Categories
Microsoft Tools

Download – P2V Migration for Software Assurance

P2V Migration for Software Assurance uses the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Sysinternals Disk2VHD to convert a user’s existing Windows XP or newer client environment to a virtual hard disk then automates the delivery of an updated and personalized Windows 7 operating system containing a virtual machine with the user’s previous Windows environment, applications and Web browser. The user’s previous virtual desktop retains its existing management components, domain membership and policies. The process also publishes applications and the browser for the user to access them seamlessly within Windows 7’s start menu.

P2V Migration supports both native Lite Touch Installation using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit or Zero Touch Installation using System Center Configuration Manager 2007 with included scripts and task sequence templates.

How It Works –

  1. Starting Windows environment with Windows XP SP3 or newer. Environment is personalized with applications or browser customizations potentially not compatible with Windows 7.
  2. Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 or System Center Configuration Manager 2007 initiates fully-automated migration to Windows 7. Process includes P2V conversion of the running OS using Sysinternals Disk2VHD.
  3. Windows 7 migration complete. Windows 7 contains the previous operating system in its entirety within a virtual machine.
  4. Standalone application and Internet Explorer links published from virtual machine to native Windows 7 start menu.

Even the most skilled IT shops, with resources to work through application compatibility challenges, often find a few users blocking roll-outs to entire sites or larger numbers of users due to:

  • Compatibility of specialized, region or user-specific applications, browser customizations or USB device drivers.
  • Missing installation files or media to install applications or drivers for testing or redelivery.
  • Critical users who cannot risk losing any functionality of their current desktop environments and require a working backup before moving to Windows 7.
  • Incompatible application from previous operating system is launched seamlessly within Windows 7 using RemoteApp integration and Virtual PC.
  • These types of issues make it difficult to completely replace existing systems with Windows 7 without causing user disruption. Allowing users to retain their current desktop environments while moving to Windows 7 can smooth the transition while mitigating or delaying investments required for making applications and hardware natively compatible with Windows 7.

    Download P2V Migration for Software Assurance now: P2V Migration for Software Assurance

    Note: Physical-to-virtual hard drive migration of a Windows installation is a valid operation for customers with Software Assurance and full retail copies of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Software Assurance provides users valuable benefits. Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 installed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) using OEM versions of these products may not be transferred to a virtual hard drive in accordance with Microsoft licensing terms.

    Categories
    Best Practices Enterprise Tech Featured Microsoft Tools

    Top Ten Tips and Troubleshooting with Process Explorer Tool

    Process Explorer tool from SysInternals, will give you a complete overview on what processes are currently running in your PC along with the details on who invoked it and how much system resources it is consuming. This tool will be very essential, if you want to identify which file or directory has a particular program opened. In this article, you will learn 10 best practices and tips which will help to use this tool better.

    A process is a container for a set of resources, including one or more threads. A process never consumes a CPU. Its the thread inside the process which consumes the system resources like CPU, Memory etc. Each process at-least has one Thread.  Using this tool, you can also determine which thread of a process is consuming CPU.

    Some of the benefits, this Tool gives you are..

    • Displays the Parent/Child Relationships of the Processes
    • Highlighting of different process based on their source and states.
    • Customize Columns to suit specific needs to analyze CPU performance, Threads, etc
    • Tons of Options to play around with..!

    Tip 1:Process Explorer Parameters – Create a Startup Shortcut / Desktop Shortcut to this executable (procexp.exe) and add a parameter /t /e to it.

    Process Explorer - Parameters

    /t makes this executable run minimized and /e will make it run elevated. As most of the times, you want the system processes also.. it makes sense to run the tool elevated.

    Process Explorer - System TrayWhen you invoke this shortcut, the Process Explorer will run in the System Tray as shown below. You can just double click to invoke them.

    Tip 2: Configuring the Options – Goto Options Menu Item and Select Hide When Minimized and Allow only one instance. This will help you to just minimize the program, even when you click on the X close button. Sometimes, you tend to invoke the shortcut more than once, thinking that the Process Explorer is not running, selecting the Allow only one instance will help you not have multiple entries of Procexp inside the process explorer window.

    Process Explorer - Hide When MinimizedTip 3: Configure Symbols – When you invoke any process and go-to the Threads Tab, you will observe a hexadecimal weird address in the Start Address Tab. These will not be helpful for you while troubleshooting. You will need to convert it to a meaninful message and thats where configuring the symbols will be useful.

