Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Breaking News: Longhorn Beta 3 is history... Windows Server 2008 RC0 is HERE!

    Bill at the "naming" of Windows Server 2008 Oh yeah!  Another "release" of sorts.  Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate (RC) Zero (0) - or "RC0" for short - is finally RTTWWW (Release to the World Wide Web - or "RTW" for short).

    "Sweeet!  Gimme gimme gimme!"

    Hold on there, sunshine.  You'll have to download it like everybody else.

    Sign up for the CTP (Customer Technology Preview).

    Or you could get it as a TechNet Subscriber, too.  (I don't see it in the downloads yet, but I'll let you know when I do.)

    UPDATE: As you see in the comments to this post, Kathy Dixon (who is the person at Microsoft responsible for TechNet Plus, and who I interviewed for Virtual TechEd earlier this year) says that the RC0 download will be available sometime on Thursday, September 27.  I'm going to keep an eye on her blog for news of when it has finally gone live.

    --

    And an additional note - I see that the Windows Server Division has a blog

    It's not a new blog, but now might be a really good time to add them to your RSS feeds.

  • Questions (with Answers) from our Twin Cities TechNet Event

    Yeah Baby! Greetings!

    "Well.. if that photo doesn't get you fired, Kevin... nothing will."

    Oh, I sincerely think there are worse things I could do.  And I will certainly NOT be trying to get myself fired anytime soon.

    Anyway - I wanted to get these questions (and now ANSWERS!) up on my blog today.  These were asked of me last Thursday at our Minneapolis TechNet Event.

    I always love speaking to the Minneapolis audience! ...because they're great "Minnesota Nice" people.  And also mainly because I LIVE here.  It's a treat to get up out of your own bed before going to work now and then.

    ---

    "Does IAG (Intelligent Application Gateway) 2007 support 2 factor authentication?"

     Yes. 

    "Simplified user experience with an easy to use, customizable SSL VPN portal defined by user identity, including multiple portal configurations. Single sign-on to multiple and custom directories (with integrated password management) and strong/two-factor authentication (such as SecurID and X.509) helps reduce the threat of password attacks."

    Check out the Secure Application Access with Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006 and Intelligent Application Gateway 2007 page.

    Also, you can download the IAG Technical Overview HERE.

     

    "Tell me more about 'Centro'?  Has anything been announced?"

    No.  Nothing yet.

     

    "What's the tool that helps me with license compliance?  Is it in Configuration Manager?"

    You may be thinking of the Software Inventory Analyzer.  It's a free tool (with limitations) that can inventory up to 250 machines; and only for Microsoft product.s

    But yes, the way a larger company would do it would be with System Center Essentials or System Center Configuration Manager.

    If you're interested in the licensing programs available, and ways to track and manage your purchase information online, check out this page.

    That page also leads to a good page and resources all around Software Asset Management.

    And for those of you running Windows NT or Windows 2000 Servers, here's a good KB article on how the license tracking service works in those systems.

     

    "What are the bandwidth requirements for System Center OM or Essentials for monitoring?"

    You may want to look at the System Center Capacity Planner.  This is a free tool that will help you plan for your deployment given the resources you have and what it detects.. 

    Here's a good article I found on using the Capacity Planner.

     

    "Is there an add-in to do Meeting Space on XP?"

    No.  There is no such animal that I am able to find.  (That doesn't mean that someone isn't working on it secretly, though.)  I'm guessing that the reason for this is the fact that MeetingSpace  requires the underlying "People Near Me" locator service; and may even require the Vista implementation of the new TCP/IP stack, with native IPv6 (which MeetingSpace uses).

     

    "What is the word on Terminal Services CALs (Client Access Licenses) in Windows Server 2008?  Do I need to upgrade the Windows Server 2003 CALs I've already purchased?"

    This one I'm still checking on.  I don't know if we've announced pricing on Windows Server 2008 TS CALs yet

  • Resources for TechNet Webcast: An In-Depth Look into Web Application Administration with Internet Information Services 7.0

    Click to register for and watch the live or recorded webcast. Webcast Resources:

    Here are some resources relating to the webcast I presented on September 21, 2007, entitled “An In-Depth Look into Web Application Administration with Internet Information Services 7.0”.

