Category: Windows 10

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Azure Storage Explorer

Microsoft quietly released Azure Storage Explorer 1.0.0

Microsoft quietly released Azure Storage Explorer 1.0.0 back in April. There was not a lot of noise about it, but it is great that this tool finally reached version 1.0. Azure Storage Explorer is a standalone app that enables you to easily work with Azure Storage data on Windows, macOS, and Linux. This works with Azure as well as Microsoft Azure Stack.

Azure Storage Explorer is an easy to use tool to manage Azure Storage types:

  • Access multiple accounts and subscriptions across Azure, Azure Stack, and the sovereign Cloud
  • Create, delete, view, and edit storage resources
  • View and edit Blob, Queue, Table, File, Cosmos DB storage and Data Lake Storage
  • Obtain shared access signature (SAS) keys
  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Version 1.0.0 brings some new features which were highly requested. Especially the shared account store with Visual Studio 2017 and the improved Azure Stack  integration are very welcome.

  • Enhanced authentication that allows Storage Explorer to use the same account store as Visual Studio 2017. To use this feature, you will need to re-login to your accounts and re-set your filtered subscriptions.
  • For Azure Stack accounts backed by AAD, Storage Explorer will now retrieve Azure Stack subscriptions when ‘Target Azure Stack’ is enabled. You no longer need to create a custom login environment.
  • Several shortcuts were added to enable faster navigation. These include toggling various panels and moving between editors. See the View menu for more details.
  • Storage Explorer feedback now lives on GitHub. You can reach our issues page by clicking the Feedback button in the bottom left or by going to https://github.com/Microsoft/AzureStorageExplorer/issues. Feel free to make suggestions, report issues, ask questions, or leave any other form of feedback.
  • If you are running into SSL Certificate issues and are unable to find the offending certificate, you can now launch Storage Explorer from the command line with the –ignore-certificate-errors flag. When launched with this flag, Storage Explorer will ignore SSL certificate errors.
  • There is now a ‘Download’ option in the context menu for blob and file items.
  • Improved accessibility and screen reader support. If you rely on accessibility features, see our accessibility documentation for more information.
  • Storage Explorer now uses Electron 1.8.3


Surface Pen

Quick Windows Tip: Use the Surface Pen as remote for PowerPoint

As some of you may know, I am giving a lot of presentations using PowerPoint on my Surface Pro or my Surface Book.  And since I am using a Surface devices, I also added a Surface Pen to my setup. I can draw on my screen in meetings or to take notes. And the Surface Pen does to a great job inking, drawing and taking notes, especially when using Windows Ink on Windows 10.

A couple of weeks ago, I was presenting on the Microsoft Tech Summit Switzerland, and I realized that my USB clicker was empty. I could not find a battery replacement that quickly before my session started. Fortunately, I remember a new functionality Microsoft added a couple of weeks or months ago to PowerPoint and the Surface Pen. Since you can pair the Surface Pen with your computer to use some cool features in Windows 10, like starting apps by clicking the back of the Surface Pen, the Microsoft Office team took advantages of that.

Use the Surface Pen as a PowerPoint clicker

Surface Pen Bluetooth

To use the Surface Pen as a PowerPoint clicker, you just need to pair it using Bluetooth. When you are running Microsoft PowerPoint in Presenter Mode, you can simply start using the Surface Pen as a PowerPoint Remote. You can use your Pen as a clicker or as a remote for PowerPoint. If you are doing a presentation and you want to jump to the next slide just press the back of your pen once. If you want to jump back to the previous PowerPoint slide, just hold the button on the back of the Pen and PowerPoint will switch to the previous slide.

I know this is a pretty small feature, but it can turn out to be a very cool presentation saver!

If you want to know to set this up, just check the Microsoft Office support page: Use your digital pen as a slide-show clicker



encrypted messages in Outlook.com

Encrypt Mails in Outlook.com (or Hotmail)

This is pretty cool! If you are an Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal subscriber, Outlook.com (formerly known as hotmail.com or live.com) now includes encryption features that let you share your confidential and personal information while ensuring that your email message stays encrypted and doesn’t leave Office 365. This is useful when you don’t trust the recipient’s email provider to be secure.

So what does encrypt mean:

As an Outlook.com user with either an Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal subscription, you’ll see the following:

  • Encrypt: Your message stays encrypted and doesn’t leave Office 365. Recipients with Outlook.com and Office 365 accounts can download attachments without encryption from Outlook.com, the Outlook mobile app, or the Mail app in Windows 10. If you’re using a different email client or other email accounts, you can use a temporary passcode to download the attachments from the Office 365 Message Encryption portal.
  • Encrypt and Prevent Forwarding: Your message stays encrypted within Office 365 and can’t be copied or forwarded. Microsoft Office attachments such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint files remain encrypted even after they’re downloaded. Other attachments, such as PDF files or image files can be downloaded without encryption.

