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Posts Tagged ‘Vista’

There’s plenty of information around about using ocsetup to install Windows components in Vista and Windows 7. However, there’s not a lot of information about installing items with prerequisites. I needed to install MSMQ-HTTP recently and found that it required WAS and IIS to be installed beforehand. Now, I found some MSDN information on installing the prerequisites but found that I still couldn’t install MSMQ-HTTP using that unattended file.

What I found was that the item required needed to be specified in the unattended file, but so did the parent items in the tree. So, for MSMQ-HTTP, I also needed to add MSMQ-Container and MSMQ-Server, as well as MSMQ-HTTP.

With all the items now specified in the unattend.xml file, I could run ocsetup MSMQ-HTTP /unattendfile:”unattend.xml” using the following unattend.xml:

<?xml version=”1.0″?>
<unattend>
  <servicing>
    <package action=”configure”>
      <assemblyIdentity name=”Microsoft-Windows-Foundation-Package” version=”6.1.7600.16385″ language=”neutral” processorArchitecture=”x86″ publicKeyToken=”31bf3856ad364e35″ versionScope=”nonSxS”/>
      <selection name=”WAS-WindowsActivationService” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”WAS-ProcessModel” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”WAS-NetFxEnvironment” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”WAS-ConfigurationAPI” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-WebServerRole” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-WebServer” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-CommonHttpFeatures” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-ApplicationDevelopment” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-HealthAndDiagnostics” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-Performance” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-WebServerManagementTools” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-IIS6ManagementCompatibility” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-StaticContent” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-DefaultDocument” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-DirectoryBrowsing” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-HttpErrors” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-HttpRedirect” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-RequestFiltering” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-NetFxExtensibility” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-HttpLogging” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-LoggingLibraries” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-RequestMonitor” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-HttpTracing” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-HttpCompressionStatic” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-ManagementConsole” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-ISAPIExtensions” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”IIS-Metabase” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”MSMQ-Container” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”MSMQ-Server” state=”true”/>
      <selection name=”MSMQ-HTTP” state=”true”/>
    </package>
  </servicing>
</unattend>

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I’ve tried running a Vista box on a domain this week and have been trying to run Sun VirtualBox 2.0.4 as a replacement for VMWare Workstation. I’d read promising reports of VirtualBox, but I was unable to create a new machine and boot it off the network. Why on earth would someone do that? Plenty of corporate environments use a network image for the SOE installation and straight off, VirtualBox doesn’t play nicely. Depending on how a corporate image is put together, you may be able to mount a disc and build a corporate machine with VirtualBox, but you can’t in every instance. Don’t get me wrong, for some people I’m sure VirtualBox is the bee’s knees, but for network boots, look elsewhere.

If you are running Vista as your host OS, your main options then are VMWare and Virtual PC. If you don’t have a licence for VMWare 6 (where they bought in Vista support), it looks like Virtual PC is the only option.

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In part 1, I covered how to use robocopy, which is part of Windows Vista. Now we’ll use that knowledge to create a scheduled task and have regular backups.

Using Vista, you’ll want to run Task Scheduler (try pressing the windows key and typing this in, it should appear pretty swiftly). You’ll probably need to press continue to get past the UAC prompt. The Task Scheduler screen is very busy and has a lot of options. For our purpose, try looking on the right for an item called Create Basic Task. If you can’t find it there, it should be under the action menu.

This will launch the Create Basic Task Wizard, now give this a name (Backup is ok) and click Next.

This goes to the Trigger screen, which dictates how often the backup will be done. Take your pick, but I’ll go for Daily. You’ll then be asked about the exact time you want it to run and for this backup it doesn’t matter too much for most people, unless you know you’ll be doing something really important every day and you don’t want it disturbed. I’ll pick 9:00:00 am every 1 days and click Next.

Now we’re at the Action screen and we want to start a program, so click Next. Here’s the important part, you need to select the program to run, which is robocopy, you can either just type robocopy or click browse and find C:\Windows\System32\robocopy.exe. Now you need to enter the parameters into the Add arguments (optional) box. These will be whatever you’ve decided based on Part 1, in my case “C:\Users\MyUser\Pictures” “G:\MyBackup\Pictures” /MIR /XJD /R:5 /W:15

Click Next and then Finish and it’s all setup.

