Matt's step-by-step guide to dual booting Windows 8 Developer Preview alongside Windows 7:
Items you will need:
- USB Drive (I used a 20GB Maxtor inside an IDE to USB enclosure)
- Existing Windows 7 installation on a laptop/desktop
Create a partition to install Windows 8 onto:
- Start > right-click on Computer > Manage
- Go to Disk Management
- Locate the partition that Windows 7 is installed on
- Right-click and you should get the option to Shrink Volume
- Choose a new volume size, to allow you at least 20GB of free space for Windows 8
- Confirm and wait a few minutes for the Volume to be resized
- You can now righ-click on the new unallocated space and create a new Volume
- Assign it a drive letter, name it and format it to NTFS (Quick)
With the partition created, it's onto setting up Windows 8 on the USB drive:
- Download the relevant ISO (preferably 64-bit with Developer Tools)
- Download 7Zip (free, open-source, highly recommended)
- Extract the ISO file to the same place you downloaded it to
- Format your USB drive to NTFS
- Copy the contents of the extract ISO to your USB drive
- Open a command prompt (Start > Run > cmd)
- Navigate to the folder you extracted the ISO (e.g. cd \Users\Matt\Downloads\Windows8)
- Navigate further to the boot folder (e.g. cd \boot) within the extracted ISO
- Run the command "bootsect.exe /nt60 E:" where E: is the drive letter of your recently formatted USB drive
You will now have a partition to install Windows 8 onto and a USB drive with the Windows 8 ISO contents on, ready for installation.
The next stage is relatively easy:
- Restart your computer
- Hit F2/DEL to enter Setup (BIOS)
- As long as your computer is fairly new, you should see an option to specify the USB drive to boot from
- Re-arrange the boot order so that USB drive is the first device
- Save and Exit Setup (BIOS)
- You'll then begin to see the Windows 8 installer do its thing
- Follow the instructions when prompted and sit back, whilst it installs
- The installer will restart once it has completed, so you will need to enter Setup (BIOS) again
- Change the boot order once again, so that your hard drive is the first device
- Save and Exit Setup (BIOS)
- The installer will continue and you'll eventually be presented with a new Windows 8 style boot menu
- Choose Windows 8 Developer Preview, or leave it be (it'll default to Windows 8)
You'll then be asked a number of questions to setup your new Windows 8 Developer Preview install - allowing you to enjoy Microsoft's latest operating system.
I've had a few hours play with it so far and am highly impressed. Initially I started with it running within a Virtual Box VM, but I found it to be too restrictive. So I opted for the dual boot scenario as outlined above. This allows me to try Windows 8 on the raw hardware, but keeping my existing Windows 7 installation intact. Once the Developer Preview expires or if I find any incompatability issues, I can simply boot back into Windows 7 and continue.
Performance wise, the operating system feels a lot snappier than my Windows 7 install. But that's probably due to the crap it has accumulated over the past year - and the lack of software installed on Windows 8. Dare I say it: Internet Explorer 10 feels quicker than Chrome; yes it does. My only gripe would be the lack of mouse gestures via a laptop's touchpad - having to use the scroll bars on the main Metro UI is awkward and fiddly.
Also, I'm unsure as to why there is Internet Explorer 10 with the standard Aero UI and then there's the full-screen Metro version. They both have their purpose, but users may get confused and not know what tab they have open in which. Speaking of tabs - I'm lost in the Metro version with multiple tabs open, as there's no visual indication of which tab you are currently on and how many you have open, due to the lack of tool/status bars.
Overall, for a Developer Preview (pre-Beta?) Windows 8 is outstanding. The initial discussions surrounding the release are positive and it seems Microsoft have learnt from both its mistakes and also its competitors successes. A single operating system for all devices - Phones, Tablets, Netbooks, Laptops, Desktops, Servers makes complete sense and is what Microsoft has been striving to achieve with the whole Windows thing since, well forever. Hopefully they can get it right, keeping the device specific features at the forefront on the relevant devices, rather than a one UI for all.
Update: I've uploaded a few screenshots to Picasa Web Albums.
For the past few years (longer than I can remember) I've been running Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005 R2, an application that installs on their Server operating systems, to allow you to host multiple Virtual Machines on the one Physical Server. So for Slickhouse, the mail; web; database; and domain controller servers are all located on the one physical box.
