Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Antispyware (now Windows Defender) beta 2 is LIVE!

    Dang.. this day is just full of good news.

    Here’s another item that just entered my in-box…

    WindowsDefenderB2

    Yes indeed.. we’re releasing Beta 2 today of our Antispyware.  What was formerly known as Microsoft Antispyware is now called Windows Defender.  This is the antispyware tool that will be included with Windows Vista, and also available for XP.  Beta 2 is a free download.

    “What’s new?”

    I’m glad you asked.  Here’s the text straight from the email:

    Improvements in Windows Defender (Beta 2)

    • Enhanced performance through a new scanning engine.
    • Streamlined, simplified user interface and alerts.
    • Improved control over programs on your computer (using enhanced Software Explorer).
    • Multiple language support with globalization and localization features.
    • Protection technologies for all users, even those who do not have administrator rights on the computer.
    • Support for assistive technology for individuals who have physical or cognitive difficulties, impairments, and disabilities.
    • Support for Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.
    • Information about the most recent spyware threats that Microsoft has identified.

    I’m running right over to my kid’s laptop and installing it.  As I’ve said before, my kids make it a regular practice of attempting to install every virus and spyware tool out there. 

  • MOM 2005, Active Directory Management Pack Question

    Lacking any photos of MOM 2005, I have instead included this old photo of “MOM 1963”.

    MOM 1963

    (Yes, that’s really my lovely mother holding sleepy little me.)

    “Cute, Kevin.  But what was the question?”

    Oh yeah.. I received this question in email from Jim:

    Hey Kevin,

    I was watching your webcast on the MOM/ADMP and wanted to ask you a question. 
    A) While deploying ADMP there is a requirement for Agent action account to be a member of "Domain Admins" security group in order to monitor trusts, in other words if you have multiple domains in your forest and you want to monitor inter site trust, you will be required to make this account a DA.  Is that still true, or can I just use the "Local system/net sys(2003)" account for the ADMP agent action account?  What is the recommended procedure?

    Well.. your Action Account will have to have specific rights on many different things, depending on what monitoring script is being used.  In the case of the “AD Monitor Trusts” script, the Action Account will need to be a local administrator on the domain controller that you’re monitoring.  Check out this article for a complete description of all of the scripts in the AD Management Pack, and all of the necessary permissions listed.  It’s lengthy, but I’m sure you’ll find what you need there.  HERE IS THAT ARTICLE.

    Jimmy also asks:

    B) Does MS recommend any specific DR solution for the MOM infrastructure? Would I be able to use SQL log shipping to another warm stand by server in the DR site and make it active in the event the primary goes down?  But this would still require me to build management servers at the DR site …right?

    We have a list of solutions available for MOM 2005 – one of which is a “service continuity solution” that describes how to configure your MOM database to be safe and ready in case of disaster. 

    Here is the solutions link.   

    And here is the link to that specific Service Continuity Solution Accelerator.

    Of course, if you would also like to see that webcast I delivered on this topic, you can find it here.  (Yes, I know the event registration page says that Keith Combs is the presenter, but it really is me.  I filled in for him while he was in Redmond and training on Exchange 12.)

  • Webcast Resources: Storage Management Features in Windows Server 2003 R2

    R2Resources for

    Webcast: Storage Management Features in Windows Server 2003 R2

    Below are resources related to the webcast I delivered on February 17, 2006. 

    To register for and view the webcast, CLICK HERE.

    Use them in good health!

