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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  • 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 and extract the files from the Windows Intune zip file and place this on this folder which you will have to create: %Systemdrive%\Temp\Windows_Intune_Setup 3. Add the following lines to SetupComplete,cmd file, normally located or created in the %windir%\setup\scripts folder. Note there are 2 commands, the reg command and the call to the setup %windir%\system32\reg.exe add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Onlinemanagement\Deployment /v WindowsIntuneEnrollPending /t REG_DWORD /d 1 %systemdrive%\temp\Windows_Intune_Setup\Windows_Intune_Setup.exe /PrepareEnroll 4. Seal the image with a command such as the one below. If you wish to create an unattended install then you will have to create the answer file my_unattended_setup.xml for sysprep. To do this, download the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) from http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx?2Q . Creating an unattended installation process is beyond this book, however Brian Jackson has an excellent article that can be found at http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx...
  • New Small Business Oriented blog - Microsoft Police (entry on licensing) and Vista bloody Vista (who's fault is it when things don't work on Vista)

    Susanne Dansey pointed this out to me - Dave is doing some excellent blogging! I like both these entries from January. One discussed the rights and wrongs of what to do with a customer who will not license legally. My personal opinion here is that if they won't pay a software company, how long until they will avoid paying the services company for a quality job. Dave's second post is dealing with someone who has been told that Vista is poor and blames anything that does not work under Vista on Microsoft. I'm not saying that Microsoft is never to blame, but it is nice to see posts like this coming out of the woodwork. Microsoft Police There has been a lot of chatter in the newsgroups recently about Microsoft licensing and what to do if you think the legality of clients software is suspect. Here is my opinion. Funny that, it being my blog Simple, get them to become legitimate (or legal) or walk away. Let’s clarify this. Why I said legitimate or legal is because these can be two separate things. Why? well frankly, just because Microsoft and it’s lawyers say something should be the case, it doesn’t mean that it is the law. <snipped - click link above to read more> Vista, bloody Vista! I was having a friendly discussion in the pub at the weekend and was introduced to a college lecturer. He spoke quite fluently about IT in his college even though he admitted he is not very technically minded. Then it came…Why Vista he asked, it knackers things, so his techie people tell him? Windows 98 which he has at home is fine GRRRR! Except, it isn’t fine. His PC was falling apart at the seams, things just weren’t working. The more I questioned the more it became like a broken record. Why had Microsoft not left things alone. The fact that his quite clearly 18million year old dial-up modem wasn’t working was obviously Microsofts fault. They only update things in order to screw money out of poor victims like him. (This did stay friendly I hasten to add and many more pints were...
  • 1st SBS webcast from series of 3 - SBS & the OEM Pre-installation Kit (OPK) by Sven

    I should have posted this information a few days ago, but I am making up for it now. Anyway, Sven's presentation can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/folders/events/entry4621.aspx and he has also gracefully provided a number of scripts to make the install even simpler which can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/folders/events/entry4622.aspx . Enjoy David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , OPK
  • SBS 2003 R2 Premium Edition, Downgrade options, including SQL 2005 to SQL 2000 - for a limited time only

    In a recent announcement we now offer the ability to downgrade the Premium technologies in R2. More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/downgrade/default.mspx with a FAQ at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/evaluation/faq/bizsolutions.mspx . Please note that this is a time limited capability due to the End of standard support of SQL 2000. If you have licensed a copy of Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Premium Edition (which includes Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition), but your line of business applications are not yet available on the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 platform, you may be able to request downgrade rights to SBS 2003 SP1 Premium (which includes Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition the version of Microsoft SQL Server that shipped with Small Business Server 2003 and SP1), and use the downgraded SQL Server in your SBS 2003 R2 environment. You may exercise this downgrade through the channel in which you licensed your original version of Windows Small Business Server R2 Premium Edition. This downgrade offer is available only through April 30, 2008 . The downgrade from SBS 2003 R2 Premium (which includes Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition) to SBS 2003 SP1 Premium (which includes Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition) should be for new data installs only. This is not recommended as a migration path for data already ported to Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition. Product Support Update How to Downgrade Downgrading for OEM Customers Downgrading for Volume Licensing Customers Downgrading for Retail or Systems Builder Channel Customers Product Support Update When you use Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition (included in SBS 2003 SP1 Premium) in your SBS 2003 R2 Premium Edition environment, the product support policies for the downgraded version of SQL Server will follow the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 lifecycle. Mainstream support for Microsoft SQL Server 2000 will retire on April 8, 2008. After this time, Microsoft SQL...
  • If you want Windows XP Pro on a new machine, buy Windows Vista (Business or Ultimate) and then downgrade