However, Virtual Server 2005 does have its drawbacks - it's not a pure Virtualisation platform, as it installs on top of an operating system layer. It also doesn't perform as well as other solutions on the market - namely VMWare. Microsoft released Hyper-V as an add-on to Server 2008 and as a free standalone hypervisor - Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. The compatability with Virtual Server is there, but it is a better competitor to VMWare's ESX platform.
Hyper-V does have a few advantages compared to VMWare's ESX/ESXi platform, which I was also looking into. Firstly, the hardware requirements are a lot less strict and you'll find that Hyper-V runs on many modern 64-bit servers that Server 2008 successfully installs on. There are specific CPU requirements, but most AMD/Intel CPUs on the market now support Virtualisation at a hardware level. Secondly, it fits into an existing Microsoft network very well and supports migration from Virtual Server 2005.
I chose to upgrade my main server to Hyper-V at the same time as consolodating the storage for the network. Previously, I had the virtual servers housed on one box, with 4 x 250GB drives in a RAID array within another, acting as a NAS. As with most computer technology, the price of storage has decreased as the capacity has increased over the years. Whereas back in 2005 the 250GB drives cost ~£50 each (~£200 per TB), in 2010 I've purchased a 2TB drive for ~£100 (~£50 per TB), so it made sense to drop the NAS for 24/7 use and put the 2TB drive on the server housing the virtual machines.
I opted for another Samsung Spinpoint HDD, as I've had 9 running smoothly for a few years now, so it made sense to add a tenth. Their 2TB F3 Eco Green drive runs at a slower 5400rpm speed, but I'd say it performs as well as the older generation 250GB SATA Spinpoints, running at 7200rpm. A copy of around 630GB of data (various file sizes) took hours rather than days over a gigabit connection from the original NAS.
The 2TB drive itself is purely for holding all of the data served via the NAS. I was originally intending to connect it to the host and setup shares on it, but Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 only offers Hyper-V, no other Windows Server Services (hence the free price). Server Fault's community suggested that I setup a VM as a NAS and that I wouldn't notice any performance hits.
As for Hyper-V, the installation is very straight forward - much the same as their Server 2008/Vista/Windows 7 installation process, with all the prompts located at the start, rather than strewn throughout during previous Windows installations. Once the install is complete, you can configure the server using the command line interface once the server completes a reboot. This screen remains the same throughout use of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 with the actual management occuring on a client machine via the Hyper-V Management snap-in.
In usual setups, managing Hyper-V should be fairly straight forward. Install the Remote Administration Tools for Windows 7, then connect to the Hyper-V Server and away you go. However, as all my main servers are now virtualised, including the domain controller - I could only run the Hyper-V Server in Workgroup mode, not as part of the Active Directory domain. As my Windows 7 machines are part of the domain, it meant that I spent 3 evenings back-to-back pulling my hair out to try and get it all working. Virtual PC Guy has a great tool, HVRemote that cuts out many of the headaches involved with the initial setup. I finally managed to successfully connect to the host after plugging in the 2nd NIC, which picked up a dynamic IP via DHCP - so it appears to have been a DNS/routing issue.
Once Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 has been installed and configured, it's a case of either migrating VMs across, or building new ones. Migrating from Virtual Server 2005 proved to be a fairly easy procedure with Server 2003 VMs - uninstall the Virtual Server additions and shutdown the VM before copying the VHD across to the Hyper-V host and creating a new machine (using the copied VHD). When it came to migrating my Server 2008 Web Server across though, things were a little different. The Integration Services wouldn't fully install and a quick check of Device Manager warned me that the Virtual Machine Bus could not find enough resources. As with 99% of IT related problems though, Google netted me a solution.
Once all the virtual machines had been migrated across, full network connectivity and services were restored. Performance appears to have improved from the upgrade: VMs are a lot more responsive after booting or logging on; the sites also appear to load much quicker and SQL Server queries are instant - though I don't have raw figures to back up my claims, but if you have a Virtual Server host, Hyper-V is definately worth looking into, especially if your existing server supports it.
If you regularly connect to multiple servers, using RDP or a similar protocol (VNC etc.), then you probably have a good memory of all the various IPs/Hostnames of the servers. Either that, or you keep them in a document and regularly copy/paste to connect.