    -Kevin

    TechNet Session ITPROADD-51 – even more resources for this session:
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/ADD-51

    Other related TechNet Content Pages
    Windows Server 2003 R2 Technical Overview :
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/ADD-50
    UNIX Interoperability in Windows Server 2003 R2:
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/ADD-52

    What’s New in Windows Server 2003 R2

    File Server Resource Manager (FSRM)
    http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsServer/en/Library/25257b2a-6d72-4adb-8f43-e3c0d28471d01033.mspx

    Storage Manager for SANs (SMfS)
    http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsServer/en/Library/25257b2a-6d72-4adb-8f43-e3c0d28471d01033.mspx

    Future Live, In-Person Event Information
    TechNet: http://www.technetevents.com

    TechNet Events Bloggers - http://techneteventsbloggers.net
    (Add your blog, or subscribe to IT Pro focused blog postings)

    Microsoft Learning - Training Resources
    http://www.microsoft.com/learning
    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/books/ITPro

    Microsoft TechNet
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet

    TechNet Community Site
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community

    Stress Test 

     

  • Fun Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) Video

    I am in love with IE7.  Even in its beta form.  It truly rocks

    IE 7

    Sean Alexander found and posted a fun commercial / teaser on IE 7 on his blog.

  • NEWSFLASH:Security Product Announcements from Microsoft (ISA Server 2006 Beta, and more!)

    Security

    Microsoft put out a press release today about security products and offerings, in advance of the “biggest week in security” next week, the RSA Conference.

    Here’s the press release.

    To summarize the three big points:

    1. We’re making a beta available of ISA Server 2006.  Here’s the ISA Server 2006 site.  And if you’re like me, the first thing you want to read on any new product is the FAQ page.
    2. We’re releasing early select customer betas of both Microsoft Client Protection and Microsoft Antigen for Exchange.  Microsoft Client Protection is business-class antispyware, antivirus, and attack protection, with an integrated management console that provides centralized management and reporting.  The Antigen suite are the Sybari products we acquired when we purchased Sybari last year.  Now we are coming out with updated, Microsoft-Branded versions of the Antigen for Exchange, Antigen for SMTP Gateways, Antigen Spam Manager, and Antigen Enterprise Manager, and we’re making betas of these available to select customers.
    3. We’ve purchased the DynaComm i:filter, web-filtering product from FutureSoft.  This web filter integrates with ISA Server and is apparently a very powerful, flexible web access filtering tool.  I look forward to learning more about it.  And when I get my big server at home, I’m going to run ISA Server 2006 and the i:filter and really control how my kids surf the Internet.  And they’re going to love me for it. (yeah.. right)

    Do any of you have experience with the i:filter?  Anyone played with ISA Server 2006 yet and want to share your thoughts?  How about Antigen? 

  • The Karaoke Challenge - Kile takes me on!

    Back in August ‘05 I challenged all comers to a “Karaoke Challenge”.  The idea is – If someone comes out to Karaoke with me, and gets a better crowd reaction, then I’ll give them some software. 

    On Thursday of last week at my TechNet Event in St. Louis I mentioned the challenge to my audience.  And at the break a customer (now friend) who will only here be known as “Kile” (and that’s his real name) came up to me during a break and took me up on the challenge!

    He was kind enough to give me the address to the Double D Lounge in Brentwood, where we met later that evening.

    Here’s a photo of the two of us singing “Pretty Woman” (I sang the high harmony over Kile’s Roy Orbison impression.) 

    Click the photo to enlarge.

    Kevin and Kile sing Pretty Woman

    “So Kevin… Did Kile win the software?”

    Well.. we didn’t really compete, because we were just enjoying ourselves and the other “singers”.  I have to confess, though, that he and I were definitely among the best there that evening.  And he has quite a good voice... 

    So… YES!  I’m e-mailing him right now to see what he’d like among a couple of choice Microsoft products.

    Hey Memphis!  Hey Nashville!  Are you up to the challenge?  I’m coming your way in just a couple weeks, so come to our event (click on the links on your city to register), find out where the local Karaoke is that night, and plan on singing with me!

  • Origami - WTF is it really?

    OrigamiThe Origami Project

    There has been a lot of speculation about this little gizmo that Microsoft is coming out with.  Even more details here.

    Here’s a video that hints at what this new, “wearable, ultra-connected” gadget can do.

    This looks really cool.  I like the form factor, and if it’s capable of running Windows Vista and can control my Media Center (when I get one); even better. 

