for IT Professionals Wed, 24 Aug 2016 03:21:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 32 32 Win a Conference Pass to Live! 360! Mon, 02 Nov 2015 14:00:58 +0000

Read More]]> Live360Contest

Live! 360 will be held November 16-20 in Orlando at Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort at Universal.

Live! 360 is actually 5 conferences in one!

Visual Studio Live!
SharePoint Live!
SQL Server Live!
Modern Apps Live!

To enter, just submit your name, email, and answer the question “Why do you want to go to Live! 360?”.

Contest closes on November 9th at 11:59 PM Eastern. One winner will be announced on this blog, the ITCertPro Facebook Page, and the @ITCertPro twitter account


Earn additional entries by liking my Facebook page and Posting “I want to go to Live!360 in Orlando November 16-20”


Tweeting the following:

@ITCertPro Win a Conference Pass to Live! 360! 5 conferences in 1, Nov 16-20

]]> Sat, 31 Oct 2015 23:33:32 +0000 LIVE360_2015_728x90 ]]> Live! 360 Orlando 2015 Sat, 31 Oct 2015 23:24:08 +0000 360logo

Save $600 on conference registration to Live!360 at Loew’s Resort at Universal Studios, Orlando, FL

TechMentor Redmond 2015 Wrap-Up Fri, 07 Aug 2015 04:45:09 +0000

Read More]]> TechMentorRedmond2015_Med
TechMentor Redmond finishes up today with 5 days of useful knowledge presented by some of the best speakers in IT. TechMentor is a 5 day conference aimed at system administrators and ITCertPro is a Premier Media Partner. This year’s conference was held on the Microsoft campus.

Things kicked off on Monday with three all day pre-conference sessions. Powershell expert, Jeffery Hicks led a session on Fundamentals of PowerShell Basics. Win-Fu Master, Sami Laiho opened his dojo for Windows OS Internals Black Belt. And Destroyer of Blues Screens, Bruce Mackenzie-Low taught Windows Troubleshooting Deep Dive. Lunch was help at the Mixer where conference attendees could run elbows with “typical blue badgers” and shop in the Microsoft Company Store & Visitor Center.

Monday evening was the Dine Around hosted by speakers Greg Shields, Don Jones, John O’Neil Sr., Jason Helmick, and Bruce Mackenzie-Low. The dine around is an informal event where attendees get to mix with speakers and other attendees. It is one of my favorite events because you can meet people that you can hang out with for the rest of the week and it makes the conference more interesting. TechMentor is a smaller conference so networking with other attendees is a big part of the event.

Tuesday started off with the first keynote featuring Microsoft Principal Psychometrician (yes, that is a real word), Liberty Munson. In a fireside chat style (with a real video fire) with Greg Shields, Dr. Munson spoke on Demystifying the MCSE and answered question on the MCSE program and how questions are developed and the value of certification. For more coverage on this keynote, check out this article from Redmond Magazine. 3 hour deep dive sessions were featured throughout the day. The day concluded with a reception hosted by the conference exhibitors.

Wednesday featured a keynote with Don Jones, Curriculum Director for IT Pro Content at Pluralsight. Don spoke on Microsoft 2015 – What to Expect, Where to Focus. Don took a look into the future and described how changes at Microsoft will affect the IT Pro’s career. For full coverage on his talk, check out this article from Redmond Magazine.

Other highlights of Wednesday included more 3 hour deep dive sessions, a Birds of a Feather lunch (where it was possible to have lunch with your favorite speaker), and an after hours party sponsored by Amazon Web Services at Lucky Strike bowling.

Thursday was all day 3 hour deep dive sessions and Lunch at the Mixer and visits to the Microsoft Company Store & Visitor Center.

Friday will wrap up with a choice of four 3 hour deep dive sessions.

Overall, TechMentor is a great conference if you are interested in a conference that concentrates on learning topics that you can use today. The sessions are built on knowledge and not advertising products. If you are looking for an intense learning experience, consider making TechMentor a part of your professional development.

