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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  • 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
  • Windows Intune V2 moving from Beta to full product (RTW)

    I went to log into the beta Windows Intune console tonight to discover it was “down”, or more importantly, it was directing me to the Service Status page. We can see from this that a number of sites are undergoing maintenance.  When we hover over the sites undergoing maintenance it states:   (The whole service instance was under maintenance from Oct 14 2011 1:00PM (UTC) to Oct 15 2011 3:00AM(UTC) – Wave 2 Beta to RTW URL patch) Hopefully we will see the full product ASAP. David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune , Cloud , Microsoft
  • 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...
  • When does Windows Intune make sense for a company as the only management solution or hybrid

    I’ve been asked this question several times, so I thought I would share my thoughts. I don’t regularly work with the Windows Intune team at Microsoft as this is not my role, so this is purely my opinion, not in any way endorsed by Microsoft. To start off with, I think Windows Intune makes sense for a company whenever they are considering a cloud based Management strategy. Windows Intune also has the benefit of providing you with Windows and Microsoft anti-Malware software for your computers, so it is a way to get up to date, stay secure and manage the computers. Having said all of this, there are times when Windows Intune makes perfect sense. Smaller organisations have a range of choices to deliver systems management from Microsoft, which they need to pair with security and desktop software updates to deliver a solution the same as Windows Intune. There are also all the options available to larger organisations, but the options tailored for SMEs are functionally rich at a lower price point. These include...
  • Windows Intune Links worth having

    Since I’ve been working on the Windows Intune book I’ve found a few sources of information that I trust regarding the product.  I thought I would share them: Windows Intune V1 (current production environment) Service Status Dashboard - http://status.manage.microsoft.com/Statuspage/servicedashboard.aspx Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/WindowsIntune?sk=wall Mike Resseler’s blog from the Belgium System Center User Group - http://scug.be/blogs/intune/default.aspx Windows Intune Team Blog - http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsintune/ Windows Intune V2 (beta) Beta fact sheet, documenting the changes between the current V1 product and the V2 beta - http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=26704 Finally, if you want to read my book as it is written - https://www.packtpub.com/microsoft-windows-intune-quickstart-administration-enterprise-through-cloud/book   ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune
  • Windows Intune Service Status Page

    When using a cloud service, understanding the reliability of the service is vital.  Windows Intune is a management tool and as such, when the service is down it is only management that cannot be performed, rather than the computers going offline themselves, which means the impact is much less to the end users. The Service Status Page provides that information for Windows Intune.  You can see on the image below that you can also scroll back over the last 5 weeks to see what has happened.  The good thing here is that it is a sea of green for the last 5 weeks   Hopefully it will stay that way.  You can also see that there are at least two datacenters for each region, so an outage at one should not stop the service working. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune
  • Office 365 for small businesses

    I got this e-mail and thought I would share as I love Office 365.  I'm moving my e-mail there as £4 per user per month is just amazing! Are you ready to embrace the cloud computing revolution? It could cost much less than you think. Microsoft Office 365 gives growing businesses access to Microsoft's most advanced collaboration and communication technology – just the thing if you want to become more productive and competitive. It lets you: • Deal with email, work on documents and stay in touch almost anywhere • Share diaries, contacts and tasks with colleagues • Store company documents in a central, secure online filing cabinet • Communicate via online chat, web conferences and email Big capability, small price Microsoft Office 365 costs from £4 per user per month with no upfront costs or capital expenditure. Just pay as you go. It's a surprisingly small amount of money considering the benefits it offers. Just think of how little you get for the same amount: • A gallon of petrol 1 • A single edition...
  • Exporting hardware information from Windows Intune

    As most of you know I am working on my Windows Intune book and I've just finished the 6th chapter. This covers reporting and I was highly frustrated that there is no export or print function on all the hardware information screens, but you can export some of the hardware information. Here is how to do it: Open the Windows Intune Console by going to http://manage.microsoft.com . Select the Computers workspace and find the computer that whose hardware inventory we want to explore or store. Change the Filters setting from None to Hardware classification . We will now see the information about the hardware manufactures and model. If the machine is a non-OEM system then we will see the motherboard manufacturer and model number. We can export this data using the export logo in the top right of the tool bar next to the printer icon. We are prompted to choose between csv (comma separated values) and html files. Only csv files are useful for importing into custom reports. Select .csv File and then press Export . Once...
  • How to get help from Microsoft - on Office or in general