    I’m not sure how many people are aware of this, but if you buy a Windows Vista Business or Ultimate then you can use a Windows XP CD (which you have legal access to) to load Windows XP onto that machine. When you need the product key / or need to activate, this will potentially fail, but a quick call to the activation centre with your Vista product key should give you all the details you need. Then when you are ready to put Vista onto that machine, you can do without the cost of buying it anew. Alternatively you can buy Windows XP today and should you ever want to load Vista, you can give more money to a shop to get a copy again. For further information go to http://oem.microsoft.com/script/sites/public/licensing.htm More information can be found in this one page document OEM Downgrade from Vista to Windows XP ttfn David Please Note the following (in legalese) Windows Vista Downgrade Rights Clarification Per the EULA and OEM DTOS Agreement, the end user customer is responsible for supplying media for the OEM or customer to create the downgrade product image on the customer system. Neither Microsoft, the OEMs, nor the system builders are responsible for supplying this media. VL customers already have the necessary media. For non-VL customers, the easiest way to obtain this media is to buy a single FPP copy of Windows XP Pro or use an existing FPP copy of Windows XP Pro if they already own one. That media can then be used to downgrade Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate machines to Windows XP Pro. If the customer uses a product key for Windows XP Pro that they’ve previously activated, that machine will likely fail activation. If the downgraded machine fails activation the customer will be prompted to call the product activation call center to request a key that will enable them to pass activation. The customer should mention that they’re exercising their downgrade rights to the customer service representative in the activation call center.
  • Microsoft says PCs may need DRAM upgrade (to ECC RAM)

    I have looked at many system crashed and often ended up concluding that RAM is at fault (random causes of BSODs is a very good pointer to this). It now appears that single bit errors is being considered as a major system failing. obviously, when spec'ing a server or computer perhaps you should consider ECC RAM as a standard to improve reliability. For about four years Microsoft has been collecting data through its Online Crash Analysis (OCA) tool that reports system crashes to a Microsoft Web site. About 18 months ago it began sharing OCA data and the white paper with systems and chip makers. According to one source, the report said single-bit error rates in DRAM are now among the top ten causes of systems failures Source: EETimes.com - Microsoft says PCs may need DRAM upgrade Technorati Tags: BSODs , ECC RAM
  • Channel Expo Show presentations - Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Windows Server (SBS, Naked, Home Server and Longhorn) sales slides

    If you visited the Channel Expo show this year then you probably saw one or two Microsoft presentations on desktop and server solutions. James Akrigg and Matt McSpirit provided the desktop entertainment while I covered off what servers we have out there and what is coming in the near future. We promised the slides and here they are: Desktop (Windows Vista and Office 2007)- Office 2007 PowerPoint Desktop (Windows Vista and Office 2007)- PDF Server (SBS, Windows Server 2003 R2, Longhorn and Home Server) - Office 2007 PowerPoint Server (SBS, Windows Server 2003 R2, Longhorn and Home Server) - PDF James has an amazing blog (Out of Office) at http://blogs.technet.com/outofoffice Matt touches many aspects of desktop technology including that for small business at http://blogs.technet.com/mattmcspirit Have a look at the blogs and enjoy the presentations. ttfn David Technorati tags: Channel Expo , Vista , Office 2007 , SBS 2003 , Nakes Servers , Home Server , Longhorn
  • Was Vista's arrival a surprises to anyone? No? Then how come so many people were unprepared - hardware vendors, ISVs, even Microsoft to an extent

    Lets start off by saying this is a RANT. If you don't like rants, look away now. I saw this in CRN and it made me laugh and cry. We have seen news that iTunes has undisclosed issues with Vista (even after being fixed ), poor drivers from nVidia and others and even enough to stop a BBC reporter from getting it going , yet from the list below, most are down to 3rd parties. I have only a little sympathy for hardware partners who didn't get drivers out - I was at WinHEC 3 and 2 years ago when the need to build drivers was hammered home. I have seen the offers of help to ISVs to get their applications working. I have seen the large amount of online training available for partners of all sizes to understand the benefits of the products. However, I have also seen the difficulties people have in when to bet on Vista and deploy the resources - I think its success has taken a few people by surprise! Microsoft is certainly happy with the launch . If like me, when you have 2 years to solve a problem it is always tomorrows problem, until eventually the deadline looms and it suddenly urgent - perhaps many face this issue. Of course, I am hugely over simplifying the issue. Some people chose not to move, saying that they would wait until there was enough market demand. Others, so the rumours say, have no desire to make older versions of hardware or software work on Vista and are using it as a lever to drive upgrades. Finally, the meaning of "minimum requirements" somehow seems to have been lost on people, so when all editions other than basic recommend a minimum of 1GB, that should not be seen as optimum for all users, but the minimum. I am frankly amazed that some vendors "top" PCs are not Vista compatible and it is because they were not ready - I thought the product was delayed to help these guys get ready - and if lower spec machines are working... gosh! While others have got it all working, on new machines and with new hardware designed for Vista style PCs . For application issues, many uncertified Windows Vista Apps May Work...
  • System Builders - Partner training on the OPK for Windows Vista and Office 2007

