• “Windows 7 Deployability” Episode – Complete Guidance and Assets - Chapter 2

    Chapter 2:  “Building Windows 7 Images”

      Windows_7_Logo_Wallpaper

    In the previous post we looked at the key information and first steps required to perform a successful deployment of Windows 7, we looked in some detail at one of the main concerns organizations have when deploying a new OS, application compatibility. In this post we’ll look at the resources available to help prepare for the actual deployment of Windows 7.

     

    Efficient deployment of a Windows OS to many different machines usually involves using an image. Until very recently that image was a sector-based image and organizations usually had one for each type of client hardware they own.

     

    Today we have file-based images in the Windows Imaging Format (WIM). This format offers a number of advantages over sector-based images such as being hardware agnostic within processor architecture, e.g. you will need separate images for x86 and x64 processors. WIMs are usually smaller than their sector-based image equivalent, easier to maintain and patch, you don’t need hundreds of them to support your client hardware base and they allow for more flexible deployment options. To go along with this new image format comes a slew of new tools and documentation to help create and maintain them. The main tool is the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows 7. I called it a tool; in fact it’s a suite of tools and documentation to help with the image creation and maintenance.

     

    The one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the concept; regardless of whether you use sector-based images or file based images you do start with a reference machine, prepare it for capture and then capture it. What has changed is the way you do this and the strategy you follow. In the article Choosing and Image Strategy and Building Windows 7 System Images, the 3 primary strategies for imaging are discussed. In brief these are “Thick”, “Thin” and “Hybrid”.

     

    A “Thick” image is one that contains the OS and all applications you want to have available as soon as the imaging process is complete. As the name suggests it’s the bigger of the imaging strategies.

    A “Thin” image is effectively the opposite of “Thick”, it contains the very basic information, and other items like the applications are handled at deployment time.

     

    Finally “Hybrid” is a combination of the other two, core applications people need to be able to use right away are installed, and others are handled at deployment time or later.

     

    Which one to use depends on your requirements, again either way the tools to create the images for the three strategies are the same. The core tools are Windows PE, SysPrep, ImageX, and DSIM Deployment Image Servicing and Management). These tools – in order - allow you to boot a machine to install Windows 7, prepare it for capture and deployment, capture the image ready for deployment and then subsequently maintain it. I could write about the process, even point you at the training kit for Configuring Windows 7, (Imaging is approximately 13% of exam 70-680), but it’s better to see it in action, so first here is a video of Sysprep and ImageX being used to generalize and capture a custom and a video of DISM servicing an offline mounted Windows 7 image.

    The creation and maintenance of images these days is pretty straightforward and certainly a lot more efficient. If you are not using file-based Windows Image format (WIM), downloading the WAIK documentation will help you in switching to this deployment method. Once you have you images ready, the next step is to get them onto the clients. In the final post we will look at ways to get the image file onto a client machine.

  • Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image

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    VPC Hard Disk Images for testing websites with different Internet Explorer versions on Windows XP and Windows Vista.Internet_Explorer_Logo

    This download page contains different VPC images, depending on what you want to test.

    • IE6-XPSP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE6 VHD file. Expires April 1, 2010
    • IE7-XPSP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE7 VHD file. Expires April 1, 2010
    • IE8-XPSP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE8 VHD file. Expires April 1, 2010
    • IE7-VIS1.exe+IE7-VIS2.rar+IE7-VIS3.rar contain a Vista Image with IE7 VHD file. Expires 120 days after first run.
    • IE8-VIS1.exe+IE8-VIS2.rar+IE8-VIS3.rar+IE8-VIS4.rar contain a Vista Image with IE8 VHD file. Expires 120 days after first run.

    Note: For The Vista image, you will need files in that set, downloaded and in the same directory, then run the EXE in the root directory.

    DOWNLOAD HERE

  • TechNet EDGE Screencast Series: Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 Features

    As you seen I had released my first screencast on AppLocker overview. Over the coming time I will be publishing the coolest screencasts covering some of the interesting features of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.logo_edge

    Windows Server 2008 R2 has been the most promising server operating system ever. This release lot of enhancements over the Windows Server 2008 that includes Performance enhancements, Reliability & Scalability Enhancements and of course the improved Security.