The next TechMentor will be held November 16-20 as part of Live! 360 in Orlando at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios. You can register here and if you use my code  UGOR10 you can save $600 off the regular price of the 5 day registration. I will be there. Will you?

Hello world! Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:35:36 +0000 Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Live! 360 Day 1 and Day 2 Wed, 20 Nov 2013 15:03:35 +0000


Live! 360 activities unofficially started on Sunday, November 17th at Loew’s Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. Early registration opened and a group was formed for the Dine-A-Round event at Universal’s City Walk. The Dine Around began at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for appetizers and drinks. From there, groups split up based on interest. I joined the SharePoint group and we ate at the Hard Rock Café. Rocco was our waiter and he turned out to be very interesting. He insisted on memorizing our orders, even though we had a large group. He was entertaining, to say the least. Oh, and he got all the orders correct!

Hard Rock Cafe at night

On Monday, pre-conference sessions started. Each session was a daylong event. The lunch experience was great, as it was held in this huge air-conditioned tent.

Full dining tent

The day was capped off with an Expo Preview reception with drinks and appetizers, followed by the conference keynote featuring Microsoft Analyst Mary Jo Foley. It was an incredible experience for me to get to see Mary Jo Foley in person. She has been reporting on Microsoft for over 25 years and always provides interesting commentary.

Mary Jo Foley

Day 2, Tuesday, was actually the first regular day of the conference. Over 900 people will be attending this week with sessions focusing on Visual Studio, Modern App Development, SQL Server, and SharePoint. I attended sessions “What’s New in SharePoint for IT Pro’s”, “Implementing SharePoint: A Project Manager’s How-To”, “Creating a SharePoint End User Adoption Strategy”, and “Introduction to Power Shell for the Anxious IT Pro.” Every speaker was excellent and, as is typical for Live! 360, each speaker is very accessible. If you had a question, you could ask them right at the session or you could wait until later and meet them at the Exhibitor’s reception for a more casual talk.

Congratulations to ITCertPro’s Live! 360 Conference Pass Winner! Mon, 21 Oct 2013 13:00:42 +0000

Read More]]> Congratulations to our Live! 360 Conference Pass Winner, Jeff Collins. Jeff will get to enjoy 5 days and choose from over 200 sessions from 4 events: Visual Studio Live!, SharePoint Live!, SQL Server Live!, and Modern Apps Live!.

Jeff’s first reaction to the news:

Thank you very much!! I will be able to attend and I am very excited!

Live! 360 will be held November 18-22 at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando! You can follow Jeff on Twitter, @Logicwinsalways, and read about his experience through some of his tweets.

I will also get a chance to attend Live! 360, so I hope to get to meet Jeff in person.

Special thanks to Live! 360 for supplying this prize which is worth $2,195.

There is still time to register for this conference and you can save $500 on your registration for a 5 day pass by using my registration link or using code UGL2 when you register.

You can also get a special hotel rate of $155 per night at the Royal Pacific Resort if you register by Thursday, October 31, 2013. See the Live! 360 site for more details.

TechMentor Las Vegas This Week Tue, 01 Oct 2013 22:01:06 +0000

Read More]]> TechMentor Las Vegas is this week, September 30th – October 4th. On Monday, Attendees enjoyed Pre-Conference sessions from Don Jones, Greg Shields, Mark Minasi, John O’Neil Sr., and Richard Taylor on topics including Power Shell, System Center & Private Cloud, SharePoint, and Office 365.

Our contest winner, Lynn Carroll (@LynnCarroll) has been sending tweets from the conference. You can follow Lynn and other attendees by following hashtag #TechMentor.

TechMentor Las Vegas Registration Desk

TechMentor Las Vegas Registration Desk

The Care and Feeding of Bootable VHDs Wed, 25 Sep 2013 13:00:00 +0000

Read More]]> Like many ITCertPros that have been studying Microsoft technology, I have worked with virtual machines for studying the technology as well as supporting production servers. I have used Virtual PC, Virtual Server, and Hyper-V to create virtual environments to learn about software before I take a certification test. Having a computer that could boot multiple operating systems was one option, but it was usually difficult to setup. Each OS had to have its own partition, which meant trying to re-partition your current hard drive or buying a new hard drive.

