New Book: Windows Sysinternals Administrator’s Reference

Here’s a new book by Mark Russinovich and Aaron Margosis that you can order on Amazon.com.  If you’re a Windows admin, and find yourself needing to troubleshoot difficult issues, then this is essential reading.

“Get in-depth guidance—and inside insights—for using the Windows Sysinternals tools available from Microsoft TechNet. Guided by Sysinternals creator Mark Russinovich and Windows expert Aaron Margosis, you’ll drill into the features and functions of dozens of free file, disk, process, security, and Windows management tools. And you’ll learn how to apply the book’s best practices to help resolve your own technical issues the way the experts do.

Diagnose. Troubleshoot. Optimize.

  • Analyze CPU spikes, memory leaks, and other system problems
  • Get a comprehensive view of file, disk, registry, process/thread, and network activity
  • Diagnose and troubleshoot issues with Active Directory®
  • Easily scan, disable, and remove autostart applications and components
  • Monitor application debug output
  • Generate trigger-based memory dumps for application troubleshooting
  • Audit and analyze file digital signatures, permissions, and other security information
  • Execute Sysinternals management tools on one or more remote computers
  • Master Process Explorer, Process Monitor, and Autoruns“
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Mastering Lync Server 2010 – Available for Pre-Order

I am not the person to approach if you have questions on Exchange Server or Lync Server.  But Nathan Winters is.  Nathan was an Exchange MVP until he “went blue” (had his firmware changed [some say upgraded] by Redmond) and has been doing large deployments of Exchange and OCS for years in the UK.  And it is good news for those wanting to learn Lync Server 2010 that Nathan is currently slaving away on writing Mastering Lync Server 2010 – in fact I believe the writing phase is nearly over and RTM will be before the end of the year (if not much sooner).  Both authors (and the tech reviewer too AFAIK) are insiders and you can be sure that this read will be as accurate and informative as it can get.  And who knows – the Core CAL Suite will include Lync licensing from August 2011 which makes this communications tool, that can eliminate travel and make home working possible, even more economic.

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Finished Reading Zero Day by Mark Russinovich

One of the nice things about not having constant deadlines is that I can “chillax”.  I’ve been getting a lot of reading done on my Kindle/iPad combination.  And the latest book I’ve read is Zero Day, the debut novel by famous Windows insider guru Mark Russinovich.

The book centres around an independent IT security consultant who stumbles on a worldwide IT security threat, and then goes on from there.  I normally cannot stand any form of entertainment that features IT.  There are usually so many holes in the technology that is the centre of the plot that I focus on those rather than on the story.  Not so here, as you would expect.  The IT stuff appears accurate to me, and technical terms like a rootkit are dealt with at a high enough level that your granny will know all about them when she finishes the book.

The story is OK.  I think it was missing a little something, a hook, … I dunno, I’m no novelist!  It’s just that I finished it and was left wanting something more from it.  But that’s just my opinion; lots of others have loved it and Mark Russinovich broke the news yesterday that a publisher has agreed to publish a follow up.

Where the book scores points is that it gets across that businesses are failing to get the most basic IT security practices right.  Things like patching and antivirus still are not being done.  And that probably goes back to an old soapbox rant of mine: many decision makers don’t value IT, and therefore don’t understand how it can benefit a business if dealt with strategically or put it at the risk of complete destruction if the right staff aren’t hired and best practices aren’t implemented. So if you are in IT and want a Secret Santa gift for the CIO/CEO, give them a copy of Zero Day Smile

I’m now reading Daemon by Daniel Suarez.  I’m just a short way into it but it’s started out well.  Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson both recommended it on the TWiT security podcast a few weeks ago.  I’ll blame them if it sucks Winking smile

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Nice Feedback is Soup for the Soul

I think I’ve mentioned before that writing a book is hard work.  To be honest, when you’re going through the 3rd and 4th edit, you sometimes start to wonder if it’s all worth it or not. 

