25 Nov.

Enterprise Mobility Suite Related Sessions At Ignite Australia Last Week

Many of the sessions from last week’s Ignite event on the Gold Coast in Australia have gone up on to Channel 9. I’ve included links to them below so you can check them out at your leisure.



Azure Active Directory



Azure RMS 

Azure RemoteApp (Yes, not a part of EMS but closely related…)

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 21 Nov.

Say Hi At Infrastructure Saturday In Brisbane Today

Today I’ll be delivering two sessions at Infrastructure Saturday, the pre and post lunch slots.

11:20-12:20 Leveraging the Enterprise Mobility Suite for Windows 10, iOS and Android

13:00-14:00 Managing Windows 10 with Microsoft Online Service Offerings

After all the announcements this week there will be no shortage of new things to discuss, so head along and join in the activities.

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 10 Nov.

Introduction to Hyper-V in Windows 10 Part 3

In the previous two posts I covered Hyper-V Manager and creating a Generation 1 virtual machine, in this post I’ll cover creating a Generation 2 VM, as well as a quick look at support for production checkpoints. I’ll start with the creation of Generation 2 VM, and highlight some of the differences.

The initial stages of the New Virtual Machine Wizard are the same as we don’t specify which generation the VM is at this point.

For the sake of easily locating this VM amongst the other VMs on this machine I’ll give it a generic name, as I’m not going to be keeping it long term.

At the Specify Generation screen we need to select Gen 1 or Gen 2, and we are provided with some reasons why one would select one versus the other. Note that the list of differences presented here is not extensive, refer to Part 2 of this series to get all the differences.

The Assign Memory screen is the same as what we saw in the Gen 1 VM walkthrough.

The Configure Networking screen is the same as what we saw in the Gen 1 VM walkthrough.

The Connect Virtual Hard Disk screen isn’t exactly the same, the difference here is that we can choose to use VHD files instead of VHDX files with Gen 1 VMs, but Gen 2 VMs do require VHDX files, which provide better performance and are more reliable.

There are a couple of differences in the Installation Options screen as well. We can’t install Gen 2 VMs from physical media, and we can’t install from a bootable floppy drive, which Gen 1 VMs can do. I have specifically selected Install An Operating System From A Network-Based Installation Server here because this option will now use the synthetic Hyper-V network adapter rather than an emulated 100Mb/s adapter, allowing for faster installs, better system resource utilisation, and less of a need to reconfigure the VM’s network adapters after installation.

Once done we click finish, and we are ready to customise beyond the basics of the wizards.

In the Settings for the new VM we can’t add support for the legacy/emulated network adapter in Add Hardware, and on the left hand side you will see we now have the ability to boot from SCSI. There is no support for legacy IDE.

Gen 1 BIOS options make way for Gen 2 UEFI setings.

And UEFI allows for Secure Boot and TPM support.

The final thing that is worth mentioning before I wrap up this post is that Production Checkpoints are now supported. Previously the recommendation wasn’t to use checkpoints in production environments, but instead to use them for lab, dev and test purposes. This is a major change that Windows Server 2016 will introduce into larger scale deployments, but for now we have support for it in current Windows 10 builds.

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 3 Nov.

Windows Update For Business settings now exposed in Windows 10 Build 10576

Just a quick one before more information starts coming through, but the Windows Update For Business Group Policy settings can be seen in Local Group Policy in Windows 10. Here are a couple of screenshots to show you what’s been made available.


If you have configured Windows Update previously, you will find Defer Upgrades and Updates alongside the existing settings.


Here you can see the options, including the ability to defer to upgrades and defer updates, as well as the ability to pause upgrades and updates if you do find issues and need to stop further updates from occurring.


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 3 Nov.

Introduction to Hyper-V in Windows 10 Part 2

In Part 1 of this series I introduced Hyper-V Manager and some of the things you should do prior to creating virtual machines, including configuring the Hyper-V settings and creating the required virtual networks. In Part 2 I will cover the basics of creating new virtual machines, with a focus on Generation 1 virtual machines before covering Generation 2 virtual machines in the next post. This difference is important to know if you have to have VM portability between different machines with different Hyper-V capabilities. Let’s get things started with a Gen 1 virtual machine, and explain the steps involved in creating and configuring one.

To start off, if we right click on our Hyper-V machine, we can select New and then Virtual Machine.

This launches the New Virtual Machine Wizard, and you can prevent this page from appearing again if you choose the Do not show this page again checkbox.

Here we give the new VM a name and can choose to store it in a different location to the default location.

Now we come to the Generation 1 versus Generation 2 decision. What are some of the things you need to consider? Take a look at the following tables with Windows compatilibty from Technet. Check the link for more information on supported non-Microsoft operating system compatibility listings.