    I saw in my latest e-mail from Microsoft that there are some additional ways to get help from Microsoft, so I thought I would share them since I was unaware of the twitter route until today. Need some help? Give us a Tweet... If you've got a query give @MicrosoftHelp a Tweet and you'll get a direct response from the team looking after the feed. If you're not already on Twitter, you'll have to join but it's quick and it's free. Start following now . ... or drop into Microsoft Answers The Office forum on Microsoft Answers will give you answers on Word, Excel and PowerPoint topics. Community members help each other out, and Microsoft experts provide their advice free. A problem shared really is a problem halved! Check it out .   ttfn David
  • First official sight of Windows 8

    Recently, Microsoft said it would not deliver something for tablets and slates until it had something to say that was more game changing. How about a mixture between the phone Metro, traditional Windows applications and touch as a primary interface whether using traditional applications or new ones. For the first glimpse, have a look at: You may also want to read the articles here: http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/01/microsoft-unveils-windows-8-tablet-prototypes/ http://allthingsd.com/20110601/exclusive-making-sense-of-what-we-just-learned-about-windows-8/ ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Windows 8
  • Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune - 70 person IT services company

    Hi all, I thought I would share this Windows Intune case study that has just gone up on Microsoft.com. IT Solutions Provider Offers Simplified PC Management with Cloud-Based Solution “Windows Intune fills the support void that many customers experience for desktop environments. It's the perfect PC management tool.” - Rod Giesbrecht, Chief Executive Officer, Imaginet Business Needs Imaginet offers managed services and custom software development to hundreds of customers worldwide. Many of its customers with dispersed workforces did not have the resources to monitor and manage their client computing environments. Imaginet realized that many of these customers did not have full-time administrators and instead relied on technically astute employees to manage desktops in addition to their regular duties. Without an IT professional to monitor client computers, those computers were often vulnerable to malicious software. Plus, without the technical resources to diligently perform maintenance tasks, when customers...
  • UK Tech.Days 2011 –Transform Your Datacentre with Hyper-V and System Center - 24th May 2011

    As many of you know, I'm getting more excited about how cloud and virtualisation will impact customers and partners.  I wanted to share details about this event on the 24th May 2011. The UK Tech.Days 2011 –Transform Your Datacentre with Hyper-V and System Center event will provide you with an understanding of the latest technical updates for your datacentre & infrastructure investments. This event will share more expert knowledge and information than ever - with deep dive sessions on the Windows Server 2008 R2 platform, Hyper-V virtualization capability, and System Center end-to-end service management capabilities. Join Microsoft and interact live with us, some of our key strategic partners and early adopter customers. For more information, please visit: http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/techdays-live/delivering-it-as-a-service-with-the-microsoft-private-cloud.aspx 08:30-09:30 Registration 09:30-10:00 Transforming Your Datacentre  10:00-11:00 Building The Foundation: Server Virtualization and Management...
  • Windows Intune - the book and me

    It is time for me to admit my next project, now that I've finally submitted the first chapter, and that is that I'm writing about Windows Intune. Those who have worked with me in the past will know that I'm not much of a "koolaid" person, but I do believe that Cloud Services will be the way of the future and I think that Windows Intune will be a key pillar of the Microsoft story for our existing customers. To this end I wanted to annoucne that I'm in the writing process of writing a book on configuring and deploying Windows Intune. I remember all the discussions about MOM on SPLA and centralised management with the SBSC partners and the number of conversations I've had with customers and it seems inevitable that Windows Intune will be a huge success. It will also be, in my personal opinion, quite disruptive to the current management offerings of the Microsoft partners in this segment as all cloud services by every company has proven to be so far, including to the SBS customer set...
  • Technical School: installing and Configuring Small Business Server 2008–June 17th 2010

