VMWare Timesync for Windows Guests

July 15, 2008

In the past, there has been debate over whether to use Domain-based or host-based time synchronisation for VM guests running Windows. Microsoft and VMWare guidance didn’t seem to agree. It seems that Microsoft has finally directed administrators to the VMWare KB – see links below.

The summary of the articles is that when running a Windows guest within a VMWare virtual machine, disable W32Time – the built in Windows time synchronisation. Instead, use the VMWare Tools option to sync the guest’s time to the host machine.  The VMWare host server must be set to synchronise with an NTP time source to ensure accurate time is maintained.

The following two articles cover the recommended configuration:

Time Synchronization issue in Windows Server 2003 systems running as VMware Guests

VMware Time Sync and Windows Time Service

A VMWare ESX 3.5 host can now be configured for NTP time sync using the VIClient 2.5 GUI  (and configuring the time source automatically opens the NTP Client ports in the ESX firewall).


Group Policy Preferences and GPRESULT

July 14, 2008

In Vista SP1, the RSOP reports generated locally on a client computer do not contain GPP information, which makes troubleshooting more difficult. For example, drive mappings applied as part of a User GPP will not be displayed in a GPRESULT report (GPRESULT /h).

Microsoft ‘Group Policy Preferences’ (GPP) is the re-packaged Desktop Standard ‘Policy Maker’ product. The GPP Client Side Extensions (CSE) for XP / Vista allow certain settings – such as environment variables, drive mappings, shortcuts etc – to be defined in a Group Policy Object (GPO) and applied as a one-off default setting, or re-applied at every user logon / computer start-up.

The solution to viewing applied GPPs is to use the Group Policy Results wizard in ‘Group Policy Management’ (GPMC ) 2.0, either locally or remotely. The Group Policy Results wizard does display both Group Policy and Group Policy Preferences applied to the user / computer.

GPMC 2.0 is a separate install on Vista SP1, part of the Remote Server Administration Tools and can also be installed on Server 2008.

Hello world!

July 14, 2008

function say([string]$words)
  Write-Host $words

say(“Hello World”)