Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Resources for TechNet Webcast: If I Virtualize It, How Do I Manage It? (Level 300)

    Register to view live or on-demand webcast. Here are some resources relating to webcast I delivered on January 28, 2009, entitled "TechNet Webcast: If I Virtualize It, How Do I Manage It? (Level 300)

    This is part 5 of a 20 part series on the many aspects of virtualization.  (Yung Chou blogged the entire schedule HERE).

    I hope you find these links useful.  And watch for me also delivering part 1, 7, and 19.  See you there!


    Microsoft Virtualization Website

    Virtualization for Windows – A Technology Overview


    Virtualization Management

    Microsoft System Center

    Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008

    System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 – Evaluation Download

    How Customers Are Cutting Costs and Building Value with Microsoft Virtualization

    White Paper: How Customers Are Cutting Costs and Building Value with Microsoft Virtualization

    White Paper: Flexible Desktop Computing

    Windows Server 2008 – web, virtualization, security, and a solid foundation for your business workloads (training resources)

    Microsoft TechNet

    Live TechNet Events

    Microsoft Events page:

    Save 15% on a TechNet Plus Subscription (including beta access like Windows 7, non-timeout evaluation software, 2 support calls, and more!)
    IMPORTANT UPDATE: This promotion and promotion code have expired.
    Please CLICK HERE for the most current promotion.


  • Breaking News: Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Release Candidate Available

    IE 8 Home Page Today Microsoft reached another milestone in the release cycle for the next version of Internet Explorer - “IE8”.  I’ve been running Beta 2 very happily for quite awhile, and recently gained access to an internal release of Release Candidate 1.  Today we’ve made that release available for anyone who wants to try it out. 

    “Where do I get it?”

    Go to and search for IE8.  Or.. just use these links:

    Soon enough the site will have a way to get to it also. 

    “Am I going to have to uninstall Beta 2 before I install the RC?”

    That’s actually some very good news.  Not only will you not have to uninstall previous versions.. but the upgrade to RC1 will actually come to those of you who have the beta installed using Windows Update.  So if you want, you could just wait and install the update when it comes to you.

    “Does this RC1 also upgrade the IE8 that came in the Windows 7 Beta?”

    No, it doesn’t.  Yes, the build is newer than the one that is in Windows 7, but you can’t upgrade the Windows 7 build with the RC.  The RC is for Windows XP and Windows Vista clients, and Windows Server 2003 SP2 and Windows Server 2008 only.  The plan is currently to have newer IE8 builds come with the next “release” of Windows 7 (next beta or RC, whichever they decide to do).

    For some really good IT-related content around IE8, you should check out TechNet Edge and the screencasts that my teammate Matt “Mongo” Hester has put up there, plus many other good IE8 resources.  And also today, David Tesar posted an interview with the Program Manager, Jane Maliouta.  They discuss the RC, and get into some meaty detail about the deployment options you have.


  • News: Windows 7 Beta Download Period Extended

    Windows 7 Team Blog Announcement

    Good news!  The Windows 7 Team Blog announced that they’ve yet again extended the period in which you can download the Window 7 Beta.  As you may recall, I blogged about the original extension a couple weeks ago.  And now we’re doing it again.  You now have until Feb 10, 2009 to start the download.  And if you were interrupted mid-download, you have until Feb 12, 2009 to complete it. Product Keys for the beta will also be available through February 12, 2009.

    “February 10 is only a couple weeks away!”

    Yeah.. time is running out.  Get your bits while you can.

    “Does this mean that you haven’t reached the 2.5 million download limit yet?”

    I have no idea.  One could imply that.  But it might also be that all the positive press around the beta has driven demand higher.  (Just speculating there.. I don’t know one way or the other.)

    “What if I’m a TechNet Subscriber?”

    TechNet Plus and MSDN subscribers will still be able to download the beta throughout the length of the beta program.  The February 12th date doesn’t apply to them.  (Not a subscriber?  If you want to be, don’t miss out on this discount.

    “So.. you’ve said that you might even upgrade your production computer with Windows 7.  Have you done that yet?”

