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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Stupid REGEDIT Tricks

This is probably one of those ‘been around forever and I just never noticed it’ features in REGEDIT.

Disclaimer: Use Registry Editor at your own risk. If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. This information is provided on an “as is” basis and all risk is with you. Improper use of Regedit can also make you sterile.  NoGeekLeftBehind makes no warranties, express, implied or statutory, as to any matter whatsoever, and does not guarantee that problems that you cause by using Registry Editor incorrectly can be resolved.

In REGEDIT the location of the current registry key is displayed at the bottom of the status bar, like this:

REGEDIT Key Location

Professional IT folks know the job isn’t over until the documentation is done. When documenting work performed in a service ticket I usually include detailed information about any registry settings that were changed. This means typing all of that location text at the bottom of the screen.

Well, it would seem I’ve been doing it the hard way all of these years.


Just right-click the registry key name (in the navigation pane on the left), then left-click the Copy Key Name option.

Copy Key Name

Now the complete REGEDIT location is saved to your clipboard.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\Trusted Locations

Note: You’ll still have to document the DWORD or string values manually, but at least the Copy Key Name function saves a ton of typing.

Alternately, you can left-click the key name, then click on Edit | Copy Key Name from the top drop-down menu.


Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Duh, I already knew that! What I really need is a cool way to copy and paste a key path to avoid drilling down.”

Well, check out this nifty Windows Registry navigation trick by using the REGEDIT feature called Favorites (to which you probably never paid any attention).

To create a new REGEDIT favorite:

  1. Click the Key Name in the navigation bar on the left
  2. Click Favorites on the top drop-down menu
  3. Click Add to Favorites
    Sample registry location
  4. Type the name of the Favorite
  5. Click OK
    Add to Favorites

You should now see a new favorite listed, like this:

Jump to a Favorite

No matter where you are in the registry, clicking the Favorite will jump you to that location in the registry.

Interestingly, those Favorites / shortcuts are kept inside the registry itself,
(we’ll call it Rebel Base) here…


…in a REG_SZ string value like this:

Here comes the ‘tricky’ part.

If you want to jump to a location in the registry you can just create a new String in Rebel Base.

For the sake of completeness we’ll show 4 options for registry favorites and changes

  • Option 1 – Manually Create a Registry Favorite

  • Option 2 – Manually Create a New String

  • Option 3 – Create a Registry Favorite by using REG ADD

  • Option 4 – Create a Registry Favorite by using PowerShell

OPTION 1 – Manually Create a Registry Favorite (easy)

If you know you’ll come back to a particular Registry location often:

  1. Navigate to the Registry location you want to save
  2. Left-click the Key*
  3. Click Favorites
  4. Click Add to Favorites
  5. Name the Favorite
  6. Click OK

*The first Favorite I would recommend creating is for Rebel Base, located here:

If you perform Option 2 you’ll want to have that Favorite already saved.

OPTION 2 – Manually Create a New String

  1. a) Navigate to Rebel Base (if you already created it), or

    b) In REGEDIT navigate to HKCU | Software | Microsoft | Windows | CurrentVersion | Applets | Regedit | Favorites

    Registry Location A

  2. Right-click a blank space in the details pane | New | String Value
    New String Value
  3. Type the name of the new shortcut | hit Enter
    String Value Name
  4. Double-click the new string | paste the full registry path into the Value Data field | click OK

    Example – the location to enable / disable hiding file extensions:

    Edit String

  5. You should now see your new Favorite in the drop-down menu.
    New Favorite

Once you create the Rebel Base shortcut, from that point on you can easily copy and paste a Registry path into a new Favorite and jump to it.

OPTION 3 – Create a Registry Favorite by using REG ADD

If you know the path and the registry value you want to change, you can use the REG ADD command from the command line.

Alternately, you can save the command into a text file and save it with the .REG file extension.

