New Surface, New Start

This month, I was blessed with an email from work stating “You Qualify for a Hardware Refresh!”‚Ķ Oh, music to my ears. ūüôā¬†¬† While it takes time to set up a new machine, I’m often appreciative of a chance to install just the software I’m using right now and leaving some of the clutter of the previous year or so behind.¬†This time around, I¬†ordered¬†the¬†current Surface Pro¬†i7 with 16GB of RAM and terabyte of disk space. I’ll probably never use a terabyte of disk space since I keep most of everything in the cloud except for synced mail, One Drive documents and GitHub repos. But I’m not going to say no to it, especially since it came along with the 16GB of RAM.

Since my days at Microsoft, I’ve been a dedicated Surface user, starting with the original Surface Pro.¬† I’ve used both the Surface 3 and 4 for a while and regularly use a Surface Book.¬† Personally, I find the Surface Book a tad to heavy, so the Surface Pro is my go to device for commuting and overnight trips.¬† Actually, it’s my go to for pretty much all the time.¬† Sometimes the kickstand isn’t ideal for the times I actually need to put it on my lap, but there are far too many other “pros” to make that a deal breaker.

This Surface doesn’t come with any included accessories, like the pen.¬†¬†I’m not a big pen user, but there are times when I really need it and I’m hoping to get better about using the pen more over time.¬†¬†Thus, my accessories included a pen, Type Cover, extra charger¬†and since¬†I really like having a mouse, I ordered one of the new Surface Arc mice without any buttons.¬† It’s very sleek looking.

After the customary rounds of software updates on top of the corporate included image (version 1709) that came with it, I joined it to Azure Active Directory with my work credentials and then added in the credentials for my other accounts, like Hotmail and Gmail.¬† As someone who spent a lot of time managing traditionally domain joined devices, the Azure Active Directory joining process is a much nicer end user experience.¬† Once all the company policies sync down, I was prompted to set up Windows Hello, which I realized I really miss when it’s not on.

I’m not really all that hardcore about my setup. I tend to stick with a lot of the out of box settings and just tweak as I go along. My Windows 10 setup preferences stem from being an early adopter of Windows 8, so I prefer the full screen start menu. I like the look and I’ve gotten used to touching my screen to start applications. I also quickly take a pass through uninstalling all the default applications and games I won’t use. I like to keep my “desktop” pretty clean, so I pin some key applications in the task bar and everything else is pinned to my start menu. I often just type what I need into the Cortana search box and go from there.

Next up on the task list is all the business applications I need for my daily work. We have Office365 and Office was preinstalled for me, so it was just a matter of adding in my credentials there. I had to manually install Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. When I opened up OneNote to connect up my notebooks, I realize I only use about a handful and left a whole bunch disconnected until they become needed again. The last of the quick stuff was configuring One Drive for business and my personal files and grabbing our applications for Expenses out of the Windows Store.

While I’m in the Windows Store, I also grab Twitter, NetGen Reader, Slack, Microsoft Solitaire (my guilty pleasure) and Ubuntu (aka WSL, aka Bash on Windows). That last one requires enabling Hyper-V and rebooting. Oh look, a few more windows updates!

As I’m often using more than one identity throughout my day, those identities tend to gravitate to particular browsers‚Ķ so I need more than one browser to choose from. I’ve got Edge and IE by default and add Chrome to the mix. I’ve heard good things about Firefox recently, but haven’t had a need to install a fourth browser option.

For my final heavy lifters, I install Docker for Windows, Visual Studio Code (with plug-ins for Docker and Azure), the most current version of the Azure CLI Tools, Azure Storage Explorer, Azure PowerShell¬†and Github Desktop. Visual Studio Code prompts for the Git command line tools to be installed, but I happen to like the Desktop version too. Don’t judge. I’ll need¬†to install Visual Studio 2017 as well, even though VS Code is my usual go-to for that sort of thing.¬†Visual Studio¬†takes a long time to install, so I’ll save that to kick off at a time I don’t need to use my machine for a while.

And for some of the more not-quite-designed-for-Windows applications, like kubectl and BOSH for Cloud Foundry, I’ve found it much easier to create a C:\bin directory and put all those applications there. I add that directory to my PATH environment variable and then usually don’t have issues running things from the command line after that.

I’m sure I’ll find some missing things as I go along as one does, but this Surface is ready to take the front seat in my work bag. All it needs now is some stickers.


New on MVA: Power Tools for Windows 10

I’m pretty sure you’ll all be busy relaxing for the long weekend, but if you do need something to do check out this MVA course on Windows 10 with Ed Bott. Otherwise, it’ll still be here for you on Tuesday!

Windows 10 on TechNet Radio

Yung Chou has been talking a lot about Windows 10 on TechNet Radio.

If you are still working on your Windows 10 deployment and need to learn more about what that entails, join Yung with Kevin Remde and Dan Stolts for their take on the deployment and servicing options for Windows 10¬†and how to migrate users and their data.¬† There is over an hour of content between those two videos, so if it’s too long let me know and I’ll tell them to talk less the next time they decide to team up. ūüôā

If you don’t have an hour, check out me and Yung talking about Windows 10 Usability and Ease of Access.¬† There is even a demo at minute 4:06!

Wednesday Distractions with Videos

It’s Wednesday. Because it’s mid-week, it’s really easy to get distracted.¬†So don’t blame me if any of the videos suck you in. ūüôā


Windows 10 MCSA Available Today!

Check this out certification junkies‚Ķ The new Windows 10 MCSA¬†certification is available! I admit, I am a certification junkie and I didn’t bother getting certified for Windows 8. But with this update for Windows 10, it’s probably time for me to consider getting with the program.

The core of this certification is the Exam 697: Configuring Windows Devices, which alone gets you a Microsoft Specialist certification. Together with the existing 687 and 688 exams, it makes up the Windows 10 MCSA.

If you happen to be already certified as a MCSA for Windows 8, fear not Рthat certification will be valid until July 31, 2016.  Even cooler, if you earned that Windows 8 MCSA between 2/15/2015 and 5/31/2015, you can upgrade for FREE!

For more details, check out the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate landing page.

It’s Nearly August… Don’t Ask Me How That Happened

I don’t know where the summer has gone! ¬†With vacations, keeping busy at work and all those things we love about managing our lives and families… I just can’t believe August is approaching!

Of course, Windows 10 is coming! ¬†I’ve got a couple devices just waiting for July 29th, including my parents machines… so I’ll be enjoying some time helping them get their computers upgraded.
However, once August rolls around, there are other things to do, so it’s time to get out from behind the computers and check out some upcoming events.
First off, for you Seattle folks, SITPUG will be having their August 5th meeting from 6:00 to 8:00pm in Bellevue.  Visit for more information.
If you are in Boston, Portland and Denver, be sure to check out the upcoming Angelbeat events in those areas.  My Tech Evangelist colleagues and I have been presenting at those events as we can and they are a great way to get a quick update on tech topics.  The Boston and Denver events will even be having special extended sessions on Azure.