    This course looks into the new OEM Pre-installation Kit (OPK) for Windows Vista and 2007 Office. It explains to system builders OPK's functions and benefits; how it is deployed; what are some of its terms and requirements; as well as the tools and resources offered. https://training.partner.microsoft.com/plc/register.aspx?publisher=3&courseid=1875 ttfn David
  • I'm sorry - I am not perfect and nor is Microsoft. Sometimes it is our fault

    I can be abrasive sometimes and whether it "is my fault" or not, I don't always understand others' point of views. To this I would like to say "It is my fault". Now, if you have got up off the floor, let me give you a few examples. I say "contact our customer support" and you say "I don't have time". Before I rant - OK, I understand this, if you could share the bug at some time, we will try to fix it. We haven't been able to identify it yet, so need your help I say "There is no OEM media, get over it" and you say "I need OEM media to do my installs". OK, I can't fix this one. I do understand where you are coming from. If I were to share the fact that in the UK, which is a low piracy country, our tests so far have shown between 10-15% of all copies of Windows are pirated and many come from Action Packs and other OEM keys, does that help understand why this is such an issue? I do wish I could give you back OEM media, but I've been told it is just not possible. While Microsoft did publish the changes coming, I now get the impression that many did not realise that this was linked to the change in qualifying an upgrade, making the process different to Windows XP The list goes on, however why did I even start this? Well a man I respect lots is Joel. I started reading his latest filing: "Now I was fuming. Squiggly lines were coming up out of my head. I was a half hour late to work and had to go to the locksmith for a third time. I was tempted just to give up on him. But I decided to give this loser one more chance." "Seven steps to remarkable customer service http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/customerservice.html It then carries on: I stomped into the store, ready to unleash my fury. “It still doesn’t work?” he asked. “Let me see.” He looked at it. I was sputtering, trying to figure out how best to express my rage at being forced to spend the morning going back and forth. “Ah. It’s my fault,” he said. And suddenly, I wasn’t mad at all. Mysteriously, the words “it’s my fault” completely defused me. That was all it took...
  • 1st short coverage of the WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit)

    Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) User's Guide for Windows Vista The WAIK is designed to help OEMs, system builders and corporate IT professionals deploy Windows onto new hardware. The kit is a new set of deployment tools for Windows Vista. Download this guide to get the current methods, tools, and requirements for deploying Windows. Technorati tags: Vista , Windows Vista , WAIK , Windows Automated Instakkation Kit , Deployment
  • Want to play with Vista, but don't want to install it - Welcome to the Microsoft Virtual Lab for Windows Vista

    I have had a few people say they don't have the resources to load and explore Vista, but wanted to see more. Well now you can explore all the following subjects without leaving your desk or loading a DVD. The Vista lab covers the following areas: Microsoft Virtual Lab Express: Exploring New Functionality in Internet Explorer 7 Using System Image Manager to Automate Windows Vista Installations Windows Vista: Image Engineering Configuring Windows Firewall with Advanced Security Exploring New Group Policy Settings in Windows Vista Exploring User Account Control in Windows Vista Migrating User State from Windows XP to Windows Vista Managing Windows Vista and Windows Server Longhorn Network Bandwidth with Policy-based Quality of Service Managing Windows Vista Using New Management Technologies Source: Microsoft Virtual Lab: Windows Vista Enjoy them! ttfn David
  • Windows Vista Team Blog : It's Official: Windows Vista RC1 Is Complete

    Again, fingers still missing on left hand, so just a quick one to say that RC1 has started the shift out the door. Expect to see if on the official sites over the coming hours and days. Lots of new features, the platform to build and certify applications against and start the serious hardware testing for too. ttfn David Link to Windows Vista Team Blog : It's Official: Windows Vista RC1 Is Complete
  • Hybrid Disk Drives - Using Flash RAM to make disk drives more performant and reliable - and Vista ReadyDrive

    There is a great article at Computer World that talks about these hybrid drives as they are known. If you are not aware of them, then here is a very quick rundown. What are they: Traditional Hard Disk with larger cache (256MB-2GB) Uses Flash RAM instead of normal RAM Why is this interesting: Cache size is much larger Cache is not lost when power is turned off Disk can stay spun down for longer as cache can manage read/writes, saving batteries and reducing heat Saves 90% of the power required to read from disk when using the Flash RAM Improves boot time as some boot code can be stored in FLASH - or pre-cached at shutdown or hybernation There are two types of solution - one puts the cache physically on the drive and the other puts it on the motherboard, but the idea is the same. Some people worry about the life of the flash as there will be considerable writing to it. This is one of a couple of areas where Vista comes into the picture. Vista can be aware of the cache, so will manage disk reads, writes, spin up & spin-down requests differently. It can also help with the cache layout, ensuring spread usage of the cache to reduce the wear on the flash itself, this prolonging life. If you want to know more about this, go have a look at the WinHEC presentation that is now available. ttfn David
  • SBS 2003 R2 delay and what people are saying baout it - especially Vlad

