Stopping Azure VMs without loosing your IP address

Stopping a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure can be tricky, if you need to rely on the IP address assigned to the virtual machine. Because Azure releases the IP address if you stop the machine by default.

To avoid loosing the IP address you can use the Stop-AzureVM cmdlet together with the -StayProvisioned switch. By using this switch you are basically telling Azure that you like the VM to be stopped but keep it provisioned. This prevents Azure from releasing the IP address.

Example:

Stop-AzureVM–ServiceName 'cloud service name' -Name 'virtual machine name' –StayProvisioned

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How to disable the BGInfo extension in Azure VM Agent

BGInfo is a very useful tool by SysInternals that collects machine configuration data and renders an image out of it to present it as background image of the Windows Desktop.

If a new virtual machine is created, the current Microsoft Azure platform adds a light weight process, called VM Agent, to the machine. The idea behind the VM Agent is to provide extensibility to the virtual machine. That makes it easy for the Azure platform to add other solutions to machine. One extension for instance allows you reset the default user password, what was impossible earlier. Read more about the VM Agent and VM Extensions here.

The VM Agent Extension manager also contains BGInfo and enables it by default.

You can either disable the VM Agent itself, by unticking the option in the Virtual machine configuration on the Azure management website or by using powershell cmdlets, read more here.

To disable just a specific extension, here BGInfo, run the following powershell command:

Get-AzureVM –ServiceName ‘CLOUD_SERVICE_NAME’ –name ‘VM_NAME’ | Set-AzureVMBGInfoExtension -Disable -ReferenceName "BGInfo" | Update-AzureVM

Replace the cloud service and virtual machine name by yours.