    That folder that holds a keyboard and make it work like a laptop… that’s awesome for those of us who type way faster than we could ever pen something.

    And with 3G network access… Wow. 

    Apparently more news will be forthcoming on Thursday, March 2nd.  (No.. it’s not the product release date.)  Stay tuned.  Heck… subscribe to the RSS feed on that site.

    Oh.. and hopefully the hype doesn’t overshadow what the product will actually do

  • Windows Vista Product Lineup Announcement

    The news is out…

    Vista

    Today Microsoft announced the Windows Vista product lineup; the five flavors of Windows Vista that you’ll be able to purchase.

    For the Home User:

    • Windows Vista Home Basic
    • Windows Vista Home Premium
    • Windows Vista Ultimate

    For Businesses:

    • Windows Vista Business
    • Windows Vista Enterprise

    So, for the home user, Home Basic is just the basic OS for Internet surfing, email, and includes new parental controls.  Home Premium will include tools for digital media enjoyment and management.  Home Premium will include the new version of Windows Media Center also, as well as Tablet PC support and integrated DVD authoring and burning.  And the “Ultimate” will include the best of the business AND home functionality; so you’ll be able to have the mobility and security features of the business versions, with the digital media functions of the home versions.

    On the business side, Windows Vista Business will include most everything a business PC, Laptop, or Tablet needs.  (Yes.. tablet functionality is included in both business versions.  There is no separate “Tablet” version now.)  The Enterprise version will include Windows BitLocker(TM) drive encryption, Virtual PC Express (which is included as an application compatibility solution), and the Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications (SUA) – so you can run UNIX applications unchanged on a Windows Vista Enterprise-based machine.

    Some additional, interesting quotes from the press release:

    All new versions are available for either 32-bit or 64-bit systems, depending on the needs of the customer. Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate and Business will be available as a full-packaged product at retail and on new PCs. Windows Vista Enterprise will be offered only to business customers participating in Microsoft’s Software Assurance program.

    Microsoft also will offer Windows Vista Starter in emerging markets. Windows Vista Starter is designed to empower families and entry-level PC users in these markets to experience the world of social and educational benefits that personal computer technology and the Internet makes possible. A 32-bit operating system designed specifically for lower-cost computers, Windows Vista Starter enables popular beginner PC activities and provides an easy-to-use and more affordable entry point to the Windows Vista family of products.

     

  • Happy Valentine's Day / Update Patch Day!

    Valentine kiss for you!Now show your companies some love and patch those computers!

    Yes, today is that odd alignment of the planets of the good and the annoying (notice I didn’t say ‘bad’). 

    The good: This nice holiday, celebrating love, known as Valentines day.
    The annoying: The regular Second-Tuesday of necessary evil, celebrating love, known as Microsoft Patch Tuesday.

    And today there are seven updates coming out (official launch of these is at 10:00AM pacific time today).  Two are critical and five are important.

    There is also a new Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool that detects and removes several additional known malicious software installations/infestations.

    For details on this as well as all security questions you may have, see the Microsoft Security page at http://www.microsoft.com/security.

    “So Kevin.. what do I do now?”

    Other than making sure your systems are up-to-date, I recommend you go out and by your sweetie some flowers.  And when I say “sweetie”, I’m talking about your system administrator.  He or she needs lovin’, too.

  • We Share Your Pain!

    WeSYP Many of you who have been to our live events recently have seen this great video done by our Microsoft TechNet counterparts in the UK.  And I still marvel at how uncomfortable I feel standing in front of a room or theater full of people who are laughing at the pain that Microsoft employees are dealing with.. but at least you’re being entertained. 

    And it usually isn’t more than a split-second after the video ends when a few people shout, “Where can we get that video?!” and “Is it on the DVD?!”  Well.. I promised I would tell you where to find it to view online, so… Enjoy!