    Yessiree!  Did it yesterday.  Took the plunge.  After having upgraded three home machines plus done fresh installs of several others (both physical and virtual), and after installing it fresh and trying out my most needed applications on my laptop, I decided it was time.  So yesterday I did both a Complete PC Backup as well as a storing of my files and settings using the Windows Easy Transfer Wizard (can’t be too careful), and then I did the upgrade.  So this blog post is coming to you from my upgraded Windows 7 Beta x64 laptop (a Lenovo T61p).

    “How’s it working?”

    Wonderfully, for the most part.  My smartcard reader driver didn’t work right away.  When I had done the clean test install earlier, it found the device, and the installed driver worked fine.  But after the upgrade the existing driver didn’t want to work right.  Removing the driver and letting Windows 7 find the proper one worked really well, though.. so that issue was easily resolved.  Also, I did have an update to my video driver that became available.  I installed it, but since then I did have the video driver crash on me once.  Amazingly, all that happened was a screen flicker followed by a note telling me that my video driver had crashed and restarted.  If that becomes a regular occurrence, I’ll just roll-back the update. 

    Keep watching my blog for more notes on my experience, good or bad. 

    Have you tried it yet?  What’s not working for you?  What’s surprised you (pleasantly or otherwise)?

  • January-March 2009 - TechNet Event Resources

    Kevin’s TechNet Event Resources

    January-March, 2009


    E-mail Technical Questions: Kevin Remde –

    Feedback e-mail to my boss: Harry Caldwell –


    Session PowerPoint Decks


    Future Live, In-Person Event Information

    TechNet (for IT Pros):

    MSDN (for Software Developers):


    Microsoft Webcasts -


    NEW - IT Managers Community Hub -


    28%-OFF Special TechNet Plus Subscription Promotion –

    Yes, save $$$ on any new TechNet Plus subscription!

    Use Promotion Code TNITE04 (that’s ZERO-4)
    Click HERE for details
    : This promotion and promotion code have expired.
    Please CLICK HERE for the most current promotion.

    { Where the Web Meets Local Software:
    Cloud Computing with Software+Services


    Online Services Homepage


    Microsoft Software + Services Success Stories


     Microsoft Strategy Software + Services


    Microsoft Online Customer Portal


    Introducing the Azure™ Services Platform


    Cloud Platforms: An Enterprise-Oriented Overview


    MS Online Services Forums

    { Master Your Environment with
    System Center Configuration Manager 2007


    System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 Evaluation Download


    Community Sites -,


    SMS 2003 Scripting Center


    SMS Download Center


    Partner Resources

    { Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008
    – A Technical Overview


    Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008


    System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 – Evaluation Download


    Microsoft Virtualization Website


    Virtualization for Windows – A Technology Overview


    Hyper-V -


    Virtualization Management


    How Customers Are Cutting Costs and Building Value with Microsoft Virtualization
  • Best of Questions and Answers from TechNet Webcast: Virtualization in a Nutshell


    Click to view the On-Demand Webcast Below are the best of the questions and answers that occurred during our TechNet Webcast entitled, "TechNet Webcast: Virtualization in a Nutshell (Level 300)

    Thanks for attending!  ...and if you haven't seen the webcast yet, you can click on the link above (or the picture to the left) to get to the registration page.

    PS - here are the RESOURCES I pulled together for this webcast


    Questions and Answers

    "Who is handling q&a today?"
    Keith Combs, Dan Stolts, John Baker, Yung Chou and Harold Wong (THANKS GUYS!)

    "Is this a VMware ad?"
    No, of course not. (This was obviously in response to my honest acknowledgement that VMware is the market leader. And as I said, "For now.")

    "What about rapid deployment of images?"
    That will be Microsoft Deployment.

    "What is the minimum physical memory recommended to run a Hyper-V enviroment? The memory so one can be fairly performant."
    For a test environment?

    "For maintaining a domain with about 100 computers, usually for login and file sharing support."
    Take a look at the Hyper-V planning and deployment guide at

    "I have viewed the deployment Guide and it covers the maximum amounts of memory, processors and hard drive space but does not address minimum recommended configurations."
    If you look at it gives you hardware considerations for the host machine running Hyper-V, including CPU, memory, networking and storage. How much you need is dependent on how many guest machines you'll be running and how they'll be configured.

