David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small. I specialise in Windows Intune and SBS 2008.
This blog is purely the personal opinions of David Overton. If you can't find the information you were looking for e-mail me at admin@davidoverton.com.

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  • Action Pack Subscribers get Full Windows Vista DVDs - not upgrades and they also get a copy of Ultimate too, plus a stack of materials to sell the product

    Full, not Upgrade Vista product Well anyone who says we don't listen is just talking rubbish!! What am I talking about - I'm talking about the Action Pack and Windows. We moved to non OEM media and boy did it cause a stink, but that has changed again. According to Important changes for Action Pack Subscribers regarding Windows Vista while you are still required to have a legal license for a machine (FPP or OEM) you can now apply full copies (i.e. do a bare metal install) without having to do a double install. There are also a stack of sales materials coming too (I've copied some of the points from the link below): Partner feedback has enabled Microsoft to make the Windows Vista operating system even better. Now you can reap the benefits. Sell more with hardware, software and services built around Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1). And learn how we're making it easier than ever for you to learn, use and sell Windows Vista. Based on partner feedback, we've taken action to improve the partner experience in support of Windows Vista: Mid-March 2008 delivery of Microsoft Windows Vista Business with SP1 in a special Action Pack shipment to partners worldwide. To make it easier for you to deploy the final release of Windows Vista SP1 for internal use, all subscribers will receive full code*. Not currently an Action Pack subscriber? Find out how to subscribe . New subscribers will receive Windows Vista with SP1 as part of the April 2008 Welcome Kit. One licence for Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1 (full code*) for internal use, so you can discuss this product's benefits and features with customers who need a single PC to fulfil their work, travel and entertainment needs. This software will be delivered in the regular Action Pack quarterly update (April 2008) for current subscribers and for new Action Pack subscribers starting in April 2008. A comprehensive set of readiness resources to arm you to sell and support Windows Vista SP1 solutions for your small- or medium-size-business customers as momentum...
  • New Small Business Oriented blog - Microsoft Police (entry on licensing) and Vista bloody Vista (who's fault is it when things don't work on Vista)

    Susanne Dansey pointed this out to me - Dave is doing some excellent blogging! I like both these entries from January. One discussed the rights and wrongs of what to do with a customer who will not license legally. My personal opinion here is that if they won't pay a software company, how long until they will avoid paying the services company for a quality job. Dave's second post is dealing with someone who has been told that Vista is poor and blames anything that does not work under Vista on Microsoft. I'm not saying that Microsoft is never to blame, but it is nice to see posts like this coming out of the woodwork. Microsoft Police There has been a lot of chatter in the newsgroups recently about Microsoft licensing and what to do if you think the legality of clients software is suspect. Here is my opinion. Funny that, it being my blog Simple, get them to become legitimate (or legal) or walk away. Let’s clarify this. Why I said legitimate or legal is because these can be two separate things. Why? well frankly, just because Microsoft and it’s lawyers say something should be the case, it doesn’t mean that it is the law. <snipped - click link above to read more> Vista, bloody Vista! I was having a friendly discussion in the pub at the weekend and was introduced to a college lecturer. He spoke quite fluently about IT in his college even though he admitted he is not very technically minded. Then it came…Why Vista he asked, it knackers things, so his techie people tell him? Windows 98 which he has at home is fine GRRRR! Except, it isn’t fine. His PC was falling apart at the seams, things just weren’t working. The more I questioned the more it became like a broken record. Why had Microsoft not left things alone. The fact that his quite clearly 18million year old dial-up modem wasn’t working was obviously Microsofts fault. They only update things in order to screw money out of poor victims like him. (This did stay friendly I hasten to add and many more pints were...
  • Windows Client (Vista and XP) - Active X installer service, Volume Activation Tool, Diagnosing XP crashes, modifying the boot configuration parameters

    If you use volume licensing with Windows Vista then you need to be aware of the tools to manage them - it is not as simple as it used to be as you now need a management tool inside the business. VAMT answers this as does Desktop Management. Then we have some webcasts on slow networks, diagnosing crashes in Windows XP (although many of the techniques work for Vista too), backup and restore in Vista, using the ActiveX installer Service and Boot config parameters VAMT 1.0 (x86) The Volume Activation Management Tool enables IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the volume activation process using a Multiple Activation Key (MAK). VAMT v1.0 is only available as a US-EN (x86) release. Best Practices on Managing Windows Vista Desktops Get best practice guidance for managing Windows Vista desktop operations. Windows Vista Service Life-Cycle Management (WVSLM) provides concise guidance to help minimise the total cost of ownership of desktop infrastructure. Process guidance and document templates help make service management concepts from the IT Infrastructure Library and the Microsoft Operations Framework tangible and easily implementable by focusing on a single and common IT service. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7137227 TechNet Webcast: "The Network is Slow": Identifying the Cause of Slow Network Communications (Level 200) The Offline Crash Diagnostic tool for Windows XP is available - http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=923800 TechNet Magazine: The ActiveX Installer Service in Windows Vista How do you secure the desktop against malicious ActiveX controls without limiting application compatibility? We'll take you on a tour of the ActiveX Installer Service (AxIS) in Windows Vista that addresses this issue with a new way to manage ActiveX controls. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7137204 Discover How to Modify Boot Configuration Parameters In the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) Editor FAQ, find out what the BCD store is, why it was created, where it's located in the registry, how to modify it and...
  • What is going on in the world of Virtualisation with Virtual Server and Virtual PC on licensing, Vista, x64 and more

