Category Archives: 9958

Microsoft Security Essentials Exclusion List

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) Anti-virus program has received a lot of good press since it was released in Sept 2009. I have been gradually moving my residential customers, friends and family over to it. One small problem I have noticed: at times the MSE engine will hog up quite a bit of cpu cycles. I recently found a blog post that said that adding the MSE folders to the list of files/folders in MSE to be excluded from scannng will help reduce the high CPU usage.

To add exclusions, click on Settings > Excluded files & locations, then click the Add button to add an entry.

For Windows XP, add the following exclusion:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Essentials

For Vista/Windows 7, add the following exclusions:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Essentials
C:\Program Data\Microsoft\Microsoft Security Essentials
C:\Program Data\Microsoft\Microsoft Antimalware

Hope this helps. Let me know if there are other folders/directories that should be excluded

Windows 7 Upgrade Paths

If you are interested in upgrading your Vista computer to Windows 7, here are the supported upgrade scenarios:

From Windows Vista (SP1, SP2)

Upgrade to Windows 7


Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate



Home Basic

Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate

Home Premium

Home Premium, Ultimate



Upgrade to Windows 7 in 3 Easy Steps!

I have been testing and doing presentations on Windows 7 for over 6 months. With Windows 7 officially release, it was time for me to step up to the plate, and move my production workstation over to Windows 7. This is the same workstation that I wrote about two years ago when I made the switch from XP to Vista.

So last night I took the plunge and did an in-place upgrade (IPU) of my Vista Ultimate desktop to Windows 7 Ultimate. Yes, I know there are those who will say that a wipe and clean is the only way to do it (see my blog post about it). However, my experience is that there will be lot’s of people who will want (or need) to do an in-place upgrade, and the only way for me to give it a thumbs up or down was to do it myself.

OK, so how did the upgrade go for me? In one word — FANTASTIC! The in-place upgrade went smoothly. And all my favorite and important applications are running flawlessly. So, I can wholeheartedly recommend an IPU if all prerequisites are followed. Is a wipe and clean preferred? You betcha. But an IPU can be very successful.


System: Dell Optiplex 745 / 2.2Ghz Intel 6400 Core 2 / 4GB memory / 250GB primary C: drive

  1. Run Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, and fix whatever is identified. For me, there were a couple of program and utilities (like iTunes) that needed to be uninstalled ahead of time.
  2. Backup your system. For me, I did a backup to my Windows Home Server, and I did a second backup using StorageCraft ShadowProtect. Why two backups? Because I firmly believe you can’t have enough backups!
  3. Upgrade to Windows 7. Since this was an in-place upgrade, you run the upgrade straight from Vista. Please note: the upgrade process will take several hours to complete.

P.S. You may find your upgrade process hanging up during the “Expanding Windows” phase. Apparently different things may or may not cause this, including a bad DVD. Some people suggest putting the Windows 7 installation DVD onto a thumbdrive, which I may try for my next upgrade,

Windows 7 Rocks!

Windows 7 – In Place Upgrade?

With the official release of Windows 7 just a day away, many will be asking: can or should I do an in-place upgrade (IPU) from Vista to Windows 7? Based on recent comments and feedbacks from many of my fellow MVP’s, I can summarize my answer as follows:

1. Everyone agrees that doing a clean reload of Windows 7 is always preferred over an in-place upgrade.
2. However, there is also a strong concensus that an in-place upgrade from Vista to Windows 7 works very, very well

Some words to the wise:

1. Be sure to do a full image backup of your system beforehand. Those of you with Windoes Home Server, that job is as easy as clicking a button.
2. If you take the first approach (reformat/reload), be sure to utilize the terrific Windows Easy Transfer (WET) utility and backup all your data files and user settings on your Vista computer first. WARNING: Be sure you use the version of WET that comes on the Windows 7 DVD, and not the one that’s already installed on your Vista system.

Windows 7 rocks!

2009-08-04 He’s a Real Nowhere Man

Ok, so it’s been a long time between songs. Life does stay busy, doesn’t it? That’s why this song seems very appropriate. It was inspired by a recent post on Virtual PC and Windows 7. With a tip of the hat to Dana!

He’s a real virtual man,

Sitting in his virtual land,

Connecting to his virtual lans

For nobody.


Doesn’t have a physical view,

Knows not where he’s loaded to,

Isn’t he a bit like you and me?


Virtual man, please listen,

You’re not real, just emulatin’,

Virtual man, the world is at your command.


He’s a guest, as you can see,

He just runs on a host PC,

Virtual man, can you see me at all?


Doesn’t have a master view,

He’s a slave, just passing through,

Isn’t he a bit like you and me?


Virtual man, don’t worry,

Take your time, don’t hurry,

Just keep running till somebody else

Lends you a hand.


He’s a real virtual man,

Sitting in his virtual land,

Making all his virtual plans

For nobody.


