How to boot directly into your regular desktop Screen in Windows 8.1?

With the new windows 8.1, it is very simple to bypass the new start(Live Tiles) Screen if you want to and directly boot into regular Desktop mode. Let me show you how…

Nope! That’s not a setting in control Panel and not even in your task manager….! Once you login to your windows machine, switch to your legacy Desktop screen  and right click on task bar and go to Properties and navigate to “Navigation” tab.  Now at the bottom section(Start Screen) select “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to desktop instead of start” as shown below and click Apply->ok. That’s it…You are good to go 🙂

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Very Simple huh…!

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The Network folder specified is currently mapped using a different user name and password

Today I was trying to map a network drive on my laptop and received a message saying “The Network folder specified is currently mapped using a different user name and password“. Well, I thought there is one and went into “My Computer”. interestingly….I don’t see it! Well, I rebooted the laptop hoping it would drop any hanging hidden cables. Unfortunately it didn’t do the trick.

BTW, My laptop already has 2 mapped drives(Y$ and Z$) and I’m trying to create  a 3rd one pointing to another share on completely different file server.(See below screenshot) 

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Now, I tried issuing “NET USE” command to see if it shows anything useful. Surprisingly It said, I’ve 3 mapped drives(3rd one being the one which I’m trying to map without any Drive letter being assigned!!!). See below Screenshot…

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As you can see there’s one more thing(well, without drive letter assignment) and that’s the exact share which I’m trying to create as a mapped drive on my laptop. Now I know the issue. All we need to do is to Delete that “Hanging from Nowhere” Mapped Drive using “NET USE” and retry to map it.

Syntax for deleting mapped drive using NET USE:

NET USE /DELETE \\My_ServerName\My_Sharename

Boom….It dissapeared as you can see below.

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Notice in the above screenshot, that “magical and annoying” share got deleted succesfully and only Y$ and Z$ are present as expected.

Now, I was able to map that share to a new drive without any issues…Hope this helps if you get into same issue. Cheers 🙂

MAP(Microsoft Assessment and Planning Tool kit) 6.5 for SQL Server Discovery

Hello Folks! In this Blog Post let’s see how to make use of MAP tool for discovering all of your SQL Servers in your Environment. MAP is one of the wonderful tools(free) provided by Microsoft, which basically scans all over your Network and present you with a wonderful report on all of your Servers. They could be Windows Servers, Linux Servers, SQL Servers, Oracle, MySQL. Many companies use this fabulous tool for planning future road maps(Could Be Server Upgrades, Desktop Upgrades, MS Office Suite upgrade and what not), consolidations, upgrades, Licensing etc. In My Organization, we are planning to move on to SQL 2012 very soon and we need a report which basically gives us a clear and simple picture of our current SQL Server Environment and I was assigned to achieve this goal 🙂

Sooo….., let’s get started. First thing you’ve to do is download MAP ToolKit from below location

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?&id=7826

Once downloaded, choose a Machine in your Domain where you want to Install MAP tool and start Discovery.

Note: MAP tool Installs SQL Server Express by Default for storing it’s Results.

Demo:

I’ve chosen “Mirror_Stand” machine in My Lab Domain to Install MAP. I copied over executable  to this box as the 1st step. Right click on the “Microsoft_Assessment_and_Planning_Toolkit_Setup.exe” and choose Run as Admin and you should be seeing the following Screen. (Make sure to Install all the Prereq’s. If not, you’ll be welcomed with an ugly X message as shown below!)

Once I finished meeting all the Prereq’s, I’ve opened the exe and now I’m welcomed with the below Screen 🙂

Click Next-> Accept License Terms and Next->Select your Installation Folder(I left it to default) and click Next. Now comes the interesting Screen where it asks for how do you want to Install SQL Express(see below Screenshot).

If your Box is connected to Internet, Just select the 1st Radio Button. If not, select 2nd option and provide it with the SQL express Installation media path.  I’ve chosen 2nd option and provided path for my SQL Express 2008R2 as shown below.

Once you read and accept the license terms, you should see a similar screen as below.(In My case, I already have a SQL Server Installed on this Machine, hence you can see “New Instance” being stated by the Installation wizard).

Click on Install and go and grab a cup of coffee :). It’ll take a while!  As you can see, my Installation is successful now.

It Installed SQL Express Edition Instance on my machine with Name “MAPS”. See below Screencap

We are done with the Installation. Now, let’s see how can we discover SQL Servers across our Domain using this Tool.

