Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Advanced Azure Cloud Computing Series - Part 1

When it comes to advanced workloads in Azure like CAx engineering or cloud based gaming some people are not really convinced about the overal performance. Some meaning that the performance cant reach the end user. To show you that this is not the case here a few examples in my series about advanced Azure cloud computing performance.

This is a high performance benchmark example. You will see at the end a demo video based on a rendering benchmark and also a demo video with a CAD program (Demo version of Autodesk Inventor 2019).

For a better understanding you see below also an illustration about the setup used for this demonstration. When you do your own tests and you are working with "RDP only" then the the performance on the WAN will be very poor for this benchmark.

Therefore I added a Citrix Netscaler and optimized the HDX protocol (Kudos to my colleague Dennis Reimer!)

To get a great performance for heavy graphic workloads (e.g. CAD) or cloud gaming you would need the Microsoft Azure NV-series machines. The server running the VMs have additional NVIDIA graphic cards and their performance is directly accessible from the VM itself. More information you will find here.

To get a real world impression from what you get - see here a locally captured video from the benchmark which was running in the cloud!

(These videos are uploaded to Youtube. So please ensure you have setup in Youtube fix resolution with HD1080p60 and a good internet connection!)

And to see the real world behaviour of a CAD program running in the cloud - see here also a locally captured video from Autodesk Inventor 2019. To ensure you that this is no fake have a clooser look to the RDP Connection Analyzer in the beginning which reveals that this is truely a remote computer using HDX (Thinwire) protocol for optimal graphics. In the middle of the video you can see also shiny metal surfaces with realtime reflection rendering.

(These videos are uploaded to Youtube. So please ensure you have setup in Youtube fix resolution with HD1080p60 and a good internet connection!)

As you can see you can benefit from high performance machines without having huge investments under your own desk. (And no I get not paid by MS for this. I am an Azure fan and want to make you frenetic as I am :-) )

PS: In one of my next blogs I plan to write about cloud gaming with Azure. There are different free tools available to make this working with DirectX as well.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Bad web server performance in Azure - dont forget the right view for diagnostics

Recently I had an issue with bad performance of a webservice in Azure.

First look you typically take is to check the main metrics for the webservice like CPU and RAM. But CPU was always around 10%-15% and RAM was around 60% - 70%. So no big deal.

But the time to answer requests was very bad. (Left side without modification. Right side with modification).

Then I checked the database and it looked fine on the first place. When you see this you would never mind that this is still an issue! But when you look deeper into it you will find that Azure starts to show this with aggregation type  "AVG"= Average values. (You will find the dropdown in the right upper corner of the graph) So what you see is just a cummulation over time. And this can be really misleading!  (Left side still the bad situation before modification, right side with modification)

After changing the aggregation to the aggregation type "MAX" you will see this. And this makes really much more sense now. So in my situation very often the SQL server in Azure hits its limits. But not for a long time as my requests are from hundreds of users but not permanently.  (Left side still the bad situation before modification, right side with modification)

But now the big question - how to fix this?

The cool thing in Azure is that nearly all ressources scale in the one or other way. And the scaling is incredible. In my situation I have initially operated the website with the smallest production SQL server instance in Azure with 10 DTUs. (For DTU definition checkout here).

To finally improve my website application performance the simple change was from 10 DTU to 20 DTU (in S1 Standard Tier). This cost me actually 12€ more per month and all users are happy again.

To do this simply move the slider in the "Configure" section of your Azure DB.

And thats it!

Windows 10 - 1909 whats new

Windows 10 - Version 1909 (aka 19H2)
Build 10.0.18363.476

Windows 19H2 is considered to be more a quality update than a major feature upgrade. But this is part of Microsofts product politics right now. So each H1 version will come now with new features for home and business users. The support is currently limited to 18 months for this versions. 

The H2 releases where 1909 is the one we are talking about is supported for 30 months so far. This is the one where businesses looking for to have the upgrades out in the field as long as possible.

The following new features are being introduced as part of this update.

