Contents tagged with Windows Fundamentals

  • Everything you need to know about DHCP as a Systems Administrator

    Posted by Netanel Ben-Shushan on February 23 2010, 1:36 AM. Posted in Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Fundamentals, Learning.



    This article will help you to learn everything that you need to know as a systems administrator (or SysAdmin) about this protocol and what can you do with him.


    What's DHCP? And why it's recommended to use it?

    Imagine that you're working as a SysAdmin for a large company with 500 desktop computers; you need to set to each desktop computer IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, DNS servers, and other network settings. How could you do that?

    If you'll try to perform this task manually you're probably going to waste a lot of time on sitting on each computer 5-10 minutes, beside time, you can for example accidently enter wrong IP address to few clients, or to type the same IP address to few clients too.

    In order to solve these "problems" you can use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (or DHCP) in your network.

    DHCP allows you manage the networks' IP addresses scopes and other TCP/IP settings like DNS, Default Gateway, etc. from central place, this central place called DHCP server. Beside the management, if there's any problem you don't need to run between your clients, you just need to connect to your server and to check the DHCP settings, as I mentioned – the DHCP works from central place, so if there's a problem, it's probably from the server, so you know where to go in case of problem and your saving time.

    The DHCP server can provide easily IP addresses to clients automatically so you don't even need to configure and set options in the client side, all you need is to setup DHCP server, configure scope options and some other TCP/IP settings in the server side and that's it. You can provide to your clients IP addresses from the selected range that you've configured and some other TCP/IP options.

    Note: DHCP in my opinion can called "The next generation of BOOTP", because the BOOTP came first before the DHCP, and today we're using BOOTP in order to deploy operating systems by booting from the network. Beside this, DHCP was developed in order to support in large networks – something that BOOTP can't provide.


    How DHCP works?

    Without entering to the related technical information (DORA process) the DHCP client request from the DHCP server IP address for a while, the length of time that the DHCP client can use the dynamic IP address that the DHCP server provided can be called lease, just like the name: lease means that the client "rent" an IP address for a specific time from the DHCP server, if the client want to continue using the specific IP address the client needs to re-assign the address by renew the lease, this will happen before the expiration time of the lease if the client is still in the network.

    More in depth, the DHCP service works by using the DORA (Discover, Offer, Request and Acknowledgment) process (you can trace on the whole process using a network monitor utility):

    1. DHCPDISCOVER – The client broadcast a DHCPDISCOVER packet in order to locate a DHCP server in the network, in some cases that the DHCP server isn't in the same subnet of the client, you'll need to configure in your network devices (usually routers) a DHCP Relay Agent, in order to transfer the DHCPDISCOVER packet to the DHCP server.

    2. DHCPOFFER – The DHCP server broadcast a DHCPOFFER packet to the client which includes an offer to use a unique IP address for the client.

    3. DHCPREQUEST – The client broadcast a DHCPREQUEST packet to the DHCP server with an answer, and "asks" from the server to "rent" the unique address that the server offer to her.

    4. DHCPACK – The DHCP server broadcast a DHCPACK packet to the client, in this packet the server acknowledge the request from the client to use the IP address, and provide to the client the IP address lease and other details such as DNS servers, default gateway, etc. if the server cannot provide the requested IP address or from some reasons the address is not valid the server sends DHCPNACK packet in stand of DHCPACK, more information about DHCPNACK is under the specific subject – DHCPNACK.



    Note: DHCP service uses port 67/UDP in the DHCP server, and 68/UDP at the DHCP clients.


    It's recommended to check that your firewall doesn't block these ports in order to able the DHCP server and clients to communicate, and also check that your network devices supports DHCP Relay Agent in case that some of your clients are in different physical subnet.

    In some cases you'll notice another DHCP messages like these:

    1. DHCPDECLINE – If the client recognizes that the IP address that the DHCP server offer to her in use, the client will generate a new request to another IP address (in the DHCPREQUEST step).

