Microsoft Ignite (2017) Community Reporter

I’m happy to announce that I’m honored to be selected as a Community Reporter for Microsoft Ignite at this year’s conference in Orlando from September 25-29, 2017. As a Community Reporter, I’ll be helping to bring the IT Pro community together in a series of interviews, recordings, live shows, social media, and much more. You will find my introduction and a Q&A on the Microsoft Tech Community site.

The Community Reporters are meticulously selected by Microsoft Ignite particularly as community influencers, Microsoft MVP, technical expertise, strong engagements with the IT Pro community, leadership, past conference planning experiences, and other unknown factors which is probably on a need to know only basis. 🙂

Here’s the announcement from Microsoft Ignite:

This year at Microsoft Ignite, we’re excited to have 10 MVPs serving as Community Reporters. Leading up to Orlando, they’ll be sharing tips and tricks for navigating Microsoft Ignite, what to pack, and a look at their session schedules. During Microsoft Ignite, the Community Reporters will be your go-to’s for live event updates. If you aren’t attending the conference this year, these reporters will be a great way to see what’s happening on-the-ground in Orlando. Check out their introductions and follow them on social to stay up-to-date on all things Microsoft Ignite!

I have the pleasure of being on the team of reporters comprised of a top notch crew (some of whom are good friends who I have known for a few years), and they are:

Check out their profiles, follow their social channels, and feel free to engage with any one of us. Thank you to the awesome folks at Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Tech Community teams for the great opportunity. See you in Orlando!

Follow @Hoorge on Twitter and join Tech Konnect on Facebook and Twitter to stay current on technology related matters.

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“Unofficial” MVP Perk From Special Friends

A couple of weeks after receiving my MVP Award from Microsoft, I asked my IT Pro peers for some feedback via a Facebook group (Tech Konnect) and MVP Yammer Community on what they use for computer systems to run test environments such as ConfigMgr, Windows builds, Server OS, etc. I realized as a MVP, I need to up my game and build a portable lab environment to conduct testing and create tutorials for the IT Pro community in order to share some technical knowledge. Also, I’m often asked to test various software and tools in return for reviews or product QA feedback, so a proper lab environment is a must.

For those of you who run test environments on your laptops using Hyper-V or VMware Workstation, what make and model laptop are you using and what are the specs (Hard Drive(s), memory, CPU, etc)?

I received an overwhelming response with many different hardware specifications including suggestions of various makes and models of laptops and much more. One thing that stood out was the amount of memory (RAM) one should consider in order to have a decent lab environment, at least to sustain for example, a Domain Controller, ConfigMgr server, SQL, MDT, and some Windows clients to name a few. “You need at least 32GB of memory”, the crowd roared!

I knew my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with 8GB of memory was not going to cut it and I was stuck since I can’t upgrade the memory and hard disk on the Surface Pro 4. Unbeknownst to me, two of my IT Pro friends who are well respected by me and by the global IT Pro community stepped up to the plate and very generously decided to provide me with a special gift to help me with my MVP and IT Pro endeavours, so I could further expand my technical skills and to give back to the community via my learning and knowledge. For confidentiality purposes, these two special friends of mine will remain anonymous. I have been shocked and speechless from the day I was told that I was to look out for a package (shipped) and even to this day as I use this laptop daily to setup my test lab. I’m so grateful and blessed to receive this generous gift and …………well….., I’m speechless! My friend said “Now that you are MVP, you need the right equipment for testing!”

So, here’s what I received:
1. HP Zbook 14 G2 laptop (Intel Core i7-5500U CPU 2.4GHz, 32GB memory, 256GB Hard Disk, 1TB SSD Hard Disk)
2. Power adapters (two)
3. HP UltraSlim docking station
4. Stickers

  

  

I love my “new” HP laptop, it’s shiny, it’s awesome, it’s perfect! Stay tuned for my future blog post on how I setup my test lab, what I used to build it, and some obstacles I ran into which I ended up resolving. To my two special friends, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! 🙂

Follow me (@Hoorge) on Twitter and join Tech Konnect on Facebook and Twitter (@TechKonnect) to stay current on technology related matters.

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Recap – Microsoft Ignite 2016 By Harjit

photo-sep-30-10-17-09-am

– Ignite 2016 by Harjit –

*** This is my first pass on the recap. There is a lot more information which I would like to share and I’ll do so by adding on to this post or in a separate post ***

Microsoft Ignite Conference was held in Atlanta last week – One of my favorite conferences that I enjoy attending for learning and networking

23,000 attendees plus a few hundred vendors in a massive convention center. Sounds crazy but it was less chaotic as we experienced in Chicago last year

Over 1400 sessions from 20-minute theater sessions to 75-minute breakout sessions

Lots of great networking opportunities with peers, product teams, and speakers. One of the best values from this conference

Cloud, Cloud, Cloud = Azure, O365, Sharepoint, etc are hot stuff and the future (and the present)

Security was a big focus too with Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Azure, and other online offerings

Azure is becoming the first AI supercomputer. Microsoft has some impressive datacenters across the world

The afternoon Innovation Keynote by Satya Nadella was cool and exciting. The morning Keynote was less than desirable but they served fresh donuts and other treats

Closing Celebration was held on Thursday at Centennial Park and it was a “camping” style theme, which had lots of games, activities, food, treats, and beer. Lots of fun!

