Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

April, 2010

  • TechNet Wiki Pick for the Week: How to Deploy Windows 7 from a USB Drive

    ninja - lego Each week I will be selecting an article from the TechNet Wiki.  I will be looking for articles I think are interesting and relevant to the issues around us.  Windows 7 deployment conversations are at an all time high right now.  With the Office 2010 launch just around the corner, the air cover will get deafening. 

    With that in mind, I decided to select an article about deploying Windows 7 via a USB stick.  Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the article.  It isn’t the most comprehensive article on the subject.  It doesn’t provide all of the possible ways to do the deployment.  That’s why I selected the article.  It’s ripe for improvement.  Hint: take a look at the WAIK or the MDT.

    “It is possible to copy Windows 7 images to a USB flash drive and install Windows 7 onto a PC from it. This also applies to Server 2008 R2.

    The simplest method is to copy the DVD files or extract an official ISO. It is also possible to use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) to customize an image and deploy this via USB drive.

    End users could use Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. Please ensure that the USB flash drive has a minimum capacity of 4GB.”

    The remainder of the article is presented in full at

    Challenge:  There are other ways to create a USB stick that allows you to install Windows 7 from it.  Update the article on how to deploy either the x86 or x64 versions of Windows 7 from the same USB stick.  Now that’s kewl.  That’s the Wiki Ninja way.

  • The Last Mile – Deploying Windows 7 in the Enterprise

    windows7rc_bloglogo Tomorrow, April 29th, 9:00 am PST, don’t forget to join Mark Russinovich, customer IT pros, and Microsoft experts as they discuss the process of planning, testing, assessing and rolling out Windows 7 in an enterprise organization.   Broadcast live on the web at 9am, the open and candid panel discussion will cover key insights, dispel myths and uncover the real story around technical adoption of Windows technologies.

    Access the VRT live at:

    Follow the VRT on Twitter @MSSpringboard

    Missed a previous Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable? Gain insight, tips, and tricks from Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich, industry experts, and IT professionals from around the world from these recordings:

  • This should rattle your skull

    I’d love to try this headphone set with a good game that includes positional sound like Halo.  Maybe some righteous Linkin Park, too. Psyko Audio Labs is rocking some new skull candy and these babies have some interesting tech.

  • Orianthi and Steve Vai rock out

  • Office 2010 RTM’s – coming soon to the download areas

    ofc-brand_h_rgb From the Office Engineering blog,

    “Since the start of our public beta in November 2009, we’ve had more than 7.5 million people download the beta version – that’s more than 3 times the number of 2007 beta downloads! The feedback that we’ve received from all these programs has shaped the set of products we’re excited about, and that I’m sure will delight our customers.”

    Read more about the RTM announcement at including the dates we expect to have the bits on the volume licensing download centers.  I was under the impression it was coming sooner (this week) to the TechNet and MSDN download centers.  I guess we’ll see.  I’m ready!!!

  • The System Center Team RTM’s DPM 2010 and Essentials 2010


    The products keep rolling out and thankfully so does protection for your servers whether they are physical or virtual.  The System Center Data Protection Manager team announced RTM for DPM 2010.  Be sure to head over to fellow Texan Jason Buffington’s blog at to read all about it.  His blog name cracks me up.

    Interested in kicking the tires for System Center Data Protection Manager 2010?  Head on over to and grab the RTM evaluation.  Enjoy!

  • Microsoft TechNet Wiki has launched !!!

    wiki As you’ll recall in February and March we launched a number of very visible changes to the de facto IT Pro portal,  We also soft launched the Beta of the TechNet Wiki but I was under a gag order and not allowed to blog, tweet, or otherwise evangelize the project.  The gag order is now off.  Tweet tweet.

    The Wiki is for real now and the link is right off the top navigation bar of the US TechNet homepage. That link goes to

    There are a number of things I’d like you to consider about the Wiki.  First, this is a Community platform service.  It’s from us to you, and from you to everyone else if you choose to participate in that manner.  So this new platform feature is VERY community oriented.  Jump in!

    Second, we are just getting started.  We’ll keep the Beta label on the Wiki area for a little while in order to continue to shake down the software and features, as well as listen to feedback from the community.  Your feedback drives the next round of changes.

    Third, you don’t have to write an entire article or whitepaper to contribute.  I fall into that category of fear. It’s unfounded.  You can participate in small but powerful ways.  The cool thing about the Wiki is that you can publish instantly and contribute a wide variety of media types.  We’re trusting you’ll do the right thing.

    Interview with some Wiki Ninjas

    Here are some thoughts from a couple of guys who have been deeply involved in the TechNet Wiki project.  Tony Soper is a Senior Technical writer and has been with Microsoft for ten years in a variety of interesting roles.  Eric Battalio is a Senior Program Manager in our Cloud Services group and joined Microsoft five years ago.   

