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Microsoft Unveils Surface Troubleshooting Toolkit

Microsoft this week released a new resource to help businesses find and troubleshoot problems on their Microsoft Surface devices.

The Surface Diagnostic Toolkit for Business is currently available for download at this page. It supports Surface Pro 3 and later devices running "Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 8.1 Enterprise or above," according to Microsoft.

The toolkit is designed to generate reports and suggest troubleshooting steps, and can also repair system files right away if software problems are detected. It has two "modes," according to Microsoft's documentation: a desktop mode and a command-line mode.

The desktop mode, which has a graphical user interface, is used to assist end users in help-desk fashion or it can be used to create a "distributable .MSI package" for deployment on Surface devices, where the end users are the ones to carry out the tests.

Using the toolkit's command-line mode, IT pros can collect details about a Surface device's system information. They also can gather Surface device health indicators via built-in Best Practice Analyzer capabilities. The toolkit will show information about any missing drivers or firmware updates. It'll also report on the warranty status of a Surface device.

The tests carried out by the toolkit's Best Practice Analyzer segment will check the state of a Surface device's BitLocker encryption and Trusted Platform Module, and whether or not Secure Boot protection has been enabled on the device's processor.

IT pros using the command-line mode can execute their commands remotely. It's done either using System Center Configuration Manager or by sending a packaged console app to the end user, according to Microsoft's documentation.

Administrator account permissions are needed to run the tool's commands via the Windows console or PowerShell. Right now, the tool only supports running single commands.

To install the toolkit, IT pros need to first download the console application and then run the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit for Business. The toolkit needs to be run using an .MSI install file from the command-line interface of the Windows console (cmd.exe) or from PowerShell's integrated scripting environment, according the documentation. It'll work on Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 systems.

In other tooling news, Microsoft announced this week that new preview features are available for Windows Admin Center management portal users if they participate in the Windows Insider testing program. The previews include hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) management improvements, such as the ability to select and delete "multiple volumes with just one click." It's also possible for HCI users to monitor storage capacity per server. Also, it's possible to see "separate charts for non-RDMA and RDMA networking," among other capabilities.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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