Archive for Windows

How To Record Storage IOPS

In this post we will run through how to record or capture the amount of IOPS being generated by one of your systems. The method we will be using is the Windows Performance Monitor (perfmon). I used this method for recording the IOPS from desktops computers at my workplace when sizing for a VDI project, so lets get started.

Step 1. Click right on Computer and select Management. Under Performance > Data Collector Sets > User Defined. Click right on the User Defined folder and select New Data Collector Set.

Step 2. Set a name for your performance counter and select Create Manual Advanced and click next.

Step 3. Click Create Data Log and check Performance Counter then click next.

Step 4. Set the time interval to 10 seconds and click Add.

Step 5. Locate Local Disk from the left hand menu and add the options (Disk Reads/sec, Disk Writes/sec, Disk Transfers/sec) and click OK.

Step 6. Double click on the item made under the User Defined folder and right click on the Data Collector and select Properties.

Step 7. Under log format, select Comma Separated and click OK.

Step 8. Select the performance counter and click the play button to start collecting data.

Step 9. Once you have collected  your data for a period of time, navigate to the following location C:\PerfLogs\Admin\yourcountername. Now load the Excel document to display your collected IOPS. Within the excel document you can calculate figures such as the average IOPS, maximum IOPS, as well as putting together a graph that illustrates the activity of the IOPS by specifying the Read and Write columns.

Thanks for reading and lookout for my other articles on storage and IOPS calculations.

 

Optimise Windows 7 for VDI

There are a number of options and settings that can be tweaked withing Windows 7 to increase its performance and reduce its storage I/O. This is particularly useful when planning on using Windows 7 in a VDI environment as it can decrease the overhead and storage impact of multiple VMware View session.

VMware have released a recommended configuration guide to optimise Windows 7 for VDI as have many other bloggers. To combined this collected set of recommended Windows 7 tweaks, I have published both a script and registry files that can be used on a base Windows 7 virtual machine before you begin to either deploy, or clone for use with VDI.

The script and registry files are to be used together to invoke the necessary changes. Once applied, the changes will be reflected on all post user profiles created. Follow the below steps on how best to apply these optimisation settings.

Step 1. Create a new Windows 7 virtual machine and login as a local administrator.

Step 2. Run the following registry files that can be found here. Reg1 | Reg2

Step 3. Run the following batch script that can be found here. Script

Step 4. Continue by cloning this virtual machine or test its effects by logging in as a general users.

By using these optimisation teaks, I found the I/O impact on my VDI environment had reduced as well as an increase in refresh rate during a View session for users at remote locations.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other posts on VDI and Windows optimisation.

Apply Windows Visual Effects Automatically

In this post we will be discussing the Windows visual effects under the performance settings and how to automatically apply them. Windows performance settings allow you to tweak the visual aspect of your desktop to either improve it visually or speed up its performance. If you aren’t aware of these options, click right on Computer and select Properties, click Advanced Setting, under the Performance section select the settings button as shown below.

Q1. Why would you want to change these setting?

A1. In my case I use these setting to increase the performance of a VDI session over high latency Internet links. Disabling these options reduces how much is refreshed on the screen when receiving a PCOIP connection from VDI remotly.

Q2. Why would you want to automaitly set these options?

A2. As mentioned, VDI is my main use for these options and unfotunanlty you cannot pre define these option on on a per desktop basis. These options are reflecedt on a per user basis meaning if i login to a machine and turn off all visual effects options the log out. The next person that logs in will also have to set these options as there are defined in the users local profile. unfortunanly redirected profiles do not carry these options.

As with a VDI enviroment you cannot expect every user that logs on to modify there own settings for best performance, i needed a way to automate this. To do so i created two registry files that apply the correct setting on logon and log off. Sadly not all optiosn apply from a simgle execution of thye script.

The way i managed to do this was by creating a batch scprit to pull the registry files from a file share and apply them through a login script assigned in group policy. Simple but effective.

 

Registry files: Download Here

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VisualEffects] “VisualFXSetting”=dword:00000003

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] “UserPreferencesMask”=hex:90,12,01,80,10,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] “DragFullWindows”=”0″

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] “FontSmoothing”=”0″

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics] “MinAnimate”=”0″

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System] “NoDispCPL”=-

 

Batch script: Download Here

REGEDIT.EXE  /S  \\yourfileserver\share\VisualFX.reg

 

How to apply: Once you have you batch script and registry file, place them on a file share where all users have atleast read access. Enter group policy manager for your domain and create a new GPO. Edit the GPO and navigate to the following:

User Configuration  > Windows Settings > Scripts (Logon/logoff). Double clike this item and click Add then enter the path to the batch script including its extention. See below for me detail.

I would rcomment adding this as both a logon and logoff script to minimise the number of logins a user has to perform. With both logon and logoff set, a single login / logout will fully apply the changes.

Thanks for reading and remember to lookout for future posts on perfromance tweaking.

 

Exchange 2003 Management Tool for Windows 7

 If you are attempting to remotely manage a Microsoft Exchange 2003 environment but your current operating system is Windows 7, you may find it quite hard to locate the correct tool for the job as i found when i upgraded my computer. To save everyone’s time I’ve avoided linking to an existing download site, and have decided to host the tool myself. The link to the tool is located at the bottom of this post. Unfortunately these tools only work with Windows 7 x86 and to date there have not been any Windows 7 x64 tool released.

Download ESMWindows7.zip

Desktop Lockdown for Windows

There are a couple of different ways of locking down the desktop on a windows operating systems but the one this guide will be focusing on it by way of permission passed enforcement via a GPO. With help from the image below, the following steps will help you achieve this lock down method:

1. Create a new GPO and link to an OU that the client computers are contain in

2. Edit the GPO and under Computer Configration > Windows Settings > Security Settings then File System, click right and select New

3. Within the file path enter %UserProfile%\Desktop this will automatically resolve the users profile name saving you from adding each users profile path manually.

4. Press OK and select remove all security groups and users from the permissions menu and add the user security group or names you want this restriction to apply to. Set the permissions for the group of user to only have Read access and also add an administrative group with full control.

5. Within the Security Policy Settings windows, select the option forReplace existing permissions on all subfolders then click OK. This is the policy now configured.

6. Return to the Group Policy Management Console and set the security settings of the policy to either Authenticated User for define the security group you want this policy to apply to.

Creating a Domain Controller in Windows Server 2008 R2

 Creating a Windows domain is easier than most people think, especially on Windows Server 2008 R2. this video guide will go through setting up a basic domain controller allowing the use of Active Directory and group policy amongst others. The key tool in this installation is ‘dcpromo’ , by running this tool the domain creation is almost fully automated with only a few options to specify. For this test environment we will be using all default settings.

Windows 7 System Rating

The Windows 7 system rating is a good way to establish your systems over performance. Windows 7 system rating is mark from 1.0 to 7.9 and measures processor, memory, graphics, gaming graphics, and primary hard drive. The overall system rating is taken from the lowest measurement. The following video will demonstrate the steps to perform a system rating.

 

Restarting the Print Spooler Service

The following guide demonstrates how to restart the print spooler service. Performing this action is a common fix for printer issue where the printer queue appears stuck. The following video will demonstrate restarting this service .