Windows Server 2012 and R2 Locks and Limits

The question came up today about using Windows Server Essentials as a RADIUS server. Part of the consideration involves the arbitrary restrictions placed on the OS. Microsoft differentiates the server products with what are affectionately know as “Locks and Limits”.

Most folks in IT are aware of OS limits like the number of users in Windows Server or not being able to RDP into Windows 7 Home Edition. But there are other less-obvious limits like RAM or IAS, RRAS & SMB connection limits.

Fortunately there are two handy spreadsheets that detail the Limits, Roles & Features that are (or are not) available in Windows Server 2012 & R2 Editions.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Locks and Limits

Windows Server 2012 R2 Locks & Limits
File: Windows Server 2012 R2 Products and Editions Comparison.pdf (222 KB)

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Standard
  • Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Workgroup

Windows Server 2012 Locks & Limits
File: Windows Server 2012 Products and Editions Comparison.pdf (226 KB)

  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 Essentials
  • Windows Server 2012 Foundation
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012
  • Windows Storage Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Storage Server 2012 Workgroup
  • Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 Premium
  • Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 Standard

Currently, there is no word yet on Windows Server 2016 since it’s still in Technical Preview at this time. However, once the licensing folks figure out how to squeeze every penny out of Server 2016 (I’m very interested to see what they do with Nano Edition) there should be an updated spreadsheet released.

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Download – Group Policy Settings for Server 2016 TP4

Title: Group Policy Settings Reference for Windows and Windows Server
Version: July 2015 (Updated for Server 2016 TP4)
Published: 11/23/2015
File names:

  • TP4 Policy Settings Spreadsheet.xlsx (654 KB)
  • Windows 10 ADMX spreadsheet.xlsx (654 KB)
  • Windows 8.1 Update and Windows Server 2012 R2 Update 1.xlsx (788 KB)
  • WindowsServer2003SP2GroupPolicySettings.xls (3.9 MB)
  • WindowsServer2008andWindowsVistaSP1GroupPolicySettings.xlsx (512 KB)
  • WindowsServer2008R2andWindows7GroupPolicySettings.xlsx (612 KB)
  • WindowsServer2012andWindows8GroupPolicySettings.xlsx (690 KB)
  • WindowsServer2012R2andWindows8.1GroupPolicySettings.xlsx (628 KB)
  • WindowsServer2012R2UpdateGroupPolicySettings.xlsx (634 KB)
  • WindowsVistaGroupPolicySettings.xls (1.9 MB)


These spreadsheets list the policy settings for computer and user configurations that are included in the Administrative template files delivered with the Windows operating systems specified. You can configure these policy settings when you edit Group Policy Objects.


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Cannot Login to Skype on Windows Server 2016 TP3

While kicking the tires on a Windows Server 2016 TP3 virtual machine in Microsoft Azure, I decided to try and install Skype. (Not recommended – I know).

The Skype 7.14 application installed just fine, but when I tried to login to Skype with my Windows Live ID I received the following error message:

“Your browser is currently set to block cookies. Your browser must allow cookies before you can use a Microsoft account.”

At first I thought the error message was related to Microsoft Edge, since you’re not allowed to run Edge with the default (500) Administrator account. Logging in with a different account didn’t resolve the error either.

Enabled Cookies in IE 11, still no joy.


I added and to trusted sites in IE 11, then I could login to Skype.

Internet Explorer | Internet Options | Security | Trusted Sites | Sites

It’s a pretty simple fix in hindsight, but one that isn’t blatantly obvious at first.

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CSI: Hyper-V – Episode 1

On the next CSI: Hyper-V

The I.T. team travels through NET TIME to save an innocent virtual machine.


(No, I don’t know why I do this stuff. It just pops in my head…)

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Download – System Center v.Next Visio Stencils

Title: System Center v.Next Visio Stencils
Published: 4/3/2015 
Publisher: Thomas Hanrath
Version: 0.94
File name: System Center v.Next Visio Stencils v0.94.vssx
Size: 347 KB
Download URL: Click here for download


71 custom hand-drawn Visio stencils for System Center v.Next.

