Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Important Windows 7 Beta-to-RC Upgrade (?!) Information

    Windows 7 Now.. before you kill the messenger, you really need to read and understand this post from the “Engineering Windows 7” blog  in its entirety:

    Delivering a quality upgrade experience

    Don’t want to read it all?  Okay.. If you really want the summary instead, here are important bits:

    1. We are thrilled that so many people are running and loving the Windows 7 beta, and doing so full-time. 
    2. We’re getting ready to release the Release Candidate (RC).  We know you’re all anxious for it.  (and that’s putting it mildly)
    3. We learned and are learning so much from your fresh installs, your upgrades, etc.  And we will learn even more as you get and install the RC.  But…
    4. The path from Beta to RC can not be supported as an in-place upgrade.

    “HUH?!  I wanna take my beta and just upgrade!  Are you saying I can’t?”

    I want to do that, too.  And no, I’m not saying you can’t.  (Actually, you can’t, unless you do a tweak to an installation file – more about that below.)  But it’s not a scenario that Microsoft is building Windows 7 to support.  Think about it.. Do we really want to spend the extra effort (and days or weeks delay in releasing the product) to fully test a scenario, with all of the smallest details of every file and every setting and potential configuration, that once the product is released, nobody will need?  The real world isn’t full of people upgrading from Beta to RC.  The purpose of betas and RCs is to completely test the real-world kinds of upgrades and deployments.  It doesn’t help anyone to have to report, track down, and fix a bug relating to the Beta-to-RC path.

    “So… what is Microsoft recommending?”

    As the post says, the recommend paths – the ones that will help all of us best to improve the product - is to either restore your previous XP, Vista or Vista SP1 installation and then upgrade to RC, or to do a fresh installation of the RC. 

    The good news is this: If you really really really need to keep your beta configuration and want to do an upgrade to RC, you’ll be able to do it with a documented tweak to the cversion.ini file on the source installation disk.  (See the blog post for the full details on what needs to be done.)

    Believe me.  Many people at Microsoft have been debating this issue passionately.  This is what we wanted to hear, and know that you’d prefer a supported upgrade path.  We’re all in this together.  I did an upgrade of not only my day-to-day production machine that I’m on now, but also my family’s laptop and my family Media Center.  Am I happy about this?  Absolutely not.  But like I said.. if you think about it, it does make sense.  (And anyway, a fresh install on my Media Center may get rid of one particularly annoying issue I’ve got with my Zune software not seeing the new TV files they way it should.  I’ll just have to make sure DRM on my recorded TV files will not be lost.  Got any hints on how I’ll do that?)

    “So what are you going to do, Kevin?”

    For the RC, I’m going to be relying on backups (Windows Easy Transfer) and doing re-configuration on top of a fresh install for my family laptop.  And I’ll investigate the Media Center options I have and get back to you.

    Okay.. let ‘er rip.  Tell me what you think.  Don’t hold back.  If your complaints are well-thought-out and constructive, I’ll share them with the product team.  But in any case, feel free to comment/rant/complain/yell/etc.

     

  • Breaking News: Exchange Server “14” has a name! And the BETA is available today!

    Exchange 2010 Microsoft announced today that the next version of Microsoft Exchange (previously known as version 14) is now called Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.

    Here’s the MS PressPass article about it.

    Great name!  Surprised?

    “No.”

    I didn’t think so.  But the good news is that the beta is now available today as well.  You can get it here.  Is that better?

    “Better”

    How about this.. it is currently scheduled to be released before the end of the year.  Great?

    “Great!”

    It’s even better than that: 

    · Exchange 2010 is the first server in a new generation of Microsoft server technology designed and developed to work on-premises and as an online service.

    · With this version, people will find it easier to conquer inbox overload and be more productive.

    · The release brings customers a new integrated e-mail archive to help organizations get control of personal files (.PST files) and meet e-discovery needs.

    · The next wave of the Office related products will help people become more productive across the PC, phone and browser.

    · Microsoft will release the technical preview of Microsoft Office related products in Q3 2009 with RTM in H12010. Exchange Server 2010 will become available in the second half of 2009.