Highlights:

  • Beam Robots were introduced at Ignite and were quite popular. People signed up from all over the world to drive them around the convention center and interact with attendees, product teams, and vendors to name a few. They were a lot of fun
  • Spark 360 Photo Booth – Had a cool 360 photo taken and my image turned into a window cling and displayed on a large window in the convention center along with several others. It was more of a pixelated style image
  • Had some casual chats with my tech idols Wally Mead, Jason Helmick, Sami Laiho, Paula Januszkiewicz, and a few others
  • Got to meet the wonderful and friendly Ignite planning team, i.e. marketing, social media, and the folks behind the new Microsoft Tech Community (which apparently will replace TechNet in the near future)
  • Everyone was friendly, courteous, and nice which made the experience much pleasant and enjoyable
  • Reconnecting with fellow IT peers who I see yearly at these conferences and made some new connections as well
  • Having friends with privileges set me up with lounge access at Harstfield-Jackson Airport (helped to kill time comfortably before my flight home)
  • Got to check out some Atlanta venues such as CNN, Coca Cola, Centennial Park, Philips Arena, and off course the massive Georgia World Convention Center
  • Feeling energized, motivated, and enthusiastic for future IT and my career
  • Two thumbs up!

Cons:

  • I got sick!
  • Missing my IT friends!
  • Conference ended!

I attended many sessions, spent time in the expo hall talking with vendors and checked out the demos of their products, talked with Microsoft product teams and developers, attended mini theater sessions such as Edge, Cortana, OneNote, Windows 10, ConfigMgr, Office, PowerShell, etc; had some “hallway” sessions with fellow attendees to learn about their IT issues and how they do things at their organizations, looked at some of their home grown tools, and asked for some technical tips and suggestions; spent some time in the Hands-On-Labs (HOLs) area to try and “play” with some products; attended some after-hour social events, and took advantage of a lot of networking opportunities. I was sad to discover that my new friend from Australia had her bag stolen from an evening social event which contained her laptop, passport, wallet, and phone to name a few. It was a big setback for her but she eventually made it home with some emergency documents from her embassy.

There was a lot of information covered and things I learned at Ignite, however it was a busy week and a lot to capture in one go, so going back to some of the sessions (recorded) which I attended and others that I missed (which I had wanted to check out) in the upcoming days and weeks as time permits will be a good refresher and valuable to me. At the conference, I focused mostly on Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, ConfigMgr, and deployments to name a few. Below are some of my notes from a few different areas in no particular order. Sorry for the long post.

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Windows 10

Windows 10 Deployments: What’s new?

  • Deploy Windows 10 to Windows 7,8, 8.1 with In-Place Upgrade or Traditional Deployment
  • New devices – Deploy with Provisioning or Traditional Deployments
  • Existing Windows 10 (Stay Current) – In-Place Upgrade

When not to use In-Place Upgrade:

  1. Changing from x86 to x64
  2. Changing from Legacy BIOS to UEFI
  3. Dual boot and multi boot systems
  4. Using certain 3rd party disk encryption products
  5. Can’t use custom image for in-place upgrade. Must use install.wim that comes with the original media, which lays down the clean OS and then merges the apps, data, and settings

Upgrade Process: Drivers

  1. Some classes of driver are not migrated forward – Display and Bluetooth drivers are left behind and any driver considered incompatible. New in-box drivers are used for those devices

Upgrade Process: Dynamic Update

  1. Grabs latest servicing update to inject into media
  2. Gets needed drivers that aren’t in the media
  3. Manually inject Cummulative Updates into install.wim

Upgrade Process: Size

  1. Each feature update is 3.5GB per PC (whether from Windows 7/8.1 or from Windows 10 to a later feature upgrade)
  2. Each monthly quality update is now up to 1GB per PC (when using ConfigMgr or 3rd party patching tools)
  3. Recommended to use peer-to-peer distribution
  4. Use of Express update with WSUS, reduces monthly traffic to 50-100MB as only the new components are pulled down
  5. Microsoft is investigating changes to ConfigMgr (Current Branch) for Windows 10 help
  6. Use BranchCache in ConfigMgr

Upgrade Process: In-Box Apps

  1. Can remove in-box apps but each feature update puts them back
    https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mniehaus/2015/11/11/removing-windows-10-in-box-apps-during-a-task-sequence/
    Workaround: Remove them again post-upgrade with task sequence step, scheduled task, or SetupComplete.cmd file that runs a script

Upgrade Process: Settings Migration

  1. The upgrade process should migrate all settings (default applications, file associations, user, systems, and app settings
  2. Some settings may not be migrated properly and these should be considered as bugs (submit feedback, contact TAM, open a case)