    Sometimes you have to shout about when you think things are right while others are putting it down. SBS 2003 R2 - I have had sooooooo many conversations over the last 9 months about why this feature is in or out. I ended up being very blunt, saying, this is the 2nd release of SBS 2003, it has a bunch of new features ala Windows Server 2003 R2, yes, it might not have everything in we wanted, but the "Green Check" and SQL 2005 are significant enough that NEW customers and existing customers should look at it. Now, here we are, having just releases SBS 2003 R2 and we are pulling it back in due to bugs, before it has reached the shelves for most people. I was expecting flak, but instead I see comments like this at Vlad's site saying thanks for us actually being bold enough to fix the problem. It is also worth going to his site to see the video!!! This is why I love the Small Biz community - we can be honest with each other. At the Small Biz Blog we were able to say that there is a quality issue and we wanted to fix it before it got out the door. We get credit from Larry for making this move. I have spent 5 years in MS working with partners and also journalists, and this is easily the nicest response I have had for this type of issue, so THANK-YOU small business community for making this an enjoyable place to work ttfn David
  • R2 delayed by a few bad files

    I knew a day or so that this was coming - R2 was delayed because a few of the core files were "old" versions and should have been updated. As expected this will delay R2 being in the shops and at distributors. As expected Susan B has blogged on this and I saw it at ZDNet . The usual SBS Team are saying very little about it, as you would expect, but worth looking at http://seanda.blogspot.com/2006/07/r2-recalled.html . So, still coming, just a wee bit delayed. ho hum - better it is stopped now than when in the hands of customers!! ttfn David
  • IE7 to become your befault browser - by default

    I read about this internally yesterday and then on the blog posts today - IE7 will become part of the core OS when it is released. What does this mean - simple, unless you load a " blocking tool " similar to the XP SP2 blocking tool, then IE7 will ship down to your PC as a security update. Why - well IE7 does make the browsing experience much more secure using the including ActiveX Opt-in , the Phishing Filter and Fix My Settings features. ttfn David
  • Windows Vista Upgrade information

    Vista, Your operating system of choice. So how are you going to get there? Hard Disk format, in-place upgrade, new system? Microsoft have released more information on the upgrade matrix - obviously you can not upgrade from anything to anything, so what can you do? Well the matrix at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/upgradeinfo.mspx shows WINDOWS VISTA EDITIONS Home Basic Home Premium Business Ultimate Windows XP Professional Windows XP Home Windows XP Media Center Windows XP Tablet PC Windows XP Professional x64 Windows 2000 Requires clean install. In-place installation option available. There is also a little side note that needs a little more testing that I have not had a chance to check into yet. "If you are currently using Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional x64, you are eligible for an upgrade copy to a corresponding or better edition of Windows Vista, but a clean install is required." This might mean that all of you with x64 copies of Windows might get the new OS without paying the full price. Before you "go off and celebrate" - I have asked for clarification. ttfn David
  • Finding device drivers for Windows systems

    Every so often someone asks me how to get device "xxx" working. Obviously the 1st stage to this is to finding the right device driver. Sometimes this can be hard to track down - one thing to look for is the hardare ID from device manager. The ID is made up of the bus type, vendor, major and minor ids. You can do a search for the vendor ID on the internet and once you have that, try their site for a device driver. This is sometimes a long winded process, but normally yields results. One alternative that I spotted today to this was the Microsoft Technet site for drivers . This site has both Microsoft controlled and non-affiliated sites that can help with the device driver searching. When Vista comes along, searching for device drivers will be an even bigger goal of the Update function that ships in the box. ttfn David
  • David Overton moving to a solution / revenue based role (it means I need to help partners sell)

    Many people ask me what I do and sometimes they are amazed with the answer "I help Microsoft Partners build solutions that deliver value to their small business partners – for free". This is a great job and part of it is to engage with as many partners as possible to improve the quality and knowledge around the solutions that can be built upon Microsoft technology. This year my role has a slightly different focus, but the way I achieve it will have many similarities. It has becoming important for me to ensure that partners are not just technically capable, but also selling solutions, sometimes even offering their customers alternative licensing options to suit their business needs. Some may see this as me selling out in some way, but while I love technology, if it is not applied correctly and you and I can't make money out of it, then there is a limit to the business value of the technology. I will still be blogging, posting on both business and technical ideas, but also be discussing how to sell solutions, what the licensing options truly mean, what extras you can add to a sale to add value for you and the customer. I'll even be discussing how online services are an opportunity for you, but more on this later. On this note, is there more I should do to help you sell more, have more customers and make more money? If so, let me know what is needed, whether it is something from Microsoft or David. Comments are open on this one, so fire a comment onto the blog. Expect to see a post on the work we are doing with the Technet team to get you even more technical resources and the process for access to all those nice betas, hosted services and where they fit as part of a solution and the options on licensing to make it easier for your customer to understand the value of technology and even buy earlier. Ttfn David
  • Off to Partner Conference in Boston - see you blogging from there

