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Sway updates, Guest Speakers via Skype in the Classroom and more – the MIE Minute Newsletter

MSDN Blogs - 2 hours 46 min ago

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago we shared with you some of the topics and information contained within the MIE Minute – a fortnightly newsletter sent out to our Microsoft Innovative Educators and MIE-Experts. The latest edition has since gone to press, and we are pleased to once again be sharing some of this content to our wider education audience, so here are the things we think you’ll find useful:

OneNote Class Notebook Creator Updates

The new OneNote Class Notebook Creator takes OneNote to the next level, letting teachers set up a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities -- all within one powerful notebook. Based on feedback from educators around the globe, we're pleased to announce that we’ve enhanced OneNote Class Notebook Creator to make it even more powerful.

We also asked our MIE-Experts what their favourite way to use OneNote in the classroom is, and there’s no reason why the whole education community cannot weigh in with their own views. Post your answer on Twitter with #MIEExpert15 and #OneNote we'll feature best answers in the next edition of the MIE Minute!

OneNote in Education Blog

The OneNote in Education blog is now live! There's so much potential for OneNote in the classroom- learn about all the ways you can use the app to increase creativity, collaboration, and efficiency in the classroom with tips, tricks, and updates straight from the OneNote Team!

Exciting Updates to Sway – try them now!

It's now easier than ever to create awesome presentations in Sway with Bing Images integrated into the tool. By continuously analysing the content you’ve already included, Sway can now even suggest related Bing image searches you can choose to perform even if you never use those specific terms in your text! Read more on the Office blog: Bringing more search and more intelligence to Sway.

Sway is still in preview mode, but it is also now open to anyone who wishes to try Sway now.

Invite a Computer Scientist to Speak With Your Students via Skype in the Classroom!

Anyone who followed the Hour of Code closely earlier this month may have read about how teachers can book guest speakers to talk to their students via Skype in the Classroom. They have smart, passionate and engaging tech industry professionals who would love to talk to your class about their jobs. Whether it’s career education or just understanding the different roles available in technology, Skype in the Classroom can help you find the right people to inspire your students. Click here to learn more and find a guest speaker.

--

That's it for 2014 in terms of the MIE Minute Newsletter, but we have plenty of exciting things planned for the new year… Keep an eye on this blog to stay up to date!

Sway updates, Guest Speakers via Skype in the Classroom and more – the MIE Minute Newsletter

MSDN Blogs - 2 hours 46 min ago

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago we shared with you some of the topics and information contained within the MIE Minute – a fortnightly newsletter sent out to our Microsoft Innovative Educators and MIE-Experts. The latest edition has since gone to press, and we are pleased to once again be sharing some of this content to our wider education audience, so here are the things we think you’ll find useful:

OneNote Class Notebook Creator Updates

The new OneNote Class Notebook Creator takes OneNote to the next level, letting teachers set up a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities -- all within one powerful notebook. Based on feedback from educators around the globe, we're pleased to announce that we’ve enhanced OneNote Class Notebook Creator to make it even more powerful.

We also asked our MIE-Experts what their favourite way to use OneNote in the classroom is, and there’s no reason why the whole education community cannot weigh in with their own views. Post your answer on Twitter with #MIEExpert15 and #OneNote we'll feature best answers in the next edition of the MIE Minute!

OneNote in Education Blog

The OneNote in Education blog is now live! There's so much potential for OneNote in the classroom- learn about all the ways you can use the app to increase creativity, collaboration, and efficiency in the classroom with tips, tricks, and updates straight from the OneNote Team!

Exciting Updates to Sway – try them now!

It's now easier than ever to create awesome presentations in Sway with Bing Images integrated into the tool. By continuously analysing the content you’ve already included, Sway can now even suggest related Bing image searches you can choose to perform even if you never use those specific terms in your text! Read more on the Office blog: Bringing more search and more intelligence to Sway.

Sway is still in preview mode, but it is also now open to anyone who wishes to try Sway now.

Invite a Computer Scientist to Speak With Your Students via Skype in the Classroom!

Anyone who followed the Hour of Code closely earlier this month may have read about how teachers can book guest speakers to talk to their students via Skype in the Classroom. They have smart, passionate and engaging tech industry professionals who would love to talk to your class about their jobs. Whether it’s career education or just understanding the different roles available in technology, Skype in the Classroom can help you find the right people to inspire your students. Click here to learn more and find a guest speaker.

--

That's it for 2014 in terms of the MIE Minute Newsletter, but we have plenty of exciting things planned for the new year… Keep an eye on this blog to stay up to date!

Sway updates, Guest Speakers via Skype in the Classroom and more – the MIE Minute Newsletter

MSDN Blogs - 2 hours 46 min ago

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago we shared with you some of the topics and information contained within the MIE Minute – a fortnightly newsletter sent out to our Microsoft Innovative Educators and MIE-Experts. The latest edition has since gone to press, and we are pleased to once again be sharing some of this content to our wider education audience, so here are the things we think you’ll find useful:

OneNote Class Notebook Creator Updates

The new OneNote Class Notebook Creator takes OneNote to the next level, letting teachers set up a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities -- all within one powerful notebook. Based on feedback from educators around the globe, we're pleased to announce that we’ve enhanced OneNote Class Notebook Creator to make it even more powerful.

We also asked our MIE-Experts what their favourite way to use OneNote in the classroom is, and there’s no reason why the whole education community cannot weigh in with their own views. Post your answer on Twitter with #MIEExpert15 and #OneNote we'll feature best answers in the next edition of the MIE Minute!

OneNote in Education Blog

The OneNote in Education blog is now live! There's so much potential for OneNote in the classroom- learn about all the ways you can use the app to increase creativity, collaboration, and efficiency in the classroom with tips, tricks, and updates straight from the OneNote Team!

Exciting Updates to Sway – try them now!

It's now easier than ever to create awesome presentations in Sway with Bing Images integrated into the tool. By continuously analysing the content you’ve already included, Sway can now even suggest related Bing image searches you can choose to perform even if you never use those specific terms in your text! Read more on the Office blog: Bringing more search and more intelligence to Sway.

Sway is still in preview mode, but it is also now open to anyone who wishes to try Sway now.