    Just remember: We Share Your Pain

  • We-SYP (We Share Your Pain) Video v1.0

    MauroWe’re showing this video in our events, and it still amazes me at how many of you out there just love the fact that Microsoft employees are getting hurt.  Often, my audiences are laughing right out loud at the plight of these poor folks who just want to “share your pain”.  It’s terrifying being in front of a roomful of such cruel, cruel people!

    Anyway… here is the link to where you can view the video.

    And I hear that there’s a new version coming out….

     

  • Webcast Resources: MOM 2005 Performance and Sizing

    61149_MOMSP1_leftResources for

    Webcast: Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 Performance and Sizing

    Below are resources related to the webcast I delivered on February 13, 2006. 

    To register for and view the webcast, CLICK HERE.

    Use them in good health!

    -Kevin

    Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 home page
    http://www.microsoft.com/mom

    Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 Sizer Tool Download
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=93930640-FA0F-48B3-8EB0-86836A1808DF&displaylang=en

    Systems Center Capacity Planner 2006 Overview
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/systemcenter/evaluation/capacity/default.mspx#EBAA

    TechNet Session ITPROMGT-21, covering planning and deployment of MOM 2005.
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/mgt-21

    TechNet Session ITPROMGT-24 – even more resources for this session:
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/mgt-24

    It's so easy!

     

     

  • Answers to Event Questions - R2 Features

    Busy Busy BusyGreetings!

    This is the first of many long-overdue, promised blog posts containing answers to questions I’ve received at our TechNet Events.

    The first one deals with a general question about Windows Server 2003 R2

    "What are the features of R2 that are different in Standard vs. Enterprise editions of R2?"

    Here's a great feature comparison page that compares all editions of Windows Server.  (Between you and me, I wish they would make these feature comparison pages easier to find for our products.  This one is in an awesome, easy-to-use format.  All of our products need a page like this, and it should be one of the first links you see on the product's home page.  Just my opinion.)

    The differences I see on this page - things in 32bit Enterprise R2 that are not in 32bit Standard R2:

    • ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services)
    • ADFS Proxy
    • Microsoft Identity Integration Server 2003 (MIIS) support
    • Volume Shadow Copy Service: transportable hardware snapshots (only partial support in Standard)
    • 8-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) support
    • 4GB RAM support (Enterprise supports up to 64GB)  …and the story is different for the 64 bit versions of Standard and Enterprise
    • Hot Add Memory
    • Terminal Server Session Directory
    • Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA)

    Otherwise, the cool features we covered in our event around Branch Office Management, Identity Management, and Storage Management are available in both Standard and Enterprise editions.

    And here’s another question – this time about Print Management…

    “Can I set the default printer on workstations after I deploy them using the new R2 Print Management Printer Deployment feature?”

     

    No.. this can’t be done using these new R2 Print Manager.  However, a great suggestion is to use scripting and group policy to make this happen.  This comes from Matt Hester’s blog:

    One way is to create a script with the following commands to set the printer, there is some good information here: http://www.servernewsgroups.net/group/microsoft.public.windows.server.active_directory/topic2766.aspx  The other way to accomplish is to modify the registry of the system you are working with.  Take a look here for the registry locations: http://www.jsifaq.com/SUBB/tip0600/rh0672.htm The great thing about knowing the registry entry is that you can create a custom policy .ADM file to actually accomplish this via group policy.  Take a look here on how to create custom .adm files: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/technologies/management/gp/admtgp.mspx 

    Any more questions?  Enter a comment or contact me here.

  • Windows Live Local Virtual Earth brings you to street level

    Preview Windows Live Local

    Try this out and let them know what you think. 

  • Awesome Windows Vista Voice Recognition Demo

    Mr. Chris Henley posted a new screencast on his blog recently that has all of us (his teammates and friends) quite jealous that we didn’t think to do it first.  <heh> 

    VistaBlg_small2

    You need to see this.  It’s way cool.