    And that’s just the high-level view.  For more details, watch the Exchange Team’s Blog or the Exchange Site.

    Here also is a "what's new" page.

    Also - a little known but interesting tidbit.. As of the release of the beta, we already have over 6 million mailboxes running on Exchange 2010. 

    "Did you say '6 million'?"

    Yes.  But I really meant 5 million.  (6 million sure got your attention though..didn't it?)  Five million or six.. that's what I like to call "a lot".  ExchangeLabs, which is now Outlook.com, and the foundation for our "Live@Edu" support of mailboxes for many schools and Universities.  I don't know if any product has ever been put through this kind of testing prior to release.  Main point: My mother-in-law is using OWA on Exchange Server 2010 before YOU are.  (smile)

  • Breaking News: Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 is RTW

    (RTW = Released to Web)

    image

    There’s a new version of the Application Compatibility Toolkit out.  ACT 5.5.

    Download here

    For those of you not familiar with this toolset, check out the main TechNet Library pages about it.

    Oddly, that page was updated two days from now.

    “Huh?  ‘Was updated.. Wednesday’ ? ”

    This blog post is happening April 6, 2009.  The page says it was “Updated: April 8, 2009”.

    Anyway.. the “What’s New” page lists the following:

    The updates include:

    • Updated issue detection and supported operating systems
    • Integration of data from the Windows Vista® Compatibility Center
    • Ability to audit your application data and to selectively synchronize your applications with Microsoft.
    • Updated documentation for the Windows compatibility fixes
    • Ability to customize your Quick Reports view
    • Ability to label your individual data-collection packages
    • Removal of the Internet Explorer® Compatibility Evaluator (IECE)
    • Ability to participate in the Customer Experience Program

    That first one, “updated issue detection”, is particularly important.  The details say that we’ve added several types of support for Windows 7 RC. (No.. don’t get excited.  This is not a release announcement.  RC is not available at the time of this writing.  Watch this blog.)

  • BIG Breaking News: The Windows 7 RC wait is almost over..

    image “Huh?!”

    Yep. Release Candidate 1 (and only, I’ve heard) will be available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers on April 30, 2009.

    “Says who?  All I’ve heard is leaks and rumors of leaks.”

    Says the Windows 7 team on the Windows 7 Team Blog

    “Can I get it now?”

    Do you have a TechNet Plus or MSDN subscription?

    “No”

    Then you should get one.  The Release Candidate is available only to TechNet Plus and MSDN subscribers. 

    “When will it be available to everyone else?”

    It will be available May 5, 2009 for the rest of the world.

    REMEMBER: If you are running the Windows 7 Beta, there are some important things you NEED TO KNOW about the options you have for upgrading to RC.

  • IT Manager Community Talks with Kevin (That’s me!)

    Okay.. ‘bout time for some shameless self-promotion…

    Kevin Remde (Before)

    Actually, and honestly.. I don’t look like this anymore.  My hair is shorter, and I’ve decided to let the grey just be grey.  This is what I look like now:

    Kevin Remde (After)

    But that’s not what this post is about.  It’s about you IT Managers.  As you may (or may not) know, I’ve been helping to create some online resources for IT Managers, in the form or the new IT Manager Community Hub, and the IT Management Forum

    But Evren (Evren Toktas is the real hero here, doing all the heaviest lifting to make these things a reality) and I also thought it would be great if we could do some live chat sessions around topics that IT Managers would be interested in, and could even participate in. 

    So, using our old-favorite Office LiveMeeting, and doing a webcast-that-isn’t-really-a-webcast, but more of a recorded discussion / talk-radio kind of a thing, we’re rounding up industry and community experts (or just anybody with a strong opinion) to help us hold these live discussion sessions focusing on the topic areas listed.  Derek Schauland, MVP

    One regular on the show with me will be Derek Schauland.  Derek is a recognized Microsoft MVP ("Most Valued Professional”), and a prolific blogger and writer (for TechRepublic as well as contributions to the aforementioned IT Manager Community Hub).  It will be great having Derek on-board.

