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Because people still contact me on this blog, I thought I would put up a quick post regarding the PID / KEY for Longhorn Server that was included with the post event resources. There is a solution on how to get your key and it was not unique to our event – TechEd Boston attendees were also hit with this issue.

Check out the blog post on the Canadian IT Pro Team blog…. It has all the details for ya.

In case you were wondering – this blog is still active, but it is more of a personal note.  I manage and edit the Team Blogs as one of my responsibilities so you’ll find a lot of my posts on that one as well. This one isn’t going away – I’ve just been busy lately.

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The Kids needed some clean shirts after playing around outside this afternoon, so I pulled out the “Future Geek” T-Shirts from the EnergizeIT event my team put on this past weekend.

Future Geeks

Thirty bucks went to the Kids Miracle Network for these shirts. Not Bad – even Kelli (my wife) approves of them. Normally my event T-Shirts end up as night shirts or painting clothes after a while.

What's that up in the sky?

I also dug up my caricature I took the time to have done. Not bad, eh? Am I really that bald?

And for those of you who wanted to see what it looks like from the podium…

Fiew from the Podium

Not all the chairs were in place yet (due to light rigging hydraulic cherry picker machine still needing access) so it looks a little empty still.  If you look REAL close – you can just make out the MacBook pro that was installed with Vista using BootCamp (hint – it’s under the Lenovo).

I just posted on the Canadian IT Pro blog the process to get yourself started on either downloading or ordering a copy of Windows Vista Beta 2 (32 or 64 bit).

Here's the link to the post with the details.

Bruce and I created the Build ‘06 Usergroup presentation based in information from a variety of sources, including the XP Security Guide… I thought I’d let you know that I just posted an article over on http://blogs.technet.com/canitpro talking about it and where to download it.

Check it out!


After getting questions from a number of people on the recent tour on how I used a “cattle prod” batch file to kickstart the Windows Update client – I decided to write up a post about where I sourced the information and how I use it.

The post is over on the Canadian IT Pro blog… Check it out!

As you might remember from a couple of previous posts (post 1, post 2) – I was the initial creator of our Reference Network that is used for my teams national tours.  It has been refined, debated, changed and updated by everyone on the team in an effort to make it better and more representative of a network you would see in an IT Shop.  We add to it, take things away from it, patch it, upgrade it… you name it – we use it as we need to and keep it as “real” as we can. One challenge that came up last year was the inability of the audience to keep track of which machine was being displayed on the screen as we flipped between them during a demo.  In case you didn’t know, Virtual Server 2005 and it’s remote control client are very helpful in quickly starting (in Admin page with a ALT A, click on the thumbnail) and changing (right ALT and left or right arrow) which machine you are looking at.  Because it is so easy to flip around – we can loose track ourselves which machine we’re using.

My first solution to the problem was a simple BMP file that was made for each system with their computer name.  It worked, but not very dynamic and they had to be created manually. Then I remembered the SYSINTERNALS utility called BGINFO… Why didn’t I think of this before? I used to use it on all my servers when I was an IT Guy.  I went to www.sysinternals.com site, clicked on their utilities section, and downloaded their BGINFO utility.

SYSInternals is the “freeware” side of some powerful utilities that can do A LOT for saving time and making your life easier. I’ve been using their products for quite some time to help out getting programs to work as a regular user by identifying file (filemon) and registry (regmon) access issues, reading a dead NTFS drive, checking out more detailed processes with process explorer or catching and blocking apps that autorun all the time…  Have a browse around their site – it’s worth the visit.  I’ve met, talked and been onstage with Mark Russinovich at our IT Pro Community day last year. I haven’t had the opportunity to talk or meet with Bryce Cogswell – co-founder of Winternals and author of the BGINFO tool.