Upgrade Process: Preflight

  1. Preflight to determine ahead of time if upgrade will succeed
    Use exe /Auto Upgrade /Compat ScanOnly /Quiet
  2. Runs an upgrade process without actually running a production upgrade
  3. Provides return code and XML reports to identify issues
    https://blogs.technet.com/b/mniehaus/archive/2015/08/23/windows-10-pre-upgrade-validation-using-setup-exe.aspx

Other:

  1. Feature updates can be deferred for 1-180 days
  2. Quality updates can be deferred for 1-30 days

Quality Updates:

  1. Single cumulative update each month
  2. Security fixes, reliability fixes, bug fixes, etc
  3. Supersedes the previous month’s updates
  4. No new features

Feature Updates:

  1. Targeting twice per year with new capabilities
  2. Reliable with built-in rollback capabilities
  3. Deployment using in-place upgrade, driven by existing tools

Provisioning:

  1. Designed for new PCs out-of-the-box to transform for business use with little or no user interaction
  2. Create provisioning packages using Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer tool (available with Windows ADK)
  3. Provisioning packages are small (< 10K) and can be deployed by email, file server, or USB
  4. Can change OS SKU from Professional to Enterprise (slmgr.vbs /ipk)
  5. Can apply policies, settings, install apps and updates, enroll device for management
  6. This could be a better method to use by the Depot to prepare Windows 10 PCs for the organization instead of imaging them

MDT 2013 Update 2 is still the current release

  1. Fully supports Windows 10 1607 and most bugs fixed

Sysprep Changes

  1. Previous Sysprep did not support upgraded OSes, for example upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10, then trying to Sysprep and capture would always fail
  2. With Windows 10 1607, Sysprep is now supported on upgraded OSes

Taskbar Configuration

  1. With Windows 10 1607, can now configure the task bar
  2. Add or remove icons or replace entire layout
  3. Driven by Group Policy (same Start screen control policy used for the Start menu) or via LayoutModification.xml file
  4. Place file in c:\users\default\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\shell

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/windows-10-start-layout-options-and-policies

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/manage/configure-windows-10-taskbar

Windows Upgrade Analytic Service (free service via OMS with a subscription)

  1. Free tool that leverages telemetry
  2. Tells you what issues you may encounter with upgrades
  3. Shows you what PCs are in your environment, what applications are running, and what drivers are on them
  4. Shows known incompatibility issues

Windows 10 Deployment: Tips & tricks

  • Handling device drivers in deployment process, common deployment issues, workarounds, parsing logs, WinPE and PXE troubleshooting, UEFI deployments
  • Use MDT and ConfigMgr for deployments

Patching

  • Starting October 2016 Patch Tuesday cycle, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will follow the Windows 10 Cummulative Update framework, where monthly patches will be delivered in one CU rather than split up into many individual patches, which means individual patches cannot be removed post CU install. Heard some rumors that Microsoft may be coming up with a tool to allow IT Pros to remove problematic updates, since that is a big concern for many especially when older LOB applications have compatibility issues.

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ConfigMgr

New Current Branch servicing model

  1. New features added with 3 releases per year
  2. 12 month support lifecycle for each release
  3. N-1 support for Windows 10 deployments and management – ConfigMgr 1602 or 1607 are required to support Windows 10 1607

Two mechanisms for Windows 10 feature updates

  1. Windows 10 Servicing feature, for automated servicing plans
  2. Task Sequences – when needing to do pre or post processing steps using customized media
  • ConfigMgr 1606 Tech Preview deprecates OSDPreserveDriveLetter (Task Sequence variable) – No more D: drive or E: drive issue for system OS

ConfigMgr sessions were catered around OSD, Intune, managing mobile devices and apps, deploying O365 clients, and Windows 10 deployments.

  • Over 40 million clients managed by ConfigMgr worldwide
  • New ConfigMgr CB release is called 1610 and offers cloud-based management and peer caching content
  • Microsoft Intune portal is moving from Silverlight to Azure – New Intune portal expected in Q1 2017
  • “When you need to go fast with Windows 10, you need to go fast with ConfigMgr too”
  • New MDT toolkit releasing later this year and will simply be called MDT instead of MDT 2016
  • Nested task sequences are coming soon in ConfigMgr

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Cortana

  • With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Sticky Notes got a link-enabled update with support for Cortana insights which lets you set reminders, call written phone numbers, send email messages, view web links, map directions, etc
  • Cortana is gathering data and learning daily

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Windows Server 2016

Introduce Windows Server 2016 Into Your Environment (*Watch this sessions*):
https://youtu.be/ximW1iMaUwE

– Configuration Levels

  1. Windows Server with Desktop Experience (Graphical Shell, Management Tools, Desktop, Core OS)
  2. Windows Server Core (more for application services)
  3. Nano Server

Windows Server with Desktop Experience and Windows Server Core follows the Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) – New version every 2 to 3 years and supported with 5 years support and 5 years extended (5 + 5).