    Windows 7 has been accepted widely as the best client operating system and everyone trying their hands on Windows 7. As you all know Windows has provided lot of improvement over Vista and thanks to the millions of beta testers we have been able to deliver the best client OS ever.

    I am sharing with you the list of screencasts that I will be publishing over the new few weeks on TechNet EDGE

    Windows 7 Screencasts

    Security Enhancement

    AppLocker Overview (Already published)

    BitLocker Drive Encryption with BitLocker to Go

    Windows User Account Control Improvements

    Windows Action Center & Windows Firewall

    Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7

    Virtualization Features

    Native VHD Support Part – I (Already Published)

    Native VHD Support with Boot from VHD – Part II (Already Published)

    Install & Configuring Windows Virtual PC

    Application Compatibility using Windows XP MODE

    RDP Enhancements in Windows 7

     

    Windows Server 2008 R2 Screencasts

    AD Improvements in Windows Server 2008 R2

    Active Directory Recycle Bin

    Active Directory Administrative Center

    Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell

    Active Directory Best Practices Analyzer

    Active Directory Offline Domain Join

    Security Enhancements in Windows Server 2008 R2

    Windows Server Security Auditing

    Group Policy Enhancements in Server R2

    Server Management & Deployment

    Windows Server Backup Improvements

    Windows Deployment Services Overview with VHD Image Deployment

    Managing Server Core using Remote Server Management

  • 7 Tips for Windows 7 Deployment

    So, we have Windows 7 RTM’d and now everyone is trying their hands on this newly released OS. It’s been great journey

    testing Windows 7 and then 1 by 1 seeing it growing towards RTM. Now that we have the final everyone has tried most of it.

    Now, the next stage is deployment. We have Large Enterprises, SMB Customers planning to deploy Windows 7. To make things

    easier we are releasing 7 useful tips for getting your deployment with ease.windows-7-logo

    Here are some of the key tips to kick-start the Windows 7 deployment.

    1.       Choosing a Windows 7 Deployment Strategy

    Looking to start you deployment of Windows 7? Not sure where to start or the resources available? Read this concise article on the recommended deployment strategies and the tools that support them.

    2.       Analysing you environment with Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

    Do you want to know what is running in organization so you can plan a Windows 7 deployment? The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit is a free solution accelerator that can inventory you infrastructure.

    3.       Prepare your Applications for Windows 7

    A key consideration when moving to Windows 7 is whether your applications will run successfully. Download the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) to access the necessary tools and documentation to evaluate and mitigate application compatibility issues before deploying Windows 7

    4.       Five Steps to Windows 7 Application Readiness

    Trying to decide if the applications you use in your organization will run on Windows 7? Follow these 5 steps to determine application Readiness.

    5.       Application Management and Preparing for a Windows 7 Deployments

    Read this concise article that will walk you through the variety of approaches to addressing compatibility issues and the tools available to help you.

    6.       Commonly-used application shims here.

    Watch this video and see how to apply commonly-used shims to legacy application to enable them to work on Windows 7.

    7.       Understanding Application Compatibility

    Why might your application not work on Windows 7? There are a few reasons such as enhanced security or retired components. This article walks you through the areas that might affect your applications.

  • “Windows 7 Deployability” Episode – Complete Guidance and Assets - Chapter 1

    Chapter 1:  “Choosing the Path to Windows 7”Windows_7_Logo_Wallpaper

     

    A successful deployment of a desktop operating system begins long before the first client machines are touched. The collection of information about your client machines forms the basis for creating a successful deployment plan. In this first of three posts we’ll cover the first steps and the tools available to you as you start on the road to Windows 7 deployment.

     

    The first step on the road to Choosing a Deployment Strategy is to gather the information needed to make informed decisions. Regardless of whether you are dealing with hundreds of client machines or just helping a friend, knowing the current environment is critical. Some of the basic information includes

    ·         Number of computers to deploy Windows 7 to.

