Windows 7 – Automated Installation of Windows 7 Overview

February 26, 2010

The Automated Installation method for installing Windows 7 is recommended if your business has 200–500 client computers, at least one location with more than 25 users, and managed networks based on Windows Server, possibly in multiple locations.

Automated Installation of Windows 7 Overview.doc …

Windows 7 – Building a Standard Image of Windows 7 Step-by-Step Guide

February 26, 2010

Designed specifically for small and medium business that may not have prior experience with Windows deployment or do not have an enterprise deployment infrastructure, this step-by-step guide explains how to install a custom image by using an operating system image that includes your customizations and applications.

Building a Standard Image of Windows 7 Step-by-Step Guide.doc.docx …

Travel – Buy Cheaper Heathrow Express Tickets

February 26, 2010

Before buying your Heathrow Express ticket online try the links below for discounts on standard price tickets…

At the time of this post, ANA was the cheapest offering an 11% discount on a Single Express Ticket.

Group Policy – Troubleshooting

February 25, 2010

Troubleshooting GPOs …


Read it like this:

I have a problem. Did the GPO apply? (Check the event log)

Moving down the left side of the tree : If yes, did the setting apply? (Check the RSoP)

If yes, follow the tree and check the suggestions in the blue box: Do a GPUpdate to make sure the policy is refreshed. Check the inheritance to make sure the setting isn’t getting over-written. Make sure your Active Directory and Sysvol versions are the same to make sure that file replication is working correctly. Is your processing set to be Asynchronous? If so, that extension may not be processing at every GP refresh…etc etc

You can take a similar trip down the right side of the tree:

I have a problem. Did the GPO apply? (check the event log)

If no, was the GPO denied?  (found from the event log)

Yes it was! (move to the right) Why was the GPO Denied? Could it because of some security filtering that you didn’t see? Was the “computer settings” side of the GPO disabled? Is there a WMI filter that evaluated to false?

Or…not, it was not denied, but it still did not apply. (move to the left-most blue box) Could it just need to be refreshed? Did the GPO fall outside of the scope of management? Is there a network connectivity issue and the DC is not communicating properly?

Source …

Microsoft Looking Into Windows 7 Battery Issues

February 24, 2010

Microsoft says it’s investigating reports of notebook PC owners encountering battery life problems after upgrading their Windows XP and Vista machines to Windows 7.

After installing the Windows 7 upgrade, many customers have seen their machine’s battery life dwindle significantly, even when working with a freshly charged battery. They’ve also been confronted with the Windows 7 warning message: "Consider replacing your battery. There is a problem with your battery, so your computer might shut down suddenly."

Customers have been complaining about this problem on Microsoft’s TechNet forum since last June, when Windows 7 was still in Release Candidate stage. Some forum posters claim that their notebook batteries have been rendered completely unusable after installing the Windows 7 upgrade, and that downgrading back to an earlier version of Windows doesn’t fix the problem.

Ironically, Windows 7 was supposed to extend battery life on notebooks. During the Windows 7 beta, Microsoft said it has discovered that faulty drivers in Vista notebooks had prevented them from entering a quiet state, and that this caused Vista notebook batteries to drain faster than normal.

Microsoft confirmed the existence of the problem late last week, and the company will provide "information and guidance as it becomes available," a spokesperson said Monday in an e-mail.

Microsoft is working with its hardware partners to determine the root cause of the issue, which appears to be related to system firmware (BIOS), the spokesperson said.

Judging from the TechNet forum, however, customers aren’t buying Microsoft’s explanation that the issue is BIOS-related. Many have noted that the problem appears to affect notebooks from all major vendors, and some claim their vendors have informed them that it’s a Microsoft problem.

Source …

Product Review: Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 with Zinstall

February 24, 2010

If you are looking for in-place migration of Windows XP desktops, you could use Laplink’s PC Mover. But if you want to preserve your Windows XP desktop and switch back to it when you need to run an application that doesn’t work on Windows 7, then you should consider Zinstall’s XP7. It creates an XP virtual machine (VM) with all of your old applications and files just a mouse click away. “Consider” is the operative word, however. The product idea is sound; the implementation is lacking.

That description of Zinstall XP7 sounds a bit like what Microsoft supports with its XP mode for Windows 7, but not quite. The problem, as you can see from this Web page on Microsoft’s site, is that XP mode is only supported with limited “V-chip” CPUs. You also need to reinstall an entire XP desktop on the virtual machine from scratch.

