|Todd O. Klindt||7/2/2015 4:11 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||7/1/2015 1:44 PM||Tech Stuff||5|| |
July 1st is always a scary day for me. Have I secured enough fireworks for the 4th of July, but not so much that I lose any fingers. It’s such a delicate balance to strike.
Oh, and it’s my Microsoft MVP renewal date.
After much anxious waiting I got the email this morning that my MVP status had been renewed for another year. I was very relieved. Thank you to Microsoft for that. This marks my 10th year as an MVP and to say it has been life changing is not hyperbole. It has opened doors for me, and exposed me to some incredible and amazing people. I’m grateful for the entire experience. Thanks to everyone.
|Todd O. Klindt||6/19/2015 11:42 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||6/11/2015 5:17 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||6/8/2015 4:05 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||5/31/2015 3:22 PM||SharePoint 2013; PowerShell||0|| |
A couple of years ago I published a blog post, “Using Copy-SPSite to rename Site Collections in SharePoint 2013” to much fanfare and adulation. Okay, okay, adulation might be a bit strong (might) but it was a good find nonetheless. I thought I had reached the pinnacle of renaming Site Collections. I thought that my career was all downhill from here. I was going to be relegated to a has been. “Hey, remember that time back in ‘12 when I renamed a site collection without backing it up? “ I thought I was sunk.
Then the February 2015 CU came out.
Buried in all the bugs fixes and regressions was a cool new piece of functionality, the ability to rename site collections without backing them up or without copying them. Whatcho talkin’ ‘bout, Willis! In this blog post I’ll show you how to use it.
I know some of you have short attention spans, so I’ll throw out the PowerShell code to do this right away:
$site = Get-SPSite http://portal.contoso.com/sites/foo
$uri = New-Object System.Uri("http://foo.contoso.com")
To get 100% success I have to force the Content Database to refresh its site map with this:
and run an IISReset. The IISReset isn’t always necessary, but it’s good to plan for it. If you have a short attention span, you’re released now. Go chase something shiny. Look! A rabbit! If you want to see the rest of the story, keep reading.
The Whole Story
When I first learned about this new method for SPSites, it was billed as a way to change path based site collections to Host-Named Site Collections (HNSC). Path based site collections are the ones we’ve been using since the beginning of time. They have the form of http://servername/managedpath/sitename. In my Redirection blog post the $V variable in the picture halfway down the page is the path. It’s the unique part between site collections. A path based site collection has a URL that looks like this:
https://portal.contoso.com/sites/foo and https://portal.contoso.com/sites/bar
In both cases the host is the same, portal.contoso.com. The thing that makes them unique is the path; /sites/foo and /sites/bar. When using host named site collections it’s the hostname that’s unique. Examples are:
https://foo.contoso.com and https://bar.contoso.com
HNSCs are something that users have wanted since SharePoint came out. No one wants to type the full URL out, they all want to type something short. SharePoint 2013 has a soft limit of 20 Web Applications per farm, so that isn’t really an option. Previous versions of SharePoint offered functionality close to HNSCs, but it was never really usable. Thanks to Microsoft hosting SharePoint Online, and making heavy use of HNSCs, they’ve gotten much better in SharePoint 2013. I have no problem recommending them, in the right situations. The issue then becomes how to make the transition. Backing up your path based site collection, deleting it, then restoring into a HNSC works, sort of, but it becomes a real pain when working with large site collections. Also, deleting a site collection is scary business, and not for the faint of heart. Finally, it just seems unnecessary. All the juicy data is staying in the same place, why should we have to take it out just to put it right back in? Ain’t no one got time for that! February 2015 CU to the rescue.
Starting with build 15.0.4693.1001 we can change the URL of a path based site collection to that of a host named site collection. Here’s the whole process, with pictures:
First I created a site collection:
New-SPSite -Url http://portal.odfbdemo.com/sites/moveme -Template sts#0 -Name "Move me with PowerShell, Por Favor" -Description "Site moved with PowerShell" -OwnerEmail email@example.com -OwnerAlias odfbdemo\todd
And threw it into a browser, just to make sure it worked.
Then I changed the URL in PowerShell:
$site = Get-SPSite http://portal.odfbdemo.com/sites/moveme
$uri = New-Object System.Uri("http://moved.odfbdemo.com")
Then did a quick check to make sure it took:
It looks like it did. I’ll refresh my browser, just to make sure it’s really gone. It is.
Before my site collection can work at http://moved.odfbdemo.com that hostname must resolve in DNS. I could have created a single A record to handle that. Instead, since I knew I’d be doing a lot of HNSCs, I created Wildcard DNS Record. That will cover all hostnames at odfbdemo.com that don’t already have a record in DNS. After I made the DNS record I pinged it just to make sure it was working. If you try to ping the site up in your browser before you make the DNS change, you might have to restart your browser for it all to work. Browsers have been known to cache an IP address from time to time.
With DNS squared away, let’s go back to the browser and try to load it up.
Que up the sad trombone. Turns out this was easy enough to fix. We need to run the RefreshSitesInConfigurationDatabase method on the content database our newly renamed site collection.
In a couple of cases during my testing I also had to throw in an IISRESET to really clear up the errors. After that, success was mine!
One of the February 2015 CU KB articles mentions the new renaming functionality, but only mentions it in the context of going from path based to HNSC. That alone is impressive enough, and I could have stopped there. But I didn’t. I also tested this going from path based site collection to path based site collection. I must have eaten my vegetables that day because it worked. I used this PowerShell command to create the source path based site collection:
New-SPSite -Url http://portal.odfbdemo.com/sites/oldpath -Template sts#0 -Name "Move me from one path to another" -Description "Please work, please work" -OwnerEmail firstname.lastname@example.org -OwnerAlias odfbdemo\todd
I made sure it worked in Internet Explorer, then I ran the following PowerShell to rename it to http://portal.odfbdemo.com/sites/shinynewpath
$site = Get-SPSite http://portal.odfbdemo.com/sites/oldpath
$uri = New-Object System.Uri("http://portal.odfbdemo.com/sites/shinynewpath")
It looked like this:
Then I fired it up in Internet Explorer at its fancy new URL:
I hate to brag, but it worked.
It merits further testing, but on the surface it looks like it’s possible to rename path based site collections to new paths, or HNSCs.
If you try this, let me know how it turns out.
|Todd O. Klindt||5/30/2015 7:39 PM||SharePoint 2013; PowerShell||0|| |
When working with Host Named Site Collections (HNSC) you have to keep on top of the DNS records. SharePoint can only do so much, after all. Since your HNSCs all have different host names, that is the point after all, they each need to be resolvable in DNS. If you’re only going to have a handful of HNSCs it’s easy to just drop into your DNS server and create them. It gets a little trickier when you add HNSCs down the road. You tend to forget to create the DNS entries. It becomes a lot trickier if you create a lot of HNSCs and if the SharePoint team doesn’t control DNS. Then it turns into constant tickets, the network team taking their sweet time, much swearing, and users have to wait for the beloved SharePoint site to come online. What if there was a way to prevent all that needless pain and suffering? I have the solution, wildcard DNS records (you probably guessed that from the title of the blog post).
We’re all familiar with the common types of DNS records, like A records and CNAME records. In most cases these records resolve a single address. For instance, the A record for www.toddklindt.com points to the IP address of my web server, 127.0.0.1. However, it is possible to create a wildcard A record. This record provides a default value for DNS records that aren’t defined. In the context of HNSCs you would create a wildcard DNS A record that points to your SharePoint farm. Then when you create a HNSC with the URL https://foo2.contoso.com it will resolve to the SharePoint farm and work without having to bother those lazy gits on the network team.
To create a wildcard DNS record, create a record for *. Here’s how it looks in the DNS Manager in Windows 2012 R2:
Here’s how it looks in glorious PowerShell:
Add-DnsServerResourceRecordA -ZoneName odfbdemo.com -Name "*" -IPv4Address "172.27.1.2"
Here’s what it looks like when it’s created correctly:
Again, this doesn’t resolve every host in the odfbdemo.com DNS zone to 172.27.1.2, only the hosts that don’t already have an A or CNAME record.
While there are other uses for wildcard DNS records, they are quite handy for HNSCs in SharePoint.
|Todd O. Klindt||5/21/2015 11:26 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||5/14/2015 10:42 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||5/8/2015 1:15 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||5/3/2015 10:10 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||4/29/2015 8:41 AM||0|| |
Hello, blog readers. Right now I’m sitting at the SharePoint Evolutions in beautiful London, England. As I was making my schedule it occurred to me that I should list out all of my Ignite events, in case someone wanted to go to them. There is also now an official Microsoft Ignite app (Windows Phone | Android | Apple) so you can put all your sessions in there. You can tag my sessions there. The Ignite web site also now allows you to export your calendar. Now you have no excuses not to find me. If I sign up for more things, I’ll add them here.
Microsoft Ignite OneNote Guide
My Ignite Speaker Profile page
End-to-End OneDrive for Business Planning, Deployment, Best Practices and Adoption Techniques
Sunday May 3rd, 2015, 9:00 to 5:00 - Pre-day session $500
This pre-day session covers IT planning and adoption considerations to properly deploy Microsoft OneDrive for Business. The topics include ways to synchronize your on-premises directory data to the cloud to achieve identity SSO (single sign-on); rollout of OneDrive for Business across your organization (training, apps, sync client); getting other Office 365 suite-level features running in conjunction with OneDrive for Business; and overall management for OneDrive for Business in production across all your users. The training, too, will cover numerous deployment scenarios including hybrid. Pre-Day Sessions require an additional registration fee of $500. Add a pre-day to your existing registration at http://ignite.microsoft.com/Register
PowerShell booth meet and greet
Tuesday, May 5th 2015, 3:00 to 3:30
Stop by the PowerShell booth and say hi.
Podcast Hooligan Breakfast (North Hall B)
Wednesday, May 6th 2015, 7:30AM to 8:30 AM
Are you a sufferer of my SharePoint Podcast. Do you want to tell me in person how much you don’t like it? Here’s your chance. I’ll be hosting an informal breakfast at the normal eating place, North Hall B. Meet next to the Channel 9 Social Media booth. This place:
No need to RSVP, just show up.
Upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and Ready for Cloud Potential
Wednesday, May 6th 2015, 10:45AM to 12:00PM
Have you heard all your SharePoint admin friends talk about how great SharePoint 2013 is, yet your farm is still running at SharePoint 2010, or even worse, SharePoint 2007? Then this session is for you. In this session, Todd goes over the strategies for upgrading to SharePoint 2013 and best practices for reaching ready-for-cloud potential. He then digs into some fun stories about how he's done battle upgrading SharePoint so that you won't have to. This session includes lots of tips, and lots of fun, and in the end you'll be ready for anything the upgrade to SharePoint 2013 can throw at you, and will be set for the future.
Rackspace booth session, "Dipping Your Toe in the Hybrid Pool" (Booth 233)
Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, 1:15 to 1:30
A quick 15 minute chat about what is Hybrid SharePoint and why you should be excited about it. Plus more chances at in person heckling.
|Todd O. Klindt||4/17/2015 9:49 PM||Netcast||2|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||4/17/2015 11:24 AM||SharePoint 2013||6|| |
Like last Patch Tuesday, and many Patch Tuesdays before it, this Patch Tuesday SharePoint 2013 was blessed with an update, the April 2015 CU. There are a few outstanding Regressions from previous SharePoint 2013 CUs, so folks jumped on it pretty quickly.
Turns out the April 2015 CU has a dark side.
A year ago, when SP1 came out, it had some problems. I cover them in my blog post “Don’t Install SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1” The original version of SP1 had this nasty bug where it prevented the installation of subsequent patches. That’s a bad thing. Microsoft cleaned everything up and rereleased SP1 without that issue. They also advised that if you were an MSDN or Volume License customer, the SharePoint 2013 installation ISO that included Service Pack 1 was not affected by that. Whew! It was still a bit confusing, as the Bad SP1 and the Good SP1 looked the same to a SharePoint administrator trying to fix the problem. I talk about how to tell them apart in this blog post, “How to tell which Service Pack 1 you have installed on SharePoint 2013” I thought that was the end of the story.
Turns out I was wrong.
The April 2015 CU is the first SharePoint 2013 CU that requires Service Pack 1 be installed. The previous CUs required either Service Pack 1 or the March 2013 CU. If the installer found either of those installed, it continued on. With the April 2015 CU only Service Pack 1 could scratch that itch. And the different versions of Service Pack 1 leave different footprints on your SharePoint farm. One scratches the April 2015 CU itch, one does not.
If you installed your SharePoint farm with the ISO media that included Service Pack 1, you will not be able to install the April 2015 CU. The April 2015 CU does not recognize that the required bits are in place and its installation will fail. Fortunately, there is a workaround. If you reinstall the stand alone Service Pack 1 (download links here) you’ll then be able to install the April 2015 CU. This is the fix even if you’re running a post Service Pack 1 CU. So if you’re currently sitting at the November 2014 CU and you want to install the April 2015 CU, you have to reinstall Service Pack 1 first. Obviously, right?
