Countdown to TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, LA: 2010-06-07 00:00:00 GMT-08:00

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The TechEd 2010 Count Down Gadget

Are you going to TechEd 2010 North America?  Can't wait to visit New Orleans with all your fellow IT Pros?  Well, get your geek on with the TechEd 2010 Count Down Gadget for Windows 7 and Windows Vista!

Just download the gadget from any Windows 7 or Vista computer and double-click it to add it to your Windows Sidebar.  But hey, you're an IT Pro.  You already knew that.

Update: The TechEd 2010 Count Down Gadget has been accepted and approved for distribution through the Windows Gallery.

Special thanks goes to Oliver Green with  He did all the smart stuff.  I just changed the graphics.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

How to Create a Boot VHD Step By Step

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 allow you to create a bootable VHD (virtual hard disk) with its own operating system (also called Native Boot).  This is really useful when you need to run another operating system or platform on the same hardware.
Note: Native Boot is limited to the following operating systems: Windows 7 Enterprise (x86 or x64), Windows 7 Ultimate (x86 or x64), and Windows Server 2008 R2.
For example, my Dell workstation normally runs Windows 7 Ultimate x64.  I wanted to update the BIOS from Dell's support site, but the BIOS installer won't run in x64 operating systems.  I also wanted to update the firmware on my Parrot Minikit Slim bluetooth car kit, but the USB driver for the P5+ USB Stage1 device is only available for x86 computers.

In previous versions of Windows, the solution would be to make a dual-boot system.  The problem with this is that you and Windows will need to contend with similarly named folders (i.e., \Windows and \Program Files).  A bootable VHD is a discreet virtual disk that contains it's own OS.  The single VHD file can reside on your normal disk drive (for example, C: or D:), or even a USB drive.  The VHD will contain its own file structure, but you can still access the physical drives, folders and devices on the parent computer.

The walkthrough I'm documenting here will create a bootable VHD file that runs Windows 7 Enterprise x86.  Let's get started.

 Creating the VHD Drive
  • First, start up and login to the parent operating system (in my case, Windows 7 Ultimate x64).
  • Open Computer Management in Administrative Tools
  • Expand Storage and click Disk Management. You will see your normal physical drives.
  • Right-click Disk Management and select Create VHD
  • Enter the file path and name, size, and format for the VHD as show below:
  • Here, I'm creating a 20GB dynamically expanding VHD named D:\Win7x86.vhd.  A dynamic disk will start off very small (~42KB) and will grow as data is written to it, up to the maximum size specified (20GB).  Microsoft has made huge improvements in the performance of dynamic VHDs in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, so they perform nearly the same as fixed size disks.
  • Click OK to create and mount the VHD volume.  The new disk will be listed in the bottom pane of the Disk Management console as an Unknown Disk.
  • Right-click the Unknown Disk and select Initialize Disk, as shown here:
  • Click OK to initialize the disk with an MBR partition.
  • Now right-click the Unallocated disk and create a New Simple Volume.  The New Simple Volume Wizard will run.  Assign the new volume as drive X:, give it the volume name, Win7x86, and quick format it with the NTFS file system.  The new volume will be displayed in Disk Management and the D:\Win7x86.vhd file will grow to about 77MB.
You now have a new 20GB virtual hard disk, drive X:  Next, we will prepare the disk to install Windows 7 Enterprise x86.

Preparing the VHD for the New Operating System
  • First, you need to download and install the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) for Windows 7 from Microsoft.  Be aware that this is a 1.7GB ISO and can take some time to download.  Burn the ISO to a DVD or mount it using virtual CD-ROM software like UltraISO, PowerISO, etc., and then install WAIK.
  • Open a CMD prompt as Administrator and change to the %SystemDrive%\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\ folder.  In my case, this is C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\amd64.
  • Mount the Windows 7 Enterprise Edition x86 media.  In my case, this is on the DVD drive E:
  • Run the following command to prepare drive X: for the new operating system:

