How to: Configure a “Boot to desktop” group policy for Windows 8.1

New in Windows 8.1 is the “Boot to Desktop” feature, where the user can choose not to boot to the Windows Tiles, but directly to the desktop! That’s a really nice feature if you ask me! How can we centrally configure and manage these feature for all my users or just a group of users? Exactly, through a group policy with User Preferences. It’s a user settings, so you could also use RES Workspace Manager for example.

1.) Navigate to your Group Policy Management Console
2.) Create a new Group Policy and disable the Computer Settings
3.) Open the policy and navigate to User Configuration / Preferences / Windows Settings / Registry
4.) Create a new Registry Item
5.)  Choose for Hive “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” and Navigate in the Key Path to:
6.) The Value name is “OpenAtLogon
6.) Choose the Value type “REG_DWORD
7) The Value data is:
Boots to Desktop = “0″
Boots to Start Menu = “1″
8.) Attach the group policy to a organizational unit(s) and login to your Windows 8.1 machine!

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Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0


Microsoft® Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) is a Microsoft-supported, stand-alone solution for the information technology (IT) pro or solution provider who wants to convert virtual machines and disks from VMware hosts to Hyper-V® hosts and Windows Azure™.

MVMC can be deployed with minimal dependencies. Because MVMC provides native support for Windows PowerShell®, it enables scripting and integration with data center automation workflows such as those authored and run within Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2. It can also be invoked through the Windows PowerShell® command-line interface. The solution is simple to download, install, and use. In addition to the Windows PowerShell capability, MVMC provides a wizard-driven GUI to facilitate virtual machine conversion.

New Features in MVMC 2.0
MVMC 2.0 release of MVMC includes the following new features:
◾Converts virtual disks that are attached to a VMware virtual machine to virtual hard disks (VHDs) that can be uploaded to Windows Azure.
◾Provides native Windows PowerShell capability that enables scripting and integration into IT automation workflows.
Note The command-line interface (CLI) in MVMC 1.0 has been replaced by Windows PowerShell in MVMC 2.0.
◾Supports conversion and provisioning of Linux-based guest operating systems from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts. ◾Supports conversion of offline virtual machines.
◾Supports the new virtual hard disk format (VHDX) when converting and provisioning in Hyper-V in Windows Server® 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
◾Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.1, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts Hyper-V virtual machines.
◾Supports Windows Server® 2012 R2, Windows Server® 2012, and Windows® 8 as guest operating systems that you can select for conversion.

Standard MVMC Features  
In addition to the new features previously identified, MVMC provides the following functionality:
◾Converts and deploys virtual machines from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts on any of the following operating systems: ◾Windows Server® 2012 R2
◾Windows Server® 2012
◾Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
◾Converts VMware virtual machines, virtual disks, and configurations for memory, virtual processor, and other virtual computing resources from the source to Hyper-V.
◾Adds virtual network interface cards (NICs) to the converted virtual machine on Hyper-V.
◾Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.0, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts to Hyper-V.
◾Has a wizard-driven GUI, which simplifies performing virtual machine conversions.
◾Uninstalls VMware Tools before online conversion (online only) to provide a clean way to migrate VMware-based virtual machines to Hyper-V.
Important  MVMC takes a snapshot of the virtual machine that you are converting before you uninstall VMware Tools, and then shuts down the source machine to preserve state during conversion. The virtual machine is restored to its previous state after the source disks that are attached to the virtual machine are successfully copied to the machine where the conversion process is run. At that point, the source machine in VMware can be turned on, if required. Important  MVMC does not uninstall VMware Tools in an offline conversion. Instead, it disables VMware services, drivers, and programs only for Windows Server guest operating systems. For file conversions with Linux guest operating systems, VMware Tools are not disabled or uninstalled. We highly recommend that you manually uninstall VMware Tools when you convert an offline virtual machine.
◾Supports Windows Server and Linux guest operating system conversion. For more details, see the section “Supported Configurations for Virtual Machine Conversion” in this guide.
◾Includes Windows PowerShell capability for offline conversions of VMware-based virtual hard disks (VMDK) to a Hyper-V–based virtual hard disk file format (.vhd file).  Note The offline disk conversion does not include driver fixes.

You can download Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0 here

How to: Install the Hyper-V Integration Components with ConfigMgr 2012 R2 during OSD

When you’ve to install an operating system in you’re environment, it is easy and usefull to test your OS deployment first in a virtual environment. In my case, it is an Microsoft Hyper-V host server, where I can deploy some virtual machines using ConfigMgr 2012 R2.

One of the important things when deploying a virtual machine within Hyper-V, are the Integration Components (Integration Services). These components installs all the necesarry drivers for that VM. Maybe you want to perform this action during the OS deployment fase (OSD). What steps do you need to make?

