on to let you know of issues?  DPM 2007 will be telling you about all the failures and all the successes for the next while until it’s done.   Best to power off that Smartphone for a little bit.

One other thing I noticed is that while this process is ongoing,  you will not be able to use the Management Console for DPM.  It will crash and error out.   So leave it alone and get a lunch while you’re waiting.  Re-allocation of about 800 gig took about 30 minutes.

This process works fine but my only complain to Microsoft was the lack of “updating” to the screen while it’s re-allocating.  It would be nice if the re-allocation process showed what it was reallocating.  Just so you know things ARE working.    Then again if you read those email updates from the server, you’ll see “Reallocated successfully” as things are happening.

 

Finally next time we’ll actually see how to bring the Report Server data back and finish the last bits.

 

Sean
The Energized Tech

Nothing should ever be feared, even migrating your DPM server.

The documentation from Microsoft covers it pretty well but I’ll give you the basic run down if you’re trying to move the environment from one machine to another, say because you need to expand your hard drive storage?

First rule.  It’s like Microsoft Exchange when moving the Information Store.  The New machine and the Old machine have to have the SAME NAME.  (not necessarily the Same IP Address)

Second rule.  You won’t be able to migrate the data, but you CAN migrate the Reports and Report history (very important if you’re dealing with SOX/PCI/HIPPA and other nasty regulations)

Third rule.  the DPM Backup ONLY GETS the DPM Database.   Your reports and Report history are part of the SQL Report Server.  I know this for a fact.

Fourth rule.  DON’T PANIC :)

Your first and most important task, document

Document what Service packs you’re running at for your the O/S, for SQL and for DPM, Document the IP address of the Server.

Heck document the color of the background if need be.   You want as much to be the same as before.

Most importantly as I stated, Document the physical “NETBIOS” name of the server. 

Next, backup.

Using the SQL Enterprise Manager Backup ALL the databases.  In truth, you only deep the Report Server database and DPM Database, but it never hurts to be cautious.   Note, I have found Report Server quite busy, so you may have to stop the Reporting service to get the Report Server database in SQL to backup using the SQL backup procedures.   Just right click on the Database in question, choose All Tasks, then “Backup” for each Database there.

Run DPMBACKUP.EXE to backup your DPM Database. The procedure is VERY simple.  Just run.

DPMBACKUP.EXE

You will find that backup stored under “Program Files\Microsoft Data Protection Manager\DPM\Volumes\ShadowCopy\”

Also make sure you run “RSKEYMGMT –e –f Filename –p StrongPassword” and get that Report Server encryption key exported.  If you’re storing the key into a folder called C:\Backup with a password of DuMbPassw0rd then the command line will look like

RSKEYMGMT –e –f C:\Backup\KeyFile.txt –p DuMbPassw0rd

Now take all of that backed up information and copy it somewhere else, over the lan, onto USB, external drive, whatever.  

Shutdown the old DPM server.  *** DO NOT ERASE IT, WE’RE NOT DONE WITH IT!  LEAVE IT ALONE! ***

Now go to your new environment.  Install the same Server operating system as before (Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008R2), (x86 or x64), Patch levels etc etc.   Name the computer and give it the same name as the old one.   Reboot.  Join your domain and reboot again.

Now install DPM from your media as normal.  Let it run through.  Download and install the same updates as last time.  If you didn’t do updates to DPM ever and are planning to?  Don’t do it now.   Right now, we’re going to try and keep as many “what if’s” out of the equation.  Do it well after this process is done.

Make sure your SQL server is at the same version as well (Mine was SP3 before I started on the old server).  One of the things I did in advance was to download ALL the necessary service packs and updates before I needed them.   That never hurts.

Reboot your server and copy all of that nice documentation and those backup files and put them into a folder so you DON’T have to run about.   I chose one called (conveniently) “C:\DPMBACKUP”. And remember Copy ‘em, don’t move ‘em.  We don’t take chances, and never should you.

 

Next time around, we’re going to show you how finish the job right!

 

Sean
The Energized Tech

For those of you not in the know, Microsoft has a lot of tools and systems that are FREE to download and use to enable YOU better in the IT World.   Tools they put as much R&D time into as Windows 7 or SQL Server 2008.

One of these is the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, of which the newest version, "MDT2010", was just launched yesterday.

MDT2010 is free to download and use.   With it you can create an LTI or “Light Touch Install” for your network (which allows you to build a stock image for Multiple workstations ready made for easier deployment).

You can even tie it directly in with WDS (Windows Deployment Services) a Role native to Server 2008 (and of course Server 2008R2) which allows you to step things up a notch more and prepare an environment where you can install the software over the LAN easily.

And again.  It’s free.

It requires a few components when doing deployment most notably the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Toolkit) which again is a free download, with which it uses these components when building the images.

If you’re looking for more details about the MDT, here’s the actual blog maintained by the the MDT Team at Microsoft to keep YOU in the loop on changes, improvements and hey, even a way to contact them!

 

There are many changes in MDT 2010 but the two that catch my eye (just because I’m a particular person) are the fact that this kit is the one you’ll need to work with Windows 7 / Server 2008R2 deployments.