Invite a Computer Scientist to Speak With Your Students via Skype in the Classroom!

Anyone who followed the Hour of Code closely earlier this month may have read about how teachers can book guest speakers to talk to their students via Skype in the Classroom. They have smart, passionate and engaging tech industry professionals who would love to talk to your class about their jobs. Whether it’s career education or just understanding the different roles available in technology, Skype in the Classroom can help you find the right people to inspire your students. Click here to learn more and find a guest speaker.

--

That's it for 2014 in terms of the MIE Minute Newsletter, but we have plenty of exciting things planned for the new year… Keep an eye on this blog to stay up to date!

[セッション アーカイブ] Windows アプリのデバッグ、パフォーマンス測定、テスト、Windows App Certification Kit (WACK)

MSDN Blogs - 3 hours 40 min ago
de:code 2014 の講演ビデオが Microsoft Virtual Academy に掲載されています。 ※コンテンツへのアクセスにはMicrosoftアカウントが必要です http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/decode-track1?m=9477 タイトルの下に3つリンクが並んでいます。ビデオ、スライド、サンプルコードの順になっています。 実は、このビデオは講演時のものではなく、講演後に自分で収録し直し、編集したものとなっています。 なので、de:code 2014でセッションに参加した方に披露していないデモが入っています。...(read more)

[セッション アーカイブ] Windows ストア アプリの開発、テスト、デバッグ、ストアへの提出まで

MSDN Blogs - 3 hours 45 min ago
de:code 2014 の講演ビデオが Microsoft Virtual Academy に掲載されています。 ※コンテンツへのアクセスにはMicrosoftアカウントが必要です http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/decode-track1?m=9465 タイトルの下に2つリンクが並んでいます。ビデオ、スライドの順になっています。 こちらエバンジェリスト4名での共同登壇でした。それぞれの色の違いをお楽しみください。...(read more)

[セッション アーカイブ] デバイスとサービスの組み合わせ、 データやマルチメディア、通信を伴う Windows アプリ開発

MSDN Blogs - 3 hours 48 min ago
de:code 2014 の講演ビデオが Microsoft Virtual Academy に掲載されています。 ※コンテンツへのアクセスにはMicrosoftアカウントが必要です http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/decode-track1?m=9469 タイトルの下に3つリンクが並んでいます。ビデオ、スライド、サンプルコードの順になっています。 de:code Day 2 で イベント内、4つ目の登壇、思えば、この時のデモは当日の早朝に作り直したことや、睡眠不足から当日かなりヘロヘロだったことを思い出します。...(read more)

[セッション アーカイブ] HTML/JavaScript/CSS と C++ で作る Windows、Windows Phone、Xbox One アプリ

MSDN Blogs - 3 hours 54 min ago
de:code 2014 の講演ビデオが Microsoft Virtual Academy に掲載されています。 ※コンテンツへのアクセスにはMicrosoftアカウントが必要です http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/decode-track1?m=9464 タイトルの下に3つリンクが並んでいます。ビデオ、スライド、サンプルコードの順になっています。 普段見ることのできない、Xbox One アプリの開発についても取り上げていますので、ぜひご覧ください。...(read more)

Microsoft Azure Review of 2014

MSDN Blogs - 4 hours 10 min ago
2014 has been a massive year for Microsoft Azure. We have seen Azure show up as the only leader across PaaS, IaaS and Storage according to Gartner and is now positioned very strongly against competitors like Amazon and Google, in fact in terms of data centre reach Azure is twice the size of AWS and 6 times that of Google. This is an impressive acceleration and it makes for a very interesting 2015. We have even seen a rebranding to from Windows Microsoft Azure: a step I think which was crucial...(read more)

“Time to be Creative” Contest

MSDN Blogs - 4 hours 57 min ago

Terms and Conditions for the “Time to be Creative” Contest

IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS (THE “TERMS AND CONDITIONS”) BEFORE ENTERING THE TIME TO BE CREATIVE CONTEST. THIS IS A LEGALLY BINDING AGREEMENT BETWEEN YOU AND MICROSOFT BANGLADESH LIMITED (“MICROSOFT”) ESTABLISHING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH YOU ARE ENTITLED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE TIME TO BE CREATIVE CONTEST (“CONTEST”). BY ENTERING THIS TIME TO BE CREATIVE CONTEST, YOU CONFIRM THAT YOU HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD, AND AGREE TO ABIDE BY, THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS

1. This Contest is organized by Microsoft Bangladesh Limited (“Microsoft”). All residents of Bangladesh are eligible to participate in the Contest ("Participant"). If you are below the age of 18 years, you must obtain the appropriate permissions and releases from your parent or legal guardian in order to participate in the Contest.

2. Participants must post a creative illustration on the topic “Office 365 gives you the power and flexibility to get things done from virtually anywhere” on the Microsoft Developer Facebook page (URL is as follow, https://www.facebook.com/MicrosoftDeveloper.Bangladesh)

3. Submissions need to be posted on Microsoft Developer Facebook page during the time period December 22, 2014 to December 27, 2014.

4. Maximum one Submission per Participant.

5. One prizewinner will be selected based on the following criteria,

a. Number of Facebook ‘likes’ (to December 27, 2014).

b. Number of Facebook ‘shares’ (to December 27, 2014).

6. The prizewinner will be awarded with a travel voucher worth BDT 100,000/-.

7. The prizewinner will be notified via personal Facebook message and requested to reply with positive identification details (Name & ID No) which will be requested when the prize is collected. Prize needs to be collected in person from Microsoft at the location in Dhaka to be provided in the prize award notification message.

8. Microsoft accepts no responsibility for any entry forms that are lost, incomplete, not received by Microsoft or miss the Contest deadline for any reason whatsoever. Proof of online submission shall not constitute proof of receipt by Microsoft.

9. In the event that any information provided on an entry form is found to be misleading or inaccurate, that entry shall be deemed invalid.

10. Where the prizes under the Contest are items/goods, these shall be subject to availability and may not be substituted for cash. Microsoft reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equivalent monetary value, without prior notice. In the event prizes involve manufactured items, these shall be subject to the manufacturer's terms and conditions for warranty, service and maintenance, and Microsoft does not accept any responsibility for the same. In particular, prizes are provided by Microsoft "AS IS" without warranties of any kind, including warranties of merchantability, non-infringement of intellectual property, or fitness for any particular purpose.

