Category : Windows Server 2008 R2

Monthly patch rollups for Windows 7, 8.1 start October 2016

microsoft-patch

Monthly patch rollups for the Windows 7, 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2 operating systems will commence in October 2016. Microsoft will also move the same monthly rollup model for the .NET Framework in October as well.

A rollup is multiple patches, “rolled up” into a single update, replacing individual patches for operating systems. Previous individual patches allowed users and administrators to select the patches they wished to apply, but Microsoft officials say this has led to fragmentation, with different PCs having different sets of updates installed.

“The new rollup model gives you fewer updates to manage, greater predictability, and higher quality updates. The outcome increases Windows operating system reliability, by eliminating update fragmentation and providing more proactive patches for known issues. Getting and staying current will also be easier with only one rollup update required. Rollups enable you to bring your systems up to date with fewer updates, and will minimize administrative overhead to install a large number of updates.” –  Microsoft said in a statement

Security and reliability patches will be included in the rollups, yet Servicing Stack and Adobe Flash updates will not. Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and the Microsoft Update Catalog will have the monthly updates published.

Microsoft’s goal is for the monthly rollups to be fully cumulative, happening as the team adds patches previously released, so users can install the latest single rollup and be up to date.

Windows will release a single Security-only update, including new security patches for each month with individual patches no longer available. The Security update will not be available on Windows Update, but will be available from WSUS, SCCM, and the Microsoft Update Catalog.

 

 

 


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented int his blog post, please visit : www.zdnet.com

Free up disk space on a Windows 2008 Server without a system reboot

Disk clean up can be a very useful tool especially in Servers when Disk space is fully utilized.  But what do you do when you are working in a production environment and you can’t reboot the server.  In a pinch, I found the following process to cleanup a congested System Partition.

Copy cleanmgr.exe to System32 folder

A favorable alternative to adding the Desktop Experience feature to your production server, while requiring no system reboot or maintenance window, is simply copying the cleanmgr application files to their appropriate location.

There are two files that need to be copied to the Windows System32 folder.  The only downside to this process is that the disk cleanup utility will not appear in the normal disk drive properties.  However, as these files will be copied to the System32 folder location, the utility can be easily launched from the integrated server search bar.

The two files you are looking for are the cleanmgr.exe.mui and cleanmgr.exe. Below is listing of folder locations that these two files will be located for the most popular version of Server 2008.  After you have found these files, simply copy then to their designated locations as described below.

  • Copy cleanmgr.exe to the System32 folder
  • Copy cleanmgr.exe.mui file to System32en-us

Windows Server 2008 64-bit:

C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_c962d1e515e94269cleanmgr.exe.mui

C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_c962d1e515e94269cleanmgr.exe

Windows Server 2008 R2:

C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_en-us_b9cb6194b257cc63cleanmgr.exe.mui

C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_c9392808773cd7dacleanmgr.exe

To run the disk cleanup utility, simply navigate to a command prompt or Run and type cleanmgr.exe

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI); Session Based Computing

Spring is fully upon us and the summer heat is looming in the not too distant future. Many of us are planning out our summer vacations to beat the heat and spend time with our friends and families. While our minds are probably already off to some beachside locale, there is still a bit of time before we’ll be flying there ourselves. In the meantime, perhaps now is as good a time as any to look into moving your business over to an older and simpler way of computing.  Session based technology has been around for many years and at one point in the late 90’s/early 2000’s it was a very popular desktop architecture.  For a variety of reasons it became less popular primarily due to the desktop hardware cost decreasing significantly.  Session Based computing is where you take all the data and processing activity off the local desktop and have it take place on a robust server.  By doing this you can have multiply desktop sessions running on a single server if you were so inclined.  For best practice methodology, bva recommends putting all sessions spread over two (2) servers to ensure up-time and load balancing for the user community.  The great advantages of Session Based Computing are the following:

  • Smaller Footprint
  • Eco-Friendly and More Green
  • All Data on Servers, No Loss of Data
  • Seamless and Consistent Interface over Different PC’s
  • Ability to Leverage Older PC Hardware for Production
  • Ability to Leverage Newer Operating Systems Virtually Without Conflict
  • Application Virtualization Ensures Seamless User Experience