1.) First install a new clean Windows 7 VM (in my case it is Windows 7 Service Pack 1)
2.) Insert the Integration Services Setup Disk
Action / Insert Integration Services Setup Disk
3.) Navigate to your Windows Explorer and open the mounted disk
4.) Navigate to the right folder of your architecture, x86 or x64. In my case it is x64.
5.) Copy all the files in this to your Configuration Manager Site Server. In my case E:\Sources\Applications\Level 0\Hyper-V Integration Services x64
6.) The silent installation is not that hard. Just execute setup.exe /? to see all the options.
7.) Create a new package within ConfigMgr 2012 R2 with a normal program
8.) The source location is the location to your folder created in step 5
9.) The command line to perform is setup.exe /quiet /norestart
10.) After succesfully created to new package, don’t forget to distribute it to your distribution point(s)
11.) Now open you task sequence and at the end create a new folder called “Install Applications”
12.) Add a new package to install and select the wright package and program
13.) All you need to do now is deploy a virtual machine
14.) After your virtual machine has succesfully deployed, look at your device manager. All the components are installed.




How to: Find MAC addresses using PowerShell

Today I had to install a new System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 environment. One of the features this customer is going to use is OS Deployment. In this environment we are using the Build & Capture task sequence voor deploying a Master Image of Windows 8.1. The Master Images will be deployed in Hyper-V. One of the important steps is to import the “Master VM” into the ConfigMgr database. Two things you’ve to know are….PC name and the MAC address. With this PowerShell command you can find all the MAC addresses very easy!

1.) Open Microsoft PowerShell on your Hyper-V server
2.) First list all the VM’s
3.) List the name of the VM, MAC address, Virtual Switch name and IP address

get-vm -Name SC2012R2-PC0002 | select -ExpandProperty networkadapters | select vmname, macaddress, switchname, ipaddresses

4.) Import the VM into ConfigMgr


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Why is my RES Workspace Manager database growing that fast….??

Last week I was troubleshooting a RES Workspace Manager 2012 environment by one of our customers. A couple of times in one week, the datadisk of the SQL server was full, so at that time the SQL environment was not running anymore. The database of RES Workspace Manager was growing that fast….but why??

When looking for the actually size of the database, I saw that the size is just above the 20 GB. That’s pretty big if you ask me! The biggest data is the “logging” section. Okay…but which logging?? Sinds a few years, there’s a great tool available called DBLogCleanup. This tool has been written by Patrick van Grinsven and is extremely usefull for troubleshooting this kind of stuff.

Just run the tool, make a connection to your SQL environment and select the RES Workspace Manager database. At the log section, select “User Settings Sampling mode data“. As you can see, there were over the 16 million items in the database! The process iexplore.exe with the AppGUID 02222….6862 is growing realy fast!! So there’s a lot of User Sampling data in the database. After deleting the sampling data, the size of the database was 10 GB smaller.

1.) Run the DBLogCleanup Tool
2.) Fill in the SQL server, database, user and password
3.) Select the section you want to view
4.) Browse through the processes and note the AppGUID
5.) Open your RES Workspace Manager Console
6.) Navigate to your applications and find the specific AppGUID
7.) Open the properties of the application
8.) Navigate to User Settings and open the Sampling tab
9.) In the right corner hit “clear all sampled data”
10.) Make sure you turn off the sampling mode for that application

Conclusion: make sure you do not use sampling mode for a very long time! All the sampled data is stored in your database, so the database is growing very fast!!

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How to: Install Update 1 for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2

A couple of weeks ago Microsoft has released Update 1 for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2. This update requires a extra step to succesfully upgrade your SCVMM invironment. You have to install the MSI and you have to run a SQL script.

1.) First download the files and the SQL script.
2.) Check the version of your VMM environment
3.) Install the update on your VMM server
4.) Open the SQL Management Studio
5.) Select the database of VMM and open a new query
6.) Copy and paste the SQL script in the query
7.) Select “Execute
8.) Check the new version of your VMM invironment.
9.) Now your VMM 2012 R2 environment is succesfully upgraded with Update 1

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The Hydration Kit for ConfigMgr 2012 R2 is available for download

If you want to save some time installing all the System Center 2012 R2 products within your production environment or demo lab environment, the HydrationKit is just the way to go!! System Center guru Johan Arwidmark has created a fully automated installation upon MDT 2013! Within just a few minutes, you’re ready to rock!!

Download the HydrationKit for System Center 2012 R2

Special thanks to Johan!! Please visit his blog at and leave a message for him!!


Update Rollup 1 for System Center 2012 R2 available

Microsoft released Update Rollup 1 for System Center 2012 R2 with updates and fixes for Virtual Machine Manager, Data Protection Manager and Operations Manager.

Components that are fixed in this update rollup

• Data Protection Manager (KB 2904687)
• Operations Manager (KB 2904678)
• Virtual Machine Manager (KB 2904712)