If you want to know more about Encryption of Outlook.com E-Mails, check out the this support Page: Learn about encrypted messages in Outlook.com



Thomas Maurer Supercharging Hyper-V with quantum computing

Speaking at the Hyper-V Community + Hybrid Cloud Community Pre-Day in Germany

I already announced that I will be speaking at the Cloud & Datacenter Conference 2018 in Germany again this year. One day before the conferences starts there is a Pre-Day with the Hyper-V Community and Hybrid Cloud Community, where I will have another session. This session will purely focus on the latest and greats in Hyper-V.

Supercharging Hyper-V with quantum computing

Okay, I am not really talking about quantum computing, but hey there are some cool features in Hyper-V you should definitely know about! In this session Thomas Maurer will talk about 10 hidden Hyper-V features everyone should know about. This covers different features for Hyper-V on Windows Server as well as on Windows 10. Be prepared for a lot of Demos!

The Speaking at the Hyper-V Community + Hybrid Cloud Community Pre-Day will take place on 14th May in Hanau Germany (Close to Frankfurt). I hope to see you there!



Techorama 2018

Speaking about Azure Stack and Hyper-V at Techorama 2018 in Antwerp Belgium

Today I am happy to announce that I am one of the speakers at the Techorama 2018 conference in Antwerp Belgium. Techorama is a yearly international technology conference which takes place at Metropolis Antwerp. Techorama welcomes about 1500 attendees, a healthy mix between developers, IT Professionals, Data Professionals and SharePoint professionals. Their commitment is to create a unique conference experience with quality content and the best speaker line-up. Techorama will take place from the 22nd -24th of May 2018.

I will be speaking in two sessions about Microsoft Azure Stack and Hyper-V

Azure Stack - Your Cloud Your Datacenter

Microsoft released Azure Stack as a Azure appliance for your datacenter. Learn what Azure Stack is, what challenges it solves, how you deploy, manage and operate a Azure Stack in your datacenter. Learn about the features and services you will get by offering Azure Stack to your customers and how you can build a true Hybrid Cloud experience. In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations and experience during the Azure Stack Early Adaption Program and Azure Stack Technology Adoption Program (TAP).

10 hidden Hyper-V features you should know about!

In this session Thomas Maurer will talk about 10 hidden Hyper-V features everyone should know about. This covers different features for Hyper-V on Windows Server as well as on Windows 10. Be prepared for a lot of Demos!

Hopefully see you there!



Windows Admin Center

Windows Admin Center – The Next Generation Windows Server Management Experience

Back in September Microsoft released Project Honolulu, which is the codename for a new Windows Server management experience. Today Microsoft announced the Windows Admin Center. Windows Admin Center is a flexible, locally-deployed, browser-based management platform and tools to manage Windows Server locally and remote. Windows Admin Center (WAC) gives IT Admins full control over all aspects of their Server infrastructure, and is particularly useful for management on private networks that are not connected to the Internet.

I had the chance to test and work with Windows Admin Center for a while in a private preview program. This give me the chance to test and work with WAC for quiet some time.

Windows Admin Center is the modern evolution of the “in-box” management tools of Windows Server, like Server Manager, MMC, and many others. It is complementary to other Microsoft Management solutions such as System Center and Operations Management Suite. And as Microsoft clearly states, WAC is not designed to replace these products and services. WAC is a replacement for the local only tools and is especially handy if you run Windows Server Core.

Windows Admin Center Deployment Overview

(Picture for Microsoft)

You might remember the Azure Server Management Tools (SMT). SMT were management tools hosted in Azure and allowed you to manage your servers in the cloud and on-primes. Basically a hosted services of Windows Admin Center. The feedback however was, that a lot of customer preferred a on-premise solution for their management experience. Microsoft took that feedback and created Windows Admin Center formally known as Project Honolulu.

Windows Admin Center Functionality

Windows Admin Center PowerShell

  • Simplified server management – WAC consolidates many distinct tools into one clean and simple web interface. Rather switching between different tools, you can final everything in one place.
  • Illuminate your datacenter infrastructure – With WAC you can manage Windows Server 2016, 2012/2012 R2, Hyper-V Server 2012 and higher. WAC not only allows you to manage standalone servers, but also complete solutions such a failover clusters, hyper-converged clusters based on Storage Spaces Direct and much more. And I am sure you can bet it will also support Windows Server 2019 when it arrives.
  • The tools you know, reimagined – Windows Admin Center provides the core familiar tools you have used in the past.
  • Manage Hyper-Converged Infrastructure –  WAC brings solutions to manage your Hyper-Converged systems. You get a single pane of glass to manage and operate your Storage Spaces Direct Clusters. You can easily get an overview about resources, performance, health and alerts.