    ·         What version of Windows do you currently have installed?

    ·         What hardware is in these machines?

    ·         …and finally what applications do you use.

     

    Depending on the size of the organization some of these questions could be tricky to answer. If you are just working on one machine or a handful of machines you can use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor; this will do most of the work for you, but it is not practical beyond just a few machines since you have to install it and run it on each machine individually. When you have hundreds of clients you need something a little more powerful and easier to run without much intervention. One tool is the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit. This solution accelerator that can be used to generate this inventory of assets for you, another is the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), which we will come onto next.

     

    Once you have a full understanding of what is in your organization you can then plan the deployment process. The asset list will help you determine which machines can run Windows 7 with none or minimal hardware updates and which machines will be unable to run Windows 7 and therefore require replacement.

     

    Regardless of whether you plan to do a clean installation or an upgrade, the applications run that on these machines will need to be checked for compatibility. Application compatibility is always one of the top challenges organization face when changing a desktop OS. To help, there is the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) - this article talks in more detail about the toolkit and how to use it.  The ACT is a vital part of a deployment process, it can detect the applications running on client machines, and as mentioned above it also has the ability to report on hardware and devices that it finds on client machines. It provides you with a comprehensive list of what is out there, and don’t be surprised to be surprised about what you find. Getting this view of your environment is a major step towards a successful deployment. Once armed with this information then comes the real fun, rationalization.  You will have to look through all the applications on your list to determine if there is duplication, you could easily find there are 4 or 5 different programs just to read the same file format, then you need to decide which one(s) work with Windows 7 and then really which one to standardize on. The more thorough you are here could mean the difference between testing a 100 applications or testing a 1000 applications.

     

    After the rationalization, that is not the end of the application story, even with say 100 applications each one has to be checked for compatibility with Windows 7. This may be as easy and looking on the ISVs site to see the compatibility information. You may also be faced with in-house applications that will need testing or modifications. Your deployment plan will then need to include the teams responsible for those applications so they can schedule time to work on them. You may also have applications that require you to manually try them. Some applications can have compatibility fixes – shims – applied to make them work. A large number of applications can be made to work very quickly and easily using shims, for example making an application think it’s running as an administrator when it’s not or that it’s running on Windows XP and has IE 6 installed. For those applications that the compatibility fixes do not work on, you may need to employ a virtualization technology such as using Virtual PC and running Windows XP Mode, using App-V or MED-V, maybe even using Terminal Services technologies. As mentioned before, there are ways to get most applications that are currently running in your environment to run while using Windows 7. The time, effort and cost to make that happen will govern the path you take.

     

    Applications play a big part in the deployment story, even in an ideal world where all you applications run on Windows 7; you need to consider how to deploy them with your images. In the next post we’ll cover images and the tools for creating and deployment them.

  • Microsoft Office 2010 Editions & Pricing

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    Office 2010 Pricing DOWNLOAD HERE

    For more information visit Office 2010 Team Blog

  • Changes in Functionality from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2

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    "Changes in Functionality from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2" describes new and changed functionality and features available in Windows Server 2008 R2. The Windows Server® 2008 R2 operating system includes changes to Windows Server® 2008 features and technologies that help improve the security of computers running Windows Server 2008 R2, increase productivity, and reduce administrative overhead. WS08-R2_v_rgb

    The following changes and new features are available in this document:

    · What's New in Active Directory Certificate Services

    · What's New in Active Directory Domain Services

    · What's New in AppLocker

    · What's New in Biometrics

    · What's New in Device Management and Installation

    · What's New in Distributed File System

    · What's New in DNS

    · What's New in Failover Clusters

    · What's New in File Server Resource Manager in Windows Server 2008 R2

    · What's New in Group Policy

    · What's New in Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2

    · What's New in Microsoft iSCSI Initiator

    · What's New in Microsoft Multipath I/O

    · What's New in Network Access Protection

    · What's New in Network Policy Server (NPS)

