Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Official TechEd 2008 Bag!

Here it is! The official bag for TechEd 2008!

Brian Marble, Content Lead for TechEd, says it looks much better in person and the pictures don't do it justice.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How to Enable Autologon for Windows Server 2008 Member Servers and Windows 7 Member Workstations


Update: I've confirmed that the following procedures also work for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

In a previous post I showed how to enable Autologon for workgroup servers and workstations.

Once you join a server to a domain, Windows will automatically delete the AutoAdminLogon value from the HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon registry key. This causes the userpasswords2 control to hide the "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer" check box shown above.

Here's how to get the missing checkbox back and configure AutoLogon:
  • Open an elevated CMD prompt and enter the following (all on one line):
reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v AutoAdminLogon /t REG_SZ /d "1" /f
  • Click Start, Run and enter control userpasswords2
  • Clear the checkbox for Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer and click OK
  • Enter the user name and password that will be used for automatic logon and click OK
You may find that you need to configure the default domain, as well.  If so, enter the following (all on one line) at an elevated CMD prompt:
reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /v DefaultDomainName /t REG_SZ /d %USERDOMAIN% /f
When the computer starts up the account you specified will be logged in automatically.  Note that the password is encrypted on the computer.

This tip works for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012.

Since you're here, be sure to check out my article about building a super-fast Windows Server 2012 lab server for under $1,000!

TechEd - Feeding the Masses

Logistically, it's an enormous task to keep over 10,000 people fed and watered, but Microsoft does an absolutely awesome job of it at TechEd.


Breakfast and lunch is provided in the dining area, which is a huge area central to the Orlando convention center. Friendly and professional staff will direct you in the dining area to the food tables where you grab a plate and dish up. At the end of the line you can grab something to drink. Take out containers are also available if you're on the run to a breakfast or lunch session.


Breakfast normally includes danishes, bagels, fresh fruit, cereal and two or three hot dishes like eggs, potatoes and a meat. The cold food stays cold and the hot food stays hot. Servers are regularly changing out trays in prompt fashion. Coffee carafes are usually available on the table at breakfast and lunch. You will find other cold drink stations amongst the tables, as well, offering bottled water, sodas and teas. Grab an extra bottle or can to drink in the sessions.


If you're running late or don't want to take the time for a sit down breakfast you can grab a granola or cereal bar, piece of fruit or danish from any of the many tables throughout the venue. These tables are constantly restocked. Coffee is usually setup throughout the conference center, as well, in the morning. There are usually espresso stands setup in the Microsoft area of the main floor, hosted by one or two Microsoft product groups. These are pretty popular and may have a line so be patient.


Lunch is provided in the same area and usually includes salad and dressing, a hot pasta dish, a hot vegetable or two, two different hot entrees and bread or a roll. This is all handled with even more efficiency than breakfast, due to the even larger number of people being served. You may note how the staff is very friendly and directs you to the most efficient route to your food and table without making you feel like herd animal. They also do a great job of clearing the tables and keeping things tidy.


If you have special dietary needs (low sodium, vegetarian, allergies, etc.) you can specify this at registration. Special menu tables are provided at the breakfast and lunch dining area for this. You must have specified you dietary requirements at registration to be served from this table.


Refrigerated drinks of water, fruit drinks, sodas, etc. are available throughout the venue.


Throughout the day you will see the feed at the snack tables located all over the conference center change. Around lunch time the snacks and potato chips come out, with more granola bars, Power Bars, fruit, etc. Later in the afternoon comes the always popular ice cream. Dove bars, Haagen dazs, frozen fruit bars, etc. are available, but go really fast.


In short, you'll nearly always find something to eat and drink and it won't cost you a dime.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The TechEd 2008 Bag


Here's a sneak peak at the probable TechEd 2008 bag. It definitely looks nicer than the 2006 "man purse" and less "floppy" than last year's bag. We'll just have to see how functional it is and how durable the zippers are when we get our hands on it. Certainly looks roomy enough.