Step1: You will be welcomed with the below screen where you’ve to create an Inventory DB(I named it as “SQL_Inven”) for the First time. (You can create separate Databases for separate Discoveries, eg: One DB for SQL Servers, another for Exchange, another for VMWare Servers etc).

Step2: Select on Databases and Choose to perform an Inventory as shown below.

Step 3: Select SQL Servers to discover your SQL Servers as shown below.

Step 4: Choose a Discovery Method. I’ve left to default to AD as you can see below.

Step 5: Provide domain Credentials and select which parts of your AD Forest to scan for as shown below.

Once you proceed upto Finish, it automatically starts gathering info as per the options you’ve chosen. It will take a while for gathering all the required info…

Once it finished, you can see a neat and very useful summary of MAP assessment of your SQL Servers as shown below.

Don’t say it’s useless…It’s actually wonderful Summary of your Environment. For detailed Reports, gather the performance metrics as well and click on “Generate Report/Proposal” on your Tasks Pane to your Right. Once finished it’ll create couple of excel Reports which are very very detailed and useful…You’ll find those reports in your documents folder. In My case, it is “C:\Users\sreekanth\Documents\MAP\SQL_Inven”

Nice thing is, It’s agent less. All it needs is an Account name which has access to the Servers and the Servers should be Up and Running while It scans.

Hope this is informational and useful. Cheers!…

SQL Server 2012 RC0 on Windows 8

Today I got some leisure time and thought of Installing SQL 2012 on my Win8 machine and sharing my experiences at a very high level. Well,  I’ve Installed SQL Server 2012 RC0 on my Windows 8(Consumer Preview – Evaluation Copy, Build 8250) Machine.

To be honest, I was expecting few bugs and annoying errors. But let me tell you this, My Installation went Flawless. FYI, I’ve Installed only basic components(DB Engine – with Replication, SSIS,Complete Client Tools, SDK Connectivity).

Just a screenshot of how it looks like on Win8. Well, Technically there is no difference in how SSMS looks and how it behaves, but as most of you are already aware of…there is no START Button on my Menu bar on my Desktop! See below on the bottom Left corner.

So, where did I open SSMS from?? If you said “Metro Screen” yes, you are correct. See the below Screenshot for how Windows8 organized programs on my Metro Screen.

Hmm…this is something which really disappointed me. Basically, It created bunch of Apps for each exe! Imagine how ugly your Metro Screen gets if you Install all the components of SQL Server!! I Wish it was smart enough to create at least folders/Groups and place related exe’s accordingly.

Btw, if you want to Run SSMS as Admin, just right click on the App and you will see the available options in the bottom of your Screen as shown below. ( This applies to all the Executables)

Windows8 – First Look and My personal Experiences!!!

Windows 8……….!! IMHO, this is one of the best products(with respect to client OS’es) from Microsoft so far. Being in Pre-development phase, it is showing stunning performance. As  already shared in my previous post, I Installed Windows8 with Dual boot Option. Let me tell you something, Once i select Windows8 from the Boot Screen, all it takes is 2 seconds(Yes, I repeat…It’s 2 Seconds) to get into Logon Screen. Once i enter my password, I’m welcomed with windows8 Metro screen in another 1-2 seconds. Believe me guys….It’s blazing blazinggg….Fast!!!

You can see, the Brand New Metro Style Look of  Windows8 in the below screenshot.

If you want the old Windows 7 look(Standard Desktop), all you have to do is Click the Desktop App(You can see in 2nd row from bottom in the above Screenshot)and you will be right there. You can switch between Apps just with our typical key board shortcut(Alt+Tab or Window+tab) or just place your mouse anywhere on the left corner of your screen, you’ll see a small window popped out for switching between Apps.

It got IE 10(Internet Explorer 10), which is again wayyyyyyyyyyyyy better than the current IE8/9 in terms of speed and refresh rate(s).  See the below Screenshot for Brand new Metro Style Control Panel.

Personally, am Very much impressed with brand new Task Manager(It has a blend of multiple Sysinternal Tools all at a single place!!) Let’s take detailed look at Windows Task Manager now. See the various Screenshots of Tabs available within Windows8 TaskManager below….

If you click on Launch Resource Monitor in the above Screenshot, You’ll be getting the below.

Look at the details which it is presenting in Memory and Network Activity…..!!(Basically Very Similar to Win7, but with rich graphics)

You can see the Disk Read/Write activity at file level and Process level at a single glance 🙂

In the above Screenshot you can see the resource consumption history! Tadaaaaa!!!!!