64-bit versions of Windows

Generation 1

Generation 2

Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2008
Windows 10®
Windows 8.1
Windows 8
Windows 7

32-bit versions of Windows

Generation 1

Generation 2

Windows 10®
Windows 8.1
Windows 8
Windows 7

Another important difference is around the boot methods that are supported, here you can see that it’s not all ticks for Gen 1, as Gen 2 provides PXE using the synthetic adapter which provides performance and configuration benefits, and it also supports booting from SCSI versus booting from IDE.

Boot method

Generation 1

Generation 2

PXE boot by using a standard network adapter
PXE boot by using a legacy network adapter
Boot from a SCSI virtual hard disk (.VHDX) or virtual DVD (.ISO)
Boot from IDE Controller virtual hard disk (.VHD) or virtual DVD (.ISO)
Boot from floppy (.VFD)
There are more differences than I have covered, but I’ll save those for tomorrow’s post

We can assign a fixed amount of memory, or alternatively you can use Dynamic Memory which allows higher VM density by allowing VMs to only use the memory they need, and release that which they don’t. We will revisit this one later in the post.

In the last post we saw how to create a Virtual Switch, and here we can see how we consume them within a VM.

Now we get to give the virtual hard drive a different name if needed, and can also change the location. Alternatively we can either use an existing disk, such as one you’ve created or a vendor supplied one, or attach a disk later.

This is where we can choose how to install the OS, from mounting a physical or virtual CD/DVD-ROM, a bootable floppy or from a PXE based solution like WDS.

The final page of the wizard is the summary where you can double check your settings, but after you click Finish you will probably still need to go in and make a few adjustments, which we wil do next.

The new virtual machine has been created, and if I right click on it and select Settings, I can start making more advanced changes to the VMs configuration. Note that many of these settings cannot be changed while the VM is running.

The first thing we can see is that if there is any additional virtualised hardware we need to provide to the VM we can do it here.

I’m selecting the RemoteFX 3D Video Adpater that I enabled in the previous post, as it’s probably the least self-explanatory of the hardware options presented here.

With RemoteFX we can select the number of monitors the VM can support, the resolution and the amount of dedicated video memory.

In contrast to the previous RemoteFX screenshot, you can see that this one has a 4K monitor with 1GB of dedicated video memory.

Memory allows us to adjust the amount of RAM available to the VM, and if we enable Dynamic Memory we can set minimum and maximum amounts, as well as configuring the buffer. Then we can specify the memory weight of the VM in order for it get the appropriate memory priority when other VMs are running.

Next up we can configure the hard drive. With Gen 1 VMs we can add additional drives, including SCSI drives, but we can’t boot from SCSI drives, that requires Gen 2 VMs.

With the CPU we can choose the number of virtual CPUs, up to the total number of cores the PC has, and with we can also implement some resource control options here to ensure the VM receives an adequate CPU allocation against the other VMs that are running.

The final thing that I’ll cover in today’s post is the Compatibility Configuration for CPUs, which allows the VM to be more easily moved between different generations of CPUs within the same product family. This is generally seen as more of a server requirement than a client side requirement, as it has a big impact in scenarios like Live Migrations with Windows Server and Hyper-V server.

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 3 Nov.

Introduction to Hyper-V in Windows 10 Part 1

Hyper-V has been included with the Windows Pro and Enterprise clients since Windows 8, replacing Windows 7’s Virtual PC and XP Mode capabilities, and has continued to gain more capabilities as time goes on. With the ever increasing rise in usage of Hyper-V in Windows Server environments, it provides a great way to get a working knowledge of many of the capabilities in the server and standalone editions on your desktop PC, laptop or tablet without installing a server operating system. There are some features, primarily related to high availability scenarios, that aren’t available in client Hyper-V, and I’ll cover those in more detail toward the end of this series. I will be using this series to help prepare those of you wanting to leverage the currently available versions of Hyper-V, both on the client side as well as in Windows Server 2012 R2, and to start introducing some of the new Hyper-V features coming in Windows Server 2016.

Starting up Hyper-V Manager we can see that I only have one machine running Hyper-V being managed here, but we can add additional Hyper-V servers to be managed by right clicking on Hyper-V Manager and selecting connect to server, and then typing in the name of the other server. For now we will focus on managing a single Hyper-V machine.

Once we select the Hyper-V machine, you can see that I already have 3 virtual machines listed. The state column shows that one of these is powered off, the next is running, and the final one is in the saved state, effectively what we would think of as hibernate from the PC perspective. The other virtual machine information we are presented with gives us a quick view of CPU usage %, Assigned Memory, Uptime and the Status, which changes when we change the state of the VM.