    "Do you have cluster hyper-v demo? SCVMM manages Cluster hyper-v?"
    Yes, we'll have some clustering demos later in the series. I believe we'll be showing a Hyper-V Cluster and possibly an ESX cluster

    "Are there any resources available to help in sizing Hyper-V implementations?"
    Yes, There is a webcast

    "The application files that are being streamed, are the in application data folder or a san kind of folder like appstream?"
    It really doesn't matter. You don't have to store it on a SAN - so long as it is accessible.

    "With Paint for example, would all files saved with the remote instance save to a remote location only, or can files be saved locally and remotely?"
    Wherever is accessible to you.

    "Sorry the SAN box is a concept of folder structure that is applied with thinstall or thinapp. But the DLL's and the help files, etc. Are they local? And what folder are they being streamed to? What local directory?"
    Sorry, I misunderstood. For Application Virtualization, the files are streamed to the client and then stored locally in the user's profile for faster access. They are not "installed" into the user's program files directory or Windows directory.

    "Any possibility to do Virtual PC (hyper-v compatible) for vista x64 or Windows 7 x64?"
    Hyper-V is the only product we have that runs x64 virtual machines. But if you're asking if we'll ever have a desktop version of Hyper-V, that I don't know.

    "VMware Workstation 6.5 doesn't have support for the WDDM drivers needed for Aero, Do you all have no issue with the video including 3d effects."
    I don't understand the question. I am not aware of any virtualization product anywhere that supports AERO. 

    "I missed it, does the Virtual Machine Manager work with Virtual Server 2005 R2?"
    Yes. I don't think you missed it. I actually don't think the webcast specifically said. Thanks for asking!

    "There is also a Hyper-V book coming out by John Kelbley that is available for Advance order"
    Thanks, Dan!

    "Will this virtual server contains all the facilities of VMWare?"
    SCVMM 2008 lets you import the VMWare Virtual Center arrangement of your virtual machines and their configuration.. and it uses all of the same APIs, so it gives you FULL management of VMWare as well as Hyper-V and Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1.

    "I have been using the Self Service Portal and I have a question about the access to the virtual machine. There are two ways: Connect to VM and Remote Desktop. A normal user can access remotely to the machines when they are configured with external network. Can they access to virtual machines that are configured with an internal or private network?"
    No.  It's not going to do some magical pass-thru kind of RDP connection for you there.  Remember that the Self Service Portal doesn't have to be an SCVMM Management Server.  It just has to be a web server with that web application configured and connected to SCVMM.  Your RDP connection will be attempted from your location, to the address of that machine.  If you can’t see or don’t have a way to use RDP to that machine, you won’t be connecting that way. The portal was designed with intranets in mind. The self service portal simply hosts the VMConnect, RDP and VMWare Control which execute on the user client. It doesn’t do any sort of network bridging. The controls need clear network access to the host or guest in the case of RDP.

    One idea for you would be to use Terminal Services Web Access to bridge that gap, and expose the browser client to the SSP hosted internally.


    Thanks again for all the great questions.  See you in future webcasts!

  • More Free Stuff

    This is cool.  Free learning is always good.

    Microsoft Learning is giving away free e-Books.  Microsoft Press is celebrating their 25th anniversary.  So they’re offering a way to sign-up for and receive notifications about free offers, and additional books, for the next several months. 

    The book available at the time of this blog post is this one:

    Virtualization Solutions

    This is very timely, as we just launched a 20 part Virtualization Webcast Series a couple days ago.  (You can view the on-demand part 1 webcast here.  Yeah, that’s me. <grin>) 

    Read the book.  Attend the webcasts.  You’ll virtually be a virtualization expert.

  • Windows 7 Beta Reviews

    I’ve had a blast reading the many many reviews and personal experience stories around Windows 7  installations in the last several days since the beta release last week.  Once in awhile I’ll post my own observations.  But sometimes I figure you might want a link to a good one I’ve found, too.

