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How to activate Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise without Internet Connection

25 Jun

Recently, I faced a situation in which I had to activate Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise which didn’t have internet connection. In the earlier days of Windows 2003 there was a Phone Activation option within the wizard. However, in the current edition Windows 2008 onwards the option doesn’t exist.

I am going to show you the steps involved in quickly activated Windows Server 2008 onwards over the Phone using the following command line parameters:

  • Start –> Run –> Command Prompt right click and “Run as a administrator”
  • Type the following command to retrieve the Product Installation id slmgr.vbs /dti (A pop-up windows will appear with a long string of digits)
  • Call the Microsoft activation centers as per your locations from this Microsoft Activation Centers link
    • I used the India number 1800 11 11 00 or 1800 102 1100
  • Provide the Installation ID to the customer care representative and they will provide a Confirmation Number (A long sting of numbers)
  • Type slmgr.vbs /atp (without ) at the command prompt and you will receive a pop-up that your Windows have been activated successfully
  • To confirm your activation type the following command slmgr.vbs /dli

Go to your Server Manager and you will be able to see the Windows Server 2008 R2 activated Smile.

If you find this post useful, please provide your comment down below

Best Regards,
Aresh
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Insight into Windows Remote Desktop Services 2012

5 Nov

I managed to install and test the Windows Remote Desktop Services (RDS) 2012 and I would like to share my experiences with the community. If you are looking for step by step installation please check RDS TechNet Lab Guides in this blog. I’m only covering new features, functionality and things I learnt.

RDS Installation

  • With the new Server Manager, installation of Roles & Features has over simplified. Sitting on one server, we could install all the RDS roles such as Connection Broker (CB), Licensing Server, Web Access (WA) and Session Host from one console to all the servers\VM in the environment.
  • All the pre-requisites (IIS, .Net) are installed by the Role & Features wizard automatically.
  • There are two explicit options under the new RDS Wizard – “Session Virtualization” and “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure”. See more details as below.

Session Virtualization

  • After you have installed all the roles such as RDS Licensing, RDS Session Host, RDS Web Access and RDS Licensing, you can see the complete Deployment\Server overview in a picture format of the RDS farm.
RDS Deployment Overview
  • In just one step you can configure the RD Session Host by simply clicking on the “Create a RD Session Collection wizard”. Collection is nothing but the wizard where you need to specify the Users, Applications, Profile and Servers participating in hosting this application.
  • There is a very interesting feature in this wizard such as “User Profile Disks” which can allow you to store the end-user Profile and selection of folders on a centralized file server that can either be clustered or DFS (Distributed File System).
User Profile Disks

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

  • There is a latest addition to the RDS 2012 which allows you to have two types of desktop such as “Pooled Desktop 1xMany” and “Dedicated Desktop 1×1”.
  • For Pooled Desktops, Microsoft uses their own snapshotting technology just like Citrix MCS (Machine Creation Services). There is no dependency on SCVMM, the RD Connection Broker does everything for you.
  • NOTE: My lab activities were stalled because there is a requirement for a dedicated Hyper-V server (RD Virtualization Host) which should be part of the same domain as the other RD components (CB, WA & Licensing). Will perform this test later on and share my learning with everyone.

My Verdict

RDS 2012 is a superb out of the box product which comes at no extra cost other than server infrastructure cost involved in setting up the environment. The much awaited and talked about integration of “User Profile Disk”, “VDI” and “Single Management Console” has brought the product on-par with other market vendors such as Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop, VMware ThinApp/View, Ericom etc. Though, I am not equipped to test the product against its over the WAN capabilities. The flip side that I see today with RDS 2012 is its functionality on non-windows devices and environment such as iOS, Android, BlackBerry & OpenSource. I doubt Microsoft will make a client like Receiver/View for non-windows platforms.

Business Case
The perfect business case is for Application Hosting + VDI for a complete Windows Platform which involves Windows Phone 8, Windows Tablet 8 and Windows PC 8/7. I would strongly recommend RDS 2012 as it is outstanding with no additional cost.

If you like this post please leave your comments below.

