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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  • 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 tasks further on in the book.  There are plenty of screen shots to ensure things are clear and easy to understand in a platform that ultimately delivers UI. If you are interested in WPF, XAML and especially data bound controls, this is a fantastic book for you, even if your experience with XML and C# is not top notch.  As you would expect, this books covers UI elements, controls  and animation, however I also learnt about the Background Worker component as a simple alternative to threads as well as the basics of parallel tasks using the Tasks Parallel Library.   I hope you enjoy the book. It can be purchased on Amazon UK , Amazon US or from Packt Publishing .   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
  • 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 Phone   ttfn David Technorati Tags: Virtualisation , Office 2010 , Windows 7 , SQL Server 2008 R2 , Visual Studio , the Essential Mix , Rich Client , Windows Phone
  • 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 you using the Problem Step Recorder which simplifies support. Here are some key dates to remember: March 1, 2010 – Windows 7 RC pre-expiration shut downs begin. Beginning March 1, the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) will start to shut down every two hours in preparation for its expiration on June 1, 2010. That means you will need to migrate your RC systems to a released to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 7; or your previous operating system. Remember to back up all your data as either option will require a clean installation. For more information, read this post on the Windows Team blog. April 13, 2010 – Support for Windows Vista RTM ends. To help ensure your Windows Vista PCs stay secure and up to date, make sure they are running Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Service Pack 2 (SP2). July 13, 2010 – Support for Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000 ends. If you are running Windows XP, stay more secure by moving to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) or migrating to Windows 7. Updating your Windows 2000,...
  • 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. On my own site, Windows 7 has clearly overtaken Windows Vista and is having an impact on Windows XP too.   ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , Microsoft
  • 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 the UK, have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/education/default.aspx .  You will notice that both the organisations I linked above are linked on the Microsoft page, but I have experience with the above two.   Thanks David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , Office 2007 , Education , Student discount , Microsoft
  • How to put Windows 7 (either purchased ISO or DVD) onto a USB stick for faster installation or installation onto a Netbook without a DVD drive

    I've had to tell a few people about this recently, so I thought I should actually write a blog post on this.  The options are very simple and easy. Buy Windows 7 on DVD and use or buy a 4GB (or larger) USB Stick and then make a USB stick bootable and copy the files to the stick.  Details on how to make it bootable can be found here - http://www.techmixer.com/install-windows-vista-from-bootable-usb-flash-memory-drive/ .  You literally copy all the files from the DVD to the USB stick for this to work. To do this, enter this command into the run box (press Windows-Key + R) or a command prompt window - robocopy d:\ e:\ /s - this assumes that the DVD drive is D: and that the USB stick is E: - change them as required. Buy Windows 7 as an ISO from the Microsoft store ( http://emea.microsoftstore.com/uk/ ) and use the Microsoft tool from http://store.microsoft.com/Help/ISO-Tool to copy this to a USB stick (as mentioned above) buy a USB DVD Drive (not my preferred option) I hope this helps.   David Technorati Tags: Windows 7 , Windows , ISO , Microsoft , Tips and Tricks
  • It has been a while on the blog

    Well hello again, I've been away for quite some time - work has been very time consuming and two members of my family have required some dedicated attention while they have not been feeling well (and no, no swine flu). I'm hoping to start finding more time to "do" the blog and potentially a "tips and tricks" section for SBS 2008 based on my learning's to date. I do still have quite some work backlog, but I'll try to post some of the blog backlog too - I have hundreds of items to post!! See you soon - and keep the questions coming. David
  • How to copy or archive files by year using the command line and robocopy

    I got this question via e-mail and decided I would post the answer here in a blog. I want transfer all files created in Office Word 2003 by year (annual batchs - ex: 2005, 2006, etc.) to external HD. How can to do this? I will appreciate your answer. Edgar To do this via the command line you can use Robocopy which is present in Windows Vista and Windows 7.  If you have Windows XP download the Server 2003 Resource Toolkit and install it.  Robocopy will be part of the install and found in the install directory. The actual command would look like this and would need to be entered into a command prompt: for /L %x in (2009,-1,2000) do robocopy source destination \%x *.doc? /minage:%x0101 /maxage:%x1231 /s To break it down a bit.. for /L %x in (2009,-1,2000) do This creates a counter from 2009 up in steps of -1 (or down in steps of 1) until 2000 is reached.  Each time the counter changes it is set into %x, so %x will become 2009, 2008 and so on.  It then executes the command after to "do". robocopy source destination \%x *.doc? /minage:%x0101 /maxage:%x1231 /s The robocopy command is very flexible.  Details of it can be found on the wiki page here .  The first two parameters are the sounce and destination locations.  so it might be c:\users\david\documents and F:\document_backup.  Note the \%x on the end.  This means it will put the files inside a folder on the destination location that matches the year you are archiving. *.doc? is a limiter to the files to be copied - if you want all files, simply remove it.  This will copy all Office 2003 and 2007 document files - if you only want Office 2003, use *.doc and don't include the question mark. The minage and maxage state how old the file is.  It can either be in days or a date in the form of yyyymmdd.  So with the %x set to 2009, the command will have /minage:20090101 /maxage:20091231 which equates to everything in 2009 and so on. The /s copies all subdirectories too You can optionally put the /MOV...
  • Preparing for Windows 7 with ask the expert sessions for technical and sales success for sales people

    I saw this internally and thought I had better share via the blog - a number of ask the expert technical and sales events! Are you ready for Windows 7? The industry is preparing itself for one of the most exciting launches - Windows 7. The press is already buzzing with the launch of Windows 7 – are you ready? “ …it starts up relatively quickly, drivers already exist to make to make peripherals such as scanners and printers work with it, and it does clever things that XP, the version of Windows most people still use, just doesn’t ” The Daily Telegraph – 8 th January 2009 To ensure our partners have the opportunity to understand more about Windows 7 advantages, benefits and features, we have launched a monthly series of Windows 7 Live Meeting events. There will be two strands to this Ask the Expert (technical) and Sales Success for Windows 7 (sales). The Live Meeting sessions will focus on different topics during each session and will last 30 minutes and will contain 15 minutes on “how to” information and a question and answer session for you to pose your questions to our two Windows 7 experts – Jamie Burgess & Laurence Painell. To register your attendance on the Live Meetings then please click on the relevant link below. Ask the Expert · Technical focused 15 min session designed to tackle key technical issues that partners and customers may be experiencing with Windows 7 and these will be based on questions appearing in Windows 7 technical blogs and TechNet. These sessions are designed to be interactive, consumable and focused · Aimed at technical staff and consultants within resellers, system builders and system integrators · Hosted by Jamie Burgess – Partner Technology Specialist Date Time Ask The Expert Wednesday 15 th April 2009 16.00- 16.45 Getting Applications Compatible with Windows 7 Wednesday 20 th May 2009 16.00-16.45 Technical help for OEM & System Builders Wednesday 17 th June 2009 16.00-16.45 Technical training and...
  • vLite detail screenshots for producing a Lite install of Vista – For Windows Vista Magazine

    I recently built a Lite version of Vista using vLite . While most of the settings are simple enough to understand I’ve put up the screen shots that I used to build my slimed down Vista. First you need to select the compatibility options Then you need to step through the settings. Items ticked are REMOVED from the install of Vista. The rest is up for you to choose again. Have fun David
  • Internet Explorer security vulnerability fix now available – think of it as an early Christmas present… now about Firefox’s 3 issues this week…

    I think everyone knows that an urgent security issue has arisen in IE this week and Microsoft has taken the (wise) decision to publish a fix outside the normal 2nd Tuesday release cycle. Some have said switch browser because of this issue, but not only can that be complex, but most browsers suffer security issues so once again the only real protection is to wrap in cotton wool and hide. Or, use the built in features of Vista and IE7/8 which means protected mode and NOT running as admin. You might ask why a Christmas present? Well, if this continued un-patched then your information is seriously at risk and that would make for a very bad Christmas if your credit card information was stolen!! Either way, if you have IE on your systems then you will need to update your systems urgently. Of course, my Hyper-V server (or Windows Core for that matter) don’t have IE, so no updates for them!!! Just for completeness, here is the information from the Technet newsletter Internet Explorer Security Update I wanted to update you on the Advance Notification of security update MS08-078 which will address a new vulnerability allowing remote code execution in all affected versions of Internet Explorer products. We plan to release this update on December 17th, around 10 a.m. Pacific Time (6pm UK time) through Automatic Updates and Microsoft Update. We encourage you to test and deploy this update as soon as possible. Our investigations of the known attacks have verified that they are not successful against customers who have applied the security update. You may be interested to know, that in response to the threat we mobilized security engineering teams worldwide right away to develop, test and deliver a security update of appropriate quality for worldwide distribution in the unprecedented time of eight days. We also published the Microsoft Security Advisory 961051 . Microsoft's teams worked constantly to identify more options for customers and updated this advisory 5 times in six days. We remain committed to building secure...
  • Invalid certificate issued to localhost.localdomain when remotely access SBS 2008 from a Windows PC

    This is another question I was recently asked. One particular user noticed that the certificate they saw when accessing their server from the internet did not match that when accessing from the LAN. The certificate looked something like this: This was a little strange as when the system was accessed from the intranet, all things appeared fine. The culprit for them was the SBS 2003 self signed certificate on the same machine. By removing the certificate and then installing the correct new one things got better. To remove the old certificate, start MMC.exe and accept the UAC prompt. Now press Ctrl+M to add a new snap-in and select Certificates and when asked, add for the user account . The do the same again, but select Certificates and Computer Account and hit OK to accept the current computer. Now expand out Personal Certificates and remove any SBS 2003 self signed certificates. To load the new certificates open a browser inside your SBS 2008 network and point to http://companyweb/Lists/Announcements/DispForm.aspx?ID=3 which should give you instructions and the URL. I hope that makes sense. ttfn David Technorati Tags: localhost.localdomain , SBS 2008 , Certificates , Tips
  • Connect Manager for VPNs into SBS 2008 …er, not really, with CMAK information too

    [updated with “roll your own” information and how to make a 32-bit version of the exe file] I love it when people challenge me to solve a question and today’s prize goes to Simon (thank-you for the questions Simon) who asked me where Connection Manager was on SBS 2008? You remember Connection Manager right, to auto configure the VPNs… Well, the instructions in SBS 2008 are a little less simple. Rather than downloading a pre-configured tool you now need to roll your own. The reasoning, which is quite sound, is that you can access almost everything via the Remote Web Workplace, but for some things, you want a VPN and the way to get it can be found here - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc513974.aspx If you want to create a Connection Manager Install for SBS 2008 you need to add the CMAK to the SBS 2008 install. Go to Server Manager and click to add a feature. Install the CMAK by pressing Next. To start the kit, go to the Start Menu, Administrator Tools and then select Connection Manager Administration Kit. Click next until you need to select the target OS. Select to create a new profile and provide the name and filename (8 characters max) Provide the domain or realm name and include the “separator” character – eg “mydomain\” without the quotes. Select no profiles to merge and press Next Embed the VPN Connection name (eg remote.myserver.com as that is what the SSL certificate will say) into the file and then accept the VPN entry Remove the automatically update phonebook options and leave blank Accept the default entries for VPN, Routing tables, IE Proxy, Custom Actions Now accept the default graphics or add your own logo Accept the default information on help files, support information, User EULA screen, additional files Finally accept the answer and build the file: . You can now chose to put the EXE file somewhere your users can access and then they can download it. One problem solved, more to come. IF YOU ARE DEPLOYING TO A 32-BIT WINDOWS SYSTEM, YOU...
  • I’m a PC and I’m a school governor

    Microsoft’s campaign now has David (UKSBSGUY) in it!! I love PC’s, I love freedom to choose between a PC, a MAC or anything else, but I CHOSE PC’s. I love SBS 2008 and I love small businesses that make the world go round. I also love my family and I’m amazed by the people at my local infants school, so I give back by being a school governor. If you want to know more about the school, go to http://www.yateley-inf.hants.sch.uk/index.html . David Technorati Tags: imapc , Personal , Microsoft , uksbsguy , Windows
  • Important Microsoft security update – update your machines now!

    DavidOverton.com rebooted today due to an emergency security update – an “out of band” release from the normal “patch Tuesday” process.  It is worth considering updating and reboot your computers and servers asap.   More information on this can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS08-067.mspx .  Impacted systems below:   Operating System Maximum Security Impact Aggregate Severity Rating Bulletins Replaced by this Update Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows XP Service Pack 2 Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows XP Service Pack 3 Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2 Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2 Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows Server 2003 with SP1 for Itanium-based Systems Remote Code Execution Critical MS06-040 Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems Remote Code Execution Critical None Windows Vista and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Remote Code Execution Important None Windows Vista x64 Edition and Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 1 Remote Code Execution Important None Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems * Remote Code Execution Important None Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems * Remote Code Execution Important None Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems Remote Code Execution Important None ttfn   David
  • Perpetually Connecting = PC = latest US Bill Gates and Seinfeld Windows (Vista, Live, Mobile) Adverts

    I see the latest Windows advert is up on http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ .  These are the US adverts and the UK adverts are coming so I’m told.  It is nice Microsoft beginning to emphasize the value of it’s products … I just wish I could see the how the whole series will play out. The latest tag line is Perpetually Connecting which becomes PC. Talking about videos, the same site now has a stack of videos at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/possibilities/products/default.aspx .  Go have a look, you might just surprise yourself!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Vista , Live , Mobile , Windows , Adverts , Bill Gates , Seinfeld
  • Want MIX08 in the UK? Then come to ReMix08 in Brighton on 18th and 19th September and save if you book an early bird place now

    I love what goes on at these events. It would be good to see you there. Here is the little advert: Final chance to save £110 . Very limited Early Bird places left - don't say we didn't warn you! 1,000 web developers, designers, development managers and technology evangelists are going to take the media they love to the next level. Why? Because ReMix UK 08 is getting bigger and better. Scott Guthrie Developer Track Bill Buxton Design and UX Track For Designers, Developers, the Community and Beyond Work Julie Howell, Fortune Cookie • Brendan Dawes, Magnetic North • Paul Foster, Microsoft Evangelist • Guy Smith-Ferrier, Capella • Tim Regan, Microsoft Research • Mike Taulty, Microsoft Developer Evangelist See the website for the growing list of speakers... What's in the mix • Panel discussions to Interactive Mash Ups • Designers and developers hand-in-hand to • All day VJs to conceptual walls • Open Source project, CodePlex • Backnetwork to Moo cards • Photosynth master classes to Microsoft Surface • Our international act to geek bars • Swag giveaways to inflatable lounges • Designing for compatibility and for the wild • Visualising books to sneak previews • The latest developments in IM, VE and IE8 • Latest developments in RIAs and SSDs • WPF and Silverlight applications at work • • The technology Silverlight | Deep Zoom | Mobile | Expression | ASP.NET/AJAX Windows Live services | XNA | Partnering with Microsoft | Photosynth Robotics Studio | Data | Microsoft Research | Popfly | Advertising It's a full-on interactive event. Be a part of something special. Don't forget the Early Bird offer and register today at www.microsoft.com/uk/remix08/ . Early Bird price £239 (inc.VAT), full price £349 from the 301st ticket. See you there! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Silverlight , Deep Zoom , Mobile , Windows Mobile , Expression , ASP.Net , Ajax , Windows Live Services , XNA , Microsoft , Partner , Photosynth , Robotics Studio , Data , Microsoft Research , Popfly , Advertising
  • What software could you not live without – tell Windows Vista Magazine?

