Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

October, 2009

  • DNSSEC Security Guide – update now available

    ws2008 r2 blog logo DNSSEC is a suite of extensions that add security to the DNS protocol. The core DNSSEC extensions are specified by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in RFCs 4033, 4034, and 4035, with additional RFCs providing supporting information. This guide provides detailed procedures and conceptual information to help you deploy Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in your organization using Windows Server® 2008 R2.

    DNSSEC is an important new feature that provides the ability for DNS servers and clients to trust DNS responses. This adds an additional layer of protection to your network by guaranteeing that the information received from a DNS server has not been modified or tampered with in any way.

    The guide also provides information about using the Name Resolution Policy Table (NRPT). The NRPT is a new feature available in Windows Server 2008 R2 that allows you to configure DNS client settings and special behavior for specified names or namespaces. The NRPT is a key component used to configure client settings for DNSSEC-protected zones.

    Get the updated guide @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=7a005a14-f740-4689-8c43-9952b5c3d36f.

  • Windows XP and Windows 7 Migration and Coexistence

    windows7rc_bloglogo What do you need to consider when making the move to Windows 7?  If you are running Windows XP there are a number of items to worry about.  How do you migrate applications, personal data, etc.? 

    We often focus our attention on the enterprise tools, but I thought it made sense for this article to focus on a single machine upgrade using a consumer point of view. There are some things you can and can’t do, so I thought I’d go on a little adventure to see what the road to Windows 7 was like.

    Please note: I am not addressing most of the activation issues I see discussed on the internet. I did however research what we’ve publicly documented and published, and have provided several important references in this article.

    Gathering the Resources

    The first stop on my little adventure was the local OfficeMax.  I stopped by the retail store to purchase Windows 7 Professional Upgrade.  Yes, I actually spent real money and everything.  I know this seems odd, but I like to run the same thing you do and I don’t have upgrade media and keys with my TechNet subscription (which I find odd).

    I decided to setup Windows XP on a fairly state-of-the-art laptop.  The victim in this case was a Lenovo ThinkPad. I could have used my oldest laptop or desktop, but it didn’t seem to make sense to deal with the slower speeds of those machines.  Windows 7 is already installed on my Dell Latitude D820.  I might as well use something newer and faster for testing.

    I wanted to look at the issues associated with migrating to Windows 7 and using Windows Virtual PC XP Mode.  So I constructed some scenarios in my mind and set out to test them.  Some of my conclusions are probably wrong so I look forward to your feedback.

    Moving to 64 Bit Computing

    The version of Windows XP I installed was Professional but it was the 32 bit version.  It’s been a pretty long time since I’ve run Windows XP and hit the usual first issue.  I needed to grab the latest Intel SATA driver for my machines SATA AHCI mode and build a floppy disk for installation.  Brings back old memories.  Good old F6 at install time.  Glad that feature is now history.

    The rest of the Windows XP install was easy enough.  I installed the integrated version of Windows XP and SP3 so updating it after that wasn’t too bad.  After I had the OS all ship shape, I proceeded to install a wide variety of applications and data.  I installed some old apps like Dreamweaver 8, and some new applications like Office 2010.  I installed some printers and copied my personal data.

    When it was all said and done, I had a nice little Windows XP machine with a smattering of applications, connected printers, and user data.  The next step was of course to backup my work.  You never know how many iterations of testing you might go through so taking “snapshots” of your work along the way is smart.  In order to do that, I purchased Acronis True Image Home 2010.  Man, I really like that product.  Yes, I purchased it with my own money.  I’ve used Ghost for years but I’m really liking the Acronis product now.

    So the question is, “Can I upgrade from Windows XP Pro x86 to Windows 7 Pro x64?”  The answer is of course yes and no.  To the best of my knowledge, we have never supported a cross architecture in-place upgrade (x86 –> x64).  And it can’t be done with Windows 7.  We also don’t support upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 even on the same architecture.  So what do you do?

    Windows Easy Transfer (WET)

    Before we get to the meat of the upgrade/install process, you should consider how you plan to move personal preferences, documents, music, pictures, favorites, etc.  Be sure to check out some of the steps the Windows Client team documented.  In my case, I skipped some of the upgrade checks and downloaded the latest and greatest transfer tool.