    We have four sessions scheduled for April and May, and would love it if you could join us:

    IT Manager Webcast: IT Manager Community Talk with Kevin - Virtualization (Level 100)

    4/9/2009 11:00 AM PST

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032409138&Culture=en-US

    IT Manager Webcast: IT Manager Community Talk with Kevin - Business Intelligence (Level 100)

    4/20/2009 11:00 AM PST

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032409141&Culture=en-US

    IT Manager Webcast: IT Manager Community Talk with Kevin - Service Oriented Architecture and Business Process Management (Level 100)

    5/4/2009 11:00 AM PST

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032409149&Culture=en-US

    IT Manager Webcast: IT Manager Community Talk with Kevin - Security (Level 100)

    5/25/2009 11:00 AM PST

    http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032409151&Culture=en-US

    I Want You IT Managers!

    And we want YOU to participate. 

    Send your questions in ahead of time to Evren (evrent@microsoft.com), or to me on my Contact page on this blog.  (And if it’s not clear, make sure you mention which topic you’re asking the question about.)  Or you can come to the event, and ask your questions of us there.

    ---

    ..and for links to these, plus other IT Manager-focused webcasts, check out the IT Manager Connections event page.

     

  • “We’re just a Microsoft Shop..”

    image

    Really?  Just Microsoft?  Not likely.  Most companies have some need for interoperability between vendors and technologies.. and those technologies don’t always play well together.  Microsoft, Linux, MySQL, Apple… these can be a big challenge to support and get working well together.

    To help address this - to give you some good options around such interoperability challenges -  my friend and coworker Keith Combs (with support from Matt Hester and Dan Stolts) has created what he’s called the “Interop Roadshow”.  They kick-off tomorrow in Dallas, and do these in 15 cities around the U.S.

    For the schedule and more details, check out the main landing page for the event HERE.

    And tell Keith, Matt, or Dan I sent you.

  • Breaking News: It’s here! RCs are RTW! (for some)

    RCs = Release Candidates

    RTW = Released to Web

    “for some” means “for TechNet and MSDN subscribers”

    You remember several days ago we announced that the RC for Windows 7 would be available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers on April 30th.

    “Hey, that’s today!”

    Yep.  And of course the first thing I did this morning was to connect up to TechNet and see if the software was there.  It is!

    Not only Windows 7, but we also have released Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate today as well.

    My download is progressing.  It’s a great day to be a TechNet Subscriber

    "But the rest of the world gets it on May 5th, right?"

    Yes.  May 5, 2009. 

    Boy.. I feel like Steve Martin’s character Navin Johnson when the new phone books arrived...

    But please.. wait ‘til my downloads are complete before starting yours.

  • TechNet is “Unleashed”

    Live Events for IT Pros

    “Unleashed?  How about ‘TechNet Unplugged’?”

    Hmm… That might be fun.  But the demos would be pretty lame.  No.. I’m talking about a series of events we’re doing for IT Pros in the Central Region (where I work) called “TechNet Unleashed”.  These are typically held at a local Microsoft office, and are free events.  They run from 3:00PM to 5:00PM.

    I’ll be doing several of these around the northern part of the region, and would love to see you there.

    “What’s the topics this quarter?”

    I’m glad you asked.  This quarter we’re talking Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and IE8

    “Go figure"

    Exactly.  Here’s the run-down of the topics we’re covering:

    Windows Server 2008 R2 – Optimize Your Time
    Get a jump start on your peers with Windows Server 2008 R2 by joining us for this no nonsense technical session, where we will discuss the critical improvements in the next version of Windows Server. Some have argued that, given the impressive scope of new functionality in Windows Server 2008 R2, it should not be an “R2” release, but rather should be given a completely new name. They point to features such as Direct Access, Branch Caching, Live Migration, Powershell 2.0, and VDI that will help you cut down on the amount of time you spend doing mundane tasks, reduce end user frustration and support headaches, and give your mobile workforce a competitive edge through ubiquitous access to company data. There’s a good chance that by attending this session you’ll find a way to save time and money with Windows Server 2008 R2, and so you’ll get the time you spend with us back many times over.

