November 2013 Rollup Update for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

Microsoft have today released KB2887595 which is a 199.7 MB rollup update for Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 RT and Windows Server 2012 R2.

You can see the release notes for the update and the updates included within it at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2887595. The update looks tasty including one update which sounds of interest for users of roaming profiles which addresses incompatibility issues between profiles initially created on earlier versions of Windows (KB 2890783 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2890783).

Although not explicitly mentioned in the notes, it will be interesting to see if the hang issues some people (including myself) have been experiencing with Internet Explorer 11 are resolved?

Update for Windows 7 SP1 to Cleanup WinSXS

I was surprised that I missed this release initially so I’m a few days off the pulse with this post but Microsoft have released an update for Windows 7 SP1 and it’s a good one.


This update gives you new options for cleaning up the WinSXS repository using the Disk Cleanup tool, allowing you to reduce the footprint of your Windows installation. As time goes by after installing Windows Updates which are released to address security flaws or provide stability and reliability improvements, this folder grows. This is because this folder stores previous versions of updated files to allow you to roll back.

With Windows 7 SP1, we had the DISM command for removing the Pre-SP1 WinSXS repository files which for some people, depending on updates you had installed could save gigabytes of disk, so this update to clean up Post-SP1 updates is really welcome.

There are some options for managing the usage of this clean up as an administrator for enterprise desktops however the process is a little clunky due to the fact that it is dependant on some registry and manual command line actions, but its nothing that can’t be achieved with the deployment of a Group Policy Object with a machine start up script.

Happy Cleaning.

Remote Desktop Protocol 8

Just a real quick post to say that I noticed my desktop PC at home running Windows 7 had an optional update listed for Remote Desktop Protocol 8, the version included in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 natively.

The update is available for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1.

The KB article for the changes and improvements in the protocol version at available at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2592687.

The ky features appear to be support for VoIP applications via RemoteFX, Improved SSO for RDS Web Access, RemoteApp Reconnection. It’s also worth noting that Shadowing (Remote Control) of RDS sessions and Aero Glass Remoting are now deprecated, so if you are using Shared Session Virtualization as a VDI infrastructure, you might what to think about testing this update first if your users like their Desktop Experience RDS sessions.

KMS Activating Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8

In our environment, we have a Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual guest serving as our KMS host. With the recent RTM releases of Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, we wanted to be able to activate our hosts and guests using KMS. If you try to activate one of these new Windows editions using a Windows Server 2008 R2 KMS host, then you will likely encounter the following error:

Error: 0xC004F050 The Software Licensing Service reported that the product key is invalid.

Luckily, Microsoft have released an update for the Windows Server 2008 R2 KMS host services to support the application of new KMS keys and to accept the KMS activation requests from these operating systems. You can download the update from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2691586/EN-US and register to receive the hotfix.

Something you should note which I ran into which is not explicitly defined in the article is that this update only applies to Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1. Trying to apply this update to the RTM release of Windows Server 2008 R2 produces an Windows Update error that this update is not applicable to this system.

After applying the SP1 update to the KMS host, I was able to install the update, and after a reboot, we were nearly ready to start activating. The final step is to update the KMS key, which is something not terribly well explained on the web either. You will have a KMS host key if you are a Microsoft Volume License customer, and you will have a Windows 8 or a Windows Server 2012 KMS key if you subscribe to Software Assurance for the products.

If you subscribe to Software Assurance for Windows 7 client operating systems, but not for Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2, then you will receive a Windows 8 KMS key via your Volume License Servicing Center, but not a Windows Server 2012 KMS key. If you subscribe to Software Assurance for Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 then you will receive a Windows Server 2012 KMS key via your Volume License Servicing Center. One thing you need to be aware of regarding KMS is how the down-level clients are licensed.

On a KMS host, you can only apply one license key. If you install a Windows 8 KMS key, then you will be able to activate Windows Vista, 7 and 8 clients, but will not be able to activate any edition of any server operating system. In you install a Windows Server 2012 KMS key, then you will be able to activate any combination of Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, 7 and 8.

In my scenario, our VLSC site showed a KMS key for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, so I used the Windows Server 2012 key. On the KMS host, first uninstall the old KMS key using the following command:

cscript slmgr.vbs -upk

You will receive a message that the key was successfully uninstalled, after which you can enter the new key.

cscript slmgr.vbs -ipk XYZXY-XYZXY-XYZXY-XYZXY-XYZXY

You should now receive a notification that the key was successfully installed onto the server. Lastly, you need to activate the key which requires going out to the Microsoft activation service, so if you use a proxy server for internet access, be sure that you allow this user and host combination to do that.

cscript slmgr.vbs -ato

Once all the above was complete, I entered the KMS client key for Windows 8 onto my Windows 8 Enterprise desktop and it successfully activated, as did a Windows Server 2012 Datacenter virtual machine which I deployed a couple of days ago. If you need the KMS client keys to get you back to a KMS state after you may have MAK activated your machines to get you up and running, you can get them from the TechNet page at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj612867.aspx.