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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April 2008 - David Overton's Blog

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  • How to find ANY command on the new Office Ribbon – Search for it with Search Commands

    There is a great web site out from Microsoft called OfficeLabs and one of the 1st great things published is: Project: Search Commands  Search Commands helps you find commands, options, wizards, and galleries in Microsoft Office 2007 Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Just type what you’re looking for in your own words and click the command you need. Search Commands also includes Guided Help, which acts as a tour guide for specific tasks. Crave more info? FAQ - get answers to frequently asked questions Blog - read the latest news from the team Discussions - connect with other users  Click here to download. Requirements: 32 bit Windows XP or Windows Vista. Office 2007. Limitations: English only. Works with Word, Excel and PowerPoint only. Give it a try!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Word 2007 , Excel 2007 , Office 2007 , Search , Ribbon , find , If you only read one post today
  • How to sell Hosted CRM (CRM Online) in the UK and still retain your customers and a good profit – by working with Increase CRM

    [updated with contact details at 16:38] I have a partners or two that are looking to implement CRM internally and through the conversations about how they could do this came to know of the guys at Increase CRM. The good folks at Increase CRM seem to understand how SBSC partners think because the offerings they have for referral and resellers seem to be quite good to me. if you want the brochure on the subject, let me know, but here is the important piece for partners: What is the Referral Program? Partners in the Referral Program refer their customers to Increase CRM and we offer hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM and support services directly to the customer. Typically, the partner will provide implementation consulting services and may choose to provide first and second line support. Referral Partner Commissions The Referral Program guarantees partners commissions from any customers referred to Increase CRM: Subscribers Commission 5-10 100% of the first month’s subscription fees 11-50 200% of the first month’s subscription fees 51+ 300% of the first month’s subscription fees What is the Reseller Program? Partners in the Reseller Program resell Increase CRM’s hosted services under their own brand and Increase CRM does not contract with their partner’s customer. Typically, the partner will provide all the implementation consulting, user support, system administration and billing services to the customer Reseller Wholesale Fees The Reseller Program guarantees partners a low wholesale fee for hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM that partners can mark-up and offer to their customers, as described in the table below: No. of Users Reseller Partner User Subscription Fee 1 to 250 £30 per user per month 250+ Available on request Comparison of the Partner Programs The table below compares the two partner programs: Responsibility Referral Partner Program Reseller Partner Program Marketing Partner Partner Sales Partner Partner Setup Increase CRM Increase CRM Implementation Partner Partner First line support Increase CRM or partner Partner...
  • UK SBS group meeting in Manchester on Wednesday 23rd April 2008

    I just saw this from Chris Parks and thought I would share with a wider audience: Folks, Just a quick reminder of the meeting this Wednesday at One Central Park, Manchester M40 5WW, 18:30 ... Attending from Microsoft are David Overton, Danny Ovens and myself. Hope to see you there :) Also, a huge thanks to those who’ve either joined the online network or sent me back their profiles so far...some of them have been enlightening and some of them downright intentionally hilarious!!! (Please feel free to send through today if you get chance and haven’t done so yet :) Regards, Chris Parkes Technology Adoption & Solutions Specialist thanks David Technorati Tags: Small Business , SBSC , SBS 2003 , SBS , Manchester , Community
  • 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
  • Why those Mac OS X vs Windows adverts are just so wrong … and so would the Linux vs Windows if they ran them

    What an amazing graphic … it talks about security issues and fixes. The nice “Apple” man seems to be hiding how many problems he has on his adverts :-) What is also interesting is how many issues are stilling being found on the various implementations of Linux. Obviously there is still more detail around this, so for the full rundown have a look at http://blogs.technet.com/security/archive/2008/01/23/download-windows-vista-one-year-vulnerability-report.aspx . ttfn David Technorati Tags: Apple , Microsoft , Redhat , Ubuntu , Security , Updates
  • Silverlight Adoption Expected to Triple .. especially when you look at what is in V2