IT Pro Tiki Tour – Tampa/Lakeland

Blain Barton, Microsoft’s Southeast IT Pro Evangelist, will be bringing his Spring Tiki Tour to the Tampa area on June 4th, 2009 (6p-9p) at the Polk Community College in Lakeland. Topics include: Moving to the Modern OS Roadmap, Windows Security, and Windows 7. I will be doing the Windows 7 presentation. (Yes, food is included!)

Space is limited. As of Tuesday 5/26, we already have 165 registered. Click here to register and for more information.

Hope to see you there!

WHS and the Acer Aspire easyStore H340

Talk about a deal too good to refuse! Acer recently came out with their WHS server, that competes straight up with the HP MediaSmart Server. For the rest of this post, I will refer to it as the ‘easyStore’. A week ago I stumbled on a deal through NCIX (USA) that was offering the easyStore for $399, with a 1TB drive and 2GB memory, and for a limited time was throwing in a second 1TB drive. I jumped at the chance. And it arrived by FedEx this afternoon.

Within 30 minutes I had it unboxed, powered up, installed the WHS connector to my Win7 laptop and now running a full backup. A few random thoughts:

  • It comes with a real honest-to-goodness printed manual (in 6 languages)!
  • Astethics of the external box is very nice. Black color, USB port in front, 4 more in the back along with an Ethernet port
  • System started up and was up and running without a hitch or issue. I like that!
  • WHS PowerPack 1 is already installed on it. Be sure to get Power Pack 2 installed on it!

What’s new or different with the easyStore versus HP?

  • The easyStore comes with an IP Configuration tool to adjust the server’s IP settings. Since this works from the rmeote WHS console, you no longer need to access the server via Remote Desktop to make such changes.
  • Acer has implemented a one-touch USB backup. What you may say? Simply put, plug in a USB drive that contains various media files and press the USB button. The easyStore will automatically copy all the files on that USB drive to the Public shared folder on the server, and automatically place each file in it’s appropriate sub folder (Music, Photo, Video)! How cool is that. You no longer have to logon to the WHS console in order to access the USB drive and copy files.
  • The easyStore comes with a 6 month subscription to McAfee’s Total Protection software pre-installed
  • The easyStore also comes with the WHS Lights Out addon that allow you to suspend or wake up the server at specific times, such as when its time to backup workstations.
  • The easyStore also comes with Digital Media Server (DMS) and an iTunes Server.

For a more in-depth review, along with pscreenshots, check out Andrew Edney’s blog post on the Acer easyStore.

Once my first backup is completed, I’ll test adding the second drive to this server and report on my findings!

SBS, WHS and Backup Software

One of my mottos has always been: “You cannot have enough backup!”. So, I am always investigating and testing backup software. When Microsoft first releasd Windows Home Server (WHS), I knew that this was a product I would be testing. Well, tonight, it saved my bacon!

My own SBS 2003 server that has been running for years experienced a serious hard drive failure. Fortunately I do use Raid-5 disk configuration. So I shut down the server, replaced the drive, fired up the server to rebuild the Raid, and then rebooted. But apparently something else was amiss, as Windows would not boot up properly, reporting a failure or corruption with Active Directory. After trying a couple of other options unsuccessfully, I decided to see if WHS would get me back online.

Yes, I use WHS as my backup software of choice for backing up my SBS 2003 server! (P.S. The WHS Team has an informative article here).

So, I pulled out my WHS Restore CD and booted my server off the CD. However, it did not load a driver for my NIC card. No problem, as I knew the drill: go to another workstation, fire up the WHS Console, view the backup directory for the computer in question (my SBS server), and copy the contents of the WHS Drivers for Recovery folder to a USB thumb drive, and rename the folder to DRIVERS. I then took the thumb drive back to the server, where the WHS restore screen has a convenient button to install additional drivers. An hour later my server was back online and operational!

Lessons learned? There are lots of vendors offering backup software solutions for the Windows marketplace. I have used Acronis, ShadowProtect, and others. These are all good products. But WHS is a real winner for me, and for many of my small business customers. I have WHS installed and backing up both SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 servers, plus serveral peer-to-peer networks. It just works! It has even recovered a Windows 7 Beta laptop for me!

Now, someone may say that offsite (or remote online) backups are required, and I would not argue that point at all. Remember: I believe in multiple levels of backup solutions. But for the small business and home environments, WHS is an excellent backup software solution.



Connect Windows 7 to SBS 2008

The SBS offical blog site has an excellent post on how to modify SBS 2008 so that a Windows 7 (Beta) workstation can be joined via http://connect. I have just a couple of observations and suggestions on my part:

  1. If you are joining a laptop, be sure to disable your wireless port(s) and join the server using a wired connection!
  2. When modifying the XML files, I found it best to copy the XML file over to the ‘My Documents’ folder on the server, edit the file there, and then copy/replace it back to the original directory. Obviosuly you would want to make sure you first make a backup copy of the original file (just in case!)