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I’m pretty disappointed with Windows Virtual PC (the latest version). It’s April 2010, and it still doesn’t support 64 bit guest operating systems, which I believe is a pretty glaring omission. I’m a big fan of Microsoft’s server virtualization (Hyper-V) but the client side is just so lacking, I’ve been forced to find another solution. For a number of reason (chief among them video performance) I do not want to put Server 2008 on my laptop.

Microsoft actually forced the issue themselves. The latest waves of server releases (SharePoint, SQL Server) are 64 bit only. As a developer/architect I need to run these servers from my laptop, which makes it impossible to use Windows VPC. Originally Windows VPC also required hardware virtualization, which made it unusable on some of our systems, but they have recently removed that restriction. Good.

I was originally  a VMWare user, and I only switched to VPC after I noticed that it performed considerably better on Vista 64 bit systems. VMWare had become a dog. I was also hoping that using Microsoft virtualization would make it easy to move VMs between client systems and Hyper-V. Alas, that was not to be the case.

Given all that, I recently installed VMWare 7, and I’ve been quite impressed with its capabilities and its performance. Don’t get me wrong,it would be much simpler,and cheaper for me as a Microsoft Partner to use MS technology across the board, but until such a time as they support 64 bit guest operating systems (which is something they have been very quiet about), it’s simply not an option for me.


That’s A-Moray

I shot this video while diving with the Abyss Dive Shop in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico in 2007. This little fellow was out swimming around and thought that my camera housing might be a threat.

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Changing the name of the Title Field in SharePoint

Don’t. Really, don’t.

The Title field is the only exposed site column in the Item content type. Pretty much every single list item across the board inherits from this content type. Therefore, when you change the name of the title field, you’re changing it for all lists in the site collection.

The problem is, that there’s no warning that that’s about to happen, and if you start from a list, you may be under the impression that you’re only changing it in that list.

Pretty much not cool.

So let’s say that you do change it. You can just change it back, right? Wrong. The Word “Title” is a reserved name in SharePoint and you can’t use it in a field name. There’s no way in the UI to change it back.

However, you can do it through the object model (API) by writing code, or using a Powershell script (get used to Power Shell everybody…). Thanks to the From the Field Blog for this highly useful Powershell script:

$fld = $web.Fields.getFieldByInternalName(“Title”)?
$fld.Title = “Title”?
$fld.PushChangesToLists = $true?

And yes, I’ve had to use it!

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XP Mode and Sharing Documents

I’m quite liking the the Virtual PC and XP Mode on Win 7. One thing that I just sorted out and thought I should share is how the file sharing works. If you’re used to Virtual PC, you’re likely familiar with shared folders. You would normally use either that or mapped drives to share files between the VM and the host operating system. However, XP Mode doesn’t use Shared folders as such, it doesn’t quite work that way.

Any application running in XP Mode that opens up a file dialog will open to the “Documents” folder (what used to be “My Documents”). However, it’s not the same Documents folder as the one for the user that is currently logged in. Where is it then?

What XP Mode considers to be its Documents folder is actually the Public Documents folder on the host. By default, it’s available under Favorites in Windows explorer.


Pretty simple really. Anything put there by the host is available to the XP Mode applications, and vice versa.

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Installing SharePoint 2007 on Windows 2008 R2

If you’re like me, you try to keep your SharePoint servers relatively up to date, certainly with respect to the major service packs. Just about all of my servers are at service pack 2. In the past, my procedure has always been to install the slipstreamed Office with SP1, and then apply both the WSS and MOSS Service Pack 2 patches. The reason for this is that there is (inexplicably) no slipstreamed version for SP2, and I’ve been far too lazy to build my own.

Now versions prior to Service Pack 2 are incompatible with Windows Server 2008 R2. The problem is that the installer is very aware of this incompatibility, and it actually blocks any attempt to install the SP1 install with a message that looks like this:


This referenced KB article isn’t terribly helpful, as it describes a different scenario. When upgrading from a previous version to 2008 R2, you get a warning message that you can safely ignore if you already have SP2 applied (mentioned in an earlier post). Unfortunately in this case, when installing on a fresh 2008 R2 Server, there’s no button for “Yes, I understand there’s a problem and I promise to install SP2 as soon as I’m done”.

Time to build that Slipstream for R2.

It’s actually really easy. I’ll describe the procedure for MOSS,but it’s just fewer steps for WSS.

1. Extract your media to somewhere on your file system (Folder1). If your media is an ISO image,you can use WinRAR to extract it, if it’s a physical disc, just copy it, and if it’s an EXE you can use the extract switch as in “OfficeServerwithSP1.exe /extract:C:Folder1”

2. Download the WSS SP2 and the MOSS SP2 packs for your architecture, or both architectures (if you want a “master” slipstream).

3. Extract the WSS and the MOSS packs to their own folders, Folder2 and Folder3 respectively, using the extract switch described in step 1

4. The “Folder1” folder will have an x64 and an x86 folder for both architectures. Navigate to the relevant architecture and locate the Updates folder. Then copy the contents of Folder2 and Folder3 into the updates folder, allowing overwrites.

That’s it. You can now run setup and install MOSS.

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