Category: Windows 10

New Windows Server Performance Monitor

New Performance Monitor for Windows Server

In this blog post, I am going to show you the new Windows Performance Monitor feature in Windows Admin Center. This feature was announced publicly at Microsoft Ignite 2019. But before we are going to have a look at the new Windows Admin Center Performance Monitor extension, it is time for some history. If you have worked with Windows or Windows Server in the past, you almost certainly have used a tool called perfmon.exe, or Windows Performance Monitor.

You can use Windows Performance Monitor to examine how programs affect your computer’s performance, both in real-time and by collecting log data for later analysis. It uses performance counters, event trace data, and configuration information, which can be combined into Data Collector Sets. Perfmon exists already for a long time. It is super powerful for troubleshooting Windows. However, it is definitely if you look at the classic MMC user-interface and the user-experience in general, probably not your favorite tool to use. That is why we needed something better.

Perfmon

Perfmon.exe

Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that provides tools for analyzing system performance. From a single console, you can monitor application and hardware performance in real time, customize what data you want to collect in logs, define thresholds for alerts and automatic actions, generate reports, and view past performance data in a variety of ways.

You can find more about the classic perfmon.exe here.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Windows Server Program Manager Cosmos Darwin, who works at great features in Windows Server like Storage Spaces Direct. He asked me if I remember my feedback item in user voice, which I created a couple of years ago.

Windows Server Windows Admin Center User Voice Feedback

Windows Server Windows Admin Center User Voice Feedback

Back then, I wasn’t working for Microsoft, but I was working in a couple of different projects where we were using Windows Server and needed to build a real-time performance monitoring system. Which allowed us to monitor remote servers and clusters.

And here it is, the shiny new Windows Admin Center Performance Monitor extension. This new UI is integrated into the web-based Windows Admin Center management tool.

Windows Admin Center Performance Monitor

Windows Admin Center Performance Monitor

Using the Performance Monitor extension in Windows Admin Center uses the same performance data as perfmon, like performance counters, which means that it will just work with your existing configuration. However, it adds a couple of benefits. No worries, the classic perfmon.exe is still there for you to use it.

  • Easy Remoting ✔ – You can easily use it on your remote machine. Windows Admin Center uses PowerShell remoting in the background to connect to the remote computer.
  • Share Workspaces ✔ – You can create workspaces that you can save and use for multiple systems within the same Windows Admin Center instance. But you can also export them and import them on other Windows Admin Center gateway installations.
    Upload and Download Workspaces

    Upload and Download Workspaces

  • Search and highlighting ✔ – You can easily search for objects and counters. Performance Monitor also highlights the useful objects for your system. So you don’t have to guess which counter to use.
    Performance Monitor Search Counter

    Performance Monitor Search Counter

  • Different Graph Types ✔ – You can use different types of graphs, which make it easier to find and compare the right information depending on your scenario.
    Min-Max View

    Min-Max View

    Windows Server Performance Monitor Heatmap

    Windows Server Performance Monitor Heatmap

     

I hope this gives you a quick overview of the new Performance Monitor extension in Windows Admin Center. You can get Windows Admin Center from here. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. There is also a short survey, about different tools like perfmon, this will directly influence the work on Windows Admin Center. You can check out the official announcement blog here.

By the way, Windows Admin Center also offers a great set of Azure Hybrid services integration. Check out my blog post and videos about the Azure Hybrid services in Windows Admin Center.



Reset and Reinstall Windows 10 using Cloud download

Reset and Reinstall Windows 10 from the Cloud

In the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build you have a new feature called Windows 10 Cloud Reset. This new feature helps you to reset and reinstall your Windows 10 machine from the cloud. The feature first showed up in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18970 which are preview releases of Windows 10 20H1. If you wanted to reset or reinstall your Windows 10 machine, you already had the option doing that from your local installed copy of Windows 10 and reusing existing Windows files to construct a fresh copy. Or if you wanted a completely fresh install of your Windows 10 machine, you needed to download Windows and create a USB stick to boot from. The new Cloud download option in the Windows 10 recovery settings, allows you to get the best of both worlds.

