Recommended hotfixes and updates for Windows Server 2012-based Failover Clusters

Below is the list of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles that describe the currently available fixes. Most of the updates will apply to computers running the Windows Server 2012 operating system. Some updates, like KB 976424, may be needed on computers running the Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 operating system if they are present in the environment.

Windows Server 2012

Date added Knowledge Base Article Title Component Why we recommend this hotfix
2/27/2013 2813630 Virtual machine enters a paused state or a CSV volume goes offline when you try to create a backup of the virtual machine on a Windows Server 2012-based failover cluster Failover Cluster Service, CSV Filter and NTFS.sys This hotfix prevents a CSV failover by fixing an underlying issue in NTFS and by increasing the overall resilience of the Cluster service and CSV during expected pause states. To avoid CSV failovers, you may have to make additional changes to the computer after you install the hotfix. Available for individual download.
1/23/2013 2803748 Failover Cluster Management snap-in crashes after you install update 2750149 on a Windows Server 2012-based failover cluster Failover Cluster Management snap-in Resolves a crash in the Failover Cluster Management snap-in after update 2750149 is installed on a Windows Server 2012-based failover cluster. Available from Windows Update or Microsoft Download Center.
11/13/2012 2770917 Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 cumulative update: November 2012 Multiple Improves clustered server performance and reliability in Hyper-V and Scale-Out File Server scenarios. Improves SMB service and client reliability under certain stress conditions. Install update 2770917 by using Windows Update in order to receive the cumulative update as described in KB 2770917.
11/13/2012 976424 Error code when the kpasswd protocol fails after you perform an authoritative restore: “KDC_ERROR_S_PRINCIPAL_UNKNOWN” KDCSVC Install on every domain controller running Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 or Windows Server 2008 R2 in order to add a Windows Server 2012 failover cluster. Otherwise Create Cluster may fail when attempting to set the password for the cluster computer object with error message: CreateClusterNameCOIfNotExists (6783): Unable to set password on <ClusterName$> This hotfix is included in Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1.

Here’s the link to the original article on the  Microsoft website.

Book review: Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cookbook

I’ve been asked by Packt to read this ebook (Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Cookbook by Leandro Carvalho) and give my honest feedback on this book. I must say I’m impressed by the content.

This is an in-depth book on the use and features of Microsoft Hyper-V for Windows Server 2012. This book is a must read for those who want to play with it with or without having a deep knowledge in this matter.

I’m a huge fan of clearing things up with the help of pictures (a picture can say a thousand words) but I must admit that the author has found a way to use the pictures to clarify and not to clutter the book with them.

I’m quite familiar with Hyper-V in Server 2008 R2 and have an understanding of how Virtualization works in general. However if you are a novice or an expert, this book provides information for all skill levels.

In my opinion the money is worth spending on this book.

You can buy the Windows Server 2012 Hyper- V Cookbook  now from here.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 Update 1

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 Update 1 is the newest version of MDT, a Solution Accelerator for operating system and application deployment. MDT 2012 Update 1 supports deployment of Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2010 and 365, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2008 R2 in addition to deployment of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP.

Overview

Deploy Windows and Office 2010 with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Update 1. MDT is the recommended process and toolset for automating desktop and server deployment. MDT provides you with the following benefits:

  • Unified tools and processes, including a set of guidance, for deploying desktops and servers in a common deployment console.
  • Reduced deployment time and standardized desktop and server images, along with improved security and ongoing configuration management.

Some of the key changes in MDT 2012 Update 1 are:

  • Added support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.
  • Support for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 CTP: Added support in MDT for deploying Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 with Configuration Manager  2012 SP1 CTP, while supporting all new Configuration Manager functionality (offline BitLocker, UEFI, and Assessment and Deployment Kit).
  • Support for DaRT 8 Beta: Updated MDT to support DaRT 8 for Windows 8 deployments, while continuing to support DaRT 7 for Windows 7 deployments.  Added DaRT support for Configuration Manager scenarios.
  • New “Build Your Own Pages” User-Driven Installation (UDI) feature: Enhanced the UDI wizard and designer to enable IT pros to design their own wizard pages with little effort.
  • New System Center 2012 – Orchestrator support: Provided the ability to add steps into an OS deployment task sequence to execute Orchestrator runbooks as part of the deployment process.
  • Other improvements: Added support for Windows PowerShell 3.0, reworked Roles and Features installation logic for Windows 8, improved “boot from VHD” deployment scenarios, and added support for Configuration Manager monitoring.

