Tag Archives: Windows Server 2008 R2

Run Disk Cleanup tool on Windows Server without Installing

If you are getting a low disk space alert on a Windows Server, the safest way to free some space is to run the Disk Cleanup wizard. However on Windows Server, by default Disk Cleanup is not installed. Installing it through "Add Windows Features" would trigger a reboot. To avoid this you can simply install it by copying two files cleanmgr.exe and cleanmgr.exe.mui with following commands:

copy C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_c9392808773cd7dacleanmgr.exe %systemroot%System32
copy C:Windowswinsxsamd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_en-us_b9cb6194b257cc63cleanmgr.exe.mui %systemroot%System32en-US

Note: the above commands are for Windows Server 2008 R2. Check this website for other windows versions:


Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 ISO download

After Microsoft releases Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 to public, Microsoft now provides single evaluation media ISO for Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 for free download. To download the official ISO just access http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dd459137.aspx and logon with your windows live ID.

Or use this Direct Download Link

File Name:  7601.17514.101119-1850_x64fre_server_eval_en-us-GRMSXEVAL_EN_DVD.iso
File Size: 2.9GB

The expiration period expires after 180 days. After that the windows system will run with reduced functionalities and reboot every hour.

Syspreped Windows 7 fail with “Windows could not finish configuring the system”

After you have installed a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, install and configure windows features, install your own app, and then run sysprep command to create an image that is ready to be deployed. When you boot windows for the first time,  it might comes up with following message at the windows setup stage "Setup is starting services" window.

Windows could not finish configuring the system. To attempt to resume configuration, restart the computer.

After you restart the system, you might keep getting the same error.

This is usually caused one of windows features installed or configured not supported by sysprep. The workaround is move the configuration to post setup scripts.

Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 New Features

Other than rolls up all previous released windows patches since RTM, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 contains two new features. Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX.

Dynamic Memory

Dynamic Memory is a memory management feature for Hyper-V VM administrators. Dynamic Memory allows administrator allocates a range of memory to indivual VMs and windows system will automatically adjust memory of each VM based on performance.


RemoteFX creates a local like experience for remote users, including windows Aero and 3D contents.

You can read more about SP1 from Windows 7 Team Blog

Run IIS in 32-bit mode on a 64 bit machine

IIS 7 / 7.5 / 8

On IIS 7 / 7.5 / 8,  configure website or web application to run under 32 bit mode can be configured by opening a command prompt and typing following command and press ENTER.

%windir%system32inetsrvappcmd set config -section:applicationPools -applicationPoolDefaults.enable32BitAppOnWin64:true

You can achieve the same goal in IIS Manager by opening the 'Advanced Settings' on the application pool binded to the website/web application you want to run under 32 bit mode and change “Enable 32-bit Applications” to True

Enable 32 bit applications in IIS 7

Click okay and now the web application or website you configured will run under 64-bit mode always.


For IIS6 on Windows Server 2003, configure ASP.NET to run in 32 bit mode on a 64 bit windows server.open a command prompt and type following command and press ENTER.

cscript //nologo %SYSTEMDRIVE%InetPubAdminScriptsadsutil.vbs set w3svc/AppPools/Enable32bitAppOnWin64 1

In IIS 6, you cannot run one Application Pool in 32-bit and others in 64-bit. But you can do this on IIS 7 and later as Enable32BitAppOnWin64 can be configured per application pool since IIS 7.  

Grant Permission to DefaultAppPool Identity

After upgrading web applications to IIS 7.5 on Windows Server 2008 R2, you might get following error.

Access to the path 'd:sitecache.txt' is denied.
Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.
Exception Details: System.UnauthorizedAccessException: Access to the path 'd:sitecache.txt' is denied.
ASP.NET is not authorized to access the requested resource. Consider granting access rights to the resource to the ASP.NET request identity. ASP.NET has a base process identity (typically {MACHINE}ASPNET on IIS 5 or Network Service on IIS 6) that is used if the application is not impersonating. If the application is impersonating via <identity impersonate="true"/>, the identity will be the anonymous user (typically IUSR_MACHINENAME) or the authenticated request user.
To grant ASP.NET access to a file, right-click the file in Explorer, choose "Properties" and select the Security tab. Click "Add" to add the appropriate user or group. Highlight the ASP.NET account, and check the boxes for the desired access.

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Make IIS 7.5 application pools run as NETWORK SERVICE

There is a break change in IIS 7.5 on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The default identity for running an application pool is "ApplicationPoolIdentity".  If you have a web application developed against application pools running with NETWORK SERVICE on IIS6/7, it might break after migrated to IIS 7.5 due to default application pool identity change.

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Hyper-V VM Slow on Windows Server 2008 R2

I recently upgraded my virtual machine hosting server from Window Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2. There are some noticeable performance drop, especially on virtual machines that handles big log files, the automation script execution time can take 200% or more than it was in a VMHOST with Windows Server 2008.

I have done some testing and the performance downgrade seem introduced by the new power management system in windows server 2008 R2. There are 3 build in power plan in Windows Server 2008 R2

  • Balanced (recommended)
  • High Performance
  • Power Saver

The default power plan in Windows Server 2008 R2 is Balanced. After I change Power Plan to High Performance and the performance downgrade issue does no occur any more. My guess is when power plan is set to balance, applications might not full utilize all available hardware resources.

You can also checkout this post for Set the power configuration to High Performance in scripts.

Exceed Windows Server 2008 R2 Trial Period

Windows Server 2008 R2 does not ask for a CD key in setup, and it can be run for 30 days for free before needing to be active. You can continue to use it after 30 days trial but the system will reboot every 2 hours and run with reduced functionalities.

If you want to evaluate or run testing on a server with Windows Server 2008 R2 installed. The following procedures will walk you through the steps to extend your grace period.

Re-arm windows

Type in the following from an elevated command prompt:

slmgr.vbs –rearm

This will reset the activation expiration and the machine is good for another 30 days. You can do this up to 3 times and get 120 days free trial in total.

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