Tag: Windows 8

Open website from PowerShell

Open website from PowerShell

If you want to directly open a website from the PowerShell console, you can use the Start-Process cmdlet. This will open the website in the default browser:

 
Start-Process "https://www.thomasmaurer.ch"

You can also use “Start” which is an alias for Start-Process:

 
Start "https://www.thomasmaurer.ch"

Yes this is a very short post, but I hope this was helpful and you can now open a website from PowerShell.



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. This blog post covers 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):

 
sysprep.exe /oobe /generalize /shutdown /mode:vm

Now you can copy the VHD or VHDX file from that virtual machine and use it for other VMs. Also check out my post about automating VM creation using an unattend.xml file.



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 PowerShell cmdlets

Get-NetIPConfiguration

Get the IP Configuration (ipconfig with PowerShell)

Get-NetIPConfiguration

List all Network Adapters

Get-NetAdapter

Get a spesific network adapter by name

Get-NetAdapter -Name *Ethernet*

Get more information VLAN ID, Speed, Connection status

Get-NetAdapter | ft Name, Status, Linkspeed, VlanID

Get driver information

Get-NetAdapter | ft Name, DriverName, DriverVersion, DriverInformation, DriverFileName

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

Get-NetAdapterHardwareInfo

Disable and Enable a Network Adapter

Disable-NetAdapter -Name "Wireless Network Connection"
Enable-NetAdapter -Name "Wireless Network Connection"

Rename a Network Adapter

Rename-NetAdapter -Name "Wireless Network Connection" -NewName "Wireless"

IP Configuration using PowerShell

PowerShell Networking Get-NetIPAddress

Get IP and DNS address information

Get-NetAdapter -Name "Local Area Connection" | Get-NetIPAddress

Get IP address only

(Get-NetAdapter -Name "Local Area Connection" | Get-NetIPAddress).IPv4Address

Get DNS Server Address information

Get-NetAdapter -Name "Local Area Connection" | Get-DnsClientServerAddress

Set IP Address

New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias "Wireless" -IPv4Address 10.0.1.95 -PrefixLength "24" -DefaultGateway 10.0.1.1

or if you want to change a existing IP Address

Set-NetIPAddress -InterfaceAlias "Wireless" -IPv4Address 192.168.12.25 -PrefixLength "24"

Remove IP Address

Get-NetAdapter -Name "Wireless" | Remove-NetIPAddress

Set DNS Server

Set-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceAlias "Wireless" -ServerAddresses "10.10.20.1","10.10.20.2"

Set interface to DHCP

Set-NetIPInterface -InterfaceAlias "Wireless" -Dhcp Enabled

Clear DNS Cache with PowerShell

You can also manage your DNS cache with PowerShell.

List DNS Cache:

 
Get-DnsClientCache

Clear DNS Cache

 
Clear-DnsClientCache

Ping with PowerShell

PowerShell Networking Test-NetConnection Ping

How to Ping with PowerShell. For a simple ping command with PowerShell, you can use the Test-Connection cmdlet:

 
Test-Connection thomasmaurer.ch

There is an advanced way to test connection using PowerShell

Test-NetConnection -ComputerName www.thomasmaurer.ch

Get some more details from the Test-NetConnection

Test-NetConnection -ComputerName www.thomasmaurer.ch -InformationLevel Detailed

Ping multiple IP using PowerShell

1..99 | % { Test-NetConnection -ComputerName x.x.x.$_ } | FT -AutoSize

Tracert

PowerShell Tracert

Tracert with PowerShell

Test-NetConnection www.thomasmaurer.ch –TraceRoute

Portscan with PowerShell

PowerShell Portscan

Use PowerShell to check for open port

Test-NetConnection -ComputerName www.thomasmaurer.ch -Port 80
Test-NetConnection -ComputerName www.thomasmaurer.ch -CommonTCPPort HTTP

NSlookup in PowerShell

PowerShell Networking NSlookup

NSlookup using PowerShell:

