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...
  • Windows Vista, Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2007 and Office 2007 Action Pack Update - my FAQ

    [last updated 8th Mar 2008 Please read http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2008/03/08/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.aspx to read about how full Vista SP1 will be shipped in the Action Pack ] Inside Microsoft we have been toiling very hard to provide solutions that answer the most common feedback. To this end, perhaps slightly before all the legal stuff gets finalised, here is my FAQ on the subject, however the headlines are: You can continue to use the Windows XP and Office 2003 CDs that were supplied in your Action Pack subscription You can Upgrade from Windows Vista Business to Windows Vista Ultimate. This is not a free upgrade, however you get the benefits of this being thought of as a Not for Resale FPP copy AND it does not expire should you stop using Action Pack* (please see legal statements below) Personally I think this is an amazing offer and I am very grateful to the Windows Vista for taking this unusual step Questions: Can I continue to use Windows XP and Office 2003 as previously shipped in the Action Pack, even if my subscription has been renewed? I understand that Windows Vista in the Action Pack is an Upgrade Edition, however I want to do clean installs - how can I do this? I understand that Windows Vista in the Action Pack is the Business Edition, but I want Ultimate , how do I get this? I understand that there are multiple sites available to purchase the Windows Anytime Upgrade from, can I use any of these with the Action Pack DVDs? I need to build a short term demo system , how can I do that without using one of my keys (for any version - from Home Basic thru to Ultimate )? I would like OEM media for Windows Vista? Can I run my business using the Action Pack ? What happens if I need the key again , eg if I have to re-install the OS on the same machine again? How can I create a system that dual boots Windwows XP and Windows Vista ? Can I upgrade from a Vista Home edition...
  • Vista x64 and Action Pack

    I have updated the FAQ, but I can now confirm that there is an intention to ship Vista x64 to partners via the Action Pack, although all the details for the process have not be sorted, meaning that I cannot yet confirm which pack they will be shipping in. As soon as I get more information I will share it, but for now, be aware that we have again put in place a solution to the issues raised by partners around their desires for the Action Pack. ttfn David Technorati tags: Action Pack , Windows Client , Windows Vista and XP , Windows Vista , x64
  • If the Action Pack changes are annoying you, then it is time to stand up and be counted ... by Microsoft

    I'm going to give you a small insight into the inner workings of Microsoft. It is very simple. We work on numbers - some would say just like any computer ;-) Anyway, one number we monitor is partner satisfaction and one measure of this is by how many people are phoning or mailing us and complaining about things (or saying how great they are). I was recently told that while the feedback from this blog and others is spurring change the impact of the Action Pack is not being seen on our satisfaction scores and that the numbers have been favourable (i.e. less people have been phoning in and complaining). So... If you want Action Pack changed - you need to tell us through an official channel for it to be heard louder. It is as simple as that. If 1,000 partners phone Microsoft to complain about it, that is a stronger message than if 100+ people post comments on the blog. How do you contact Microsoft - click this link and the telephone numbers for all around the world can be found! Link to Contact Microsoft thanks, and happy calling. David
  • I'm sorry - I am not perfect and nor is Microsoft. Sometimes it is our fault

    I can be abrasive sometimes and whether it "is my fault" or not, I don't always understand others' point of views. To this I would like to say "It is my fault". Now, if you have got up off the floor, let me give you a few examples. I say "contact our customer support" and you say "I don't have time". Before I rant - OK, I understand this, if you could share the bug at some time, we will try to fix it. We haven't been able to identify it yet, so need your help I say "There is no OEM media, get over it" and you say "I need OEM media to do my installs". OK, I can't fix this one. I do understand where you are coming from. If I were to share the fact that in the UK, which is a low piracy country, our tests so far have shown between 10-15% of all copies of Windows are pirated and many come from Action Packs and other OEM keys, does that help understand why this is such an issue? I do wish I could give you back OEM media, but I've been told it is just not possible. While Microsoft did publish the changes coming, I now get the impression that many did not realise that this was linked to the change in qualifying an upgrade, making the process different to Windows XP The list goes on, however why did I even start this? Well a man I respect lots is Joel. I started reading his latest filing: "Now I was fuming. Squiggly lines were coming up out of my head. I was a half hour late to work and had to go to the locksmith for a third time. I was tempted just to give up on him. But I decided to give this loser one more chance." "Seven steps to remarkable customer service http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/customerservice.html It then carries on: I stomped into the store, ready to unleash my fury. “It still doesn’t work?” he asked. “Let me see.” He looked at it. I was sputtering, trying to figure out how best to express my rage at being forced to spend the morning going back and forth. “Ah. It’s my fault,” he said. And suddenly, I wasn’t mad at all. Mysteriously, the words “it’s my fault” completely defused me. That was all it took...
  • "I've purchased the Windows Vista anytime upgrade key - I think I need a new disk (DVD)" - "nope" says David