    I’ve just noticed this blog post on the Windows Vista Magazine - What software could you not live without? We’re searching for the 100 best programs for Windows Vista – and we need your help! By James Stables on 08 July 2008 In our October 2008 issue we will be compiling a list of the 100 best pieces of software which power up Windows Vista. These are the pieces of software you would never run Windows without, which make a difference to your everyday life and that you would recommend to all other readers. We want to hear your ideas to make sure no stone goes unturned and no program is left out. This is a great opportunity for the Windows Vista Magazine community to share the combined experiences and knowledge that help make this one of the most diverse magazines on the market. Leave us a comment saying what should be in our software top 100. I’ve just left my list, which to be complete is also below: My core products: Vista Office 2007 - for my work Live Writer for blogging Live Messenger to communicate To tweak my UI experience: Stardock – Winblinds Stardock – DeskScapes Stardock - Tweak Vista Stardock - Logon Studio Other utilities I love: EzDetach for Outlook to save space on inbox Live Mesh for sharing files Speedfan to help manage temperature Thanks David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Software , Windows Vista Magazine , Microsoft
  • Seeing is wanting for Windows Vista (Mojave Experiment) – people having their perceptions changed by actually seeing what it can do…

    I have to admit I really like this – take people who rate Vista as a ZERO, show them a new operating system called Mojave and see them rate it as high as a ten, then tell them that it was Vista and almost immediately you get “Well, I’d not seen Vista before, it’s much better than I had heard”. It just goes to show that a well configured machine (a HP laptop with 2GB of RAM) can do wonders. I also like the stats page that states: Of the 140 respondents polled on a scale of 1-10 where 10 was the highest rating, the average pre-rating for Windows Vista was 4.4. After they saw the demo, respondents rated Mojave as average of 8.5. Many said they would have rated it higher, but wanted more time to play with it themselves. The users used other operating systems – 84% Windows XP, 22% Apple, 14% Windows pre-XP, 1% Linux More information can be found on the Vista team blog or the site above. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Vista , Windows Vista , Mojave
  • Performance monitoring tools to go with Windows Vista Magazine article

    In my latest article for Windows Vista Magazine I spoke about performance tuning a system and more importantly how to diagnose performance issues. One of the tools I recommend using to do this is the Windows Performance Tools kit. This can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/sysperf/perftools.mspx . It includes a getting started document. The tools are described as: The Windows Performance Tools (WPT) Kit contains performance analysis tools that are new to the Windows SDK for Windows Server 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5. The WPT Kit is useful to a broad audience, including system builders, hardware manufacturers, driver developers, and general application developers. These tools are designed for measuring and analyzing system and application performance on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and later. The tools currently include an xperf trace capture tool, an xperfview visualization tool (also known as Performance Analyzer), and an xbootmgr boot trace capture tool. The tools are designed for the analysis of a wide range of performance problems including application start times, boot issues, deferred procedure calls and interrupt activity (DPCs and ISRs), system responsiveness issues, application resource usage, and interrupt storms. The MSIs containing these tools are available in the SDK bin directory (one per architecture). The tools are built on top of the Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) infrastructure. ETW enables Windows and applications to efficiently generate events. Events can be enabled and disabled at any time without requiring system or process restarts. ETW collects requested kernel events and saves them to one or more files that are referred to as "trace files" or "traces." These kernel events provide extensive details about the operation of the system. Some of the most important and useful kernel events that are available for capture and analysis are context switches, interrupts, DPCs, process and thread creation and destruction, disk I/Os, hard faults, processor P-state...
  • Update for Media Center for Windows Vista available for download

    I saw over on Aaron’s blog that Microsoft has posted an update for Media Center. I’ve loaded this on the machine under the TV, but there again, I was not seeing issues, except those caused by network congestion as all our PCs and extenders connect via a wireless network. June 2008 Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista available for download A new cumulative update package for Windows Vista Media Center has been released this week. This update is called the June 2008 Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista and is also known as KB950126. It is available for download in x86 and x64 versions. It can be installed on systems running the original version of Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate Editions and the SP1 version of Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate Editions. The June 2008 Cumulative Update includes the following fixes: All of the fixes previously included in the February 2008 Cumulative Update Improvements to the TV recording experience on systems that use analog tuners, do not have a set-top box and do not have any digital tuners installed. Blank screen that can occur when you switch between full-screen mode and windowed mode while playing a video. Empty removable media devices may be displayed in galleries (this issue was introduced in Windows Vista SP1 and only affects those systems). Client ID may not be set correctly if you use the Express setup option when launching Windows Vista Media Center. Memory leak in extender sessions. Updated frequency table for China. Channel names in Simplified Chinese are shown as unrecognizable characters. Downloads on Aaron’s site Aaron Stebner's WebLog : June 2008 Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista available for download ttfn David Technorati Tags: Media Center , MCE , Windows Vista , Vista , Microsoft , System Update
  • Upgrade Windows Search to Version 4.0 and improve your PC (for Windows Vista, XP, Server 2003 and 2008)

    If you have have Office 2007 or a Windows Vista or Windows Desktop Search (WDS) then you probably have V2.6 or V3 of this fantastic search product. Version 4 has a wealth of updates, but most importantly, is more stable and faster. One of the things I love about this is that if you put this on a client and server, and then search a network share, if the contents are indexed on the server then WDS uses the remote index to search, making it super fast. It can even be used with SBS 2003 / 2008 to speed up access to the shares there too. Description of Windows Search 4.0 and the Multilingual User Interface Pack for Windows Search 4.0 Windows Search 4.0 Windows Search 4.0 lets you perform an instant search of your computer. Windows Search 4.0 helps you find and preview documents, e-mail messages, music files, photos, and other items on the computer. The search engine in Windows Search 4.0 is a Microsoft Windows service that is also used by programs such as Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Office OneNote 2007. You can use this search engine to index a program's content and to obtain instant results when you search in a particular program. Windows Search 4.0 includes the following improvements: Support for indexing encrypted documents of local file systems Reduced affect on Microsoft Exchange when you index e-mail in online mode, and there is no local cache (.ost) Support for indexing online delegate mailboxes Support for client-to-client remote query to shared indexed locations Improved indexing performance Faster previewer updates for Windows XP Per-user Group Policy settings Windows software updates for Watson errors Support for the following new enterprise Group Policy objects: Computer policies Prevent adding Universal Naming Convention (UNC) locations to index from Control Panel Prevent customizing indexed locations in Control Panel Prevent automatically adding shared folders to the index Allow for indexing of encrypted files Disable indexer back-off Prevent clients from querying the index remotely Allow...
  • Welcome to readers of Windows Vista Magazine as I'm now a contributor

    Some of you might know that I used to write for Windows XP Magazine, but having used Windows Vista during the beta cycle I eventually had to give it up as I was writing about an OS I was not using. Well, that has all changed - I've been using Vista for over 3 years now and I've now got a technical spot back into the Windows Vista Magazine. My 1st articles are about identifying Vista performance issues and then will continue on to understanding system crashes and then solving some common Office 2003/7 and Vista problems. I'd love to hear about topics you would want me to cover - just leave a comment or e-mail at admin@davidoverton.com . If you want to only see my Windows related articles, click onto this link - http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/Windows+Vista/default.aspx Please feel free to ask questions on the site, or even on this blog post. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Windows Vista Magazine , Personal , Vista
  • 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
  • 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...
  • Available to everyone (well almost) - Windows Vista SP1 Released to Windows Update

    Today Windows Vista SP1 has made it to Windows Update for the 5 lead languages with the rest to follow over the following weeks. Lots of details at Windows Vista Team Blog : Windows Vista SP1 Released to Windows Update . Perhaps some of the most important points from the blog entry for me are listed below, but read the blog entry for all details: If in running Windows Update you do not see Windows Vista SP1 listed, there are a number of good reasons for this (Eight in fact, see the whole list ) If You have a pre-release version of SP1 and need to uninstall it before installing SP1. This is quite a chore - expect the uninstall to take 30 to 90 mins depending on hardware, then start the whole install process again!! Back in February we announced that we'd be using Windows Update to help make the update as seamless as possible for our users. Windows Update will detect drivers that we know may be problematic when updating to SP1 and will not offer the service pack until an update has been installed. More details about the drives on the blog There is a standalone installer at the Microsoft Download Center here . Windows Update will help ensure a better experience, so if you do choose to visit the Microsoft Download Center make sure that you read these KBs before installing. I've noticed the benefits on my PC with regard to wireless networks, resume from stand-by, performance of things like file copies and more. Enjoy the SP1 world. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista SP1 , SP1 , Vista SP1 , Windows Client , Vista , Service Pack
  • Action Pack Subscribers get Full Windows Vista DVDs - not upgrades and they also get a copy of Ultimate too, plus a stack of materials to sell the product

    Full, not Upgrade Vista product Well anyone who says we don't listen is just talking rubbish!! What am I talking about - I'm talking about the Action Pack and Windows. We moved to non OEM media and boy did it cause a stink, but that has changed again. According to Important changes for Action Pack Subscribers regarding Windows Vista while you are still required to have a legal license for a machine (FPP or OEM) you can now apply full copies (i.e. do a bare metal install) without having to do a double install. There are also a stack of sales materials coming too (I've copied some of the points from the link below): Partner feedback has enabled Microsoft to make the Windows Vista operating system even better. Now you can reap the benefits. Sell more with hardware, software and services built around Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1). And learn how we're making it easier than ever for you to learn, use and sell Windows Vista. Based on partner feedback, we've taken action to improve the partner experience in support of Windows Vista: Mid-March 2008 delivery of Microsoft Windows Vista Business with SP1 in a special Action Pack shipment to partners worldwide. To make it easier for you to deploy the final release of Windows Vista SP1 for internal use, all subscribers will receive full code*. Not currently an Action Pack subscriber? Find out how to subscribe . New subscribers will receive Windows Vista with SP1 as part of the April 2008 Welcome Kit. One licence for Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1 (full code*) for internal use, so you can discuss this product's benefits and features with customers who need a single PC to fulfil their work, travel and entertainment needs. This software will be delivered in the regular Action Pack quarterly update (April 2008) for current subscribers and for new Action Pack subscribers starting in April 2008. A comprehensive set of readiness resources to arm you to sell and support Windows Vista SP1 solutions for your small- or medium-size-business customers as momentum...
  • Office Live Workspace Update for Windows Vista to enable "Open From" and "Save to" menu items in Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint

    One little feature that others might have missed with the new release of Office Live Workspace is the two nifty buttons for Office to enable direct access from the Office Live Workspace Update for Windows Vista The Office Live Workspace Update installs three Windows Vista updates (KB945435, KB945145, KB933860) and one Office 2007 update to ensure optimal performance on Windows Vista when using Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with Office Live Workspace. The update improves the performance of opening and saving Workspace documents from these Office programs. In some cases, the update also resolves problems with "Open from Office Live" and "Save to Office Live" functions of the Office Live Add-in . This update is only needed for computers running Windows Vista. Download details: Office Live Workspace Update for Windows Vista ttfn David Technorati Tags: Live , Office Live Small Business , Office Live , Office Live Workspace , Vista , Windows Vista , Save to , Open From
  • Latest news, events and downloads in the Security world from Microsoft - Windows Server 2008, Mobile, employee habits, Antigen, IPSEC, ForeFront, NAP, XP Firewall, System Center

    Each month the TRM blog product this great summary of the Microsoft world in various product areas. The blog can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ News Help your customers securely deploy Windows Server 2008 with the Windows Server 2008 Security Guide! http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=92550 Every day, adversaries attempt to invade your customers’ networks and access their servers—to bring them down, infect them with viruses, or steal information about customers or employees. Your customers are looking to Microsoft and Windows Server® 2008 to help them address these threats. To assist customers in taking full advantage of the rich security features in Windows Server 2008, Microsoft has developed the Windows Server 2008 Security Guide. The Windows Server 2008 Security Guide provides IT professionals with best practices, predefined security templates, and an automated deployment tool to help strengthen the security of servers running Windows Server 2008. Supporting Your Family, Friends, and Neighbours http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8287993 By Steve Riley, Senior Security Strategist, Trustworthy Computing Have you become a support professional outside of the workplace? Read this article and learn how to discuss security with your family, friends, and neighbours to better help them stay safe and secure online. More Security and Control for Mobile Devices http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8287995 Learn how to add, manage, secure, and update Windows Mobile devices like you do Windows-based laptops and PCs. Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008 provides robust security features and a comprehensive device management solution that helps safeguard your corporate data, reduce the cost and complexity of mobile deployments, and centralize and simplify Windows Mobile device management. Island Hopping: The Infectious Allure of Vendor Swag http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=8287996 The technique of island hopping -- penetrating a network through a weak link and then hopping around systems within that network...
  • More ways to engage with customers using the Microsoft advertising campaigns