imagex /apply E:\sources\install.wim 1 X:\
  • Imagex will apply the Windows 7 binaries to the VHD drive X:  The 1 specifies that the operating system is Enterprise Edition.  The application will begin, as shown below:
  • Imagex application normally takes about 7-8 minutes, despite what the progress bar shows.  When it completes, you will see several new folders on drive X:
  • Now you need to detach the VHD disk.  In Disk Management, right-click the VHD disk and select Detach VHD, as shown below:
  • You will notice that the D:\Win7x86.vhd file has grown to about 5.5GB.
We now have a VHD with the Windows 7 Enterprise x86 files installed on it.  We need to configure the computer so that it can boot to the VHD and complete the installation of Windows 7.

Adding the VHD to the Boot Menu
  •  Open an elevated CMD prompt and enter the following command:

bcdedit /copy {current} /d "Windows 7 Enterprise x86"
  • This will return the GUID of the Loader Object that you will use to replace in the following commands:
bcdedit /set device vhd=[driveletter:]\vhdpath\vhdfilename

bcdedit /set osdevice vhd=[driveletter:]\vhdpath\vhdfilename

bcdedit /set detectHAL on

The detectHAL command is used to force Windows to auto-detect the hardware abstraction layer. The commands I used are shown below:

Completing the Installation

Now we are ready to boot from the VHD. When you restart the computer you will see a new entry in the boot menu for Windows 7 Enterprise x86, along with the default Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 option.

Restart the computer and select the new Windows 7 Enterprise x86 option to complete the installation of Windows 7. The first time the new OS starts, the install process will install needed device drivers and restart the computer. The second time your start the OS, miniprep process will walk you through configuring the user name, password, computer name, and the network settings.

Congratulations! You have completed the boot to VHD process.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NTFS Inheritance Rule Change

Up until recently, NTFS permissions have followed these inheritance rules:

  • If a file or folder is copied to some other location, it will inherit the new location's NTFS permissions.
  • If a file or folder is moved to some other location on a different disk drive, it will inherit the new location's NTFS permissions.
  • If a file or folder is moved to some other location on the same disk drive, it will retain the original location's NTFS permissions.

One of the NTFS inheritance rules changed in Windows 2008, R2, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Now if you move a file or folder, it will inherit the new location's NTFS permissions, even if the new location is on the same disk drive. This is a radical shift that you need to taken into account when you're moving files.

You can find a reference to this change in the Notes section in the Microsoft article "Inherited permissions are not automatically updated when you move folders".

Thanks to Murat Yildirimoglu, an MCSE and MCT in Istanbul, Turkey, for the article.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Windows 7 Interoperability Pack Released

Microsoft announced today the release of the Platform Update for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, as well as Remote Desktop Connection Client 7.0 and Windows Management Framework.  This was previously known as the Windows 7 Interoperability Pack.

Please see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles for more information.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Convert Your Windows 7 ISO to a Universal ISO Disk

When you download Windows 7 ISOs from MSDN or TechNet, you'll notice that there are several versions of the same disk. These downloads include the Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate editions.

An ISO-9660 image file is an exact representation of a CD or DVD, including the content and the logical format. The Windows 7 binaries for each edition are identical, it's the product key that unlocks the various features that make each edition what it is.

There is a small file called ei.cfg in the \sources folder of each ISO that "locks" them to each edition. If this file is deleted, it unlocks the ISO and allows you to select to edition of the Windows 7 operating system to install, as shown below:

As you can see, this not only allows you to install Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate editions, it also allows you to install Starter or Home Basic editions. Starter and Home Basic editions are less featured and are designed for emerging markets and low powered netbooks and laptops.

You can edit the ISO to remove the ei.cfg file using any ISO editor, such as PowerISO or UltraISO. Keep in mind that you will have to rebuild (save) the new ISO, which can take some time and disk space.

An even better way to do this is by using a cool little utility called eicfg_remover from The utility disables the ei.cfg file by toggling the deletion bit in the UDF table in the ISO to treat it like it no longer exists. This eliminates the need to rebuild the ISO and makes it possible to reverse the patch, restoring it to its original state. Just run eicfg_remover again to do so.

