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.  

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  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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....
  • 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 ******...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...

(c)David Overton 2006-18