    [updated 4th March] Many people congratulated Microsoft after the Mr Busy campaigns allowed partners to drive their customers back to them using a MS campaign. Well, this is now being repeated for a number of campaigns. Today I found the click and go site to get them all ( http://www.campaigns.arvato-services.com/ ). You can get 200 post cards or 1,000 e-mails for free and then a low price for additional cards/ e-mails if required. The campaigns covered include: Business Productivity Customer Acquisition and Retention Security and Reliability Small Business PC Mr Busy This method of engaging is not new to the Small Business team and others have covered this before (eg Susanne here ), but it is worth re-highlighting this now as some of the campaigns have been renewed, so go back and visit the site!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Marketing , Campaigns , Business Productivity , Customer Acquisition and Retention , Security and Reliability , Small Business PC , Mr Busy , Partner , SME , Small Business Server 2008 , Mid-Market
  • Microsoft drops the price of retail versions of Vista significantly all over the world, but plenty in the UK

    I saw some people talking about this on the Yahoo groups and on the blogs, so thought I would do some investigating. The retail price has moved quite nicely in the UK .. in the following blog they talk about a drop of upto 40+% in the UK, while US prices only dropped 20% http://hackinthebox.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=25990 - Microsoft is cutting the retail price of its Windows Vista operating system by as much as 39% here in New Zealand. Prices in the US will drop 20% and in the UK and Europe, savings of up to 46% are available on some versions. On Friday, Microsoft announced sweeping price cuts to boxed copies of Vista, saying then that the cuts would range from as low as 3% in developed countries to nearly 50% for some editions sold in poorer nations. Prices just released by the local Microsoft office show that New Zealand has done pretty well with a drop of 39% for the top Vista Ultimate from $979 to $599, and a 24% drop for the Home Premium edition from $589 to $449. Home Basic also drops 24% from $499 to $379. A Home Premium upgrade drops 35% from $349 to $229 and an Ultimate upgrade drops 24% from $649 to $499. So having seen this, off I went to Amazon, especially since I had recorded the Amazon prices earlier in the discussions at The price of Vista in the UK - some really, really bad maths . How good / bad was it then? To get the latest prices from Amazon, click the links below for UK or US pricing as an example. (I do not think all the UK Amazon price changes have gone through yet though) For example Windows Ultimate has gone from £294 to £229 at Amazon in the UK and the new Home Premium price of just £79. It all looks good to me!! UK Pricing US Pricing It is nice to see real price drops for many of the packages in the UK too. thanks David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Windows Client , Vista , Service Pack 1 , Price drop
  • Technical RollUp : March 2008 - Technical Rollup Mail - Platforms (Windows, virtualisation, Active Directory, Core, Debugging, Terminal Services, Vista SP1 changes / new / implementation guides)

    As always, from the Technical RollUp : March 2008 - Technical Rollup Mail - Platforms blog posting. I've removed all the KB article stuff and it is worth pointing out that towards the end of the list are all the docs associated with what has changed with Windows Vista SP1: Blogs and information Windows Virtualization Team Blog http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/ The World Simplified is a Virtual World http://blogs.technet.com/virtualworld/ Ask the Directory Services Team http://blogs.technet.com/askds/ Ask the Performance Team http://blogs.technet.com/askperf/ Microsoft Enterprise Networking Team http://blogs.technet.com/networking/ Ask the Core Team http://blogs.technet.com/askcore/ Microsoft Advanced Windows Debugging and Troubleshooting http://blogs.msdn.com/ntdebugging/ Terminal Services Team Blog http://blogs.msdn.com/ts/ The Hot Blog http://blogs.technet.com/hot/ Downloads Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP1 Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 (WSUS 3.0 SP1) delivers updates to corporate environments from Microsoft Update. This release fixes issue found since the release of the product. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=1&srcdisplaylang=en&srccategoryid=&srcfamilyid=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3ffamilyid%3df87b4c5e-4161-48af-9ff8-a96993c688df%26displaylang%3den Microsoft Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP1 Overview This paper introduces Microsoft Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 (WSUS 3.0 SP1) and provides information about features, and server and client computer requirements. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=2&srcdisplaylang=en&srccategoryid=&srcfamilyid=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3ffamilyid%3d1b5eac37-bd48-41fd-869b-f9b06fa64a61%26displaylang%3den Release Notes for Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP1 These release notes describe known issues affecting Microsoft Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 (WSUS 3.0 SP1) and include recommendations and requirements for...
  • All change - Windows Vista SP1 here now for technical customers - it was delayed. It is still a little way away for non-technical people

    Last week Microsoft announced SP1 for Vista to the world , but then said some device drivers were causing problems so there would be a delay to enabled those to be resolved. That is the device drivers, not SP1. Well, as you can imagine, there was a fair amount of noise around this, so the rollout has been changed to enable technical people who were on the beta and MSDN & Technet Plus people to get it much earlier. Someone once asked me why we could not get things on the web quicker - well, if you have a few million people downloading something at the same time it has a hit, so all releases, even system updates, have an element of staggering. From the blog posting Windows Vista Team Blog : Windows Vista SP1 availability for technical customers some salient points are: On Monday (February 4th), we announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). Overall, people are excited to hear that we have reached this milestone, but some are disappointed they are not able to immediately download it. <snipped> We've heard the feedback and I want to update you on our plans and progress for making SP1 available to our beta participants, our Volume Licensing customers, and our MSDN/TechNet Plus subscribers: Late Friday we made SP1 RTM available to individuals and companies who participated in the SP1 beta program At the end of this week we will be making the English version of Windows Vista SP1 available to Volume Licensing customers. Other languages will follow soon after Later this month, SP1 will be available to MSDN and TechNet Plus subscribers For broad availability, we are still planning to release in mid-March, since we want to be sure that everyone has the smoothest experience possible. I want to be super-clear on one point: Windows Vista SP1 is final. It has been fully released to manufacturing and we do not plan to make any changes to the SP1 code prior to public availability. We are confident in the quality of Windows Vista SP1 and know that it will help improve our customers'...
  • Is your network going to be IPv6 ready?

    You remember IPv6 - it was that thing that people didn't like in Vista and tried to turn it off? Well it is coming and it is coming quickly. I saw this and thought I would remind everyone that what you know about IPv4 is no longer going to be enough. Is your network technology and software up to the task? Switch To IPv6 On Internet's Root Servers Begins The current version -- IPv4, which can accommodate 4.3 billion addresses -- would have run out of addresses by 2012, experts predict. The switch to a new Internet address format has begun, as Web overseers look to provide a pool of virtually unlimited addresses to support the growing number of Internet-connected devices. On Monday, records written in IPv6 were added to the Internet's root servers, making it possible for the first time for computer systems to communicate via the Web using only the new format, the London-based BBC news agency reported. The development marks a milestone in the conversion from IPv4. Switch To IPv6 On Internet's Root Servers Begins -- IPv6 -- InformationWeek MSDN developer resources can be found at ( http://search.msdn.microsoft.com/search/Default.aspx?query=ipv6&brand=msdn&locale=&refinement=00&lang=en-us was used to get these links): IPv6 Guide for Windows Sockets Applications (Windows) This guide provides the information you need to enable your Microsoft® Windows® application to use the next generation of Internet Protocol , version 6 ( IPv6 ) http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms738649.aspx IPv6 Application Development TCP/ Internet Protocol version 6 ( IPv6 ) is a connectionless, unreliable datagram protocol used primarily for addressing and routing packets between hosts. Connectionless means that ... http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa917153.aspx IPv6 Blog : Mythbusters #1: No one is using IPv6 [UPDATED] Hmm, let's bust this myth with a quick experiment. You can all take part. In order to be a valid test, you need to meet the following requirements: 1. You must have a cell phone ....
  • How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista

    My boss had some problems on his PC after installing some tools onto it and upon further diagnosis it appeared to be that the .Net Framework had been corrupted. We did all the usual things of looking in "Add/Remove Programs" etc, adding service packs etc all to no avail. I then came across this blog entry and a fix started to come to light How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista Since the Windows Vista public launch in January 2007, I have been receiving questions about how to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 to try to resolve various bugs. As I previously described here , the 2.0 and 3.0 versions are installed as OS components on Windows Vista and do not appear in the Programs and Features (formerly known as Add/Remove Programs) control panel. Many of the customers I have heard from have tried to use the .NET Framework cleanup tool , but it does not list the .NET Framework 2.0 as a valid removal option when it is run on Windows Vista. This is by design - the cleanup tool does not offer the option to remove any version of the .NET Framework that is an OS component on the OS it is being run on. Aaron Stebner's WebLog : How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista The important things seem to be: Don't use the clean up tool Try the command " sfc /scannow " from an elevated command prompt Repair the (V2) framework with the command " %windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\ngen.exe update " again from an elevated command prompt The 1st item stops corruption, then 2nd checks the OS's binary (core internal files) are correct and matching their signatures and the final one re-creates all the "native" files from the IL code. ttfn David Technorati Tags: .Net Framework , Support , Windows Vista , Vista
  • New build of Vista SP1 RC Preview to load and rumour that Vista SP1 Confirmed for February 15

    I've been running Vista SP1 builds for a while and I like them. I don't like the process of changing builds which is "simply" a case of uninstalling the old build, letting it reboot twice, updating the registry, doing find updates in windows update, reboot, do it again, reboot, do it again, wait 15 mins, do it again, then let it install for a chunk of time, reboot twice more. Now, you won't have this fun when the "real" update comes out, but us testers simply enjoy this process!! To get the latest preview go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=529d992a-d69e-4c73-9213-7a7f3852c0ca&DisplayLang=en Vista SP1 Confirmed for February 15 – XP SP3 Too? Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is just around the corner. Despite the fact that Microsoft continues to point to the first quarter of 2008 as the deadline for the delivery of Vista's first service pack, it appears that the refresh will drop as early as next month. According to the Redmond company, Vista SP1 is planned for release by the end of March 2008. Microsoft has not shifted from the official timetable and failed to update it in accordance with the development of the operating system. However, it appears now that February 15 was confirmed as the RTM date for Windows Vista SP1. Mid February 2008 is a more realistic date for the launch of Vista SP1, and one that is at the end of the natural course of evolution of the service pack's development process. Taiwanese news outlet DigiTimes, doing a story on the DRAM industry in 2008, cited Pei-lin Pai, a spokesman for DRAM manufacturer Nanya, saying: "the PC market will rebound in the second quarter. The launch of an updated version of Microsoft Vista on February 15, if its prices do not go up too much compared to its previous version, may help boost DRAM sales," (emphasis added). Vista SP1 Confirmed for February 15 – XP SP3 Too? - KezNews.com I can't comment on the date, but mid-Feb is Q1 calendar year 2007. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista...
  • Report: Small businesses moving to Vista fastest | InfoWorld | News | 2008-01-14 | By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service

    Yes this is a US report, but I believe a similar move is happening in the UK Nearly half of businesses polled in a recent survey are in some phase of updating to Vista, and of those companies, 53 percent are small businesses By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service January 14, 2008 Nearly half of businesses are in some phase of preparing to update desktops to Windows Vista with small businesses moving the fastest to implement the OS, according to a new report released Monday. The number of organizations evaluating and testing Vista increased from 29 percent in February 2007 to 48 percent by early November 2007, found the report, commissioned by reseller CDW and based on information collected by Walker Information from 772 IT decision makers. Moreover, about 35 percent of companies are currently implementing or have implemented Vista already, compared to 12 percent last February, the report said. The report is the third of a wave of reports on Vista adoption that CDW has done since the OS was in its final testing phases in October 2006. In the latest phase of release, which tracked Vista adoption from October 31 until Nov. 7, 2007, small businesses comprised 53 percent of those companies either using or evaluating Vista. The higher-education segment came in second, with 49 percent reporting that they are evaluating or using the OS, while medium-to-large businesses were third, with 48 percent. Because of lingering hardware and application compatibility issues between existing company IT assets and Vista, CDW still advises customers to move to Vista on a case-by-case basis, said David Cottingham, director of product and partner management at CDW. In the case of small businesses, they may not have the application or hardware dependencies on Windows XP that larger businesses have. "There are still definitely concerns when you get into custom applications in industries that will run on XP," he said. "If [companies] have custom applications that don't run on Vista yet, they're going to stay on XP...
  • CES (Computer Electronics Show) is coming and Microsoft will be there. Want to learn more and watch the keynote...

