Windows 2008 R2 upgrade paths

In my public session on “Windows 2008 R2” I have been raised with questions about the upgrade path options and how to do the upgrade. Some of the questions related to the upgrade from Windows 2003 domains rest are from Windows 2008 to 2008 R2.

Microsoft has been always trying to focus and listen to customer / partner comments and requests for their product improvement. With R2 they have included a feature called as “Windows server migration tools” This will allow you to carry our the process of transferring services (AD, DNS, DHCP..etc) from your previous Windows operating system to the new Server environment.

w2k8r2_feature1

So how to do those task using the given tools will be a total separate topic and a separate blog article 🙂

What operating systems are supported and unsupported in the migration path has been updated on the TechNet.

Windows 2008 Server Core Configurator 2.0

If you’re managing Windows 2008 CORE operating system you know the pain of typing long commands in the console 🙂 (Well we can use RSAY of course but not for everything) I’ve been using Core configuration tool to make life easier since most of the common commands can be managed UI within the core itself. Recently Core configurator version 2.0 has been released. Core configurator 2.0 only works with R2! so if you want to manage the previous versions of Windows 2008 core edition better keep the old version in handy as well.

Core configurator version 2.0 under open source so you have the complete rights to modify it as well 🙂

Some of the tasks you can do with core configurator are,,

  • Product Licensing
  • Networking Features
  • DCPromo Tool
  • ISCSI Settings
  • Server Roles and Features
  • User and Group Permissions
  • Share Creation and Deletion
  • Dynamic Firewall settings
  • Display | Screensaver Settings
  • Add & Remove Drivers
  • Proxy settings
  • Windows Updates (Including WSUS)
  • Multipath I/O
  • Hyper-V including virtual machine thumbnails
  • JoinDomain and Computer rename
  • Add/remove programs
  • Services
  • WinRM
  • Complete logging of all commands executed

    You can download it from here.

  • How to extend trial period of Windows 2008, Windows Vista and Windows 7 products

    WindowsServer2008 windows-7-logo windows-vista-logo-1

    Most of the time I use Windows 2008 products for video recordings and customer site demonstrations. During this period I use TechNet subscription materials for this purpose. Once issue I have been facing is when I want to do another demo after few weeks time the VPC cannot be used do the trial period of the product has been expired! Registering the demonstration purpose operating systems frequently is not an easy option either (Even though I create a set of VPC like that once)

    With Windows 2008 you’re getting trial period of 30 days. But if you’re smart enough now there is  way to extend that period for 180 or more. This is really valuable because that means we can keep the VM’s running properly under trail period for nearly 6 months! (For me that is more than enough!) Good news is this trial extend work around is working for Vista and Windows 7 as well. ok so let’s get start how to extend the trial period.

    What we have to do is run a script in the windows\system32 folder called slmgr.vbs

    1. Bring up a Command Prompt.
    2. Type slmgr.vbs –rearm, and press ENTER.
    3. Restart the computer.

    You computer has now extended the evaluation period 60 days!  You can run the same command in the same system for 3 times up giving you an activation-free trial period of a total of 240 days!

    To find out how many days remain in the trial period you can use the following command.

    1. Type slmgr.vbs -dli, and the current status of the evaluation period is displayed.

    Be curious and check out additional commands available in the slmgr.vbs

    SERVER CORE, HYPER-V R2 , SCVMM

    I have spend some time at a customer site helping to build HYPER-V environment. Even though the project was medium scale I learn lot during that time.

    1. Never run into HYPER-V setup without checking SAN storage compatibility. Some SAN storage required you to install the certain software into the server. I learn that hard way. You can always run *.exe programs by command prompt at server core.

    2. Always keep the server core commands nearby you. Microsoft has already provided the reference sheet like that. If you can’t keep it then try to remember the command ‘sconfig’ this command work in Windows 2008 R2 core edition. If you prefer third party free tools then consider Core Configuration (There maybe some other nifty tools as well)

    3. Try to plan ahead what are you planning to virtualizes and do the capacity planning and the VPC optimizations accordingly.
    SQL on HYPER-V , more links

    That is for now folks, catch ya later!

    Introducing Windows 2008 R2 E-book is available – free download

    Well folks Microsoft did it again. This time the MS learning and Press book guys decide to give away the E-book free. This book is complete and comprehensive book which contains information about the latest information about the Windows 2008 R2.