    · What's New in Networking

    · What's New in Performance and Reliability Monitoring

    · What's New in Print and Document Services

    · What's New in Remote Desktop Services

    · What's New in the Server Core Installation Option

    · What's New in Server Manager

    · What's New in Service Accounts

    · What's New in Services for NFS in Windows Server 2008 R2

    · What's New in Smart Cards

    · What's New in User Account Control

    · What's New in the Web Server (IIS) Role (IIS 7)

    · What's New in Windows Deployment

    · What's New in Windows Deployment Services

    · What's New in Windows PowerShell

    · What's New in Windows PowerShell Cmdlets for Roles and Features

    · What's New in Windows Search, Browse, and Organization

    · What's New in Windows Security Auditing

    · What's New in Windows Server Backup

    · Other Changes in Windows Server 2008 R2

    Complete guide DOWNLOAD HERE

  • The New Efficiency Launch Continued Dialogue…Because it’s everybody’s_business

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    Microsoft continues the New Efficiency Launch campaign with the continued dialogue.

    This time we are covering some of the key aspects of everyday business. With this you get a whole of lot resources around the products that we have launched.

    image

    For more information and resources visit http://www.microsoft.com/india/continueddialogue/default.aspx

  • January 2010 Security Release ISO Image

    This DVD5 ISO image file contains the security updates for Windows released on Windows Update on January 12th, 2010.image

    This DVD5 ISO image file contains the security updates for Windows released on Windows Update on January 12th, 2010. The image does not contain security updates for other Microsoft products. This DVD5 ISO image is intended for administrators that need to download multiple individual language versions of each security update and that do not use an automated solution such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). You can use this ISO image to download multiple updates in all languages at the same time.
    Important:   Be sure to check the individual security bulletins at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security prior to deployment of these updates to ensure that the files have not been updated at a later date.
    This DVD5 image contains the following updates:
    KB972270 / (MS10-001)

    • Windows 2000 - 24 languages
    • Windows Server 2003 - 18 languages
    • Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition - 11 languages
    • Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems - 4 languages
    • Windows XP - 24 languages
    • Windows XP x64 Edition - 2 languages
    • Windows Vista - 36 languages
    • Windows Vista for x64-based Systems - 36 languages
    • Windows Server 2008 - 19 languages
    • Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition - 19 languages
    • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems - 4 languages
    • Windows 7 - 36 languages
    • Windows 7 for x64-based Systems - 36 languages
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 Edition - 19 languages
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems - 4 languages

    DOWNLOAD HERE

  • Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2010 Management Pack for Operations Manager 2007

    This MP monitors Forefront TMG and includes monitors and rules to track the deployed topology & features, performance, availability, and reliability of Forefront TMG components. With detailed alert information, you can quickly identify and troubleshoot Forefront TMG issues, minimizing time-to-resolution when problems occur. You can collect and analyze performance trends and metrics, and obtain performance information that allows you to manage bottlenecks, identify capacity requirements, and proactively manage your Forefront TMG deployment to resolve issues before problems occur.
    Note: Use this management pack to monitor Forefront TMG only. To monitor older versions use:FF TMG


    Feature Summary
    The Management Pack for Forefront TMG provides monitoring for network protection, caching and access scenarios for Forefront TMG. Features included:
    • Topology and feature deployment
    • Events indicating service outages
    • Alerts indicating configuration issues and connected data source changes
    • Verification that all dependant services are running
    • Configuration storage synchronization

    Release History
    • 1/11/2010 - Original release, version 7.0.7695.1

    System Requirement

    Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2008 R2; Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2

    • Other Software
      • Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2010
      • System Center Operations Manager 2007 or System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2

    Instructions

    Downloading the install file
    To download the module

    1. Click on the link to the right, and download the management pack installation module
    2. On the Microsoft System Center Operations Manager server, click on the executable to extract the files into a temporary directory

    Importing a Management Pack Module
    You can import this management pack module using the Microsoft Operations Manager administrative console and following these steps:
    1. Open the Microsoft System Center Operations Manager administrative console
    2. Select the Administration tab (left side tool bar)
    3. Right-click Management packs node and select Import Management Packs option
    4. In the dialog opened, click the “Add” button and select Microsoft.Forefront.TMG.mp file from the path you extracted the files from the module you downloaded before
    5. Once the status is ready to import, click on the Install button.

