Windows Server 2008 R2 - Increased Support for Standards

The release of Windows Server 2008 introduced several industry standards built in to the Windows operating system that have since been updated in Windows Server 2008 R2. These changes continue a trend of the Windows operating system supporting industry
standards rather than proprietary Microsoft standards. One of the key standards built in to Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is IPv6.

Internet Protocol version 6 (or IPv6) is the future Internet standard for TCP/IP addressing. Most organizations support Internet Protocol version 4 (or IPv4). Due to the Internet numbering scheme running out of address space in its current implementation of addressing, Internet communications of the future need to support IPv6, which provides a more robust address space.

Additionally, IPv6 supports new standards in dynamic addressing and Internet Protocol Security (IPSec). Part of IPv6 is to have support for the current IPv4 standards so that dual addressing is possible. With Windows Server 2008 R2 supporting IPv6, an organization can choose to implement a dual IPv6 and IPv4 standard to prepare for Internet communications support in the future.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows Server 2008 R2 - Changes That Simplify Tasks

Windows Server 2008 R2 has added several new capabilities that simplify tasks. These capabilities could appear to be simply cosmetic changes; however, they actually provide significant benefits for administrative management.

New Server Manager Tool
A tool that was added in Windows Server 2008 is the Server Manager console. Server Manager consolidates all of the administrative management consoles from Windows 2000/2003 into a single management tool. Now instead of having to open up the Active Directory Users and Computers console, Control Panel system properties, the DNS management console, and so on, and then toggle to the appropriate console you want, all of the information is now available in one screen. Updated in Windows Server 2008 R2 is the ability for an administrator to use the Server Manager tool to access not only the server resources on the current server system, but also to remotely access server resources through the Server Manager tool on remote server systems. This remote capability of Server Manager minimizes the need of the administrator to remotely log on to systems to manage them; it allows the administrator to sit at a single Server Manager console and gain access to other servers in the organization.

Additionally, other tools like the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) show up in Server Manager under the Features node and provide an administrator with the ability to edit group policies, change policies, and apply policies from the same console to which the administrator can make DNS changes, add users, and change IP configuration changes to site configuration settings.

PowerShell for Administrative Tasks
Another updated server feature in Windows Server 2008 R2 is the extension of PowerShell for server administration and management. PowerShell has now been extended to be a full scripting language for administration tasks in Windows Server 2008 R2. PowerShell was first introduced in Exchange 2007 as the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) that underlies all functions of Exchange 2007 administration. PowerShell (version 2.0) is now installed by default in Windows Server 2008 R2, as opposed to being an add-in feature in Windows Server 2008. As a built-in component, all administrative tasks are now fully PowerShell enabled.

PowerShell in Windows Server 2008 R2 provides the ability for administrators to script processes, such as adding users, adding computers, or even more complicated tasks such as querying a database, extracting usernames, and then creating Active Directory users, and to provision Exchange mailboxes all from a PowerShell script. Additionally, PowerShell in Windows Server 2008 R2 allows an administrator to script installation processes so that if, for example, the administrator creates a Remote Desktop server or web server with specific settings, the administrator can use a PowerShell script and deploy additional servers all identically configured using the same script over and over.

And with PowerShell 2.0 built in to Windows Server 2008 R2, PowerShell scripts and commands can be run against remote servers. This enables an administrator to sit at one server and remotely execute scripts on other servers in the environment. Using secured server-to-server session communications, an administrator can configure a group of servers, manage a group of servers, and reboot a group of servers all from a series of PowerShell commands.

All future server products released from Microsoft will have the PowerShell foundation built in to the core Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system, thus making it easier for products running on Windows Server 2008 R2 to use the same administrative scripting language. PowerShell is covered in detail in Chapter 21, “Automating Tasks Using PowerShell Scripting.”

Active Directory Administrative Center
New to Windows Server 2008 R2 and built on PowerShell v2.0, the Active Directory Administrative Center is a customizable console that an organization can create for specific administrators in the organization. As an example, an organization might have an administrator who only needs to reset passwords, or another administrator who only needs or manage print queues. Rather than giving the administrator access to the full Active Directory Users and Computers or Print Management consoles, an Active Directory Administrative console can be created with just a task or two specific to the administrator’s responsibilities.

