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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  • Good WPF 4.5 cookbook from Pavel Yosifovich

    I was looking for a book to bring me up to date with WPF and XAML and talking to my publishers, Packt Publishing, then offered me the Windows Presentation Foundation 4.5 Cookbook by Pavel Yosifovich. I was hoping to review this book sooner, however Christmas and illness got in the way, so here is my slightly late review.  In simple terms, this was an excellent book for me.  I write in both C# and VB.Net (more VB than C#).  I’ve never used WPF or XAML except in the designers from Microsoft and my work is basically hacking those tools without enough experience.  There are lots of features that I could not get working, so I simply coded around them with my 10-20 year old programming knowledge.  This book has enabled me to change this. The book is 437 pages long excluding the index and there are 80 “recipe's” in the book.  While you can dip in and out at random, as with all good knowledge acquisition, starting at the beginning offers the best platform to understand the more complex tasks further on in the book.  There are plenty of screen shots to ensure things are clear and easy to understand in a platform that ultimately delivers UI. If you are interested in WPF, XAML and especially data bound controls, this is a fantastic book for you, even if your experience with XML and C# is not top notch.  As you would expect, this books covers UI elements, controls  and animation, however I also learnt about the Background Worker component as a simple alternative to threads as well as the basics of parallel tasks using the Tasks Parallel Library.   I hope you enjoy the book. It can be purchased on Amazon UK , Amazon US or from Packt Publishing .   ttfn David
  • Upgrade Windows XP/Vista/7 to Windows 8 Pro for $40 or £25 AND Media Center Pack for free – until 31st January

    This is a simple offer. Download the upgrade assistant from Microsoft, run the tool, purchase the license for a shockingly low price and get the benefits of Windows 8. Even if you think you might not use it for a year, you can burn the ISO so it is ready. All indications are that the price will increase once this offer expires. So, what is the processes? Go to the web site - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/buy (UK) or http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/buy (US) Press the Download link - Download Pro for £24.99 ERP (UK) or Download Pro for $39.99 ERP (US) ) - note the link is the same for any country for the assistant. Run the assistant and fill in the details, including the purchase options There is also one other thing you may wish to consider. Getting the currently free Media Center Pack. This is also very simple, go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/feature-packs (UK) http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/feature-packs (US), enter your e-mail address and get a free key e-mailed to you. This is so simple, it has to be worth doing and much cheaper than purchasing full price from February! The nice thing is that you can download an ISO, or do an “online” upgrade and you get the PID, so installing from the ISO later is simple. For the PC to be able to run Windows 8, the upgrade assistant will guide you, plus all the usual T’s and C’s can be found on the Microsoft pages. ttfn David
  • Turn off Ctrl-Alt-Del in Windows 8

    This is a very quick one.  I saw the videos and saw that Ctrl-Alt-Del was turned off in Windows 8.  While this can be done by setting the local security policy, it can also be done via command prompt.  This is no different to other versions of Windows. If you search for cmd and then right click it to select Run as Administrator Then once cmd is running, use this command (it is all one line) to turn off C-A-D as a requirement: REG ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableCAD /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f To turn it back on, use this command: REG ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableCAD /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f   That is it.   ttfn   David
  • Windows Intune Silent Application Deployment hints

    Windows Intune requires application deployment to be a silent (as in no user interaction) process.  Sometimes working out how to do this can be quite hard.  Richard at Windows Intunepedia has shared some information on this that I thought I would also share: Steps to Deploy Adobe Reader X with Windows Intune How to deploy Java 7 Runtime Environment (JRE) with Windows Intune You might also want to look at http://silentinstall.org/ which can help wrapper other installers to ensure they are silent.   ttfn David
  • Windows Intune learning path–free training for Microsoft Partners

    Eric Ligman tweeted about the new partner learning paths, so I zipped over there to see these excellent items for Windows Intune . I’ve already done some of these, but it is a great way to get up to speed on Windows Intune and how to sell it.   ttfn David
  • Useful Windows Intune Documentation–What’s New Factsheet, Best Practices, Trial Guide and FAQ

    I saw this over e-mail at work today and thought I would share with you: - Factsheet (What’s new?) - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh452635.aspx - Best Practices (Deploying Software and Third Party Updates with Windows Intune)  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh441740.aspx - Trial Guide (View the complete Windows Intune Getting Started Guide) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh441719.aspx - FAQ (Windows Intune: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ))  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windowsintune/faq/default.aspx   ttfn David
  • Windows Intune Case Study - Ontario Systems, helping to prove Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard certification PC update reporting

    Ontario Systems is a larger Windows Intune reference with 350 employee PC’s to manage. They needed a better way to manage mobile computers and Windows Intune was the answer to their problems as it enabled them to manage these computers providing they were connected to the Internet and verify this management to enable PCI certification. The two most notable benefits (besides saving money) were: More control, better insight. With the ability to monitor PCs, distribute software and updates, and perform remote tasks from a single console, Ontario Systems has more control and better insight into its PC environment. The IT department will save up to an hour each time it delivers the software updates that employees need to work productively and securely. “Being able to use Windows Intune to issue a security update or remotely initiate a malware scan without interrupting our employees’ workday saves time for the IT staff and helps avoid hours of PC down time,” says Hughes. Better security compliance. By using Windows Intune to quickly produce detailed reports or grant security officers and outside auditors read-only access to the Windows Intune console, Ontario Systems will find it easier to comply with PCI data security standards. “We can produce security reports in minutes instead of half a day,” says Silverthorn. “And with read-only access to Windows Intune, auditors can run the reports they need by themselves, without tying up our IT staff for days at a time.” You can get the full case study material at Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune - Ontario Systems .   ttfn David
  • Windows Intune Case Study - Sora Technologies

    Another case study of an IT partner using Windows Intune to manage themselves and their customers.  I liked this comment: If we had started with Windows Intune, we would have saved approximately $80,000,” says Adams. “Going forward, we expect to save 10% in labour costs because we don’t have to manage servers or write code, which would take one full-time equivalent. We can take care of our customers using fewer resources, which increases our profit margins.” You can find out more at Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune - Sora Technologies . Other notable benefits include: I mproved endpoint protection. When Sora deployed Windows Intune, it saw an immediate improvement in endpoint protection. “Windows Intune beat all the endpoint security tools we’ve used, hands down,” says Adams. “We saw an increase of 50 percent in the number of viruses that the service caught, compared to our previous solution.” Better customer service. Sora provides its customers with monthly reporting and updates on hardware life cycles, so it is looking forward to using the enhanced reporting features in the latest version of Windows Intune. “ With Windows Intune, we can offer better hardware reports and use them in our monthly emails or customer meetings ,” says Adams. Increased business opportunities. Because Windows Intune is a cloud-based service, Sora can expand its reach to customers beyond its local area. “By offering Windows Intune, we hope to open doors to larger customers that need to manage their remote PCs,” says Adams. “Windows Intune and the Microsoft name will really resonate with enterprise customers.” You can learn more about Windows Intune, or start using it today from www.windowsintune.com .   ttfn David
  • How to wake a computer to perform a antimalware scan, particularly useful for Windows Intune

    While having the book reviewed one feature that was asked for, but is not possible with Windows Intune, was the ability to make Windows Intune wake a computer at night and carry out an anti-virus scan. This blog post is referred to in the book when setting the Anti-Malware policy. To solve this, there are two issues to tackle: Wake up the computer Start a scan The answer appears to be that to wake the computer we need to use a task in Task Scheduler and then we need to start a scan. One very important thought here is that we need to ensure the power settings on the computer will put it back to sleep though! The command line required is “ %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Security Client\Antimalware>MpCmdRun.exe -scan -scantype 0 ” While working on this, I also wanted something that could be deployed by Windows Intune. In the end I have written a small piece of software that can create a task that wakes the computer and will start a scan. If you do not want a scan to start, change the program to execute to “ cmd.exe ” and the command arguments to be “ /c ”. This will start the computer and then open and close a command windows. Any other scheduled tasks can then run while the computer is idle, including the Windows Intune scan. So, download Windows Intune Wake Task.zip and extract to a folder. There are 3 files. The DLL is from http://taskscheduler.codeplex.com/ and I am grateful to David Hall for this code. The other two files are the main program and a settings.xml file to enable changing the settings and running as a quiet install for Windows Intune. The program looks like this: I would like to think I don’t have to explain to much, however, here are the basics: The task can run either daily, on a set day each week, or a specific day number of each month (including the last day). It runs at a specific time. The command has 3 parts, the path, the command to run and the command line arguments. The defaults here are those to run a default scan. So now the buttons: Set Task creates...
  • Got the notice that my Windows Intune account will be upgraded to V2

    Hi, even though the Windows Intune V2 service has been out for a little while, my existing V1 accounts have not yet been upgraded.  Today I got this e-mail telling me that it was now scheduled to happen in 4 days time. When I clicked on the link, I was taken to the alert that looks like this in the console: It talks about the “Account Details page” to find out more information.  I know Windows Intune quite well and I was not sure what the Account Details page was.  However, if we go to the Administration workspace and look at the Administration Overview then at the top of the page we see… “Planned account migration date: 12/16/2011” – OK, so it is in US date format, but at least it is coming this week!! I just wanted to share that the updates are coming and where to get the date from.   Thanks David
  • How to Address Internet Explorer 6 Incompatibility Issues with Windows 7

    I’ve seen several people try to resolve Windows 7 and IE6 compatibility issues through methods that are not only not supported, but also against the Microsoft IP licensing rules (e.g. removing it from Windows XP and forcing onto Windows 7).  Using a Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server and Citrix or Quest it is possible to put in place a low cost solution where IE is remoted (so you only see the IE 6 browser window, not the whole desktop) on a Windows 7 system.  The pages that require IE6 are shown this way, while other pages are shown locally with IE8/9. You can learn about the Citrix solution here or here for a solution from Quest.  A good write up on the options can be found here - http://www.virtualizationpractice.com/blog/?p=13493 . ttfn David
  • Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune - SkyWire

    I saw this case study and wanted to share as it has some fantastic good news in it, highlighting how Windows Intune is helping this customer.  The highlights for me were: Reduced IT Costs SkyWire Media avoided the cost of third-party products that it would need to perform desktop management tasks by using Windows Intune. “I looked at antivirus and malware [malicious software] servers for [U.S.]$8,000 each,” says Malloy. “When you add $2,000 for the software and another $70,000 for a full-time administrator, we were looking at $80,000. Windows Intune saved us from those expenses.” With Windows Intune, SkyWire can retire on-premises solutions. “The software distribution feature now available in Windows Intune will save us an estimated $10,000 in software costs because we can retire the third-party tools that we were using for this purpose,” says Castleberry. Simplified PC Management Now that SkyWire Media has standardized the desktops on Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows Intune has delivered all required updates, it has a clear baseline for future hardware and software purchases. Also, it can easily stay in compliance with software licenses. And by using the Computers workspace, Malloy created computer groups and applied management policies to fine-tune his control over the desktop. “Having the security updates, software deployment, endpoint protection, and reporting and inventorying features in one utility is phenomenal,” says Malloy. Improved IT Support By using Windows Intune, SkyWire Media can prevent malware threats before they interfere with a sales representative’s ability to win new business. “Our support calls are down by 70 per cent, proof that Windows Intune is keeping our sales folks productive. They can rely on their laptops for dependable computing and fool proof SkyWire software demos,” says Castleberry. “That’s good news for our business!” You can read the whole thing at Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune – SkyWire . Thanks David
  • Return on Investment (ROI) calculator for Windows Intune

    I’ve just come across this tool for Windows Intune.  As with any “benefits” calculator, the results simply reflect the quality of the data you put in – garbage in, garbage out. Since my computers managed by Windows Intune are already on Windows 7, have anti-malware loaded and other benefits, the results came out lower compared to those on Windows XP.  If you don’t have Windows 7, for example, the benefits are much higher. The calculator can be found at http://windowsintuneroi.valueprism.com/ and the excel version can be found at here .  The Excel version suggested that if I had 100 Windows XP computers the benefits would be as follows:   I hope this is useful   David
  • Windows Cloud Essentials Pack–Microsoft Partners can get Windows Intune internal use for free (and Office 365)

    I’m really proud to have passed an exam towards my The Cloud Accelerate program as you can see from my certificate on the left. I have started with the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack and I’m now moving up towards cloud accelerate! One of the reasons I like the Essentials Pack is the benefits it provides in terms of software, marketing and simple business tools and there is no fee or sales requirement in the first year! From the web site above, the benefits are: Software Benefits Microsoft Technology License Grant Microsoft Office 365 250 licenses Windows Intune Subscription for 25 PCs Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 250 licenses Windows Azure platform 750 hours of extra-small-compute instance, 25 hours of small-compute instance, 20 gigabytes of storage, and 250,000 storage transactions Microsoft SQL Azure Web Edition database: 1 gigabyte Windows Azure AppFabric: 100,000 access control transactions and 2 service bus connections Data transfer: 25 gigabytes in and 25 gigabytes out Marketing Benefits Listing as Cloud Essentials partner on the Microsoft Pinpoint online marketplace Listing in the Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace Marketing resources Business Benefits Online sales and financial modelling tools Demo Showcase Profitability Modeller Presales and technical support Online Technical Communities for cloud services Requirements For Partners Who Sell and Service For Partners Who Build and Develop Enrol in the Microsoft Partner Network. Sign the Microsoft Online Services Partner Agreement (MOSPA) and complete introductory training and an assessment. To continue receiving these benefits in your second year of enrolment, you must meet a modest sales requirement of 50 seats per product during your first year of enrolment. Enrol in the Microsoft Partner Network. Sign up on Microsoft Platform Ready and register your application. Annual Fee There is no fee for this program. Thanks David
  • Windows Intune IDC report–A Blueprint for Success for Microsoft Partners–the ups and downs

    I’ve found another document from the March timeframe from IDC (sponsored by Microsoft) about Windows Intune.  This one talks about how to be successful with Windows Intune.  It can be found here . One area worth exploring in the document is the section entitled “Opportunity Areas for Existing PC Management Practices”. One partner is quoted as saying "I think we could cover more customers than we could today. I don't think we have realized how big the potential is. It could help us win new deals and bigger deals." It does not pull punches either and discusses some areas that partners have been talking to me about.. New Budget Line Item for the Customer The largest change is that for the most part, other third-party, on-premise PC management tools are purchased by partners, and the partners must cover the expense of the tools with their PC management revenue. In contrast, with Windows Intune, the customer signs up for the service with Microsoft, and Microsoft bills the customer directly. What this effectively means is that with Windows Intune, the customer must pay not only the PC management fees to the service provider but also a (new) fee to Microsoft. Microsoft partners face the choice of continuing to charge their standard PC management service price, which results in an effective increase in overall fees the customer must pay, or reducing the price they charge to their customers, which reduces their overall profitability per engagement but keeps the customer whole. Another potential downside to the solution provider is a reduction in customers' stickiness; customers using Windows Intune as their PC management tool could easily pick up their service and move it to another Windows Intune–capable solution provider.          Benefits to the Partner While the challenges to the solution provider business model were viewed as the largest downsides of the Windows Intune model, solution providers interviewed also saw some benefits. One is the lack of hassle...
  • How Windows Intune can lower costs and raise productivity