Party with Palermo Registration is Open

For those of you attending TechEd 2008 Developers, registration is open for-

Party with Palermo: Tech Ed 2008 Developers Edition

June 2, 2008 @ 7:00PM - 10:00PM

Glo Lounge http://www.gloloungeorlando.com/ 8967 International Dr, Orlando, FL
Ph: 407.351.0361

Cover charge is 1 business card. This will get you in the door and register you for the grand prize drawings.
  • Free to attend
  • Free fingerfood
  • Free drink
  • Free swag

TechEd 2008 - Gear to Bring

When you go to TechEd, there are going to be hundreds of computers available for you to use on the show floor and directly outside the session rooms. These computers are part of CommNet, the managed network that drives TechEd. They all have fast Internet access so you can check your email, sports scores, etc., but they also provide access to the post-session surveys and allow you to download the PPT presentation decks from any session, even the ones you don't personally attend.

For this reason, I never bring a laptop computer with me anymore. I find them too bulky and distracting in the sessions. I use my Windows Mobile 6 device to take quick notes that I email to myself and carry a small pad of paper for more extensive notes, if necessary. Bring a few USB thumb drives to download presentations onto from the kiosks. You'll get the PPTs on DVD serveral weeks (months?) after TechEd, but it's better to get that content while you're there.

If you need to bring a laptop, CommNet does a pretty good job of setting up access points all throughout the venue. You will notice flat panel displays in various areas and levels of the conference center that show you realtime coverage maps and signal strength. The biggest problem I've heard is that the APs don't provide good coverage inside the session areas. If you need Internet access in a session, sit closer to the back of the room (closer to the APs). Better yet, use one of the CommNet computers outside so you don't distract others around you - you're probably not paying attention to the session anyway.

I typically carry my empty TechEd backpack. The best was the one from San Diego, which I use every year, the worst was the infamous TechEd "man purse" from Boston, 2006. The only thing I carry in it is a pen, pad of paper and my mobile device. Magically it's filled with t-shirts, books, pens and other swag when I return to my hotel room at the end of the day. Don't bother bringing food or drinks with you to the conference center. There will always be food and drinks available there throughout the day. I'll blog about the food in a future post.

I usually come to TechEd with two suitcases, one inside the other. That way I can load the empty suitcase with my body weight in t-shirts and swag for my colleagues that couldn't attend.

Friday, April 25, 2008

FREE Exam Crams at TechEd 2008 Orlando

Trika Harms zum Spreckel blogged that Microsoft will be hosting two exam crams and an MCSA/MCSE bootcamp at TechEd Orlando in June. Best of all, these FREE sessions are open to everyone, not just TechEd attendees.

Saturday June 7th. 9:00AM – 10:15AM - 70-562 TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development. - Gilles Pommier

Saturday June 7th 1:30PM – 2:45PM - 70-536 TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0—Application Development Foundation - Jeffry Belnap

MCSA and MCSE 2003 70-648 and 70-649 bootcamp on Sunday June 8, 8:00am – 4:00pm

See Trika's blog for details and registration instructions.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TechEd 2008 Extracurricular Activities Calendar


I put together a TechEd Calendar to help attendees keep track of events. I've already entered the ones that have been discussed in the Extracurricular Activities group on CommNet.

If you have an event to share, please leave a comment so I can enter it on the calendar. Please include the event name, time, location, meeting place and website if applicable. Directions are nice, too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fix for Failed Security Update for Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0 Service Pack 2

I recently built up a new Hyper-V virtual domain environment based on a single server image. Unfortunately, my base image had a problem downloading and installing the Security Update for Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0 Service Pack 2 (KB936181). The yellow Windows Update shield would pop up in the notification area to say the update was ready to install. I would install it, but Automatic Updates would download it again and say it needed to be installed again.

Here's what the event logs looked like:

Event Type: Information
Event Source: Windows Update Agent
Event Category: Installation Event
ID: 19
Date: 4/15/2008 Time: 7:11:59AM
User: N/A
Computer: HOSCOM
Description:Installation Successful:
Windows successfully installed the following update: Security Update for
Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0 Service Pack 2 (KB936181)
... and then almost immediately,

Event Type: Information
Event Source: Windows Update AgentEvent
Category: Installation Event
ID: 18
Date: 4/15/2008 Time: 7:12:50AM
User: N/A
Computer: HOSCOM
Description:Installation Ready: The following updates are downloaded and ready for installation. This computer is currently scheduled to install these updates on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 3:00 AM: - Security Update for Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0 Service Pack 2(KB936181)
Very annoying. To fix this issue, download the update from Microsoft and manually install it. The update can be found here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

TechEd Session Question

I recently answered a question from a first time TechEd attendee about sessions.