Reset and reinstall Windows 10 using the cloud download feature ☁

The new Windows cloud download feature allows you to reinstall Windows 10 using fresh Windows installation files from the cloud. There is no need for a recovery partition or create a USB drive.

Brandon LeBlanc from the Windows team wrote about the benefits of using cloud download for the reset or fresh installation:

  • A more reliable way to reinstall Windows ✅
  • Depending on your internet speed it can be faster ✅
  • No need for a USB stick or DVD ✅

There are two options to reset from the cloud. First, if you have a running copy of Windows 10 and you want to do a fresh installation, you can use the recovery.

How to reset your Windows 10 PC from the cloud in the recovery settings 💻

Reset and Reinstall Windows 10 using Cloud download

Reset and Reinstall Windows 10 using Cloud download

If you have currently a running Windows 10 machine and you want to initiate a reset or reinstallation from with the cloud download option, you can do this through the Windows settings.

  • Open Settings
  • Go to Update & Security
  • Click on Recovery
  • On the recovery screen, select Get started
  • Choose between Keep my files or Remove everything
  • Now you can select Cloud download or Local reinstallation
  • If you select Cloud download, this will use Windows Update to download the fresh Windows files

How to reinstall Windows 10 from the cloud if you can’t boot

Windows RE recovery cloud download

Windows RE recovery cloud download

In the case that you are not able to boot your Windows 10 machine anymore, you can start your reinstallation using cloud download from Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).

  • Click on Troubleshoot
  • Click on Reset this PC
  • Choose between Keep my files or Remove everything
  • Now you can select Cloud download or Local reinstallation
  • This will need drivers for the network adapter in the Windows RE image. Most of the time you have drivers for the wired connection. It might also work with wireless network connection depending on the drivers loaded by the PC vendor in the Windows RE image.

Conclusion

Cloud download is a great new option to reset and reinstall your Windows 10 machine, and getting it back to a healthy and fresh installation. This is just another great new feature in Windows 10 like other improvements we have seen over the last couple of years.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and use the Feedback Hub.

Check out other Windows 10 improvements like:



Cascadia Code in Windows Terminal

Change the Windows Terminal Theme from Light to Dark

This is again a very small post on the Windows Terminal, like how to open the Windows Terminal from the command prompt or run and how to change the Windows Terminal background image. This time I got asked about how you switch the Windows Terminal Theme from light to dark. Well, the answer is pretty simple. The theme of the Windows Terminal is defined by the Windows 10 color theme. So to change the Windows Terminal theme from light to dark, you simply need to change the default app mode to dark or switch completely switch to dark in the Windows 10 personalization settings. Not like other Windows 10 apps, after you have switch the color mode, you will need to close and reopen the Windows Terminal to see the change.

The Windows Terminal is currently in preview and lets you run shells like the classic command-line, PowerShell or WSL and WSL 2. If you want to know how to install the Windows Terminal, check out my blog post.

Change to Windows Terminal Dark Theme

Here is how you change it to the dark theme.

  1. Open Windows 10 Settings
  2. Go to Personalization
  3. Click on Colors
  4. Choose your color and select “Dark
Windows Terminal Dark Theme

Windows Terminal Dark Theme

 

Activate Light Theme

Here is how you change it to the light theme.

  1. Open Windows 10 Settings
  2. Go to Personalization
  3. Click on Colors
  4. Choose your color and select “Light
Windows Terminal Light Theme

Windows Terminal Light Theme

I hope this is a quick help, also check out my blog post about the new font called Cascadia Code. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment.



Cascadia Code in Windows Terminal

New Microsoft Code and Terminal Font Cascadia Code

Cascadia Code is the latest monospaced font shipped from Microsoft focusing on delivering an excellent font for command-line experiences and code editors like Visual Studio Code. The Cascadia Code font was first announced at the Microsoft Build conference in May 2019. And yesterday, Microsoft just released Cascadia Code version 1909.16 and it is available publicly on GitHub. Cascadia Code makes an excellent font for the Windows Terminal, and you can download it today.

It is the latest monospaced font shipped from Microsoft and provides a fresh experience for command line experiences and code editors. Cascadia Code was developed hand-in-hand with the new Windows Terminal application. This font is most recommended to be used with terminal applications and text editors such as Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code.