The console is built on PowerShell, so underlying the GUI are simple PowerShell scripts. Anything that can be done in PowerShell on a Windows Server 2008 R2 server can be front-ended by the administration console.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Breakthrough 180 nm Ultra CMOS Process

Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation has entered in an exclusive agreement with IBM for the development and manufacture of future generations of Peregrine’s patented UltraCMOS™ silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) process technology, the industry’s highest-performance radio frequency complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (RF CMOS) process. When fully qualified, the next-generation UltraCMOS RF ICs will be manufactured by IBM for Peregrine in the jointly-developed 180 nanometer process at IBM’s 200 mm semiconductor manufacturing facility in Burlington, Vermont. Peregrine’s UltraCMOS technology delivers excellent levels of RF performance and monolithic integration for high-growth applications such as the RF front-end of mobile phones and multi-mode, multi-band mobile wireless devices; broadband communications including 4G LTE equipment and base stations; mobile DTV/CATV RF signal conditioning; and space satellite systems.

IBM adds Peregrine’s UltraCMOS technology to its advanced semiconductor processing capability. This development marks the first commercial use of 200 mm (8-inch) wafer processing for silicon-on-sapphire process — a patented variation of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology that incorporates an ultra-thin layer of silicon on a highly insulating sapphire substrate — a milestone which will drive the next decade of UltraCMOS engineering. “We are pleased to be working with Peregrine to enable the next generation of RF circuits on sapphire and extend our leadership in insulating substrates by adding the 180 nm UltraCMOS process to our world-class portfolio of RFSOI technologies,” said Regina Darmoni, director of IBM’s Analog/Mixed-Signal and Digital Foundry business. Migration to 200 mm wafers facilitates the evolution of the process to advanced 180 nm, 130 nm and 90 nm nodes. It also provides access to advanced manufacturing toolsets and enables significantly expanded digital integration capability.

“We are extremely proud to be developing future generations of UltraCMOS with one of the global leaders in semiconductor process technology,” stated Jim Cable, president and C.E.O. of Peregrine Semiconductor. “Our company has long been committed to driving technological change in RF by bringing our silicon-onsapphire RF process into the global mainstream. By combining the strengths of our two companies, we are continuing to deliver the promise of Moore’s Law for high-performance RF CMOS.” Collaboration between the two companies began in 2008 as the ability to use CMOS for RF designs emerged as a viable alternative to compound semiconductor processes such as gallium arsenide (GaAs). The benefits of CMOS include reliability, cost-effectiveness, high yields, portability, scalability and integration, all of which UltraCMOS demonstrates. “The realization of our 180 nm UltraCMOS process on 200 mm sapphire wafers is a very important phase of our long-term process development strategy,” commented Mark Miscione, vice-president and chief strategist for technology solutions at Peregrine Semiconductor.

“Throughout the last several years, we have invested significant capital and effort with our partners to strengthen the overall SOS supply chain and improve the economics of the base sapphire substrate material. This has been accomplished by the global acceptance of SOS technology, as evidenced by the more than 600 million UltraCMOS RF ICs shipped from our foundries within the past few years.” The first 180nm UltraCMOS RFICs have sampled to a key customer and commercial production release is expected in 2011.

Source of Information : Wireless Design and Development May-June 2010

WiMAX 2010: Delivering 4G Around the World

WiMAX is the only globally deployed 4G technology that today is enabling primary broadband in developing markets and providing 4G services in the most advanced telecommunication markets. With millions of subscribers today and triple-digit cumulative average growth predicted through 20141, WiMAX is starting to enjoy mass market adoption. Millions of people in Japan, United States, Korea, Europe, Malaysia, Russia, Taiwan and more than 100 other countries are currently enjoying the benefits of WiMAX. Expected to cover one-fourth of the globe’s population in the next two to three years, WiMAX deployments now cover over 630 million people today. A robust, flourishing competitive ecosystem, Affordable computers and laptops are available for most of the world's population.

WiMAX is supported by a mature and diverse ecosystem of global leaders from both the telecommunications and PC industries. Over 530 companies, including more than 30 providing low cost consumer devices and modems, are committed to making WiMAX and mobile broadband a success.

Driven by the incessant global demand for affordable wireless broadband Internet, WiMAX addresses both the needs of telecom operators with the cost dynamics of the PC industry. A case in point, the initial cost to PC manufacturers of embedded Wi Fi/WiMAX modules in laptops entered the market in 2008 at one-third to half the cost of the most advanced 3G solutions of the time. Today, WiMAX USB dongle pricing is roughly a fourth of the price of comparable 3G solutions.

By 2011, ABI Research projects the incremental material costs of adding embedded WiMAX to a device is predicted to be in the single digits. The impact of these types of device cost trends has a game-changing effect on the entire mobile broadband industry.