Nano Server follows the Current Branch for Business model – a new version every 6 months.

Nano Server:

  • Smallest footprint (approximately 500 MBs)
  • Very fast deployment and reboots
  • Focus on two key scenarios – Born-in-the-cloud applications and Cloud platform (Hyper-V and Scale-Out File Servers)
  • Not installed in the traditional manner. Use Nano Server Image Builder or PowerShell cmdlets
  • Sysinternals tools ported to run on Nano Server https://download.sysinternals.com/files/SysinternalsSuite-Nano.zip

Windows Server 2016 utilizes Cummulative Updates like Windows 10.
Only need the latest CU to bring the server to the latest patch version.
Security Updates will be delivered on an as needed basis.

Containers:

  • Most people struggle to deploy custom applications to production environment. Containers solves this by enabling applications and libraries to run in their own containers which have dependencies
  • Fast deployment and high density
  • Share an OS instance with user mode isolation (sandbox)
  • Can be managed with DockerCLI or PowerShell (uses Docker REST API). Docker is the management engine for Containers
  • Each container cannot see other containers from a user mode level

Storage:

  • Storage Spaces Direct – Aggregates internal disks or connected via external storage
  • Storage Replica – Block-level replication between stand-alone or clustered servers. Replication via SMB 3
  • Some features in Datacenter SKUs only
  • ReFS got some improvements in performance

Networking:

  • Major changes with Network Virtualization – Software defined networking v2
  • Manageable via PowerShell, Azure Stack, or SCVMM

Remote Desktop Services:

  • OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1 RemoteFX support. RemoteFX support in Windows Server 2016 guest
  • Personal session desktops, i.e. specific RDSH per user
  • Pen remoting support (pen acting as pen instead of mouse)
  • Remote Credential Guard – Credentials are not stored on the remote server when /RemoteGuard switch is used with mstsc

Active Directory:

  • Privileged Identity Management (PIM) to mitigate credential theft using a bastion forest, utilizes Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM)
  • New workflows for administrative privilege access
  • Time-bound memberships – Kerberos ticket lifetimes restricted to time of lowest time-bound membership

Manage and Troubleshoot Your Windows Server Environment Remotely

  • Free Azure management tools for on-prem Windows Server 2016. Securely manage on-prem servers remotely from anywhere
  • Need to setup a proxy to allow communication between on-prem servers and Azure
  • Can start a free trial for Azure and when it expires, you can still keep using the remote server management tools for free
  • Web-based remote Server Management Tools (SMT) – Free Azure service with a subscription https://azure.microsoft.com
  • Includes replacements for local only tools, such as Task Manager, Device Manager, Sconfig, Registry Editor, Firewall rules, Certificate Manager, Local Administrators, Network Settings, PowerShell Console, Services, Storage, Windows Updates, Event Viewer, etc
  • Alternative to Remote Desktop
  • Based on WMI and PowerShell
  • Manages Nano Server, Server Core, Server with Desktop Experience
  • Supports Windows Server 2016, Server 2012 R2, Server 2012

Deployments of SMT (https://portal.azure.com):

  • UX hosted within Azure portal connected via a gateway service deployed in your infrastructure
  • Agentless model, gateway service connects to the internet via port 443
  • Gateway deployed via MSI on a server designated as the gateway service
  • Gateway resource provisioned in Azure Resource Group
  • Scale gateways for resiliency and performance
  • Gateway only reaches out using https – no special firewall rules required
  • Gateway Group Policy – AllowGateway (lock down environment by default, only allow SMT gateways on authorized servers)
  • Gateway Group Policy – RequireMFA (require MFA for Azure to send the required header)

SMT page http://aka.ms/smt-create
Blog page http://aka.ms/servermanagement

Remote Server Management Tools (RSAT)

  • An updated RSAT package for Windows 10 will be available in the Windows Server 2016 GA timeframe
  • Will support Windows Server 2016, Nano Server, Windows Server 2012 R2 and 2012

PowerShell

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Security

Understanding Credential Security: Important things you need to know about storing your identity
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAmgmibNVys

Paula Januszkiewicz

  • Attended her session because she is a great speaker and super smart. Check it out via the YouTube link above
  • Talks about the unexpected places your passwords reside, how password attacks are performed, and typical paths where credentials can be leaked
  • Demos include how she hacks cached credentials, KeePass, Remote Desktop Manager, IIS, etc
  • Kerberos pre-authorization token which allowed access without the smart card even when that was the only authentication method

Sami Laiho (awesome speaker)

Learn Why You Need To Ditch Admin Rights – Session not yet available online
Learn About Windows 10 Secure Kernel – https://youtu.be/7eMmR7B-xFk
Discover Windows 10 Internals – https://youtu.be/Qz2bRdwS4O4

  • Another brilliant speaker on Windows security
  • Sessions were demo filled, so videos will provide much details
  • Talks about ditching admin rights, how admins can impersonate others, shows how to login to systems as a normal user with admin rights, etc

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA)

