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Windows 8 Activation – Unable To Change The Product Key

Recently had an issue with my own laptop where Windows 8 wouldn’t activate. I was pretty sure the product key was wrong, but there isn’t any way in the GUI to change the product key like there was in Windows 7.

After some searching I found a MS article that explained how to change the product key in a few different ways.

"Change product key" link is not available in Windows 8 or in Windows Server 2012

Using the Slui.exe 0x3 from a Run dialog allowed me to change the key and successfully activate.  Using the slgmgr.vbs /ipk would work as well, but the slui.exe was new to me so I used that method.

Hope this helps someone else that runs into the situation. 

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Windows 8 DeDuplication = Awesome

Goes without saying that this is most likely unsupported, so proceed at your own risk 🙂

I do really love my Asus Zenbook, it’s the fastest lightest laptop I’ve ever had. It powers on nearly instantly, especially with Windows 8, the battery life is phenomenal. However even the maxed out version only comes with 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. So sometimes I just need more space. So I decided to see what the data deduplication would get me. A large number of the files I keep on my 2nd partition are ISO files and lab files for various things.  Plus usually have a few Hyper-V VM’s as well.

I have read various forum posts, but didn’t see any comprehensive guides on how to put everything together.  Until I was nearly finished with my write-up and discovered fellow MVP The Wei King’s post, doh! Wish I had found that sooner, regardless, his post has an excellent walkthrough and I’ve provided my own walkthrough with some additional details below.

My disk prior to dedup:

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My Hyper-V folder alone (on D:) was 28GB prior to the dedup.

My disk after dedup:

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Running a Get-dedupvolume shows the results of dedup on my D:, pretty awesome!

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Configuring DeDup

You will need the following files before you can proceed. I’ll leave it up to you to track down the files or grab them from a Server 2012 installation.

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From within the directory the files are located, from an elevated PowerShell prompt, run the following 2 commands.

dism /online /add-package /packagepath:Microsoft-Windows-VdsInterop-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.2.9200.16384.cab /packagepath:Microsoft-Windows-VdsInterop-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~en-US~6.2.9200.16384.cab /packagepath:Microsoft-Windows-FileServer-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.2.9200.16384.cab /packagepath:Microsoft-Windows-FileServer-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~en-US~6.2.9200.16384.cab /packagepath:Microsoft-Windows-Dedup-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.2.9200.16384.cab /packagepath:Microsoft-Windows-Dedup-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~en-US~6.2.9200.16384.cab

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:Dedup-Core /all

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Once you run those commands, when you view Programs and Features, you will now see the File Server Role, and Data Deduplication enabled and listed.

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Analyzing Drive Space

Once the feature has been added, you can use ddpeval.exe to look at a folder, or entire drive to see how much savings you would get with the feature.

For example, I looked at my Hyper-V folder to see what it would save me. My Hyper-V folder is about 28GB right now, not much in there, just a couple of VM’s, but with dedup enabled, it would only take up 14.5GB, saving nearly 50%!

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Analyzing my entire D: results in the follow results.

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Commands to configure DeDuplication

Additional details can be found here on TechNet

The default policy settings for Server 2012 are as follows:

  • Process files that have a minimum age of five days according to the Last Modified Time. If Last Access Time is enabled on the server (this is not the default setting), deduplication will use the Last Access Time.
  • Process files in background mode every hour. In background mode, the system uses up to 25% of the system memory during optimization jobs, whereas manual Throughput jobs use up to 50% of the system memory.
  • Do not exclude any directories or file types. The default setting is to process the entire volume.
  • Run a garbage collection job every Saturday at 1:45 AM. Garbage collection reclaims space on a volume by deleting chunks from the chunk store that are no longer referenced. Garbage collection compacts a container only if approximately 50 MB of chunks exist that have no references. Every fourth run of garbage collection incorporates the -full parameter, which instructs the job to reclaim all available space and maximize all container compaction.
  • Run a data scrubbing job every Saturday at 2:45 AM. Scrubbing jobs verify data integrity and automatically attempt to repair corruptions that are found.

The default settings will configure 3 schedules, Optimization runs every hour, Garbage Collection and Scrubbing are set for once a week.  These can be viewed from PowerShell using “get-dedupschedule”.