For more information on the REG ADD command, visit TechNet:

To create a Registry Favorite by using REG ADD:

  1. Open an Administrative Command Prompt
  2. Type REG ADD (include a space after each step)
  3. <Key Name> Paste the location (Key Name) for Rebel Base
  4. <Value Name> Type /v followed by the name for the new Favorite
      example: /v ViaCommandPrompt
  5. <Type> Type /t followed by REG_SZ
      example /t REG_SZ
  6. <Data> Type /d followed by the path (Key Name) of the new favorite

    REG ADD via command prompt

    If you performed the steps correctly you should refresh REGEDIT and see your new shortcut.
    New Registry Value added via Command Prompt


OPTION 4 – Create a Registry Favorite by using PowerShell

To add a new Favorite by using PowerShell, we use the New-ItemProperty cmdlet and specify the following parameters:

  • New-ItemProperty
  • -Path (the Key Name (location) for Rebel Base)
  • -Name (the name you want to give the favorite)
  • -PropertyType String
  • -Value (the Key Name (location) for the target shortcut)

Note: The following example uses the single back tick to make reading easier



Note: You may notice that the -Path contains HKCU: instead of HKEY_Current_User. The HKCU: command is just a shortcut. 

However, DO NOT use the “HKCU:” shortcut in the -Value line.

Also, double-quotes are important if your -Value includes a space in the Key Name.

Here’s what the PowerShell looks like when it runs in ISE.

New-ItemProperty Successful

And if we refresh REGEDIT we’ll now see our new Favorite.

Registry Favorite via PowerShell


Favorites are a quick way to jump around in the Windows Registry. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat, and today we looked at four ways to create a Registry Favorite.

I would recommend creating a PowerShell .PS1 file that sets up Rebel Base for you. Then you can add more shortcuts easily on the fly.

I hope this information helps!

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Stupid Windows Tricks – Graph Summary View

You ever see an option in Windows that you never click? No?

(Well, maybe it’s just me then…)

Anyway, today I stumbled across the “Graph Summary View” in Server 2012 R2 that I’ve never clicked on before.


This feature leaves you a little floating window with either CPU, Memory or Ethernet usage:


CPU usage - Graph Summary View


Memory - Graph Summary View


Ethernet - Graph Summary View

This is pretty helpful for tracking resource usage when you’re remoted into a server with low screen resolution.

Once you’re in summary view you can flip between different resources:

Changing views - Graph Summary View

To go back to ‘normal’ mode just right-click and unselect Graph Summary View.


You can also manually shrink Resource Monitor to keep an eye on the server:


I’ll be on the lookout for other stuff I’ve never clicked on. Winking smile

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Have U Rebooted Yet – 058 – Death Of MapPoint

Have U Rebooted Yet - 058 - Death of MapPoint

Another one bites the dust…

Goodbye, old friend.

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Download – New Office Visio Stencil

Title: New Office Visio Stencil
Published: 10/03/2014
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
File name:
Size: 3.19 MB
Download URL: Click here for download


This stencil contains more than 500 icons to help you create visual representations of Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office 365 deployments including Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, Microsoft Lync Server 2013, and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013.

Note: This is a (yet again) updated version with the ever-confusing same name of “New Office Visio Stencil”.

The zip file contains 10 individual .vss files:

CLOUDS – s_symbols_Clouds.vss
(11 stencils)

COMMUNICATIONS – s_symbols_Communications.vss
(65 stencils)

CONCEPTS – s_symbols_Concepts.vss
(117 stencils)

DATABASES – s_symbols_Databases.vss
(45 stencils)

DEVICES – s_symbols_Devices.vss
(50 stencils)

SECURITY – s_symbols_Security.vss
(51 stencils)

SERVERS – s_symbols_Servers.vss
(95 stencils)

SERVICES – s_symbols_Services.vss
(25 stencils)

SITES – s_symbols_Sites.vss
(23 stencils)

USERS – s_symbols_Users.vss
(41 stencils)

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Windows 10 Technical Preview Download

Windows 10 Technical Preview (desktop version) and Windows Server Technical Preview (server version) hit the web today.

What do the versions look like currently?


