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Category: Windows 8

FindTime for Outlook

FindTime for Outlook – Doodle for Business

Scheduling meetings can be a real pain you have to do calls, ask people and check calendars which can be a huge time effort. Lucky there are solutions like Doodle to schedule meetings and a lot of us are using Doodle in our personal life which is great, but it could be a lot better, especially if you are using it for business meetings. Microsoft released a Outlook solution for this a couple of months ago called FindTime for Outlook. But since not a lot of people seem to know about FindTime I decided to write a quick blog post about it.

FindTime is a Office Plugin for Outlook which allows you to schedule and plan meetings. To use FindTime just do the following steps:

  1. Install FindTime
  2. Restart Outlook and the Plugin will automatically appear (btw. Works with Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, Outlook for Mac and Outlook on the Web)
  3. Compose a new email or reply to an existing email
  4. Click “New Meeting Poll” in the Message tab of the email. This will open a new poll and will automatically check if people in your organization are available or not, depending on there calendar. External people will just show up in grey.
    FindTime New Meeting Availability
  5. You also have different options from Online Meetings (using Skype for Business) or meetings in different locations. People will then get the link to vote for the meeting date. You also have different options like Notifications when someone votes, Auto scheduling of the meeting if everyone required has voted and more.
    FindTime Send Invite
  6. People can now vote on the FindTime website. People can also use preferred dates and can see how others have voted. You can schedule the meeting manual or you can set the option to auto schedule, this will automatically send the invites after everyone required for the meetings has voted.
    FindTime Meeting Voting

For me FindTime for Outlook is a huge time saver if you have to schedule meetings and appointments with other attendees. So make sure you have a look at it, the only thing your organization needs, is a Office 365 subscription.



Surface Hub Skype Meeting

My Microsoft Surface Hub Review

Last week we finally go our Microsoft Surface Hub for our itnetX office in Bern and I had the chance to do some testing. The Surface Hub is an interactive whiteboard developed by Microsoft ideally for business meetings. Before I get started let me show you the specs for the Surface Hub devices. Microsoft offers two models right now, a 84-inch model and a 55-inch model.

Microsoft Surface Hub

The Surface Hub 84” model is ideal for medium and large conference room and it allows three people to comfortably interact with the screen simultaneously. The 84” version has also a 4K resolution, an Intel i7 processor, 128GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and a NVIDIA Quadra K2200 graphics card. The Surface Hub 55” model is perfect for smaller conference rooms and in work environments where you’ll move your Surface Hub into different spaces. The 55” model comes with a Full HD resolution, an Intel i5 processor, 128GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and integrated Intel graphics.

Surface Hub Keyboard Surface Hub Pen

Both model feature a 100-point multi-touch display, 2 passive Infrared Presence Sensors, Ambient Light Sensors, 2 front-facing stereo speakers, 2 wide angle HD cameras, active pen support, Windows 10 and a wireless keyboard. To see the full specs of both devices check out the Microsoft Surface Hub website.

My first impression of the Surface Hub

Surface Hub Welcome Screen

My first impression was the Surface Hub looks great, it is perfect for every meeting room and it is very easy to use. The quality of the devices is, as usual for Microsoft Surface devices, really great and feels like a high quality premium device. When you come in come in the conference room use first see the big screen and showing the time, the next scheduled meetings and the most important apps like the whiteboard, wireless screen sharing.

Different Meeting Options

Surface Hub Startscreen

The Microsoft Surface Hub offers different meeting options. You can use it for in person meetings in the meeting room as a beamer replacement or wireless display for your notebook, as a whiteboard or use other apps like Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Maps app or many more to come. The other thing the Surface Hub does very well is video conferencing using Skype for Business using the same apps and features.

The Surface Hub works perfectly with different deployment types

Perfect for in-person meetings

Surface Hub Whiteboard

If you are using the meeting room for a meeting with persons in the room, the multi touch screen and the apps are great. I really like the whiteboard app which allows you to draw diagrams and other stuff. A nice feature is that when you take on of the pens out of the holder it automatically open ups the whiteboard app and you can immediately start drawing. You can also use the screen as a display for your notebook as beamer replacement.

Surface Hub Screen Sharing

You can use the screen as a wireless display using Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 10 Mobile and of course the display also features cable input for DisplayPort, HDMI or VGA. If you use the wireless display connection in Windows 10 you can also allow input from the Surface Hub screen back to your Windows 10 computer. For example you project your screen to the Surface Hub to show a PowerPoint slide deck for example, you can stand up and touch the screen for the next slide or draw on the slide it self. By the way, connecting wirelessly is very fast, I used several different devices to connect with my Windows 10 devices using Miracast, like the Xbox One or the Microsoft Wireless Adapter, but none of the devices connected as fast as to the Surface Hub.