    Forward looking statements are always risky, but I do see Silverlight popping up all over the place. Even the next rev of the theme for this website will be based on Silverlight. in a recent article Evans Data claimed that Silverlight Adoption Expected to Triple . Evans Data official says Microsoft's support of its products will drive the growth of the company's alternative to Adobe Flash over the next 18 months. Despite Adobe Flash's dominance in the world of rich Internet applications, Microsoft's competing offering, Silverlight, is expected to triple its market share, according to a market researcher. In an interview with eWEEK, John Andrews, president and CEO of Evans Data, said that over the next 12 to 18 months, Silverlight should triple its market share. "Flash is the incumbent, the leader," Andrews said. "If you look at Flex, AIR [Adobe Integrated Runtime], Silverlight and Eclipse RCP [Rich Client Platform], all of them have smaller market share. But if you look at the next 12 to 18 months, they just about double their current market share. And interesting enough, Silverlight almost triples. Silverlight is very, very popular with this Web 2.0 technology developer." Andrews based his claims on Evans Data research. He also said much of the success Silverlight will see will be not only due to Microsoft marketing but to the fact that "Microsoft supports its products very well.” Moreover, “many people think about Microsoft as not the innovator—which they aren't in many cases—but, boy, they're the fastest follower you can find,” Andrews said. “When you look at developer support and quality of product, and then you look at how those products tie back into the stack so easily, it really facilitates the productivity of these developers." Of course I differ about the innovator stuff … maybe we just try to bake things a little more before we take the covers off, so that is why were not seen as the 1st to market. More of this will be seen later this month!! Now, if...
  • Where will your customers be looking for solutions – will they stick to on premise, or will they move towards a S+S or SaaS solution not from you?

    I know the table above is really, really simple, but I wanted to start the ball rolling – I have been thinking about this for ages!! Let me explain the diagram. The horizontal axis signifies how much of a solution is hosted. An example of this might be Office Live or Hotmail, where almost all of the solution is hosted. We then have the “on premise” or on-site IT going vertically. For most people, this is solutions like SBS 2003. A typical S+S solution might be MS CRM Online which has online components, but also enables you to go off-web and use Outlook or one of the mobile clients when on the road. While many thought on-line would be the next best thing even the king of on-line, Google, have recently admitted that it would not always be the answer in the posting they made on April 1st. Steve Clayton did the leg work and checked this was not form of April fool too!! Even the NY Times is talking about it, which to me says it really is going mainstream - http://www.nytimes.com/idg/IDG_002570DE00740E180025742400363509.html . Ok, so that is the picture out the way, now lets talk about the question. Which question you ask… well, this one: Will any of your customers be running in the “S+S or hosted” marketplace in 5+ years time? Now while that is a good question, I expect most of you will say … some, definitely not all, but some. How many customers can you afford to lose to a S+S provider? Now this leads to an even bigger question …. What will you have done to ensure they are still your customers, as opposed to someone who is skilled in S+S? Personally I find this question much more concerning as many people can’t articulate any plans they have to capture these customers!! So what do I suggest … If you are a services partner I recommend you start to look at SaaS services like Office Live that are slowly moving towards S+S or S+S services like CRM online and start to plan how you could add value to them and make money in the future. If you are an ISV, then now is the time to start to look at services like the Sync Framework...
  • I know I shouldn’t, but the EU is beginning to make me wonder what they are playing at .. is it personal and how is it better for the people in the EU?

