Birmingham. The UK’s 2nd City. Home to 1 Million people. More than half of whom are female.
It’s election time, although the attention is on seats in the House of Commons I prefer to focus on more local matters. There are a number of council seats up for re-election within Birmingham. For those of you doubting who to vote for – vote for a woman. Why? Simply put we need more of them in that council chamber. See the glorious infographic below for an answer as to why I say that (click for larger version):
Of course, if you already have an awesome councillor who truly works hard on behalf of the people in your Ward then sure – vote for them regardless of their gender. This is simply a message for those are undecided and who may take a stab in the dark (although one should always make a serious, considered & balanced decision when choosing whom to vote for).
The reason the city is in such financial disarray, selling off prized assets to raise cash? An equal pay claim dating back many years, where women were paid less then men for doing the same job. That and central goverment cuts to local budgets are killing Brum financially.
[be nice, it’s my first ever Infographic so a little rough around the edges]
[Statistics correct as of end of 2013, sources: Birmingham City Council, ONS]
You might be surprised to hear there are a fair number of people out there who were/are very happy with Windows 8. You will be even more surprised to know that some of them are not using a touchscreen or tablet interface, yes indeed they are happy with just the good old keyboard and mouse.
However the majority were not. I believe it was a bit of arrogance from Microsoft in making large assumptions about what people wanted in Windows 8. Maybe they should have learned from the Vista failure, perhaps they did as that was a different problem related to speed (or lack of) and reliability and driver issues.
There is no denying that Windows 8 is fast and relatively stable but the biggest mistake was assuming user would have a touch biased interface available across all systems – particularly among Desktop PCs and non-touchscreen Laptops. As an IT professional when I first came across Window 8 I had it setup in virtual environment to ‘test drive’ it, that initial test drive put me off Windows 8 almost permanently. The frustration at the wholesale changes and inability to intuitively do what I needed was enough for me to tell all and sundry to avoid Windows 8. The culture shock with the UI was that significant.
It was inevitable however that newer PCs would eventually drop support for Windows 7 drivers, becoming Windows 8.0 only and then 8.1. Once they did so it forced the OS upon people as opposed to being a consumer choice. I suspect Linux, Apple and Google (ChromeOS) reaped some of that frustration.
So what now for Windows 10 and what advice to those thinking of buying a new Windows device, should they wait for Windows 10 General Release?
I have been using Windows 10 Technical Preview for a few months now and I have to say I love it. It is a natural progression from Windows 7, with the speed and – as development continues hopefully – the reliability of Windows 8. There are plenty of changes but it really does feel like a true successor to Windows 7 rather than 8 or 8.1.
Now the interesting part, when will Windows 10 be ready and available? There are no firm dates as it’s too early but end of 2015 or early 2016 is probably a good guess. Sales of PCs have been relatively flat in recent years and a release of a desirable new OS from Microsoft can often provide a boost to PC manufacturers such as Dell, HP or Acer. There is rumour that licenses may actually be free for specific versions of Windows 10, however I doubt very much if Microsoft will try to levy a subscription charge instead. That would be a fatal mistake for consumers.
What about Business and Enterprise users?
The good news rumour of free licenses for Windows 10 will not apply to business users at all. In fact the cost to business may be the winning formula for Microsoft in terms of its share price and profit forecast!
The bad news however is your business applications. Most large companies I know and have worked within are either already using or migrating to Windows 7. Huge efforts have been made to rewrite & redeploy these important applications to work with Windows 7. Sadly Microsoft will probably only support applications written for or that work on Windows 8.1.
The move to Windows 10 is inevitable, so I strongly urge you to dig out the ‘Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant’ and run it in your environment today. That will go some way in telling you if your Windows 7 apps will work with 10. Starting early means less headache later. Good Luck.
