Monday, May 20, 2013

4 Smartphones for Mobile Pros

4 Smartphones for Mobile Pros

The iPhone 5 is hardly the only game in town. Here are several business-oriented models that will meet even the most demanding executive's needs. Prices for these phones vary by contract and wireless carrier.--John Brandon

BlackBerry Z10

As you might expect, the Z10 is the hands-down winner when it comes to typing. The software keyboard is incredibly accurate and the keys are spaced just right. For business users, the Z10 brings peace of mind. BlackBerry Balance automatically secures your email so you can't copy from a work account to personal. And, company apps are protected and managed by your IT folks. Swiping works quite well: You can flick left and right to see open apps. The Hub provides quick access to incoming text messages. And, the phone is slim and business-black. The device uses a 1.5GHz processor, has 16GB of internal storage, and lasts 10 hours on a charge.

Don't count the Windows Phone 8 out quite yet. This speedy model, which runs on a 1.5GHz processor with 16GB of storage, might fit into a Microsoft-centric office better than an iPhone or Android model. For starters, you benefit from easier integration with Microsoft Office 2013 to save documents to the cloud and open them on the phone. Like the BlackBerry Z10, IT folks can wipe the phone of data and manage apps. The big win for larger companies: The 8X works out-of-the-box with SharePoint and can even auto-discover your existing server, which many companies use for collaboration.
Samsung Galaxy S4
There's some serious hype surrounding this successor to the Galaxy SIII, and for good reason. This Android model offers nifty consumer-oriented tricks like using both cameras (front and rear) at the same time and a sensor that can read gestures. But it's also outfitted with high-end business features. For starters, the KNOX service keeps business and personal apps split between two distinct views. You can also encrypt the phone to protect files. And here's a unique feature: One version of the S4 will have an octa-core (eight) processor running at 1.6GHz for blazing speed.

Two HTC phones, both for business? Sure. The HTC 8X has Microsoft apps for easy integration. But the HTC One is a worthy Android model. For starters, it is an exceptional phone that's sleek, well-made, and super-crisp. The 1.7GHz processor is speedy enough to keep pace with just about any Android business app. The camera uses a new technology to produce sharp images that you can even edit right on the phone.

Source: Unknown

Free Windows 8.1 update will be unveiled June 26

Microsoft unveils free Windows 8.1 update

The Microsoft logo is seen at their offices in Bucharest March 20, 2013. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

Free Windows 8.1 update will be unveiled June 26

The following post was originally published on The Fire Hose.

The Windows 8 update formerly known as “Windows Blue” will be called Windows 8.1, and consumers will be able to get it as a free update to Windows from the Windows Store, Tami Reller said at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston today.
More details about Windows 8.1 will be announced soon, Brandon LeBlanc wrote in a follow-up post on Blogging Windows this morning, adding: “We will also be making a public preview of Windows 8.1 available starting on June 26, timed with the Build developer conference in San Francisco. The preview will be available for Windows 8 and Windows RT.”
Read more about Windows 8’s progress to date, and Microsoft’s goal of delivering continual updates to create a richer experience for Windows customers, over on Blogging Windows.
Steve Wiens
Microsoft News Center Staff

Friday, January 11, 2013

Windows commands every administrator should know

10 Windows 7 commands every administrator should know

1: System File Checker

Malicious software will often attempt to replace core system files with modified versions in an effort to take control of the system. The System File Checker can be used to verify the integrity of the Windows system files. If any of the files are found to be missing or corrupt, they will be replaced. You can run the System File Checker by using this command:
sfc /scannow

2: File Signature Verification

One way to verify the integrity of a system is to make sure that all the system files are digitally signed. You can accomplish this with the File Signature Verification tool. This tool is launched from the command line but uses a GUI interface. It will tell you which system files are signed and which aren’t. As a rule, all the system files should be digitally signed, although some hardware vendors don’t sign driver files. The command used to launch the File Signature Verification tool is:

3: Driverquery

Incorrect device drivers can lead to any number of system problems. If you want to see which drivers are installed on a Windows 7 system, you can do so by running the driverquery tool. This simple command-line tool provides information about each driver that is being used. The command is:
If you need a bit more information, you can append the -v switch. Another option is to append the -si switch, which causes the tool to display signature information for the drivers. Here’s how they look:
driverquery -v
driverquery -si

4: Nslookup

The nslookup tool can help you to verify that DNS name resolution is working correctly. When you run nslookup against a host name, the tool will show you how the name was resolved, as well as which DNS server was used during the lookup. This tool can be extremely helpful when troubleshooting problems related to legacy DNS records that still exist but that are no longer correct.
To use this tool, just enter the nslookup command, followed by the name of the host you want to resolve. For example:

5: Ping

Ping is probably the simplest of all diagnostic commands. It’s used to verify basic TCP/IP connectivity to a network host. To use it, simply enter the command, followed by the name or IP address of the host you want to test. For example:
Keep in mind that this command will work only if Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) traffic is allowed to pass between the two machines. If at any point a firewall is blocking ICMP traffic, the ping will fail.

