The Sysadmins

Tips and tricks from the Sysadmins

Category: Windows 8

Licensing – Upgrade 2008 R2 KMS Host to Support Server 2012 and Windows 8

This post will cover updating an existing Server 2008 R2 KMS host to allow the activation of Server 2012 and Windows 8 clients. The update will carry across your existing activation count and if you currently use your KMS host for Microsoft Office activations, this will go untouched.

Once this update has been applied the KMS host will be able to service the following KMS clients:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista

Before running the update, I’d recommend you record the output of your existing configuration by running:

slmgr /dli all > before.txt.

Download the required KB2757817 update package from here:

Run the installer and select yes.

Update kms for server 2012

Update KMS to support Windows 8

Update KMS to support Server 2012

Once the installation is complete you must restart the server.

To install and activate your new KMS license key. Use the following command to add the new key:

cscript %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk

Then to activate:

cscript %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato

cscript %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk

Now would be a good time to run slmgr /dli all > after.txt and compare with your results from earlier. The text file should state:

Name: Windows Server(R), ServerStandard edition
Description: Windows Operating System – Windows Server(R), VOLUME_KMS_2012_C channel
Partial Product Key: partialkeyhere
License Status: Licensed

If you want some additional confirmation, dig into the key management event log and look for events with the ID of 12290. You’re mainly looking for the license state near the far right, you want to see “1” meaning the client is activated. Here are the various licensing states:

  • 0 – Unlicensed
  • 1 – Licensed (Activated)
  • 2 – OOB grace
  • 3 – OOT grace
  • 4 – NonGenuineGrace
  • 5 – Notifications
  • 6 – Extended Grace
Troubleshooting KMS Event Log

Troubleshooting KMS Event Log

More information about troubleshooting KMS can be found here:

Server 2012 PPTP VPN With 1 NIC

The process for setting up a PPTP VPN in Server 2012 with 1 network card is very similar to that of Server 2008 R2. Please be aware that PPTP is vulnerable to dictionary attack and should be considered unencrypted. There is a great post explaining why here.

Server Side (Server 2012)

  • Head to Server Manager, click on Manager, Add Roles and Features
  • Role-based or feature-based installation
  • Make sure the server you want to install the RRAS role is selected
  • Select Remote Access
  • View items and click add features
  • Next as you do not need to add any features
  • Tick DirectAccess and VPN (RAS)
  • This shows the Role services which are requested and then added
  • When the feature installation is complete click close
  • Select Remote Access in Service manager
  • Right click the Server with the Remote Access role install and choose Remote Access Management
  • Select Run the Getting Started Wizard
  • Select Deploy VPN Only, the familiar RRAS console will appear
  • Right click the server and choose configure and enable routing and remote access
  • If you select “Remote Access” give the following error “Less than two network interfaces were detected on this machine. For standard VPN server configuration at least two network interfaces need to be installed
  • Select Custom Configuration to get around this, then select VPN Access, follow it through to the end
  • Right click Routing and remote access and select properties
  • Browse to the IPv4 tab and assign a static pool of IPs for the remote clients
  • Now load up ADUC (Active Directory Users and Computers) and double click the user you wish to give access
  • Select the Dial-in tab and set the Network Access permission to Allow Access

Switch to 720 for a better experience.

Client Side (Windows 8)

  • Tap the Winkey and type VPN, press the down arrow and enter, select Set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection
  • Type the IP of the server hosting the PPTP VPN server (or more likely the public address forwarding to the PPTP Server) and give the connection a name
  • Click on the network icon in the tray, right click the PPTP connection and choose view connection properties
  • Head to the Security tab and select PPTP (Windows will work this out if you don’t, so it’s not really that necessary
  • Go to Networking, IPv4, Properties, Advanced and unselect Use default gateway on remote computer
  • Click the network icon in the tray, select the PPTP VPN connection and collect
  • Type your credentials
  • In the video I typed ncpa.cpl to get quick access to the connection details, note I was allocated one of the IPs from the pool we configured on the PPTP server
  • You should be good to go!

Switch to 720 for a better experience.


  • Enable forwarding for TCP Port 1723 (PPTP) to your Windows 2012 Server
  • The firewall must support GRE

Open Administrative Command Prompt Without Right Clicking

Nice little tip for opening an administrative command prompt without having to right click. This will actually work for most applications, but I use it most for this!

