MAC duplication issues with captured VMs and WDS

I’ve previously reported problems with MAC duplication on Hyper-V host external network connections on Windows Server 2008 R2, which I’ve never fully resolved, although we have been successfully working around the issue as detailed in the first link above.

A couple of weeks ago I was working simultaneously on my Windows Server 2008 R2 laptop with Hyper-V (the same laptop build that’s been previously mentioned) and a Windows 7 x64 build that I was using for testing, when I noticed severe but intermittent network problems on both machines. After a fair amount of head scratching, I noticed that the two laptops had duplicated MAC addresses. Blatantly that shouldn’t happen, as the whole point of a MAC address is to provide uniqueness. The most perplexing issue was that the addresses conflicted across two different operating systems. However, it happened. Both wired adapters on the two machines had the MAC address 00-21-9B-DC-8E-0B. I uninstalled the wired adapter on the Windows 7 machine and scanned for new hardware. When the device reinstalled the problem went away. Continue reading “MAC duplication issues with captured VMs and WDS”

Summary of Mark Russinovich’s Inside Windows 7 Redux

This Channel 9 “going deep” interview with Mark Russinovich dives very deep in to kernel changes in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. I’ll do my best to summarise. It’s excellent stuff, illuminating:

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Federated Search

Federated Search is one of the most useful and interesting additions to MOSS 2007 since it was launched. It’s now been announced for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Federated Search was integrated into MOSS 2007 with the post-SP1 Infrastructure Update, which effectively brought the Search Server 2008 product to the MOSS 2007 platform. Federated Search will pass a query from a single interface to multiple OpenSearch-compatible indices. It will then render matching results from these indices asynchronously as they return. In MOSS 2007 a federated search web part is added to a search results page and each web part renders only if results are found through that Search Connector. This works brilliantly, as local results will typically return first, then remote sources will render in due course.

This functionality has now been added to Windows Search. I think this is a fantastic move, as these choices will often be very preferential. I may want Wikipedia while you will want Britannica. I may roam among three branch offices and need to query each of the regional SharePoint portals. It’s very powerful stuff – especially when it moves to the client and can be configured to individual needs.

Find more Search Connectors on the Enterprise Search site. Read the Windows 7 Federated Search Provider Implementer’s Guide.

Hardening Windows 7 services

I’m in the process of hardening and optimising a Windows 7 build at present. Did you know it has 150+ services now? Windows is officially big.

If you’re interested in this undertaking, I can recommend the Black Viper resource. There are a considerable number of services that can be disabled for most users. That said, you should not take the advice in this or other hardening links at face value. If the recommendations or documentation on the service is insufficient to make your decision, either leave it be or research it further (or both). This is the best opportunity you’ll get to fill any gaps in your knowledge.

Once you think you’ve got it licked, always test, pilot and refine an image. It’s also worth creating a log of your decisions for each service from the start, both as a knowledge base and for tracking changes and differences from default builds. The process of documenting your choice will force you to think it through and will give the question the gravity it deserves. There’s no question this is a laborious undertaking, but it’s a valuable exercise and should yield a build that you’ll be happy with for some time.

Monitor stroke and Ctrl+click in jump lists

I was just looking at the Virtual PC Guy blog about the combined on/offline VDI in a forthcoming VMWare release when I noticed that he says he has six monitors on his desk at work. Six!!! I remember having three (when I also had three computers) on my desk in 2001-2002, and I’ve definitely had that many again while working on crazy builds, but I’m finding it hard to fathom how cool it would be to have six (let alone enough desk space to accommodate them).

Then it occurred to me that this must require a fairly massive amount of added power, especially when you account for the monitor envy this would induce in his colleagues. In fact, I think Virtual PC Guy’s monitors probably account for an ice shelf or two singlehandedly. 😉

I’d struggle to justify it myself, especially with that new Windows 7 (and Server 2008 R2) taskbar. I’m particularly enamoured with Ctrl+click in the jump list. The jump list itself has been much discussed, and I reckon it may justify the upgrade to Windows 7 in its own right. This added functionality seals the deal though.

The length of the title of a document (or perhaps just a rubbish name for a document, or multiple versions of a document) sometimes makes it hard to identify a target in the jump list. If you click the taskbar icon for the application (Word, Notepad, Outlook, browser, etc) while holding down Ctrl it will cycle through the instances of that application, bringing each to the fore in turn for a peek. Think of it as ALT+TAB within a jump list. It’s an excellent way to unveil what’s hidden without introducing a requirement for seventeen screens.