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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  • 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...
  • 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...
  • IE6–> IE8/9/10 and Windows 7 compatibility events with Citrix, Camwood and Quest (3 events)

    Microsoft have teamed up with Camwood , Citrix Systems and Quest Software , all application compatibility experts, to help show you the range of solutions available to help you overcome App Compat road blocks. Join them to learn how browser compatibility issues occur, how to overcome them with Group Policy , virtualisation and simple application fixes and how to develop a successful migration plan. Not only that, they will also cover some of the latest App Compat tools and techniques that apply to desktop, web and server compatibility issues. Take your pick of the dates below and use the links to find out more and Register Now with our partners. Who, Where & When? Thurs 22 nd March Microsoft & Citrix AppDNA Chalfont St. Peter (Easy access via the M40 & M25 as well as rail) 09:00 – 16:00 Register Here Thurs 19 th April Microsoft & Quest ChangeBASE Reading Football Ground (Madejski Stadium) 09:30 – 14:00 (+Stadium Tour!) Register Here Thurs 3 rd May Microsoft & Camwood Cote St Paul’s, London...
  • Does Windows Intune require an underlying operating system to load Windows 7 Enterprise Edition?

    I just saw this question being asked, so thought I would should with everyone: Question: “If I have a paid subscription to Windows Intune, do I need an existing Operating System to install the Windows 7 Enterprise license included with the subscription?” Answer: Yes – from the FAQ: What are the Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade rights included with Windows Intune? All of your managed PCs covered by Windows Intune may be upgraded to Windows 7 Enterprise as long as the qualifying OS is one of the following business editions of Windows: Business, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise. The machines must also meet the Windows 7 system requirements. This list can be found at http://windows.microsoft.com/systemrequirements . In addition to Windows 7 upgrade rights, Windows Intune customers will also have rights to upgrade to future versions of Windows, as well as downgrade rights to older versions. As long as your subscription is active, you will have access to the best version of Windows for your business to standardize...
  • Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 and manage the PC’s–Windows Intune did this for eLitigation Solutions and reduced IT spend by 30%

    Hi, I’ve just seen the case study on eLitigation solutions and how they did this and reduced costs by 30% in the process.  The case study can be found here .  Electronic Discovery Firm Reduces IT Costs by 30 Percent with Cloud-Based PC Management To meet its various business requirements, eLitigation Solutions needed a stable, well-monitored, and regularly updated PC environment, but the company also wanted to simplify and reduce the cost of managing its PCs. In 2011, eLitigation began using Windows Intune to manage, monitor, and update its PCs. Now the company has standardized its PC environment, enhanced security, and reduced PC costs by 30 percent. This was the problem: Most eLitigation employee PCs were still running the Windows XP operating system and the company wanted to upgrade its PCs to the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system. But at the same time, eLitigation needed to simplify and reduce the cost of managing its PC environment. The Solution: The company worked with InfinIT Consulting, a...
  • Windows Intune feedback and support tools and useful blogs

    I’ve been reading and responding to the posts on the Windows Intune forums site and realised that I should share with everyone the support and feedback tools available for us.  These enable conversations with the support teams and input into the people making decisions about updates and major releases for Windows Intune.  The following sites are available: Support Forum Support for Windows Intune Microsoft Online Services support The forum has responses from the community as well as great Microsoft support people. This site provides resources to enable you to access support by phone and e-mail on technical, non-technical issues, Windows and MDOP This site provides the details for phone and support page access to help with the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal (MOCP)   Feedback Windows Intune feedback This site provides free-form feedback to the Microsoft team, so not support issues, but product hits, misses and desires   I hope this helps you get more out of Windows Intune as well as...
  • Microsoft Windows Intune V2: Quickstart Administration book released

    Well, nearly 12 months after I started the project my book is now available to buy.  This book is relevant to the latest shipping version of Windows Intune 2.0. Chapters Overview of Cloud Computing Introduction to PC management concepts Overview of Windows Intune features Signing up for Windows Intune and installing the client software Configuring Windows Intune Configuring Management Policy Software Deployment Tracking and reporting Monitoring and responding to Windows Intune alerts Resolve problems using Microsoft DaRT Deploying Windows 7 Enterprise Edition Integration with existing Microsoft Products Purchasing the book Book and / or e-Book from publisher – Packt Publishing Book from Amazon –    Chapters in detail Chapter 1, Overview of Cloud Computing explores the new cloud computing and cloud-based services world that we are moving rapidly towards and includes Windows Intune. Before we can embark on this journey it is important that we understand the benefits and pitfalls that cloud services...
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...

(c)David Overton 2006-18