Resolve-DnsName www.thomasmaurer.ch
Resolve-DnsName www.thomasmaurer.ch -Type MX -Server 8.8.8.8

Route in PowerShell

PowerShell Networking Route

How to replace Route command with PowerShell

Get-NetRoute -Protocol Local -DestinationPrefix 192.168*
Get-NetRoute -InterfaceAlias Wi-Fi
 
New-NetRoute –DestinationPrefix "10.0.0.0/24" –InterfaceAlias "Ethernet" –NextHop 192.168.192.1

NETSTAT in PowerShell

PowerShell Networking Netstat

How to replace NETSTAT with PowerShell

Get-NetTCPConnection
Get-NetTCPConnection –State Established

NIC Teaming PowerShell commands

Create a new NIC Teaming (Network Adapter Team)

New-NetLbfoTeam -Name NICTEAM01 -TeamMembers Ethernet, Ethernet2 -TeamingMode SwitchIndependent -TeamNicName NICTEAM01 -LoadBalancingAlgorithm Dynamic

SMB Related PowerShell commands

SMB PowerShell SMB Client Configuration

Get SMB Client Configuration

Get-SmbClientConfiguration

Get SMB Connections

Get-SmbConnection

Get SMB Mutlichannel Connections

Get-SmbMutlichannelConnection

Get SMB open files

Get-SmbOpenFile

Get SMB Direct (RDMA) adapters

Get-NetAdapterRdma

Hyper-V Networking cmdlets

Hyper-V PowerShell Get-VMNetwork Adapter

Get and set Network Adapter VMQ settings

Get-NetAdapterVmq
# Disable VMQ
Set-NetAdapterVmq -Enabled $false
# Enable VMQ
Set-NetAdapterVmq -Enabled $true

Get VM Network Adapter

Get-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName Server01

Get VM Network Adapter IP Addresses

(Get-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName NanoConHost01).IPAddresses

Get VM Network Adapter Mac Addresses

(Get-VMNetworkAdapter -VMName NanoConHost01).MacAddress

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 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

PowerShell to create a Windows Server USB drive

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

 
list disk

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

 
select disk 1

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

 
clean

Now convert it to GPT

 
convert gpt

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

 
create partition primary
 
# If your USB drive is bigger than 16GB use the following command
 
create partition primary size=16000

Format the partition with FAT32

 
format fs=FAT32 quick

Assign a drive letter to the volume

 
assign letter=k

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.

 



Windows 10 Product Familiy

Windows 10 Editions and upgrade paths

Last week Microsoft announced the different editions of Windows 10. As in the past Microsoft offers Windows in different editions that are tailored for various different use cases and scenarios. Windows 10 will power an broad range of devices – everything from PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox One, Microsoft HoloLens and Surface Hub. It will also power the world around us, core to devices making up the Internet of Things, everything from elevators to ATMs to heart rate monitors to wearables.

Editions

The different Windows 10 editions address specific needs of our various customer groups, from consumers to small businesses to the largest enterprises.

  • Windows 10 Home – Windows 10 Home is the consumer-focused desktop edition.
  • Windows 10 Mobile – Windows 10 Mobile is designed to deliver the best user experience on smaller, mobile, touch-centric devices like smartphones and small tablets.
  • Windows 10 Pro – Windows 10 Pro is a desktop edition for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Building upon both the familiar and innovative features of Windows 10 Home, it has many extra features to meet the diverse needs of small businesses. Windows 10 Pro will add some management capabilities to the Windows 10 and also adds Windows Update for Business.
  • Windows 10 Enterprise – Windows 10 Enterprise builds on Windows 10 Pro, adding advanced features designed to meet the demands of medium and large sized organizations. Windows 10 Enterprise will be available to Volume Licensing customers and adds some features such as Direct Access, Branch Cache and Windows Update for Business. With Windows 10 Enterprise customers will also get access to the Long Term Servicing Branch to better control deployment options for future updates.
  • Windows 10 Education – Windows 10 Education builds on Windows 10 Enterprise, and is designed to meet the needs of schools – staff, administrators, teachers and students. This edition will be available through academic Volume Licensing, and there will be paths for schools and students using Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices to upgrade to Windows 10 Education.
  • Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise – Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise is designed to deliver the best customer experience to business customers on smartphones and small tablets. It will be available to our Volume Licensing customers. Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise will adds a flexible ways for businesses to manage updates.
  • Windows 10 IoT  – Windows 10 will also be avaialble for different industry devices like ATMs, rteail point of sale, handheld terminals and industrial robotics and as well for IoT (Internet of Things) devices with a Windows 10 IoT Core edition.