6: Pathping

Ping does a good job of telling you whether two machines can communicate with one another over TCP/IP, but if a ping does fail, you won’t receive any information regarding the nature of the failure. This is where the pathping utility comes in.
Pathping is designed for environments in which one or more routers exist between hosts. It sends a series of packets to each router that’s in the path to the destination host in an effort to determine whether the router is performing slowly or dropping packets. At its simplest, the syntax for pathping is identical to that of the ping command (although there are some optional switches you can use). The command looks like this:

7: Ipconfig

The ipconfig command is used to view or modify a computer’s IP addresses. For example, if you wanted to view a Windows 7 system’s full IP configuration, you could use the following command:
ipconfig /all
Assuming that the system has acquired its IP address from a DHCP server, you can use the ipconfig command to release and then renew the IP address. Doing so involves using the following commands:
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
Another handy thing you can do with ipconfig is flush the DNS resolver cache. This can be helpful when a system is resolving DNS addresses incorrectly. You can flush the DNS cache by using this command:
ipconfig /flushdns

8: Repair-bde

If a drive that is encrypted with BitLocker has problems, you can sometimes recover the data using a utility called repair-bde. To use this command, you will need a destination drive to which the recovered data can be written, as well as your BitLocker recovery key or recovery password. The basic syntax for this command is:
repair-bde   -rk | rp 
You must specify the source drive, the destination drive, and either the rk (recovery key) or the rp (recovery password) switch, along with the path to the recovery key or the recovery password. Here are two examples of how to use this utility:
repair-bde c: d: -rk e:\recovery.bek
repair-bde c: d: -rp 111111-111111-111111-111111-111111-111111

9: Tasklist

The tasklist command is designed to provide information about the tasks that are running on a Windows 7 system. At its most basic, you can enter the following command:
The tasklist command has numerous optional switches, but there are a couple I want to mention. One is the -m switch, which causes tasklist to display all the DLL modules associated with a task. The other is the -svc switch, which lists the services that support each task. Here’s how they look:
tasklist -m
tasklist -svc

10: Taskkill

The taskkill command terminates a task, either by name (which is referred to as the image name) or by process ID. The syntax for this command is simple. You must follow the taskkill command with -pid (process ID) or -im (image name) and the name or process ID of the task that you want to terminate. Here are two examples of how this command works:
taskkill -pid 4104
taskkill -im iexplore.exe

Useful Commands for Windows Administration

How many users are logged on/connected to a server?

Sometimes we may need to know how many users are logged on to a (file) server, like maybe when there is a performance degradation.
At the server's console itself, with native commands only:
Remotely, with the help of SysInternals' PSTools:
	PSEXEC \\servername NET SESSION | FIND /C "\\"
By replacing FIND /C "\\" by FIND "\\" (removing the /C switch) you'll get a list of logged on users instead of just the number of users.

Who is logged on to a computer?

We often need to know who is currently logged on to a remote computer.
With native Windows (up to and including XP) commands only:
	NBTSTAT -a remotecomputer | FIND "<03>" | FIND /I /V "remotecomputer"
The first name in the list usually is the logged on user (try playing with the NET NAME command to learn more about the names displayed by NBTSTAT).
This is the fastest way to find the logged on user name, and the results that you do get are correct, but NBTSTAT won't always return a user name, even when a user is logged on.
Using WMIC (Windows XP Professional and later):
	WMIC /Node:remotecomputer ComputerSystem Get UserName
This is arguably the most reliable (native) command to find out who is logged on.
With the help of SysInternals' PSTools:
	PSLOGGEDON -L \\remotecomputer
	PSEXEC \\remotecomputer NET CONFIG WORKSTATION | FIND /I " name "
	PSEXEC \\remotecomputer NET NAME
or for Windows XP only:
	PSEXEC \\remotecomputer NETSH DIAG SHOW COMPUTER /V | FIND /i "username"
Using REG.EXE (Windows 2000 and later):
	FOR /F %%A IN ('REG Query \\remotecomputer\HKU ˆ| FINDSTR /R /B /C:"HKEY_USERS\\S-1-5-[0-9][0-9]-[0-9-]*$"') DO (
		FOR /F "tokens=3 delims=\" %%B IN ('REG Query "\\remotecomputer\%%A\Volatile Environment"') DO (
			SET LoggedinUser=%%B
or for Windows 7:
	FOR /F %%A IN ('REG Query \\remotecomputer\HKU /K /F "S-1-5-21-" ˆ| FINDSTR /R /B /C:"HKEY_USERS\\S-1-5-[0-9][0-9]-[0-9-]*$"') DO (') DO (
		FOR /F "tokens=2*" %%B IN ('REG Query "\\remotecomputer\%%~A\Volatile Environment" /V "UserName" ˆ| FIND /V ":"') DO (
			SET LoggedinUser=%%C
NETSH and WMIC are for XP or later, and are the most reliable of all commands shown here.
WMIC requires WMI enabled remote computers and Windows XP on the administrator's computer; NETSH requires Windows XP on the local and remote computers.
PSLOGGEDON is a more accurate solution than NBTSTAT, but it will return the last logged on user if no one is currently logged on.
The NET and NBTSTAT commands show more or less identical results, but the NBTSTAT command is much faster.
The REG command is accurate, but may need to be modified depending on the version used.
More information on REG versions can be found on my REG Query page.
For Windows NT 4 and 2000: use NBTSTAT (fast, but it won't always return the user name!), and only switch to REG if NBTSTAT doesn't return a user name (modify the REG command for Windows NT 4).
For Windows XP and later: if you want to search lots of computers for logged on users, I recommend you try NBTSTAT first (fast, but it won't always return the user name!), and only switch to NETSH, REG or WMIC (accurate) if NBTSTAT doesn't return a user name.
Credits: Jiří Janyška (WMIC command) and Matthew W. Helton (NETSH command).

What is this collegue's login name?

My collegues often forget to mention their logon account name when calling the helpdesk, and the helpdesk doesn't always ask either. I suppose they expect me to know all 1500+ accounts by heart.
With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands only:
	DSQUERY USER -name *lastname* | DSGET USER -samid -display
Note: Windows Server 2003's "DSTools" will work fine in Windows 2000 and XP too, when copied.
Keep in mind, however, that some Windows Server 2003 Active Directory functionality is not available in Windows 2000 Active Directories.

What is the full name for this login name?