Connected Devices, Key to the Data Revolution
WiMAX operators offer a variety of WiMAX devices beyond what has been enabled on voicecentric networks. The demand for data is exploding— and 4G is all about data. WiMAX chips can be cost-effectively embedded into not only laptops and netbooks, but also consumer electronics (game players, digital cameras, navigation devices, home entertainment systems, etc.), utility meters, appliances and mobile Internet devices (MIDs), so users can connect, entertain, stay informed, and be productive wherever they go. These devices need the kind of speed and price/performance WiMAX offers.

WiMAX devices currently in market include 3G/4G handsets, personal hotspots (enabling multiple WiFi connections via a single WiMAX portable device), standalone broadband and VoIP modems (CPE), USB dongles, Wi-Fi/WiMAX gateways, MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) and finally laptops and netbooks with built-in WiMAX modules. As of April 2010, more than 200 laptop and netbook models embedded with the Intel® WiMAX/WiFi Link 5000 and Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N + WiMAX 6000 series modules have been certified for operator networks. The world’s leading PC manufacturers are offering Intel-based, embedded WiMAX solutions including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, MSI, Onkyo, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba.

More than 30 companies in Taiwan deliver WiMAX device designs including AboCom, AWB, Acer, Alpha Networks, ASUSTek, Cameo, CyberTAN, D-Link, DNI, Gemtek, GIL, IAC, Inventec, JStream, Liteon, Loop, MiTAC, MTI, Ruby Tech, Qisda, Quanta/QMI, Spectec Computer, TECOM, USI, WNC, and ZyXEL.

Source of Information : Wireless Design and Development May-June 2010

WiMAX and the Effects of Multipath

WiMAX signals suffer from the effects of multipath and exhibit broadband fading characteristics that are very apparent in the spectrum of the received WiMAX signal OFDM modulation does not eliminate fading and is not always received with a flat spectrum. Processing of the received OFDM signal can flatten the spectrum with a relatively simple channel estimator.

Multipath, delay spread inter-symbol interference and the cyclic prefix all determine the complexity of, and the performance of the algorithms needed at the receiver to flatten the spectrum. Let’s examine and differentiate these and how they apply to WiMAX.

Multipath is the propagation of an RF signal to a receiver via two or more paths. There are three distinct paths shown, and one path is delayed over 12μS relative to the first path. The multipath display was generated by correlating, over time, the preamble index code and the received signal. Multipath can result in constructive interference, destructive interference and phase shifting of the signal. The two most obvious cases are two sinusoids of the same frequency that are in phase, constructive, and two sinusoids of the same frequency that are a ½ cycle out of phase, hence destructive.

Considering the Effects of ISI
Combining any number sinusoids of the same frequency with any arbitrary phase still results in a sinusoid of the same frequency, but it may have a different amplitude and phase. These sinusoids, the RF carriers, are OFDM modulated in both amplitude and phase to carry data and this modulation requires that we also consider the effects of ISI, if present, on the received spectrum.

Delay spread, Td, intuitively, is the amount of time between the first (non-negligible) path and the last (non-negligible) path received. WiMAX adds a guard time between each OFDM symbol that is called the cyclic prefix, of length Tcp, if the Tcp <> Td and ISI is not present. If ISI exists, the receiver would need knowledge of both the multipath and the data modulated onto the RF carrier to flatten the received spectrum.

Source of Information : Wireless Design and Development May-June 2010

Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core

New to Windows Server 2008 and continued support with Windows Server 2008 R2 is a Server Core version of the operating system. Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core. When a system boots up with Server Core installed on it, the system does not load up the normal Windows graphical user interface. Instead, the Server Core system boots to a logon prompt, and from the logon prompt, the system drops to a DOS command prompt. There is no Start button, no menu—no GUI at all.

Server Core is not sold as a separate edition, but rather as an install option that comes with the Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, and Web Server Editions of the operating system. So, when you purchase a license of Windows Server 2008 R2, the DVD has both the normal GUI Edition code plus a Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core version.

The operating system capabilities are limited to the edition of Server Core being installed, so a Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Edition Server Core server has the same memory and processor limits as the regular Enterprise Edition of Windows Server 2008 R2.

