Windows VM Keyboard Layout in Fusion

After I rebuilt my Windows 7 VM in Fusion some months ago, I never quite got around to sorting out the keyboard layout. Having changed job roles recently, I’m now using my Windows VM a lot more and the keyboard layout is becoming a PITA! Specifically, having the @ and ” keys the wrong way round can cause plenty of authentication and email sending problems. It’s pretty easy to sort out though. You can either: Go download the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator and build your own layout to install. Install the Boot Camp drivers into your VM. Rather than reinvent the wheel (option 1), this is how to get up and running with option 2… Assuming you’re running OSX Lion or Mountain Lion, fire up the Boot Camp Assistant. Continue through the welcome screen and select only to download the support […]

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VMTurbo Make Monitoring Free

Today, VMTurbo have launched their Virtual Health Monitor tool and they are letting it loose on the world for the whopping figure of… wait for it… $0 – That’s right, free. The tool is an updated and evolved version of the Community Edition of VMTurbo’s Operations Manager product and comes without restrictions on where and how often you deploy it and what it monitors. Ok, that’s not so clear. The tool is downloaded as an appliance from VMTurbo’s website in a format optimised for one of the following platforms: VMware vSphere Microsoft Hyper-V RedHat Enterprise Virtualisation (RHEV) Citrix XenServer The format of the appliance is the only difference that you should find between the versions though as it’s capable of monitoring all of them at the same time. You just download the format that matches the virtual infrastructure where you […]

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XP: The Final Countdown

People have been saying that “this is the year of VDI” for a number of years now. Could it be true this year? Windows XP will be 13 years old when Microsoft finally pull the plug on its support in 2014. That’s a decent innings for domestic pet dog let alone an operating system. Why has it lasted this long and will anybody miss it? For me, the answer to that last question is “no”, but without a doubt there are users out there for whom it won’t be the case. Some of them will be home users, holding on to that creaking PC or laptop that they’ve had for years and that has always worked (except for BSODs, viruses, lost files and the lack of telepathic functionality that some of the less technically savvy wish was available). Others still […]

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Windows DNS Queries Failing

I was putting together a PoC late last year and encountered an issue that I’ve not seen before that was caused by some functionality within Windows 2008 that I did not know existed at the time. In fact, no one who I’ve mentioned it to since knew about it either. It seemed sufficiently obscure that I thought I should write about it quickly. In the PoC, I had created a Windows domain based on Server 2008 R2. Setting that up was simple enough and I’d done it many times before. What I began to notice though was that DNS queries forwarded outside of my PoC infrastructure were failing more often than not. This made Microsoft Updates impossible to install amongst other issues. After fiddling with the DNS timeouts and talking with the hosting provider at the remote datacenter to no […]

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Windows Not Activating? Check the Time!

A lesson in not trying to do several things at once. I had just deployed a VM from a template and waited for it to be customized. All was well until Windows tried, and failed, to activate giving the error code 80072f8f. This was in a new environment in a remote datacenter. Once I started paying attention though I noticed that the VM was set to synchronize time with the host and the host’s NTP configuration had not been made correctly. The VM was running 6 months or so behind the current date. The two takeaways from this are: Check your host configuration and don’t assume that it’s correct if you’re provided with a pre-built host from a 3rd party Don’t do too many things at once and forget about the above!

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