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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  • Upgrade Windows XP/Vista/7 to Windows 8 Pro for $40 or £25 AND Media Center Pack for free – until 31st January

    This is a simple offer. Download the upgrade assistant from Microsoft, run the tool, purchase the license for a shockingly low price and get the benefits of Windows 8. Even if you think you might not use it for a year, you can burn the ISO so it is ready. All indications are that the price will increase once this offer expires. So, what is the processes? Go to the web site - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/buy (UK) or http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/buy (US) Press the Download link - Download Pro for £24.99 ERP (UK) or Download Pro for $39.99 ERP (US) ) - note the link is the same for any country for the assistant. Run the assistant and fill in the details, including the purchase options There is also one other thing you may wish to consider. Getting the currently free Media Center Pack. This is also very simple, go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/feature-packs (UK) http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/feature-packs (US), enter your e-mail address and get a free key e-mailed to you. This is so simple, it has to be worth doing and much cheaper than purchasing full price from February! The nice thing is that you can download an ISO, or do an “online” upgrade and you get the PID, so installing from the ISO later is simple. For the PC to be able to run Windows 8, the upgrade assistant will guide you, plus all the usual T’s and C’s can be found on the Microsoft pages. ttfn David
  • Windows Intune book update

    Well, I’ve finally finished the drafts for all chapters of the soon to be published book called Microsoft Windows Intune, Quickstart Administration . It would have been sooner if my lovely mother had not fallen ill and passed away. I don’t regret the delay in finishing the book, but that we had so little time in the end and that she was not here to see it finish. The book is now awaiting review and editorial updates before it is finally published. Update - 2/10/2010 - Since the launch of Windows Intune V2 is so close, I'm updating to V2 now. This means that you can no longer access the work in progress chapters. I hope to resolve this in a few weeks time. The book has undergone some structural changes while I was writing it. The chapters are now: 1. Overview of Cloud Computing 2. Introduction to PC Management Concepts 3. Overview of Windows Intune Features 4. Signing up for Intune and installing the client software 5. Configuring Windows Intune 6. Configuring management policy 7. Tracking and reporting 8. Monitoring and dealing with alerts, including remote assistance 9. Resolving problems using Microsoft DaRT 10.Using and deploying Windows 7 Enterprise with Windows Intune 11.Integration with existing Microsoft Products You can access the book “in progress” and buy it from here . Once this is solidly out the way and the V2 beta has stabilised I will look to work on a V2 book too. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Intune
  • 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
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ,...
  • 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...
  • Vista SP1 beta vs XP SP3 beta and performance - what a load of old <insert your favourite derogatory term here>

    I saw the article at ZDNet ( Windows XP outshines Vista in benchmarking test - ZDNet UK ) and at various other places and decided to comment. It compares a 1GB XP machine and a 1GB Vista machine and says that Vista is slower - both using beta service packs. This article links back to the blog of a certain benchmarking company ( http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2007/11/windows-xp-sp3-yields-performance-gains.html ) and the result was an article with quotes in it like: "Vista, both with and without SP1, performed over two times slower than XP with SP3 in the test, taking over 80 seconds to complete the test, compared to the beta SP3-enhanced XP's 35 seconds. Vista's performance with the service pack increased less than two percent compared to performance without SP1 — much lower than XP's SP3 improvement of 10 percent." Now this annoyed me twice. So did they turn off things like the pre-loading of applications, was this a fresh PC or one where the inbuilt tools could optimise themselves? Did they turn off new features like and anti-spyware and search engine, the graphics etc? You can't add a bundle of new features and get it all for free - they have to load and boot up time is the most likely time. "The tests, run on a Dell XPS M1710 test bed with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 1GB of RAM, put Microsoft Office 2007 through a set of productivity tasks, including creating a compound document and supporting workbooks and presentation materials." Now this also annoyed me, even more. a Vista machine with the recommended MINIMUM amount of RAM, but XP with eight times it's minimum recommended. Microsoft clearly recognised that Vista's new features require more memory, as do Office, so they have one machine that is 5 years skinny on features and another that has 5 years worth of extra features and security built in. Come on. What about trying it on a 2GB machine, or one that the tests have been run on a hundred times so the optimisation engines in Vista can get to work. I've done benchmarking...
  • 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
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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
  • "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.
  • Microsoft says PCs may need DRAM upgrade (to ECC RAM)