    I hope you find them useful.

    Kevin

     

    IIS 7.0 Technical Library

    http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/9d93db52-0855-4161-b1d3-8581a8385f1f1033.mspx?mfr=true

     

    IIS 7 web site: IIS.NET

    http://www.iis.net

     

    This session’s resource page:

    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/ADD-122

     

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

     

    Live TechNet Events

    http://www.technetevents.com

     

    Microsoft Events page:

    http://www.microsoft.com/events

  • From the "2 Cool Not 2 Share" Department...

    Pontiac all Halo'd out! Unless you're living in a cave (and if you are, then WOW, caveman!  You're getting Internet access in a cave, man!)  you know that the excitement is building around Halo3.

    Check out this cool car that the Pontiac and Bungie folks are giving away as a prize.  The article also describes a sweet deal for getting all of the XBOX Live Gold service for FREE for three days.  Best Buy is to be thanked for that one.

    Click the picture, or click here for details.

    "Kevin.. what does this have to do with I.T.?"

    Nothing at all... unless you consider that a lot of geeks like me really love playing Halo, driving tricked-out Pontiacs, and shopping at Best Buy. 

    It was simply too cool not to share. 

    And yes.. I enjoy Halo when I get the chance.  I do indeed drive a Pontiac (a beat-up '98 Grand Prix that my son is currently begging to buy off of me).  And I shop at Best Buy because A) it's a pretty good store, and B) we don't have a Fry's up here. 

  • Stealing Microsoft Office

    Wondering "Microsoft Office 2007 for $59.95?!  It's a steal!"

    You know it.  It's "The Ultimate Steal" (which also happens to be the name of the promotion).  Microsoft is making a special edition of Office for STUDENTS available at that price.  So.. students can have for $60 what otherwise costs around $679.

    (For you math students out there - that's less than 1/10th of the full price!)

    Note: This was available as of September 12 in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, and available on September 20, 2007 in Spain, Italy, and France.

    Offer ends April 30, 2008.  Always read the fine print.

  • Breaking BI News: Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Launched

    BI Enabled Intelligent Business People What's your performance? 

    "What's your point?"

    Exactly.

    Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 is Microsoft's new Business Intelligence solution.  It was announced back in June of 2006, and is officially being launched TODAY.

    It's all about business performance management.

    Check the website for the announcement, and other good overview resources.  And here is the PRESS RELEASE.

  • Are you still supporting or running Office 2003?

    Office Then shame on you!

    "Huh?!"

    Just kidding.  But if you are, and now that I have your attention, I think you should know that SP3 (Service Pack 3) for Office 2003 was released today.

    Go to http://www.microsoft.com/Office for the details (look under "downloads"), or use Microsoft Update.  Get it before the rush.

  • Best of Questions and Answer from TechNet Webcast: Windows Vista Reliability Improvements

    Resources for the webcast Hi all!

    Below are the questions I pulled out of the Q&A log from the TechNet Webcast: "Windows Vista Reliability Improvements", along with extended answers (especially to those I answered verbally).

    Hope you find them useful!

    Kevin

    PS: Here is my resource page for this webcast.

     

    ---

    Questions and Answers:

    "Did Microsoft send out some reliability updates last months? My Vista systems were crashing all the time and large network transfers were taking forever and then a couple of weeks ago things cleared up?"

    Yes indeed; there were updates made available that improved these situations.  As I mentioned in the webcast, you have the option of installing "recommended" updates as well as the critical updates now using Windows Update or Microsoft Update.  And yes, there were reports that some people were having issues with large file transfers (fortunately I never experienced this) that have been fixed with recent updates.

     

    "I am a power user.  Does Home Premium edition allow access to GPOs?"

    Yes and no. <smile>  Home editions do not have the ability to join domains, so "Group Policy" doesn't actually exist.  Still.. all PCs (including home machines) have LOCAL policy, which can indeed be edited if you have administrative permissions.

    Check out this TechNet Magazine Article which describes the improvements in, and how to work with, local policy in Windows Vista

     

    "How is my reliability with Vista if I do have Virtual PC 2007 running and have more 02 guest system on the same computer?"