One tricky aspect of this is language packs. They have the same issue. And since CUs also patch the language packs, a language pack can cause the April 2015 CU to break as well. For instance, if you installed English SharePoint 2013 (wonky ISO or not), put Service Pack 1 on it, then installed the German Language Pack that came with Service Pack 1, the April 2015 CU won’t install. Not because the base SharePoint (in this case English) doesn’t have the correct Service Pack 1, or even because the CU hates German, but because the Language Pack (German) doesn’t have the correct Service Pack 1. In this case the fix is to reinstall (or repair) Service Pack 1 for the Language Pack, then take another swing at the April 2015 CU.
Hopefully this has helped. I want to give shouts out to Stefan Goßner, Trevor Seward, and Brian Lalancette. We had a good discussion on Twitter about this this morning that helped flesh out the details.
|Todd O. Klindt||4/9/2015 4:42 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||4/6/2015 4:05 PM||PowerShell; SharePoint 2013||2|| |
If you’re a reader of this blog you know I’m absolutely ga-ga over PowerShell. Being able to use PowerShell is one of my favorite parts of my job. I love the challenge, and ultimately the satisfaction of using it to solve SharePoint administration problems that come up. If you haven’t embraced PowerShell, you’re missing out. It’s like having chocolate, and not mixing it with peanut butter.
After I got to a certain level of proficiency in PowerShell (I was only swearing at it every other day instead of every single day) I fell into a rut and I got lazy. I would write dazzling one-liners that could do things, and once in a while I’d even string a couple of those together and save them out to a .PS1 file that I could run later. But I sort of stopped there. I was able to get things done, so my learning sort of tapered off. A few months ago I decided I need to up my PowerShell skills and I started turning all of those various and sundry PS1 files into functions in a .PSM1 file. My skill at writing functions is weak, so I found myself doing the same HELP and Bing searches over and over.
Then last week happened.
Several of my favorite PowerShell bloggers/tweeters/experts put together a PSBlogWeek. For six solid days they each wrote one blog post on PowerShell functions, walking through how to make them, and some great things to do to make them better after you have them. While I hope you check them all out, and read them all start to finish, I’m selfishly writing this blog post so I’ll have them all in one place where I can reference them. They’re really good.
Here’s the list of blog posts, in order:
Thanks for the great blog posts.
|Todd O. Klindt||4/3/2015 9:02 AM||SharePoint 2013||2|| |
I really should have posted this early, but I’m excited to announce I’ll speaking at the SharePoint Evolution Conference in London in a couple of weeks. The Evolution Conference is one of the big ones. A lot of my friends have attended or presented there in previous years and they always RAVE about it. This year, my prayers were answered and the benevolent Steve Smith allowed me the honor or speaking there. Thanks, Steve!
The conference is April 20th - 22nd in London at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. I told you it was a big deal! My part of the show is first thing Wednesday morning. I’ll be doing a two part session on upgrading from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013. If you’re still running SharePoint 2010, or heaven forbid, SharePoint 2007, then you should already be planning the upgrade to SharePoint 2013. This session will help.
If you’re in Europe, or heck, even if you’re not, please consider coming to the SharePoint Evolution Conference and joining me and all the other terrific speakers and attendees. And if you do, please find me and introduce yourself and say, “Hi.” I’d love to meet you.
|Todd O. Klindt||4/2/2015 2:30 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||3/26/2015 11:53 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||3/20/2015 3:48 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||3/5/2015 3:13 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||3/3/2015 4:44 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||3/2/2015 1:50 PM||SharePoint 2013||4|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||2/20/2015 10:12 AM||SharePoint 2010; SharePoint 2013; Sharepoint||0|| |
Edit 3/2/2015 - This has been changed, please read SharePoint Server Patches Are No Longer Published in Windows Update.
Since Microsoft has started pushing out SharePoint patches in Windows Update there has been a lot of confusion from SharePoint Admins about how all this will work. Fear not, intrepid blog readers, we’ll get to the bottom of it. In this blog post I’ll show you how to verify that Windows Update will update SharePoint, in case that’s the way you roll.
We start out with a SharePoint 2013 server, running on Windows 2012. It is not set to allow Windows Update to patch SharePoint, or any other applications for that matter. It is set to “Download Only” for OS patches. When I open up Windows Update (Win + R > wuapp) this is what I see:
67 important patches, 66 of which are itching to be installed. Here is the list:
Notice that it’s all OS patches. If we go back to the first Windows Update screen there is an innocent looking link at the bottom, “Get updates for other Microsoft products. Find out more.” This is the setting that controls whether SharePoint, and other Microsoft products, is updated with Windows Update. Let’s click it. I like clicking.
Click the Agree box and then Next.
I want to continue to use my Current Settings, which are “Download Only, don’t install.”
If all goes well then you’ll get this page.
Now go back to Windows Update and have it check for updates. Remember we had 67 before, so 67 is the number to beat.
Things are looking up.
Now there 84 Important patches and a couple of optional updates thrown in for good measure. Let’s see what they are.
There they are, the patches inside of the February 2015 CUs. They are checked, so if we had Windows Updates set to automatically install, they would be. Also note right above it there is a SQL Service Pack trying to sneak in. While I’m a SharePoint guy, I’m sure SQL doesn’t like getting updated via Windows Update either. So make sure you look around in here and understand what is going to be patched now.
Let’s go ahead and click Install and get SharePoint up to date.
There’s the pudding with the proof right in it. SharePoint should continue to work just fine as your servers update themselves. You will need to run the Config Wizard (psconfig) on all of the servers after they’re all patched. Also note that the SharePoint Server patches are in the Office 2013 group in Windows Update. This is the same group that contains the Office 2013 Clients like Word and Excel. If you’re running WSUS make sure you have a separate computer group for your SharePoint servers. You probably do want to push the Office 2013 client updates to your workstations, but you probably don’t want to push them out to SharePoint servers quite as aggressively.
I hope that clears up some of the confusion over the recent change to SharePoint patching. If you have any questions or comments, leave them in the comment box below.
Edit 3/2/2015 - This has been changed, please read SharePoint Server Patches Are No Longer Published in Windows Update.
|Todd O. Klindt||2/19/2015 8:59 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||2/16/2015 10:17 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||2/12/2015 2:35 PM||SharePoint 2010; SharePoint 2013||21|| |
Edit 3/2/2015 - This has been changed, please read SharePoint Server Patches Are No Longer Published in Windows Update.
Starting with the February 2015 CUs, all the SharePoint patches will try to sneak onto your unsuspecting SharePoint servers via Windows Update. Here’s a snippet from Stefan Goßner’s blog post on the matter:
“Be aware that starting with February 2015 CU SharePoint Product Updates including non-security product updates will be made available via Windows Update.”
He included a screenshot to really drive home the horror. Here’s my version of this:
Not only do the SharePoint patches show up in Windows Update, they show up as Important updates. That means Windows Update will install them when it gets a chance without warning you at all. As a guy that maintains a wiki whose sole purpose in life is to document problems with SharePoint patches, this gives me the willies. The files highlighted above are the same files that would be installed if you installed the February 2015 CU packages. The CU just puts them in one (or two) big files. What does this mean for you, the harried SharePoint administrator? Allow me to address that in the form of Frequently Asked Questions, that I actually have not actually been asked.
Q1) Is this real? Are you fooling me? Am I on TV? Where are the cameras?
A2) I assure you, this is all real. No screenshots were harmed in the making of this blog post.
Q2) How does this impact my Windows Update settings on my SharePoint servers? I’m scared, hold me!
A2) My lawyers have advised me that cuddling with my readers is strictly forbidden. No exceptions. However, I can help with the Windows Update settings part. Because of problems I’ve had in the past, for years I have recommended not allowing Windows Update to automatically update your SharePoint servers. I set all of mine to “Download only.” This only reinforces my feelings on that. Of course then you have to be diligent about going in and manually installing the patches on all of your servers, every. single. month. That’s a lot to remember.
A better solution is to start using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) to distribute Windows and SharePoint patches to your servers. This gives you central patching control of all of your servers. In my opinion it’s better than not patching your servers and it’s better than letting SharePoint get patched every month.
Q3) If these patches are installed via Windows Update do I still need to run the Config Wizard after they’re installed?
A3) Absolutely. This requirement has not changed. SharePoint will run, mostly happily, with the binaries updated but without having run the Config Wizard. It’s not a great place to be in, but it will work. You shouldn’t have to worry about your SharePoint farm falling on its face immediately after the patch is installed, at least not because of the Config Wizard hasn’t been run. However, to prevent weird issues from popping up, it’s best to run the Config Wizard as soon as possible after any patch is installed.
Those are all of the phony FAQs I can dream up for now. If you have more questions, throw them in the comments below. I may add them to the article.
Thanks, and happy patching, intentional or not.
Edit 3/2/2015 - This has been changed, please read SharePoint Server Patches Are No Longer Published in Windows Update.
|Todd O. Klindt||2/7/2015 10:24 PM||PowerShell||0|| |
I decided to blog this little nugget because everything I found on the web was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do. Usually when someone is using PowerShell to look for users in the context of the PasswordNeverExpires property, they’re looking for users where PasswordNeverExpires is set to True and they want to set it to False. It’s generally understood that having passwords never expire is a security risk, so most of the time people want to hunt those accounts down. But you know me, I love a good PowerShell challenge and this week someone needed to find all the accounts where the passwords were allowed to expire, so I stepped up to the plate.
First, just for completeness I’ll include how to do the opposite of what I wanted to do:
Search-ADAccount -PasswordNeverExpires | select SamAccountName, UserPrincipalName
That will return all of the users in your domain whose accounts are set so their passwords never expire. In most cases, these accounts are hunted down and set so their passwords do expire.
If PowerShell can’t find the Search-ADAccount cmdlet make sure the Active Directory module is installed. If it’s not, use this command to install it:
Then make sure it’s loaded in your PowerShell host:
With that out of the way, how do we do the opposite, the thing I really needed to do? How do we find accounts that are NOT set to have their passwords never expire? It took some backward thinking, but here’s what I came up with:
Get-ADUser -Filter 'PasswordNeverExpires -eq $false' -SearchBase "CN=Users,DC=contoso,DC=com" | select name
If you’d like to see how many it is, you can use Count property like this:
(Get-ADUser -Filter 'PasswordNeverExpires -eq $false' -SearchBase "CN=Users,DC=contoso,DC=com").Count
And if, for some silly reason, you want to set these accounts so that PasswordNeverExpires is set to True you could do it like this:
Get-ADUser -Filter 'PasswordNeverExpires -eq $false' -SearchBase "CN=Users,DC=contoso,DC=com" | Set-ADUser -PasswordNeverExpires $true
Make sure you understand the security repercussions of this before you do it. In most cases this is a bad thing, but there are exceptions.
|Todd O. Klindt||2/5/2015 8:40 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||2/2/2015 9:38 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||1/21/2015 10:25 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||1/20/2015 3:24 PM||Windows 8/8.1; Tech Stuff||4|| |
Over the last year I’ve become simply entranced with the Windows 8 slate tablets that have been coming out. They’re small, they run full Windows, and they’re cute as a button. As with most things in Windows, there are lots of options. There are many, larger, full featured Windows 8 tablets out there. I use one, a Surface Pro 2, as my daily driver. With a dock, it functions great as a desktop machine. On a plane it works well as a laptop and a tablet. You can also use it to prop open a window on a warm summer day. However, it costs over $1000, which puts it out of reach for a lot of people. On the other end of the spectrum you can snag a 7” or 8” tablet for $100. That’s what this blog post is about. In this blog post I’ll compare several small, budget tablets to help you decide which one is for you. To help with the comparison I have included a non budget 8” tablet, the Dell Venue 8 Pro. Of the four tablets listed below, I personally own the Toshiba Encore Mine, the Insignia Flex 8, and the Dell Venue 8 Pro. I included the HP because of its popularity and its value. Here’s the list of the tablets and their features:
Edit 2/13/2015: Added Winbook TW700 to the table
Toshiba Encore Mini
Insignia Flex 8
HP Stream 7
Dell Venue 8 Pro
|Winbook TW700 |
|Coming Soon |
Windows 8.1 32 bit
Windows 8.1 32 bit
Windows 8.1 32 bit
Windows 8.1 32 bit
Windows 8.1 32 bit
Office 365 sub?
Intel Atom Z3735G (1.33 GHz)
Intel Atom Z3735F (1.33 GHz)
Intel Atom Z3735F (1.33 GHz)
Intel Atom Z3740D (1.8 GHz)
Intel Atom Z3735F (1.33 GHz)
16 GB eMMC
16 GB eMMC
32 GB eMMC
32 GB / 64 GB
16 GB eMMC
MicroSD card included?
1024 x 600
(resolution set to 1280 x 768)
1280 x 800
1280 x 800
1280 x 800
1280 x 800
External Video Connection?
USB 2.0 OTG
USB 2.0 OTG
USB 2.0 OTG
USB 2.0 OTG
USB 2.0 OTG
Works with Plugable 8 Dock?