They have a detailed explanation of what the tool does and how it works on the download/info page for BGINFO… Have a quick read to understand what you can do with the utility.  Basically – it needs to be run with a command line switch and timer setting to update the background bitmap with the information/attributes you want to have displayed on the screen.  I created the “technet” version of info you see on your reference network in a couple of minutes.  I should spruce it up a bit, but I’ll save that till later. If you are interested in having a copy of my TECHNET.BGI file that I use on the reference network… here it is

All I do is copy the bginfo.exe, technet.bgi config file and a shortcut with the command line switches I use into the %windir% directory (c:\windows).  I then edit the “all users” start menu and drop the shortcut into the startup folder and that’s it. 

The command line I use is a shortcut with the following command line parameters. “bginfo c:\windows\technet.bgi /timer:0

By placing it in the All Users / startup folder, no matter who logs on gets the background updated. You could also schedule it to run on a regular basis with the scheduler.  You could drop it in a login script or startup script with a GPO object… you could also just leave it as a shortcut and run it manually… It’s quite flexible that way.

Check it out. I hope it helps you keep track of where YOU are in your server world.  It works GREAT in virtual environments, KVM server rooms, Remote IP KVMs – heck I even run it on my home PCs…

Do you have any great utilities you want to share? Post a comment.  If you wanted to write a guest blog post – drop me an email with the new Contact button!

I wanted to share the latest virtualization news around our announcement at LinuxWorld in Boston.  Virtual Server 2005 R2 both 32 bit and 64 bit will be free for download and use in your production environments!

Check out my post on the Canadian IT Pro blog for more details...

Windows 2003 R2 – What is New?

This presentation will cover what is new within Windows 2003 R2. This session will show attendees with demonstrations and video clips the latest features within Windows 2003 R2 including:

  • Improved Branch office Management
  • Storage Management
  • Virtual Server and Windows 2003 R2 Enterprise
  • 64-bit support

Q & A will follow this presentation.

Microsoft Canada
100 Queen Street Suite 500
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 1A4

Agenda: Wednesday April 12th
11:30 a.m. – Event registration
12:00 pm – Presentation
1:30 p.m. – Q & A
2:00 p.m. – Door Prizes


Pizza and Pop will be served, Please RSVP to help us order enough of both.



OWSUG.ca Web Site          http://www.owsug.ca/cs/ 
OWSUG.ca Mailing list        http://lists.listleague.com/mailman/listinfo/owsug.ca 
OWSUG.ca Forums             http://www.owsug.ca/cs/forums/

I am wrapping up the Build ‘06 tour in Winnipeg this week and just got back from the post event activities from the user group event this evening. User groups and communities around technology have been around since the time of the Altair personal kit computer once they started out of peoples garages. I wasn’t around to use the Altair, but I got an early start when my dad ordered and built his Sinclair ZX-81 once the kids went to bed. I still remember learning to program from articles in magazines and fiddling with the computer whenever I got the chance – you couldn’t keep me away from it.

Working with User Group is are part of my job that I really love doing. It allows me to share my passion for technology with other IT Pros across Canada.  After tonights event, I got lots of “thank-you”s and “great job!” comments that were from sincere individuals who took the time to come down and talk to me face to face. We wrapped up a little later then expected, but for the most part, I would have to say the event was a success. Winnipeg IT Pro usergroup will hopefully get some new faces to add to their user base and hopefully it will encourage more to attend and participate in the local IT community. I e-mailed Jason Miller a copy of the slide deck / resources, so he should have it up on the site soon enough in case you wanted a copy of them.

After mostly everyone had left, a few people stuck around to continue talking about the event and other technologies. We decided to reconvene at a local establishment (Kings Head Pub) for a couple of pints and further discussion. This is what is commonly referred to as ‘The Beer SIG”.  6 of us showed up for the conversation: Phil Klassen (instructor at Red River College), Rod Buike (AD MVP and Admin of http://thelazyadmin.com website), Jordan Samulaitis (Sales and Technical Specialist with www.FatPort.com), Brent Barske (consultant, beta tester extraordinaire and sysadmin for River East Transcona School Division) and Jason Miller (www.somnio.ca and President of WITPro).  We talked about everything under the sun: Voice over IP, Mobile 5, Virtualization, Broadband futures, DNS architecture, SBS Swing Server migration, 64 bit technology, Exchange 12, MSN Search vs. Google Search, iPOD, online music services, Travel and rewards booking with Aeroplan or AirMiles – you name it, it was discussed as part of the 2 1/2 hr conversation.  There was never a low point in the discussion – someone was always involved, talking / debating / defending their position on one thing or another. Heck – it is such a small world, I found out that I might be staying in someone’s Honey Moon suite from 20 years ago (Room 613 at the Fairmont). ok – that last part might have been a little TOO much connecting the dots, but I can still ask to change my room if required.