    It is strange that I have come to accept that we live and work in a global economy quicker, it appears to me, than the EU. I accept that we can’t be the best at everything in the EU and we have to work out what our value is to others – true for every business. However, the EU seems to have an anti-non-EU feel to it. It also seems to want to create competition, even when no-one wants to compete – just to stimulate the industries, rather than because “punters are asking for alternatives”. This week I’ve seen two things that I wanted to share that raise concerns in my mind. Oh, in case you weren’t sure – this is a personal rant – nothing to do with anyone else but my own opinion! First was the Intel vs AMD piece which talks about requiring Intel to raise prices to avoid being nabbed for anti-competitive practices - disco-tech | Discovery Institute's Technology Blog: EU vs. Intel : Since Intel can't possibly know what AMD's cost of production is, we either have to accept collusion or accept that Intel will attempt to avoid further legal trouble by setting its prices in a safe zone, which is likely to be well above its costs. These are some of the reasons antitrust law doesn't protect less efficient firms, since to do so would saddle consumers with higher prices. Competition law as practiced by the EU provides far more scope than our own antitrust jurisprudence for enforcers to intervene in the market in search of perfection. Yet Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ds summation of her own philosophy is consistent with our approach, My own philosophy on this is fairly simple. First, it is competition, and not competitors, that is to be protected. Second, ultimately the aim is to avoid consumers harm. Trouble is, the EU is trying to make Europe more competitive without making it more efficient Then from InternetNews Realtime IT News – EU Parliament Member Wants to Ban Microsoft Bids I see that the competition has seen the EU as a way to attack Microsoft, rather than competing in a more traditional way....
  • How to get DNS and DHCP working on a Windows Server from behind the Windows Firewall

    I have a Windows Home Server at home and I decided I wanted it to be responsible for handing out DHCP and DNS addresses in the house. All very good, but when I set up the services none of it worked because of the built in Windows Firewall. While I could have just turned off the Firewall I decided to learn how to put the holes into the firewall to make it work with the firewall, thus maintaining better security. A quick search of the web showed me many settings, but it did not seem to cover the whole picture – then I came across the MS site Windows Firewall Settings which has things broken down into these four handy sections that shall for ever more be my guides to ports and firewalls in the Microsoft world. What is more, as you will see later, the tips in here as to how to get things working, getting over common hurdles is quite stunning too: Windows Firewall Settings: Optional Components Windows Firewall Settings: Remote Administration Tools Windows Firewall Settings: Server Roles Windows Firewall Settings: Services The two key entries for me are below – DHCP and DNS. Note that the DHCP entry has a wonderful tip saying that you will need to ensure 0.0.0.0 is included in the scope of the acceptable ports – i.e. you can not just set the scope to local network only. This was my 1st mistake Windows Firewall: DHCP server Add UDP ports 67 and 2535 to the Windows Firewall exceptions list on the DHCP server. Important: When you create a Windows Firewall exception for the DHCP protocol on a DHCP server, you must set the scope for the exception to Any computer including those on the Internet . If you leave it set to My network (subnet) only , all inbound DHCP Discover packets from client computers are dropped because the IP address of the packet is 0.0.0.0 , which is not recognized by the computer as being part of the local subnet. This causes the DHCP process to fail and clients do not receive IP addresses. Windows Firewall: DHCP server On the DNS entry the thing which grabbed me was the ports other than 53 that were needed...
  • How UKSBSGUY.com and DavidOverton.com use Dynamic DNS and why it broke the site … anyone have a better provider?

    Hi, My site is hosted by me on the end of a dynamically changing IP address (well, it could change, but has not for about 18 months). To get round this I have bought a number of domains, but they are all changed and updated by a magical piece of software that sits on my server that updates the DNS records for my domains whenever they change. This would be great, except for the fact that having had network/ISP trouble I now have Dynamic DNS trouble: When it works it is great, when not, it is very poor. In this case my provider is http://www.deerfield.com and I use their DNS2Go service – I’ve not found anyone better, so if you have a recommendation, let me know. One nice feature for these guys is that the 1 tool updates 5 domains ( http://davidoverton.com , http://uksbsguy.com , http://ukvistaguy.com are the main 3). If this all sounds a bit wondrous, here, in pictures are the steps: My basic architecture consists of my server, the Dynamic DNS provider, my Domain Registrar, you and the software provided: To set things up I had to register my domain and point the nameservers to the Dynamic DNS service providers servers: I then had to load the Dynamic DNS service providers software onto my server. Some routers also have this built into them, but then the service providers are limited: Then, in terms of how it works – my IP address will be changed by my ISP – at this point no-one will be able to connect to my server: The software will then update the Dynamic DNS provider with the new IP address – this is typically almost immediate which for me is just fine: Then when you come along with your browser, you can still get the correct IP address to find my site: Job done – this can be applied to almost any server!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Personal , Dynamic DNS , ISP , Internet , UKSBSGUY.com , David Overton
  • Web site woes again

