Windows Server Update Services Configuration Tweaks For Improving Performance
· ☕ 4 min read
Update 2018-04-20: I’ve rolled the information in this post and updated it, into a new post about setting up a WSUS server from scratch on Windows Server 2016 Core. The post is also suitable for a regular Windows Server 2016 server with a GUI. You can read it here. I’ve been dealing with some issues with a WSUS server recently. It services around 1000 devices, mostly Windows 10 with some Windows 7, Windows Server 2016/2012 R2/2012 and 2008 R2.

Removing Included Microsoft Store Apps from Windows 10 & Windows 11
· ☕ 7 min read
When deploying Windows 10/11 you might want to remove some of the included Microsoft Store Apps to help speed up the login process, save storage space, bandwidth etc. Important note! A “provisioned app” is an app that is a part of the Windows 10/11 installation and will be available for all users. Otherwise the app is only installed for the currently logged on user. To remove apps for all future users and the currently logged on user, you must remove both types of app.

Hyper-V Backup With Checkpoints/Snapshots
· ☕ 5 min read
UPDATE: This post is old and intended as a walk through on how my original script was put together for those wishing to learn PowerShell. For the finished, up-to-date script please check out this post and you can download the script from my TechNet profile. I previously posted a quick and dirty Hyper-V backup script that was very basic but did the job required at the time. I always wanted to revisit it and improve it.

Windows 10 1607/1703 Start Menu Customisation - Update
· ☕ 3 min read
Here’s a quick update on an option I missed in my previous post about how to customise the Start Menu and Taskbar for new Windows 10 1607/1703 installs. Update 2017-05-02: This also works with Windows 10 1703 (Creators Update) The method that I used in my previous post would not be suitable for other environments where you would still want users to have some control over apps that were pinned to the Start Menu.

Fully Automated Image Factory for Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
· ☕ 11 min read
UPDATE: This post is old and intended as a walk through on how my original script was put together for those wishing to learn PowerShell. For the finished, up-to-date script please check out this post and you can download the script from my Microsoft TechNet profile. Recently I’ve been looking into automating my image build process further using PowerShell to create an Image Factory of sorts. There are other similar scripts that I’ve found online, but I like the relatively simple and straightforward method I’ve developed below.

Windows 10 Insider Preview (Creators Update) - New OOBE
· ☕ 1 min read
As we hurtle towards the release of the Creators Update, I decided to take a look at the new OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) that users will see when installing the update. The new OOBE has been a part of the Insider preview builds for some time now. It’s main feature is Cortana support, so you can use speech to go through setup which appears to be as much as a cool and useful feature as it is about accessibility.

Quick Tip: Windows 10 Screenshots
· ☕ 1 min read
You’re probably aware that the Print Screen captures a screenshot and stores it in the clipboard. What you may not know is that Win + Print Screen also captures a screenshot and saves it in Pictures\Screenshots. When you press the key combination, the screen will dim for a second. Man, you learn something new everyday. Additionally if you’re looking for more control over taking screenshots, the awesome Snipping Tool has been in Windows since Windows 7.

Quick Tip: Enable server-side log storage in MDT for easier troubleshooting
· ☕ 2 min read
Probably the most important thing about troubleshooting anything is having the data on the process. Troubleshooting Task Sequences in Microsoft Deployment Toolkit can be tricky, and has, in the past stumped me for days because I didn’t have, or couldn’t find the right data on what was going wrong. Luckily MDT does have logs - lots of them! During a task sequence they’re kept on the client and by default they’re deleted when the deployment finishes, even if it’s unsuccessful.

Tales From The Real World: Windows 10 Deployment
· ☕ 4 min read
I’ve been doing a reasonably large scale Windows 10 deployment recently and I thought I’d feedback on performance of my MDT setup, whilst also taking into account the specification and topology of the network. Below is a screenshot of the times of some successfully completed deployments for reference. As you can see, they’re in the vicinity of around 1hr 30m. Let’s delve into the specs of everything. Windows Server 2016 Standard w/ Desktop Experience 4x vCPU 8GB RAM Dynamically expanding VHDX for C:\ Windows Dynamically expanding VHDX for E:\ Deploymentshare 1x vNIC using the Virtual Host network adaptor The config of the VM is really nothing special, and I could have done some extra work to optimise the configuration.

Feature Spotlight: Night light
· ☕ 2 min read
A feature that I’m very happy to see coming in the Creators Update for Windows 10 is Night light. It’s not exactly a headline feature, but I’m happy to see it and wanted to draw attention to it. What Night light does is change the colour temperature of the display as the sun sets, reducing the blue light and enabling your eyes to relax as you work into the night which, I personally do a lot.

App Spotlight: Plex
· ☕ 3 min read
Recently I’ve been looking at my home NAS/media server setup and been wanting to update it. Up until now, I’ve either watched movie and TV show DVD rips locally on my PC or on my Xbox 360/One through the media apps, served via DNLA from my old QNAP NAS. At some point the experience became very slow and clunky, either due to my NAS' DNLA server not being very good or the Xbox One media player app not being very good.

Automated Minecraft Server Backup for Shared Hosting
· ☕ 3 min read
In my There’s PowerShell In My Marzicraft! post I shared my script that creates a backup of the server and then uses OneDrive to upload it offsite. In this post, I’ll share my script to backup a Minecraft server that’s on shared hosting and therefore I only have limited access to. The server in question has a web admin front end and FTP access. I have no access to the terminal or desktop.

Customising the Start Menu and Taskbar with Windows 10 all versions incl. 1903/1909
· ☕ 3 min read
This week I’ve gone pretty deep down the rabbit hole of automating the Start Menu and Taskbar layouts during an MDT Task Sequence. Update 2017-05-02 This also works with Windows 10 1703 (Creators Update) As every device I’m deploying will have the same customisation I wanted to automate it during the build or deploy Task Sequence, rather than applying it via domain Group Policy to reduce limited network bandwidth, keep Group Policy as light as possible and reduce login times as much as possible.