    Hello, just a quick note to say that I am due to fly today @ 11am to Boston for the Partner Conference - if you are going then I will see you there, if not, you can read about it here. ttfn David
  • UK Managing Director Leaves the UK bound for Microsoft Corp - welcome to Gordon Frazer from South Africa

    Today we had a bit of a kick of for FY07 (Financial Year 07 in Microsoft) and a review of FY 06. We had a healthy year with excellent growth (this is no way a prediction of the MS Company results) and we also did a bit of sweeping a few things out. It has been speculated for a little while that Alistair Baker would be moving on and today we had it confirmed. As of 31st July, the new MD of MS UK will be Gordon Frazer from the South African Sub. He did seem like a very positive and fired up person, so I think this will be nothing but goodness, as will having another Brit in the power halls at MS in the States. For the press release, have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/press/content/presscentre/releases/2006/07/PR03662.mspx ttfn David
  • top sixteen lies of a ceo

    I was reading Guy Kawasakiblog entry on the top lies of CEOs and I realised how many of them applied to those "high flying" small business owner managers in a scaled down way, What I partcularly liked what the "what we wished they actually said" section: “I don’t know.” “Thank you.” “Do what’s right.” “It’s my fault.” How many times would a small business specialists life been saved if this was what they actually said to us instead of (perhaps the 17th lie) "I did nothing to it, it just started going wrong... I was not even here when it happened." And of course, that is probably what was said when this all started! ttfn David
  • Livemeeting today @4:30pm for SBSC members on Vista and Office - by Jo Carpenter and David Overton - ask us the hard questions

    Howdy folks, I thought I would remind all those SBSC members about the Office and Vista webcast happening today - as it is a livemeeting it will be mainly demos, plus some nuggets on positioning the technology. This is one of my monthly technology webcasts that you are welcom to join. To register (you need to do this a little in advance to get the final link via e-mail), go to http://msevents-eu.microsoft.com/cui/eventdetail.aspx?EventID=118771191&Culture=en-GB and sign up. This is one of the perks of being an SBSC member. ttfn David
  • 70-282 Exam - what has changed, what has not and how it stands now after all the feedback

    Howdy. There has been a lot of discussion recently about the huge changes to the 70-282 exam, especially following people helping us with the 71-282 beta exam work. Having worked many hours as an investagtive reporter (at least 2) and searched many a rubbish bin, I now have a pretty good answer to what happened. I managed to get this statement from the "right people" inside Microsoft. In short - 71-282 was a beta which had some things in it that did not make it into the final revised 70-282 exam. "70-282 Clarification around the introduction of a new version of the exam In Early 2006 Microsoft felt that exam "70-282 Designing, Deploying and Managing Network Solutions for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses" had not been performing at the Microsoft standard. Microsoft constantly reviews customer feedback and exam statistics, and determines if exam item changes or additions are required. To keep this exam current and valued by our customers and partners, Microsoft revised the questions and carried out testing of the new exam with a cross-section of Microsoft Partners and internal staff. This group was made up of people who had sat the previous 70-282 exam and of people who had not yet sat the exam all coming from the Small Business Specialist Community or SBS MVPs. The beta exam was coded 71-282. Candidates who sat and passed 71-282 will be given credit for the 70-282 exam. In March 2006, once testing was complete, the revised 70-282 exam was launched. The exam format has changed slightly, but the content continues to reflect the required knowledge for designing, deploying and managing network solutions for the small and mid-sized business. To be successful, you will need adequate knowledge of Microsoft Small Business Server, Microsoft Windows Server and Active Directory. All existing training and prep materials contain information to prepare candidates for the current exam questions. There are several preparation options available depending on your experience and current knowledge levels. Details of training courses...
  • Bad links now fixed

    Sooo many of you clicked the links in the posts from the last two days, but got an OWA screen that I had to go back and edit about 16 posts. All fixed now - thanks to Rob for pointing it out. ttfn David
  • Draft release of my web log analyser tool (using IIS Log files)

    People have asked for my tools I use to produce my site statistics, so I have released a draft cut. It should all work. To get the best out of it you need a $20 subscription to http://www.maxmind.com/app/web_services_guide#city and MapPoint , but otherwise it works - without both these it is fully functional, but no maps. The source can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/files/11/files/entry735.aspx and the exes at http://uksbsguy.com/files/11/files/entry736.aspx . ttfn David
  • Did you know that you can get all the security releases each month on a downloadable ISO?