    2. DHCPRELEASE – This message is commonly in use when the client "give up" and release IP address.

    3. DHCPRENEW – This is the request packet to renew and continue "renting" the IP address lease.

    4. DHCPINFORM – The DHCPINFORM is packet that the client send to the DHCP server in order to get more details from the server, for example DHCPINFORM can be send in order to locate another DHCP servers in the network.



    The DHCPNACK or Negative Acknowledgment is a packet that the server sends if the IP address is not available in stand of DHCPACK (in use on other client for example) or the address is no longer valid. In case of DHCPNACK the client must restart the lease process in order to get an IP address.


    DHCP Scopes, Exclude and Reservation

    DHCP Scope is a range of IP addresses that you configure in your DHCP server as range of addresses that designed for distribution to the clients.

    For example, if you set a scope with a range from, you can easily provide only from this range IP addresses to your clients.

    You can also create more than one scope, but it's recommended to check that your scopes aren't duplicating one with each other's. At the scope creation process you can add some more TCP/IP parameters such as subnet mask, IP addresses lease time, router (default gateway), DNS servers, etc. so when the clients gets the IP addresses they'll get also the other parameters from the scope.

    In some cases, you'll need to prevent the client using some addresses, for example if your scope is from up to, and your servers using, you can exclude these IP addresses from the scope and exclude the DHCP to distribute them to the clients, in most of the DHCP servers this option called exclude.

    Reservation is a great option if you're planning to provide specific dynamic IP address from the DHCP server to unique DHCP client. If for example in the scope you want to provide for specific client a unique address that will be always of the client, you can easily set reservation for the client using a unique identifier – the MAC address, the MAC of Media Access Control is a unique hexadecimal physical address for network adapters.


    DHCP & DNS

    When you're installing DHCP server you can configure the DHCP server to set DNS updates to any DNS server that support dynamic updates. More information about the combination between DHCP and DNS you can find right here.


    Active Directory & DHCP Servers

    In Microsoft Windows Server with Active Directory you need to authorize your server in order to work with the DHCP service.

    In the past you could install few DHCP servers – as you wish, this action occurs problems like server crashing, etc.

    In the new Windows 2000 Server/Server 2003/2008 you must authorize your server in order to start the DHCP server, if there's an authorized DHCP server in the Active Directory environment and a non-authorized server trying to start the DHCP service in order to distribute IP address, the server will failed in this task and the DHCP service in the local computer will stop.


    DHCP Relay Agent

    DHCP Relay Agent is any kind of host (usually a router or server) that listen to DHCP/BOOTP broadcast from clients on subnets without local DHCP servers.

    The DHCP Relay Agent forwards the packets from the clients and the DHCP server that sitting on different physical subnets to each other in order to supply 'connection' between the DHCP Server to the clients, and opposite (from the clients to the server).



    In conclusion

    Using DHCP service can easily help you as a System/Network Administrator to manage you clients by assigning, tracking and re-assigning IP addresses.


    About the author

    Netanel Ben-Shushan is an IT Consultant & Trainer from Israel, who works mainly with Microsoft, networking and information security systems. He's the creator of, a personal website in Hebrew with technical guides and articles. Beside he's website, Netanel is also writing a Hebrew weblog at Microsoft Israel's blogging community.

  • Microsoft Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs INFImporter Command Line Utility

    Posted by bink on August 8 2006, 1:13 AM. Posted in Windows Fundamentals.

    The Microsoft Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs INFImporter Utility provides an easy way to create and edit a driverinstall.xml file for use in installing Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs. A driverinstall.xml file supplies all the information that Setup needs to install hardware drivers for the operating system using the /devicefile switch.Download At Source
  • Microsoft Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs Unattended Generator Utility

    Posted by bink on August 8 2006, 1:09 AM. Posted in Windows Fundamentals.

    The Microsoft Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs Unattended Generator Utility provides an easy way to create and edit an unattended answer file for use in installing Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs. An unattended answer file supplies all the information that Setup needs to install the operating system using the /unattended switch.Download At Source
  • Microsoft Windows XP Fundamentals for Legacy PCs Screenshots

    Posted by bink on July 14 2006, 7:15 PM. Posted in Windows Fundamentals.

