WindowsNetworking.com Monthly Newsletter

WindowsNetworking.com Monthly Newsletter of November 2011 Sponsored by: SolarWinds

Welcome to the WindowsNetworking.com newsletter by Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP. Each month we will bring you interesting and helpful information on the world of Windows Networking. We want to know what all *you* are interested in hearing about. Please send your suggestions for future newsletter content to: dshinder@windowsnetworking.com

New Free Tool - Real-time Bandwidth Monitor for Sub Second Device Polling and Interface Monitoring

Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor, SolarWinds’ latest and greatest free tool, allows you to monitor interfaces on your network, see how much bandwidth is in use, or how much is traffic is currently on the interfaces. Now you can poll your interface as frequently as every half second. Set critical and warning thresholds to instantly see when usage is out of bounds. Monitoring a troublesome interface has never been so easy!

Download Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor

1. Satisfy your Need for Speed with ReadyBoost

Anyone who has worked with computers knows that you can never have too much memory. Conversely, you definitely can have too little memory. That’s where most of us live – because even when we buy the latest, greatest and most powerful system, within a year or two it seems sorely lacking in comparison to the new ones on the market. Whether or not Bill Gates really said 640K of RAM should be enough for anyone, we’re long past that point now.

Not long ago, two gigs of RAM seemed perfectly adequate, but now even a “low end” $389 computer from Best Buy comes with 4 GB of RAM. You might be able to upgrade your older system by adding memory, but some inexpensive motherboards are limited in how much additional RAM they’ll accept. What if you could get a little more memory in your Windows 7 PC without having to buy RAM and cracking open the case? You can, with the help of ReadyBoost.

ReadyBoost was introduced in Windows Vista, and it’s been made better in Windows 7. ReadyBoost enables you to use a USB key, SD card or CF card to increase the amount of memory available in your system. However, this memory does have to meet the following specs:

  • Capacity of at least 256 MB, with at least 64 kilobytes (KB) of free space. The 4-GB limit of Windows Vista has been removed.
  • At least a 2.5 MB/sec throughput for 4-KB random reads
  • At least a 1.75 MB/sec throughput for 1-MB random writes

There’s a good chance that you won’t know the specs of the key or card you want to use. No problem! Windows 7 will test the media for you and tell you whether it’s fast enough to support ReadyBoost.

To enable ReadyBoost, put the media into your Windows 7 PC and then right click the drive representing that media and click Properties. You’ll see something like the figure below.

If the drive is formatted as FAT32, you can create a ReadyBoost cache as large as 4GB. If you format it with NTFS, you can make it up to 32 GB – and that’s a lot of extra memory!

Windows 7 uses Windows SuperFetch to assign files to store in the ReadyBoost cache. SuperFetch monitors files that are used (such as system files, application files, and even documents) and loads these files into the ReadyBoost cache. Then the files are encrypted using 128-bit AES. Note that encryption is always done when the medium is removable. If your computer vendor has provided internal memory for ReadyBoost, then they have the option of turning off the encryption, which speeds things up a little bit. You can remove the media whenever you want since only a copy of the original file is being stored in the ReadyBoost cache. If the system needs the file, it can always go back to the original file on disk.

When will you see the biggest bang for your buck after enabling ReadyBoost?

  • If your disk performance value in the Windows Experience Index is less than 4.0, you should see some significant improvement.
  • If you have high performance flash media – these are cards or keys designed for ReadyBoost – you’ll see more improvement.
  • If the flash media is connected to a high speed bus, such as an internal card, you’ll see more improvement.

You should be aware that you probably won’t see big improvement from ReadyBoost if you have a fast hard drive in your computer. By fast, I mean 7200 RPM or faster. Some high end computers today come with speedy SSD drives. However, many drives on laptops still run at 4800 RPM or 5400 RPM and so with those drives you should see some noticeable improvement. The type of operation also matters; if you do work that requires a lot of non-sequential reads, the ReadyBoost cache access will outperform even a fast hard drive.

You can use Performance Monitor to see what’s happening with your ReadyBoost cache, as seen in the figure below.