But then when you get positive feedback, sometimes by email or by Twitter, it can perk you up quite a bit.  Here’s a little sample of that for Mastering Hyper-V Deployment:

“… thank you for your awesome Hyper-V blog- it has really helped me get moving on Hyper-V. I purchased your book, Mastering Hyper-V Deployment earlier this week and found that to be even more valuable” – Paul

“… read it for the book review and I must say it is great” – Carsten

“…Great book” – Michael

“Handing out 16 copies of Aidan Finn’s Mastering Hyper-V Deployment book http://amzn.to/aKCQXj to the students of my #hyperv course” – @hvredevoort

Then there is the feedback on Amazon where Mastering Hyper-V Deployment is averaging 5 stars:

“Just got the book and reading half way through. A well written book with a lot of good explanation and diagram to assist user to understand the hyper v deployment. Keep up the good work” – Lai Yoong Seng

“The book has proven to be a big timesaver because it (1) cuts through the bureaucracy of the Microsoft-provided documentation and the hours researching product information on the web and (2) it covers details that will help me avoid problems later.  This is one of the few network admin books I have read cover-to-cover.” – S. Tsukuda

I found this book to be a very easy read and overall it had a great flow. Being an IT professional, I have read a lot of technical books and most are tough to read cover to cover. I had no issues reading through Mastering Hyper-V Deployment because Aidan’s style of writing is natural and he writes at a technical level that can translated by anyone, not just a Hyper-V expert. I highly recommend purchasing this book if you are planning to deploy Hyper-V R2 or have already done so.” – A. Bolt

“Best of all, you’ll get almost all the answers to the questions you’ve been thinking about. It’s all about details, but it’s always easy to get into it. You’ve been asking to yourself whether you should use snapshot on a VM running SQL ? the answers found from different sources on internet may be confusing you. In this book you’ll learn why not to use it or when you should use it and how to avoid any problem doing it among many other details to be aware of.” – Thomas Lally

“Appropriate for all Hyper-V users from the beginner to the expert, it goes beyond deployment and is definitely the administrator’s aid and if using guidance here your Hyper-V solution should remain in good shape.” – Virtualfat

“This is an excellent introduction to Hyper-V which is Microsoft’s Enterprise Software Solution. I particularly like the way the book is laid out, it is similar to a project plan to assist you if you were deploying your own Hyper-V project.  There is lots of very good information contained and this book is an asset to anyone who is planning a Hyper-V Deployment.” – Mr. J. Kane

One of the more interesting comments have been reported to me (from two independent sources) was from the Microsoft European HQ in Reading, UK.  Some of the Microsoft consultants there have stated that they thought Mastering Hyper-V Deployment was the best Hyper-V book they’ve read, including those from MS Press.  It would be an understatement to say that put a smile on my face!

Credit for the quality of Mastering Hyper-V Deployment must also be shared with the editors from Sybex, Hans Vredevoort (technical editor), and Patrick Lownds (co-author).

Last year was tough.  I was getting pretty tired of the editing process as we circled the end of Mastering Windows 7 Deployment.  I pushed through and eventually it was released a few weeks ago.  Today I got this nice message on Twitter from @miamizues

“Your co authored book on windows 7 deployment is our departments new bible, thank you”.

I was just a part of a big team of people who wrote, edited, and reviewed that book, but that was especially nice to hear.

Thank you to those concerned for taking the time to pass on or share the nice words.

And there are also plenty of online and in-person friends/colleagues who’ve said some nice things and supported me.  You know who you are and thank you!

Mastering Hyper-V Deployment Excerpts

Sybex, the publisher of Mastering Hyper-V Deployment, have posted some excerpts from the book.  One of them is from Chapter 1, written by the excellent Patrick Lownds (Virtual Machine MVP from the UK).  As you’ll see from the table of contents, this book is laid out kind of like a Hyper-V project plan, going from the proposal (Chapter 1), all the way through steps like assessment, Hyper-V deployment, System Center deployment, and so on:

Part I: Overview.

  • Chapter 1: Proposing Virtualization: How to propose Hyper-V and virtualisation to your boss or customer.
  • Chapter 2: The Architecture of Hyper-V: Understand how Hyper-V works, including Dynamic Memory (SP1 beta).

Part II: Planning.

  • Chapter 3: The Project Plan: This is a project with lots of change and it needs a plan.
  • Chapter 4: Assessing the Existing Infrastructure: You need to understand what you are converting into virtual machines.
  • Chapter 5: Planning the Hardware Deployment: Size the infrastructure, license it, and purchase it.