11. Taxes and other levies imposed by any relevant applicable government or tax authority, as well as other costs including, insurance and incidental costs, that may be levied or incurred on the prizes shall be fully borne by the Participants.

12. All Participants in this Contest agree to have their name and Submissions used for promotional purposes at Microsoft’s sole discretion. The prizewinner(s) in this Contest agree to have their name and Submissions announced should Microsoft choose to do so after the Contest period is over.

13. By entering the Contest, Participant expressly agrees that the creative illustration he or she posts on the Microsoft Developer Facebook page (“Submission”) does not contain any image or content that is unlawful, libelous, slanderous, defamatory or invasive of another person's right of privacy or right of publicity, or that Microsoft may reasonably deem harmful, vulgar, obscene, derogatory, pornographic, abusive, harassing, threatening, hateful, objectionable with respect to race, religion, creed, national origin or gender, or otherwise unfit for publication. Microsoft shall not be liable in any way for any Submission. Microsoft shall have no obligation to monitor Submissions provided by Participants to Microsoft, but may do so at its discretion. Any Submission that, in the sole discretion of Microsoft, is considered inappropriate or unsuitable for publication will be deemed ineligible by Microsoft, and Microsoft may, in their sole discretion, remove a Submission from the Contest.

14. You represent and warrant to Microsoft that (i) you are the sole and exclusive owner of your Submission, or you have all right and authority to grant the rights in your Submission to Microsoft, its affiliates and/or its agents and contractors; (ii) if your Submission contains a photograph or a video, you have obtained any and all releases necessary from all persons depicted in the photograph or video, including, without limitation, releases in the context of rights of privacy and rights of publicity; and (iii) in the event a person depicted in the photograph or video is under the age of 18 years, you have obtained all appropriate permissions and releases from the parent or legal guardian of the person in question, to submit the Submission for the Contest.

15. Microsoft will not return any Submission submitted for the Contest. Except where prohibited, by entering the Contest, you consent to the use of your name, photo and/or likeness, biographical information, winning entry and statements attributed to you (if true) for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation or notice to the Participant.

16. By participating in the Contest, the Participant hereby grant to Microsoft and/or its affiliates a non-exclusive, fully transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty free, fully paid up right and license to adapt, edit, modify, publish, promote, reproduce, distribute, publicly display your Submission and make derivative works based on the Participant’s Submission in any and all media, including any compilation, as Microsoft and/or its affiliates see fit for any reason, to identify the Participant as the author of the Submission and to authorize others to do any of the above without any obligation to notify or further compensate the Participant.

17. Without limitation to the generality of the above provisions, Microsoft and/or any of its affiliates shall have an exclusive right to publish and use any winning Submissions in print and/or electronic form for advertising and promotion of Microsoft’s products, for exhibition, and for both commercial and non-commercial products and publications, including without limitation, using, downloading, adapting, reformatting, editing and/or resizing the winning Submissions as may be necessary and to authorize others to do any of the above without any obligation to notify or further compensate the prizewinner(s).

18. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Microsoft and its parent companies, affiliates, related corporations, subsidiaries, directors, officers, employees and agents accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any damage, loss, death or personal injury that may occur as a consequence of any individual’s participation in this Contest. Participants undertake to indemnify and keep Microsoft and its parent companies, affiliates, related corporations, subsidiaries, directors, officers, employees and agents harmless and indemnified against any loss, damage, claims, costs and expenses which may be incurred or suffered by any or each of them due to breach of any of these terms and conditions by the Participants and, or arising from the participation of the Participant in this Contest.

19. In the event of any dispute arising from this Contest or relating to the interpretation of these terms and conditions, the decision of Microsoft on all matters pertaining to the Contest shall be final and binding on all parties.

20. The information submitted by a Participant during the registration process or when participating in this Contest may include the Participant’s email address, ID number and other personal information (“Personal Information”). The Personal Information will only be used by Microsoft in accordance with applicable data protection laws and regulations and Microsoft’s privacy policy referred to below, for the purposes of administering the Participant’s participation in the Contest. For more details on Microsoft's privacy policy, please see: http://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx

21. Microsoft and any agents or contractors (if any) that it may use in the execution and management of this Contest do not warrant or represent (either directly or indirectly):

(a) that participation in and/or access to the whole or part(s) of the Contest, Contest materials, contents, information and/or functions contained therein will be provided uninterrupted, timely, secure and error-free; or

(b) that no computer viruses shall be transmitted or that no damage shall occur to any Participant's computer system as a result of any online activity of the Contest, if any.

22. Any material downloaded or otherwise obtained through the Internet is done at the Participant's own discretion and risk and that the Participant will be solely responsible for any damage to the Participant's computer system or loss of data resulting from such download.

23. Microsoft does not warrant or make any representations regarding the use, validity, accuracy, or reliability of, or the results of the use of, or otherwise in respect of the materials on this site or any sites linked to this site.

24. The Participant declares and warrants to Microsoft that in participating in the Contest, the Participant shall not use any unauthorised or unlicensed software. Participants found doing so shall be disqualified from the Contest.

25. Nothing in the Contest shall affect any intellectual property rights of Microsoft in any product or service, which may be the subject matter of the Contest.

26. The Participant acknowledge and agree that no form of cheating will be tolerated. Any persons found cheating, as determined in the sole and absolute discretion of the Microsoft, will immediately be disqualified from the Contest. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, using multiple identification numbers, tampering with, hacking of the Contest site, participating in the Contest without meeting the eligibility requirements, using any automated software or device to gain an advantage during the Contest, use of the Contest beyond the defined rules of the Contest, attempting to disable or overwhelm any of Microsoft's websites or the Contest Site, attempting to disrupt any portion of the Contest, including but not limited to, allowing somebody else to use the Personal Information, or tampering with the entry process. ANY ATTEMPT BY A PERSON TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY OF MICROSOFT'S WEBSITES OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS; AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, MICROSOFT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

27. Microsoft's failure to enforce any provision of these terms and conditions shall not constitute a waiver of that or of any other provision.