    Hi, Just a quick post to share this document from IDC (sponsored by Microsoft) on Windows Intune from March 2011.  It can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/cloud/docs/IntuneWP.pdf . It shows how companies can benefit from savings of $702 per year through IT staff savings, user productivity and removal of other tools. ttfn David
  • Using Windows Intune with Autotask and ConnectWise

    Having spoken to several partners yesterday at the SMB MVT Tour I mentioned MS CRM’s integration with Windows Intune, but I thought it was worth sharing information on integration with Autotask and ConnectWise. Training and whitepapers can be found here: ConnectWise Windows Intune and Professional Services Automation: ConnectWise Learn about the integration between Windows Intune and business operation system ConnectWise, which offers customer relationship management, service request tracking, sales force automation, and more. (Online, 1 hour) Whitepaper - https://partner.microsoft.com/40165832 Autotask Windows Intune PSA Tools: Autotask This professional services automation (PSA) presentation showcases how to connect Windows Intune and Autotask to help manage customer relationships in a single system. Covers customer relationship management, service requests, contracts, billing management, and reporting. (Online, 1 hour) Whitepaper - https://partner.microsoft.com/40165830 Thanks David
  • Log files on each PC with Windows Intune

    Windows Intune is a cloud based management service with alerts and information stored in the Microsoft cloud, however sometimes it is very useful to see what is going on, on the actual PC. There are various log files that can be found on the client PC should you wish to explore. These are found at %ProgramFiles%\microsoft\onlinemanagement\logs . We can see several files in here, of which the following are particularly interesting if we want to go diving into the product: Enrollment – This file details the process of a computer enroling with Windows Intune. If the computer fails to appear in the Windows Intune list of computers, this is the log to watch. If enrollment to Windows Intune for the computer was successful we should see the following in the log file: 2011-10-05 09:00:46:615 12260 2d7c Enroll ********* 2011-10-05 09:00:46:615 12260 2d7c Enroll ** END ** Enroll: StartUpdateAgentService: Online Management Updates Service started, or already running 2011-10-05 09:00:46:615 12260 2d7c Enroll ************* HostProtection – This log provides details of any anti-malware activity on the computer. For example, a malware entry will be logged as below: 2011-11-14 13:35:28:093 4076 2b78 EventConsumer::ReportMalwareStatusEvent() - <sco:MalwareStatusEvent xmlns:sco="schemas.microsoft.com/management/services/hostprotection/2009/01" ActivityType="FullStatusResync"> <MalwareStatus> <ID>7480</ID> <Name>RemoteAccess:Win32/RealVNC</Name> <URL> http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=37020&amp;name=RemoteAccess%3AWin32%2FRealVNC&amp;threatid=7480 </URL> <Severity>Moderate</Severity> <Category>RemoteControlSoftware</Category> <CurrentStatus>Quarantined</CurrentStatus> <ExecutionStatus>NotBlocked</ExecutionStatus> <LastEventTime>2011-10-22T13:16:50.303630900Z</LastEventTime> <NumDetections>1</NumDetections> </MalwareStatus> PolicyAgent – In here, we can see what...
  • The Windows Intune Client components

    Having installed (and uninstalled) Windows Intune a number of times I just wanted to signpost this blog post here that lists the components that are installed and what they do at Coretech by Brian Fahrenholtz .  The information can be found at Windows Intune Client Agent components .  It explains what each of the following does or provides: Microsoft Easy Assist v2 Microsoft Online Management Policy Agent Microsoft Online Management Update Manager Microsoft Policy Platform System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Agent Windows Firewall Configuration Provider Windows Intune Center Windows Intune Endpoint Protection Windows Intune Endpoint Protection Agent Windows Intune Monitoring Agent   Thanks David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune , Microsoft , Cloud
  • New role–Enablement Partner strategy

    I thought I would share some details of my new role at Microsoft, which is still as a Partner Account Manager, but also responsible for the Enablement Partner strategy.  Obviously this is my day job with my author and blogging work still being a personal project for the evenings and weekends. So what are Enablement Partners you may ask?  Well they are partners who provide technology or services that help a customer (or another partner) deploy their chosen Microsoft technology, but do not deliver the project itself.  This may sound complex, so let me give you some examples: AppSense provide a host of technology, but it is around managing the user so they have a great experience no matter which device they log into and their profile flows between these devices, regardless of which version of Windows they are using (XP, Vista, 7, Server, 64-bit, 32-bit).  The direction is forwards and backwards.  They also offer many other benefits such as locking down licenses to specific devices which is frequently an issue for Project and Visio in an RDS environment.  Customers use this before, during and after upgrades to Windows 7, where a user can still use and update their profile on XP, for example. ChangeBase help customers ready their applications for migration, enabling remediation, packaging and certainty to an often complex area.  App-DNA provide an overlap of capabilities and both partners offering unique differences and benefits to customers and partners – I’m not going to try to differentiate either here. Both and excellent partners and both can easily explain their uniqueness and why you should use them without my help.  Customers often need to do this work before embarking on a migration to Windows 7 or a new version of Quest enable customers to manage, consolidate and migrate from non-Microsoft and legacy communication and collaboration systems to modern Exchange or Office 365.  This can be delivered with Microsoft tools, but frequently Quest simplify this process. ...
  • Using Intune with Sysprepped images

    I've just been through this for my book and some people were asking internally, so I thought I would share this little snippet / preview from the book on the process we have to follow to install Windows Intune from a sysprepped image. This means an image that we want to roll out to lots and lots of computers. Here is the information, based on the blog video found at http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsintune/archive/2011/09/22/adding-the-windows-intune-client-to-an-operating-system-deployment-image.aspx and the help file is located at http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsintune/hh397411.aspx . Image based deployment The latest version of Windows Intune (which is currently in beta, but due to release in less than 2 weeks) brings with it image based deployment where you can place the Windows Intune files on a computer image that will then be loaded onto several computers. There are several steps to this process if you are using the Microsoft deployment tools. 1. Install Windows to the computer 2. Download and extract the files from the Windows Intune zip file and place this on this folder which you will have to create: %Systemdrive%\Temp\Windows_Intune_Setup 3. Add the following lines to SetupComplete,cmd file, normally located or created in the %windir%\setup\scripts folder. Note there are 2 commands, the reg command and the call to the setup %windir%\system32\reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Onlinemanagement\Deployment /v WindowsIntuneEnrollPending /t REG_DWORD /d 1 %systemdrive%\temp\Windows_Intune_Setup\Windows_Intune_Setup.exe /PrepareEnroll 4. Seal the image with a command such as the one below. If you wish to create an unattended install then you will have to create the answer file my_unattended_setup.xml for sysprep. To do this, download the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) from http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx?2Q . Creating an unattended installation process is beyond this book, however Brian Jackson has an excellent article that can be found at http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx...
  • Windows Intune book update

    Well, I’ve finally finished the drafts for all chapters of the soon to be published book called Microsoft Windows Intune, Quickstart Administration . It would have been sooner if my lovely mother had not fallen ill and passed away. I don’t regret the delay in finishing the book, but that we had so little time in the end and that she was not here to see it finish. The book is now awaiting review and editorial updates before it is finally published. Update - 2/10/2010 - Since the launch of Windows Intune V2 is so close, I'm updating to V2 now. This means that you can no longer access the work in progress chapters. I hope to resolve this in a few weeks time. The book has undergone some structural changes while I was writing it. The chapters are now: 1. Overview of Cloud Computing 2. Introduction to PC Management Concepts 3. Overview of Windows Intune Features 4. Signing up for Intune and installing the client software 5. Configuring Windows Intune 6. Configuring management policy 7. Tracking and reporting 8. Monitoring and dealing with alerts, including remote assistance 9. Resolving problems using Microsoft DaRT 10.Using and deploying Windows 7 Enterprise with Windows Intune 11.Integration with existing Microsoft Products You can access the book “in progress” and buy it from here . Once this is solidly out the way and the V2 beta has stabilised I will look to work on a V2 book too. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune
  • Loading SP1 beta onto a Hyper-V R2 system

    I was keen to play with the Hyper-V R2 Service Pack 1 features, so I decided to download and install it, however I could not find anything that was not for Windows 7 or Windows Server (as opposed to Hyper-V Server).  After asking internally I was pointed to what I needed.  The process was fairly simple:   Download the SP1 beta from the Microsoft site and ensure you answer the questions correctly as an IT Pro to ensure you get the opportunity to download.  You will need to update both your Windows 7 / Windows Server client to manage the system as well as the Hyper-V Server, so you might need to download both the x86 and x64 versions as Hyper-V Server is x64 only. Remove the language packs that are not supported by the beta from the Hyper-V Server. To do this you will need to log into the console and run the LPKSETUP.exe program and remove anything that is not as part of the download package (English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish) Run the SP1 update on the Hyper-V Server Run the SP1 update on the Windows 7 Client Open the properties page in your Hyper-V Manager on Windows 7 SP1 and you can now edit the new properties Remember that Remote FX requires a Windows 7 SP1 (beta 1) guest and that Dynamic Memory requires (for the beta only) a Windows Enterprise or Datacenter guest with Standard and Web being supported when it is out of beta. See http://blogs.msdn.com/b/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2010/07/12/dynamic-memory-beta-supported-guest-operating-systems.aspx for some more details on dynamic memory support in the beta.   thanks David Technorati Tags: Hyper-V , Hyper-V R2 , SP1 , Service Pack 1 , Dynamic Memory
  • Windows and other products coming End of Support information

    Microsoft has an industry leading support lifecycle for it's products with business software generally getting 10 years support and consumer products 5 years, but even then the end of support surprises some individuals and you need to be aware to ensure you are not caught out.  Our support also requires people to adopt service packs within 12-24 months of them being released, depending on the products. here along with all the obsolete products here. Why do I mention all this now, after all, this is not new information, well, we have some significant Windows End of Support (EoS) dates coming up.  With these date looming reminding your customers that moving to Windows 7 and utilizing the many features built into the product can help you achieve simplier support and them a more secure and compliant platform for your users, reduce your help desk costs, and increase performance and reliability for your end users. Remember that a Windows 7 user can record the steps of a problem and send them through to you using the Problem Step Recorder which simplifies support. Here are some key dates to remember: March 1, 2010 – Windows 7 RC pre-expiration shut downs begin. Beginning March 1, the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) will start to shut down every two hours in preparation for its expiration on June 1, 2010. That means you will need to migrate your RC systems to a released to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 7; or your previous operating system. Remember to back up all your data as either option will require a clean installation. For more information, read this post on the Windows Team blog. April 13, 2010 – Support for Windows Vista RTM ends. To help ensure your Windows Vista PCs stay secure and up to date, make sure they are running Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Service Pack 2 (SP2). July 13, 2010 – Support for Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000 ends. If you are running Windows XP, stay more secure by moving to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) or migrating to Windows 7. Updating your Windows 2000,...
  • Windows 7 appreciation continues to grow

    I saw these three articles and thought I would share.  How are you getting on with Windows 7?  And for those who say that Vista adoption was very poor, it was not statistically different to that of Windows XP, so you can't just say "oh, that was Vista, XP was much better!" Adoption of Windows 7 Continues to Swell Computerworld - February 01, 2010 Windows 7 took just three months to reach a penetration benchmark that Windows Vista needed almost a year to reach, according to a report by NetApplications.   SMBs Step Up Plans to Adopt Windows 7 eWeek - February 02, 2010 Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are accelerating plans to migrate to Windows 7, according to a global survey conducted by network management specialist Spiceworks.   Customer Satisfaction with Windows 7 Rises Bloomberg News - February 01, 2010 Microsoft has received a bigger boost in customer satisfaction from Windows 7 than Apple did from its most recent upgrade of Mac OS X, according to market research firm YouGov. On my own site, Windows 7 has clearly overtaken Windows Vista and is having an impact on Windows XP too.   ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , Microsoft
  • Need to buy a copy of Windows 7 or Office 2007 for someone in education - get an educational discount

    HI, I've been asked this many times, so I thought I would blog on it.  Microsoft offers great discounts for people in education (beyond those who work in education).  The best options are: For university students: http://www.microsoft.com/student/discounts/theultimatesteal-uk/default.aspx - – Office £38.95, Windows 7 Pro - £30 For any age group in education - Office 2007 for around £39- £52 depending on which edition (Standard to Enterprise) and Windows 7 upgrades for £40-56 depending on the edition http://www.software4students.co.uk/ http://www.rm.com/shops/thebasement/Range.aspx?nguid=480909c5-102c-4700-8739-f3feedbb6a6d http://www.rm.com/shops/thebasement/Range.aspx?nguid=59137e0c-6185-4d95-a360-a680d60636ea     There are obviously some conditions you have to meet to qualify to use these products and each site has information about them.  If you are in full time education or a parent of someone who is then you likely qualify.  To learn more about Microsoft and education in the UK, have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/education/default.aspx .  You will notice that both the organisations I linked above are linked on the Microsoft page, but I have experience with the above two.   Thanks David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , Office 2007 , Education , Student discount , Microsoft
  • Server line-up for small businesses (and home) is increasing in options (or complexity for some) - SBS 2008, Home, Foundation, Windows Standard Server or BPOS - how do you choose?