    As you all aware Windows 2008 R2 officially released on October 22nd. Now it is time for us to get our hands dirty as a early for a better preparation on this product along with Windows 7. You can get the E-book from here.

    Something interesting in Windows 7 and windows 2008 R2

    Start setting up HYPER-V role in my desktop PC after installing Windows 2008 R2 (It’s a new rig 🙂 )
    Tried to install windows 2008 R2 Ent and Windows 7 as guest OS in my HYPER-V environment. After installing went on usual method of installing the IC’s (integration services), but no need to do that anymore.

    According to the given message ICS (Integration Component Services)has been installed already.

    Wondering if this installed automatically during the setup I went to the control panel and found no evidence for that. So looks like Microsoft has integrated the ic’s into the OS itself!
    Looks like MS expecting big change in future on virtualization and they have been ready for it with the launch of Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 7.

    [Edit Tags]

    Windows 2008 Components Posters

    Ever wonder it would be easy if you can know all the Windows 2008 features in one sheet so at a glance you can look at it and get the big picture. Well that wait is over for me since I found out Microsoft has a solution for this, giant poster!

    Previously published in the TechNet Magazine, these are two PDFs of Windows 2008: Operating System components and Active Directory components. The posters explain how they work and detail capabilities.  They are great resources to have up on your office wall.

    The Feature Components poster highlights the following components of the Windows Server 2008 operating system:

    Terminal Services
    Network Access Protection
    IIS 7.0
    Server Manager
    Server Backup
    Server Core
    Bit Locker
    Windows Server Virtualization

    The Active Directory Poster highlights the following components of Active Directory in Win2008

    AD Lightweight Directory Services
    AD Federation Services
    AD Rights Management Services
    Group Policy
    AD Management
    AD Read-Only Domain Controllers

    Many thanks go to MS team who has been taking considerable time to prepare these posters. You can get them by visiting over here.

    Windows 2008 Components Posters

    Ever wonder it would be easy if you can know all the Windows 2008 features in one sheet so at a glance you can look at it and get the big picture. Well that wait is over for me since I found out Microsoft has a solution for this, giant poster!

    Previously published in the TechNet Magazine, these are two PDFs of Windows 2008: Operating System components and Active Directory components. The posters explain how they work and detail capabilities. They are great resources to have up on your office wall.

    The Feature Components poster highlights the following components of the Windows Server 2008 operating system:

    Terminal Services
    Network Access Protection
    IIS 7.0
    Server Manager
    Server Backup
    Server Core
    BitLocker
    Windows Server Virtualization

    The Active Directory Poster highlights the following components of Active Directory in Win2008

    AD Lightweight Directory Services
    AD Federation Services
    AD Rights Management Services
    Group Policy
    AD Management
    AD Read-Only Domain Controllers

    Many thanks go to MS team who has been taking considerable time to prepare these posters. You can get them by visiting over here.

    Virtual machine addins for Server Core

    So you’re eager to get your hands dirty on Microsoft latest OS, maybe you already have. As techies we always intend to be on virtual PC’s to test the latest stuff and learn new settings and tweaks. Windows server 2008 has more to offer in this area. Windows core is pretty interesting method of using the windows server OS.

    One problem I came across with server Core is how to install the virtual machine addins to it. I’m using Microsoft virtual PC 2007 and after the initial OS setup I ran the virtual PC addins from the actions menu. Well it suppose to star the installation automatically right… well too bad it didn’t happen. I hope you folks are well aware why we need the virtual addins to the virtual PC. Basically they are emulated drivers which enhance the response in the virtual machine and communication between the guest and the host PC.

    image

    So in order to install the addins you need to mount the cd / iso image to virtual PC. Under action menu when you click install the virtual PC addins it automatically mounts the iso image to the cd-rom in the virtual PC. To verify that you can click the CD icon in the menu and see if you have the option Release "VMaddtions.iso" So rest we carry out in the command prompt.

    image

    In my case the cd rom drive letter is D. If you have more than one virtual HDD installed then the drive letter can be different. Never the less you can browse the virtual CD and then get into the windows folder and then run the Setup.exe Once that start you’ll able the see the GUI installation of the virtual machine addition setup.

    image

    In the above picture I have been prompted to remove the addins since I have already installed them earlier. But I hope you guys get the point.