28. Microsoft is not responsible for printing or typographical errors in any Contest-related materials or for registrations that are lost or misdirected, fail to enter into the processing system, or are processed, reported, or transmitted late or incorrectly or are lost for any reason including electronic, computer, telephone, paper transfer, mail system, human or other error; including inability to access any website associated with the Contest. The Contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law, and is subject to all applicable laws.

29. By entering the Contest, the Participant agree to be bound by these terms and conditions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Microsoft has the right to modify these terms and conditions contained herein and, or, withdraw or terminate the Contest at any stage without any liability towards anyone.

30. This Contest shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Bangladesh.

31. If any terms and conditions above or part thereof is rendered void, illegal or unenforceable in any respect under the law, the validity, legality and enforceability of the remaining provisions shall not in any way be affected or impaired thereby.

Service Pack Setup completes successfully on clustered instance but SQL Server Version is not updated on one node

MSDN Blogs - 5 hours 2 min ago

I recently worked on an issue where one of my customers had successfully finished patching their SQL 2005 instances on a 3 node cluster. However the Build number was not getting updated on one of the nodes (NODE3) even after successfully completing the SP4 installation 

SQL version On problem node: Database Services (INSTANCEX) SP3 2005.090.4340.00  x86 ENTERPRISE

Expected version: SQL Server Database Service 2005(INSTANCEX) ENU SP4 2005.090.5000.00  x86  ENTERPRISE

OS version: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 family, Enterprise Edition Service Pack 2 (Build 3790) x86

Number of Nodes : 3 (NODE1, NODE2, NODE3)

  

Note: With SQL Server 2005 unlike the higher versions, the patch is applied to the active node of the cluster and it is the patch that will go off to all passive nodes and will apply the patch files remotely

Patching of the passive node is achieved by remotely creating a scheduled task

With SQL 2005 the patch does everything so once it's finished either all nodes are patched, or none are patched. If there is an issue during the patching phase, then the entire patch needs to be rolled back on all nodes. Therefore if you have 3 node cluster and the last node fails to patch, the patch will be rolled back on all nodes.

  

  • However in our case the patch was not rolled back on the nodes even though NODE3 wasn't patched correctly because the summary log still reports a success!
  • We collected the setup logs on the NODE3  and also the successfully patched nodes  to make  detailed analysis to check if features to be updated have been skipped for any reason
  • .We paused the NODE2 and NODE3 from the Cluster Administrator and ran the SP4 setup on the NODE3

We see that the setup succeeded (but completes in less than 30 seconds) showing us it may not be actually patching in the background

  • If you look at the summary file on the NODE2 AND NODE4 where the build is updated successfully:

Product Installation Status

Product                   : SQL Server Database Services 2005 (INSTANCEX)

Product Version (Previous): 5000

Product Version (Final)   : 5324

Status                    : Reboot Required

Log File                  : C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\Hotfix\SQL9_Hotfix_KB2716427_sqlrun_sql.msp.log

Error Number              : 3010

Error Description         :

  

  • Comparing this to NODE3 our problem node we do not see the

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Product                   : Database Services (INSTANCEX)

Product Version (Previous): 4340

Product Version (Final)   : 5000

Status                    : Success

Log File                  :

Error Number              : 0

Error Description         :

  

As per http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jorgepc/archive/2009/09/07/sql-server-2005-service-pack-does-not-update-all-the-installed-components.aspx

During the very beginning of the Service Pack setup process, the existing SQL Server services are discovered via WMI queries by the means of Wmiprvse.exeprocess; without the proper permissions, the process will fail to discover the installed components

  • That led us to suspect "Is the Service pack setup even able to enumerate/discover the SQL instances?

Here is how we investigated that:

  • We know that the SQL Server Configuration Manager tool also uses the same WMI queries to iterate through the services collection
  • When these tools generate the WMI queries, the SQL Server Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) provider (Sqlmgmprovider.dll) is loaded into the Wmiprvse.exe process. Then, the SQL Server WBEM provider extracts and processes the information about the services of every instance of SQL Server 2005
  • So we decided to check if the SQL configuration manager on the problem node was able to enlist the services which would give us an idea if these WMI queries are working as expected

We open the SQL Server Configuration Manager, the right hand pane had the following error "The server threw an exception. [0x80010105]".

  • On the NODE2 and NODE1 we do not see these issues.

  

  • We also performed a small test to check WMI connectivity
  1. Open the WMI Control console: Click Start , click Run , type wmimgmt.msc and then click OK.
  2. In the console tree, right-click WMI Control , and then click Properties.
  3. Select the Security tab.
  4. Expand the Root folder and then navigate to Microsoft > SQLServer
  5. Search for namespace ComputerManagement
  6. Open the WMI Tester: Click Start , click Run , type wbemtest and then click OK.
  7. Connect to the namespace ComputerManagement (root\microsoft\sqlserver\ComputerManagement) and click on Query

SELECT * FROM RegServices
SELECT * FROM SqlService

  1. Make note if the query produced an error or if it was successful.

We see that in the Problem Node3, even after waiting for a long time we do not see any instances enumerated.

When we try the same on the NODE1 and NODE2 for the same namespace we see all the instances are being enumerated:

Connected to other namespace (e.g. root\cimv2, SELECT * FROM Win32_Service), it is all working fine

It appears that only the SQL namespace is having issue.

  

  

  • With this we confirmed that there a WMI connectivity issue on the Server for the SQL Namespace
  • However we had check the Setup logs to confirm if the Service pack setup has actually succeeded for the Database Engine Services, or if it was skipped due to any possible WMI issues?

