Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes on 9 - Managing People (and wisdom with Chris Sells)

August 8, '09 Comments [35] Posted in Microsoft | Musings
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image An email went out to our organization (Server & Tools Online) by one of our GMs that had a bullet (it was bullet #2 I believe) that said:

As community engagement and quality of resources are key goals for STO we are broadening the responsibility of the community PMs who today report to Simon Muzio by creating the STO Community Team led by Scott Hanselman. Tim Heuer, Joe Stagner, Jesse Liberty and Rob Conery will report to Scott, and in addition to their strategic roles of spreading the good word about the latest developer division products and platforms with our customers and the community at large, they will help STO understand how to interact with the community, drive buzz, interest, and excitement around Microsoft technologies. The team will also broaden its mission by taking on accountability around Developer Compete technologies. We need to engage the community in an effective real conversation at the competitive level and decide which competing technologies and communities to engage with.  The team will also pilot a set of globally scalable approaches for community content contribution. This is about transitioning from Microsoft being the major content contributor on our sites to a community content contributor model. 

This means I now have a team of 4 people and, as an aside, I've got reqs (requisitions or "headcount") for possibly two more. There's no extra pile of money for me but they do tack on "Lead" at the end of my name, I think. Or "Group" at the front. I'm still not sure which, but one of them.

I have called myself, both internally and externally, and only half-joking, "The People's Programmer." I have said "Developer Liaison" and "Community Concierge." They're all fun titles, but they are all true.

Our team's job is to make sure that you're having a good time developing with Microsoft tools. I want you to feel empowered to make cool stuff. If you're not, we'll try to make it better through articles, tutorials, walkthroughs, videos, presentations, books, and more. We're worldwide multimedia professors, but we're learning from you as much as we're teaching.

Now that we've got some autonomy, we're also going to try to figure out how to reconcile all the different kinds of community people there are at Microsoft (there's lots) and how we can best work together.

We also feel that there's a lot of great content out there that's been written by you, Dear Reader, that Microsoft doesn't promote or make easily available. I want to get your content on MSDN, on ASP.NET, on Silverlight.NET. If you've got good content, we're trying to understand what roadblocks at Microsoft are making it a hard for you to contribute.

I hope you've figured out by now that I'm open to feedback. A lot of you have commented here or emailed me and I hope you've seen how we try to advocate for you. ALWAYS feel free to talk to me or *ahem* my team (that'll take a while to get used to) if you have feedback on anything we do.

Thanks for being here for me Dear Reader, I really love being a part of this community.

-- ScottHa

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Windows 7 Easy Upgrade Path Truth Table/Chart

August 7, '09 Comments [23] Posted in Win7
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Ed Bott's alternative Windows 7 Upgrade Chart Wow, everyone is moving up to Windows 7. I'm looking forward, as IT Manager for the Hanselman Family, to upgrading everyone. New OS for all the cousins and uncles and what-not is always a highlight of my year.

Personally, I think Windows 7 is a good time to do a "clean" install. Most people have decent internet speeds and there's just nothing quite like the fresh minty smell of a new install.

Disclaimer: I don't work for the Windows team and I wrote this post in the dead of night completely off the clock on a PalmPilot so there might be no confusion about my motives. I'm just a techie dude who happens to work for the Big Blue Monster. This is not official anything and it's a blog. It's very likely wrong or complete nonsense. One day you'll show up and I'll have been fired, drawn and quartered and this site will be all 404s. That is all. I may start selling T-shirts containing my disclaimers in case they are in any way unclear.

There's a few choices for you:

Clean Install + Migrate: You can certainly "migrate" your settings from an old machine to a new one still doing a clean install. It's a clean install, but you're saving time by bringing lots of little things over like browser history, favorites, usernames, passwords, subtle settings. Either way, you've got choices.

In-Place Upgrade: You can also "upgrade in-place," meaning you're installing Windows 7 to c:\windows (or whatever) and it'll upgrading your Vista installation directly. Once Windows 7 is installed, you can do an "Anytime Upgrade," for example, taking Win 7 Home Premium to Win 7 Pro if you like.