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

Latest Citrix RemotePC feature with XenDesktop5.6 FP1–RemotePC VS RDP

4 Oct

With the recent launch of XenDesktop 5.6 Feature Pack (FP) 1 Citrix released a great feature known as the Remote PC. The Remote PC feature allows end-users to access their laptops/desktops on any device (Tablets, Mobile Phones or even other remote laptop and desktop) and anywhere (in the office, home and road). Citrix launched this feature for enterprises that are yet not ready to move into VDI mode and this solution allows end-users to continue using their desktop/laptop devices. The device that will be accessing the office desktop/laptop will require Citrix Receive to be installed beforehand.

Architecture for Remote PC to work:Citrix RemotePC (XenDesktop 5.6 FP1)

Many of you would ask what is the difference between RemotePC VS traditional RDP?

RDP

Remote PC

Works well on Microsoft platform. However, no standard or official applications are available on cross platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry You can access your desktop on multiple platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry with a single Citrix Receiver
No Standard apps available from Microsoft. All 3rd Party un-popular applications available at the App Stores for alternativesOfficial Citrix Receiver application integration that offers built-in Virtual Keyboard, ShareFile
No OS/Application Shell enhancement provision available with Microsoft RDP solutionCitrix Mobility Pack enhancement to make Windows OS and Applications touch and type friendly

Typical Use Case Scenarios:
Use Case 1: The customer has a desktop at his desk and is leaving for a meeting and wants to access the desktop from his/her tablet.

Solution: Simply install the Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) on the desktop and the end-user can access their desktop on any device and from any where

Benefits:

  • The enterprise doesn’t have the CAPEX to invest in a full blown VDI infrastructure. Simply enable this feature and take advantage from your existing infrastructure and investments.
  • Access to the resources from their mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone, Windows 8 RT, Android Phones, Android Tablets
  • There is no resource sharing hence no complaints from end-users regarding performance degradation
  • Whatever Access, Software, Storage end-user carries remain the same while accessing on mobile devices
  • Leverage existing Electronic Software Distribution software to deploy the VDA on Desktop/Laptops within the enterprise

Video of the RemotePC Installation:

Virtual Machine cannot start on a newly created Hyper-V server – “The Virtual machine could not be started because the hypervisor is not running”

5 Jul

On a vanilla Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter edition I was installing the Hyper-V role and the installation process went successful without any errors or warnings. Though, I am aware there is a pre-requisite of the Intel-Virtualization Technology (VT) and Data Execution Prevention  (DEP) assuming both were enable in the BIOS.

I started creating virtual machine in the Hyper-V Manager snap-in and went through the series of wizard. When I try to start the virtual machine I get the following error

Issue:

“The virtual machine could not be started because the hypervisor is not running”

Capture

Resolution:

After a lot of troubleshooting figured out that Data Execution Prevention option in the BIOS was not enable. Now I am slightly surprised why did the Hyper-V role installation completed successfully isn’t VT and DEP the pre-requisite of  the hyper-v role???

Anyways issue got resolved the moment DEP was enable in the BIOS.

If you like this post please leave your comments

Thanks,
Aresh

DNS Service doesn’t Start on Windows 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition –Event ID: 3, 708 and 7023

4 Jul

After a long time I was actually doing some hands-on and damn the first problem that I encounter is a Microsoft  Windows 2008 Server R2 design constraint for DNS Service.

Issue:

When you try to install Active Directory (AD) with integrated DNS on a high-end server (64 Cores, 500 GB+ RAM etc.). After installing the AD and when you reboot the server the DNS service doesn’t start automatically. You keep on getting the following errors when you try to start the service manually it just wont START

Note: Active Directory works like a charm. However, the DNS service doesn’t start and we all know AD without DNS is like a big Disaster!

System Event Log: (Event id 7023)

Log Name:      System
Source:        Service Control Manager
Event ID:      7023
Level:         Error
Description:
The DNS Server service terminated with the following error:
A thread could not be created for the service.

DNS Server Log: (Event id 3 and 708)

Log Name:      DNS Server
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-DNS-Server-Service
Event ID:      3
Level:         Information
Description:
The DNS server has shut down.