  

We can see that setup able to enumerate all the details but weren't sure why it completes in ten seconds (Below is a snippet of setup log generated on NODE3 when the other two nodes were paused):

12/06/2014 13:10:24.272   Instance Details: INSTANCEX
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     agentservicename = SQLAgent$INSTANCEX
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     associatedhotfixbuild = 1520
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     clustername = S02S702DR-CL6
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     ftsservicename = MSFTESQL$INSTANCEX
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     fullversion = 2005.090.4340.00
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     hiveregpath = Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.5
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     id = MSSQL.5
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     installsqldatadir = N:\MSSQL.5\MSSQL
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     installsqldir = C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.5\MSSQL
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     lcid = 1033
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     name = INSTANCEX
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     productcode = {A2E15F7E-A973-493A-AC36-B1841F8EE431}
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     qfelevel = 4340
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     servicename = MSSQL$INSTANCEX
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     sku = ENTERPRISE
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     sp = 3
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     type = SQL Server Standalone Product
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     vermajbld = 4035
12/06/2014 13:10:24.272     version = 9


"12/06/2014 13:10:44.133 Installing instance: INSTANCEX
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 Enumerating passive cluster nodes
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 No available passive nodes were found
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 Finalizing cluster instance: INSTANCEX
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 Waiting for all running passive nodes to complete their patch
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 All running passive nodes have completed their patch
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 Finalized cluster instance: INSTANCEX

12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 Enumerating passive cluster nodes
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 No available passive nodes were found
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 Finalizing cluster instance: INSTANCEX
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 Waiting for all running passive nodes to complete their patch
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 All running passive nodes have completed their patch

12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 Hotfix package completed
12/06/2014 13:10:44.149 Attempting to continue the 32 bit ngen queue
12/06/2014 13:10:53.431 Hotfix package closed"

We do not see it installing any files or creating a Log file!

****************************************
Compared to the good run on NODE2 pasted below we can see it creating a log file and installing msp files

++12/06/2014 06:56:02.818 Installing target: NODE2
12/06/2014 06:56:08.927 Installing file: sqlrun_sql.msp
12/06/2014 06:56:08.927 Copy Engine: Creating MSP install log file at: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\Hotfix\SQL9_Hotfix_KB2463332_sqlrun_sql.msp.log

***************************************

  • So now we had a fair idea that the Service Pack setup is completing without actually patching the instance, because we possibly have issues discovering the installed components by the WMI queries

  • We now had to fix the SQL Server Configuration Manager, issue which was throwing the error "The server threw an exception. [0x80010105]".

We have a Public KB article that fixes the SQL configuration manager issue we are seeing:

As per: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/956013

To work around this problem, open a command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
mofcomp "%programfiles(x86)%\Microsoft SQL Server\number\Shared\sqlmgmproviderxpsp2up.mof"

  • We tried the above and it is reporting a success of parsing the .mof file. However it is stalled at "Storing data in repository" (it normally reports a "Done!" and comes out of the loop) Here it is just stalled..
  • Trying to restart the WMI service gets hung if we do it after parsing the .mof file.
  • We involved our Windows Platforms team to help us rebuild the WMI files, but we still received the same error when we try to open the SQL Configuration Manager.

What finally resolved it for us!

  • We came across http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2849344 , which speaks of the same "The server threw an exception [0x80010105]" error when the configuration manager is started.
  • However the KB article is applicable to Windows Server 2012 & SQL server 2008 R2 where the problem occurs because SQL Server 2008 R2 internally uses a deprecated 32-bit Windows .dll file (Msclus.dll). When Configuration Manager is started after the Cluster Automation feature is added, the system discovers that the necessary .dll file is missing, and this triggers the error

The work around provided by the KB is as follows

  1. Note The 32-bit version of the MSClus.dll can be found in the "%windir%\syswow64" directory.
  2. Register this .dll file by running the regsvr32 command from an elevated command prompt:
    1. Click Start, type command promptin the Search programs and files box.
    2. UnderPrograms, right-click Command Prompt, and then clickRun as administrator.
    3. At the command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

      Regsvr32 MSClus.dll

The current customer's environment is Windows 2003. However we decided to give the above workaround a shot as we were also in a clustered environment.

After registering the above MSClus.dll ! Voila…the configuration manager no longer throws the exception

  • We patched the NODE3 once again, which took slightly longer this time.
  • Rebooted the node and checked the SQL Server build which now reports 090.5000.00 correctly J

GC ETW events

MSDN Blogs - 5 hours 13 min ago

A lot of people have mentioned to me that I have not posted anything for a long time. I do realize it and do appreciate being asked to write more. Well, it’s end of year and I am starting vacation so I thought I’d write something light that perhaps makes good reading around Christmas time :-)


Perf counters vs ETW events


Perf counters and ETW events, like anything else, each have their pros and cons. In my Defrag Tools series of videos I mentioned that I really would like folks to start using ETW (via the PerfView tool) if they haven’t. I would state that again here because ETW just gives you richer info that you simply cannot get with perf counters. And if you only get the basic GC events, the overhead is very, very low that you could afford to have it on in your production environment. So what’s the con? Well, ETW is a newer thing (internally at MS many groups have started using ETW events, perhaps for a long time now; but clearly there are still groups that are using perf counters and not ETW events) which means there’s a learning curve. And the learning curve of using ETW is steeper than what you had with perf counters. I’d like to think that the PerfView made that fairly easy to get you started though.


Aside from the less rich info, perf counters, as I explained here, also suffer from the precision problem. Just last week I had someone asking me why he’s seeing % time in GC being 99% for a few minutes straight. It was because the % time in GC counter is only updated at the end of a GC and in his process since it was idling for a long time after the last gen2 GC (ie, no GCs were happening), the 99% value lasted till next time a GC happened so to him this was misleading.


Collecting GC events with PerfView

After you download perfview from Microsoft.com, you just unzip it and run perfview.exe - yes it’s that simple - there’s no install involved. There are many different options in perfview to collect ETW events with but for our purpose we want to collect just some GC events to start with. There are 2 ways you can do that:


1) run perfview.exe, click on Collect, then Collect again (or just do Alt+C). You will see a dialog box popping up, click on Adavanced options, uncheck “Kernel Base” and .NET and check “GC Collect Only”. This tells it to only collect events fired *during* GCs. If  you don’t do this and simply click on “Start Collection” it will collect these GC events as well, but a lot of other events which makes it less sustainable if you aim to run this for many hours on your production server as the problem will likely take that long to repro.