    Process Explorer - Hexa Thread DefinitionsGoto Options Tab, and click on Configure Symbols item.

    Process Explorer - Configure Symbols

    You will need to install the Windows Debugging Toolkit, so that you can configure the path of the dbghelp.dll file. Also, configure the Symbols path as both local and internet. For more information read here – http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/debugstart.mspx

    Process Explorer - Configure Symbol PathsOnce you do this, the hexa-decimal code will be converted to more meaningful message for effective understanding and troubleshooting. You can see in the Start Address column now.

    Process Explorer - Meaningful Thread Definitions

    Tip 4: Highlighting Colors – Goto Options Menu Item and Select, Configure highlighting. Using this option, you can customize the colors which you would like to assign for certain roles of processes. By default Pink color is associated for processes with one or more – win32 services, Yellow color for processes which uses .NET Framework, Light blue color for processes which are running with the same user account as the process explorer.

    Configure Highlighting of ProcessesTip 5: Configure Difference highlighting Duration: Set the Duration to 5 or more seconds. This is an important tip, which will help you distinguish in the difference of the events. The color associations and the process will exist and run for 5 seconds. For example, every process which starts new is associated a green color and every process that stops gets a red. the processes will exist in the Process Explorer for at-least 5 seconds with the same color code, so that you can see them and diagnose the same.

    Configuring highlighting DurationTip 6: Verifying Processes – When you double-click on any process it opens the properties dialog; this will give you the complete information of that particular process. Its Parent process, Who invoked it, At what time, What OS version is it (32/64 bit) etc. Just observe that, this executable is not verified no matter it comes from Microsoft Corporation. Verifying the processes will help you to determine whether this process is signed to run on this particular edition of the OS. For example, if your machine performance is sluggish, you might run the verify process and see if any of the executables like antivirus are not suited for your PC.

    Analyzing a Process Image

    Goto Options Tab and select on Verify Image Signatures. This will start the verification process. Now you click on any column and add a new column for Verified Signer. You will start seeing all the process along with the verified status.

    Verified Processes

    Tip 7: Process Identification – Sometimes, there could be many processes running on your PC (for example, many instances of a same application), In this case it would be difficult to identify the associated process entry in Process Explorer. Thats where exactly, this magnifier comes to your help. Hold the magnifier button, and that will show you all the other windows executing on your PC. Just drop the magnifier on a window which you wanted to identify and that appropriate process would get high-lighted in the Process Explorer.

    Magnifier Process Identifier

    Tip 8: DLL/Header View – Selecting a Process, and pressing Cntl+D will show the DLL view in the hidden tab. Cntl + H will show the headers which are currently accessed by the process. This will be helpful to understand the components used by a process. You can also choose to search a dll or a Header using the Search option. For eg: If you ever encountered a failed delete action by your process, searching for ‘delete’ will give you more information on what gets called and which file did your process try to delete. You can hover over any process in Process explorer, this will get you all the win32 services running in it.

    Cntl+D for DLL View –

    Process Explorer - DLL View

    Cntl+H for Header View –

    Process Explorer - Headers View

    Tip 9: Performance Graphs – Double-clicking the graph in the icon bar, will open the performance graph. The red color showcases the kernel mode and the green signifies the transition of Kernel and User mode. If you are running a multi-core PC, choose to ‘show One Graph per CPU’. This will help you manage tasks and also enables you to take a decision to set affinity for a process to a single CPU. (You can right click on a process, Set Affinity to just any of the CPU)

    Set Processor Affinity

    System Information - Performance Graph

    Tip 10: Configure Columns – In the explorer window, Right click on a column header and add new columns. To identify an executable or a process performance, you need to add Threads, CPU Usage, Context Switch Delta and CPU Cycles Delta. This will help you identify which process has more threads and is consuming high CPU usage. Based upon your analysis, you can choose to terminate it for system performance.

    Process Performance

    Are you aware of any other worthwhile tip on this tool? If yes, drop in as a comment here and I shall feature it in this article appropriately!

    Also read about the other SysInternals Tools here  –

    Categories
    Enterprise Tech How-to Microsoft Tools

    How To Enable System Boot Time Logging using Process Monitor Tool

    How many times have you faced issues with slow or longer boot time in your PC? Does it happen only on your computer? There could be many reasons for this. It could be too many Startup process, Run Keys, and sometimes even malware executables as well.