Server Core has been a great version of Windows for utility servers such as domain controllers, DHCP servers, DNS servers, IIS web servers, or Windows virtualization servers being that the limited overhead provides more resources to the applications running on the server, and by removing the GUI and associated applications, there’s less of a security attack footprint on the Server Core system. Being that most administrators don’t play Solitaire or use Media Player on a domain controller, those are applications that don’t need to be patched, updated, or maintained on the GUI-less version of Windows. With fewer applications to be patched, the system requires less maintenance and management to keep operational.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows Web Server 2008 R2 Edition

The Windows Web Server 2008 R2 Edition is a web front-end server version of the operating system focused on application server needs that are dedicated to web services requirements. Many organizations are setting up simple web servers as front ends to database servers, messaging servers, or data application server systems. Windows Web Server 2008 R2 Edition can be used as a simple web server to host application development environments or can be integrated as part of a more sophisticated web farm and web services environment that scales to multiple load-balanced systems. The Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system has significant improvements in scalability over previous versions of the Windows operating system, and an organization can license multiple web services systems at a lower cost per server to provide the scalability and redundancy desired in large web farm environments.

For organizations looking to purchase a low-cost Windows Web Server Edition to set up a simple file and print server or utility server (DNS, DHCP, domain controller), the Web Server Edition does not provide traditional multiuser file or print access or utility services. You need to purchase the Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition to get capabilities other than web services.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows Server 2008 R2, Datacenter Edition

Windows Server 2008 R2, Datacenter Edition is a high-end datacenter class version of the operating system that supports very large-scale server operations. The Datacenter Edition supports organizations that need more than eight core processors. The Datacenter Edition is focused at organizations that need scale-up server technology to support a large centralized data warehouse on one or limited numbers of server clusters.

An organization can scaleout or scale-up its server applications. Scale-out refers to an application that performs better when it is distributed across multiple servers, whereas scale-up refers to an application that performs better when more processors are added to a single system. Typical scaleout applications include web server services, electronic messaging systems, and file and print servers. In those cases, organizations are better off distributing the application server functions to multiple Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition systems, or even Windows Web Server 2008 R2 systems. However, applications that scaleup, such as e-commerce or data warehousing applications, benefit from having all the data and processing on a single server cluster. For these applications, Windows Server 2008 R2, Datacenter Edition provides better centralized scaled performance as well as the added benefit of fault tolerance and failover capabilities.

The Windows Server 2008 R2, Datacenter Edition used to be sold only with proprietary hardware systems; however, Windows Server 2008 R2, Datacenter Edition can now be run on “off-the-shelf” servers with extensive core, processor, and memory expansion capabilities. This update now allows organizations to purchase nonproprietary servers and get the scalability of the Datacenter Edition of the operating system for enterpriseclass performance, reliability, and supportability.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Edition

With the Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition taking on the bulk of network services, the Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Edition is really focused on server systems that require extremely large-scale processing and memory capabilities as well as clustering or Active Directory Federation Services. From the basis of scalability of processing and memory capacity, applications like Windows virtualization or enterprise-class Exchange 2010 or SQL 2008 servers would benefit from the capabilities of the Enterprise Edition of Windows Server 2008 R2.

Any time an organization needs to add clustering to its environment, the Enterprise Edition (or the Datacenter Edition) is needed. The Enterprise Edition is the appropriate version of operating system for high availability and high-processing demands of core application servers such as SQL Servers or large e-commerce back-end transaction systems.

For organizations leveraging the capabilities of Windows Server 2008 R2 for Thin Client Remote Desktop Services that require access to large sets of RAM (up to 2TB) and multiple processors (up to eight sockets), the Enterprise Edition can handle hundreds of users on a single server. Remote Desktop Services are covered in more detail in Chapter 25.

The Enterprise Edition, with support for server clustering, can provide organizations with the nonstop networking demands of true 24/7, 99.999% uptime capabilities required in high-availability environments. Windows Server 2008 R2, Enterprise Edition supports a wide variety of regularly available server systems, thus allowing an organization its choice of hardware vendor systems to host its Windows Server 2008 R2 application needs.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition

The Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition is the most common server version of the operating system. Unlike previous versions of Windows Server where basic functions and scalability for memory and processor support was limited to only the Enterprise or
Datacenter Editions of the operating system, Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard Edition is now the default version deployed by organizations. A basic Windows Server 2008 R2 x64-bit Standard Edition system supports up to four x64 professor sockets and 32GB of memory and supports all of the server roles available in Windows Server 2008 R2, with the exception of clustering, cross-file replication (DFS-R technology), and Active Directory Federation Services. The Standard Edition is a good version of the operating system to support domain controllers, utility servers (such as DNS or DHCP), file servers, print servers, media servers, SharePoint servers, and so on. Most organizations, large and small, find the capabilities of the Standard Edition sufficient for most network services.