    I love CES. Yes, it is not business oriented, but it is great to see what everyone / anyone is doing in the consumer end of the market. Microsoft have a little silverlight site for people to find out more: This site can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/ces/ :-) Notice the areas we will be talking about at the bottom of the screen shot - Windows Vista, Xbox 360, Zune, Office, Windows Live, Windows Mobile and Games for Windows... rock on!! You can find links to more information, more ways to view etc at http://www.istartedsomething.com/20080105/bill-gates-ces-2008-keynote/ ttfn David (still officially on holiday)
  • Samba developers can now see the Windows Protocols, make their products more interoperable with Microsoft Windows and see where Patents are to then choose to avoid or license

    I have never been known to sugar coat my opinion and one that has been forming recently is that much of the EU work on opening the Windows Media player is undesired by the consumers or the industry. This is my opinion, but I've seen no evidence to the contra. However, the licensing of protocols, while I don't wholly agree with the pricing structure, I see it as a good thing. This is a classic example of a de-facto standard working how it should. Today yet another organisation licensed the protocols, this time for the Samba community (with restrictions on redistribution and patent awareness) and this should deliver the reality of "interoperability, not standards" that I personally feel is the true desire of the world. Update: Microsoft to hand over Windows secrets to Samba team | InfoWorld | News | 2007-12-20 | By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Developers of open-source Samba software will find their work a little easier thanks to an agreement with Microsoft, signed Thursday, that will give them access to previously secret data on how the Windows operating system works. <snipped> The deal was signed with a nonprofit group called the Protocol Freedom Information Foundation, (PFIF) which negotiated on behalf of the Samba team because Samba is not represented by a corporate entity. PFIF will pay a one-time fee of €10,000 and, in return, will be able to allow open-source developers, including the Samba team, to access the documents. Developers will have to sign nondisclosure agreements and will not be allowed to redistribute Microsoft's documentation, but they will be able to write open-source software that implements the Windows protocols. The deal will also clarify which patents Microsoft believes are related to this technology, making it easier for open-source developers to avoid patent violations. The article is quite negative in tone, ignoring that the licensing process was available before the EU stepped in and giving the glory to the EU, when I believe it is the free-market that made...
  • Post Install Issues with MS07-069 (IE6 on XPSP2) - Internet Explorer 6 crashes on launch

    Just a quick one for those of you on XP SP2 with the latest security updates. There is a risk of seeing IE start crashing following this update. You have two choices: Don't install the security update - always a bad idea Install the update and deploy a registry fix to solve the problem. The IE team have documented it at Post Install Issues with MS07-069 (IE6 on XPSP2) After downloading the Internet Explorer Cumulative Security Update for December 2007, some customers using IE6 on Windows XP Service Pack 2 have experienced an unexpected crash or hang upon launching Internet Explorer. This might occur while navigating to a website hosting considerable media content (for example: http://msn.com ) resulting in Internet Explorer displaying a dialog that states “Internet Explorer has experienced a problem and needs to close”. If you experience this issue, implement the applicable workaround provided in the following knowledge base article: Microsoft Knowledge Base article 946627 For your security, we strongly recommend that you deploy the Internet Explorer Cumulative Security Update for December 2007 . Terry McCoy Program Manager Internet Explorer Security The KB article has the following information in it ( Internet Explorer 6 crashes after you install security update 942615 on a computer that is running Windows XP Service Pack 2 ) Internet Explorer 6 crashes after you install security update 942615 on a computer that is running Windows XP Service Pack 2 Warning Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require that you reinstall the operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk. To work around this problem, follow these steps: Click Start , click Run , type regedit, and then click OK . Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\FeatureControl\ On the Edit menu, point to New ,...
  • Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals - download details

    If you do plan to deploy Windows Vista then you need to be aware of the information that these guides can give you: Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals These guides will assist IT Professionals in evaluating and deploying Windows Vista SP1 and are downloadable versions of the SP1 guides found in the Windows Vista Technical Library . (http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/90a564b9-34af-4a6b-937f-324e1862244b1033.mspx) Files in This Download The links in this section correspond to separate files available in this download. Download the files most appropriate for you. Deployment_Guide_for_the_Release_Candidate_Version_of_Windows_Vista_Service_Pack_1.doc Enterprise_Guidance_for_Application_Compatibility_Testing_and_Windows_Vista_SP1.doc Hotfixes_and_Security_Updates_included_in_Windows_Vista_Service_Pack_1.doc Notable_Changes_in_Windows_Vista_Service_Pack_1_Release_Candidate.doc Overview_of_Windows_Vista_Service_Pack_1.doc Download details: Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Service Pack , Service Pack 1 , Release Candidate , Documentation
  • How to get Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RC (legitimately) via the Public Availability Program

    I knew this was coming, but I've not seen it shouted too much. My machine feels more responsive and some operations as mentioned before are faster. If you read the Windows Vista team blog Windows Vista SP1 RC now available for public download you would think it is only available to MSDN and Technet customers. It does have some good pointers though. We're making available today the RC release of Windows Vista SP1, found here on MSDN and here on TechNet , with an FAQ here . I invite you to download, install and use the SP1 RC and let us know about your experience by providing your feedback here . Before you install SP1 RC, please bear in mind the following points of advice, detailed in this short article : If you have a prior version of SP1 Beta installed, you must uninstall it prior to installing RC. This is pre-release code and will change before the final release. This pre-release software is provided for testing purposes only. Microsoft does not recommend installing this software on primary or mission-critical systems. Microsoft recommends that you backup your data prior to installing any pre-release software. Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate is time-limited software. It will no longer operate after June 30, 2008 and should be uninstalled prior to that date. Support is through self-help and peer support via the Windows Vista SP1 forum . Assisted support (phone, email and online chat) is not available from Microsoft Support for this RC release of SP1. Support is not available via this blog. If you install the Service Pack 1 Release Candidate, it is strongly recommended that you also plan to install the final version of Windows Vista SP1 when it is released in the first quarter of 2008. To do this, you will be required to uninstall this pre-release code. You must have a genuine copy of Windows Vista installed on the computer prior to installing the Windows Vista SP1 update. Thanks to all of you who've expressed interest in testing the RC! To get on the programme for Windows Updates based SP1 RE, have...
  • More on the differences between real world Vista performance and that of a benchmark

    Following up on my articles that discuss Vista performance (I still stick by my statement that it is reasonable to expect Vista to need more resources) at More on Vista vs XP performance - why doesn't everyone want a racing car, but instead do they opt for safety, comfort or even the ability to have more than one passenger? and Vista SP1 beta vs XP SP3 beta and performance - what a load of old <insert your favourite derogatory term here> I saw this and thought it was worth sharing - especially worth watching the video!! The right time to assess Windows Vista's performance Posted by Nick White on Friday, November 30, 2007 4:29 PM Measuring the performance of an operating system is a tricky thing. At the same time, it's the right and necessary thing to do, because performance is one of many criteria important to customers. Part of the trick of measuring performance is to time testing execution with the product cycle such that the results are as meaningful as possible for customers; this helps them make a better decision by making use of the full array of available information. As one example, about a year ago we commissioned a firm called Principled Technologies to conduct a study comparing Windows XP SP2 to Windows Vista RTM. That study found the performance measures of the two operating systems were within the same range for many tasks that home and business users frequently perform under real-world conditions. Windows Vista Team Blog : The right time to assess Windows Vista's performance ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Performance , Vista
  • How to modify the Windows Vista Aurora, bubbles, mystify and ribbons screensaver hidden settings

    I saw this and thought I would share it for those who want to customise the screen savers that ship with Vista. Windows Vista Aurora Screensaver Hidden Settings For those of you who are using Windows Vista, you may have noticed that the screen savers that are included do not contain any settings. Actually, they do , but Microsoft didn't include options dialogs for them. Long Zheng posted the settings for the Bubbles, Mystify, and Ribbons screensavers back in September before Windows Vista officially shipped. But he didn't post the settings for Aurora . Through a little bit of digging and guess work, I've uncovered one registry key that actually works for customizing the Aurora screensaver. Let's get started, shall we? Kristan Kenney: Confessions of a Windows Enthusiast : Windows Vista Aurora Screensaver Hidden Settings ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Vista
  • More on Vista vs XP performance - why doesn't everyone want a racing car, but instead do they opt for safety, comfort or even the ability to have more than one passenger?

    Having been quotes by Vlad and others (or was this others? ), some more views worth reading here and some Windows Blog stuff here I thought I had better make myself a bit clearer. 1st off, this is MY opinion, not something that is sanctioned or designed by anyone else in Microsoft. I did benchmarking for 5 years and won plenty of business by it, but I also understand when a test is Apples to Apples and not Apples to Oranges. If the purpose of Vista was to be the fastest engine for Office 2003 (as was the test), then there is a lot that can be done to the product to make that happen, but that was not the goal, so testing it on that one goal and then saying it fails is a bit poor. You can turn off the new features that "slow" it down if you want, but then you don't get the feature. My car accelerates faster with the air-con turned off, but on hot days, being comfortable is more important that the acceleration, so I opt to go slightly slower rather than get there just a bit quicker. There is more to this though, XP was designed to run on the hardware that was coming, so is Vista. Fro Vista, it's day is yet to come! You might say "bah" to that, but this was true for XP a year after it was released, so this is not new. ( see here for XP releases that show this). So here goes on trying to explain my point of view: What is running on the box Vista runs more under the hood (and graphically) than XP, so unless you believe that after 6 years bedding in XP is still hugely inefficient, you would expect that Vista would have to do more in any given second. Yes, it would be great if I got all the extra goodies for free, but thats not happened for a while, so anyone who gets upset needs to have their expectations reset. I mean, DOS 6.22 flys on todays hardware, as does Windows 95. Yep, it would get shot in about 5 seconds flat, but it would perform well for the apps available back then when it was built:-) In the last section I will discuss some of the things that could be done to make it more level to...
  • Is Vista really that bad or do we have rose tinted glasses - How well was Windows XP accepted in the early years

    I have had a bit of a rant with Vlad over at Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3 Performance Stats: Flawed Samples or Market Reality? and the comments are good - the communication is very worthwhile, but I thought I would share some of the "what was it like with Windows XP" reality. That does not excuse the issues people see, but rather highlights the fact that with XP, it took some time for things to bed down and hopefully what you are seeing with Vista is a more responsive Microsoft and partner eco-system. Complaints about Whistler (Windows XP and 2003) come in the form of performance, adoption rates, application compatibility, relevance - all things people are complaining about today with Windows Vista. I will say it again - ONLY DEPLOY VISTA IF IT MAKES SENSE FOR YOUR BUSINESS. What is more, only deploy Windows XP on new machines if there is a compelling reason to NOT deploy Vista . Remember that if you buy Vista Business / Ultimate and downgrade you can then re-load Vista at a later date without having to re-buy the OS. Buy XP and you will have to purchase the OS too. Performance Vista does many things to improve performance, but there is a limit as to how much juice you can squeeze into a firmly boxed space. 1GB of RAM is now a minimum and with multi-core coming along, scaling sideways is not a more important trick that raw performance. Vista has many things under the bonnet to improve performance, but in some scenarios it still does not work like XP. Just look at the "fix" that Alistair found for his Dell - Alistair likes Vista and found out that the Dell SATA drivers were making is go slow ENT Review: Windows XP - I feel I could be reading a Vista review For IT organizations that have already standardized on Windows 2000, however, the rationale for upgrading to Windows XP is altogether less clear cut. <snip> Speed and Performance Considerations We deployed Windows XP on a 1.4-GHz Athlon system (512 MB of RAM); a 1-GHz Toshiba Tecra 8200 laptop (256 MB of RAM); a 500-MHz IBM Thinkpad 570E laptop...
  • Another Vista UI tweak - change the size of the thumbnail (preview) picture in Vista Aero when you hover over an icon in the taskbar

    The final one from Ave, another amazing UI tweak. Thumbnail Sizer Thumbnail Sizer allows the user to change the size of Vista's Window thumbnails that show when one hovers over the taskbar button for the window. download from Ave's Vista Apps ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Vista Tweaks , Vista
  • 3D Rotating (swaying gently back and forth) User Pictures in Windows Vista Start Menu

    Another User interface trick that I am now using from Vishal's blog - it just adds minor touches to Vistas UI. 3D Rotating User Pic in Windows Vista Start Menu Ave’s 3D UserPic In the old longhorn 4xxx days, the startmenu user picture was more animated as it was today. Today, we get a cheap alpha-fading effect when you hover over an item: the user picture simply blends with the icon for a while. Back in the days, the user picture was actually rotating when you had the start menu opened. This application tries to achieve that effect. Screenshot ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Vista
  • Glass/ translucent Toast and balloons in Vista from Tweaking with Vishal

    I got a mail from a MVP asking me to link to his site. This is not that uncommon an experience, but often I can not find anything in common, however Vishal's request is different. I found lots to link about. Added to this is the fact that Steve Clayton recently blogged on something I covered ages ago (Steve's was at Change your Vista logon screen and mine at Vista enhancements and utilities (changing the screen savers, adding extra search functionality , but I've just realised he's not got me on his blog roll!!) The 1st link is how to go from the "new" opaque balloons translucent ones ala early betas of Vista Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista From this To this: GlassToast Download link and more at Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista | Tweaking with Vishal ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Aero
  • Photos, photography, JPEG XR, Photosynth, the future of photography and Seadragons - why all the excitement?

    It's funny working in an industry where if you are not going at 50,000 miles an hour you are considered to be standing still. One area where Microsoft is speeding along is photography. In this post I will explore the announcements, the demos, short and long term products and then the future that lots of people are beginning to see. For me, the fact that people are already seeing such a future and its possibilities is very exciting (both the visions and the fact they are having them without drugs!! (humour)) Look at the recent events: Raw photo support in 2005 - Microsoft and Imaging Industry Leaders Unveil Support for Digital Photo HD (which some people thought was a JPEG killer.. tut tut) - HD Photo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia JPEG XR - JPEG committee supports Photo HD as next gen JPEG TrustedReviews - Official Jpeg Successor Is Microsoft's HD Photo Now this is all very nice, but so what - a better format for bigger pictures, that could be a bit like FAT disks getting FAT32 format, but it is not. Now read about Photosynth and Seadeagon and you realise that people are not just seeing a HD future, but a future where seeing details and accessing them is much, much easier: The demos by themselves are awesome - Chris Koenig : Seadragon and Photosynth If you haven't already seen Seadragon or Photosynth , then you need to watch this video from TED 07 . The speaker, Blaise Aguera y Arcas , is an Architect at Microsoft, and responsible for the Seadragon product. This is AMAZING technology - absolutely unbelievable what they've been able to do here. You can try out Photosynth for yourself today, but Seadragon itself is not publicly available (I can't wait to get my hands on this Seadragon demo)! The short term future is described by people like Pete: Microsoft & Photography - Pete's Eats I've been a heavy Photoshop user since v2.5 now but thought I'd do some research at Microsoft to see what kinds of things we have to offer too. I have to say, I was pretty surprised at the content...
  • How to start a VPN automatically on boot with Windows

    My dad was asking me about a branch office solution where clients connected to the AD controller, but needed to VPN to get to the AD. My preferred option is to either have a VPN on the router or a DC in the branch office, but failing both of those, perhaps this is the answer? Starting a VPN automatically on boot with Windows XP I recently needed to figure out how to make a Windows XP machine connect to a particular VPN automatically on reboot, before anyone logged into the machine. I eventually managed to assemble bits and pieces of information floating around the net into a working solution to the problem, but it wasn’t completely addressed in any single location, so I thought I’d stick the details in my blog for other people to Google and use (if you found this blog entry useful, please add a comment and let me know!). The first thing I tried was to look for a property I could set on the VPN network connection to tell Windows that I wanted this connection to start automatically when the machine boots. I couldn’t find one; I doubt there is one. <the details on how to fix this are in the blog at Something better to do » Blog Archive » Starting a VPN automatically on boot with Windows XP > ttfn David Technorati Tags: Branch Office , VPN , Windows
  • New reliability, compatibility, USB and MCE Updates to Windows Vista available via Windows Update now. The USB update fixes 1-2% of all Vista crashes!!