From the Action Pane I’ve selected Hyper-V settings, where you need to start setting some of the options you want available to new VMs as they are created, including the storage location, which by default is going to be on your C: drive, which may not necessarily be where you want things stored. Storage Migrations can be used if you do need to start moving between storage locations, which comes in handy when you want to move virtual machines based on storage speed or capacity requirements.

Windows 10 includes the RemoteFX capabilities that allow the virtual machines to leverage the physical GPUs in the PC, and in this case it can leverage the integrated graphics of the CPU, but if you have a more advanced GPU available you can also select that. Checking the Enable this GPU with RemoteFX option means we can then accelerate certain functions inside of the virtual machine. I’ll spend more time covering this later in this series of posts.

If we go back to Hyper-V Manager and choose Virtual Switch Manager from the Actions pane, we are presented with the option of creating a new virtual switch. You can see that I already have several created here already, as this machine has been used for a variety of different virtual machine scenarios.

When we create a new virtual switch we are presented with three connection types. The first of these is External network, where we can use a physical network adapter to connect to an external network. The second, Internal network, creates a virtual network in which the virtual machines can communicate with the host PC. The third option, Private network, only allows the VMs within that network to communicate with each other. If you had machines that needed to primarily communicate with each other, but also need external network or internet connectivity you could set up one of the virtual machines with an external and private virtual switch, and use something like RRAS/NAT to act as the gateway.

To wrap up this post, I want to highlight the tabs at the bottom of Hyper-V manager which give some summary information about what’s happening within the VM.

You get a better view of what’s happening with memory here, and I’ll discuss Dynamic Memory in one of the upcoming posts, but this shows that even though I allow this VM to use up to 2GB of RAM, it only needs 649MB at this point in time.

The networking tab makes it very easy to check the IP addresses inside of the VM, so you don’t have to log in to the VM to see these details. This is a feature that I find incredibly useful, especially when changing network settings, or even changing physical networks.

That’s it for Part 1 of this series, there are several more posts to come. In the next post I’ll cover creating and configuring virtual machines.

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 3 Nov.

Windows 10 Enterprise Data Protection policy now available in Microsoft Intune

As announced in last week’s post from the Intune team’s blog post Coming soon: New Intune features including Windows 10 EDP policies,


As you can see it’s not being delivered by custom configuration and OMA-URI settings, which means the interface is much easier to decipher.


I won’t go into all the details of what’s included in this post, but the important things to see are the protected apps list, the network locations and the ability to allow Azure RMS, an important piece of the Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility Suite story. Once I get a chance to get this up and running in a lab environment I’ll post in more detail about what was required.

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 12 Oct.

Join me on the Powered by MVP: Windows 10 IT Pro Readiness Webcast

Tomorrow I will be co-presenting with Arnav Sharma, who is also MVP for Windows IT Pro, as we do a whirlwind tour of what’s new and updated with Windows 10, as well as some of the coming udpates.

Make sure to register here.

The MVP Award and the Windows IT Pro teams are pleased to offer a series of *free* live webcasts worldwide to provide awareness and first hand guidance about Windows 10 Enterprise for IT Pros. The webcasts will be delivered by Microsoft MVPs from each of the participating countries. Windows 10 IT Pro Readiness is a great opportunity for you to learn the latest features for the IT Pros focused on Windows 10 Enterprise, and also connect with top Windows MVP experts.

  • The webcasts will be delivered during the week of October 12 to 17 2015.
  • Each webcast will last from 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on content delivery and the interaction from the attendees.

The Windows team is empowering the MVPs with technical content and a specific private training so each MVP delivering the session is fully equipped with content, and guidance to better support you as an attendee of the webcast. We hope you are able to join us in this global community event!

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 7 Oct.

Windows Server 2016 Essentials TP3 Integration With Azure Virtual Networks Part 3

In the previous two posts I configured an Azure Virtual Network from inside of Windows Server 2016 Essentials Technical Preview 3 and then built a Windows Server virtual machine inside of that virtual network, and then joined it to the on-premises domain. In this post I’ll focus on how you can now leverage Server Manager to perform management tasks on that remote server.

I have Server Manager open in my on-premises Essentials installation, and as you can see the roles that are listed on the left hand side highlight this.

To start managing the Azure VM via the Essentials Server, we need to go to All Servers.

From there we can select Manage and then Add Server from the top right hand menu options.

This launches the Add Servers screen, where I need to click Find Now to locate the servers in Active Directory.

The Azure VM now shows up, so I select it.

I then click the add arrow next to the server name, and click okay.

Now the Essentials server is querying the remote server to get its details. In order for this to complete successfully, we need to switch over to the Azure VM.

In the Azure VM we need to check the Local Server page, where we can see that Remote Management is disabled, which is going to prevent remote management.