    Windows 7 – Maximize Your Potential
    In designing Windows 7, the engineering team had a clear focus on what we call ‘the fundamentals': performance, application compatibility, device compatibility, reliability, security and battery life.  Early reviews of Windows 7 seem to indicate that the choice to focus on the fundamentals is resonating well with many users and professionals. And, IT professionals will further benefit from the enhancements to manageability and security. You’ll also learn how your investments in testing and evaluating Windows Vista will pay off in the transition to Windows 7. Come see firsthand what all the buzz is about in this demo-intensive session where we explore the UI improvements, performance gains, and manageability enhancements in the next client operating system from Microsoft.

    Internet Explorer 8 – Get Excited About the Browser Again
    Internet Explorer is currently the most widely used browser in business, and while we’ve seen nice incremental improvements to IE in recent history, we haven’t seen as many truly earth shattering changes. Well, many agree that the next release of IE, Internet Explorer 8, provides the most compelling upgrade to IE in many years. In a typical day, users spend 2 hours or more per day in the browser, so significant improvements here can have tremendous impact on productivity and the way we work. The browser needs to be thought of in the same terms as an operating system—it has to be rich, robust, interoperable, easy to use and secure. Internet Explorer 8 is a browser that meets these needs and more for users, enterprises, IT professionals and developers alike. Come learn how the new improvements, too numerous to mention here, are driving many to get excited about the browser again.

    “Where do I sign up?”

    I was just about to say that.  Check out http://technetevents.com/unleashed for the city schedule and registration links.

    “Which cities will you be presenting in?”

    You can catch me personally at one of these:

    See you there!

    UPDATE: I should have put this in originally.  If you're a developer or architect, we've got events for you - same day and same location (just earlier in the day).  Check out http://www.msdnevents.com/unleashed and http://www.arcready.com

    UPDATE #2: I've put the resource page up online.  You can find it HERE.

  • Geeky-Cool: An IT Evangelists Wedding

    Their wedding and web site An IT Evangelist (so you know he’s cool), Narenda Wicaksono just shared an interesting story with those of us on an internal e-mail distribution list. 

    The story could have been titled: How true love (and technology) overcame all obstacles (and costs!). 

    His e-mail described it like this:

    “Living in a country with rich culture like Indonesia make us have to follow the tradition, particularly if we want to get married. We have to invite all of our friends. This tradition can causing a problem if you have a lot of friends, especially in term of budget. But we have the technologies that Kintan and Narencan enable us to save cost. This is what we called a Green Wedding.”

    Narenda and his bride Kintan were able to share their traditional Indonesian wedding with ALL of their friends.  The tradition includes inviting ALL of your friends; even if they number some 2000, from all over the world.  Using the Internet, and products such as Office Communications Server 2007 LiveMeeting, Silverlight Streaming (Live), Windows Media Services 2008 and IIS7, and several cameras (some static, but many robotic controlled using by Robotics Studio), they were able to keep the tradition, while taking advantage of technology to help cut costs.

    Plus, it’s just too geeky-cool!

    Check out their site, where you can watch the recorded stream of their wedding, as well as read their blogs and see photos from the happy day.

    And congratulations, Kintan and Naren!  Thank you for sharing your special day with all of us!

  • Talking About Windows

    Just thought I’d share a cool/useful web resource.  It’s a “video blog” (pronounced “vblog”, I presume) called “Talking About Windows”. 

    Talking About Windows

    http://www.talkingaboutwindows.com

    Ever wonder about the details around the deep inner-workings of some of your favorite features in Windows?  Want to hear about it from the guys and gals who actually created it? 

    “Heck yeah!”

    Check it out.  Hats off to Stephen Rose and the team that put this together!

  • Part II: The Quest Continues…

    Some might remember that I blogged about this, or perhaps played this game over a year ago: Server Quest

    Well, the saga continues.  Server Quest II is launched and ready for play.