Sales of the Windows Operating System and its close cousin the Office Suite continue to be a huge revenue stream for Microsoft with little sign of it shifting significantly over the next 3-5 years. Often the lock-in is due to corporate IT strategy based around a Windows client and the Office suite, which extends to influence users to seek the same familiarity on their personal devices.
It is still hard for me to use an on-screen keyboard as well as I can the traditional mechanical clunk, click. I’m getting there and Google Apps are immense in providing ease of use via multiple devices. I suspect the traditional PC will still be around as the workhorse for corporate and fixed domestic use, however mobile tablet and cellular devices will allow easier and more expansive capability and multi-device working. Enabling that seamlessly and securely is the key, so Windows 10 with OneDrive is a move in the right direction as is Office 365.
Windows 10 will complement those products and enhance mobility, it will be the true client Cloud OS just as Server 2012 R2 is touted as the server Cloud OS! People will take to it, corporate decision makers may decide to try flavour of the month but most will stick to tried, tested and invested. I expect Windows 10 to be as successful as Windows 7.
Since I drafted this blog post Microsoft have basically said anyone with Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 will get a free upgrade option to Windows 10 in the first year. Talk about kick-starting early adoption, a great move in my opinion – might stop me waiting for the first major service pack before upgrading to a newer OS. But hey habits are hard to break!
Right, another year gone. Another already started.
First I’d like to thank all those who have visited my blog, and especially those who have commented or provided feedback. I really do appreciate it, my stats have been steadily trending upwards which encourages me to share more.
Here I quickly outline my blogging plans for the new year:
More car stuff – by far the most popular post on my blog (by hits/month) is my post on the engine pump failure on my Vauxhall back in 2008. The blog post is here and was posted back in late 2010. I still have said Vauxhall and also have a Zafira, i’ve done bits of work on both and will post updates soon.
More technical stuff – this is both my job and passion, so expect lots more. Hopefully I’m aiming to restart my beginners Server 2008 courses, for Server 2012 of course – both online and classroom based. I’ll be covering AD, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL and PowerShell in lots more detail. Oh and lots on Windows 10 as I march on with my Technical Preview.
Birmingham – the city I live in. There is a tonne of stuff I wish to share, from activities through to infographics. What’s good, what could be better and in the words of Oliver Queen I must do what i can to “save my city” in these years of budgetary crises.
Personal Computing – the prevalence of the internet, gadgets, storage and phones means everyone is creating and using data. This is critical data (photos, tax information, licensing, bills, banking, passwords) and I’d like to share how I both store it (with resilience) and secure it (with confidence). This is domestic technology, not corporate.
Trading & Economics – another passion of mine. I will start to share my trading strategy, my actual trades and advice & tips on how to get started and crucially how to create the correct mindset for this. Mental toughness required. Although I concentrate on Forex i’ll be dipping into wider issues such as banking and personal finance where relevant.
CVs/Resumes, Job Hunting, Scam Hunting – as per usual I’ll continue along this path, the 2nd most popular blog post on my site is the CV site one found here. Exposing scams and helping people in their efforts to better their future prospects is something I love doing.
Islam – as my faith is currently under constant attack I believe it a responsiblity to add my input as and when I feel it may improve someones knowledge on an issue. I often find the basis of prejudice is lack of knowledge, educating people and doing it the right way counters bigotry.
There you go, some simple plans for 2015. The good Lord willing I hope to accomplish all of these.
[7 is my lucky number!]
Whether you have a Kindle, or a smartphone/tablet with the Kindle App installed you can download the following Microsoft related technical books for free. Right now from Amazon. They are:
Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals – Ed Bott DOWNLOAD
Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 – Mitch Tulloch DOWNLOAD
Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 – Mitch Tulloch, Symon Perriman, Microsoft System Center Team DOWNLOAD
Office 365: Migrating and Managing Your Business in the Cloud – Matt Katzer, Don Crawford DOWNLOAD
Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals – Mitch Tulloch DOWNLOAD
Microsoft System Center Troubleshooting Configuration Manager – Rushi Faldu, Manoj Pal, Andre Monica, Kaushal Pandey, Mitch Tulloch DOWNLOAD
Microsoft System Center Building a Virtualized Network Solution – Nigel Cain, Alvin Morales, Michel Luescher, Damian Flynn DOWNLOAD
Microsoft System Center Integrated Cloud Platform (Introducing) – David Ziembicki, Mitch Tulloch DOWNLOAD
Remmeber, you DO NOT need a Kindle to access these books. Use the App. Enjoy!