  • Can detect advanced threats in your network
  • ATA leverages unique machine learning algorithms, together with the latest security researches in order to detect suspicious activities such as Pass-The-Hash, Pass-The-Ticket, and more
  • ATA helps identify breaches and threats using behavioral analysis

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Office 365

  • New UI
  • Office 365 growing rapidly
  • Office 365 App Launcher – https://blogs.office.com/2016/09/27/introducing-the-new-office-365-app-launcher/
  • Office 365 Administration – New Admin Center is now GA (easier, faster, more insights, more functionality)
  • New usage reporting dashboard
  • Improved search
  • Monitor DirSync status (easy access from admin dashboard, quickly identify issues)
  • Message Center – Stay on top of upcoming O365 changes, take required action, and prevent problems
  • Office 365 Admin App – Manage on the go – http://aka.ms/office365adminmobile
  • Retirement of old Admin Center in Q4 2016

Office 365 Roadmap http://roadmap.office.comOffice
Office Blog https://blogs.office.com

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Windows Hello

  • Microsoft announced that Android and iOS devices will get Windows Hello authentication support

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OneDrive

  • OneDrive getting more integrated with Sharepoint Online, plus new capabilities when used on web browser or mobile device
  • Built-in more features to secure and manage OneDrive content
  • The sync client for OneDrive (consumer) and Onedrive for Business now gets a Sharepoint sync as well
  • Delivers unified sync experience with ability to sync Sharepoint Online document libraries and OneDrive folders shared with users
  • New activity center to show recent changes to files
  • On web, OneDrive able to display rich previews for commonly used business file types such as Adobe, Photoshop, etc
  • New features to OneDrive app for iOS and Android
    • Push notifications when files are shared with you
    • Scan feature to combine multiple photos into a single pdf file
    • Discover how many team members have viewed the files
  • New IT capabilities – OneDrive user management in O365
    • Set storage quota
    • External sharing permissions for specific user

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Microsoft SQL Server 2016

Here are some SQL 2016 sessions to check out

Upgrade to Microsoft SQL Server 2016 – https://youtu.be/WboD21kxIRM
Learn How SQL Server 2016 on Windows Server 2016 are better together – https://youtu.be/bEABd2zOV9k

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That’s all folks!

Follow (@Hoorge) on Twitter and join Tech Konnect on Facebook and Twitter (@TechKonnect) to stay current on technology related matters.

 

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Social Media High Five

My good friend Nick Lagalante of Thycotic surprised me with this awesome recognition for my continued social media engagement with the IT community. Thanks Nick!

You can catch up with me at:

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Recap – Tech Ed New Orleans: The who, what, why and The Krewe

I was first noticed by the Microsoft TechEd team during my attendance at the TechEd conference in New Orleans in 2013, which was my first TechEd conference. Based on my social media influence, I was asked to participate in a short video with my take on the Microsoft TechEd conference. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity and hand picked among the thousands of attendees. Thank you Teched and Channel 9.

Check out the video.

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Recap – Advice from Alumni sharing their TechEd Schedule: Harjit Dhaliwal

Just catching up on some old info for documentation purposes.

On April 16, 2014, my friends at Microsoft TechEd shared my tentative conference schedule and the reasons for my selection.  Below is a direct copy of what is posted on the Channel 9 blog.

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In honor of TechEd being less than a month away, we here at the TechEd team decided to ask some friends and TechEd Alumni if they would be willing to share their schedules and selection methodologies with the rest of the world. We’ve got three posts lined up with some possible IDEAS that you can use to help pre-populate your schedule. If you haven’t yet started – get over to the Content Catalogue, sign in with your ID you used to register for TechEd and start scheduling!

First up is Harjit Dhaliwal, Systems Administrator at University of Vermont

Harjit

Harjit is an awesome photographer and has a preference for Client focused sessions. You can catch up with Harjit online at one of the following properties:

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TechEd 2014 Session Builder

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Monday, May 12, 2014

8:30-10:30AM

KEY01 TechEd Keynote

  • New Microsoft technologies, product updates, and breaking news is announced here. Good pep talks to motivate and to get a running start for a great week filled with technology learning and knowledge.

11:00-12:00PM

FDN03 Enabling Enterprise Mobility with Windows and Microsoft Office 365

  • Mobile devices are actively used and more prevalent in the Enterprise environment. More and more users want the ability to connect to Enterprise resources with their mobile devices in order to be productive, engaged, and connected. IT needs to embrace this new era of mobile devices and learn to make them work efficiently and securely to protect Enterprise data and resources.

1:15-2:30PM

OFC-B210 Microsoft SharePoint Overview

  • A good start to get some SharePoint knowledge.

DCIM-B318 Windows PowerShell Unplugged with Jeffrey Snover

  • PowerShell is the way of life these days, so any training, info, or guidance will be beneficial for my IT career.