  • Mobile Device Emulator for Windows Mobile 5

    Windows MobileI just received an email from one of my event attendees asking me for a pointer to where they can download those cool Windows Mobile device emulators.

    They are included with the SDKs for the version of Windows Mobile you’re interested in.  The most recent version is Windows Mobile 5.  The SDK (including the emulators) is FOUND HERE.

    And within the online SDK documentation, here is the section on the Device Emulator.

  • TechEd 2006 is coming!

    TechEd 2006 - Boston, MA June 11-16, 2006

    Registration is open!

    I hope I’ll be there.  I haven’t missed one since 1998, and I sure don’t want to miss this one!

    And you don’t want to, either.  Believe me, you don’t want to miss out.  And you don’t want to wait too long to register.  Last year it sold out in record time, and this year will probably beat that record.  So sign up while you can!

    And if you sign up before April 14th, you save $200.

    __

    So… if Microsoft won’t send me to TechEd this year, perhaps some of my readers here could pool some money for my registration.  I’ll cover my Airfare and Hotel… I just need $1795.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Sponsor me, and I’ll wear your company T-Shirt all week.  I promise. 

     

  • Exchange Server "12" Preview Webcast Series

    Exchange Admin Guy

    Exchange Server “12” Preview Webcast Series

    The TechNet Webcast team is coming to you this month with four new webcasts to preview the next version of Microsoft Exchange Server. 

    Here are the topics and links to their respective registration pages:

    An Overview of Exchange “12” (Level 200)
    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Giving the Administrator More Control in Exchange “12” (Level 200)
    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Client Access and Web Services in Exchange “12” (Level 200)
    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Message Security and Active Protection in Exchange “12” (Level 200)
    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Also, I’ve been told by the guy in charge of all TechNet Webcasts that anyone who attends all four Exchange “12” Preview webcasts (live or on demand) and submit evaluations by March 31, 2006, will receive a Microsoft travel mug, and they will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a TechNet Plus subscription

  • The Twin Cities are finally has an SBS User Group!

    SBS of MN UGDon, a long-time faithful attendee of our Minneapolis TechNet Events, e-mailed me to let me know that his dream of starting a local Small Business Server Users Group has finally come true.

    The group, “Minnesota’s Small Business Server Users Group”, is having it’s first meeting on Tuesday, February 21st, at 5:00pm.  It will be held at the Microsoft Office in Bloomington.

    Meetings will be scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday of every month.

    Check out their website for details and directions.

    Sadly, as much as I’d like to, I won’t be able to attend the first meeting.  That evening I’ll be in Memphis, having just completed a TechNet Event there.  I’ve got their March 21st meeting on my calendar, though; so I’ll see you then!

  • "Don't leave money on the table!"

    I thought this was a pretty good idea.  Microsoft has created a site just for finding out what the current discounts and special offers are.  So rather than paying more than you should, you can check out the latest ways to save money.

    MicrosoftIncentives.com

    Here’s an example on saving some $$$ on a SQL Server 2005 purchase.

    Example

     

  • Looking for IT Pro Resources for Windows Vista?

    Windows Vista TechNet Resources

    Yes, there is a page that you should bookmark for IT Pro-related resources around Windows Vista right here.

    Unfortunately I don’t see any RSS feeds there.  Personally, I like to know as soon as a new article is available, rather than having to visit the site.  (And let me say it again.. RSS feed support in Internet Explorer 7 ROCKS!)

     

  • Windows OneCare Live - Pricing is announced

    Windows OneCare Live

    Back in May of 2005, Microsoft announced OneCare as “system performance, PC maintenance, data protection and security in easy-to-manage service.”

    Today the pricing is announced.  $49.95 / year.  Starting June 2006 in the U.S.

    “Not bad.”

    It gets better. Do you have more than one PC in your home? 

    “Yes.  My kid got a laptop for Christmas.”

    Many of you do (or did and do now).  How about we let you protect up to 3 PC’s all for that same $49.95?

    “Sweet!”

