A couple of days ago, an article was published over at TechWeb, stating that Vista will ship in late January. Now many of you may think, 'yeah, yeah, put a few months on that', but to that, I would say, just you wait and see. There has been a whole host of improvements since the Beta 2 was released a few months back - I, for instance, installed a brand new build on my Toshiba Tablet, just the other day, and I am incredibly happy with it. It's the most reliable and quick build I've had to date, and trust me, I've had a number of builds in the last few months, each getting successively better and more feature rich. Would I say it's ready for release tomorrow? No, but can I see it being ready for January? Definitely. And Timothy Chen, Chief Executive of Microsoft's Greater China region, agrees.
The article goes on to say: "Chen's use of the word "late" to note the release in January, however, is the first time Microsoft has been specific within the month about the timing of Vista's availability."
Chen also goes on to mention that we have been working closely with OEM hardware partners, but, as this article, also from TechWeb describes, we have been working with Microsoft Connect users, to eliminate bugs in Vista. By working with testers, this feedback-driven improvement brings us ever closer to the next Beta 2 release, namely Release Candidate 1 (RC1).
But you guys are not the only ones testing Vista. James, my partner in crime, has a great post talking about how we, as employees of Microsoft, have been actively involved in the testing process. At the last count, 24000 of us were running Vista, providing feedback at every step of the way using our internal tools.
As James says, RC1 will be a big step towards the final release, and I really do have every faith that all the people who test the product, will see how far it has come since Beta 2. Nick White, over at the Windows Vista Team Blog, has written a great post about the changes you can expect to see in RC1. I'm not going to describe them all here, as I've waffled on for long enough now, but I will share this quote from Nick:
"While some of these changes may seem small, when you realize that they will affect hundreds of millions of people -- and in some cases, those people will notice the benefit every time they use the operating system -- well, in all it’s really pretty awesome"
There have been updates to Windows Explorer, Networking, Media Center (One thing to check out: When using an Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender, the remote experience is now full-fidelity. It looks and performs exactly like you’re using the PC), User Account Control and Security (Including BitLocker) to name but a few. Read the whole post here.
One last, final, (I promise!) point to mention, as Nick says, is, please keep sending us feedback. Your suggestions could end up affecting hundreds of millions of people!
A big thanks to a colleague of mine from the Morrocan sub, Ahmed Hakkoum, who informed me of this pair of beauties available for download, for no cost to yourself (you can purchase the paperback version of the first document), from the Microsoft download website:
Both documents are in PDF format, so you'll need the relevant reader software.
The first of the 2 documents is written by Katherine Murray, who herself is a blogger. You can read Katherine's Technology Blog over at BlogOffice. In the document, Katherine gives an introduction to the 2007 Office System, gives guidance on Preparing and Producing Professional Results and discusses Communicating and Collaborating. A very useful read indeed.
The second of the 2 documents is a Special 2006 TechEd Edition, published by Microsoft Press, which contains over 200 pages of sheer SharePoint Server and SharePoint Services joy! Highlights of the book include chapters on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Building Solutions with Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Creating Workflows: The Missing Piece of Office Productivity. If SharePoint is your thing - this is the book for you!
Steve Clayton, a.k.a The Gaffer, has found a really useful resource for IT Professionals who are interested in deploying or migrating to Windows Vista. According to the site:
These guides will also provide step-by-step information on how to control device installation using Device Management and Installation (DMI) and manage ADMX files. There are also step-by-step guides to help you protect data using BitLocker Drive Encryption, to administer the TPM Security Hardware in a computer using Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Services, and to help deploy better-managed desktops and mitigate the impact of malware using User Account Control (UAC).
They are all available to open/download as Word documents and you can get them from this Microsoft Website. However, because I'm such a kind fella, I've placed all the links to the individual documents here. I hope you find them useful.
God bless Wikipedia! A colleague of mine here at Microsoft recently opened my eyes to a cracking resource on Windows Vista, which can be found over at Wikipedia.
The Wiki contains a huge amount of information, covering the following main topics:
As you can see, quite an extensive list, and a great reference point should you require a central repository of information. There are also a number of recommended resources on the Wiki, so you can increase your Vista knowledge no end.
On my regular travels around the web, I stumbled upon a brilliant resource for information around Windows Vista; Tom Archers's blog.