3:00-4:15PM

WIN-B316 Managing Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 Using Mobile Device Management

  • Michael Niehaus mentions, “Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 include a new mobile device management (MDM) capability that provides functionality for deploying apps, managing settings, configuring VPN and wireless, deploying certs and more.” – I would like to learn how this works.

PCIT-B312 What’s New in Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Infrastructure

  • As the CM Administrator at my organization, I’m interested to know what is new or if there are any hidden tricks to make my IT life more efficient.

4:45-6:00PM

PCIT-B410 Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager: MVP Experts Panel

  • This is a great opportunity to learn, discuss, and collaborate with the world’s leading ConfigMgr experts.

DCIM-B329 Building Highly Effective Dashboards in Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager

  • Mildly curious on how Dashboards could be effective in SCOM 2012.

6:30PM

Tech Expo Welcome Reception

  • Great time to meet vendors and ask questions, and hang out with some fellow geeks.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

8:30-9:45AM

DCIM-B328 TWC: CSI: Windows – Techniques for Finding the Cause of the Unexpected System Takeovers

  • Interesting session for troubleshooting.

WIN-B320 Internet Explorer App Compat

  • Internet Explorer application compatibility is a daily challenge for IT Professionals to assist end users who need to run older applications in the organization.

10:15-11:30AM

DBI-B214 Introduction to SQL Server Management for the Non-DBA

  • For someone like me who is not too familiar with SQL Server and how to manage it, this would be a good session to get the lowdown.

PCIT-IL306 Implementing Endpoint Protection in Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

  • Interested to learn about SCEP reporting and malware detection.

WIN-B323 Deploying Windows 8.1 in the Enterprise

  • As a Systems Administrator who manages computer imaging, I’m interested to know how to leverage ConfigMgr 2012 for this task.

1:30-2:45PM

PCIT-IL307 Managing Microsoft Software Updates in Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

  • Software Updates deployment is my responsibility at my organization. There are several ways of deploying Software Updates with ConfigMgr 2012, however, I’m interested to learn some best practices.

WIN-B328 Group Policy: Notes from the Field – Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting

  • We use Group Policies extensively at my organization and I sometimes have to troubleshoot why some Group Policies have issues or don’t work as intended. This session would help me learn some tips and tricks as well as some troubleshooting techniques.

3:15-4:30PM

WIN-B330 Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Microsoft Office 2013 App-V Deployment

  • Application delivery and deployment to the end users has become a little more challenging. Leveraging App-V for large applications such as Microsoft Office 2013 could be highly effective.

DCIM-B341 TWC: Live Demonstration: Hacker Tools You Should Know and Worry about in 2014

  • A fun session to learn how the “bad guys” do bad stuff and to help protect systems from this knowledge.

5:00-6:15PM

PCIT-IL305 Basic Software Distribution with Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

  • Software Updates deployment is my responsibility at my organization. There are several ways of deploying Software Updates with ConfigMgr 2012, however, I’m interested to learn some best practices.

PCIT-B320 Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Community Jewels

  • ConfigMgr 2012 is a complex management tool which if used well, it can be very effective in managing systems. There are many third party tools and scripts used to enhance the ConfigMgr 2012 experience, and therefore I’m interested to know what they are and how to use them.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

8:30-9:45AM

WIN-IL200-R Creating a Windows 8.1 Reference Image

  • To learn Windows 8.1 Image management.

PCIT-B323 Application Management with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and Windows Intune

  • To further learn how to manage applications with ConfigMgr.

10:15-11:30AM

WIN-B351 Hacker Tools for Ethical Hackers to Protect Windows Clients

  • A fun session to learn how the “bad guys” do bad stuff and to help protect systems from this knowledge.

WIN-B413 Windows Performance Deep Dive Troubleshooting

  • Interested to learn how to troubleshoot Windows performance issues to enhance end user experience.

PCIT-B322 Deploying and Managing Work Folders

  • More and more users are bringing their own devices to the workplace and want to use Enterprise resources. This session may provide info on managing network home folder sync for BYOD users.

1:30-2:45PM

WIN-B342 Windows To Go: Deployment, Support for BYOD, and What IT Pros Need to Know

  • Information packed session for learning about Windows To Go and how to support BYOD users.

3:15-4:30PM

WIN-B345 Windows 8.1: Black Belt Troubleshooting

  • Great Windows 8.1 troubleshooting session.

DCIM-B418 Windows PowerShell Best Practices and Patterns: Time to Get Serious

  • PowerShell is the way of life for IT Professionals and it’s never enough to learn more of this important tool.

5:00-6:15PM

WIN-B338 Top OS Deployment Issues with Answers from Experts

  • Good session to learn the pain points of OS deployments and how to work around them.

PCIT-B340 Deploying and Managing Windows 8 and 8.1 with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 and System Center Configuration Manager

  • This session covers an important part of my daily Systems Administrator role at my organization.

==============================================================

Thursday, May 15, 2014

8:30-9:45AM

DCIM-B366 TWC: Hacker’s Perspective on Your Windows Infrastructure: Mandatory Check List

  • Any info to help secure my Windows environment is a plus.

