Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Windows 8 – Mobile Network Engineering

Has we already knew, the future it’s all connected

Networks / Mobile broadband / AT&T / View my account / Estimated usage 107.79 MB since 1 hour ago / Reset / Connect automatically / Roam automatically / Connect button / Wi-Fi / MSFTGUEST

On this post at Building Windows 8 Blog, Steven Sinofsky explains how Microsoft developed Windows 8 with the purpose to give the end users a better mobile experience, with special focus on the mobile broadband connections.

One of the great improvements it’s that now Windows 8 brings a layer that controls the mobile broadband interface (Mobile Broadband Interface Model, or MBIM). This removes from the end users path, the hurdles that everyone knows about installing the third-party drives and software from the OEMs that normally gives a lot of headaches.
This means, an unique interface to control all your networks, with no issues about turning on and off radio antennas, put pin codes in another place, etc..

With a mobile broadband, it’s now even possible to see on the new user interface the data plans you have contracted with your provider, the consumptions, etc.
Because Microsoft want’s everyone developing to Windows 8, they now provide a new set of developer APIs so developers can take advantage of this nice new features.

Also, the new Windows 8 Task Manager provides a more granular information about the broadband usage. For example, you can know exactly how much network bandwidth an application has consumed.

AT&T Mobile Broadband app / CPU (Time) 0:10:53 / Network (MB) 1.9 / Metered network (MB) 0.1 / Tiles (MB) 0.

To read the complete article and to see a short video demonstration just go to:
Building Windows 8 - Engineering Windows 8 for mobile networks

Friday, July 27, 2012

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 – VDI Presentation on Edge Show


The count down for Microsoft Windows 8 and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 has already started and the news are coming in a daily basis.
Since a couple of years, specifically since Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, the boom of virtualization has come to stay. We need to agree that Microsoft was a step behind it’s major competitors like VMware and Citrix.

With Windows Server 2012, Microsoft seems to have learned what the other were than great and add it to its operating system. I’m particularly interested in testing the new RDS Broker to see it’s capabilities when compared to VMware View.

So, here a nice introduction video from Microsoft’s Edge Show, about the new VDI on Windows Server 2012:


Monday, July 16, 2012

Windows 7 Deployment – Back to Basics

Although a lot of this blog readers have some good deployment experience, I believe it’s always good to get back to basics and remember some things about Windows 7 deployment because this can refresh our memory and sometimes realize that what we thought we were doing right can be done in a different way or with a different approach to a given problem or objective.

So, here are some videos I believe are the basic to remember and for those who are starting in the marvelous world of automated deployment:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Automating Drivers Installation and Availability in Your Enterprise


So, we have a central store for our group policies (ADMX files), a network share for our software, a SharePoint for our documents and…what about device drivers?

That thing that gives all IT departments headaches. All that helpdesk calls from annoyed users that want to install they’re scanner or printer but the drivers simply don’t install or the user must be a member of the local administrators to do so.

With this in mind, Microsoft since Windows Vista created a very nice way to solve this issue in a very easy setup that really addresses this problem.
It’s called Central Driver Store, and gets you in the control, of that users that want to bring some kind of device to the enterprise that needs a driver and: The users don’t have admin rights to install them or the driver isn’t on the base image.
In other words, amongst other things, this helps your enterprise to get in track with the ‘next big thing’ called IT Consumerization.

Configuring everything right

Setting up the Drive Store
Well, this one is the simplest step. Just find a place where you want to put all the drivers and create a network share. Everyone need to have access to this share so “Everyone” or “Authenticated Users” should have “Read” permission on the share and “Read/Execute” on the folder.
For the purposes of this article, the network share name will be CentralDrivers.

Under the CentralDrivers folder you can create sub-folders that matches the drivers inside them. For example: LAN; Video; Audio; etc. Off course this is just an example and you can setup your share as you want it.


Putting the Drivers in the Central Driver Store
Since Windows Vista Microsoft created a Local Driver Store where the entire drivers packages are located. This can be found at C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\.

Now, let’s use as an example a scanner driver you want to make available on your Central Driver Store:

  • Install the scanner on a clean machine (usually a test machine on lab)
  • Navigate to the Local Driver Store
  • Here, you’ll find that the drivers aren’t named in a “user friendly” way but just order the folder sorting for modified data and you should easily get the recently installed scanner drivers
  • Just copy the “not user friendly” folder to your Central Driver Store and then rename it as you like it most

You now have that scanner drivers available on your Central Driver Store if someone need them.


Making the Client Know About the Central Driver Store
Now that our scanner driver is on the Central Driver Store, we need to setup the client machines so they could have a new place to look for drivers.

Using your “standard deployment software” or a GPO or a startupscript/logonscript, deploy the following registry key, customizing it to match the network share previously created:

Key: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DevicePath
Value: %SystemRoot%\Inf;\\SERVERNAME\SHARE


Allowing a Standard User to Install a Driver from the Central Driver Store
On a perfect world or a very nice managed enterprise ordinary users shouldn’t be prompted for elevated credentials when installing managed hardware.

To achieve this objective 3 items must be met:

  1. The driver must be in the Central Driver Store
  2. The driver setup class must be allowed
  3. The driver publisher must be trusted

Well, the item 1 it’s done. to meet the item 2 you need to find out the driver setup class.
So, you should do has following:

  • Go to the folder of your previously copied driver on the Central Driver Store
  • Open the *.inf file with notepad (or other text editor)
  • At the top of the file you should fine a line named ClassGUID with a GUID inside brackets like the example below:
  • On a GPO linked to your managed computers navigate to:
    Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | System | Driver Installation
  • Now, enable the GPO called “Allow non-administrators to install drivers for these device setup classes”
  • Click on the “Show” button and past the previously found GUID (just from the start to the end of the brackets) like the example below:


The item 3 should only be necessary if in your test machine where you extract the drivers from the Local Driver Store, you get a message similar to the example below:


If so…you need to:

  • Select the option “Always trust software from “DMITest” and press Install
  • When the installation finishes go to Start –> Run and execute certmgr.msc
  • Navigate to “Trusted Publisher”  and the select “Certificates”
  • Right click on the certificate (in this example it’s something like DMI Test Team Sound) and export it

This certificate now needs to be deployed on all your computers. An easy way it’s using GPOs.


The End
And finally it’s all done! You can now have a centralized store for all your hardware drivers and they can be automatically installed on all machines when a device it’s connected to a managed computer on your network.



Sunday, July 1, 2012

Remote Monitoring an MDT Deployment

Although I’ve been using MDT for years, incredibly I’ve just put my MDT server available on the network 2 weeks ago!
This happened for the simple reason that over the years our MDT server, and the rest of our lab, was really near our team so…there was no really a need to access the server from my confortable workplace.

Well, but things change…
Starting Monday, we are moving to a new place and our lab it’s going way from us, 1 floor below. So, since the server has two NICs, one was configured to server MDT deployments (giving DHCP, etc,) and the other one to remote access.

Some time ago I saw a great article at The Deployment Guys blog written by Daniel Oxley. He made up an HTA script that gives me now a great flexibility and it’s really a time saver because now that the lab it’s away, I don’t need to go a lot of times to the 1st floor to see if the deployment it’s done.
The script uses a MDT property called EventShare that basically indicates the task sequence where it should write it’s events. In this case, to a UNC share path.

For me the best of this HTA it’s the simplicity to configure and use. It’s really really simple and really, it’s a wonderful time saver for everyone.

Take a look to the script and know more about Daniel Oxley at:
The Deployment Guys - Simple Deployment Monitoring