2) use the commandline – I am a commandline person so this is what I use. It also makes it much easier to include in your automation scripts. Run this commandline (if you run this from a non admin cmd window it will pop up some UI asking for permission to run as admin as collecting ETW requires admin privilege; or you just run it from an admin cmd window):

perfview /GCCollectOnly /AcceptEULA /nogui collect

/GCCollectOnly, as name suggests, is the one that’s telling it to collect only GC events.

Then you run your scenario for long enough for it to show the symptoms. And then you can stop it by either clicking on “Stop collection” or press ‘s’ in the cmd window to stop the collection. If you know approximately how long it takes for the symptoms to show up, say 10 mins, you can also do

perfview /GCCollectOnly /AcceptEULA /nogui /MaxCollectSec:600 collect

which will stop after it’s collected for 600 seconds, ie, 10 mins.

BTW, you can see all the available commandline args in Help\Command Line Help.

This gives you 2 resulting files: PerfViewGCCollectOnly.etl.zip and PerfViewGCCollectOnly.log.txt. The latter is logging what perfview did. The former is what we will be diving into.

The GCStats view in PerfView

Open the PerfViewGCCollectOnly.etl.zip file in perfview, meaning either by running Perfview and browsing to that directory and double clicking on that file; or running the “perfview PerfViewGCCollectOnly.etl.zip” commandline. You will see that there are multiple nodes under that filename. What we are interested in is the GCStats view. Double click on it to open it. At the top we have something like this:

GCStats

I ran Visual Studio Express which is a managed app – that’s the WDExpress process at the top. For each of these processes it will have the following format:


Summary (this includes things like the commandline, CLR startup flags, % time pause for GC and etc)
GC stats rollup by generation, for gen0/1/2 it has things like how many GCs of that gen were done, their mean/average pauses and etc.
GC stats for GCs whose pause time was >200ms
LOH Allocation Pause (due to background GC) > 200 Msec for this process
Gen2 GC stats
All GC stats
Condemned reasons for GCs

I will explain the summary section in this blog entry and the others in the next one.

Commandline and runtime version are self-explanatory.
CLR Startup Flags: the main thing for GC investigation purpose is to look for CONCURRENT_GC and SERVER_GC. If you don’t have either one it means you are using Workstation GC with concurrent GC disabled.
Total CPU Time and Total GC CPU Time: these would always be 0 unless you are actually collecting CPU samples.
Total Allocs: total allocations you’ve done during this trace for this process.
MSec/MB Alloc: this is 0 unless you collect CPU samples (it would be Total GC CPU time / Total allocated bytes).
Total GC pause: total wallclock time paused by GCs. Note that this includes suspension time, ie, the time it takes to suspend managed threads before GC can start.
% Time paused for Garbage Collection: this is the total GC pause / total process running time.
% CPU Time spent Garbage Collecting: this is NaN% unless you collect CPU samples.
Max GC Heap Size: maximum managed heap size during this trace for this process.

Something worth mentioning is the difference between GC pauses and GC CPU time. The former is elapsed time (ie, the time elapsed between suspension starts and resumption ends for this GC) and the latter is, as the name suggests, how many CPU samples we actually collected for this process during GC.

 

VS & TFS 2013 更新4 可用了!

MSDN Blogs - 5 hours 28 min ago

[原文发表地址] VS & TFS 2013 Update 4 CTP 1 is available

[原文发表时间] 2014-09-03 10:AM

我不知道你是怎么认为的,但让那些萦绕在我脑海对于我来说是很困难的。事实上,我们已经着手交付Visual Studio2013更新4和Team Foundation Serve 2013更新4了。更新3在很久之前就发布了。今天,我们交付更新4 CTP(社区技术预览)1。和往常一样,将有一系列CTP - 大约每3周一次,然后是候选发布版本和最终发布版本。因此,更新4的最终发布版本仍然需一段时间 - 在10月/ 11月内,但如果你有兴趣看产品的开发,CTP版本是跟进它的一个好方法。对于TFS的功能,尤其是在开发周期早期(就像现在),Visual Studio Online是获取它的一个更好的办法。这样,你就不必安装任何软件以及更新4的所有功能,这些都已经或即将部署到云服务上。

像往常一样,在我的文章中,我会将重点放在更新4上的ALM功能,你可以到Visual Studio博客上了解更多有关IDE的内容。但目前的实际情况是,更新4中的新功能和在Team Foundation Server中的是不成比例的。对于IDE来说,这是一个相当温和的版本,然而对于TFS却是一个相当重要的版本。

下面是一些有价值的链接:

因此,在大量的引言中,让我们一起来感受一下到底是什么来临了。

Pull请求

自从VS/ TFS2012开始,在Visual Studio中已经有了基于代码审查经验的TFS。它仅适用于TFVC,因为它存在于VSIDE中,对于VS用户来说是强大的,但它对Eclipse(或者XCode,...)开发者并不是那么有用。

Git,作为一个分布式版本控制系统,带来了被称为“Pull请求”的类似于工作流的不同的代码审查。一个用户将一些在一个分支或分叉上的更改,通过提交一个pull请求将那些更改合并到另一个分支/前叉。在终端的提交(和其他人)是负责审查更改,评论等,直到最终接受并合并它们或拒绝接受他们。

在TFS 2013 更新4中,我们对Git引入了一个基于pull请求解决方案的网站。这个给了Git一个很棒的代码审查解决方案,并且无论使用什么样的IDE它都可以良好的运行工作。你可以在VS Online上浏览更多详细pull请求演示文档

在接下来的一年里,我们将致力于更加协调的TFVC体验和Git体验,让它们不会如现在这般完全不同。

趋势图

更新4也将在Web Access中包含图表改进,包括显示趋势的能力- 长达一年的时间,简单的集合 - 值求和,等等。

工作管理的改进

近期,根据反馈我们一直在努力改进我们的工作项管理界面。它们都并不庞大,但都有很多非常好的小改进。其中一些被列入CTP1:

backlog上移动位置 - 一个新的基于优先级能力的键盘,便于那些喜欢使用键盘或者有很长backlog并且讨厌滚动来拖拽的人们。

Backlogs中心上所有页面的“全屏模式”- 这允许你解除所有的Chrome并且可以专注于你真正关心的数据 上- 尤其是呈现在任务板之前那些有用的。

Web Access 上搜索一个区域路径- 一个管理复杂区域路径层次结构的新方法。

那些已超出CTP1包含的东西,还会有很多。如果你在我们的发行说明页面跟进VS Online更新,你将会看到这些呈现在接下来的几个sprints上,它们也会加入到更新4中。

包装

所有大的事件都包含在CTP1中。当然,还有很多bug的修复,各种性能改进等。为时尚早,期待每隔几个星期都有包含更多内容的更新被添加到列表中。

感谢您的反馈与鼓励...