One of his more recent posts, from June 2nd, gave a Q&A on a new feature in Windows Vista, namely ReadyBoost. Now, you may be thinking, what is ReadyBoost? Essentially, ReadyBoost is a Windows Vista feature that allows you to use a USB key, or, a number of popular memory cards, as virtual memory in order to enhance performance. It is important to mention, that currently, memory cards are only supported when used internal card readers.
Tom's post goes on to give an excellent FAQ, provided by Matt Ayres, all about ReadyBoost. Some of the ones that I found particularly interesting include:
Q: What's the smallest ReadyBoost cache that I can useA: The smallest cache is 256MB (well, 250 after formatting). Post beta2, we may drop it another 10 MB or so.
Q: Isn't this just putting the paging file onto a flash disk?A: Not really - the file is still backed on disk. This is a cache - if the data is not found in the ReadyBoost cache, we fall back to the HDD.
Q: What happens when you remove the drive? A: When a surprise remove event occurs and we can't find the drive, we fall back to disk. Again, all pages on the device are backed by a page on disk. No exceptions. This isn't a separate page file store, but rather a cache to speed up access to frequently used data.
Q: How much of a speed increase are we talking about?A: Well, that depends. On average, a RANDOM 4K read from flash is about 10x faster than from HDD. Now, how does that translate to end-user perf? Under memory pressure and heavy disk activity, the system is much more responsive; on a 4GB machine with few applications running, the ReadyBoost effect is much less noticable.
There is also an excellent resource over at the Microsoft website, on the Windows Vista Performance Enhancements page. It gives a great description of how to actually configure and use ReadyBoost.
Unfortunatly, I've only got a tiny USB stick (careful!) weighing in at 128Mb, so not quite up to the minimum size at present, so I haven't used this myself, but for anyone running Vista, who may have less RAM than is optimum, buying a cheap SD card or USB stick may be a great way to really 'ReadyBoost' your system :-)
One of my colleagues from Microsoft France has published a great post demonstrating the control of Windows Vista using speech!
Dailymotion blogged video
The video shows the power of speech recognition to demonstrate solitaire, paint, opening documents, pictures, administering your PC and more! It really is a great example of how we are moving forward in this space.
Great work from Benjamin Gauthey to find the video. The video appears courtesy of http://www.istartedsomething.com.
Over the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed many of my posts relating to Windows Vista. Since returning from Orlando in July, there have been some changes in the department for the new Microsoft Year 07, and this reshuffling has resulted in a move away, for me, from the Management and Virtualisation side of Technology, over to Windows Vista.
So, from today, my blog will be focused on Windows Vista, our cool new OS, but I will still be dipping into Virtualisation, and other cool technology out there (which may include Management Technologies!).
I'm really looking forward to taking this further, as Vista is an incredible product, something that i have really grown to love, and it will be an incredible experience to be involved with the product, in this, key year for Microsoft.
I hope the information I provide on Vista will be useful to you, and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me. Other than that, welcome from Mr Vista (self-proclaimed ;-))
Off the usual track, but still, this is quite a cool one! Microsoft takes a light-hearted swipe at itself, talking about Small Business Server, in a Da Vinci Code style!
The movie talks about the importance of patching, installing updates, getting the green check of software health and more...
You can stream the video here.
Interested? You may want to check out the Top 10 Reasons to Use Windows SBS over at Microsoft.com, and for more information on the world of Small Business, visit David Overton's blog.
There are currently 2 Microsoft Events taking place in September, focussing on Windows Vista. These events are as follows:
I hope you find the events useful!
There has been a great article posted over at CNet News, which discusses Microsoft's attendance at the Black Hat Briefings.
"This year, for the first time in the event's 10-year history, several sessions are focused on the security--rather than the insecurity--of a single vendor's product. Microsoft, a platinum sponsor, is giving presentations on Vista."
Vista attracted an audience bigger than many of the other sessions, and the talk was very technical oriented, rather than marketing based; something that pleased many of the attendees. Microsoft also handed out early builds of Vista and is hoping for feedback from the attendees.
According to the article, Microsoft's Black Hat presentations cover various aspects of security in the operating system update, including broad talks on fundamentals and security engineering, and specific sessions on networking technology, Wi-Fi, heap management enhancements, and Internet Explorer 7. The article also goes on to mention Microsoft's 'Blue Hat' initiative, where Microsoft invite hackers to come to the HQ and talk security.
From reading the article, I really do get the impression that many people believe that Microsoft really is heading in the right direction.