The most popular products leveraged today for this type of architecture are as followed:

  • Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Server)
  • Citrix Systems
  • Vmware View

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is another name for Session Based Technology. VDI is an emerging architectural model where a Windows client operating system runs in server-based virtual machines (VMs) in the data center and interacts with the user’s client device such as a PC or a thin client. Similar to session virtualization (formerly known as Terminal Services), VDI provides IT with the ability to centralize a user’s desktop; instead of a server session, however, a full client environment is virtualized within a server-based hypervisor. With VDI, the user can get a rich and individualized desktop experience with full administrative control over desktop and applications. However, this architecture, while flexible, requires significantly more server hardware resources than the traditional session virtualization approach.

Key benefits of VDI are:

  • Better enablement of flexible work scenarios, such as work from home and hot-desking
  • Increased data security and compliance
  • Easy and efficient management of the desktop OS and applications

Upgrading The Intergration Services with SP1

With the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and the addition of Dynamic Memory, I’ve received a few requests for the link to the latest version of the Integration Services. If you’ve upgraded to R2 Service Pack 1, you have the latest Integration Services. There are a few scenarios to consider.

Guest OS is Linux. If the guest OS is Linux and you’re running the latest Linux Integration Services 2.1, you don’t need to do anything. You have the latest. For more info, see attached.

Guest OS is Windows Server 2008 R2. If the guest OS was Windows Server 2008 R2 and you upgraded the guest to Service Pack 1, then the Integration Services were upgraded as well. (How cool is that?)

Other Supported Windows Guests: If you’re running any other supported Windows OS, then you’ll need to upgrade the Integration Services. The Integration Services ISO is included with Hyper-V. When you upgrade to SP1, the Integration Services are automatically updated as well. To upgrade the Integration Services, you need to:
1.      Start the VM

2.      Connect to the VM

3.      Go to the Action Menu and Select the bottom menu item, Insert Integration Services Setup Disk.

4.      Run the Integration Services installer and restart the VM. Done.

FAQ
Q:           Do the Linux Integration Services enable mouse support?
A:
Mouse support is not included in the Linux integration services.  However, see the read me for information on where to obtain the InputVSC driver that provides mouse support when used over a RDP connection.

Q:           Is Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 supported?
A:
At this time Red Hat 6.0 (currently) in beta is not supported. Our goal is to work with Red Hat to back port the Hyper-V Linux integration services from kernel.org tree. However, this will only happen once our drivers are out of the staging area in the kernel. We don’t have a timeline for this yet, but will share more information on this as we continue to work with the Linux community.

Q:           Did Citrix develop these drivers?
A:
No.  The Linux IC’s were developed by a team in the Microsoft Open Source Technology Center.
Many thanks to Hank Janssen and his team, including Haiyang Zhang and Hashir Abdi.

Q:           Do I need to run the Xen kernel with the hypercall shim?
A:
No, the Xen kernel is no longer used.

Q:           How does this relate to the announcement of Microsoft contributing the Linux IC code under GPLv2 to the Linux kernel?
A:
This package provides integration components for the distributions that we support (SLES and Red Hat). Once the IC’s that have been merged into the kernel are available in distributions, we will gradually phase out the separate IC package.

Q:           Is SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1 supported?
A:
No, not yet. Now that we have RTM’d version 2.1, Novell will back port these into an update for SLES 11 SP1 which will be released by Novell in the next few months. Thereafter, customers will get the Hyper-V Linux IS’s as a part of the SLES 11 SP1 distribution. No separate download or installation will be required.

Q:           Will these capabilities be contributed into the mainline Linux kernel?
A:
Yes, we will submit patches with these capabilities to the Linux mainline kernel as well.

We are really excited to announce the availability of the Hyper-V Linux Integration Services for Linux Version 2.1. This release marks yet another milestone in providing a comprehensive virtualization platform to our customers. Customers who have a heterogeneous operating system environment desire their virtualization platform to provide support for all operating systems that they have in their datacenters. Microsoft have supported Linux as a guest operating system on our virtualization platform from the days of Virtual Server and continue to enhance our support in that regard.