0.42 x 4.71x 7.83 in
0.39 x 5.24 x 8.27 in
0.39 x 4.25 x 7.34 in
0.35 x 5.12 x 8.50 in
|7.44 x 4.76 x 0.43 in |
0.75 lbs (12 oz)
|12.35 oz |
If you find any of this in error, or if there are any features I haven’t listed that you’re curious about, let me know.
|Todd O. Klindt||1/15/2015 9:19 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||1/8/2015 9:20 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||1/5/2015 9:24 AM||Windows 8/8.1; Tech Stuff||1|| |
In the last few months I’ve been trying to get my hands on as many Windows tablets as I can. Windows 8.1 has really made the OS great, and it’s a lot of fun on little 7” to 9” devices. In my quest to find the perfect, cheap Windows tablet I recently picked up an Insignia Flex 8 tablet. It was $99 at my local Best Buy. It’s more expensive at the Amazon link, but it gives a better description than Best Buy’s own site does. To get it for $99 you’ll probably have to put on some pants and go to a brick and mortar Best Buy. It’s worth it.
After I got the Flex 8 home, I recorded an unboxing video along with some setup. Here’s the video:
As you can see in the video description on YouTube, I do a few things in this video, so you don’t have to watch the entire 28 minutes if you don’t want to. You’ll regret it if you don’t, but the choice is there.
I hope you enjoy the video. If you like these videos and want to see other stuff, let me know.
|Todd O. Klindt||1/4/2015 2:01 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||12/29/2014 10:09 AM||Netcast||1|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||12/21/2014 5:03 PM||Windows 8/8.1||0|| |
In my 6 Tips for Windows Tablet Owners blog post I teased that I had more tips. I know you were all on the edge of your seats. It’s dangerous to publish the first part of a blog post without having already written the second half, but against all odds I pulled it off. Lucky you guys. Here are my next five tips for Windows tablet owners:
1) Change the Onscreen Keyboard
While I use a Surface Pro 2 as my daily driver, I have a bunch of smaller Windows tablets that I use. They’re in the 7” and 8” range and I don’t normally have a keyboard attached to them. I normally use them for consumption, but every once in a while I find the need to dispense some invaluable advice to someone on the Internet that’s wrong about something. The normal onscreen keyboard is okay, but Windows has an even better keyboard available for these smaller screens.
To check out the other keyboards, open up the onscreen keyboard. You can do that by clicking in a box in a Metro app, or triggering it manually anywhere from the Charms bar:
Once the keyboard is up, you can choose one of the alternate keyboards from the popup in the lower right hand corner:
The split keyboard highlighted above is great for the 7” and 8” laptops. It allows me to hold the tablet landscape and speedily type with my thumbs. it looks like this:
Different keyboards work better for different situations, so make sure to check them all out. Once you find the best one for you, you can help me correct all the wrong people on the Internet.
2) Use a Picture Password
I like my tablets to be secure. I don’t need any ne’er-do-wells combing through my collection of funny cat pictures if I leave my tablet unsecured at the local watering hole. But I also want to be able to get into it without typing my 27 character password that includes upper case, lower case, numbers, symbols, hieroglyphs, and a duck quack. Windows 8 has the solution.
Because, for better or worse, Windows 8 was designed heavily with touch devices in mind. You can log in with your old style password, but there are a couple of new options. You can set up a PIN, or use a picture password. You can get to these from the Charms Bar > Settings > Change PC Settings > Accounts > Sign-in Options:
To set up a picture password you first have to type in your password, then choose a picture, of course. Next you set up three gestures on that picture. That action can be touching a spot, drawing a line from one point to another, drawing a circle, or resizing. Windows will have you walk through it a second time, just to make sure you both agree on it. Once you get that set up, you can now use that to login or unlock your tablet. You could also set up a PIN, but I don’t like those because they are limited to four characters and seem too insecure. I value my funny cat pictures and their safety.
If you get to that screen and don’t see all the options, you probably see this sad notice instead, “Some settings are managed by your system administrator.” This could be because of a domain policy, or a policy pushed out through your email with Exchange Active Sync. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about it if it’s disabled at that level. Your best bet is to find incriminating pictures of someone in your IT department.
3) Use the Start Button on the Charms Bar
When using Windows 8 on a primarily touch device, you end up making a lot of use of the Start/Windows button. It gets you back to the much-maligned Start Screen. It also gets you back to whatever application you were running before you went to the Start Screen. Depending on how you are currently holding your device, and where the hardware Windows button is (like the top left edge on my Dell Venue 8 Pro), it can be cumbersome.
Fortunately, as is often the case in Windows, there is more than one way to skin a cat. (The author’s cat, Yngwie, would like, no, demands, the reader to know that the author in no way encourages or condones the skinning of cats, the animal kingdom’s finest specimen) Hidden, right in plain sight is the alternative I use most, the Windows button in the middle of the Charms bar.
If I’m holding my tablet landscape with both hands, it’s pretty easy to swipe in from the right with my thumb and hit that Start button. The placement of the hardware Start button on the Dell Venue 8 Pro is horrible, which is what initially motivated me to find this alternative. Since then it’s become the standard way I access the Start button regardless of the tablet I’m using.
4) Keep an Eye on Your Storage
One of the ways that manufacturers are able to churn out these inexpensive Windows tablets is to put cheap storage in them. That usually means small amounts of onboard storage, some as little as 16 GB. The storage they do get is usually not very snappy, either. But in most cases, those are okay compromises to make. Smaller tablets normally only have Metro apps installed, which are small. They’re also mainly used for consumption, so there aren’t big virtualized machine files, or hi resolution video files to edit. But, they do need to store some media like MP3s, pictures, and video files from my Netcast, so some storage is necessary. Because of that you need to keep an eye on your storage. Here are a few quick tips around that:
- Get a MicroSD card and store everything you can on it. Most, if not all, of these tablets have a MicroSD slot on them. For all of these tablets I buy cheap 64 GB MicroSD cards. Amazon has them for as cheap as $30. I put all my MP3s there, as well as anything else I can. I do everything I can to keep files off of the C drive. I haven’t tried it, but you should be able to put your Internet Explorer Temporary Internet Files there, Outlook PST and OST files, etc. If you install something like Dropbox, make sure you sync it to the MicroSD card as well.
- Shut off System Restore. Don’t get me wrong, I think backing up files is a very important thing. But on devices like little tablets, it’s not as important. While it would be annoying if the drive in one of my tablets died, I wouldn’t lose any data. Most content there is copied from other places, and everything else is synced to OneDrive. Because of that I disable the System Restore on them. Typing “Restore Point” on the Start Screen will take you to the Control Panel applet where you can shut it off.
- Use Disk Cleanup to, well, clean up your disk. Disk Cleanup is a tool built in to Windows. It goes through some preset locations and lets you choose to clean them up. It’s easy to use and you can’t beat the price.
- Use a tool to figure out where all your space is going. There are a bunch of programs that do this, but I like WinDirStat. It gives you a graphic representation of how much space each folder on your computer is using and lets you drill down into them. Once you find the big folders you can figure out how to make them smaller or move them somewhere else.
- Use a program to compress your drive. Windows includes file and folder compression, and those help some. But I never keep up with them when I create new folders. Another option I recently saw reminded me of the 1990s, drive compression software. The folks that make ZipMagic have a program you can run that will compress your drive, much like WimBoot does. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it’s on my list.
5) Keep an Eye on What Autostarts
I use my small tablets also exclusively on battery. Performance is important, but battery life has to be good too. To help with that I don’t allow any applications to autostart on my tablets, whether they think it’s a good idea or not. I can find out which sneaky apps are trying to eat up my battery and use my previous CPU and RAM by going to the Startup tab in Task Manager:
If your Task Manager doesn’t look like that, try clicking “More details” on the bottom of it. I don’t have many things installed on this tablet, so there aren’t many offenders. On my other tablets I have to make sure things like Dropbox and SnagIt are not allowed to autostart. You’ll see in this screenshot that I have allowed several Intel processes the privilege of autostarting. That’s because that tablet has an Intel chipset for video and I’m not sure what would break if I disabled those. If I had any hair on my chest I’d disable them and see what happens. I do go in here periodically and certainly after I install or patch anything to see what’s been added.
That’s all the tips I have for now. I have a couple more ideas. They may or may not end up as blog posts.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments below.
|Todd O. Klindt||12/18/2014 10:21 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||12/15/2014 12:33 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||12/5/2014 7:44 PM||Windows 8/8.1; Tech Stuff||0|| |
As I’ve discussed many times on this blog, and on my Netcast I have a medical condition. It’s plagued me since I was young and seems to have gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. It seems I’m addicted to gadgets. If it’s got an on/off switch, I want one. If it has a flashing blue LED, I want it twice as bad. Since last year, Microsoft has starting loosening up the hardware requirements for their Windows Tablets, and that has resulted in the market being flooded with small, affordable, and most importantly fun little units. In the year since I’ve started collecting these little beauties I’ve learned a few things. In talking to other Windows Tablet users I’ve discovered they’re having many of the same issues. I thought I’d scribble down a few of my favorite tips for you all to enjoy. If you read every word of this blog post I guarantee you’ll enjoy your Windows Tablet at least 8.1% more, or your money back.
1) Get a USB OTG Cable
In order to make these tablets so small and thin, they have very few connectors and buttons on them. Many of them use micro USB to charge, which is very convenient as we’re all tripping over micro USB chargers. These USB connectors have a secret though. Like Clark Kent, they have a secret identity. They can be used for more than just charging. These ports are USB On The Go, or USB OTG, so they support being both USB guests and USB hosts. With a special, though industry standard, USB OTG cable you can connect USB devices like mice, keyboards, or humping dogs to your tablet. The cable (sans humping dogs) looks like this:
(I’m available for hand modeling gigs. Contact my agent)
That cable has a male micro USB connector on one end, and a female USB jack on the other. You can hook whatever you want to it, even a hub. The first question you’re probably asking yourself, after “Could this cable have more acronyms in its name?”, is “How do I connect the humping dogs and charge this at the same time?” The answer to that is tricky and varies between tablets. For my Dell Venue 8 Pro (DV8 Pro) there are a few options. I’ve blogged about them in this blog post. That same hardware may or may not work for other similar tablets.
Either way, if you have a tablet like this, you should buy several USB OTG cables and hide them all over. Your future self will thank your present self.
2) Make a Recovery Drive
Another common characteristic of these adorable little devices is very small storage options. When I got my DV8 Pro it had two storage options, 32 GB and 64 GB. I got a 64 GB model because I couldn’t imagine running full Windows in 32 GB of space. Now there’s a new round of tablets coming out, like the Toshiba Encore Mini that have a mere 16 GB of storage. Using some tricks like WIMBoot OEMs have gotten the Windows install down pretty small, but there still isn’t much space left. These devices don’t come with physical Windows media anymore. Which is fine, they don’t have DVD drives, so it wouldn’t do much good anyway. Instead they have a dedicated Recovery partition that you can boot into if you need to reinstall Windows. Additionally you can create a bootable USB Recovery drive and delete the Recovery partition. Creating the Recovery drive is a piece of cake. From the Start Screen start typing “Recovery” and the option to “create a recovery drive” should show up in the Search results. You’ll also need a USB OTG cable and a USB drive of 8 GB or so. The process is pretty straight forward, lots of clicking “Next.” To help things along I created a video of how to create a Recovery drive.
Even if you don’t plan on deleting the Recovery partition, you should create a separate Recovery drive. It’s pretty cheap insurance against a drive failure. No need to tempt Murphy, after all.
3) Update All the Drivers and Patches
We’re in the infancy of these little Windows tablets and things are changing quickly. Manufacturers are finding ways to pack more and more functionality into them, and ways to refine the functionality that’s already there. Because of that, you want to make sure you routinely check to see if there are driver updates for your device. Shortly after the DV8 Pro came out Dell updated the drivers to include Miracast support and improved the stylus support. It was definitely worth my time to hit the driver page once a month to see what gifts were waiting for me there. Don’t forget to keep up to date on your Windows patches as well. That keeps things running smoothly and helps keep all of the bad guys from stealing your password to Tiger Beat.
4) Get a Charging Dock or Cables
Like I mentioned in the first section of this blog post, these small Windows tablets charge via their USB port, which is also how you attach USB peripherals. Because of that it can be tricky if you want to charge your tablet while you’ve got USB devices attached. Different devices handle it differently, so check the manufacturer’s site, or maybe the forums at Windows Central to see what other folks are doing.
My first tablet was a Dell Venue 8 Pro. There are a few ways to charge it while it’s attached to USB devices. First there was a cheap cable combination that would do it. Then the folks at Plugable started a Kickstarter project for a dock for it. Finally Dell released their own kit to address this. These solutions may or may not work for the tablet you have. Regardless, having one around when you need it is very handy. They’re especially handy if you ever need to use a USB Recovery drive to rebuild your tablet.
In this blog post I review the Plugable Pro 8 dock, including a couple of epic, well produced videos. One stars Brad Pitt, or someone that looks remarkably like him.
