My Thoughts On IT…

Brian Lewis's Thoughts on all things Information Technology related

Yesterday, I had the privilege of showing HoloLens to developers in Chicago. I was really impressed with the ability of the HoloLens device. These are pre-production devices but they worked really well. If you were wondering if the videos you have seen really work that way – I can tell you they do. The customers, I talked with yesterday, had a lot of great ideas on what they want to use this device for to support their businesses. From training simulators to education tools and of course games.

Yesterday, I played a demonstration game with the HoloLens. It showcased the Windows Holographic Platform and the features it offers. It was really cool and is the start of something that will transform the world in the same way other technologies have. Technologies such as electricity, the gas engine, Television, or cellphones. Reality augmenting holograms have the promise to make this type of change to the world. A change which is surreal when it first launches but then becomes something you don’t know how people lived without.

Here is a video of the game I played on HoloLens yesterday.

HoloLens Game


And here is a video which showcases some of the ideas behind HoloLens.

HoloLens Overview

There are a few slots still available in Chicago this week for developers who want to go through the demo. This is also traveling around the U.S. so sign up to see if for yourself!

To register for your HoloLens demo
· Go to


To learn more about HoloLens or signup for the SDK

imageYesterday I presented a TechNet On Tour hands on labs event with Yung Chow in Indianapolis. We taught a room full of IT technologist on services in Azure that they could use to update and improve their disaster recovery plans. From my perspective it was a great event and I had a lot of fun doing my day job for Microsoft.


Yung Presenting on Azure at the TechNet On Tour Event

So, since I was busy working, I missed the Windows 10 devices event where a lot of great new hardware was announced:

  • An Xbox One Update
  • A new controller for both Xbox and Windows 10
  • The second version of the Microsoft Band (watch)
  • 3 new Microsoft Lumia Phones
  • HoloLens & it’s SDK – for $3000
  • New Surface Keyboard
  • New Surface docking station
  • Surface 4
  • Surface Book

Late last night before just before I was heading to bed I thought I would look at the video of the launch. Yes, I knew about the products already from reading a few articles on the event and from some customers who had told me about them during my TechNet event. A couple of customers were watching the video instead of listening to Yung and I. Can’t say I blame them. :)

I started watching the briefing and ended up spending the next 2 hours watching the entire event and not getting to bed until 2am. But – Wow, wow, wow! I highly recommend you watch the briefing. I have not been so excited about spending some of my money since Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPad. I can’t wait to read the reviews and see if I should buy… My top 3 wants are a Band, a Phone, and a Surface Book. Santa are you listening? (Yeah, I know he is)

Here is the link to the Windows 10 Devices Announcement / briefing:



logo-powershellI just saw a new download from August 31st, 2015 for the Windows Management Framework 5.0. I went to download and found various installs for different versions of Windows but not one for Windows 10. My assumption was that it may already be in Windows 10, so I wanted to check the version of PowerShell that I had on my machine.

Unfortunately I couldn’t just type “version” or “get-version” those commands don’t exist. Well, how do you find the version of PowerShell?

I found two easy ways.

Command Description
Get-Host Commandlet that give information about the host – including the version of PowerShell running.
$PSVersionTable An environment variable that has information on multiple parts of PowerShell including PowerShell itself.

Get-Host Screenshot


$PSVersionTable Screenshot


clip_image001We are starting our “free” TechNet on Tour events! If you joined us for an ITcamp in the past, it is the same type of event. In this first event we are coming to 10 cities around the US. This first event will be on:

“Using Microsoft Azure as an integral part of your Disaster Recovery Plan: Free hands-on event”

So if you can make it, come join us and learn about “Availability on Demand” and “Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service”. For more information on the event see this site here:

P.S. Stay tuned for our next round of events on Windows 10 starting in the October – November timeframe.


windows-10-surfaceOk, Windows 10 has shipped but the big question is…

How do I get my Windows 10?

Consumers: Windows 10 has begun rolling out of our Windows Insiders and Customers who have reserved upgrades. For Customers who haven’t reserved a copy, they should go to From there Microsoft will notify you once our compatibility work confirms you will have a great experience and Windows 10 has been downloaded to your system.

Businesses: Today, we announced the availability of Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise for business customers.

  • On August 1, active Software Assurance customers who have Volume Licensing agreements can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Educations editions. Grab the bits from your Volume Licensing Site.
  • We are also offering free upgrades to Windows 10 Professional for qualifying Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices until July 29th, 2016.

More details are available on the Windows Blog. Here is the official announcement:

Windows-10-icon-blueIf you were an a Windows 10 insider, as it was being developed, you got new builds of Windows all the time. It was easy to see what build you were running because it was displayed in the bottom right corner of your desktop. But as of build 10240 it’s not there so how do you know what build you are running?

There are multiple ways to accomplish this. Here are the three that come to my mind:

Steps Result (click to enlarge)
Use winver.exe

Click the Start Button and type “winver” and hit [enter].

You’ll get a windows dialog box that shows the details about your windows operating system.


From the command prompt

Click the Start Button and type “cmd.exe” and hit enter.