    I didn't, but a quick search on http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/results.aspx?pocId=&freetext=security%20iso&DisplayLang=en shows that since January you can download each months security patches as an ISO, carry it around with you and patch to your hearts content. ttfn David
  • TechNet Security Postings for June

    New security features in Internet Explorer 7 (Beta 2) http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=4979991 Learn about the new security features in the browser's latest version that help better protect your PC and personal information Microsoft Threat Analysis and Modelling Tool, Version 2.0, RC1 http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049706 The free Microsoft Threat Analysis and Modelling tool allows nonsecurity subject matter experts to enter already-known information, including business requirements and application architecture, to produce a feature-rich threat model. Along with automatically identifying threats, the tool can produce valuable security artefacts such as data control, component access control, and subject-object matrices as well as data flows and focused reports. Reduce Your Risk: 10 Security Rules to Live By http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049703 When you manage security you must strive to reduce unacceptable risk while keeping the impact on workflow of the organization and total cost of ownership of the infrastructure to a minimum. Here are 10 key points an administrator should keep in mind while working on a security management plan. Ten Principles of Microsoft Patch Management http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=4985813 In the latest TechNet Security Management column, Christopher Budd explores best practices for enterprise update management, designed to help you better protect your systems. Group Policy: Ins and Outs of Delegation and Control http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049704 Delegating power within any organization is not a trivial matter. When it concerns group policy, you need to decide just who creates group policy objects (GPOs) and who can link them to areas in Active Directory. This article discusses how, even though the Domain Administrators are the only people who can create GPOs by default, these permissions can be delegated to deputy administrators so they can create GPOs, alleviating some of the burden. Windows Mobile 5.0 Application Security http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049705 Every Windows...
  • Microsoft AntiGen Products - could these be for SBS customers - only if they have one of the Volume License types, but that is becoming easier too

    AntiGen is a great set of products for providing security technologies. Some of these come in very price competative and feature rich. For example, for spam, smtp and a/v filtering the US price is $1.25 per user per month. For more info see below Microsoft Releases Antigen E-Mail Security Products http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049691 On June 6, Microsoft announced the release of Microsoft Antigen e-mail security products -- including Antigen for Exchange, Antigen for SMTP Gateways, Antigen Spam Manager, and Antigen Enterprise Manager -- available to customers July 1, 2006. Microsoft Antigen products help business protect their Exchange, Windows-based SMTP gateway, Live Communications Server, and SharePoint servers from viruses, worms, spam, and inappropriate content. Read about new product features http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049723 or download the new 90-day trials http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5049724 to see how Antigen can help protect your messaging and collaboration servers. ttfn David
  • Vista Webcasts for July

    Using Built-in diagnostics in Windows Vista Monday, July 17, 2006 9:30AM - 10:30AM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301591&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Windows Vista Deployment Overview (Level 200) Monday, July 17, 2006 1:00PM - 2:00PM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301597&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Moving to 64-bit Computing with Windows Vista (Level 200) Tuesday, July 18, 2006 11:30AM - 12:30AM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032299835&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Security Features in Windows Vista (Level 200) Wednesday, July 19, 2006 11:00AM - 12:00PM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301585&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Reliability Enhancements in Windows Vista (Level 200) Friday July 21, 2006 9:30AM - 10:30AM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301599&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US Imaging Windows Vista (Level 200) Monday, July 31, 2006 11:30AM - 12:30AM Pacific Time https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032301593&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US MSDN Architecture Webcast: "InfoCard:" Introduction http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5001722 Windows Vista Security Enhancements http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=5001723 Interactive Webcast Calendar The interactive calendar will help you quickly find live webcasts that fit your schedule as well as on-demand webcasts to view at your convenience. You can choose your time zone and filter this list by audience, webcastseries, product or topic, and presenter. http://www.microsoft.com/events/webcasts/calendar/monthview.aspx Monthly Archived Webcasts: http://www.microsoft.com/events/webcasts/library/default.mspx ttfn David
  • IE 7 beta 3 download- an update

    Having told everyone that Beta 3 is available for download , I was a little short on details. The IE team have blogged several things on beta 3 - 1st - It is available in multiple languages and also now for XP and Windows Server - so you could run this on your server - I would not do that just yet on a production machine. Of course, the thing you notice very quickly on IE7 is when accessing RWW if the certificate is not set up correctly for the machine (most often the interface name) then you get a huge shiny error! Also, as a direct quote ' I’m looking forward to reading the feedback - positive and negative - as it comes in. I also want to encourage developers, web developers, designers, and IT Pros to use Readiness Toolkit to help you deliver the best possible experience to your sites’ IE7 visitors. ' 2nd, the UI has change a little - the details are in the blog, but things to look out for include: new icons following feedback You can drag the tabs around to re-order them others such as ftp and image zoon features enjoy the product - I am already running it :-) ttfn David
  • Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3 is now available for download

