Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog
Okay.. you're an IT Pro. (If you're not, you're still welcome to keep reading.) And you're tired of feeling alone in the world. But you know that there must be some others out there like you - dealing with the same issues and same technologies; just dying to show of some new script or tool or best-practice you've discovered or developed. So you're looking for a place to go for networking with others.
Look no further.
Aggreg8 is a site for IT Pros to mix-n-mingle. It's like a "MySpace" (or a Windows Live Spaces) for IT Pros, complete with working groups on various topics that IT Pros get excited about. You can setup a profile, join groups, enter posts, add favorites, share content, mix, mingle, and learn.
"How do I get started?"
Just go to http://aggreg8.net. If you don't have one already, you'll need a PassPort account to use for your authentication there, but once you're in, you can build your profile and upload your picture (or whatever Avatar you choose), and get networking!
This is one of those ideas that, when you hear it, makes you think, "Duh! That's so simple, and brilliant! Why didn't I think of that?"
Microsoft announced today (among other things) that we're starting a program that lets you try software easily.
"So? I've been able to download evaluation software before. What's the big deal?"
Sure.. but how about if we were to do the installation for you, on a virtual hard disk (VHD file), that you can run on Virtual Server? Wouldn't that make trying out the software a whole lot more simple?
That's what we're doing. We're announcing today the "Virtual Test Drive" program. You can download a pre-installed Server-on-a-VHD-file with a copy of Windows Server 2003 R2, Exchange Server 2007 (beta), and SQL Server 2005. Expect other products to be available this way in future, also.
If you still need it, you can download Virtual Server 2005 R2 (for free) from here.
"Wow Kevin.. that's cool for Microsoft. But what about other companies? Can they take that virtual machine and install their own software on it and send it out to their own potential customers?"
Well.. that's the beauty of this program, too. It's also set up so that our partners can use these VHDs as a foundation for adding their own software, which they in turn can make available to their own potential customers.
From the PressPass Article:
We expect more than 20 partners to begin distributing their software via the VHD Test Drive Program later this quarter, including Altiris, BEA Systems, Check Point, Citrix, CommVault, Dell, FullArmor, HP, Network Appliance, Platespin, Portlock, Quest Software, SourceCode Technology Holdings, Symantec and UGS. Over the coming year, we anticipate our partners will use this program to get more than $10 billion in software into the hands of IT professionals to evaluate.
This just in from the Sr. Product Manager of TechNet Subscriptions -
Windows Vista Ultimate edition and Office 2007 will be coming to TechNet Plus subscribers in the January shipment.
"But I want to download it sooner than that!"
Okay. How about this:
Of course this is only for TechNet Plus (or TechNet Plus Direct) subscribers.
So if you're not already a subscriber, maybe you should do something about that.
**Please note: "Replication of all files out to regional datacenters will take significant time. Specific editions will be available first, with the full range becoming available over several hours. We will be posting CD iso images to begin, followed by DVD images."
Now that The 2007 Microsoft Office System has released to manufacturing (RTM), I'm sure many people are fretting over the new user interface. Specifically,
"Hey.. I used to know how to do XYZ. How do I do XYZ in Word/Excel/PowerPoint 2007?"
Well.. file this blog post away for your use later, or save these links, because these cool Command Reference Guides will help you answer those questions directly.
For example, you know how to start Mail Merge in Word 2003. So you go to the guide and just go through the motions of Mail Merge
and then the Word 2007 screen comes up and shows you where that very same functionality is found.
How could it get any easier? (Seriously.. if you have ideas, please add them as comments here.)
"Yeah, I wanna win a 360, Kevin!"
Of course you do. (So do I, but my employer says I'm ineligible.)
Take any TechNet or MSDN Virtual Lab or Labcast, submit a completed evaluation, and be automatically registered to win an Xbox 360! To learn more, see the official rules!
And here is the schedule for December of all TechNet Webcasts, Labcasts, and Virtual Labs available.
Notice that I am doing a couple of these. In fact, I'm doing the very last two before Christmas:
TechNet Webcast: Best Practices for Designing the Active Directory Structure (Level 200)Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Pacific TimeKevin Remde, TechNet Presenter, Microsoft Corporationhttp://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032317871&Culture=en-US
TechNet Webcast: Compliance and Records Management (Level 200)Friday, December 22, 2006 - 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM Pacific TimeKevin Remde, TechNet Presenter, Microsoft Corporationhttp://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032317860&Culture=en-US
With the release to manufacturing of Windows Vista, we're going to also see a lot of the resources surrounding Windows Vista to also be released in their final form.
Of course, I'm not going to blog about each one of these when it occurs, but this here Security Guide is one that is pretty important, and one a lot of people have been anxioulsy awaiting.
Windows Vista Security Guide
Here's the "chapter summary" graphic from that page, if you'd like an idea of what the guide will cover (click to enlarge).
Yes indeed! Today's the day!