Continue reading “Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 Update 1”

Update for Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 R2 KMS hosts to support Windows 8 & Windows Server 2012

This update extends the Key Management Service (KMS) for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to allow enterprise licensing of Windows 8 and of Windows Server 2012.
KMS provides support for the following KMS client activations:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 7 and Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Windows Vista and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2)

Key Management Service (KMS) uses a KMS host key to activate KMS on a KMS host, and to establish a local activation service in your environment. This update extends support for KMS to provide activation for Windows 8 and for Windows Server 2012.

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing the problem described in this article. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.
If the hotfix is available for download, there is a “Hotfix download available” section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.
NoteIf additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, go to the following Microsoft website: Continue reading “Update for Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 R2 KMS hosts to support Windows 8 & Windows Server 2012”

Windows Server 2012 SMB 3.0 feature support

With the new release of Windows Server 2012 Microsoft has released a new full version of it’s SMB protocol.

Down below is listed what new features are introduced in this new version. As always the new version is backwards compatible but older operating systems will not support the newer features introduced in version 3.

The SMB 2.x protocol was introduced in Windows Server 2008 and in Windows Vista.
The SMB 3.0 protocol was introduced in Windows Server 2012 and in Windows 8.

New SMB features that are introduced in the Windows Server 2012 file server

  • SMB Transparent Failover
  • SMB Scale Out
  • SMB Multichannel
  • SMB Direct
  • SMB Encryption
  • VSS for SMB file shares
  • SMB Directory Leasing
  • SMB PowerShell

SMB Transparent Failover

Both the SMB client and SMB server must support SMB 3.0 to take advantage of the SMB Transparent Failover functionality.
SMB 1.0- and SMB 2.x-capable clients will be able to connect to, and access, shares that are configured to use the Continuously Available property. However, SMB 1.0 and SMB 2.x clients will not benefit from the SMB Transparent Failover feature. If the currently accessed cluster node becomes unavailable, or if the administrator makes administrative changes to the clustered file server, the SMB 1.0 or SMB 2.x client will lose the active SMB session and any open handles to the clustered file server. The user or application on the SMB client computer must take corrective action to reestablish connectivity to the clustered file share.
NoteSMB Transparent Failover is incompatible with volumes enabled for short file name (8.3 file name) support or with compressed files (such as NTFS-compressed files).

SMB Scale Out

Both the SMB client and SMB server must support SMB 3.0 to take advantage of the SMB Scale Out feature.
SMB 1.0 clients do not contain the required client functionality to access SMB scale-out file shares and will receive an “Access Denied” error message when they try to connect to a scale-out file share.
SMB scale-out file shares are always configured so that the Continuously Available property is set. SMB 2.x clients will be able to connect to SMB scale-out file shares but will not benefit from the SMB Transparent Failover functionality.

SMB Multichannel

Both the SMB client and SMB server must support SMB 3.0 to take advantage of the SMB Multichannel functionality. SMB 1.0 and SMB 2.x clients will use a single SMB connection.

SMB Direct (SMB over Remote Direct Memory Access [RDMA])

SMB Direct is available only on the Windows Server platform and was introduced in Windows Server 2012. SMB Direct Functionality requires that the SMB client and SMB server support SMB 3.0.

SMB Encryption

Both the SMB client and SMB server must support SMB 3.0 to take advantage of the SMB Encryption functionality.

VSS for SMB file shares

Both the SMB client and SMB server must support SMB 3.0 to take advantage of the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) for SMB file shares functionality.

SMB Directory Leasing

Both the SMB client and SMB server must support SMB 3.0 to take advantage of the SMB Directory Leasing functionality.

SMB PowerShell

SMB PowerShell management cmdlets were introduced in Windows Server 2012 and in Windows 8. Older SMB clients and SMB servers will have to continue using down-level tools for management (for example, Net.exe) and APIs (for example, Win32 APIs).

You can read more about SMB v3 here.

Windows 8 and Server 2012 RTM

Both Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are release to manufacturer as of August 1st 2012. That means the final code is complete and Microsoft is delivering it to hardware and software vendor partners.

Server 2012:

Get out your calendars and free up some time on September 4.  That’s when Windows Server 2012 will be generally available for evaluation and purchase by all customers around the world. 

Windows 8:

Windows 8 will be released on October 26th to the public by either upgrading for $39.99 or on a new PC or device. And if you buy an eligible Windows 7 PC today, you will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.

However, Microsoft has a number of programs that provides various audiences early access to the Windows 8 RTM code to help prepare for Windows 8 as it enters the marketplace this fall:

  • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
  • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
  • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
  • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
     
    Please note: if a program you are in is not mentioned, please be patient as dates for Windows 8 RTM code availability for other programs will be communicated when the information becomes available.