Brian

What do I need to build Xamarin.iOS apps on Visual Studio

MSDN Blogs - 6 hours 40 min ago

Hello Developers and enthusiasts!

I am sure most of you have heard about Xamarin, somewhere. Xamarin is a great technology that enables you to develop native iOS, Android, Mac and Windows apps in C#. Xamarin apps look and feel native because they have Native User Interfaces, Native API Access and Native Performance. It brings you the joy (and all other benefits :) ) of developing cross-platform mobile apps in C#, because with Xamarin anything you can do in Objective-C, Swift or Java, you can do in C#. Lastly,  you can build those native Windows, iOS and Android apps in Visual Studio with full IntelliSense, designer and debugger support. So, in summary, you have a 1 programming language "C#" instead of 3 and a single IDE "Visual Studio"  to replace 3. 
But am not here to talk about Xamarin as you most probably, know or heard about this already.  
In this post, I assume that you have taken that leap of faith with Xamarin and will address a very focused topic, "What do I need to develop an iOS app on Visual Studio". Xamarin iOS for Visual Studio accomplishes an amazing job at allowing you to create, build and debug iOS applications on a Windows machine using Visual Studio. But, it cannot do this alone, an iOS app cannot be created without Apple’s compiler, and it cannot be deployed without Apple’s certificates and code-signing tools (Apple rules apply here). This means that your Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studio installation requires a connection to a networked Mac OS X computer to perform these tasks for you. On the bright side,  once configured, Xamarin’s tools will make the process as seamless as possible.

Basic requirements include downloading the Xamarin installer, then the following steps:

 

  • Install Xamarin.iOS on a Mac
  • Have that Mac nearby (Wi-Fi range)
  • Open the Xamarin.iOS build Host application (Type "xamarin build host" into Spotlight to filter the applications)
  • Click Pair. The Build Host will provide you with a PIN.
  • Switch back to Visual Studio, Xamarin.iOS Mac Build Host will be detected and choose Next in the Configuration Wizard. If your Mac is correctly configured, the Wizard will list it as a possible Build Host.
  • Choose your Mac Build Host and click Select. Visual Studio will then prompt you for the PIN.
  • Once the PIN is entered, Visual Studio will automatically connect to the Build Host and let you compile, deploy and test iOS projects. (If you couldn't find the Mac Host, you can configure it manually by entering a host name or IP)

 

Next, Visual Studio will retrieve the Emulators from the Mac build host. You can build and run the app from the emulators available or directly to a device if you have that device connected to the Mac 

If you face any issues, you can follow this documentation on how to Install Xamarin.iOS on Windows.

 

Happy Coding!

Azure in Education 101 Series – Webinar Video

MSDN Blogs - 6 hours 46 min ago

Two of our Schools Business Managers have put together a short video using Office Mix* to help explain Microsoft Azure and how it could be used in education along with a short demo of setting up a virtual machine. You can find this video, along with a lots of other useful content on our Microsoft Education UK SlideShare account.

Any IT managers interested in Azure can watch this video, which forms part of our Azure in Education 101 series, and learn about the following:

  • What is Azure?
  • How to purchase Azure
  • How easy it is to create a new server
  • Resources for trying out azure

You can watch the short video right here, but we’d definitely recommend taking a further look at the Microsoft Education UK SlideShare account to further your knowledge and understanding of what is achievable in other areas of education and infrastructure:

Azure in Education 101 Series from Microsoft Education UK

As Graham said at the end of the video, we’d love to hear how you are all using Azure in schools, colleges and universities. At Microsoft Education UK, we firmly believe in the sharing of best practices with other teachers and institutions, and that is why it is one of the main principles of our MIE-Expert and Showcase Schools programmes. With this is mind, if you would like your story told on this blog and our other channels then please click ‘Email Blog Author’ from the list of options on the right hand side of this page, and one of our writers will respond to you.

*Click here to learn more about Office Mix

Azure in Education 101 Series – Webinar Video

MSDN Blogs - 6 hours 46 min ago

Two of our Schools Business Managers have put together a short video using Office Mix* to help explain Microsoft Azure and how it could be used in education along with a short demo of setting up a virtual machine. You can find this video, along with a lots of other useful content on our Microsoft Education UK SlideShare account.

Any IT managers interested in Azure can watch this video, which forms part of our Azure in Education 101 series, and learn about the following:

  • What is Azure?
  • How to purchase Azure
  • How easy it is to create a new server
  • Resources for trying out azure

You can watch the short video right here, but we’d definitely recommend taking a further look at the Microsoft Education UK SlideShare account to further your knowledge and understanding of what is achievable in other areas of education and infrastructure:

Azure in Education 101 Series from Microsoft Education UK

As Graham said at the end of the video, we’d love to hear how you are all using Azure in schools, colleges and universities. At Microsoft Education UK, we firmly believe in the sharing of best practices with other teachers and institutions, and that is why it is one of the main principles of our MIE-Expert and Showcase Schools programmes. With this is mind, if you would like your story told on this blog and our other channels then please click ‘Email Blog Author’ from the list of options on the right hand side of this page, and one of our writers will respond to you.

*Click here to learn more about Office Mix

Azure in Education 101 Series – Webinar Video

MSDN Blogs - 6 hours 46 min ago

Two of our Schools Business Managers have put together a short video using Office Mix* to help explain Microsoft Azure and how it could be used in education along with a short demo of setting up a virtual machine. You can find this video, along with a lots of other useful content on our Microsoft Education UK SlideShare account.

