Windows Admin Tips Update

by [Published on 24 Feb. 2011 / Last Updated on 24 Feb. 2011]

Admin Tips that help you share files within Hyper-V, customize tasks in MDT 2010, find UUID of computers, update Windows Images and secure spooled print files.

Securing the spool files on your print server

If you are concerned about the protecting the spool files on your print server because they may contain confidential document information, you might consider encrypting the %SystemRoot%\System32\Spool\Printers folder, which is where .spl files are stored by default. After all, an old article about Windows 2000 Server printing at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc962114.aspx on Microsoft TechNet suggests that you can do this, although it may incur a performance hit on your print server (though you probably wouldn't notice this hit unless your print server was under extraordinarily heavy load). I've heard reports of customers having issues when they do this on Windows Server 2008 however, perhaps due to changes in the security model of this platform. I've also heard reports that encrypting the spooler using EFS is an unsupported (i.e. not thoroughly tested) scenario despite the fact that this TechNet article suggests otherwise.

A better approach to securing your print server's spooler is to simply not spool files at all but instead send documents directly to the print device. To configure this setting on your print server, do the following:

  1. Open the properties of the printer.
  2. Select the Advanced tab.
  3. Select the option labeled Print Directly To The Printer.

Note however that doing this causes print processor-based features watermarks, booklet printing, driver collation and scale-to-fit to be disabled.

For more Windows 2003 tips please visit Admin Knowledge Base.

Determining the UUID of a computer

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit allows you to customize Windows deployment based on the target computer's UUID. But how can you determine the UUID of the target computer?

First, try the obvious things, namely:

  • Check for a sticker on the outside or inside of the case
  • Check in the BIOS or in the BIOS settings displayed when the computer starts.
  • Check the invoice and other documentation you received from the vendor.

If none of these provide you with the computer's UUID and you already have a Windows operating system installed on the computer, you can customize and use the following WMI script to determine your computer's UUID:

  • DisplayClassProperties.vbs
  • Used to find the UUID of a specific desktop computer
  • By Mitch Tulloch (www.mtit.com)

Option Explicit
On Error Resume Next
Dim strComputer
Dim strWMINamespace
Dim strWMIQuery
Dim objWMIService
Dim colItems
Dim objItem

strComputer = "."
strWMINamespace = "\root\CIMV2"
strWMIQuery = ":Win32_ComputerSystemProduct.IdentifyingNumber='MXG5380254 NA540',Name='PY196AV-ABA a1130e',Version='0n31211CT101AMBEM00'" 

Note:
You will need to use wbemtest.exe to determine how to modify the above line for your computer. To learn how to do this, see this article by me on WindowsNetworking.com: Managing Windows Networks Using Scripts - Part 13: A Handy Return-All-Values Script

Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & strComputer & strWMINamespace & strWMIQuery)
WScript.Echo "Number of properties of " & strWMIQuery & " class is " & objWMIService.Properties_.count

For Each objItem in objWMIService.Properties_
Wscript.Echo "Property: " & objItem.name & vbTab & "Value: " & objItem.value
Next

For more Windows Server 2008 tips please visit Admin Knowledge Base.

Updating a Windows Image

Here's one method you can use for updating a Windows image that you want to deploy using MDT 2010:

  1. Deploy the image onto a computer
  2. Then use WUAUCLT /detectnow to update the image.
  3.  Then use the Sysprep and Capture task sequence to sysprep the computer and capture its image.

Note that this works even if the image you deployed is domain-joined since Sysprep automatically removes the computer from the domain when it is run.

For more Windows 7 tips please visit Admin Knowledge Base.

Copying and customizing task sequences  in MDT 2010

MDT 2010 includes the new capability of being able to copy tasks or groups of tasks from one task sequence to another. But what if you want to make a copy of an entire task sequence so you can use the copy as a starting point for a new task sequence and then customize your new task sequence? Unfortunately there's no way of doing this directly in the Deployment Workbench or even by using the Windows PowerShell Provider for MDT. But you can do this manually by following these steps:

  1. Create a new task sequence using the Workbench. Be sure to select the same task sequence template (e.g. Standard Client) and operating system image as the original task sequence you want to copy.
  2. Use Windows Explorer to copy the TS.xml file from the \DeploymentShare$\Control\ folder to the \DeploymentShare$\Control\ folder, overwriting the existing TS.xml file in the folder.
  3. Open the properties of your new task sequence in the Workbench and select the Task Sequence tab. The tasks and task groups for your new task sequence will be identical to those of your original task sequence. Now go ahead and customize these tasks and task groups as desired for your new task sequence.

For more Windows 7 tips please visit Admin Knowledge Base.

How to share files between a Hyper-V host and its virtual machines

and any virtual machines running on that host.

If you've used Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Virtual Server, you'll have enjoyed the fact that you can copy and paste between a virtual machine and those platforms. This doesn’t work with Hyper-V however—you can't copy/paste between a VM and the Hyper-V host.

The workaround is to do the following:

  1. On your Hyper-V host, create a shared folder and assign Change permission to Everyone.
  2. On the virtual machine running on the host, open the Network and Sharing Center and enable File and Printer Sharing.
  3. On the virtual machine, click Start and type \\host_name\share_name where host_name is the name of your Hyper-V host and share_name is the name of the share you created.
  4. Press ENTER and an Explorer window will open in the VM showing the contents of the shared folder on the host.
  5. You can now copy files from the VM to the host and vice versa as needed.

For more Windows Server 2008 tips please visit Admin Knowledge Base.

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