Tag Archives: microsoft

Keeping a VHD Mounted in Windows, Even After A Reboot

While Windows 7 comes with native support for mount VHD files there is one downside , all VHDs are unmount it every the system goes through a reboot. The shortcoming can be remedied with the help of a free third party tool called VHD Attach created by Josip Medved.

You can download VHD attach from the following page http://www.jmedved.com/vhdattach/

This is a two step tutorial. First we’ll have to specify the VHD we need to be auto mounted , second the VHD will be mounted with a drive letter.

Note: This post assumes you already installed the application.

Auto Mount

Start the application and click on the highlighted icon found at the top of the right corner.

VHD Attach

Now click on the Add button.

VHD Attach

Browse to the directory where the VHD you wish to mount is located and double click on the VHD to selected.

VHD Attach

Click on the OK button to save the changes.

VHD Attach

Mount the VHD

Now that you are back in the main menu click on the Open icon.

VHD Attach

Once again browse to the location where VHD is found and double click on it.

VHD Attach

VHD Attach will display relevant information about the VHD. Click on the Attach button found at the top. After this step the VHD becomes accessible from My Computer.

VHD Attach

If you click on the Tools button you can see that the VHD will be mounted on every start up, you can even change the drive letter if you like. You can close the window if you like, from now on the VHD will be automatically mounted every time Windows starts.

VHD Attach

And here is the VHD displayed as a local drive.

VHD Attach

Comments and questions are always welcomed.

Links

VHD Attach Home page jmedved.com/vhdattach/

Microsoft Security Essentials Now Free For Small Businesses

If you didn’t read “The Microsoft Partner SMB Community Blog” then you might have missed the announcement that small business as soon as early October 2010 will be able to legally install and use Microsoft Security Essentials on up to 10 (commercial) PCs at no cost. In case you didn’t know the current EULA included with Microsoft Security Essentials does not allow for commercial use, Microsoft will adjust the EULA to reflect the announcement.


Click on image to enlarge

Microsoft Security Essentials lacks centralized administration, If you need to secure more than 10 PCs you need to use Forefront.

About Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple.

Source: Microsoft Security Essentials Home Page

My Take

For a free product Microsoft Security Essentials does an excellent job as an AV product that gets out of the users way and consumes little resources.

With this in mind, Small Business usually do not employ on site staff and due to the low amount of users centralized administration may be an overkill. Also, it would not be far-off to consider Microsoft Security Essentials a stepping stone in to Microsoft business oriented AV solution Forefront for those businesses that want more control.

Links

Microsoft Security Essentials Home Page
Microsoft Partner SMB Community Blog

Mark Disk To Be Checked On Startup With Fsutil

If you need to have a drive checked (Check Disk) on Windows but instead you are having a though time doing so because of open file handles, then you might want to use Fsutil. Thanks to Fsutil you can query the drive in question and mark the drive as dirty and have autochk check for error on the next restart.

Official Explanation

Performs tasks that are related to file allocation table (FAT) and NTFS file systems, such as managing reparse points, managing sparse files, or dismounting a volume. If it is used without parameters, fsutil displays a list of supported subcommands.

Query The Drive

Will the drive be checked on start up?

fsutil dirty query c:

Example:

C:Windowssystem32>fsutil dirty query c:
Volume - c: is NOT Dirty

Force A Check

Fsutil will mark the disk as dirty, the next time you restart the system the disk in question will be checked and repaired.

fsutil dirty set c:

Example:

C:Windowssystem32>fsutil dirty set c:
Volume - c: is now marked dirty 

Links

Fsutil at TechNet

Disk2vhd: Virtualize Existing Systems

Rebuilding a working system from scratch can be time consuming, because of that its a good idea to use P2V or Physical to Virtual tools that automate the process for you. One of them is Disk2vhd by Sysinternals created to ease the transition process from baremetal to virtual with a few clicks. This P2V tool works by creating a virtual image of the system its running on and the result is a VHD file(Virtual Hard Disk – Microsoft’s Virtual Machine disk format) which can be use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V .

Disk2vhd is easy to understand and use. You can download Disk2vhd free of charge from the Sysinternals site.

Note: Due to the hardware changes you may need to reactivate the operating system once again.

Links

Sysinternals Disk2vhd

Free: Microsoft Web Platform Installer

The Microsoft Web Platform Installer 2.0 is a tool design help administrator install the latest components like Microsoft Web Platform, Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework, PHP and Visual Web Developer just a few clicks away.

Microsoft Web Platform Installer

Is not limited to just components you will also find the most popular free web applications for blogging (WordPress), content management(Drupal) and more with the built-in Windows Web Application Gallery.

No longer will you have to hunt down separate components, instead spend more time configuring rather than installing.

How to get discounted or free Microsoft software

Being a higher education student has some benefits (aside from partying), one of them is that you get Microsoft software at reduced or no cost to you. In most cases all you need to prove eligibility is an email address ending with .edu.

Here are your options:

The Ultimate Steal

Meant to promote Microsoft software to students The Ultimate Steal offers cheap upgrades and complete versions of Microsoft products. Visit The Ultimate Steal.

Software available:

  • Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007
  • Microsoft Vista Ultimate upgrade
  • Microsoft Office Visio Professional 2007
  • Microsoft Office Language Pack 2007

DreamSpark

DreamSpark provides a wide variety of Micrososft software(server and design tools) to both high school and higher education students. Asides from having to be a student you will need a Windows Live ID. Visit DreamSpark.

Software avaiable:
Just to name a few.

  • Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2
  • SQLServer 2008 Developer
  • Express Studio 3

MSDNAA

Is a Microsoft program available to academic organizations, mainly colleges and universities, although there is also a high school version. The participating schools pay an annual fee for the MSDNAA service, in exchange for which, applicable departments (computer science, computer engineering, information technology, and related fields of that organization) as well as students and faculty can acquire licensed copies of Microsoft software such as Microsoft Windows, Visual Studio and other products.

Consult with your school to see if they participate in the program. Visit MSDNAA.

Win741

For a limited time Microsoft is offering an upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional for only $30 USD. The offer will only be valid till January 3, 2010. Visit Win741.com.