Build: 9841
Current availability: MSDN, TechNet, and public preview –

Public Preview

  • x86: WindowsTechnicalPreview-x86-EN-US.iso (2.93 GB)
  • x64: WindowsTechnicalPreview-x64-EN-US.iso (3.81 GB)

MSDN & TechNet

  • Windows Technical Preview (x86) – DVD
    Size: 3,009 MB
  • Windows Technical Preview (x64) – DVD
    Size: 3,911 MB
  • Windows Technical Preview for Enterprise (x86) – DVD
    Size 2,913 MB
  • Windows Technical Preview for Enterprise (x64) – DVD
    Size 3,797 MB

Windows 10 Technical Preview screen shot:

Windows 10 Technical Preview screen shot


Build: 9841
Current availability: MSDN & TechNet Subscribers

MSDN & TechNet

  • Windows Server Technical Preview (x64) – DVD
    Size: 4,210 MB
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server Technical Preview (x64) – DVD
    Size: 1,903 MB
  • Windows Server Datacenter Technical Preview (x64) – VHD
    Size: 7,661 MB

Windows Server Technical Preview screen shot:

Windows Server Technical Preview


  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
  • A Microsoft account and Internet access (not required for Server Preview)


  • I intentionally installed the 64-bit version with only 1 GB of RAM to see if a warning was thrown – no warnings.
  • Both OSes were installed as Generation 2 virtual machines as guest VMs on Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Both VMs have 127GB dynamic VHDX files
  • The technical preview expires April 15, 2015 (Upgrade reminders start on April 1, 2015)
  • The version of PowerShell in the Server preview is 5.0.9841.0


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Download – PowerShell Hyper-V Cookbook

The Altaro PowerShell Hyper-V CookbookTitle: The Altaro PowerShell Hyper-V Cookbook
Author: Jeffery Hicks, PowerShell MVP
Twitter: @JeffHicks
Published: 2014
Publisher: Altaro Software
PDF: Altaro-PowerShell-Hyper-V-Cookbook.pdf
Size: 6.9 MB
Pages: 63
Size 44.7 KB
Download URL: Click here for download


  • Understand the basics of Hyper-V Cmdlets and how to create
    a Hyper-V VM
  • How to display and discover information about your VMs and Hyper-V host
  • Get mounted ISO files & identify orphaned VHD/VHDX files
  • How to delete obsolete snapshots and query Hyper-V event logs


  1. Get-HyperVEvents.ps1
  2. Get-ImageFromISO.ps1
  3. Get-MyVM.ps1
  4. Get-ObsoleteVHD.ps1
  5. Get-VHDInfo.ps1
  6. Get-VMMemoryReport.ps1
  7. Get-VMOS.ps1
  8. Get-VMSnapshotUsage.ps1
  9. New-HVHealthReport.ps1
  10. New-VMfromISO.ps1
  11. New-VMFromTemplate.ps1
  12. Remove-OldVMSnapshot.ps1
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PowerShell Cheat Sheet for Active Directory

Old school MicrosoftAll right, pop quiz, hotshot:

Do you still use any of the following commands?

  • DSRM
  • PING

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of the previous items, you failed.

ALL of those commands have been replaced by PowerShell.

And they were replaced over a year and a half ago.

News flash: You’re falling further behind in your IT career.

“But PowerShell is hard to remember…” which is true.

Good news though. There’s a handy 4-page cheat sheet to help wean you off the sour milk of the command prompt and get you eating the solid food of PowerShell.

Title: PowerShell Command Line Conversion Guide: Active Directory
Published: 01/02/2013
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
File name: PowerShell Cmd Line Conversion Guide AD.pdf
Pages: 4
Size: 48 KB
Download URL: Click here for download

PowerShell Command Line Conversion Guide: Active Directory

Enjoy your meal!

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Upgrading SQL Evaluation to Volume License


  • You’ve installed SQL 2008 R2 (or newer) in 180-day evaluation mode as a pilot project (or proof-of-concept).
  • The project is successful and you get a green light.
  • The client purchases SQL through Microsoft Volume Licensing.
  • You want to simply add the license key to the SQL server that’s currently in evaluation mode, activate it, and move on.