    This is a long running question that people ask me - how to position the various server options from Microsoft for small businesses. The more choice Microsoft offers, the more complex it can become if you do not have a starting point to find the right product for a customer. So, Home Server, Foundation Server and SBS - what is it all about, especially when you look at something like Windows 7 or BPOS too? N.B. To get a detailed feature comparison between SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 have a look at the excellent work of Sean at http://sbs.seandaniel.com/2008/08/what-different-between-sbs-2003-and-sbs.html . Well, in the home or the smaller sized business market (think sweet spot of 1-7 users IMHO) there are a number of MS products that could fit the bill… Windows Client PC as a server (don't do this for businesses) Windows Home Server Foundation server Windows Server Small Business Server Online solution Server Options I suspect people know the options here, but here is a very short run-down on each and why you might or might not look at them: Windows 7 Client PC as a server Great to share files between a few PCs on a trusted network. Only with Windows 7 do you start to get better sharing security via the home group and many server oriented pieces of software can't run on it. Great for home hub (my Media Center does a bit of this), but please save your self trouble and get a server for the work environment. You will save of time and money of management very quickly in a business. Also note that server software will often not install on a Client PC. Windows Home Server This is a fantastic home hub server with functionality to hold and protect your shared files by duplicating them, backing up desktop PCs and providing remote access. Today it is built on Windows Server 2003 technology, but it does the job well. If in a business you simply want a place to store files and backups without managed security or any other server functionality and web based accessed to those files, it can do an OK job. For more info of...
  • How to put Windows 7 (either purchased ISO or DVD) onto a USB stick for faster installation or installation onto a Netbook without a DVD drive

    I've had to tell a few people about this recently, so I thought I should actually write a blog post on this.  The options are very simple and easy. Buy Windows 7 on DVD and use or buy a 4GB (or larger) USB Stick and then make a USB stick bootable and copy the files to the stick.  Details on how to make it bootable can be found here - http://www.techmixer.com/install-windows-vista-from-bootable-usb-flash-memory-drive/ .  You literally copy all the files from the DVD to the USB stick for this to work. To do this, enter this command into the run box (press Windows-Key + R) or a command prompt window - robocopy d:\ e:\ /s - this assumes that the DVD drive is D: and that the USB stick is E: - change them as required. Buy Windows 7 as an ISO from the Microsoft store ( http://emea.microsoftstore.com/uk/ ) and use the Microsoft tool from http://store.microsoft.com/Help/ISO-Tool to copy this to a USB stick (as mentioned above) buy a USB DVD Drive (not my preferred option) I hope this helps.   David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , Windows , ISO , Microsoft , Tips and Tricks
  • List of Windows 7 compatible applications that have been registered with Microsoft and how to get yours registered if you have an application

    I’ve been asked a few times about what software is registered with Microsoft as compatible with Windows 7 or has a certified status with Windows 7. The answers can be found on either of these two web sites: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/en-us/default.aspx – Web based tool to search for software http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/confirmation.aspx?familyId=890e522e-e39e-4278-aebc-186f81e29173&displayLang=en – Download an Excel spreadsheet with the information on it If you are an ISV who wishes to register your information, have a look at the downloadable template or web form here - https://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/partner/submission.aspx To learn more about developing for Windows 7, look here for Independent Software Vendors . You should also look at the ISVAppCompat site - https://www.isvappcompat.com/uk which gives details for how to certify your application and also make a press release about the fact. One of the ISVs I work with is Iris and they have just released their press releases at http://www.iris.co.uk/news__press/news_folder/newswindows_7_strategy.aspx . It all helps customers get what they want from Windows 7. Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , Windows Client , Microsoft , ISV , Application Compatibility
  • What are the legal options for Licensing Windows 7 or Windows Vista? Or how to avoid mis-licensing

    I’m often told that Microsoft licensing is complex, but what I actually find are that this either translates to “I have too many choices - ahhhh!” or “I can’t license in the way I want to” or “I can’t find the information I want to”. Option 1 is always going to happen – the more choice, the more complexity in making the right choice. Option 2 is often “I don’t want to buy lose licenses, why do I have to..” and Option 3 is poor communications on the part of Microsoft. To help with the Option 3 situation there is a new guide on the Microsoft Partner portal that explains one of the areas I’m often asked about – i.e. Windows client licensing. It is really simple. Here are the rules in summary (non-legally binding and please read the guide for full details): A PC has to licensed with a Full retail product (FPP, bought from a shop) or supplied with an OEM license (the OEM option can’t be used after the PC has been bought and supplied to the end user) Volume Licenses for Windows client is only available as an upgrade to the FPP / OEM eligible license Volume Licenses upgrade only apply to business versions, not Home editions, unless you are a qualifed academic customer and there is more information in the guide. I don’t think that is complex. To “Get Legal” there are various options too. For more details, have a look at this “Windows Licensing Fact Sheet” - download from here . Thanks David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , Windows Client , Windows , Licensing , Microsoft , Partners , MSPP , Microsoft Partner Network
  • Windows 7 adoption is storming

    [Updated] I thought I would share two facts that show me just how good the take-up of Windows 7 will be. I was in York yesterday and while sat in the pub one of the ladies working there told me about her new laptop and just how fabulous it was with Windows 7. I’m not used to people telling me how great a product is from the “other side” of the bar. The second was when I started looking at the switch from Windows Vista and Windows XP on my web site – Over 20% of all visitors now are using Windows 7. I've updated the figures until 28th November 2009 I hope you have as much fun with Windows 7 as I am and the bar lady is. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , Windows , Microsoft
  • It has been a while on the blog

    Well hello again, I've been away for quite some time - work has been very time consuming and two members of my family have required some dedicated attention while they have not been feeling well (and no, no swine flu). I'm hoping to start finding more time to "do" the blog and potentially a "tips and tricks" section for SBS 2008 based on my learning's to date. I do still have quite some work backlog, but I'll try to post some of the blog backlog too - I have hundreds of items to post!! See you soon - and keep the questions coming. David
  • How to copy or archive files by year using the command line and robocopy

    I got this question via e-mail and decided I would post the answer here in a blog. I want transfer all files created in Office Word 2003 by year (annual batchs - ex: 2005, 2006, etc.) to external HD. How can to do this? I will appreciate your answer. Edgar To do this via the command line you can use Robocopy which is present in Windows Vista and Windows 7.  If you have Windows XP download the Server 2003 Resource Toolkit and install it.  Robocopy will be part of the install and found in the install directory. The actual command would look like this and would need to be entered into a command prompt: for /L %x in (2009,-1,2000) do robocopy source destination \%x *.doc? /minage:%x0101 /maxage:%x1231 /s To break it down a bit.. for /L %x in (2009,-1,2000) do This creates a counter from 2009 up in steps of -1 (or down in steps of 1) until 2000 is reached.  Each time the counter changes it is set into %x, so %x will become 2009, 2008 and so on.  It then executes the command after to "do". robocopy source destination \%x *.doc? /minage:%x0101 /maxage:%x1231 /s The robocopy command is very flexible.  Details of it can be found on the wiki page here .  The first two parameters are the sounce and destination locations.  so it might be c:\users\david\documents and F:\document_backup.  Note the \%x on the end.  This means it will put the files inside a folder on the destination location that matches the year you are archiving. *.doc? is a limiter to the files to be copied - if you want all files, simply remove it.  This will copy all Office 2003 and 2007 document files - if you only want Office 2003, use *.doc and don't include the question mark. The minage and maxage state how old the file is.  It can either be in days or a date in the form of yyyymmdd.  So with the %x set to 2009, the command will have /minage:20090101 /maxage:20091231 which equates to everything in 2009 and so on. The /s copies all subdirectories too You can optionally put the /MOV...
  • UK event to learn more about Windows 7 (London, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh)

    With the launch of Windows 7 coming this year I thought you might like to know what Microsoft is saying about it. We have four events around the UK to help partners understand more. Event Overview With the launch of Windows 7, within three years of general availability of Windows Vista, we are delighted to invite you to an event so you can experience for yourself the buzz and excitement of Windows 7. The Windows 7 team will show you how you can protect and grow your revenues between now and the launch date and will take you through the journey of converting your customers to Windows 7, whether they currently are on Windows Vista or Windows XP – allowing you the opportunity to extend the sale and ensuring you are selling today. For your chance to see a demonstration of what the press are raving about and experience what businesses will love about Windows 7 first hand, then join us at this additional session. Agenda 5.00pm - Registration 5.30pm - The journey to Windows 7 / Demonstration of Windows 7 7.00pm - Q&A session 7.30pm - Event close 14 th May – Edinburgh Invitation Code: DFBD37 Phone Number: 0870 166 6680 ref: 4116 19 th May - Birmingham Invitation Code: 3095B3 Phone number: 0870 166 6670 ref 4117 4 th June – London Invitation Code: 875122 Phone Number: 0870 166 6680 ref: 4118 16 th June - Leeds Invitation Code: C3EE9D Phone number: 0870 166 6670 ref 4119 Enjoy David Technorati Tags: Windows , Windows Client , Windows 7 , Microsoft , Event
  • How to encrypt backups and optionally the system disks on Windows Server 2008 and SBS 2008 and Windows Vista too

    Hi, someone asked in the forums how if the backups on SBS 2008 and Windows Server 2008 were encrypted and the answer is no, even if the drives being backed up are BitLocker protected ( more details here ). However you can get encrypted backups with a bit of effort. To do this you will need to at least BitLocker enable your removable drives and optionally your system disk. I used the information at http://blogs.msdn.com/askdavid/archive/2007/06/08/enabling-bitlocker-on-removable-drives-usb-flash-drives-usb-hard-drives.aspx as a guide to putting together what I needed to do, so many thanks David Chandra for this. This same process can also be used on Windows Vista There are a couple of snags however and you need to work out which scenario you wish to have (if you have a TPM chip then option 2 & 3 can be replaced with entering a key into the TPM prompt: encrypt just the backup disks you will need to run a script each time a volume is added back to the system encrypt the system disk and the backup disks and you will need a USB key or key information to be entered every time you reboot the server encrypt the system disk and the backup disks, but store the system unlock information unencrypted on the server so you do not have to enter decryption information every time. Given the choices above the steps are as follows (they build from option 1 through to option 3): Option 1 Add BitLocker to the server Encrypt the Backup Hard Disks Add an unlock script Option 2 Prepare the system disk for BitLocker encryption Encrypt the system Option 3 Store the unlock key on the boot partition for automatic use Option 1 (encrypting the backup disks) You will need to repeat the steps below (excluding adding Bitlocker to the system) for each disk you want to encrypt. You can do this to an existing disk or a new disk. Add Bitlocker role To start this task we need to add the BitLocker role to SBS 2008. While BitLocker is built into Windows Server 2008 it is not installed. To install it start Server Manager from the Start Menu and then scroll...
  • Preparing for Windows 7 with ask the expert sessions for technical and sales success for sales people

    I saw this internally and thought I had better share via the blog - a number of ask the expert technical and sales events! Are you ready for Windows 7? The industry is preparing itself for one of the most exciting launches - Windows 7. The press is already buzzing with the launch of Windows 7 – are you ready? “ …it starts up relatively quickly, drivers already exist to make to make peripherals such as scanners and printers work with it, and it does clever things that XP, the version of Windows most people still use, just doesn’t ” The Daily Telegraph – 8 th January 2009 To ensure our partners have the opportunity to understand more about Windows 7 advantages, benefits and features, we have launched a monthly series of Windows 7 Live Meeting events. There will be two strands to this Ask the Expert (technical) and Sales Success for Windows 7 (sales). The Live Meeting sessions will focus on different topics during each session and will last 30 minutes and will contain 15 minutes on “how to” information and a question and answer session for you to pose your questions to our two Windows 7 experts – Jamie Burgess & Laurence Painell. To register your attendance on the Live Meetings then please click on the relevant link below. Ask the Expert · Technical focused 15 min session designed to tackle key technical issues that partners and customers may be experiencing with Windows 7 and these will be based on questions appearing in Windows 7 technical blogs and TechNet. These sessions are designed to be interactive, consumable and focused · Aimed at technical staff and consultants within resellers, system builders and system integrators · Hosted by Jamie Burgess – Partner Technology Specialist Date Time Ask The Expert Wednesday 15 th April 2009 16.00- 16.45 Getting Applications Compatible with Windows 7 Wednesday 20 th May 2009 16.00-16.45 Technical help for OEM & System Builders Wednesday 17 th June 2009 16.00-16.45 Technical training and...
  • Windows 7 and VHDs – it can mount them and can even be installed into one and booted from!

    Windows 7 is the theme while I am away and thought I would share this little nugget with you. Windows 7 has a lovely feature where it can mount and read / write VHD virtual hard disks. Now this is good, but you can create one and install Windows 7 inside it. You can then boot it up as normal, but it is portable at this point, so it is easy to backup, copy or examine on another system. How to do this… well, look here - http://www.iishacks.com/index.php/2009/01/11/install-and-boot-windows-7-beta-or-windows-server-2008-r2-beta-on-vhd ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , VHD , Windows Server 2008 R2 , Microsoft
  • Hyper-V Security and Management from Windows 7

    [modified 2/11/09 with new link] I’ve seen two Hyper-V announcements this week. One is about the new Security Guide and the other is how to manage Hyper-V from Windows 7. Security Guide Hyper-V Security Guide–Beta Now Available! Are your customers concerned about attacks on their virtualized servers? Help them secure their virtual environments with the Hyper-V Security Guide. The Hyper-V Security Guide , now under development, has tested guidance and best practices to boost the security of virtualized Windows Server environments. Want an advance look at this free guide? Join the beta program. Then bookmark this link to the program site to get the latest information about upcoming events. Hyper-V Management from Windows 7 This is something that caught me out. The Hyper-V Management tools for Vista do not load on Windows 7, but tools have been published. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=7d2f6ad7-656b-4313-a005-4e344e43997d and install this. Then go to the Windows Features tool in Control Panel and find the Role Administration Tools. Select Hyper-V Tools from there and bob is your uncle. Thanks David Technorati Tags: Hyper-V , Microsoft , Windows 7 , Windows Vista , Windows Server 2008 , Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 7 tips and secrets

    I LOVE using Windows 7. I keep on going “oh, that’s nice” when I discover things, so what are my top LOVE’s: Speed – it runs much, much better on my laptop and does NOT keep the hard disk chattering Thumbnails – when you hover over a thumbnail it hides all the other windows and shows you that one on the screen IE tabs shown as thumbnails. I use IE tabs a lot and sometimes finding the right tab is hard. In Windows 7 I can flick through the thumbnails in the task pane and it flips through the tabs Jump lists – you now get a recently used list for any application – so Excel just shows the Excel recently used files, Word the word documents and so on. The are available by the program icons, but also if you right click on the program on the task bar Opening another copy of the program – hold shift and click on the icon in the task bar and another instance is spawned Fixing icons onto the task bar – now if there is a program you always start, fix it to the task bar and it will be there with the jump list before you even start it Colour coding of task bar icons. When you are downloading a file in Internet explorer you see a green bar progressing through the task bar icon – you can see how far through the download it is without having to open the window. Also, copy some files and minimised the dialog. The icon will turn red if you need to give it runs out of space, for example New Resource Manager – oh, what a diagnostic joy. Want to see how long it takes for comms for a particular application – select it and look at the network tab. It will show you each connection and how each connection is performing. Dragging items into the favourites bar in Explorer, so that “always using” folder is always right at the top of the list There are many more items, but I just wanted to share some. Tim Sneath has also documents a whole gamut of items I love on his blog - Tim Sneath - The Bumper List of Windows 7 Secrets . Ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows...
  • Windows 7 downloads to end on the 10th – get it now

    I’ve been running Windows 7 since the public beta. It is, I have to say, an extra ordinarily strong beta. So much so I now run this on my work and home machine as the default OS and I have not looked back. That is not to say it is without faults, but the fact that the screen resolution get’s stuck occasionally is not what I call a major fault. So, the important thing is that the ability to download the beta is ending on the 10th of February. If you intended on getting it, but “no just yet”, don’t delay. Download it, get the key and then load at your leisure. From the team in the UK: The Windows 7 beta is only available until the 10 th February to download, so get your copy now ! MSDN and TechNet Subscribers will continue to have access to the Windows 7 Beta bits throughout the Windows 7 Beta phase. The above dates do not apply to MSDN and TechNet Subscribers. Product keys for the Windows 7 Beta will continue to be available. So if you have the Windows 7 Beta but didn’t get a product key you will be able to do so even after February 12th. To get more information on Windows 7, check out the following resources: Windows 7 TechCentre Windows 7 Beta Deployment Guide Windows 7 Forums Visit the Springboard Series blog to keep an eye on all the announcements Enjoy David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Windows 7 , If you only read one post today
  • SBS 2008 Update Rollup 1 Released to fix Vista AV reporting issue and GoDaddy domain registration issue