Upgrade

As Microsoft  announced in January this year, for the first time ever, Microsoft is offering the full versions of Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Pro as a free and easy upgrade for qualifying Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year after launch. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device. In the Microsoft Partner Network Microsoft published some more information about the upgrade paths.

Microsoft will offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 for qualified Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices in the first year. After the first year, upgrades will be paid via boxed product and VL Upgrades.

  • Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 7 Home Basic and Home Premium devices upgrade to Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 8/8.1 Pro and Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate devices upgrade to Windows 10 Pro
  • If upgraded within the first 12 months following launch, the device will receive ongoing Windows 10 updates for free for the life of that device
  • Excludes Windows Enterprise and RT devices
  • The free Windows 10 upgrade is delivered through Windows Update; domain-joined machines can manually get the update via Windows Update. The upgrade cannot be deployed through WSUS.

Windows Update for Business

At Ignite, Microsoft  announced the free Windows Update for Business service, available for all Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices, designed to help organisations keep their Windows devices always up to date with the latest security and features. In case you missed it, check out the blog, Announcing Windows Update for Business for what the service will provide.



InstantGo powercfg

Troubleshoot Windows InstantGo (Connected Standby)

In Windows 8 Microsoft released a feature called InstantGo (formerly know as Connected Standby) which should bring smartphone like Power Management features to your Windows tablet or notebook. Devices such as the Surface Pro 3 do offer this feature. This post should help you troubleshoot issues with InstantGo or Connected Standby.

InstantGo requires the following:

  • Windows 8.1 Operating System (In Windows 8 this is called Connected Standby)
  • A firmware flag indicating support for the standard
  • The boot volume must run on a SSD disk
  • Support for NDIS 6.30 by all network devices
  • Passive cooling on standby
  • Secure Boot
  • Memory to be soldered to the motherboard
  • The Hyper-V Hypervisor role must be disabled on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 systems. Windows 10 Hyper-V will allow you to use Hyper-V and InstantGo at the same time.

Check if the hardware supports InstantGo

To check if your hardware supports InstantGo you can run the following command:

 
powercfg /a

InstantGo powercfg

InstantGo Issues / Connected Standby Issues

In some case you can run in some issues where you have your battery draining more than expected during the InstantGo or Connected Standby time. This could be of the following reasons:

  • Drivers – Make sure you have the latest drivers installed
  • Firmware – Make sure you have the latest Firmware (BIOS) installed
  • Mails –  The Windows communication app keeps the broker infrastructure (BI) system active. BI, in turn, keeps the WLAN network up so that the system stays up-to-date with emails. If you get a lot of emails this can end up in a higher power drain.
  • Software –  Some installed legacy Software which does not let you go into the InstantGo modus.
  • VPN Clients – Some older VPN Clients can also cause issues with InstantGo
  • Network Activity – The WLAN device might have a challenging radio environment and the Windows system might not be able to establish a reliable Internet connection. We see how these events affect the WLAN device, which, in turn, impacts the battery.
  • Hyper-V – If you run Hyper-V in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 you can not run InstantGo, this is solved in Windows 10.

Troubleshooting InstantGo / Troubleshooting Connected Standby

To get some more information about your device and InstantGo or Connected Standby you can use the following tools and reports.

powercfg /SleepStudy

Powercfg SleepStudy

The maybe best way to Troubleshoot Connected Standby or InstantGo issues, is to use the powercfg /SleepStudy command. This will generate a Sleep Study report which allows you to analyze different things about Conncted Standby:

Connected Standby / InstantGo Overview

SleepStudy Report

Connected Standby Transitions

SleepStudy Report Connected Standby Transitions

Connected Standby Sessions

Here you can analyze which application or driver did use battery resources during the Connected Standby session.