Beginning with Windows 7, we gained another option: Boot to VHD (Virtual Hard Disk). This allows us to create an OS installation inside a Microsoft VHD file and boot the computer from the OS in the VHD. Typically, VHDs are used as the hard drive for Microsoft virtual machines, such as Hyper-V and Virtual PC. I have been working with bootable VHDs for about three years now. They can be very useful for trying out different operating systems. My original reason for installing a bootable VHD was to use Windows Server 2008R2 and Hyper-V. Windows 7 and Virtual PC do not support 64 bit operating systems, so it is impossible to work with virtual Windows Server machines. I wanted to use Microsoft virtualization for my virtual machines, so I knew that I had to use Hyper-V and Server 2008. By using a bootable VHD with Windows Server 2008, I spared myself the trouble of having to re-partition my hard drive.

Another reason for using bootable VHDs is to participate in BYOD HOLs* (Bring Your Own Device Hands On Labs, my new acronym combination. J) TechMentor Las Vegas is offering Deep Dive Sessions and Hands on Labs that require participants to bring their own computers for the labs. So unless you have spare laptops you can reformat or can remotely connect to a server, a bootable VHD might be your best solution.

The solution I am presenting is not my own, and is mostly based on a blog post by Harold Wong of Microsoft. The best feature of Mr. Wong’s procedure is that it mostly uses GUI tools instead of the command prompt. However, the article left me with some questions. After doing some research on some more blogs and websites, I have answers to my questions and I thought that it would be helpful to have all this information in one place. I have placed references below to all the websites that I have used to create this article. Also, while Mr. Wong’s article gave detailed instructions for creating the VHD in Windows 7, I am going to focus my instructions on creating the VHD in Windows 8.

The techniques used in these instructions can be used to create VHDs of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2.


  1. The main OS on your laptop needs to be at least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
  2. Installation files for the OS you will be installing to the VHD. You can use Evaluation versions or licensed versions. This might be a DVD or USB drive. It could also be an .ISO file. Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are able to natively mount ISO files However, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will need a program like Magic ISO to mount the files.
  3. A copy of imagex.exe from the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).

Creating the VHD

  1. Open the Computer Management Console. (Press Windows+X and choose Computer Management or Press Windows+R and type compmgmt.msc)
  2. Click on Disk Management.
  3. Right Click on Disk Management and select Create VHD
  4. In the Create and Attach Virtual hard Disk dialog box:
    1. In the Location, enter a path and filename for the VHD. Consider using a dedicated folder to store your VHDs.
    2. Enter a size for the virtual hard disk. Mr. Wong recommends 20 GB. If you are considering installing applications, especially Office 2013, consider 30 – 35 GB.
    3. Choose a virtual hard disk format.
      Dynamically expanding will work well.
  5. Right Click on the newly created virtual disk and select Initialize Disk. Right click in the volume area and format the disk as a simple volume.
  6. (Optional) If you possibly may want to use this disk later with Hyper-V, Right Click on the volume and select Mark Partition as Active.
  7. Open a command prompt running as Administrator.
  8. Type the following command:
    imagex /apply e:\sources\install.wim 1 f:\
    where e: is the drive letter of the OS source files
    f:\ is the drive letter of the virtual disk
    1 is the index number for the image and is the correct value for a client OS.
  9. (Optional) If you are installing a Windows Server OS to the VHD, it is helpful to identify an index number for an image containing the GUI tools instead of the Server Core.
    1. Open a Windows PowerShell prompt running as Administrator and type:
      Get-WindowsImage -ImagePath e:\sources\install.wim
    2. Look for an image labeled SERVERDATACENTER (not SERVERDATACENTERCORE). This is the index number you will want to use instead.
  10. (Optional) Make a backup copy of the VHD.
    1. From the Computer Management Console, Click on Disk Management.
    2. Right Click on the VHD drive and select Detach VHD.
    3. Open Windows Explorer and browse to the folder containing the VHD.
    4. Copy the VHD to another folder or USB drive.
    5. Back in the Computer Management Console, Right Click on Disk Management and select Attach VHD
    6. In the Attach Virtual Hard Disk dialog box, Browse to the VHD file and click on the Open button
    7. Click OK
  11. Go back to the previously opened command prompt or open another command prompt running as Administrator.
  12. Type the following command:
    bcdboot f:\windows
    where f: is the drive letter given to the currently mounted VHD.
  13. The first time you boot to this partition, Windows will detect drivers and prompt you with the tasks you would normally run on a new installation.
  14. One more note, when you reboot windows, the currently mounted VHDs will be dismounted the next time you reboot. This is normal.
  15. If you want an even easier method, Hugo Häggmark has created a script to do most of the work. But where is the fun in that? J