    Hi everyone, the first roll-up of fixes for SBS 2008 shipped today. It addresses some minor issues, which is good, but always worth being aware of. From the Official SBS 2008 blog SBS 2008 Update Rollup 1 Releases Today Windows Small Business Server 2008 Update Rollup 1 releases today. This rollup package addresses the following issues in Windows Small Business Server 2008. Issue 1 The Security tab in the Windows Small Business Server 2008 Console incorrectly reports the spyware and malware status of Windows Vista Service Pack 1-based clients that are joined to a domain. Specifically, some security applications are reported as incompatible in the antivirus and malware status that is reported. Issue 2 The Internet Address Management Wizard exits unexpectedly when you register a domain name. This issue occurs when you select GoDaddy.com as the provider, and then you click Register Now How to obtain this update This update will be available from the Microsoft Update Web site: http://update.microsoft.com More Information http://support.microsoft.com/KB/958715 The Official SBS Blog : SBS 2008 Update Rollup 1 Releases Today ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2008 , Vista , Windows Vista , Updates , GoDaddy , Anti-virus , Anti-Malware , System Updates , Microsoft , SBSC , Community
  • How to create a VPN on Windows Vista to connect to a Windows Server, such as SBS 2008

    I was going to include this in the book, but decided it was not quite the right subject matter, so I've decided to post it on the blog. SBS 2003 had a pre-defined tool for VPNs. The tool exists in SBS 2008 to produce the same tool, but you have to configure it by hand. This is covered in this blog entry here . If you are on a client machine and you need create a VPN connection, or you are a user and want to create a VPN on Windows Vista, follow this guide. Start at the Start menu . Press the Connect To button to start the process. You will be told that you are already connected to a network, but you will need to create a new connection. Do this by selecting the Set up a connection or Network option and press Connect . In the Choose a connection option screen, select the Connect to a workplace option and press Next . Now select Use my Internet connection (VPN) . The Internet address is that for your remote server. If you are using Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) this will likely be "remote." and your e-mail domain, so for example if your e-mail was david@davidoverton.com then it would be remote.davidoverton.com . In the Internet address box type your address. Now type a description. For me, I would also suggest ticking the box Don't connect now; just set it up so I can connect later . Press Next to continue Type in your User name and Password . While you can tick the box Remember this password it is a security risk as anyone using your computer can then connect to your work domain without knowing your password. You will also need to know your domain name. If you do not know this right click on Computer in the Start menu and select properties . When the screen appears your domain name will be shown. Enter this information into the Domain (optional) box. You are now ready to connect. Press Connect Now to start a connection. Next time you press Connect To from the Start menu you will see your VPN in the list. Select it and press Connect . If your User name or password are not present (if you followed...
  • Hyper-V Management console stops working after a month or so with error “Cannot connect to the RPC service on Computer ‘xxx’. Make sure your RPC service is running.

    [updated with net accounts command 20/2/2009] This can help diagnose and resolve the issue if like me, it was running fine and then it suddenly stops about 4-5 weeks after it all got started. My initial thought was that some update had changed things as the blog post here documented the initial setup where the same error was seen. The error once again looked like this: However checking all the same firewall and other settings revealed nothing. Finally I discovered that the user I had created had a password setting that meant the password had expired. Simple, yet checking from the command line is a right royal pain. To fix, these were the commands I used: net user <username> “<new or existing passsword>” /active:yes /expires:never /passwordchg:no net accounts /maxpwage:unlimited Simple, yet the cause of so much time trying to fix. Hopefully this will solve it for you too. Thanks David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Hyper-V , Error , User , Password
  • Internet Explorer security vulnerability fix now available – think of it as an early Christmas present… now about Firefox’s 3 issues this week…

    I think everyone knows that an urgent security issue has arisen in IE this week and Microsoft has taken the (wise) decision to publish a fix outside the normal 2nd Tuesday release cycle. Some have said switch browser because of this issue, but not only can that be complex, but most browsers suffer security issues so once again the only real protection is to wrap in cotton wool and hide. Or, use the built in features of Vista and IE7/8 which means protected mode and NOT running as admin. You might ask why a Christmas present? Well, if this continued un-patched then your information is seriously at risk and that would make for a very bad Christmas if your credit card information was stolen!! Either way, if you have IE on your systems then you will need to update your systems urgently. Of course, my Hyper-V server (or Windows Core for that matter) don’t have IE, so no updates for them!!! Just for completeness, here is the information from the Technet newsletter Internet Explorer Security Update I wanted to update you on the Advance Notification of security update MS08-078 which will address a new vulnerability allowing remote code execution in all affected versions of Internet Explorer products. We plan to release this update on December 17th, around 10 a.m. Pacific Time (6pm UK time) through Automatic Updates and Microsoft Update. We encourage you to test and deploy this update as soon as possible. Our investigations of the known attacks have verified that they are not successful against customers who have applied the security update. You may be interested to know, that in response to the threat we mobilized security engineering teams worldwide right away to develop, test and deliver a security update of appropriate quality for worldwide distribution in the unprecedented time of eight days. We also published the Microsoft Security Advisory 961051 . Microsoft's teams worked constantly to identify more options for customers and updated this advisory 5 times in six days. We remain committed to building secure...
  • Invalid certificate issued to localhost.localdomain when remotely access SBS 2008 from a Windows PC

    This is another question I was recently asked. One particular user noticed that the certificate they saw when accessing their server from the internet did not match that when accessing from the LAN. The certificate looked something like this: This was a little strange as when the system was accessed from the intranet, all things appeared fine. The culprit for them was the SBS 2003 self signed certificate on the same machine. By removing the certificate and then installing the correct new one things got better. To remove the old certificate, start MMC.exe and accept the UAC prompt. Now press Ctrl+M to add a new snap-in and select Certificates and when asked, add for the user account . The do the same again, but select Certificates and Computer Account and hit OK to accept the current computer. Now expand out Personal Certificates and remove any SBS 2003 self signed certificates. To load the new certificates open a browser inside your SBS 2008 network and point to http://companyweb/Lists/Announcements/DispForm.aspx?ID=3 which should give you instructions and the URL. I hope that makes sense. ttfn David Technorati Tags: localhost.localdomain , SBS 2008 , Certificates , Tips
  • Connect Manager for VPNs into SBS 2008 …er, not really, with CMAK information too

    [updated with “roll your own” information and how to make a 32-bit version of the exe file] I love it when people challenge me to solve a question and today’s prize goes to Simon (thank-you for the questions Simon) who asked me where Connection Manager was on SBS 2008? You remember Connection Manager right, to auto configure the VPNs… Well, the instructions in SBS 2008 are a little less simple. Rather than downloading a pre-configured tool you now need to roll your own. The reasoning, which is quite sound, is that you can access almost everything via the Remote Web Workplace, but for some things, you want a VPN and the way to get it can be found here - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc513974.aspx If you want to create a Connection Manager Install for SBS 2008 you need to add the CMAK to the SBS 2008 install. Go to Server Manager and click to add a feature. Install the CMAK by pressing Next. To start the kit, go to the Start Menu, Administrator Tools and then select Connection Manager Administration Kit. Click next until you need to select the target OS. Select to create a new profile and provide the name and filename (8 characters max) Provide the domain or realm name and include the “separator” character – eg “mydomain\” without the quotes. Select no profiles to merge and press Next Embed the VPN Connection name (eg remote.myserver.com as that is what the SSL certificate will say) into the file and then accept the VPN entry Remove the automatically update phonebook options and leave blank Accept the default entries for VPN, Routing tables, IE Proxy, Custom Actions Now accept the default graphics or add your own logo Accept the default information on help files, support information, User EULA screen, additional files Finally accept the answer and build the file: . You can now chose to put the EXE file somewhere your users can access and then they can download it. One problem solved, more to come. IF YOU ARE DEPLOYING TO A 32-BIT WINDOWS SYSTEM, YOU...
  • I’m a PC and I’m a school governor

    Microsoft’s campaign now has David (UKSBSGUY) in it!! I love PC’s, I love freedom to choose between a PC, a MAC or anything else, but I CHOSE PC’s. I love SBS 2008 and I love small businesses that make the world go round. I also love my family and I’m amazed by the people at my local infants school, so I give back by being a school governor. If you want to know more about the school, go to http://www.yateley-inf.hants.sch.uk/index.html . David Technorati Tags: imapc , Personal , Microsoft , uksbsguy , Windows
  • Important Microsoft security update – update your machines now!

    DavidOverton.com rebooted today due to an emergency security update – an “out of band” release from the normal “patch Tuesday” process.  It is worth considering updating and reboot your computers and servers asap.   More information on this can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS08-067.mspx .  Impacted systems below:   Operating System Maximum Security Impact Aggregate Severity Rating Bulletins Replaced by this Update Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows XP Service Pack 2 Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows XP Service Pack 3 Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2 Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2 Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows Server 2003 with SP1 for Itanium-based Systems Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows Vista and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Remote Code Execution Important None Windows Vista x64 Edition and Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 1 Remote Code Execution Important None Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems * Remote Code Execution Important None Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems * Remote Code Execution Important None Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems Remote Code Execution Important None ttfn   David
  • Perpetually Connecting = PC = latest US Bill Gates and Seinfeld Windows (Vista, Live, Mobile) Adverts

    I see the latest Windows advert is up on http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ .  These are the US adverts and the UK adverts are coming so I’m told.  It is nice Microsoft beginning to emphasize the value of it’s products … I just wish I could see the how the whole series will play out. The latest tag line is Perpetually Connecting which becomes PC. Talking about videos, the same site now has a stack of videos at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/possibilities/products/default.aspx .  Go have a look, you might just surprise yourself!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Vista , Live , Mobile , Windows , Adverts , Bill Gates , Seinfeld
  • Want MIX08 in the UK? Then come to ReMix08 in Brighton on 18th and 19th September and save if you book an early bird place now

    I love what goes on at these events. It would be good to see you there. Here is the little advert: Final chance to save £110 . Very limited Early Bird places left - don't say we didn't warn you! 1,000 web developers, designers, development managers and technology evangelists are going to take the media they love to the next level. Why? Because ReMix UK 08 is getting bigger and better. Scott Guthrie Developer Track Bill Buxton Design and UX Track For Designers, Developers, the Community and Beyond Work Julie Howell, Fortune Cookie • Brendan Dawes, Magnetic North • Paul Foster, Microsoft Evangelist • Guy Smith-Ferrier, Capella • Tim Regan, Microsoft Research • Mike Taulty, Microsoft Developer Evangelist See the website for the growing list of speakers... What's in the mix • Panel discussions to Interactive Mash Ups • Designers and developers hand-in-hand to • All day VJs to conceptual walls • Open Source project, CodePlex • Backnetwork to Moo cards • Photosynth master classes to Microsoft Surface • Our international act to geek bars • Swag giveaways to inflatable lounges • Designing for compatibility and for the wild • Visualising books to sneak previews • The latest developments in IM, VE and IE8 • Latest developments in RIAs and SSDs • WPF and Silverlight applications at work • • The technology Silverlight | Deep Zoom | Mobile | Expression | ASP.NET/AJAX Windows Live services | XNA | Partnering with Microsoft | Photosynth Robotics Studio | Data | Microsoft Research | Popfly | Advertising It's a full-on interactive event. Be a part of something special. Don't forget the Early Bird offer and register today at www.microsoft.com/uk/remix08/ . Early Bird price £239 (inc.VAT), full price £349 from the 301st ticket. See you there! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Silverlight , Deep Zoom , Mobile , Windows Mobile , Expression , ASP.Net , Ajax , Windows Live Services , XNA , Microsoft , Partner , Photosynth , Robotics Studio , Data , Microsoft Research , Popfly , Advertising
  • What software could you not live without – tell Windows Vista Magazine?

    I’ve just noticed this blog post on the Windows Vista Magazine - What software could you not live without? We’re searching for the 100 best programs for Windows Vista – and we need your help! By James Stables on 08 July 2008 In our October 2008 issue we will be compiling a list of the 100 best pieces of software which power up Windows Vista. These are the pieces of software you would never run Windows without, which make a difference to your everyday life and that you would recommend to all other readers. We want to hear your ideas to make sure no stone goes unturned and no program is left out. This is a great opportunity for the Windows Vista Magazine community to share the combined experiences and knowledge that help make this one of the most diverse magazines on the market. Leave us a comment saying what should be in our software top 100. I’ve just left my list, which to be complete is also below: My core products: Vista Office 2007 - for my work Live Writer for blogging Live Messenger to communicate To tweak my UI experience: Stardock – Winblinds Stardock – DeskScapes Stardock - Tweak Vista Stardock - Logon Studio Other utilities I love: EzDetach for Outlook to save space on inbox Live Mesh for sharing files Speedfan to help manage temperature Thanks David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Software , Windows Vista Magazine , Microsoft
  • Seeing is wanting for Windows Vista (Mojave Experiment) – people having their perceptions changed by actually seeing what it can do…

    I have to admit I really like this – take people who rate Vista as a ZERO, show them a new operating system called Mojave and see them rate it as high as a ten, then tell them that it was Vista and almost immediately you get “Well, I’d not seen Vista before, it’s much better than I had heard”. It just goes to show that a well configured machine (a HP laptop with 2GB of RAM) can do wonders. I also like the stats page that states: Of the 140 respondents polled on a scale of 1-10 where 10 was the highest rating, the average pre-rating for Windows Vista was 4.4. After they saw the demo, respondents rated Mojave as average of 8.5. Many said they would have rated it higher, but wanted more time to play with it themselves. The users used other operating systems – 84% Windows XP, 22% Apple, 14% Windows pre-XP, 1% Linux More information can be found on the Vista team blog or the site above. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Vista , Windows Vista , Mojave
  • Performance monitoring tools to go with Windows Vista Magazine article

    In my latest article for Windows Vista Magazine I spoke about performance tuning a system and more importantly how to diagnose performance issues. One of the tools I recommend using to do this is the Windows Performance Tools kit. This can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/sysperf/perftools.mspx . It includes a getting started document. The tools are described as: The Windows Performance Tools (WPT) Kit contains performance analysis tools that are new to the Windows SDK for Windows Server 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5. The WPT Kit is useful to a broad audience, including system builders, hardware manufacturers, driver developers, and general application developers. These tools are designed for measuring and analyzing system and application performance on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and later. The tools currently include an xperf trace capture tool, an xperfview visualization tool (also known as Performance Analyzer), and an xbootmgr boot trace capture tool. The tools are designed for the analysis of a wide range of performance problems including application start times, boot issues, deferred procedure calls and interrupt activity (DPCs and ISRs), system responsiveness issues, application resource usage, and interrupt storms. The MSIs containing these tools are available in the SDK bin directory (one per architecture). The tools are built on top of the Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) infrastructure. ETW enables Windows and applications to efficiently generate events. Events can be enabled and disabled at any time without requiring system or process restarts. ETW collects requested kernel events and saves them to one or more files that are referred to as "trace files" or "traces." These kernel events provide extensive details about the operation of the system. Some of the most important and useful kernel events that are available for capture and analysis are context switches, interrupts, DPCs, process and thread creation and destruction, disk I/Os, hard faults, processor P-state...
  • Update for Media Center for Windows Vista available for download

