What’s new in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (2017)

With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft are introducing some fun, new ways to get creative – from bringing mixed reality and 3D to the masses, to faster broadcasting for gaming, to turning photos and videos into real memories, and a few things more. The Fall Creators Update can be experienced on a wide variety of Windows 10 PCs (Except Intel Clover Trail systems) and on a few of Windows Mixed Reality headsets listed here.

Continue reading What’s new in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (2017)

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Network Quality of Service (QoS) on Windows

The goal of Quality of Service (QoS) is to provide preferential treatment to certain subsets of data, enabling that data to traverse the traditionally best-effort Internet or intranet with higher quality transmission.

By using QoS you can:

  • Specify or request bandwidth requirements particular to their application, such as latency requirements for streaming audio.
  • Give applications their required bandwidth — provided bandwidth availability exist.
  • Control network device resources based on user policy and/or application usage.
  • Reserve portions of a given bandwidth for applications or users that require such availability for core business activities.
  • Shape and smooth the traffic that clients submit to the network, thereby avoiding the overburdening of switches and routers suffered with traditional burst transmissions.

 

QoS History in Windows

Windows 2000 introduced the Generic QOS (GQOS) application programming interface (API) as a framework for QOS. The GQOS API provided access to QOS mechanisms that were available as part of the networking stack. Windows 2000 also provided tools, such as Subnet Bandwidth Manager (SBM) and QOS policy control.

In Windows XP, the focus was on prioritization and traffic shaping mechanisms. Although GQOS continued to be the application interface for accessing prioritized QOS, the reservation mechanisms had been removed. The kernel component that implemented prioritization and traffic shaping was the QOS Packet Scheduler, called the Traffic Control (TC) API. The TC API provided control of QOS mechanisms (such as prioritization and shaping) at the host level rather than at the application level, but it required administrative privileges to be invoked. The QOS mechanisms provided in Windows XP supported enterprise QOS needs for wired networks. In Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), the GQOS mechanisms allowed the application to set Layer 3 priorities only. Applications that set Layer 2 priorities for their traffic had to implement an independent service with administrative privileges to set Layer 2 priorities using TC APIs.

In Windows Vista, two features were introduced: Quality Windows Audio Video Experience (qWAVE) and policy-based QOS. qWAVE is designed to estimate the network bandwidth, intelligently mark the application packets (with proper DSCP values), and interact with the application in the event of network congestion or bandwidth fluctuations (informing the application to take appropriate actions). Policy-based QOS allows IT administrators to apply QOS to applications (which do not need to have native support for QOS), computers, and users in their enterprise network.

In Windows 7, enhancements were made to allow policies to be created based on the URL of an HTTP server (rather than just on an application name), source and/or destination IP addresses, source and/or destination ports, and protocol).

 

Using PowerShell to manage QoS

With the following cmdlets you can manage your QoS.

Get-NetQosPolicy      Retrieves network Quality of Service (QoS) policies.
New-NetQosPolicy      Creates a new network QoS policy.
Set-NetQosPolicy      Updates the QoS policy settings.
Remove-NetQosPolicy   Removes a network Quality of Service (QoS) policy.

Lets get started:

Step 1

As usual step 1 is to know from where you are starting. So we are going to check if some NetQosPolicy is already defined. Open PowerShell with administrative priviledges.

The Get-NetQosPolicy cmdlet allows you to retrieve Quality of Service (QoS) policies from a computer.

QoS policies can originate from many sources, such as from the administrator of a local computer, from a domain controller, or from applications that use the QoS Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) APIs. Therefore, the QoS policies are stored in different locations. If the location as provided by the PolicyStore parameter is not specified, then this cmdlet retrieves all the policies stored on the local computer (localhost).

ActiveStore

ActiveStore is a special location. If ActiveStore is specified as the location, the user will see all the effective QoS policies, regardless of where the QoS policies are stored.

This command gets a list of QoS policies currently effective on the computer:

Get-NetQosPolicy -PolicyStore "ActiveStore"

This command gets all of the properties of a specific QoS policy.