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

    I saw this and for a change decided I needed to blog on something about Symantec. The story is simple - a program pretends to be Windows Activation and asks for a credit card to prove ID. IT IS OBVIOUSLY NOT A MICROSOFT TOOL, but I am sure some people might presume it is. For more information, have a look at the eWeek and Symantec sites: Symantec is reporting on a Trojan horse that mimics the Windows activation interface. Once you reboot your PC after running the program, the program asks you to activate your copy of Windows and, while it assures you that you will not be charged, it asks for credit card information. If you don't enter the credit card information it shuts down the PC. How to clean it - Symantec writeup Source: Top Threat: Windows Hacktivation ttfn David Technorati tags: Security , Activation , Phishing
  • May security updates for Server DNS and Office 2003/2007 and IE7. Also Quicktime needs an update

    I did a quick scan and it seems that this month Office is the main target of updates, along with one critical one for Windows Server (for DNS RPC attack) and one for IE7. Worth a quick download and install :-) I also got this in the mail today: Apple QuickTime 7.x must be upgraded to 7.1.5 or higher. On the security updates: Microsoft is releasing the following new security bulletins for newly discovered vulnerabilities: Bulletin Number Maximum Severity Affected Products Impact MS07-023 Critical Microsoft Excel (all currently supported versions) Remote Code Execution MS07-024 Critical Microsoft Word 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 (Mac) Remote Code Execution MS07-025 Critical Microsoft Office (all currently supported versions) Remote Code Execution MS07-026 Critical Microsoft Exchange (all current versions) Remote Code Execution MS07-027 Critical Internet Explorer - all current versions on all currently supported versions of Microsoft Windows Remote Code Execution MS07-028 Critical CAPICOM, BizTalk Server Remote Code Execution MS07-029 Critical Windows 2000 (server), Windows Server 2003 Remote Code Execution Summaries for these new security bulletins may be found at the following pages: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms07-May.mspx Customers are advised to review the information in the bulletins, test and deploy the updates immediately in their environments, if applicable. Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool Microsoft is releasing an updated version of the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool on Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Windows Update (WU) and the Download Center. Note that this tool will NOT be distributed using Software Update Services (SUS). Information on the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool can be located here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=40573 High-Priority Non-Security Updates on Microsoft Update (MU), Windows Update (WU), Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and Software Update Services (SUS) Microsoft is also releasing High-Priority...
  • Vista has Flip 3D for changing applications, well here are some more (3d cube based virtual desktop, Window Switcher, Rotation based flip 3d

    3d cube based virtual desktop: http://chsalmon.club.fr/index.php?en/Download Rotation based Flip 3D: http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=529816 Alternative to flip-3d (switcher): http://insentient.net/
  • Symantec "Microsoft Listed as Most Secure OS"

    Wow, you have to wonder whether this hurt them to say this :-) Now I am a believer that any security vulnerability is bad and that the longer it is out there then the more likely it is to exploit it. If "people" only have one way to crack into your system, then they can still get in and the longer it is out there then the more likely it is that it will be used, however always nice to see that MS is trying hard and while not perfect, is doing better than other people who throw stones at MS. Of course, Windows also has more in it, so being better with more features in the box is even nicer and this is across all versions of Windows, not just the latest (Vista) for example. I think it shows that the IT industry has more work to do in this area - as Ed the Fed said - "this is a journey." Surprise, Microsoft Listed as Most Secure OS By Andy Patrizio UPDATED: Microsoft is frequently dinged for having insecure products, with security holes and vulnerabilities. But Symantec ( Quote ), no friend of Microsoft, said in its latest research report that when it comes to widely-used operating systems, Microsoft is doing better overall than its leading commercial competitors. The information was a part of Symantec's 11th Internet Security Threat Report . The report, released this week, covered a huge range of security and vulnerability issues over the last six months of 2006, including operating systems. The report found that Microsoft Windows had the fewest number of patches and the shortest average patch development time of the five operating systems it monitored in the last six months of 2006. <snip> During this period, 39 vulnerabilities , 12 of which were ranked high priority or severe, were found in Microsoft Windows and the company took an average of 21 days to fix them . It's an increase of the 22 vulnerabilities and 13-day turnaround time for the first half of 2006 but still bested the competition handily. <snip> Then there's Mac OS X. Despite the latest TV ads ridiculing the security in Vista with a Matrix ...
  • HD Photo Plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop® Software (Beta Release for Windows) - The future after JPEG?

