Windows Hyper-V Server 2008: Part 1 Clarification

12 11 2008

So, the trouble with “Hyper-V Server 2008″ is that it, by nature, is pretty much a free version of one of the full/pay editions of the stripped down “Server Core” versions of “Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V“.  In fact, it is so much like a server core version, that I’m just going to classify it right now as part of the server core family.

What are the implications of that accusation?  Well, for starters, don’t go expecting to be able to use Hyper-V from the local machine.  The concept of a server core is that it runs and runs and does its job like bread and butter, but it can only be managed remotely.

…And?  you ask.  Managing it “remotely” means that your Server Core can only recieve user interaction from another computer.  This includes installing OSes on top of Hyper-V, and also running those OSes.  In other words, even if you use a nearby computer to install the OS and do the basic setup, the computer that Hyper-V is installed on is now dead in the water if you expected to use the machine locally.  Even though Hyper-V is running your Virtual Machines, there is no way to connect to those VMs visually while sitting in front of your Server Core.

So, if you were a misled hopeful of Hyper-V’s application to you as a virtualization groupie for your sweet desktop at home to run Windows Vista and Ubuntu side by side, then I’m afraid you’ve made a blunder 🙂  There will be no Visbuntu for you, laddies.  Your only other options are to download and crack up one of the full versions of WS 2008 w/Hyper-V (so that you have a GUI and the management tool right there on the local machine, thus allowing you to run your VMs and interact with them locally) or, alternately, you could use the free edition of VMware Server (I’d recommend 1.x, since version 2 got a little goofy with the interface– it’s webbrowser-based only) or something free like VirtualBox, by Sun Microsystems.

For those of you who want to press forward, you’ll find only minimal documentation on the matter.  You’ll be adding Windows Firewall rules from the command line, etc (the Windows Firewall is on by default in a Server Core installation, and there’s no easy GUI to turn it off with).  And make sure you’ve got a copy of Vista with Service Pack 1 on it.  You’ll need it to do the remote management, once you’ve got the Hyper-V configuration done.





Multiple RDP sessions in Vista

7 11 2008

Hello there, all.

This time it’s short and sweet: Logging into Vista using Remote Desktop (RDP) without kicking the active user off of the machine.

This also means you can log into the machine multiple times with the same account, with multiple RDP sessions.

http://mjwii.com/prog/termsrv.zip

This zip file is composed of various files put together by the good citizens at http://www.greenbutton.com , who fixed this to work with Vista Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate editions, x86 (32-bit) and x64 (64-bit) versions, with or without Service Pack 1.

Installation requires  NO restart.  It’s just a batch file that automates the following process:  

  • Kills the svhost service, to allow some funny business with a system dll (which will be back’d up, of course).
  • Disables RDP entirely.
  • Backs up the %SystemRoot%\System32\termsrv.dll file to *.bak
  • Replaces the dll with an old Release Candidate version which supported multiple RDP logins concurrent with the active local login.
  • Imports a registry key which simply flags Terminal Services that multiple logins are acceptable.
  • Makes sure that blank passwords are not an acceptable login criteria.
  • Makes sure that the Windows Firewall has the right exceptions to let RDP requests through.
  • Starts Terminal Services back up.
  • Makes sure Terminal Services is listening on the right port (3389)

And there you have it.  To test this, I was running Windows Vista Buisiness Edition 32-bit in VMware.  From my native operating system (Ubuntu 7.10), I used the pre-installed “Terminal Server Client” program to log into my VirtualMachine of Vista, and performed operations on both the VMware console (my “local” login), and in the RDP program.  It worked flawlessly, and I had the little thing set up in one minute, tops.

Happy RDP’ing from multiple locations with multiple users or the same user, without bumping the local login into the Windows’s “Locked” screen.

PS- There’s an XP version of this floating around greenbutton.com as well.  Upon finding it, I began looking for the Vista version.  Just google it and I’m sure you’ll find it within moments.