5) Get a Miracast Receiver
I’ve mentioned a couple of times how these petite devices are usually lacking when it comes to ports and jacks. In most cases these devices don’t have video output ports. That’s usually not an issue, as an external monitor isn’t what you normally use these devices for. But every once in a while you want to watch Netflix or some funny cat videos on a big TV. That’s when you really miss that HDMI port. Fortunately in most cases there’s a way around this. Many of these small tablets support Miracast, a wireless display protocol. This lets you mirror or extend the display on your tablet wirelessly to nearby TV or monitor. The device could have Miracast built in, but most likely you’ll need to buy a dongle of some sort. These days it seems like everyone and their dog is putting out a Miracast receiver. I know my dog is. Here is a list of some of the main Miracast receivers that are available as of November of 2014:
Netgear PTV3000 $50 (best choice)
Roku 3 $85
Amazon Fire TV Stick $40
Microsoft HD-10 $85
While Miracast isn’t quite rock solid, the Netgear is the least sucky of the whole group. Roku has recently, quietly, added Miracast support to some of their higher end boxes. If you have one of those, check there first before laying out some hard earned money on a different Miracast receiver. Since this is an industry standard your Miracast receiver will also work with other devices, like Android phones and tablets. So you’ll have that going for you.
I recently got an Amazon Fire TV stick and can’t get the Miracast bit to work with any of my Windows machines. Tragic. I’ll update this post if I ever get it figured out.
6) Get a Case
These little cases are remarkably tough, but they’re not indestructible. To help keep them safe and sound, and to provide some extra functionality, I recommend getting a case. I use my slates mainly for reading or watching videos. Those activities benefit from the case having a stand to keep the unit propped up. Having a keyboard is handy sometimes, too, so cases that offer Bluetooth keyboards are a plus.
I’ve tried a couple of cases and had good luck with them. Here are a few I’d recommend:
Bluetooth Keyboard case for Dell Venue 8 Pro $30 (incredible value, includes Bluetooth keyboard)
Bluetooth Keyboard case generic 7” and 8” tablets $26 (works great for Toshiba Encore Mini, includes Bluetooth keyboard)
Slim case for Dell Venue 8 Pro $9
The keyboard cases increase the tablet’s functionality. The slim case is nice for travel and keeping things small. I have one of each and swap them as I need them. A boy likes to have options.
I have more tips, but I think 6 is all I can pack into this one blog post. Stay tuned for me. If you have any tablet tips of your own, enter them below in the comments.
|Todd O. Klindt||12/4/2014 10:19 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||12/1/2014 3:00 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||11/26/2014 2:00 PM||PowerShell; SharePoint 2013||0|| |
Site collections that have the cursed /sites/ managed path in their URL has been the bane of SharePoint administrators for generations. In previous versions of SharePoint there were some ugly workarounds to deal with this, but they involved AAMs, lots of web applications, and ancient incantations. None of those things are good for your soul. SharePoint 2013 provides a much healthier option, the Host Named Site Collection, or HNSC. Unfortunately, getting your head wrapped around the complexity of HNSCs can be daunting, and many SharePoint administrators haven’t embraced them. Some out of confusion and some out of fear. There’s good news though, I recently published at SharePointProMag.com, The Case for Using SharePoint Host-Named Site Collections. In this article I explain what HNSCs are, and how to use them, and give you some PowerShell you can use to create some HNSCs of your own.
So please, read my Host Name Site Collection article and let me know what you think.
|Todd O. Klindt||11/22/2014 9:41 PM||Windows 8/8.1||0|| |
Many months ago I bought a Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet and I love it. While the DV8 Pro is a nearly perfect and flawless device, it does have one minor annoyance, it only has one USB port. And that USB port is used for charging, as well as for hooking up peripherals. One doesn’t need a Ph.D. in Math see the problem there, you can’t hook up any peripherals if you need to charge the tablet. Over time, a few solutions have popped up for that problem. I outlined one in this blog post. While that worked, it wasn’t elegant. Plugable to the rescue!
I’ve been using a Plugable UD-3900 with my Surface Pro 2 since I got it and I’ve been very happy with it. I was pretty excited earlier this year when Plugable started a Kickstarter project for a dock specific to the DV8 Pro, the Pro 8 Dock. It charges the DV8 Pro, and has all the common dock accoutrements. It sounded too good to be true, but it wasn’t. I jumped in pretty early at the $50 level and patiently (or not so patiently) waited for it to be released. This week all that waiting paid off and the dock came in. Here’s a picture of it sitting on my desk, begging me to open it so we could play.
I did open it, and I did play with it. I recorded it all though so you could enjoy it too. Here’s my unboxing and setup video:
If you’ve been considering a Dell Venue 8 Pro (at Amazon) and a Plugable Pro 8 Dock ($89 on Amazon) that video will give you a good idea what they’re capable of. You can get them both on Amazon with the links in the preceding sentence.
I have a couple different Windows Tablets, so I tried the Pro 8 Dock with another one, my Toshiba Encore Mini. I recently did a video on how to create a Recovery Drive with it and it was asking for more camera time. I decided now was a good time. While Plugable designed the Pro 8 Dock to work with the Dell Venue 8 Pro they have tested it with other tablets. My beloved Encore Mini was not on the approved list. I decided to test it for them. I put my director’s hat back on and recorded a video of what happens when you hook this dock to that tablet. I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, so you’ll have to watch the video to see if I let the magic smoke out or not.
There you go. I hope you enjoy the videos. If there are other things like you like see videos of, let me know. I’d like to extend a thanks to the folks at Plugable for making such fun products.
|Todd O. Klindt||11/20/2014 3:49 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||11/14/2014 2:55 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||11/12/2014 9:08 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||11/7/2014 4:40 PM||Windows 8/8.1; Tech Stuff||4|| |
The last year or so I’ve really been enjoying Windows Tablets. In my last video I unboxed a Toshiba Encore Mini, a $99 Windows Tablet. In this video, the stunning sequel, I’m going to show you how to create a Windows Recovery Drive with it. While the video was created on a Toshiba Encore Mini, the same process will work with any other Windows tablet. Once you have a recovery drive created you can more safely delete the recovery partition and get some of that precious 16 GB back.
View on YouTube
Let me know what you think. If there are other things you’d like to see me make videos of, let me know. I’ll see what I can do.
|Todd O. Klindt||10/30/2014 4:29 PM||Windows 8/8.1||0|| |
I recently picked up a Toshiba Encore Mini. It’s a 7” tablet that runs Windows 8.1. It has 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, and an Intel Atom Z3735G processor. That doesn’t sound very exciting until you hear the price, $99. $99!!
I picked one of these little beauties up to see what the experience is like. I thought you guys might like a little unboxing and setup video.
Here it is:
View on YouTube
The camera work is a little shoddy. That’ll be better on later videos. If there is interest in more videos like this, let me know.
|Todd O. Klindt||10/29/2014 5:05 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||10/27/2014 9:23 AM||Netcast||2|| |
The time I normally do my live Netcast, 8:30 PM CT, is an obnoxious time for my European listeners, 1:30 AM UTC. Some of those Europeans have very politely mentioned they’d like to join in on the chat room harassment, but aren’t willing to stay up that late. I don’t blame them. So every once in a while I do the Live Netcast recording at a different time to give them that opportunity without causing them to lose any sleep. That chance is coming up on November 10th, 2014.
On November 10th, 2014, I’m going to do my Netcast at a time that is less obnoxious for Europeans. Right now I’m thinking about doing it 12 hours earlier at 8:30 AM CST, or 13:30 UTC. However, I’m a reasonable man and might be persuaded to do it at a better time, if there is one. If you’re planning on attending the live showing of the Netcast, and you’d like it at some time other than 13:30 UTC then leave me a comment below telling me what time you’d prefer it. Make sure to include your time zone. You can also tell me on Twitter @toddklindt.
The live recording is broadcast on my YouTube Channel, so there’s nothing to download. If you want to jump into the chat room any old IRC client will do. The server is irc.asrtechnica.com and the channel is #sharepoint. I’m on Windows and use mIRC. I’ve also put a web IRC client on my Netcast homepage, so you can join in with that as well.
|Todd O. Klindt||10/23/2014 10:29 AM||Netcast||2|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||10/17/2014 5:12 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||10/9/2014 10:55 PM||SharePoint 2010; SharePoint 2013; PowerShell||11|| |
I had an incident a couple of weeks ago that I thought I’d share with all of you. I had a beautiful four server SharePoint 2013 farm. It was humming along, serving up SharePoint pages with the best of them. Then Patch Tuesday hit last month. One of the four servers was set to automatically install Windows Updates, and it did. It installed the crap out of them. Normally that’s not a good thing, but it’s also not a horrible thing. In the past that’s bitten us SharePoint admins because things like .NET patches, or random reboots in the middle of the night. Inconvenient, for sure, but not the end of the world. The September 2014 Patch Tuesday rotation had another trick up its sleeve. It looked like this:
Picture courtesy of John White (blog | Twitter)
Those sneaky devils snuck a SharePoint patch in the Windows Updates. Installing a patch on just one server of course causes all kinds of havoc. Since I thought all the servers were set to only download it was doubly confusing as to why SharePoint was now all in a snit about needing an upgrade. I got it all taken care of, but that’s food for another blog post.
My recommendation is to NOT enable installing Windows Updates automatically. I recommend having Windows download the patches, then installing them manually. You can change that setting in Control Panel > System and Security > Turn automatic updating on or off. You can also Win + R and run wuapp. It looks like this:
You can also set it using PowerShell with this little beauty:
Set-ItemProperty 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update' -Name AUOptions -Value "3"
That might be showing off a little, but using PowerShell is just cool. You can look in this White Paper to see all the different Windows Updates settings and their values.
However, that does not mean you shouldn’t patch your servers. The OS still needs to be patched. You can install them manually, but that sounds like a lot of work. An even better idea would be to install a WSUS Server and push your patches out that way.
|Todd O. Klindt||10/7/2014 9:39 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||10/6/2014 9:57 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||9/28/2014 12:37 AM||4|| |
Last July, when Julia White posted her blog post on the Office blog, Microsoft’s unified technology event for enterprises, she broke a few hearts. If you didn’t read it, or have blocked it out, allow me to sum it up. She announced that all the big Microsoft Enterprise tech conferences, TechEd, SharePoint Conference, Project Conference, Exchange Conference, Lync Conference, and Todd’s SharePointorama (okay, I made that last one up) were being combined into one, big, huge conference in Chicago May 4-8, 2015. Those other conferences have sung their swan songs. As someone that has been a speaker at three of those shows (not counting Todd’s SharePointorama) I was a little concerned. Not quite ready to hang up my Microsoft slippers, but I was concerned.
Over the last nine years I’ve been very fortunate to be involved with many Microsoft conferences as a speaker. It’s been a great opportunity and has opened a lot of doors and I’ve met a bunch of great people. I’m kind of a nerd, and with as many conferences as I’ve been involved with (Microsoft and others) I’ve always wondered how the sausage was made. How did the organizer choose the venue? The rooms? How are they able to make sure every little morsel of flavor is cooked out of the chicken they serve for lunch? Does that cost extra? I’ve buddied up with some of the organizers and gotten some of those answers (it doesn’t cost extra) but I was still curious.
A month or so ago a unique opportunity was dropped into my lap. Last year Microsoft started a Roundtable discussion about TechEd. They invited a few folks from different product disciplines, different areas of interest, and different communities to provide Microsoft input on TechEd. They were doing the same thing for the Big Microsoft Conference and they invited me join them. Woo Hoo!
Last Monday and Tuesday I was in Chicago with 17 or so of my closest nerd friends, and another 20 or so Microsoft folks. Our mission was to tour the location of the Big Microsoft Conference, McCormick Place, and let Microsoft know what our opinion on was on a bunch of issues. It was a great time. First, a few pictures. Here is a quick shot I took of the main entrance along with some of my fellow Roundtablers:
The size of this place is immense. The exhibit halls alone are 2.6 million square feet, with one over 800k square feet.
This is the South exhibit hall. Not only is it large enough for all the IT Vendors, and the pallets and pallets of free t-shirts and 2 GB USB drives they’ll be giving away, if you look closely you’ll see it has an island in the middle. This island has some meeting space, some possible food vending spots, and most importantly, bathrooms! My biggest problem with large exhibit halls is that the potties are only on the outside walls, and sometimes those walls are a very long ways away. My bladder does not approve of that.
Here’s one of the smaller exhibit halls with a plumbers convention going on. I’m not sure why, but that cracks me up.
The views from the Lakeside Center were beautiful. The organizers haven’t decided yet where stuff will go, but I hope I get some sessions over there.
I talked to the McCormick IT guys and they assured me we’d have more than enough bandwidth to get out to the cloud for our demos and still be able to satisfy our constant cravings for cat videos. It’s a tall order, but they are confident they are up to it.