With the native NET command:
	NET USER loginname /DOMAIN | FIND /I " name "
With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands:
	DSQUERY USER -samid *loginname* | DSGET USER -samid -display
Note: The NET command may seem more universal, because it requires neither Active Directory nor Windows Server 2003 commands, but it is language dependent!
For non-English Windows you may need to modify FIND's search string.

What groups is this user a member of?

In Windows NT 4 and later, users usually are members of global groups. These global groups in turn are members of (domain) local groups. Access permissions are given to (domain) local groups.
To check if a user has access to a resource, we need to check group membership recursively.
With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands:
	DSQUERY USER -samid loginname | DSGET USER -memberof -expand

What permissions does a user have on this directory?

One could use the previous command to check what permissions a user has on a certain directory.
However, sometimes SHOWACLS from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools is a better alternative:
	CD /D d:\directory2check
	SHOWACLS /U:domain\userid

When did someone last change his password?

With the native NET command:
	NET USER loginname /DOMAIN | FIND /I "Password last set"

How do I reset someone's password?

With the native NET command:
	NET USER loginname newpassword /DOMAIN
With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands:
	DSQUERY USER -samid loginname | DSMOD USER -pwd newpassword
Note: To prevent the new password from being displayed on screen replace it with an asterisk (*); you will then be prompted (twice) to type the new password "blindly".

Is someone's account locked?

With the native NET command:
	NET USER loginname /DOMAIN | FIND /I "Account active"
The account is either locked ("Locked") or active ("Yes").

How to unlock a locked account

With the native NET command:
or, if the password needs to be reset as well:
	NET USER loginname newpassword /DOMAIN /ACTIVE:YES

Make sure a local user's password never expires

With WMIC (Windows XP Professional or later):
	WMIC.EXE /Node:remotecomputer Path Win32_UserAccount Where Name="user" Set PasswordExpires="FALSE"

Make sure a local user's password will expire

With WMIC (Windows XP Professional or later):
	WMIC.EXE /Node:remotecomputer Path Win32_UserAccount Where Name="user" Set PasswordExpires="TRUE"

List all domains and workgroups in the network

With the native NET command:

List all computers in the network

With the native NET command:
or, to list the names only:
	FOR /F "skip=3 delims=\	 " %%A IN ('NET VIEW') DO ECHO.%%A
delims is a backslash, followed by a tab and a space.

List all domain controllers

With native Windows 2000 commands:
NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.
With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands (Active Directory only):
or, if you prefer host names only (tip by Jim Christian Flatin):
	DSQUERY Server -o rdn

Find the primary domain controller

With native Windows 2000 commands:
or, to find the FSMO with (native) Windows Server 2003 commands (Active Directory only):
NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.

List all member servers

With native Windows 2000 commands:
NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.

List all workstations

With native Windows 2000 commands:
NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.

Delete a computer account

With native Windows 2000 commands:
	NETDOM /DOMAIN:MyDomain MEMBER \\computer2Bdeleted /DELETE
NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.

"I need an up-to-date list of disk space usage for all servers, on my desk in 5 minutes"

Sounds familiar?
With (native) Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 commands:
	FOR /F %%A IN (servers.txt) DO (
		WMIC /Node:%%A LogicalDisk Where DriveType="3" Get DeviceID,FileSystem,FreeSpace,Size /Format:csv | MORE /E +2 >> SRVSPACE.CSV
The only prerequisites are:
  1. SRVSPACE.CSV should not exist or be empty,
  2. a list of server names in a file named SERVERS.TXT, one server name on each line,
  3. and WMIC.EXE, which is native in Windows XP Professional and later.
The CSV file format is ServerName,DeviceID,FileSystem,FreeSpace,Size (one line for each harddisk partition on each server).
If you have a strict server naming convention, SERVERS.TXT itself can be generated with the NET command:
	FOR /F "delims=\	 " %%A IN ('NET VIEW ^| FINDSTR /R /B /C:"\\\\SRV\-"') DO (>>SERVERS.TXT ECHO.%%A)
Notes: (1) assuming server names start with "SRV-"; modify to match your own naming convention.
  (2) delims is a backslash, followed by a tab and a space.

List all drivers on any PC

With (native) Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 commands:
	DRIVERQUERY /V /FO CSV > %ComputerName%.csv
Or, for remote computers:
	DRIVERQUERY /S remote_PC /V /FO CSV > remote_PC.csv

List all printers on any PC

With (native) Windows XP+ commands:
	WMIC /Node:remote_PC Path Win32_Printer Get DeviceID

List all local administrators

With (native) Windows NT 4+ commands:
	NET LOCALGROUP Administrators
Or, to remove header and footer lines:
	FOR /F "delims=[]" %%A IN ('NET LOCALGROUP Administrators ˆ| FIND /N "----"') DO SET HeaderLines=%%A
	FOR /F "tokens=*"  %%A IN ('NET LOCALGROUP Administrators') DO SET FooterLine=%%A
	NET LOCALGROUP Administrators | MORE /E +%HeaderLines% | FIND /V "%FooterLine%"

Locate rogue DHCP servers

Never had an "illegal" router wreaking havoc on your network yet...?
With a (native) Windows Server 2003 command:
	DHCPLOC -p local_IP_address [ valid_DHCP_server1 [ valid_DHCP_server2 [ .. ] ] ]
DHCPLOC.EXE is native in Windows Server 2003, and will run in Windows XP if copied/installed.
I didn't test this in Windows Server 2003 yet, but in Windows XP you need to press "d" to start the discovery, or "q" to quit.