  • This update will be published to WSUS so that customers can deploy and manage Insider Preview builds alongside their standard ConfigMan/WSUS approach. See this blog post for details.
  • We are offering pre-release support for 19H2 offered to Windows Insider Program for Business (WIP4Biz) customers who face blocking issues that prevent them from feature evaluation or device use. See this article for details.
  • Windows containers require matched host and container version. This restricts customers and limits Windows containers from supporting mixed-version container pod scenarios This update includes 5 fixes to address this and allow the host to run down-level containers on up-level for process (Argon) isolation.
  • A fix to allow OEMs to reduce the inking latency based on the hardware capabilities of their devices rather than being stuck with latency selected on typical hardware configuration by the OS.
  • Key-rolling or Key-rotation feature enables secure rolling of Recovery passwords on MDM managed AAD devices upon on demand request from Microsoft Intune/MDM tools or upon every time recovery password is used to unlock the BitLocker protected drive. This feature will help prevent accidental recovery password disclosure as part of manual BitLocker drive unlock by users.
  • A change to enable third-party digital assistants to voice activate above the Lock screen.
  • You can now quickly create an event straight from the Calendar flyout on the Taskbar. Just select the date and time at the lower right corner of the Taskbar to open the Calendar flyout and pick your desired date and start typing in the text box–you’ll now see inline options to set a time and location.
  • The navigation pane on the Start menu now expands when you hover over it with your mouse to better inform where clicking goes.
  • We have added friendly images to show what is meant by “banner” and “Action Center” when adjusting the notifications on apps in order to make these settings more approachable and understandable.
  • Notifications settings under Settings > System > Notifications will now default to sorting notification senders by most recently shown notification, rather than sender name. This makes it easier to find and configure frequent and recent senders. We have also added a setting to turn off playing sound when notifications appear.
  • We now show the options to configure and turn off notifications from an app/website right on the notification, both as a banner and in Action Center.
  • We have added a “Manage notifications” button to the top of Action Center that launches the main “Notifications & actions” Settings page.
  • We have added additional debugging capabilities for newer Intel processors. This is only relevant for hardware manufacturers.
  • We have made general battery life and power efficiency improvements for PCs with certain processors.
  • A CPU may have multiple “favored” cores (logical processors of the highest available scheduling class). To provide better performance and reliability, we have implemented a rotation policy that distributes work more fairly among these favored cores.
  • We have enabled Windows Defender Credential Guard for ARM64 devices for additional protection against credential theft for enterprises deploying ARM64 devices in their organizations.
  • We have enabled the ability for enterprises to supplement the Windows 10 in S Mode policy to allow traditional Win32 (desktop) apps from Microsoft Intune.
  • We’re updating the search box in File Explorer to now be powered by Windows Search. This change will help integrate your OneDrive content online with the traditional indexed results. More details here.
  • We have added the ability for Narrator and other assistive technologies to read and learn where the FN key is located on keyboards and what state it is in (locked versus unlocked).

And here you will find the bugfixing and stabilization done sofar for this release:
  • Some older devices may experience loss of Wi-Fi connectivity due to an outdated Qualcomm driver. An updated Wi-Fi driver should be available from your device manufacturer (OEM).
    To safeguard your upgrade experience, we have applied a hold on devices with affected Qualcomm driver from being offered Windows 10, version 1903 or Windows 10, version 1909, until the updated driver is installed.
  • Microsoft has identified compatibility issues with some driver versions for Bluetooth radios made by Realtek. To safeguard your update experience, we have applied a compatibility hold on devices with affected driver versions for Realtek Bluetooth radios from being offered Windows 10, version 1903 or Windows Server, version 1903 until the driver has been updated.Resolution: This issue was resolved with an updated driver for the affected Realtek Bluetooth radio and the safeguard hold has been removed. Please note, it can take up to 48 hours before you can update to offered Windows 10, version 1909 or Windows 10, version 1903.
And here are some known issues:
  • Issues with some older versions of Avast and AVG anti-virus products:
    Microsoft and Avast has identified compatibility issues with some older versions of Avast Antivirus and AVG Antivirus that might still be installed by a small number of users. Any application from Avast or AVG that contains Antivirus version 19.5.4444.567 or earlier is affected.