For the rest of the first day, and the second day we talked about The Big Conference itself. How the sessions will be decided on, keynotes, entertainment, etc. I let them know I was available for the keynote. We’ll see what happens. I was initially concerned about how Microsoft was going to bring all of these conferences together without killing the things that made them great. The Big Conference will probably have 20,000 people as opposed to the 10k or so at TechEd or the SharePoint Conference. It’s tough to manage that many people, especially such tight groups. And where will they all stay? How will they all get there and back? Will there be enough ice cream at break time?? After hearing what the Microsoft organizers had to say, I think they’ve got a good handle on it.
It was very clear that they know the networking and community aspects of these tech conferences are very, very important. We tech nerds aren’t always the most socially outgoing and they don’t want to lose the ability for people to find each other, or for people that already know each other to stay together. They also know that with the increase in the number of sessions and attendees they’re going to have to make sure things are discoverable. I suggested using <blink> tags for all of my sessions. I’m not sure anyone wrote that idea down.
It feels like the organizers of the Big Microsoft Conference have thought this through really well. They spent a lot of time letting us talk and really listening to what we had to say. TechEd and the SharePoint Conference were very important to me, and I’ll miss them both dearly. But I feel like their legacies are in good hands. I’m looking forward to the Big Microsoft Conference in May. I’ll post more about the conference here as more details emerge.
|Todd O. Klindt||9/26/2014 4:13 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||9/23/2014 10:25 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||9/12/2014 11:07 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||9/10/2014 10:59 AM||Sharepoint; SharePoint 2013||0|| |
It’s hard to believe, but we’re only a few days away from SPTechCon in Boston. As I’m making my lists and checking them twice I thought I’d put all of my events in one convenient location. That way folks that are attending SPTechCon will more easily be able to avoid me.
Monday, September 15th
Live Netcast Recording – 9:00 PM-ish Location: It’s currently a secret
Shane and I will be doing a live recording and stream of my SharePoint netcast. If you’ve ever wanted to heckle in person, here’s your big chance. You’ll have to bring your own tomatoes, we will not be providing them.
Tuesday, September 16th
Upgrading from SharePoint 2010 to 2013 – 9:00am – 12:15pm
Everyone is doing it, so what are you waiting for? The best answer would be that you are waiting to learn all of the fun that goes into an upgrade. Well, if that is the case, then wait no longer. Come to this class to learn about all things upgrade. Topics to be covered are the options you have to upgrade, planning for the process, and looking at the tools Microsoft includes with SharePoint to help along the way.
The good news is this time around there is only one upgrade option to show you for getting the database upgraded, but when it comes to upgrading the UI, it is a brave new world. Visual upgrade is gone and now you have 2010 versus 2013 site collections running in the same 2013 farm. And the transition from a 2010 site collection is now self-service for the site collection administrator--crazy! Come hang out with us as we explore this together.
Office 365 vs. On-Premise Panel – 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Andrew Connell is hosting a panel with some of the brightest minds in the SharePoint world to discuss what the future of SharePoint in the cloud and on-premises is. They decided it would be fun to invite me to have someone to make fun of. Join us and let us know what you think, of both SharePoint and them making fun of me.
Wednesday, September 17th
Introduction to Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Administrators – 11:00am – 12:15pm
Do you plan on working on Microsoft products for the next five years? Do you only know enough about PowerShell to spell it correctly? If you answered yes, then this is the class for you. PowerShell is the present and future tool that is the cornerstone of administering Microsoft products like SharePoint, and if you don't know it, then you are working too hard. Come to this class to learn the key fundamentals of PowerShell, and how to use those skills to solve every problem you have ever had. That's right! If you have a flat tire, PowerShell can even fix that.
SharePoint 2013 Administrator Skills – 3:45pm – 5:00pm
In this class, we will go over the different admin topics that are new for 2013. Some experience with 2010 is assumed, so the class can focus on topics new to 2013. Some of the high points will be an overview of how Office Web Apps have changed your farm topology; the move to loving Claims authentication; and why all the talk about host name site collections. For certain, PowerShell will sneak in not because it is new, but because it is that important.
Lightning Talks – 5:15pm – 6:30pm
Watch vendors try to hawk their wares without it looking like they’re trying to hawk their wares. Also see Shane and I try to be funny, even though we’re not.
I’ll also just be wandering the halls chatting with folks. If you see me, be sure to come up and introduce yourself and say “Hi!” and maybe take a minute or two to explain why you like me better than Shane. Rackspace will also have a booth, so I’ll be hanging out there, too.
See you next week.
|Todd O. Klindt||9/7/2014 9:44 PM||PowerShell||0|| |
It’s been a busy summer and I’m just getting around to installing the PowerShell v5 Preview. And it’s a good one. It’s officially called the “Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview September 2014” but it’s all PowerShell. It will install on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1, both 32 and 64 bit varieties. This is a Preview, a beta, so don’t install it on a Production machine. Don’t test in Production. But if you have a test machine, go ahead and install this and take it for a spin. You’ll be glad you did.
There are a ton of great new features in PowerShell v5. Several blog posts worth. Too many for me to list here, though they are all listed in the 59 page Word doc that comes with the download. I will, however, tease you with two of my favorites.
Transcript works in the Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) Huzzah!
This has been my main disappointment in PowerShell for a couple of versions. I teach PowerShell classes and write blog posts on PowerShell, and am generally a PowerShell doodler. The Transcript is invaluable in all of those situations. And while the first generation of the ISE was nothing to write home about, it’s gotten pretty impressive lately. I’ve wanted to take advantage of it, but it didn’t work with the Transcript. <sad panda> In the past I’ve had to choose between my old, faithful functionality, the Transcript, and the new hotness, the ISE. Conflicts aplenty. Well, no more.
The ISE now supports the Transcript. No more choosing. I get my cake and I get to eat it!
Now I have no more excuses, the ISE will be my PowerShell interface of choice.
PowerShell natively zips and unzips files
This is another one of those, “What do you mean PowerShell doesn’t…” situations I keep having with PowerShell. It seemed amazing to me that there wasn’t easy native support for zipping and unzipping files in PowerShell. I’ve spent hours looking for it. Now in v5 it’s finally here. Two new cmdlets, Compress-Archive and Expand-Archive handle the zipping and unzipping respectively. As of the writing of this article, there aren’t any –examples in the help documentation, but I expect after a few Update-Help executions some will show up. Here’s an example to get you started:
Compress-Archive power*.txt -DestinationPath .\gold.zip -CompressionLevel Optimal
Running that in the folder that has all your PowerShell Transcript files into a single file, gold.zip. To keep it updated, run the same command with the optional –Update parameter.
There you go, two excellent reasons to install the PowerShell v5 Preview on your favorite test box.
|Todd O. Klindt||8/30/2014 10:53 PM||Tech Stuff||0|| |
This was written in August of 2014. As technology marches forward, the prices and features of the products mentioned have probably gotten cheaper, bigger, faster, stronger, and better smelling. If you’re from the future and reading this, keep that in mind.
Last week Dropbox announced they were upgrading their $100 a year ($9 a month) Pro plan from 100 GB of storage to a massive 1 TB. (insert picture of Dr. Evil with his pinky to his mouth here). Because of that announcement Dropbox has been all over the tech news. In Windows Weekly #377 my friend Paul Thurrott comments that $99 a year is as much as a license for Office 365 Home, which gives you email, Office Web Apps, and 1 TB of OneDrive For Business (ODFB) for 5 people (5 TB total) . He wondered why anyone would pay the same amount for just storage, and 1/5 of the storage at that. I hope to provide a satisfactory answer to that question with this blog post.
I’ve been paying for Dropbox Pro for a couple of years and it’s worth every penny to me. This is the case even though I get a free Office 365 subscription because I’m an MVP. While I do use a bunch of the functionality of OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, there are a few things that Dropbox does so much better that it’s worth giving up a couple of of venti hot chocolates a month at Starbuck’s to pay for Dropbox Pro. Here is my list of why I pay for Dropbox Pro even though I get OneDrive and Office 365 for free.
File size limitation of 2 GB in OneDrive (250 MB in ODFB) , Infinity +1 in Dropbox
I store a lot of different types of files in Dropbox. Like most folks I store pictures up there and a few documents. But I also store all the videos from my Netcast there. I store a bunch of commonly used software installations up there as well. I have the database backups from my blog syncing to a machine at home through Dropbox. I’ve even been known to store a virtual machine or two in Dropbox. Using the desktop sync client, any file I copy into a Dropbox folder will show up on all the other machines syncing that same folder. When I first tried to move over to OneDrive that didn’t work. OneDrive has a hard file size limit of 2 GB. ODFB has a similar limit of 2 GB. Dropbox’s limit is infinity. If you have space in your Dropbox quota, the file will sync. 2 GB might be more than enough for most people, but I regularly deal with larger files so it’s a big deal for me.
Shared folders in OneDrive or ODFB don’t sync to the file system. Dropbox is happy to
Despite the fact that I’m an only child, I share pretty well, regardless of what my wife might say. With OneDrive or ODFB if I share a folder with someone it does not sync to their local hard drives, even if they have the desktop sync clients installed. Even if they ask nicely. That means if I share a folder with someone they have to go to OneDrive (or ODFB) with a browser, or the Metro OneDrive app to download the files I’ve shared with them. For some situations, this might not be a big deal, but it’s come up a few times for me. For instance, I have a shared Dropbox folder with my parents where I copy pictures of my cats and any of my artwork that’s refrigerator worthy. My parents have that same folder set up as a location for a slideshow screensaver. So as I proudly drop pictures into that folder on my computer, they magically sync to my mom’s hard drive and show up in her screensaver. She doesn’t have to remember to check for them, they’re just there.
Files don’t just have a URL in OneDrive or ODFB, you have to download them from a web page
If I share an individual file with someone in OneDrive, the link I send them takes them to a web page that hosts the file. It doesn’t take them to the actual file itself. Again, it’s not a huge deal, but it’s more work that they have to go through than if I share the same file the same way with Dropbox. If I send someone a link to a Word doc shared from Dropbox, the URL goes to that exact file. They could download it with PowerShell if they wanted to. With OneDrive and ODFB it’s a whole big affair.
OneDrive For Business alters Office files, Dropbox keeps its dirty mitts off of them
It recently came out that files stored in ODFB are actually altered when they’re uploaded. On the backend, ODFB is a SharePoint document library. When an Office document is uploaded to SharePoint it puts a unique tag in it so it can keep it straight from other copies of that file, or other versions of it. I understand why they do it, but it doesn’t seem necessary for non work files. Dropbox doesn’t change the files. I like that better.
While a few of these issues are pretty small potatoes, a couple of them (file size and local syncing) are show stoppers for me. As one as OneDrive or ODFB doesn’t support them, I’ll continue to happily pay for Dropbox.
|Todd O. Klindt||8/29/2014 11:14 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||8/22/2014 10:34 PM||SharePoint 2010; SharePoint 2013||9|| |
It was a sad day when the original MSDN ULS Viewer was discontinued. There was much weeping at the Klindt household when the news broke. Fortunately I found a backup copy. I put it on a USB stick and buried it in my backyard for safe keeping, next to the coffee can with my Honus Wagner baseball card in it. I also put a copy in The Cloud, whatever that is. There was still an open spot in my heart though.
Then today I was putzing around the Internet, looking for some cat videos and discount pharmaceuticals when I saw one of the happiest headlines I’ve ever seen on the Internet, “ULS Viewing Like a Boss (ULS Viewer is now available)”
First, I was in denial. I wouldn’t let myself believe it. I was worried it was an old blog post bubbling up some how. Then I was worried that maybe it was just a mean joke from Bill. He’s like that, you know. But I clicked it, then I clicked the Download Link, then I downloaded it, and it actually worked! Hallelujah!
So run, don’t walk, to your nearest web browser and go Bill Baer’s blog post and download the new and improved ULS Viewer. It has some bug fixes and it has some new features, like some fancy command line parameters, and easier support for monitoring multiple servers. All the while maintaining the same charm and panache as the original version.
This time around the ULS Viewer looks a little more legit, so hopefully we don’t have to worry about it disappearing in the middle of the night like a deadbeat relative that owes you money, like it did last time. If you’re smart though, you’ll bury it in your backyard like I did.
|Todd O. Klindt||8/22/2014 9:17 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||8/18/2014 5:32 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||8/11/2014 12:16 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||8/3/2014 10:26 PM||Netcast||2|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||7/31/2014 5:03 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||7/11/2014 10:16 AM||PowerShell||0|| |
While SharePoint is my main love, recently I’ve been dabbling in virtualization and making clouds. You can’t work at a big hosting company like Rackspace without getting a little cloud-curious and I was no exception. For the last year or so in my spare time I’ve been playing with setting up clouds, managing clouds, automating clouds, etc. My cloud weapon of choice has been the combination of Hyper-V, System Center, and the Windows Azure Pack (WAP). Having worked with Microsoft products for the last 20 years, it was an easy fit. Being the incredibly efficient (some call it “lazy,” I just don’t see that) guy that I am, the PowerShell integration has been one of my favorite parts. Especially once you see what it takes to get all of System Center and WAP installed and configured. It makes installing a SharePoint farm look like a carriage ride through a park.