Get-NetQosPolicy -Name "YOUR POLICY HERE" | Format-List -Property *

 

Step 2

The New-NetQosPolicy cmdlet creates a new network Quality of Service (QoS) policy. A QoS policy consists of two main parts: match conditions also known as filters, and actions. If the PolicyStore parameter is not specified, then the new policy is added to local computer (localhost). If a policy is stored in ActiveStore, then the policy will not persist after reboot.

This command creates a QoS policy named FTP that matches an application path at ftp.exe and throttles the traffic at 1,000,000 bits per second.

New-NetQosPolicy -Name "FTP" -AppPathNameMatchCondition "ftp.exe" -ThrottleRateActionBitsPerSecond 1MB -PolicyStore ActiveStore

 

This command creates a QoS policy named SMB Policy that classifies SMB traffic and tags it with 802.1p priority value of 1. The SMB parameter is a built-in filter

New-NetQosPolicy -Name "SMB Policy" -SMB -PriorityValue8021Action 1

This command creates a QoS policy named Backup that matches traffic sent to 10.1.1.176/28 subnet and tags it with DSCP value of 40. This policy is effective only on traffic sent on a domain-joined network adapter.

New-NetQosPolicy -Name "Backup" -IPDstPrefixMatchCondition "192.168.1.170/28" -NetworkProfile Domain -DSCPAction 40

You can also use a single IP as a IPDstPrefixMatchCondition and the NetworkProfile can be: Domain, Public, Private, or All.

Option 3

The Set-NetQosPolicy cmdlet modifies an existing Quality of Service (QoS) policy. You need to specify the existing name to change values in this policy.

This command updates the QoS policy named SMB Policy so that it only applies to traffic that is outgoing from a domain-joined network adapter.

Set-NetQosPolicy -Name "SMB Policy" -NetworkProfile Domain

Step 4

The Remove-NetQosPolicy cmdlet removes the network Quality of Service (QoS) policies. All the policies, in a policy store, are removed unless a specific policy is named.

This example removes a policy named as Backup.

Remove-NetQosPolicy -Name "Backup"

This example removes all the policies from the ActiveStore.

Remove-NetQosPolicy -PolicyStore ActiveStore

 

With this information you can get into shape… 😉

 

Extra Info:

Differentiated Services and DSCP

Diffserv (Differentiated Services) is a protocol that defines traffic prioritization at Layer 3 of the OSI model. Layer 3 network devices, such as routers, that support this protocol use Diffserv markings to identify the forwarding treatment, or per-hop behavior (PHB), that marked traffic is to receive. Diffserv markings for a packet are placed in the IP header.
RFC 2475 defines the architecture for Diffserv. RFC 2474 defines the bits in the Diffserv field.
RFC 2474 redefines the IPv4 TOS octet as 6 bits for the Diffserv value, also known as Diffserv code point or DSCP, followed by 2 unused bits.

DSCP values are backward-compatible with IP precedence values, which means that legacy routers that support only IP precedence can interpret DSCP values. Valid values are 0-63.

Common values sorted from low to high are: 0,8,16,24,32,40,48,56

IEEE 802.1p Priority Levels

IEEE 802.1p defines a 3-bit field called the Priority Code Point (PCP) within an IEEE 802.1Q tag. The PCP value defines 8 priority levels, with 7 the highest priority and 1 the lowest priority. The priority level of 0 is the default. Each priority level defines a class of service that identifies separate traffic classes of transmitted packets.

PolicyStore

Specifies the location of the policy that is stored. The acceptable values for this parameter are:

  • ActiveStore
  • COMPUTERNAME
  • GPO:COMPUTERNAME
  • GPO:DOMAIN\GPONAME
  • LDAP://LDAP-URL

Features that will be removed in the next Windows 10 Update

When Microsoft talked about Windows 10 before releasing it they said it will be around for a long time and will be getting updates in a different way than we were used to.

Looking back at this it looks like we already got a sneak preview at this concept with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 (and remember the Windows XP Media Center disc 2?).