One of the first things an organization becomes aware of is that Windows Server 2008
R2 ONLY comes in 64-bit (x64 or IA64) versions. 32-bit hardware and a 32-bit installation is no longer supported. The last version of the Windows Server operating system that supported 32-bit is Windows Server 2008.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Migrating from Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 Active Directory to Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory

For organizations that already have a Windows 2003 or Windows 2008 Active Directory environment, migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2 for Active Directory functionality can provide access to several additional capabilities that require a Windows network to be running on Windows Server 2008 R2. Some of the Windows Server 2008 R2 technologies that require implementation of the Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory include Active Directory Recycle Bin, Managed Service Accounts, PowerShell Administration, and Offline Domain Join capabilities as the most popular solutions.

Fortunately, organizations that already have Windows 2003 or 2008 Active Directory in place have completed the hard part of the Active Directory implementation process. Effectively, Windows Server 2008 R2 uses the same Active Directory organizational structure that was created with Windows 2003 or 2008, so forests, domain trees, domains, organizational units, sites, groups, and users all transfer directly into Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory. If the organizational structure in Windows 2003 or 2008 meets the needs of the organization, the migration to Windows Server 2008 R2 is predominantly just the insertion of a Windows Server 2008 R2 global catalog server into the existing Windows 2003 or 2008 Active Directory domain to perform a global catalog update to Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory.

“Migrating from Windows 2003/2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2”—help minimize migration risks and errors and lead to a more successful migration process. However, the migration process from Windows 2003 and Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2 is a relatively easy migration path for organizations to follow.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Adding a Windows Server 2008 R2 System to a Windows 2003/2008 Environment

Many organizations want to add in a specific Windows Server 2008 R2 function such as Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services (previously called Terminal Services), Hyper-V R2 virtualization, DirectAccess, or BranchCache. Such functions can be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2 member servers in an existing Active Directory 2003 networking environment. This allows an organization to get Windows Server 2008 R2 application capabilities fairly quickly and easily without having to do a full migration to Active Directory 2008 R2. In many cases, a Windows Server 2008 R2 member server can simply be added to an existing network without ever affecting the existing network. This addition provides extremely low network impact but enables an organization to prototype and test the new technology, pilot it for a handful of users, and slowly roll out the technology to the client base as part of a regular system replacement or upgrade process. Some organizations have replaced all their member servers with Windows Server 2008 R2 systems over a period of weeks or months as a preparatory step to eventually migrate to a Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory structure.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory

Although Windows Server 2008 R2 provides a number of new server roles for application services, the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 also brings with it an update to Active Directory. Unlike the shift from Windows NT to Active Directory a decade ago that required a major restructuring of domain functions, Active Directory 2008 R2 is more evolutionary than revolutionary. AD 2008 R2 adds a handful of new features that organizations might or might not choose to upgrade to AD 2008 R2 immediately; however, many organizations have found that the new enhancements in Active Directory 2008 R2 were the primary reason for their migration.

The new features in Active Directory 2008 R2 are as follows:

. Active Directory Recycle Bin—The AD Recycle Bin provides administrators an easy way to undelete objects in Active Directory. In the past, when an administrator inadvertently deleted an Active Directory object like a user, group, organizational unit container, or the like, the object was effectively gone and the administrator would have to create the object from scratch, which would create a whole new series of security principles for the new/unique object. The AD Recycle Bin now enables an administrator to simply run the recovery tool and undelete objects.

. Managed Service Accounts—Applications in a network frequently use service
accounts associated with the security to start a database, conduct data searches and
indexing, or launch background tasks. However, when an organization changes the
password of a service account, all servers with applications using the service account
need to be updated with the new password, which is an administration nightmare.
With Active Directory 2008 R2 mode, service accounts can be identified and then
managed so that a password change to a service account will initiate a process of
updating the service account changes to application servers throughout the organization.

. Authentication Mechanism Assurance—Another Active Directory 2008 R2 feature is the enhancement of claims-based authentication in Active Directory. With authentication mechanism assurance, information in a token can be extracted whenever a user attempts to access a claims-aware application to determine authorization based on the user’s logon method. This extension will be leveraged by future applications to improve claims-based authentication in the enterprise.