Disable Windows Firewall for domain only

Disable the firewall only when the computer (e.g. a laptop) is connected to the domain:
	NETSH Firewall Set OpMode Mode = DISABLE Profile = DOMAIN

Completely disable Windows Firewall (not recommended)

Disable the firewall comletely (not recommended unless an alternative enterprise firewall is used that requires you to do so):
	SC [ \\Remote_computer ] Stop SharedAccess
	SC [ \\Remote_computer ] Config SharedAccess start= disabled

Is IP v4 supported on this computer?

Check if IP v4 is supported on the local computer:
	PING | FIND "TTL=" >NUL 2>&1
	IF ERRORLEVEL 1 (ECHO IP v4 NOT supported) ELSE (IP v4 supported)
	WMIC Path Win32_PingStatus WHERE "Address=''" Get StatusCode /Format:Value | FINDSTR /X "StatusCode=0" >NUL 2>&1
	IF ERRORLEVEL 1 (ECHO IP v4 NOT supported) ELSE (IP v4 supported)
The WMIC command is faster, but requires Windows XP Professional or later.

Is IP v6 supported on this computer?

Check if IP v6 is supported on the local computer:
	PING ::1 | FINDSTR /R /C:"::1:[ˆ$]" >NUL 2>&1
	IF ERRORLEVEL 1 (ECHO IP v6 NOT supported) ELSE (IP v6 supported)
	WMIC Path Win32_PingStatus WHERE "Address='::1'" Get StatusCode >NUL 2>&1
	IF ERRORLEVEL 1 (ECHO IP v6 NOT supported) ELSE (IP v6 supported)
The WMIC command is faster, but requires Windows XP Professional or later.

Which updates were installed on this compter?

Windows 7 and 8:
	DISM /Online /Get-Packages

DISM will return far more details than WMIC.

Windows 2000 and XP:

Useful Command-line Commands on Windows

Shortcut to commands
  • && - Command Chaining
  • %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\rcimlby.exe -LaunchRA - Remote Assistance (Windows XP)
  • appwiz.cpl - Programs and Features (Formerly Known as "Add or Remove Programs")
  • appwiz.cpl @,2 - Turn Windows Features On and Off (Add/Remove Windows Components pane)
  • arp - Displays and modifies the IP-to-Physical address translation tables used by address resolution protocol (ARP)
  • at - Schedule tasks either locally or remotely without using Scheduled Tasks
  • bootsect.exe - Updates the master boot code for hard disk partitions to switch between BOOTMGR and NTLDR
  • cacls - Change Access Control List (ACL) permissions on a directory, its subcontents, or files
  • calc - Calculator
  • chkdsk - Check/Fix the disk surface for physical errors or bad sectors
  • cipher - Displays or alters the encryption of directories [files] on NTFS partitions
  • cleanmgr.exe - Disk Cleanup
  • clip - Redirects output of command line tools to the Windows clipboard
  • cls - clear the command line screen
  • cmd /k - Run command with command extensions enabled
  • color - Sets the default console foreground and background colors in console
  • - Default Operating System Shell
  • compmgmt.msc - Computer Management
  • control.exe /name Microsoft.NetworkAndSharingCenter - Network and Sharing Center
  • control keyboard - Keyboard Properties
  • control mouse(or main.cpl) - Mouse Properties
  • control sysdm.cpl,@0,3 - Advanced Tab of the System Properties dialog
  • control userpasswords2 - Opens the classic User Accounts dialog
  • desk.cpl - opens the display properties
  • devmgmt.msc - Device Manager
  • diskmgmt.msc - Disk Management
  • diskpart - Disk management from the command line
  • dsa.msc - Opens active directory users and computers
  • dsquery - Finds any objects in the directory according to criteria
  • dxdiag - DirectX Diagnostic Tool
  • eventvwr - Windows Event Log (Event Viewer)
  • explorer . - Open explorer with the current folder selected.
  • explorer /e, . - Open explorer, with folder tree, with current folder selected.
  • F7 - View command history
  • find - Searches for a text string in a file or files
  • findstr - Find a string in a file
  • firewall.cpl - Opens the Windows Firewall settings
  • fsmgmt.msc - Shared Folders
  • fsutil - Perform tasks related to FAT and NTFS file systems
  • ftp - Transfers files to and from a computer running an FTP server service
  • getmac - Shows the mac address(es) of your network adapter(s)
  • gpedit.msc - Group Policy Editor
  • gpresult - Displays the Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) information for a target user and computer
  • httpcfg.exe - HTTP Configuration Utility
  • iisreset - To restart IIS
  • InetMgr.exe - Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager 7
  • InetMgr6.exe - Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager 6
  • intl.cpl - Regional and Language Options
  • ipconfig - Internet protocol configuration
  • lusrmgr.msc - Local Users and Groups Administrator
  • msconfig - System Configuration
  • notepad - Notepad? ;)
  • mmsys.cpl - Sound/Recording/Playback properties
  • mode - Configure system devices
  • more - Displays one screen of output at a time
  • mrt - Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool
  • mstsc.exe - Remote Desktop Connection
  • nbstat - displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections using NBT
  • ncpa.cpl - Network Connections
  • netsh - Display or modify the network configuration of a computer that is currently running
  • netstat - Network Statistics
  • net statistics - Check computer up time
  • net stop - Stops a running service.
  • net use - Connects a computer to or disconnects a computer from a shared resource, displays information about computer connections, or mounts a local share with different privileges (documentation)
  • odbcad32.exe - ODBC Data Source Administrator
  • pathping - A traceroute that collects detailed packet loss stats
  • perfmon - Opens Reliability and Performance Monitor
  • ping - Determine whether a remote computer is accessible over the network
  • powercfg.cpl - Power management control panel applet
  • qfecheck - Shows installed Hotfixes applied to the server/workstation.
  • quser - Display information about user sessions on a terminal server
  • qwinsta - See disconnected remote desktop sessions
  • reg.exe - Console Registry Tool for Windows
  • regedit - Registry Editor
  • rasdial - Connects to a VPN or a dialup network
  • robocopy - Backup/Restore/Copy large amounts of files reliably
  • rsop.msc - Resultant Set of Policy (shows the combined effect of all group policies active on the current system/login)
  • runas - Run specific tools and programs with different permissions than the user's current logon provides
  • sc - Manage anything you want to do with services.
  • schtasks - Enables an administrator to create, delete, query, change, run and end scheduled tasks on a local or remote system.
  • secpol.msc - Local Security Settings
  • services.msc - Services control panel
  • set - Displays, sets, or removes cmd.exe environment variables.
  • set DIRCMD - Preset dir parameter in cmd.exe
  • start - Starts a separate window to run a specified program or command
  • start. - opens the current directory in the Windows Explorer.
  • shutdown.exe - Shutdown or Reboot a local/remote machine
  • subst.exe - Associates a path with a drive letter, including local drives
  • systeminfo -Displays a comprehensive information about the system
  • taskkill - terminate tasks by process id (PID) or image name
  • tasklist.exe - List Processes on local or a remote machine
  • taskmgr.exe - Task Manager
  • telephon.cpl - Telephone and Modem properties
  • timedate.cpl - Date and Time
  • title - Change the title of the CMD window you have open
  • tracert - Trace route
  • whoami /all - Display Current User/Group/Privilege Information
  • wmic - Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line
  • winver.exe - Find Windows Version
  • wscui.cpl - Windows Security Center
  • wuauclt.exe - Windows Update AutoUpdate Client

