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Wednesday morning I was sitting at my desk when a pop-up appeared on my screen. It was actually an Internet Explorer window, and although it was written entirely in Japanese, I suspected immediately that it was a scam, a fraud, malware, or something. Why? It had a very old Microsoft logo on it (from the Microsoft Certified Partner days). I asked my boss to confirm, and he started laughing at me that the sites I was visiting were not secure. Since I was planning to re-image my system when I was back in Canada, I didn’t really worry about it.
As I sit in the airport lounge in Vancouver, I got a different albeit similar pop-up, this time in English (it is always nice when malware knows where you are…)
1) Legitimate programs do not display their warnings in Internet Explorer. They would have their own windows appear.
2) I do not use a product called Advanced System Protector. That being the case, if it were legitimate (it is not) it would still have no business scanning my system.
My recommendations? firstly do not click in the window. The only place you should click is in the upper-right hand corner… the X. Note that they are sneaky buggers… under the real X there is their own X, which would have you clicking in the window. Do not be fooled.
Once you close the window, make sure you run your legitimate anti-malware system – do a complete system scan. It is not necessary in my case because I simply shut down the machine, and the next time I turn it on I will re-image it (format it and re-install Windows). However most of you will not want to do that… and yes, you do have malware in your system.
Several years ago Steve Syfuhs and I sat down and figured out how to create a new Active Directory forest in Windows Server Core. It was an interesting experience, and even though I later gave rights to that article to the Canadian IT Pro Team (at the time it was Damir Bersinic) when you search Bing.com for the term ‘Create AD Forest Server Core’ my article still comes up first.
I have gotten a bit more adept with the command prompt of late (especially with my diving into Windows PowerShell recently, but even before), so when I had the need to create a new AD Forest for a courseware environment I am building, I decided to revisit this topic, and see what changes I could make.
dcpromo /InstallDNS:yes /NewDomain:forest /NewDomainDNSName:alpineskihouse.com
/DomainNetBIOSName:SKI /ReplicaOrNewDomain:domain /RebootOnCompletion:yes
For the record I had to break up the text into three lines, but obviously this should all be typed onto a single line.
The first time I ran this command it failed. I suspect this is because I had a DHCP address assigned. Before embarking on this trip, I suggest you assign a static IP address to your Server Core box. While it is simpler to do it with the sconfig text-mode configuration menu tool, you can also use the following netsh command:
netsh interface ipv4 set address name=”Local Area Connection” source=static address=172.16.0.10 mask=255.255.0.0 gateway=172.16.0.1
At this point you should be ready to go… remember that with Windows Server 2012 (and R2) once you have the OS installed it is easy to manage it remotely using either PowerShell or the Server Manager console. Just make sure you have the right credentials, and you are good to go!
On the day that Microsoft released the Surface Pro I sat down with Alex Davies from Tom’s Hardware (www.tomshardware.com) and gave him a little tour of the device. He recorded it and that recording went live on Monday. Check it out and let me know what you think! –MDG
Ok, so maybe it is not my first article on Microsoft Surface, but it is the first article that I am writing from one. A friend here was kind enough to loan me one for a few weeks, and even though my EliteBook is within arm’s reach I decided to spend my morning on this device exclusively… to get used to it and all.
The keyboard was the first challenge that I anticipated… the flat, waterproof keys reminded me at a glance of the chicklet keyboard of the Atari 400. How wrong I was… although the keyboard does take some getting used to, it is really quite friendly and easy to use. The missing function keys also struck me as a worry… I use the F-keys pretty regularly, and it did not take long for me to notice their absence. I expect that I am in the minority on this point though… IT Pros and Devs will miss them, but the vast majority of end users will likely not even notice that they are missing**. The responsiveness is another thing worried me (I noticed it as I was writing this paragraph). I seemed to be typing faster than the keyboard could send the keys to the screen. That however turned out to be not a problem with the Surface, but rather with the app that I am using to write.
**Edit Feb. 1: The top row of keys is indeed the function keys, but on the keyboard I have the numbers are not printed. As with many keyboards, you need to press the Fn key to shift to the Function, so Alt-Fn-Play is the same as Alt-F4.
Theresa Garvis, my lovely wife and very capable business manager, has been using her Surface since the end of October, and she has been loving it. When I discussed my concerns with the keyboard she assured me that she used the keyboard… but the truth is that she gets along without it just as easily. ‘I have used the on-screen keyboard without any problems, and it works great for me. The only reason I use the external keyboard is because it is there, and have never had any problem when I left it at home.’
The Surface RT does not have nearly the kind of horsepower that I need for my day to day computer use. However I am not your average computer user, and I expect that with 2 GB of RAM, a 1.3GHz NVIDEA TEGRA 3 Quad-Core CPU, and 32 GB of storage (a chunk of which is used for the OS) most end-users will be happy with it. My son Aaron started high school this year, and was eager to swap out his EliteBook for the Surface. He found that the only thing that he couldn’t do with his Surface was a school app that requires Flash Player… and I have not yet looked into a solution for this. In the meantime he is happy using one of the home computers for his French homework, and the rest of the time he sequesters himself in his room with his Surface.
The Surface is not intended to be a desktop/laptop replacement, but it could very well be that for many people. But what about the rest of us who absolutely need more power? What about those of us who need legacy apps? I personally immediately felt the missing link in the Office chain – no Outlook. In fact, this is a complaint I have heard from quite a number of people who have gone out and bought Surfaces… what do I do without my Outlook??
Outlook is not the only app that people are missing on the Surface (or, more accurately, on Windows RT) but it is a big one. Most of the functionality of Outlook that I use is actually available in Microsoft Mail, Calendar, and Contacts (all of which come standard with Windows RT). However let’s be honest… if you are used to Outlook there really isn’t a viable alternative.
So what do we do? On the one hand we have a really powerful tablet that runs Windows 8, and on the other we have a device that isn’t quite powerful enough for us. But what if we could harness the power of our desktop from the Surface? What if we could use all of our apps and resources of the great but heavy desktop that is always connected directly from Windows RT? Wouldn’t that be great?
We can… and in my next article I will show you how you can do it too, using a few simple tricks and some free tools.