Posts filed under ‘x64’

Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008

My new server for my research finally turned up from Dell.  It’s a nice quiet machine and very nifty!  The Vostro 400 is equipped with a Quad Core processor, 750 GB HD (with 16MB cache) and 4 GB DDR2 Ram (thanks to an extra 2GB of memory from Crucial for only 50 EUR).  The entire setup came to only around 800 EUR and took 7 days from order to delivery with UPS.  I don’t know if UPS are having problems with their servers or not but the tracking updates were slow, poor resolution and often 12 hours late!

Buying the memory from Crucial saved me around 90 Euro on the Dell price and while it wasn’t easy putting it into the machine (the graphics card is a full length PCIe card and blocked access to the clips on one of the memory modules) – 10 mins later it was up and running.

 I have a SiteCom KVM (Keyboard, Video and Monitor) switch and it took a while to get it working with the 2 machines.  For some reason I had to unplug everything from the KVM and reattach the cables to get around some start-up keyboard errors.  It’s not a great KVM switch – you can only change machines by pressing a button on the box and it disconnects the keyboard/mouse from the OS when you switch – needing time for the OS to catch up when you switch back.

I don’t understand why KVM manufacturers charge so much for their kit – the Belkin KVM retails at about 150 USD (about 100 EUR) and only supports 2 devices.

 So back to the new server…

The machine turned up with reinstallation disks for Vista business (which was a worry with new machines where they sometimes hide the OS on a hidden partition) so it carefree that I installed Windows Server Enterprise with Hyper-V.  Some handy tips Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V can be found on Virtual Varia‘s blog, on Joe’s MSDN blog here and Virtual PC’s Blog here

The installation went without a hitch – and was fast!  10 mins and the OS was installed.  The machine just whizzed through the installation and before I could finish my coffee I was playing with Windows 2008.

I made the mistake of changing the installation defaults for the OS and after adding the Hyper-V role I found the vmm service wouldn’t start. 😦  I have an Italian keyboard and while I have the OS in English – it’s a pain to try and remember the layout of the US keyboard.

A quick check on the connect forums found this was a known issue and a reinstall was required.  Not a problem with this baby!

Another 10 mins later and Windows Server 2008 was installed and the Hyper-V role added.  The machine just slipped through the process like a hot knife through butter – rebooting takes no time and within a minute you’ve rebooted and logged into Windows.

The Server admin with 2008 is very nice and slick – it handles like a dream and adding Roles or Features is as simple as following the wizard.  In fact it’s so easy that you worry that there are other stages you need to complete.  I’d like to see a little more handling of errors of failed services (such as the problem with adding the Hyper-V role I encountered – I know the locale issue will be fixed but the exception and fault finding should be in place now).

One the server was up and running it was time to create a Virtual Machine inside Hyper-V.  The process was painless and transparent – just answering a few questions, attaching the boot-time ISO image to the VM and you’re off.  I have to say – I was impressed.  The performance of installing Windows Server 2008 inside Hyper-V was as quick as installing the OS onto the physical machine itself.  You almost couldn’t tell the difference!   Microsoft have revamped the interface to connect to the VM from within Hyper-V and it’s much slicker and easier.  Nice menus, layout and rendering.  The Q6600 quad core processor from Intel has the virtualizing extensions – which makes the performance of the Host and Client OS’s great.

I’d love to have the resources to setup a couple of these machine/OS combinations – the mind boggles at what I can do with Edge computing for the NLP & MT.

The Dell Vostro 400 performs well but there are a few corners they’ve cut that are difficult to swallow; the network interface runs only at 10/100, the max memory supported is only 4GB and the lack of firewire ports hamper the use of fast external storage. 

Over the next few days I’ll finish setting up the environment I need and will update on how it goes.


Saturday 12th January, 2008 at 5:01 pm 3 comments

Vista SP1 and ReadyBoost

The new event entry for Readyboost shows a whopping 82% cache hit percentage!

