Beta Exam 345: Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 NOW AVAILABLE

Are you an expert in designing and managing Exchange Server? Are you responsible for the Exchange Server 2016 messaging environment in an enterprise environment? If so, here’s your chance to start down the path to the MCSE certification for free AND help us improve the quality of this exam!

We are opening up 350 beta seats for this beta exam (exam number: 70-345)… This means you can take the exam for free!! BUT… the seats are limited to first come, first served basis–so, register today (these codes will only work through February 12, 2016, meaning you have to register AND take the exam on or before that date)–and we need you take the exam as soon as possible so we can leverage your comments, feedback, and exam data in our evaluation of the quality of the questions. The sooner you take the exam, the more likely it is that we will be able to use your feedback to make improvements to the exam. This is your chance to have a voice in the questions we include on the exam when it goes live. 

To prepare for the exam, review our prep guide and practice the skills listed: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-345.aspx. To prepare for this beta exam, check out my recent blog for ideas: https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/archive/2015/12/31/just-how-does-one-prepare-for-beta-exams-without-preparation-materials.

***Register for the exam at the same site and use code EXCH2016010B to take it for free, but these codes are only valid for exam dates on or before Feb. 12, 2016. Remember: There are a limited amount of spots, so when they’re gone, they’re gone. You should also be aware that there are some country limitations where the beta code will not work (e.g., Turkey, Pakistan, India, China, Vietnam); you will not be able to take the beta exam for free in those countries.

Also, keep in mind that this exam is in beta, which means that you will not be scored immediately. You will receive your final score and passing status once the exam is live.

Well…what are you waiting for? Register before all the seats are gone!

https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/archive/2016/01/13/designing-and-deploying-microsoft-exchange-server-2016-beta-exam-now-available

Certification Update for MCSE: Communication

The MCSE: Communication certification is being updated to support Skype for Business skills.

Starting 28-December, 2015, the following two new Skype for Business exams (currently in beta) will fulfill the MCSE: Communication requirements, provided that the candidate has already earned a qualifying MCSA credential:

The following Microsoft Lync Server 2013 exams retire on 31-March, 2016, but will remain an accepted path towards earning MCSE: Communication until 31-July, 2016:

Please see the MCSE: Communication web page for more details after 28-December.

Install Exchange 2016 Prerequisites with Install-Exchange2016MailboxPrerequisites.ps1

This script will install the needed prerequisites for the Mailbox Role of Exchange 2016 “Preview” on Server 2012 R2 .

It will install the following:
– Windows Componets
.NET Framework 4.5.2
Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0, Core Runtime 64-bit

You can download the script here:
https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Exchange-2016-prerequisites-9a0b5e17

Exchange 2013 Performance Health Checker Script

Awesome Script Smile
This script checks various configuration items on the server to make sure they match the recommendations published in the “Exchange 2013 Sizing and Configuration Recommendations” guidance on TechNet.  It also reports on OS, system, and hardware information.  It can be ran remotely, against a single server or a group of servers.  It takes some of the most common configuration causes of Exchange 2013 performance cases that we encounter in support and allows you to rule them out quickly without having to check each server or read through the entire TechNet guidance. 

This script needs to be executed from the Exchange 2013 Management Shell.

Here is a current list of items the script reports on:

Operation System version
Exchange Build
Physical/Virtual Machine
Server Manufacturer and Model (physical hardware only)
VM host processor/memory configuration recommendations
Exchange server roles
Pagefile Size
Power Settings
.NET Framework version
Network card name and speed
Network card driver date and version (Windows 2012 and Windows 2012 R2 only)
RSS enabled (Windows 2012 and Windows 2012 R2 only)
Physical Memory amount
Processor Model
Number of processors, cores, and core speed
Hyper-threading enabled/disabled
Processor speed being throttled
Current list of active/passive databases and mailboxes (optional)

HealthChecker

Download: https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-2013-Performance-23bcca58

MDT v.Next Coming….

New core tools

Windows 10 ADK supports Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 deployments.

Windows Image Configuration Designer (WICD), pronounced Wicked ?   🙂  Is supposed to be able to build a customized mobile or desktop image, and also create provisioning packages that allow you to customize a Windows device, without re-imaging.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit v.Next (MDT) (standalone)

New upcoming version of MDT is in development, not much info presented yet, but a few items were mentioned in the session:

Windows 10 Deployment and Upgrade Support, as well as updated Task Sequence binaries

Removed deprecated components from Deployment Workbench, and making OSD more accessibility compliant.

