Removing one note from windows 8.1u1

Had a client who was using the full office 2013 suite – but didn’t want users to get confused between the default “one note” that comes with Windows 8.1 and the Office 2013 one note.

Fair enough.

A bit of googling found this handy script already written by the deployment guys in order to help with cleaning out some of the crud.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/deploymentguys/archive/2013/10/21/removing-windows-8-1-built-in-applications.aspx

You can get an updated list of applications by using the get-appxpackage powershell command – and modify the script to only uninstall the packages you wish to remove.

Windows 8 – We couldn’t create a new partition or locate an existing one

Ran into this error when installing Win 8.1u1 on a new low-end laptop via USB key…

The complete error was:

We couldn’t create a new partition or locate an existing one. For more information, see the Setup log files

This article – http://blogs.technet.com/b/asiasupp/archive/2012/03/06/error-quot-we-couldn-t-create-a-new-partition-or-locate-an-existing-one-for-more-information-see-the-setup-log-files-quot-when-you-try-to-install-windows-8-cp.aspx

suggests simply using diskpart – but that didn’t work for me.

I was about to use a DVD for the install….(which would have meant trying to find a DVD…. for which I would need a tardis in order to go to when DVD’s were actually used) – when I simply unplugged the usb key, refresh, error…., plug the usb key back in, refresh – all good.

Now that’s some absolute whackiness…..

Windows 8.1/10 to go – on non-certified USB device

One of the disappointing things about windows 8 to go is its disappointingly small number of certified USB devices that the wizard interface lets you use…. so, lets circumvent the rubbish that Microsoft put in to ensure decent performance… then we can abuse them for the poor performance of our non certified devices!

If you have the option, run this process from a Windows 8 or Windows 10 box rather than windows 7, it’s slightly easier.

  • Grab a 32GB USB key and plug it in
  • Open a command prompt
  • Diskpart
    • List disk (record the disk number of the USB key)
    • select disk x (where x is the disk number)
    • clean
    • Create partition primary
    • format fs=ntfs quick
    • active
    • exit
  • Mount your Windows 8.1u1 enterprise iso…. or if you have an already extracted source, all the better
  • If you are running these commands from a windows 7 box
    • use GImageX from https://www.autoitscript.com/site/autoit-tools/gimagex/ (Easier if you don’t have imageX already available)
      • Run GImageX.exe
      • Go to the “apply tab”
      • Select Z:\sources\install.wim as the source
      • Select E:\ as the destination
      • Apply
    • Or use , use imagex (from the Windows AIK)
    • Imagex /apply Z:\sources\install.wim 1 E:
  • If you are running on Windows 8 or above
    • dism /Apply-Image /imagefile:Z:\sources\install.wim /index:1 /ApplyDir:E:\
  • Substitute Z: for the DVD drive (or your extracted source)
  • Substitute E: for the drive letter of the USB key
  • Copy the boot files using the command E:\Windows\system32\bcdboot.exe E:\windows /s E:\ /f ALL

You’re all done.

Plug the USB key into a machine, use the boot selection menu to boot from it, and then, depending on the speed of your USB key, wait a while.

 

Utilising a USB 3 port with a fast USB 3 key will obviously improve your performance and if your machine only has USB 2 ports, don’t even bother trying. Quite a few machines have a mix of USB 2 and USB 3 ports. The USB 3 ports can be identified by the “SS” logo such as

SSUSB

However it is also common for no identification to be present, in these cases this application can help identify which ports are which – http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbtreeview_e.html

 

Realistically, there is a reason (outside of charging ludicrous amounts of cash) that only certain drives are certified. Some of the drives I did this with just were not worth the effort, others performed OK, but still were not great. Unfortunately, finding a certified device from a local supplier, for me at least, isn’t possible – and unless you are buying them en-masse for a corporate rollout, purchasing certified devices from online retailers becomes an expensive exercise.

The commoditisation of USB 3.1 and USB 3.1 devices will assist in making this less of an issue – and USB 3.1 motherboards are just starting to pop up now.

If I find, or anyone else has found a non-certified device that performs well – please let us all know in the comments! (and I will continue to look for one)

Online (at home) MS exams…. interesting idea

https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/online-proctored-exams.aspx

Conflicting thoughts about this….. obviously more convenient, especially in a place like Adelaide where we have a grant total of 2 testing centre’s, which aren’t available full time and often booked out.