    To safeguard your upgrade experience, we have applied a hold on devices with affected Avast and AVG Antivirus from being offered or installing Windows 10, version 1903 or Windows 10, version 1909, until the application is updated.

    Before updating to Windows 10, version 1903 or Windows 10, version 1909, you will need to download and install an updated version of your Avast or AVG application.
  • Unable to create local users in Chinese, Japanese and Korean during device setup
    When setting up a new Windows device using the Out of Box Experience (OOBE), you might be unable to create a local user when using Input Method Editor (IME). This issue might affect you if you are using the IME for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean languages.

    Note This issue does not affect using a Microsoft Account during OOBE.

    : To mitigate this issue, set the keyboard language to English during user creation or use a Microsoft Account to complete OOBE. You can set the keyboard language back to your preferred language after user creation. Once the OOBE is done and you are at the desktop, you can rename the current user using these instructions. If you prefer to create a new local user, see KB4026923.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Chromium Edge adds most natural voice ever

For my day to day work as information worker I have to read a lot. To stay more focused on the content while reading it helps to use the "read aloud" feature from Edge Chromium (while still in Beta its an awesome browser and I use it since couple weeks for my day to day work). 

The other browsers are still there - just as backup in case (I did not yet had the case!)

The Read Aloud feature, which you can start from the right click context menu or from the "Settings and more" menu, now supports more natural sounding voices out of the box. When you turn on Read Aloud and click the "Voice options" button, you’ll notice new "24kRUS" and "Neural" voice options. These voices sound more natural than ever. Try it out. It is really amazing! The new voices are powered by Microsoft Cognitive Services and exposed via the JavaScript Speech Synthesis API. This means that any web-based text to speech application can leverage them to create more human sounding experiences in Microsoft Edge. And MS as always love to hear your feedback! And if you haven't him yet then hurry up! You will find him here:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Sync Client Side Cache via commandline - Powershell

Recently we had a customer where during an automated AD migration process the sync of the client side cache (CSC) aka "Offline Folders" was necessary. But unfortunately there is natively no commandline tool to do so. Web research was also initially unsuccessfully. Until I found a solution from the product group. They built a Powershell script for this use case.

You will find the script here:

Enjoy! :-)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Troubleshooting Windows 10 Upgrade Issues

Whenever you run into an issue during OS Upgrade and you will find such fancy error codes like "0X80070070" or "0xC1900107" or any other.

Then SetupDiag is your friend!

A new tool from Microsoft to run setup related diagnostics. It parses either online or offline all the relevant logfiles and extract the issue and mostly also shows how to fix them. Quicker you cant find the issue and the solution!

SetupDiag documentation and download (actually all you need)

General quick fixes for most common issues

Here a good description how to read the error code if you want to

The full story of troubleshooting

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Windows 10 - 1903 whats new

Windows 10 - Version 1903
Build 10.0.18362.2018

Edge NOT YET with Chromium onboard!

In this release the new chromium based Edge browser is NOT YET onboard by default. You need to download him separately as he is still under development. But you can install and use him side by side with built-in Edge.


  • The rail will now expand when hovering over it for a longer period of time
  • When transparency is disabled, Start will continue to show the wallpaper rather than a solid color as background
  • The power and user menu now use icons to indicate the options, as well as an acrylic background
  • The power button will now show an orange dot when an update is ready to be installed
  • The default start layout has been updated with fewer tiles
  • Start now has its own process called StartMenuExperienceHost

Cortana + search

  • Updated UI with recent activities, updated filters and more Fluent Design elements

Taskbar + Action center

  • When disconnected from the internet, Windows will now show a globe-icon
  • When your microphone is in use, it will show an icon in the system tray
  • The brightness quick action has been replaced with a slider
  • You can now re-arrange quick actions in the Action center itself, or add new quick actions
  • The Windows Update icon will now show an orange dot if an update is ready to reboot the device
  • The microphone icon will now show which app is using the microphone
  • Icons will have to redraw less often, like when the recycle bin is being interacted with
  • Cortana and search have been split up in their own buttons

