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Samsung Data Migration and Dell Workstation

I’m working on a new Dell XPS 8700 that was just delivered, with Windows 8.1 pre-installed and a 1TB SATA drive. I ordered a Samsung SSD 850 Pro 500GB drive to use as the system drive. I’ve used the Samsung Data Migration cloning software successfully on a scratch install of Windows 8.1, but this is the first time to try it with Windows 8.1 pre-installed on the computer.

You install the Samsung Data Migration utility onto the computer to the existing hard drive. I then connected the SSD drive to a USB3 port using a USB3 data & power connector.

Note: Do not connect the SSD drive until the Samsung software has been installed.

  • Attempt #1: I ran the Data Migration wizard, and it came back saying that there was an issue with defragging the source disk.
  • Attempt #2: I install Piriform’s Defraggler and did a full defrag (about one hour). I reran the wizard and this time it reported that there was an issue with the source disk. I rebooted the computer and tried again, and received same error.
  • Attempt #3: I then do a sfc /scanow followed by a chkdsk /f c: – both had no issues or errors. I rebooted the computer and tried again. Same issue. I tried plugging the USB3 cable into other ports. Same issue, again.
  • Attempt #4: I then proceed to uninstall all the Dell add-on stuff (data protection, etc.) and then rebooted the computer. Voila! This time when I ran the wizard, we successfully clones the hard drive to the SSD drive.

After powering down the workstation, I unhooked the SATA drive and connected the SSD drive in its place. I powered up the system and it successfully started up Windows 8.1

Windows 10 January Preview Now Available

The January 2015 build of Windows 10 is now available for download for those who signed up for the Windows Insider program. If you’re not signed up, you should be – it’s free!

Windows Insider Program

This release is labeled Build 9926. To learn what’s new in this release, go to the Windows 10  January Build blog page.

Please note: it does NOT include all the new features that were shown during the Windows 10 presentation on Wednesday.


Windows 10 free upgrade for first year!

At the Windows 10 briefing event today (Jan-21-2015) they announced that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users for the first year!!!

Read the specifics from Arstechnica

And here is the link to the video of today’s presentation:

12th Year as a Microsoft MVP

New Year’s arrived this morning with an email from Microsoft announcing that I have received the 2015 Microsoft MVP award for Small & Medium Businesses. This is my 12th consecutive year to receive this honor.

Dear Kevin Weilbacher,
Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2015 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Windows Server for Small and Medium Business technical communities during the past year.

Microsoft MVP Banner

Why Windows 10 and not Windows 9?

This week Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows would be called Windows 10. Many of us (myself included) wondered “why did they skip calling it Windows 9”?

Today I read of one plausible explanation.

It suggests that there may be plenty of third party Windows programs still in use that have lines of code in their software to perform specific tasks if it was running on a legacy version of Windows (specifically Windows 95 or Windows 98). If so, those programs could include code similar to this:



True? False? I don’t know. But being a long time programmer, I could be convinced. Just look back to the “Y2K” fears 15 years ago:

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, we only stored the last two digits of the year in computer records. So, “12” meant “1912”. None of us programming back then ever envisioned that our software would still be running 30 or 40 years later, past the year 2000. Suddenly, we weren’t sure if ‘12’ was meant to be 1912 or 2012?

I keep thinking to myself … the more things change, the more things remain the same.

Windows 10 Preview Video

Here is a video of Microsoft’s VP, Joe Belfiore (Microsoft VP) introducing the next version of Windows – Windows 10!

Windows 10 for 2015


Microsoft announced today (Oct 30, 2014) that the next release of Windows will be called Windows 10. Their main goal is to have a single, common operating system that runs on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones. Windows 10 will be in various stages of internal and beta testing thru 2015, with an anticipated general release date sometime in the second half of 2015.

If you want to get a running commentary, with photos, of today’s release, click here.