    Hi, I know this has gone out to UK SBSC partners, but I thought I should let people know through the blog too. Technical School: installing and Configuring Small Business Server 2008 Technical Schools are a series of monthly Live Meetings specifically for the Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) and Registered partners who specialise in targeting the small to medium sized business market. Taking place on 17 June, 15:00-16:00 (GMT), the next Technical School will be led by Microsoft's David Overton who will provide guidance relating to Small Business Server 2008. Review a recording of last months' Technical School , which discussed Office 2010.   We will cover off the preparation required prior to a migration, the process of installing or migrating and then some FAQ’s of the most commonly asked questions that people have sent me.  These will include: Converting a trial license to a purchased solution Getting rid of the Outlook prompt for username and password Installing the latest service...
  • Win 20 Netbooks for a UK school – closes 29th March 2010

    I saw this and thought I would pass on - http://blogs.msdn.com/teachers/archive/2010/03/09/don-t-forget-enter-the-innovid-competition-and-win-20-netbooks.aspx   We know how busy things are for teachers this time of year, and if you’re anything like me the sunny weather is a further distraction. So we wanted to take this time to remind you that the deadline for the Innovid video competition is fast approaching! Don’t forget to get your entry in to the Partners in Learning Network before 17:00 on the 29th of March (this month!). All the details you need for the competition can be found in this blog or on the Partners in Learning Network . In addition, Stuart and I have posted a list of frequently asked questions about the competition in this blog , and we’ve updated it in the contest community on the Partners in Learning Network. For those of you who are planning on entering, please make sure to complete a contest entry form and submit that along with your video. We will not be able to accept any videos without...
  • Tech days 2010 – UK, covering Virtualisation, Office 2010, Windows 7, SQL Server 2008 R2, Visual Studio, the Essential Mix, Rich Client and Windows Phone

    Registration for UK Tech Days events from 12 th to 16 th April is open!. UK Tech Days 2010 is a week-long series of free events run by Microsoft and technical communities to celebrate and inspire developers, IT professionals and IT Managers to get more from Microsoft technology.  Our day events in London will cover the latest technology releases including Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft Office 2010, Virtualisation, Silverlight, Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 plus events focusing on deployment and an IT Manager day. Please visit our website for full details: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/techdays and follow what’s happening @uktechdays   The agenda looks like this: Monday 12th April Tuesday 13th Wednesday 14th Thursday 15th Friday 16th IT Pro Days Virtualization Summit Office 2010 - the next wave Windows 7 - Deployment SQL Server 2008 R2 - The Platform Raising the profile of IT Dev Days Visual Studio 2010 Launch Visual Studio 2010 and .NET The Essential MIX Rich Client Windows...
  • 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...
  • 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
  • Must attend UK event - filling up fast - Wembley 7th October - Microsoft Partner Network

    [updated with correct URL] I saw this and thought I should pass it on. Microsoft Partner Network 2009 will explore strategies that enable you to continue to meet customers' needs and exploit new opportunities. Designed for Partner executives and sales leads, this event follows on from the Worldwide Partner Conference in July and provides more details of our UK execution plans. Join us for: - Insights from Microsoft executives as they share the Microsoft vision and strategies together with business growth opportunities and product innovation - A range of Partner-to-Partner online and offline networking opportunities, plus strategic and practical guidance on how to collaborate successfully with other Microsoft Partners - Market insights and guidance on developing customer opportunities - Useful resources to help you sell, market and deploy Microsoft technology, particularly when you find yourself in competitive technology situations - A glimpse into future industry trends and innovation, with exciting demonstrations...
  • How to get SBS 2008 to "fix" managing WSUS after you have manually upset it

    Today's post covers what to do when SBS says it no longer can change the WSUS settings from the console.  The exact message is "Windows Small Business Server Update Service is not running because it automatically turns off if you customize Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)". One way round this problem is to manually change all the settings in the WSUS console (from Administrator Tools, select Microsoft Windows Update Services 3.0 SP1) and change the settings as per instructions found at http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2006/07/13/441594.aspx .  I'm a sort of "quick fix" kind of guy, so the easier way is to go to the same tool, but then run the wizard.  The steps are: Start the Wizard   Click through the first two screens and set the updates to come from Microsoft Update Configure the proxy if required and press next.  Then press Start Connecting.  When done, press Next again. Select the language(s) you want to download Make sure "All Products"...

(c)David Overton 2006-18