Log Name:      DNS Server
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-DNS-Server-Service
Event ID:      708
Level:         Information
Description:
The DNS server did not detect any zones of either primary or secondary type during initialization. It will not be authoritative for any zones, and it will run as a caching-only server until a zone is loaded manually or by Active Directory replication. For more information, see the online Help.

Resolution:

After a lot of troubleshooting and researching on the web finally I figure out that its is a design constraint with DNS. The service doesn’t work on servers that have more than 32 cores on it. Being a lab environment my thoughts were to install the AD, DNS, SQL 2008, SCVMM and Hyper-V on the same host. But all my plans are shattered now!!

I know Microsoft Support will argue why do you have to install all the server roles onto the physical host? My answer would be being a lab environment and the only available server why not? (I am going to create a lot of VM’s on the host) Secondly to get maximum performance of the services. Last to avoid domain controller issues inside the VM and having the physical host joined to the same domain running inside a VM.

Statement from the Microsoft Support:

This is a by-design problem in DNS.exe in this scenario with a very large amount of CPU resources available. Inside the DNS Server service, there is a thread count limitation (maximal 120 threads). However, it does not limit processors (or cores).

On 64 cores server, DNS Dynamic update routines will create 64 Update threads, and UDP I/O and dispatch routine will create 64 UDP Listen threads. Besides that, the following threads will also be created for DNS operation,

“Recursion Timeout” thread
“Secondary Control” thread
“DsLoad_Thread” thread
“Timeout_Thread” thread

Therefore, the thread limitation will be reached: 64 *2 + 4 = 132 > 120, and ERROR_SERVICE_NO_THREAD error would occur.

On 32 cores server, the DNS service would be running fine as it only creates 32 * 2 + 4 = 68 threads.

This is a by-design behavior and it will not be fixed until Windows 8. Currently, the only solution is to use less than 32 cores.

If you like this post leave your comments

Best Regards,
Aresh

Source

New Stuff in Microsoft Windows Server 2012

13 Jun

I found this TechNet link that talks about all the latest Improvements in Windows Server 2012.

Link: http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh831769

Short Summary of things that I like personally: (Direct Hyperlinks)

What’s new in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) in Windows Server 2012 includes new features that make it simpler and faster to deploy domain controllers (both on-premises and in the cloud), more flexible and easier to both audit and authorize access to files, and easier to perform administrative tasks at scale, either locally or remotely, through consistent graphical and scripted management experiences.

What’s New in Failover Clustering
Failover clusters provide high availability and scalability to many server workloads. These include file share storage for server applications such as Hyper-V and Microsoft SQL Server, and server applications that run on physical servers or virtual machines.

What’s New in Remote Desktop Services
The Remote Desktop Services server role in Windows Server 2012 provides technologies that enable users to connect to virtual desktops, RemoteApp programs, and session-based desktops. With Remote Desktop Services, users can access remote connections from within a corporate network or from the Internet.

What’s New in Hyper-V
The Hyper-V role enables you to create and manage a virtualized computing environment by using virtualization technology that is built in to Windows Server 2012. Hyper-V virtualizes hardware to provide an environment in which you can run multiple operating systems at the same time on one physical computer, by running each operating system in its own virtual machine.

I am sure this will come handy in making decisions moving forward to Win 2012

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

Free Training for Microsoft Certification 70-659 (Hyper-V)

1 Jun

Microsoft & BangaloreITPro jointly have come up with this initiative where group leader veterans would be delivering sessions on Microsoft Hyper-V which will help the community members to prepare themselves to take up the Microsoft Virtualization exam 70-659.