See you next month! - Deb.

By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP
dshinder@windowsnetworking.com

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Quote of the Month - “The Cloud Blows (or was that the wind?)" - Anonymous
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New Free Tool - Real-time Bandwidth Monitor for Sub Second Device Polling and Interface Monitoring

Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor, SolarWinds’ latest and greatest free tool, allows you to monitor interfaces on your network, see how much bandwidth is in use, or how much is traffic is currently on the interfaces. Now you can poll your interface as frequently as every half second. Set critical and warning thresholds to instantly see when usage is out of bounds. Monitoring a troublesome interface has never been so easy!

Download Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor

3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest

4. Administrator KB Tip of the Month

Transfer Wireless Network Settings via USB Flash Drive

The Windows Connect Now (WCN) feature lets you export and import your wireless network profiles via a USB flash drive. This can come in handy when setting up multiple PCs.

To export profiles in Windows 7, open the desired wireless network profile:

Click the network icon in the system tray, right-click the network name, and select Properties. Then on the Connection tab, click Copy this network profile to a USB flash drive.

Then to import the wireless network profile, insert the USB flash drive into a computer. On the AutoPlay dialog, click the Connect to a Wireless Network using Windows Connect Now shortcut or the Wireless Network Setup Wizard shortcut.

If the AutoPlay menu doesn’t appear, you can manually import by running the SetupSNK.exe program on the flash drive’s root directory.

For more administrator tips, go to WindowsNetworking.com/WindowsTips

5. Windows Networking Tip of the Month

Are you new to virtualization? I know, they say that virtualization has gone “mainstream” and while that’s true, that doesn’t mean that everyone has had the time to learn about it and understand some of the key benefits and how to make them work. Maybe you’ve poked around in the Hyper-V manager or even created a virtual machine or two. What’s the next step? Snapshots. Snapshots enable you to save virtual machines’ state at a particular point in time. This is very useful when you’re running a lab environment and you want to save a collection of virtual machines that represent a specific deployment or configuration scenario. Check out my article Working With Hyper-V Snapshots in the Private Cloud (Part 1) to begin learning about the value of virtual snapshots.

New Free Tool - Real-time Bandwidth Monitor for Sub Second Device Polling and Interface Monitoring

Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor, SolarWinds’ latest and greatest free tool, allows you to monitor interfaces on your network, see how much bandwidth is in use, or how much is traffic is currently on the interfaces. Now you can poll your interface as frequently as every half second. Set critical and warning thresholds to instantly see when usage is out of bounds. Monitoring a troublesome interface has never been so easy!

Download Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor

6. Windows Networking Links of the Month

7. Ask Sgt. Deb

QUESTION:

Hey Deb,

I heard that you could install Windows 7 from a USB key. What’s up with that?
Thanks! –Noah Doan.

ANSWER:

Hi Noah,

Yes, you can install Windows 7 from a USB key. In the past with other operating systems, you may have found that trying to get them installed from a USB key wasn’t the simplest thing in the world. Windows 7 changes all that. First, click here to download the USB download tool. Then double click the program file you downloaded and follow the steps in the wizard. When you run the wizard, you’ll be asked for the location of the Windows 7 .iso file and the wizard will make the USB bootable. Is that cool or what? This is the admin tool you’ve wanted for years! Give it a try – you’ll like it.

New Free Tool - Real-time Bandwidth Monitor for Sub Second Device Polling and Interface Monitoring

Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor, SolarWinds’ latest and greatest free tool, allows you to monitor interfaces on your network, see how much bandwidth is in use, or how much is traffic is currently on the interfaces. Now you can poll your interface as frequently as every half second. Set critical and warning thresholds to instantly see when usage is out of bounds. Monitoring a troublesome interface has never been so easy!

Download Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor

TechGenix Sites

ISAserver.org
The No.1 Forefront TMG / UAG and ISA Server resource site.
MSExchange.org
The leading Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 / 2007 / 2003 resource site.
WindowSecurity.com
Network Security & Information Security resource for IT administrators.
VirtualizationAdmin.com
The essential Virtualization resource site for administrators.