WIN-B356 Modern Applications for IT Pros

  • Interested to learn more about applications with Windows 8.1 and sideloading.

10:15-11:30AM

WIN-B362 Project Virtual Reality Check: Microsoft App-V 5 Performance, Tuning, and Optimization (App-V PTO)

  • This session may give me a good start in implementing App-V in my organization which we are looking to do very soon.

DCIM-B368 TWC: Malware Hunting with Mark Russinovich and the Sysinternals Tools

  • Attending a Mark Russinovich session is a must. He does a great session on how to use the Sysinternals tools which he helped develop.

1:00-2:15PM

WIN-B354 Case of the Unexplained: Troubleshooting with Mark Russinovich

  • Attending a Mark Russinovich session is a must. Great to see how Mark troubleshoot computer issues.

WIN-B355 The Circle of Life for an App-V 5.0 Package: From Sequence to Termination

  • Learning how App-V applications come together will be helpful in understand how they work and where to troubleshoot if there are any issues with their performance.

2:45-4:00PM

WIN-B410 Advanced Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 Customizations: Dueling MDT Enhancements

  • Advanced Windows 8.1 deployment for the Enterprise.

WIN-B359 2014 Edition: How Many Coffees Can You Drink While Your PC Starts?

  • Good session to learn how to troubleshoot Windows startup issues.

WIN-B360 Sizing App-V 5: Planning and Designing a Highly Available, Scalable, and Resilient Management and Delivery System

  • May be a handy session to help implement App-V in my organization.

7:30PM

Closing Party

  • Can’t miss it. A good way to celebrate with friends and to end a good knowledge filled week. Thank you TechEd.
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Ask Harjit Why Microsoft Ignite?

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I’ve been a strong supporter of Microsoft technologies and an influencer on the Microsoft conference scenes, particularly TechEd, and now Microsoft Ignite.  I was invited to join the TechEd Roundtable team in November 2013 for the TechEd conference in Houston, and again in September 2014 for the Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago. Roundtable members are individually selected based on various criteria, including their tech industry, technical background, influence within the IT Pro communities, and professionalism. Roundtable members have the opportunity to meet and discuss with the conference planning team, provide suggestions, address issues or concerns, receive advance information on upcoming news or implementations, and have a direct channel of communication with the key people in the Microsoft events circle.

This week, I’m honored to be featured by the Microsoft Ignite team on all their social media channels with my take on why one should attend the Ignite conference. Thank you to all on the Microsoft Ignite team.  Cheers!  Here’s the Twitter post by MS_Ignite.

“You can have a very broad experience to try and learn about newer things that you’re interested in or you could focus on the stuff you actually do at work and enhance that.”

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You can connect with me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram (@Harjit).

For conversations and interactions on Microsoft Ignite, you can join the following channels:

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 4) – Q&A From The Ignite Forum, Plus Cool things To do In Chicago!

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This week on Episode 4 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show, Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) answer some questions from the Ignite Forums and explain how you can ask questions and provide some input.  They also cover a few top Chicago attractions, which I’ll you’ll find in this blog post.

Top questions this week from the Microsoft Ignite Forums:
Question #1 refers to where to include the IgniteNA promo code to receive the 50% discounted rate when registering for Microsoft Certification exams.
Answer: Head over to www.microsoft.com/learning and register for your exam. For the exam location, choose “Microsoft Ignite North America 2015”, and input the promo code in the payment section which is Step 3.

Question #2 refers to sessions on Friday, May 8.
Answer: Yup, without any doubt, there will be sessions, Hand-On-Labs (HOL), certification testing, and more on Friday.

Top attractions in Chicago:
Check out the virtual tour of the top attractions not to miss in this week’s segment for places like the Museum of Science and Industry, United Center, The Second City, and Cloud Gate aka “The Bean”.

Museum of Science and Industry:
Wow, if you’re an aviation buff as I am, this is a great museum to check out  While you drool over the Spirit of America, you’ll also get to explore various trains, cars, and other transportation.  Don’t forget to try the flight simulators which lets you experience some aircrafts throughout history.
Open daily from 9:30AM – 4:00PM.
Twitter: @msichicago

The Second City:
The Second City ia an influential comedy club which hosted many great comedian such as John Belushi, Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Martin Short, Ed Asner, Alan Alda, and Valerie Harper to name a few. Great place to check out some improve or even take a class.  Shows are held nightly, with matinees and late night shows on Fridays and Saturdays.
Twitter: @TheSecondCity

Cloud Gate aka “The Bean” at Millennium Park:
“The Bean” as known by locals and visitors is a hot spot in Chicago.  Almost everyone want to get a reflection shot or a selfie with this 100-ton stainless steel art piece.  Located in Millennium Park, it’s definitely a must see when in Chicago.
Twitter: @millennium_park

United Center:
The United Center which opened in 1994 is the largest arena in the USA and is home to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls.  Many concerts and sports events are held here throughout the year, and it’s a must visit for the die-hard sports fan.
Twitter: @unitedcenter

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out as well.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Countdown Show which are scheduled to be released every Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

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Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show (Ep. 2) – The One with PreDay Sessions and Drinks

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Here we go with episode 2 of the Microsoft Ignite Countdown Show with Rick Claus (@RicksterCDN) and Joey Snow (@JoeySnow) where they talk about the Pre-Day Sessions and share more of their favorite places to eat and drink in Chicago.  You can’t go wrong with knowing where the hotspots are for coffee, beer, steaks, and cocktails in Chicago.