On the other hand, It wont stop “exam factories” (nor can anything but changing exam content), and not even being able to take any notes what-so-ever is a bit harsh for the scenario type questions.

While I still am of the opinion that certification offers little value these days, come Dec 16th (when the program becomes available) – I think I might take one, just to see what its like.

 

KB2817630 – for when you dont want to be able to sort your mail or see your folders

Something that seems to be widely reported (such as http://www.zdnet.com/update-for-outlook-2013-breaks-folder-pane-7000020512/)

i had this issue yesterday on a few of my machines, declined the update in wsus, uninstalled it (it seemed to be listed twice, if i only uninstalled one of them, it didnt fix the issue) and all was good.

MS patching, with the possible exception of the exchange rollups, have been very good over the past few years…… and sure, everyone makes a mistake every now and again… the Lync Connectivity analyser in the post below is an example of a slightly less commonly used product, so while its disappointing that a patch killed it, its a bit understandable….. but folder view for what is (i think its fair to say) the primary mail client for a large percentage corporate customers…. thats not so good.

Microsoft and management interfaces….

Consistency…. its what we spend a great deal of time fixing for clients…. sure, they see us writing standardisation documents for AD/Exchange/Group Policy/Logon scripts etc….. but really, what we are doing is trying to delivery consistency – simply because the more things that are consistent within an environment, the more logical it is – and the easier it is to support.

Take for example the very simple case of mapped drives….. some clients have the whacky situation where S: is mapped to \server1common for some people and \server7finance for others…. this ofcourse makes the job the the helpdesk much harder – as users dont know (nor should they need to) what a unc is…. they just cant find the file on their S: drive. A consistent naming standard for user accounts, email addresses etc are commonly used by the majority of places we deal with – as it just makes sense.

Anyhoo – onto the point of the post – Microsoft products and their management interfaces.

A while ago, the NT 4 option pack to be exact, MMC was introduced, with talk about MS products standardising on using MMC’s for management…. this kind of took off…. AD tools, computer management, event viewer, services etc etc all were (and still are) available as mmc snap-ins….. very handy for standardised management and also creating your own snap in. Other products such as Exchange, ISA/TMG, OCS and SCCM used an MMC-like management console….

Some of these weren’t necessarily the best….SCCM 2007 was universally panned for its shit interface (but it still did the job)…. OCS 2007 i didnt think was that bad, but the devs apparently did…. and exchange 2010 EMC was fucking awesome (a bit slow… but functionality and layout wise it was great)

On the upside, the SCCM 2012 interface is not an MMC at all, and its awesome… well laid out, relatively easy to find stuff, responsive etc….

The we have Lync 2010 with the silverlight interface…. for some of the admin tasks, but an MMC for the topology tasks and powershell for all taks, but some must be completed via powershell. While i find it usable – and dont mind it, its a bit dis-jointed.

Then we have the slight shift to the side – in powershell. Basically the only was to do all the tasks required in exchange 2007/2010 and Lync was to use powershell…. this was a little annoying for clients, but offered an absolute crapload of scripting power… so it was, on the whole, awesome.

Now, we have the wave 15….. SCCM 2012 interface is awesome…. Lync 2013 interface is the same a 2010…. a bit of a (oddly ok) thrown together mees…. Exchange 2013 has thrown out the awesome 2010 EMC and replaced it with a web interface, which is ok… but not as good as the interface it replaced!

So, whats the point of this article… give us some consistency!

1) Having a powershell interface for products is awesome…. keep doing it – and keep exapnding the number of features it covers. The commandlets however need to keep consistency as well… which so far, has been reasonable (i have a vague memory of a few of the Lync commandlets not quite fitting wtih the get/set/new/remove nomenclature)

2) A web interface for certain admin tasks as an option is fine – but a web interface should never be the primary interface in my opinion…. sure the silverlight ones are slightly less painful – but they still suck compared to a GUI

3) Give us a consistent GUI interface…. i get that the teams internally at MS might not see eye to eye a lot of the time and that the interface has to be right for the product…. but FFS… the reason that the OCS 2007 interface sucked, wasnt because mmc sucks, its because the OCS interface sucked. The SCCM 2012 interface is awesome – and even though its not an MMC, I think that same type of interface would also fit well for exchange/lync/AD etc….

4) i’d be disappointed if MS went all web with every interface, but if they did it for every product – at least it would be consistent!

In short MS – please give us some consistency with your management interfaces across product lines….