Category Archives: Microsoft

Configure Drives for Servers

Below is the standard I follow when configuring drives for servers, it helps structure files for future management if needed. The below includes drives for running a SQL Server too.

C – OS and system level files. Only
D – Program files for all apps (including SQL Server)
S – Instance level files/SQL Server system databases and log files typically (except for TempDB) (note.. If I have multiple instances, I won’t make 4 of these.. I’d put all SQL binaries for all instances on S in most situations, with the folders providing the separation)
F – Data files for user databases
L – Log file drive for user databases
T – TempDB
X – Backup drive (though in a lot of cases I elect to stream a backup across to a network drive, not paying for a copy after the backup and I’m immediately backing up to storage someplace else.)

OSX vs Windows

Today we purchased our first Mac and I can certainly say I am impressed with the build and usability of the hardware and software, it is different to using my work PC from Dell that has Windows 8 installed but the differences appear at first to be good.

When choosing the Mac we were going back and forth between the Macbook Air and the Macbook Pro, initially we had our minds set on the Air until I realised for an small amount extra we could get the 13in Retina which really provides far more power and the screen is absolutely amazing.

Convert Document to PDF in SharePoint using K2


  • SharePoint 2010 Server
    Standard or Enterprise (confirmed, see below)
  • Word Services to be installed, configured and started
  • K2 HostServer
  • K2 for SharePoint

Further Information Regarding this Process

Document Conversion Services uses Word Automation Services which is part of the standard and enterprise CALs of SharePoint Server. The feature is not available in SharePoint foundation – hence it will not work and fails.

K2D4SP simple provides the user interface to use the Word Automation Services API. The document conversion is kicked off asynchronously using SharePoint API.

In a distributed environment, K2 uses the above method. It just calls into API and the document will be converted by SharePoint timer job.

K2 smartforms vs. Microsoft InfoPath

There has been lots of talk recently regarding the future of InfoPath and the gist of it is that SharePoint 2013 workflow will not work with InfoPath for interacting with the workflow events, it seems SharePoint 2013 will now deploy standard aspx pages which can be used to interact with the 2013 workflows.

This provide somewhat of a problem as InfoPath can be used rather heavily by some companies (including mine) and this means a difficult upgrade path.

K2 smartforms appears to be a direct solution to this, however it is still in its early versions and has some way to go to provide a rich design and client interface.

SkyDrive on Windows 8 with Office 2013: Turning a useful tool into a useless one

I’ve been a user of Dropbox for some time now and really like its simplicity, plus the way you can easily shared folders amongst other users. The only limiting factor was the free space they provided you which wasn’t too much trouble as if you were clever you can increase this through their Beta program or invite your “friends”.

When Microsoft released SkyDrive I wasn’t phased and it would have taken a lot for me to review my Dropbox loyalty however this was certainly tested when Microsoft offered long time Live account holders to upgrade to 25Gb of free space, so I took the plunge.

I’ve been using Dropbox and SkyDrive in parallel now with some mixed results, more so now that I am using Windows 8, but I will leave my main frustration for a little later.

In all SkyDrive worked well on Windows 7 as it was a single install which ran in your system tray synchronising files in the background. SkyDrive on Windows 8 is another matter entirely.

In fairness my problems may not just be related to SkyDrive on Windows 8, as I have decided to also upgrade to Office 2013, however putting my other issues aside I am trying to focus on the Windows Application, the basic SkyDrive application.

It seems that nearly every single time I load up a document that is in my SkyDrive folder to either review or print without making changes you would think I should just be able to close the file and all in well in the world, however I get the nagging flag on the SkyDrive systray icon and SkyDrive moaning that the file I just accesses requires my attention.


Upon loading up the error list I am greeted with SkyDrive saying I need to open the file for more information.


So I open the file and it appears the file is now flagged as “Offline”, this seems to be due to me opening the file, not editing anything and closing it again. skydrive-offlinecopy.

So to resolve this issue I am forced to “Save” my unedited file so that SkyDrive can push the “changes” to SkyDrive.


Why can’t the SkyDrive application work in the background to upload and synchronise files and folders, more specifically why am I now forced to “Save” changes to a file I have clearly not edited just so I can get rid of this stupid message.

My patiences is wearing thin with SkyDrive and I will most likely take a subscription out with Dropbox as this appears to just work, and they have a very nice shared folder features which is hugely useful for me between clients and friends.

Dropbox 2 : 0 SkyDrive

Windows 8 and RDP with Windows Server 2012

So today I found a nice “feature” of the new Metro Windows 8 interface. Now that the start button can be exposed by moving your mouse to the bottom left of the screen this does not work well when you have RDP in full screen mode.

I have just connected to Windows Server 2012 using my Windows Surface RT Tablet in full screen and wanted to load up the start menu of the RDP session, moving my mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen will infact bring up the start button on the Windows Surface RT OS and not the RDP session.

A workaround for this is to use the start button on the key board, but the fact remains this adds additional confusion. At least the start buttons are somewhat colour coded to help you distinguish which version they relate to!

MIcrosoft Surface RT and SkyDrive

So having been using the Surface RT for just over a week now and I am very impressed with it. I had previously tried Windows 8 on my laptop and it just didn’t feel right. It may have been because it was such a huge change that it will take me a while to get used to, but on the Surface it feel much more natural, and actually helps me with using the version now installed on my main laptop.

I even see my ditching the laptop and working solely on the Surface, if I can get my work mail and network connectivity sorted, I may need the Surface Pro for this but I am still seeing if I can hook up my Surface RT to the work network.

One major issue I predict with the Surface RT though is the limited functionality when it is not connected to the internet, more so around the integration with SkyDrive. The “metro” SkyDrive application is only a viewer of your online SkyDrive documents so you have no way of working offline. This is a huge disappointment as I would love to work with document whilst on I’m on flights over the Atlantic, the small form factor of the Surface coupling with Office is perfect for this!

Talking about Office, I am so happy that there is now a tablet device which provide the capability to create content, rather than used consume. The Surface RT I have already has Office 2013 Preview installed and it works really well, fingers crossed they allow SkyDrive Pro to be available that may allow me to work offline!

SkyDrive Versions (Desktop, Metro and Pro)

Having used Windows 8 for over a week now I am start to get familiar with how SkyDrive should be used, it actually comes in 3 flavours. There are detailed below:
1. SkyDrive Standard or Desktop Mode
This is likely to be the SkyDrive everybody is familiar with, it installs like any other application and runs in the task bar. It will download your SkyDrive folders to a designated folder on your hard drive and ensure they are kept in sync with your cloud storage.

2. SkyDrive Pro
This version of SkyDrive is geared towards replacing SharePoint workspace to enable companies that have SharePoint installation the ability for employees to sync document libraries to a users pc for offline management.

3. SkyDrive Metro App
Now this is where it gets a little confusing. After installing Windows 8 and noticing that SkyDrive is installed by default, you would assume it was baked into the operating system, however this is not the case.
The SkyDrive Metro App is in fact simply a viewer for your online storage location and does not sync any of the files to your PC for managing offline.

Now the major problem I am facing is the ability to manage my SkyDrive document offline on the Surface RT. I am assuming I am unable to install the SkyDrive Standard/Desktop version of the software to synchronise to a local folder, and without a native 3G connection on the device I am unable to manage documents through the SkyDrive Metro App.