SleepStudy Report InstantGo

powercfg /batteryreport

powercfg batteryreport

With powercfg /batteryreport you can generate a report about how your battery is used.

Battery Report

And you can also see what kind of state drained your battery, if this was an active session or a Connected Standby session.

Battery Report Battery Usage

powercfg /energy

PowerCFG Engery

With powercfg /engery you can see not only InstantGo or Connected Standby issues, you can see what other applications, drivers and more does could drain your battery.

Energy Report

I hope this helps you to troubleshoot Connected Standby issues.

Sources

 



CLIXML Export Import

Save PowerShell Object to file for Remote Troubleshooting

This is not something new to the most of you PowerShell guys out there, but still there are a lot of IT Pros which do not know about this. Sometimes we have to do some remote troubleshooting without having access to the system itself. The thing you can do is to let the customer send you some screenshots but that doesn’t really show everything and maybe you have to contact the customer like 100 times to get the right information. A better solution is to let the customer to run a PowerShell command or script and send you the output. But even a text file or screenshot of the PowerShell output is not the best solution. If you get a lot of text in a TXT file it is hard to sort it and maybe there are some information missing because the txt output does not include all information of the PowerShell object.

I have started to use a simple method to export PowerShell objects to a XML file and import the object on another system. This can be done by the PowerShell cmdlets Export-Clixml and Import-Clixml.

What I do is, I tell the customer to run the following command to generate a XML with the PowerShell objects about his disks for example.

 
Get-Disk | Export-Clixml C:\temp\Servername_disks.xml

After I got this XML file, I can import it here on my local system and can work with it as I would be in front of the customer system.

 
$disks = Import-Clixml C:\mylocaltemp\Servername_disks.xml

CLIXML Export Import

As I said, this is nothing new but this can save you and your customer some time. Of course this works with other objects not just disks ;-) For example you can get Cluster Configurations, Hyper-V Virtual Switch Configurations and much more.

Update:

Jeffrey P Snover (Microsoft Technical Fellow and Lead Architect of Windows Server) commented on my blog post and had some great input. If you want to troubleshoot sometimes you often need more information than just one information. To save multiple PowerShell objects into a single file you can use a hashtable to do this:

 
$info = @{
host = hostname
date = get-date
Disks = Get-disk;
Services = get-service;
Processes = get-process
}
$info | export-clixml c:\temp\info.xml

You can see more information on this topic in Jeffery Snovers comment on this blog.

 



OneNote Overview

This is why OneNote is Awesome

Well I know I usually blog more about Microsoft Datacenter and Cloud stuff, especially Hyper-V and System Center, but I am a huge fan of Microsoft’s Office Suite. I live in Outlook and Microsoft OneNote. I organize my private life, my work, and university notes in OneNote.

I get often asked by customers or friends about how I work and how I get things done. In this case, I always show them OneNote, which is maybe one of the best keep secrets inside Microsoft. This post shows you why OneNote is awesome and shows you some of the hidden features you didn’t know about.

If you have more hidden features, leave a comment on the post.

OneNote Dock to Desktop

OneNote Dock to Desktop Title

With the Dock to Desktop feature, you can keep your notes visible by anchoring a OneNote window to the side of your desktop. Your notes will stay on top of your desktop while you are working in other programs.

Dock to Desktop

Linked Note taking

 

OneNote Linked Note Talking

While you are using the Dock to Desktop mode, you can enable Linked Note Taking. This will automatically create a link to the page or office document you have open while you have taken note. This is perfect, while I wrote a whitepaper for university and I had to do a lot of research I used this feature. While I was writing the document, I had to mention the sources as footnotes, and sometimes it’s hard to find the source of something you have found on the internet. With linked notes, I only had to check my nodes, and all the sources and references were linked.

