Welcome to blog week!

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While this will not surprise my regular readers – some of you will be interested to know that blogging is usually only a very small fraction of my job.  My official title is “Program Manager Lead” which means that my responsibilities roughly break down into the following buckets:

  • Getting to know our customers and competitors really well
    • This involves meeting with customers regularly, doing phone calls, attending trade shows, hanging out on forums, doing online chats, reading blogs, etc…
  • Making sure we are actually building software that works for our customers / is competitive
    • Here I am writing documentation, reviewing and triaging bugs, and spending time meeting with developers and testers on the team.
  • Ensuring that we actually get the software shipped at the end of the day
    • Lots of status meetings and paper work to make sure that everything comes together at the end of the day.
  • Managing my team of program managers
    • As a lead I manage a number of other program managers, and need to work with them to ensure that they have everything that they need to do their jobs.

As you can see – that is a lot of “non-blogging work”.  The truth is that I started out blogging mainly as a way to ensure that I used my own software on a regular basis – but it has come to be something that I really enjoy doing.  Most of my blogging is actually done after hours (and often on a Sunday afternoon).  The average blog post takes ~1 hour to write (I have a strict policy of only blogging about things that I have personally done, so that I know that there will not be errors in my information) and I aim to have 5 blogs each week (though I often fall short of this goal).

One of the interesting side effects of blogging, for me, has been that it has helped with getting to know my customers.  These days I get so much feedback from you all that there is no way for me to keep up with responses.  So while I apologize to everyone who has emailed me through the blog, and has not heard back – know that I do read every email, and I respond when I can.  All of this information gives me a very good indication of what is going on out there.

With all of that aside – back to the topic at hand “Welcome to blog week!”

Thanks to a combination of having just got back from TechEd China (lots of fun – but now I am quite jetlagged) and being without an office (due to my current office being moved to a new building) I have arranged to cancel most of my meetings / responsibilities for this week – and just focus on the blog.  I have a number of activities planned for this week.  In no particular order they include:

  • Scrubbing old blog posts
    • At the moment I have 877 blog posts made over the last 4 years.  During this time I have used different blog themes, and different blogging tools.  As such you can see stylistic and formatting differences over the years.  I would like to try and clean this up to make it consistent across all posts.
    • Is that URL link in a post from early 2006 still valid?  I have no idea – but I intend to find out.
  • Overhauling my tagging system
    • My current tagging system has grown organically – and it has some significant short comings.  The biggest one is that it does not differentiate between versions of products.  If you pull up a random post from my site about Virtual PC – it is hard to tell if I am talking about Virtual PC 2004, Virtual PC 2007 or Windows Virtual PC.  It is also hard to tell when I am talking about a beta release or an RTM release.  I really need to fix this.
  • Tweaking the overall style of the blog
    • I would like to refine the current theme a little (add a bit more definition).  I would also like to add a dedicated “Links / Resources” page.  There are some other miscellaneous changes I would like to make.
  • Getting back to unresolved comment threads
    • Yup, I suck.  There are many posts out there where people have asked questions – and I never got around to answering them.  I need to get back and make sure the answer is there so that new people to the site can benefit from knowing the right information.
  • Tackling some big posts
    • There are a number of blog ideas in my notebook that have been there too long – because they will require a couple of hours to research and write up.  Hopefully I can get some of these done this week.
  • Building up a queue of new posts
    • I have a holiday coming up (four weeks in Australia) and I have always dreamed of being able to go on a holiday like this, while having blog regularly going live because I have been diligent and written them all up ahead of time.  This has never happened.  Maybe this will be my chance to change that.

Now I have some questions for you:

  • Are there any topics you really want to see me write about?
  • Is there anything you would like changed about my blog?
  • Should I open up old posts for comments?
    • At the moment comments are disabled on blog posts automatically after 60 days.  I can disable this – but the chances of me being able to reply to new comments will likely go down as a result.
  • Is there anything that you think I should be doing that is not on my list?

So as not to spam my own blog, I will be posting status updates on what I am working on to Twitter.


Leave a Comment
  • Please add 7 and 7 and type the answer here:
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  • Hi Ben,

    do you accept guest posts? For example, can I, or someone else, write something for your blog?


  • An interesting topic will be: Booting from VHD



  • Hi Ben,

    There's been a few older topics I would have liked to comment on. I can't recall which now, but I think you have an excellent resource here that will only be better if it continues to live.



  • Ilija -

    I have never done guest posts, and at the moment I am leaning toward keeping it that way.  I am happy to link to blog posts that I find interesting.

    Luciano -

    I will put that on the list.

    Tristan -

    Yes, that is the main reason why I am thinking of opening up the comments on older posts.



  • Hi Ben,

    Another interesting topic(s) would be about some best practices in the performance (i.e., vm vhd placing, recommended storage technologies, etc.) and security (i.e.,remote connections to hosts and vms) areas.