I took some time to install Cascadia Code font on my Surface Book 2 and it works great with application like Visual Studio Code and the Windows Terminal running PowerShell. To start using it, simply download the font, install it, and configure the application to use is. In the Windows Terminal app, open the settings.json file and change the font in the specific terminal profile.

VS Code Cascadia Code setting for Windows Terminal

VS Code Cascadia Code setting for Windows Terminal

  "profiles" : 
    [
        {
            "acrylicOpacity" : 0.5,
            "closeOnExit" : true,
            "colorScheme" : "VibrantInk",
            "commandline" : "C:\\Program Files\\PowerShell\\6\\pwsh.exe",
            "cursorColor" : "#FFFFFF",
            "cursorShape" : "bar",
            "fontFace" : "Cascadia Code",
            "fontSize" : 12,
            "guid" : "{574e775e-4f2a-5b96-ac1e-a2962a402336}",
            "historySize" : 9001,
            "icon" : "ms-appx:///ProfileIcons/{574e775e-4f2a-5b96-ac1e-a2962a402336}.png",
            "name" : "PowerShell Core",
            "padding" : "0, 0, 0, 0",
            "snapOnInput" : true,
            "startingDirectory" : "%USERPROFILE%",
            "useAcrylic" : true,
            "backgroundImage": "C:/Users/thoma/OneDrive/Pictures/Me/Thomas Maurer Logos 2016/WindowsTerminal/Black Cloud Robot.png",
            "tabTitle": "PowerShell Core "
        },

If you want to know more about customizing the Windows Terminal, check out my blog post. If you are optimizing and customizing your code editor experience, you should also have a look at my favorite themes for Visual Studio Code.

The font is open source and licensed under the SIL Open Font license on GitHub, so it is easy to contribute. Have you tried the Cascadia Code font, and what do you think about the new coding font? Do you like it? And if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.

If you are looking for some other cool Microsoft coding projects, have a look at Azure Cloud Shell and PowerShell 7.



Windows Terminal Background Acrylic Opacity

How to Change the Windows Terminal Background Image

As you may know, Microsoft released a new Windows Terminal, which is currently in preview. However, it has some great new features, and a lot of people are currently trying it out. Now I got a lot of questions about how you can change the background of the Windows Terminal. So I decided to write a quick blog post about how you can configure and customize the Windows Terminal background image. There are multiple ways you can do this. And you can not only change the color or use a background image, but you can also change the opacity, and if it should use the acrylic Windows effect.

Customize the Windows Terminal Background Image

First open the settings of the Windows Terminal app, which will open a JSON file, where the settings are stored.

Windows Terminal Settings

Windows Terminal Settings

This will allow you to customize the settings and colors of the terminal. Every console has a so-called profile, which you can modify. Let’s start with adding a background image.

        {
            "acrylicOpacity" : 0.5,
            "closeOnExit" : true,
            "colorScheme" : "VibrantInk",
            "commandline" : "C:\\Program Files\\PowerShell\\6\\pwsh.exe",
            "cursorColor" : "#FFFFFF",
            "cursorShape" : "bar",
            "fontFace" : "Consolas",
            "fontSize" : 12,
            "guid" : "{574e775e-4f2a-5b96-ac1e-a2962a402336}",
            "historySize" : 9001,
            "icon" : "ms-appx:///ProfileIcons/{574e775e-4f2a-5b96-ac1e-a2962a402336}.png",
            "name" : "PowerShell Core",
            "padding" : "0, 0, 0, 0",
            "snapOnInput" : true,
            "startingDirectory" : "%USERPROFILE%",
            "useAcrylic" : true,
            "backgroundImage": "C:/Users/thoma/OneDrive/Pictures/Me/Thomas Maurer Logos 2016/WindowsTerminal/Black Cloud Robot.png",
            "tabTitle": "PowerShell Core "
        },

With the “backgroundImage” value, you can set a specific image as the background.

"backgroundImage": "C:/Users/thoma/OneDrive/Pictures/Me/Thomas Maurer Logos 2016/WindowsTerminal/Black Cloud Robot.png"

Opacity

You can use the “backgroundImageOpacity” to set the opacity of the for the background image, and this is super helpful when you have a full background image.