    I saw over on Aaron’s blog that Microsoft has posted an update for Media Center. I’ve loaded this on the machine under the TV, but there again, I was not seeing issues, except those caused by network congestion as all our PCs and extenders connect via a wireless network. June 2008 Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista available for download A new cumulative update package for Windows Vista Media Center has been released this week. This update is called the June 2008 Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista and is also known as KB950126. It is available for download in x86 and x64 versions. It can be installed on systems running the original version of Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate Editions and the SP1 version of Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate Editions. The June 2008 Cumulative Update includes the following fixes: All of the fixes previously included in the February 2008 Cumulative Update Improvements to the TV recording experience on systems that use analog tuners, do not have a set-top box and do not have any digital tuners installed. Blank screen that can occur when you switch between full-screen mode and windowed mode while playing a video. Empty removable media devices may be displayed in galleries (this issue was introduced in Windows Vista SP1 and only affects those systems). Client ID may not be set correctly if you use the Express setup option when launching Windows Vista Media Center. Memory leak in extender sessions. Updated frequency table for China. Channel names in Simplified Chinese are shown as unrecognizable characters. Downloads on Aaron’s site Aaron Stebner's WebLog : June 2008 Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista available for download ttfn David Technorati Tags: Media Center , MCE , Windows Vista , Vista , Microsoft , System Update
  • Upgrade Windows Search to Version 4.0 and improve your PC (for Windows Vista, XP, Server 2003 and 2008)

    If you have have Office 2007 or a Windows Vista or Windows Desktop Search (WDS) then you probably have V2.6 or V3 of this fantastic search product. Version 4 has a wealth of updates, but most importantly, is more stable and faster. One of the things I love about this is that if you put this on a client and server, and then search a network share, if the contents are indexed on the server then WDS uses the remote index to search, making it super fast. It can even be used with SBS 2003 / 2008 to speed up access to the shares there too. Description of Windows Search 4.0 and the Multilingual User Interface Pack for Windows Search 4.0 Windows Search 4.0 Windows Search 4.0 lets you perform an instant search of your computer. Windows Search 4.0 helps you find and preview documents, e-mail messages, music files, photos, and other items on the computer. The search engine in Windows Search 4.0 is a Microsoft Windows service that is also used by programs such as Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Office OneNote 2007. You can use this search engine to index a program's content and to obtain instant results when you search in a particular program. Windows Search 4.0 includes the following improvements: Support for indexing encrypted documents of local file systems Reduced affect on Microsoft Exchange when you index e-mail in online mode, and there is no local cache (.ost) Support for indexing online delegate mailboxes Support for client-to-client remote query to shared indexed locations Improved indexing performance Faster previewer updates for Windows XP Per-user Group Policy settings Windows software updates for Watson errors Support for the following new enterprise Group Policy objects: Computer policies Prevent adding Universal Naming Convention (UNC) locations to index from Control Panel Prevent customizing indexed locations in Control Panel Prevent automatically adding shared folders to the index Allow for indexing of encrypted files Disable indexer back-off Prevent clients from querying the index remotely Allow...
  • Welcome to readers of Windows Vista Magazine as I'm now a contributor

    Some of you might know that I used to write for Windows XP Magazine, but having used Windows Vista during the beta cycle I eventually had to give it up as I was writing about an OS I was not using. Well, that has all changed - I've been using Vista for over 3 years now and I've now got a technical spot back into the Windows Vista Magazine. My 1st articles are about identifying Vista performance issues and then will continue on to understanding system crashes and then solving some common Office 2003/7 and Vista problems. I'd love to hear about topics you would want me to cover - just leave a comment or e-mail at admin@davidoverton.com . If you want to only see my Windows related articles, click onto this link - http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/Windows+Vista/default.aspx Please feel free to ask questions on the site, or even on this blog post. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Windows Vista Magazine , Personal , Vista
  • Mark's Blog : The Case of the System Process CPU Spikes

    One of my heroes and guiding lights for all things Windows “internals” is Mark Russinovich. He has his blog at http://blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich . Before being a Microsoft person Mark ran the very successful WinInternals / SysInternals businesses until he moved across. His tools can still be accessed by http://www.sysinternals.com or are part of the MDOP Software Assurance option. The Case of the System Process CPU Spikes As you’ve probably surmised by my blog posts and other writings, I like knowing exactly what my systems are doing. I want to know if a process is running away with the CPU, causing memory pressure, or hitting the disk. Besides keeping my computers running smoothly, my vigilance sometimes helps me spot performance and reliability problems in Windows and third-party code. The main way I keep tabs on things is to configure Process Explorer to run automatically when I log in. Whenever I configure a new computer, I add a shortcut to Process Explorer to my profile’s Start directory that includes the /t (minimize) switch. Process Explorer runs otherwise hidden with tray icon that shows a small historical view of CPU activity level. Because I want access to detailed information about system processes, as well as my own, I also specify the /e option on Vista, which causes Windows to present a UAC prompt on logon that allows me to grant Process Explorer administrative rights. Because I keep an eye out for CPU spikes in Process Explorer’s tray icon, which show up as green or red for user-mode (application) and kernel-mode (operating system and drivers) CPU usage, respectively, I’ve identified several application bugs over the last few months. In this post, I’ll share how I used both Process Explorer and another tool, Kernrate, to identify a problem with a third-party driver and followed the problem through to a fix by the vendor. Not long after I got a new laptop several months ago, I noticed that the system sometimes felt sluggish. Process Explorer’s tray icon corroborated my perception by displaying...
  • Diagnose Windows Performance issues with the tools Microsoft uses

    I’m writing about diagnosing performance problems at the moment and this blog starts the process off for me. XPerf is an amazing tool that was internal to Microsoft only. You can now use this yourself!! One quick update, have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/sysperf/perftools.mspx for an update to just the xperf tools and you don’t need to download the rest of the SDK either :-). The SDK team just shipped the latest version of the Windows SDK which supports Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1. The SDK now includes an important new tool; the Windows Performance Tool Kit from the Windows performance team (we call them the xperf tools for short...) This is the first article in the xperf series, the next one is Xperf Tools Landing Page and Update The xperf tools have long been an internal tool used by our team, and widely throughout Windows, for system-wide performance analysis. Xperf got its start many years ago as a set of command-line tools that produce reports based off the ETW instrumentation in the kernel[1]. Many other components and applications in Windows are instrumented with ETW and xperf can enable these events, dump them, and analyze them. Xperf is an important tool for anyone doing system performance work on Windows because it's specifically designed to give you a complete system-wide view of performance over long periods of time (10's of seconds, to minutes)[2]. It's also the only tool that knows how to fully process all the events from the kernel and correlate them into something that makes sense. For example, here is a detail graph of all the disk I/O to the system drive on my laptop for opening this post, editing it a bit, and then closing Live Writer. Pigs Can Fly : Xperf, a new tool in the Windows SDK Enjoy, David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Performance , Windows , Vista , Windows Server 2008 , Windows Vista
  • This consumer operating systems stuff is harder than 1st thought – Red Hat and Novell no longer targeting consumers with desktop Linux

    I saw this and it made me smile – looks like building a desktop OS for consumers is harder than people thought :-) And I thought consumers were more willing to put in time to fiddle too, so that makes the enterprise play even less likely for me!! Red Hat skips consumer Linux desktop Red Hat has no plans to create a traditional desktop product for the consumer market, but will continue to place its bets on a desktop for commercial markets. "We are focused on infrastructure software for the enterprise market, and to that market we are offering the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop," said Michael Chen, vice president of corporate marketing at Red Hat. "You need a different support ecosystem and applications for the consumer desktop," Chen added. Among the company's desktop goals for 2008 and 2009 is to ensure that its desktop products complement its server and middleware products, Red Hat said in a company blog post Wednesday. Red Hat's strategy is similar to that of Novell , which is currently focusing on Linux for enterprise desktops. The market for Suse Linux on the consumer desktop is taking time to develop, and the market for the desktop for the next three to five years is mainly enterprise-related, Novell President and CEO Ronald Hovsepian said Wednesday. Red Hat skips consumer Linux desktop | InfoWorld | News | 2008-04-17 | By John Ribeiro, IDG News Service ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Client , Windows , Windows Vista , Vista , Linux , Red Hat , Novell , Microsoft
  • Improved searching of Windows Servers (2003, 2008, SBS, Windows Home Server) and Windows desktops (Vista and XP) through the Windows Search 4.0 Preview which improves local and network searching

    There is a feature that I 1st found of Windows Home Server that can be applied to SBS, Windows Server, Windows Vista / XP and any other Windows system with Windows Search 3 or 4 on it. This feature is the ability to search the other machine’s index rather than the files, meaning that you can go to a file share and search 100s of GBs of files in a couple of seconds simply by using the Vista search box. The Search V4 Preview extends this ability to more versions of Windows. That is not all it does – see the note from the Windows Vista Team Blog : Announcing the Windows Search 4.0 Preview that has some information: Windows Search 4.0 introduces several improvements I'd like to call out making search even better in Windows Vista: With Windows Search 4.0, the Windows Search Team has fixed most of the reported bugs causing a majority of distractions users have seen since Windows Vista RTM - many of those bugs were reported by you. Great improvements have been made with regards to performance .Even now as Preview, Windows Search 4.0 has query response time about 33%faster than search queries in Windows Vista RTM. The Windows Search Team has extended Remote Index Discovery for PC-to-PC search to work on every supported version of Windows. This makes finding information on other PCs running Windows Search 4.0 quick and less resource-consuming. Now Windows Search can find information shared on a remote PC by accessing an index on that PC - and you will open files only when relevant to your search. This will also work if the user's profile is redirected. The Windows Search Team has implemented Rollback Recovery where your search index will roll back to the last known good state (this is good in handling disc write errors). If an error occurs, your index isn't rebuilt from scratch; only the newly changed files are added to the index, making recovery from system errors not as disruptive to the machine or the user Being able to find files isn't just important to consumers - it is also important to IT Professionals...
  • Available to everyone (well almost) - Windows Vista SP1 Released to Windows Update

    Today Windows Vista SP1 has made it to Windows Update for the 5 lead languages with the rest to follow over the following weeks. Lots of details at Windows Vista Team Blog : Windows Vista SP1 Released to Windows Update . Perhaps some of the most important points from the blog entry for me are listed below, but read the blog entry for all details: If in running Windows Update you do not see Windows Vista SP1 listed, there are a number of good reasons for this (Eight in fact, see the whole list ) If You have a pre-release version of SP1 and need to uninstall it before installing SP1. This is quite a chore - expect the uninstall to take 30 to 90 mins depending on hardware, then start the whole install process again!! Back in February we announced that we'd be using Windows Update to help make the update as seamless as possible for our users. Windows Update will detect drivers that we know may be problematic when updating to SP1 and will not offer the service pack until an update has been installed. More details about the drives on the blog There is a standalone installer at the Microsoft Download Center here . Windows Update will help ensure a better experience, so if you do choose to visit the Microsoft Download Center make sure that you read these KBs before installing. I've noticed the benefits on my PC with regard to wireless networks, resume from stand-by, performance of things like file copies and more. Enjoy the SP1 world. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista SP1 , SP1 , Vista SP1 , Windows Client , Vista , Service Pack
  • 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...
  • Office Live Workspace Update for Windows Vista to enable "Open From" and "Save to" menu items in Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint

    One little feature that others might have missed with the new release of Office Live Workspace is the two nifty buttons for Office to enable direct access from the Office Live Workspace Update for Windows Vista The Office Live Workspace Update installs three Windows Vista updates (KB945435, KB945145, KB933860) and one Office 2007 update to ensure optimal performance on Windows Vista when using Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with Office Live Workspace. The update improves the performance of opening and saving Workspace documents from these Office programs. In some cases, the update also resolves problems with "Open from Office Live" and "Save to Office Live" functions of the Office Live Add-in . This update is only needed for computers running Windows Vista. Download details: Office Live Workspace Update for Windows Vista ttfn David Technorati Tags: Live , Office Live Small Business , Office Live , Office Live Workspace , Vista , Windows Vista , Save to , Open From
  • Latest news, events and downloads in the Security world from Microsoft - Windows Server 2008, Mobile, employee habits, Antigen, IPSEC, ForeFront, NAP, XP Firewall, System Center

    Each month the TRM blog product this great summary of the Microsoft world in various product areas. The blog can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ News Help your customers securely deploy Windows Server 2008 with the Windows Server 2008 Security Guide! http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=92550 Every day, adversaries attempt to invade your customers’ networks and access their servers—to bring them down, infect them with viruses, or steal information about customers or employees. Your customers are looking to Microsoft and Windows Server® 2008 to help them address these threats. To assist customers in taking full advantage of the rich security features in Windows Server 2008, Microsoft has developed the Windows Server 2008 Security Guide. The Windows Server 2008 Security Guide provides IT professionals with best practices, predefined security templates, and an automated deployment tool to help strengthen the security of servers running Windows Server 2008. Supporting Your Family, Friends, and Neighbours http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8287993 By Steve Riley, Senior Security Strategist, Trustworthy Computing Have you become a support professional outside of the workplace? Read this article and learn how to discuss security with your family, friends, and neighbours to better help them stay safe and secure online. More Security and Control for Mobile Devices http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8287995 Learn how to add, manage, secure, and update Windows Mobile devices like you do Windows-based laptops and PCs. Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008 provides robust security features and a comprehensive device management solution that helps safeguard your corporate data, reduce the cost and complexity of mobile deployments, and centralize and simplify Windows Mobile device management. Island Hopping: The Infectious Allure of Vendor Swag http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8287996 The technique of island hopping -- penetrating a network through a weak link and then hopping around systems within that network...
  • More ways to engage with customers using the Microsoft advertising campaigns

    [updated 4th March] Many people congratulated Microsoft after the Mr Busy campaigns allowed partners to drive their customers back to them using a MS campaign. Well, this is now being repeated for a number of campaigns. Today I found the click and go site to get them all ( http://www.campaigns.arvato-services.com/ ). You can get 200 post cards or 1,000 e-mails for free and then a low price for additional cards/ e-mails if required. The campaigns covered include: Business Productivity Customer Acquisition and Retention Security and Reliability Small Business PC Mr Busy This method of engaging is not new to the Small Business team and others have covered this before (eg Susanne here ), but it is worth re-highlighting this now as some of the campaigns have been renewed, so go back and visit the site!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Marketing , Campaigns , Business Productivity , Customer Acquisition and Retention , Security and Reliability , Small Business PC , Mr Busy , Partner , SME , Small Business Server 2008 , Mid-Market
  • Microsoft drops the price of retail versions of Vista significantly all over the world, but plenty in the UK