. Offline Domain Join—For desktop administrators who create system images, the challenge of creating images is that a system needs to be physically connected to the network before the system can be joined to the domain. With Offline Domain Join, a system can be prejoined with a file created with a unique system credential written to a file. When a Windows 7 client system or Windows Server 2008 R2 server system needs to be joined, rather than physically connecting the system to the network and joining the system to the domain, this exported file can be used offline to join the system to the Active Directory domain.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows Server 2008 R2 - Core Parking

A technology enhanced in the core Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system is a power management technology called core parking. Normally, when a multicore server runs, all cores on all processors run at the highest speed possible, regardless of whether the server is being utilized. For organizations that need high capacity during the weekdays when employees are working, that means their systems are effectively idle during evenings and weekends, or more than two thirds of the time, yet consuming power and expending heat. With core parking, servers with the latest processors that recognize core parking protocols will shut down cores on a system when not in use. So, on a 16-core server, if only 2 cores are needed, the other 14 cores are powered off automatically. This dramatically improves power management and decreases the cost of operations of server systems.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows Server 2008 R2 - Server Message Block 2.0

Introduced in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 is Server Message Block 2.0, more commonly called SMB2. SMB2 is a protocol that handles the transfer of files between systems. Effectively, SMB2 compresses file communications and, through a larger communications buffer, is able to reduce the number of round-trips needed when transmitting data between systems. For the old-timers reading this chapter, it is analogous to the difference between the copy command and the xcopy command in DOS. The copy command reads, writes, reads, writes information. The xcopy command reads, reads, reads information and then writes, writes, writes the information. Because more information is read into a buffer and transferred in bulk, the information is transmitted significantly faster. Most users on a high-speed local area network (LAN) won’t notice the improvements when opening and saving files out of something like Microsoft Office against a Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 server; however, for users who might be copying up large image files or data sets between systems will find the information copying 10 to 30 times faster. The performance improvement is very noticeable in wide area network (WAN) situations on networks with high latency. Because a typical transfer of files requires short read and write segments of data, a file could take minutes to transfer across a WAN that can transfer in seconds between SMB2-connected systems because the round-trip chatter is drastically reduced. For SMB2 to work effectively, the systems on both ends need to be Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 systems, Windows Vista or Windows 7 systems, or a combination of the two. A Windows XP client to a Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 server will communicate over SMB 1.0 for backward compatibility and will not gain from this new technology.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows Server 2008 R2 - Self-Healing NTFS

One of the new embedded technologies in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is self-healing NTFS. Effectively, the operating system has a worker thread that runs in the background, which makes corrections to the file system when NTFS detects a corrupt file or directory. In the past when there was a file system problem, you typically had to reboot the server for chkdsk to run and clean up file and directory corrupt errors. This self-healing function is not something you will ever see running; however, it is an added capability under the hood in Windows Server 2008 R2 that keeps the operating system running reliably and with fewer system problems.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

Windows 7 Sticky Notes

Using Sticky Notes is analogous to using physical Post-It Notes. You might take their function for granted because they look like simple Post-It Notes. However, they are quite sophisticated and can be a boon to Tablet users. As of Windows 7, Sticky Notes works with pen input (write directly on the notepad) as well as keyboard typing. When you reach the edge of the note using the stylus, the note will enlarge as necessary to accept your handwriting or drawing. Scratchout gestures have been implemented as well. Sticky Notes can be organized as a stacked pad of notes. So, instead of having many different notes stuck on your physical desk or on the edges of your computer monitor, you have just one little pad and can easily scroll through all the notes. This enables you to write whatever you want and even draw a small picture. Take Sticky Notes into consideration the next time you need to jot down a list of important items, such as a grocery list. Click the Sticky Notes icon on the taskbar to alternate between showing and hiding all your notes. Another neat feature of Sticky Notes is its capability to record a sound. This sound is stored by the Sticky Note and can be played as many times as you want or need. Little verbal reminders can be a great way to keep you updated. To leave a short verbal reminder, click the red Record dot and Sticky Notes will start recording. Click the stop button when you are done recording or when the time of recording has run out. To play the sound, click the Play button. The recording will be deleted only when you delete the note or record over the sound.

Source of Information : QUE Microsoft Windows in Depth

Windows Deployment Platform Components - ImageX

ImageX is the Windows 7 tool that you use to work with .wim image files. ImageX is an easyto- use command-line utility. You use ImageX to create and manage .wim image files. With ImageX, you can capture images and apply them to destination computers’ hard drives. You can mount .wim image files as folders and thereby edit images offline. ImageX addresses the challenges that organizations faced when using sector-based imaging formats or the MS-DOS XCopy command to copy an installation of Windows onto new hardware. For example, sectorbased imaging:

• Destroys the existing contents of the destination computer’s hard drive, complicating migration scenarios.

