Remote Desktop Connection Tips

OK, so I’m probably the last person on the planet to learn of this feature, but on the left side of Remote Desktop Connection (MSTSC.exe) there’s a drop-down that exposes features for Windows 8, 8.1, Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2.

Drop-down for Windows 8 in latest RDP client

This is helpful when you’re on a Win8.x or 2012/R2 machine, RDPed into another machine and you’re not sure if (when you mouse up to the top-right or bottom-right) if you’re popping up the charms menu for your machine or the remote machine.

Also, speaking of Remote Desktop, there are 2 pieces to the puzzle:

  • Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) – server
  • Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) – client

Below are the current versions and key features.

RDP 8.0 update (10/23/2012)
Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 

  • RemoteFX for WAN
  • RemoteFX Network Auto Detect
  • RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics
  • RemoteFX Media Streaming
  • RemoteFX USB Redirection for non-RemoteFX vGPU virtual desktops
  • Support for nested sessions
  • Performance counters for monitoring user experience

RDC 8.1 update (2/10/2014)
Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2

  • Full support of transparent windows
  • Moves and resizes of RemoteApp windows
  • Thumbnails, aero peek, and live taskbar
  • Dynamic monitor and resolution changes
  • Support for session shadowing
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PowerShell Tip – Get List of VMs, MACs, IPs & VHDs

Sometimes I wish you could add more fields to the Hyper-V Console, like MAC Addresses or IP Addresses.

As always, PowerShell to the rescue!

Here’s a quick tip to get a list of virtual machines on a Hyper-V host, along with the MAC addresses and IP addresses.

Here’s the PowerShell code:

Get-VM | Select -ExpandProperty NetworkAdapters | Select VMName, MACAddress, IPAddresses

And here are the results:

PowerShell code to get a list of VMs, MACs & IP Addresses

As you can see from the screen shot above, only *running* VMs show IP addresses.

Want to take it a step further and see which VMs are running Legacy NICs and which VMs have Synthetic NICs? Even virtual switch names?

Easy enough – just lose the second filtering statement.

Get-VM | Select -ExpandProperty NetworkAdapters

PowerShell - show legacy NICs in use on VMs

And this one is for Stanley…

Need a list of which VHDs are attached to which VM?

Get-VM | Get-VMHardDiskDrive | Select-Object -Property VMName, VMID, ComputerName, ControllerType, ControllerNumber, ControllerLocation, Path | Sort-Object -Property VMName | Out-GridView -Title "Virtual Disks"

PowerShell - list of virtual hard disks per VM

Source: PowerShell blog & Keith Mayer’s blog

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Top Support Solutions for SBS 2011 Standard

Microsoft recently (18 Feb 2014) posted a very detailed list of top Microsoft Support solutions to the most common issues experienced using Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard (updated quarterly).

Note: Some content that applies to earlier versions of Windows Server is listed, because it can be helpful with SBS 2011 Standard issues also.

The blog post contains solutions related to:

  • Active Directory and Directory Services
  • Client Computers issues
  • Internet Information Services (IIS)
  • Licensing
  • Mail flow issues
  • Network and Web Connectivity
  • Reliability and Performance
  • Small Business Server (SBS) Components
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Installation and Migration


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Training – Server 2012 R2 Essentials Now on MVA

Server 2012 R2 Essentials is finally getting some love from the Microsoft Virtual Academy!

Behold: 4.5 hours of Essentials 2012 R2 goodness!
Instructor: David Fabritius – Microsoft Product Marketing Manager

Description: ​Join Microsoft Product Marketing Manager David Fabritius​ as he takes you through Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and the new Windows Server Essentials Experience role available on the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2.

MVA - Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials



  1. Overview (36 minutes)
  2. Deployment Options and Licensing (36 minutes)
  3. Installation, Migration, and Getting Started (48 minutes)
  4. Server Management and Monitoring (46 minutes)
  5. Cloud Integration and Add-Ins (40 minutes)
  6. User and Computer Management (32 minutes)
  7. User Experience (33 minutes)

BONUS: There is also a TechNet Virtual Lab for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

Source: Small Business Server Blog

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Download – Test Lab Guide – Windows Azure AD

Test Lab Guide: Creating a Windows Azure AD and Windows Server AD Environment using DirSync with Password SyncTitle: Test Lab Guide: Creating a Windows Azure AD and Windows Server AD Environment using DirSync with Password Sync
Author: Bill Mathers
Published: 01/15/2014
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
Pages: 48
Size: 1.8 MB
File name: DirSync_TLG.docx
Download URL: Click here for download


This document will assist IT professionals, administrators, architects, and developers with in creating a test lab that uses Windows Azure Active Directory and Windows Server AD.


