Welcome to the SpringBoard Technical Expert Panel

Greeting True Believers,

Got some great news a few months ago while at the MVP Summit. I was invited to join the SpringBoard Technical Expert Panel by Stephen Rose. The panel is made up of  Windows experts from around the world. As described on the Springboard website, the “Springboard Series Technical Expert Panel (STEP) program delivers on our promise to launch and support new products at the community level. Because STEP members represent some of the top Windows IT experts, user group leaders, and evangelists in the world, they enable us to deliver quality live and virtual Windows events for IT professionals with greater frequency and quality than before”.

I’m pretty excited about this opportunity as it will give me access to some great content and resources as I begin working on more public speaking engagements as well as expand my network of Windows experts. Stephen and Tony have put together a phenomenal team of evangelist across the Windows spectrum, and I look forward to engaging with the team.

Thanks again Stephen and Tony Mann as well as the rest of the STEP team.


My thoughts on 70-410

Good Afternoon,

So it’s been a few weeks since we last talked. In that time, many of us have passed exams and moving towards our goal. For those that haven’t taken their first exam, it’s a good time to get it scheduled and on the books. Having the schedule exam creates a finite goal that will help motivate your progress.

So how about that 70-410 exam?

To be honest, I thought the 70-410 exam was well done. I believe Microsoft created a foundational exam that covered the objectives and focused on important skills IT Pros should know about Server 2012. Unlike previous exams I’ve taken from VMware, CompTIA, and Microsoft, this exam did not have anything I found to be the proverbial “needle in a haystack”.  In fact, there were a number of questions that covered the exact principles I teach my students every semester. That being the case, I told my classes this week that they should consider taking the 410 exam since I believe the knowledge they’ve learned provides a great base for  success on this exam WITH the proper study of Windows Server 2012.

The following are my tips for preparing for the 410 exam. As an MVP & MCT, I take the NDA very seriously so nothing listed here will be earth shattering or provide you deep insight into the specifics of specific questions. However, it should help you to prepare.

1.     I found the Craig Zacker Exam Prep to be a spot on guide. If you can learning the principles and tasked covered in the book, you should be successful on the exam.

2.     You need to know Hyper-V as a stand-alone virtualization host, and be able to create VMs through Hyper-V Manager. Also, you need to know how to configure new and existing VMs through the GUI and using PowerShell.

3.     You need to know how to perform all tasks related to the exam objectives in the GUI AND via command, whether that be PowerShell or other specific tools like dnscmd or dism.

4.     If your background is on a previous OS, I think you will find previous knowledge of AD, DNS, and DHCP will be a great benefit. Just make sure you know how to work with all three in Server 2012, as well as knowing new features in 2012.

5.     Spend as much time as you have available hands-on. When I work with students on preparing for exams and learning in general, I stress visualizing the environment. You should be able to visualize how you perform tasks in Server 2012 without having the environment in front of you.

6.     Run through every available wizard related to the exam objectives AND make sure you understand every option presented along the way. You can pick up a lot of insight from the wizards.

Well, I was off to prepare for 70-411. However, I had to reschedule and the only available time was after my scheduled time for 70-412 so I guess I will be studying for both exams in tandem. I’ll let everyone know how that goes.

Thanks for listening…Mike




Solving the problem of Flash on Windows RT

Good Afternoon True Believers,

Before we get into today’s topic, a word of warning. I do not recommend you do this on your Windows RT device, and claim no responsibility should you end up with issues. Choose wisely…And think before you jump!

Like many, I was excited about the possiblities of Windows RT and it’s inclusion of Flash in the browser. This enthusiasm was dampened when I tried to open the Varsity Online Magazine … from UWBadgers.com. They use a flash-based player to present the monthly happenings of UW Athletics. To my cygrin, I was unable to view this on my Surface RT, and no amount of fiddling with IE allowed me to resolve this issue.

Upon doing research, it was discovered that Microsoft allows Flash only for whitelisted sites. Really? While I partially understand their attempt at protecting the device from malicious Flash sites, they could have at least included an option like “Hey…this site is not listed. Would you like to add this as an allowed Flash site?”, but that didn’t happen.

So after some searching, I found a developer over at XDA-developers.com that created a batch file that adds websites to the whitelist. It works great. It’s a hack, but you’re not doing anything you couldn’t do by hand. Here’s the link to info on XDA-Developers.com.

It does not allow you to bulk add sites and the process takes about 2-3 minutes in the background, but it’s definitely worth be able to view Flash on sites that are not on the Whitelist.

