Windows 8 #1

There’ve been pretty mixed reviews of Windows 8, but to anyone made nervous by the criticism please, give it a go even if that means trying it in-store.

A lot of people have been freaking out- “Where’s the start menu“, “It doesn’t work with a mouse“, “Where’s my desktop gone“. The start menu is… sort of the entire screen. Except it’s your own, custom start menu (don’t worry- you can access everything by pressing the windows key). Of course it works with a mouse- it’s just that all the icons are bigger (much bigger), so it’s actually easier. And the desktop is still there- you just need to think of it as another program, instead of the foundation on which everything sits. And you can customize the Home screen icons at will- get rid of stocks and other unnecessary ones and add the programs you need.

So far, I’d say: (a) it’s really fast, (b) you don’t miss the desktop half as much as you think you might, because all your programs are right there on the home screen (c) searching for items not immediately at hand is fast and easy and (d) customization makes it far more user-friendly, as you don’t constantly have to go Start > Programs > … find the Application folder… find the Application… click. You can get rid of all the pre-defined tiles and add just those programs you need, and suddenly there’s no hunting.

I would say for now, it’s exactly the right mix of being easily useable on a desktop but obviously works brilliantly on a touch enabled device too (plus, of course, the OS looks exactly the same across desktop, laptop, tablet and phone).


PowerShell Hyper-V management with Server 2012 #2

I forgot to say that the only OS that can manage Server 2012 is Windows 8. There won’t be any management tools released for W7, so it’s a case of either buying W8 or managing everything through remote desktop.

PowerShell Hyper-V management with Server 2012 #01

Hyper-v management with PowerShell is just beyond. The following script sets up a new VM, with user-defined RAM and HD sizes and virtual guest name. The XXXXX represents the host, not the virtual guest.A couple of disclaimers: WordPress has wrapped some of the lines, I’ve put an ! at the END of the wrapped lines, these will need to be removed and put back at the end of the preceding line (it might be me, but wordpress is really making my life hard copying stuff into it- I get paragraphs where I don’t need them, lines jumping onto preceding lines etc). Also, the line which attaches the floppy disk (last but one line) works in that it functions, but doesn’t actually perform any unattend function (or I can’t get it to, anyway) so the OS just boots onto the normal welcome screen.
This script might seem long, but you could do most of this in a couple of lines if (a) it wasn’t so heavily commented and (b) there were no variables. If you hard-coded everything, you’d actually only need the New-VM, Set-VMDvdDrive and Start-VM lines. although you’d have fun taking this route, because for some strange reason the disk size and RAM are measured in Bytes, hence all the * 1024 with the variables.
# equivalent to CLS- just wipes the screen
# sets up the following variables: $Multiplier is the value to increase other variables to get the right number of bytes; $RequiredRAM is the “friendly” amount of RAM; $RequiredDisk is the “friendly” disk size;!
# $ActualRAM and $ActualDisk are the prevoius 2 variables multiplied by $Multiplier
[int]$RequiredRAM = read-host -Prompt “Please enter the size of RAM you’d like in GB”
[int]$RequiredDisk = read-host -Prompt “Enter enter the size of the system disk you’d like in GB”
$ActualRAM = $Multiplier * $RequiredRAM
$ActualDisk = $Multiplier * $RequiredDisk
# $NewMachineName is set to the arbitrary value input by the end user;
$NewMachineName = read-host -Prompt “Please type the machine name”
# New-VM creates a new VM with $NewMachineName as its name & disk name, $ActualRAM as the amount of RAM and $ActualDisk as the disk size in bytes, and sets the machine to boot from DVD;!
New-Vm -Name $NewMachineName -MemoryStartupBytes $ActualRAM -NewVHDPath C:\Hyper-V\VHD\$NewMachineName.vhdx -NewVHDSizeBytes $ActualDisk -BootDevice CD -Path C:\Hyper-V -!ComputerName XXXXX!
# The next three lines: point the DVD drive at an ISO, point the floppy disk at a virtual floppy and start the machine up;!
Set-VMDvdDrive -VMName $NewMachineName -Path F:\ISO\Win_Svr_Std_and_DataCtr_2012.ISO -ComputerName XXXXX!
Set-VMFloppyDiskDrive -VMName $NewMachineName C:\Hyper-V\unattend.vfd -ComputerName XXXXX
Start-VM -Name $NewMachineName -ComputerName XXXXX