    Short, simple, sweet, IE 7 beta 3 is available to download at http://www.microsoft.com/ie ttfn David
  • If you want Vista - go get it today or mis out

    I have just read at Ian Moulster's blog that Vista beta code is on a time limit to sign up - and that time is soon to expire. If you want Vista, go to http://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/engb and start the process now, like today. You have been warned! ttfn David
  • OFF TOPIC - Feel the force - See Star Wars Lego II - The Original Trilogy Game - AWESOME

    As some of you may know, I am a true Star Wars Geek. I love all 6 films - yes, even Jar Jar. I had heard about the 2nd game - me & Molly are loving the 1st game and then I saw this on MSN Video - amazing! Cool features - all the characters, the ability to go off piste with any vehicle and the ability to take characters apart and create new ones - just like you would with Lego Pieces :-) ttfn David
  • Giving money to good causes - Warren Buffet follows Bill and Melinda

    One of the reasons I picked Microsoft to work for was that I felt the company had a goal stronger than "to make money for the shareholders", but also to actually do some good in the world. Bill Gates has announced that he is planning to slowly transisition to a part time role in Microsoft over the next two years to dedicate his time to the Bill and Melinda Foundation who have already given away billions to help those in need. (See http://www.gatesfoundation.com/AboutUs/Announcements/Announce-060615.htm for Bill's transition. For some astounding stats, look at http://www.gatesfoundation.com/MediaCenter/FactSheet/ - snipped from it: Number of employees: 241 Endowment: $29.2 billion Total grant commitments since inception: $10.5 billion Total 2005 grant payments: $1.36 billion Illustrative Grant Commitments United Negro College Fund , Gates Millennium Scholars Program - $1 billion The GAVI Alliance - $1.5 billion Malaria Vaccine Initiative - $258 million Save the Children , Saving Newborn Lives - $110 million United Way of King County , Seattle, WA, - $55 million Knowledgeworks Foundation - $20 million National Council of Culture & Arts , Mexico Library Project - $11.7 million Public Access Computing Hardware Upgrade Program , Multiple library systems - $5.3 million Now I read that Warren Buffet is to give away 85% of his 40B$ wealth to charity, with 5/6 going to the above fund. For more info, see http://www.gatesfoundation.com/AboutUs/Announcements/Announce-060625.htm This is what I want to help others do, while Microsoft makes lots of donations, by making MS successful, I enable these people to continue to do this. I think Microsoft donates something like 7% of its cash each year to good causes - not many other companies can say they do that. When working recently with the SBS product team in the UK I discovered that we give away 4+ copies of SBS plus associated software to UK needy causes a month. That is just SBS, we also give away many other products too. I know that the nay sayers could say "why not give away...
  • Site look and feel updated

    I found some amazing site themes at http://japan.communityserver.info/ and have updated the default site with this. If you wish to change it back, click http://uksbsguy.com/user/EditProfile.aspx and select the site theme of "default for CS2.0". You might also notice the Posts on this site Zoom Cloud showing you a cloud of the keywords mentioned on the site. See the site in it's full glory at http://uksbsguy.com ttfn David
  • Security and some Myths debunked

    I used to spend my time dealing with security at a military scale for computer systems. I was not guarding anything in terms of weapons etc, just following process for protecting documents I was managing. If there was one thing that irked me was when people thought they were safe, but then did stupid things to completely undermine the security. For example, going in through the main enterence involved stringent security checks, but going through the side enterance the only check was on your car speed. My data was far less protected once physical security was compromised! Bring this into the world of computers and my role now, many people do things to enable them to feel safe - load A/V software, run multiple malware detectors, check the patch level on their firewalls, even if they are hardware filewalls, keep their systems patched, ensure the clients and servers are locked down with their own firewalls configured and managed by policy. I could go on, and of course you all do these things already, right? It was a delight when I 1st heard Susan Bradley speak on security as it reminded me of the mindset from my mission critical computing days (before Microsoft, but after the Ministry of Defense). Security is a mindset that must tackle both physical, electronic and social. If you have the best security, but someone phoning up is given the password, your system is flawed. There is also the great debate about can you trust your System Administrators. The simple answer to this is that if you can not, don't let them be an administrator. This is a very, very simple policy. These people can access sensitive information, either trust them or replace them with people you do trust. Finally, I came across this Technet article on Security Myths - answers some of the great questions in my mind. My top 3 myths (paraphrasing) are: Lets Block all the bad stuff - and how can you tell what is bad - easier to say what is good I've run all my updates, got a/v etc therefore I am safe - a/v works by someone being hit 1st and others benefiting...
  • Off Topic - How not to retain customers - Someone wants to cancel their AOL subscription