    I thought so, too.  My boys just love installing Spyware.  I think it’s their next best favorite thing next to the 360.

    Of course, the press has already picked this up in interesting ways… some of course are proud of their own predictions that Microsoft would undercut the pricing of competitors. 

    But why not?  Are we not a business that wants to make money?  (Disclaimer: I’m an unashamed stock-holder and proud employee.  You know that by now if you’ve read much of this blog.) 

    Some recent articles report that some security experts have found holes, but the OneCare team has responded to their claims on their blog (See the January 31st posting, “Firewall and Windows OneCare – a multi-layered defense”).

    Here’s another cool tidbit.  If you’re on the beta, or if you sign-up for the beta before April 30th and you then convert to being a paid subscriber, your first year of service will be only $19.95. 

    “Can I still get the Beta?”

    Yes you can!  Here is the OneCare home page, where you can get more information and sign up for the beta. Try it, and if you like it, you’ll have from April 1st to April 30th to sign up for the discounted price.

    Final thought:
    I really liked this comment on the OneCare blog:

    If you don’t sign up with OneCare, we strongly encourage you to do two things. First, tell us why – we want to know how we can improve.  And second, please be sure to subscribe to someone’s service.  Having up-to-date anti-virus and overall PC care protection is essential to keeping your machine safe and healthy.

    So… try the beta.  Or not.  Just be secure, please.

    What do you think of OneCare?  Too much?  Not enough?  Should they re-think how they trust signed java executables?  Will you try it out?  Is it worth $49.95?  $19.95?

  • Branch Office Support - R2 is cool, but can we do more?

    Tools If you’ve attended or will be attending any of our TechNet Events this quarter, you know that we’re discussing the benefits of Windows Server 2003 R2 – some of which include some great new branch office management features and tools. 

    I just got wind of a live online chat happening on Monday, February 13th, entitled “Branch Office Chat – What Lies Ahead”. 

    Here’s the abstract:

    “We will talk about technology that is coming in Longhorn and will expose some of the inner working of the development cycle, from requirements gathering and how you could influence it to the road that leads to the release of beta1.”

    So it sounds like the team wants to drop some hints about what we’re improving in Longhorn Server, and they would like to get some of your feedback.

    Time and place again:
    Monday, February 13th, 2006.  10:00AM Pacific Time (GMT – 8). 

    Click here on the day and time of the chat to enter:
    www.microsoft.com/technet/community/chats/chatroom.aspx

    I’m putting it on my calendar.

     

  • Check out John Baker in TechNet Magazine

    TechNet Mag MarApr06

    John Baker (my coworker and friend) has an article in this month’s edition on SMS Troubleshooting.  Check it out.

     

  • Dang.. I wouldn't mind winning prizes just for searching the Internet...

    This is cool.

    MSN Butterfly

    Here’s the press release.

    MSN Search announced a new promotional contest yesterday, “Search and Win”, whereby you can win all sorts of cool prizes just for searching for stuff.

    “What stuff?”

    I don’t know exactly.  But I know that each month there will be a hidden list of words that, if you search for them, you have a shot at winning a prize.  The contest runs through February, March, and April 2006.  Anytime you do a search, make sure you watch for a link to appear at the top that says “You may have instantly won a blah blah blah..**”.  Click that link.  Seriously.

    “No.. I mean what stuff can I win?”

    Ah!  Here’s the prize list page

    “Who is eligible?”

    Good question.  Here is the answer, straight from the official rules:

    6) ELIGIBILITY: This Promotion is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Void where prohibited by law. Employees of Microsoft Corporation and anyone working directly on Microsoft programs and their respective affiliates, parent companies, subsidiaries, promotion, advertising and promotional agencies and the immediate family members (parent, child, spouse, and sibling) and persons living in the households of each are not eligible to enter.

    <sigh>  I guess I’m not eligible.  Hopefully you are.  And if you are, GET SEARCHING!

     —

    ** I have always wondered what it would be like to win a blah blah blah..