Continue reading Features that will be removed in the next Windows 10 Update

H.264 H.265/HEVC Video Extension – Windows 10 Insider

Windows 10 logo

About restoring your video playing experience. HEVC Video Extension on Microsoft Store

The last fey days I had some trouble getting the latest Windows insider slow ring update on my main pc. (Version 16232). I’ve seen this screen a few times now:

Something to do with drivers on my installation. I had to uninstall some drivers from my mouse, audio- and graphics-card to get the update the update installed. Stupid thing about the error was that the GSOD (Green Screen of Death) was at the end of the setup and it automatically did a rollback. I couldn’t choose any other way and with the rollback it also wiped the installation files. Thankfully the rollback works great and as soon as the old Windows installation is up and running it sees an insider update and downloads the whole set again and again and so on….

But anyway I’m running now Build 16232 with the Windows Defender Application Guard for Microsoft Edge functionality. More info on this feature here and here.

The next day after installing the update and my drivers again 🙂 I wanted to resume watching a video on my pc. The video opened with the default Movies and TV app which I actually really like and audio started but my screen kept black.

Maybe I didn’t see the announcement (or maybe there is no announcement as I still can’t find it when googling for it now) but it looks like Microsoft has pulled H.264, x264, H.265 aka HEVC codec support and maybe more from their base OS. You now have to install a small add-on from the store to get the functionality back.

Download it from Microsoft here:

microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/hevc-video-extension/9n4wgh0z6vhq

It probably has something to do with royalties or some lawsuit for a patent infringement but it’s a bit weird there was absolutely no information out there before this happened. The word H265 or H264 hasn’t been mentioned at the Windows Insider blog for the last year.

After installing this add-on I could play my video files again.

 

 

Spotify for Windows 10 – finally available in the store

Microsoft announced that Spotify for Windows 10 is now available to download in the Windows Store*. Microsoft announced their partnership with Spotify in early May and is  bringing the Spotify app to Windows 10 and Windows 10 S customers following on the heels of the release of Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S last week. The Spotify app is available today in all 60 countries where Spotify is available and offers the same familiar experiences as the Win32 application**.

With Spotify on Windows 10, you can enjoy, discover and share millions of songs wherever and whenever you want. Make and share your own playlists, or let Spotify suggest something great for you. Listen for free or subscribe to Premium for higher quality listening and to take your music offline

*PCs and tablets. To download this app, your PC or tablet must be running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update or greater. 

**The Spotify app for Windows 10 is available in the following markets, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Windows 10 Insider – Gaming improvements

Windows 10 logo

Microsoft released a new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226 for PC to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring yesterday.  They have spent some time on making improvements for gamers this time. cross-platform multi-player could become a less exotic thing.

Gaming Improvements

New help options: We have added a new “Xbox Networking” section under Settings > Gaming. Here, we’ll help you attempt to identify and resolve issues preventing you from using voice chatting and playing multiplayer games with other Xbox Live users.

 

Track your GPU performance

For the Task Manager fans out there, we’re happy to share that we’ve heard your feedback and we’ve updated Task Manager to now include GPU info. Our engineering team used the feedback you gave us that is part of this Feedback Collection https://aka.ms/olx5pn to prioritize and to design the feature – thank you! The Performance tab shows GPU utilization information for each separate GPU component (such as 3D and Video encode/decode), as well as graphics memory usage stats. The Details tab shows you GPU utilization info for each process. Please note that this feature is still under construction and you will find issues and bugs.

Windows Server 2016 docs are now on docs.microsoft.com

Windows Server logo

Microsoft announced the availability of the IT pro technical documentation for Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile on docs.microsoft.com.

docs.microsoft.com?

Docs is a crisp new design that should work better on your phone, tablet, and PC. You’ll see new ways to engage with Microsoft and contribute to the larger IT pro community on docs.

Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2016

When you run a server system in your organization, you might have business needs not met using default server settings. For example, you might need the lowest possible energy consumption, or the lowest possible latency, or the maximum possible throughput on your server. This guide provides a set of guidelines that you can use to tune the server settings in Windows Server 2016 and obtain incremental performance or energy efficiency gains, especially when the nature of the workload varies little over time.

It is important that your tuning changes consider the hardware, the workload, the power budgets, and the performance goals of your server. This guide describes each setting and its potential effect to help you make an informed decision about its relevance to your system, workload, performance, and energy usage goals.

Warning

Registry settings and tuning parameters changed significantly 
between versions of Windows Server. Be sure to use the latest 
tuning guidelines to avoid unexpected results.

You can download the official document here.