Downloading the session recordings from BUILD Windows 2011

I’ve updated the previous session downloader, originally published by Naeem and Marcin, to download the sessions from BUILD Windows 2011.  It will give you the option to download only the sessions that have video published, so you’ll need to keep checking it over the next few days as sessions get published.

Build session downloader

The app will run up to two concurrent downloads, and will queue up further requests.  So you can tell it the list of videos you want, and leave it to do it’s thing.  Downloads can be cancelled.

Note that it’s the High Quality WMV that will get downloaded.

You can get the source code at from Bitbucket, or you can download some pre-compiled binaries (.Net 3.5 required) or you can now get it using clickonce here.  Please let me know if you have any trouble with it.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, as with the previous downloader this app supports resuming of partially completed download.

September 16 2011

How to set up a Windows 8 virtual machine

There are a number of options for getting your hands dirty with the new Windows 8.  Naeem has a great setup script for dual-booting, but I decided to try setting up a virtual machine.  I have a number of choices for the hypervisor:

To set up the VM in Virtual Box, click the New button from the toolbar.  In the wizard, choose a name for your VM and then choose WinXP x64 as the OS:

win8 pt1

On the next screen, make sure you give the VM more RAM than the miserable default of 192MB:

win8 pt2

Then you need to setup the details for a new virtual hard disk:

win8 pt3

The rest of the screens in wizard are pretty straightforward.  Once you have your VM setup, you need to connect it to the downloaded Windows 8 ISO.  You do this by opening the settings screen for the VM and clicking the CD icon (took me a while to work this step out):

win8 pt4

Then on the popup menu, click “Choose a virtual CD/DVD file” and browse to the ISO image for the Windows 8 developer preview.

win8 pt5

Now you are good to go!  Start your virtual machine and it will launch you straight into the Windows 8 installation process.  Hurray!

But what’s it like to use Windows 8 on a VM?

To be honest, it’s not the best experience out there.  Simple things like moving the mouse around are noticeably laggy … it’s unlikely to be my laptop since I’m on a Core i7 machine with 8GB RAM. Also, Windows 8 does not seem to get correctly informed of the screen resolution.  This results in the reserved 1 pixel strip being impossible to hit.  Boo!

These performances issues do not occur if you boot the OS on the machine directly, so I’m pretty sure it’s a consequence of the virtualisation.

Having said this, it’s better than nothing.  If dual boot or a dedicated machine are not options for you, then a VM will allow you to have a sandpit for playing with some of the new tech from Microsoft.  Enjoy!

September 16 2011

Fully automated VHD install of Windows 8 Developer Preview using PowerShell


After reading Scotts excellent post:

…and subsequently noticing a smart chap saying something about an easier way in the comments:


I decided to go ahead and make this even easier since PowerShell is my new hammer I’m going to take advantage of it. The Creating a Bootable VHD guide does specify that there is a Microsoft PowerShell script which makes this easier, so there is method to my madness.

The relevant code has already been pushed to Github:

A direct download of the zip is:


You need to download and mount the ISO yourself. You can get it from here and I recommend Virtual Clone Drive as a free and lightweight mounting tool.

The script has three parameters:

  1. Full path and name of the VHD you would like to create.
  2. The maximum size of the image.
  3. The drive letter to assign the VDH to (must not be in use).

An example of using it is:

cd C:\projects\CreateWindows8VHD
C:\projects\CreateWindows8VHD> Import-Module .\Create-Windows8VHD.ps1
C:\projects\CreateWindows8VHD> Create-Windows8VHD "C:\vhd\windows8preview.vhd" "30000" "X"

Here’s an example of my output:


Following this to set up a dual boot record you can do (where driveletter is what you choose above).

C:\Windows\sysnative\bcdboot.exe driveletter:\Windows

You should now be able to restart into the Windows 8 Preview!

Feel free to submit pull requests and make suggestions.

Accessing BCDBoot.exe from PowerShell


This one was driving me crazy for a little while…

The term 'bcdboot' is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or
if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.
At line:1 char:8
+ bcdboot <<<<
    + CategoryInfo          : ObjectNotFound: (bcdboot:String) [], CommandNotFoundException

I wondered whether it was the case with all System32 binaries and security, so some Googling turned up:

So if you would like to access bcdboot from PowerShell, and for my current script I definitely do, then you can use:



Irritating, but a relief to find its possible. Happy hacking.

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