Archive for Hyper-V

New 2012 Windows Server 2012 R2 VM Couldn’t Complete the Updates Undoing Changes

Aarrgghh – why don’t I remember these things anymore????

I was in the process of firing up a new 2012 R2 VM,  and in my rush, I  clicked to download and install all updates before heading out to do some errands. When I got back home, I was greeted with the following error message:

We couldn’t complete the updates. Undoing changes. Don’t turn off the computer.


The thing is — this was a known issue over a year ago! One that my good MVP friend Boon Tee encountered it, and wrote up a blog post at that time for the workaround.

The problem occurs if you are creating a Gen 2 virtual machine (.vhdx) and KB 2920189 is included in the list of updates you are trying to install.

The solution?

Shutdown VM –> disable Secure Boot from the VM –> Start VM  and install updates –> Shutdown VM –> re-enable Secure Boot –> Start VM

You can find the option to enable/disable Secure Boot under the Firmware section of the VM settings.


Warning — the “Undoing changes” can take quite a long time to complete. I decided to delete the VM, and start over from scratch!

Single stray .avhd Hyper-V snapshot file exists

I have a client with a Windows 2008R2 Hyper-V parent, and guest VMs. I was preparing to upgrade their Altaro Hyper-V software from version 4 to version 5, when I discovered that there was a single, stray snapshot file (.avhd) for one of the guest VMs. The strange thing is that the Hyper-V console was not showing that any snapshots exist or had been created for this VM.

I did some poking around, and buried in this Microsoft forum post was a response from Pablo which worked perfectly for me. His response is dated January 28, 2014.

Here are the steps he recommended and that I performed (again this was on a 2008 R2 Hyper-V server):

  • Shutdown the VM in question
  • On the right frame of the Hyper-V click on Snapshot and create a new snapshot. You can confirm this by going to the folder where the .avhd file exists, and you should now see a second .avhd file.
  • Return to the Hyper-V console, and from the middle frame, right click on the snapshot and select to delete the snapshot.
  • Over on the right frame you will see a message that a merge is in process.
  • Once the merge is completed, both .avhd files had been automatically removed from the folder location.

MVP Roadshow in Tampa

On Monday Sept. 22, 2014, Microsoft and Microsoft MVPs will be sponsoring a half day free seminar entitled “Transforming the Datacenter MVP Roadshow” at the Microsoft Office in Tampa Florida.

Transform the Datacenter MVP Roadshow

But don’t let the title dissuade you from attending. Topics for this session will include:

  • Migrating from Windows Server 2003
  • Comparing public, private and hybrid cloud approaches
  • New features in Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Understanding Microsoft Azure service offerings
  • Getting started with moving data, apps and services to the cloud
  • And much more!

We know that you have busy schedules, and so we have planned this morning’s event to be packed full of information. We will start with breakfast at 9am, with three sessions, followed by lunch during a final Q&A session. We plan to have things wrapped up by 1:15pm.

Register for the event now! and read more details on this free seminar.
Please note: when registering, you can skip the field labeled invitation referral code.

  • Date: Monday September 22, 2014
  • Time: 9am to 1:15pm
  • Location: Microsoft Office. 5426 Bay Center Dr, Suite 700, Tampa FL 33609

Mounting USB drive within 2012 R2 Hyper-V Guest

Let’s say you have an external USB drive, and you need to transfer some files from it to a guest partition running on your Hyper-V 2012 R2 server. What do you do? Well, one solution is to make use of a feature in Windows 2012 Hyper-V called “Enhanced Session Mode Policy”.

So let’s get started!


  • Before proceeding, go ahead and connect your external USB drive to your physical server.

Enabling Enhanced Session Mode

  • Open up Hyper-V Manager from the host parent) server.
  • Right click on the host server, then click Hyper-V Settings
  • Take a look at the Hyper-V Settings window. On the left frame are two sections labeled: Server and User
  • Under the Server section, locate and click on Enhanced Session Mode Policy
  • In the right frame, click (to check) Allow enhanced session mode
  • Back in the left frame, under User, locate and click Enhanced Session Mode
  • In the right frame, verify that Use enhanced session mode is checked
  • Click Apply and OK

Start guest VM and connect USB

  • Now, click to connect/start your VM session and login
  • After logging in, a new screen will display labeled: Display configuration
  • Click on Show Options from the lower left corner
  • Then under Local devices and resources, click More…
  • Then click to expand Drives
  • Locate and click (to select/check) your USB drive
  • Now, if you open up This PC, you should find your USB drive is now mounted as a mapped drive for you to access!

Free Hyper-V 2012 Backup with Altaro

People are quickly discovering the benefits of implementing a Hyper-V server solution into their business. If you have been tentative about jumping, do so today!

I had an opportunity today to start exploring some of the 3rd party software solutions available for backing up Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). As I asked around for recommendations, several names kept coming up: Altaro, Storagecraft, Veeam.


As I was already familiar with Storagecraft and their ShadowProtect product, I decided to take a look at Altaro, primarily because I kept reading reviews about how easy it was to install and run, and because they offer a free version that will backup two VMs, forever, for FREE.

I like “easy” and “free”, and in less than ten minutes I had Altaro installed and backups scheduled and running. I also like the fact that these are hot backups, allowing you to back up running VMs without stopping them!