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cloud Computing vs Virtualization

Cloud Computing vs Virtualization

Could Computing and Virtualization are related terms in resource optimization of IT infrastructure. Virtualization is a technology used in Cloud Computing concept. Virtualization is using the same hardware infrastructure to build several virtual servers as per the requirements and needs. For instance assume you need a Windows Server and Linux server for different purpose, you can build this in a same physical server by using Virtualization technique.

Virtualization (Soft Virtualization vs Hard Virtualization)

Virtualization is using the same hardware infrastructure to build several virtual servers as per the requirements and needs. If we put this up in a layered architecture layer 1 would be SAN (Storage Area Network), layer 2 would be hardware servers (blade servers) for the resource allocation and the top layer would be host server. Virtualization software like Citrix, VMware’s vSphere, Xen, Microsoft Hyper V, Sun xVM will run on the top layer servers which are called host servers. Host server run any operating system and the virtual servers can be built on any operating system as per requirement.
Virtualization technique was introduced to achieve the optimized usage of hardware devices and reduce the maintenance burdens and related costs. Virtual sever with the same configuration as dedicated server, will give the exact performance what dedicated server can perform if required. The above mentioned technique is called Soft Virtualization. There is another technique called Hard Virtualization which is done by allocating dedicated resources when building the server. This can be done on branded servers only with the Pre OS. This is basically a physical partition of resources and will not achieve the maximum resource utilization.
Cloud Computing
Cloud computing concept is to deliver virtual servers with a specific configuration details with specific operating system, applications and services. The physical location of cores (Processors or computation power), software, data access and storage space is immaterial to the users. Cloud Computing uses the Virtualization technique in order to achieve its criteria.
Basically Cloud Computing is a collection of Virtualization Technique, SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), Autonomic and Utility Computing.
The business concept behind this is, rather having each physical server for each services or applications on-site, you can hire an off shore or off site virtual server from a cloud computing provider. This off site resources does not require dedicated man power for maintenance from a company point of view. Corporate can define the requirement specification and give it to the cloud computing provider or calculate the resource requirement and order for a cloud server online.
Cloud Computing incorporates IaaS and SaaS (IasS vs SaaS). IaaS means Infrastructure as a Service and SaaS is Software as a Service. Rather than investing on Servers, SAN, Softwares, Rack Space, Network Devices, Bandwidth , maintenance workforce its better to buy a cloud server service from a cloud computing providers. In this model corporate don’t need to invest large amount of money in infrastructure and do not need to bare repair costs or maintenance cost.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a concept to provide software services to corporate on the virtual IaaS platform.The installation files or binaries will be kept in the host server where the virtualization software is running and will be installed on virtual servers as and when required or requested.
So with IaaS and SaaS, Cloud computing providers should be able to provide entire solution in a single virtual box according to the customer’s needs. For instance if you want to run a server for Microsoft Exchange Server for staff mailing purpose, rather buying a physical server and spend more resources you could buy a cloud box with MS Exchange installed with internet connection or VPN connection to corporate network.
Difference Between Cloud Computing and Virtualization
(1)   Virtualization is a Technique but Cloud Computing is a Concept using Virtualization techniques.
(2)    Virtualization could be done internally in on-site and the resource involvement except hardware still exists but whereas in Cloud Computing no internal resources will be required.

Cloud Computing vs Virtualization

Jargon in the computing industry is quite numerous, and many of them are difficult to understand. Virtualization and cloud computing are two terms that were relatively obscure but have since come to the forefront due to Google’s push for cloud computing. The two terms are closely related but are not in competition with each other. Virtualization is the creation of a virtual environment on another machine. A good example of this would be creating a Windows XP environment for an old program to run on inside a Windows 7 operating system. On the other hand, cloud computing is a computing architecture where the bulk of the resources are pooled together and can be accessed remotely usually through the Internet.

Virtualization provides several advantages. The first, as illustrated above, is allowing applications that were designed from one operating system to run on another one. It is a more cost-effective solution than having two or more machines just to be able to use all the software you need. For cloud computing, the main concept and goal is to create a virtual computing platform where resources can be allocated depending on the needs of each individual user. This provides flexibility as each user is allocated just what he needs, and it can be allocated to another user once that user logs out. It also means that the user’s computer need not be very powerful as most of the processing is done on the cloud. It is also convenient for users as their data would lie in the cloud, and they don’t need to worry about leaving data at home or on another computer. Their data would always be accessible regardless of which computer they are on.