According to Microsoft they have invested heavily in making the process of moving from Windows 7 directly to Windows 10 as easy as possible. This is in clear recognition of those who have moved from XP to 7 in the last few years, and more so for medium to large enterprise businesses who require significant investment and incentive in any upgrade programme.
To this end, moving from Windows 7 SP1 to Windows 10 will be an in-place upgrade path. This means it will, more or less, retain all your user settings and customisations which currently exist within your Windows 7 profile. Things like your wallpaper, taskbar configuration, application customisations etc. etc. will all be retained once you complete an in-place upgrade to Windows 10.
That isn’t the only thing Microsoft have focussed on, they are trying hard to ensure that anyone who moves from 7 to 10 will not have to RTFM or search for You Tube videos on how to launch familiar programs or shutdown (what I really hate about Windows 8 – shutting down! Painful!). Familiarisation is key so expect the final release of Windows 10 to look and feel like much like Windows 7, with improvements and optimisations such as Live Tiles, multi-monitor application snap, any device application functionality and improved UI.
There is recognition that there are still a heck of a lot of people still using the traditional keyboard and mouse combination, that not everyone has touchscreen monitors and that many people use multiple devices and not just tablets. The traditional PC, despite declinging sales, is still going to be with us for a while longer and more so in the corporate world where change comes in much later than within the consumer channel.
The question is often asked if Shared Mailboxes can be put into a 2 way continuous synchronisation throughout the duration of migration to allow both migrated & non-migrated users access to the same Shared mailbox with the same content and to be able to function from both systems at the same time.
This is not possible using the Quest/Dell Software toolset for mailbox synchronisation and migration. There can only be one ‘live’ instance of a Shared Mailbox, either on the legacy or the target messaging system. Not both, Not ever.
The recommended approach from Quest/Dell Software is to migrate Shared Mailboxes together with the user mailbox migrations. The preferred approach is to switch the Shared Mailbox at the same time as the key users of the shared mailbox, else leave it in legacy until the last user is across to the target platform.
If using the Sync & Switch method for Shared Mailboxes the following will apply:
Shared Mailbox still live on Legacy Platform
Legacy Users continue to have access exactly as today
Target Messaging service users can see the target copy of the Shared Mailbox (Outlook 2010/2013 automatically add in all Shared Mailbox a user has permissions too – whether migrated or not), users can:
- Read items & Reply from the Shared Mailbox
- The Read status & Replies will NOT synchronise back to the live Shared Mailbox in legacy
- New email items will only appear during the next synchronisation pass (which could be a delay of minutes to hours)
In this situation end users already switched to the Target Messaging system often mistakenly think that the Shared Mailbox is fully functional as they can see it and may see new items periodically updating.
Shared Mailbox switched to and now live on Target Platform
Legacy Users will still have access to the legacy Shared Mailbox contents as they were prior to the switch, however no new emails will appear and they will be unable to reply to old email (they will only be able to forward email internally). All new email will have been re-directed to the target Shared Mailbox as part of the mailbox switch
Target Users have access to the migrated target Shared Mailbox exactly as they did in legacy but now with all the full functionality. Users will be able:
- Read and Reply to all emails, both internal and external
- Organise folders as needed
- New emails will appear immediately in the Inbox, bypassing the legacy Shared Mailbox
If using the Remote Collection method for migration any Shared Mailbox content can only be live and valid on either the source or target messaging system, not both, which means the target Shared Mailbox will be empty until the Remote Collection migration is triggered. Once that is triggered the legacy Shared Mailbox is no longer useful as it loses functionality.