  1. Set Up the Configuring the Windows Server 2012 Base Configuration Test Lab for Public Cloud Technologies
  2. Sign-up for a Windows Azure 30-Day Trial
  3. Create a Windows Azure AD Tenant
  4. Prepare the Windows Azure AD Tenant for Synchronization
  5. Create Organizational Units and Test Users in Windows Server AD
  6. Download and Install DirSync
  7. Configure DirSync to specific Organizational Units
  8. Run DirSync and Verify Results
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Download – Visio Stencils for Windows Azure

Buck WoodyBuck Woody (Microsoft employee) has created and shared some unofficial Visio Stencils for Windows Azure.

You can download the stencils for free from his SkyDrive.

Title: Windows Azure Visio Shapes
File size: 846 KB
File name: Azure.vss
Download: Click here to download


Windows Azure Stencils for the following:

  1. Yahoo Identity
  2. Facebook Identity
  3. Google Identity
  4. LiveID Identity
  5. Cloud
  6. Datacenter
  7. Claim
  8. ID
  9. Security
  10. Persistent VM
  11. Web Role
  12. Worker Role
  13. Queue
  14. Table Storage
  15. BLOB Storage
  16. Cache
  17. Azure Services
  18. RDBMS Service
  19. Windows Workload
  20. Windows Process
  21. On Premises Server
  22. Application
  23. On Premises Data
  24. On Premises
  25. Person 1
  26. People
  27. Person 2


Visio Stencils for Windows Azure (unofficial)

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What’s New In Software-Defined Storage

If you haven’t heard of StoreVirtual VSA by HP, you should check out this short video.

Kate Davis from HP talks about what’s new in software-defined storage from HP.

We plan on doing a user group presentation on StoreVirtual VSA soon.
Stay tuned for details!

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New Windows Azure Network Security Whitepaper

Title: Windows Azure Network Security Whitepaper
Author: Ashwin Palekar, Principal Program Manager, Windows Azure
Published: Nov 2013
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
Pages: 14
Size: 579 KB
File name: Windows Azure Network Security Whitepaper – FINAL.docx
Download URL: Click here for download

Windows Azure Network Security Whitepaper


This document provides guidance on securing network communication for applications deployed in Windows Azure, enabling customers to determine how best to protect their virtual infrastructure and data.

The intended audience for this whitepaper includes:

  • IT and Network administrators interested in deploying applications on Windows Azure
  • Developers interested in creating applications that run on Windows Azure
  • Technical decision makers (TDMs) considering Windows Azure to support new or existing services
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2014 Microsoft Events

Here’s a list of Microsoft events for the first half of 2014:

Source: US Partner Training January 2014 Hot Sheet

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24 Free eBooks from Microsoft Press

Since we’re talking about eBooks, here are two dozen more free eBooks from Microsoft Press.

Note: The eBook web page was originally created on May 4, 2012, but was recently updated on December 29, 2013.

Free Microsoft eBooks


  • Rethinking Enterprise storage – A Hybrid Cloud Model
  • Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals
  • Microsoft System Center – Designing Orchestrator Runbooks
  • Microsoft System Center – Configuration Manager Field Experience
  • Microsoft System Center – Cloud Management with App Controller
  • Microsoft System Center – Troubleshooting Configuration Manager
  • Microsoft System Center – Optimizing Service Manager
  • Introducing: Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 – Technical Overview
  • Introducing: Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals – Technical Overview
  • Introducing: Windows Server 2012 R2 – Technical Overview
  • Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • .NET Technology Guide for Business Applications
  • Introducing: Windows Server 2012 – RTM Edition
  • Introducing: Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Programming Windows 8 Apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Security and Privacy for Microsoft Office 2010 Users
  • Introducing: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Introducing: Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions – Second Edition
  • First Look: Microsoft Office 2010
  • Deploying Windows 7
  • Moving to Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
  • Programming Windows Phone 7

URL: Click here to download

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