The use of “a virtual computing platform” above may have already clued you in that cloud computing uses virtualization in order to achieve its goals. This is true since it is necessary to virtualize each user’s desktop environment as well as resources like drives and folders in order to give the user the general feel of a personalized desktop.


1.Virtualization is the virtual simulation of any computing element while cloud computing is an architecture where resources are pooled together and remotely accessed.
2.The goal of virtualization is to provide multiple environments in a single machine while the goal of cloud computing is to provide a scalable computing platform.
3.Cloud computing utilizes virtualization.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The MCSE is Back!

The MCSE is Back!

Making Sense of the New MCSE: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert


The reinvention of the MCSE has spawned a number of opinions, both good and bad. As an MCT who has seen many certification changes over the years -- both good and bad -- I want to share my own opinions about how things are falling into place.

The MCSE is Back!

First of all, I’m excited about the new MCSE certifications and I’m glad that Microsoft has found a way to get back to the MCSE brand that is recognized around the world, and not just within the IT industry. I have been very proactive in working with Microsoft Learning during this process, as I strongly believe the new MCSE certification program will benefit IT professionals. Although there is still much confusion about the new certifications I know that when all the questions have been answered, IT professionals will be happy with these changes.
Let’s face it, this is a change that IT professionals have been asking for since the MCIP and MCTS certifications were released over 5 years ago. As I mentioned in my first post on this topic (Read: The MCSE is Back!), to this day I get students asking me about the Windows Server 2008 MCSE track. This alone should tell you that Microsoft simply made a mistake when they decided to get rid of the MCSE certifications and now they are doing the right thing by bringing it back.

Understanding the New MCSE

How should IT professionals approach the new MCSE certification program?
To begin with, I think it’s still a bit early for criticizing Microsoft and the new certification program. Over the next few weeks and months, and especially with the release of Windows Server 2012, the program will start to make much more sense. For those of you who are being impatient about the whole thing, my suggestion is to pretend for the moment that nothing has changed and continue with your current certification program. Once the dust settles and questions become answered, Microsoft will be able to illustrate the future of the new MCSE certification program and what it has to offer.
If you’re currently working on a Microsoft cert, there’s no need to panic; my clear advice is to continue with your current certification plans. This is the advice that I have been giving my students every time something like this happens and I’ve never had anyone tell me that they have regretted their decision in continuing on their certification paths. If anything, the cert that you’re working on will only help you get closer to the MCSE and your career goals. Remember, IT certifications play a very important role in placing qualified IT professionals for the right jobs; this is not something that will change anytime soon. This is not the first or last time that Microsoft is revising their certification program, we’ve seen this before and I’m sure it’ll happen again. Microsoft’s certification program has been around for 20 years and it has been successful all this time, nothing says that this will change with the latest revisions.

What the New MCSE Means

With that said, there is one concern that I have with the new MCSE and that is the way it is going to be used. The letters are back, but unlike the original MCSE which was based off of the server products, the new MCSE is being presented to be more like the MCITP where there are going to be a whole number of MCSE certifications which will be available. As much as I can appreciate that the IT marketplace is very diverse and may not seem to cater to overly generalized certifications, I am concerned that the MCSE which has such strong brand recognition will lose its impact in the same way that the MCITP was never really accepted by IT HR personnel. There are many people asking why we couldn’t just bring the original MCSE back the way it was (other than changing the name from engineer to expert for legal reasons), and then have the specializations added like "Messaging" and "Security" that we had before and add ones like "Private Cloud". I personally agree that this would have been a better solution.




What is Private Cloud?