We are then presented with the Configure Remote Management screen, where we check the Enable Remote Management Of This Server From Other Computers and click okay.

Now we can see that Remote Management is enabled, so we can switch back over to the Azure VM.

I need to click refresh, as you can see that it was unsuccessful at the first attempt because remote management was disabled.

Refreshing quickly beings up what we wanted to see, it’s online, and we can see its IP address listed.

What we can also see now is that if I select a role on the left hand side that is present on the remote server, I can now manage that directly from Server Manager. In this case I’ve selected File and Storage Services.

Other things you can do inside of Server Manager is to add or remove server roles and features, so what I will do now is remove the GUI from the remote server installation to reduce its memory footprint.

When we launch the Remove Roles and Features Wizard we can see that no destination server is selected in the top right hand corner.

On the next screen we can select the remote virtual machine.

I don’t need to change any roles on the server, so I click next.

And here I uncheck the Graphical Management Tools And Infrastructure.

We are then advised that the Server Graphical Shell and the PowerShell ISE will be removed.

I then click next.

And now the remote server starts the process of uninstalling the selected features.

Once the remote server restarts you can see that even though it is online, we cannot get all of the required information.

Switching over the remote VM we can see that it is still configuring the changes that we made.

Once that is completed, we are presented with Windows Server Core, with nothing but a command window to greet us.

Switching back over to the on-premises Essential server we can see that we have access to the remote machine again for management purposes.

And just to highlight that the changes that we made are successfully reflected, I’ll go into the Add Roles and Features Wizard.

I’ll just click next.

Next again…

I select the remote server.

And here you can see that that User Interfaces and Infrastructure choices are unchecked, confirming that everything is running as expected.

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 7 Oct.

Windows Server 2016 Essentials TP3 Integration With Azure Virtual Networks Part 2

In the last post I covered what was required (very little, apart from an Azure subscription!) with Windows Server 2016 Essentials Technical Preview 3 to set up an Azure Virtual Network, but and today I’ll switch over to the Azure management portal so that we can see what was created for us. If you don’t have an Azure subscription to test with, just go to www.azure.com and sign up for a 30 day trial.

Selecting Networks on the left hand side, you can see the AzEssTP3 Virtual Network that I created inside of Essentials, along with a couple of others I had created previously.

Digging in to the details of the Virtual Network, you can see that the Quick Start page has a link to additional Azure Networking information for those that need more information.

In the Dashboard, we can see that the connection is active, how much traffic has passed through it, and the gateway IP address.

Under Configure you can see the on-premises DNS server details, and that the connection has been set up as a Site to Site connection rather than as a point to site connection, which would be used more often in a client to virtual network type scenario.

So now that I’ve confirmed that the connection has been created and is active, I should create a virtual machine inside of the virtual network so that I can test connectivity back to my on-premises environment.

If you haven’t seen the Azure Virtual Machine creation process, I’ll walk you through some of the steps here. First of all you can see that there are range of Microsoft, Linux and Oracle offerings that we can leverage, it’s not just Windows!

After that last comment, of course I do choose to create a Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter image, I’m deliberately choosing a lower size VM to keep costs down, and I need to provide a username and password that meets the Azure requirements.

This is where you can see that I have chosen the virtual network AzEssTP3 which I created previously. The VM will automatically be provisioned in Australia East because that’s the location I selected when I created the virtual network.

Just a few more selections to install the VM agent and the Microsoft Antimalware security extension, and then I click the tick and the VM provisioning process begins.

Here you can see the VM is starting. The provisioning and start up process normally takes a few minutes.

Once it has started, you can see that the status has now switched to running.

I can switch to the Dashboard and see the current stats for the VMs resource utilisation, as well as the internal IP address at the bottom.

I can then launch the RDP connection from the Azure management portal, at which point I am taken into the freshly created VM, where Server Manager will auto launch by default.

What I want to do with this VM is join it to the on-premises Active Directory domain environment. Here you can see that there are a couple of changes I will need to make, including moving away from a workgroup, and you will also see the Remote Management is currently disabled, which could be problematic in the future if I want to manage this server through my on-premises Essentials server.

Changing from a workgroup member to a domain member works the way we expect.

I enter the domain details, but I realise I still haven’t actually verified network connectivity.

To test connectivity, I can just ping back to my on-premises server (I allowed this traffic through the firewall for the sake of this test). I can successfully ping my local network resources, so it’s time to complete the domain join process.

I enter my domain credentials at the prompt.

And there we are, we have a domain joined server sitting inside of the Azure Virtual Network we created.

In the next post I’ll revisit some of the things you can do inside of Server Manager once you have the connection established, which isn’t really related to Azure Virtual Networking integration feature, just more of a refresher of what you can do inside of Server Manager.

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