    I have been playing around with "Microsoft Windows XP Fundamentals for Legacy PCs". The result can be seen in screenshots posted on my gallery.Microsoft Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (WinFLP) is a Windows-based operating system designed for enterprise customers with legacy PCs who are not in a position to purchase new hardware. WinFLP provides the same security and manageability as Microsoft Windows XP SP2 while providing a smooth migration path to the latest hardware and operating system.

    Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (WinFLP) requires:

    • A minimum of 611 MB of free hard drive space. Actual requirements will vary based on your system configuration and the applications and features you choose to install. Installing all optional components requires 1151 MB of disk space. These requirements are reported on the screen as you select options in the Setup wizard. Additional hard disk space may be required if you are installing over a network. Also, you should reserve additional space for future updates and service packs.
    • A computer with 233 megahertz or higher processor clock speed (300 MHz is recommended); Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor is recommended.
    • 64 MB of RAM. 256 MB of RAM is recommended.

    I installed it in a Vmware Workstation Virtual Machine with 128 MB of RAM.I also tested a scenario with a 128 MB machine with no disks, booting into XP fundamentals then connecting usig RDP to a terminal server. The same scenario using 64MB resuted in a too low virtual memory error/crash. So 64 MB RAM is supported but it needs a disk for virtual memory.Check out the screenshots with my comments at source. Click on the pics in the gallery to show full size.Digg This Story!!Note: they're are not all in the correct order. An example:\"About\" Screenshot Digg This Story!!See other articles on Windows Xp Fundamentals

  • Microsoft extends lifeline for older PCs

    Posted by spy on July 13 2006, 4:01 PM. Posted in Windows Fundamentals.

    As posted on yesterday and first announced on last year (Codename Eiger) Microsoft on Wednesday revealed software that turns older PCs into more modern and secure systems, but in the process also makes them less than full-fledged computers. The software, known as Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs, is designed as a stopgap measure for companies with a significant number of older Windows PCs that they aren't ready to replace and that can't be easily upgraded to Windows XP. Formerly known by its Eiger code name, Windows Fundamentals gives those PCs some of the security benefits of XP but essentially turns the machines into thin clients, able to run only a few programs locally, with most software needing to run remotely from a server. As Microsoft announced in September, Windows Fundamentals is being made available as part of Microsoft's Software Assurance licensing program. It's one of several changes the company is making to the program. "Software Assurance is certainly more than upgrades," said Mike Oldham, a general manager in Microsoft's licensing group. "We see it as a full offering that we are incoprorating more value into all the time." Oldham said that Microsoft developed Windows Fundamentals because corporate customers were looking for a way to get more years out of their PCs. "This gave them a key tool for expanding those life spans." Turning PCs into thin clients is something new, Oldham said. "Typically we have not delved into that area."Continue At Source
  • Eiger named: Windows Fundamentals, for Software Assurance only, Available March 2006!

    Posted by bink on September 15 2005, 11:49 PM. Posted in Windows Fundamentals.

    Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs for Software Assurance Available March 2006!Microsoft Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs is a Windows-based operating system designed for customers with legacy PCs who are running legacy operating systems and are not in a position to purchase new hardware. Windows Fundamentals provides the same security and manageability as Microsoft Windows XP SP2 while providing a smooth migration path to the latest hardware and operating system.

    Windows Fundamentals is not a general-purpose operating system, but is designed to work with Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection client or third-party clients such as Citrix’s ICA client. In addition, Windows Fundamentals allows for a limited number of workloads to be executed locally, including security software, management software, terminal emulation software, document viewers, and the .NET Framework.

    With Windows Fundamentals, Microsoft introduces the Windows Managed Desktop, which allows these desktops to be completely locked down.

    Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs for Software Assurance offers the following advantages:

    The latest tools: It's managed with the same tools that apply to Windows XP SP2. Whether you use Windows Update, Automatic Update, or Systems Management Server (SMS) to manage your desktops, all apply to Windows Fundamentals in exactly the same way.