    Once again my internet provider and power company let me down at the weekend, causing the web site to be up and down – more down than up to be honest. Now, one of the hard disks has put it’s hands up from the abuse so that is failing too, impacting performance. Overall, until I find some more funds to sort the solution, it might mean the site is up and down for a few days … sorry. Normal Service will resume as soon as possible. ttfn David Technorati Tags: personal
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  • Extended Promotional offers for SBS 2003 – now available until June 30, 2008

    I saw these on the SBS Offers site and noticed that they have been extended, so here are the things you need to know below. It is worth remembering that it is up to you how you pass these benefits through to your customers!! What? – Promotion Offering: When? – The promotion extension means system builders and resellers can now submit claims for services they deliver between January 1, 2008 and June 30, 2008. Participants will have until July 31, 2008 to complete their claims. *If a partner submitted claims between January 1, 2008 and February 29, 2008 they will be applied to this extension period and cannot exceed 50 claims in total per partner. Who is eligible – All system builders and resellers in the participating countries in Western Europe, Germany, France, UK, APAC, India, MEA, CEE (EU only), and Latam (CCA only). How? – The system builder/reseller goes to www.sbsoffer.com to learn about the offer and the steps needed to redeem: ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , SBS 2003 R2 , SBSC , Partners , Microsoft , Offers , Promotions , Community
  • ISVs can learn about Microsoft’s strategy and products and how they fit into selling solutions – come to the events in TVP and Manchester on the 10th and 24th April

    One of the biggest criticisms of Microsoft by our ISV partners is that they don’t know where we are going… well this even should help solve that – see you there perhaps: Introduction 09.30 - 10.00 Registration & coffee 10.00 – 10.15 Welcome & Introduction Deliver Innovative Solutions 10.15 – 10.45 Microsoft strategy direction 10.45 – 11.30 Microsoft technology roadmap 11.30 – 11.50 Coffee break Increase your opportunities 11.50 – 12.15 Marketing & sales initiatives Close more sales 12.15 – 12.30 Services & licensing for sales acceleration Support your Customers 12.30 – 12.45 Technical support resources 12.45 – 13.00 Wrap up with Q&A 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch & networking 10 th Apr, Chicago 1, TVP Registration url: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032373283&Culture=en-GB 24 th Apr, The Lowry, Manchester Registration url: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032373286&Culture=en-GB Enjoy the event! ttfn David Technorati Tags: ISV , Microsoft , Strategy , Roadmap , event
  • 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...
  • Are you about to renew your Action Pack? If so the Assessment requirement deadline has been extended for existing Subscribers

    Dell Quinn asked me to pass this on: As you may know, on November 30, 2007 Microsoft implemented an assessment requirement for new action pack subscribers. The same requirement was scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2008 for renewing partners that have a subscription expiration date of March 1, 2008 or later. Due to unforeseen system issues, we are extending the assessment deadline for renewing Action Pack subscribers until June 19, 2008 . This means that all renewing partners whose subscription expires on or after June 19, 2008 will need to pass a qualifying assessment with a score of 70% or higher in order to renew their Action Pack subscription. Qualifying assessments last for two years. For more information and a list of eligible courses and assessments, please visit https://partner.microsoft.com/global/40044196 . thanks David Technorati Tags: SBSC , Action Pack , Microsoft , Partners

(c)David Overton 2006-13