By creating a "universal" Windows 7 disk, you'll save disk space and increase the ISO's versatility.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Windows 7 Feature Matrix

Windows 7 is available in 6 different SKUs, but for the most part it boils down to three major editions: Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, and Window 7 Ultimate / Enterprise.

The Ultimate and Enterprise editions both have the same features, the difference is how Windows 7 is purchased. Ultimate is for the retail (individual user) channel and Enterprise is for volume licensing customers. Enterprise customers with Software Assurance also benefit from the features in the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).

Each edition is available for both x86 (32-bit) and x64 (64-bit) platforms.

The following table lists the new features in Windows 7 for each edition (SKU).

Choosing the correct version of Windows 7 is made easier when you look at the features available in each version. Most small and medium-sized customers will choose Windows 7 Professional.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Shutdown Schedule for Windows 7 Beta and Windows 7 RC

Windows 7 RTM (Release to Manufacturing) became available to systems builders and MSDN and TechNet Plus subscribers on August 6, 2009.

You can continue to download Windows 7 RC through August 15, 2009. To avoid interruption, you should rebuild test machines by using a valid Windows operating system before Windows 7 Beta and Windows 7 RC expire. Windows will automatically notify you that the expiration process is about to begin. Two weeks later, your PC will shut down every two hours.

  • For Windows 7 Beta, the bi-hourly shutdowns will begin July 1, 2009. The software will expire August 1, 2009.
  • For Windows 7 RC, the bi-hourly shutdowns will begin March 1, 2010. The software will expire June 1, 2010.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 RTMs

Microsoft just announced that Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 released to manufacturing (RTM’d).

RTM officially happens only after sign-off occurs. What happens is a build gets designated as a RTM contender after going through significant testing and meeting our quality bar for RTM. Then, it goes though all the validation checks required for RTM including having all languages of that build completed. If all the validation checks have passed – sign-off for RTM can occur. Today after all the validation checks were met, we signed off and declared build 7600 as RTM.
I've been working with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 for over 18 months in the Windows TAP (Technology Adoption Program) and as an early adopter. I'm happy to see a lot of changes that I and others in my company requested get implemented. We are delighted to work with the Windows and Server development teams, who produced such awesome products.

Evaluation software will be available for download in the first half of August and the full product available to customers with Software Assurance in the second half of August. General “off the shelf” availability will come in the September timeframe, as planned.

Congratulations, Windows Development Teams! You have two sure fire winners with these new operating systems.

PS - Look for our new book, "Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed" to be released soon.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Upgrade to Windows 7 for $49.99!

Today, Microsoft announced a fantastic deal for current Microsoft customers. You can now pre-order Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99 or Windows 7 Professional Upgrade for $99.99 from select retail partners. The offer ends July 11th in the U.S. and Canada, and on July 5th for Japan or while supplies last

As a way of saying thank you to our loyal Windows customers, we are excited to introduce a special time limited offer! We will offer people in select markets the opportunity to pre-order Windows 7 at a more than 50% discount. In the US, this will mean you can pre-order Windows 7 Home Premium for USD $49.99 or Windows 7 Professional for USD $99.99. You can take advantage of this special offer online via select retail partners such as Best Buy or Amazon, or the online Microsoft Store (in participating markets).

This is a great deal for this fantastic operating system. Take advantage of it!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Windows 7 Pricing and Upgrade Program Information Released

Today, Microsoft released its pricing model for Windows 7, the much anticipated operating system that will replace Windows Vista.

The estimated retail prices for upgrade packaged retail product of Windows 7 in the U.S. are:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade): $119.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Upgrade): $219.99

And the estimated retail prices for full packaged retail product of Windows 7 in the U.S. are:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Full): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Full): $299.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Full): $319.99

This means that Windows 7 Home Premium full retail product is $40.00 less than Windows Vista Home Premium today.

General availability of Windows 7 is scheduled for October 22, 2009 worldwide.