    The ability to leverage existing skills: It doesn’t require your IT staff to acquire any new skills, saving you time and money.

    Fewer desktop operating systems: It looks like Windows XP SP2 from a management tool’s perspective, so your IT staff is already familiar with this environment.

    Componentized architecture: It lets you install only those components users need, reducing the number of components exposed to malicious attacks.

    Locked-down desktop: It can prevent intentional and accidental malicious activity by limiting a user’s ability to access menus. Also, Windows Fundamentals maintains session-specific changes in separate, disposable partitions of the hard drive.

    Proactive protection: It is built on the same code base as Windows XP SP2 and has the same high levels of security with Windows Firewall, Data Execution Prevention, and Internet Explorer’s Pop-Up Blocker.

    Windows XP SP2 serviceability: It is patched in exactly the same way as Windows XP SP2, eliminating the need for customization of Microsoft-released security patches.

    Smooth migration path: Desktops are managed in the same way as Windows XP desktops, making the transition to Windows Vista much smoother than having to move legacy operating systems and Windows XP to Windows Vista.

    Upgrade preparation: Because you already own a license for the latest Windows operating system, when your old hardware fails, you can replace it with new hardware without having to buy another license.
  • More on Windows XP "Eiger", the lean Windows client

    Posted by bink on May 18 2005, 3:20 AM. Posted in Windows Fundamentals.

    Last month I wrote an exclusive article on a new Windows XP edition that Microsoft is developing, codename: Eiger. If you haven’t read it then please take a look, here. This article is a follow up on that story.

    Last Thursday I had an interview with Barry Goffe and Jon Murchinson who are part of the Windows division in Redmond and responsible for the product  The interview was by telephone so had some issues talking and typing the notes at the same time (I'm not a professional journalist). Below are the notes converted to an article.

    Barry started to explain what the focus Eiger really is: The goal is providing a better solution for certain type of customers and their legacy pc's. Companies that have 5-6 year old pcs that still run NT4 or win9x. These customers are not upgrading their hardware for financial or business-political reasons, but they are concerned about security, NT4 and win9x are not patched anymore, since Microsoft does not support these OS'es.  Manageability of these different OS'es can be hard or it not at all. Windows XP does not run on these systems. Microsoft heard these issues and began thinking what they could do. Eiger is the solution for this, the latest OS for legacy PC's. A Stripped down version of Windows XP that runs on these old PC's and can be managed by client management tools like SMS and SUS.

    There are a few scenarios where the Eiger solution will fit in.

    Scenario 1: In Education and government environments IT budgets are often low, no budget for replacing hardware.

    Scenario2: Businesses that have information workers, working on new PC's that run Windows XP, but other divisions of the company (call centers, factory floors) have people working on old pc's mostly running 1 app (task-stations).

    So to manage the new and old hardware and to keep them secure, Eiger is the answer. Patching an Eiger client works the same as patching a Windows XP pro client, the patch file itself is exactly the same.

    After my original posting last months some incorrect speculations were made. Here is a list of what Eiger is NOT:

    • It’s not a thin client solution, it can be  more seen as a lean client.
    • It’s not a new kind of RDP client. Eiger XP runs on the local CPU, rdp client can be added though.
    • It’s not a Windows XP "light" edition, where you can run your apps on. Eiger is restricted on what it runs.
    • It’s not Windows XP Starter Edition, this stripped down version of XP is intended for emerging countries.
    • It’s not intended for common business server based computer scenarios,
    • It’s not a general OS; a lot of components are removed.

    So how is Eiger built? Stripped down XP pro? Or Added components to Windows PE?

    No, Eiger is based on Windows XP Embedded, but since embedded is not licensed to end users but only to devices (in which Windows XPe is embedded) they have combined Windows XPe and Windows XP Pro, a hybrid product so to speak. For instance, Windows XP embedded does not support Plug and Play (PnP) but Eiger does fully support Pnp.