There's a chart that explains this, but visually, it's too complex in my opinion. I stated working on a simpler one, then Ed Bott in his wisdom beat me to it. It's a truth table of sorts, and technical folks LOVE to collapse their tables. What may have made sense to the original designer is begging for refactoring by one of us.

The original table looks scary and sends a negative message. However, as Ed points out "Most Vista users will have clear and logical upgrade paths from their current edition to the same edition of Windows 7."

Basically, if you're going from whatever version of Vista you have to a similar (or greater) version of Windows 7, you're all set. You'll only need to clean install if you're going from a "high sku" to a lower one. Go check out Ed's chart or click on the image above and enjoy your upgrade!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Vista Users - Uninstall Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 before upgrading to Windows 7

August 6, '09 Comments [25] Posted in Win7
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Disclaimer: I do work for Microsoft, but is my opinion. If this walkthrough causes your ferret emotional distress, I'm sorry. Who is this? Stop calling! Jimmy no live here! You no call back!

I'm an early adopter so I've been running Beta 1 of .NET 4 and Visual Studio 2010 on a Vista machine. However, Beta 1 of .NET 4 doesn't survive an upgrade to Windows 7 and leaves the .NET Framework in a goofy and unfixable state. Beta 2 won't have this problem.

So, in a nutshell if you're running .NET 4 and Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 on Vista you've got two options*.

1. Uninstall, Upgrade, Reinstall

  • Uninstall Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1
  • Uninstall .NET Framework 4
  • Upgrade to Windows 7
  • Reinstall .NET Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1


2. Clean Install

  • You can do a clean install of Windows 7, which is what I did anyway, as I like my Major OS Upgrades to be fresh.

When you're talking about OS Upgrades and Early Beta Software, if you really want to be confident, I say clean install.

It an unfortunate Beta 1 bug, so tell your early-adopter developer friends (or blogs) so they don't have trouble upgrading.

Related Links

* You might be running Windows 7 RC and thinking to do an unsupported upgrade to Windows 7 RTM. If so, remember, it's not supported, but you'll have this problem upgrading too, so uninstall Dev10b1/.NET4 first.

Here's technical details on how to uninstall VS 2010 Beta 1 and .NET 4 Beta 1:

  1. Uninstall TFS Object Model (This step is Visual Studio 2010 Team Suite only)
    1. From Add/Remove, uninstall Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 Beta 1 Object Model
  2. 2. Uninstall Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1
    1. From Add/Remove, uninstall all instances of Visual Studio 2010 (Team, Pro, etc. You likely have just one, but one can't be sure.)
    2. Be sure to see the Visual Studio Setup wizard through to completion.
  3. 3. Uninstall .NET Framework 4 Beta 1
    1. From Add/Remove, uninstall in this order:
      1. Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Extended Beta 1 - Language Pack
      2. Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Client Profile Beta 1 - Language Pack
      3. Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Extended Beta 1
      4. Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Client Profile Beta 1
  4. Reboot
  5. Uninstall C++ 2010 Redistributable
    1. From Add/Remove, uninstall Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Beta 1 Redistributable (x86 and/or x64)
  6. Reboot

Hope this beta hassle saves you a worse hassle when it comes time for you to upgrade to Windows 7. Again this won't be a problem in .NET 4 Beta 2.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Step-By-Step: Turning a Windows 7 DVD or ISO into a Bootable VHD Virtual Machine

August 4, '09 Comments [31] Posted in Tools | Win7
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I'm loving the Windows 7 "Boot to VHD" lifestyle. This isn't Virtual Machines, to be clear, and it's not Dual Booting. It's Boot to VHD.

Let me break it down:

Method Pros Cons
Dual Booting Your OS's always run at full speed. You can screw up your partition table. You have to partition which means disks of fixed size. Or you can have them all share the same disk, which is dangerous.
OS's aren't portable.
Virtual Machines Your OS's are completely separate from each other and can't hurt one other. Your OS's are very portable. You get Undo support for your disks. Everything is virtualized, so you're taking a perf hit on pretty much everything. Often not a good solution for laptops.
Boot to VHD Your OS runs on the hardware directly, except your disk, which is virtualized and runs inside a single file. Estimated 3%-5% perf hit. Seriously. Also is awesome on a laptop if you have the HD space. None! But I'm biased! Neener neener!