    Windows Server 2008 – Fine Grained Password Policy Walkthrough

    Windows 2008 has lot of new technologies to offer and along with SP2 it has been increased. Branch office caching, Active Directory recycle bin..etc. Among those one of the cool feature is Fine grained password policy. Using this method you can given different set of password polices to selected users or group despite of the default password policy.

    This may sound good if you have wish to have different password policy to managers and different password polices to general users and avoid the hassle you face when they forget their complex password. (you know what I mean..right 🙂 Of course you might have been using the password filter or deploy multiple domains to archive this but end of the day those are really frustrating and time consuming methods.

    so now you had the taste of the feature let’s get our sleeves up for the work 🙂 To make things easier I am going to built this article based on a scenario based method.

    Contoso.com is the default domain of the fictitious company and Neo parker has been the CEO. He don’t like the idea of having a complex password to remember and prefers to have a simple password as his account password. So without breaking the security on the entire domain level you’re going to reduce the password complexity and the minimum of 5 characters to his passwords.

    4

    Requirements: your AD domain functional level has to be raised to windows 2008.

    First have a look into your existing domain-wide default password policies,

    1. Start –> Run –> gpmc.msc
    2. Expand Forest: yourforest.com.
    3. Expand Domains\yourdomain.com.
    4. Right Click Default Domain Policy and Click Edit.
    5. Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Account Policies > Password Policy.

    1

    So now we need to create the Password Setting object (PSO). in order to do that we need to open the ADSI edit. I have to warn ADSI edit is not a place to mess around with unless you know exactly what you’re doing!

    Go to Start–> Administrative tools –> ADSI edit –> select the default settings to connect to the domain. After that in order to create the PSO browse to Expand to Default Naming content\DC=Contoso,DC=com\CN=System\CN=Password Settings Container\

    Right click and select new Object,

    3

    After that you have to select msDS-PasswordSettings and click next

    5

    After that we are coming to complex part of giving the parameters, this is the place you have to pay attention and provide the correct parameters. For detail step by step you can visit here

    First setting being ask is to provide a name for the policy, you can give an fancy name but stick to a one that is meaningful,

    6

    Next setting is msDS\PasswordsSettingsPrecedence. Assuming the user is a member of 2 or more groups and having different password polices the number you set here will determine which policy to take procedure. So set the value to 1 to make sure this policy will apply all the time to Neo

    test

    Next one is msDS-PasswordReversibleEncryptionEnabled which is self explanatory

    8

    Next few option are really self explanatory so I’ll insert the parameter and the value until we come up with another interesting value 🙂

    msDS-PasswordHistoryLength (Also self explanatory… you can keep up to 1024)
    Value = 10

    (domain default: 24)

    · msDS-PasswordComplexityEnabled (Upper, lower, number, blah blah blah)
    Value = True

    · msDS-MinimumPasswordLength (If only everyone were using pass-phrases instead of passwords)

    Value = 5

    After that we are being request to provide values for MinimumPasswordAge, MaximumPasswordAge, LockoutObservationWindow, and LockoutDuration.

    So let us walk through the first one of this kind, msDS-MinimumPasswordAge

    12

    In the above picture I have provided the value of 1 day. First section is days, then hours, minutes and seconds. Next is

    msDS-MaximumPasswordAge

    13

    I hope rest process will be easy for you as we discuss here. so instead of the screenshots let me provide the values as follows,

    msDS-LockoutThreshold

    Value = 0

    msDS-LockoutObservationWindow

    Value =00:00:06:00

    msDS-LockoutDuration

    Value = 00:00:06:00

    Once you complete the last step you will click the Finish button to complete the steps. If you encounter any errors please have a look into the values you have provided.

    15

    so now we have provided Neo minimum characters 5 to his password and still enabled the Password complexity parameter and provide less time value for the Lockdown duration 🙂

    but still we are not completed because we have to tell the system this PSO need to be apply to Neo. If we double click the
    msDS-PSOAppliesTo parameter we have the option to provide the particular user’s or Group’s DN.
    20

    so now what how to find the DN value? well my friends we have to walk to the Active Directory Users and computers, and enabled the Advances Features,

    17

    After that we need to go to the properties of the Neo’s account and select the Attribute Editor which shows the DN of Neo’s user account.

    18

    Copy that value and we go back to the ADSI editor CN=System –>CN=Password Settings and under the current PSO paste the values you have copied from Neo’s account,

    21

    Wola that complete the lengthy task.

    For more information you can refer here,