    I saw some people talking about this on the Yahoo groups and on the blogs, so thought I would do some investigating. The retail price has moved quite nicely in the UK .. in the following blog they talk about a drop of upto 40+% in the UK, while US prices only dropped 20% http://hackinthebox.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=25990 - Microsoft is cutting the retail price of its Windows Vista operating system by as much as 39% here in New Zealand. Prices in the US will drop 20% and in the UK and Europe, savings of up to 46% are available on some versions. On Friday, Microsoft announced sweeping price cuts to boxed copies of Vista, saying then that the cuts would range from as low as 3% in developed countries to nearly 50% for some editions sold in poorer nations. Prices just released by the local Microsoft office show that New Zealand has done pretty well with a drop of 39% for the top Vista Ultimate from $979 to $599, and a 24% drop for the Home Premium edition from $589 to $449. Home Basic also drops 24% from $499 to $379. A Home Premium upgrade drops 35% from $349 to $229 and an Ultimate upgrade drops 24% from $649 to $499. So having seen this, off I went to Amazon, especially since I had recorded the Amazon prices earlier in the discussions at The price of Vista in the UK - some really, really bad maths . How good / bad was it then? To get the latest prices from Amazon, click the links below for UK or US pricing as an example. (I do not think all the UK Amazon price changes have gone through yet though) For example Windows Ultimate has gone from £294 to £229 at Amazon in the UK and the new Home Premium price of just £79. It all looks good to me!! UK Pricing US Pricing It is nice to see real price drops for many of the packages in the UK too. thanks David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Windows Client , Vista , Service Pack 1 , Price drop
  • Technical RollUp : March 2008 - Technical Rollup Mail - Platforms (Windows, virtualisation, Active Directory, Core, Debugging, Terminal Services, Vista SP1 changes / new / implementation guides)

    As always, from the Technical RollUp : March 2008 - Technical Rollup Mail - Platforms blog posting. I've removed all the KB article stuff and it is worth pointing out that towards the end of the list are all the docs associated with what has changed with Windows Vista SP1: Blogs and information Windows Virtualization Team Blog http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/ The World Simplified is a Virtual World http://blogs.technet.com/virtualworld/ Ask the Directory Services Team http://blogs.technet.com/askds/ Ask the Performance Team http://blogs.technet.com/askperf/ Microsoft Enterprise Networking Team http://blogs.technet.com/networking/ Ask the Core Team http://blogs.technet.com/askcore/ Microsoft Advanced Windows Debugging and Troubleshooting http://blogs.msdn.com/ntdebugging/ Terminal Services Team Blog http://blogs.msdn.com/ts/ The Hot Blog http://blogs.technet.com/hot/ Downloads Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP1 Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 (WSUS 3.0 SP1) delivers updates to corporate environments from Microsoft Update. This release fixes issue found since the release of the product. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=1&srcdisplaylang=en&srccategoryid=&srcfamilyid=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3ffamilyid%3df87b4c5e-4161-48af-9ff8-a96993c688df%26displaylang%3den Microsoft Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP1 Overview This paper introduces Microsoft Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 (WSUS 3.0 SP1) and provides information about features, and server and client computer requirements. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=2&srcdisplaylang=en&srccategoryid=&srcfamilyid=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3ffamilyid%3d1b5eac37-bd48-41fd-869b-f9b06fa64a61%26displaylang%3den Release Notes for Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP1 These release notes describe known issues affecting Microsoft Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 (WSUS 3.0 SP1) and include recommendations and requirements for...
  • All change - Windows Vista SP1 here now for technical customers - it was delayed. It is still a little way away for non-technical people

    Last week Microsoft announced SP1 for Vista to the world , but then said some device drivers were causing problems so there would be a delay to enabled those to be resolved. That is the device drivers, not SP1. Well, as you can imagine, there was a fair amount of noise around this, so the rollout has been changed to enable technical people who were on the beta and MSDN & Technet Plus people to get it much earlier. Someone once asked me why we could not get things on the web quicker - well, if you have a few million people downloading something at the same time it has a hit, so all releases, even system updates, have an element of staggering. From the blog posting Windows Vista Team Blog : Windows Vista SP1 availability for technical customers some salient points are: On Monday (February 4th), we announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). Overall, people are excited to hear that we have reached this milestone, but some are disappointed they are not able to immediately download it. <snipped> We've heard the feedback and I want to update you on our plans and progress for making SP1 available to our beta participants, our Volume Licensing customers, and our MSDN/TechNet Plus subscribers: Late Friday we made SP1 RTM available to individuals and companies who participated in the SP1 beta program At the end of this week we will be making the English version of Windows Vista SP1 available to Volume Licensing customers. Other languages will follow soon after Later this month, SP1 will be available to MSDN and TechNet Plus subscribers For broad availability, we are still planning to release in mid-March, since we want to be sure that everyone has the smoothest experience possible. I want to be super-clear on one point: Windows Vista SP1 is final. It has been fully released to manufacturing and we do not plan to make any changes to the SP1 code prior to public availability. We are confident in the quality of Windows Vista SP1 and know that it will help improve our customers'...
  • Is your network going to be IPv6 ready?

    You remember IPv6 - it was that thing that people didn't like in Vista and tried to turn it off? Well it is coming and it is coming quickly. I saw this and thought I would remind everyone that what you know about IPv4 is no longer going to be enough. Is your network technology and software up to the task? Switch To IPv6 On Internet's Root Servers Begins The current version -- IPv4, which can accommodate 4.3 billion addresses -- would have run out of addresses by 2012, experts predict. The switch to a new Internet address format has begun, as Web overseers look to provide a pool of virtually unlimited addresses to support the growing number of Internet-connected devices. On Monday, records written in IPv6 were added to the Internet's root servers, making it possible for the first time for computer systems to communicate via the Web using only the new format, the London-based BBC news agency reported. The development marks a milestone in the conversion from IPv4. Switch To IPv6 On Internet's Root Servers Begins -- IPv6 -- InformationWeek MSDN developer resources can be found at ( http://search.msdn.microsoft.com/search/Default.aspx?query=ipv6&brand=msdn&locale=&refinement=00&lang=en-us was used to get these links): IPv6 Guide for Windows Sockets Applications (Windows) This guide provides the information you need to enable your Microsoft® Windows® application to use the next generation of Internet Protocol , version 6 ( IPv6 ) http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms738649.aspx IPv6 Application Development TCP/ Internet Protocol version 6 ( IPv6 ) is a connectionless, unreliable datagram protocol used primarily for addressing and routing packets between hosts. Connectionless means that ... http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa917153.aspx IPv6 Blog : Mythbusters #1: No one is using IPv6 [UPDATED] Hmm, let's bust this myth with a quick experiment. You can all take part. In order to be a valid test, you need to meet the following requirements: 1. You must have a cell phone ....
  • How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista

    My boss had some problems on his PC after installing some tools onto it and upon further diagnosis it appeared to be that the .Net Framework had been corrupted. We did all the usual things of looking in "Add/Remove Programs" etc, adding service packs etc all to no avail. I then came across this blog entry and a fix started to come to light How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista Since the Windows Vista public launch in January 2007, I have been receiving questions about how to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 to try to resolve various bugs. As I previously described here , the 2.0 and 3.0 versions are installed as OS components on Windows Vista and do not appear in the Programs and Features (formerly known as Add/Remove Programs) control panel. Many of the customers I have heard from have tried to use the .NET Framework cleanup tool , but it does not list the .NET Framework 2.0 as a valid removal option when it is run on Windows Vista. This is by design - the cleanup tool does not offer the option to remove any version of the .NET Framework that is an OS component on the OS it is being run on. Aaron Stebner's WebLog : How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista The important things seem to be: Don't use the clean up tool Try the command " sfc /scannow " from an elevated command prompt Repair the (V2) framework with the command " %windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\ngen.exe update " again from an elevated command prompt The 1st item stops corruption, then 2nd checks the OS's binary (core internal files) are correct and matching their signatures and the final one re-creates all the "native" files from the IL code. ttfn David Technorati Tags: .Net Framework , Support , Windows Vista , Vista
  • New build of Vista SP1 RC Preview to load and rumour that Vista SP1 Confirmed for February 15

    I've been running Vista SP1 builds for a while and I like them. I don't like the process of changing builds which is "simply" a case of uninstalling the old build, letting it reboot twice, updating the registry, doing find updates in windows update, reboot, do it again, reboot, do it again, wait 15 mins, do it again, then let it install for a chunk of time, reboot twice more. Now, you won't have this fun when the "real" update comes out, but us testers simply enjoy this process!! To get the latest preview go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=529d992a-d69e-4c73-9213-7a7f3852c0ca&DisplayLang=en Vista SP1 Confirmed for February 15 – XP SP3 Too? Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is just around the corner. Despite the fact that Microsoft continues to point to the first quarter of 2008 as the deadline for the delivery of Vista's first service pack, it appears that the refresh will drop as early as next month. According to the Redmond company, Vista SP1 is planned for release by the end of March 2008. Microsoft has not shifted from the official timetable and failed to update it in accordance with the development of the operating system. However, it appears now that February 15 was confirmed as the RTM date for Windows Vista SP1. Mid February 2008 is a more realistic date for the launch of Vista SP1, and one that is at the end of the natural course of evolution of the service pack's development process. Taiwanese news outlet DigiTimes, doing a story on the DRAM industry in 2008, cited Pei-lin Pai, a spokesman for DRAM manufacturer Nanya, saying: "the PC market will rebound in the second quarter. The launch of an updated version of Microsoft Vista on February 15, if its prices do not go up too much compared to its previous version, may help boost DRAM sales," (emphasis added). Vista SP1 Confirmed for February 15 – XP SP3 Too? - KezNews.com I can't comment on the date, but mid-Feb is Q1 calendar year 2007. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista...
  • Work on Windows Vienna / Windows 7 has started and the rumours, videos and builds are beginning to fly

    Even though I work at Microsoft I don't know most of what is going on. I can go and ask people and I can read the public sites. I do have the advantage that I can get better confirmation as to whether the stories on the public sites are rubbish or not though . Anyway, this week I've seen lots of information about Windows 7. This version of Windows, like every other version of Windows starts life before it's predecessor is finished, changes several times before is released and solves some of the issues people have with Vista as well as taking the product in new directions. This is not new or news inside Microsoft and excitement because we are working on the next Windows should be tempered - we are always working on the next version of Windows, Office and every other product we do (well, perhaps not Bob v2). As people who were "in" early with Vista, the visual changes happen much later in the product lifecycle and under the hood changes can make a huge difference in things like performance, security and reliability while not being "seen" by anyone. So, while this totally unsurprising work is going on (am I getting the emphasis across that this is not news yet), the rumour factory has been spinning up full speed: The Microsoft Windows Vienna / Windows 7 site has several articles on the subject Anonymous Microsoft Employee Blogging on Windows 7 January 14, 2008 As a crack into the iron curtain surrounding Windows 7, an anonymous blogger claiming to be a Microsoft employee working on the new operating system is now leaking non-sensitive information on a dedicated blog at shippingseven.blogspot.com. While no list of features is being made public, the blogger said that Microsoft uses a central repository for all the Windows 7 features, making the development centralized and well organized. MinWin and Windows Vienna / 7 November 30, 2007 Almost two months ago Eric Traut gave a presentation on operating systems in which MinWin was brought to light for the first time. Although used for running...
  • Report: Small businesses moving to Vista fastest | InfoWorld | News | 2008-01-14 | By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service

    Yes this is a US report, but I believe a similar move is happening in the UK Nearly half of businesses polled in a recent survey are in some phase of updating to Vista, and of those companies, 53 percent are small businesses By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service January 14, 2008 Nearly half of businesses are in some phase of preparing to update desktops to Windows Vista with small businesses moving the fastest to implement the OS, according to a new report released Monday. The number of organizations evaluating and testing Vista increased from 29 percent in February 2007 to 48 percent by early November 2007, found the report, commissioned by reseller CDW and based on information collected by Walker Information from 772 IT decision makers. Moreover, about 35 percent of companies are currently implementing or have implemented Vista already, compared to 12 percent last February, the report said. The report is the third of a wave of reports on Vista adoption that CDW has done since the OS was in its final testing phases in October 2006. In the latest phase of release, which tracked Vista adoption from October 31 until Nov. 7, 2007, small businesses comprised 53 percent of those companies either using or evaluating Vista. The higher-education segment came in second, with 49 percent reporting that they are evaluating or using the OS, while medium-to-large businesses were third, with 48 percent. Because of lingering hardware and application compatibility issues between existing company IT assets and Vista, CDW still advises customers to move to Vista on a case-by-case basis, said David Cottingham, director of product and partner management at CDW. In the case of small businesses, they may not have the application or hardware dependencies on Windows XP that larger businesses have. "There are still definitely concerns when you get into custom applications in industries that will run on XP," he said. "If [companies] have custom applications that don't run on Vista yet, they're going to stay on XP...
  • CES (Computer Electronics Show) is coming and Microsoft will be there. Want to learn more and watch the keynote...

