Windows 8 and mapping network drives…

First of all:

This article contains some information from Windows 8. Windows 8 is currently in beta and there’s no guarantee that the final product will behave the same or contain the same features. Nothing in Windows 8 is final and everything is subject to change.

Ok down to business; I assume this is a bug:

If you are using Group Policy Preferences to map your network drives, you may notice that the mapping fails when you log on to client with Windows 8 Consumer Preview (despite gpresult and event logs says things are fine). Some quick testing proves that this occur when you log on with a user account that has local administrator rights, and if you remove your user account from the local administrators group the drives will reappear next time you log in.

Why you would log in with an administrative account is another discussion so I’m just gonna go right ahead and say it for now: You should not! If you want more information why you shouldn’t, then stay tuned to this blog and I’ll tell you more another time.

The VHD file

A short but nice tip: VHD files are virtual harddrives used most commonly in hyper-v, but you can mount them natively in Win7 and later and you can also boot from them. This provides a very easy to implement a dual-boot configuration for testing purposes.

1. Boot up your Windows 7 media
2. After you’ve chosen your language/keyboard settings, press shift+F10 which opens a command prompt
3. Locate your internal harddrive (D: in this example)
4. Type diskpart and press Enter
5. Type create vdisk file=”d:\vhd\win7.vhd” type=fixed maximum=40960 and press enter. This will create a fixed size vhd file of 40GB located on the d:\vhd folder (which you must create beforehard). If you want to, you can use a dynamically expandable file by replacing “fixed” with “expandable”.
6. Type select vdisk file=”d:\vhd\win7.vhd” and press Enter
7. Type attach vdisk and press Enter
8. Type exit and press Enter to exit diskpart and once again to exit the commandprompt. Continue the Windows installation.
9. When you come to the select partition screen you should see a disk drive representing the vhd file, and you can choose that as the installation target. The warning message can be ignored.
10. Windows will automatically create the boot-menu entries with the new installation as the default choice.

Unlike running this in a virtual machine, installing windows in a vhd and booting from it gives it direct control of the hardware. So a Windows Server 2008 R2 installed like this is able to run Hyper-V just fine. You do however lose other abilities like bitlocker encryption and hibernate.

Welcome to Hyper-V (and my blog)

Hello and welcome to my very first blog post ever. I’ve decided to start blogging about all the wondrous technology and solutions I bump into on a daily basis and if you are reading this I hope this can provide both entertaining and educational value to you. I’ll kick it off nice and easy with a quick introduction to Hyper-V and server virtualization.

Hyper-V is a type 1 hypervisor which Microsoft provides both as a free product and included in the 64 bit versions of the Windows server 2008 (and later) server family with some restrictions. Hyper-V provides an easy, cost-effective and secure way to implement server virtualization without having to purchase additional 3rd party products. But why should we virtualize our servers?

In the traditional serverroom scenario we have dedicated server hardeware for each server which leads to a tremendous amount of hardware to purchase, power consumption, heat and maintenance. In addition these servers tend to be very underutilized so the benefits of the powerful hardware is mostly wasted. Using virtualization you can create and run several virtual servers on one physical box and get a lot more computer power in return of your investments. The heat generated and power consumption falls drasticly and there’s alot less hardware then needs maintenance and replacement. One should be a little careful however and keep in mind that if one server breaks it can bring many servers down, but there are several ways to provide redundancy in such a scenario. Once again planning and designing is half the job.

Another clear advantage with virtualization is that servers can easily be provided with more disk, memory and CPU power when needed, for example by providing more resources or even moving the virtual server over to a physical box with more resources. In addition, backup and restore of servers are siginifically easier as the entire server and its configuration basically is a small set of files.

I will wrap this up for now, but there will be many more posts about virtualization in different forms. I hope you all have enjoyed this post and I’ll go much deeper into this in my later posts. Feel free to add any comment you may have. Thank you