    Head on over to http://windows.microsoft.com/windows-easy-transfer.  There are 32 and 64 bit versions for Windows XP and Windows Vista.  A word of warning here.  The version for Windows XP only gathers and creates the .MIG file.  In other words, you cannot use this tool to transfer this data into a Windows XP Mode virtual machine.  It does however migrate data to Windows 7 VERY nicely.  The user interface lets to pick and choose what to backup and restore at a very granular level.

    If you plan to migrate data from Windows XP to a XP Mode virtual machine, you must use the Windows XP Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.  The problem with using this tool is that it is an all or nothing proposition.  You cannot pick and choose what is restored.  I have a better recommendation below for XP Mode use.

    custom Custom Installation

    When I did my Windows 7 Pro x64 Upgrade media install, I was offered two different choices by the setup program.  They aren’t overt choices but they are there.  The first is to install on the same disk and partition as the current installation of Windows XP.  If you do this, Windows XP, all of the apps, and all of the user data will be moved to a subdirectory called windows.old.

    Keep in mind you are going to need a considerable amount of free disk space for all of this to occur.  In my case I am using a 250GB laptop drive and the Windows XP install, apps and data are only consuming about 35GB.  So I had plenty of available disk space.  The end result is pretty interesting for a couple of reasons.

    First, grabbing your personal data from windows.old is fast and easy.  You can easily move your docs, pictures, music, etc. via cut and paste.  Since it’s all on the same drive, the move is nearly instant.  No waiting around for a wizard to pull the data out of a proprietary file format.

    Second, when you delete windows.old you are left with nothing but Windows 7 and and personal data you decided to grab.  This is effectively a clean install at that point and because you did this in the supported way we expect, you should not hit any issues with the upgrade key activation.

    I highly recommend using the windows.old method of custom installation because this seems to be the safe and effective approach.  You still have to install your desired applications into Windows 7, but look at the bright side.  You are starting off with a nice clean system and you can carefully evaluate which applications you really need.  We’ll talk about some application compatibility issues in a minute.

    The other choice when using the Custom Installation option is to wipe the hard drive.  This involves formatting the drive and is obviously a destructive process.  You had better make sure you have working backups and copies of your data before going down this path.  See this article for the proper procedure.  See the Windows 7 Troubleshooting and Help area for other topics.  And by all means contact our support organization if you managed to get painted into a corner and need help.

    xp mode Application Compatibility and XP Mode

    An amazing number of tools and articles have already been written about how to move applications from Windows XP to Windows Vista and now Windows 7.  I am not going to go into all of that here because the topic is large and has already been covered in detail.  I would however like to mention something new.

    We added some new capabilities to Windows 7 via a free download called Windows Virtual PC.  Windows Virtual PC lets you run a special Windows XP virtual machine that is tightly integrated with the Windows 7 desktop.

    XP Mode will run a couple of ways.  As you can see at right, you can run the virtual machine windowed on the Windows 7 desktop.  You can also run applications that are executing in the vm but appear as if they are running native to the Windows 7 desktop.

    When I first installed the XP Mode vm, I intended to use the Windows Easy Transfer wizard to migrate some settings from the original Windows XP environment of the physical machine to the virtual machine.  I learned the hard way this is not possible.  Thank heavens for taking backup snapshots along the way.  I then tried to use the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard but that wasn’t an ideal solution either.  It wanted to dump everything into the virtual machine and that IS NOT the intention of the vm.

    Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode are intended to provide that last resort capability for one or two applications that simply won’t run otherwise.  It is not intended to be your production environment.  Therefore you should not need to use WET or the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to migrate data to the XP Mode vm.  Use it for the one or two apps you require, but use Windows 7 for everything else.

    Dual Boot

    You can of course dual boot Windows 7 with another operating system.  This is also referred to as multiboot.  There are a number of methods to doing this and just for fun I decided to create a multiboot environment where Windows XP is on the original disk partition with Windows 7.