    I love CES. Yes, it is not business oriented, but it is great to see what everyone / anyone is doing in the consumer end of the market. Microsoft have a little silverlight site for people to find out more: This site can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/ces/ :-) Notice the areas we will be talking about at the bottom of the screen shot - Windows Vista, Xbox 360, Zune, Office, Windows Live, Windows Mobile and Games for Windows... rock on!! You can find links to more information, more ways to view etc at http://www.istartedsomething.com/20080105/bill-gates-ces-2008-keynote/ ttfn David (still officially on holiday)
  • Samba developers can now see the Windows Protocols, make their products more interoperable with Microsoft Windows and see where Patents are to then choose to avoid or license

    I have never been known to sugar coat my opinion and one that has been forming recently is that much of the EU work on opening the Windows Media player is undesired by the consumers or the industry. This is my opinion, but I've seen no evidence to the contra. However, the licensing of protocols, while I don't wholly agree with the pricing structure, I see it as a good thing. This is a classic example of a de-facto standard working how it should. Today yet another organisation licensed the protocols, this time for the Samba community (with restrictions on redistribution and patent awareness) and this should deliver the reality of "interoperability, not standards" that I personally feel is the true desire of the world. Update: Microsoft to hand over Windows secrets to Samba team | InfoWorld | News | 2007-12-20 | By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Developers of open-source Samba software will find their work a little easier thanks to an agreement with Microsoft, signed Thursday, that will give them access to previously secret data on how the Windows operating system works. <snipped> The deal was signed with a nonprofit group called the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, (PFIF) which negotiated on behalf of the Samba team because Samba is not represented by a corporate entity. PFIF will pay a one-time fee of €10,000 and, in return, will be able to allow open-source developers, including the Samba team, to access the documents. Developers will have to sign nondisclosure agreements and will not be allowed to redistribute Microsoft's documentation, but they will be able to write open-source software that implements the Windows protocols. The deal will also clarify which patents Microsoft believes are related to this technology, making it easier for open-source developers to avoid patent violations. The article is quite negative in tone, ignoring that the licensing process was available before the EU stepped in and giving the glory to the EU, when I believe it is the free-market that made...
  • Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals - download details

    If you do plan to deploy Windows Vista then you need to be aware of the information that these guides can give you: Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals These guides will assist IT Professionals in evaluating and deploying Windows Vista SP1 and are downloadable versions of the SP1 guides found in the Windows Vista Technical Library . (http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/90a564b9-34af-4a6b-937f-324e1862244b1033.mspx) Files in This Download The links in this section correspond to separate files available in this download. Download the files most appropriate for you. Deployment_Guide_for_the_Release_Candidate_Version_of_Windows_Vista_Service_Pack_1.doc Enterprise_Guidance_for_Application_Compatibility_Testing_and_Windows_Vista_SP1.doc Hotfixes_and_Security_Updates_included_in_Windows_Vista_Service_Pack_1.doc Notable_Changes_in_Windows_Vista_Service_Pack_1_Release_Candidate.doc Overview_of_Windows_Vista_Service_Pack_1.doc Download details: Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Service Pack , Service Pack 1 , Release Candidate , Documentation
  • How to get Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RC (legitimately) via the Public Availability Program

    I knew this was coming, but I've not seen it shouted too much. My machine feels more responsive and some operations as mentioned before are faster. If you read the Windows Vista team blog Windows Vista SP1 RC now available for public download you would think it is only available to MSDN and Technet customers. It does have some good pointers though. We're making available today the RC release of Windows Vista SP1, found here on MSDN and here on TechNet , with an FAQ here . I invite you to download, install and use the SP1 RC and let us know about your experience by providing your feedback here . Before you install SP1 RC, please bear in mind the following points of advice, detailed in this short article : If you have a prior version of SP1 Beta installed, you must uninstall it prior to installing RC. This is pre-release code and will change before the final release. This pre-release software is provided for testing purposes only. Microsoft does not recommend installing this software on primary or mission-critical systems. Microsoft recommends that you backup your data prior to installing any pre-release software. Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate is time-limited software. It will no longer operate after June 30, 2008 and should be uninstalled prior to that date. Support is through self-help and peer support via the Windows Vista SP1 forum . Assisted support (phone, email and online chat) is not available from Microsoft Support for this RC release of SP1. Support is not available via this blog. If you install the Service Pack 1 Release Candidate, it is strongly recommended that you also plan to install the final version of Windows Vista SP1 when it is released in the first quarter of 2008. To do this, you will be required to uninstall this pre-release code. You must have a genuine copy of Windows Vista installed on the computer prior to installing the Windows Vista SP1 update. Thanks to all of you who've expressed interest in testing the RC! To get on the programme for Windows Updates based SP1 RE, have...
  • More on the differences between real world Vista performance and that of a benchmark

    Following up on my articles that discuss Vista performance (I still stick by my statement that it is reasonable to expect Vista to need more resources) at More on Vista vs XP performance - why doesn't everyone want a racing car, but instead do they opt for safety, comfort or even the ability to have more than one passenger? and Vista SP1 beta vs XP SP3 beta and performance - what a load of old <insert your favourite derogatory term here> I saw this and thought it was worth sharing - especially worth watching the video!! The right time to assess Windows Vista's performance Posted by Nick White on Friday, November 30, 2007 4:29 PM Measuring the performance of an operating system is a tricky thing. At the same time, it's the right and necessary thing to do, because performance is one of many criteria important to customers. Part of the trick of measuring performance is to time testing execution with the product cycle such that the results are as meaningful as possible for customers; this helps them make a better decision by making use of the full array of available information. As one example, about a year ago we commissioned a firm called Principled Technologies to conduct a study comparing Windows XP SP2 to Windows Vista RTM. That study found the performance measures of the two operating systems were within the same range for many tasks that home and business users frequently perform under real-world conditions. Windows Vista Team Blog : The right time to assess Windows Vista's performance ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Performance , Vista
  • How to modify the Windows Vista Aurora, bubbles, mystify and ribbons screensaver hidden settings

    I saw this and thought I would share it for those who want to customise the screen savers that ship with Vista. Windows Vista Aurora Screensaver Hidden Settings For those of you who are using Windows Vista, you may have noticed that the screen savers that are included do not contain any settings. Actually, they do , but Microsoft didn't include options dialogs for them. Long Zheng posted the settings for the Bubbles, Mystify, and Ribbons screensavers back in September before Windows Vista officially shipped. But he didn't post the settings for Aurora . Through a little bit of digging and guess work, I've uncovered one registry key that actually works for customizing the Aurora screensaver. Let's get started, shall we? Kristan Kenney: Confessions of a Windows Enthusiast : Windows Vista Aurora Screensaver Hidden Settings ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Vista
  • More on Vista vs XP performance - why doesn't everyone want a racing car, but instead do they opt for safety, comfort or even the ability to have more than one passenger?

    Having been quotes by Vlad and others (or was this others? ), some more views worth reading here and some Windows Blog stuff here I thought I had better make myself a bit clearer. 1st off, this is MY opinion, not something that is sanctioned or designed by anyone else in Microsoft. I did benchmarking for 5 years and won plenty of business by it, but I also understand when a test is Apples to Apples and not Apples to Oranges. If the purpose of Vista was to be the fastest engine for Office 2003 (as was the test), then there is a lot that can be done to the product to make that happen, but that was not the goal, so testing it on that one goal and then saying it fails is a bit poor. You can turn off the new features that "slow" it down if you want, but then you don't get the feature. My car accelerates faster with the air-con turned off, but on hot days, being comfortable is more important that the acceleration, so I opt to go slightly slower rather than get there just a bit quicker. There is more to this though, XP was designed to run on the hardware that was coming, so is Vista. Fro Vista, it's day is yet to come! You might say "bah" to that, but this was true for XP a year after it was released, so this is not new. ( see here for XP releases that show this). So here goes on trying to explain my point of view: What is running on the box Vista runs more under the hood (and graphically) than XP, so unless you believe that after 6 years bedding in XP is still hugely inefficient, you would expect that Vista would have to do more in any given second. Yes, it would be great if I got all the extra goodies for free, but thats not happened for a while, so anyone who gets upset needs to have their expectations reset. I mean, DOS 6.22 flys on todays hardware, as does Windows 95. Yep, it would get shot in about 5 seconds flat, but it would perform well for the apps available back then when it was built:-) In the last section I will discuss some of the things that could be done to make it more level to...
  • Is Vista really that bad or do we have rose tinted glasses - How well was Windows XP accepted in the early years

    I have had a bit of a rant with Vlad over at Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3 Performance Stats: Flawed Samples or Market Reality? and the comments are good - the communication is very worthwhile, but I thought I would share some of the "what was it like with Windows XP" reality. That does not excuse the issues people see, but rather highlights the fact that with XP, it took some time for things to bed down and hopefully what you are seeing with Vista is a more responsive Microsoft and partner eco-system. Complaints about Whistler (Windows XP and 2003) come in the form of performance, adoption rates, application compatibility, relevance - all things people are complaining about today with Windows Vista. I will say it again - ONLY DEPLOY VISTA IF IT MAKES SENSE FOR YOUR BUSINESS. What is more, only deploy Windows XP on new machines if there is a compelling reason to NOT deploy Vista . Remember that if you buy Vista Business / Ultimate and downgrade you can then re-load Vista at a later date without having to re-buy the OS. Buy XP and you will have to purchase the OS too. Performance Vista does many things to improve performance, but there is a limit as to how much juice you can squeeze into a firmly boxed space. 1GB of RAM is now a minimum and with multi-core coming along, scaling sideways is not a more important trick that raw performance. Vista has many things under the bonnet to improve performance, but in some scenarios it still does not work like XP. Just look at the "fix" that Alistair found for his Dell - Alistair likes Vista and found out that the Dell SATA drivers were making is go slow ENT Review: Windows XP - I feel I could be reading a Vista review For IT organizations that have already standardized on Windows 2000, however, the rationale for upgrading to Windows XP is altogether less clear cut. <snip> Speed and Performance Considerations We deployed Windows XP on a 1.4-GHz Athlon system (512 MB of RAM); a 1-GHz Toshiba Tecra 8200 laptop (256 MB of RAM); a 500-MHz IBM Thinkpad 570E laptop...
  • Vista SP1 beta vs XP SP3 beta and performance - what a load of old <insert your favourite derogatory term here>

    I saw the article at ZDNet ( Windows XP outshines Vista in benchmarking test - ZDNet UK ) and at various other places and decided to comment. It compares a 1GB XP machine and a 1GB Vista machine and says that Vista is slower - both using beta service packs. This article links back to the blog of a certain benchmarking company ( http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2007/11/windows-xp-sp3-yields-performance-gains.html ) and the result was an article with quotes in it like: "Vista, both with and without SP1, performed over two times slower than XP with SP3 in the test, taking over 80 seconds to complete the test, compared to the beta SP3-enhanced XP's 35 seconds. Vista's performance with the service pack increased less than two percent compared to performance without SP1 — much lower than XP's SP3 improvement of 10 percent." Now this annoyed me twice. So did they turn off things like the pre-loading of applications, was this a fresh PC or one where the inbuilt tools could optimise themselves? Did they turn off new features like and anti-spyware and search engine, the graphics etc? You can't add a bundle of new features and get it all for free - they have to load and boot up time is the most likely time. "The tests, run on a Dell XPS M1710 test bed with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 1GB of RAM, put Microsoft Office 2007 through a set of productivity tasks, including creating a compound document and supporting workbooks and presentation materials." Now this also annoyed me, even more. a Vista machine with the recommended MINIMUM amount of RAM, but XP with eight times it's minimum recommended. Microsoft clearly recognised that Vista's new features require more memory, as do Office, so they have one machine that is 5 years skinny on features and another that has 5 years worth of extra features and security built in. Come on. What about trying it on a 2GB machine, or one that the tests have been run on a hundred times so the optimisation engines in Vista can get to work. I've done benchmarking...
  • 3D Rotating (swaying gently back and forth) User Pictures in Windows Vista Start Menu

    Another User interface trick that I am now using from Vishal's blog - it just adds minor touches to Vistas UI. 3D Rotating User Pic in Windows Vista Start Menu Ave’s 3D UserPic In the old longhorn 4xxx days, the startmenu user picture was more animated as it was today. Today, we get a cheap alpha-fading effect when you hover over an item: the user picture simply blends with the icon for a while. Back in the days, the user picture was actually rotating when you had the start menu opened. This application tries to achieve that effect. Screenshot ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Vista
  • Glass/ translucent Toast and balloons in Vista from Tweaking with Vishal

    I got a mail from a MVP asking me to link to his site. This is not that uncommon an experience, but often I can not find anything in common, however Vishal's request is different. I found lots to link about. Added to this is the fact that Steve Clayton recently blogged on something I covered ages ago (Steve's was at Change your Vista logon screen and mine at Vista enhancements and utilities (changing the screen savers, adding extra search functionality , but I've just realised he's not got me on his blog roll!!) The 1st link is how to go from the "new" opaque balloons translucent ones ala early betas of Vista Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista From this To this: GlassToast Download link and more at Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista | Tweaking with Vishal ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Aero
  • Photos, photography, JPEG XR, Photosynth, the future of photography and Seadragons - why all the excitement?

    It's funny working in an industry where if you are not going at 50,000 miles an hour you are considered to be standing still. One area where Microsoft is speeding along is photography. In this post I will explore the announcements, the demos, short and long term products and then the future that lots of people are beginning to see. For me, the fact that people are already seeing such a future and its possibilities is very exciting (both the visions and the fact they are having them without drugs!! (humour)) Look at the recent events: Raw photo support in 2005 - Microsoft and Imaging Industry Leaders Unveil Support for Digital Photo HD (which some people thought was a JPEG killer.. tut tut) - HD Photo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia JPEG XR - JPEG committee supports Photo HD as next gen JPEG TrustedReviews - Official Jpeg Successor Is Microsoft's HD Photo Now this is all very nice, but so what - a better format for bigger pictures, that could be a bit like FAT disks getting FAT32 format, but it is not. Now read about Photosynth and Seadeagon and you realise that people are not just seeing a HD future, but a future where seeing details and accessing them is much, much easier: The demos by themselves are awesome - Chris Koenig : Seadragon and Photosynth If you haven't already seen Seadragon or Photosynth , then you need to watch this video from TED 07 . The speaker, Blaise Aguera y Arcas , is an Architect at Microsoft, and responsible for the Seadragon product. This is AMAZING technology - absolutely unbelievable what they've been able to do here. You can try out Photosynth for yourself today, but Seadragon itself is not publicly available (I can't wait to get my hands on this Seadragon demo)! The short term future is described by people like Pete: Microsoft & Photography - Pete's Eats I've been a heavy Photoshop user since v2.5 now but thought I'd do some research at Microsoft to see what kinds of things we have to offer too. I have to say, I was pretty surprised at the content...
  • How to start a VPN automatically on boot with Windows

    My dad was asking me about a branch office solution where clients connected to the AD controller, but needed to VPN to get to the AD. My preferred option is to either have a VPN on the router or a DC in the branch office, but failing both of those, perhaps this is the answer? Starting a VPN automatically on boot with Windows XP I recently needed to figure out how to make a Windows XP machine connect to a particular VPN automatically on reboot, before anyone logged into the machine. I eventually managed to assemble bits and pieces of information floating around the net into a working solution to the problem, but it wasn’t completely addressed in any single location, so I thought I’d stick the details in my blog for other people to Google and use (if you found this blog entry useful, please add a comment and let me know!). The first thing I tried was to look for a property I could set on the VPN network connection to tell Windows that I wanted this connection to start automatically when the machine boots. I couldn’t find one; I doubt there is one. <the details on how to fix this are in the blog at Something better to do » Blog Archive » Starting a VPN automatically on boot with Windows XP > ttfn David Technorati Tags: Branch Office , VPN , Windows
  • New reliability, compatibility, USB and MCE Updates to Windows Vista available via Windows Update now. The USB update fixes 1-2% of all Vista crashes!!

    I saw this on the blog and thought I would tell you all about it. I'm testing SP1, so I did not see it on my updates, but SP1 has this in it, so I think it is worth getting!! New Updates to Windows Vista available via Windows Update this week As you probably know and as we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we use Windows Update to periodically deliver updates for Windows Vista. We do this so that customers need not wait for a service pack or another or larger release to benefit from the ongoing improvements we make to Windows. With Windows Update, we can regularly service Windows as quickly, effectively and unobtrusively as possible, so that keeping your Windows OS up-to-date is easier and more convenient for you. All you have to do is make sure you are signed up to have updates installed automatically, and you’re good to go. Continuous improvement is the name of this game. The non-security updates planned for release through Windows Update this week include: An update on system compatibility, reliability and stability : extends the battery life for mobile devices, improves stability of wireless network services, and shortens recovery time after Windows Vista experiences a period of inactivity, among other fixes. An update to USB core components : mainly affects systems returning from sleep or hibernation, fixing problems causing 1-2% of all crashes reported. An update to Windows Media Center : among other things, affects interaction issues occurring between Media Center PC and Microsoft Xbox 360 when Xbox 360 is used as a Media Center Extender. The links in the above list will lead you to the KB article related to each update in case you want more information on them. And, when they’re made available via Windows Update (expected to occur Tuesday 13th), you can also right-click each entry in Windows Update to get its 400-word summary description. These and similar updates will be wrapped into SP1 for those of you considering installing them in one fell swoop. We’ll let you know here on the blog when we have more...
  • Windows Vista UK Web Special Offers (I saw 18% off at one site and yes, it is legit)!!

