My Thoughts On IT…

Brian Lewis's Thoughts on all things Information Technology related

clip_image002This program just launched today! April 20th 2016. You can see the official announcement here.

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Cloud technology is transforming how you do your job. Keeping up with the necessary skills and trends is more important than ever. Microsoft is introducing two new free programs for IT Professionals who want to build and grow their career in the cloud-first world.

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If you have been wanting an easy backup solution for your Azure IaaS Gen 2 VMs your wait is over! The Recovery Services Vault for Resource Managed VMs is out in Preview as of two days ago! It is even easier than it was in old portal with Service Managed VMs. See for yourself how easy it is to back up your Azure servers in the video below.

In this video I will walk you through the set of steps for creating a Recovery Services vault and backing up an Azure virtual machine (VM). This tutorial is for use with Recovery Services vaults which can be used to protect IaaS v.2 or Azure Resource Manager (ARM)-based VMs. We will use the new Azure Portal for this.

Here are the specific steps I will walk through:

  1. Create a Recovery Services vault for a VM.
  2. Set the backup policy
  3. Select the VMs to protect.
  4. Run the initial backup.



For more details see the blog post here:

First look: Back up ARM VMs to a Recovery Services vault

In my work outlook email a new service poped up a few months ago. It is called Clutter and it classifies some messages as low priority and then moves them from my inbox to the clutter folder, automatically. Just by using your email, it learns which messages aren’t important to you and then automatically moves them to the clutter folder. If Clutter gets it wrong you just move the message from the Clutter folder back to your inbox and it won’t make that mistake next time. Clutter will send summary emails every morning on what it has sorted for you.

This is great right? Well, what if you don’t want this service? You can just turn it off. But, the trick is you have to find out how to turn it off first. I have looked all over my outlook client to find how to turn it off. Can you find it? Probably not or you wouln’t be reading this post. (Hint, it’s not in the Outlook client app) Below are the instructions on how to turn it off.

How to Turn Clutter OFF

Sign in to Outlook Web App.

Then click on the settings “sprocket” Settings: update your profile, install software and connect it to the cloud as in the photo below and then select Mail.


Now fromclick down into  Options – Mail > Automatic processing > Clutter.


Uncheck the Check Box “Separate items identified as Clutter”.

Click  Save Save to save your changes, or  discard Discard to cancel.

Turn Clutter back on

You can turn Clutter back on by just reversing the steps above. 

The Clutter folder will remain in your Outlook after you turn off Clutter feature. If you don’t want the folder listed under your Mailbox, move the emails from the Clutter folder to other folders, as appropriate, and then right-click the Clutter folder and choose Delete Folder.

Dan Stolts and I have been working on an Azure Exam Jumpstart one day prep class for exam 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions. This event has been given twice so far and it has been obvious that, for many, a solid base understanding of Azure is very helpful before the class. With that in mind, we have created a three part video series for you watch before the Azure Jumpstart.

(Part 1) Exam Jump Start 70-534 Prerequisites: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
In Part 1 we’ll cover Azure Basics and help you understand what is possible with cloud computing as well as getting you started on your journey in becoming a cloud architect.

Part 1 Video Link Here:

  • [3:34] What is the 70-534 Architecting Azure Solutions Certification and how can it help IT Pros?
  • [10:39] Azure Basics – What is the Azure Cloud?
  • [16:04] What are the Certification Jump Start Events and how do I learn more about them?
  • [18:32] What is a Cloud Architect exactly?
  • [31:44] What are the different cloud services offered in Azure?
  • [53:31] Where do I go to for more information?

(Part 2) Exam Jump Start 70-534 Prerequisites: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
In Part 2 we’ll go in depth in an all demo session and cover everything you need to know about the classic Azure portal as well as explore some of the cloud services offered such as Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas).

Part 2 Video Link Here:

  • [3:20] DEMO: Azure Classic Portal
  • [7:31] Creating Virtual Machines in Azure

(Part 3) Exam Jump Start 70-534 Prerequisites: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
In this final part to our series we’ll walk you through another demo heavy session and show you how to use the new or current production Azure portal as we create and manage a new VM and point out the differences between the classic and new Azure portals.  At the end of the video we’ll also provide some quick and easy Exam Tips & Tricks to help you get through the test.

  • [3:00] DEMO:  Walkthrough of the current production Azure Portal
  • [20:52] Exam Tips and Tricks

Part 3 Video Link Here:

imageCome join me at Angelbeat! I will be presenting at the upcoming Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison Angelbeat events this January 2016. I will be presenting on Windows 10 built-in cyber threat protection and highlighting Azure Cloud. A host of other vendors will be there also. You can see what they are presenting on at the Angelbeat website.

IMG_3344-X3 (Small)






I like the Angelbeat seminar because of the focus on speed learning. The presentations are generally about 20 minutes in length. Sales and marketing “fluff” are “mostly” removed from the event presentations so you can focus on learning about the technologies. Angelbeat selects expert speakers who deliver concise, technical talks on security, cloud, virtualization, storage, backup, wireless, networks, voip, and big data. So, you get a little bit about everything. Lastly, if you need continuing education credits for your CPE/CISSP certifications, this seminar counts for those.

There currently 25 Angelbeat seminars coming to a city near you. I am only presenting at three of them but my peers are presenting at many of the others. You can find the entire list of cities and dates on the Angelbeat website.

clip_image002If you blog and haven’t used Windows Live Writer then you have been missing out on a great blog creation experience. I use it all the time for writing my blog posts. It is the best blog writing experience and it is free. It is also one of the things that I haven’t found a good comparable solution for on MAC OSX.

Microsoft Windows Live Writer has a new version and a new name
On December 9th 2015, Scott Hanselmen announced on his blog this open source project. It has taken off to a lot of excitement and may possibly be ported over to Linux and Mac.

The latest version of Windows live writer is Windows Live Write 2012 but now this same program has new life as an open source project called Open Live Writer. With the community help we will see this awesome blog editing tool get the attention it deserves.

You can download the latest version of Open Live Writer here:

For More information see the original announcement on Scott’s blog:
Announcing Open Live Writer – An Open Source Fork of Windows Live Writer

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.