    As you might have guessed, I installed Windows 7 using a native-boot VHD thus creating a multiboot environment.  That worked but keep in mind this is totally an unsupported configuration.  Let me repeat that.  As far as I can tell, we do not support a multiboot environment where Windows 7 is deployed like this.  If you want to learn how to do this, see the references below. 

    Summary

    Moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 can be very easy.  I realize I only touched lightly on the application compatibility topic, but as I mentioned above, there are many articles on how to solve app compat issues.  Many of those issues have already been solved by our partners and independent software developers.

    As you can see above, there are a number of approaches to migrating or coexisting with Windows 7 and Windows XP.  I only looked at a single machine over the course of a couple of days.  For those of you supporting multiple machines, we do of course have a strong set of tools to help you assess your environment, automate the upgrades, and deploy Windows 7.  I’ll be writing more about the enterprise tools, but I thought you might enjoy the consumer tasks and tools first.

    Screencasts

    I actually recorded several screencasts during the research for this blog post.  In the end, I decided not to publish them.  The primary reason is because I felt the tools and techniques are pretty easy to understand.  That and my flabber was gasted when I learned the WET tool could not be used in the XP Mode virtual machine.  At that point it became apparent I had the wrong approach to XP Mode and simplified the tasks you might consider.  Feedback is welcome.

    Other Information and References

  • New Efficiency Microsoft Launch Event Live from San Diego today !!!

    Experience The New Efficiency Microsoft Launch Event Live from San Diego October 26th Virtually!
    View and download 18 IT Professional and Developer focused live sessions from San Diego starting at 9am PDT October 26th. Focusing on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Exchange Server 2010, you can listen to Microsoft experts, download valuable resources and explore the live launch event "virtually".

    Head on over to http://www.thenewefficiency.com/live.  It’s taking place right now.  Keep in mind the times at the site are Pacific time.

  • The Engadget Show with guest Steve Ballmer - now available for viewing

    This is a pretty interesting show.  Josh interviews Steve Ballmer about Microsoft and the projects we are working on.  I’ve only watched the first 10 minutes but I thought you might enjoy it so here’s the embedded player and video.

  • Linus Torvalds gives Microsoft Windows 7 a thumbs up!

    linus

    Linux OS inventor Linus Torvalds takes time to promote his favorite operating system.  ROFL !!!  Sourced from picasaweb.

  • Windows 7 Product Guide – now available for downloading

    image The Windows 7 Product Guide provides a detailed look at the many new and improved features in Windows 7. The guide is designed as an accurate source of information that can help you to understand how Windows 7 Simplifies Everyday Tasks, Works the Way You Want, and Makes New Things Possible.

    The guide is also designed to provide IT Professionals with information about how to Make People Productive Anywhere, Manage Risk Through Enhanced Security and Control, and Reduce Costs by Streamlining PC Management.

    This is not a help and how to guide. Rather, it provides an overview of the many exciting features in Windows 7 and pointers to more information.

    The Windows 7 Product Guide is available in both XPS and PDF formats.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=b3c68ec2-e726-4830-ac89-31c71d6be5f3.

    This is the definitive guide on the features.  Please think twice before you print it.  This will make for an excellent reference to keep online.

  • Buy Windows 7 via download now !!!

    image

    If you’ve got a netbook or a machine without a DVD drive, you may be wondering how you can upgrade to Windows 7. We’ve got your answer.

    The Microsoft Store is the only place where you can buy a downloadable version of Windows 7. Download Windows 7 directly onto a USB drive on your netbook – no CD or DVD drive necessary – and start taking advantage of the best Windows yet. Improved design, better interaction with your devices, and easier switching between programs are just some of the reasons why Windows 7 is the operating system that will make your netbook shine.

    Order your Windows 7 today
    Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade
    Windows 7 Professional Upgrade
    Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade

  • Windows 7 Virtual PC and XP Mode RTM - now available for download

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    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx.

  • Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 – now available for download. No really!!!

    image

    Someone named “a real developer” pointed out earlier this week that in my excitement to learn we had a new milestone available, that my blog post pointed to an old release.  So I nuked that blog post.  Here’s the updated and corrected version.  Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/en-us/try/default.mspx#download.

