Tag: OS

Azure Automatic VM Guest OS Patching

How to configure Azure Automatic VM guest OS patching

If you want to keep your Azure virtual machines (VMs) up-to-date, then there is a service called Azure Update Management, which helps you to manage updates on your Azure VM guest operating system. However, this needed some additional planning and configuration. To make patching of your Azure virtual machines (VMs) easier, there is a new option called Automatic VM guest patching, which helps ease update management by safely and automatically patching virtual machines to maintain security compliance.

Automatic VM guest patching is now available in public preview for Windows virtual machines on Azure.

With Azure automatic VM guest patching enabled, the VM is assessed periodically to check for available operating system patches for that Azure VM. Updates classified as ‘Critical’ or ‘Security’ are automatically downloaded and installed on the VM during off-peak hours. This patch orchestration is managed and handled by Azure and patches are applied following availability-first principles.

In a nutshell, Azure automatic VM guest patching has the following capabilities:

  • Patches classified as Critical or Security are automatically downloaded and applied on the VM.
  • Patches are applied during off-peak hours in the VM’s time zone.
  • Patch orchestration is managed by Azure and patches are applied following availability-first principles.
  • Virtual machine health, as determined through platform health signals, is monitored to detect patching failures.
  • Works for all VM sizes.

Patches are installed within 30 days of the monthly Windows Update release, following availability-first orchestration described below. Patches are installed only during off-peak hours for the VM, depending on the time zone of the VM. The VM must be running during the off-peak hours for patches to be automatically installed. If a VM is powered off during a periodic assessment, the VM will be automatically assessed and applicable patches will be installed automatically during the next periodic assessment when the VM is powered on.

You can find more information on Azure automatic VM guest patching on Microsoft Docs.

How to enable Azure Automatic VM guest OS patching

To enable Azure automatic VM guest OS (operating system) patching, we currently have a couple of requirements.

  • Currently, only Windows VMs are supported (Preview). Currently, Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019 Datacenter SKUs are supported. (and more are added periodically).
  • Only VMs created from certain OS platform images are currently supported in the preview. Which means custom images are currently not supported in the preview.
  • The virtual machine must have the Azure VM Agent installed.
  • The Windows Update service must be running on the virtual machine.
  • The virtual machine must be able to access Windows Update endpoints. If your virtual machine is configured to use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), the relevant WSUS server endpoints must be accessible.
  • Use Compute API version 2020-06-01 or higher.

These requirements might change in the future during the preview phase (for the current requirements check out Microsoft Docs).

During the preview, this feature requires a one-time opt-in for the feature InGuestAutoPatchVMPreview per subscription. You can run the following Azure PowerShell or Azure CLI command.

Azure PowerShell:

# Register AzProvider
Register-AzProviderFeature -FeatureName InGuestAutoPatchVMPreview -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Compute
 
# Check the registration status
Get-AzProviderFeature -FeatureName InGuestAutoPatchVMPreview -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Compute
 
# Once the feature is registered for your subscription, complete the opt-in process by changing the Compute resource provider.
Register-AzResourceProvider -ProviderNamespace Microsoft.Compute

Now you can enable automatic VM guest patching for your Azure virtual machines within that subscription. To do that you can currently use the REST API, Azure PowerShell, or the Azure CLI.

With Azure CLI, you can use the az vm get-instance-view .

az vm update --resource-group test-autopatch-rg--name azwinvm01 --set osProfile.windowsConfiguration.enableAutomaticUpdates=true osProfile.windowsConfiguration.patchSettings.patchMode=AutomaticByPlatform

You can see that there are two important parameters for this cmdlet. First the -enableAutoUpdate and secondly the -PatchMode. There are currently three different patch orchestration modes you can configure.

AutomaticByPlatform

  • This mode enables automatic VM guest patching for the Windows virtual machine and subsequent patch installation is orchestrated by Azure.
  • Setting this mode also disables the native Automatic Updates on the Windows virtual machine to avoid duplication.
  • This mode is only supported for VMs that are created using the supported OS platform images above.

AutomaticByOS

  • This mode enables Automatic Updates on the Windows virtual machine, and patches are installed on the VM through Automatic Updates.
  • This mode is set by default if no other patch mode is specified.

Manual

  • This mode disables Automatic Updates on the Windows virtual machine.
  • This mode should be set when using custom patching solutions.

If you need more control, I recommend that you have a look at Azure Update Management, which is already publicly available and also supports Windows and Linux servers running in Azure or on-premises.

To verify whether automatic VM guest patching has completed and the patching extension is installed on the VM, you can review the VM’s instance view.

az vm get-instance-view --resource-group test-autopatch-rg --name azwinvm01

This will show you the following result:

Azure Automatic VM Guest OS Patching Status

Azure Automatic VM Guest OS Patching Status

You can also create the patch assessment on-demand.

Invoke-AzVmPatchAssessment -ResourceGroupName "myResourceGroup" -VMName "myVM"

I hope this provides you with an overview of the new Azure automatic VM guest patching feature. If you want to have some advanced capabilities to manage updates for your Azure VMs and even your servers running on-premises, check out Azure Update Management. This will provide you with some advanced settings and your own maintenance schedules. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



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:



Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: Supported Guest Operating Systems

Windows Server 2012 RC Logo

List of supported guest operating systems in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

Guest operating system (server) Notes
Windows Server 2012 Integration services do not require a separate installation because they are built-in.
Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP 1) Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard and Web editions. Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard and Web editions. Upgrade the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2 (SP 2) Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard and Web editions (32-bit and 64-bit). Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard and Web editions (32-bit and 64-bit). Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows Home Server 2011 Edition information is not applicable. Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Standard editions. Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows Server 2003 R2 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) Standard, Web, Enterprise, and Datacenter editions (32-bit and 64-bit). Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 Standard, Web, Enterprise, and Datacenter editions (32-bit and 64-bit). Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
CentOS 6.0 – 6.2 Download and install Linux Integration Services v3.2.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 –6.2 Download and install Linux Integration Services v3.2.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2 Integration services do not require a separate installation because they are built-in.
Guest operating system (client) Notes
Windows 8 Release Preview Integration services do not require a separate installation because they are built-in.
Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 (SP 1) Ultimate and Enterprise editions (32-bit and 64-bit). Upgrade the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions (32-bit and 64-bit). Upgrade the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (SP2) Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate, including N and KN editions. Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3) Professional. Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.
Windows XP x64 Edition with Service Pack 2 (SP 2) Professional. Install the integration services after you set up the operating system in the virtual machine.

 

(More Information about the new version of Hyper-V http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh831531.aspx)



Nokia and Microsoft bringing awesomeness to the mobile world

Nokia Windows Phone 7

Today Nokia and Microsoft announced a partnership and Nokia will use Windows Phone 7 as their primary Smartphone OS. Both of them are really underdogs in the mobile world right now. Okay Nokia is still selling a lot of phones but symbian is no really a big shot. I don’t really understand a lot of negative comments out there.

I see this partnership as a big chance for Microsoft and Nokia. Microsoft brings the great new Mobile OS and Nokia adds great Hardware to this. I don’t see a lot of good hardware out there which could mess with the iPhone 4 except Nokias latest Smartphones.

So I am really looking forward to see the first Nokia Phones with Windows Phone 7.