    Customers can build an Eiger image by adding components, just like building Windows XP embedded and Windows CE, but the choices are limited, at the time of this writing Eiger is designed to run six types of workloads:

    1. RDP client base, minimal install
    2. 3rd party clients (Citrix client)
    3. Internet Explorer (for web based apps)
    4. Windows Media Player (like media based training (streaming media through Terminal services is poor in experience)
    5. Terminal emulation (5250, telnet)
    6. Management, Security client

    These are the options, further the Eiger client is restricted, you cannot install something like Outlook on it.

    Currently Eiger is being tested by a small selected group of customers and Microsoft is just starting to get feedback. Because the target audience of Eiger is very narrow there will be no public beta.Barry couldn't say anything on the availability of the the lean XP client, because it is so early in development he didn't want to disclose any release date, licensing models, distribution or pricing

    Currently the Eiger client is an image of about 350 MB. It will run on Pentium II machines with 65 MB ram, though 128 MB is recommended.Eiger can boot of the Hard drive, CD-rom or a RIS server. Booting from a flash disk is still in development.

    The codenames Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau are named as the mountains in Switzerland. The Product Manager of the Eiger project is from Switzerland ;-)

  • IDG researched my article on Eiger and Mönch XP thin clients

    Posted by bink on April 21 2005, 3:00 PM. Posted in Windows Fundamentals.

    Microsoft is working on two thin client versions of Windows XP to offer a lower cost operating system alternative for users of server-centric computing, people familiar with the company's plans said. The Windows XP-based thin clients will cost less than Windows XP Professional Edition, but offer the same management features and availability of a broad array of hardware drivers. The operating systems are being designed to run on low-end PCs that could be used for simple tasks such as data entry and as a way to access server-based applications, these people said.

    Microsoft is developing the two releases under the "Eiger," and "Mönch" codenames, after two mountains in the Swiss Alps, said Microsoft enthusiast Steven Bink, who publishes the Microsoft news Web site and runs IT Solutions BV, an IT consultancy company in Amsterdam.

    Microsoft told select partners about its thin client plans in January, said Brian Madden, a Washington, D.C.-based independent technology analyst and author of several books on thin-client computing.

    "The motivation for Microsoft is to get a true managed Windows platform on as many desktops as they can. Once they realized that this thin-client model is here to stay, they figured they might as well make an offering that can support SMS, WSUS, et cetera, to encourage as many people as possible to use these products," Madden said in an interview via e-mail.

    SMS (Systems Management Server) and WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) are Microsoft systems management and patching products.

    With the thin clients, Microsoft would be competing with open source products and potentially with partners such as Wyse Technology Inc. and Neoware Systems Inc., which sell thin clients based on XP Embedded and Windows CE.

    Neoware, however, does not see Microsoft's move as increased competition, said spokeswoman Sharon O'Shea. "A thin client version of Windows XP would be a natural product for Microsoft, given the growth of the thin client market," she said in an e-mail message.

    "A thin client version of Windows XP would not be competitive with Neoware’s products. In fact, we would likely benefit from its development as we could bundle it with our thin client devices," O'Shea said, noting that Microsoft has created thin client products in the past, including a thin client version of Windows CE.

    Madden believes the thin-client versions of Windows XP will likely be easier to use and less expensive than Windows XP Embedded, he said. Essentially, the operating system releases will let users convert an old PC into a Windows manageable thin client device, Madden said.

    A thin client typically is a slim terminal computer that has little or no software installed and instead runs applications off of a central server, making it easier to manage. It is considered to be a low-cost alternative to the bulky desktop PC. Sun Microsystems (Profile, Products, Articles) Inc.'s Java Desktop System, which includes Linux, has also been used for thin clients.

    Both the Windows XP thin clients will run with 64M bytes of RAM, a 50M-byte hard disk drive and a Pentium class processor, according a description of the products published by Bink earlier this week.

    Eiger is the simplest offering. Its features include a remote connection client, Internet Explorer, local and network printing, Office viewers, Windows Server Update Services and support for Systems Management Server, according to the product description.