  • Hi Ben,

    following your blog since some time I tried out Win7 and VirtualPC.

    Just one easy question where even a solution could be difficult:

    Why Virtual Applications Feature is just supported for WIN7 Ultimate/Enterprise as guest and NOT Professional?? I am especially interested in the start menu integration.

    I am running Win7 Professional and was thinking of using this feature but figured out, I am not able to.

    So users like me need to switch to other products like VMWare which provides unity mode to get it nearly that way.

    Why?? I miss this feature and Win7 Professional should be supported. ;)



  • Need info regarding how to set the Microsoft LoopBack Adapter to a "Private" network without lowering security on Windows 7.  The approaches I have tried from searching don't work for me.

    Also, what is the future of Virtual Server on Windows 7?  This is an excellent solution for my development team (we are highly mobile and Hyper-V is not effective since we can't put our laptops to sleep), and Windows Virtualization is SLOW. In many cases we don't need the console to run all of the time.

    Virtual server fulfills a need, but is not supported on Windows 7.

    Thanks much, your information has been valuable to me over the past 4 years!


  • Virtual PC 2007 should be supported on Windows 7. Not every PC has a Processor that supports Hardware Virtualization. Need a Service Pack 2 for V-PC 2007

  • Hi there

    Could you get some more technical details as to why Hyper-v cannot be ported to work on Windows 7. It would be really great if the virtulization team could spend some time putting together any sort of solution.

    Failing that, any more news on the future of Virtual PC and x64.

    Thx Riccardo

  • +1 for x64 desktop virtualization

    However that's a feature request, not a blog post :)

    Regarding your blog, I would keep the automatic closing of comments after 60 days. Raymond Chen has it set to 14 days and even that is ok. For me it's more important that you answer comments to recent topics than about anything back from the dark ages.

    On topics maybe you have the time to write something problem-related. For instance, we've been unable to get Hyper-V running at all, 'cause whenever we tried things were going fine until after a few minutes with a guest running the whole machine crashed with a BSOD. We've been unable to point to special circumstances that lead to a crash, but it has never worked for us. Not tried Hyper-V on 2008 R2 though, maybe it works this time. So, what problems have you seen in the wild?

    Regards, Ooh

  • An interesting topics could be Hyper-V on server core along with best practice in implmentation. Personally I have quite a few feature requests.... Hyper-V for the desktop, i.e. support for USB/multi-monitors.

  • I so hate the fact that Windows Virtual PC requires processor virtualization.

  • The challenge: I use Win7 on a Hyper-V machine for MSN Live, Facebook and Tweeter.

    I have two "zones" on my firewall, one private and one DMZ. From the private zone,

    I created firewall rules that make me unable to use MSN Live, Facebook and Tweeter.

    On the Hyper-V (2008 R2 Core) I run a Win7 machine that's in the DMZ.

    I am using RDP from computers on the private zone to Win7 machine in the DMZ.

    I want to connect my USB web-cam on the visualized Win7 machine in DMZ.

    How can this be resolved?

  • I think this was mentioned but some sort of Best practice performance type guide for Hyper-V that is readable. I'm sorry if any of the below ideas were previously posted. Any of the below would be useful I think. Specifically:

    Storage recomendations (local/SAN) for various server types (file/mail/database)and RAID level.

    Networking recomendations for the same server types. seperate connections for each server or can they share connections (mail/file server together, etc.)

    How to run performance monitors (network/storage) easily without over complicating it and what type of results are bad/good. Can the monitoring me automated with graphs that display data over time, how?

    What types of pitfalls to avoid when provisioning storage for VM's. Put them all on same partition? The system partition? Which RAID level is best for 5 Hyper-V 2008 server guests for instance.

  • Well you ask about comments about the blog but what I have are comments about where Virtual PC is going... You mention that you're supposed to "Stay competitive" and "reach out for customer opinion"; now from what I understand your main "customer" is Microsoft itself, since the only target operating systems it now officially supports is Windows XP, Vista and 7, where as 2007sp1 supported a whole slew of other operating systems. It's no longer a Virtual "PC" it's a "Virtual Windows". This is enforced by

    * The lack of GUI setup for floppy support

    * The lack of DOS SB Support

    * The lack of shared DOS directories

    * Being forced to find "hacks" or "disable features" to have 24bit and font smoothing in the hosted Windows XP, though I undestand this is because of the new intergration mode.

    All of these which were PERFECTLY FINE in the previous version of the software, and all of those features mostly supported by "competitors".

    To make it worst, I cannot (officially) install 2007sp1 on Windows 7 to use these features!

    There is not a single useful "Support" link on the Virtual PC support page; they all point to almost totally useless pages about how it should be better than the previous version, what it can do, but not what it can no longer do...

    Now what I don't understand is, as your blog seems to show, that you loved what Virtual PC did and supported. Yet what you now seem to work on is something else altogether which doesn't seem to abide by what you used to love :(

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Welcome to blog week!