    For example, I was going to do this exhaustive review of some of the fun new user interface improvements, but Neowin beat me to it.  They have an excellent, detailed rundown on the “Superbar”, as well as other features.  Well done!

  • Resources for TechNet Webcast: Virtualization in a Nutshell (Part 1 of a 20 part virtualization series!)

    Virtualization Products and Technologies

    Here are some resources relating to webcast I delivered on January 14, 2009, entitled "TechNet Webcast: Virtualization in a Nutshell (Level 300)

    This is part 1 of a 20 part series on the many aspects of virtualization.  (Yung Chou blogged the entire schedule HERE).

    I hope you find these links useful.  And watch for me also delivering part 5, 7, and 19.  See you there!


    PS: UPDATE: Here is where you can find the "Best of Q&A" from the live webcast.

    Microsoft Virtualization Website

    Virtualization for Windows – A Technology Overview


    Terminal Services


    Virtualization Management

    Microsoft System Center

    White Paper: How Customers Are Cutting Costs and Building Value with Microsoft Virtualization

    White Paper: Flexible Desktop Computing

    Windows Server 2008 – web, virtualization, security, and a solid foundation for your business workloads (training resources)

    Microsoft TechNet

    Live TechNet Events

    Microsoft Events page:

    Save 15% on a TechNet Plus Subscription (including beta access like Windows 7, non-timeout evaluation software, 2 support calls, and more!)

  • News: Windows 7 Beta Download Limits?

    Windows 7.  One better than Windows 6. I need to let you know some GREAT news I’ve heard.  As many of you I’m sure experienced, the demand for the public Windows 7 beta was enormous.  So much so that it overwhelmed the servers for many of our external sites.  Of course, with such great demand, there’s a good chance we’ll quickly reach the 2.5 million download limit.  In fact, it was probably the public knowledge of that limit that caused such a great rush of activity for trying to get the bits before it they were no longer available.

    Good news: They’ve temporarily removed the limit.  You can read about it here on the Windows Blog.  Basically what we’re doing is allowing as many downloads as can happen between now and through the 24th of January, 2009.  Then at that point, if we haven’t reached 2.5 million, we’ll continue to allow downloads until the limit is reached.  However, the more likely scenario is that we will surpass 2.5 million downloads, and so the beta downloads will be stopped after the 24th.

    “So what do you recommend, Kevin?”

    It’s nice that I don’t have to tell you to hurry to get it, because you have two weeks to get it.  But I do recommend you get it, try it out (on a machine that isn’t critical to your productivity), and give us feedback.  (Hey.. if you’re running an edition of Vista that has the “Complete PC Backup” tool, you should USE IT.  Get a big-enough USB drive and do the backup before you do the upgrade or install…,so you can restore the system if you need to.  That’s what I’ve been doing.  Fortunately I haven’t had to restore anything yet.)

    “Should I wait for Windows 7 instead of deploying Vista?”

    That’s the billion dollar question these days, isn’t it. 

    My opinion on that: Absolutely do not wait for Windows 7.  Deploy Vista.  (with Software Assurance)  Sure, I’m loving Windows 7 and some of the new UI features, but the overwhelming step-up between XP and Vista is still such a huge advantage in productivity, reliability, performance, security, manageability, etc.   If you really learn these benefits and how they save you time and frustration (and that means MONEY), you shouldn’t have much trouble cost-justifying the rollout.  I sincerely believe** that. 

    So.. sure Windows 7 has some nice new navigation and a few less times UAC pops up.. but it’s just not the same big change.  Windows Vista is the way to go, even if you only consider it the stepping stone to Windows 7.  You are very unlikely to have any compatibility or hardware driver issues moving from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

    “Are you going to install it on your day-to-day production laptop?”

    My Lenovo T61p?  I’m very tempted.  Very very tempted.  So far it’s working great on both my VPC hosting machine (as I blogged earlier) as well as my family’s main shared kitchen-table laptop.  I may be installing it tonight on my Media Center computer; provided nobody in my family has any important TV recordings they don’t want me to interrupt, of course.  And the next logical installation will indeed be my work machine here. 

    “What’s your hesitation?”