    I've been mucking around with Vista (formally Longhorn) for about 3-4 years. This means that things like "all editions are on the one DVD" is pretty much ingrained in my skill, however sometimes I forget that this was not the norm previously and sometimes trips people up. I got a mail the other day that said (edited a bit and published with permission of the sender): I installed Vista Business on my PC. I read in your blog that if you use a genuine Vista DVD (including a MAPS version), then you would not need the upgrade disk. I tried to upgrade to Ultimate. I made the purchase online and and attempted the upgrade. I need the disk. I went back online and ordered it and now I am waiting to upgradewindowsanydaynow. Did I do something wrong? The answer was very, very simple - take the downloaded utility, run it and when it asks for the Vista DVD, put in the same one you already have. However, since I have to admit that I have NEVER actually bought an upgrade key online I replied: You absolutely should not require the disk, can you describe the process to me - it should be something like: You may the purchase Download the code Run the code Insert your Vista DVD Let the install happen. Could you a) test the process and b) send me a screenshot of the error(s). Being the lucky (or well researched) person, I quickly got the reply back: Despite all my experience and training, I felt uncomfortable when it came to launching the original Install again. It just didn't seem intuitive. I felt it should have been more evident as I was inserting the Vista disk that it would lead to an upgrade. Got Ultimate installed now. THANKS!!! It does work - it may seem a bit odd that on the one DVD, contained in the 1 WIM file are all the files required for Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, all the "N" versions and recovery information. However that is what a single instance manager can do for your disk copying technology (i.e. the ImageX technology used by Vista). ttfn David Technorati tags: Vista Upgrade , Windows upgrades , Windows...
  • How to use the Windows Anytime Upgrade tools

    [Please also read the Action Pack FAQ on this blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/13/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx ] If you want to electronically upgrade from one version of Vista to another then the Windows Anytime Upgrade tools are for you. To understand what versions you can upgrade from, have a look at Why Windows Vista Home can only be Upgraded to Home Ultimate online, but can upgrade via retail . You then need to go to one of the merchants. Mike P posted about this pointing out: So i notice the upgrade links are now working (www.windowsanytimeupgrade.com/maps and https://emea.windowsanytimeupgradestore.com/WAU_DIRECT/home.aspx ) although I'm a little puzzled as to why it costs £110 PER LICENCE!!!!!!!!!!!! MS has arranged several merchants to provide this upgrade service to consumers (as well as providing it direct throught he urls above). There is a huge discrepancy in the pricing... Comet -> https://comet.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/Home.aspx -> £94.99 PC World -> https://pcworld.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/Home.aspx -> £109.99 FNAC -> https://fnac.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/Home.aspx -> £118.00 Vaio -> https://vaio.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/Home.aspx -> £80.00 To see the complete list of EU merchants see https://www.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/SelectMerchant.aspx From a Microsoft Action Pack Subscription point of view, you can either use the Microsoft site with software at our recommended price or one of the others. Mike posted the numbers above, so don't shoot me if the prices change. One thing to note, if you have a legel legit Vista DVD (action pack, OEM, FPP etc) then you DO NOT need to order the DVD with the kit. Finally, the upgrade is just that, so expect to still have to comply with the upgrade requirements of Windows Vista. ttfn David Technorati tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Action Pack , Windows Anytime Upgrade
  • Demo Showcase and Action Pack shipments