    I just had tto post this. Microsoft sometimes gets a bit of a kicking about support, but things like the Official SBS podcast , changes to search on our http://support.microsoft.com site, people like me and even the huge SBS community have changed most peoples experience with our support. When I say this, you just have to laugh in amazement as to what was going through this guys mind? http://video.msn.com/v/us/v.htm?g=5ff445af-bf5c-4c3c-9424-ff467ea97a87&f=rssimbot_us_default ttfn David
  • OFF TOPIC - Raise money for NSPCC (UK Childrens charity) while searching the internet using clickscount.co.uk

    I know this is s a small one, but if you go to http://www.clickscount.co.uk to try your internet web searches, you will rasie money for the NSPCC each time you click. Underneath is the MSN Search engine, which has improved hand over fist over the last few months, but it has got to be worth a try, even if it is just for MS related information. ttfn David
  • OFF TOPIC - Overton Family has another child - Lizzy May

    Hello everyone, just a quick note to say that today Lizzy May was born into this world at 2:24am GMT. She is happy and health, as is her mum and the rest of us. She weighs 6lbs 15 1/2 ounces and was 54cms long. If you want to see some lovely pictures, go to http://uksbsguy.com/photos/doverton/category1018.aspx obviously this will slow down some of the posts over the next few days or weeks. ttfn David
  • How to find out what is causing a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) by using the kernel debugger tools

    Having had James take up an offer to find out what is causing his BSODs, her has now asked me how I found out which driver appears to be having the problem. While there is no substite for lots of debug work, a very simple process is to run the crash dumps through our debugging tool (full dumps are best, followed by kernel dumps and then finally mini-dumps). The first thing is to find the dump files - it will either be c:\windows\memory.dmp or mini-dumps under c:\windows\minidump. Find the file you want and copy it somewhere so you can examine it. Then get the debugging tools - http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/default.mspx and download the x86 (32-bit) version. Once the tools are extracted, open a cmd window and go to c:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows and type kd -z c:\mydumpfile.dmp -v -y SRV*c:\websymbols*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols . Wait for it to load and do an analyze. The debugger will open and if it has not done it already, type !analyze -v and see what drivers get listed as possible errors. Press Q to exit :-) An example output might be like this: kd> !analyze -v ******************************************************************************* * * * Bugcheck Analysis * * * ******************************************************************************* TRAP_CAUSE_UNKNOWN (12) Arguments: Arg1: 00000001, Unexpected interrupt. Arg2: 00000000, Unknown floating point exception. Arg3: 00000000, The enabled and asserted status bits (see processor definition). Arg4: 00000000 Debugging Details: ------------------ ***** Kernel symbols are WRONG. Please fix symbols to do analysis. Debugger CompCtrlDb Connection::Open failed 80004005 Connecting as Provider=SQLOLEDB.1;server=CCDSQL03;OLE DB Services=-4;database=Un ifiedCompCentral;UID=compcentralro;PWD=compcentralro ************************************************************************* *** *** *** *** *** Your debugger is not using the correct symbols *** *** *** *** In order for this command to work properly, your symbol path...
  • WHQL testing of servers (SBS or Compute Cluster Edition)

    After a conversation yesterday about WHQL testing and servers I have put a document on the process. While the same tool is used, there are different requirements depending on what test is being run, so for example to certify a server you need a number of desktops. I have posted the file at http://uksbsguy.com/files/12/amd_day/entry540.aspx ttfn David
  • Real servers versus a DUD aka "Dressed up Desktop" for SBS use

    While I was at AMD yesterday I heard a term that is very useful to describe a really bad piece of hardware used to build a server - DUD - dressed up desktops. You know what they are - PCs that are desktops without any of that key server tech - do you know of one - let me know. As a minimum I would want to see the following in a decent SBS server: x64 CPU to enable migration to SBS Longhorn edition RAID disks to survive a disk failure - I'm not going to ret religious if they are SCSI or not, but remember that Domain Controllers turn off disk caching unless you have a SCSI like controller, so can have a big impact on performance 2GB of memory min - this is just me, but why skimp at the outset - if you are not going to start at 2GB, then please make sure there are free slots for an upgrade Descent power and cooling Backup capability of some form 2 NICs (even if you only use one - the option is there) Quality brands - don't save £5 and spend the next 3 years regretting it AMD do a great line in quality parts and have some great partners who can help. Together we can avoid customer heart-ache and stamp out the DUDs. For info on DUDs and SBS with AMD, have a look at http://www.amd.com/us-en/0,,3715_13530_13531,00.html ttfn David

(c)David Overton 2006-13