The following features are included in the 2.1 release:
Driver support for synthetic devices: Linux Integration Services supports the synthetic network controller and the synthetic storage controller that were developed specifically for Hyper-V.
Fastpath Boot Support for Hyper-V: Boot devices take advantage of the block Virtualization Service Client (VSC) to provide enhanced performance.
Timesync: The clock inside the virtual machine will remain synchronized with the clock on the host.
Integrated Shutdown: Virtual machines running Linux can be gracefully shut down from either Hyper-V Manager or System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) Support: Supported Linux distributions can use up to 4 virtual processors (VP) per virtual machine.
Heartbeat: Allows the host to detect whether the guest is running and responsive.
Pluggable Time Source: A pluggable clock source module is included to provide a more accurate time source to the guest.

This version of the integration services for Hyper-V supports Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 / 5.3 / 5.4 / 5.5.

Microsoft RemoteFX for Remote Desktop Services – Terminal Server

Windows introduces a new set of remote user-experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual and session-based desktops. RemoteFX can be deployed to a range of thick and thin client devices, enabling cost-effective, local-like access to graphics-intensive applications. RemoteFX also supports a broad array of USB peripherals to improve the productivity of users of virtual desktops. Microsoft RemoteFX leverages the power of virtualized graphics resources and advanced codecs to recreate the fidelity of hardware-assisted graphics acceleration, including support for 3D content and Windows Aero®.  RemoteFX is a new set of technologies that will be integrated into the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to improve the remote end-user experience by building on the improvements Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 made related to bi-directional audio, Windows Media Player playback redirection to the client, and desktop composition (enabling remote Aero).
RemoteFX expands this rich end-user experience to other types of workloads, such as 3D applications, DirectX, WPF, Silverlight, and basically any media type, giving remote users an experience that’s equivalent to local execution. The exact technologies to be included are still being finalized and could change up until release time. RemoteFX builds on technologies Microsoft got as part of the Calista Technologies acquisition.  RemoteFX will be available to users who connect to Server 2008 R2 SP1 Remote Desktop Services or Windows 7 SP1 virtual desktops using the SP1 Remote Desktop Connection client.

Virtual Enhancements- Microsoft Hyper v

There are some new enhancements with Hyper v you should be aware of.  Dynamic Memory- A new feature of Hyper-V™ introduced in SP1 for Windows Server® 2008 R2  that enables Hyper-V hosts to dynamically adjust the amount of memory available to virtual machines in response to changing workloads. The benefits of Dynamic Memory include higher virtual machine consolidation ratios and increased flexibility for managing virtualized workloads.

Microsoft RemoteFX– Introduces a new set of remote user-experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual and session-based desktops. RemoteFX can be deployed to a range of thick and thin client devices, enabling cost-effective, local-like access to graphics-intensive applications. RemoteFX also supports a broad array of USB peripherals to improve the productivity of users of virtual desktops. Microsoft RemoteFX leverages the power of virtualized graphics resources and advanced codecs to recreate the fidelity of hardware-assisted graphics acceleration, including support for 3D content and Windows Aero®.  Multi-Site Disaster Recovery Automation for Hyper-V – not so new, but still important.  For automated failover and recovery of Hyper-V workloads, organizations can combine StorageLink Site Recovery technology with Microsoft failover clustering to create a geographically dispersed (or multi-site) cluster. Together, StorageLink Site Recovery and Windows Server® 2008 provide a disaster recovery solution that automatically detects local application or hardware failures and responds with the appropriate failover measures.

Microsoft iSCSI Software Target available – Free Download

There is finally some productive news coming out of the Microsoft camp via making storage a little easier for virtualization with Hyper v.  Microsoft has made this software publicly available to all users of Windows Server 2008 R2.  The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target has been available for production use as part of Windows Storage Server since early 2007. It has also been available for development and test use by MSDN and TechNet subscribers starting in May 2009. However, until now, there was no way to use the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target in production on a regular server running Windows Server 2008 R2. This new download offers exactly that.

Now available as a public download, the software is essentially the same software that ships with Windows Storage Server 2008 R2. Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 and the public download package will be refreshed (kept in sync) with any software fixes and updates. Those updates are described at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg232597.aspx.