From the command prompt type “ver” and hit  [enter]


Check the Registry

Click the Start Button and type “regedt32.exe” and hit enter.

In the registry editor tool brows to the hive:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

From PowerShell

Run the command-


Have you ever wondered why you see two desktop.ini files on your Windows desktop? I had a customer ask me this question yesterday and I thought I would share the answer for those of you who always wondered but never “Binged” why.


These files are hidden system files and by default. This means that they are hidden from your view unless you turn on “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” and uncheck “Hide protected operating system files”. This is done from the control panel and highlighted in the above photo in red. 

Also, as you probably remember, you can not have two files located in the same directory with the same name. So what give here? The files are not in the same directory. They are located in two folders. One is located in the “C:\Users\<User Name>\Desktop” folder, and the other one is located in the “C:\Users\Public\Desktop” folder. They are merged by the desktop UI

So, that is why you have two desktop.ini files on your Desktop.

For more information about the desktop.ini file what they are used for and how to use them to customize your system – check out these two articles on MSDN. Take special note of the second one – you can set a folder to launch an executable when clicked! I bet virus writers notice that one already.


How to Customize Folders with Desktop.ini

How to Implement Custom Verbs for Folders through Desktop.ini

18dd99b7-df6d-4c12-b0b6-8f0254aac9f6-mediumDoes one of your Datacenters look like this lovely server closet with the toilet right there? No, that’s not photo shopped. Fact is often stranger than fiction.

Get a real remote datacenter by using Azure! Have you heard of the hybrid cloud? Come find out how to use the Microsoft Azure Cloud as one of your datacenters that allows you to spin up servers at your leisure!

You can get hybrid-ready at a free IT Camp in your local area! In this immersive, full-day training session, you’ll learn how to move your IT workloads from on-premises to the cloud and back again. You’ll also see how Microsoft Azure supports powerful virtualization, on-demand application scaling, complete data control, and the fastest customer response times around.

From your first cup of coffee until the moment we pull the power cords, you’ll enjoy lively demos and hands-on instruction from experts who will show you how to expand your IT options without adding unnecessary complexity. Here are just a few of the topics we’ll cover:

  • Overview of what is Available to you in the Azure cloud
  • Migration of on-premises virtualization to Azure Virtual Machines, Apps, and Storage
  • ADFS on Microsoft Azure and Office 365 Integration, including Multi-Factor authentication
  • Microsoft Azure for Test, Development, and Production (IaaS)
  • Disaster Recovery – How to backup to the Cloud!

Don’t miss this free event in your local area – regardless of whether you’re new to the cloud, or you currently use an on-premises, hybrid or fully cloud-based solution. All IT Pros are welcome!

*** Just added come get an update on Windows 10 which will ship July 29th, 2015***

Find an event near you! (

Microsoft IT Camps
Events run from 9am‒4pm
Cost: Free!

wordpress_logoAnyone using a WordPress website needs to be aware of this current security issue and take immediate action to ensure your website is secure. It has been found that a lot of Plugins and Themes are vulnerable to Cross-site Scripting (XSS) due to the misuse of two coding functions.
(the add_query_arg() and remove_query_arg() functions)

What should I do?

Well you could review the code and search for the two functions listed above. Then make sure it is properly escaped or you could just – Update, Update, Update, Patch, Patch, Patch… Smile

You should make sure your site is updated to WordPress 4.2.1 or later and make sure your plugins and themes are also up to date. I will go further and say I strongly recommend continuing to check for updates over the next few weeks.

More details are available via the following links:


I have been fascinated and a fan of encryption for years. The first encryption I used was PGP. The history of PGP encryption started back in 1991 and is interesting. I became more interested in February of 1993 when Phil Zimmermann became the formal target of a criminal investigation by the US Government for “munitions export without a license”. That’s right, encryption was classified as munitions. If you want more information on that story you will need to search the web or checkout the snipit in Wikipedia. If that story interests you, a more recent similar story is the Lavabit story…

I was a big fan of PGP desktop and PGP disk which let me add an encrypted container as a virtual disk. I used this until I found the open source TrueCrypt package which which worked similar to PGP disk. So I have been using TrueCrypt since some time in 2005. I have been very happy with the package and as far as I know my data has been secure.

On May 28th 2014, the TrueCrypt website announced that the project was no longer maintained and recommended users to find alternative solutions. It also had a cloak and dagger hidden message that TrueCrypt was no longer secure due to the NSA. For more on the TrueCrypt story you can read about it in Wikipedia here or see the current TrueCrypt page here. Since the developers of TrueCrypt are unknown we are not able to find out exactly what is going on here, but I now need to find a replacement.

Since the source code was available it is possible for others to continue where TrueCrypt left off and there are two projects that are looking to do just that. One is VeraCrypt headquartered in France and the other is Ciphershed headquarter in Switzerland.

VeraCrypt has had several releases and looks to be the most responsive. They have made several improvements to enhance encryption security and are now able to convert the old format to their new format. They are currently on version 1.0f-2 and this is the package that I am going to try. I will update this article on my experience with VeraCrypt. You can get the software and more information at the links below. If you run it let me know what you think. – Cheers.