The Services tab gets a feel of running actual “Services.msc” with Icons and PIDS!

Let’s switch gears now!

See how Windows8 shows the File Copy progress in the below screenshot. I captured the Screenshot when i was copying a video file from my external Hard Disk.

Huhuuuuuuuuu!!

The Bottom Line is “I’m Loving Windows8 Experience!!!” Kudos Microsoft! Keep up the good work:)

Installing Windows8 with Dual Boot Option

Hey……!All excited to let you guys know that at laaaaast I was able to Install Windows 8 in my Laptop 🙂 Huhuuuuuuuu. Thought of sharing my experiences with getting this done!

How to Install Windows8 with Dual Boot Option?

Before jumping into actual content, let me tell you guys difficulties I had when i was trying to Install on Virtual Machine(s).

My Laptop Hardware Specs(in brief):

Windows 7 X64, Intel CPU with No VT(Virtualization Technology), Harddrive which already had 4 partitions which is the maximum limit for mine 😦

Initially, I thought of Installing Windows 8 on a Virtual Machine. I started with VMware WorkStation(Version 7.x) which i was continuously getting BSOD(Blue Screen of Death) no matter what options I tweak while installing Windows8.

I gave up and tried downloading Oracle Virtual Box. Annoyingly I was not getting BSOD but, all kinds of other CPU related Errors :(. I Guess this is because my CPU doesn’t support Virtualization Technology. PS, even if your CPU supports VT, it will be disabled by Default in most of the laptops and you’ve to manually enable that feature from BIOS Settings.

If you are using Intel CPU, to identify whether your CPU is VT compatible or not, you can make use of “Intel Processor Identification Utility“.  Or you can use one of my favorite tool called CPUZ. CPUZ is vendor independent.  See the below Screenshot of Intel’s Util.

Basically I lost hopes on Installing Windows 8 on a virtual machine and i had to Install on my Laptop. Here we’ve two Options

1. Overwriting Windows 7( which I don’t recommend)

2. Installing Windows8 on a separate partition with Dual boot Option(in other words, you will be having both Windows 7 and Windows8; you’ll be given an option to choose either OS while you boot your machine. 

Let’s see what I did to make this happen!

Step1:

Created a separate partition from Disk Management(named it as Win8). How to create a new partition in Windows?Right Click on My Computer – >Manage->Disk Management. Right Click on Shrink Volume and choose the required Size in the next screen and click on “SHRINK” button. It will create un-allocated space. Now Right Click on “Un allocated Space” and select “create a Simple Volume” and Choose NTFS as File System,Choose Quick Format, Choose a Drive letter, Name the Volume and You can leave the rest to defaults.  You can see below Screenshot in my laptop.

As you can see I took the above Screenshot from Windows8:)

Step2:

You’ve to download Windows 8 ISO file(Windows is providing X86 and X64 versions). Choose accordingly.

Step3:

Download Windows7 USB DVD Download Tool, for creating a bootable USB or DVD from the above ISO. How to create a Bootable USB Device? You can simply follow the below Screen shots once you are done with Installing the tool.

I’ve inserted a USB drive instead of a DVD. PS your USB device will be formatted.

Step4:

We are all set with pre-requisites! Now, Plug in your USB Stick and Restart your Computer and change your Boot Priority to USB(or DVD) device first, or You can choose Select Boot Device Option(If you’ve it) when you restart your Computer.

Step5:

Once you boot your machine via USB or DVD which you prepared in the above steps, You’ll be welcomed with the brand new Windows 8 Installation Center.  Here you’ve to choose your Language, TimeZone and Keyboard Settings as shown below.

In the Next Screen, You’ll be seeing two Options a) Upgrade b) Custom(Advanced). Since we are doing Dual boot, you’ve to select option b(Custom). Now you’ve to select the Partition(not the C Drive) which we’ve created earlier and decided to dedicate to Windows8 and hit next.

That’s it…..You are all set:) Your Installation will be done with couple of Next Next Buttons! It’ll ask for few personalization settings at the end of setup. If you see any errors, in the last step, probably your ISO file is corrupted, you’ve to download a fresh copy from scratch.

From next time On….you’ll be welcomed with two Options(Windows Vista/7 and Windows8) to choose each time you reboot your machine!

I’m having lot of Fun playing with Windows 8. Try it yourself and feel the difference 🙂