    Mönch has all the Eiger features, plus support for Windows Mobile devices, Windows image acquisition, wireless networking, virtual private networking and advanced IP (Internet Protocol) security, according to Bink.

    "Companies that use server-based computing today could switch to these thin clients. And companies wanting to make the step to server-based computing will be able to do that more easily by using their current PCs with the thin XP client," said Bink, who first reported the thin client versions of Windows XP on his Web site.

    But Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft Inc. in Kirkland, Washington, does not see why Microsoft would need special thin client versions of XP. "I am not convinced that there is a hole in their product line right now. It sounds very much like what somebody could do with Windows XP Embedded."

    Microsoft declined to comment.Read my article on Eiger

  • Exclusive: Microsoft Windows XP Codenames: "Eiger" and "Mönch"

    Posted by bink on April 18 2005, 1:43 PM. Posted in Windows Fundamentals.

    Microsoft is developing 2 new "Server Centric Computing Clients" these clients are based on windows XP, so these will be "thin" clients for Terminal server purposes.Microsoft wants to make Windows the platform of choice for server centric computing by offering  new feature rich Windows SKUs for our enterprise and academic customers by providing management and servicing features parity with Windows XP Pro. These clients will offer innovative alternative to the traditional desktop for legacy PCs, low-end PCs, thin client devices and task workers.Customers complain that Windows XP Pro too expensive for Structured Task Workers. Other request are:- Need of one set of security, manageability & serviceability technologies across all clients- Disparity of HW requires broad driver support- Remote Bootable (network / diskless)- 3rd Party Anti-Virus & Management support- Easy Shell Lock DownSmart App Install BlockingCodename "Eiger" is the thin-ist of the two and has less features then "Mönch" client. See tables below for details:

    Windows XP "Eiger"
    Minimum System Requirements
    64MB RAM (128MB Recommended)
    Pentium class processor
    500 MB HD (1GB recommended)
    800x600 graphics or higher
    Network Interface Card
    Hardware Support
    Standard & ACPI Chipsets
    ISA, PCI, AGP, USB, ATA/IDE, SCSI, AC’97, Smartcards
    Support for most standard components in legacy PCs
    Deployment Methods
    Setup wizard
    Unattended setup
    Remote Installation Server (PXE/RIS)
    Systems Management Server
    Boot Methods
    Hard Disk, Flash
    User Feature Set
    Remote desktop connection client
    Shutdown, restart, standby
    Accessibility features
    Internet Explorer
    Local & Network Printing
    Basic Control Panel
    Office Viewers
    Windows Update Services
    Systems Management Server
    Standard Microsoft management technologies (WMI, MMC …)
    Not supported
    Windows image acquisition (WIA)
    Telephony, VPN & Dial-up
    Wireless networking (802.11)
    Windows XP "Mönch"
    Minimum System Requirements
    64MB RAM (128MB Recommended)
    Pentium class processor
    500 MB HD (1GB recommended)
    800x600 graphics or higher
    Network Interface Card
    Hardware Support
    Standard & ACPI Chipsets
    ISA, PCI, AGP, USB, ATA/IDE, SCSI, AC’97, Smartcards
    Support for most standard components in legacy PCs
    Deployment Methods
    Setup wizard
    Unattended setup
    Remote Installation Server (PXE/RIS)
    Systems Management Server
    Boot Methods
    Hard Disk, UFD, Flash
    Multicast Remote Boot (over PGM)
    User Feature Set
    All Windows “Eiger” Features plus…
    Windows Devices (PDA, Smartphone, …)
    Windows image acquisition (WIA)
    Wireless networking auth (802.1X)
    VPN Support
    Advanced IP Security
    Windows Update Services
    Systems Management Server
    Standard Microsoft management technologies (WMI, MMC …)
    Not supported
    Telephony, Dial-up
    Funny fact: just like previous Microsoft Windows codenames, Whistler and Blackcomb, Eiger and Mönch are mountains. Whistler and Blackcomb are in British Columbia, Eiger and Mönch in Switzerland: there is a third mountain: Jungfrau, so maybe another Windows project?