    I'm not really much of a photographer myself - all my cameras are snappers and the pictures I take are just that - snaps. Now Jo in the Office is a Pro and has sold many of her photographs. Every so often I ask her about Office Collaboration, SharePoint, Content Management to understand what can be used in the small biz space and then spend time talking about which camera I should get :-) I heard recently about HD Photo which is "and format for end to end digital photographers" (Press release " Microsoft Announces HD Photo, a New Imaging File Format With Advanced "). It is worth noting that to speed release there is a HD Photo Plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop® Software (Beta Release for Windows) too. If you've ever paid close attention to your photos you will know that a "lossy" format means that you loose some of the detail compared to the original, but get much smaller files. Now "HD Photo fully preserves the original image fidelity with high dynamic range while still allowing for significant improvement in compression size." It might even help my snaps look better too. ttfn David Technorati tags: HD Photo , Adobe Photoshop , WIndows Vista , Digital Photography
  • Deploying Vista to many desktops from Small Business Server 2003 with SP2 (R2 or R1) using Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) tools

    A nice man named Zack dropped me a mail asking about the Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) tools and "real" documentation, which led to Matt in the PTS team writing about all the great tools (see below). I then installed SP2 for Windows Server 2003 and realised that my SBS 2003 system now has the capabilities of BDD to deploy Vista desktops (in my case, pre-configured with Office 2007 too). Wow. I went and checked and the Windows Deployment Services admin controls are there on my SBS SP2 system, so you can use this information to enable PXE deployments of Windows if you want. These can include other programs such as Office and anti-virus products and also be pre-configures to join the domain etc. Business Desktop Deployment 2007 - Resources Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 11:43 AM by mattmcspirit For those of you out there who have an interest in the different ways that you can deploy Windows Vista, Office 2007 and your other applications, you may be interested in the Business Desktop Deployment Workbench, or BDD for short. So, what is it? Well, the BDD is essentially, your one-stop-shop for deployment when it comes to our new wave of technology. Want to customise your Vista install? Want to inject drivers for hardware into images? Want to customise WinPE 2.0? Want to easily create Unattend.xml files? Want next week's winning lottery numbers? OK, BDD can't help you with that last one, but it can allow you to do all the others! Source: Peering through Windows... ttfn David Technorati tags: BDD , Business Desktop Deployment , SBS 2003 , Service Pack 2 , SP2 , SBS 2003 SP2
  • Vista, by itself, and business value - what can you get

    I was a little horrified to see a small business group posting that said " In my opinion, there is nothing in Vista that warrants an upgrade at this time for businesses." Oh my golly gosh thought me. Has this person actually looked at the stuff we have to better explain what the benefits are? (I don't know, but if they have then Microsoft needs to do a better job, if not, then Microsoft needs to do a better job telling everyone). 1st off though, just as many people have commented - I expect many people to buy Vista with a new PC, but I also believe that the decision to buy a new PC will in part be driven by Vista as opposed to just hardware needs. OK, where does Vista add value to businesses (this is where I use it) over Windows XP out the box today and even more so over Windows 2000: Work More Efficiently Searching for documents, e-mails, contacts Preview files without opening them via thumbnails and preview pane Shrink to fit for IE printing Finding open programs, items on start menu, control panel items Enhance performance with ReadyBoost Glancable information with Gadgets Staying Connected "File" file sharing Ad-hoc wireless networking Wireless security manager Windows Mobile Device Center Data protection and integrity Automatic PC backups Previous versions of files, even when out the office Anti-phishing technologies Anti-spyware tools UAC and protected mode in IE File and disk encryption Image based backup and restore Systems Management Reliability Monitor Enhanced Event Viewer Memory Checker Problem History Enhanced Remote Desktop Recovery tools Sales and Marketing Fax and Scan tools Photo Editing tools XPS Support Faster response when opening the lid Dual use - home and business use Parential controls Media Center DVD Playback and burning Many many more It is worth looking at the version comparison document on http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/products/wowpc/CompareWindows.aspx and the Vista comparison guide that can be downloaded at http://download.microsoft.com/download/E/5/E/E5E1A4B0-124F-4A6E-A152...
  • Great tools for Internet Explorer: Spell check, Open last closed tab, Auto refresh and more (IE7 Add-ons)