Only works on internal drives or ESATA. No USB Drive support. No undo disk support.

Making a VHD is easy with Windows 7 since you can create and mount/attach VHDs in the standard tools. VHD as a disk format is built into the Operating System (although, strangely, you can't mount ISOs.).

You can create a blank VHD, set it up in your boot menu with BCDEdit (details and walkthrough here and a video demo here) and then just boot off your VHD. If you want to install your OS (Windows Server 2008 and Win 7 Enterprise or Ultimate are the only ones supported) then you just install away.

However, this is STILL not convenient enough for me.

I'm always trying crazy new Daily Builds of big stuff that takes a while to be installed. The step where I install an OS onto my VHD takes too long, so I'd like a prepared VHD that's already to be started for the first time, kind of like when you buy a machine from Dell or whoever and you get that nice "starting your computer, detecting drivers" action on first boot.

Well, there's a script over at the MSDN Code Gallery to help with this. It's the Windows Image to Virtual Hard Disk Converter (WIM2VHD).

From their description:

The Windows(R) Image to Virtual Hard Disk (WIM2VHD) command-line tool allows you to create sysprepped VHD images from any Windows 7 installation source. VHDs created by WIM2VHD will boot directly to the Out Of Box Experience, ready for your first-use customizations. You can also automate the OOBE by supplying your own unattend.xml file, making the possibilities limitless.

Fresh squeezed, organically grown, free-range VHDs - just like Mom used to make - that work with Virtual PC, Virtual Server, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Windows 7's new Native VHD-Boot functionality!

I like this guy already.

How to SysPrep your Windows 7 Image

I copied my Windows 7 DVD to a folder on a drive with lots of space free. I probably didn't need to copy it over, but it likely made the process faster.

Then I downloaded and installed the Windows® Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows® 7. This file is a large ISO (1.5G) so be aware. It's meant for admins, not humans. I didn't want to burn the ISO to disk, so I used 7-Zip to open the ISO as an archive and extract it. (If you're not using 7-Zip, you're missing out on life, BTW)

Now, go into C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools and find ImageX.exe and copy it where you put the Windows Image to Virtual Hard Disk Converter (WIM2VHD) script.

Go read the Example Command Lines for Win2VHD, but since I had a Windows 7 Ultimate I ran this command-line. Note that d:\win7working is where I copied my DVD.

cscript wim2vhd.wsf /wim:d:\win7working\sources\install.wim /sku:ultimate

In this example, d:\win7working is the folder I copied the DVD to. Could be your DVD drive too, I suppose.

It chewed for a while, maybe seven minutes. You'll also here the "Device Plugged In" sound as the script automatically connects a VHD as a drive temporarily so don't panic:

D:\>cscript wim2vhd.wsf /wim:d:\win7working\sources\install.wim /sku:ultimate
Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.8
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Windows(R) Image to Virtual Hard Disk (WIM2VHD) Converter
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Version 6.1.7100.2

Check for updates at!

OS=Windows 7 Ultimate

INFO: Looking for IMAGEX.EXE...
INFO: Looking for BCDBOOT.EXE...
INFO: Session key is E765F413-44E9-4F9B-AEA5-DBC8A726F7A6
INFO: Inspecting the WIM...
INFO: Configuring and formatting the VHD...
INFO: Applying the WIM...
[ 100% ] Applying progress
INFO: Making the VHD bootable with BCDBoot...
INFO: Unmounting the VHD...
Summary: Errors: 0, Warnings: 0, Successes: 1
INFO: Done.

Magical. Now I've got a 5 gig VHD file that I can setup to boot from directly as described here. The first time I start up, it'll be 95% into the setup process and just ready to detect my hardware. It's a nice "OEM-like" VHD that I can use again and again.

Since I'm only using these VHDs temporarily (for a week or two for testing) I won't use an activation key and instead leave that field blank during setup. That'll buy me 30 days of testing if I need to, and I can easily start over by just starting over with my new fresh VHD.

