Tools of the Trade – Windows USB Download Tool

If you need a simple way to create a bootable Windows XP/Vista/7/8 USB memory stick. Microsoft has created a simple tool. It was created for Windows 7, but still does the trick 🙂

USB Download Tool

The tool will format your USB pen, make it bootable, then copy files from a specified .iso to the drive.

Get it here: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/html/pbPage.Help_Win7_usbdvd_dwnTool

 

Deploying Windows RT 8.1 in Educational Environments

There are many benefits with Windows RT. In most cases, the user will manage the device without involving the IT-department. In educational scenario’s Windows RT enabled devices such as Microsoft Surface is getting popular, due to a low price point, stability, easy to reset and quick boot-up speed.

Even if this is a “personal” device (you own it, love it and take care of it) most IT departments this want to do some initial configuration. There is some capabilities with System Center Configuration Manager and Windows Intune where you can deploy Wi-Fi and VPN Profiles, but this requires that you have the SCCM/Intune solution configured.

If you ‘re about to roll out Windows RT devices, I recommend; “Deploying Windows RT 8.1 – A guide for Education”. This is a complete guide for enrolling Windows RT devices in educational environments. In addition there is a codeplex project providing a complete solution with scripts.

Index:

  • Choosing a student account
  • Deployment process overview
  • Creating the configuration store
  • Building a complete solution
  • Local group policy settings.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=41643

Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 available for Technet and MSDN subscribers!

Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 are now available for IT-Pro’s and Developers!!.

Windows_8.1_1 Windows_8.1_2

Language Packs are available for following languages: English, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, German, Greek, Spanish, Estonian, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Croatian, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese-Brazil, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Chinese – Hong Kong SAR, Chinese – Simplified, Portuguese-Portugal.

Vote for an affordable alternative to MSDN subscriptions comparable to TechNet!

As you may know Microsoft is retiring the Technet Subscription. IT pro’s need access to Microsoft products other than trials, to be able to maintain the neccesary knowledge and provide the best service possible to Microsoft’s customers. The only comparable subscription (MSDN) costs $6120

Technet_MSDN

Sign the petition here

 

Tools of the trade: How to encode VBScripts

Once in a while you may need to create a vbscript. If you for some reason need to hide the code from a end-user there is an easy way to do this. Actually vbscript has it’s own encoder object built-in. The only thing you need to know is how to use it. This is not a bullet-proof solution because the script could be decoded.

Shawn Stugart has submitted  a sample script that does the encoding by drag and drop. Please visit the Technet Script Center and get it here: http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/16439c02-3296-4ec8-9134-6eb6fb599880

VBEncode

 

Tools of the trade: How to create Self-Extracting Archives with Windows

It’s a well hidden deployment secret that you can create self-extracting archives with Windows. Although 3’rd party software may give you some benefits, the IExpress tool in Windows usually has what you need. You can extract files and run commands, you can do post install commands, user prompts, license agreements, select run behavior, completion message and handle or require reboots.

You can launch IExpress from the command line or “run” (win+r) I have noticed that the tool works best when you run it as administrator.

1. Let’s say I want to create a new archive “MyApp”, this app has a install.vbs script that needs to be executed as part of the installation. I start the IExpress Wizard.

IEx1

2. I select the package purpose, I want to extract files and run an installation command.

IEx2

3. I name my package “My Demo App”

IEx3

4. In this case I do not want to prompt the user in any way.

 

IEx4

5. Neither to I have a license agreement.

IEx5

6. I then add the files I want included in my package. In this case I only add Install.vbs but usually you would want to add multiple files and folders.

IEx6

7. I specify the command line to launch after the package is extracted. Wscript.exe install.vbs

 

IEx7

8. I select “default” behaviour on the show window tab.

IEx8

 

 

9. I do not want any “completion message”.

IEx9

10. I select where to create the self-extracting archive and name of the .exe file.

IEx10

11. The package should only require a restart if it’s needed by my install.vbs script.

IEx11

 

12. If I wanted to I could save the steps (“Package definition”) in a file, this is a good idea If you need to update the package later on.

IEx12

13. I click next to create the package.

IEx13

 

 

14. “Your Package has been created, click Finish when you are ready to quit”

IEx14

Follow TechEd Europe Madrid Live!

If you are not one of the lucky ones attending TechEd…. Don’t worry, you can still follow the sessions online! Navigate to: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Europe/2013#fbid=wipqIKVlFpz

Windows 8: Windows 8.1 update will be unveiled June 26

Microsoft will release a public preview of Windows 8.1 available starting on June 26, timed With the build developer Conference in San Fransisco. The preview will be available for Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Read more on the Microsoft Blogs:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2013/05/14/free-windows-8-1-update-will-be-unveiled-june-26.aspx

http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2013/05/14/windows-keeps-getting-better.aspx

 

System Center 2012: The order in witch you upgrade System Center 2012 components is very important.

“In an environment that includes two or more components of Microsoft System Center 2012, the order in which you upgrade those components to System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is very important.”

Personally I recommend using this order also for cumulative updates and update rollups.

Upgrade Path

Read more here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj628203.aspx

MMS 2013: View sessions online

If you are not one of the lucky ones attending MMS 2013 …. Don’t worry, you can still follow the sessions online!

“The Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) brings together the brightest IT professionals from around the world to increase their technical expertise through an intensive week of training led by experts in desktop, device management, datacenter, and cloud technologies.”

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/MMS/2013