Where has “Desktop Experience Mode” gone from Windows Server 1709?

First of all don’t panic, Windows Server Desktop Experience Mode has not gone for good!

Although for sometime now core has been seen as the preferred version of Windows Server for the enterprise. From experience, most customers will still end up installing the full GUI version.

So why remove it from the latest Windows Server release 1709?

Windows Server, version 1709 is the first release in the new Semi-Annual Channel for Microsoft. The Semi-Annual Channel release is aimed at customers such as those that have a rapid development path or perhaps those acting as hosting companies who wish to keep up with the latest Hyper-V investments. Microsoft plans for Windows Server products in the Semi-Annual Channel to be released twice a year, with each release in this channel being supported for 18 months from the initial release. Microsoft have stated that, most of the features introduced in the Semi-Annual Channel will be rolled up into the next Long-term Servicing Channel release of Windows Server. However, the actual editions, functionality, and supporting content might vary from release to release depending on customer feedback.

Windows Server as we know it with the full Desktop Experience Mode will become the Long Term Service Channel of Windows Server 2016. If you want to stay in this channel, you should continue to install Windows Server 2016, which can be installed in Server Core mode or Server with Desktop Experience Mode.

These changes will call for a more informed discussion during project initiation phases. Choosing the correct OS will be based not only on the need for the latest and greatest features, but also an acceptable upgrade cycle for the business, whether the customer is comfortable supporting Windows Server Core and if the the technology being deployed as part of the proposed solution is supported. For example, Remote Desktop Service (RDS) would not take advantage of the new Semi-Annual Channel where as Hyper-V would.

Both releases will be supported with security updates and non-security updates but feature updates to the LTSC would happen less frequency purely due to its release cycle.

Release channels and installation options

Installation option Semi-Annual Channel (Windows Server) Long-term Servicing Channel (Windows Server 2016)
Nano Server Yes No
Server Core Yes Yes
Server with Desktop No Yes

For much more on this subject, checkout this Microsoft blog:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/get-started/semi-annual-channel-overview

Microsoft Cloud Solutions Workshop

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Listening to the feedback from past attendees and following on from the recent Transforming the Datacentre, Enterprise Mobility and Microsoft Azure Workshops, we are now hosting a new event that aims to cover all of the key areas that we believe are of benefit to the enterprise. This short event is set at a high level and designed to quickly review new technologies available to help improve real world business.

Areas covered during the event include:

Building your private cloud on Windows Server 2012 R2

Today’s applications need a modern platform that enables IT to manage all datacentre resources across multiple clouds, supports apps that scale dynamically, unlocks insights on data anywhere and enables you to securely deliver a personalised experience to any device anywhere. Microsoft’s cloud approach delivers a consistent and comprehensive set of capabilities via Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012, Windows Azure and SQL Server 2012, that will help you take advantage of the cloud on your terms, without fear of lock-in.

Extending your private cloud with Microsoft Azure

What is Azure? In short, it’s Microsoft’s cloud platform: a growing collection of integrated services – compute, storage, data, networking and app – that help you move faster, do more and save money. But that’s just scratching the surface. Join our workshop to find out what else Azure is can do.

Mobilise your workforce with Enterprise Mobility Suite

The Enterprise Mobility Suite is the comprehensive cloud solution to address your consumerisation of IT, BYOD, and SaaS challenges. The suite is the most cost effective way to acquire all of the included cloud services:

  • Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Microsoft Azure Rights Management

To book a place at one of these events, follow the link available below.

Helpful Cmdlets

Over the past few years when deploying Hyper-V, SCVMM or Windows Clustering, I have found myself searching around for little snippets of PowerShell or Cmdlets to make basic configuration changes to the environments. I know there are some fantastic scripts out there that will step you from the beginning to end of full builds, but on many occasions, these short one or two liners have been of great help.

If all goes to plan, I will add additional posts to the series with similar content.