Remove the VHD from the Boot Menu

If you are done with the VHD and no longer want to boot to it, you can remove it from the boot menu using these steps.

  1. Open MSCONFIG. Press Windows+R on the keyboard, type msconfig, and press enter.
  2. Click on the Boot tab
  3. Highlight the entry for the VHD
  4. Click on the Delete Button

Expand the VHD

This method will work for a detached and unencrypted VHD. I recommend running this from your computer’s main OS.

  1. Make a Backup copy of your VHD.
  2. Open a command prompt running as Administrator.
  3. Type DiskPart and hit enter.
  4. Type select vdisk file=f:\vhd\mydisk.vhd
    where f:\vhd\mydisk.vhd is the path and filename to the VHD you want to expand.
  5. Type expand vdisk maximum=30000
    where 30000 is the new size in Mb. 30,000 would be close to 30 Gb.
  6. Open the Computer Management Console.
  7. Click on Disk Management.
  8. Right Click on Disk Management and select Attach VHD
  9. In the Attach Virtual Hard Disk dialog box, Browse to the VHD file and click on the Open button
  10. Click
  11. Right click on the volume you want to extend and select Extend Volume.
  12. (Optional) If the VHD is encrypted with BitLocker, it will detect that the drive has been tampered with.
    1. When booting, you must enter the recovery key and boot into Safe Mode.
    2. Go to BitLocker Drive Encryption manager and hit Manage BitLocker.
    3. Change the PIN and save the new recovery key.

Add the VHD to Hyper-V

  1. Open the Computer Management Console.
  2. Click on Disk Management.
  3. Right Click on Disk Management and select Attach VHD
  4. In the Attach Virtual Hard Disk dialog box, Browse to the VHD file and click on the Open button
  5. Click OK
  6. Right Click on the volume and select Mark Partition as Active.
  7. Open the Hyper-V Manager
  8. From the Actions pane, click on New, Virtual Machine.
  9. Click Next
  10. Name the Virtual Machine
  11. Check the box to Store the virtual machine in a different location.
  12. Browse to the folder of the VHD. Click Next.
  13. Enter value for Startup memory and decide whether to use Dynamic Memory. Click Next.
  14. Configure Networking and Click Next.
  15. Select Use an existing virtual hard disk. Browse to the location of the VHD. Click Next.
  16. Click Finish. You can now use your VHD with Hyper-V.


Harold Wong, How to Create Windows 8 VHD for Boot to VHD using simple, easy to follow steps,

Keith Combs, Dual Boot from VHD Using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2,

Hugo Häggmark, Creating a bootable VHD the easy way,

TechNet, Windows Server Installation Options,

Nicklas Håkansson, Expanding VHD,

Daniel Petri, How to Extend a Disk Partition in Windows Vista and Server 2008,

Live! 360 Contest Registration Now Fixed Wed, 25 Sep 2013 12:30:00 +0000 Due to a problem with our website, if you registered for the Live! 360 Conference Contest on 9/23 or 9/24 through the website form, your entry was not saved. Please register for the contest again.

I apologize for the inconvenience.