For those who need a new PC now but still want to get Windows 7, the Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program starts tomorrow, June 26th. Anyone who buys a PC from a participating OEM or retailer with Windows Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate on it will all receive an upgrade to the corresponding version of Windows 7 at little or no cost. The Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program will be available until January 31, 2010 – and it's global. For more information on taking advantage of the Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program, visit

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Video of What's New in Windows 7

This interesting 6 minute video covers the key new features and improvements in the Windows 7 Release Candidate. This includes areas like performance, networking, security, PC management as well as everyday tasks.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 RC is Available

Today, Microsoft released the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC) for general IT users.

What's new in RC?

In addition to improvements in performance, reliability, and compatibility, the Windows 7 RC has two new features that we think you will like:

Windows XP Mode (beta): We know that compatibility is a big issue for many small businesses. Which is why we are excited to announce the availability of Windows XP Mode (beta). This new feature allows Windows 7 Professional users to run many Windows XP productivity applications seamlessly in Windows XP Mode. Utilizing Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP applications can be launched with a single click directly from the Windows 7 desktop. (Please note that Windows XP Mode is currently not included at the time of downloading Windows 7 RC.) Install the Windows XP Mode (beta).

Remote Media Streaming: Remote streaming enables you to securely access your digital media libraries regardless of where you are. Simply associate two Windows 7 PCs with the way you connect to the Internet and allow Internet access to your media on both of them. Windows Media Player displays and plays the media libraries from those remote PCs in the same manner as other shared media libraries on a home network.

There is a lot to be excited about. So go ahead, Install Windows 7 RC today and experience for yourself why this operating system a great choice for your customers - and a great opportunity for your business.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 RC Released

Microsoft released Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) build 7100 today. The RC reflects extensive beta tester feedback which the MVP Community directly impacted.

Managed Beta program participants, including MSDN and TechNet subscriberscan download it from Microsoft Connect. If you are not among those who participated in one of the managed Beta programs, you only have to wait until Tuesday, May 5, when the RC will be available through the Customer Preview Program. The final engineering milestone is the release to manufacturing (RTM), typically 3-5 months after the RC.

As a member of the Windows7 Technology Adoption Program (TAP), I've had the chance to work with Windows7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 from the earliest builds and have traveled to Redmond to participate in the Windows7 Summits. As time goes on, I'll be posting my usual tips, tricks and troubleshooting articles on this blog.

Windows 7 beta facts:

  • Over 2000 MVPs participated in the beta on Connect.

  • MVPs contributed and filed over 700 bugs in the first week the beta was released.

  • Engineering fixed over 2000 bugs during the first two weeks.

  • The Windows 7 Forum was the premier destination support beta testers with over 25k posts in the first month

  • Windows 7 Beta forums success continues to be moderated by 100+ MVPs.

  • Windows 7 Beta forums answer rate soars to 88% on a volume of more than 40,000 posts.

  • Highlights of positive feedback from beta testers: Windows 7 beta speed / responsiveness, taskbar, and UX are top rated early features

I can tell you that I've been running Windows 7 on my Asus 1000HE netbook and it's absolutely awesome! It ran right out of the box with 1GB of RAM and even displays the Windows Aero interface. I would venture to say that anything that can run Windows XP will run Windows 7 - and it will run even better! Microsoft has a real winner with this operating system. I can't wait to see the RTM version.

The recommended minimum hardware for Windows 7 Beta can be found at

As for Windows 2008 R2, I run it on several host servers, VMs and even a dual-boot Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 R2 laptop computer. The build quality is outstanding and I love all the new features including mobile broadband support, Agile VPN, and the improvements to Server Manager. Be sure to check out the Best Practices Analyzers in Server Manager.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

How to Hide a User Account on the Logon Screen

Maybe you created a user account on your XP computer so your nephew could use it when he was visiting you. Now he's gone home and you really don't want to see that account choice every time you log on to Windows, but you also don't want to just delete the account because he'll probably be back again next year. Here's how to hide an account from the logon screen:

  • Before editing the registry, always back it up just to be safe.

