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: CloudnEnterprise_Symbols_Public_v2.02.zip
Size: 4.2 MB
Download URL: Click here for download

DESCRIPTION

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)

CnE_CloudV2.09.vss

DEPRECATED – CnE_DeprecatedV2.vss
(19 stencils)

CnE_DeprecatedV2.vss

DRAWING – CnE_DrawingV2.vss
(36 stencils)

CnE_DrawingV2.vss

 

ENTERPRISE – CnE_EnterpriseV2.03.vss
(154 stencils)

CnE_EnterpriseV2.03.vss

 

GENERAL SYMBOLS – CnE_GeneralSymbolsV2.vss
(40 stencils)

CnE_GeneralSymbolsV2.vss

 

OTHER MICROSOFT PRODUCTS – CnE_OtherMicrosoftProdV2.vss
(22 stencils)

CnE_OtherMicrosoftProdV2.vss

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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:

  • Admin_OfficePreview.zip (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

E-BOOK FORMATS

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

DESCRIPTION

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.

CHAPTERS

  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.

SOLUTION

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.

Example:
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.

BONUS INFO

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…

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Regedit\Favorites

…in a REG_SZ string value like this:

image
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:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Software
Microsoft
Windows
CurrentVersion
Applets
Regedit
Favorites

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:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

    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:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc742162.aspx

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

    Example:
    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

Example:

New-ItemProperty

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

SUMMARY

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.

image

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

CPU

CPU usage - Graph Summary View

Memory

Memory - Graph Summary View

Ethernet

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.

RESOURCE MONITOR

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

image

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.

http://www.microsoft.com/mappoint/en-us/home.aspx

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Download – New Office Visio Stencil

Title: New Office Visio Stencil
Published: 10/03/2014
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
File name: OfficeSymbols_2014.zip
Size: 3.19 MB
Download URL: Click here for download

DESCRIPTION

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)
s_symbols_Clouds.vss

COMMUNICATIONS – s_symbols_Communications.vss
(65 stencils)
s_symbols_Communications.vss

CONCEPTS – s_symbols_Concepts.vss
(117 stencils)
s_symbols_Concepts.vss

DATABASES – s_symbols_Databases.vss
(45 stencils)
s_symbols_Databases.vss

DEVICES – s_symbols_Devices.vss
(50 stencils)
s_symbols_Devices.vss

SECURITY – s_symbols_Security.vss
(51 stencils)
s_symbols_Security.vss

SERVERS – s_symbols_Servers.vss
(95 stencils)
s_symbols_Servers.vss

SERVICES – s_symbols_Services.vss
(25 stencils)
s_symbols_Services.vss

SITES – s_symbols_Sites.vss
(23 stencils)
s_symbols_Sites.vss

USERS – s_symbols_Users.vss
(41 stencils)
s_symbols_Users.vss

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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?

 

WINDOWS 10 TECHNICAL PREVIEW (DESKTOP / TABLET)
Build: 9841
Current availability: MSDN, TechNet, and public preview –
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/preview-download

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
    en_windows_technical_preview_x86_dvd_5552509.iso
    Size: 3,009 MB
  • Windows Technical Preview (x64) – DVD
    en_windows_technical_preview_x64_dvd_5552500.iso
    Size: 3,911 MB
  • Windows Technical Preview for Enterprise (x86) – DVD
    en_windows_technical_preview_for_enterprise_x86_dvd_5554091.iso
    Size 2,913 MB
  • Windows Technical Preview for Enterprise (x64) – DVD
    en_windows_technical_preview_for_enterprise_x64_dvd_5554079.iso
    Size 3,797 MB

Windows 10 Technical Preview screen shot:

Windows 10 Technical Preview screen shot

 

WINDOWS SERVER TECHNICAL PREVIEW (SERVER)
Build: 9841
Current availability: MSDN & TechNet Subscribers

MSDN & TechNet

  • Windows Server Technical Preview (x64) – DVD
    en_windows_server_technical_preview_x64_dvd_5554304.iso
    Size: 4,210 MB
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server Technical Preview (x64) – DVD
    en_microsoft_hyper-v_server_technical_preview_x64_dvd_5554305.iso
    Size: 1,903 MB
  • Windows Server Datacenter Technical Preview (x64) – VHD
    en_windows_server_datacenter_technical_preview_x64_vhd_5554157.vhd
    Size: 7,661 MB

Windows Server Technical Preview screen shot:

Windows Server Technical Preview

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

  • 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)

NOTES

  • 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

image

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