Any IT managers interested in Azure can watch this video, which forms part of our Azure in Education 101 series, and learn about the following:

  • What is Azure?
  • How to purchase Azure
  • How easy it is to create a new server
  • Resources for trying out azure

You can watch the short video right here, but we’d definitely recommend taking a further look at the Microsoft Education UK SlideShare account to further your knowledge and understanding of what is achievable in other areas of education and infrastructure:

Azure in Education 101 Series from Microsoft Education UK

As Graham said at the end of the video, we’d love to hear how you are all using Azure in schools, colleges and universities. At Microsoft Education UK, we firmly believe in the sharing of best practices with other teachers and institutions, and that is why it is one of the main principles of our MIE-Expert and Showcase Schools programmes. With this is mind, if you would like your story told on this blog and our other channels then please click ‘Email Blog Author’ from the list of options on the right hand side of this page, and one of our writers will respond to you.

*Click here to learn more about Office Mix

Common issues faced while configuring AlwaysOn listener on Azure VM cluster

MSDN Blogs - 6 hours 52 min ago
We have MSDN article [Tutorial: Listener Configuration for AlwaysOn Availability Groups ( http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn425027.aspx ) which provides detailed steps to configure AlwaysOn listener on Azure VM cluster. This article provides steps that can be followed to resolve commonly faced issues. Important consideration : All SQL Server virtual machines on Azure should be in the SAME cloud service for AlwaysOn configuration with listener. This can be verified from Azure portal. For...(read more)

App Studio Training to Non-technical Folks

MSDN Blogs - 7 hours 6 min ago

Free training for computer-savvy non-technical people out there on building apps. Free food & free account for app publishing.

You have no knowledge in programming, but you’ve been thinking about building an app for a while now, you want share your interests with the world, but you just don’t have enough time and even if you did, where would you start? The answer is Windows App Studio. A free, online app creation tool that allows you to quickly build Windows and Windows Phone apps to publish, test, and share. Make changes, add content, and toggle between phone and tablet views to watch your app come alive.

Microsoft Bangladesh is hosting a series of classes in order to help you learn App Studio for free in hands-on workshops. Just bring your own computer and own internet -- just one class is enough for you, but we are hosting several. We are offering you free food as well as free developer account worth $19, so that you can publish your own apps from our class straight away.

And if you want to advanced programming features, Windows App Studio generates your source code ready for Visual Studio - a feature no other app-builder tool provides. There is no better day than today, so get started!

Here's our current class schedule:

Class Date Time Registration link A December 26, 2014 10am – 1pm http://1drv.ms/1GNf9ZT B December 26, 2014 3pm – 6pm http://1drv.ms/1GNfdJ7 C December 27, 2014 3pm – 6pm http://1drv.ms/1GNfkEx


After you have registered, you will be invited via email, subject to our selection for the event. Please note that these classes are invitation-only. Hence, if you do not receive invitation we might be unable to entertain you. Here’s the address:

Microsoft Bangladesh
4th floor, Laila Tower,
8 Gulshan Avenue,
Dhaka – 1212

We maintain sharp timing – see you in the class. For more information please contact Tabassum Chowdhury by email or by phone: 01705506737.

Luke 22: Vår julegave til alle Startups!

MSDN Blogs - 7 hours 16 min ago
Velkommen til luke 22 i Microsofts julekalender for utviklere! Husk at hver luke du deler på Twitter eller Facebook gir deg mulighet til å vinne en Surface Pro 3 , men kun 1 deling pr luke i hvert media telles !   Microsoft har eget program som gir all nystartede tech bedrifter under 3 år gamle, programvare og sky i hele 3 år GRATIS! Dette programmet heter BizSpark. Er du en av disse og driver med programvareutvikling eller kjenner du en kompis som gjør dette? Da bør denne luken være noe for...(read more)

Tips & tricks for juggling your work this Christmas

MSDN Blogs - 7 hours 57 min ago

As wonderful as the Christmas break is, it can be stressful too. For many companies, the end of the calendar year is critical, either because of an annual event, or a surge in retail sales or the pressure to meet end-of-year quotas. At the same time, you’ve got shopping to do, parties to throw and family to entertain. It’s a whole lot of fuss all at once. For many successful professionals, the key to getting through the Christmas break comes down to one word: flexibility.

When most people hear the phrase “flexible working,” they immediately think of working from home, but that’s only part of the story. Sure, it’s great to be able to skip the morning commute or to be at the house when a package arrives. But working from home has its challenges too. You can feel disconnected from your co-workers, disorganised in all the rush and distracted by kids home from school (or even just the telly). True flexible working is about being able to do your best work, no matter where you are.

Flexible working masters practice three disciplines that help them stay productive without getting flustered, even during the height of Christmas:

Eliminate distractions: Studies show that when you’re interrupted at work, it can take up to 23 minutes for you to get back on task. So what’s the number one distraction you’ll face when working from home over Christmas? Is it family? Nope. Television? No way. Mince pies? Not even close. It’s e-mail – because that’s the interruption most people have the hardest time shutting out, since we still think of reading e-mail as work, rather than a distraction from work. To cut down on interruptions, consider getting permission from your boss to only check your e-mail at preselected times, say 11 am and 4 pm. You should also consider setting your instant messaging status to “Do Not Disturb” and your phone to silent during your prime working times.

Increase collaboration: Just because you’re trying to minimise distractions doesn’t mean you can afford to work in isolation. Effective communication is even more important when you’re working from home. But instead of sending more messages, you need to learn to send better messages. With an internal social network like Yammer, you can cut through silos and collaborate more effectively, so you can spend less time talking about work and more time getting stuff done. At the same time, make sure that any teleconferences you hold adhere to collaborative meeting best practices, so that they end on time without anyone feeling rushed.

Pick your moments: You can use scheduling tools in Microsoft Office to help you make the most of your time. First, make a prioritised to-do list in OneNote, so you know what you’re up against. Then use your Outlook calendar to schedule appointments for all your biggest commitments, be they work, family or personal. Make everything else fit around those big moments. Next, look for unexpected pockets of time during the day. Maybe you have a long train journey that could double as report filing time. Maybe you have a free hour to make some calls while your kids are ice-skating. If you spot those windows early, it’s easy to make sure they’re as productive as possible. Then you can get back to doing what really matters.

Learn more about the benefits of flexible working this Christmas and beyond.

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