 Visio Integration

OneNote Visio Integration

A lot of other Microsoft products to integrate into OneNote. One of them is Visio if you have Visio installed on our computer you can add an existing Visio diagram to your notes. You can also directly create a new Visio diagram from OneNote and add it to your notes.



Surface Pro 2

Surface Pro 2 – My First Impressions

As you may know, I am a Surface user from the first moment. I owned a Surface RT, which I use at home in the living or bedroom to browse the web, read, watch some videos, or listen to music. Since February of this year, I also own a Surface Pro which replaced my notebook. I use my Surface Pro every day for work, to deliver presentations, write blog posts or articles, or at university to take notes.

Last Wednesday, my new Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 arrived. In the past days, I had some time to work with both devices and replace both devices with the new ones. Of course, I cannot say a lot about devices after only a few days. I have the chance to travel a lot in the next month, and I will write a final review about the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 at the end of November.

Surface Pro 2

One of the reasons why I am writing this small review is because I have read a lot of reviews about the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 on the big gadget sites. I was a little confused about the reviews because I think most of them were not clear and did not see the real value of the Surface.

I know I am not a professional reviewer and writer, but I am one of the Surface customers who use these devices day for day and not just for some hours or days to write a review about it. In most of the reviews, the Surface gets some bad points for not being a laptop or tablet, and I think that’s true, but this is not something bad. This is a new category of devices, and people should not think about it as a typical notebook or tablet; it’s something different.

Surface Pro 2

Another point a lot of reviewers were complaining about is the App ecosystem. I don’t understand the problem here. Of course, there are not as many apps in the Windows Store as in the Apple App Store, but that’s not the only possible way to install Apps. What reviewers don’t see is the huge Application ecosystem it the “classic” Windows Applications you can run and install on the Windows tablets, and this is a huge deal especially for companies that can make all their existing applications available for employees. Of course, everybody would love to have the new Windows 8 Apps as their business apps, but to rewrite these classic Windows Applications to Windows 8 apps, companies need some time, and IT is typically happy if they get some time. And when we talk about the quality of Apps, and you take the key applications which would be Office, then there is no better option than Microsoft Office, which is better than all alternatives on other platforms.

The third problem a lot of reviews mention is that you still have a desktop and not just Windows 8 Apps. But why should this be a bad thing? I like to have one device where I can work in both worlds. Sometimes tablet mode is good for some tasks, but in other cases, you are much more productive on a classic desktop. By offering both worlds Windows and the Surface make me much more productive.

Surface Pro 2

Now let’s see about the specs of the Surface Pro I am using:

Technical Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Dimensions: 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 in
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Casing: VaporMg Dark Titanium
  • Physical buttons: Volume, Power
  • 256GB SSD Storage
  • 8GB RAM
  • 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD Display 1920 x 1080 Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (widescreen) Touch: 10-point multi-touch
  • 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processor
  • TPM chip for enterprise security
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology
  • Two 720p HD cameras, front and rear-facing
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby® sound
  • Full-size USB 3.0
  • microSDXC card reader
  • Headset jack
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • Cover port
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetometer
  • SkyDrive Offer with Purchase: 200GB free storage for two years. Free Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote Web Apps in your browser.
  • Skype Offer with Purchase: One year of Unlimited World calling to landlines in over 60 countries, and unlimited Skype WiFi at over 2 million hotspots.
  • 1-year limited hardware warranty
  • Surface Pen

Design and Durability

Surface Pro 2 vs Surface 2

For me, a great device includes three different things, design, features, and a great ecosystem for applications and accessories. And this was one of the reasons why I was an Apple user for a long time because they offered great design, great hardware features, and they had an ecosystem were software and hardware worked perfectly together.  Microsoft does not disappoint with the Surface line, the first generation was already great, and the second generation does not stop there. The design of the Surface Pro 2 did not change, and it looks the same as the Surface Pro. The chassis was still the same size and is made of the VaporMg, which looks great. But Microsoft did change the kickstand to have a second position, so the angle of the display in front of you can have two positions. This should make it better if you are using it on your lap. After I have seen this in the Surface 2 keynote, I was not sure if this solves the problem. But after trying this, I have to say this works perfectly.  I can now work with the Surface Pro in my lab, outdoors, in trains, or if I have just a small coffee table in front of me.