    I saw this on the blog and thought I would tell you all about it. I'm testing SP1, so I did not see it on my updates, but SP1 has this in it, so I think it is worth getting!! New Updates to Windows Vista available via Windows Update this week As you probably know and as we’ve mentioned in previous posts, we use Windows Update to periodically deliver updates for Windows Vista. We do this so that customers need not wait for a service pack or another or larger release to benefit from the ongoing improvements we make to Windows. With Windows Update, we can regularly service Windows as quickly, effectively and unobtrusively as possible, so that keeping your Windows OS up-to-date is easier and more convenient for you. All you have to do is make sure you are signed up to have updates installed automatically, and you’re good to go. Continuous improvement is the name of this game. The non-security updates planned for release through Windows Update this week include: An update on system compatibility, reliability and stability : extends the battery life for mobile devices, improves stability of wireless network services, and shortens recovery time after Windows Vista experiences a period of inactivity, among other fixes. An update to USB core components : mainly affects systems returning from sleep or hibernation, fixing problems causing 1-2% of all crashes reported. An update to Windows Media Center : among other things, affects interaction issues occurring between Media Center PC and Microsoft Xbox 360 when Xbox 360 is used as a Media Center Extender. The links in the above list will lead you to the KB article related to each update in case you want more information on them. And, when they’re made available via Windows Update (expected to occur Tuesday 13th), you can also right-click each entry in Windows Update to get its 400-word summary description. These and similar updates will be wrapped into SP1 for those of you considering installing them in one fell swoop. We’ll let you know here on the blog when we have more...
  • Windows Vista UK Web Special Offers (I saw 18% off at one site and yes, it is legit)!!

    I just saw this at Windows Vista: Special Offers retailers are offering 15%+ off of Vista. You need to look at the sites yourself to determine which one has the best price for your needs, but still - nice amount to have removed in the UK!!. Shop By Retailer Shop By Brand Shop By System Builder ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista , Discounts , UK
  • Vista sales are more than off and why Apple always smells of roses, even when it has BSOD problems of its own while Microsoft is so heavily criticised

    As many people know, I love Windows Vista. I think it is often sold short and people look at other OSs with rose tinted glasses. Part of this is due to past faults of Microsoft who once upon a time did have too many BSODs and where security was not taken seriously, but now days security is often placed above usability (although there is very careful attention to both) and BSODs are now more likely to be caused by dodgy unsigned drivers rather than MS code or some rogue application. Even these occurrences seems to be few and very far between. I believe that while many people criticise Vista, this is often a sheep like repetition rather than 1st hand experience. Susan has a little post comparing when people say "Vista Sucks", but when pressed with "Have you tried it?" retort with "I've heard" ( http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2007/09/19/quot-i-ve-heard-quot.aspx ). I still feel that much of Vistas bad press comes from the "I've heard" camp. Just to stress this further Microsoft Watch commented on the double standards of operating systems at the moment and I felt a very strong kinship with the comments raised in the article, of which I have a snippet below. It is also interesting to see that while Microsoft has to deal with a gazillion different hardware and software combinations that Apple have managed to blue screen their new OS which has a much smaller base of hardware and software ( Leopard install issues ). It really upset an "Apple fanboy" who was shoving his Leopard disk in my face to discover the blue screen issue!! This week, a number of tech journalists gave glowing reviews of Leopard. They received the software on Mac Book Pro laptops provided by Apple. Nowhere have I seen anyone gripe about conflicts of interest. But when Microsoft's PR agency sent bloggers preloaded Vista notebooks ahead of the operating system's launch, there were ridiculous accusations of attempted bribery . The accusations made it difficult for those receiving the...
  • An update from Vijay on the SBSC PALs Quarterly Conference Call and further evidence that Microsoft might sometimes be slow to react to feedback, but it does react and the results are often good

    I saw this post of Vijays ( » SBSC PALs Quarterly Conference Call ) and thought it was worth highlighting some of it: Michael Risse, VP of the Small and Midmarket Business Group has issued an open letter to SBSC Partners about the issues with Solution Finder. Demo Showcase 2007 will be available to all SBSC Partners, shipping this December. I clarified that it will be the Virtual Server Images and not just the canned simulations and Andrea said it will be the full versions. The Managed Newsgroups are now 24 hour in the UK and other selected countries from last week. Special Edition Toolkit will ship in December provided you are a SBSC Partner before 30 November. You will get Vista anytime upgrade to Ultimate from Business, eval of Forefront for Sharepoint/Exchange, Demo Showcase 2007, Brand Tools, Viral Videos, Licensing Guidance, printable Small Business Guide. Customer Campaigns around the following areas (hopefully call to action will be go to a SBSC Partner but depends upon how Microsoft UK implements them) Security and Reliability Business Productivity Customer Acquisition & Retention Business Solutions Also, Microsoft are asking where we would like support from Microsoft to build business in new areas such as CRM, Sharepoint, SCE, Security and/or vertical market segments. For all the requests, Vista Ultimate will be part of the offering to SBSC partners and the special recognition that SBSC partners continues to grow. It is also nice to see that the managed newsgroups are now manned 24hrs, so PLEASE use them to help diagnose problems. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , SBSC PALs , Vista Ultimate , Managed Newsgroups
  • Microsoft Windows security tools, Server 2008 readiness, step-by-step guides, virtualisation updates, synctoy beta, VHDs and LOTS on the new Terminal Services

    This is an extract from the TRM blog which can be found here http://blogs.technet.com/trm/ . I have removed the KB article list and some items which I don't think are relevant to small business / ISV partners, however the full info can be found on the blog page too. News Microsoft Security Assessment Tool 3.0 The Microsoft Security Assessment Tool (MSAT) is a risk-assessment application designed to provide information and recommendations about best practices for security within an information technology (IT) infrastructure. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623431 Start your Microsoft Windows 2008 Readiness Right Here Focus on readiness for Windows Server 2008 now, and you can be the one who stands out when initiatives happen - and when promotion decisions are made. Let Microsoft Learning resources give you the head start you need to transition your skills and credentials to the latest Windows Server technologies - from free elearning clinics and free ebook downloads. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623432 Get an Extra Shot at Microsoft Certification For a limited time, you can get an extra chance to pass any Microsoft IT Professional, Developer or Microsoft Dynamics Certification exam - free. Register for this offer before your first exam and you'll get two shots at success. Register now! http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623434 The Windows Server 2008 Upgrade Exam Is Coming Update your skills and get ready for the Windows Server 2008 certification exam with special offers on e-learning collections and classroom training. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7623435 Documents Windows Server 2008 Technical Overviews These technical overviews provide IT Professionals with information about how a Windows Server 2008 technology works. They may also cover design and planning considerations and basic setup and operating instructions. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=46dc26d6-af47-43f0-b3de-521831fe09d6&DisplayLang=en Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guides These step-by-step guides help IT...
  • For once a balanced review of the market and Windows Vista

    I am used to seeing reports that come from one end or another of the spectrum - either Vista is amazing and everyone else is stupid, or 70%+ of the worlds computers are still not running Vista, so it is an obvious flop. Obviously, given the view that there are now something like a billion PCs in the world, you can't expect them all to be running Vista. At the same time, Microsoft announcing that 88m people were now with Vista is a pretty strong indication that things are going the right way. The article at The balance sheet on Windows Vista | CNET News.com is very balanced on both sides. I thought that it could and would be useful to anyone discussing who should and should not run Windows Vista. Here is a except that hopefully gives you a flavour of both sides (much more by clicking the above link). I should point out that recently I have been contacted by NT4 and Windows 98 users :-) The company said it is seeing some positive signs on the business front, notably a rise in the number of businesses signing long-term deals that cover Windows. "They wouldn't be signing these agreements if they didn't have the intent to (deploy Vista)," said Mike Nash, vice president of Windows product management. But while corporations may be planning their Vista move, most large companies that are buying PCs are still immediately reinstalling Windows XP, said IDC analyst Al Gillen. "That's completely normal behavior," Gillen said, though it has quashed Microsoft's hopes of getting businesses to move more quickly to a new operating system by developing new tools for running compatibility checks and aiding in deployment. Businesses are "certainly not rushing into it more quickly than they have other Windows (releases)," Gillen said. Historically, large companies tend to drag their feet on deploying new operating systems, he said, not wanting to be in the leading edge and preferring to wait as bugs and compatibility issues are ironed out. A catalyst for some businesses could be the first...
  • Windows is now getting too difficult to hack, so the hackers sights are moving elsewhere, but that does not mean security is now easier.

    I have heard many times how Windows is the big target for virus and phishing nasty people in general, but more and more people are showing that Windows is just too hard to hack when applications and other platforms offer so much more opportunity. From the article at eBay: Phishers getting better organized, attacking Linux Dave Cullinane, eBay's chief information and security officer said that in his previous job protecting a bank from phishers "The vast majority of the threats we saw were rootkitted Linux boxes, which was rather startling. We expected Microsoft boxes. Rootkit software covers the tracks of the attackers and can be extremely difficult to detect. According to Cullinane, none of the Linux operators whose machines had been compromised were even aware they'd been infected. Although Linux has long been considered more secure than Windows, many of the programs that run on top of Linux have known security vulnerabilities, and if an attacker were to exploit an unpatched bug on a misconfigured system, he could seize control of the machine. " In the same article it also mentions: "We see a lot of Linux machines used in phishing," said Alfred Huger, vice president for Symantec Security Response. "We see them as part of the command and control networks for botnets, but we rarely see them be the actual bots. Botnets are almost uniformly Windows-based." Since Linux machines can be used to more easily create specially crafted networking packets, they can be used in highly sophisticated online attacks, said Iftach Amit, director of security research with Finjan Inc.'s malicious code research center. Now this might sound like a load of old "mine is better than yours", but there is much more to this. Oracle, who on the whole don't make that many products, released their latest set of patches, just 51 this month - http://techworld.com/applications/news/index.cfm?newsID=10369&pagtype=all , compared to a much smaller set from Microsoft. What is worth noting is...
  • EU Pundits Want Windows-less PCs - I just want options

    I saw this and just thought it was very silly. I do need to point out that this is a personal opinion and not one that represents Microsoft or that of its employees. However I do think that this idea ranks right up there with "everyone should write their own software" which an certain Open Source advocate once said to me. So let me get this right, the reasons why people like pre-loaded software are: Machines can be turned on and used OEM supplied software is supported by the same people who supplied the hardware, so one stop show OEM software is great value and often less than retail software Drivers and add-on software are all provided in the box so no searching around to set the system up More tools in the box from 3rd party vendors No technical knowledge required to set up machine The reasons why OEMs like pre-loaded software are: Machine will be usable as soon as turned on making happy customers Easier to support a known installation configuration Financial incentive from some 3rd party software packages to pre-load their software The reasons why some people don't like pre-loaded software are: They might get something they don't want Removal can be cumbersome Now, if we remove all pre-loaded software and make it all the end users responsibility, then the pain of what works, how it is supported, how to get the drivers, pay retail prices and potentially higher prices for the hardware if the 3rd party subsidisation is removed. Of course OEMs are starting to answer the two dislikes with more PCs being available with either plain Windows, a.n. other OS or bare. To prove just how silly an idea this is, look at Windows N - that "much sort after" item by consumers. Recent figures suggested that 1 in 15,000 copies of Windows in Europe is the "N" version that does not have Media Player - that is just 0.0066667% of the consumers when given the choice said yes, yet the market owned by non Windows Media Player products is higher I am sure, so did the idea of removing the options for consumers...
  • Videos on Vista usage - Checking for updates, Backup options, Offline file options, How to use security in Internet Explorer, Sharing files

    I have documented some of these before, but now all of them are here. - How to backup information in Vista using Restore Previous Versions, writing to DVDs and the built in backup tools - How to use Windows Updates to get patches for the system - How Internet Explorer 7 and Vista protect you - just remember to say no!! - How to take files offline in Vista and Outlook (for SharePoint files) - Sharing files using Windows Messenger ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista
  • And another great thing about Windows Home Server - Vista gives instant searches on all files on the home server shares

    Someone asked today why Windows Home Server has the Windows Desktop Search tool on the box and the reply that came back I thought was worth of a blog entry. When you connect to a share on Windows Home Server (eg \\homeserver\music ) and do a search in the top right corner, then your Vista PC will search the WDS index and not the actual files, meaning that I can search by 400 albums for anything related to Disney in about 1/4 of a second :-) Nice! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Home Server , Vista , Windows Desktop Search
  • How to enable / disable / change the Task Manager on Windows Vista

    This question was asked in the forum, but after a bit of research I thought I would share this more broadly. Here is what I discovered: There is a group policy object to enable / disable task manager You can also replace the file that gets run when Task Manager is requested, but this is done using the debug options Group Policy to enable / disable For the Group Policy options, a quick search on Live Search takes me to http://www.infopackets.com/channels/en/windows/gazette/2003/20030821_enable_taskmanager_for_windows_2000_and_xp.htm which basically points to: Open Regedit Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ System. Look for: DisableTaskMgr. Click on REG_DWORD. Value: 1=Enable this key (disables TaskManager) Value: 0=Disable (actually enables TaskManager) Replace Task Manager with another program Then for the how to replace the program you basically need to set the options for taskmgr.exe to replace it with another program using the debug options. This means that you want to do the following: Open Regedit Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Image File Execution Options \ taskmgr.exe Look for: Debugger - if it exists then the program listed gets executed, if it is not present then taskmgr.exe is executed eg "Debugger"="C:\SOFTWARE\TOOLS\PROCESSEXPLORER\PROCEXP.EXE" Now while this sounds simple, if you have UAC on and the program you are calling requires elevation then you will hit problems. http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/replacing-task-manager-with-process-explorer-in-vista discusses how to work around them. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows , Vista , Task Manager
  • IE 7 Update Drops WGA Validation Requirement