User Interface

  • The Windows sign-in screen now uses acrylic when the lock screen is dismissed
  • The default wallpaper has been changed
  • The Windows UI now supports a light theme
  • The printing dialog will now follow your color theme
  • The printing dialog now makes more use of icons to make options more clear
  • Long names in the print dialog will now wrap rather than being cut off
  • Action Center now has a shadow like other flyouts
  • Disabling transparency will now also disable it on the logon screen
  • Apps that use native dropdowns will now show shadows below them
  • Light icons in the white theme are now better visible
  • Jumplists will now follow your accent color when your accent color is being applied to the taskbar
  • When focus is set to the search bar, it will now have a colored border following your accent

File Explorer

  • The File Explorer icon has been updated for better contrast with the white taskbar
  • The Downloads-folder will now sort by date by default
  • Friendly dates can now be turned off from the column titles
  • File Explorer now allows you to create files of which the name starts with a dot like ".gitignore"



  • "When I'm using an app in full screen mode" has been added as a new rule to focus assist
  • "Fix scaling for apps" is now enabled by default
  • Quick action settings have been removed and are replaced with the Action center editor
  • "Storage" has been redesigned to merge the detailed view with the main view
  • Unplugging or plugging in a device will no longer make the screen brightness flip between 2 states
  • Nearby Sharing has been added as a default exception to Focus Assist


  • A link to the troubleshooter has been added to "Printers & Scanners"

Network & Internet

  • You can now set advanced Ethernet settings
  • The corresponding Ethernet adapter name will now be shown in the sidebar


  • "Choose your color" has been added to override both "Choose your default Windows mode" and "Choose your default app mode" settings
  • An option has been added to change the Windows mode from dark to light under "Color"
  • Fonts now shows a field where font files can be dragged to to install them on the device


  • You can now create a security key from Sign-in options
  • You can now set Windows up to sign in through an SMS code instead of a password
  • Automatic sign-in is now enabled on Cloud Domain Joined devices
  • Accounts can now be set up to sign in with SMS in all editions

Time & language

  • While installing a new language there will now be an option to set it as the display language
  • Speech recognition and Text-to-Speech are now separate installable pieces of language packs
  • The Region icon has been updated
  • You can now manually sync your clock with the server under "Date & Time"

Ease of Access

  • "Hear advanced information about controls when navigating" has been added as a new setting for Narrator
  • Settings have been added to minimize Narrator Home to the system tray and to remove it from the Alt + Tab list
  • 5 new verbosity levels have been added to Narrator
  • Cursor size now is a slider with support for a larger maximum size and more steps in between
  • The cursor can now be set to a custom color
  • Additionally Narrator voices can now be downloaded without downloading full language packs
  • 11 new pointer sizes have been added

Cortana & Search

  • The page "Searching Windows" has been added and provides options to expand Windows' indexing range


  • The microphone and camera privacy pages now show which apps are using them and when any app last did
  • The "Recommended troubleshooting" setting is now fully functional

Update & Security

  • A setting has been added under "Troubleshoot" that lets Windows automatically troubleshoot issues
  • "Change active hours", "View update history" and "Advanced options" now have icons under Windows Update
  • A link to "Pause updates for 7 days" has been added to the main Windows Update UI
  • Active Hours can now be managed by Windows itself based on your activity
  • The reset UI has been updated to require less clicks and provide a more consistent experience
  • Windows Insider settings have been revamped with a simplified UI


  • Settings will now show your account details at the top of the home page
  • The Search category will now be shown before Update & Security
  • The text on numerous pages has been updated
  • The Settings icon is now grey when the light theme is active rather than black