Changing the metrics of a cluster network

(Get-ClusterNetwork “CSV Network”).Metric=900

Revert the network back to autometric

( Get-ClusterNetwork “Cluster Network 1” ).AutoMetric = $true

The network metric is used by windows to determine which network should be sued for CSV communications when cluster shared volumes are installed. The lowest metric network would be chosen for this purpose with the second lowest being designated for live migration. (It is possible to also select a live migration network from within the GUI)

Check ODX Status (return value 0 = ODX enabled, return value 1 = ODX disabled)

Get-ItemProperty hklm:\system\currentcontrolset\control\filesystem -Name “FilterSupportedFeaturesMode”

Disable ODX

Set-ItemProperty hklm:\system\currentcontrolset\control\filesystem -Name “FilterSupportedFeaturesMode” -Value 1

ODX is a feature that allows Windows to move or copy data from one device to another or one location on a device to another location on the same device without transferring the data through the windows device. Essentially offloading the workload to the device and speeding up the transfer.

Disable TRIM

fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 1

Re-Enable TRIM

fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0

SCVMM 2012 R2 displays duplicate VMs

Get-VM “DuplicateVM” | Where Cloud -eq $Null | Remove-VM -force

This command will remove the VM from the SCVMM DB, yet leave the VM on the Hyper-V host/Cluster. Once removed from SCVMM, refresh the cluster to reregister the VM in SCVMM.

Discover WWN info from a Hyper-V host using PowerShell

Open up a powershell with administrator privileges, then run: Get-InitiatorPort

Fibre Output:

Fibre

iSCSI Output:

iSCSI

Disable all disconnected Adapters on a Hyper-V host

Get-NetAdapter -Physical | Where-Object {$_.Status -eq “Disconnected”} | ` Disable-NetAdapter }

How to add host management credentials to Hyper-V Hosts in SCVMM that are greyed out via the console

Open PowerShell and Import the SCVMM Module, or open SCVMM PowerShell from the top ribbon in the SCVMM console.

$YourCluster = Get-SCVMHostCluster -Name YOUR-CLUSTER-NAME

$YourRunAs = Get-SCRunAsAccount -Name “YOURRUNASACCOUNT”

Set-SCVmHostCluster -VMHostCluster $YourCluster -VMHostManagementCredential $YourRunAs

Replace YOURRUNASACCOUNT with VMM Run as account and YOUR-CLUSTER-NAME with name of cluster. It can take a minute to run, but afterwards your hosts in the cluster will be managed with the new Run As account. You can right click on any host and go to properties > Host Access to verify.

Failover Cluster Nodes with Mixed Upper & Lower Case Names

Over the years I have come across clusters in all sorts of states. Many with nodes that have a mixture of none standardised names or letter case. In my mind, a naming standard for nodes should be decided on in advance, one that will allow for additional nodes to be added to the cluster at a later date.

The issue that I come across the most, is that of cluster node names that are a mixture of upper and lower case. This in itself wont stop the cluster functioning but it is a personnel bugbear of mine.

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Nodes can be add to a cluster in a mixture of case due to a number of reasons such as the case of the NETBIOS name and its not something you can ever be sure of when using the GUI.

One way you can be sure that the case will remain at what you specify, is to use the cluster.exe command to add the nodes to the cluster. The following shows one of the ways it can be used to import a new node into a cluster.

cluster.exe /cluster:clustername /add /node:NODENAMEINCASE

This command can be used on a 2008, 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2 clusters, however if planning to use cluster.exe on a 2012 or 2012 R2 cluster, you will first need to enable the Failover Cluster Command Interface feature. To do this open the Add Roles and Features Wizard then browse to Features\Remote Server Administration Tools\ Failover Clustering Tools\ and select the Failover Cluster Command Interface feature.

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Once the feature has been enabled, its possible to go ahead and use cluster.exe to add the node into the cluster in the necessary case.

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Once the command has run successfully and the node has been added and validated against the cluster, things will look nice and standardised.

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