    Vista will just treat Virtual PC as another application - so you shouldn't have any reliability issues directly related to it.  However, as I mentioned on the webcast, there are sometimes issues (though fewer and further between these days) with Virtual machines going to full-screen and back; depending on your video hardware and drivers. 

     

    "Is that Reliability Monitor running all the time or is it something that needs to be configured to begin logging?"

    It's logging by default; because it's just recording more information to the eventing system by default.  You can disable parts of it if you choose.

    NOTE: During the webcast I misunderstood your question.  I answered thinking you were asking about the performance monitor.  The performance monitor counters are not collecting data by default.  You have to enable and then turn on that kind of logging.  Sorry if I mislead anyone with my answer.

    You can find details on the Reliability and Performance Monitor here.

     

    "Can you manage through group policy whether the system can send information to Microsoft? Can you turn that option off in GPO?"

    Yes.

    See this page: "Windows Error Reporting and Problem Reports and Solutions Feature in Windows Vista" for a good description of these features, as well as how to manage them via Group Policy.

     

    "On a domain-joined system, can the built-in diagnostic tools notify IT in some manner?"

    Yes.  A couple of ways.  You could set up Task Scheduler tasks triggered by the events you are interested in either from the Event Viewer or from the Task Scheduler.  Or you could set up an Event Subscription to send the events to your local workstation, and launch the task from there. 

    For a good description of the Task Scheduler, look here

    And for details on setting up Event Subscriptions, click here.

     

    "I have had to re-load Vista 9-10 times since January because of frequent fatal crashes, usually after installing a Microsoft update, and the new built in startup repair functions, while good, have only worked 1-2 times. When the startup repair wizard wont work and system restore doesn't work (which it never has on the startup repair mode), what else can I do before I consider reloading Vista?"

    Well.. if you're having these kinds of issues, I'd guess the problem was related to faulty hardware or drivers that are causing such bad corruption.  (Even though Vista is better at detecting such things, you may have a hard drive that is failing.)  I really recommend contacting Microsoft's support folks to see if they have any suggestions on what you could log for them in order to find the problem.

     

    "Can the Reliability Monitor be remotely connected from a Helpdesk computer to review the failure/installation information?"

    Absolutely.  Just Right-Click on the top level item on the left, and select "Connect to another computer..."

     

    "Can the Event Viewer triggers be exported for backing up or, use on another computer or, must I set them up manually for each system (non-domain-joined)?"

    Yes.  Look at this article on managing tasks.  Click on the "Export a Task" link there for the specifics.

     

    "What do you know about the problems regarding windows update? There are a lot of reports of failed updates. For example if 1 out of 10 updates fails, the whole batch will sometimes fail."

    It's hard to say what your problem might be.  I've seen it (though not as often as you say you have) in cases where system resources were otherwise being used up by other applications.  Usually just shutting down rogue processes using the Task Manager (or, worst-case, a restart of the OS) has cleared this up and allowed me to install the updates.

     

    "The exception for updates occurring monthly would include emergency\critical security updates?"

    Right.  The key word there is "emergency".  If there is some virus or worm or very malicious thing that is out in the wild, and is something taking advantage of a vulnerability that wouldn't require someone to mis-configure or otherwise click on and run something to install it - then yes, you'd see an update immediately.  But fortunately these are becoming more and more rare.

     

    "Can the reliability reports be retrieved remotely (ex: sms or some online reporting tool)"

    The tools you should start looking at for doing this in a business would definitely be the System Center tools - specifically Operations Manager (the new version of what was called MOM).  Operations Manager 2007 now supports rich DESKTOP (as well as Server) monitoring and reporting. 

     

    "You said the memory diag tool runs in very little memory. What if the memory location it is running in is corrupt?"

    Ooo... I don't know.  In that case you're probably not going to be able to run it at all - which would probably mean you've got such corruption that wouldn't even boot an OS.  Not even Linux

    (DOH!  Was that out loud?!  I'm gonna get in trouble now!  <chuckle>)

     

    "That person that left was me, got an error in live meeting, no OS Crash! (Running Vista) :-P Thank you for an awesome WebCast"

    You're welcome! Thanks for coming back! :)

  • Resources for TechNet Webcast: Windows Vista Reliability Improvements

    Click to register for and view the live or recorded webcast! Here are some resources relating to webcast I presented on September 14, 2007, entitled “Windows Vista Reliability Improvements”.

