Why do we need virtual machines. A virtual machine (VM), sometimes called a hardware virtual machine, is that of a number of discrete identical execution environments on a single computer, each of which runs an operating system. This can allow applications written for one OS to be executed on a machine which runs a different OS, or provide execution "sandboxes" which provide a greater level of isolation between processes than is achieved when running multiple processes on the same instance of an OS. Furthermore it gives you the ability to test software before it's RTM'd.

In most of our classes at Class-A we use VM's too, which gives us the opportunity to have several classes a week and use the newest software of MS without influencing the base system. Every machine has got its own set of VM's, dedicated and branded for this specific machine. This way we can easily give network access to the VM's, without disturbing each other. The most annoying part is when you finished a setup of such a dedicated VM, you have to clean it manually.

When investigating 'Orcas' I found myself a nice tool on the harddrive of the VPC, called Clean Virtual Machine.

With this tool you're able to clean the virtual machine resources very quickly—in 10 or 15 seconds—so new virtual machines are quickly made available to the next user. Besides cleaning you can also test if your VM is cleared, optimized and contains the latest version of Virtual Machine Additions.  

I  immediately adopted it, and will use it for all my other VM preparations. While searching the Internet, I couldn't find any information related to this product, so it must be an internal MS product. If you interested in it look for VMClean.exe on your 'Orcas' VPC.


Technorati tags: , , ,


Like the most of you I wanted to have a close look at some new features of Orcas. While starting with the newer applications I became more and more frustrated by the minute. In the most basal screens I got al kind of strange errors. The funny part is, I'm using the VPC Microsoft is delivering on their Website. As with .NET 3.0, .NET 3.5 still relies on .NET 2.0 and I think this is were some of the problems are originated from.

Update from Alex:

If you have trouble or failures like Mike and a lot of others did, don't use the Virtual PC image, but instead create your own. Download the self-extracting installers for VS Orcas and TFS Orcas. Also, do NOT install VS2005 and Orcas side-by-side. This is the cause of all your pain and error messages (well, not all, but the a lot of the ones related to this subject). Why, o why did Microsoft install VS2005 Team Suite together with Orcas when even the release notes say this causes these issues.

Alex, you hit the nail on the head.

Here are some screendumps.

Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Configuration (Snap-in failed to initialize)

Project Properties (Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.WindowPane.OnCreate())

Workflow Designer (Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.WindowPane.GetService(System.Type))



This is so MS. I hope to find a solution for these problems, but I think I already know it (April CTP).


Technorati tags:

Who isn't interested in the new features of Orcas. I really am and especially all the features of TFS. Brian Harry posted a couple of months ago a great blog about all the new features. Since the latest CTP of Orcas you can check it out yourself.

In this blog I explain the new features of Team Build within Orcas.

  • Improved ability to manage multiple build machines.

  • Improved ability to specify what source, versions of source, etc to include in a build.
  • Simplified ability to specify what tests get run as part of a build.

    Unfortunately I couldn't show you this feature because I couldn't create any unit tests with Orcas.

  • The ability to story build definitions anywhere in the version control hierarchy.
  • Support for retention policies. Specify how builds should be retained on the build server.
  • Continuous Integration – There are many components to this, including build queuing and queue management, drop management (so that users can set policies for when builds should be automatically deleted), and build triggers that allows configuration of exactly how when CI builds should be triggered, for example – every checkin, rolling build (completion of one build starts the next), etc.
  • Stop and delete builds from within VS.
  • Support multi-threaded builds with the new MSBuild.
  • Improved extensibility of the build targets – such as ability to easily execute targets before and after each solution/project is built.

    I couldn't find this option jet.

The team completely redesigned the Team Build to fulfill all changes requested by their customers. One of the nicest things is you can now reopen your build definition in the wizard instead as XML file. I personally think they did a great job. Keep up the good work guys.


Technorati tags: , ,


Who isn't interested in the new features of Orcas. I really am and especially all the features of TFS. Brian Harry posted a couple of months ago a great blog about all the new features. Since the latest CTP of Orcas you can check it out yourself.

In this blog I explain the new features of Version Control within Orcas.

  • Destroy- The version control destroy operation provides administrators with the ability to remove files and folders from the version control system. The destroyed files and folders cannot be recovered once they are destroyed. Destroy allows administrators to achieve SQL server disk space usage goals without constantly needing to add more disks to the data tier machine. Destroy also facilitates removing versioned file contents that must be permanently removed from the system for any other reason.

    The TFS team extended the TF command and added an instruction destroy. This command can only be run by an administrator.


  • Annotate - Annotate is a feature that allows developers to inspect a source code file and see at line-by-line level of detail who last changed each section of code. It brings together changeset data with difference technology to enable developers to quickly learn change history inside a source file.

    This option is already a part of Microsoft TFS PowerToys which you can use in your TFS today.

  • Folder Diff - Team Foundation Server now supports compare operations on folders, whereby the contents of the folder are recursively compared to identify files that differ. Folder diff can compare local folders to local folders, local folders to server folders, and server folders to server folders. It’s a great way of identifying differences between branches, files that you’ve changed locally, and files that have changed between two points in time.

    Update: Is also included in the Microsoft TFS PowerToys. This is not the same product as in TFS Power Toys. Check the Folder Difference blog of Tan Phan about the exact differences. Through out April 2007, he'll be posting details about the new feature Folder Difference currently in the Visual Studio Orcas.

  • Get Latest on Checkout - As an optional setting on a team project or on an individual basis, you can have Team Foundation Server always download the latest version of a file when you check it out. This helps ensure that you don’t have to merge your changes with somebody else’s when you check the file back in.

    This feature is implemented because lots and lots of people requested it. There are still good reasons why the Team didn't include this in the first place. I won't discuss it here, but just read it at all the great forums about this topic.


  • Performance improvements – A variety of Version Control performance enhancements that will improve virtually all aspects of version control performance.  The gains for smaller servers/projects (< 10,000 files) will be modest.  The gains for larger projects (particularly where the file count approaches 100,000’s) will be substantial.

  • Scale improvements – Fixed out of memory problems on the server when operating on more than a few hundred thousand files at a time.

The biggest changes to Version Control are on the improvements part, which you can't see in your IDE, but you can measure it. I didn't expect rocket since in Orcas, but it should have been nice. Maybe Microsoft gave us so much every time, you expect to get much improvements every time.


Technorati tags: , ,