  • Narrator can now read next, current and previous sentences
  • Narrator has been improved to work better with Chrome
  • USB support for Inceptor and Orbit 20 displays has been added with BRLTTY 5.6
  • Support for the UI Automation framework IAccessible2 has been added
  • Narrator text reading commands can now be used to scan a full window
  • The "Not on explorable text"-error has been removed
  • You can now allow Narrator to read by Sentence in Braille support
  • Narrator will now give phonetic readings when using Narrator key + Comma twice
  • Centered mouse mode in Magnifier should be more performant
  • Narrator Home has been added with an overview for everything you need for Narrator
  • You can now cycle through 5 additional verbosity levels with Narrator + V
  • Narrator + 0 will now allow you to read out an URL completely
  • Narrator will no longer announce "non-selected" in tables with cells where aria-selected isn't set or when you enter or exit a table
  • Capitalization reading is now available for all reading modes
  • Reading and navigation commands now stay within the web page content area when you're using web browsers and other apps
  • Narrator can now follow its reading position with the cursor
  • Narrator text-reading commands are now supported for reading a full window
  • You can now tell Narrator to read any of the following goroups of keyboard keys: Hear letters, numbers, and punctuation as you type, Hear function keys as you type, Hear arrow, Tab, and other navigation keys as you type, Hear when toggle keys like Caps lock and Num lock are turned on or off, and Hear Shift, Alt, and other modifier keys as you type
  • Narrator now supports combo edit controls and will announce them as such
  • Narrator will now tag along with your PIN or password reset
  • Narrator Home's actions have been changed to buttons instead of a listview
  • You can now render the current character's phonetics with Narrator + 5 twice
  • Narrator now better handles reading controls while navigating and editing
  • Narrator is now better in reading tables in PowerPoint
  • When Narrator is on a slider, the left and right arrows will now decrease and increase the slider
  • Narrator now announces the state of hardware buttons
  • Improved support for Narrator in Microsoft Teams
  • In Scan Mode, Narrator will now see the left and right arrows as decrease and increase when on a slider
  • The "not selected" phrase has been removed from speaking in Narrator
  • Narrator now announced headings at any level
  • Narrator can now better handle pull-down menus in Skype desktop
  • Improved pitch change detection
  • Improvements while using Narrator's text movement commands when reading
  • Magnifier with larger pointers will now pan smoothly when as the pointer changes shape
  • "Change how capitalized text is read" has been removed from Narrator

Language and input

  • The emoji panel will now show pages with character-emojis
  • Support for Vietnamese Telex and Number-key based keyboards
  • A large set of symbols have been added to the touch keyboard
  • Support for Emoji 12 beta has been added
  • The on-screen keyboard has been updated to dynamically change the hit target for all keys to predict where someone might tap
  • Improvements to the on-screen keyboard to keep it from expanding over the current text field
  • The timeout period when dictating has been changed from 5 seconds to 10
  • Special symbols and kaomoji have been added to the emoji picker
  • Pressing Win + H to dictate in an unsupported language will now trigger a notification telling you dictation is not available
  • Left Alt + Shift will now trigger a notification telling you about the hotkey and includes a link to Settings to disable it
  • Support for ADLaM and Osage has been added to the keyboard

Input Method Editor

  • Text predictions in the Japanese IME now have an index for quick selection


  • 3D Viewer, Calculator, Calendar, Groove Music, Mail, Movies & TV, Paint 3D, Snip & Sketch, Sticky Notes and Voice Recorder can now be uninstalled


  • A set of new settings have been added under the "Terminal" tab in Console Settings
  • Scroll Forward can now be set to scroll below the most recent row of text after clearing
  • The cursor shape can now be changed to 5 different options (legacy, underscore, vertical bar, empty box and solid box)
  • The cursor color can now be set independently instead of being the negative color of the current background
  • The titlebar will now follow the Windows system theme


  • Support for UTF-8 without Byte Order Mark has been added and is now the default
  • The encoding format of a document is now shown in the statusbar
  • When a file is not saved, an asterisk will be shown at the start of the title in the titlebar
  • Send Feedback has been added under Help
  • Ctrl + Shift + S, Ctrl + Shift + N and Ctrl + W have been added to open Save as..., open a new Notepad window and to close the current Notepad window respectively
  • Support for opening and saving files with a path longer than 260 characters