Windows Vista has finally, officially been "signed off", and RTM'd.
A small step for Microsoft. A giant leap for desktop computing.
Check out the PressPass Q&A article.
"So Kevin.. what are the next steps for Windows Vista? When can I get it?"
First it goes to device makers and software companies so that they can update their applications and test their drivers on the final version. Then later this month it will be available to businesses who are purchasing it through Volume Licensing. And finally, January 30th, it becomes "broadly available". That's when you'll see it on the shelves in your local Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Target, Walmart, etc.
"So.. what are you going to do now, Kevin?"
I'm gonna try and do what every other Microsoft employee is probably trying to do right now.. I'm gonna find the RTM bits somewhere on our corporate network, and I'm gonna wipe out this RC build I'm running and install the final product!
And as it's installing, I'm going to crack open a Stella, hold it up in the direction of Redmond, and salute the many thousands of folks that have made this day possible.
Here's to you, product team! You've earned a big celebration. Enjoy!
For those of you who are interested in the details of what flavors are available for Exchange Server 2007, and what the different functionality is between versions and between CAL options, here's the article to read.
Props to my friend (and hopefully someday MVP) Chris Haaker. I saw it on his blog first.
Yes indeed. It's a new day for business. Today is the day that Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System are officially and for the first time available to business. Volume License customers... start your engines!
As stated in this PressPass announcement, this is the biggest launch in Microsoft's history; even bigger than the joint Windows 95 / Office 95 launch over 10 years ago.
"But Kevin... If I'm not buying my software that way, then when can I get Windows Vista or Office?"
General availability is on January 30th.
Read the article to find out more about what Steve said at the press conference in New York.
So... what do you think? Is this really the big new wave that will take people (business and home users) to the next level?
My opinion: I think so. When I consider what happened after that big launch 10 years ago, and how it really did impact the world and how we use computers... and with a little more understanding of the breadth and depth of the new possibilities that the products launched today will bring people... Yes. Definitely. Searching, sharing, collaborating, communicating intelligently, creating... It's all good!
...Sounds like someone banging bricks together, doesn't it?
But really, WAIK is an acronym for "Windows Automated Installation Kit"
This is the toolset that IT Pros are going to want to get to know well, because it contains tools for imaging, installing, and deploying Windows Vista; including tools like IMAGEX and the System Image Manager.
Wanna build your own WinPE (Window Pre-installation Environment) bootable disk? Included are the tools that will let you do that.
It "RTW'd" (Released to Web) just two days ago.
Props to Keith Combs for pointing this out first.
Introduction to PowerShell Scripting in Exchange Server 2007
Here are some resources relating to the webcast I presented on November 17, 2006, entitled “TechNet Webcast: Introduction to PowerShell Scripting in Exchange Server 2007"
I hope you find them useful.
Windows PowerShell Home Pagehttp://www.microsoft.com/powershell/
Getting to Know Microsoft Exchange Server 2007http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/preview/default.mspx
Download Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2007/downloads/beta.mspx
Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2 Overviewhttp://www.microsoft.com/exchange/preview/evaluation/overview.mspx
Exchange Server TechCenterhttp://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/default.mspx
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Technical Resourceshttp://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2007/default.mspx
Exchange Server 2007 Learning Resources (FREE e-Learning for a limited time!)http://www.microsoft.com/learning/exchange2007/default.mspx
Exchange Server In-Depth – Webcast Serieshttp://www.microsoft.com/events/series/tnexchangeserver.mspx
Exchange Team Blog – “You Had Me At ELHO”http://msexchangeteam.com/
This session’s resource page:http://www.microsoft.com/technet/EXC-104
Live TechNet Eventshttp://www.technetevents.com
Microsoft Events page:http://www.microsoft.com/events
Last Friday I posted about how Windows Vista would be available to TechNet Plus Subscribers to download (eval, not-for-production, non-timeout version) by tomorrow.
I just got word that they are AHEAD of schedule.. and have already made Windows Vista available.
Get it and beat the rush!
Check out this post on the Windows Vista Team blog.
FYI - I'm doing a webcast this coming Friday on using the PowerShell, both as an introduction, and specifically in using it with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.
Are you a student in IT, CSci, Dev, DP, or some other geeky acronym? Do you want to win cash prizes, and a trip to Korea? Then you should consider entering the Imagine Cup!
This is the fifth year that the Imagine Cup has taken place, and it has involved over 100,000 students from more than 100 countries. Here's a good page on some of the history of the Imagine Cup.
"But Kevin, I'm a student of (programming, IT, digital arts, etc.). What kinds of entries are they looking for?"
The contest breaks down into three major categories, with three minor areas in each (9 specific competitions, if you're doing the math). You and your team can enter one area, or many. It's up to you. See the competition overview page for details.
Depending on the category you and your team compete in, you'll have various stages to complete and problems to solve.
Interested to see how we treat the winners? Check out these headlines.