    It would make your troubleshooting job easy, if you get to know what really happens when your PC boots. Process Monitor tool from SysInternals will exactly help you in doing the same. This tool can also be used for other process snapshot and access informations. however, in this post we will look at its Boot Logging capabilities.

    First download the executable from SysInternals Site, If you face issues with Security Warning message, check this tip to fix it.

    Step 1: Execute the procmon.exe; Goto Options menu, and Click Enable Boot Logging.

    Enable Boot Logging

    Step 2: This will further give you this below Boot logging options. You can choose to Enable the Profiling Events, if you need.

    Boot Logging Options

    Step 3: You can now reboot your PC. When the machine restarts, the process monitor will start monitoring all the processes and applications which gets invoked during the system boot and generates a dump file.

    Step 4: Execute procmon.exe again. You will see this below dialog which tells you that, a log of the boot-time activity was created by the previous instance of process monitor. To save the collected Data, press the Yes Button.

    Boot Time Activity Logs

    Step 5: The file will initially be saved as a dump file in C:\Windows, you will need to convert it to Process Monitor Log (pml) log files. Save the Log file using this below dialog. This will start converting the dump file to pml file.

    Saving Procmon Log - Dump to Log File

    Converting Boot-time Event Data

    Once the Log is converted, it will open in the Process Monitor tool.


    Here you can get an idea on all the applications and processes which was executed during the system boot. This report will help you identify, which process was invoked by whom and how much time did it take to for its complete execution. You can also identify if any malwares are running in your PC, which is affecting your system boot.

    Logs for System Boot

    Step 6: You can choose to filter these reports; when you click on any entry you will get the below dialog which will give you a complete snapshot on the process attributes, Who invoked it, its architecture, the Parent Process Id, along with information on when did the process transition from User mode to a Kernel mode through the Stack.

    Event Properties

    Also read about the other SysInternals Tools here  –

    Categories
    General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

    Giveaway – PDFTiger, Convert a PDF document into Word

    The team at PDFTiger are starting their Time-limited giveaway promotion for the shareware product – PDFTiger. This giveaway promotion will be ended on Oct 21, 2010. During this time PDFTiger is for free for all users and visitors.

    With PDFTiger, users will be able to convert a PDF document into Word with only 3 mouse clicks. PDFTiger preserves the original quality of the PDF files and converts both text and images. Users can convert the entire PDF or selected pages only and event convert multiple files in the batch mode, which may come in very handy when working with large book or document archives.

    In addition to the Word format, PDFTiger can convert PDF files to DOC, RTF, TXT, BMP, JPG, GIF, TIF, HTML and SWF files. Finally, the program has a very simple and nice-looking interface that will take a moment or two to get used to. PDFTiger is also a PDF creator that quickly and accurately creates PDF documents from Word, Excel, Powerpoint, text, Images and all printable files. You could also take a look at the https://searchenginereports.net/pdf-to-doc for more information.

    PDFTiger is worth $39.95 USD, but this giveaway is 100% free and full functional.  Download this software here

    Special thanks to Dickson Woo from PDFTiger for this tip!

    Categories
    Microsoft Tools Virtualization

    Download Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0

    The increasing use of virtual machines—for purposes ranging from support of older operating system environments to power savings—has created new challenges for IT. In particular, virtual machines may be left offline (stored in a non-operating state) for extended periods of time, which conserves resources when the server capacities of the virtual machines are not needed or frees up physical computing resources for other purposes.

    However, offline machines, templates, and virtual hard disks do not automatically receive operating system, antivirus, or application updates that would keep them compliant with current IT policy. An out-of-date virtual machine may pose a risk to the IT environment. If deployed and started, the out-of-date virtual machine might be vulnerable to attack or could be capable of attacking other network resources.

    Therefore, IT groups must take measures to ensure that offline virtual machines, templates, and virtual hard disks remain up-to-date and compliant. At present, these measures involve temporarily bringing the virtual machine online, applying the necessary updates, and then storing it again.

    VMST 3.0 helps you reduce IT costs by making it easier to update your offline virtual machines, templates and virtual hard disks with the latest operating system and application patches—without introducing vulnerabilities into your IT infrastructure.

    VMST 3.0 helps customers more effectively—and safely—manage the workflow of updating their offline virtualization environment.