Now if you want to see if it will all work, you should be able to see you backup task, right-click it and choose Run. You should have a command prompt window appear, unless you disabled that in your robocopy command. You’ll also be able to see the Last Run Result, which will be the exit code robocopy gives. Generally you should get 0,1,2 or 3 (0x0, 0x1, 0x2, 0x3), but consult Robocopy exit codes if you’re not sure. At times I’ve gotten 16 (0x10) when my external drive hasn’t been connected too.

Happy backing up and don’t forget to check your backup is what you expect! Comments and suggestions welcome.

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Backing up your important files is a smart thing to do. However, Windows Vista does not provide a simple way to backup specific folders or files built into the OS. There are number of third party tools that will do a decent job, including Microsoft’s Sync Toy, but I’ll focus on robocopy.

Robocopy has been around for some time, but is built into Vista. It is essentially a file copying program, but that’s all a backup is right? (Well, it is for our purposes). Robocopy is a command line utility, so you’ll need to be somewhat familiar with using the command line. Robocopy also has a lot of options, so we’ll stick to some important ones.

If you run a command prompt and type robocopy /? you’ll get a long list of the options, in fact there’s a document that details them all. Essentially you need to specify the source folder (what you want to backup), the destination folder (preferably a folder on an external drive) and any specific options.

So, a basic robocopy command looks like: robocopy “C:\Users\MyUser\Pictures” “G:\MyBackup\Pictures” and while this specifies the source and destination, it doesn’t specify an options, so it won’t do very much.

For this backup, I’d like to copy all folders inside Pictures, so I want to add /MIR, this option makes sure the backup ‘mirrors’ the source, so if I delete a picture from my source later on, it will delete it from the backup.

Vista also uses a concept of ‘junction points’, which you can basically ignore, but just so that our backup definitely also does, I’ll add /XJD to the command.

One last thing robocopy does is wait and try again if it can’t do what it’s supposed to (why it’s called Robust File Copy). By default, it will wait a long time (30 seconds) and try a lot of times (1 million) if something’s up. 30 million seconds is a bit too long for me to wait for a backup if something’s up. So, let’s change these to /R:5 /W:15 to retry 5 times and wait 15 seconds in between.

Putting all of this together, we can now run robocopy “C:\Users\MyUser\Pictures” “G:\MyBackup\Pictures” /MIR /XJD /R:5 /W:15 and it will backup my Pictures folder. Of course I’d check the backup is what you expect. If it’s not, check the folders you specified are right and of course you could check the exit code for some more information.

Next, I’ll look at how you can automate this backup so you don’t need to run it constantly

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Back to the lab again

Well, back at work after completing Maintaining and Troubleshooting Windows Vista Computers. This course was similar to the last one (some content repeated). Some useful new info, but really a lot of the same stuff as in XP – or close enough that it doesn’t really matter. So, we’ve gone “back to the lab again” (5 points for the artist & 10 points for the song with these lyrics) and making some progress, so that’s good.

On the other hand, I got an email from Microsoft this morning saying that BDD is now called Microsoft Deployment, so I’m thinking to run this up in the lab and see if it’s more stable than BDD 3 (I really hope so).

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Slow news day

Not much successful has happened so far today, Vista keeps blue screening, BDD builds aren’t working so I’m rebulding the server and will put BDD back up and go again.

Just for completeness, when I managed to get past the blue screen it was only to get the disk booting again which managed to tell me that the build was complete with the following errors:

  • Unable to get WinNT ADSI provider: (-2147221020)
  • ERROR – ZTITatoo state restore task should be running in the full OS, aborting
  • ZTIERROR – Non-zero return code by ZTITatoo, rc = 1 (this one twice) 

This morning was taken up with chasing how to update the security updates in SMS. I didn’t get anything to work for this, but Dave’s managed to coerce SMS into displaying some new updates.

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Vista company line

I was thinking about it the other day after someone asked me “Why are you upgrading to Vista?” I babbled something about security, but I decided I couldn’t really sell ease of use, superior interface, Office 2007. Having thought about it, I can’t give a single great reason, but maybe a combination of little reasons.

But, thing is we’ve got thousands of staff who are going to be asking or at least thinking the same thing. I hope the answer they get makes them feel good, so I looked around and found some articles: PC World, Microsoft, TechRepublic. Oh and I love the explanation of using ReadyBoost. Forget that you’ve basically got to get a new machine to run Vista well, you then want a ton of RAM + a USB drive.

Best reasons I can see that mean something to an end user:

  • Security
  • Sidebar
  • Desktop Search

Is this list too weak? Maybe, but it might just need the right examples or explanation…

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