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  • Adding Roles and Features To an Offline Virtual Machine

    A few days ago I restarted a virtual machine and was presented with the message.

    We couldn’t complete the updates

    Undoing changes

    Don’t turn off your computer 


    Very helpful.

    The server just sat there for ages, apparently doing nothing.

    After a brief search I came across a post on the Microsoft forums that indicated an update was giving some problems (KB2920189)

    One of the suggested actions was to disable secure boot, start the virtual machine, allow the update to install and then re-enable secure boot.

    It’s a Windows 2012 R2 Gen2 virtual machine so it had that option.

    I turned it off but this didn’t doing anything.

    A further post on the forum pointed to a known issue with that update. The fix for that is to install the BitLocker features as the update is looking it. You don’t need to encrypt any drives, just have the feature installed. My specific problem wasn’t exactly described in that article but it wouldn’t hurt to add the feature and find out.

    But how to do that if the server won’t even boot?

    Well as the title probably already suggests you can do this with a virtual machine when it’s offline.

    Shut the virtual machine down

    Start server manager and select the “Add roles and features” option


    Click through the first couple of pages on the wizard until you get the server selection page.

    From here you need the “Select a virtual hard” option at the top of the screen

    Then choose the virtual hard disk that has your operating system at the bottom of the screen.


    From here it’s exactly the same as method to add a role or feature as normal.



    After that i started the machine, the update installed and all was good.

  • Useful Tool: Service Trigger Editor

    Newer versions of Windows introduced the concept of Trigger Start services.

    The idea being that a specific event “triggers” the startup of a service. In the past the service would have been running, using up resources waiting for that moment when it was needed. Using this newer method means services a dormant until they are actually needed.

    I had a problem with some backup software recently (Veeam). It needs the remote registry service to be running on virtual machine that needs to be backed up.

    For some reason there was one particular server that refuse to backup. I was able to confirm the trigger wasn’t kicking in when attempting to remotely edit the registry. It worked on other servers and I was able to confirm it wasn’t the firewall or anything like that.

    Working with service triggers is a bit of a pain normally though

    You have to do it via the command line using the SC command


    sc qtriggerinfo remoteregistry


    The title for this post should be a massive clue as to where I’m going with this.

    There is a very useful tool called Service Trigger Editor which you can download for free

    It lets you work with trigger services in a nice and simple gui. You can edit existing triggers as well as add your own.


    I used the tool on a server that was working ok and replicated that on the server that was having a problem. All worked fine after that.

    Triggers services were introduced with Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2.

  • Error When Installing Windows Server 2012 R2

    I was setting up a new virtual machine in Hyper-V and got this error after selecting the operating system (in this case Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard)


    "Windows cannot find the Microsoft Software License Terms. Make sure the installation sources are valid and restart the installation."

    From my very brief search it looks like there are a couple of things that can cause this but in my specific buy ativan from usa case I’d forgotten to set the startup RAM to something actually useful. It was set to 512mb as that’s the default in my virtual machine creation script.

    Once I’d increased it to a couple of gigabytes it installed without error.

    Since the issue here was between the keyboard and the chair (me!) hopefully this will help someone else who is being equally absent minded.

  • Windows 8 Start Button, Charms and Remote Desktop

    My last post talked about using RDP 8.0 for multiple monitor support. It reminded me of something useful when accessing Windows 8 and Windows 2012 Servers remotely.

    When you’re working remotely getting access to the start screen and the charms can be a bit “fiddly” especially over slower connections.


    Start screen? No where to click!








    Charms? Swipe?





    The solution is actually pretty simple.

    When connected you’ll have the blue bar at the top of the screen.


    Clicking the arrow on the left hand side brings up a menu which gives you access to some of the newer Windows 8 and 2012 features.



    Hopefully this prevent some start menu related rage. Smile

  • Windows 7 Remote Desktop and Multiple Monitors

    It’s safe to say I’m a multiple monitor fan. It’s a setup I’ve been using for a long time and I really notice the difference when I have to use a single screen. (I use three in the office and two at home)

    Working remotely though can have an impact on this.

    Up until the recently the only option for multiple monitors was span mode.

    From the run dialog enter:

    MSTSC /span

    When you connect, the screens you’re using are treated as one huge entity. It’s a subtle difference that still makes use of your extra screens but you lose some of the benefits you get when managing multiple windows. For example, if you maximise an application it fills both screens instead of just the one. Some of the nice Windows 7 features such as “snap” don’t work in the same way either.

    So because of this I was really interested in the “Use all my monitors for the remote session” option in the latest version of the Remote Desktop Connection client.


    However, just ticking the box doesn’t seem to do anything.

    You can also use MSTSC /multimon if you’re so inclined.

    After a bit of digging it turns out that it’s reliant on the RDP 8.0 protocol which needs to be specifically turned on.

    To enable RDP 8 in Windows 7:

    Install updates KB2574819 and KB2592687 on the Windows 7 system you’ll be connecting to. If you’re connecting from Windows 7 machine install them there too. Windows 8 is good to go without any changes.

    Enable RDP 8 via group buy ativan in pakistan policy

    • “Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment\Enable Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0” should be set to “Enabled”
    • “Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections\Select RDP Transport Protocols” should be set to “Use both UDP and TCP”

    All of this is explained in the depth along with how the span options works in this really good Remote Desktop Services MSDN post:

    Using Multiple Monitors in Remote Desktop Session

    What it neglects to mention is that you only get multiple monitor support if the Windows 7 machine you’re connecting to is running Windows 7 Ultimate or Windows 7 Enterprise..

    Detailed here


    I wasted a couple of hours trying to figure out why it wasn’t working for me…

    However, I can report it works quite happily when you’re connecting to Windows 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Pro (no Enterprise edition needed)

    This will be a big help to me when working remotely but I wanted to make a note of the Windows 7 version restriction somewhere as I’m pretty sure I’ll have forgotten this in a few weeks time, plus it may help someone else out.  

    Some other useful Remote Desktop and multiple monitors I found while looking into this are:

    Remote Desktop Connection 7 for Windows 7, Windows XP & Windows Vista

    Get the best RDP 8.0 experience when connecting to Windows 7: What you need to know

    Remote Desktop Multimon – Just Kidding!

    Enhancing Windows 8 for multiple monitors

  • Useful Tools: Exchange 2010 Installation Script

    Just wanted to raise a bit of awareness for a rather excellent script put together by UK based SBS MVP Robert Pearman.

    It’s quite likely a lot of people may not fully digest his post at first glance as it talks about scripting and PowerShell. Not always the most interesting subject for people who work with SBS! Especially since the mention of Powershell strikes down most IT Pros with feelings fear and dread. Smile

    However, since SBS is going the way of the Dodo if you’re looking to replicate SBS type functionality you’ll need to get used to installing all of the bits and pieces yourself.

    Since SBS used to do all this heavy lifting this was something you didn’t have to worry about in the past, it was all part of the setup routine and the wizards configured all the necessaries for you. 

    Robert’s script looks to fill that gap and ensures your server is ready for Exchange, installs it and then helps setup all the major parts such as an SSL certificate, accepted domains and a recipient policy.

    The blog post talks about using it with Windows Server 2012 Essentials but it’ll work just fine with Windows 2008 R2 or Windows 2012 Standard.

    I’ve been using it on some recent installations and it’s saved me a ton of time. Even if you just use it do the installation it means you don’t have waste lots of time to ensure you’ve got all the pre-requisites in place.

    So go check it out and leave him a nice comment so he feels a bit loved. Winking smile 

    On Prem Exchange Windows Server 2012 Essentials: The Script!