Here is a quick summary of new features and changes to Windows 10:

  • The Start menu will look more like Windows 7, although there is an area on the start menu to show “live tiles” like what was on the Windows 8 metro screen
  • Newer style “apps” will work in more traditional windows, with ability to minimize, move or click X to close as expected. It will not feel like two different worlds which Windows 8 feels like.
  • It will have the ability to have multiple “desktops” with different apps and windows running in each desktop (nice way to separate work and home) and the ability to flip through the desktops.
  • The “charm” bar is still on the right side of the screen like in Windows 8.
  • There will be a “Touch UI” tool to allow operation similar to Windows 8 for those who like that.. and will also be good for two-in-ones (laptop/tablets) to still operate like a touch tablet. They call the new tool “Continuum” that will help users switch between touch and keyboard modes for the two-in-one convertible devices.
  • They’ll be releasing the Technical “Preview” version soon. The Windows Insider program opens tomorrow  – there’s a video there now showing a few of the new features.
  • The actual Windows 10 operating system is expected to ship in 2015 “mid to later in the year” as they will still be previewing new consumer aspects and new “universal apps” in April.
  • Windows 10 is also the next version of the phone operating system.. will run the same operating system family on all devices from 4″ to 80″. However phone version does not have a ‘desktop’.

Microsoft’s EMET 5.0

In case you missed it, Microsoft rolled out version 5.0 of their Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) in July 2014. This follows on the heels of EMET 4.0 (Nov 2013) and EMET 4.1 (May 2014).


What is EMET?

You may be asking yourself What is EMET? Why should I install it? Where or when should I install it? Susan Bradley has written an in-depth article on EMET, covering all of these questions. I highly recommend reading her article.

EMET helps defend against zero-day threats. It is a standalone security application, but that does not mean that it should be installed on every workstation. The basic guideline is to install EMET on this systems where you do any online tasks that involve sensitive personal information, purchases and online banking.

EMET: A Customer’s Perspective

Installing EMET

EMET can be installed standalone, which is what I am showing here. The EMET manual offers additional information and guidance for businesses and domain-based networks.

If you have a previous version of EMET installed, you will need to uninstall it first and reboot before installing EMET 5.0.

If you wish, go ahead and download and install EMET 5.0 now! Installation is straightforward, and does not require a reboot of the workstation. EMET 5.0 supports Window clients Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8/8.1, as well as Windows Server 2008 SP2, 2008 R2 SP1, 2012 and 2012 R2.

The only suggestion I would make when installing EMET 5.0 is to select “Use Recommended Settings”:


After installing EMET 5.0, you will find a new Padlock icon in your list of notification-area icons in your taskbar.


Right click on the Padlock icon, and select Open EMET to view the EMET Settings.


MVP Roadshow Tampa FL

The “Transform the Datacenter” MVP Roadshow was held at the Microsoft office in Tampa FL on Monday Sept 22, 2014. Many kudos to Adnan Cartwright. Due to an illness in the family with our first presenter (Telmo Sampaio), Adnan had to step in at the last minute to do both the first and second presentations.

Topics covered new features in Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V 4.0, migrating from  Windows 2003, public/private/hybrid clouds, Azure and more. More than half of the presentations were live demos, with lots of questions throughout. One comment from an attendee: “I can’t wait to get into Azure!”.

WP_20140922_002_cropped     WP_20140922_006-cropped

Windows Update Advisory

Last week Microsoft rolled out a large set of updates that cover both the Windows operating system and Microsoft Outlook. In my testing, the updates have installed fine. However, Microsoft has indicated that they have since removed some of the Windows OS updates from distribution on Friday – based on early feedback from users that they may cause a “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD) situation.

The most sever case is with MS14-045. For details on the updates in question, check out this ZDNet article.

For I.T. personnel, Ed Langley (Naked PowerShell) has written a  series of PowerShell scripts (click here) to determine if any of the relevant updates are installed on a system.

  1. If you, tend to periodically run Windows Updates on your own workstations, I would advise against doing so until I hear more from Microsoft.
  2. The Microsoft Office updates are not involved, and can be applied as desired.
  3. Finally, it’s because of situations like these that I recommend that servers are NOT configured to have updates automatically applied.

There is nothing you need to do as a response to this email. This is simply an advisory – unless of course you have encountered a workstation that has had a BSOD.