    Same as anyone else’s when it comes to the slightest potential for lost productivity.  It’s beta, after-all.  I’m more willing to jump into the latest-and-greatest than most people, because I know I have the ability to jump back if I need to.. and also because it’s un-written duty as a Microsoft employee to “eat the dogfood”.  And primarily because then I can speak and blog more intelligently about what I’ve experienced first-hand.

    Soon.  Very soon. 


    **If you don’t believe me, then put a comment on this blog post.  Seriously, I’ll answer your questions or give you suggestions on how to look at making the justifications to your boss (or to yourself).    

  • Okay.. I take back all the nasty things I said about Apple

    A few blog posts ago I had a little bit of a rant on who I thought was the best company to bring the world what I like to call “Life 2.0: No barriers.  No walls.  No limits.

    But now I may have to eat my words…

    Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

    You just can’t argue with that.

  • Windows 7: My First Install (Episode C of 3)

    Fishy 7

    “So Kevin.. in part 2 the upgrade to Windows 7 was complete.  Did everything just work for you after you upgraded?

    Almost.  Remember in part 1 I mentioned that I was upgrading a Vista machine that was only really being used as a host for a virtual machine running under Virtual PC?  Well.. Virtual PC didn’t like the upgrade all that much.

     CaptureCapture2  Capture3

    The virtual machine ran just fine.  Except that it didn’t have any connection to my network.  (Usually a domain controller is only useful if it can be seen.)

    The good news, though, was that once I reinstalled Virtual PC, everything worked just great.  The Remde.home domain is back in business.  There is only one other “gotcha” that I’ve noticed so far.  More about that in a minute.


    "What about devices?  Were they all working just fine?”

    That’s the best news.  Check it out.  Everything works as it did before.


    “How’s performance?”

    By default it hadn’t done a rating, even though the AERO UI came up beautifully right away.  I ran the assessment…


    And here is the result.


    Like many other reviewers, I’m finding that things are plenty snappy.  But I haven’t really put it through major paces yet to say more than that.

    ”Antivirus?  Did you have any installed?”

    Nope.  I didn’t.  Still don’t.  And I got the appropriate warning for it.  Interestingly, it also said it wanted to do an overdue Windows Defender antispyware scan.  I ran it, and of course it came up clean.  I have read that there are some vendors out there who already have Windows 7-ready products. 

    “Okay.. what other problems do you have?”

    Well, another thing I was running on that system was the RSAT (Remote Server Admin Tools) for the sake of doing administration of the domain, and particularly for Group Policy administration for my Vista settings.  Those tools are installable on Windows Vista SP1 installations. 

    “But.. you’re not running Vista SP1 anymore.”

    Bingo.  Look at the Windows Components available to me now.  And note the lack of any Remote Server Admin Tools.


    And I did try to install them again anyway, but…


    So, the moral of that story is: Do NOT upgrade to the Windows 7 Beta any machine that you’re using for remote administration of domains or hyper-v.  Those tools won’t be there, and to my knowledge they’re not available yet.  (It’s beta, remember?)

    UPDATE: A beta version of the RSAT for Windows 7 is now available.  You can get them here.  I tried ‘em, and other than one minor glitch I saw while rendering one Group Policy Object “settings” tab, they work great. 

    A couple more good items: I was happy to see that it includes IE8 beta; a newer “8.0.7000.0” beta build.  And it also installed an RC of PowerShell V2.  Nice!


    Well.. that’s all I’m going to say about my install experience.  Hopefully many of you will also be giving it a try very soon. 

    What do you think?  Do you like the new UI tweaks?  Is it running well for you, too?

  • Windows 7: My First Install (Part 2 – Revenge of the Jedi)

    Yeah.. I know.. It was “Return of the Jedi”, not “Revenge”.  And it wasn’t Part 2, or even "Episode II”.  It was Episode 6 (or more correctly, “VI”).  Episode II was actually “Attack of the Clones”.  Unless you’re counting from the second movie made (Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back).  But this is just a blog.  Who’s counting?  Don’t get excited, you geek.  Made you look.