  • Using Hyper-V without re-installing your world

    Question:  I need to run a hyper-v virtual machine but Windows 7 is my production operating system.  Do I need to re-build my machine?

    Answer: Absolutely not.

    If you are running Windows 7 today, there’s no reason to tear down your machine, re-partition your drive, and reinstall your world.  Instead, you can simply install Windows Server 2008 R2 into a .VHD file and make it bootable.  After that is accomplished you can choose the OS you want when you power up your machine.  The following steps are the simplest way (currently) to do this.  It really doesn’t get any simpler.

    Implement Windows Server 2008 R2 the Easy Way

    1. Install Windows 7.  I’m assuming you have already done this and it’s your normal work environment.  You are going to need the Windows Server 2008 R2 bootable installation disk later in these steps.  If you haven’t done so already, download the .ISO from the products servers or the download area of MDSN or TechNet (subscriber area).

    2. Do a full backup of your system.  We aren’t anticipating any issues but you never know.  You can create a Full System Image in Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate.  This is an exact clone of your hard drive.  To create the backup, go to Control panel | System and Security | Back up your Computer.  You’ll see “Create a system image” in the task list on the top left corner of the screen.

    3. Launch the Win 7 Computer Management console.  This can be accomplished from the Administrator Tools or by right mouse clicking Computer and selecting the Management menu item.

    4. Click Disk Management

    5. Click the Action menu and select Create VHD as shown in the screenshot below.

    clip_image001

    6. You will be presented with the following dialog box.  As you can see, I am creating a 30GB dynamic .VHD on drive C:. The assumption here is that C: is not BitLockered.  When using BitLocker, the .VHD must reside on an unencrypted partition or drive.  Since I routinely use drive D: for storage, this doesn’t present a problem for me.  If you only have a single disk and plan to use BitLocker, you must create a partition to store the unencrypted bootable VHD’s.  For now, we’ll assume BitLocker is not used.

    Drive C must always have 30GB of free space whenever I boot the R2 .VHD because it will be fully expanded at boot.  I may only be using 12GB of the 30GB, but all 30 must be there or you can expect a BSOD.  I normally create my bootable .VHD’s on a high capacity drive in the multibay of my laptop.  The target subdirectory must already exist.

    clip_image002

    7. You’ll notice when you click OK, the Microsoft VHD HBA driver is installed and the .VHD is created.  It’ll be about 62KB in size initially.

    8. Right mouse click the newly created disk in the disk management console and select Initialize as shown below.

    clip_image003

    9. After you init the disk, right mouse click the unallocated space and create a simple volume.  Quick format the entire 30GB as NTFS.  You are nearly ready to install Windows Server 2008 R2 at this point.

    10. Place the Windows Server 2008 R2 installations DVD in your CD/DVD drive and reboot your machine.

    11. When prompted, hit enter to boot from the install DVD.

    12. Click the Install Now button in setup to proceed.

    13. Select Enterprise (Full Installation) from the SKU selector.

    14. Accept the EULA.

    15. Click the Custom Installation button.

    16. Proceed in the R2 setup program until you get to the dialog box where you select the target disk and partition.  You’ll notice we do not see the .VHD file we created. Shell out to the command line via the SHIFT+F10 shortcut key sequence.

    17. Enter DISKPART to launch the disk and partitioning utility.

    18. Enter SELECT VDISK FILE=C:\R2\WS2008R2.vhd. 

    19. Enter ATTACH VDISK

    20. At this point you can click refresh on the drive listings and the VHD will be available as the target of the install.  Select the VHD and click next to proceed with the install.  You can ignore the warning about installing Windows to the VHD target.

    That’s it.  After Windows Server 2008 R2 installs, you’ll have a dual boot system.  You will of course need to install the Hyper-V role, learn how to create or import virtual machines, and do other tasks in the operating system but this should get you well on your way.  And you didn’t need to re-install your entire world to do this.

    [Note]  As I have previously indicated on other blogs posts, this installation method is technically unsupported.  In fact, the steps above have been covered before. I sent the information above to a couple of internal email distribution lists because some of our developers have not used Hyper-V and I wanted to give them the condensed, short form of the information.