    Those of us who spent too many hours playing cheesy pixilated adventure games** about 15-20 years ago will appreciate the awesome reproduction in the form of this cute online game.

     ServerQuest II

    The Theme:

    “Just when you thought your eyes had finally healed from years of straining to make out pixelated adventure game graphics, Server Quest rolls into your browser like an avalanche of early nineties gaming action.  This April, prepare to be ushered into a world where the IT pro rules.  As an IT Pro you’ll have to dig deep into your surroundings, solve puzzles, and uncover Easter Eggs and mini games that will help you inch your way closer to the prize—and closer to carving your name into the annals of geekdom.”

    In this episode, you can take on the role of either Matt or Alicia, and choose what your area of expertise will be.  Are you a “Server God”?  A “Desktop Whiz” An “IT Commando”?

    PLAY IT NOW

    And an interesting note: This is the first version done entirely in Silverlight.

    --

    ** "Hey Kevin - By 'cheezy pixilated adventure games', you're talking about all that time you wasted playing 'Leisure Suit  Larry', right?"

    No comment.

  • April-June 2009 - TechNet UNLEASHED Event Resources

    Feedback e-mail to my boss: Harry Caldwell – HarryCal@microsoft.com

     

    Future Live, In-Person Event Information
    TechNet (for IT Pros):
    http://www.technetevents.com/kevinremde
    MSDN (for Software Developers):
    http://www.MSDNEvents.com

     

    NEW - IT Managers Community Hub - http://technet.microsoft.com/itmanagement

    NEW - IT Manager Community Forum - http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/category/itmanager

     

    THRIVE: Me >> My Skills >> My Organization

    http://www.microsoft.com/click/thrive/

     

    User Group Resources:

    User Group Support Services - http://ugss.codezone.com

    Culminis - http://new.culminisconnections.com

     

     

    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,
    or CLICK HERE to pre-populate the promotion code.
    IMPORTANT UPDATE: This promotion and promotion code have expired.
    Please CLICK HERE for the most current promotion.

    { Windows Server 2008 }

    Windows Server 2008 Home

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008

     

    Windows Server Tech Center

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/default.aspx

     

    Windows Server 2008 Tech Center

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/2008/default.aspx

     

    Introduction to Windows Server 2008 R2

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/R2.aspx

     

    Windows Server 2008 R2 Reviewer's Guide (Beta) Document Download

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/E/3/6E3E4529-27E3-48EC-B7E7-1A93242D3AE1/Windows_Server_2008_R2_Reviewers_Guide_(BETA).doc

     

    What's New in Hyper-V?

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd446676.aspx

     

    Active Directory Recycle Bin - Step by Step Guide

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd392261.aspx

     

    Technical Overview of DirectAccess in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=64966e88-1377-4d1a-be86-ab77014495f4&DisplayLang=en

    { Windows 7 }

    Welcome to Winodws 7

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/default.aspx

     

    The Windows Team Blogs (includes the Window 7 Team Blog, among others)

    http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/

     

    The Windows Springboard Series
    http://www.microsoft.com/springboard

     

    Windows 7 Feature Walkthroughs - very usefulscreencasts...

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd320282.aspx

     

    ...such as the video "Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7"

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd671583.aspx

     

    TechNet Edge - Windows 7 Screencasts

    http://edge.technet.com/Tags/Windows+7/

     

    TechNet Edge - Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 with the
    Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Beta (USMT "Hardlink" feature)

    http://edge.technet.com/Media/User-State-Migration-with-Windows-7/

     

    Talking About Windows

    http://www.talkingaboutwindows.com

     

     

    { Internet Explorer 8.0 }

     

    IE Home

    http://www.microsoft.com/IE

     

    TechNet Edge Videos (featuring Matt Hester and others)

    http://edge.technet.com/Tags/IE+8/

     

    The IE Team Blog

    http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/

     

    The Internet Explorer Tech Center

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/default.aspx

  • I’m a PC. Another Fun Commercial.

    I think this is number 3 in the series.. I like this one the best so far.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/default.aspx