  • Go ahead and download the free edition here (installation file is less than 20MB in size). Installation was a breeze — five quick clicks of a mouse is all it takes! NOTE: you install Altaro on the Hyper-V host (parent), not the guest VMs.
  • Altaro supports Windows 2012 , and even creates some helpful tiles!
  • Start up Altaro’s Management console, and it will automatically start scanning for any and all of your virtual machines.
  • All that was left was to select which VMs I wanted to backup, and then select an appropriate drive to store the backups. I had a 2TB USB drive available.
    Note: Altaro does not delete any existing files or folders on the selected backup drive. It creates a folder labeled ‘AltaroHyperVBackup’.
  • Here’s a screenshot of their dashboard.


The free version, as I mentioned earlier, will backup two VMs forever. The free version does not include File Level Restore, and it will only allow you to restore backups made during the most recent four weeks.

For $345, you can back up up to 5 VMs, and for $445 you can back up an unlimited number of VMs.

View a comparison of the Altaro editions.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials RTM and Trial!

Today Windows Server 2012 Essentials has been released to manufacturing (RTM).


A trial copy of Windows Server 2012 Essentials is immediately available for download:

Windows Server 2012 Essentials will be available for purchase on November 1, 2012.

It was just a few months ago (July) that the beta version of this product was announced. Then just a month ago we had the announcement of the Release Candidate (RC) version of 2012 Essentials.

The news that caught everyone’s attention (both good and bad) was that the name “Small Business Server” (SBS) would not be used by Microsoft as it moved forward with the 2012 era of Microsoft servers.

However, that does not mean that Windows Server 2012 Essentials isn’t jammed packed with features for the small or medium sized business. Here are just a few of those features:

  • Supports a maximum of 25 user (50 devices) with client CALS built in!
  • Enhanced Remote Web Access features, extending to Windows 8 clients
  • Wizards to setup, configure and manage Office 365 from the server
  • Support for Storage Spaces, allowing for  creation of resilient storage using a mix of different size disk drives
  • Supports backing up of workstations (maximum of 25) on a daily scheduled basis)
  • New health monitoring reports
  • Supports implementation as a Hyper-V guest
  • Supports third party add-ins
  • Supports Mac OS X clients (version 10.5 and up)

So, what’s changed? I’ll list what I consider are three two of the more important changes:

  • Windows Vista and XP workstations will not be supported
  • Exchange and Sharepoint have been removed from the product, but can be purchased and installed as separate packages
  • No Premium Add-On (PAO) packages, so no specific SQL package, although SQL can be purchased and installed as a separate package

How to install KernelPro USB-over-Ethernet for Hyper-V SBS 2011

Hyper-V is a great environment, for both testing and production purposes. I run my SBS 2011 production server as a  virtual (guest) to my windows 2008 R2 Hyper-V physical environment.

I may be wrong, but it sure seems as if SBS 2011 starts up faster virtually rather than if it was installed normally, on a physic platform.

One often-asked question with Hyper-V and SBS is “how do I access a USB external drive to run my daily SBS backups?”

The solution comes from KernelPro and their USB over Ethernet solution. This allows you to either connect to a USB drive on a different computer in the network, or in the case of Hyper-V, allows a guest partition to access the USB drive on the parent partition. But don’t be confused by the name “USB over Ethernet’ – this is exactly what you want. The program has both a Server (Full) and a Client module program that will be used.


From the Parent partition:

  • Connect the removable USB drive (to be used for your SBS backup)
  • Right click Computer, then click Manage –> Storage –> Disk Management, reformat the drive (if necessary), and then select to take the drive Offline
  • Download and install the full (server) version of the KernelPro ‘USB over Ethernet’
  • Start up the Kernel Pro utility and it should display all your USB devices (drives, keyboards, mice, etc.)
  • image


From the Guest partition:

  • Download and install the client version of KernelPro ‘USB over Ethernet’
  • Start up the utility, click on the Add new USB server icon, and enter the LAN IP address of your Hyper-V server
  • Then click on your USB drive to use, and under Properties, set the option to ‘connect automatically when it is available on the server’
  • KernelPro will use a random port number, which you may need to open in the client firewall configuration

Configure and schedule your SBS Backup, and you are all done!


Hyper-V Replication Hangout

The replication feature of Hyper-V 2012 is getting a lot of attention recently. This Thursday Oct 4th, 2012 at 6pm EDT some of the SBS MVP’s will be discussing Hyper-V replication for small businesses:

We’re hosting a hangout to talk about Hyper-V Replication for Small Business with Boon Tee. Boon wrote a great series of blog posts which I shared in an early post on this blog. We’re hosting a hangout so you can ask Boon questions, live! We’ll talk about the technical aspects as well as how to talk to your small business clients about Hyper-V Replication.

Click here to RSVP, and please plan to join us!

P.S. It is not necessary to have a Google+ login in order to watch and listen!

Click to RSVP for this free session

Hyper-V Replica for Small Businesses

Boon Tee, my good friend and fellow MVP’er from Australia, has posted several articles recently on his blog site addressing how to install and use Hyper-V core, and implement a Hyper-V replica environment for disaster recovery. These are well written articles with step-by-step instructions. Thanks, Boon!


Disaster Recovery with Hyper-V Replica for Small Business on a Budget

How to set up Hyper-V Replica for Small Businesses