The net result? A bunch of guys got together to have a passionate discussion around technology and how it can be used to make their world (and their customers world) a better place.  These guys were true “geeks” that were passionate about what they were saying and were happy to be making the connection with like minded people. These passionate IT Pros also happen to form the core group of members from the user group that keep the group moving along, alive and well. I see this at each of the user groups I meet up with – small core groups of individuals who are passionate about keeping the community alive and provide value back into their local communities.  Imagine if we expanded on these small core groups and got more people involved and working together with their local IT Pro community!

One usergroup event with free pizza and great content – $0
1 plate of nachos from Kings Head Pub – $7.50
6 pints of various brews including tip – $38
building and strengthening the local IT Pro community – $$ priceless $$

What have you done to support your local IT Pro community lately? Any ideas on how to make it better? Post them on up here for all to share!

If you are considering purchasing new server hardware in the near future (if you plan on using E12 or not) and you have the ability to future proof yourself a bit – why not get a hold of some 64 bit hardware. You know that you are able to put a 32 bit OS on it for now (if you have app compatibility issues) and can reformat and reinstall with a 64 bit OS later on.

Go on over to the Canadian IT Pro blog to check it out.

I just posted the detailed hardware specifications of our “DemoBot” system on the blogs.technet.com/canitpro team blog site. I thought I would direct you there in case you are a bit of a hardware geek and wanted to know what sort of horsepower runs the events we run.

Check it out!

I just posted a lengthy discussion around the question that comes up when one installs Small Business Server and what to call your Active Directory domain. This has been a topic of discussion with a number of my friends and IT pros I’ve met while on the road whenever we discuss Small Business Server issues.

It’s not something to be taken lightly and it deserves a little more thought then just pressing “next” during the install process. Check it out over at the Canadian IT Professional blog. join in the discussion by posting a comment.

I am un-expectantly in Vancouver today en route to Victoria. I’ve been called up to help out with the first tour stop of the TechNet Build’06 tour.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out more details about this tour – check out the Canadian IT Pro Blog for more information. I just put up an informational post up there.

In case you don’t have it yet – the site for IT Professionals in Canada can can be found here:


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I attended the Ottawa Windows Server User Group meeting last night to hear Rory McGraw talk about Monitoring AD Security with MOM 2005. I have a more detailed post on how the meeting went and the content over on the Canadian IT Pro blog (http://blogs.technet.com/canitpro/archive/2006/02/24/420468.aspx)

I wanted to know if you attended or not and what you thought? The numbers are starting to climb for user group attendance and I am happy to see this trend going in an upward fashion. I am also glad that someone ELSE was presenting instead of me (hee hee) since I believe the user group community has to take charge of their destiny and direction of the group. Keep It Up and keep on providing Garth Jones the feedback!

I have to run – I just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on the post event details. I believe the www.owsug.ca website will have an updated copy of the presentation and other reference material up soon. If you haven’t visited the site yet – go to it and register to receive updates.

If you were at the TechNet event in Toronto and you saw a guy taking pictures with a big camera - chances are it was my colleague Barnaby Jeans... He just managed to get the photos uploaded for all to view. There are some good shots of the 20 foot high Windows Mobile 5 device from TelusMobility remote controlled and projected on the big screen (glad I didn't have anything too personal on my schedule that day).

TNX: TechNet Exchange - a photoset on Flickr.

I am still working with the TechNet team to get some more post event resources out to you. So far - Powerpoints are on the page. Audio casts, demo casts and full AV feeds from the Toronto event are in the works. The post event page URL is www.microsoft.com/canada/technet/posteventtnx – Check it out!
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