 

And of course this also works with other devices supporting Miracast like Windows 10 Mobile (especially cool with the Windows Continuum feature) and for example Android smartphones.

Skype for Business Video Conferencing

Surface Hub Skype for Business

The other great scenario is using the Microsoft Surface Hub for conference calls. You can join Skype for Business Meeting adding the Surface Hub device as a resource and it will automatically show the Skype for Business Meeting and you can join the meeting. You can also just invite other people using sending Skype for Business invites or using phone numbers to call them. You can also add the Surface Hub to an existing Skype for Business meeting or call your Surface Hub using a phone number. The two wide angle Full HD video cameras are great and show the whole meeting room. If there is a single attendee in the room the camera also focus on him and follows him instead of showing the whole room.

Surface Hub Wireless Display 1

The great thing here is that you again can use the same features and apps like the whiteboard, screen sharing and the apps. For example one scenario can be that several people sitting in the meeting room and one of the shares the screen to the Surface Hub, the Surface Hub is joined to a Skype for Business meeting with some remote attendees. The screen of the Surface Hub, showing the screen of the notebook of attendee in the meeting room is also shared with the Skype for Business remote attendees. Or you can see the screen sharing or presentation of remote attendees.

Surface Hub Call Skype User

The most important thing here is, that is very easy and simple to use and it just works as expected. It looks like we are getting now more Surface Hubs for all the different office locations, so we can do meetings between the office in Bern and Zürich.

Cleaning up a meeting

Surface Hub Cleanup

Now setting up a meeting or joining a meeting is really simple, and basically everything is possible. But what after the meeting is finished? You can very simple clean up your workspace and everything is gone, and no one can access your data.

Apps for the Surface Hub

Surface Hub Apps

As mentioned the Surface Hub comes with different apps like the whiteboard which lets you also do drawings, Office which lets you to use office documents like Word, Excel or PowerPoint and you also have the Maps app and the Microsoft Edge browser available. The Apps for the Surface Hub seem to be limited right now, but my guess is that Microsoft will soon enable the Windows Store to let you download and install apps on the Surface Hub. Microsoft has some example of apps on there Surface Hub website.

You can open Office documents from SharePoint, OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online using Office 365 or connected USB devices directly from the Surface Hub, or you can share them from your notebook using screen sharing.

Overall Impression

The Surface Hub is an amazing device and we are very happy with the it, the device is great, works very easy and simple and it adds a lot of value to your meetings. If you ever have done a meeting using the Surface Hub you really want to have one for your self. If you have more question about the Surface Hub and his features and functionality just leave a comment.

 



cmd clip

Pipe cmd prompt commands into the clipboard

This is a very all but very useful command if you work with the Windows Command Prompt. This allows you to output text from commands into the Windows clipboard.

Scott Hanselman from Microsoft just reminded the community about this feature, which is available in Windows since Windows Vista.

PowerShell v5 got some similar command using Set-Clipboard and Get-Clipboard.



unatted xml file for VM

Add unattend.xml to VHDX File for VM automation

If you for example don’t have System Center Virtual Machine Manager or another tool to create Virtual Machine Templates and automate the deployment, you can also do this using Sysprep, PowerShell and an unattend.xml file to automate or simplify the Virtual Machine creation process. In other blog posts I already wrote how you can sysprep Virtual Machines or how you can create Hyper-V Virtual Machines using PowerShell. In this post I will show you how you can add an unattend.xml file to your VHD or VHDX so your virtual machine gets some default settings like regional information.

Here we have a basic unattend.xml file. If you want to enhance it, or create your own, you can also use the Windows ADK.

To use this unattend.xml you first have to sysprep a virtual machine and create a sysprep VHD file. After that you can mount the VHDX file and insert the unattend.xml file to the VHD. Copy the unattend.xml file to the following location: D:\Windows\Panther (in my case the VHD was mounted as D drive).

You can mount the VHDX using the UI or PowerShell:

There are more paths as well. You can check out the Windows Setup Automation Overview on TechNet where you can see all the possible paths to place the unattend.xml file.



sysprep.exe vm mode

Windows Sysprep for Virtual Machines

For using the same system image for different virtual machines or physical computer, Microsoft created a tool called sysprep.exe. Most people should be already familiar with that tool. If not here is the description:

Sysprep prepares a Windows installation (Windows client and Windows Server) for imaging, allowing you to capture a customized installation. Sysprep removes PC-specific information from a Windows installation, “generalizing” the installation so it can be reused on different PCs. With Sysprep you can configre the PC to boot to audit mode, where you can make additional changes or updates to your image. Or, you can configure Windows to boot to the Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE).

