Questions (and Answers) from our Kansas City TechNet Event

TechNet Events! When I deliver a presentation, or during the breaks, I’m invariably asked a question that I can’t answer.

“A single question?  Really?”

Okay.. SEVERAL questions.  (Who’s counting?!)  The point is that I consider it a valuable learning opportunity.  I write the question down and then later find the answer.  Hopefully the person asking will check my blog and get the answer, or they’ll e-mail me and I can get the answer to them.

Today was no exception.  My great Kansas City (Overland Park) audience had some super questions.  Most of them I could answer.

“Most?  Really?”

Yes, really.  (Stop picking on me!)  And I do have a few that I wrote down because I wanted to either find the answer, or give more details on the answer to these great questions.

Question: “If I buy, for example, Enterprise Edition of Windows Server 2008 R2, I understand I get 4 licenses to use as virtual machines.  Where do I get product keys for those?  Or how do I activate them?”

It depends upon how you bought the Server license:

  • For volume license customers, they have two types of keys that are offered to them; KMS and MAK.  KMS will take care of activating them auto based on that activation method.  The MAK key has a lot of activations and that number is based off of their agreement.
  • Full-Packaged Product and OEM customers are given two keys; physical and virtual.  The activation limit on the virtual key is set for each edition.  For instance, with Standard you have the right to use activate 1 VM.  The key will allow you to activate 1 time.  Enterprise it’s 4, and Datacenter is unlimited. 


Question: “How easy is it (or is it even possible) to expand the size of a .vhd file?”

It’s actually pretty easy.  Ben Armstrong (the “Virtual PC Guy”) documents it like this:

Hyper-V adds the ability to increase the maximum size of a dynamically expanding or fixed-size virtual hard disk.  To do this you need to open the Edit Virtual Hard Disk Wizard (by selecting Edit Disk… from the Hyper-V manager), select the virtual hard disk you want to expand, select Expand on the Choose Action page and then enter the new size of the virtual hard disk that you want.

Three things to note:

  • You can’t do this to a virtual hard disk that is associated with a running or saved stated virtual machine.
  • You shouldn’t do this to a virtual hard disk that is associated with a virtual machine that has snapshots (as you will invalidate the snapshots).
  • After expanding the virtual hard disk there will be an empty space at the end of the virtual hard disk.  You will either need to create a new partition to use the new space, or expand an existing partition into the new space.

Question: “When I create a snapshot and then later remove (delete) a snapshot, I want a merge to happen.  But it won’t happen until I stop the virtual machine.  That’s not an option for me, because this server needs to be running at all times.  And I also am programmatically taking snapshots daily for a fallback option.  I don’t want to give that up, but when I finally do shut down the machine the merge takes forever.  What can we do about that?”

I posed this question to an internal Virtualization discussion list, and the response from a couple people was “Snapshots are not supposed to be (or not designed to be) a backup solution”.  To this I pointed out that you weren’t using it as a backup, but as a convenient “just in case” rollback option. 

That said, the reality is that there isn’t any way to do what you want currently using snapshots.  Merges can’t happen unless the machine is turned off.  Sorry I don’t have better news for you.


Question: “Clustering changed in Server 2008 in removing support for SCSI disks.  iSCSI or Fiber-Channel only.  What are my options in Hyper-V?  And is Microsoft going to fix this in future versions of Hyper-V?”

Due to my personal lack of experience with clustering, I wasn’t able to give you a good answer because, to be honest, I didn’t fully understand the question.

A quick BING on “windows server 2008 r2 cluseter hyper-v” found some good resources.  Hopefully you’ll find your answer there.  And as for future versions of Hyper-V and what they’ll support or fix, I really can’t say. 


Question: “In XP we configured the ‘default’ options in images that then were populated when we rolled them out.  How is this done in Windows 7?”

Take a look at this screen snip:

Under C:UsersPublic 

This is the list of folders that are found under C:UsersPublic by default.  Notice that I’m showing the hidden folders (they display slightly dimmed), and that they include the kinds of folders that we might pre-populate so that the items within them (Favorites, Libraries, the Desktop) will be available to all new user profiles.  I think that’s what you’re looking for.

Thanks again to my Kansas City TechNet Event attendees!  I look forward to seeing you next time.

Thursday – it’s Omaha!  (If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time.)

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