Looking for a Windows Live Writer Replacement?

AlkiLogoAnyone remember Windows Live Writer? It was pretty much the best blogging client available for many years…if you were a Windows user. If you use a Mac, there haven’t been any good free options. Until now.

My good friend Den Delimarsky is setting out to build a cross-platform blogging client for Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android. It’s called Alki. No ETA on availability, but he’s got some cool features planned according to his website.

If you’re interested in signing-up to test Alki when it’s available, go to http://dennisdel.com/alki/ and sign-up from the home page.

Install Windows 10 Tech Preview using Parallels Desktop

Microsoft has released the Windows 10 Technical Preview and Preview for Enterprise this week. If you’re like me and you use a mix of Macs and PCs, you may decide to run the Technical Preview using some sort of virtualization software. In my case, I was trying to install the preview with Parallels Desktop 10.

During the install, it was asking for drivers before the install could continue. Turns out the fix for this issue is a very simple one. Instead of using a SATA DVD drive in the VM, change the DVD drive to use and IDE drive, as illustrated below.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 10.16.40 PM

Configuring Group Policy for Windows Server Update Services on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

This post is intended to be a supplement for the Installing WSUS on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials guide.

To configure your client workstations to connect to WSUS, it is highly recommended to use Group Policy. Below I have included examples of Group Policy settings and the necessary WMI filters that can be used as a baseline policy in any environment.

The Default Windows Update Settings policy is intended to the base / default policy that is applied to all systems in the domain.

The Windows Update Settings – Servers policy is intended to supplement the default settings and apply server specific installation settings to server OSes. This policy requires the Servers WMI filter.

The Windows Update Settings – Workstations policy is intended to supplement the default settings and apply workstation specific installation settings to workstation OSes. This policy requires the workstations WMI filter.

WMI Filters

The following filters will work with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Namespace (case-sensitive) WMI Filter
Servers (applies to domain controllers and member servers) rootCIMV2 select * from Win32_OperatingSystem where (Version >= “6.1%”) and ProductType = “2” or ProductType = “3”
Workstations rootCIMV2 select * from Win32_OperatingSystem where (Version >= “6.1%”) and ProductType=”1″

Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials – What’s New

In this R2 wave of Windows Server products, Microsoft is taking the time to update its “first server” version, Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

The Essentials SKU historically has been intended to be the entry level server for a small or midsize business. With Essentials R2, Microsoft is extending this feature set into the enterprise. Because the Essentials feature set is now an available role in the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2, companies with more than 25 users can backup their PCs, seamless integrate with cloud services or on-premise Exchange servers, and provide remote access to company data.

Besides the Essentials features now being available as a role, there are number of additional new features.

  • Full PC Restore over the network is now supported
  • Mobile Devices can be managed in the dashboard using Exchange ActiveSync
  • Quotas can be set on shared folders in the dashboard
  • The client connector can trigger a VPN connection so clients can always be connected to the network
  • Now supported as a member server in a domain
  • Health monitoring and reporting is now built-in
  • Remote Web Access theme now follows in the style of SkyDrive

What I like about this release is that its the small things that really make it all come together. There is now an option in configuring the remote access website to allow direct RDP access to the server or only access to the dashboard. PXE boot restores of client computers is awesome and is something I’ve been asking for since the Windows Home Server days. The dashboard now lets customers integrate with Office 365, Windows Intune, and Windows Azure Backup. BranchCache is now supported as well. If a company has multiple servers, the connector will now let users switch between them.

These are just a few of the many examples of what Microsoft has brought to the R2 release of Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Over the next few days and weeks I’ll be posting some tours of the new functionality.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Now Available

Tonight Microsoft has made available the public preview release of Windows Server 2012 R2. With this release, Microsoft is laying out its vision for what it calls the Cloud OS.

The Cloud OS is the platform that Microsoft is building with the release of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014 and Windows Azure. The four key tenets of the Cloud OS are:

      • Transform the Datacenter
      • Enable modern business applications
      • Empower people-centric IT
      • Unlock insights on any data

New to Windows Server 2012 R2 are such features as:

        • Storage Tiering within Storage Spaces
        • Software-defined networking
        • Virtual IP Address management
        • Windows Powershell 4.0
        • Windows Server Essentials Experience

To get started with the Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dn205286.aspx

Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Resources

Today, Microsoft have released the Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 release candidate (or Release Preview) builds to the public for testing and feedback.

I’ve compiled a list of the downloads that Microsoft has made available. If anyone has anything to add, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list.

Windows 8 Release Preview – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate – http://www.tomontech.com/2012/05/windows-server-2012-release-candidate-now-available/

Windows Assessement and Deployment Kit – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29929

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=28972

Pro-tip: Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client and Windows 8 Consumer Preview

imageIf you’re like me and you use the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client to access corporate resources, you may have noticed that it doesn’t want to work out of the box on Windows 8.

You might see error messages like “The VPN Client driver has encountered an error.” or “Cannot initiate VPN.

Turns out there is a quick and easy fix for this.

From the Start screen type “regedit” or press the Windows Key+R and type “regedit” and press Enter to launch the Registry Editor.

Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesvpnva

image

Double-click on the DisplayName key, and remove the INF information from the display name so that it appears as Cisco AnyConnect VPN Virtual Miniport Adapter for Windows x64. (or the 32-bit / x86 equivalent)

image

Click OK. Close Registry Editor and launch the AnyConnect client. The connection should work normally.