This is great so you can sysprep a virtual machine copy the VHD or VHDX file and use it for the first boot of different VMs. In Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, Microsoft added an addition to sysprep called the mode switch “/mode:vm”. The mode:vm switch allows you to identify the Windows as a Virtual Machine and sysprep.exe will generalize a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD or VHDX) so that you can deploy the VHD as a VHD on the same Virtual Machine (VM) or hypervisor. You must deploy the VHD on a Virtual Machine (VM) or hypervisor with the same hardware profile. For example, if you created VHD in Microsoft Hyper-V, you can only deploy your VHD to Microsoft Hyper-V VMs with a matching hardware profile, and you can only run VM mode from inside a VM.

This will boost the performance and time for the virtual machine for the first startup and installation. This also work of course with virtual machines running on other hypervisors such as VMware or Xen.

Run the following command inside the Virtual Machine (You find sysprep.exe in the  C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep folder):

Now you can copy the VHD or VHDX file from that virtual machine and use it for other VMs.



Get-NetIPConfiguration

Basic Networking PowerShell cmdlets cheatsheet to replace netsh, ipconfig, nslookup and more

Around 4 years ago I wrote a blog post about how to Replace netsh with Windows PowerShell which includes basic powershell networking cmdlets. After working with Microsoft Azure, Nano Server and Containers, Powershell together with networking becomes more and more important. I created this little cheat sheet so it becomes easy for people to get started.

Basic Networking Information with PowerShell

Get-NetIPConfiguration

Get the IP Configuration (ipconfig with PowerShell)

List all Network Adapters

Get a spesific network adapter by name

Get more information VLAN ID, Speed, Connection status

Get driver information

Get adapter hardware information. This can be really usefull when you need to know the PCI slot of the NIC.

Disable and Enable a Network Adapter

Rename a Network Adapter

IP Configuration using PowerShell

Get-NetIPAddress

Get IP and DNS address information

Get IP address only

Get DNS Server Address information

Set IP Address

or if you want to change a existing IP Address

Remove IP Address

Set DNS Server

Set interface to DHCP

Ping with PowerShell

Test-NetConnection Ping

How to Ping with PowerShell

Get some more details from the Test-NetConnection

Ping multiple IP using PowerShell

Tracert

PowerShell Tracert

Tracert with PowerShell

Portscan with PowerShell

PowerShell Portscan

Use PowerShell to check for open port

NSlookup in PowerShell

PowerShell NSlookup

NSlookup using PowerShell:

Route in PowerShell

PowerShell Route

How to replace Route command with PowerShell

NETSTAT in PowerShell

PowerShell Netstat

How to replace NETSTAT with PowerShell

NIC Teaming PowerShell commands

Create a new NIC Teaming (Network Adapter Team)

SMB Related PowerShell commands

SMB PowerShell SMB Client Configuration

Get SMB Client Configuration

Get SMB Connections

Get SMB Mutlichannel Connections

Get SMB open files

Get SMB Direct (RDMA) adapters

Hyper-V Networking cmdlets

Hyper-V PowerShell Get-VMNetwork Adapter

Get and set Network Adapter VMQ settings

Get VM Network Adapter

Get VM Network Adapter IP Addresses

Get VM Network Adapter Mac Addresses

I hope you enjoyed it and the post was helpful, if you think something important is missing, please add it in the comments.



diskpart fat32 and gpt

How to create Windows Windows Server bootable USB media for deployment on UEFI based systems

When you were create a USB media for PCs, notebooks and servers which were using BIOS you could use several tools to do this. Now most of the tools do not really create a USB media drive which can be used to boot and install Windows or Windows Server on a UEFI based system such a new servers and for example the Surface Pro line. But it is very simple to do this now, just follow this steps:

  • The USB drive has to be formatted in FAT32
  • The USB needs to be GPT and not MBR
  • Copy all files from the ISO to the USB drive

diskpart fat32 and gpt

This is it, and here is how you do it:

First plugin your USB drive to your computer. The USB drive should be bigger than 4GB.

Open a CMD prompt or PowerShell using the Run as Administrator option and open diskpart. Now you can do list all this by using

Select the USB disk, in my case this was disk 1

Clean the disk. Be careful this will remove all files and partitions on the USB media.

Now convert it to GPT

Create a new primary partition. But make sure the partition is not greater than 16GB otherwise it can be formatted with FAT32.

Format the partition with FAT32

Assign a drive letter to the volume

now you can exit the diskpart and copy all files from the Windows or Windows Server to the USB drive and boot it. This works with Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016 or even Hyper-V Server in the same editions.