• Duplicates the hard drive exactly; therefore, the image can deploy only to partitions that are the same type and at least as large as the source partition on the master computer.

• Does not allow for direct modification of image file contents.

The limitations of sector-based imaging led Microsoft to develop ImageX and the accompanying .wim image file format. You can use ImageX to create an image, modify the image without going through the extraction and re-creation process, and deploy the image to your environment—all using the same tool.

Because ImageX works at the file level, it provides numerous benefits. It provides more flexibility and control over your images. For example, you can mount an image onto a folder and then add files to, copy files from, and delete files from the image using a file-management tool such as Windows Explorer. ImageX allows for quicker deployment of images and more rapid installations. With the file-based image format, you can also deploy images nondestructively so that ImageX does not erase the destination computer’s hard drive.

ImageX also supports highly compressed images. First, .wim files support single instancing: File data is stored separately from path information so .wim files can store duplicate files that exist in multiple paths at one time. Second, .wim files support two compression algorithms— fast and maximum—that give you control over the size of your images and the time required to capture and deploy them.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

Windows Deployment Platform Components - Other Tools

Windows 7 and the Windows AIK 2.0 also provide various command-line tools that are useful during deployment:

• BCDboot. BCDboot can set up a system partition or repair the boot environment on a system partition quickly. It copies a small set of boot environment files from the installed Windows 7 image to the system partition. It also creates a boot configuration data (BCD) store on the system partition, which includes a new boot entry that enables the Windows image to boot.

• Bootsect. Bootsect.exe updates the master boot code for hard-disk partitions to switch between BOOTMGR and NTLDR. You can use this tool to restore the boot sector on your computer. This tool replaces FixFAT and FixNTFS.

• DiskPart. DiskPart is a text-mode command interpreter in Windows 7. You can use DiskPart to manage disks, partitions, or volumes by using scripts or direct input at a command prompt. In Windows 7, DiskPart can also mount .vhd files. Mounting a .vhd file allows you to service it or make other offline changes.

• Drvload. The Drvload tool adds out-of-box drivers to a booted Windows PE image. It takes one or more driver .inf files as inputs. To add a driver to an offline Windows PE image, use the DISM tool. If the driver .inf file requires a reboot, Windows PE will ignore the request. If the driver .sys file requires a reboot, you cannot add the driver with Drvload.

• Expand. The Expand tool expands one or more compressed update files. Expand.exe supports opening updates for Windows 7 as well as previous versions of Windows. By using Expand, you can open and examine updates for Windows 7 on a Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system.

• Lpksetup. You can use Lpksetup to perform unattended or silent-mode language pack operations. Lpksetup runs only on an online Windows 7 operating system.

• Oscdimg. Oscdimg is a command-line tool for creating an image (.iso) file of a customized 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows PE. You can then burn an .iso file to a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM or copy its contents to a bootable UFD.

• Powercfg. You can use the Powercfg tool to control power settings and configure computers to default to Hibernate or Standby modes. In Windows 7, Powercfg provides troubleshooting help for diagnosing energy consumption problems.

• Winpeshl Winpeshl.ini controls whether a custom shell is loaded in Windows PE instead of the default Command Prompt window.

• Wpeinit. Wpeinit is a command-line tool that initializes Windows PE each time it boots. When Windows PE starts, Winpeshl.exe executes Startnet.cmd, which starts Wpeinit.exe. Wpeinit.exe specifically installs Plug and Play (PnP) devices, processes Unattend.xml settings, and loads network resources. Wpeinit replaces the initialization function previously supported using the Factory.exe –winpe command. Wpeinit outputs log messages to C:\Windows\System32\Wpeinit.log.

• Wpeutil. The Windows PE utility (Wpeutil) is a command-line tool that you can use to run various commands in a Windows PE session. For example, you can shut down or reboot Windows PE, enable or disable Windows Firewall, set language settings, and initialize a network.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

Windows Deployment Platform Components - Deployment Image Servicing and Management

Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is a new command-line tool that you can use to service Windows 7 images offline before deployment. With DISM, you can install, remove, configure, and update Windows features, packages, device drivers, and international settings. You can use some DISM commands to service online Windows 7 images.