Part III: Deploying Core Virtualization Technologies.

  • Chapter 6: Deploying Hyper-V: Install Hyper-V.
  • Chapter 7: Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2: Get VMM running, stock your library, enable self-service provisioning.  Manage VMware and Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1.
  • Chapter 8: Virtualization Scenarios: How to design virtual machines for various roles and scales in a supported manner.

Part IV: Advanced Management.

  • Chapter 9: Operations Manager 2007 R2: Get PRO configured, make use of it, alerting and reporting.
  • Chapter 10: Data Protection Manager 2010: Back up your infrastrucuture in new exciting ways.
  • Chapter 11: System Center Essentials 2010: More than just SCE: Hyper-V, SBS 2008 and SCE 2010 for small and medium businesses.

Part V: Additional Operations.

  • Chapter 12: Security: Patching, antivirtus and where to put your Hyper-V hosts on the network.
  • Chapter 13: Business Continuity: A perk of virtualisation – replicate virtual machines instead of data for more reliable DR.

My First Book Hitting The Shelves Soon

It’s taken quite some time and amount of work but my first book is hitting the shelves soon.  When I say “my” I should clarify that I’m just one of the many contributors, with me having 4 chapters to my name.

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I got an email from the publishers (Sybex) to say that “Mastering Windows Server 2008 R2” was shipping from the warehouses this week.  I’m told that it will be available from retail outlets within the next month.  Localised versions (if there will be any) will take longer.  I’m supposed to be getting my 2 free copies this week.  Of course, being a good mama’s boy the first one will be going down home.

It was expected to be 1200 pages.  We tried to include W2008 and W2008 R2.  That was because we didn’t produce a W2008 book as planned originally.  That was the original project I was working on in 2007/2008.  There would be 3 W2008 books, the first being very basic, the second covering the 80% of stuff that we all need to know and the third covering the advanced stuff.  Things happened and there were delays.  Eventually it became a pointless task because R2 was coming and it was probably going to have a bigger place in the market than the original Windows Server 2008, thanks to things like Hyper-V and “better together”.  It was decided to focus on W2008 R2 in a single book but also draw in W2008 because it is still out there.  R2 brought us so much new material that the pages kept flowing.  Eventually 1200 pages became 1500 pages.

You should start seeing it on the shelves soon in all good book stores and a few rubbish ones too.  If you have ordered from Amazon then your poor postman will be dragging it to your door quite soon.  I’ve read that Sybex are now selling soft versions of their books rather than “treeware” so that might be an option for you mobility aware folks.

Mastering Windows Server 2003, Update Edition for SP1 and R2

Mark Minasi, famous IT journalist, author, speaker and consultant, has just finished writing his update to Mastering Windows Server 2003.  The updated book will include the new features included in SP1 and the R2 release of Windows Server 2003.  Mark has gotten permission from the publishers to post one of the chapters (on Windows Firewall) on his web site.

The publishers state that the following will be covered in the book:

  • Getting and installing SP1
  • Hiding folders from prying eyes with ABE
  • De-worming Windows with Data Execution Prevention (DEP)
  • Solving SP1/R2 incompatibilities
  • Stopping spyware and locking up ports
  • Stopping mobile thieves by blocking USB memory sticks
  • Upgrading to R2 and getting to know its GUI
  • Understanding R2’s new Print Management Console
  • Controlling folder usage with quotas and more
  • Integrating Unix and Windows
  • Working with Active Directory

At the very least, I’d recommend you read this chapter.  I’d also recommend a purchase of this book if you plan to deploy Windows 2003 or make use of Service Pack 1 or R2 features.  I read Mastering Windows Server 2003 when I first started to deploy the operating system.  Mark really makes his *ahem* mark by telling you both the official Microsoft story and, importantly, how the product really works and how you should really use it.  Given that the original book is 1753 pages long and the new Windows Firewall chapter is 48 pages long, I’m left wondering if a free JCB is provided to carry the book.

Make sure you also check out Mark’s free forum, MR&D, and his audio books based on his seminars that cover subjects such as Windows Vista, Microsoft network security and the SMTP service.  If you get the chance to, I would also recommend that you attend his seminars.  Mark is not only informative but also very entertaining … something that is tough to be in a world full of geeks and nerds!