    There are a couple of recent announcements with regard to the current range of products that I thought I would cover off. One is about licensing and has been written up by Matt McSpirit at http://blogs.technet.com/mattmcspirit/archive/2007/06/22/microsoft-virtualisation-licensing-client-and-server.aspx and covers how many licenses you get when. The other is Virtual Server SP1: Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Is Now Available Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 is the server virtualization technology engineered for the Windows Server operating system to increase hardware utilization and enable IT staff to rapidly configure and deploy new servers. Register to download the free software and you will receive relevant resources that are strategically assembled to address the challenges you will face as you discover, assess, and deploy the software. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7042993 The What is New page shows (plus more on the page) - note the x64 support for more memory. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/virtualserver/evaluation/vsoverview.mspx What's New in This Release Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 includes the following new capabilities: Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Enterprise Edition can be installed on servers with up to 32 physical processors. • Virtual Server host clustering. Support for host-to-host connectivity lets you cluster all virtual machines running on a host. • iSCSI support. iSCSI clustering enables guest-to-guest connectivity across physical machines. • x64 support. Virtual Server runs natively within a 64-bit Windows host operating system, providing increased performance and memory headroom. • Enhanced PXE booting. PXE boot support has been added to the virtual machine network adapter. This means that when the appropriate network infrastructure is in place, you can perform a network installation of a guest operating system in the same way as physical servers. • Other improvements. Virtual Server now includes improved hyperthreading, support for F6 Disk (SCSI driver), Active Directory integration using service...
  • If you want Windows XP Pro on a new machine, buy Windows Vista (Business or Ultimate) and then downgrade

    I’m not sure how many people are aware of this, but if you buy a Windows Vista Business or Ultimate then you can use a Windows XP CD (which you have legal access to) to load Windows XP onto that machine. When you need the product key / or need to activate, this will potentially fail, but a quick call to the activation centre with your Vista product key should give you all the details you need. Then when you are ready to put Vista onto that machine, you can do without the cost of buying it anew. Alternatively you can buy Windows XP today and should you ever want to load Vista, you can give more money to a shop to get a copy again. For further information go to http://oem.microsoft.com/script/sites/public/licensing.htm More information can be found in this one page document OEM Downgrade from Vista to Windows XP ttfn David Please Note the following (in legalese) Windows Vista Downgrade Rights Clarification Per the EULA and OEM DTOS Agreement, the end user customer is responsible for supplying media for the OEM or customer to create the downgrade product image on the customer system. Neither Microsoft, the OEMs, nor the system builders are responsible for supplying this media. VL customers already have the necessary media. For non-VL customers, the easiest way to obtain this media is to buy a single FPP copy of Windows XP Pro or use an existing FPP copy of Windows XP Pro if they already own one. That media can then be used to downgrade Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate machines to Windows XP Pro. If the customer uses a product key for Windows XP Pro that they’ve previously activated, that machine will likely fail activation. If the downgraded machine fails activation the customer will be prompted to call the product activation call center to request a key that will enable them to pass activation. The customer should mention that they’re exercising their downgrade rights to the customer service representative in the activation call center.
  • Buying Vista and then installing an old version of Office - what are you allowed to do

    I have already discussed on this blog what is and is not support for Office on Vista (any version from 2000 on) here . However there is always the question of licensing what is actually allowed and what would be piracy. I am going to try to make it very simple here. · If you have the Home and Student (was the Student and Teacher) Edition then this can be installed on 3 computers in the same household · If you have a previous “Full Packaged Product” – the pretty box you bought at a retailers – version of the product then this can be removed from one computer and installed on a new computer. It can only be installed on one computer at any time · If your software is provided as part of a volume license agreement then you can install on a new computer or other computers, but if you change the number of computers that it is installed on you may have to pay more for the extra usage. · If you have neither of these then you have an OEM copy – this is provided and supported by the people who supplied your computer and part of the license provision is that it belongs to that computer only and can not be transferred anywhere else. I hope that makes it clear. As always, leave a comment for any questions. Ttfn David
  • Channel Expo Show presentations - Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Windows Server (SBS, Naked, Home Server and Longhorn) sales slides

    If you visited the Channel Expo show this year then you probably saw one or two Microsoft presentations on desktop and server solutions. James Akrigg and Matt McSpirit provided the desktop entertainment while I covered off what servers we have out there and what is coming in the near future. We promised the slides and here they are: Desktop (Windows Vista and Office 2007)- Office 2007 PowerPoint Desktop (Windows Vista and Office 2007)- PDF Server (SBS, Windows Server 2003 R2, Longhorn and Home Server) - Office 2007 PowerPoint Server (SBS, Windows Server 2003 R2, Longhorn and Home Server) - PDF James has an amazing blog (Out of Office) at http://blogs.technet.com/outofoffice Matt touches many aspects of desktop technology including that for small business at http://blogs.technet.com/mattmcspirit Have a look at the blogs and enjoy the presentations. ttfn David Technorati tags: Channel Expo , Vista , Office 2007 , SBS 2003 , Nakes Servers , Home Server , Longhorn

(c)David Overton 2006-13