Windows Terminal Background Image Opacity

Windows Terminal Background Image Opacity

You can add the following value to configure the opacity.

"backgroundImageOpacity" : 0.2

Acrylic effect

You can also configure the Windows Terminal to use the Acrylic effect in Windows 10 for the background. This will combine the acrylic effect with the background image.

Windows Terminal Background Acrylic Opacity

Windows Terminal Background Acrylic Opacity

Just set the following value to the settings.

"useAcrylic" : true,
"acrylicOpacity" : 0.5

Here is a full config you can have a look at, with all the settings enabled.

Profile

Profile

Let me know if that helps you to set, change, and customize the background image of the Windows Terminal. You can read more about the new Windows Terminal on the official blog. And if you want to know more about how you can run Azure Cloud Shell in the terminal, check out my blog post. If you have questions, let me know in the comments.



Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 WSL2 on Windows Server

How to Install WSL 2 on Windows Server

A couple of months ago Microsoft announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2), which is a successor of the Windows Subsystem for Linux shipped a couple of years ago. WSL 2 is currently available for Windows Insiders running Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18917 or higher and with the Docker Tech Preview, you can now even run Docker Linux Container directly on WSL 2. With the latest Windows Server Insider Preview build 18945, you are also able to run WSL 2 on Windows Server. In this blog post, I am going to show you how you can install the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2) on Windows Server. The Windows Subsystem for Linux was already available in earlier versions of Windows Server; however, WSL 2 brings a lot of new advantages.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux was in Windows 10 for a while now and allowed you to use different versions of Linux on your Windows 10 machine. With WSL 2, the architecture will change drastically and will bring increased file system performance and full system call compatibility. WSL 2 is now using virtualization technology (based on Hyper-V) and uses a lightweight utility VM on a real Linux kernel. You can find out more about WSL 2 in the release blog or on the Microsoft Docs Page for WSL 2.

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2) on Windows Server

Here is how you can install WSL 2 on Windows Server.

Prerequisites:

After you have installed a new Windows Server with the Windows Server Preview build, you will need to add the following features:

  • Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
  • VirtualMachinePlatform

To enable these features, run the following command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
 
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName VirtualMachinePlatform

These commands will need a restart to complete.

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 WSL2 on Windows Server

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) on Windows Server

Now you can install your Linux distribution which is available in WSL. You can also find the links to the Linux distro packages here: WSL distro packages. In my case, I am going to use Ubuntu 18.04, which is currently working with WSL 2.

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/wsl-ubuntu-1804 -OutFile ~/Ubuntu1804.zip -UseBasicParsing
md C:\Distros\Ubuntu1804
Expand-Archive ~/Ubuntu1804.zip C:\Distros\Ubuntu1894

Before you start and configure your WSL distro, I recommend that you set the WSL default version to 2. This will make the setup of your distro much faster.

wsl --set-default-version 2

Now you can start ubuntu.exe to run WSL.

C:\Distros\Ubuntu1894\ubuntu1804.exe

I hope this gives you a step-by-step guide on how you can install WSL 2 on Windows Server. Remember this is currently in preview, and not for production use. If you want to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows Server 2019, check out this blog post: Install Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows Server.



Download the new Windows Terminal Preview

How to open Windows Terminal from Command Prompt or Run

This is a really short blog post and more of a reminder than anything else. You might have seen the new Windows Terminal for Windows 10 was just released in the Windows Store as a preview. However, in the last couple of updates to the Windows Terminal app, it got to a state which already makes it my default terminal. The Windows Terminal allows you to run Windows PowerShell, PowerShell Core and even Bash using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Especially the integration of the Azure Cloud Shell is a great plus for me. In this blog post, I am just going to show you how you can open the Windows Terminal from command prompt or Run (WIN + R).

To open Windows Terminal from the command line (cmd) or in Windows Run (WIN +R) type:

wt
Open Windows Terminal start wt

Open Windows Terminal start wt

 

If you want to know more about the Azure Cloud Shell integration, read the blog of Pierre Roman (Microsoft Cloud Advocate) on the ITOpsTalk blog.