Since I’m a little late to the game, smarter people than me have already seen this gap and filled it. Specifically Rob Willis at Microsoft wrote a tool called the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit (PDT) to automate all of this. It’s flat out amazing. For the last year or so I’ve been playing with the PDT and I’m constantly impressed by it.
Recently, one of my coworkers, Andre Stephens, and I wrote a short write-up about how we’re using the PDT to install large System Center deployments at Rackspace. You can read Provisioning a Microsoft Private Cloud with PDT at the Rackspace Developer blog.
You’ll probably be seeing a lot more posts from me about this kind of stuff. It’s been a lot of fun and I just can’t help myself sharing when I play with cool technology.
|Todd O. Klindt||7/10/2014 8:20 AM||SharePoint 2010; SharePoint 2013||4|| |
If you’re like me, you look forward to all the even numbered months. Not just because of Valentine’s Day and my dad’s birthday, but because that’s when our beloved SharePoint gets its new Cumulative Updates. The odd numbered months just don’t feel like as much fun in comparison. I felt bad for them.
Until today… (well, yesterday)
I was surprised two days ago when SharePoint 2013 got a July CU. July? That’s an odd month, this makes no sense! This changes everything. Is water still wet? Is the sky still blue? I can’t keep up!
Yesterday Microsoft announced that SharePoint on-premises, both 2010 and 2013, will start getting monthly CUs. That’s going to be a lot to keep track of, but I think I’m up to it. I will still maintain my SharePoint 2010 Builds page and my SharePoint 2013 Builds page. My guidance on CUs hasn’t changed. You shouldn’t install a CU unless it contains a fix that you need. And if you talk yourself into installing a CU, install it in a test environment first to see if it breaks anything. I maintain a wiki with a page for every patch. As soon as I know about a problem with a patch I’ll record it there. If you do find a problem with a patch, let me know and I’ll add it.
At first blush, I think this is a good thing. Like SharePoint Online, Microsoft seems committed to updating SharePoint on-prem at a rapid pace. The good news with on-prem SharePoint is that we get to choose whether the patches get installed or not. Seems like the best of both worlds to me.
|Todd O. Klindt||7/9/2014 9:13 PM||Netcast||2|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||7/3/2014 9:42 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||7/1/2014 3:59 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||6/28/2014 9:42 AM||Windows 8/8.1||4|| |
Since the spunky Dell Venue 8 Pro came out last year I’ve had a huge crush on it. It’s cute, it’s powerful, and it won’t break the bank. While the DV8 Pro is super fun, it has at least one annoying limitation. Because it uses a single USB OTG connection it can’t be charged while a USB device is attached. There are a couple of creative workarounds, including my own blog post, “How to use USB devices with your Dell Venue 8 Pro and charge it at the same time.” While my solution is both brilliant and elegant, it has a touch of kludge to it.
The good news is that the folks at Plugable have come to our rescue. I’ve been using a Plugable UD-3900 with my Surface Pro 2 for months, and I like it. The minds at Plugable have stayed up night and day and they’ve designed a Plugable dock for the DV8 Pro that will charge the device while also allowing you to use USB devices. Hallelujah! To gauge interest they’ve created a Kickstarter project.
If you have a Dell Venue 8 Pro or Lenovo Miix, and you’d like an elegant solution to this frustrating problem, consider helping Plugable out and pledging the project. I already have, you should too.
Edit 11/18/2014: This can now be purchased directly from Amazon
|Todd O. Klindt||6/26/2014 4:40 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||6/15/2014 8:53 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||6/5/2014 10:30 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||5/26/2014 8:44 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||5/16/2014 4:25 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||5/5/2014 11:57 AM||SharePoint 2010||0|| |
Late last week, or this last weekend Microsoft quietly updated the KB article for SharePoint 2010 Service Pack 2 to call out that if you have access to the MSDN or VL ISO media you can now install SharePoint 2010 on Windows Server 2012 R2. Here’s what they added:
Note: Deployments from the slipstream media at Microsoft Volume License Service Center (VLSC) and MSDN can now be performed on Windows Server 2012 R2 as of May 1, 2014.
This is great news for those of you that will be maintaining SharePoint 2010 for the foreseeable future but want all the cool new stuff in Windows Server 2012 R2. There is a piece missing though. If you do install this on Windows Server 2012 R2 you must either slipstream the February 2014 CU into the new ISO or immediately install the February 2014 CU after installation. The new ISO will install on Windows Server 2012 R2, but it’s not supported on it, if that makes sense.
There are a couple of other notes. First, SharePoint does not support installing Service Pack 2, the February 2014 CU and then upgrading the OS to Windows Server 2012 R2. It must be a fresh installation. I can hear those of you with existing SharePoint 2010 farms getting anxious. Don’t worry, it’s okay, we can get you there. If you dream of Windows Server 2012 R2 servers in your existing SharePoint 2010 it can still be a reality, you just have to work into it a little bit. First, make sure your existing SharePoint 2010 is at the February 2014 CU level (14.0.7116.5000) or higher. Then build a brand new Windows Server 2012 R2 server and install SharePoint 2010 SP2 with the new MSDN or VL ISO. Then patch it to February 2014 CU or whatever patch level your farm is at. You can then add it to your existing farm. If you go that route I would plan to do all the servers in your farm, and sooner rather than later. Each time you add a Windows Server 2012 R2 to your farm, pull out one of the older Windows Servers until they’re all gone. You should plan for that changeover to take days, not weeks, or fortnights. (I’ve clearly been watching too much Game of Thrones).
Also make sure you have a good backup of each of your old servers. Shamefully we all have those file system level tweaks that we’ve made, then forgotten about. Web.config is the usual place they hide out, but they show up other places too. You’ll need to do those by hand when you add the new servers to your farm. The same goes for SSL certs, or any other certs you have.
Good luck. Leave a comment below if you go this route. Let us all know how it turned out.
As always you can keep up to date on all the SharePoint 2010 mayhem at http://www.toddklindt.com/sp2010builds and you can follow my SharePoint 2010 Patches twitter account to get breaking news about SharePoint 2010 patches.
Here is the official SharePoint 2010 support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 KB article. It was last updated to Rev 12 November 21, 2013. It will likely get updated again.
|Todd O. Klindt||5/2/2014 9:34 AM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||4/30/2014 3:31 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||4/24/2014 4:32 PM||SharePoint 2013||11|| |
Edit: 7/3 added MSDN and VL ISO screenshot and explanation
It’s been a fun couple of months for guys like me that watch SharePoint patching. Earlier this month Microsoft discovered a particularly nasty bug in SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 and they pulled it. They locked their best and brightest patchmeisters into a room, threw in some Mt. Dew and Snickers bars and had them crank out a newer, better, stronger, more-able-to-be-patched version of Service Pack 1. If you were one of the people that installed the first, broken SP1, the fix is to install the new, shiny SP1 over top of it. The problem is figuring out which version of SP1 you have installed. The new SP1 looks an awful lot like his older brother, right down to the Farm build number (15.0.4569.1000). There is an easy way to tell them apart in Central Administration. Click the Upgrade and Migration link on the left, then Check product and patch installation status. That should take you to the /_admin/PatchStatus.aspx page. A first generation SP1 server will look like this:
The two important pieces are the KB article for the patch, KB2817429, and the patch version, 15.0.4569.1506.
A second generation SP1 server will look like this:
Its KB number is KB2880552 and it build number is 15.0.4571.1502.
If you installed SharePoint 2013 from MSDN or Volume License (VL) media it might have Service Pack 1 integrated. In that case, everything is okay. It's patch status page looks like this:
If you have the Bad SP1 just install the Good SP1 over top of it like any other update. Don’t forget to run the Config Wizard afterwards to show SharePoint you really mean business. If your server was installed with the MSDN or VL media you can still install the new SP1 over top if you want to be super sure you're up to date.
Don’t forget to follow @SP2013Patches on Twitter and bookmark my SharePoint 2013 Builds page to keep on all the patching craziness.
|Todd O. Klindt||4/22/2014 1:10 PM||SharePoint 2013||5|| |
Just as promised, Microsoft has rereleased Service Pack 1 for SharePoint 2013. Hopefully this time with fewer bugs. I haven’t taken it for a full test drive yet, so this blog post will likely get updated in the next few days.
If you have already installed SP1 on your farm, install this new SP1 on top of it, then run the Config Wizard, like you would with any other patch. If you’re at some lower patch level, use the same steps.
Here are some links.
SharePoint Foundation – KB – Download
SharePoint Server – KB – Download
Project Server – KB – Download
Office Web Apps – KB – Download
I have not added this to my SharePoint 2013 Builds Page yet. I’m busy at SPTechCon right now, but I’ll get it added soon.
|Todd O. Klindt||4/16/2014 9:01 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||4/14/2014 9:27 AM||PowerShell; SharePoint 2010; SharePoint 2013||2|| |
I’ve posted a lot of PowerShell scripts here over the years. Some good, some not-so-good. Okay, mostly not-so-good. Besides my very obvious lack of PowerShell prowess, one thing has constantly bugged me about a few of the scripts I’ve written, they contain passwords in plain text. Here are a few examples:
How to Upload Files to SharePoint 2013 with PowerShell
How to schedule SharePoint backups with PowerShell
The PowerShell script I use to create Active Directory users
Using PowerShell to set up a test environment
How to use PowerShell to replace DCPROMO in Windows Server 2012
In each of those scripts I did a bad, bad thing, I put the password for a privileged account in plain text. Shame on me. My penance for this sin is that I have to write this blog post, explaining a more secure way to handle this situation. I also said “Hail Jeff Snover” 100 times.
The TLDR version is that instead of putting the passwords in plain text in the script, we should save them, encrypted in a file, and use them from there. PowerShell is constantly improving. It’s getting stronger. I’m pretty sure Skynet uses PowerShell when it takes over the world. SharePoint 2010 uses PowerShell v2, which has one way to save encrypted passwords. SharePoint 2013 uses PowerShell v3, which has a better way. I’ll show you both here. Both versions will work with SharePoint 2013, only the first will work with SharePoint 2010. And yes, while you can install PowerShell v3 on a server running SharePoint 2010, you can’t use the SharePoint 2010 SnapIn in PowerShell v3, so you’d have to use the PowerShell v2 regardless.
SharePoint 2010 (PowerShell v2)
First, we need to create the file that contains the encrypted password. Here is the PowerShell I use to do that:
$password = Read-Host "Enter Password: " -AsSecureString
$filename = Read-Host "Enter file to save as: "
$secure = ConvertFrom-SecureString $password
$secure | Out-File $filename
Here’s what it looks like in practice:
The password I entered was the venerable pass@word1. You can see the file it creates is plain text, but it bears no resemblance at all to pass@word1 so bad guys can’t see what your passwords are.
Of course creating the encrypted password is only half the battle, and maybe even the easy half. You actually have to be able to use the password for this to be any fun. Let’s look at the How to Upload Files to SharePoint 2013 with PowerShell blog post. Scenario 2 could take advantage of this. Let’s look at the piece of the original script that dealt with authentication:
# Since we’re doing this remotely, we need to authenticate
$securePassword = ConvertTo-SecureString "pass@word1" -AsPlainText -Force
$credentials = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential ("contoso\johnsmith", $securePassword)
There’s that password in plain text <shudder>. Let’s fix that. Here’s what it would look like using the file we created above:
# Since we’re doing this remotely, we need to authenticate
$temp = Get-Content C:\temp\secretfile.txt
$securePassword = ConvertTo-SecureString -String $temp
$credentials = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential ("contoso\johnsmith", $securePassword)
Now you can run your scripts with piece of mind. Let’s check out the SharePoint 2013 version.
SharePoint 2013 (PowerShell v3)
The PowerShell v3 method is a little smoother. Here’s how we create the file:
$credentials = Get-Credential
$filename = 'C:\temp\secretfile.txt’
$credentials | Export-CliXml -Path $filename
Notice that the file stores both the username and the password, not just the password like the v2 version. Here’s how you would use it in the same example as above:
# Since we’re doing this remotely, we need to authenticate
$credPath = 'C:\temp\secretfile.txt’
$credentials = Import-CliXml -Path $credPath
That would replace the entire section, not just the yellow highlighted pieces that the PowerShell v2 solution replaces. It’s also important to know that only the user that exported the file can import it. This is great from a security standpoint, but it gets tricky if you are using the exported credentials for scheduled tasks. If that’s the case you’ll need to log in as (or at least run PowerShell as) the service account and export the file that way.
Wrapping It Up
Muuuuch better. We didn’t have to force PowerShell to do anything it doesn’t want to do. Now, no matter what access a bad guy has to your server, short of a key logger, they have no way of figuring out your password. Now, if they have that file, and they know what it is and what account it’s for they can use it to do stuff as that account. So you still need to keep your scripts and this password file secure. This can be used for good though, too. Now you can write scripts that run as a specific account without the person running that script needing to know what the password is, or being able to discover it. This is great for people building SharePoint farms, or support personnel.