    I sat with them a couple of weeks ago and captured about ninety minutes of footage.  Here’s Part 1 and is about 15 minutes in length. I actually started talking with Tony first, then Eric joined us earlier than expected.  So part of the discussion with Tony got cut in favor of time.  I also cut introductions and some other stuff.  I’ll do better in the future on that.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight
    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    Contribute boldly, edit gently

  • Microsoft Security Compliance Manager – now available

    windows7rc_bloglogo Take advantage of the experience of Microsoft security professionals, and reduce the time and money required to harden your environment. This end-to-end Solution Accelerator will help you plan, deploy, operate, and manage your security baselines for Windows® client and server operating systems, and Microsoft applications.

    Access the complete database of Microsoft recommended security settings, customize your baselines, and then choose from multiple formats—including XLS, Group Policy objects (GPOs), Desired Configuration Management (DCM) packs, or Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP)—to export the baselines to your environment to automate the security baseline deployment and compliance verification process. Use the Security Compliance Manager to achieve a secure, reliable, and centralized IT environment that will help you better balance your organization’s needs for security and functionality.

    Key Features & Benefits

    • Centralized Management and Baseline Portfolio: The centralized management console of the Security Compliance Manager provides you with a unified, end-to-end user experience to plan, customize, and export security baselines. The tool gives you full access to a complete portfolio of recommended baselines for Windows® client and server operating systems, and Microsoft applications. The Security Compliance Manager also enables you to quickly update the latest Microsoft baseline releases and take advantage of baseline version control.
    • Security Baseline Customization: Customizing, comparing, merging, and reviewing your baselines just got easier. Now you can use the new customization capabilities of the Security Compliance Manager to duplicate any of the recommended baselines from Microsoft—for Windows client and server operating systems, and Microsoft applications—and quickly modify security settings to meet the standards of your organization’s environment.
    • Multiple Export Capabilities: Export baselines in formats like XLS, Group Policy objects (GPOs), Desired Configuration Management (DCM) packs, or Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) to enable automation of deployment and monitoring baseline compliance.

    Go get it @

  • Visual Studio 2010 Now Available !!!


    You might have noticed today we announced the availability of Visual Studio 2010. The bits were made available this morning for MSDN subscribers.  I would imagine the download center is slightly busy right now. Enjoy!

  • Microsoft KIN Phones Announced


    See for features, specs and availability. Interesting new devices. My wife asked me when the matching Barbie phone comes out.  Sigh…

  • Dashboards everywhere! See the SCCM and APP-V dashboards

    Wow!  Someone on the Solutions Accelerator team has been busy.  Let me call your attention to a couple of interesting dashboards.  First up is the System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 Dashboard that was just released. 

    • Actionable information out of the box. The dashboard comes with a wide range of valuable, built-in reports that IT managers can access without using the Configuration Manager console.
    • Centralized, near-real-time access to key information. The graphical dashboard lets customers view any Configuration Manager data set in near-real time—without leaving their desk.
    • Easy to build and configure. The dashboard’s wizard-based tools let customers easily create new dashboards in minutes.
    • Easy to customize. The dashboard can easily be customized to meet the needs of different departments and other groups. Any data set in the Configuration Manager database can be presented on the dashboard, in chart, gauge, and table formats.
    • Flexible & interactive. Users can easily filter data and create ad hoc, custom views. Filters allow users to quickly drill down from high-level to more specific data.

    Go get it @

    And if you are more interested in application virtualization, the same team has a APP-V dashboard in beta. The Application Virtualization Dashboard is designed to work with an existing Application Virtualization 4.5 or 4.6 infrastructure. The Dashboard queries the Application Virtualization database and uses the resulting data set to present key infrastructure metrics in a graphical format.

    The Application Virtualization Dashboard uses SharePoint Web parts to manage and display data sets:

    • Microsoft Dashboard Configuration Web Part. Use this Web part to create and modify the SQL queries that produce the data sets and the other properties that govern how the Dashboard displays the data sets.
    • Microsoft Dashboard Viewer Web Part. Use this Web part to display the data sets. A Dashboard Viewer Web Part displays one data set at a time. The Application Virtualization Dashboard can contain multiple copies of the Dashboard Viewer Web Part at once, each copy displaying a different data set.

    The App-V dashboard is now in beta release. Want to get an advance look at the dashboard, and a chance to provide feedback so it best meets your needs?

    Join the beta programYou can also send your enquires about this Solution Accelerator to

  • Want a new TechNet Subscription? Save 25% with TNITQ406

    If you are looking to purchase a new TechNet subscription, you might as well get a discount.  Twenty five percent off is a pretty good deal.  Matt Hester has all the gory details of the offer on his blog.  Enjoy!

  • Registered for the Office 2010 launch events? Go for it!


    See or click the pic.