    Follow the instructions until you have finished importing the management pack module. Additional information can be found in the attached Management Pack Guide file, which is located in the extraction path of the install module.
    DOWNLOAD HERE
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) Management Pack for Operations Manager 2007

    The Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) Management Pack provides monitoring for RAS, VPN and Routing scenarios. This management pack includes monitors and event rules for the RemoteAccess service and the RasMan service. It monitors the service application event log for these services. The events collected from each service indicate critical issues with Remote Access operations during deployment and day to day management.WS08-R2_v_rgb
    Feature Summary
    The Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) Management Pack provides monitoring for varied scenarios for RRAS. Examples include:

    • Automatic notification of events indicating service outages
    • Performance degradation
    • Health monitoring
    • Centralized management
    Release History
    • 8/31/2007 - Initial Release for Operations Manager 2007, version 6.0.5000.0
    • 1/8/2009 - Major Release (English) for Operations Manager 2007, Version 6.1. Please refer to the MP Guide for details.
    • Note: Other localized versions will be available soon

    System Requirements

    • Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2008; Windows Server 2008 R2
    • Other Software: System Center Operations Manager 2007, Windows Server 2008 R2 RRAS

    DOWNLOAD HERE

  • Windows 7 Device Stage Resources

    Windows 7 Device Stage - Working with Your Devices describes Device Stage in Windows 7 and how it can make working with devices easier for yourself, your friends, and your family. Device Stage Frequently Asked Questions answers questions about Device Stage.

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=5976156e-196c-4349-b9d9-1dafcf3e440f

    windows-7-logo

    Device Stage - Working with Your Devices - This topic describes Device Stage in Windows 7 and how it can make working with devices easier for yourself, your friends, and your family.

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=b5639d84-a7a3-438c-b9b0-e185433b4187

    Device Stage Frequently Asked Questions - This topic answers questions about Device Stage in Windows 7, which can make it easier for you to visualize and use your devices, including unique features, information, and services that they provide.

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=2706666e-a941-4ef8-a16f-de884c983e15

  • Deploying Windows 7 from A to Z

    In this article, Jeremy Chapman, a senior product manager at Microsoft, documents the high-level steps for IT professionals to perform an enterprise-scale desktop deployment project—starting with Windows XP and moving to Windows 7.Windows_7_Logo_Wallpaper

    Migrating User Files and Settings from Windows XP to Windows 7

    Application Management and Preparing for a Windows 7 Deployment
    Application Compatibility
    Application Packaging

    Choosing an Image Strategy and Building Windows 7 System Images
    Quick History Lesson for System Imaging
    Building Your Image
    Getting to Thin Images

    Automating the Migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 End-to-End
    Automating the End-to-End Migration Process
    Tricks for More Automation

    DOWNLOAD HERE

  • Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals

    The Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals is a Microsoft Office Excel-based spreadsheet listing software applications which have met Windows 7 Logo Program testing requirements for compatibility with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7,windows-7-logo and have thereby earned the right to display the Windows 7 Logo Program logo with the application. These products are identified with the compatibility status “Compatible – Windows 7 Logo.”
    Additionally, this list includes applications with the following compatibility statuses: “Compatible,” “Free Update Required,” “Paid Update Required,” “Future Compatibility,” and “Not Compatible.” These statuses are based upon the software publishers’ statements of compatibility. These products have not met the Windows 7 Logo Program testing requirements. For an explanation of the various compatibility statuses, please see the Release Notes for the Windows 7 Application Compatibility List.
    For the latest collection of compatible applications and hardware devices, please visit the Windows 7 Compatibility Center. You can also leave feedback on compatibility and suggest new products to get added in future reports.


    Additional Information

    The following Microsoft sites contain related information:
    Windows 7


    Windows Vista

    DOWNLOAD HERE

  • Silverlight Client for Facebook is now live !!!

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    Visit here to experience the same http://www.silverlight.net/content/samples/apps/facebookclient/

    The requirement is Silverlight 4 Beta for this app.