The build quality of the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is just impressive. As a former Apple product user, I am pleased with quality, design, and the durability of the Surface Pro 2. Microsoft sends here a clear message to his partners and competitors about the quality of tablets and notebooks. Everything seems to be at the right place, and all buttons and the whole chassis is feeling very “high-class”. I like the size and dimensions of the Surface Pro. The Surface Pro is around 0.53 inches or 13.5mm thin and is 2 lbs or 900g light. I was using a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 for a long time until I got my first Surface Pro and I have to say that there is still a huge difference in terms of portability between the Surface Pro and the most ultrabooks.

I can only find one problem, I am using the device as my primary device on the road, and if I am working on a customer site, most of the time, I get a screen to plug my notebook or Surface in. But in some cases, this is not possible, and working 8-10 hours in front of a 10-inch screen is not fun. So I would love to see a 12 or 13-inch Surface in the future.

Display and Audio

Surface Pro 2

The Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 2 has the best screen I have ever used. The Surface Pro 2 10.6 inches ClearType Full HD (1920 x 1080) display adds 45% more color accuracy to the screen if you compare it to the Surface Pro screen. I cannot see a difference because, for me, the Surface Pro screen was already amazing, but for graphic designers and photographers, this should be a big deal. I don’t have to mention that the 10-point multi-touch display works perfectly.

One of the most underestimated features of the Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 2 is the integrated digitizer pen, which allows you to use digital ink. The Surface Pro comes with a digitizer pen, which is perfect for taking notes with OneNote and other stuff. As I mentioned, I am using the Surface Pro at work and university. At university, I am using the pen mostly to take notes and mark some important stuff in documents. At work, I am not only using it to take notes, but it’s also great during workshops or presentations, where you quickly want to draw something instead of using a whiteboard or a flipchart. And for all iPad or Android users, this is not just a normal Pen which buses capacitive touch, which basically is just a simulated finger, this is a digitizer pen which only works with special displays and for example offers pressure sensitivity and automatically deactivates touch input during your writing so you can place your hand on the screen.

The Audio on the Surface Pro was not bad, but it wasn’t good, Microsoft adds Dolby to the Surface Pro 2 speakers which make the sound quality a lot better. It’s better than on pretty much all notebooks and tablets I have seen, but still, if you love the sound, you should maybe use some great headphones or external speakers.

Ports and Internals

Surface Pro 2

Microsoft offers some different options when it comes to ports. The Surface Pro 2 has Full-size USB 3.0, microSDXC card slot, a headset jack, a Mini DisplayPort, and at the bottom a Cover port for the options like the Touch, Power or Type Cover. The position of the ports is the same as on the Surface Pro so that you can use the newly announced docking station for both the Surface Pro and the Surface Pro two.

Heat and Fan Noise

The Surface Pro 2 comes equipped with a powerful 4th generation Intel i5 processor, but even when running some 1080p flash movies or converting some movies, it does not get hot. You can feel a little bit of temperature on the back side, but this not hot. And even if you run some of these heavy workloads, you can not hear any fan noise.

Wireless

The wireless performance of the Surface Pro 2 is just excellent. I never had any issues or bad performance.

Type Cover 2

Type Cover 2

One of the great new features is the new Type Cover 2. I liked the Type Cover 1, which was a good keyboard. The new Type Cover 2 comes with backlit, which makes it perfect if you are working low light conditions. The backlighting is automatic and turns off if you are not using it. If you hover over the keyboard with your hand, the Type Cover will automatically turn on the light again. Another change is the size, Microsoft made the Type Cover 2 even thinner, and they made the distance you need to press a key to get it to respond even shorter, which makes it an even more comfortable type and quicker experience. They also added new color options two the lineup, and the Type Cover 2 is available in purple, magenta, cyan, and black.