  1. And if you look up your keys in Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (MS VLSC), there are no keys for SQL.Dude - where's my SQL volume license keys
  2. And the second problem is that even if you had the key, the location to enter the SQL key on the trial server isn’t very obvious.

SOLUTION 1 – How to Get Your MS VLSC SQL Key

If you call Microsoft Volume License support, they will tell you that the keys are imbedded in the product (which is true) and that they can not give you the key information (which may or may not be true, depending on who you’re talking to).

Even worse, the VLSC tech support folks will advise you to remove the SQL installation, download the VLSC ISO, and install FROM SCRATCH.

This is a complete waste of time and a bunch of garbage!

Side note: I asked the VLSC support specialist why there’s a place to enter the key in SQL if the Volume License version of SQL doesn’t have a key. She said “That key is just for if you purchase Retail SQL”.

Again, this is complete garbage!

Rest easy and fear not! — You don’t have to reinstall SQL all over again just to activate it with a volume license key.

Here’s the work-around I used:

IMPORTANT: These steps are on a Hyper-V Server.
NOT on your SQL Evaluation server!

  1. Log into Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center and download your SQL ISO (this ISO is pre-keyed).

    Download the pre-keyed SQL ISO from VLSC

  2. Spin up a generic Server 2012 or 2012 R2 virtual machine in Hyper-V.
    (This should only take about 5 minutes if you have a pre-baked VM).
  3. Add the .NET 3.5 Framework

    GUI version
    Server Manager | Manage | Add Roles and Features | Next | Next | Next | Next | .NET Framework 3.5 Features | Next | Install

    Install-WindowsFeature Net-Framework-Core

  4. Attach the SQL Volume License ISO to the virtual machine.

    Attach the ISO to the virtual machine

  5. Boot the VM, set the admin password in the OOBE windows, then run the Setup.exe file on the SQL DVD / ISO.

    Double-click the SQL Setup.exe installer

  6. Run the program without getting any help.*

    *If you get a compatibility error on 2012 R2 with SQL 2008 R2, you can safely ignore it. (We’re just using this VM to get the key and will blow the VM away when we’re done).

    Ignore this error 

    …the setup bootstrapper continues…


  7. Installation | New installation or add features to an existing installation.

    New installation of SQL on the Hyper-V VM (temporary

  8. Run the program without getting help.
    (Ignore the Program Compatibility Assistant warning again.)

    Ignore this error too

    …as the SQL turns…

    more waiting

  9. On Setup Support Roles, click OK.

    Please put your tray tables and seat backs in the full upright position to prepare for departure

    …more SQL zzzzzz…

    stuck on the tarmac

  10. …and BOO-YAH, there is your Microsoft Volume License key for SQL!

    Touchdown! Here's your SQL Volume License key!

  11. Record that SQL Volume License key in a safe place.
  12. You can now shut down and blow away that virtual server.

SOLUTION 2 – The Key Entry Location

Here are the instructions for where to install the SQL Volume License key on your trial server to activate it into a full-blown VL goodness.

IMPORTANT: These steps are on the SQL EVALUATION server.
Make sure you have a good backup of the server before you continue!

  1. Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 | Configuration Tools | SQL Server Installation Center (64-bit)

    SQL Server Configuration Manager

  2. Maintenance | Edition Upgrade

    Edition upgrade

    …SQL churns…

    Circling the airport

  3. On the Setup Support Rules page, click OK.

    Click OK again

    …more SQL churning…

    Last wait period

  4. Enter the product key | Next.

    Enter your SQL Volume License key here

  5. Accept the EULA | Next.

    Accept the EULA

  6. Specify the instance of SQL Server (the evaluation one) | Next.

    Pick your SQL instance



  7. On the Edition Upgrade Rules page, click Next.

    Click next

  8. On the Ready to upgrade edition page, click Upgrade.

    Click Upgrade

  9. Congratulations, you’re done! Click Close.

    Click close.

Hopefully this tip will save you from the ‘mandatory’ reinstallation of SQL just to change from evaluation mode to a Volume License key.

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