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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  • IE 7 Update Drops WGA Validation Requirement

    I thought it was worth sharing this - IE 7 will be available to everyone, even those people who "have not paid" for their Windows XP OS. Many people seem to think this is purely an anti-firefox move ( http://www.websearchguide.ca/netblog/archives/006622.html ) IE 7 Update Drops WGA Validation Requirement Microsoft is making its Internet Explorer 7 browser available to all Windows XP users—even those using pirated software—and installation will no longer require that the operating system first be validated as genuine. The company said the move is about security and ecosystem safety, because if even one user in a network is not using the security enhancements provided in IE 7, that user places the entire network at risk. "Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, and we're taking a step to help make consumers safer online. We feel the security enhancements to Internet Explorer 7 are significant enough that it should be available as broadly as possible, and this means making it available to all users of IE 7-compatible Windows operating systems," Steve Reynolds, program manager for Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., told eWEEK. "With today's Installation and Availability Update, IE 7 installation will no longer require Windows Genuine Advantage validation, and will be available to all Windows XP users," he said. <sniped> Reynolds also claimed in a blog posting that the browser, which was released in October 2006, "is well on its way to becoming the most used browser in the world, and we've seen lots of evidence that IE 7 makes it safer and easier to accomplish everyday tasks online." As evidence, he said the built-in phishing filter has protected consumers from known phishing Web sites an average of 900,000 times a week, and that it is also the "first and still the only browser with native support for extended validation SSL [Secure Sockets Layer] certificates, which help prevent online fraud." At the time...
  • 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...
  • 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.

(c)David Overton 2006-13