But most, oh SO MOST importantly POWERSHELL SUPPORT!

Powershell

:)

Yes that always brightens my day.   So download the MDT2010 Toolkit now and enable yourself freely when working with Deployments, even small deployments.   It makes life a whole lot better.  And it’s FREE!

Sean
The Energized Tech

Powershell

And now we return to looking a little more into Powershell.

With these articles (or Howto’s however you’d like to think of it) we’re going to assume you know very little about Powershell and are just trying to fit all the pieces together.

Now a lot of you, like me, maybe had no clue what WMI was (or even care) or weren’t heavy into scripting to use it, or for that matter couldn’t tell WHERE to start in that pile.

This is not a deep dive lesson into WMI.   A quick rundown would be that WMI (Windows Management Interface) is a way to get a LOT of information about any computer in a Windows Environment, easily.

WMI objects contain everything from the current Operating system (whether Server or Workstation), patch Levels, CPU speed, type, free drive space, BIOS, manufacturer….

Well the list is huge and I won’t get too deep into it. 

But there’s a lot.

Powershell can natively talk to WMI.  Just like anything else in Powershell it’s very easy.  

First off, one of the things I felt I needed was a list of EVERYTHING available in WMI, even just to see if it had what I needed.

In Powershell just type

 

GET-WMIOBJECT –LIST

 

That command lists EVERY single WMI-OBJECT available.  Too many for a blog post.  But it’s easy to capture the output so you can dig and mine through the list.  Here are a couple of ways to get you going.

Method One.  Store in a CSV file so you can search with a Spreadsheet.

Run the “GET-WMIOBJECT –list” and pipe the output into “EXPORT-CSV” and create a Comma Separated Value file you can search through

 

GET-WMI-OBJECT | EXPORT-CSV C:\LISTOFWMI.CSV

 

This will create a CSV or “Comma Separated Value” file called LISTOFWMI.CSV containing all the WMIObjects which can be searched with a spreadsheet (like Excel) or even a text editor (Although a spreadsheet is far easier!).  The nice part of the bulk of the objects have names that reflect the information they are carrying.  Like WIN32_BIOS which shows all the details about your computer manufacturer and even ServiceTag if it’s a Dell. or  WIN32_PHYSICALMEMORY which holds all the details (including slot position) of the physical memory sticks on your circuit board.

Method Two.  Query output and Pipe to “WHERE-OBJECT” commandlet to search on the fly

Another method that works very nicely if you have an idea of maybe a name or type of content is to run the output there a “WHERE-OBJECT” and pick off the content you want.   Once you understand how to compare information in Powershell, I find this one quite nice.

 

GET-WMIOBJECT | WHERE-OBJECT { $_.Name –like “*memory” }

 

Will produce a list of WMI Objects which only contain “memory” in their name.  Which could yield all sorts of useful information you can run a query on regularly about the memory.

And if THAT list is still too long, you can pipe all of THAT into the EXPORT-CSV Commandlet to give you a list you can sit down and examine.

 

GET-WMIOBJECT | WHERE-OBJECT { $_.Name –like “*memory” } | EXPORT-CSV C:\MYSMALLWMI.CSV

 

So fantastic, we have a way to pull this information out of WMI so we have a useful list.  

Now what do we do with it?

That my friends, will be in our next posting.

 

Until Next time

Sean
The EnergizedTech

There are many of us out there, both Computer people and otherwise that might want to get involved.   In charity in helping out, in getting involved with the Community.

Whether your “Community” is I.T. or Computer centered, trying to raise money for others needing, or just in helping paint a fence for the neighbourhood.

And often we think “I’m too busy, I can’t get involved, I don’t have the time, I’m not rich enough, I can’t contribute enough to make a difference…”

But here’s a thought.  Just a thought.

Every contribution counts.  Not just financial.   Not in building the biggest monument to the world.

Community starts and grows in small ways.

How about something as simple as “Not flipping the bird” in traffic?   It seems small but that’s ONE less angry person in the world.    Occasionally assuming you’re in the wrong even in you’re not.   You’ve just contributed.

Helping somebody else save face by not feeling so bad about a dumb mistake they made.  Cracking a clean joke with somebody.   You’ve contributed.

Writing a song and singing it.  Even if you look foolish.  Others forget about their worries for a few moments as a result thinking “silly fool”.  There,  You’ve just contributed.

Sometimes we can contribute in the smallest ways to make the greatest difference.   Even if you’re cheering on those that are swinging the sword into the injustices of the world.  They can feel “It’s worth it” as they go flying into a 16” puddle of mud.  You’ve just contributed again.

And sometimes, it will catch up to you.  You’ll want to get involved on a higher level, and maybe take up those battles yourself.  

But Community is not about one person, it’s about all of us.   You can get involved without trying on so many levels.   Sure you can help out a homeless guy too from time to time if you have money to spare. Not all of us are rich but occasionally, throw that $5 for a lunch instead of a beer.

Or even Just smile and hold in that curse you were going to mutter this morning.

See?

It’s easy :)

You just got involved in your Community.

And it didn’t even hurt.