This release was preceded by intense testing by the Microsoft iSCSI Target team, especially in scenarios where the iSCSI Target is used with Hyper-V and with Windows Server Failover Clusters. We do imagine these to be amongst the most commons deployment scenarios.  Testing included running the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target in a two-node Failover Cluster and configuring 92 individual Hyper-V VMs, each running a data intensive application and storing data on a single node of that iSCSI Target cluster. The exciting part of the test was to force an unplanned failure of the iSCSI Target node being used by all the VMs and verify that we had a successful failover to the other node with all 92 VMs continuing to run the application without any interruption.

How to download and install

To download the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 for Windows Server 2008 R2, go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=45105d7f-8c6c-4666-a305-c8189062a0d0 and download a single file called “iSCSITargetDLC.EXE”. (Note: This was just released at 10AM PST on 04/04/2011, so the download might still be replicating to your closest download server. If the link does not work, try again later). This is a self-extracting archive that will show this screen when run:

Shared Storage

To use both LM and HA, these require shared storage. This shared storage can be in the forms of SAS, iSCSI or Fiber Channel SAN. For many environments this isn’t an issue, but there are some specific scenarios where customers need LM and HA and the cost of a dedicated SAN is a blocker. For example,

  • A branch office environment. It’s one thing to setup a dedicated SAN in a datacenter, but what happens when you have 100/500/5000 branch offices? That’s a huge multiplier to provide SANs in every one of those branch offices.
  • A small business. Small businesses are especially cost conscious and still want to deploy Hyper-V clustered for the benefits of LM and HA.
  • A test/dev staging environment. Perhaps you want to test your application with LM & HA, but don’t have the budget to pay for a SAN.

Wouldn’t it be great to have another option? bva think so too.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
==============================================
Q: The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target is now free. Is it supported in a production environment?

A: Yes. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target is supported in a production environment. The Hyper-V team regularly tests with the MS iSCSI Software Target and it works great with Hyper-V.

Q: What operating systems is the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target supported?

A: The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target is supported for Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter Editions.
===========================================================================
Q: Can the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 use the free Microsoft iSCSI Software Target?

A: Yes and No. Yes, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 can act as a client to access virtual machines via iSCSI. The way to do that is to type iscsicpl.exe at the command prompt to bring up the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator (client) and configure it to access an iSCSI Target (server). However, you can’t install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target on a Microsoft Hyper-V Server. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target requires Windows Server 2008 R2.

Q: Can I install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003?
A: No. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 can only be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2.

Q: Can I install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target on Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)?
A: Yes. In fact, that’s what is recommended.

Q: Can I install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target on a Core install of Windows Server 2008 R2?
A: No. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 is only supported in a Full install.

Q: I don’t have a copy of Windows Server 2008 R2. Where can I get an evaluation copy?
A: You download an evaluation version of Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dd459137.aspx

Q: Where is the x86 (32-bit) version of the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3?
A: The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3, is provided in only in an x64 (64-bit) version, as is Windows Server 2008 R2,

Q: What are these “iSCSITargetClient” MSI files included in the download?
A: Those are the optional VSS and VDS providers for the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3. You should install them in the same computer that runs the iSCSI Initiator if you intend to use VSS or VDS. For details on VSS, see http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/archive/2007/10/10/the-basics-of-the-volume-shadow-copy-service-vss.aspx. For details on VDS, see http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/archive/2007/10/25/the-basics-of-the-virtual-disk-services-vds.aspx.

Q: Where is the Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 documentation?
A: There is some documentation inside the package. Additional documentation is available on the web at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg232606.aspx

Q: Can I use the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 as shared storage for a Windows Server Failover Cluster?
A: Yes. That is one of its most common uses.

Q: Can I install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 in a Hyper-V virtual machine?
A: Yes. We do it all the time.

Q: Can I use the downloaded Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 in my production environment?
A: Yes. Make sure to perform the proper evaluation and testing before deploying any software in a production environment. But you knew that already…

Q: What are the support policies for the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 on Windows Server 2008 R2?
A: The support policies are listed at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg983493.aspx

 

The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target Download:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=45105d7f-8c6c-4666-a305-c8189062a0d0