  • Open the registry editor and navigate to the following key:

Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Winlogon \ SpecialAccounts \

Note: The SpecialAccounts \ UserList keys may not exist on your computer. If they do not, create them.

  • In the right pane, you'll see a list of items that correspond to the user accounts that exist on the computer but are not shown on the logon screen. You'll probably be surprised at how many there are.

  • Right click an empty space in the right pane, select NEW and DWORD value.
    Right click the new value and rename it to the exact name of the user account you want to hide.

  • Close the registry editor.

Now the account name won't show up on the logon screen. You can unhide the account at any time by deleting the registry key you created. Your nephew can still log onto the account while it's hidden. Just press CTRL+ALT+DEL twice in a row at the logon screen and you'll get the logon dialog box that allows you to type in the username.

Note: This tip works for Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The SpecialAccounts key may not exist by default, but if you create it as specified above it works a treat!

Additional Note: I've discovered this tip does not work in Windows Vista because Microsoft removed the "Classic Logon" functionality from this OS. You can still hide the account, but you won't be able to logon as this hidden account by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del twice. You can, however still switch to this account using user account switching.

Thanks to Deb Shinder for the tip!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to Install Windows 7 from a USB Stick

Helmer Zandbergen is a Dutch IT pro who wrote an excellent article that explains how to how to install Windows 7 from a USB stick in 11 easy steps.

All you need is a PC with USB boot-support (any modern PC), Windows 7 installation files, and a USB stick with at least 4 GB free space.

I used this method to install Win7 on my new Asus Eee PC 1000HE netbook and it works great!

  • Plug in your USB stick
  • Open Command Prompt with admin rights (Start –> enter cmd –> press CTRL-SHIFT+ENTER and click Yes at the UAC prompt)
  • Run Diskpart by typing diskpart and press enter
  • Now type List disk (and press enter). My USB stick is Disk 2.
  • Enter the following commands, where I assume that your USB stick is also Disk 2. If your USB stick is Disk 5, just use Disk 5 instead of my Disk 2! Enter the following commands one by one, each followed by Enter:

Select Disk 2


Create Partition Primary

Select Partition 1


Format FS=FAT32 (depending on the size of your USB stick this can take a moment)



  • Now copy the entire content of your Windows 7 DVD (or Windows 7 source folder, if you extracted the ISO) to the root of your USB stick.
  • Now we still have to make the USB stick bootable. Note: If you are currently running a 64-bit OS and the source (on the USB stick) is 32-bit, you can’t run the following command. Just be sure the source (on the USB stick) and the currently running OS are of the same type!
  • In the Command Prompt (which you didn’t close, I hope) type P: (the drive letter of your USB stick) followed by Enter
  • Type CD\Boot followed by Enter
  • To create a bootsector on the USB stick enter Bootsect /NT60 P: (your USB drive letter) followed by Enter.
  • Reboot your PC and change the boot order (in the BIOS) if needed, so the USB stick is first in the boot order.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder

Here's a 4-1/2 minute video by Keith Combs showing a great new feature in Windows 7, the Problem Steps Recorder, or PSR.

PSR allows end users to record the actions they took to produce a problem.

The user enters PSR in the start menu, clicks Record, and then performs the steps to produce the problem. When the user clicks Stop Record, they can optionally enter comments and save the recording to a single ZIP file. Then they email it to the support staff.

The ZIP file contains an MHT file with screen shots and written actions that documents everything the user typed or clicked during the recording session.

This will be very useful for help desk and support staff in corporate environments, not to mention all those calls I get from my parents.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Keyboard Shortcuts in Windows 7

Windows 7 beta 1 includes some handy new shortcut key combinations that allow you to navigate and manage the Windows workspace more efficiently.