    I thought it was worth sharing this - IE 7 will be available to everyone, even those people who "have not paid" for their Windows XP OS. Many people seem to think this is purely an anti-firefox move ( http://www.websearchguide.ca/netblog/archives/006622.html ) IE 7 Update Drops WGA Validation Requirement Microsoft is making its Internet Explorer 7 browser available to all Windows XP users—even those using pirated software—and installation will no longer require that the operating system first be validated as genuine. The company said the move is about security and ecosystem safety, because if even one user in a network is not using the security enhancements provided in IE 7, that user places the entire network at risk. "Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, and we're taking a step to help make consumers safer online. We feel the security enhancements to Internet Explorer 7 are significant enough that it should be available as broadly as possible, and this means making it available to all users of IE 7-compatible Windows operating systems," Steve Reynolds, program manager for Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., told eWEEK. "With today's Installation and Availability Update, IE 7 installation will no longer require Windows Genuine Advantage validation, and will be available to all Windows XP users," he said. <sniped> Reynolds also claimed in a blog posting that the browser, which was released in October 2006, "is well on its way to becoming the most used browser in the world, and we've seen lots of evidence that IE 7 makes it safer and easier to accomplish everyday tasks online." As evidence, he said the built-in phishing filter has protected consumers from known phishing Web sites an average of 900,000 times a week, and that it is also the "first and still the only browser with native support for extended validation SSL [Secure Sockets Layer] certificates, which help prevent online fraud." At the time...
  • Vista whitepapers on implementation, Bitlocker, Application Compatibility

    Documentation Windows Vista Step-by-Step Guides for IT Professionals These step-by-step guides provide instructions for deploying or migrating to Windows Vista, and various management tasks, including configuring security, monitoring performance, and managing printers. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=21&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3fFamilyID%3d311f4be8-9983-4ab0-9685-f1bfec1e7d62%26DisplayLang%3den App Compat Prep and Implementation http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=24&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3fFamilyID%3d02e01c4d-49a2-43e6-a9c5-8b174d1f089a%26DisplayLang%3den ACT 5 Step by Step Guides http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=25&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3fFamilyID%3dbc931bfd-d279-4060-b370-08fa52f97a8d%26DisplayLang%3den BitLocker Design and Deployment Guides http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=29&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3fFamilyID%3d41ba0cf0-57d6-4c38-9743-b7f4ddbe25cd%26DisplayLang%3den ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista , whitepapers , BitLocker , Application Compatibility
  • SBSC and small business partners get a chance to find out more about the market they sell into and Microsoft technology that is here and coming

    Want to talk to Microsoft and hear where we see the market, opportunities and key technologies? Then get to one of these (there are even more dates on the web site) :-) We are taking to the road to see you, our partners! Jump in the driver's seat and join us to find out how we plan to get your business motoring. A top Microsoft technology and business team will map out the latest developments in the server and desktop markets and take you on the journey from market opportunity to technical 'how to' demonstrations. We'll get under the hood of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system, along with the Office Ready PC, giving you detailed insights to get your business moving. And of course, we'll be outlining the route ahead for the new Windows Server 2008, with its built-in web and virtualisation technologies for increasing the reliability and flexibility of your customers' server infrastructure. Additionally we will be running exclusive SBSC pre-sessions at four of the locations so be sure to make one of these events by signing up using the links below: 1. Wednesday 10 th October – Cardinal Place, London 2. Thursday 11 th October – TVP, Reading 3. Wednesday 17 th October – Park Plaza, Nottingham 4. Tuesday 23 rd October – The Lighthouse, Glasgow And, importantly, we'll have the chance to meet. We want to know what you think, how you see the industry and the challenges you face. It's only with the direct feedback from you, our partners, that we can be sure we are on the right road. So, please join the whole team: technical, sales, marketing and business development, over beer and pizza to chat through the journey! Yours sincerely, Jennifer Brinton SBSC Programme Manager Microsoft ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBSC , System Builder , Vista , Office 2007 , Windows Server
  • Microsoft code name "Acropolis" - Build WPF enabled applications simply with reusable modules, workflow and theming of your application

    I saw this and had to share.&#xA0; In the samples on the site it includes a RSS reader, Outlook tool and more! Welcome to Acropolis The Microsoft code name &#x201C;Acropolis&#x201D; Community Technology Preview is a set of components and tools that make it easier for developers to build and manage modular, business focused, client .NET applications. Acropolis is part of the &#x201C;.NET Client Futures&#x201D; wave of releases, our preview of upcoming technologies for Windows client development. Acropolis builds on the rich capabilities of Microsoft Windows and the .NET Framework, including Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), by providing tools and pre-built components that help developers quickly assemble applications from loosely-coupled parts and services. With Acropolis you will be able to: Quickly create WPF enabled user experiences for your client applications. Build client applications from reusable, connectable, modules that allow you to easily create complex, business-focused applications in less time. Integrate and host your modules in applications such as Microsoft Office, or quickly build stand-alone client interfaces. Change the look and feel of your application quickly using built-in themes, or custom designs using XAML. Add features such as workflow navigation and user-specific views with minimal coding. Manage, update, and deploy your application modules quickly and easily. Microsoft code name "Acropolis" - WindowsClient.net for information and http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9AF56576-217B-4599-9472-FFA7835F3BF4&displaylang=en to download the code, help files and samples. &#xA0; ttfn David Technorati Tags: WPF , Acropolis
  • More on Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1)

    Having been on holiday, I did not look too far before posting my blog post on Vista SP1. Then while reading other peoples blog I discovered that there was some more excellent information out there. As always Susanne has published her communication which I am sure will be updated as more relevant information for small business partners becomes apparent. Kevin has a link to the TechNet site for SP1 on his blog . Finally a HUGE amount of information is shared on the Vista Blog and this Vista Blog entry . Some are a little upset that the GPMC is disappearing, but I've never used it on Vista, so let me know if you care one way or the other. Finally, I got my invite on Connect to sign-up for SP1, so I will let you know more as I load it and am able to share. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista , SP1 , Service Pack 1
  • Service Packs, Vista and a Q&A with Jon DeVaan, senior vice president of the Windows Core Operating System division at Microsoft, discusses the company's plans for the first service pack of Windows Vista.

    A few people have asked me about Vista SP1 - what will it contain, how big will it be, can you tell me more, so I thought I would share these two articles with you. One is a press report of a discussion with Shannon on http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/Windows-Vista-SP1-weighs-in-at-1GB/0,130061733,339281624,00.htm which states things like: the company has revealed that test versions of the update are currently 1GB As for what's in the Vista update, it's mostly a collection of existing fixes and tweaks aimed at improving stability and reliability of the operating system ability to encrypt multiple hard drive partitions using Vista's BitLocker feature removable storage file format known as exFAT as well as for EFI (extensible firmware interface), an alternative to the BIOS (basic input output system) that handles the initial start-up of a system changes to Vista's desktop search feature in response to complaints from Google or http://www.betanews.com/article/Windows_Vista_SP1_Will_Uninstall_Group_Policy_Management/1188398636 Probably in response to a few users' bewilderment over the seemingly unrestricted accessibility of what had actually been one of Windows Vista's most requested new security tools, Group Policy Management Console, Microsoft announced today that the act of installing Vista Service Pack 1 will simply delete the tool altogether Finally a Q&A was released on the Microsoft PressPass REDMOND, Wash, Aug. 29, 2007 – Microsoft today shared details on its plans for the first service pack of Windows Vista, including a timeline for its release. To learn more, PressPass spoke with Jon DeVaan, Senior Vice President of the Windows Core Operating System division at Microsoft. PressPass: There has been a lot of speculation around the first service pack for Windows Vista. When will it ship, and why are you just now sharing information on Windows Vista SP1? Jon DeVaan, Microsoft Senior Vice President, Windows Core Operating System Division DeVaan : We’re targeting the first quarter...
  • Tool to modify UAC behaviour in Vista using Group Policy - BeyondTrust Privilege Manager

    I am one of those people who always leaves UAC enabled - I like to see when something (*cough* - Adobe Update - *cough*) wants to execute with admin privilege on my system and then get the choice as to whether to allow it or not. However, not everyone likes the choices that are presented by default with the GPOs ( Group Policy Objects ). Coming to the rescue are tools to help enhance these offerings, such as the Privilege Manager from BeyondTrust. Sometimes people forget that Microsoft is a platform for others to build on and this is no different. Their product enables pre-defining the responses to UAC based on a number of variables. While I have NOT tried the product, it is getting good reviews. You can however download an eval copy for free if you so desire. One thing to bear in mind is that when a tool like this is used, you weaken security - why, well, even if you use a SHA1 hash to work out if an application is safe or not, a clever hacker will use plugins, dll's etc to attack that product - it does not have to have the main .exe file to breach the security and once they are in, they are in. You can find out more about Privilege Manager from the FAQ at BeyondTrust | Privilege Manager FAQ , however a short snippet is below (which I have cut around, so there is much more under each section): Applications are targeted on the Application tab, which allows you to specify an application by one of several criteria. This includes: Path to an executable file supports wildcards and environment variables Folder of one or more executable files including wildcards and environment variables Hash rule SHA1 hash of the targeted executable file MSI Path rule target Windows Installer installation of specified packages MSI Folder rule ActiveX rule My gift to those of you who are UAC challenged :-) ttfn David Technorati Tags: UAC , Vista , Security , Group Policy
  • A selection of WPF-based (Silverlight) applications

    I saw this blog entry and just had to share it - a number of Silverlight application (don't know how many will work with the updated Silverlight builds) - WPF Cornucopia - A selection of WPF-based applications . Below are some of my favourites. There are many more on the blog entry Some cool WPF and Silverlight applications that you can download or play with today. The deployment model has been added so that you know what you are getting into as far as installation goes. Lots are using ClickOnce .application files and .xbaps, so installation is trivial! My Web Pages Starter Kit New with Silverlight Demo (Web Application) New York Times Reader Next-generation online reading experience for the NY Times (MSI) Microsoft Calendar Printing Assistant Generate printed calendars from your Outlook schedule (MSI) Microsoft Expression Blend Designer tool for building WPF experiences (MSI) Microsoft Expression Design Illustration and graphic design tool (MSI) Microsoft Windows Live for TV 3D access to Messenger contacts from Media Center or IE (MSI) Wikipedia Explorer 3D exploration of related articles from Wikipedia (Application) iBloks Mashup application for creating 3D movies (MSI) RikReader RSS Reader that integrates with Internet Explorer 7 (Application) Nostalgia Yahoo! Flickr browser and photo manager (Application) Cine.View Netflix movie queue manager (Application) Actipro Wizard A control for building wizard dialogs in WPF (XBAP) British Library Turning the Pages British Library's 'virtual viewer' for some of their most precious books (XBAP) ITN Hub Player Video clips and news stories from ITN (Application) Evolution Media Center HTPC Front-end with stunning animations and dynamic XAML-skinning (ZIP) WeatherNews Weather visualization (XBAP) DOSV Computer Configuration (XBAP) Roxio Central DVD and CD Burning Software (Application) 90 Degree's Radius Reporting Tool for Business Data (Application) Forbes.com Reader News Reader Application from Forbes.com (Application) Seattle Post -Intelligencer PI Reader...
  • Windows Client (Vista and XP) - Active X installer service, Volume Activation Tool, Diagnosing XP crashes, modifying the boot configuration parameters

    If you use volume licensing with Windows Vista then you need to be aware of the tools to manage them - it is not as simple as it used to be as you now need a management tool inside the business. VAMT answers this as does Desktop Management. Then we have some webcasts on slow networks, diagnosing crashes in Windows XP (although many of the techniques work for Vista too), backup and restore in Vista, using the ActiveX installer Service and Boot config parameters VAMT 1.0 (x86) The Volume Activation Management Tool enables IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the volume activation process using a Multiple Activation Key (MAK). VAMT v1.0 is only available as a US-EN (x86) release. Best Practices on Managing Windows Vista Desktops Get best practice guidance for managing Windows Vista desktop operations. Windows Vista Service Life-Cycle Management (WVSLM) provides concise guidance to help minimise the total cost of ownership of desktop infrastructure. Process guidance and document templates help make service management concepts from the IT Infrastructure Library and the Microsoft Operations Framework tangible and easily implementable by focusing on a single and common IT service. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7137227 TechNet Webcast: "The Network is Slow": Identifying the Cause of Slow Network Communications (Level 200) The Offline Crash Diagnostic tool for Windows XP is available - http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=923800 TechNet Magazine: The ActiveX Installer Service in Windows Vista How do you secure the desktop against malicious ActiveX controls without limiting application compatibility? We'll take you on a tour of the ActiveX Installer Service (AxIS) in Windows Vista that addresses this issue with a new way to manage ActiveX controls. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7137204 Discover How to Modify Boot Configuration Parameters In the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) Editor FAQ, find out what the BCD store is, why it was created, where it's located in the registry, how to modify it and...
  • If you want to see what Vista, Media Center, Xbox 360, Movie Maker, Home Server and more can do when you use Vista, then go to this event in Manchester, Newcastle, Falkirk and London.