    “When last we saw our hero in part 1, his installation was in full-swing…”

    Thanks.  Yes.. the installation is running. 


    It restarted the machine right in the middle of this “expanding files” portion of the list, so I’m not able to get any screenshots other than from my digital camera.

    Then it took about 15 minutes more of expanding files. 

    Another restart (I missed it.. sorry I didn’t get a picture. I’m also trying to do REAL work on another PC).


    OOh!  That’s pretty!  The little fuzzy window symbol is pulsating brighter/darker/brighter/darker… (you have to see it to really appreciate it). 

    Then after “Starting Services”, we get back to installing.


    It alternates between “Setting up your system”…


    …and “this can take several minutes”.


    At some point a new video driver kicks in at the resolution I originally had before the upgrade.


    And we’re also “Migrating files and settings”.


    Another pretty restart


    Back to migrating…


    This takes a long time.  Sorry I didn’t time it, but it’s definitely worth taking lunch, or doing this overnight if you can’t afford to stop work.  (This is the same with Windows Vista.  An upgrade has a lot of work to do saving and restoring your configuration.  A fresh install takes very little time at all.)

    Another restart…


    Ooo.. this looks promising.


    Good… Good…


    Ah ha!  Interesting.  I wasn’t asked for a key up front.  I have the chance to enter it now.  I’ve posted my key here.  (just kidding)


    Of course I “Use recommended settings”, because that’s how I roll.


    Cool.  It kept my time zone the same.


    Woo hoo!  It’s ULTIMATE!


    And obviously it knows and kept the fact that it was a domain-joined machine.


    And it remembers who logged in last!


    So I log in. 

    And it’s not my original desktop background, but I think that may be because I was using the default from Vista before (the green one with light streaks through it). 

    Hey.. this is cool.  It ran and installed an update immediately.


    And successfully (I caught this dialog just as it was fading out).


    And I’m done!


    In Part 3 (or “Episode III – The Phantom Menace”) (yeah yeah, I know) I’ll tell you about some of the good-news/bad-news for my install. 

    Hint: It is good, but wasn’t all roses.

  • Microsoft Corp. :: Microsoft Research Helps Novice Musicians Discover Their Inner Songwriters


    Microsoft Corp. :: Microsoft Research Helps Novice Musicians Discover Their Inner Songwriters

    (Title and first link in this blog post are courtesy of clicking the “Blog This” button in my browser, which launches me into Windows Live Writer.  That’s the first time I’ve tried that.  I like it.)

    Everyone has a song inside... Okay.. consider me once again blown away.  I really need to come up with a word to describe the hysterical laughter that accompanies seeing a new feature, technology, or product for the first time that just makes me giggle with delight and anticipation.

    “Geek Giggles.  Geekles.”

    Yeah.. Good one.  I geekled when I saw this new product from Microsoft Research.  Apparently we’re showing it off at CES this year.  You may not know this about me, but before I was an IT Pro, I was a Developer.  And before that I was a musician and composer.  And with a musical background, plus keeping my toes-in-the-musical-water by being in a band, etc.. I’ve always loved seeing how software can support the creative process**. 

    So now we give you SongSmith.  From the web site:

    Songsmith generates musical accompaniment to match a singer’s voice. Just choose a musical style, sing into your PC’s microphone, and Songsmith will create backing music for you. Then share your songs with your friends and family, post your songs online, or create your own music videos.

    Check out the web site for a fun (and a solid 9.5 on the ten point CHEESY-o-meter scale) video showing off the software, as well as the trial download and purchase links.  ($29.95 USD)

    So now my kids can play around and create songs for fun, just by singing a tune into the PC. 

    And hey.. maybe I’ll be singing a portion of my presentation at my next TechNet Events!


    **Speaking of the creative process, and good music, you should check out my brother’s band’s new CD.  Carl is the bass player and producer.  And he did it all with SongSmith.  (just kidding)

  • Windows 7: My First Install (Part 1)

    Okay.. so not only did I download the beta immediately when it was available from the TechNet Subscriber Downloads site, but I also decided to run my first install as an upgrade to a fairly cleanly installed Vista machine.

    “Upgrade?  Using a beta?!”

