Category Archives: Windows Server

Getting Hyper-V guest OS information without logging in to guest OS/VM

The other day it was necessary for me to confirm Windows OS build in  Hyper-V guest VM without logging in into it. I simply received VM from the client but no credentials which I could use, but it was necessary to quickly confirm guest OS build. I was certain that there is a way to query such data from Hyper-V host without logging into guest and with no credentials. After some googling I was not able to find some simple command or one liner to pull this data (opening PS session into VM was not an option as it requires credentials), but I’ve found good function which does exactly what I need on Yusuf Öztürk blog, here it is:

Once you have this function, you can use it like this:

Get-VMGuestInfo VMNAME -HyperVHost HyperVHostName

Sample output from this function:

How to install and manage Nano Server

My 2nd article about new Windows Server 2016 installation option “Nano Server” is now available @StarWind Blog. In my previous article, I covered general concepts around Nano Server, in this one I talk about more practical aspects: installation and management. At the end of the day, you would agree that the best way to learn new technology it is try to use it – this way you will be exposed to its strengths and weaknesses directly, and can get real understanding of whether it works for you or not. Though at this point even Microsoft admits that despite all its greatness, at the moment, Nano Server has quite limited utility as it supports only a small subset of roles and features out of those which you can find in full GUI version of Windows Server.

Read more @StarWind Blog…

Windows Server 2016 Nano Server – Just enough OS model

I’ve recently spent some time exploring Windows Nano Server installation option and wrote detailed blog post for StarWind blog entitled  “Windows Server 2016 Nano Server – Just enough OS model” you can read it here. Article covers Nano Server basic concepts and compares this installation type with conventional Full Server and Server Core installation options – if you find this topic interesting please read on @ StarWinds Blog.

Exam 70-741: Networking with Windows Server 2016 beta exam

I’ve recently took exam 70-741 which is currently still in beta. I heard some feedback that this exam is quite tough, and honestly giving the fact that sub-net calculation skills tend to fade away without regular practice along with “great constants” (especially new set of IPv6 prefixes and other things you have to remember) I expected to be the difficult one.

Though after watching George Dobrea’s (@gdobrea70-741 preparation session recorded at TechEd NA I realized that I rather like practical focus on the exam – much better have network only stuff in one exam instead of having it dispersed across all the other exams in tiny nuggets as we have it in previous generation of certification exams from Microsoft. I really like the way they structured it now, and even early retake of 1 exam requirement is rather good/expected.

After taking beta exam itself I would say that I really liked it as question are really practice focused with short and concise possible answers and really test both your understanding of how it works as well as how to work with it (PowerShell/GUI).

I’m not sure whether I passed or not (for beta exams results being sent to you only after release date and only if you passed this exam) – but overall I didn’t feel like I failed despite plethora of questions about new things and some old things I didn’t remember well enough. Examples of things exam touches on which require revision for me are TrustedAnchors DNS zone, IPAM in general, DNS scavenging, root DNS server and Network Controller.

And just one more observation: The way MSFT orchestrates their product launches for last three product generations or so is really remarkable example on how to do it for any software company. They have it all: well before fancy launch events there is a work and engagement with community and early adopters, exams, training courses and books are prepared to be published just around the release date and by now already traditional free ebooks “Introducing …” available well before the release date clearly communicating selling points and positioning of product (touching on technical topics quite well but mainly giving you a big picture). Probably not any software company has that scale to afford all of this, but if you are vendor of enterprise grade software with established client base you may learn how to do launches from Microsoft – probably no surprises here, at the end of the day this is a company shipping software products since November 1985 release of Windows 1.0 – surely they know how to do this. But by now they really achieved remarkable mastery in product launch process which I can’t help noticing.

Windows 10 Hyper-V: What is “Upgrade Configuration Version…” option?

Recently I imported some old VM into my Windows 10 Hyper-V and noticed that unlike VMs I created with latest version of Hyper-V it has an extra option named “Upgrade Configuration Versions..”:

Hyper-V Upgrade Configuration Version

To me option name is a bit confusing (which sometimes happens in MSFT products out of best intentions in attempts to simplify their wizards and wording). I was confused by this option name as it makes me think about configurations versioning and management rather about what it really means.  To put it simply it is equivalent of what you can see in VMware Workstation as “Upgrade Virtual Hardware”/”VM hardware compatibility” (isn’t it more appropriate name? but I guess there is also differentiation needs which software vendors may have 🙂 ).

What you should know about this is in the past (prior to Windows 10) your VMs have been upgraded automatically to new configuration version, but now you have more control over this and have upgrade it manually via GUI (see screenshot above) or using Update-VMVersion cmdlet.

“Upgrade Configuration Version…” option presented in VM properties only when your VM is in offline state. Operation is almost instant and unfortunately it doesn’t give you that VMware Workstation wizard which explains available versions and why you may want to upgrade/added features. But essentially Hyper-V no longer upgrades VMs by default to allow you to move them back to older versions in case it will be necessary and upgrade is needed to enable new features for VM (see table below):

Hyper-V Upgrade Configuration Version - Features Table

Features available/added in different VM versions. Source: Ben Armstrong’s Virtualization Blog – Upgrading your Virtual Machine version

Virtual machines created on Windows 10 use version 6.2 configurations, and the highest value for now is 8.0 (Served 2016/Windows 10 Anniversary update). You can use this table to get an idea of configuration versions in different base OS versions:

Hyper-V Upgrade Configuration Version - Versions Table

To check configuration versions of VMs on your Hyper-V host:

Get-VM * | Format-Table Name, Version

To get configuration version supported by your host use (add –Default parameter to see default one):

Get-VMHostSupportedVersion

You can read more in official MSFT documentation: Upgrade virtual machine version in Hyper-V on Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016