  • Windows 7 Launch Events – registration is open again in some cities

    image

    The logistics team for the launch events has opened up registration again on some of the remaining event locations and dates. REGISTER NOW before things fill back up.  It can happen in seconds so don’t delay.  Go to http://www.microsoft.com/business/thenewefficiency/default.aspx or click the pic above.

  • BFG Technologies jumps into the laptop race

    My favorite video card maker is now making laptops.  Then again I’m not sure I would classify their machine a laptop.  You aren’t going to site around on the couch with the18.4” LCD screen Deimos X-10 on your lap.  Check out just part of the specs below:

    image

    Get the rest of the details at http://www.bfgsystems.com/deimos/index.html.

  • BranchCache Deployment Guide for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

    BranchCache is a wide area network (WAN) bandwidth optimization technology that is included in some editions of the Windows Server® 2008 R2 and Windows® 7 operating systems. To optimize WAN bandwidth, BranchCache copies content from your main office content servers and caches the content at branch office locations, allowing client computers at branch offices to access the content locally rather than over the WAN. This deployment guide provides instructions on deploying BranchCache in both distributed cache mode and hosted cache mode, and allows you to deploy Hypertext Transfer protocol (HHTP), Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), and Server Message Block (SMB)-based content servers that are Web servers, application servers, and file servers, respectively.

    This deployment guide provides instructions on deploying BranchCache in both distributed cache mode and hosted cache mode, and allows you to deploy Hypertext Transfer protocol (HHTP), Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), and Server Message Block (SMB)-based content servers that are Web servers, application servers, and file servers, respectively.

    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=4b14f942-b488-4f51-99e1-c4c8834b750e.

  • IIS Media Services 3.0 – now available for download

    IIS Media Services 3.0 is a set of media-related extensions for Internet Information Services (IIS) 7. IIS Media Services provides an integrated HTTP-based media delivery platform, and includes:

    • Smooth Streaming, adaptive streaming of media over HTTP
    • Live Smooth Streaming, for live adaptive streaming of broadcast events
    • Bit Rate Throttling, meters the speed that media is delivered to a player
    • Web Playlists, secure sequencing of media content You can also download two additional IIS extensions related to IIS Media Services 3.0.
    • Advanced Logging, with real-time client- and server-side logging
    • Application Request Routing (ARR), providing HTTP proxying and caching

    Get the x86 version @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=dc4e95b0-e4de-456e-8254-a5047eabcd01.

    Get the x64 version @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=21c12a04-7e36-4b63-b4ef-eedb6273cf54.

  • Smooth Streaming Deployment Guide – now available

    Smooth Streaming is the Microsoft implementation of adaptive streaming technology, which is a form of Web-based media content delivery that uses standard HTTP. Instead of delivering media as full-file downloads, or as persistent (and thus stateful) streams, the content is delivered to clients as a series of MPEG-4 (MP4) fragments that can be cached at edge servers.

    Smooth Streaming-compatible clients use special heuristics to dynamically monitor current network and local PC conditions and seamlessly switch the video quality of the Smooth Streaming presentation that they receive. As a result, users experience the highest-quality playback available, with no interruptions in the stream.

    As a content producer, you can encode on-demand Smooth Streaming video using Microsoft Expression Encoder 3 (encoding of live Smooth Streams is currently not supported). As a content provider, you can use IIS Media Services to serve the encoded Smooth Streams. And as a content consumer, you can play the Smooth Streams using a Smooth Streaming-compatible client, such as Microsoft Silverlight. This document discusses the Microsoft implementation for delivering a full Smooth Streaming experience.

    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=b3752c16-b213-4a30-a54d-1a0491d45ea7.

  • The Real Intel Geek Rock Star

     

    Be sure to watch this all the way to the end. Grin.

  • Discounted TechNet Plus Subscription – promo code TMSAM07

    banner

    Now is a really good time to purchase the TechNet Plus Direct subscription.  Think about it for a second, Windows 7 is already on the download area.  So is Windows Server 2008 R2.  Exchange 20101 just RTM’d and will be there soon. Office 2010 and many others are on the way.  So what better way to get access to all of the technologies and build a strong project plan?  There isn’t one.