Enjoy! Now go tell Mike and his team that they're awesome. Go ahead. I'll wait here.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Step-By-Step: How To "Upgrade" from Windows XP to Windows 7

August 4, '09 Comments [32] Posted in Reviews | Tools | Win7
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image You've likely heard that you can't straight upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7. You can upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7, but not from XP to 7. Some folks who apparently have a pile of operating systems discs have proposed that one could upgrade from XP to Vista, then from Vista to Windows 7, but I think that's insane. Most PC experts will recommend you start fresh and "pave" your machine anyway. I think this is a hassle, but in the case of XP to 7, it's necessary.

I was asked to "upgrade" a relative's machine from Windows XP to Windows 7, so I figured this was a good time to write-up the experience in case it helps others.

This is a screenshot heavy post, so bear with me, this is a tale best told with pictures.

Disclaimer: I do work for Microsoft, but I don't work with the Win7 team so this is just one dude's opinion. If this walkthrough paralyzes your hamster or causes you any emotional distress, we never spoke and I don't know you. You found it on the intertubes for free, so what do you expect. Good luck.

My relative has a nice basic Dell desktop with a gig of RAM and a 100 gig HD. The machine is 3-4 years old, so I didn't think a Windows 7 install would be unreasonable.

First, I put my Windows 7 disc into the Windows XP machine and got this screen:


4 Personally, I wish that there was a "migrate your settings from Windows XP" button or something on this page. It's a great feature and it's not advertised enough.

I clicked "What to know before installing Windows."

The problem here, and with most OS installs regardless of vendor is that, at some point, reading and comprehension is required. Unless you're lucky enough to just click "next, next, next, finish," you need to read.

The instructions that show up at this point (shown at right) have a section on "Upgrading from Windows XP." In that section there's a link to which is the one-stop-shopping center for Upgrade Info.

Specifically, the section on Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 is what I needed.

The "Windows Easy Transfer" application is on the Windows 7 DVD in:


They probably named it migsetup.exe to make sure it wasn't named setup.exe and save some trouble with confused folks, but still, it was a smidge counter-intuitive.

Windows Easy Transfer

Here's the Windows XP machine running Windows Easy Transfer.



I've never see an "Easy Transfer cable" in the real world, but apparently they do exist on Amazon. Fortunately I had a small external hard drive, so I just used that since both the "old" and "new" computer were the same machine.

I was then asked this very tricky question, for which there is only one answer. ;)


Why yes, Windows Easy Transfer, this IS my old computer.

Next it found the 3 accounts on this XP machine as well as Shared Items and started tallying them up.

It spends some time (15 minutes or so in my case) estimating just how much non-Program data is on the machine.


In our case, it was about 15 gigs of Photos and general crap. It shows you what user has what stuff.


It also has a nice, but subtle, customize link under each name you should click on. You can be very specific as to the folders and settings you care about.

Hit next and wait a while. I waited about an hour, but it was telling me what was up the whole time.


It made a giant archive ".MIG" file on my portable hard drive.


Installing Windows 7

Next, I actually installed Windows 7. I decided to let Windows 7 format the hard drive so I could start from scratch. I could have just installed 7 over the top, but the hard drive was a bit untidy, so I just took the opportunity to start fresh.

I installed Windows 7 the regular way and created a single Administrator user to start with.

Next, I ran Easy Transfer from the Windows 7 Start Menu. At this point, remember that nothing has been transferred and I have a fresh Windows 7 machine.

Select that this is your new computer and pick the migration file from the external hard drive.


When you see the list of names in the migration file, click Customize. This allows you to map the old names to potentially new names/users on the new machine, or exclude names completely.

You'll have to wait a while again, I waited about an hour. After the process is done, you get the option for very detailed report. It shows not only what was transferred in detail but also a list of applications "you might want to install."


This was very helpful as it reminded me of the different apps I needed to get on this machine to make it ready for my relative.


It's true that this isn't an "upgrade" as it's a "migration" but an hour or so later I was all set and my relative had a machine with all the things they were used to exactly where they expected them to be. Documents, Photos, Accounts, all brought over cleanly. It even remembered that their daughter wasn't an admin and brought over the Parental Controls settings.

If you've got an XP machine and you're looking to go Windows 7, I recommend you at least give this built-in tool a look. It saved me a few hours of setup at least and brought over settings that I'd have had to recreate. Even usernames and passwords for iTunes and Zune and MSN Messenger came along.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.