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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December 2011 - David Overton's Blog

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  • How to wake a computer to perform a antimalware scan, particularly useful for Windows Intune

    While having the book reviewed one feature that was asked for, but is not possible with Windows Intune, was the ability to make Windows Intune wake a computer at night and carry out an anti-virus scan. This blog post is referred to in the book when setting the Anti-Malware policy. To solve this, there are two issues to tackle: Wake up the computer Start a scan The answer appears to be that to wake the computer we need to use a task in Task Scheduler and then we need to start a scan. One very important thought here is that we need to ensure the power settings on the computer will put it back to sleep though! The command line required is “ %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Security Client\Antimalware>MpCmdRun.exe -scan -scantype 0 ” While working on this, I also wanted something that could be deployed by Windows Intune. In the end I have written a small piece of software that can create a task that wakes the computer and will start a scan. If you do not want a scan to start, change the program to execute to “ cmd.exe ” and the command arguments to be “ /c ”. This will start the computer and then open and close a command windows. Any other scheduled tasks can then run while the computer is idle, including the Windows Intune scan. So, download Windows Intune Wake Task.zip and extract to a folder. There are 3 files. The DLL is from http://taskscheduler.codeplex.com/ and I am grateful to David Hall for this code. The other two files are the main program and a settings.xml file to enable changing the settings and running as a quiet install for Windows Intune. The program looks like this: I would like to think I don’t have to explain to much, however, here are the basics: The task can run either daily, on a set day each week, or a specific day number of each month (including the last day). It runs at a specific time. The command has 3 parts, the path, the command to run and the command line arguments. The defaults here are those to run a default scan. So now the buttons: Set Task creates...
  • Finally got all the Christmas Lights up for 2011 on the new house

    Hi all, I thought I would share my Christmas lights – I do love them David
  • 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 Cloud Services Get Major Service Updates, New Customers: New features in Microsoft Office 365 and updates to sharing in Microsoft SkyDrive make it easier for people to work together.

    I saw this and just had to blog it.. The graphic on the left has amazing information – 41 of Interband Top 100 run on Microsoft’s cloud productivity services. 90% of Office 365 customers (not the seats, but the customer count) are SMEs with less than 50 employees.  You can guess the big customers from the stats. The PR can be found at Microsoft Cloud Services Get Major Service Updates, New Customers: New features in Microsoft Office 365 and updates to sharing in Microsoft SkyDrive make it easier for people to work together. One last thing I like, since I’ve been hearing people say “SharePoint is hard for file sharing” – SkyDrive works with Office 365 too.  This is simple, drag and drop and works natively with Office! Snippets from the PR statement: Small Businesses and Big Brands Bet on Office 365 More and more large global companies are choosing Office 365 to enable their employees and customers to work together in the cloud. In fact, more than 40 per cent of the global Interbrand list of the 100 top brands use Office 365 or related cloud productivity services from Microsoft. Among the new customers are Campbell Soup Company and Groupe Marie-Claire, which have recently chosen Office 365 to reap the benefits of cloud productivity. “Office 365 is key to our plans to propel our employees to next-generation innovation in productivity technologies, at a very rapid pace,” said Joe Spagnoletti, senior vice president and chief information officer at Campbell Soup Company. “We’re betting on the cloud — and Office 365 — as we prepare to build a highly collaborative workplace where employees across our global offices can all work together and communicate in a seamless fashion.” Groupe Marie-Claire, a leading fashion magazine published in more than 30 countries, will use Office 365 to modernize the company’s email and collaboration capabilities, while moving away from a costly and inefficient legacy technology. Employees at Groupe Marie-Claire will be able to access email and share documents on a PC, Mac or various...
  • Blinging Down the House

    I’ve just tweeted on this, but decided to blog on it as well.  The blurb … “During the summer of 2011, the Windows team here in the UK put out the call to all students with tired technology and faded furniture to enter Blinging Down the House. All they needed to do was to ask for help in the form of a simple video entry. The winning entry would then get their technology makeover with the definitive home entertainment setup. “ The winning student was Jack Rose.  He went from this: I like the comments of “and I’ve got man boobs, so the Xbox Kinect would come in handy to exercise” and the line about spreading out the vodka shows thoughtfulness! After all was done he had this: Perfect in time for Christmas – Xbox, 3D TV, tablet and touch screen PC!   ttfn David
  • Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune - SkyWire

    I saw this case study and wanted to share as it has some fantastic good news in it, highlighting how Windows Intune is helping this customer.  The highlights for me were: Reduced IT Costs SkyWire Media avoided the cost of third-party products that it would need to perform desktop management tasks by using Windows Intune. “I looked at antivirus and malware [malicious software] servers for [U.S.]$8,000 each,” says Malloy. “When you add $2,000 for the software and another $70,000 for a full-time administrator, we were looking at $80,000. Windows Intune saved us from those expenses.” With Windows Intune, SkyWire can retire on-premises solutions. “The software distribution feature now available in Windows Intune will save us an estimated $10,000 in software costs because we can retire the third-party tools that we were using for this purpose,” says Castleberry. Simplified PC Management Now that SkyWire Media has standardized the desktops on Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows Intune has delivered all required updates, it has a clear baseline for future hardware and software purchases. Also, it can easily stay in compliance with software licenses. And by using the Computers workspace, Malloy created computer groups and applied management policies to fine-tune his control over the desktop. “Having the security updates, software deployment, endpoint protection, and reporting and inventorying features in one utility is phenomenal,” says Malloy. Improved IT Support By using Windows Intune, SkyWire Media can prevent malware threats before they interfere with a sales representative’s ability to win new business. “Our support calls are down by 70 per cent, proof that Windows Intune is keeping our sales folks productive. They can rely on their laptops for dependable computing and fool proof SkyWire software demos,” says Castleberry. “That’s good news for our business!” You can read the whole thing at Microsoft Case Study: Windows Intune – SkyWire . Thanks David
  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and XenApp 6.x Desktop Virtualization Optimization Guide for Windows Server 2008 R2

    Hi, I know that I have mentioned before that Citrix is one of the partners I work with.  Citrix add a huge amount of value to Microsoft Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services and have done so for Windows since before the NT4 days of Terminal Server Edition. They have just released their latest document on optimisations that can be found at CTX131577 - XenApp 6.x Desktop Virtualization - Optimization Guide - Citrix Knowledge Center .   Enjoy! David
  • Christmas lights - Stage 1 of new home lighting

    Hi, I love Christmas.  I’m not religious, but I really enjoy the happiness it brings people and the fact that everyone seems to spend time not working, with their families or unwinding.  One way I do this is through putting a stupid number of lights on my house.  For the last few years it has looked like this: I moved to a new house this year, so things are a little different.  I’ve not finished yet, but this is what I have so far.  The "train” is hidden and once it is all completed, I will share the final picture.   Just sharing my little pleasure (although I think my electricity supplier likes me doing this as well!)   David
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  • 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

(c)David Overton 2006-13