    Oh wait, it gets better.  Use my US TMSAM07 promotion code for a 25% discount off the new subscription price.  The prices in the pic below are the full USD advertised price so expect to see the 25% knocked off the new subscription price in the order cart.

    image

    Ready to order?  Head on over to http://technet.microsoft.com/subscriptions/bb892754.aspx.  Be sure to put in TMSAM07 are the promotion code and watch the price drop to $261.75 USD. Enjoy !!!

  • It’s going to be a fun night

    image

  • The Secret Sony Viao X – now on display

    image Sony has done a remarkable job keeping the new X Series laptop under wraps.  I managed to see some video of one a few weeks ago and it looks like a remarkable little machine.  The key word here is little. 

    The Sony Vaio X is only .5 inches thick.  In fact, it will fit inside a MacBook Air shell.  That’s small.

    The major criticism of the machine I’ve seen so far is that the CPU is an Intel Atom processor which most of the netbooks are based on. 

    Since I don’t have a netbook, I don’t know if this is a fair criticism or not.  I know if I were paying a premium, I would probably want something like the Atom 330 Dual Core in the package.

    There’s a lot to like in this machine and I’m sure it will be a popular device for road warriors that really don’t need a lot of horsepower.  Now if someone will just stuff an Intel i7 quad processor in this baby, I’m all in.

    In the meantime, check out the full details on the Sony.com website.  The price for entry starts at $1299. You just need to decide if you want gold or black.

  • New Dallas IT Pro User Group formed – join in the fun

    Speech Title: Windows 7! Tip, Tricks, and everything else you wanted to know

    Topic Description: Windows 7! Tip, Tricks, and everything else you wanted to know.  Demos, Demos, Demos not slides and more slides. Come get your questions on Windows 7 answered!  Do you know how to upgrade from XP to Windows 7?  What are the new security features of Windows 7? Why upgrade now?  What is the difference between the different versions, and do I need 64 or 32 bit versions?  Do I need to buy a new PC for it, or will it run OK, or great on my X year old machine?  What is this Direct Access and Branch Cache stuff all about, how do I configure it?   What minimum memory configuration do you recommend with Windows 7?  Can I run Windows 7 in a virtualize environment? Boot to VHD, huh?

    Location
    Microsoft's Las Colinas Office
    LC1 Building (Right Tower)
    7000 State Highway 161, Irving, TX

    Speaker: John Weston
    Some may call John a geek. He prefers the term “technologist.” Truth is, John began working with computer games before PCs even hit the scene – and he’s probably got a dusty prototype stashed somewhere to prove it. He’s a fourth generation educator who loves to help people learn new technologies and relishes that magic moment when the light comes on in their eyes. Before joining Microsoft full time, he spent six years as an MCT, training people at a local college and getting new Microsoft hires up to speed. John holds more certifications than he can remember, but the list definitely includes MCSE, MCDBA, MCT, and CCNA. His favorite technology is SQL and he gets a special thrill from solving customers’ problems. For John, there’s nothing like coaxing people from panic to joy when a server goes down and he can help get the business back up on line. When he’s not working, John can usually be found sailing around Texas with his kids

    Cost: Free but please RSVP to help predict the amount of food needed.
    RSVP: http://events.linkedin.com/DFW-Pro-User-Group-October-20th-Meeting/pub/133990
    Agenda:
    6-6:30: Dinner and Networking
    6:30-7:00: Announcements, and Business meeting
    7 to 8:30: Presentation and wrap up

    Give a ways: Books, Software, Shirts and more

    Website: www.dfwitprofessionals.com

    [NOTE] If you want to create a new IT Pro User Group in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, or Arkansas, please contact me or John.

  • TechNet Azure webcast - now available for viewing

    In Q1 we did a number of events in the Central Region of the US on the topic of Azure.  Budgets being what they are these days, we can’t go everywhere but fear not, we recorded the sessions from the Nashville, TN event.  Here are the links to those recordings.  You can watch the streaming version or download for offline viewing. 

    Since we also delivered a develop focused version in the afternoon of the event, I also included the link below to the MSDN session.