    This was only 2 or 3 times overbooked last time it ran and had rave reviews. Now there are another 4 events to choose from. I found them at the Microsoft TechNet UK Events website. James and Matt will be hosting, so it is bound to be huge fun Vista After Hours You may be familiar with Windows Vista at work – whether you have deployed it or are evaluating it – but have you ever thought about the possibilities of Vista outside work? This session, aimed at IT professionals, explores not only the built in elements of Vista (such as Search, Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, and the Networking and Sharing Centre) but also how you can extend your Windows Vista Experience with Windows Media Centre, Xbox 360 and specific applications to open up a new world of gaming and home entertainment. 20 September 2007, Manchester: Vista After Hours 25 September 2007, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Vista After Hours 27 September 2007, Falkirk: Vista After Hours 03 October 2007, London: Vista After Hours Timings: 18:00-18:30pm- Registration and Tea/Coffee 18:30pm-19:45pm- Session 1 19:45pm-20:05- Food and refreshments 20:05-21:20- Session 2 21:20- Close Speakers: James Senior, Vista Technology Specialist, http://blogs.technet.com/james Hello there! I’m James Senior and I work in Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Group whose sole purpose is to help our partners and customers understand and use our latest technology. As you would expect, Windows Vista features prominently in my work at the moment but my background in software development means I also spend some of my time involved in the world of Software as a Service (SaaS). Did I mention I also dabble in a bit of High Performance Computing? In my spare time I enjoy playing Basketball and filling up my ½ terabyte Media Center with music and recorded TV. Matt McSpirit, Vista Technology Specialist, http://blogs.technet.com/mattmcspirit I joined Microsoft back in January 2006 as a Partner Technology Specialist, working primarily with our Virtualisation technologies. Since July of last year, my primary...
  • Security for Windows Vista (understanding more about UAC), Networks, plus advice and guidance

    Security is always a big subject area. Over the last two months Technet have published the following items that will help understanding and delivery of secure systems base do Microsoft technology. Windows Vista TechNet Magazine: Inside Windows Vista User Account Control Mark Russinovich explains that User Account Control (UAC) is one of the most misunderstood new features in Windows Vista. But its goal -- to enable users to run with standard user rights -- can solve many security issues. Get an inside look at the problems UAC addresses and see exactly how this new feature works. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=6803653 Network Security Internet Protocol Security Enforcement in the Network Access Protection Platform This white paper describes the Network Access Protection (NAP) platform, how IPsec protects traffic, and how IPsec Enforcement in NAP provides system health policy enforcement for IPsec-secured communication. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=144cc69f-790f-4f52-8846-3f3b8584d7cd&DisplayLang=en Introduction to Network Access Protection Read this white paper for an overview of the NAP business scenarios, an outline of the components of NAP, and a description of how NAP works. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=5d5e243a-23a8-479c-9f2d-37d6d79153e7&DisplayLang=en Step-by-Step Guide: Demonstrate VPN NAP Enforcement in a Test Lab Test lab to demonstrate VPN NAP enforcement http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=729bba00-55ad-4199-b441-378cc3d900a7&DisplayLang=en General Microsoft Security Intelligence Report http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=6755495 The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report provides a comprehensive understanding of the types of threats Windows customers face today so they can take appropriate action to help ensure they are better protected. The report highlights trends observed over the past several years, leveraging data collected by Microsoft between July 1 and December 31, 2006, from numerous sources including the Microsoft...
  • Will Virtualisation really crush the server market and Virtualised Windows on Linux... not likely

    From the register I saw the article " Virtualization Software to Crush Server Market " and it sort of made me laugh. Last year saw a dramatic drop in growth of Server shipments, both Microsoft and non-Microsoft. One explanation given is that virtualisation has increased so much that less servers are being bought, but the growth was still strong, just not in actual servers. I have seen the growth of virtual servers, but don't think it really accounts for the hundreds of thousands of servers that fill the gap that appeared in the research last year. VMWare's growth does not account for this, nor does the impact on Windows licensing that would be seen. Analysts and executives came out this week and declared that x86 server shipments will likely decline as VMware, Microsoft, and a host of startups push their virtualization wares at speed. In a rare feat, Schwartz and Sacconaghi also happen to agree about another trend that virtualization will drive. They're claiming that customers will buy larger, more memory- and component-packed servers moving forward to handle the demanding virtualization code. Why consolidate a couple of workloads on a two-socket box when you can consolidate more software on a four- or eight-socket system and deal with less hardware management overhead? According to Sacconaghi, the trend toward larger systems will hurt Dell, since it has specialized in two-socket gear. It will, however, also hurt Sun, since x86 virtualization will only speed the move away from Unix systems. <snip> The mainframe arena - the place where VMware pinched its genius - has survived virtualization for a long while, as has the Unix market. Each segment, including the x86 market, has its unique attributes, making apples v. apples comparisons tough. Still, customer demand for more horsepower serves as constant across all three markets, and we suspect it will keep overall demand for servers high, despite virtualization code. Moving this theory along, Microsoft has announced that the license for Vista...
  • Vista updates (performance fixes) now out

    OK, so there I was posting that they were coming and now 2 days later they are here. If you want to improve Vista, go get them: Title Release Date Popularity Update for Windows Vista (KB938194) This is a reliability update. Install this update to improve the reliability of Windows Vista in certain scenarios. 8/7/2007 #15750 Update for Windows Vista (KB938979) This is a performance update. Install this update to improve the performance of Windows Vista in certain scenarios. 8/7/2007 #12367 Update for Windows Vista for x64-based Systems (KB938979) This is a performance update. Install this update to improve the performance of Windows Vista in certain scenarios. 8/7/2007 #16432 Update for Windows Vista for x64-based Systems (KB938194) This is a reliability update. Install this update to improve the reliability of Windows Vista in certain scenarios. 8/7/2007 #16951 ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Performance , Application Compatibility
  • The UsefulTechnology Blog: Windows Vista's Reduced Functionality Mode

    Since this is coming, I thought I would share this with you - if your customers find lots of "genuine" warnings and then rebooting every hour... think about this as a cause :-) Well, think about the non-genuine license. That does not mean that the customer has necessarily knowingly bought ripped off software, but it does happen. You may have recently read about the $500M bust of a piracy ring - they were not giving the software away to their customers - they were selling it as full price product. Windows Vista's Reduced Functionality Mode Now, think about it, does that look genuine? It's not a widely publicised feature, but users of Windows Vista who fail to properly activate their software may find themselves in Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM) . In this state, you will be unable to use any of the Windows Vista Premium features like Aero Glass and ReadyBoost, nor will you be able to play any of the built-in games. Tougher still you'll only be able to use the computer for one hour before it automatically logs you off. The UsefulTechnology Blog: Windows Vista's Reduced Functionality Mode ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Piracy
  • They're coming - the list of fixes in those new Vista fix packs - soon going out to beta and then to the rest of the world

    [updated to correct grammar in title - thanks to Warren Jacobi for pointing it out to me] I have been hearing about these at work - I don't have them yet, so can't comment on them, but apparently they will be going to trial soon and then out via updates. 938979 Vista Performance and Reliability Pack This update resolves a number of individual issues which may be affecting some computers running Windows Vista. These issues have been reported by customers using the Error Reporting service, product support, or other means. Installing this update will improve the performance and responsiveness for some scenarios and improves reliability of Windows Vista in a variety of scenarios. Some examples of the improvements contained in this update are: • Improves performance in resuming back to the desktop from the Photo and Windows Energy screensaver. • Resolves an issue where some secured web pages using advanced security technologies may not get displayed in Internet Explorer on Windows Vista. • Resolves an issue where a shared printer may not get installed if the printer is connected to a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 system and User Access Control is disabled on the Vista client. • Resolves an issue where creating AVI files on Vista may get corrupted. • Improves the performance in calculating the ‘estimated time remaining’ when copying/moving large files. • Improves performance in bringing up Login Screen after resuming from Hibernate. • Resolves an issue where synchronization of offline files to a server can get corrupted. • Resolves a compatibility issue with RAW images created by Canon EOS 1D/1DS Digital SLR Camera which can lead to data loss. This only affects RAW images created by these two specific camera models. • Resolves an issue where a computer can lose its default Gateway address when resuming from sleep mode. • Improves the performance when copying or moving entire directories containing large amounts of data or files. • Improves the performance of Vista’s Memory Manager in specific customer scenarios...
  • Want to know what is happening on your network, packet for packet - get Microsoft Network Monitor 3.1

    I saw this had been published and thought I would share - it is an amazing tool that I use for diagnosis all the time. Reading http://www.ditii.com/2007/07/03/network-monitor-31-released/ it also reminded me that this includes traces on wireless networks!! Microsoft Network Monitor 3.1 Network Monitor 3.1 is a protocol analyzer. It allows you to capture network traffic, view and analyze it. Version 3.1 is an update and replaces Network Monitor 3.0. Network Monitor 3.x is a complete overhaul of the previous Network Monitor 2.x version. Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2003 x64 editions; Windows Vista; Windows XP; Windows XP 64-bit It is suggested that you have a CPU of 1GHz or greater, 1G or greater of Memory and 25 Megs of available Hard Disk space, plus room for capture files. Supports Vista 64 bit as well as 32 bit. Instructions Network Monitor 3.1 can co-exist with Netmon2.x. NM3.1 installs in %program files%\Microsoft Network Monitor 3, so there is no conflict. But it will require that NM3.0 be uninstalled first. The NM3.1 install will do this automatically for you. For Vista, we have a new driver that supports new features available in the NDIS 6.0 driver. If you are using tools that rely on Network Monitor 2.x NPPTools, these tools will no longer work. Capturing on Vista requires NM3.0 or NM3.1, as Netmon2.x does not capture properly on Vista. Warning: Capturing with the NM3 GUI with conversations enabled can use up considerable amount of memory. This may cause a machine to become unresponsive. If you need to capture data for long periods of time, please use the included command line utility, NMCap, and the /DisableConversations switch. Download details: Microsoft Network Monitor 3.1 ttfn David Technorati Tags: NetMon , Network Monitor , Network , Windows Vista , Windows Server 2003 R2 , SBS 2003 , troubleshooting
  • Vista Deployment training

    M icrosoft Windows Vista: Doing Deployment Right! This one-day session is a combination of presentations that focus on growing services opportunities for partners, and a series of new technical exercises that highlight some of the compelling new design enhancements in deploying Windows Vista desktops. Click here to enrol. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista , Deployment , Training
  • How to get rid of the installer / configuration dialog when running Office 2007 and Office 2003 on the same system - for Vista and other versions of Windows

    I have been asked this many times following up on the blog entry Installing Office 2003 and Office 2007 on the same system where once people have removed the problem with the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) appearing every time they start Office they then get the dialogs below every time they switch between Word 2007 and Word 2003. when starting Word 2003 when starting Word 2007 The fix to the problem is very simple as it turns out - simply run the following commands (by pressing the Windows Key+R or typing it into the Start/Run command box. Use the line with Office\11.0 if you have Office 2003 installed and Office\12.0 if you have Office 2007 installed. You can use both if you have both installed : reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Options /v NoReReg /t REG_DWORD /d 1 reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options /v NoReReg /t REG_DWORD /d 1 That is it. Office 2007 might want to have one more spin round the block with it's configuration dialog box, but that should be it. ttfn David Technorati tags: Office 2003 , Office 2007 Deployment blocker fixed , Word 2003 , Word 2007 , Vista , Install , Same machine
  • How to use the new Security features in Vista and Internet Explorer to stop malware (spyware and viruses) from infecting your computer - all in a Video presented with Silverlight

    The Video I have delivered a number of Vista and Office demos over my time, so I decided to record a number of them for others to borrow, use, learn from or anything else they choose. This video covers the following subjects in enough detail for people to hopefully understand what they need to know on how to use these features in Windows Vista and understand how to be a little safer online: Phishing protection in Internet Explorer ActiveX blocking in Internet Explorer Windows Defender in Windows Vista To see the video played using Silverlight (just try it) click here *. I am hoping that in the near future that the WMV file will be available at new bCentral - the UK Small Business Center on MS.com. At the moment it is not available there, but a copy can be found here * it will take a few moments to open if you have Silverlight installed and require you to download Silverlight if you don't, but it is a 1MB download How I made it I simply ran through part of my normal demo talking as I went. When presenting to an audience it is easy to correct anything you do without anyone caring, however I tried to fix up the videos so this was not a problem. This has one drawback which is that the sound is not that good (one of those things I want to fix, but have not yet got round to) due to editing & cutting of the videos. I find it really hard to talk and move the mouse to the right place at the same time without a fluff in either my words or my mouse movements. Having captured the video is was simple to turn them into "Silverlight" Videos that were hosted on the Silverlight Streaming site for your pleasure - if you like them I can do more. Feel free to re-record the audio and play for your customers of make as a download for them. I have cut 10 videos to date and will release them over the next 2 weeks. The videos cover: For Vista - How to copy files to a DVD / CD, Use the recycle bin, Use previous versions for files and Use the built in Vista backup to check for Updates in Windows Vista use the new Security...
  • Visual Studio F5 debugging of ASP.NET applications on Vista

    If you are having problems with authentication issues when trying to debug with Visual Studio on Vista then there is a fix for you. A Visual Studio patch that fixes the Visual Studio F5 debugging of IIS7 applications on Windows Vista Home Premium and above has been released! This patch solves the "An authentication error occurred while communicating with the web server. Please see Help for assistance.", and "Debugging failed because integrated Windows authentication is not enabled. Please see Help for assistance" errors, that until now had to be worked around using the instructions below. This patch also enables customers using Windows Vista Home Premium customers to use Visual Studio F5 debugging, who were not able to use this feature at all previously because Windows Authentication was not available on Windows Vista Home Premium. Mike Volodarsky's ServerSide : Fix problems with Visual Studio F5 debugging of ASP.NET applications on IIS7 Vista ttfn David Technorati Tags: Developer , Vista , Visual Studio
  • How to copy files to a DVD / CD, Use the recycle bin, Use previous versions for files and Use the built in Vista backup tools - all in a Video presented with Silverlight

    The Video I have delivered a number of Vista and Office demos over my time, so I decided to record a number of them for others to borrow, use, learn from or anything else they choose. This video covers the following subjects in enough detail for people to hopefully understand what they need to know on how to use these tools: Use of the recycle bin Use of shadow copies to undo changes to a document Use of the DVD writing tools to copy and update files on a DVD Use of the built in Vista Backup tools To see the Backup Video played using Silverlight (just try it) click here *. If you want to download it as a WMV file then head over to the new bCentral - the UK Small Business Center on MS.com - It should appear on this page soon. * it will take a few moments to open if you have Silverlight installed and require you to download Silverlight if you don't, but it is a 1MB download How I made it I simply ran through part of my normal demo talking as I went. When presenting to an audience it is easy to correct anything you do without anyone caring, however I tried to fix up the videos so this was not a problem. This has one drawback which is that the sound is not that good (one of those things I want to fix, but have not yet got round to) due to editing & cutting of the videos. I find it really hard to talk and move the mouse to the right place at the same time without a fluff in either my words or my mouse movements. Having captured the video is was simple to turn them into "Silverlight" Videos that were hosted on the Silverlight Streaming site for your pleasure - if you like them I can do more. Feel free to re-record the audio and play for your customers of make as a download for them. I have cut 10 videos to date and will release them over the next 2 weeks. The videos cover: For Vista - How to copy files to a DVD / CD, Use the recycle bin, Use previous versions for files and Use the built in Vista backup to check for Updates in Windows Vista use the new Security features in Vista and Internet Explorer to...
  • What is going on in the world of Virtualisation with Virtual Server and Virtual PC on licensing, Vista, x64 and more