Go for it!
(And if you're interested in a quick summary, here's the PressPass announcment that just came out yesterday.)
Here are the questions and answers from today's TechNet Webcast: Improvements to Calendaring in Exchange 2007.
Thanks to all who attended!
Questions and Answers:
“By 'room', are we talking a physical place or virtual place?”
It’s really up to you. Ordinarily people use this functionality so that they can reserve meeting rooms or some other equipment that needs to be requested and scheduled. So we’re talking physical here. But really, it could just as easily represent something more virtual – like a LiveMeeting account or something.
“Can you change the default amount of free/busy info that is published at the server instead of from the client, so that the default changes for everyone?”
I think you’re mis-understanding what’s happening now in Exchange 2007. Free/Busy information is no-longer published to some public folder location. All calendar information is pulled directly from the users calendars. This removes the latency issues that were problems in finding up-to-date information in previous versions of Exchange. And it also means that there really is nothing limiting how much information is “published”, because there’s no need to “publish” any more.
“Is this conflict notice in Outlook? I see that itis in OWA...but I've not seen it in Outlook where it will tell you what meeting is in conflict.”
Yes, you will see a conflict notice in Outlook also. It’s toward the top of the meeting request.
“If you create the resource this way will the account be disabled?”
This question was in response to the two ways I created Resource Mailboxes.
The first was to use ADUC to create the disabled users in Active Directory (representing Training Rooms 1 and 2), and then use the Manangement Shell to mail-enable those users, as well as set the “room” attribute on them.
The second way I did it was to use the Management Console, gave me the option to create the AD user account, as well do the mail-enabling and attribute setting. But it wasn’t clear when I did that that it also created the “Training Room 3” user account for me.
Yes, it was created, and was disabled just like the first two.
“When using the meeting request for scheduling staff for a certain job, is there a way for this request not to be added to my calendar?”
I hope I understand what you’re asking… You want to schedule people into something – but you don’t need it on YOUR calendar.
I’m sure there are a couple of ways you could do this. Perhaps you could create a resource mailbox for the “Job”, give yourself fullaccess rights to that mailbox (as I did in the demo for Holly to have fullaccess to the Training Rooms), and then use OWA to open that mailbox. Then schedule it directly from that “job”.
“Can I take database from exchange 5.5 and load to exchange 2007 (I need this for DR)”
No.. that’s not something you can do. You should look into the migration / upgrade steps you’ll have to take to move from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2007. Here’s a good article on the subject: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/E2k7Help/a313c016-0e51-466e-a3de-953e1e0d347d.mspx?mfr=true
Below I’ve pasted an edited and cleaned up copy of most of the Q&A from the webcast “Introduction to Windows PowerShell Scripting in Exchange Server 2007” (November 17, 2006).
If you’re interested in viewing the webcast (either again or for the first time), here it is.
I also need to send out a BIG thank you to Blain Barton for handling the Q&A on the backend today. It is his work that these answers represent. Thanks Blaino!
“Where can I get a Quick Reference Guide for Exchange Management Shell?”
For the QG for Exchange Mgt Shell for 2007, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=01a441b9-4099-4c0f-b8e0-0831d4a2ca86&DisplayLang=en
“Can we perform mounting, dismounting databases, and starting, stopping services, VSS commands?”
Yes, you would use the MOUNT-DATABASE -identity "Database Name" command etc.. check out the Quick Guide at: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=01a441b9-4099-4c0f-b8e0-0831d4a2ca86&DisplayLang=en
“What determines the default sort order of objects returned from some command like ‘get-user’?”
There isn’t any set rule on order when a sort is not specified. It makes more sense to return the results asked for as quickly as possible, so if you’re not sending the resulting GET- command through a sort-order command, there’s no need to order it any particular way. So the items just return in the order they are found.
“Thanks for the posting about Vista for Technet Plus. I got mine this morning.”
Woo hoo! You're welcome! :)
I'm glad you asked!
Here's the launch event site, where you can get details on when and where these are being held.
See you there!
From the "Inside Office Online" Blog -
The online site for all things Office is now live. this is where you can learn everything you would ever want to know about Office, and where you can even try out functionality in Office 2007.
According to the blog, the site is not beta, it's not RTM.. it's not GA. This is the "RTW" (Release to Web) version.
Here's the site: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx
And here's the blog entry with more links and information: http://blogs.msdn.com/inside_office_online/archive/2006/11/01/we-ve-launched.aspx
Gartner is saying nice things about Windows Vista and 2007 Office these days. I'm sure this is (or it should be) very encouraging to the product teams.
(Might be good for the stock price, too. <hint hint>)
Breaking news: The 2007 Microsoft Office System is now "released to manufacturing". It's official. You can start partying right now.
That's what I'm sure many people are doing in Redmond today.. and much deserving they are! I hope they save a piece of cake for me, too.
Here's the PressPass announcement.
And here is the new Office site.