March 2013 Archives

We often work with Anthony, Pierre and Mitch, the evangelists from the IT Pro team at Microsoft Canada.  They asked us to share this important message with you.


The team at Microsoft Canada is focused on ensuring that they help set you up for success by providing the information and tools you need in order to be get the most out of Microsoft based solutions, at home and at work.


Twice a year, Microsoft sends out the Global Relationship Study (GRS for short); it's a survey that Microsoft uses to collect your feedback and help inform their planning.  If you receive emails from Microsoft, subscribe to their newsletters‚ or you've attended our any of their events you may receive the survey.


The important details:


  • Timing - March 4th to April 12th 2013
  • Sent From - "Microsoft Feedback"
  • Email Alias - ""
  • Subject Line - "Help Microsoft Focus on Customers and Partners"

Many of you already read the Microsoft Canada IT Pro team's blogs‚ connect with them on LinkedIn and have attended their events in the last year or so. So you may already know that you're their top priority. So they want to hear from you.


Pierre, Anthony and Mitch use the GRS results to shape what they do, how they do it and if it's resonating with you. Tell them what you need to be the "go-to" guy (or gal).  Tell them what you need to grow your career.  They want you to be completely satisfied with Microsoft Canada.

This year, Pierre, Anthony and Mitch have delivered 30 IT Camps and counting across the country.  Giving you the opportunity to get hands on and learn how to get the most value for your organization.  They have a few more events planned this year, so keep an eye on their
plancast feed for events near you.  Based on your feedback, topics they're planning to cover will include:

·          Windows 8

·          Windows Server 2012

·          System Center 2012

·          Private Cloud

·          BYOD - Management and Security


That's not all.  They've heard you loud and clear so in addition to hands on events, they're also delivering more technical content online via the IT Pro Connection Blog.  Windows 8 continues to be a big area of focus for them.  They covered a lot of great content at launch and they've complimented that with new content like:

·          Security Concepts

·          Enterprise Focused Content

·          Windows 8 and System Center 2012 Integration


In addition to this, there are some valuable online resources you can use like Microsoft Virtual Academy, Microsoft's no-cost online training portal.  Or software evaluations (free trials) on TechNet that allow you to build your own labs to try out what you've learned.

Regardless of how you engage with the team at Microsoft Canada‚ you'd probably agree that they hear you. They'd also encourage you to continue to provide that great feedback. They thrive on it‚ they relish it‚ they wallow in it and most importantly of all‚ they action it. So please keep connecting with them and keep it coming! Pierre, Anthony and Mitch are listening.


Resources, Tools and Training

·         Tim Horton's Gift Card Contest - We're giving away 350 Tim Horton's gift cards, all you have to do to qualify is download a free qualifying software evaluation (trial).  Download all three for more chances to win, but hurry, the contest closes soon.*


·         Windows 8 Resource Guide - Download a printable, one-page guide to the top resources that will help you explore, plan for, deploy, manage, and support Windows 8 as part of your IT infrastructure.


·         Windows Server 2012 Evaluation - Get hands on with Windows Server 2012 and explore the scale and performance possibilities for your server virtualization.


·         Microsoft Support  - Get help with products‚ specific errors‚ virus detection and removal and more.


·         Microsoft Licensing  -Visit the Volume Licensing Portal today to ask questions about volume licensing‚ get a quote‚ activate a product or find the right program for your organization. 


*No purchase necessary. Contest open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec.  Contest closes April 11, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Three-Hundred-and-Fifty (350) prizes are available to be won: (i) $10 CDN Tim Horton's gift card.  Skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. For full rules, including entry, eligibility requirements and complete prize description, review the full terms and Conditions.

That was my reaction.  I went through the headache of updating to Service Pack 1 in my Lab environment to get the best features of all, the Powershell Cmdlets.

Then I started looking.

No Shortcut to the Cmdlets

No Registered Module

No helpful little line stating “Cmdlets over HERE!”

But everywhere online  I see the praises of “Service Pack 1 for Configuration Manager” and the MIGHTY POWERSHELL CMDLETS! …. But not a one to be found.

….grumble grumble grumble…

So I did some poking about and it turns out they are installed but just well…. left in the background.  Like you’d never need them.  HARUMPH!  Some Developer needs a spanking for this!

So to SAVE you the headaches I had you will NOT see a shortcut for Powershell for System Center 2012 Config Man.   Don’t try, there is no magic “Oh I forgot to click this button.” It’s not there.

But you can get to it.   The module is sitting under the BIN folder in your Config Man folder under Program Files.  On my test lab it was

‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\Bin’

To load the module you’ll have to run this little line in Windows Powershell

IMPORT-MODULE ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\Bin\ConfigurationManager.psd1’

…and the world of Cmdlets for Config Man will open up.

You can verify this afterwards by executing the following Cmdlet

GET-COMMAND –module ConfigurationManager

which will show you a massive pile of goodies available at your fingertips.

If you’d like a shortcut for this (something a ‘Certain Team’ at Microsoft forgot to provide… Bad Bad Bad Bad!!!!) just run this line in Windows Powershell to create one in a default folder called “C:\Foo”

$sh=New-object –comobject



$lnk.Arguments="-command `"{ IMPORT-MODULE 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\Bin\ConfigurationManager.psd1 }`""


There.   Now stop banging your head on the shiny spot on your desk.  It’s all better Smile

The Energized Tech

I write this today as I have fallen in love with something really cool.  Automation to the EXTREME!

Systems Center Orchestrator 2012.    And this new fascination is enhanced over the top by it’s ability to internally leverage Powershell!

Excuse me for a minute while I wipe up this puddle of drool on the floor.

For those of you not aware, Systems Center 2012 Orchestrator is a massive workflow system that is EASY to use and gives you the ability to translate many IT Processes for managing your Infrastructure into solid workflows that can allow you to be many places at once, without actually BEING there.

Now the fact I can also get these workflows to work with my OTHER most favorite thing on the planet, POWERSHELL, is even better!

But I know there are little ears out there listening saying “What we do to improve?”

Little ears listen well and listen now.  It’s so EASY to improve!  Here’s what Systems Center Orchestrator 2012 needs to REALLY just start me singing.  (Warning!  Ask Jeffrey Snover as THIS HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST!)

1. Integrate the Editor for Editing Powershell Scripts INTO the Powershell ISE

2.Allow Powershell Variables to be “AutoPublished” (whether this is a list to click on or something that can “prepopulate” the Publish field for the bus, don’t care)

3.Tie in the Powershell ISE into the Runbook tester to allow a more granular testing of the internal script structure

You see it won’t take much to send this over the top.    Presently, editing internal Powershell scripts in Orchestrator when I am used to having an ISE is painful.  Troubleshooting is worse.   Editing…. Well Notepad even has CTRL-Z.

But I know you can do this.  You have the ability and the power to improve Automation in a way that nobody else can.  I put this to you Systems Center 2012 team.   Make this happen and make Orchestrator 2012 go out and Kick ass in a way that nobody has EVER imagined!

”The Energized Tech”

testing one two three

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