"I will be a Tech-Ed newbie in Orlando, FL. I have attended VMware conferences and VMware allows you to sign-up for sessions (sign-ups get in first).With 10,000 attendees, I don't want to be at the end of long lines. Is there a sign-up website for registered attendees? Or how do I avoid the long lines to get into a session? Or are the "session" room space large enough to accommodate big groups?

Thanks,Ben (age 55 with bad feet)"

The TechEd 2008 Session Builder is now open. This is where you can register for the sessions you'd like to attend and gives Microsoft advanced notice how to schedule the rooms. However, when you add a session to your schedule by using the Schedule Builder tool, you are not guaranteed a seat in your selected session. Sessions are filled on a first-come, first-seated basis.

There is very rarely a problem attending any session you want. The Orlando Convention Center is HUGE and has very large rooms capable of holding 300+ people. Of course, some rooms are smaller and hold less, but generally MS does a very good job of "sizing" the room for the number of people who show interest in a topic. In the 5 years I've gone, I've only been turned away from one session that was too full.

By signing up for your conference sessions early, MS can gauge the interest and set the right room size. Often they will offer multiple sessions on the same topic if interest is great enough.

To be honest, I usually double or triple book myself for different sessions at the same time. That allows me to jump out of a session that isn't up to snuff and go to my second (or third) choice. All they do is read your name badge with an RFID scanner as you go in. This isn't to make sure that you've already registered, it's to track interest. I've had no trouble going into a session I didn't register for.

Hope this helps and have a great time!

TechEd 2008 Schedule Builder



The TechEd 2008 Schedule Builder is now online!

Use the Schedule Builder to mark and plan the sessions you plan to take. Once you have built your schedule, you can add the sessions you want to attend to your personal Microsoft Outlook Calendar.

Keep in mind that when you add a session to your schedule by using the Schedule Builder tool, you are not guaranteed a seat in your selected session. Sessions are filled on a first-come, first-seated basis, although this has rarely happened to me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tech-Ed 2008 Extracurricular Activities


Just an FYI for those who are registered for Tech-Ed 2008, I founded a group on TechEd Connect for Tech-Ed 2008 Extracurricular Activities. This is the first (and largest) group on Connect dedicated to discussions about Tech-Ed event parties and social gatherings.

Be sure to check it out!

Tech-Ed 2008 Attendee Party Rumor

Rumor is that the Tech-Ed Attendee party will be at Universal Studios Florida this year.

If you look at the Universal Studios Theme Park Calendar, you'll see that the park closes early at 6:00pm on Thursday, June 5 and Thursday, June 12. Those dates correspond with the Tech-Ed Developers and Tech-Ed Professionals attendee party dates.

Last year's party was at Islands of Adventure (another Universal Studios theme park next door).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Comprehensive List of WSUS Error Codes

I came across a web page a long time ago that lists all(?) of the cryptic WSUS error codes, such as 0x0000041D. This is extremely helpful when troubleshooting WSUS logs and WindowsUpdate.log files. I've found that it's helpful for lots of other Microsoft products, as well! I saved it as a portable MHT file that you can download.

If I could remember where I found this, I would gladly give them credit.

Please to enjoy. WSUS Error Codes

Monday, April 7, 2008

Getting Exchange 2007 to work with SBC Yahoo DSL



Update: Beginning yesterday, November 14, 2008, the smtpauth.sbcglobal.net email relay servers began NDRing emails sent from AT&T customers. Again, this information was not passed on to its customers.

I've updated the instructions below to use the smtp.att.yahoo.com servers, which are now accepting authenticated connections.


First, let me say that SBC Yahoo is less than helpful on any assistance with configuring Exchange (any version) to work with their SMTP gateways. Really, I can't blame them too much because of the potential to hammering of their systems with large quantities of email from businesses using a "home"level of service.
In any event, here's how to configure Exchange 2007 with Edge services to send email through SBC Yahoo's email servers.