15 members would be selected during the session and will be given free examination vouchers for 70-659 Windows 2008 R2 Server Virtualization

Date: 2nd June 2012

Time: 9.30AM to 6.00PMVenue: Microsoft MTC, Signature Building, Bangalore

Agenda
TimeSpeakerTopics
9.30AM – 10.00AMRegistrations
10.00AM – 11.45AMAresh Sarkari, Technical Architect at Unisys.Windows Server 2008 Virtualization – Part 1
(Hyper-V Fundamentals, Planning, Configurations & Management)
11.45AM – 12.00PMTea Break
12.00PM – 01.30PMGaurav Anand, Microsoft MVPWindows Server 2008 Virtualization – Part II
(Hyper-V Architectures, Networking, Storage, Backup & Restore)
01.30PM – 02.15 PM Lunch Break
02.15PM – 04.00PMPrecheta / MS Anand, Microsoft IndiaWindows Server 2008 Virtualization – Part III
(Hyper-V Security, Best Practices)
04.00PM – 04.30PMTea Break
04.30PM – 05.45PMChalk Talk with Industry Expert to clear the Exam-70-659Quiz, Q&A, Exam Tips & Tricks
05.45PM – 06.00PMUG LeadsClosing Note

Be there as I will be taking up the stage for the Hyper-V Planning, Configuration & Management Topics + Live Demo

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

Having best of both worlds Windows 7 and Android Apps and Games

31 Mar

Did you every imagine!! what if you could get the best of both the worlds Windows 7 Desktop and Android Apps & Games?? Yes guys its possible!! I know it’s a late discovery however, I got excited the moment I installed the app on my Windows 7 PC and the very first app I downloaded was “Angry Birds Space” works like a charm.

Big thanks to BlueStack App: www.bluestacks.com Simply Download the package and it will install the bits onto your computer.

BlueStack Download

You need to enter the following details:

– Language
– Cloud Connect Sync option if you have a Android based phone – (I don’t have one Smile)
– Enter your email address for all the correspondence

Screen Shot: (Downloading Angry Bird on my desktop )

AngryBirds Download

Beauty of the App:

Suppose if you have a Android based phone you can download the applications onto your desktop under the BlueStacks App Player for Windows (Beta-1). The Cloud Connect Sync options will automatically sync all the Apps & Games with your phone.

Memory Usage:

When I was playing games in the BlueStacks App I noticed the memory utilization is approx. 270 – 500 MB depending on the Game/App you are playing inside.

Alternates:

I know people will say we can install the Android Operating System into a Virtual Machine and then download the apps & games from the application store. However, I have noticed that doing so involves technical expertise & even after managing to run the Android OS into the VM’s still there are issues related to Sound and Mouse movement within the VM.

I bet this is the best application cum player I have ever seen for running the Android Apps & Games for Windows 7. I hope you will enjoy this post as much as I did after exploring this software.

Best Regards,
Aresh Sarkari

Troubleshoot Active Directory Logon issue – By Anang Kumar

2 Dec
  • Note the error message (Sometime the error message is very specific )
  • Login to the machine using local admin account
  • Check the system Date and time / Time zone – Make sure they are similar to authenticating DC
  • Check DNS – Make Sure they are pointing to Right DNS (DNS which is alive and doing the name resolution)
  • Check DNS records with the help of NSLOOKUP
  • Ping the DC – IP, Netbios Name and FQDn
  • Ping the DC to DC with 1500 MTU
  • Run Netdiag and check DNS and Trust and Kerberos test
  • Make sure NIC card is enabled of “register me in DNS”
  • Check event viewer for any know errors like Userenv, Kerberos, netlogon
  • Enable netlogon log and do the further troubleshooting  

Don’t forget to post your comments 🙂

Thanks,
Anang Kumar

XP as Domain Controller :)

27 Nov

This is very funny XP machine as a domain controller

1) Create a share called SYSVOL on an XP machine

2) Try to unshare the directory you shared as SYSVOL.

3) You will get a nice warning stating:

“This share is required for the machine to act properly as a domain controller. Removing it will cause a loss of functionality on all clients that this domain controller serves. Are you sure you wish to stop sharing SYSVOL?”

Screenshot:
xp

But do not worry – unsharing SYSVOL on XP will not break your AD. This is just an example of code reuse that Microsoft does.

Don’t forget to post your comments 🙂

Thanks,
Aresh

Useful Blog:
Guy Teverovsky: http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/guyt/archive/2007/09/06/XP-as-Domain-Controller-_3F00_.aspx