    I love IE7, but it is by no means the perfect browser. Along with every other browser out there it can be heavily customised. Here are the ones I use myself. There are loads at http://www.windowsmarketplace.com/category.aspx?bcatid=834&tabid=1 ieSpell (this is also the spell checker used on the blog site when you are adding something - perhaps into the forums) IESpell is a free Internet Explorer browser extension that spell-checks text-input boxes on a Web page. It should come in particularly handy for users who do a lot of Web-based text entry (Web mail, forums, blogs, diaries). Even if your Web application already includes spell-checking functionality, this utility is faster than a server-side solution. Plus, you get to store and use your personal word list across all your applications instead of having to maintain separate ones on each application. Version 2.5.1 build 106 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes. InlineSearch Inline Search v 1.4.3 (cf. ChangeLog ) is an extremely useful free add-on for Internet Explorer that mimics Firefox's search behavior. It turns searching in a web page into a non modal research experience coupled with a find as you type facility. It integrates flawlessly into IE (version 5.5 or above), giving it that little extra that makes you a lot more efficient when you are looking for a specific piece of information. IE7pro IE7pro is an must have add-on for Internet Explorer 7, which adds lots of features and extras that make your IE easier, more useful, more secure and more customizable. Some features: Support Double click to close tab; Support mouse gesture; Support view page info and save flash/video; Support session crash recovery; Support block ADs; Support refresh Tab; Support save whole page to image; Support quick switch proxy; Support custom User Agent.Version 0.9.10 adds Web Pages Autoscroll, Enhances tabs management Emulate "Open in New Tab" in context menu when Drag & Drop url; Supports new Tab from search bar; Supports new Tab when left-click in...
  • Microsoft tool to transfer programs from a Windows XP machine to a Windows Vista machine - Windows Easy Transfer Companion (WETC)

    This tools works alongside the Easy Transfer Wizard using an Easy Transfer Cable, however it has a list of known programs that it will transfer should you so desire. The Windows Easy Transfer Companion (WETC) is a program that you can use to help transfer programs from a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) to a computer that is running Windows Vista. WETC does not replace Windows Easy Transfer. Instead, WETC is an independent program that complements Windows Easy Transfer. You can use WETC to transfer many kinds of programs between two computers that are connected by an Easy Transfer Cable or by a network connection. For more information click onto http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=931696
  • Microsoft official Vista to Vista upgrade information, including how to upgrade from Windows XP and Windows 2000

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/932616/en-us General information about how to install Windows Vista Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) How to determine whether your computer is running a 32-bit version or a 64-bit version of Windows XP Installation choices for Windows XP Home and Windows XP Home N Edition Installation choices for Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Professional N Editions Installation choices for Windows XP Tablet Edition Installation choices for Windows XP Media Center Edition Installation choices for Windows 2000 Upgrade paths between versions of Windows Vista INTRODUCTION This article discusses the installation choices for consumer versions of Windows Vista. This article does not include information about Windows Vista Starter, about Windows Vista Enterprise, or about versions of Windows Vista that you install by using Microsoft Volume Licensing. The method that you use to install Windows Vista depends on the answers to the following questions: Definitions Upgrade to Windows Vista An upgrade to Windows Vista preserves the currently installed personal files, settings, and programs. You can upgrade only certain versions of Windows to certain versions of Windows Vista. Custom installation (clean installation) of Windows Vista A custom installation or clean installation of Windows Vista does not preserve the currently installed personal files, settings, and programs. Windows Vista is installed without third-party programs. You can perform a custom installation of Windows Vista by using either an upgrade license or a full product license. However, if you own an upgrade license, you must start the installation in the current version of Windows. At the installation choice menu, select Custom to perform this action. The upgrade version of Windows Vista An upgrade version of Windows Vista is a license that lets you install Windows Vista if you already own a compliant, licensed version of Windows. You can perform either an upgrade installation or a custom installation of Windows Vista by using...
  • IIS and SSL troubleshooting tools from Microsoft

    WFetch 1.4 A tool aimed at helping resolve problems where the browser is unable to connect to a Web site. SSL Diagnostics Version 1.1 (x64) Download this troubleshooting tool for Internet Information Services (IIS). SSL Diagnostics Version 1.1 (x86) Download this troubleshooting tool for Internet Information Services (IIS). Technorati tags: IIS , support tools , SSL , browser
  • Microsoft software for Charities in the UK

    OK, so once upon a time I used to give out software for charities, but those days are gone. However, there is a fantastic deal available for charities via the Charity Exchange. The software is donated by Microsoft (and others) and then an administration charge is added. There are various criteria to be met to use the Charity Technology Exchange, but the overall pricing is VERY good for charities - and of course, if the software is discounted as this is the right thing to do, perhaps so should the services too ;-) Anyway, the site can he found at http://www.ctxchange.org/ctx/browse_products/microsoft/default.asp and the prices include software assurance, so the Office 2003 and Windows XP prices entitle the charity to Office 2007 and Windows Vista Enterprise (as it is a Volume License). An example would be a 50 seat SBS Premium solution with Windows XP and Office 2003 (both upgradable - also note that a previous Windows OS is required on the PC to load the Windows OS - it is an upgrade, not a version that can be installed on a bare hard disk) SBS - £37 5 CAL Pack x 9 - £11 x 9 = £101 Windows XP Upgrades x 50 - £4 x 50 = £200 Office 2003 Pro x 50 - £11 x 50 = £550 Grand Total = £888 - +VAT - including Software Assurance While I don't have UK prices, SBS would be $1,500, the CAL packs would be 9 x $495, Office is around $450 I think - so this marks a HUGE saving. These were the prices yesterday. Now, tell me why every Charity can't upgrade? ttfn David
  • Get the Application Compatibility Toolkit to ensure applications will work with Vista

