Manual update of Windows Server Core

Although without the GUI, Windows Server Core (from 2008 R2 onward) is the same platform as the GUI version. Therefore, we need to periodically update it.

Windows 7SP1 x64 and Server 2008 R2 SP1 share the same update base. All those hints and instructions already described in the posts about unofficial SP2, the update agent or any other update can be used here as well. Continue reading

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Installing the VirtualBox integration in Windows Server Core

Periodically, I need to use the Windows Core version. Additionally, we need the integration package for our VM to unlock its full potential in the virtual environment. Luckily, this limited GUI will support such installation.

When you install Windows Server Core in Oracle VirtualBox, the default desktop resolution will be 1024 x 768 pixels and you can’t change it. In most cases, we need the largest possible display. However, the Core version is about the command line and even 800 x 600 will be fine. Continue reading

A new “ADSL” router in my virtual lab

I keep looking for ways to improve my virtual lab and made it as realistic as possible. Although using Mikrotik routers is enough to build a large infrastructure, it’s not completely accurate with the real world experience – Mikrotik routers always work.

In the real world, we often need to connect a Mikrotik router either directly to other types of devices or even behind an exotic grandma’s home appliance. On the other hand, this is the lab and I don’t need any fancy features in such software. I want to save every megabyte of RAM or disk space on my laptop.

My search was fruitful and I found the perfect candidate – FloppyFW. This is the fully functional Linux-based router/firewall that can fit on a single 1.44” floppy disk.

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Redirecting your USB drive to the VirtualBox VM

Although VMs are not real machines, they are computers, too. Today, in everyday work, we need to exchange some information between computers. Often, we will need to copy some information, maybe configuration data or files between our host computer and VMs.

While we can copy information and even files using the features Shared clipboard and Drag and drop, we don’t always want to duplicate data. This is even more important if you’re using an SSD drive in your computer.

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Changing SID of cloned VMs

The fastest way to build a larger virtual environment (either test or production), is to install one VM and then clone it. This process is not the same for every environment. Additionally, it depends on the mechanism of the VM cloning process.

Additionally, every computer in the AD domain has its own identification. This identification is not its name. The computer name is useful for us. Moreover, this identifier must be unique.

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My virtual lab

This article has two purposes. It is the second part of the Mikrotik IPSec series and, at the same time, a short virtualization guide. I will present how we can simulate most common scenarios them in virtual environment.

Although I am using Oracle VirtualBox (referred to as VBox from here on out) for these demonstrations, you can use any other virtualization solution in a very similar way. We don’t need any special features of the virtualization solution. You should only optimize your VMs based on the settings related to your environment. You can find my guides about VBox environment here and here.

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Troubleshooting poor performances of virtual machines in an Oracle VirtualBox

Sometimes I have to give a presentation on IT. I like to make a such presentation to be dynamic, combining together slides and a live demonstration. I often use several VMs in the same time to simulate scenario.

Preparing one such presentation, I made a few mistakes in the configuration of the VMs. Eventually, one VM was too slow during startup. An audience on the presentation didn’t noticed the problem, as I covered it up with an another part of the demonstration.

After the presentation, I analyzed the whole situation and found the weak point – the wrong choice between VM’s parameters.

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