Tap the Windows key, type CMD and press SHIFT+CTRL+Enter, UAC will trigger if you have it enabled, ALT+Y to press Yes.


If you have the Command Prompt pinned, you can set it to always run as an administrator by right clicking the pinned shorcut, going to Properties and Advanced. Tick Run as administrator.



Windows 8 – Disable Lock Screen Wallpaper

If you’re using Windows 8 and frequently lock your machine, you’ll have come across the lock screen which you can either drag up with your mouse or press any button on the keyboard to lift. Now whilst this looks fairly slick it takes around second or so after the initial key press for it to start registering your password entry, if you’re fairly quick at typing this can equate to 3-4 key presses. This has been annoying me for a little while as I continue to bash in my password to only realise it’s missed out the first few characters. So here’s how to disable it.

To disable

Tap the winkey and type gpedit.msc and press enter.

Browse to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization > Do not display the lock screen.

Set this to enable.

Windows 8 – £14.99 Upgrade

I’m a big fan of Windows 8 and I’ve been using it for around a year in it’s various guises (developer, release and RTM). When it was confirmed they would be providing the upgrade for a measly £14.99 I decided to run through the process and see how easy Microsoft have made it for people to upgrade to the latest and greatest.

I’ve detailed the experience below, it was very straight forward and quick to run through. If you’re looking to upgrade and meet the requirements this is the way to do it.

Let’s get the upgrade!

Head over to Microsoft’s update page:

You’ll be asked to fill in some basic information.

Here you will need to enter a valid Windows 7 product key.

Success! Microsoft will now email you a promotion code to the address registered with a link to the Download Upgrade Assistant. I didn’t really want to run this, but after a (quick) search around the site it seemed you have to.

I was already running Windows 8 (the 90 day enterprise trial), so when proceeding it was giving me the error message: Sorry, Windows 8 isn’t available for online purchase in the country/region you’re in. You can get around this by right clicking the Download Upgrade Assistant (Windows8-UpgradeAssistant.exe) going to the compatibility tab and setting the compatibility mode to Windows 7.

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Windows 8 – Installing and Configuring Hyper-V

Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise editions come with the ability to run Hyper-V. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have dabbled with desktop virtualization using the various solutions- Virtualbox, Vmware Workstation/Player/Server (argh) or similar. Whilst I get on well (and typically use) VMware products, having Hyper-V free and native to Windows is a great step forward and something I’ve moved over to recently.

Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system that has Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). SLAT is a feature present in the current generation of 64-bit processors by Intel & AMD. You’ll also need a 64-bit version of Windows 8, and at least 4GB of RAM. Hyper-V does support creation of both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems in the VMs.

To see if your CPU is capable of running Hyper-V under Windows 8, you can view the AMD supported CPU list here: or look here: You’ll be pleased to know that pretty much any ‘i’ series Intel CPU will work.

You will also want to make sure you have the relevant bios settings set:

Installing Hyper-V

Navigate to Control Panel -> Programs and Features. You can do this various ways, for example:


Select Turn Windows Features on or off.

Tick both Hyper-V boxes and select OK, if the Hyper-V Platform tick box is greyed out you may not be able to install Hyper-V on that particular hardware.

The machine will now reboot.

When the machine comes back up you should now have a Hyper-V tile in the modern UI, you can also get to the Hyper-V manager by simple tapping the WinKey and typing “Hyper”.

Configuring the Virtual Switch with only one NIC

You will need to configure a Virtual Switch before a virtual machine can communicate outside itself.

On the right-hand column select Virtual Switch Manager.

Select new virtual switch and decide on the switch type. External should suite most purposes.

Give the switch a name (this will be used later when you are creating virtual machines) and select with network interface to use. I only have a single NIC on my motherboard, so I chose that.

…and there we have it. Hyper-V up and running with a virtual switch ready to host virtual machines.

Additional Settings

Select Hyper-V settings in the right-hand column.

From here you can adjust the default VHD location, change the mouse release key etc…

Windows 8 – Winkey+X

Handy shortcut to access the advanced context menu, it can be accessed via Winkey+X or by right clicking in the bottom left of the screen.