Zinstall works by using the “windows-old” directory that the Windows 7 installer creates to rebuild your original Windows XP desktop. It is a neat trick, and I really wanted it to work. But no matter how many times I tried, I couldn’t get a stable VM from the product, and so I can’t recommend Zinstall until they do some additional quality control.

If you want to experiment, make sure you use a drive imaging tool (I use Acronis or Symantec’s Ghost) to create a backup copy of your Windows XP desktop first. Next, disable your firewalls and uninstall any anti-virus software. Now you install Windows 7, making sure to boot from the install CD and choose the custom in-place install option, where it copies the Windows OS and all your applications to that “windows-old” directory.

Once that is done, you can start up Windows 7 and install the Zinstall software. Zinstall actually supports two different migration scenarios. Besides the in-place one, the other scenario lets you migrate between two computers. Choose the “only have this PC” to indicate that you are doing an in-place migration; then hit the big GO button as you can see in the screen shot below.

Zinstall will migrate your XP desktop and still keep the old XP running as a virtual machine under Windows 7.

The process takes several minutes to an hour to complete, depending on the size of your hard drive. Speaking of which: Make sure that you have plenty of extra room to install Windows 7 as well as the working copies of Zinstall’s files. I would estimate a spare 30-40 GB should be enough. You can filter out particular files – like videos and mp3s — that you don’t want to migrate if you are tight on space.

Once this process is done, you can switch back and forth between Windows XP and Windows 7 by clicking on an icon on the taskbar. Booting up your Windows XP desktop initially takes some time; after all, you are loading a new VM here. But once that is done, switching between the OSs takes a second or two. If you have used VMware or something similar this will be very obvious. You leave your existing Windows XP desktop unchanged, with its existing apps (that may not run under Windows 7). Everything on your old Windows XP system is preserved, including files and applications. These aren’t migrated to Windows 7; you have to install new apps now just as you would for any new OS install. This differs from PC Mover, where you give up your older Windows XP system and migrate it completely over to the new operating system. You can even view and access the files on the other OS too, again by clicking on the taskbar icon.

Or so they promise. Too bad this wasn’t quite my experience.

I began this review trying to migrate the oldest PC that I had in my office, an old Windows XP system [2.80 GHz Pentium with 2 GB of RAM without any service packs. I couldn’t get the migration to complete without errors. I wasn’t sure if it was because of my three drive partitions, an unused video driver for a card that I no longer had in the PC, or some other gremlin. Next I set up my Dell Dimension desktop with a virgin copy of Windows XP with SP2, and got a fresh version of Windows 7 installed on top of it. The Zinstall setup worked just fine until I tried to reboot the PC, and then I somehow trashed the master boot record. All my efforts for the day were lost. After I jiggled my BIOS battery, I was able to get a working drive again and I could start taking complete breaths. Two serious attempts to make it work; two failures. What if the user was a not-quite-so-journeyman IT support person?

I really wanted this software to work, because it is such an elegant solution that no one else can deliver on. If it worked, it would be the perfect way to move slowly into the modern era of Windows 7. But alas, I can’t recommend the product.

Source …

Windows Search Tip – Search by File Type

February 24, 2010

Advanced Query Syntax (AQS) is the official name for the set of rules that Windows Search follows when interpreting what you type in the search box. (detailed documentation of AQS …)

I want to be able to search for all jpg files in a particular folder where the filename starts with an S.

It would be the equivalent of dir s*.jpg.  These files have several descriptive words in them, however, and if I type s or s* in the search box I get every file that has an s somewhere in it or that has a word embedded in it that starts with S.  I have a hard time believing that Windows 7 search isn’t up to the task!  What am I missing?

The problem above is that the asterisk wildcard doesn’t work as the index includes all text in every indexed file and its properties. Thus, typing s*.jpg finds every file that has the .jpg extension and includes any word beginning with s.

To do the AQS and use the name: operator to restrict our request to just file names, ignoring file properties and contents must be used.

The operator are the two dots, used between two values to indicate a range. To find JPEG files that begin with the letter s, use this syntax in the Start menu Search box or in the Search box in the upper right corner of a library in Windows Explorer:

type:JPEG name:s..t

Email search tips …

Typing from:carl sent:this week in the Search box, I find every message anyone named Carl sent me this week. And if I enter type:doc name:ch* I get every Word document, PDF, or text file, that contains a word beginning with ch anywhere in its name, whether it’s saved on my hard disk or as an attachment in Outlook. So I can find Chapter 1.docx as well as an e-mail whose subject contains the word check and that contains a text attachment.

Source …