    Yeah, I know.  Crazy.  But this machine was only serving one simple purpose on my network right now.  It’s running Virtual PC 2007, with a single virtual machine; a Windows Server 2003 box that is my home domain’s lone DNS Server and Domain Controller.   So.. if anything bad were to happen, I have a backup of that .vhd file and I’m fine running that from another machine.

    The host machine is running Vista Business x64, with 4GB of RAM.


    Step 1. Insert DVD while running Vista.

    Autorun asks me if I want to run the setup.exe.  Of course I do.


    Step 2. Install.  Easy choice.


    Step 3. Updates?  Yes.. check for ‘em.


    That’s nice.  And in fact there was a quick update download, and it restarts the setup automatically.  Goes right to… 


    Step 4.  License.  I accept. (After carefully reading, of course.  Yeah, right.)


    Step 5.  Upgrade.  Yay!  I’m getting the Upgrade option!  I click it, and it checks my system for compatibility.  But..


    Interesting.  It tells me that there is a system change it has to make before it can do the setup.  Maybe it’s because I’m running Vista SP2 Beta on this machine.

    I do the restart, and launch the setup again.

    It take me through the same steps again.. does the “check for updates”, and even says it’s downloading them.  Restarts setup.  Agree to the license agreement.  Choose “Upgrade” again.  Compatibility check…


    I get only the one warning this time.  Hit “Next”…


    And I’m off and running!

    That’s what’s happening RIGHT NOW.  Watch this blog for what happens next…

  • What is “Life without walls?”

    (Warning: If you only expect serious technology announcements or serious discussion from this blog, you should stop reading this post right now.)

    Oh, you didn't just say that out loud, did you?!

    Just an observation…

    If you don’t have a wall, you’ve got no place to put a window.  Why do I need windows if I have no walls?  That’s just stupid.

    Don’t get me wrong.. I love and sincerely embrace the whole “Windows: Life Without Walls” vision.  I’m just saying maybe Microsoft should re-think the analogy a little. 

    How about “Windows.  You need walls for protection, but we let you see outside!”  Or maybe, “Windows. Walls, but with a view!”

    And what about doors?  Who equates to the “door” in this whole analogy? 

    It’s no secret that when we say “walls”, we really mean Apple. 


    Yes.. I said it.  (chuckle)  They’re the “It’s new and cool and shiny and costs a lot of money for not as much functionality and you have to bend over backwards to make it truly useful” people.  And sure, they’re useful for certain people with certain specific needs.  But the reality is that they cost too much, and don’t let you DO as much. 

    Yes, that’s harsh.  Half-assed opinions tend to be harsh.

    Maybe Apple is the walls, AND the door.  “Apple: We give you walls.  And locked doors.  The key?  You must get it at iTunes.”

    “C’mon Kevin.. you’re going too far with this.”


    How about this: It could be argued that - just like Windows need Walls - Microsoft needs Apple.  And Google.  Microsoft is at its best when we have good competition.

    So we have walls, windows, doors.. my blog can be the floor, but we still need a roof over our heads.  And how do we heat this thing?

    “Okay Kev.  Time to be serious.”

    Okay.  Look.. I don’t doubt for a second that there are people all over the world – not just at Microsoft and Apple, but everywhere - who are truly striving to create a better world through technology.  Windows and Macs.  Zunes and iPods.  Zune Marketplace and iTunes.  Windows Mobile and iPhones.  Devices that run software that connect to services and to other devices; and to other people.  It’s no longer “Web 2.0”.  I’m calling it “Life 2.0” – a desire to be connected, with devices that not only give us information, but our pictures, music, e-mail.. interaction with other people… it’s what we all want from our gadgets (and from FREE services), no matter where we are.

    So I guess really to me, “Life Without Walls” means that “Life 2.0” idea, where we’re removing the barriers to the kind of connected life we all dream of one day having.

    Bold Statement Alert:
    There’s just no question in my mind that Microsoft is doing it better. 

    “That really is a pretty bold statement.  You really think Microsoft is doing it better in ALL areas?”