What Is Private Cloud


If cloud computing is not confusing enough, there is also this so called private cloud. And what is private cloud? I am hoping at this time you have reviewed my Cloud Computing for IT Pros series and have a clear understanding of what a service is and what cloud computing is. These are key concepts. And equally important, you know the 5-3-2 Principle of Cloud Computing and why an application is a cloud application while others may not. Generally speaking, there are 5 essential characteristics, 3 delivery methods, and 2 deployment models (or 4 if following NIST definition) in cloud computing. Does not matter it is public cloud or private cloud. If it is classified as cloud computing, it should at least exhibit the 5-3-2 principle as the core set of attributes. With that in mind, so what is private cloud?
Private cloud? Well, it is a cloud, so the 5 essential characteristics of cloud computing apply. The term, private, here means dedicated and a private cloud is a cloud dedicated to an organization. The classification here is based on the intended users and not the ownership of the infrastructure. Namely, an organization has a dedicated cloud does not necessarily mean the organization must own the infrastructure on which a dedicated cloud is running. A obvious example is a private cloud running on an infrastructure owned and managed by a 3rd party hosting company. So a subscribing company may possibly own the data, software, configurations, and instances, but not the physical boxes and underlying infrastructure. To find out more of running private cloud in this fashion, a list of private cloud hosting companies is readily available.
Perhaps a more commonly assumed definition of private cloud is an on-premises deployment of cloud computing. In other words, all including the servers, cabling, software, running instances, etc. are owned and managed by an organization behind its enterprise firewall, as shown above. Many enterprises assume this definition of private cloud due to an existing deployment of on-premises IT resources. While transitioning into private cloud, it is a logical step to build one by employing already deployed hardware and software.
imageUltimately cloud computing is to better deliver applicaitons. The goal of constructing a private cloud can be acquiring IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS. Based on the objectives, an organization, for example, may simply seek the ability to efficiently deploy/manage servers to provide maximal flexibility for develoying and testing applicaitons, and in this case IaaS is what and all the organization needs. While the servers are deployed via IaaS, applications running within these servers do not have to be cloud applications. The applications can very well be traditional (i.e. non-cloud computing) ones. The point is that to pursue a private cloud, it is not necessarily to acquire all three (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS) delivery methods. Nevertheless, for enterprise it is only logical to start with IaaS to fundamentally and strategically convert existing IT establishments into a cloud-ready environment. For pursuing a private cloud, IT should have IaaS in place first which will fundamentally provide the mechanism for resource pooling, scalability, and elasticity.
imageMicrosoft private cloud solutions is called Hyper-V Cloud. Which is a set of guidelines as shown here on the right and offerings on building private cloud with IaaS using readily available technologies, i.e. Windows Server 2008 R2 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Hyper-V Cloud is exciting since not only it increase the ROI on existing deployment, it also strategically places a foundation to integrate Windows Azure platform offered in public cloud. Ultimately, enterprise will be able to manage physical, virtualized, and cloud (private and public) with a single pane of glass provided by System Center.
Above all, it does not matter if the delivery method is IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS. As far as a user is concerned, whatever your service/application is, it is always SaaS even if your application is not cloud-based. Application is what this is all about. So when it comes to implement private cloud which will eventually change how your IT delivers services, it is an expensive proposition on both cost and customer satisfaction. Be clear on short-term checkpoints and long-term business goals. Scope down but be very strategic in overall implementation.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Beginners Guide to Blackberry Keyboard Shortcuts's BlackBerry 101 Lecture Series
If you're new to the BlackBerry world, you are surely overwhelmed with all the buttons and ports on your device.  You are learning things as you go, finding out something new everyday.  Well you may or may not know that there are a multitude of keyboard shortcuts for your device that will help you speed through many things on your BlackBerry in no time at all.  Here we will take a look at some of the various shortcuts you can use for messaging, browsing, composing email/SMS and more.  Lets jump right in.  (Keep in mind these are the default shortcuts and should work for most devices)
Beginner's Guide to BlackBerry KeyBoard Shortcuts
The Convenience Key
Convenience Key
The first and most basic of all shortcuts is the Convenience Key.  This is the one key that you hold the power to.  You have the option to change this to whatever you find to be the most useful - to lock your keys, activate the camera, compose an email - you name it.  To change this option, go to Options > Screen/Keyboard and set it under Convenience Key.
Create a Signature with AutoText
Auto  SMS
Many people have asked how to easily create multiple signatures for emails or SMS.  The simplest way is by creating an AutoText entry with your preset signature.  To do this, go to Options > AutoText.  Select "New".  Under "Replace", type a shortuct (ie. sig, zz - something quick and easy).  Under "With" type your desired signature ("Sent by Adam") then choose save and you're set!  Now in your SMS just type your shortcut and hit Space and you're signature will appear.
Standby Mode
One of the greatest tips to save on battery life and keep from calling people with yourr device in your pocket (hey, we've all done it) is to put your device into standby mode.  To do this, simply hold the Mute key on top of your device for 3 seconds.  Your Berry will go into standby mode, where you will be prevented from accidentally pressing any keys, but all your alerts and calls will still come in.  To exit standby mode, just tap the Mute key.
Now we will go through a list of all the shortcuts for various areas of your device. 
Basic Shortcuts
The following shortcuts can be used in many applications:
  • To exit a screen (or to move to a previous page in a browser) press the Escape key
  • To select or clear a check box, press the Space key  
  • To switch applications, hold the Alt key and press the Escape key. Continue holding the Alt key and select an application, then release the Alt key
  • To return to the Home screen, press the End key  

Phone Shortcuts
The following shortcuts can be used in the Phone application or during a phone call:
  • To answer a phone call, press the Send key
  • To view the call log, press the Send key from any screen
  • To insert a plus sign (+) when typing a phone number, hold the letter O
  • To add an extension to a phone number, press the Alt key and the X key, then type the extension number
  • To assign a speed dial number to a key, from the Home screen or in the Phone application, hold the key you want to assign. Type the phone number
  • To type a letter in a phone number field, press the Alt key and the letter
  • To move to the top of the Phone screen, press the Space key
  • To change between headset, speakerphone and handset, press the menu key and choose an option, or better yet, Tap the $ (dollar sign) key on your keyboard to turn speakerphone on/off during a call
  • To stay in a call and return to the home screen, press the Escape key and select Ok

Message Shortcuts
In a message:
  • R - Reply To Message
  • L - Reply To All
  • F - Forward Message
  • I - File Highlighted Message
  • To view the email address of a contact, in a message, highlight the contact. Press Q. To view the display name again, press Q.
In a message list:
  • C - Compose Message
  • ALT+U - Mark Message As Opened/Unopened
  • ALT+I - View Inbox
  • ALT+O - View Outbox
  • ALT+V - View Voicemail
  • ALT+S - View SMS
  • ALT+P - View Call Log
  • To view all your messages again, press the Escape key
  • SHIFT+SPACE - Move to the top of a screen
  • SPACE - Move to the bottom of a screen
  • T - Go to top of a message
  • B - Go to bottom of a message
  • N - Move to the next date
  • P - Move to the previous date
  • U - Move to the next unopened item
  • J - Move to the next related item
  • K - Move to the previous realted item
  • F - Search for text in an attachment/web page
  • G - Move to the last cursor position in a message after closing and reopening an attachment