Word of caution: This disables the automatic update of your whitelists by Microsoft. So if you ever turn that back on or want the most current whitelist, you’ll have to re-add your sites. So I am just keeping a running text file with all the sites I add, and plan to periodically update the whitelist from MS, then re-add my sites if they didn’t make the cut. Also, this will delete your browser cache, history and cookies… So read the ReadMe.txt before running this!

Let me know what you think…

Need a Hyper-V Test Lab…No Problem!

Greetings True Believers,

I just got done installing VMware Workstation 9 and found an awesome addition. You now have the option to choose Hyper-V as the OS for your VM. This will create a VM that is customized to run Server 2012 w/ the Hyper-V role AND nested VMs OUT OF THE BOX! You do not have to perform any tweaks or modifications to get this to work like you did in previous versions of VMware Workstation. It’s listed as “Unsupported” but it’s still a great option if you only have 1 lab computer.

Here’s a Windows Server 2012 Datacenter VM running a Windows Server 2012

Here’s Hyper-V Server running in VMware Workstation…

Another nice tidbit…The VMware Tools work in Windows Server 2012.

Two caveats…VMware Workstation is NOT free, but I think it’s worth the cost. It’s the best-of-breed hosted (Type-2) virtualization app IMHO. You may be able to do this in Virtual Box as well, but I just haven’t tried. Let me know if you get this to run in Virtual Box. Also, you need to have a 64-bit processor that has all the latest virtualization extensions.

Check it out…


Are you looking to step up your game?

Greetings True Believers,

I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate, and a bunch of stuff to share with everyone that I’m hoping to get rolling in the next few months so stay tuned.

I wanted to get out a quick blog post about a great resource for IT Pros looking for solid information on Windows 8, Server 2012, Hyper-V and more. It’s the Microsoft Certified Community Connection. This is a free resource from Microsoft and just requires a quick registration. Once you register you have access to not only the future events, but all of the events available through MCCC. The only catch is finding the link to the original registration for the event…I’m working on that:)


Here are a few of my favorites below. Make sure you sign into MCCC before hitting the hyper-links!

Check them out when you have some time. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed…

Stay tuned for more and news on the upcoming challenge, 90 days to MCSA!


Come on out and Learn some cool Windows 8 Stuff…

As part of the MVP program, I will be presenting at the Microsoft Store in Oak Brook, IL on Saturday, December 8th, at 10am. If you are in the area, please come out and learn some cool stuff. Lots of demos and tips! Plus an opportunity to win an ASUS VivoTab RT. For more information on the event, check out the MS Store event calendar here. Hope to see you out!

Congratulations 2012 Microsoft MVP!

On Monday, I found out that I was awarded the title of Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for the my contributions to the Windows IT Pro community as a Windows Expert – IT Pro. It is an honor and a privilege to be included in this program. Big thanks to everyone in the IT Pro community whom I’ve been able to reach especially The Krewe as this award would not have been possible without all of you.


I look forward to another year of connecting people and adding value to our community.


Disabling Check For Updates in Java Control Panel…For Real!

So I ran into this problem…
No matter how many times I changed the update settings for the Java Control Panel on my Windows 7 machines, it always came back. It never occurred to me that UAC was preventing the change, but it was.
Here’s how I fixed the issue:
1.       First I dug into task manager to find the process responsible for the Java Control Panel. Our cuprit is javaw.exe *32. For task manager newbies, I selected the application, Java Control Panel, and did a right-click > Go To Processto discover the process.
2.       Then I did a search for javaw.exe. My copy of the above offender was located at C:Program Files (x86)Javajre7bin. I selected javaw.exe and choose to “Run As Administrator”. This does not launch the control panel but it will place the icon in your system tray notification area.
3.       Upon further testing, C:Program Files (x86)Javajre7binjavacpl.exe was discovered to launch the Java Control Panel. So I selected javacpl.exe and choose Right-click > Run As Administrator.
4.       From there I just modified the Update tab and unchecked “Check for Updates Automatically”.
5.       Upon reboot, everything was good to go.
Here’s the interesting part of this whole deal…
Unchecking updates appears to be the only (though I did not check every setting in control panel) that requires elevated privileges but does NOT prompt UAC. When I testing different options under the Advanced tab, I found one setting for enabling the Next Generation Java browser plug-in that initiated a UAC prompt for ssvagent.exe. IMHO, that means Oracle built the Java Control Panel by design to prevent the average user from turning off their updates, and that probably surprises nobody!
Maybe I should consider a life without Java…but only the computer kind! 
Till Next Time…Mike
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