    So you have Vista, not how do you make sure you applications will run? Use this toolkit (which will also sort out things for Windows XP SP2 too: Are Your Existing Applications Compatible with Your New Windows Operating System? Use the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit and additional application compatibility resources to find out if your applications are compatible with Windows Vista or Windows XP Service Pack 2. ttfn David Technorati tags: vista , microsoft , small business
  • Debug Diagnostic Tool v1.1 - troubleshoot hangs, slow performance, memory leaks and crashes in any Win32 user-mode process

    I saw this and thought of you :-) Seriously, if you are trying to resolve these issues then these tools can be very useful indeed. Debug Diagnostic Tool v1.1 The Debug Diagnostic Tool (DebugDiag) is designed to assist in troubleshooting issues such as hangs, slow performance, memory leaks or fragmentation, and crashes in any Win32 user-mode process. The tool includes additional debugging scripts focused on Internet Information Services (IIS) applications, web data access components, COM+ and related Microsoft technologies. Source: Download details: Debug Diagnostic Tool v1.1 ttfn David
  • Download details: Business Desktop Deployment 2007 (BDD) - Deployments for Vista and Office made simpler - not for very simple / very small customers

    In theory, BDD is not for what MS calls small business customers - i.e. less than 25 PCs, but for some the tools are amazing. The BDD is described as: "A tool that provides the depth of guidance and tooling to make the Windows Vista and 2007 Office system deployment process predictable and scalable. Many of the tools and guides within BDD 2007 can even be used throughout the desktop management life cycle to provision new users, maintain images, and centrally manage drivers and applications. BDD 2007 also introduces the new Deployment Workbench, which enables users to build and manage multiple OS configurations, define network deployment points and network shares, inject drivers, attach language packs, and chain applications. It even helps generate ISO and WIM images using Windows PE that can be deployed in a networked environment or using DVDs offline. BDD 2007 also alleviates much of the scripting requirements of previous BDD versions by incorporating a stand-alone task sequencer derived from System Center Configuration Manager 2007. BDD continues to offer the flexibility for Zero Touch Installation with Systems Management Server 2003 and Lite Touch Installation with minimal infrastructure requirements." The Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) is best-practice guidance for desktop deployment. BDD is targeted at companies that want to reduce deployment time, effort, and cost by increasing the level of automation. It allows administrators to deploy desktops with Zero Touch and Lite Touch interaction at the target PCs. This solution also helps organizations move to a managed environment with standardized desktop images. BDD 2007 is offered in two versions to support Solution Accelerator component installation on x64 or x86 hosts. Select the version that corresponds with your host hardware type. Both versions of BDD 2007 support deployment of x86 and x64 client operating systems. To view this solution online at TechNet, click here . System Requirements Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server...
  • IE 7 reaches 100 million users | CNET News.com

    This is an interesting one - I have IE 7 installed on all my machines except my SBS 2003 server and the reason for it not being on there is because I like to have an IE6 hanging around for those sites where I have no other option - and browsing on the server (sorry Susan) is something I really, really try to avoid, so the site must be important enough to me, trusted and not need any java etc before I will consider using it. Anyway, that means that 7 PCs in the house (counting the 2 work laptops) are IE 7. I have not found a site that does not work yet, although some like the Live Spaces photo uploading tool is a bit of a pain in the bum to get working (you need to run as admin in Vista). IE 7 reaches 100 million users Web browser now second only to IE 6 in terms of usage in the U.S., Microsoft announces. More than 100 million people have installed Internet Explorer 7, making it the second most used browser in the U.S., trailing only its predecessor--IE 6, the software maker said Friday. "I'm pleased to report that on January 8, we had the 100 millionth IE7 installation," Microsoft Group Program Manager Tony Chor said on the IE blog . "However, even more important than installations is usage. According to WebSideStory (the company we use to measure browser usage), as of this week, over 25 percent of all visitors to Web sites in the U.S. were using IE7, making IE7 the second most used browser after IE6." Microsoft said it expects IE 7 usage to grow as the company completes more localized versions, offers it up to more Windows XP users through Automatic Update and releases Vista to consumers at the end of the month. The final version of the new browser has been available for download by XP users since October and is also built into Vista. Source: IE 7 reaches 100 million users | CNET News.com

(c)David Overton 2006-13