MDT documentation will be on TechNet (removed legacy help file and DOCX)

New release RVTools, version 3.6

Rob de Veij released today TVTools version 3.6, the release notes:

  • New tabpage with cluster information
  • New tabpage with multipath information
  • On vInfo tabpage new fields HA Isolation response and HA restart priority
  • On vInfo tabpage new fields Cluster affinity rule information
  • On vInfo tabpage new fields connection state and suspend time
  • On vInfo tabpage new field The vSphere HA protection state for a virtual machine (DAS Protection)
  • On vInfo tabpage new field quest state.
  • On vCPU tabpage new fields Hot Add and Hot Remove information
  • On vCPU tabpage cpu/socket/cores information adapted
  • On vHost tabpage new fields VMotion support and storage VMotion support
  • On vMemory tabpage new field Hot Add
  • On vNetwork tabpage new field VM folder.
  • On vSC_VMK tabpage new field MTU
  • RVToolsSendMail: you can now also set the mail subject
  • Fixed a datastore bug for ESX version 3.5
  • Fixed a vmFolder bug when started from the commandline
  • Improved documentation for the commandline options

Latest Version: 3.6 | February, 2014
Download | Documentation

HV Backup A free Hyper-V backup Tool

HVbackup is a very easy and powerful free tool to backup and restore Hyper-V virtual machines, in standalone and clustered (CSV) environments, overcoming all the limitations that a generic tool like Diskshadow provides.
This tool targets Windows 2008 (R2) and Windows Server 2012 (R2). All the corresponding core and free Hyper-V editions are also supported!
HVBackup supports app consistent and crash consistent backups through the Hyper V VSS writer component integrated in the operating system.
There are quite a few expensive commercial solutions on the market supporting this scenario, but this is the first open source one, based on the research we did before publishing the project.
We integrated this tool in our datacenter’s production environment management infrastructure, which means that it undergoes continuous testing in a real world environment 🙂
HVBackup can be invoked from the command line, scripted with Powershell or integrated in any .Net program through it’s class library.
The backup process generates a separate zip file for each virtual machine in the specified output directory, containing all the files owned by the VM and identified for backup by the VSS Hyper-V provider.
Requirements:
.Net Framework 3.5, which can be easily enabled on the command line.

Samples:

HVBackup -a -o c:\backup
Performs a full VSS backup (using the HyperV VSS writer) of all VMs on the host.
HVBackup -l VM1,VM2 -o \\yourserver\backup
Performs a full VSS backup of the provided list of VMs (use quotes if the names contain spaces).
In this sample the output directory is on a remote server.
HVBackup -f list.txt -o c:\backup
Performs a full VSS backup of the VMs names provided in “list.txt”, one per line.

How to perform a scheduled backup

backup.cmd :

set BCKPATH=\\yourserver\yourpath
net use %BCKPATH% /user:<user> <password>
pushd %BCKPATH% && forfiles.exe -m *.zip -d -7 -c “cmd /c del @path”
popd
HVBackup.exe -a -o %BCKPATH% 1> lastlog_out.txt 2> lastlog_err.txt

Note: This script will delete every zip file older than 7 days in the target directory before performing a backup of all the VMs on the host. Change it accordingly to your needs.

Now, as we don’t have a scheduled task UI on hyper-v or server core, in order to schedule the previous script every night at 01 AM, just run:

schtasks.exe /create /tn HVBackup /tr c:\hvbackup\backup.cmd /sc DAILY /ru <username> /rp /st 01:00:00

Tool: http://hypervbackup.codeplex.com/

Download: HVBackup_1_0_beta1_20120330.zip Windows 2008 (R2) and Windows Server 2012

Download: HVBackup_1_0_1_Beta.zip Windows Server 2012 R2

Active Directory Replication Status Tool

The Active Directory Replication Status Tool (ADREPLSTATUS) analyzes the replication status for domain controllers in an Active Directory domain or forest. ADREPLSTATUS displays data in a format that is similar to REPADMIN /SHOWREPL * /CSV imported into Excel but with significant enhancements.
Specific capabilities for this tool include:

    • Expose Active Directory replication errors occurring in a domain or forest
    • Prioritize errors that need to be resolved in order to avoid the creation of lingering objects in Active Directory forests
    • Help administrators and support professionals resolve replication errors by linking to Active Directory replication troubleshooting content on Microsoft TechNet
    • Allow replication data to be exported to source or destination domain administrators or support professionals for offline analysis

System Requirements

Supported Operating System

Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Vista, Windows XP

      • ADREPLSTATUS does not install on server core installs of Windows
      • Windows 2000 not supported due to lack of support for .NET Framework 4.0

    Domain membership requirements:

      • Must be joined to the Active Directory domain or forest you intend to monitor

    .NET Framework requirements:

      • .NET Framework 4.0 (you may be prompted to install .NET Framework 3.5.1 first on Windows Server 2008)

    Required User Credentials:

      • Target forest/domain user account

    Supported DC OS versions that can be monitored by ADREPLSTATUS:

      • Windows Server 2003
      • Windows Server 2003 R2
      • Windows Server 2008
      • Windows Server 2008 R2
      • Windows Server 2012

      image

Windows Server 2012: Convert server Core to server with a Gui

  1. Create a folder to mount a Windows Imaging File (WIM) in with the command mkdir c:\mountdir

  2. Determine the index number for a Server with a GUI image (for example, SERVERDATACENTER, not SERVERDATACENTERCORE) using this command at an elevated command prompt: Dism /get-wiminfo /wimfile:<drive>:sources\install.wim

  3. Mount the WIM file using this command at an elevated command prompt: Dism /mount-wim /WimFile:<drive>:\sources\install.wim /Index:<#_from_step_2> /MountDir:c:\mountdir /readonly

  4. Start Windows PowerShell and run this cmdlet:

    Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell –Restart –Source c:\mountdir\windows\winsxs

  5. Alternatively, if you want to use Windows Update as the source instead of a WIM file, use this Windows PowerShell cmdlet:

    Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell –Restart