Letters - 26 Sep 2008

System Partition or Boot Partition
I read John Savill’s FAQ article “I want to enable BitLocker on a Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista system, but what if I didn’t create a separate system partition when I installed the OS?” (InstantDoc ID 99659). When I was teaching a hardware course about 10 years ago, the terminology surrounding partitions always seemed backwards to my students. The system partition is the active partition holding the partition boot sector, which contains code that tells the boot process where to find the OS startup files (e.g., bootmgr). These files (on the system partition) point to the location of the OS files. The boot partition, however, is the partition that contains the OS files. In the FAQ article, Mr. Savill makes the huge 1.5GB drive the system partition, and the other, typically rest-of-disk partition the boot partition. Why make the system partition so big?

—Diana Dee

I hope my terminology didn’t cause too much confusion. The system partition is where bootmgr resides (with the boot configuration database), and the boot partition is where the Windows folder resides. I recommend making the system partition large to futureproof the partition in case you want to install the Windows Recovery Environment, which you wouldn’t want on the encrypted boot partition.

Winrs for Windows 2003 and Windows XP
In Windows Power Tools, “Server Core from Afar” (August 2008, InstantDoc ID 97945), Mark Minasi states that XP doesn’t offer Winrs, so you can’t use Winrs (and WinRM) to remotely control Server Core. That’s not true. The features aren’t built in to XP, but you can read about and download WS-Management v1.1 (aka WinRM) from Microsoft Help and Support (support.microsoft.com/kb/936059). WS-Management v1.1 delivers WS-Management functionality on XP SP2 and Windows 2003 SP1, SP2, and R2.

—Aleksandar Nikolic

Virtualization Shootout
I have questions and comments about Michael Otey’s cover story, “Virtualization Shootout, Part 1” (June 2008, InstantDoc ID 98879). The Microsoft product was still in beta when you tested it, and Microsoft has stated that it plans to use the remaining development time for bug fixing and improvements to the current features; it would add no features until after the first release. Does the current feature list have any shortcomings?

From the VMware point of view, Microsoft’s Hyper-V shouldn’t be compared with VMware ESX Server; rather, it should be compared with VMware Server, because both Hyper-V and VMware Server are deemed hosted virtualization solutions. At the price level, the comparison looks easy: VMware Server is free. However, there are additional features (e.g., Virtual Center management) that do cost money. How do you compare the products?

—C. Beerse

Microsoft officially released Hyper-V for Windows Server 2008 at the end of June 2008, and it’s a vastly improved product over Microsoft’s older Virtual Server 2005 virtualization product. However, Hyper-V isn’t perfect. Some notable shortcomings include a limited management console, no ability to import VMware images, limited support for Linux distributions, and limited support for VMware Virtual SMP under Linux.

I don’t agree that Hyper-V isn’t comparable to ESX Server; actually, Hyper-V is directly comparable with ESX Server. Both are hypervisorbased solutions. Hyper-V isn’t a hosted solution, such as VMware Server and Virtual Server 2005. Hyper-V is entirely superior to VMware Server. It provides vastly better performance and scalability. However, VMware Server (and ESX Server, for that matter) provide support for a much broader range of Linux distributions.

—Michael Otey

64-Bit Speculation
In his August 4 WinInfo Short Takes email newsletter (InstantDoc ID 99912), Paul Thurrott mentions that sales of the 64-bit version of Windows are increasing. I submit that a lot of people are probably buying new 64-bit PCs without even knowing it! I was in Fry’s last weekend, purchasing a new PC for my wife. The store had two HP models priced at $500. One offered specifications that were quite a bit nicer than the other, so I asked the salesperson to fetch me the nicer one. While he was gone, I scanned the description and noticed that the nicer PC was 64-bit. This PC would be for my non-technical wife, and I didn’t want extra (i.e., 64-bit related) problems with printers, scanners, cameras, or software. So, I had the salesperson return the nicer one and fetch me the lesser one, a 32-bit system. Many customers wouldn’t have been aware of the difference until they got home and found that their printer had stopped working.

—Ken Spinks

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