Real advice, Real Experience
I often make a judgement call on switching Shared mailboxes, I advise customers to switch them once the key users who need access to it are switched. You can use Quest/Dell Software Reporter or a PowerShell script to list out all Shared Mailboxes and who has rights to them. It is then a case of identifying and contacting Shared Mailbox owners and agreeing a plan of action. Communication is important here, set the expectations clearly and you will have a smoother ride. Don’t second guess when it should be switched.
In an effort to reduce SYSVOL bloat and replication across Domain Controllers (DCs) consider using DFS Replication (DFSR). A bigger reason however is that FRS is no longer supported in Server 2012, so if you plan to upgrade DCs to Server 2012 – then you must do this first. Want a third reason? If you are using Read Only DCs (RODCs) and are still on FRS it is easy for the SYSVOL on the RODC to become out of synch with other DCs; better still in Server 2008 R2 and above DFS-R ensures that the RODC SYSVOL can never be modifed.
DFS-R simply provides better and more efficient synchronisation than the old world File Replication Service (FRS). Prior to proceeding you may want to indeed check and make sure that you are not already using DFS-R. Jump into a command prompt and type in this command:
If the output is shown as “Current DFSR global state: ‘Eliminated’” then you are already using DFS-R and there is no need to go any further. Stop right here.
|Did You Know:||the DFS-R migration process actually uses Robocopy (yes! Robocopy) to copy the SYSVOL data at various stages|
All Domain Controllers need to be online and available. If you have any redundant DCs listed and they have not been cleaned up (meta data an’ all!) then do so before starting this task
Depending on what Server OS and Service Pack Level you are on ALL DCs may need to be located in the default Domain Controllers OU. If they are located in a sub OU or elsewhere (for policy reasons usually) then consider moving them into the default location temporarily during the migration
The PDC Emulator MUST be online during the whole process – that’s the dude with the most up to date Policy and it is the DC that this whole process talks to the most
You need at least a Windows 2008 Functional Level for your Domain, so get rid of those soon to be end of life Server 2003 R2 DCs first
4 Steps to DFS-R
There are 4 steps to migrate from FRS to DFS-R using the Dfsrmig command:
- Health Check: Run the following commands to check the health of current replication
- Ensure there is enough free disk space on each Domain Controller for the migration
- Run repadmin /replsummary to ensure current replication is healthy, resolve any issues
- Run repadmin /showrepl * /csv > replication.txt to ensure current replication is healthy, resolve any issues in the output file
- Migrate to Prepared State: Use the command Dfsrmig /SetGlobalState 1 to begin the migration, use Dfsrmig /GetMigrationState to check the current status of this step. Do NOT proceed until this step is complete
- Migrate to Redirected State: Use the command Dfsrmig /SetGlobalState 2 for this second step, use Dfsrmig /GetMigrationState to check the current status of this step. Do NOT proceed until this step is complete. If you wish to stay with FRS for SYSVOL replication then stop here.
- Migrate to Eliminated State: [NOTE: There is no going back after this step! You have been warned] Use the command Dfsrmig /SetGlobalState 3 for this final step, use Dfsrmig /GetMigrationState to check the current status of this step. Once this step is complete so is the migration.
That’s all there is too it. Honest.
If you did execute Step 4 in error, then as I said there is no going back. Ever. Except of course unless you rebuild the whole domain (a whole lot of fun for you then!).
Clean Up Tasks – get rid of FRS!
Now that you have succesfully migrated to DFS-R you now need to
- Delete the old SYSVOL directory
- Disable and then Remove the NTFRS Service
You really should download and read the full Microsoft guide found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd640019(WS.10).aspx
As usual, get in touch if you have any questions.