    I hope you find them useful.

    Kevin

    Windows Vista Home Page:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista

    Windows Vista Product Overview for IT Professionals
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/evaluate/overvw.mspx

    Windows Vista Reliability and Performance Features
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/evaluate/feat/relperf.mspx

    Windows Vista Security
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/evaluate/feat/secfeat.mspx

    Windows Vista Deployment
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/deploy/default.mspx

    For IT Pros: Key reasons to upgrade to Windows Vista 
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/evaluate/keyreas.mspx

    This session’s resource page:
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/DSK-04

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

    Live TechNet Events
    http://www.technetevents.com

    Microsoft Events page:
    http://www.microsoft.com/events

  • Another RTM snuck past me while I was celebrating...

    The SCCM Lady Wow.. it's been a fun couple of weeks!  First we put the first official released version of Silverlight out.  Then we went to manufacturing with System Center Virtual Machine Manager.  And now this... although THIS actually happened two weeks ago - and they just neglected to tell anyone about it until the e-mail I received this morning.

    Yes, it was back on August 24th that the folks responsible quietly signed off on the final build of the product that is now called System Center Configuration Manager.   

    "SCCM?  Oh!  You mean the new version of SMS?"

    Yes indeed.   

    Check out SCCM the home page for all the good details.  And download an evaluation copy here.

    Or you can kick the tires in a TechNet Virtual Lab.

    "But when can I buy it?"

    GA (General Availability) will be in a few weeks.  I've heard a date, but as I'm not adequately sure I am allowed share it, it'll have to wait.  Sorry.

  • RTM! SCVMM! JAFJ!

    SCVMM Site RTM = Released to Manufacturing

    SCVMM = System Center Virtual Machine Manager

    and JAFJ = Jump Around for Joy!  Woohoo!

    Yesterday, the product responsible announced that they have "shipped" System Center Virtual Machine Manager?

    "Cool, Kevin... but what is it?"

    This is another in the suite of System Center tools... and it manages virtual machines.  Hence the name.  Duh!  Some of you who have been watching the SCVMM site may recall that I interviewed Edwin Yuen about System Center Virtual Machine manager after his talk at TechEd this year in Orlando. 

    You really should take a look at this tool if you're considering managing virtual machines in your IT admin plans.  It is the future of virtual server management; really at the heart of doing true "dynamic systems", were we can provision, allocate, and re-allocate or distribute "servers" to our host hardware based on usage and current needs. 

    "Is this a tool for Windows Server 2008's Windows Server Virtualization (WSV)?"

    Not at this time - because WSV isn't released yet.  And so this version doesn't support that capability.  But yes, eventually it will - and this is going to be the way you'll want to manage your virtual machines on their respective hosts in the new WSV world as well.

    "Show it to me!  I want to see it in action!"

    You're in luck!  My teammate and friend Keith Combs has put together some FANTASTIC screencasts to show off how it all works.  Check out his blog post here, which includes a great write-up and links to his screencasts.

    "Cool!  Can I get it now?"

    Well.. the evaluation will be available soon at this location.  As you may recall from Windows Vista when it RTM'd last November... RTM doesn't mean "on store shelves now" or "available for purchase now".  It means,  "We've signed off and are ready to ship this sucka!The pricing has been announced here.  And you should really check the deals you get when you buy it as part of an Enterprise suite.

  • Breaking News: Silverlight is RTW? OMG!

    "Light up the web!" RTW = Released to Web...

    And that's what happened today to Microsoft's new web-based, cross-browser media platform plug-in and technology. 

    Check out the Silverlight home page, and some of the awesome examples of using Silverlight being announced today by many of our partners.  (My favorite is the Halo 3 HD video site I blogged about a few days ago.  But my boys are going to also like the WWE page.) There are also links to blog postings and screencasts demonstrating how to incorporate Silverlight into your own web applications.

    Here also is the Silverlight Home Page.  And developers might want to check out the Silverlight Developer Center.