Continue Reading Saturday 22nd December, 2007 at 3:31 pm Leave a comment

ReadyBoost on Vista

Recently I purchased an ultrafast Transcend 4 GB CF card from a MediaWorld for the lowly cost of 30 Euros (20 GBP / 45 USD) for use as a ReadyBoost drive with Vista – a replacement for my 2GB USB Drive – intended to give Vista a little xmas loving.

After plugging in the drive to the built-in USB multicard reader Vista refused to accept that the drive would support ReadyBoost.  A problem I’ve experienced before with a 2GB SD card which initially ReadyBoost accepted as a cache drive – then later (after removal and testing in a digital camera) decided the drive didn’t come up to scratch.  But this was a fast external memory drive for use with high-speed cameras – so I knew the drive was good. 

I had a little time to kill this time – so decided to dig a little deeper into the problem.

 Vista doesn’t give you any tools to determine what the performance characteristics of drives – apart from a meager Event Log message

"The device will not be used for a ReadyBoost cache because it does not exhibit uniform performance across the device.  
Size of fast region: 80 MB."

Not too helpful….

Now the drive that worked with ReadyBoost previously wasn’t being accepted any more.  Assuming the drive wasn’t damaged in any way – something must have changed for Vista to think that the drive wasn’t good enough.

Digging a little deeper I decided to change the policy for the hardware interface attached to the card – changing it from “Optimize for quick removal” to “Optimize for performance”.  You can find these properties by Opening Explorer -> Right clicking on the drive you want to optimise -> Properties -> Hardware.  You’ll need to select and double click the actual hardware drive (use the drive type to guide you – ie CF, SD, xD, etc) to open the properties of the device.  First you’ll need to click on the UAC enabled Change settings button on the General tab to elevate into Admin, then select the Policies tab (depicted).

SD Card Property Page

Now generally you should only do this for Hard Drives if your machine is connected to a UPS – otherwise you’ll run the risk of data corruption – but ReadyBoost includes a number of features that protect against cache corruption.  Enabling “Optimize for Performance” should be pretty safe – in a worst case scenario – the cache will fail and Vista will fall back to the standard HD.

You’ll need to reboot after making the change to the device properties.  After rebooting the ReadyBoost property page for the drive greeted me with the option of enabling ReadyBoost on the device.

Now some external memory manufacturers do use slower components in the assembly of their cards – so it might not work for you – but it’s worth a shot if you want to improve the performance of your machine and you happen across a flashdrive in the sales.

You can find a good introduction into how to setup your system for use with ReadyBoost at Tom Archer’s old msdn blog here – unfortunately the images are no longer available.  His new blog can be found here.

From what I’ve read SP1 for Windows Vista includes many fixes and enhancements to the ReadyBoost feature on Vista.  I’ve not managed to get it installed here yet – there’s a few problems with it’s x64 support…

Friday 21st December, 2007 at 9:15 am 3 comments

IE 7 for x64

At last Internet Explorer 7 for x64 can be download here

Tuesday 25th April, 2006 at 12:21 pm 1 comment

Vista Build 5342

Vista Build 5342 is out for those with an MSDN subscription or on the Beta program.  The new build has it’s quirks but all in all looks good so far.

If you’d like to get a nomination for the Vista Beta program – then checkout Outside the Cube here

*A handy tip – use the email contact form on his blog.

Saturday 25th March, 2006 at 8:44 am 4 comments

MS Enterprise Enterprise Library 2.0

The Enterprise Library for .NET 2.0 installs ok although building the Enterprise Library will fail as it won’t have permission to the target directory unless you are logged in as an Administrator.

To get around this (you’ll need to have set or know the Administrators password) and….

Continue Reading Sunday 5th March, 2006 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

Vista – Visual Studio 2005 Install Tip

When installing Visual Studio 2005 — it’s best to install Visual Studio BEFORE you add/remove programs. Things can get messed up really quickly if you don’t (hence todays Vista reinstall). The .NET Framework 2 comes preinstalled with the OS and if something else you have installed touches the framework in any way or installs a previous version of the framework – Visual Studio just won’t install.

Continue Reading Saturday 4th March, 2006 at 8:57 pm 5 comments

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