I’d like to apologize for publishing PowerShell scripts that might encourage bad behavior. Please forgive me. In the future I’ll try to use this more secure method for baking passwords in. Hopefully you can also use this technique to make your environments more secure too.
I would also like to give a hearty “Thanks” to Lori Gowin (Blog | Twitter) and Mike Robbins (Blog | Twitter). They both very graciously read through this blog post multiple times and offered several valuable suggestions. It sucks way less because of their input. Thanks again.
|Todd O. Klindt||4/9/2014 10:50 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||4/6/2014 10:15 PM||SharePoint 2010; SharePoint 2013; PowerShell||11|| |
Every once in a while I get to add a little flair to a project I’m working on. Recently I was working on a couple of projects that intersected, sort of. First, I’ve been writing some scripts to automate some processes we have. These scripts do some pretty good logging to the file system in case there are problems. The average person would have stopped there, but not me. I wanted to take it a step farther. I added a bit where the script uploads the log files to a SharePoint document library. This makes them easier to get to for support personnel, and it makes it easier to search through them for specific issues. SharePoint saves the day again.
The other project I’ve working on is making my Netcast production more automated. Part of that process was using PowerShell to edit the MP3 tags on my Netcast files. While I was pretty proud of that, the previous project made me realize I could take things one step further and have that same script go ahead and upload the MP3 file when it’s finished. One less thing for me to put off when I’m procrastinating. Hooray efficiency. Plus I get braggin’ rights. Score!
On the surface, these two things sound like they’re the same thing, uploading files to SharePoint. Once you get into the weeds though, they’re actually different. In the first case I’m uploading a file to a local SharePoint server. This is pretty simple. While PowerShell doesn’t have a Upload-SPFile cmdlet we’re pretty close to it. Easy peasy. In the second case I’m uploading the files to a remote SharePoint server. Since it’s a remote server we can’t just add the SharePoint PowerShell module and use the same techniques as we would with a local server. Subtle differences, but important differences. As I was searching for “Upload files to SharePoint with PowerShell” I found most articles covered one or the other. Which is very handy if your situation matches the article’s. Not so handy if they don’t. So I wrote this blog post to cover both scenarios.
Scenario 1: Uploading Files to SharePoint on the SharePoint Server
Here’s a quick example of how to upload a document on a SharePoint server using the SharePoint PowerShell module which uses the SharePoint Object Model.
# Set the variables
$WebURL = “http://portal.contoso.com/sites/stuff”
$DocLibName = “Docs”
$FilePath = “C:\Docs\stuff\Secret Sauce.docx”
# Get a variable that points to the folder
$Web = Get-SPWeb $WebURL
$List = $Web.GetFolder($DocLibName)
$Files = $List.Files
# Get just the name of the file from the whole path
$FileName = $FilePath.Substring($FilePath.LastIndexOf("\")+1)
# Load the file into a variable
$File= Get-ChildItem $FilePath
# Upload it to SharePoint
$Files.Add($DocLibName +"/" + $FileName,$File.OpenRead(),$false)
In the case we use the Add member of the SPFileCollection class. It has a few overloads, so check them out, there might be one that better fits what you’re trying to do.
Scenario 2: Uploading Files to SharePoint from a Remote Machine
Since we can’t use the object model to upload files remotely we have to go about it a different way. I use the WebClient object, though there might be other ways. Here’s an example:
# Set the variables
$destination = "http://portal.contoso.com/sites/stuff/Docs”
$File = get-childitem “C:\Docs\stuff\Secret Sauce.docx”
# Since we’re doing this remotely, we need to authenticate
$securePasssword = ConvertTo-SecureString "pass@word1" -AsPlainText -Force
$credentials = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential ("contoso\johnsmith", $securePasssword)
# Upload the file
$webclient = New-Object System.Net.WebClient
$webclient.Credentials = $credentials
$webclient.UploadFile($destination + "/" + $File.Name, "PUT", $File.FullName)
Like the SPFileCollection class’ Add member, the UploadFile member of the WebClient class has a few overloads to consider. Check them out so you know what your options are.
PowerShell is cool. SharePoint is cool. Uploading files is cool. It just makes sense to use PowerShell to upload files to SharePoint. Hopefully this blog post covers all the scenarios you might encounter.
Edit 4/8/2014 – 1,000 apologies. The code in Scenario 2 didn’t work. I should have checked it better. It’s all good now.
|Todd O. Klindt||4/3/2014 11:03 AM||SharePoint 2013||29|| |
This morning Microsoft updated the KB article for SharePoint Service Pack 1 with this notice:
We have recently uncovered an issue with this Service Pack 1 package that may prevent customers who have Service Pack 1 from deploying future public or cumulative updates. As a precautionary measure, we have deactivated the download page until a new package is published.
If you haven’t installed this in your Production environment yet, please hold off. If you have it in a Test or Dev environment go ahead and keep testing it. I’ll update this blog post as I get more information.
Bill Baer (he's a big deal at Microsoft) has stated that the MSDN ISO that has SP1 included is not impacted by this issue.
To keep up on all the SharePoint 2013 patch happenings you can check out my SharePoint 2013 Builds page. You can also follow my SP2013Patches Twitter account where I tweet out SharePoint 2013 patch related information.
FAQs (added 4/7/2014)
Q1) I was going to install SharePoint 2013 in a new farm with Service Pack 1 in a week (a day, 17 minutes, etc). This seems scary, should I still do it?
A2) First, breathe, it's gonna be okay. :) If I were installing a new farm in the next couple of days I would not install it with Service Pack 1. I would either install the farm with the March 2013 Public Update, or I'd wait a few days to see what Microsoft says about how to fix existing farms with Service Pack 1.
Q2) But, but, but I already have Service Pack 1 installed in my Production farm. Woe is me! Am I screwed? Am I going to have to quit SharePoint and become a Notes administrator? My family will be so ashamed!
A2) I would, never, ever recommend anyone take drastic action like becoming a Notes administrator. That's the kind of shame that doesn't wash off. If you currently have a Production farm with Service Pack 1 on it you're fine. Microsoft will fix this. They promise, and I believe them. I know, I know, "patching the patch that makes it so you can't install another patch" is pretty funny to think about, but I'm sure they can pull it off.
Q3) What if I have Service Pack 1 in a Test farm? Can it infect my Production farm?
A3) Test farms are fine. If you're currently testing Service Pack 1 in a Test farm, keep on keepin' on. When the Service Pack 1 fix comes out drop it into your Test farm and see what happens. I would still plan on putting Service Pack 1 on your Production farm eventually.
Q4) I installed a new SharePoint 2013 farm using the MSDN ISO that had Service Pack 1 baked in. Am I in trouble, too?
A4) No, you're fine. Bill Baer told me that this issue only affects farms that were patched to Service Pack 1. Farms that were installed with the MSDN ISO are not affected. If you used an RTM ISO and slipstreamed Service Pack 1 in you are affected. But like I said in A2, you'll be fine.
Edit: Added piece about the MSDN ISO
Edit (4/7/2014): Added the FAQs
|Todd O. Klindt||4/2/2014 10:53 PM||Windows 8/8.1||2|| |
Today was the first day of Microsoft’s Build conference and it was busy. They announced a bunch of new products. Some available soon, some available not so soon. One of the most exciting things coming out soon is the Update to Windows 8.1. It’s already available on MSDN, and it will trickle out as a series of patches next week on Patch Tuesday. Being the impatient guy that I am, I downloaded it and installed it today. In this blog post I’ll talk about some of the install particulars and I’ll also cover some of the new features.
If you have an MSDN subscription you can go out there now and download the Update today. There are three downloads, one for x86, and one for x64, and one for ARM. Grab whichever ones are appropriate for your existing Windows 8.1 devices. The x64 version will also work for any Windows 2012 R2 servers you have laying around.
When you download the package it’s a zip file containing six Windows patches and a readme file. The readme file provides some guidance on which order you’ll need to install the patches. Don’t be surprised if you already have any of the patches. Every machine of mine that I patched today already had KB2919442. The KB2919355 patch is 700 MB and seems to be the bulk of the update. I had to reboot after installing each patch, so be prepared for that.
If you don’t have an MSDN account, or you’re just more patient than I am, then you’ll get all these patches as part of the regular Windows Update process. So make sure you have Windows set to download and install new patches as they come out.
There are a ton of new features in the Update. I’m not going to be able to cover them all in this post. When you get done here, check out Paul Thurrott’s review. He covers a bunch of things I don’t.
The big focus on this Update, much like the update to Window 8.1 is making things better for people using mice and on desktop PCs. Several features help that out. Probably the most notable is that there is now a Search button, and sometimes a Power button in the upper right corner of the Start Screen, next to the user’s name.
Both of these functions were already available from the Charms bar, but that can be tough to coax out with a mouse and not everybody knows about the Win + C hotkey. Also, if you’re accessing the machine through remote control software, or virtual machine software, it just might not be possible. Once you have the Update installed you’ll be able to hit the Start Button, then either the Power or Search buttons. Oddly, the Power button does not show up on tablets. It only shows up on Desktop PCs and laptops. Paul goes into it more in his article, but Microsoft has decided the Power button wasn’t a good fit for devices they consider slates. The Search button simply brings out the Search bar. Both Search and Power work exactly the same from the buttons as they would if you fired them up from the Charms bar.
Another nod to Desktop users can be found in the PC Settings area. While Microsoft has been diligent about adding more and more settings in the Metro Change PC Settings pages, there always seems to be one setting that’s just not there. Now there’s a “control panel” link at the bottom that takes you to the Desktop Control Panel. If you can’t find it there, it can’t be found.
While we’re talking about PC Settings, another one of our prayers has been answered. We can finally remove wireless networks. In the Networks page click Manage Networks to get a list of the all the wireless networks your machine has connected to. Click one to remove it.
Metro apps coexist with the Desktop a little better with the Update. It’s now possible to pin Metro apps to the Taskbar, and the Update pins the Microsoft Store for you to get you started. Metro apps also have a title bar that drops down when you hover near the top of the screen. This title bar has minimize and close buttons, like we’re used to seeing in Desktop apps.
Microsoft has also made it marginally easier to locate new applications after you’ve installed them. After an application has been installed there will be a reminder in the lower right corner of the Start Screen. If you go to the Applications view all newly installed applications will be highlighted. While this isn’t a homerun, by any means, it is a step in the right direction.
The update wasn’t aimed solely at Desktop PCs, tablets got some love too. Namely, Microsoft wants to expand its market share in the tablet space in the worst way. Today at Build they announced that there will be no licensing fees for Windows devices with screens smaller than 9”. I expect to see a flood of devices with 8.999999” screens any day. Along with that, the 8.1 Update includes better support for machines with limited RAM and small amounts of storage. With this Update Windows 8.1 will support running on devices with as little as 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. It does this by trimming the OS down, and by running it out of a compressed WIM file. This feature requires an SSD and will only be available for new devices. When I upgraded my Dell Venue 8 Pro it was not able to take advantage of this. I think this is a step in the right direction. I feel part of the reason Windows 8 tablets never took off was because Microsoft strictly controlled the hardware it could go on, and those hardware specs were pretty tight. They wanted to make sure everyone had a good experience, but I think it bit them. I think the combination of free licensing, and better support for low cost hardware will result in us seeing a lot more Windows devices in the wild.
So go out there and install the Update. Let me know in the Comments section how it went for you.
|Todd O. Klindt||4/2/2014 3:42 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||4/1/2014 3:49 PM||Windows 8/8.1||10|| |
With the release of Windows 8.1, and soon the Update to Windows 8.1 now is as good a time as any to go ahead and ditch Window 7, or heaven forbid Windows XP, and embrace Windows 8 with both arms wide open. When Windows 8 came out, it got some negative press, some of which was even earned. In this article I’m going to give my top
ten 11 tips on how to make Windows 8 the daily driver on your desktop PC without pulling your hair out, or using Satya Nadella’s name in vain.
1) Update to Windows 8.1, then Windows 8.1 Update
I almost feel silly saying this, but keep your OS up to date. Windows 8.1 came out several months ago and took some huge strides in making Windows 8 better for desktop PCs. Unfortunately Microsoft didn’t do a good job promoting it, or making it easy for the average user to stumble across. It’s almost like it’s a prize at the end of a treasure hunt. It’s a free upgrade, so there’s no reason not to install it. And for my readers that say, “We always wait until Service Pack 1,” well, wait no more, this IS Service Pack 1. Besides, a bunch of the following tips will require Windows 8.1, so go ahead and install it. Once you do, you’ll be the envy of all your friends in your Wednesday night bowling league. I promise.
Now that I’ve convinced you to install it you’re probably wondering how to install it. That gets a little tricky. You get Windows 8.1 from the Microsoft Store. So if you don’t go there, you’ll never see it. You can get there by hitting the Store icon on the Start Screen, or going to the Start Screen and just typing “Store.” If you don’t see it right away when you go to the Store it might be because you haven’t installed all the Windows Patches needed. Go back to the Start Screen and type “update” and install the Windows Updates. All of them. You will probably get to reboot a few times, so make sure you have a good book handy. Then go back to the store and hopefully Windows 8.1 will be waiting for you.