    I just saw this at Windows Vista: Special Offers retailers are offering 15%+ off of Vista. You need to look at the sites yourself to determine which one has the best price for your needs, but still - nice amount to have removed in the UK!!. Shop By Retailer Shop By Brand Shop By System Builder ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista , Discounts , UK
  • Vista sales are more than off and why Apple always smells of roses, even when it has BSOD problems of its own while Microsoft is so heavily criticised

    As many people know, I love Windows Vista. I think it is often sold short and people look at other OSs with rose tinted glasses. Part of this is due to past faults of Microsoft who once upon a time did have too many BSODs and where security was not taken seriously, but now days security is often placed above usability (although there is very careful attention to both) and BSODs are now more likely to be caused by dodgy unsigned drivers rather than MS code or some rogue application. Even these occurrences seems to be few and very far between. I believe that while many people criticise Vista, this is often a sheep like repetition rather than 1st hand experience. Susan has a little post comparing when people say "Vista Sucks", but when pressed with "Have you tried it?" retort with "I've heard" ( http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2007/09/19/quot-i-ve-heard-quot.aspx ). I still feel that much of Vistas bad press comes from the "I've heard" camp. Just to stress this further Microsoft Watch commented on the double standards of operating systems at the moment and I felt a very strong kinship with the comments raised in the article, of which I have a snippet below. It is also interesting to see that while Microsoft has to deal with a gazillion different hardware and software combinations that Apple have managed to blue screen their new OS which has a much smaller base of hardware and software ( Leopard install issues ). It really upset an "Apple fanboy" who was shoving his Leopard disk in my face to discover the blue screen issue!! This week, a number of tech journalists gave glowing reviews of Leopard. They received the software on Mac Book Pro laptops provided by Apple. Nowhere have I seen anyone gripe about conflicts of interest. But when Microsoft's PR agency sent bloggers preloaded Vista notebooks ahead of the operating system's launch, there were ridiculous accusations of attempted bribery . The accusations made it difficult for those receiving the...
  • An update from Vijay on the SBSC PALs Quarterly Conference Call and further evidence that Microsoft might sometimes be slow to react to feedback, but it does react and the results are often good

    I saw this post of Vijays ( » SBSC PALs Quarterly Conference Call ) and thought it was worth highlighting some of it: Michael Risse, VP of the Small and Midmarket Business Group has issued an open letter to SBSC Partners about the issues with Solution Finder. Demo Showcase 2007 will be available to all SBSC Partners, shipping this December. I clarified that it will be the Virtual Server Images and not just the canned simulations and Andrea said it will be the full versions. The Managed Newsgroups are now 24 hour in the UK and other selected countries from last week. Special Edition Toolkit will ship in December provided you are a SBSC Partner before 30 November. You will get Vista anytime upgrade to Ultimate from Business, eval of Forefront for Sharepoint/Exchange, Demo Showcase 2007, Brand Tools, Viral Videos, Licensing Guidance, printable Small Business Guide. Customer Campaigns around the following areas (hopefully call to action will be go to a SBSC Partner but depends upon how Microsoft UK implements them) Security and Reliability Business Productivity Customer Acquisition & Retention Business Solutions Also, Microsoft are asking where we would like support from Microsoft to build business in new areas such as CRM, Sharepoint, SCE, Security and/or vertical market segments. For all the requests, Vista Ultimate will be part of the offering to SBSC partners and the special recognition that SBSC partners continues to grow. It is also nice to see that the managed newsgroups are now manned 24hrs, so PLEASE use them to help diagnose problems. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , SBSC PALs , Vista Ultimate , Managed Newsgroups
  • Microsoft Windows security tools, Server 2008 readiness, step-by-step guides, virtualisation updates, synctoy beta, VHDs and LOTS on the new Terminal Services

    This is an extract from the TRM blog which can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ . I have removed the KB article list and some items which I don't think are relevant to small business / ISV partners, however the full info can be found on the blog page too. News Microsoft Security Assessment Tool 3.0 The Microsoft Security Assessment Tool (MSAT) is a risk-assessment application designed to provide information and recommendations about best practices for security within an information technology (IT) infrastructure. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623431 Start your Microsoft Windows 2008 Readiness Right Here Focus on readiness for Windows Server 2008 now, and you can be the one who stands out when initiatives happen - and when promotion decisions are made. Let Microsoft Learning resources give you the head start you need to transition your skills and credentials to the latest Windows Server technologies - from free elearning clinics and free ebook downloads. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623432 Get an Extra Shot at Microsoft Certification For a limited time, you can get an extra chance to pass any Microsoft IT Professional, Developer or Microsoft Dynamics Certification exam - free. Register for this offer before your first exam and you'll get two shots at success. Register now! http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623434 The Windows Server 2008 Upgrade Exam Is Coming Update your skills and get ready for the Windows Server 2008 certification exam with special offers on e-learning collections and classroom training. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623435 Documents Windows Server 2008 Technical Overviews These technical overviews provide IT Professionals with information about how a Windows Server 2008 technology works. They may also cover design and planning considerations and basic setup and operating instructions. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=46dc26d6-af47-43f0-b3de-521831fe09d6&DisplayLang=en Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guides These step-by-step guides help IT...
  • For once a balanced review of the market and Windows Vista

    I am used to seeing reports that come from one end or another of the spectrum - either Vista is amazing and everyone else is stupid, or 70%+ of the worlds computers are still not running Vista, so it is an obvious flop. Obviously, given the view that there are now something like a billion PCs in the world, you can't expect them all to be running Vista. At the same time, Microsoft announcing that 88m people were now with Vista is a pretty strong indication that things are going the right way. The article at The balance sheet on Windows Vista | CNET News.com is very balanced on both sides. I thought that it could and would be useful to anyone discussing who should and should not run Windows Vista. Here is a except that hopefully gives you a flavour of both sides (much more by clicking the above link). I should point out that recently I have been contacted by NT4 and Windows 98 users :-) The company said it is seeing some positive signs on the business front, notably a rise in the number of businesses signing long-term deals that cover Windows. "They wouldn't be signing these agreements if they didn't have the intent to (deploy Vista)," said Mike Nash, vice president of Windows product management. But while corporations may be planning their Vista move, most large companies that are buying PCs are still immediately reinstalling Windows XP, said IDC analyst Al Gillen. "That's completely normal behavior," Gillen said, though it has quashed Microsoft's hopes of getting businesses to move more quickly to a new operating system by developing new tools for running compatibility checks and aiding in deployment. Businesses are "certainly not rushing into it more quickly than they have other Windows (releases)," Gillen said. Historically, large companies tend to drag their feet on deploying new operating systems, he said, not wanting to be in the leading edge and preferring to wait as bugs and compatibility issues are ironed out. A catalyst for some businesses could be the first...
  • Windows is now getting too difficult to hack, so the hackers sights are moving elsewhere, but that does not mean security is now easier.

    I have heard many times how Windows is the big target for virus and phishing nasty people in general, but more and more people are showing that Windows is just too hard to hack when applications and other platforms offer so much more opportunity. From the article at eBay: Phishers getting better organized, attacking Linux Dave Cullinane, eBay's chief information and security officer said that in his previous job protecting a bank from phishers "The vast majority of the threats we saw were rootkitted Linux boxes, which was rather startling. We expected Microsoft boxes. Rootkit software covers the tracks of the attackers and can be extremely difficult to detect. According to Cullinane, none of the Linux operators whose machines had been compromised were even aware they'd been infected. Although Linux has long been considered more secure than Windows, many of the programs that run on top of Linux have known security vulnerabilities, and if an attacker were to exploit an unpatched bug on a misconfigured system, he could seize control of the machine. " In the same article it also mentions: "We see a lot of Linux machines used in phishing," said Alfred Huger, vice president for Symantec Security Response. "We see them as part of the command and control networks for botnets, but we rarely see them be the actual bots. Botnets are almost uniformly Windows-based." Since Linux machines can be used to more easily create specially crafted networking packets, they can be used in highly sophisticated online attacks, said Iftach Amit, director of security research with Finjan Inc.'s malicious code research center. Now this might sound like a load of old "mine is better than yours", but there is much more to this. Oracle, who on the whole don't make that many products, released their latest set of patches, just 51 this month - http://techworld.com/applications/news/index.cfm?newsID=10369&pagtype=all , compared to a much smaller set from Microsoft. What is worth noting is...
  • EU Pundits Want Windows-less PCs - I just want options

    I saw this and just thought it was very silly. I do need to point out that this is a personal opinion and not one that represents Microsoft or that of its employees. However I do think that this idea ranks right up there with "everyone should write their own software" which an certain Open Source advocate once said to me. So let me get this right, the reasons why people like pre-loaded software are: Machines can be turned on and used OEM supplied software is supported by the same people who supplied the hardware, so one stop show OEM software is great value and often less than retail software Drivers and add-on software are all provided in the box so no searching around to set the system up More tools in the box from 3rd party vendors No technical knowledge required to set up machine The reasons why OEMs like pre-loaded software are: Machine will be usable as soon as turned on making happy customers Easier to support a known installation configuration Financial incentive from some 3rd party software packages to pre-load their software The reasons why some people don't like pre-loaded software are: They might get something they don't want Removal can be cumbersome Now, if we remove all pre-loaded software and make it all the end users responsibility, then the pain of what works, how it is supported, how to get the drivers, pay retail prices and potentially higher prices for the hardware if the 3rd party subsidisation is removed. Of course OEMs are starting to answer the two dislikes with more PCs being available with either plain Windows, a.n. other OS or bare. To prove just how silly an idea this is, look at Windows N - that "much sort after" item by consumers. Recent figures suggested that 1 in 15,000 copies of Windows in Europe is the "N" version that does not have Media Player - that is just 0.0066667% of the consumers when given the choice said yes, yet the market owned by non Windows Media Player products is higher I am sure, so did the idea of removing the options for consumers...
  • Videos on Vista usage - Checking for updates, Backup options, Offline file options, How to use security in Internet Explorer, Sharing files

    I have documented some of these before, but now all of them are here. - How to backup information in Vista using Restore Previous Versions, writing to DVDs and the built in backup tools - How to use Windows Updates to get patches for the system - How Internet Explorer 7 and Vista protect you - just remember to say no!! - How to take files offline in Vista and Outlook (for SharePoint files) - Sharing files using Windows Messenger ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista
  • And another great thing about Windows Home Server - Vista gives instant searches on all files on the home server shares

    Someone asked today why Windows Home Server has the Windows Desktop Search tool on the box and the reply that came back I thought was worth of a blog entry. When you connect to a share on Windows Home Server (eg \\homeserver\music ) and do a search in the top right corner, then your Vista PC will search the WDS index and not the actual files, meaning that I can search by 400 albums for anything related to Disney in about 1/4 of a second :-) Nice! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Home Server , Vista , Windows Desktop Search
  • How to enable / disable / change the Task Manager on Windows Vista

    This question was asked in the forum, but after a bit of research I thought I would share this more broadly. Here is what I discovered: There is a group policy object to enable / disable task manager You can also replace the file that gets run when Task Manager is requested, but this is done using the debug options Group Policy to enable / disable For the Group Policy options, a quick search on Live Search takes me to http://www.infopackets.com/channels/en/windows/gazette/2003/20030821_enable_taskmanager_for_windows_2000_and_xp.htm which basically points to: Open Regedit Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ System. Look for: DisableTaskMgr. Click on REG_DWORD. Value: 1=Enable this key (disables TaskManager) Value: 0=Disable (actually enables TaskManager) Replace Task Manager with another program Then for the how to replace the program you basically need to set the options for taskmgr.exe to replace it with another program using the debug options. This means that you want to do the following: Open Regedit Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Image File Execution Options \ taskmgr.exe Look for: Debugger - if it exists then the program listed gets executed, if it is not present then taskmgr.exe is executed eg "Debugger"="C:\SOFTWARE\TOOLS\PROCESSEXPLORER\PROCEXP.EXE" Now while this sounds simple, if you have UAC on and the program you are calling requires elevation then you will hit problems. http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/replacing-task-manager-with-process-explorer-in-vista discusses how to work around them. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows , Vista , Task Manager
  • 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...
  • Vista whitepapers on implementation, Bitlocker, Application Compatibility

    Documentation Windows Vista Step-by-Step Guides for IT Professionals These step-by-step guides provide instructions for deploying or migrating to Windows Vista, and various management tasks, including configuring security, monitoring performance, and managing printers. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=21&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3fFamilyID%3d311f4be8-9983-4ab0-9685-f1bfec1e7d62%26DisplayLang%3den App Compat Prep and Implementation http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=24&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3fFamilyID%3d02e01c4d-49a2-43e6-a9c5-8b174d1f089a%26DisplayLang%3den ACT 5 Step by Step Guides http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=25&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3fFamilyID%3dbc931bfd-d279-4060-b370-08fa52f97a8d%26DisplayLang%3den BitLocker Design and Deployment Guides http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=29&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3fFamilyID%3d41ba0cf0-57d6-4c38-9743-b7f4ddbe25cd%26DisplayLang%3den ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista , whitepapers , BitLocker , Application Compatibility
  • SBSC and small business partners get a chance to find out more about the market they sell into and Microsoft technology that is here and coming

    Want to talk to Microsoft and hear where we see the market, opportunities and key technologies? Then get to one of these (there are even more dates on the web site) :-) We are taking to the road to see you, our partners! Jump in the driver's seat and join us to find out how we plan to get your business motoring. A top Microsoft technology and business team will map out the latest developments in the server and desktop markets and take you on the journey from market opportunity to technical 'how to' demonstrations. We'll get under the hood of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system, along with the Office Ready PC, giving you detailed insights to get your business moving. And of course, we'll be outlining the route ahead for the new Windows Server 2008, with its built-in web and virtualisation technologies for increasing the reliability and flexibility of your customers' server infrastructure. Additionally we will be running exclusive SBSC pre-sessions at four of the locations so be sure to make one of these events by signing up using the links below: 1. Wednesday 10 th October – Cardinal Place, London 2. Thursday 11 th October – TVP, Reading 3. Wednesday 17 th October – Park Plaza, Nottingham 4. Tuesday 23 rd October – The Lighthouse, Glasgow And, importantly, we'll have the chance to meet. We want to know what you think, how you see the industry and the challenges you face. It's only with the direct feedback from you, our partners, that we can be sure we are on the right road. So, please join the whole team: technical, sales, marketing and business development, over beer and pizza to chat through the journey! Yours sincerely, Jennifer Brinton SBSC Programme Manager Microsoft ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , System Builder , Vista , Office 2007 , Windows Server

(c)David Overton 2006-13