Registry Editor

  • Pressing F4 will now move the caret to the end of the address bar and open the autocomplete dropdown

Snip & Sketch

  • Window snipping has been added as a new tool

Task Manager

  • Details will now show if an app is DPI aware
  • A default tab can now be set under Options

Windows Mixed Reality

  • Support for Win32 apps has been added

Windows Security

  • A setting has been added to allow you to manage access to the camera and microphone when using Application Guard for Microsoft Edge
  • Controlled folder access blocks have been added to Protection history
  • Protection history now shows you actions to take for certain items
  • Detections made by Windows Defender Offline will now be shown in Protection history
  • Pending recommendations are now shown in the Protection history
  • Tamper Protection has been added as a new option under "Virus & Threat Protection Settings"

Windows Subsystem for Linux

  • You can now manage your WSL distros that are included in the wslconfig command line tool
  • You can now import a distro to non-system drives
  • You can now export WSL distributions
  • The file system of a Linux distro can now be accessed from File Explorer
  • You can now import and export distros from the WSL command line

Other features

  • Antivirus apps must run as a protected process for Windows Defender Antivirus to disable and to show up in Windows Security
  • LEDBAT support has been added to Delivery Optimization
  • The Windows 10 ISO Setup has been reworked with a white design
  • Windows Sandbox has been added as an isolated desktop environment to try apps
  • The Clipboard UI has been updated to be more optimized for text
  • Resetting your PIN now uses the same look and feel as signing in on the web
  • The PIN reset UI is now available for all editions instead of only Home
  • The "Show clear logon background" group policy has been added

And further

  • The Ebrima font has been added to support ADLaM
  • Clean installs of none-Home versions of Windows will no longer use Cortana's voice-over by default during installation
  • Windows will now reserve 7GB space for updates, apps, temporary files and system caches
  • The per-process Fiber Local Storage slot allocation limit has been raised
  • Windows now supports the RAW image format
  • Unknown improvements to gaming

Fixed issues

  • We fixed an issue resulting in the Connect app crashing on launch for some Insiders.

Known issues

  • Launching games that use anti-cheat software may trigger a bugcheck (GSOD).
  • Creative X-Fi sound cards are not functioning properly. We are partnering with Creative to resolve this issue.
  • Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly. We are investigating the issue.

Kudos to ChangeWindows Team!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Microsoft DART is missing command prompt - how to fix this

Whenever you boot Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit you may want to have a command prompt or PowerShell. First of all this option is not shown. Also F10 for command prompt does not work. Also calling the cmd.exe from browse does not work. Anyway there is always a way to reach your goal ... ๐Ÿ˜†

How to achieve this:
   1. Browse with DARTs Explorer to:
   2. Start powershell.exe
   3. Optional type in cmd.exe to start regular command prompt if you feel here more comfortable.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Recover custom DNS domains in deleted Microsoft Demos tenant

In the past Microsoft cloud consultants they are using the MS cloud demo platform are sometimes connecting their own DNS domains to the Office365 tenant. 

When they delete later the tenant (it typically runs for 90 days only!) and they want to reuse their custom DNS domain in another tenant then the old DNS name is still attached to the old deleted tenant! And they can not attach it to the new tenant anymore. 

But this can be fixed!

Here is how this works:

1. The old tenant is somehow deleted but not really completely. This means:
2. Login to with your custom name: e.g. still works. Same with Azure portal. But you can not use any services from it. Also the licenses are removed for the users.
3. Navigate to: SETUP -> Domains

4. Notice the name!
5. Logout
6. Login again with the - use your DNS name you noticed from your tenant instead!
7. Navigate again to: SETUP -> Domains
8. Click on your custom domain name e.g.
9. Now you see in the top menu the option to delete it.
10. Follow the instructions (e.g. which include to move the custom DNS mail addresses back to the Microsoft generic DNS entry)
11. Voila you have your custom DNS back for using somewhere else!
12. Now you can exit the admin portal.