Configure the outbound Send Connector
  • Logon to the server hosting the Hub Transport role
  • Open the Exchange Management Console (EMC)
  • Expand Microsoft Exchange\Organization Configuration\Hub Transport
  • Click the Send Connectors tab
  • Double-click your outbound SMTP connector to open its properties. Mine is named "EdgeSync - expta to the Internet"
  • Click the Network tab
  • Select "Route email through the following smart hosts" and click the Add button
  • Select "Fully qualified domain name (FQDN)" and enter smtp.att.yahoo.com as the smart host. Click OK
  • Select Basic Authentication (do not check Basic Authentication over TLS)
  • Enter your SBC username (i.e., username@pacbell.net) and SBC password. Click OK

Configure the Edge server to use port 587
  • Yes, yes, I know that SBC's documentation says SSL port 469, but trust me, it's 587...
  • On the Hub Transport server, open the Exchange Management Shell (EMS)
  • Type Get-SendConnector and make note of the name of the send connector you just configured. Again, mine is "EdgeSync - expta to the Internet"
  • Type Set-SendConnector "EdgeSync - expta to the Internet" -port 587 to change the port. Obviously, change the name in quotes to the name of your Send Connector.
  • Type Start-EdgeSynchronization to force a sync with the Edge server

Force the Send Connetor to Retry
  • Open EMC on the Edge server and click Toolbox
  • Double-click Queue Viewer
  • On the Queues tab, select the outbound SMTP queue and click the Retry action


Notes: TLS is not the same thing as SSL. TLS creates a secure connection between servers, while SSL creates a secure connection between a client and a server. TLS is capable of reverting back to SSL 3.0 if TLS doesn't work, but this is not an RFC requirement. At the time of this writing, Microsoft's implementation of TLS does not revert to TLS.

You should also register your external email address with SBC Yahoo's email system. This will ensure that email from your external account won't be NDR'd back to you when you send it. See http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/original/manage/sendfrom-07.html

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cloning Windows Server 2008 Disks with Norton Ghost


Just in case you're wondering, Norton Ghost 11.0.2 works just fine on Windows Server 2008 formatted disks.
I cloned a simple volume 160GB Western Digital disk to a new Western Digital 500MB disk in 47 minutes. I swapped the cables and booted up to the new drive without a hitch.

RSAT Released for Windows Server 2008

The Windows Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) have been release for Windows Server 2008. These tools allow you to manage remote Windows Server 2008 computers from a Windows Vista SP1 x86 client. The Vista SP1 x64 version is available here.

These tools are designed to provide the same functionality as the familiar Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack. But sorry, no XP for you!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hyper-V Integration Components For Windows 2003 SP1


Well, kinda.

Big Red Disclaimer: The steps listed here are not supported by Microsoft (or me). I've tested it several times and have not found any issues. If it doesn't work for you - well, sorry.

The Integration Components for Hyper-V RC0 are only avaialable for Windows XP 32-bit with SP3 or later, Windows Server 2003 with SP2 or later, Windows Vista 32-bit with SP1 or later , all versions of Windows Server 2008 and, just recently, Linux.

So what do you do if you want to virtualize a Windows 2003 SP1 server? After all, you may have a legacy application that won't run on SP2 and one of the hopes of virtualization is to move these servers off of dedicated hardware. Here's how to do it:

  • Gather your CDs. You'll need the following:
    • Windows 2003 Server CD (RTM or SP1 - make sure it doesn't have SP2 slipstreamed into it)
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2 upgrade CD or ISO (available here from Microsoft)
  • Create a new Windows 2003 virtual server using the Hyper-V New Virtual Machine Wizard
  • Upgrade the virtual machine to SP2 using the SP2 CD or ISO.
  • From the Hyper-V Action menu, insert the Integration Services Setup disk and install the Integration Components. The installation will require a restart when it's complete.
  • After the restart, uninstall Windows Server 2003 SP2 using Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. The uninstall will warn you that KB943295 and the Integration Components may not work if you continue the uninstallation. Click Continue.
  • Restart the virtual machine to complete the uninstallation.

Now you have a Windows 2003 VM with SP1 which runs the Integration Components! You can use this base image to make as many servers as you like. Be sure to use a tool like NewSID to generate unique SIDs for each clone, otherwise you'll run into problems in a domain.

Note: I haven't tested this for Windows Server 2003 RTM, Vista RTM or Windows XP RTM/SP1/SP2, but I expect it will work. Please post a comment if you have success or failure.