    Using VMST 3.0, customers can now service:

    • Offline virtual machines in a SCVMM library.
    • Stopped and saved state virtual machines on a host.
    • Virtual machine templates.
    • Offline virtual hard disks in a SCVMM library by injecting update packages.

    Download This Solution Accelerator, which provides automated tools and guidance that IT professionals can use to update offline virtual machines, templates, and virtual hard disks efficiently and without exposing them to security risks.

    Click here to access the video module, At the end of this module, you’ll be able to:

    • Describe the challenges with updating offline virtual machines, virtual hard disks, and templates.
    • Explain how the Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool will greatly streamline the process of servicing and updating offline virtual environment.

    You can upgrade to Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0 from Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 2.1 and the Beta version 3.0 of the tool, review the Getting Started GuideLearn More

    Categories
    Enterprise Tech How-to Microsoft Tools

    How to Enable Data Collection (RACTask) for Reliability Monitor Tool

    Reliability Monitor is an advanced tool that measures hardware and software problems and other changes to your computer. Reliability Analysis Component (RAC) aggregates, analyzes and correlates problems at the operating system and application levels. The location of Reliability Monitor data files is stored in the registry. If the monitor does not show data to you, then you will need to Enable the Data Collection Task.

    To learn more on How you can measure Hardware and Software problems using Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 – Read this article

    Reliability Monitor uses data provided by the RACTask scheduled task. Reliability Monitor will start displaying a Stability Index rating and specific event information 24 hours after system installation.

    The RACTask scheduled task runs by default after the operating system is installed. If it is disabled, it must be enabled manually from the Task Scheduler snap-in for Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

    Step 1: Start the Task Scheduler. you can run taskschd.msc in the searchbox, and then press ENTER (or) Right click on the My Computer, and then select the Manage option. Choose Task Scheduler.

    Computer Management

    Step 2: In the navigation pane, expand Task Scheduler Library, expand Microsoft, expand Windows, and click RAC.
    Choose RAC in Task Scheduler
    Step 3: Right-click RAC, click View, and click Show Hidden Tasks.
    Show Hidden Tasks for RAC - Task Scheduler
    Step 4: Click RACtask in the results pane. On the Action menu, click Enable.
    How to Enable Data Collection for Reliability Monitor Tool

    To learn more on How you can measure Hardware and Software problems using Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 – Read this article

    Categories
    Enterprise Tech How-to Microsoft Tools

    Analyze Hardware and Software problems in Windows 7

    Reliability Monitor is an advanced tool that measures hardware and software problems and other changes to your computer. This helps IT professionals better manage the stability of machines in their organization. Reliability Analysis Component (RAC) aggregates, analyzes, and correlates problems at the operating system and application levels. It calculates a stability index that indicates overall system stability over time. RAC also keeps track of any important changes to the system that are likely to affect stability, such as Windows updates, application installations, and driver installations.

    The Reliability Monitor is intended for advanced computer users, such as software developers and network administrators.

    You can Invoke Reliability Monitor perfmon /rel and pressing ENTER in the command prompt.

    Invoking Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 using Command Prompt

    You can also search for Reliability monitor in the Control Panel.

    When you click on the ‘View Reliability history’, you will get this below dialog. This is actually refreshing and generating the report.

    Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 - Report Being Generated

    This will open the Reliability Monitor. Users can view RAC data via the Reliability Monitor, which displays data collected from RAC in a stability chart and correlates the computer’s stability index with important events that are likely to affect stability, such as driver failures and software installation.

    Reliability Monitor in Windows 7

    When you double click on any of the events, it would give you the detailed information on how that event occured. For eg: I  see a WindowsExplorer event, which gives the Summary information that the ‘User canceled a hung navigation’. When I double-click it, you can see this below detailed information.

    WindowsExplorer Hung Error Information

    Another example for an Successful Message – Let us look the details of the VirtualBox USB Driver Installation message.

    Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 - View Technical Details and Summary

    Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 - View Technical Details of Virtual Box ErrorIf some applications events triggers an error, you can check for a solution online and also send the report to Microsoft. If the solution is not found online, they will appear in the Action Center when the information in available later.

    In Windows 7, Reliability Monitor uses data provided by the RACTask (Reliability Analysis Component scheduled task). Once enabled, This tool will start displaying a Stability Index rating and specific event information 24 hours after system installation. Find the detailed instruction on how to enable this task.