    There are a couple of recent announcements with regard to the current range of products that I thought I would cover off. One is about licensing and has been written up by Matt McSpirit at http://blogs.technet.com/mattmcspirit/archive/2007/06/22/microsoft-virtualisation-licensing-client-and-server.aspx and covers how many licenses you get when. The other is Virtual Server SP1: Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Is Now Available Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 is the server virtualization technology engineered for the Windows Server operating system to increase hardware utilization and enable IT staff to rapidly configure and deploy new servers. Register to download the free software and you will receive relevant resources that are strategically assembled to address the challenges you will face as you discover, assess, and deploy the software. http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7042993 The What is New page shows (plus more on the page) - note the x64 support for more memory. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/virtualserver/evaluation/vsoverview.mspx What's New in This Release Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 includes the following new capabilities: Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Enterprise Edition can be installed on servers with up to 32 physical processors. • Virtual Server host clustering. Support for host-to-host connectivity lets you cluster all virtual machines running on a host. • iSCSI support. iSCSI clustering enables guest-to-guest connectivity across physical machines. • x64 support. Virtual Server runs natively within a 64-bit Windows host operating system, providing increased performance and memory headroom. • Enhanced PXE booting. PXE boot support has been added to the virtual machine network adapter. This means that when the appropriate network infrastructure is in place, you can perform a network installation of a guest operating system in the same way as physical servers. • Other improvements. Virtual Server now includes improved hyperthreading, support for F6 Disk (SCSI driver), Active Directory integration using service...
  • Alistair likes Vista and found out that the Dell SATA drivers were making is go slow

    I was browsing the UKSBSG Yahoo Group (a group for UK Small Business Partners) when I noticed Alistair 's post in response to slow Vista systems and I thought I had to share: Hi, Just from experience, I had similar issues on Outlook 2007 and, to a lesser extent, Vista in general - especially on boot, which would take an age. I am using a Dell Dimension 9100, 2GB ram and SATA drives. One would think it would be pretty good, but behaved like a dog. The Microsoft fix made some little difference. What made a huge difference though was updating the SATA drivers on my Dell box. These were not listed under updates and I had to search for them, but it is chalk and cheese now. Persevere, once you have it right it's a dream: I have to say I love Vista, it is stable, runs all our legacy apps, line of business accounting apps, remote jobs and managed to blow away our desktop uptime record - still stable at 60 days uptime. XP struggled at 30. I do strongly suspect that naff drivers are a major factor in the bad press that Vista has been receiving; I suspect it's been too easy to get them through the certification procedure. Anyway, just my two pennoth. Alistair that was it except to say that besides the Updates technology in Vista you should also go and check the OEM provider for your systems and graphics cards to get more from Vista. thanks David Technorati Tags: Vista , Drivers , Performance
  • SMBs more aggressive with Vista upgrade plans - 47% of small and mid-market customers plan to upgrade to Microsoft’s Vista operating system in the fourth quarter of 2007

    I saw this and thought it was another reason why you need to be prepared for Vista and Office 2007. Among small and mid-sized enterprises 47 percent of them plan to upgrade to Microsoft’s Vista operating system in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to a Cowen & Co. survey. The survey, which is done in conjunction with CRN magazine , also found that 78 percent of small and mid-sized businesses will adopt Vista by the second quarter of 2008. Simply put, the small fry will lead the charge when it comes to the Vista upgrade cycle. Cowen analyst Walter Pritchard said in a research note that his firm’s most recent survey is above the adoption rates predicted in February. In February, 43 percent of small businesses indicated they would adopt Vista by the end of 2007. » Survey: SMBs more aggressive with Vista upgrade plans | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista , Small Business
  • Quick Tip - how to run an application, but not let the writes go back to disk - try Sandboxie

    I have to admit I have not done any extensive testing, but this little tool seems like a good thing to have around! For more information, have a look at Sandboxie . About Sandboxie When you run a program on your computer, data flows from the hard disk to the program via read operations. The data is then processed and displayed, and finally flows back from the progam to the hard disk via write operations. For example, if you run the Freecell program to play a game, it starts by reading the previously recorded statistics, displaying and altering them as you play the game, and finally writing them back to disk for future reference. Sandboxie changes the rules such that write operations do not make it back to your hard disk. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Sandboxie , Tips , application testing
  • Jason Langridge's WebLog - MR Mobile - tells us that the Windows Vista Windows Mobile Device Center v6.1 has been released

    I've worked with Jason for years, although our paths have diverged recently as he has become more "Enterprise" and I have become more "Small" business. However he is still known inside and outside Microsoft as Mr Mobile (ask Vlad as he talks about " Jason Langridge , the #1 Microsoft Mobile blogger"). Anyway, pop along to Jason's blog to learn much more, including where to get the download if Windows Update is not good enough for you. Windows Mobile Device Center v6.1 Last week the Vista Blog team hinted at an upcoming update to the Windows Mobile Device Center but it finally got released last night. The update is available for download from microsoft.com as well as via Windows Update. As well as focussing on continually improving reliability and performance the update also provides enhanced functionality which includes: • Windows Mobile 6 feature support - Information Rights Management activation - Automatically configure the Windows Mobile 6 device to open IRM-protected documents and files - HTML mail – Set up your Windows Mobile 6 device to sync HTML-formatted mail - Certificate Enrollment - Acquire certificates through the PC the Windows Mobile 6 device is currently connected to - Allow data connections on the Windows Mobile 6 device when connected to the PC - File synchronization for smartphones – Synchronize files with your Windows Mobile 6 devices, including both touch screen and non-touch screen devices • Automatic device authentication - Connect the Windows Mobile device to the PC without the need to enter the device-lock PIN every time upon connect • Product Registration - Register your Windows Mobile device and get connected to information and offers available for your device Jason Langridge's WebLog - MR Mobile! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Mobile , Windows Vista
  • Developing a solution for Vista - get some help landing the solution with Glidepath

    This is a little old, but I needed to get it out. Basically, if you want some help building applications that take advantage of Windows Vista functionality, go and look at this. Project codename "Glidepath" is an Evangelism initiative targeted at helping MicroISVs get started and be successful with a focus on Windows Vista. Project Glidepath includes a free software factory add-in for Visual Studio 2005 that delivers, via RSS, guidance, content, code samples, step-by-step instructions and even custom tools that help MicroISVs take full advantage of Windows Vista including .NET 3.0 (WPF, WCF, WF, and CardSpace) as well as many non-technical aspects of being a MicroISV. Project Glidepath also features the Windows Vista Spotlight highlighting MicroISV applications available worldwide that are compatible with Windows Vista. Full information plus community forums and a blog are available via www.projectglidepath.net Windows Vista Team Blog : Small Software Developers: Get Flying with Windows Vista ttfn David Technorati Tags: Developer , Windows Vista
  • 64-bit servers are the future, but 32-bit Windows Client is undecided

    I wrote about this the other day, that Windows Server 2008 (Longhorn) will be the last 32-bit Server product from Microsoft however some people have taken Bill Laing's comments to include Windows Client (i.e. Vista v.Next). Here is the official low down. Bill Laing, a General Manager in the Microsoft Windows Server Division, has been quoted as saying that Windows Server 2008 will be the last 32-bit operating system. Bill is a server guy and indeed Windows Server 2008 is the last 32-bit server operating system – all future operating systems for server hardware from Microsoft beyond Windows Server 2008 will be 64-bit. A few folks took Bill’s comments on Windows Server and applied them to Windows Client deriving that Windows Vista would be the last 32-bit operating system. That is an incorrect extension. While Windows Vista includes both 32-bit and 64-bit and there is a growing community of drivers for 64-bit Windows Vista we have not decided when Windows Client will follow Windows Server and become 64-bit only. Windows Vista Team Blog : On 64-bit and Windows Client ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , 64-bit
  • "Vista, XP Users Equally At Peril To Viruses, Exploits" and then a lengthy retort from Roger A Grimes including the comment that the number of vulnerabilities over a given time for OSs were XP-28, Vista-11, Max OSX-101

    I have been RSS feed and news hunting and found this review in IT Channel News stating that Vista was no more secure than Windows XP. Then I read how things seemless slipped onto the system and I started to get frustrated that they must have turned off every security feature in Vista to get the results. There I was about to write a WTF reply when I found a HUGE one by Roger. There also seemed to be some confusion that Microsoft also still recommends anti-virus software for Vista. I tell people to buy AV software and not some complete "take over everything on your system" suite. Rogers reply is worth reading for sure - Microsoft is far from perfect, but turning off all the security features and then saying it is no more secure is just a little bit silly too. If you look at the number of found vulnerabilities in Windows XP (28) vs. Vista (11) this year, Vista wins again. If that seems like a lot, don't forget Mac OS X has had 101 in the same time period. Cute commercials, but not necessarily a stellar reason to dog Microsoft about. In conclusion, I'm not sure why you choose to run a story that paints Windows Vista as no better security-wise than Windows XP? Sincerely, Roger A. Grimes, Sr. Security Consultant Microsoft ACE Team Author of Windows Vista Security: Securing Vista Against Malicious Attack Review: Vista, XP Users Equally At Peril To Viruses, Exploits - Software - IT Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness ttfn David Technorati Tags: Security , Mac OS X , Windows Vista , Windows XP
  • Windows XP and Windows Vista feature comparison for small businesses

    I saw this at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/products/wowpc/CompareWindows.aspx and thought this would be a great sales tool. While Vista has many new and unique features people often want to discuss how it compares to previous versions - this is a good place to start to go down that list. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows XP , Windows Vista , Comparison , Small Business
  • 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.
  • Do you want to ask Microsoft the hard questions on Vista and Office before you sell them to your customers - well now you can in June - Live!!

    Your Office and Vista questions answered We are offering UK partners the opportunity to talk directly to one of Microsoft Europe's leading technology specialists in a series of online Q&A sessions. These sessions will seek to answer the nitty gritty questions you need to answer to transition your customers over to Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007. Book your place now. Register for 4 June Register for 5 June Register for 6 June Register for 7 June Register for 8 June ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Vista , Office , Partners
  • How to configure SQL Server 2005 to allow remote connections on Windows Server 2008 (Longhorn) / Windows Vista

    Just a quick one - I was playing around with SQL2005 on my Longhorn server and I could not connect from a remote machine - Ahh I thought, the firewall is in the way, but it turned out I had to do 3 or 4 things to get things working. The Microsoft KB article that pointed to the light was How to configure SQL Server 2005 to allow remote connections which covers how to enable the firewall for the 2 programs you need and so on. When you try to connect to an instance of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 from a remote computer, you may receive an error message. This problem may occur when you use any program to connect to SQL Server. For example, you receive the following error message when you use the SQLCMD utility to connect to SQL Server: Sqlcmd: Error: Microsoft SQL Native Client: An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server. When connecting to SQL Server 2005, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. This problem may occur when SQL Server 2005 is not configured to accept remote connections. By default, SQL Server 2005 Express Edition and SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition do not allow remote connections. To configure SQL Server 2005 to allow remote connections, complete all the following steps: Enable remote connections on the instance of SQL Server that you want to connect to from a remote computer. Turn on the SQL Server Browser service. Configure the firewall to allow network traffic that is related to SQL Server and to the SQL Server Browser service. Well, the above is all well and good, but we also need to remember that in a Vista and Longhorn setup the "admin" accounts do not have admin control over the database, so you may well also need to run the SQL 2005 Surface Area tool that enables you to add administrators I also found I had to enable network connections by going to the SQL Server Configuration Manager and enabling TCP connections on my IP v4 network. ttfn David Technorati tags: SQL , Vista , Longhorn...
  • Responding to another "I can't load Office 2003 on Vista" e-mail

    [updated to correct a typo - 10:48 27th May 2007] I get lots of mails similar to the one below as a result of the blog entries on the EULA not going away and the Office 2003 on Vista and in some cases the issues have been Vista, sometimes the CD and sometimes non-genuine software that someone has been sold (as a side note - it has never been the new security - UAC that has been at the root of the problem). Hi David, I have read your blog entry re: 2003 installation on Vista but I have a problem not previously mentioned. I am doing an install from the CD and have disabled UAC. I attempt to run the SETUP.EXE (as Systems Admin and even with the compatibility set to WinXP SP2) to no avail. The next dialog window comes up saying that the SETUP.INI file cannot be found (path: ./FILES/SETUP/SETUP.INI). I'm baffled because I take the same installation CD and I put it in my old WinXP box and I can explore to find the SETUP.INI file exists. Why is my Vista box not able to see this .ini? Do I need to install the mentioned compatibility patch? Just to be very clear, genuine copies of Office 2003 can install on Vista without issue. When you insert the CD or run the setup program you will get a single blue elevation box like this (unless you have turned off UAC, but I would strongly advise against turning it off): If you see a red or orange version of the dialog above there is a chance that you have a damaged CD or non-genuine copy. Have a look at this web site to see if your CD is non-genuine and assuming it is, then it is time to start sending me some information. The easiest way is to do some screen prints of the version information and the directory structure. to get a print of the dialog boxed you will need to press alt+PrtScn to capture that dialog box and it must be the selected window when you do this. Then pop over to a mail and press Ctrl-V to paste them in. Go to your CD and find the setup.exe file and right click on it and select properties. you will get a screen like the 1st one below. Take a shot of this and then...
  • I hate seeing computers advertised on TV with 512MB of RAM with Vista

    This is a personal rant !! I was watching TV and saw a device advertised at a very attractive price, but with only 512MB of RAM. While Vista will work on a machine with 512MB of RAM the RECOMMENDED MINIMUM for all versions other than Home Basic is 1GB , meaning that the systems are shipping with just half the recommended minimum they should ship with. The recommended minimum amount of RAM for Windows XP was 128MB RAM with 64MB being the absolute minimum. Shipping a home premium or business machine with below the recommended minimum is a bit like running Windows XP with 64 (or even 128MB RAM). Think what XP would be like and while Vista is not that bad with 512MB, it is definitely not great. So, please, please, please, 1GB minimum, 2GB and above for power users. I've seen this discussed in so many places, but please, 512MB is just no fun - don't let it happen to your customers - prepare them now. I just bought 2GB of RAM for about £30 per stick so when buying new PCs, be a good person and put it in there!! Why, you might ask, does Vista require more memory than Windows XP, well it is all the new things.. such as: Indexing and Search Aero Graphics (open up a PC running Vista with Aero and look at the memory use of DWM - you get the idea) Security Options New Services space to move (VSS) Virtualisation of files and registry Windows Defender SuperFetch I am sure there is more too - this is my opinion, but I had to get the rant out of the system. ttfn David Technorati Tags: rant , vista , memory
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(c)David Overton 2006-13