Typing Shortcuts
  • To insert a period, press the Space key twice. The next letter is capitalized
  • To capitalize a letter, hold the letter key until the capitalized letter appears
  • Alt + Left Shift - NUM Lock
  • Alt + Right Shift - CAPS Lock
  • To turn off NUM lock or CAP lock, press the Shift key
  • To insert an at sign (@) or a period (.) in an email address field, press the Space key
  • To highlight a line of text, press the Shift key and roll the trackball
  • To highlight text character by character, hold the Shift key and roll the trackball left or right
  • To cancel a text selection, press the Escape key
  • To cut highlighted text when typing, press the Shift + Backspace/Delete key
  • To copy highlighted text when typing, press the Alt key and click the trackball
  • To paste highlighted text when typing, press the Shift key and click the trackball

Browser Shortcuts
  • To insert a period in the Go To dialog box, press the Space key
  • To insert a slash mark (/) in the Go To dialog box, press Shift+Space
  • To open the browser options, in the browser, press O
  • To stop loading a web page, press the Escape key
  • To hide the browser, press D
  • To close the browser, hold the Escape key
  • To view the address for a link, highlight a link. Press L
  • To move forward a screen, press the Shift key and the Space key
  • To move to a previous screen, press the Space key
  • G - Move to a specific page
  • H - Return to the home page
  • K - Open bookmarks
  • A - Add a bookmark
  • I - View recent web pages
  • R - Refresh page
  • P - View page address
  • S - Save web page
  • U - Hide browser banner
  • X - Veiw thumbnail version of a page
  • T - Move to the top of a page
  • B - Move to the bottom of a page
Media Shortcuts
  • Mute Key - Pause/Resume a video/song
  • R - Rotate pictures
  • I - Zoom In
  • O - Zoom Out
  • W - Original Size

Calendar Shortcuts
  • C - schedule an appointment
  • A - Change to Agenda view
  • D - Change to Day view
  • W - Change to Week view
  • M - Change to Month view
  • Space - Move to the next day/week/month
  • Shift+Space - Move to the previous day/week/month
  • T - Move to the current date
  • G - Move to a specific date
An easy way to access the default applications is through keyboard shortcuts as well.  To use these, you must have Dial From Home Screen set to "Off".  (Phone > Options > General Options).  You will now have to use the Send key to access your phone and make a call, but you will have the following shortcuts available:
  • W - WAP Browser
  • R - Alarm
  • T - Tasks
  • U - Calculator
  • O - Options
  • A - Address Book
  • S - Search
  • D - Notes
  • F - Profiles
  • H - Help
  • K - Lock keypad
  • L - Calendar
  • M - Messages
  • B - Browser
  • N - BlackBerry Messenger
  • V - Saved messages
  • C - Compose

Other helpful shortcuts:
  • ALT+Shift+H - Access Help ME! screen (status info etc.)
  • ALT+LGLG - Access Event Log
  • ALT+Right Shift+DEL - Soft Reset
You can change the display of the 'signal strength' on your screen to read in real numbers. While at the home screen, hold down the ALT key while you type NMLL. The bars should change to numbers. For the 'signal strength', if you are in the 100 area (that means -100 dBm), you will be transmitting at maximum power. Anything at -90 to -50 is a very good signal.  
On top of the AutoText there are also some short codes for common device information that you can type into SMS or email messages that will return a value:
  • myver - Device Model/Version
  • mypin - Device PIN
  • LD - Local Date
  • LT - Local Time
Once you get the hang of it, using these shortcuts will make you much quicker on the draw and help your harness the full abilities of your device.  They will not only save you time, but help you easily navigate through all aspects of your device.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Create Folders and Subfolders in Bulk Using a Text File

Anyone who has needed to create a large number of folders in Windows knows this is a tedious task. Simplify your creation by typing a list of the folder names in a text document, and get a program to do all the manual work.
The first thing you need to do is type a list of the folders you want to create in a plain text document. You should put every new folder on a new line. If you want to create sub-folders just put a “\” after the parent folder and type the name of the subfolder. Save this anywhere on your PC just make sure you remember where you save it.
Now head over the the developers website, and grab yourself a free copy of Text 2 Folders. Once the portable application has downloaded unzip the file and run it.
Click the top browse button, the one on the root folder row, and browse for a folder that you want your folder structure to be created under. Now hit the second browse button and locate the text file we created earlier.
Click create folders and that’s all there is to it.

How to Reinstall Windows Without Having to Reactivate

How to Reinstall Windows Without Having to Reactivate

Every time you format and reinstall your PC, you have to activate Windows again, which can sometimes be a pain once you’ve done it too many times. Here’s how to backup and then restore the activation status.
Note: we aren’t going to cover how to reinstall Windows, since you should know how to do that already. This article just covers backing up and restoring your activation.


Advanced Token Manager easily allows you to back up all the information that Windows uses to check the validity of you copy of Windows. Collectively called a Token, this information can be backed up to an external storage medium. Once you have formatted you can import the Token and your Windows will be genuine again.

Backing Up

Once you have grabbed your copy of Advanced Token Manager from here, you can extract the zip file and then run the executable file.
When the advanced token manager launches, you will see the BIG Backup Activation button. Click it to begin backing up your token. All the “BBB” characters are just masking the real product key, don’t worry that is not your real product key.
Once you click the Backup Activation button, we expect that 99% of you will be prompted with this message. Unless some of you are ultra geeky and using KMS at home, you will get this message. You can just click yes to continue.
Once activation is finished being backed up, you will see a folder called “Windows Activation Backup” in the same folder that you launched the token manager from, this contains the backup.
Now we have reloaded Windows on the same PC, as you can see it is not activated.
Now I can run the advanced token manager, this time it will say Restore instead of Backup.
Once you click Restore you will be prompted to make sure you want to do this, click the next button to start the restoration.
Once it has completed a success message will appear.
If you go check your validity in the System Settings, you should have the genuine badge back.
The advanced token manager can also support Office Activation and works on all versions of Windows 7.