Patch Tuesday strikes the Microsoft Surface – added firmware update goodness!

While showing my Microsoft Surface RT to someone attending this week’s SQL Server 2012 class, I noticed that I had some pending Windows Updates. Among them was a Firmware update – the updates screen even suggested I make sure the battery was charged before updating:

Clicking into the update list for more information shows the firmware patch, plus some assorted Windows 8 patches which are a mix of RT-specific and general Windows 8:

Note: I got this from the Charms sidebar Settings item. When I went to the Desktop mode Windows Update interface (get there fastest using the Winkey+X shortcut menu), the other patches were offered, but the firmware item was not shown (note the change in number of updates offered):

What’s conspicuously absent is any link to more detail on the firmware patch. No KB number, links, nothing. What’s does it patch? You got me. It does show up in the Desktop mode Windows Update History list, but again, there’s no additional information provided.

While exploring links in the KB articles accompanying the various patches, I did stumble upon a Support page that I didn’t know existed, for info on how to handle Surface Updates. I’m not sure how useful it is, but it’s worth a quick look.

Trying Disk2vhd to back up my laptop’s drive

I’m about to leave on another trip to teach a couple of classes, and I usually back up my laptop before heading to the airport. I usually use Acronis True Image. However, this was a replacement hard drive (see the account of my previous drive’s fate here) and I hadn’t reinstalled Acronis yet.

One more thing to do before I could then back it up and pack it for the trip, I guess. Where’s that serial number?

But while I was staring at Windows Explorer and remembering which virtual hard disks (VHD) I needed to bring for my demos, a dim memory bubbled up to the surface. I thought I’d seen, somewhere, a utility that could do a live migration of a drive from physical to virtual. A quick Binging with Google later, I rediscovered Disk2vhd, which I’d read about a while back, but never tried.

From the description on the utility’s page:

Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk – Microsoft’s Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual tools is that you can run Disk2vhd on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows’ Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion.

I’m trying it as I write this quick post. I’m creating the VHD on an external USB drive. If I need it later, I can boot to it, I can mount it in a virtual machine, or since I’ve got Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines around, I can mount it directly as a drive to recover files from it.

(I’ll still install Acronis when I’m done, and capture an image as I usually do. We DBA types are paranoid that way.) Results to follow.

Have you backed up to VHD? What’s your experience been? Leave me a comment.