    [Please also read the Action Pack FAQ on this blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/13/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx ] Ok, so we failed to hit the January shipment, which is not something I am proud of, but everyone knows that we missed the shipment and my feelings already :-) If you are wanting to Demo Vista and Office then there are a few things you can do: Load it yourself and tell people how you use it Read the case study information on the bCentral web site and tell people about UK small businesses that are benefiting from the products already Portfolio Communications goes green Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 system help PR company A portrait of a small business Photography company snaps up Windows Vista and Office 2007 Accountancy firm profits from Microsoft investment Windows Vista and Office 2007 lift Aggarwal and Co. Load one of your Action Pack instances onto a PC. If you want to upgrade to Ultimate then do so, or run a demo copy (don't put in the product key) and choose the edition you want. Download one of our demo scripts & tools and do it yourself Office 2007 - https://partner.microsoft.com/UK/40034400?PS=95000131 How to build a Vista Demo system - Create your own DRT on the latest release of Windows Vista Vista Demo Script - Windows Vista Demo Script ttfn David Technorati tags: SBSC , Office 2007 , Windows Vista , Vista , Demo , Small Business , Case Studies
  • How to do a clean install using the Action Pack Windows Vista Media

    [Please also read the Action Pack FAQ on this blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/13/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx ] This has been discussed lots on the aliases and in the comments on this blog, so here is what I did to do a clean install. In Summary, the process was: Boot Windows XP on the machine Log in (I used an Administrator Account) Insert Vista DVD Start the Install Type in Product Key Select Advanced install Select the disk and clean install Wait for Install to complete (I am not going to talk you through entering your name etc) Log into Vista Run the "Free up Disk Space" tool from the control panel to remove the Windows.old programs If you are worried about clean installs in the future, use the backup tool to do a hard disk image backup now In pictures, it looks like this: Just to clarify a few things - yes, before you blow away your old OS, don't - you can move it to one side and then migrate any documents and then remove the old install using a tool designed to do just this. Things that will lead to misery are: Trying to do the install by Booting from the DVD Doing an install without entering the product key (yes, you can do this) as when it comes to activate, it will fail as the product key required a Windows XP OS to install from Trying to work around the WGA checks Formatting the Old Windows Off the machine before doing the upgrade If you need to build a short term VPC for test of Demo use then simply do not enter a product key and you get a version you can use for a short time without issue. If you need a longer term demonstration system then order the Demonstration Toolkit at windows vista demo readiness toolkit - last time I checked it was still showing a RC build, but expect this to change very soon. ttfn David
  • Windows Vista, Office 2007 and the Action Pack - coming very soon

    [updated - see the FAQ at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/12/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx for more information on the benefits of the Action Pack and in answer to the questions raised in the comments] I am trying to re-confirm all the details, but this is the latest information I have asked for it to be double checked so as not to upset everyone. Here is the low-down: When will the Action Pack arrive - Before the end of Jan I heard the latest shipment was delayed - It was due to the Office OPK, but should still be there by end of Jan How much is the upgrade to Ultimate Edition - Action Pack subscribers can upgrade to Vista Ultimate for $139 (USD) – per license. Visit www.WindowsAnytimeUpgrade.com/maps to learn more (not active yet) Is the version of Vista an Upgrade or bare metal install (ala recent changes to stop piracy, so not an OEM version) - This is an upgrade, just like the XP discs that ship Can I use this as home - The Action Pack is licensed for use in the Partner Organisation only What is in this shipment? Software • Windows Vista Business • Microsoft® Office Enterprise 2007 • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 • Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 with Business Contact Manager • Microsoft Office Visio® 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 • Microsoft Expression® Web • Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2007 (U.S. only). 2007 Microsoft Office System and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Partner Sales Tool The launch of the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 present a significant opportunity for Microsoft partners. This Reseller Toolkit helps partners articulate product benefits and packaging and licensing offers. To learn more and download this tool, go to: https://partner.microsoft.com/global/resellertoolkit . Office Ready OPK Note: At the time this Action Pack was produced, the 2007 Microsoft Office Ready Master Kit (OPK) was not finalized...
  • Office 2007 and Vista coming in January Action Pack

    [updated - see the FAQ at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/12/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx for more information on the benefits of the Action Pack and in answer to the questions raised in the comments] One of the most asked questions I get is "When will it ship in the action pack". Well, the January Action pack starts shiping in the 2nd week on January, so before General Availability Launch (GA). This is what it will contain: Software Included software in January 2007 MAPS: • Windows Vista Business • Microsoft® Office Enterprise 2007 • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 • Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 with Business Contact Manager • Microsoft Office Visio® 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 • Microsoft Expression® Web Because Action pack is for business use, you are not getting Vista Ultimate, but we are working on a special partner rate to upgrade to Ultimate - more news in the action pack. So, have a nice Christmas, not playing with the PC, then power up in the new year with Office and Vista!!

(c)David Overton 2006-13