Rodney Buike - Founder and original lazy admin. MVP: System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management


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Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

So you’ve downloaded Windows 8 and played around with it only to find out that it is pretty touch centric and you don’t have a touch screen.  Have no fear this list of keyboard shortcuts should help until that unicorn like Windows 8 tablet arrives.

Desktop Mode – Most of these are Windows 7 shortcuts but also work in Windows 8

  • CTRL + ESC – Toggles between the Windows desktop environment and the new Start screen.
  • WINKEY + number – Launch the a shortcut in the Windows taskbar. So WINKEY + 1 would launch the first app in the taskbar
  • WINKEY + B – Select the tray notification area
  • WINKEY + C – Display Charms
  • WINKEY + D – Show Desktop
  • WINKEY + E – Launch Windows Explorer in Computer view
  • WINKEY + F – Search Files using Windows Search pane
  • WINKEY + I – Display Settings pane for Windows Desktop
  • WINKEY + L – Lock PC and

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Live Migration NIC Binding

In a typical Hyper-V R2 cluster built on Microsoft’s best practices will have 6-8 NICs depending on the SAN type (iSCSI or FC) including:

  • Management Network
  • VM Network
  • VM Network
  • CSV Network
  • Live Migration Network
  • Cluster Heartbeat Network
  • iSCSI MPIO (or FC adapter)
  • iSCSI MPIO (or FC adapter)

One common issue that comes up in this scenario is failed Live Migrations, Quick Migrations will work but live ones will not.   When you attempt a Live Migration and it fails due to “A cluster network  is not available for this operation” it is caused by improper NIC Binding Order on the Hyper-V Hosts.  When this happens two events are created in the Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V High Availability\Admin event log on the destination server.  Look for EventID 21126 and 21111

Event Log 1

Event Log 2

Your first thought will be to check that all the cluster resources are online and you will find they are.  When this happens you need

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Sorry for the alphabet soup title but I thought some explanation was due in regards to iSCSI redundancy options and issues you may have with IPv6.

Multi-path I/O (MPIO) and Multiple Connections per Session (MCS) are two options you have to provide load balancing and redundancy to your iSCSI connections.  MPIO and MCS are the same but different.  MPIO leverages Device Specific Modules (DSM) to manage the requests over multiple paths.

MCS is part of the iSCSI protocol and allows for teaming of iSCSI connections.  In order for this to work your SAN vendor must support it and your virtualization platform must support it as well.  VMWare supports MPIO but not MCS and Hyper-V supports both.

Whichever you choose is not relevant but there is something you should be aware of in regards to MCS.  MCS does not support using both IPv4 and IPv6 with the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator.  If you have IPv6

Continue reading MPIO, MCS, IPv6 and iSCSI

Joining XP Mode VM to the Domain

I know a lot of people using XP Mode to solve app compat issues as they move to Windows 7.  It is simple enough to deploy and great for the few user scenarios where you don’t want to deploy MED-V.  Managing the XP Mode VMs is an important task and the easiest way to manage it, outside of deploying MED-V, is to join it to the domain.  That way you can manage it the same way you manage all the other machines in your domain.  Joining the XP Mode VM to the domain is done the same way as any other machine but there are a few permissions that need to be configured to get it to work properly once it has been joined.

Because the local user context will be changed from the default local account in XP Mode to a domain account you will need to add Domain Users

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Determine Driver for Unknown Devices

One of the more frustrating issues with devices and drivers is the Unknown Device.  This little tip should make it a little less frustrating.  An unknown device will always report a Hardware ID.  You can use this ID to determine what the hardware is and that should make finding the driver easier.  While the PC vendor may not supply one the hardware vendor should.  To determine what the hardware is open Device Manager, right-click on the item and select Properties.  Under the Details tab select Hardware ID from the drop down list.

Take note of the ID and then browse to and enter the Vendor ID and the Device ID and the database will provide the information required.  In the example in the screenshot I entered 8086 as the Vendor ID (VEN_8086) and 10EA as the Device ID (DEV_10EA) and it was determined that the device in

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Customizing MDT 2010 Wizards

MDT 2010 is a great tool you can use to deploy Windows 7 in your environment.  I allows you to use what is known as LTI or Lite Touch Installation to install Windows.  It is called LTI because someone needs to touch the machine in the form of booting it up selecting a task sequence and answering a few questions in the LiteTouch Wizard.  You can reduce the amount of prompts and make it “lighter” with some tweaking of MDT.