    TechNet Events Presents: Real World Azure – Live Meeting

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032428582&EventCategory=3&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US

    MSDN Events Presents: Real World Azure - Live Meeting

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032428630&EventCategory=3&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US

    Here's the Silverlight streaming version of this webcast.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight
    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    If you have questions, Brian Prince is one of the subject matter experts on this topic in the DPE Central Region.  You can reach him very easily at http://www.brianhprince.com/.

  • Windows phone and Windows Mobile 6.5 Launches !!!

    imageThe next wave of Windows Mobile devices are now ready for your consideration.  I am so glad we have hit this milestone because there are a number of new and interesting devices on the market, effective today.  Head on over to http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone for the latest information on the devices in your area.  And be sure to check out http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2009/oct09/10-06WinMo65.mspx when you get time.  The phone I am considering for my next device is pictured above.  There is no keyboard so I’d have to get used to deleting email from the touch screen.  Grin.

    Want more information?  Check out this video…

  • DirectAccess Design Guide – now available for download

    DirectAccess is one of the most anticipated features of the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. DirectAccess allows remote users to securely access intranet shares, Web sites, and applications without connecting to a virtual private network (VPN). DirectAccess establishes bi-directional connectivity with a user’s intranet every time a user’s DirectAccess-enabled portable computer connects to the Internet, even before the user logs on. Users never have to think about connecting to the intranet, and information technology (IT) administrators can manage remote computers outside the office, even when the computers are not connected to the VPN. DirectAccess is supported by Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

    The following are the key elements of a DirectAccess solution:

    • DirectAccess client - A domain-joined computer running Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate, or Windows Server 2008 R2 that can automatically and transparently connect to an intranet through a DirectAccess server.
    • DirectAccess server - A domain-joined computer running Windows Server 2008 R2 that accepts connections from DirectAccess clients and facilitates communication with intranet resources.
    • Network location server - A server that a DirectAccess client uses to determine whether it is located on the intranet or the Internet.
    • Certificate revocation list (CRL) distribution points - Servers that provide access to the CRL that is published by the certification authority (CA) issuing certificates for DirectAccess.

    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=647222d1-a41e-4cdb-ba34-f057fbc7198f.

  • Is the HP Envy the Mac killer?

    Apple has enjoyed a tremendous amount of mindshare and market share the past few years.  Many people think they are the innovation leaders and their stock price reflects that.  But there are a number of companies that have had Apple in their sights for quite some time and the market is getting ready to shift.

    Windows 7 is getting ready to ship.  It’s a good OS. Maybe great.  But it is made better by the quality hardware products that run it, or the applications that run on it.  We all know this.  The Microsoft partner channel is critical to the success of Windows.  The laptop market is getting ready to go white hot again.  I’ve been talking with hundreds of customers and nearly everyone I talk to is waiting for a key date, 10/22/2009.  Why?

    Because everyone is waiting to buy a new computer.  Upgrading from Windows XP?  Nope. Buying a new machine with Windows 7 already on it.  Want to see a machine on my short list?  Look no further.

    HP Envy

    HP is pretty cocky to name a machine Envy.  But then again HP is doing pretty well and the specs for the Envy look great.  I would trade my ThinkPad today for this machine.  That should not be surprising.  It’s been a loyal servant but it’s 2.5 years old and that is getting ready to make it positively ancient compared to the crop of new machines coming out.

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    So what’s so hot about the HP Envy?  How about a Quad core processor and up to 16GB of RAM for starters.  And that’s in a slim package. In the picture above you can seeing the Envy all snuggled up to the MacBook Pro.  As you can see, it compares nicely.  Click the link just above or the pic and head on over to the gallery on gizmodo.com.

    Plug in a nice eSATA drive and we are ready to rock Hyper-V virtualization or Hi Def encoding.  The rest of the technical specs are very respectable.  According to a few articles on the internet, the HP Envy 15.6” model starts at $1800.  The 15.4” Apple MacBook Pro starts at $1700 so it would appear we have an interesting horse race here.

    Summary

    So what should you do?  Get a bag of popcorn because the show is getting ready to start.  First up this week are the new Windows Mobile Devices.  After that, there should be a steady parade of laptops and netbooks showing themselves before Black Friday.  Game time.