    Well.. okay, honestly, no.  I don’t.  At least not yet.  For example, I’m looking forward to the day when a Windows Mobile-driven device also has the graphics processing power that the iPhone has.  I’d really love to see a ZunePhone, or whatever you want to call it.. not because “hey, it’s a Zune, AND it’s a phone!”, but rather, I’d personally love to see Microsoft build hardware and have total control of the device from start-to-finish, so the software and hardware are completely optimized and proprietary; but with the same upgradeability that Zunes and XBOXs have had.)  Do I think those devices are coming?

    “Do you?”

    I have no idea.  They don’t tell me those things until they’re just about ready to announce them publically.  I sure hope they are.  But at the very least, you can bet that someday there will be a multi-touch, graphically stunning Windows Mobile phone.  One that has a decent browser, even.  (sigh)  Whether we continue to be the software that device makers choose to drive their ever-more-powerful gadgets, or we decide to enter the world of building devices, I believe that nobody is doing it better.

    So.. to rephrase my earlier bold statement:
    There is no question in my mind that Microsoft is the company best positioned to deliver Life 2.0.  No barriers.  No walls.  No limits.

  • Breaking News: Windows 7 Beta 1 Availability

    image Only 35% left to go on my download of Windows 7 from the TechNet Plus Subscription site.  Yes indeed… as expected, SteveB let loose the availability of the first public beta of Windows 7 during his keynote address at CES.

    And almost to the moment he announced it, the PressPass article went live, and the download showed up on the TechNet site.  As TechNet Subscribers, we have this benefit of being able to download the beta right now.  The rest of the world will have to wait.

    “Awww!  Really?”

    Yep.  Sorry.

    “How long?”

    January 9.

    “This year?”

    <sigh>  Yes.. exactly two days from now. 

    “Oh!  Cool!”

    I think so. 

    I’m looking forward to reading (and writing) a lot of reviews of Windows 7 in the coming weeks and months. 

  • IE8: Let us help you BLOCK the install!

    image With all of the excitement around Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 announcements coming later today (January 7, 2009), it’s easy to forget that there are many other important updates on the near horizon (even nearer than Windows 7); one of them being the new version of Internet Explorer: IE 8. 

    The IE Team put a blog entry up today (with lots of screenshots.  I know how you like pictures) announcing the availability of the “Blocker Toolkit”, which “disables the automatic installation of Internet Explorer 8”. 

    “Huh?  Even before they release it, they have a tool to block it?”

    Sounds crazy, I know.  But not really if you’ve been through this before (and most of us have).  The same thing happened with IE 7.  Internet Explorer is being released as an update; meaning it will be installed for you automagically through Microsoft Update or Windows Update if you have enabled automatic updates.  And while that’s fine for most consumers and some businesses, there are many of us who need to have a tight reign on what is being installed if it has a potential impact on how their business-critical applications work, or employee productivity is impacted. 

    So to help address this – to give businesses the time to test their web-based or other browser-dependent applications – the IE team has created this tool that basically tweaks the registry to block the automatic installation of IE 8.  There is no timeout on the block, and you can just as easily remove it when you’re ready to allow the update.

    Their blog post does a great job of outlining the specific scenarios for how IE 8 will be distributed when it’s available, and how the toolkit can help.

    “But, if I’m using WSUS, I’m controlling the updates anyway, right?”

    That’s right.  Those of you who are using good update management and deployment tools like WSUS, SMS, or SCCM to regulate and “approve” updates before they’re dispersed are already doing what you need to do.  You won’t need the IE 8 Blocker Toolkit.

    And if you still think you’ll need the tool, here’s a link to the download.

    “So.. does that mean that IE 8 is coming soon?”

    I hope so.  I am loving Beta 2.  But there haven’t been any official announcements of availability dates that I’m aware of.  Hey, maybe SteveB will announce something** at CES this evening.  But you can safely  assume that IE8 won’t be coming out tonight, because we will want businesses who need to use the blocker toolkit to have a chance to learn about it and deploy it.


    **Disclaimer: I’m just speculating here. It’s just wishful thinking on my part.  But wouldn’t it be cool if I was right?  Watch this space for an update.