Quick shout-out to Apple for their 'Families' program that just launched. These types of protections for children are important for the digital world. Apple definitely isn't the first to publicize, Microsoft similarly has offered good family protection for some time.
Powershell.org is a great site for all things PowerShell. This blog site is a must-see for anyone learning PowerShell or just looking to improve their PowerShell-game.
Intel's new compute stick is a full blown computer as small as a USB drive. Turn any TV into a PC instantly. M or Atom processors available, USB port, HD Graphics, Bluetooth, WiFi, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage and Windows 10 for a little more than $100.
Check out eBrahma's sample certification exams for Cisco, Microsoft, Juniper and ITIL. While these exams are not as comprehensive as paid sample exams, they provide a great baseline for topic knowledge.
Windows 8 and Outlook.com
There are more than one way to create a Microsoft ID. I chose to create mine via Outlook.com. Since I've had Windows 8, which I like by the way, I've had the classic, "local user account". But recently I've began logging in to Winows 8 using my firstname.lastname@example.org Microsoft ID. It's much nicer to do this as all the buttons work seamlessly. The Store, Calendar, Email, and SkyDrive are all accessable instantly. Office 2013 automatically uses my login to configure Outlook using the email@example.com. Combined with the Surface tablet, it's a savvy setup going between devices and the cloud.
Microsoft Remote Desktop Services
The old Terminal Server is now Microsoft Remote Desktop Services. As many organizations use terminal server to allow many users to access an application or services centrally, using RDS there is a simple way to ease access to the terminal server. By creating a RemoteApp, you are simply creating a shortcut that points to a terminal server and application. The 'application' can be branded and deployed using GPO, email, etc.
TechNet Virtual Labs
Microsoft's TechNet Virtual Labs is a powerful online environment that enables testing of new Microsoft products and technologies. Virtual Labs will walk you through, step-by-step, navigating multiple VM's to accomplish a complex technical task. It also explains each step using clear, simple terminology to help you learn quickly and efficiently.
This post will be brief but Visio is better and has the most capabilities to create some very high-end diagrams and flow charts. However, Visio is not always available as it's fairly expensive. So for those other times, an Internet connection and a Google Apps account (google.com/a) can fill in quite nicely. Via Google Drive > Create > Drawing and you're off to creating some also nice diagrams in a flash.
Desktop Hypervisors: Hyper-V Vs. VMware Workstation
For those who test and prepare using personal VM's and snapshots, VMware Workstation is unmatched in it's abilities. Now there are alternative choices to the hypervisor used on a workstation. Oracle's VirtualBox and Microsoft's Hyper-V are now available for desktop Windows. We'll focus on Hyper-V and save VirtualBox for a future post. Since the hardware needs VT enabled in the BIOS, only one hypervisor can be used. VMware Workstation is full-featured and the Snapshot Manager beats both Oracle and Microsoft's abilities. However, Hyper-V is free with Windows 8, VMware Workstation is around $180. VMware offers the VM Player for free but with limited features.
ForensIT Profile Wizard
One of my favorite utilities, this gem will move a user's entire profile as-is into a new domain. The profile's folder structure never actually moves, Profile Wizard does some background registry magic to allow the user to login to the new domain using their existing profile. Default Windows will create a new profile when the user logs into the new domain and the profile would then be moved by hand.
1. Install and change password
2. Reboot using: Shutdown -r -t 0
3. Install hypervisor tools: D:\Setup.exe
4. Change screen resolution to 800x600
5. Change command prompt
6. Change time zone: Control timedate.cpl
7. Rename computer: netdom renamecomputer <oldname> /NewName:<newname>
8. Install Microsoft Updates
9. Create the domain controller
TechNet Evaluation Center
With the use of virtual machines taking over production environments, testing the server operating systems combined with the enterprise applications that run across these platforms is crucial for success. All Microsoft software is digitally available online for free. The software is fully functional anywhere between 30 and 180 days.
My Personal PC
One of many ways I practice DR for myself and customers is not activating my Windows OS. Every 30 day I will wipe out my C-drive and reinstall Windows 8 (previously Windows Vista & 7). Sometimes if I'm feeling lazy, I will 'rearm' the license on the last day to give me 14 more days before activation is required. You can 'rearm' the Windows license only 2 times, the command is (run Cmd Prompt as Administrator): slmgr -rearm
Windows Server HPC Pack
A variable unknown edition of Windows Server is the HPC edition. Since all computers and servers today have multiple cores (2,4,6,8-cores), there is an opportunity to use the processing power of those cores when not in use. Enter HPC. HPC or "High Performance Computing" is a new service that allows hardware to be grouped together and jobs assigned to run against those cores during off hours. Try it and see it in action at Microsoft Labs.
**Caution** If this command is used incorrectly or run in the wrong direction it will destroy data.
Command needs run from the 'source' machine.
Command will mirror data from source to destination skipping locked files 'in use' so the command can be run during work hours. Re-reun after hours to copy skipped files from earlier. Marks files as 'copied' or 'skipped' so it will require running the command several times to get all the data.
Robocopy D:\ \\destination\d$ /MIR /R:2 /W:5 /SEC /ZB