Check out this episode on Channel 9 or you can watch it directly below:

First, we have the Pre-Day Sessions, which will be available on Sunday, May 3, 2015, from 9:00AM – 5:00PM.  There are 17 sessions to choose from presented by leading industry experts with topics that are relevant for IT Professionals and Developers.  Pre-Day Sessions cost $500 and can be added from the Content Catalog via your Microsoft Ignite registration page.  Listed below are the Pre-Day Sessions offered, along with their corresponding presenters:

  • PRE01: Administrator’s Mandatory Check List: The Ultimate Guide to Securing Your Infrastructure – by Paula Januszkiewicz
  • PRE02: Advanced Analytics with Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft SQL Server, and R – by Rafal Lukawiecki
  • PRE03: Project Siena: Create Custom Mobile Business Apps, No Code Required – by Ben Hodes
  • PRE04: Building a Hybrid Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Environment – by Michael Van Horenbeeck
  • PRE05: DevOps Hackathon – by Damien Caro, David Tesar, Vinicius Apolinario
  • PRE06: End-to-End OneDrive for Business Planning, Deployment and Best Practices – by Jeremy Mazner
  • PRE07: Enterprise Management in 2015 and Beyond – by Johan Arwidmark, Kent Agerlund
  • PRE08: Get Ready to Deploy Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 – To be announced
  • PRE09: Hands-on Windows 10 Enterprise Deployment – by Mikael Nystrom, Mike Niehaus
  • PRE10: Hybrid Cloud Management and Automation with Microsoft System Center – by Alex Frankel, Daniele Muscetta, Joe Levy, John Ballard, Laura Cruz, Ravi Kiran Chintalapudi
  • PRE11: Microsoft Office 365 Development On-Ramp – by Andrew Connell, Scot Hillier
  • PRE12: Microsoft Office 365 Network Performance Optimization – by Paul Collinge
  • PRE13: Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Deployment Boot Camp – by Curtis Sawin
  • PRE14: Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 and Office 365 Hybrid Training – by Bill Baer, Steve Peschka
  • PRE15: The Microsoft Azure Cloud for IT Pros – by John Craddock
  • PRE16: Troubleshoot SQL Server Performance Like a Microsoft Engineer – by Bob Ward
  • PRE17: Windows 10: Enterprise Mobility Workshop – by Roel Schellens

Next comes the entertainment.  Rick and Joey had a chance to explore some fine establishments in Chicago and here are the places they talk about in this episode.

La Colombe Coffee:
Great coffee served daily from 7:00AM-7:00PM with awesome roast to please everyone. You’ll have to check out their cold pressed black coffee in the bottle which is unique in it’s own way.
Twitter: @lacolombecoffee

Goose Island Beer Co:
Goose Island offers some amazing selection of craft brews, which are all made on-premise. Grab a bite and a sample of beers, including their bourbon-aged brew which is aged in whiskey barrels.  They also offer public tours on Saturday and Sunday and private tours by appointment only.  Check out their website for more info.
Twitter: @GooseIsland

Tavern On Rush:
Steaks and seafood are their specialty and most famous for their prime aged steaks and chops in Chicago. A casual tavern style ambiance is located downstairs, while a white jacket / white cloth dining is available upstairs which require a reservation.
Twitter: @TavenOnRush

ROOF on theWIT:
Located 27 floors up, the ROOF on theWit offers some stunning panoramic views of downtown Chicago with an intimate, modern bar and nightclub setting. With a capacity of only 250, a table reservation is highly recommended.  Enjoy some craft cocktails, indulge in their small plates menu, and warm up by the fireplace.
Twitter: @ROOFontheWit

Keep watching for more tips on making the most of your experience at Ignite, and more ways to enjoy Chicago! Register now for Microsoft Ignite, May 4-8, 2015, Chicago.

For conversations and interactions, join the following channels:

I highly recommend that you follow Choose Chicago, which is the official guide for Chicago offering a vast amount of information relating to this awesome city.  The friendly folks at Choose Chicago are quick to answer and offer valuable advice on your visit to Chicago.  Follow and check them out.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@Hoorge) and Instagram, and reach out to me if I can help answer some questions or be of further assistance.  Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Countdown Show which are scheduled to be released every Tuesday at 8:00AM PST / 11:00AM EST.

Please like & share:

Vista “Bells & Whistles” Workshop

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This were the participants in my “Windows Vista – Bells & Whistle” workshop at this year’s UVM Mastering The Maze event. I had over 40 participants and my workshop went very well.

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