Personally, I have to connect to 9 of my own servers along with 40+ servers at work on a daily basis. For home, I kept 9 separate RDP connections saved to my Desktop, cluttering it up with their icons. This worked for a while, but was cumbersome and inefficient. At work, we keep a spreadsheet of IPs for each server and over a period of time you begin memorising each.
So I started looking for a better solution, one that would store each of my required server connections in an orderly fashion, allowing me to connect to multiple servers at once from within a single interface. I soon came across Terminals, a secure, multi tab terminal services/remote desktop client. It stores the configuration in ASP.NET's .config file, an XML style format which allows you to easily take your saved list of connections with you to another install.
It's also very configurable with more options than the standard RDP client and also supports VNC, VMRC and many other protocols, allowing you to combine your server connection tools into one. And you can tag connections, allowing you to group them into logical categories - for me, per Active Directory domain/location.
If you meet the criteria, then give Terminals a go.
Inspired by the site over at usethis.com, the following is a brief interview between me and, well, me.
Web Developer, Techie
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Matt, Husband to Anneka and Daddy to Lily (18 months) and Mia (15 weeks to go). By day I'm a Web Developer for IOCEA.com Ltd, the creators of Cshop and by night I develop my own sites and tinker with my servers.
My personal project, SlickCMS is nearing completion for a public release, over a year after embarking on it. I'm still contemplating going Open Source with it, or simply making it freely available.
When I'm not developing for work or my own kicks, I try to improve my measly XBOX 360 Gamer Score; Fallout 3 is proving to be engaging.
What hardware do you use?
At work, a Dell Optiplex 320 with 2GB RAM and an Intel Pentium D. It has lasted me nearly 3 years of development without any problems. It has 2 Sony 17" LCDs connected to it, with a Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000 - an older gaming mouse I found to be perfect for me, a lefty.
At home, a Sony VAIO, again with 2GB RAM and an Intel Pentium (M). It runs Windows 7 fine and my only complaint is the loud fan.
I also run several servers in the loft, including a mini-itx Firewall and an AMD Athlon X2 with 6GB RAM as a Virtual Host.
And what software?
My work desktop and laptop run pretty much the same set of software, with the former using Vista and the latter Windows 7. Visual Studio 2008; Microsoft SQL Server 2008; Office 2007; Notepad++ and 7Zip amongst others.
Browser wise, it's Internet Explorer 8 at work, with Google Chrome at home. I prefer the minimalist approach of Chrome for browsing websites and the Web Developer toolbar of IE8 for development purposes.
The Firewall uses Smoothwall and the Virtual Host uses Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, with the VMs a mix of Server 2003/2008.
Lastly, I am a fan of Star Wars, so my Servers are named after planets: Bespin for the Host; Talus, Hoth and Corellia (amongst others) for the VMs and Tatooine for the NAS.
What would be your dream setup?
At work, a 30" Dell monitor, with the Sonys either side would work well - all powered by a Intel Xenon workstation.
Laptop wise, a bleeding-edge Lenovo, Sony or Dell would be good. Maybe a high-end netbook or lightweight laptop for browsing the Internet when not developing too.
My servers could do with an upgrade and consolidation - there's no need to run all 4 of them 24/7, when just the one with a bunch of Virtuals would suffice.
I used to roll with a desktop at home, for PC Gaming and occasional developing - but have since found a laptop to be ideal for sitting on the sofa whilst coding.
Finally, after several months waiting for Lincoln to be included in the rollout - to the actual installation day, our 50MB Virgin Media Broadband has arrived! Unfortunately it meant that all the domains hosted here were unavailable for nearly 12 hours yesterday, 5 of which I spent getting it all to work - and to my surprise, a speed test showed that is was running at full capacity.
So far it seems quick but we've been accustomed to 20MB for a while now - which was hardly 56k speeds. The cost is also very reasonable since they dropped the prices on 1st September, so much so that it only cost a few £ more to upgrade. They also throw in a D-Link Wireless-N router and USB adapter to take advantage of the new speed.
You should/may notice an increase in page load times around here, as the servers can provide content over twice as fast as before. There's also headroom as Virgin Media are currently trialling 200MB download speeds and 10MB upload with their new DOCSIS 3.0 system. In the words of Samuel L Jackson, it's the dawn of a new era.