You can use DISM to:
• Add, remove, and enumerate packages.
• Add, remove, and enumerate drivers.
• Enable or disable Windows features.
• Apply changes based on the offlineServicing section of an Unattend.xml answer file.
• Configure international settings.
• Upgrade a Windows image to a different edition.
• Prepare a Windows PE image.
• Take advantage of better logging.
• Service earlier versions of Windows.
• Service all platforms (32-bit, 64-bit, and Itanium).
• Service a 32-bit image from a 64-bit host, and vice versa.
• Use old Package Manager scripts.

DISM consolidates the functionality of the Package Manager (Pkgmgr.exe), PEImg, and Intlcfg tools from Windows Vista. It provides one tool to use for servicing Windows 7 and Windows PE images.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

Windows Deployment Platform Components - Windows PE

Prior to Windows PE, organizations often had to use MS-DOS boot floppies to start destination computers and then start Windows Setup from a network share or other distribution media. MS-DOS boot floppies had numerous limitations, however, including that they offered no support for the NTFS file system and no native networking support. In addition, they needed to locate 16-bit device drivers that worked in MS-DOS.

Now Windows PE 3.0 provides a minimal Win32 or Win64 operating system with limited services—built on the Windows 7 kernel—that you use to prepare a computer for Windows 7 installation, copy images to and from a network file server, and start Windows Setup. Windows PE 3.0 is a stand-alone preinstallation environment and an integral component of other setup and recovery technologies, such as Windows Setup, Windows Deployment Services, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, and MDT 2010. Unlike earlier versions of Windows PE, which were available only as a Software Assurance (SA) benefit, Windows PE 3.0 is now publicly available in the Windows AIK 2.0.

Windows PE provides the following features and capabilities:

• Native support for NTFS 5.x file system, including dynamic volume creation and management

• Native support for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) networking and file sharing (client only)

• Native support for 32-bit (or 64-bit) Windows device drivers

• Native support for a subset of the Win32 Application Programming Interface (API); optional support for Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and Windows Script Host (WSH)

•Can be started from multiple media, including CD, DVD, USB Flash drive (UFD), and
Windows Deployment Services

Windows PE runs every time you install Windows 7, whether you install the operating system by booting the computer with the Windows 7 DVD or deploying Windows 7 from Windows Deployment Services. The graphical tools that collect configuration information during the windowsPE configuration pass run within Windows PE. In addition, you can customize and extend Windows PE to meet specific deployment needs. For example, MDT 2010 customizes Windows PE for LTI by adding device drivers, deployment scripts, and so on.

For Windows 7, Windows PE 3.0 includes improvements that make it easier to customize.
First, the functionality of PEImg is now included in DISM, providing a single tool you can use to service images whether they’re Windows 7 images or Windows PE images. Second, Windows PE 3.0 uses a new package model. Instead of the base image including all the feature packages from which you remove the disabled features, the base image doesn’t include these feature packages, and you add the features that you want to include in the image.

Because Windows PE is only a subset of Windows 7, it has limitations. For example,
Windows PE automatically stops running the shell and reboots after 72 hours of continuous use to prevent piracy. You cannot configure Windows PE as a file server, terminal server, or embedded operating system. Moreover, mapped driver letters and changes to the registry are not persistent between sessions. For more information about the limitations of Windows PE, see the Windows Preinstallation Environment User’s Guide in the Windows AIK 2.0.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

Windows Deployment Platform Components - Sysprep

You use Sysprep to prepare a master installation for imaging and deployment. Sysprep does the following:

• Removes computer-specific and operating system–specific installation data from Windows 7. Sysprep can remove all computer-specific information from an installed Windows 7 image, including the computer security identifier (SID). You can then capture and install the Windows installation throughout your organization.

• Configures Windows 7 to boot in audit mode. You can use audit mode to install third-party applications and device drivers, as well as to test the functionality of the computer, before delivering the computer to the user.

• Configures Windows 7 to boot to Windows Welcome. Sysprep configures a Windows 7 installation to boot to Windows Welcome the next time the computer starts. Generally, you configure a system to boot to Windows Welcome as a final step before delivering the computer to the user.

• Resets Windows Product Activation. Sysprep can rearm (reset) Windows Product Activation up to three times.

Sysprep.exe is located in the %WinDir%\System32\Sysprep directory on all Windows 7 installations. (You do not have to install Sysprep separately, as in earlier versions of Windows, because it’s a native part of the installation.) You must always run Sysprep from the %WinDir%\System32\Sysprep directory on the version of Windows 7 with which it was installed. For more information about Sysprep, see the Windows Automated Installation Kit User’s Guide in the Windows AIK 2.0.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

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