When you kick off the MDT LiteTouch Wizard the first thing it asks you for is the credentials of an account that has permissions to access the deployment share.  This can be a domain account or a local account on the MDT server.  You can provide this to the deployment technicians or include it in the bootstrap.ini.  To include it in the bootstrap.ini right-click on the deployment share and select Properties.  

Continue reading Customizing MDT 2010 Wizards

Repair The MSI Installer

Errors with the MSI Installer, aka MSIExec.exe, show up now and then and can be frustrating to fix.  You’ll see these errors trying to install applications, updates, hotfixes and any other type of MSI packages.  There are a few things to do to fix this issue depending on how messed up it is.  In the simplest of cases simply re-registering the MSI Installer.

  • Reboot the computer into Safe Mode
  • From a command line run MSIExec /regserver
  • Reboot the computer normally
  • If that does not solve the problem you have to reinstall the MSI Installer.  It is another simple process just follow these steps:

  • Open a command prompt and change directory to %windir%\system32
  • Run attrib -r -s -h dllcache
  • Rename the following files to .old
  • msi.dll
  • msiexec.exe
  • msihnd.dll
  • Reboot
  • Download Windows Installer (latest version 4.5) and install
  • Reboot
  • If you are doing this on Windows Vista/Server 2008/R2 or Windows 7 you will need

    Continue reading Repair The MSI Installer

    Windows 7 Sysprep Options

    Before capturing your Windows 7 image you need to Sysprep it.  The Sysprep tool hasn’t changed but a reminder of the options is always nice.   In Windows 7 the Sysprep files are located at:


    You can double click the executable or use the command line to seal the system.  The options available are:

    • /audit – This will restart the PC into audit mode which enables you to add applications, drivers, and test the system without making changes to the default user profile
    • /generalize – This will remove all SIDs, clear out any system restore points and clear the event logs as well as resetting the activation grace period.
    • /oobe – This will force the out of box experience upon system restart
    • /reboot – This will reboot the system once the Sysprep command is complete
    • /shutdown – This will shutdown the system once the Sysprep command is complete
    • /quiet – This will run

      Continue reading Windows 7 Sysprep Options

    Customizing Windows 7 Support Info

    When you view the properties of your Windows 7 installation from an OEM install you might see some support information provided by the vendor.  You can customize this for your own organization within the Windows image you deploy with some registry modifications.

    Open a registry editor and drill down to:


    There are a number of sub keys you can add here to include your own support information.

    • Custom Logo (120×120 BMP) – Create a new String called Logo and enter the path to the BMP as the value
    • Manufacturer Name – Create a new String called Manufacturer and enter the name as the value
    • Model Number – Create a new String called Model and enter the model number as the value
    • Support Hours – Create a new String called SupportHours and enter the hours as the value
    • Support Phone Number – Create a new String called SupportPhone and enter the phone number as

      Continue reading Customizing Windows 7 Support Info

    Migrating KMS Servers

    Key Management Service or KMS is an activation service available to volume license subscribers.  The KMS feature is built into Windows 2008 and 2008 R2 and available as an addon for Windows Server 2003.  When the time comes to upgrade/retire/migrate the server that is acting as your KMS host you will need to follow these steps in order to keep your client PCs activated (and your users happy).

    Removing the KMS Host

    Removing the host is a pretty straightforward process.  To begin run the following command to uninstall your license keys:

    slmgr.vbs –upk

    Once that is complete you will need to install the default KMS key with the following command:

    slmgr.vbs /ipk {Default KMS key]

    The default KMS keys are different based on the OS that your KMS host is running on.  Select the correct key from this list.

    • Windows 7 Professional – FJ82H-XT6CR-J8D7P-XQJJ2-GPDD4
    • Windows 7 Professional N – MRPKT-YTG23-K7D7T-X2JMM-QY7MG
    • Windows 7 Enterprise – 33PXH-7Y6KF-2VJC9-XBBR8-HVTHH
    • Windows 7

      Continue reading Migrating KMS Servers