The following commands are all done from within a Windows PowerShell prompt.

Enable on a volume:

Enable-DedupVolume D:

Configure number of days before dedup is done:

Set-Dedupvolume D: -minimumfileagedays 30

Return a list of volumes that have been enabled for dedup:

Get-DedupVolume

To Start an Optimization Job before the default schedule:

Start-DedupJob – Volume D: -Type Optimization

To view the progress of a optimization job:

Get-Dedupjob

Primarily to get started you need to configure the job for a volume, then start the optimization, or wait for the scheduled job, and then it can be viewed using the get-dedupjob command.

Additional Considerations

  • The Dedup process can process data at roughly 2TB per 24-hour period, about 100 GB per hour. However CPU, Disk, I/O can affect that obviously.
  • Running out of free space can be a bad thing when you are using dedup.  Keep an eye on your free space at all times.
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Windows 8 Shortcut Keys – Saving You From Losing Your Hair

I’m a huge shortcut key guy, use them all the time.

Also when you are RDP’d into a VMware VM, good luck using your mouse, so I was pulling my hair out trying to get the “Charms” menu to pop up, finally found a shortcut for it.  Windows Key + C, that’s one thing I’ll give Hyper-V, the mouse works MUCH better remotely.

Windows Key + I – Brings up “Settings” directly

Windows Key + X – Pops up the Admin Menu

Windows Key + C – Charms menu

Some of my personal favorites that still work in Windows 8:

Windows Key + E – Brings up Explorer

Windows Key + D – Shows the Desktop

Windows Key + Right Arrow – Snap to right side of screen

Windows Key + Left Arrow – Snap to left side of screen

Windows Key + Shift + Right Arrow – Switch to right monitor

Windows Key + Shift + Left Arrow – Switch to left monitor

Windows Key + Up Arrow – Full Screen

Windows Key + Down Arrow – Minimize

Windows Key + L – Locks the computer

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Windows 8 Show Desktop At Logon

I recently had a need at a client site to always show the desktop upon logging into a Windows 8 machine. 

A very simple solution that worked for me is to simply add a Registry key to run Explorer.exe at logon.

Simply add the following key: (snippet from a script I used)

oShell.RegWrite "HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\Explorer", "C:\Windows\Explorer.exe", "REG_SZ"

After adding this, every time you log into the machine, Explorer will launch and the Windows 8 desktop will be shown.  Nothing fancy about this solution, but it works.

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Going Production – Deploy Windows 8 using MDT 2012 Update 1

Johan Arwidmark walks you through deploying Windows 8 using MDT 2012 Update 1.

Read his post here.

Windows 8 RTM is now available and so is the deployment solution to deploy it. As of this writing (September 19, 2012) MDT 2012 Update 1 is the only deployment solution by Microsoft that supports deploying the final version of Windows 8. The other deployment solution Microsoft has, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, will not support Windows 8 until the SP1 update is released later this year.

Note: Yes, I know: Technically you can use plain vanilla Windows Deployment Services (WDS) and ADK to deploy Windows 8, but that’s not a deployment solution. WDS and ADK are only plumbing tools for deployment, not a deployment solution, and MDT 2012 Update 1 will use them in the background anyway. Please do not waste your time trying to build a deployment solution on WDS and ADK, Microsoft has already done it for you: It’s named MDT 2012 Update 1!

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Windows 8 – A simple start screen button

Great post by Greg Ramsey if you are working with Windows 8.

Read the full post here.

I’ve been spending some time testing Windows 8 and Server 2012 lately, mostly on virtual machines. If you’ve worked with either OS in a VM (or even Remote Desktop), you may have noticed the challenge in hitting the start screen button. . .er orb.   It is very easy on a real monitor, because you simply move the mouse to the bottom-left corner of the screen. But on a VM, you can quickly move from the bottom-left corner of the VM to the applications on ‘the real’ system.

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Windows Server 8 Beta–Summary from John Savill’s presentations for Windows IT Pro

Cameron Fuller has put together a really great summary from the Windows 8 presentation earlier this week.

Read his full blog post here.