System Center v.Next Visio Stencils

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Tip – Add PowerShell to Windows Key + X

There’s an old shortcut to quickly bring up the Command Prompt in Admin mode:

  • Right-click the Windows Logo (or hit Windows Key + X)
  • Left-click Command Prompt (Admin)

Command Prompt in the Win+X context menu

But did you know you can swap out Command Prompt in that menu and replace it with PowerShell?

  • Right-click the Taskbar
  • Left-click Properties
  • Left-click the Navigation tab
  • Check the box labeled “Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell…
  • Click OK

Navigation bar properties

Now you’ll see PowerShell instead of Command Prompt:

PowerShell in the Win+X context menu

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Download – 426 New Azure and Cloud Visio Stencils

Title: Microsoft Azure, Cloud and Enterprise Symbol / Icon Set
Published: 12/18/2014 
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
Version: 2.02
File name:
Size: 4.2 MB
Download URL: Click here for download


This package contains a set of symbols/icons to visually represent features of and systems that use Microsoft Azure and related technologies.


CLOUD – CnE_CloudV2.09.vss
(155 stencils)


DEPRECATED – CnE_DeprecatedV2.vss
(19 stencils)


DRAWING – CnE_DrawingV2.vss
(36 stencils)



ENTERPRISE – CnE_EnterpriseV2.03.vss
(154 stencils)



GENERAL SYMBOLS – CnE_GeneralSymbolsV2.vss
(40 stencils)



(22 stencils)


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Download – Office 2016 IT Pro and Developer Preview

Today Microsoft announced the publicly-available preview of Office 2016.

The download is available by signing up for the Office 2016 Preview program on the Microsoft Connect site.

Note: You will need a Windows Live ID / Microsoft Account to sign up.

After logging into the Connect site you’ll fill out a self-nomination survey. Fill that out and then you’ll have access to the four files for the March 2015 preview:

  • (2.27 MB)
  • Office 2016 Preview What’s Next.docx (687 KB)
  • Installation Guide for Office 2016 Preview – Business (External).docx (138 KB)
  • Known Issues for Preview – February Refresh – Business External.docx (24 KB)

Where’s the ISO?

There is no spoon.

The ZIP file contains a tiny Setup.exe file (2.42 MB) that leverages XML and BAT files to stream the installation bits to your PC in the background:

Office 2016 Preview setup screen

As you can see from the screenshot above, the bits are available in x86 ands x64 flavors.

Here are the new programs:

Office 2016 Preview

As you can also see, this *is* beta / preview level software.

Excel 2016 fail-o-rama

And if you click the Help button, the support site is *also* in beta:

Help site fail-o-rama

So – word to the wise, don’t install this in production.

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Download – Free Microsoft Azure Essentials eBook

Microsoft Azure Essentials - Fundamentals of AzureTitle: Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure
Authors: Michael S. Collier and Robin E. Shahan
Published: Feb 2015
Publisher: Microsoft Press
ISBN: 978-0-7356-9722-5
Pages: 246
Price: FREE
Download URL: Click here for download


PDF: 9780735697225.pdf (6.7 MB)
EPUB: 9780735697225.epub (12.0 MB)
Kindle / Mobi: (24.6 MB)


The “Microsoft Azure Essentials” series helps you advance your technical skills with Microsoft Azure. “Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure” introduces developers and IT professionals to the wide range of capabilities in Azure. The authors—both Microsoft MVPs in Azure—present conceptual and how-to content for seven key areas and describe management tools and business cases.


  1. Getting started with Azure
  2. Azure Websites and Azure Cloud Services
  3. Azure Virtual Machines
  4. Azure Storage
  5. Azure Virtual Networks
  6. Databases
  7. Azure Active Directory
  8. Management Tools
  9. Business Cases
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Microsoft MVP Award for 2015

This just in…

MVP Award 2015 (Tim Barrett)

This is my 8th Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award (2008-2015).

Here’s a copy of the 2015 Executive Recognition Letter:

MVP Award Letter - 2015 (Tim Barrett)

Microsoft, thank you very much for this award!

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