Windows Admin Center Management Experience

Windows Admin Center Solutions

WAC has different solutions which give you different functionality. In the technical preview there are three solutions available, Server Manager, Failover Cluster Manager and Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager.

Server Manager

The server manager lets you is kind of like the Server Manager you know from Windows Server, but it also replaces some local only tools like Network Management, Process, Device Manger, Certificate and User Management, Windows Update and so on. The Server Manager Solution also adds management of Virtual Machines, Virtual Switches and Storage Replica.

Failover Cluster Manager

As you might think, this allows you to manage Failover Clusters.

Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager

The Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager is very interesting if you are running Storage Spaces Direct clusters in a Hyper-Converged design, where Hyper-V Virtual Machines run on the same hosts. This allows you to do management of the S2D cluster as well as some performance metrics.

WAC Deployment Options

Windows Admin Center Deployment

(Picture from Microsoft)

WAC can be deployed in several different ways, depending on your needs.

WAC Topology

Windows Admin Center On-Premise Architecture

Windows Admin Center leverages a three-tier architecture, a web server displaying web UI using HTML, a gateway service and the managed nodes. The web interface talks to the gateway service using REST APIs and the gateway connected to the managed nodes using WinRM and PowerShell remoting (Similar like the Azure Management Tools).

Windows Admin Center On-Premise and Public Cloud Architecture

You can basically access the Web UI from every machine running modern browsers like Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. If you publish the webserver to the internet, you can also manage it remotely from everywhere. The installation and configuration of Windows Admin Center is straight forward and very simple.

The WAC Gateway Service can be installed on:

  • Windows Server 2016 (LTSC)
  • Windows Server, version 1709 (SAC)
  • and higher

You can manage the following operating systems

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 and higher

Identity Provider and RBAC

Windows Admin Center Azure Active Directroy

In Project Honolulu during the preview time, one of the missing pieces was the missing RBAC (Role-Based Access Control). Windows Admin Center now comes with RBAC so you can configure it for your needs. Also new is the possibility to use Azure Active Directory as a Identity Provider. In this case you can use your Azure AD users and groups to access the Windows Admin Center.

Conclusion

In my opinion Windows Admin Center provides us with the Windows Server management tools we were looking for. It helps us to manage our systems form a centralized, modern HTML5 web application and makes managing GUI-less servers easy.

I still think the Server Management Tools hosted in Azure were a better overall solution. Since we only needed to deploy a gateway in our datacenter and we could access and manage our systems from the Azure portal. However a lot of customers didn’t like the dependency on the cloud, so the Windows Admin Center makes perfect sense as a on-premise solutions. Of course WAC brings right now much more functionality then SMT. And the possibility to extend it with solutions and extensions form third parties makes it even better.

You can download Windows Admin Center here: http://aka.ms/WindowsAdminCenter 



Ubuntu on Windows Server using WSL

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows Server

In 2017 Microsoft made it possible to run different Linux distribution on Windows 10, using a feature called the “Windows Subsystem for Linux“. With the latest official Semi-Annual Channel Windows Server release called Windows Server, version 1709 Microsoft also allowed to run the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows Server. With the next release of Windows Server called Windows Server, version 1803, Microsoft will also add some improvements to the Windows Subsystem on Linux, which also apply to Windows 10 as well as Windows Server. This blog post shows you how you can do this.

First you have a Windows Server, version 1709 running. After that enable the Microsoft Windows Subsystem for Linux feature, running the following command (This will need a reboot)

You can download the appx packages for you favorite Linux distribution, this can be today:

  • Ubuntu
  • OpenSUSE
  • Suse Linux Enterprise Server

If you are running on Windows Server Core (which is highly likely), you can use the following command to download the Linux distributions.

You can then unpack the file:

Now you can open that folder and run the installer for example ubuntu.exe. The first time this will do the setup where you also define the UNIX username and password as well as the root password.

WSL on Windows Server

After that you can run updates for your distro and you can start using Linux.

If you want to know more about the WSL, check out the Microsoft Documentation: Windows Subsystem for Linux Documentation and have a look at my WSL post in for Windows 10: Crazy times – You can now run Linux on Windows 10 from the Windows Store