The Windows 8.1 download is huge. It’s over 3 GB. That’s like a whole season of House of Cards and some Scooby Doo cartoons on Netflix. Make sure to give it some time to run in the background. While you’re waiting, you can read up on what’s new in Windows 8.1. You can also buy the Windows 8.1 Field Guide from Paul Thurrott.
2) Boot To Desktop
One of the many desktop friendly changes that came with Windows 8.1 was the ability to boot directly to the Desktop. You know, how we’re used to Windows booting for the last 20 years or so. When Windows 8 came out it debuted the infamous Start Screen. Which is absolutely fabulous on things with a touch screen, but absolutely dismal on things without. In Windows 8 there was no way around the Start Screen. Every time your machine powered on you had to click the Desktop tile on the Start Screen to get to the Desktop. In Windows 8.1 they added the glorious “Boot to Desktop” option. To activate it right click on the Taskbar (after you’ve clicked that blasted Desktop tile one final, satisfying time) and click Properties. In the Properties box click the Navigation tab. Check the box next to go to desktop, then click Ok.
While you’re in that page read over the other options. There are some other good ones in there like “Show my desktop background on Start” and my favorite, the one that replaces the crusty old Command Prompt with sleek, sexy PowerShell.
3) Expand Taskbar Items
While you’re in the Taskbar properties go ahead and change another one of my favorite settings, Taskbar buttons. This setting lets you control how large the taskbar buttons are. By default it is set to “Always combine, hide labels.” This means the taskbar buttons will always be small, regardless of how much empty space the Taskbar has. That’s just wasteful! I much prefer the “Combine when taskbar is full” setting. If you’re using a desktop PC you probably have decent sized monitors and plenty of space on your taskbar. No reason to not take advantage of that space. It also makes them easier to click with a mouse, as they are a larger target.
As a bonus, this setting works on Windows 8 and Windows 7 too.
4) Only use Desktop Internet Explorer
With Windows 8 the emphasis was very clearly touch devices, which is great for touch devices. Not so great for non-touch devices. One instance of this was with Internet Explorer. For maximum confusion and frustration, Windows 8/8.1 comes with two separate versions of Internet Explorer. One is the Desktop version we’ve been using since Alta Vista was the search engine of choice. The second version, we’ll call it Metro IE, is optimized for the touch experience. The problem is depending how a web page is opened, you might get Desktop IE or Metro IE. If you’re on a Desktop PC, Metro IE es no bueno.
Fortunately there’s a way to control this behavior and set it so your web pages always open up in Desktop IE. Open up Desktop IE and click the settings cog in the upper right, then click “Internet options.” The setting we’re looking for is at the top of the Programs tab. Select “Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop.”
After you change that, no matter how you stumble on that next link of glorious hysterical cat videos, it will open in Desktop IE.
5) Install Desktop Skype
Along those same lines, the version of Skype that comes with Windows 8/8.1 is a Metro app. And while it works okay in a touch environment, it’s very painful in a Desktop environment. It’s clumsy and it takes up too much screen space. And I’m pretty sure it ate the last Funyuns, then put the empty bag back in the cupboard. There’s good news though, you can install the Desktop version of Skype and get back to how Skype should be. Just download the desktop client and install it. Go ahead and pin it to your Start Screen. Make sure you pin “Skype for desktop” not just “Skype” which is the disappointing Metro version.
6) Type on the Start Page
One of the big problems with the new Metro interface is that it’s tough to discover things. You can’t just click or right click around and find them. One of Windows 8’s hidden gems is that when you’re on the Start Screen, you can just start typing and Windows will automatically start searching for you. Can’t find a program you installed? Just start typing. Looking for a particular setting? Just start typing. Looking for that picture of the baby throwing up on Grandpa? Just start typing. It’s pretty handy once you get used to using it.
7) Scroll Down for Apps
This is another thing that was improved in Windows 8.1, the ability to find apps that aren’t pinned on the Start Screen. Once Windows 8.1 is installed we get a handy down arrow in the lower left corner of the Start Screen. When it’s clicked it shows us all the applications installed on the machine. There are a variety of ways to sort and filter the apps, depending on what you’re looking for.
If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, you can use the old “just start typing” trick we talked about above. By default Search has the focus, so if you just can’t find that new version of Mahjongg you installed, you can type “mah” and it should pop right up.
8) Right Click on the Start Button for more Goodies
The most celebrated feature added in Windows 8.1 was the return of the Start Button. That alone is great for us Desktop users and cause for much celebration. It makes it a lot easier to get to the Start Screen, especially if it’s in a VM or RDP window. Along with having the glorious Start Button Microsoft stuffed a whole bunch of shortcuts into the context menu of the Start Button. Go ahead, right click on it and see what’s there.
And if right-clicking isn’t your thing, you can hit the Win+X shortcut key to get to it too. Here’s a full list of the rest of the Windows 8 Keyboard shortcuts. There’s some gold in them there hills.
9) Install Modern Mix
On a slate, full screen, finger friendly Metro apps work well. On a 24” monitor it seems a bit unnecessary for Solitaire to get the whole 24 inches. And splitting the screen with the Desktop doesn’t cut it either. Unfortunately there’s no way out of the box to run Metro apps anything but full screen or split screen. Some apps, like Skype and IE have both Metro and Desktop versions, but most don’t. We must have all been really good, and eaten our vegetables as children, because there’s a thing called Modern Mix that addresses this need. For a measly $5 you can run Metro apps inside of windows on the Desktop. And if the $5 price tag wasn’t enough for you to just buy it sight unseen it has a free 30 day trial. That’s more than enough time for you to fall in love with it.
10) Pin Metro Apps to the Taskbar
With Modern Mix, or the soon to be released (as of March 2014) Update to Windows 8.1, it will be possible to pin Metro apps to the Desktop’s Taskbar. This gives you quick access to some of your favorite Metro apps. When you install the Update it automatically pins the Store app there to get you started.
11) Make Good Use of Multiple Monitors
These days it seems you’re just not cool unless you have multiple monitors. I know I wasn’t cool until I did. Traditionally Windows hasn’t done a great job handling that. In the past I’ve had to buy 3rd party software to manage them the way that I want to. Windows 8 is the first Windows where that hasn’t been necessary. If Windows detects multiple monitors it lights up some configuration for them, including my favorite, which puts the buttons for programs only on the Taskbar of the monitor where they are running.
When Windows first started really supporting multiple monitors well (Vista, maybe?) the taskbar started on your main monitor and the programs were just in the order that you opened them. It was possible to click a program in the Taskbar on monitor 1, but have the program itself pop up in monitor 2 or 3. Highly annoying. You can still have this behavior in Windows 8, if you like to be annoyed, but you can also tell Windows to put the program’s button in the taskbar of the monitor where it’s really at. 3 out of 4 dentists agree that is better.
When Windows 8 came out it was much maligned by people not using slates, and rightfully so. Microsoft heard our pleas though, and they’ve addressed a lot of those issues. If you haven’t already taken Windows 8 for a spin, now is a great time. Using these 11 tips will ensure that your experience is at least 26% better. That’s just science.
|Todd O. Klindt||3/29/2014 4:31 PM||Tech Stuff||8|| |
Sometimes I feel like I’m a little slow picking things up, kind of like the kid at the back of the class eating paste. Today is one of those days. As I’ve talked about in my Netcasts, I use OneNote a lot. Every day. I’d be miserable without it. I’d give up sliced bread before I gave up OneNote. One of my biggest complaints is that there is no automated way to sort the pages (the things along the right hand side), either alphabetically or numerically. Over the years I’ve kept sections (the things across the top) for customers, projects, and Netcasts. All things that benefit greatly from having the pages (still on the right) in a predictable order. For years I’ve clicked “Add Page” at the top of the pages column, which puts my shiny new page allllll the way at the bottom of the pages. Then, like a punk, I drag it up to wherever I want. It’s pretty inefficient and it always makes me feel rotten about myself.
And then today happened.
I was in OneNote, like I always am, and I noticed this little gem:
Being the curious, and not very smart, sort, I clicked it to see what would happen. What happened was marvelous! Miraculous! Super seriously cool! It created a page, right there!!!! You read that right, right there! No more dragging the page up from the deep depths of the page list. I didn’t think it was possible, but I think I love OneNote even more today than I did yesterday.
If you haven’t already seen, OneNote is free. And you can Email your notes into OneNote with email@example.com. And I also heard that it was OneNote that invented magnets, and just gave the world that technology. True story.
|Todd O. Klindt||3/27/2014 9:36 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||3/24/2014 3:14 PM||Netcast||2|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||3/17/2014 2:06 PM||Netcast||0|| |
|Todd O. Klindt||3/8/2014 9:25 PM||Windows 8/8.1||60|| |
Edit 6/28/14 - See this blog post for a Kickstarter project for a dock that does this.
Edit 9/26/14 - Dell released an official Data and Charging Dongle.
Edit 11/18/2014: The Plugable dock can now be purchased directly from Amazon
A couple of months ago, because of my addiction to gadgets and all things shiny, I bought a Dell Venue 8 Pro (affectionately referred to as the “DV8”). It’s an 8” tablet running a full version of Windows 8.1. You can read Paul Thurrott’s review here. It’s been a fun little mini-tablet, fitting somewhere between my Nokia 920 phone and my Surface Pro 2 in functionality. One of its biggest frustrations has been that it’s not possible to charge the DV8 and connect USB devices like a thumb drive to it. The DV8 has a single USB port, and it’s a USB OTG port. This means a single USB port is used to charge the DV8 and hook up peripherals. To charge the DV8, simply plug in any old USB charger into the USB port. Violà, it’s charging! If you want to hook any kind of USB device to it, a thumb drive, a keyboard, a rocket launcher, you need a USB OTG cable. If you have a DV8, it’s worth it to order a handful of these. They’re cheap enough, and it’s good to have one around when you need one. Unfortunately you can’t connect both, so you have to choose; juice or peripherals. Normally when I’m told something isn’t possible, I shrug my shoulders and then go off and eat some cookies. This time, I rolled up my sleeves, headed out to the Internet, and found a solution.
Before we dig in, let me be clear, I didn’t figure this out. I saw a post on a forum somewhere and ordered the cables from there. It was probably on WP Central or XDA Developers. Either way, I can’t find it now. If someone finds the post or thread, leave it in a comment below and I’ll link it up. Thanks to a comment left below, I believe the original place I saw this was on a thread on TabletReview.
The DV8 isn’t the only device with a USB OTG port. Many Android tablets and phones have one too. With the help of special splitter cables, they’re able to charge while devices are connected. Those cables alone won’t work with the DV8. There is a handshake that the DV8 does when a device is connected to the USB OTG port and the DV8 chooses to ignore devices if it sees the charger handshake. With a handful of cables and adapters we’re able to trick the DV8 into seeing the charger, then not seeing the charger. Kind of like the old “quarter behind the ear” trick I do with my kids. Here’s the pieces you’ll need:
#1 - USB Male to Micro USB Male Charging Data Cable w/ Switch for Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 - Black (100 CM)
#2 - CY U2-166 USB Female to Micro USB Female + Micro USB Male Adapter Cable - Black (15cm)
#3 - USB Female to Micro USB Female Adapter – Black
Deal Extreme is the only place I could find these three cables. Be warned, it took three weeks (yikes!) for me to get my cables. Together they cost less than $10, so go ahead and order them now. Sometime, right after three weeks or so I’m guessing, you’ll wish that you had.
Cable #1 has a switch to switch between Charge and Data. It’s the piece that makes this all work. When we connect this whole contraption to our DV8 it needs to be in the Charge position. The DV8 will see the Charge signal and start charging. The key is that it doesn’t continue to check for the Charge signal. After it starts charging we can flip the switch to the Data side and it will recognize any USB devices connected to #3. #2 sits between them and splits out the charging and data sides. Here are the steps:
- Switch the Charge / Data switch on #1 to Charge
- Plug the charger into the female micro USB connector on #2
- Plug #3 into the male micro USB connector on #2 if it’s not already
- Plug in the charger to the wall
- Plug your USB device to #3 (it should power up)
- Plug #1 into your DV8
- Verify that the DV8 is charging, if it’s not, unplug #1 from the DV8 and plug it back in
- Once the DV8 is charging, flip the switch on #1 to Data
Here is a picture of it all connected:
If you look closely you’ll see my awesome SharePoint 2007 USB drive is attached to cable #2 and the whole shebang is connected to the DV8. Here’s a screenshot to prove it’s both charging and reading my SharePoint 2007 USB drive:
You can hook any kind of USB device to #3, including a hub. If you use this contraption you’ll have to use a USB charger to power the USB devices. If you unplug the charger all the devices go away too. If that happens, switch #1 into Charge and plug it all back in again.
This has been one of my biggest frustrations with the Dell Venue 8 Pro. I’m glad some anonymous person on the Internet was able to find a solution. Thanks anonymous Internet person!
Edit 3/12/2014: Added link to original thread