Type Cover 2

The Type Cover 2 also has a broader trackpad uses now the same material the Touch Cover is using instead of this hard plastic. This makes it not just feel a lot better than the first generation Type Cover, and it also adds a more elegant look to it. Overall the Type Cover 2 is a very nice upgrade for new and old Surface customers.

Battery life and Performance

Well, the performance was never a problem with the Surface Pro, but Microsoft said it did even add 25% more performance and 50% more graphic performance to the Surface Pro 2. And that’s not a lie. The Surface Pro 2 is just lightning-fast, and it may be the most powerful machine I have used so far. Of course, if you are a graphic designer, there are options with more graphic power with dedicated graphic cards, but the question is, do you need more performance. For me, this thing is a beast.

Microsoft promises a 75% longer battery life with the Surface Pro 2 if you compare it to the first-generation Surface Pro. In my tests, the Surface Pro 2 does excellent. During a typical workday, I could use the Surface Pro for about 5-6 hours with the Surface Pro 2 I got for the same workloads around 10-11 hours.

Software

The Surface Pro 2 ships with Windows 8.1 Pro, which is, in my opinion, the most productive operating system available at this time. Together with Office 365 or Office 2013, this makes it the perfect work machine. For me, the main applications are OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Lync, RDP, and some of the integrated Windows 8.1 apps like Xbox Music or Skype. Especially to have both worlds, the tablet, and the desktop world together in one system is just perfect. There are a lot of tasks that are great to do on a tablet and touch-optimized apps, but there are also some tasks that are more comfortable if you can use the mouse, keyboard, and standard desktop apps. Windows 8.1 brings both worlds together and makes the same experience available on every device. If you are using a Windows Phone, a Windows tablet, a notebook, a desktop, or with the Xbox on your TV, you always get the same experience. And with SkyDrive, all your documents, photos, videos, and settings are synced over all your devices. This makes life much easier; in my case, I can sit in front of one of my devices and work without having to worry about copying files.

Accessories and Offers

SkyDrive

With the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2, Microsoft not only included some great offers like 200GB SkyDrive Storage and one year unlimited Skype calls, but they also made some great accessories available. Besides the next-generation Touch and Type Cover, they also offer a new Power Cover, which extends the battery life of your Surface.

  • Type Cover 2
  • Touch Cover 2
  • Power Cover
  • Surface Docking Station
  • Microsoft Arc Mouse Surface Edition
  • USB Ethernet Adapter
  • Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA
  • Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI
  • Car charger with USB port
  • Surface Pro Pen

Conclusion

Surface Pro 2

Well, the Surface Pro was already my primary device, with the Surface Pro 2 upgrade Microsoft improved the device and made it even better. The most important point being the battery life, with the Surface Pro 2 I get around 10-11 hours on a normal workday, which is just amazing. The other big thing I love about the Surface Pro 2 is the new kickstand, as mentioned I didn’t really think about this as a significant improvement at first, but it is. It is not only better on your lap, but I also like the new position if I am working with the Surface Pro 2 on a regular desk or a coffee table.

 



Server Posterpedia

Microsoft Server Posterpedia Windows 8.1 App just updated

Some days ago Microsoft released some of the new architecture poster for Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V. Today Microsoft released an update in the Windows App Store for their Server Posterpedia App including the new Hyper-V 2012 R2 posters and some design changes.

Server Posterpedia is an interactive app that uses technical posters as a reference for understanding Microsoft technologies. This app includes all the reference posters from different Microsoft Server Technologies such as Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Exchange or Windows Azure. The great thing about this App, you can not only checkout the different posters and zoom in, if you click on a specific topic for you get directly linked to the right TechNet article. This can help find some TechNet references really easy and fast.

You can get the Server Posterpedia App in the Windows Store. and you can get some more information about this awesome App on my blog: Microsoft Server Posterpedia Windows 8 App or on serverposterpedia.com.