    Categories
    Microsoft Tools Virtualization

    Download Linux Integration Services v2.1 for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2

    The Microsoft Virtualization team announced the availability of the Hyper-V Linux Integration Services for Linux Version 2.1. This release marks yet another milestone in providing a comprehensive virtualization. They have supported Linux as a guest operating system on the virtualization platform from the days of Virtual Server and continue to enhance the support in that regard.

    The following features are included in the 2.1 release:

    • Driver support for synthetic devices: Linux Integration Services supports the synthetic network controller and the synthetic storage controller that were developed specifically for Hyper-V.
    • Fastpath Boot Support for Hyper-V: Boot devices take advantage of the block Virtualization Service Client (VSC) to provide enhanced performance.
    • Timesync: The clock inside the virtual machine will remain synchronized with the clock on the host.
    • Integrated Shutdown: Virtual machines running Linux can be gracefully shut down from either Hyper-V Manager or System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
    • Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) Support: Supported Linux distributions can use up to 4 virtual processors (VP) per virtual machine.
    • Heartbeat: Allows the host to detect whether the guest is running and responsive.
    • Pluggable Time Source: A pluggable clock source module is included to provide a more accurate time source to the guest.

    Download the Linux Integration Services v2.1 for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 here

    This version of the integration services for Hyper-V supports Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 / 5.3 / 5.4 / 5.5.

    For support questions, please utilize the Linux Integration Services forum here: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/linuxintegrationservices/threads

    Categories
    Microsoft Tools Virtualization

    Download System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal (SSP) 2.0

    System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal (SSP) 2.0 lets you build the foundation for an on-premises cloud infrastructure, enabling you to deliver IT as a service for your organization. Using SSP, you can respond more effectively – and at lower cost – to the rapidly changing needs of your organization. SSP is freely available, and fully supported by Microsoft. This solution is built on top of Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, and System Center VMM. You can use it to pool, allocate, and manage resources to offer infrastructure as a service and to deliver the foundation for a private cloud platform inside your datacenter.

    VMMSSP includes a pre-built web-based user interface that has sections for both the datacenter managers and the business unit IT consumers, with role-based access control. VMMSSP also includes a dynamic provisioning engine. VMMSSP reduces the time needed to provision infrastructures and their components by offering business unit “on-boarding,” infrastructure request and change management. The VMMSSP package also includes detailed guidance on how to implement VMMSSP inside your environment.

    Download System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal (SSP) 2.0 here

    The self-service portal provides the following features that are exposed through a web-based user interface:

    • Configuration and allocation of datacenter resources: Store management and configuration information related to compute, network and storage resources as assets in the VMMSSP database.
    • Customization of virtual machine actions: Provide a simple web-based interface to extend the default virtual machine actions; for example, you can add scripts that interact with Storage Area Networks for rapid deployment of virtual machines.
    • Business unit on-boarding: Standardized forms and a simple workflow for registering and approving or rejecting business units to enroll in the portal.
    • Infrastructure request and change management: Standardized forms and human-driven workflow that results in reducing the time needed to provision infrastructures in your environment.
    • Self-Service provisioning: Supports bulk creation of virtual machines on provisioned infrastructure through the web-based interface.Helps business units to manage their virtual machines based on delegated roles.

    Important: VMMSSP is not an upgrade to the existing VMM 2008 R2 self-service portal. You can choose to deploy and use one or both self-service portals depending on your requirements.

    Courtesy: Microsoft TechNet

    You would also be interested in downloading these Books / WhitePapers from TradePub –

    Categories
    General Microsoft Tools

    Review Website/Blog with Free SEO Toolkit from Microsoft

    Start with the free download, review your website, and make changes fast. The SEO Toolkit with its detailed analysis and search engine friendly suggestions helps improve the relevance of your website in search results right away.

    • Increase Website Traffic and Revenue – Analyze your website and find ways to boost your number of hits. Use SEO recommendations to improve traffic and increase your revenue stream.
    • Influence and Update Search Engines – Control the access and display of your content in search results. Keep search engines current with the latest information from your website.
    • Improve Customer Experience – Discover and solve common problems in your website content and design to enhance your end user experience. Make it easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for

    Download this Free SEO Kit here

    To learn more on this tool and How-To instructions read the blog here – http://learn.iis.net/page.aspx/791/getting-started-with-the-seo-toolkit/

    You would also be interested in reading –