Here are 10 new Windows 7 shortcuts that will help you speed up your workflow (“Win” means the Windows Key):

  • Win+Home: Clear all but the active window

  • Win+Space: All windows become transparent so you can see through to the desktop (requires the Aero interface)

  • Win+Up arrow: Maximize the active window

  • Win+Down arrow: Minimize the active window or restore the window if it's maximized

  • Win+Left/Right arrows: Dock the active window to each side of the monitor

  • Win+Shift+Left/Right arrows: If you've got dual monitors, this will move the active window to the adjacent monitor (love this one!)

  • Win+T: Shift focus to and scroll through items on the taskbar

  • Win+P: Adjust presentation settings for your display

  • Win+(+/-): Zoom in/out

  • Shift+Click a taskbar item: Open a new instance of that particular application

Thanks to Stephen Rose, the Senior Community Manager for the TechNet Springboard Series for the tips.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How to Configure IPv6 Using Group Policy

By default, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista enable and use IPv6 as the default protocol. These versions of Windows will normally use IPv6 for all network communication and will step down to IPv4 as necessary.

You may decide to disable Windows IPv6 for several reasons. Perhaps your IPv4 network doesn't support it, and you want to disable unnecessary protocols. You may have also read that IPv6 breaks Outlook Anywhere on Exchange 2007 Client Access servers.

Most people think that you disable IPv6 by simply unchecking the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) checkbox, as shown above. This method disables IPv6 on the particular LAN interface and connection. For other network adapters or connections, users have to repeat the steps to disable IPv6. However, disabling IPv6 this way does not disable IPv6 on tunnel interfaces or the IPv6 loopback interface. It also must be done manually and cannot be instrumented or enforced using Group Policy.

In order to truly disable IPv6, you must disable it in the registry in the following key:

Normally, the DisabledComponents value does not exist. If the value does not exist or the value data is 0, IPv6 is enabled on all interfaces.

Microsoft wrote KB article 929852 to document how to disable certain Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) components in Windows Vista (and later) manually using the registry. At the end of the article, Microsoft helpfully wrote, "Note: Administrators must create an ADMX file in order to expose the settings in step 5 in a Group Policy setting." Nice. So, I decided to do just that.

I wrote the attached ADMX and ADML files to enable the configuration of IPv6 using Group Policy. Copy each file to the computer you will use to configure the policy. - This ZIP file contains both the ADMX and ADML files:

  • IPv6Configuration.admx - Copy this file to %SYSTEMROOT%\PolicyDefinitions
  • IPv6Configuration.adml - Copy this file to %SYSTEMROOT&\PolicyDefinitions\en-US (Replace en-US with your country's language, as necessary)

Now log into the computer and use the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) to configure the IPv6 settings. The new policy will be located under Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Network > IPv6 Configuration, as shown below:

Here, you can configure the following IPv6 settings:
  • Enable all IPv6 components (Windows default)
  • Disable all IPv6 components (the setting you probably want)
  • Disable 6to4
  • Disable ISATAP
  • Disable Teredo
  • Disable Teredo and 6to4
  • Disable all tunnel interfaces
  • Disable all LAN and PPP interfaces
  • Disable all LAN, PPP and tunnel interfaces
  • Prefer IPv4 over IPv6

Note that you must restart the computer for the configuration to go into effect.

Please to enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to Modify the All Users Startup Menu

As you no doubt know, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 have modified the locations for user profiles. They are no longer in %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings and exist in the %ProgramData%\Users folder.

However, to modify the All Users profile to add a shortcut to the Startup menu you actually need to access the %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup folder.

See Peter Fitzsimon's blog for all the gory details.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

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

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" checkbox shown above.

Here's how to get the missing checkbox back and configure Autologon:
  • Open a 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 Autologon and click OK

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 Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

How to Enable Autologon in Windows Server 2008 Workgroup Servers and Windows 7 Computers

Click here for instructions for enabling AutoLogon for Windows Server 2008 member servers and Windows 7 member workstations.
There may be times that you want/need to enable Autologon for Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7. Examples may be lab machines or kiosks. Here's how to do it:
  • 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. If this checkbox is missing, see my article about enabling Autologon on member servers and workstations.

  • Enter the user name and password that will be used for Autologon and click OK

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 Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

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