Windows 8 for the IT Pro: The New Plumbing

Windows 8 for the IT Pro: The New Plumbing

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Hi folks, Ned coming to you from the secret underground redoubt, where the cable is out, the wife is at grad school, and the dogs are napping as autumn finally reaches North Carolina.


I’m not a fan of blog posts that only aggregate links and don’t offer original thought. Today I make an exception, as the first official bits of Windows 8 have hit the street. Like all Windows pre-releases, you notice two immediate problems:

  1. The consumer content overwhelms the IT Professional content.
  2. The Internet is a public toilet of misunderstanding, opinions masquerading as facts, and general ignorance.

Nothing wrong with the first point; we’re outnumbered at least a thousand to one, so it’s natural for advertising to target the majority. The second point I can’t abide by; I despise misinformation.

Nothing has changed with my NDA - I cannot discuss Windows 8 in detail, speak of the future, or otherwise get myself fired. Nevertheless, I can point you to accurate content that’s useful to an IT Professional craving more than just the new touchscreen shell for tablets. My links talk a little Windows Server and show features that Mom won’t be using.

So, in vague order and with no regard to the features being Directory Services or not, here are the goods. Some are movies and PowerPoint slides, some are text. Some are Microsoft and some are not. Many are buried in the //Build site. I added some exposition to each link so I don’t feel so dirty.

Enjoy, it’s going to be a busy decade.

Intro (good for basic familiarity)

Security & Active Directory

Interestingly, no mainstream websites have discovered many of the AD changes visible in the server preview build, or at least, not written about them. Aha! Here they come, thanks for the tip Sean:

Virtualization, Networking, & High Availability

Deployment & Performance

Remember, everything is subject to change and refers only to the Developer Preview release from the //Build conference; Windows 8 isn’t even in beta yet. Grab the client or server and see for yourself.

And no matter what link you click, I don’t recommend reading the comments. See point 2.

Where do you want me to put this Internet?

Ned “bowl o’ links” Pyle

  • Hi Ned,

    Great post - I sure needed a centralized place to comb through scattered resources.

    FYI, Windows IT Pro has posted a number of articles on Windows Server 8 at, including my impressions of the new OS, what's new in Windows Server 8 Active Directory, and Dynamic Access Control.

    - Sean Deuby

  • Comments are fine—in case they don't ultimately state something (since they never know for sure). I personally enjoy reading about “X sucks, please bring us Y!”. Quite often it does not make any sense, but after all that's what people want to see. So I can start thinking about how to land all those shiny new stuff we actually have.

  • Really good post Ned,  a couple other Build vids that I like

    Windows Server 8 apps must run without a GUI - learn more now

    Server Core as the preferred deployment method.  It will be very interesting to see if that actually happens in practice out in the field.

    Introduction to Windows Azure: the cloud operating system

    Good overview from Mark Russinovich.  Good for IT Pros to get an introduction from a master.

    I think there is going to be a lot of excitement about the new ADAC and things like the updated recycle bin.

    It is also a nice fall day in VA.  Glad I'm not the only one watching build videos.



  • When is the NDA lifted?

  • That's good stuff Sean, not sure why Bing and Google failed me when I was groveling for articles to vet.

    Those are good too Mike. Keep looking, it's not quite Core. <yoda voice>  there is another </yoda voice>

    Dunno Rich.

  • Rich—actually, there's always some kind of NDA. Don't you think Ned tells us everything he knows about Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008? Nope. (He just hits the magic button: see

    But I assume we can expect more disclosure at Beta and RC timeframes. (Provided those milestones would be public releases, which is not obviously guaranteed).

  • And since server is now released (to MSDN subscribers and I think TechNet, sympathetically - at least, I can access the download through the MSDN site even though I have only a TechNet subscription) and I am seeing some chatter where people have noticed this publically:

    Open a PowerShell console and run:

    Add-WindowsFeature AD-Domain-Services

    get-command -module addsdeployment

    You'll see one of the biggest changes. Server Manager+ isn't just a new GUI, it's a front-end to something new for the first time in 12 years.

  • All I can say is...  if the consumer side of the house is any sign of what is to come for "IT professional content" then I'm super stoked!  From what I've seen from the Build conference videos at Channel9 last week, both myself and co-workers literally had our jaw dropping at some of the new content.  I honestly can't say I've been this excited to see what is to come for an OS release.  Good job so far, but we're patiently waiting for the NDA gag release to be lifted from Ned and the rest of Microsoft!  :D

  • Good point Ned, not quite core.  What about Gui On/Gui Off...wax on wax off edition for that blog entry.

    I know you have been testing for a while.  How long did it take you to get used to the MetroUI/Tiles in Server 8?  I know it can be changed/turned off but I don't want to do that as I think it is just taking me time to adjust to it.   I really like the new server manager a lot and other new features.  

  • My access to Metro was granted the same time as yours - that shows how locked down this OS has been - so I am not used to it at all. :) I don't know how long it will take me; the change in multi-tasking is tricky for me, at least within the new "immersive apps". That shell mode is primarily for touchscreens and tablets, and I am often running many legacy apps at once on a 3-monitor desktop.

    All subject to change, of course.

  • On the client end I wonder if you can finally extend (or have 2...) the taskbar onto a second monitor.  I've got 4, and the icons fill the tray fast.  I wonder if the 'start up' folder in the start menu will be coming back in a real way...I know I'm dropping 'Explorer' in there!

  • Voila!

    "Only in fact, it works a bit better, at least for users of multimonitor systems. The inability to span the taskbar across multiple monitors has long been a source of frustration for multimonitor users. In Windows 8, 16 years after the taskbar first hit our computers, we'll finally be able to span the taskbar across multiple screens, without needing third party applications or special drivers.

  • Secure Data Access and Compliance anyone?  :)

        (starting at 56:30 in video)

    Can't wait for more AD and general server stuff to come out...

  • Ok, just realized there is more in depth sessions posted above by Ned!  :)  Looks like there is more to watch already.

  • Nice set of links. I'm blaming you for the sleep deprivation.

    Thought your sign-off would be Ned Pyle "of links" :-)