Licensing is a complex subject and to be honest it’s not one that I talk about much because it’s a complex discipline in and of it’s own and there’s too much fun stuff to talk about in the client and cloud world. This document, Licensing Windows 7 for Use with Virtual Machine Technologies tells you all you need to know about licensing with Software Assurance and Windows 7 on Virtual Machines. Such nuggets as if you have Volume Licensing, an SA and the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade License (Volume Licensing Upgrade License) or Windows 7 Enterprise then you can run 4 virtual copies of Windows 7 on a server or desktop, just like this:
What’s more there’s a great FAQ in the document, some of which is worth calling out:
If I install and run four additional copies of the operating system, do I have to use Windows 7 Enterprise as the host operating system?
No. You may use prior versions of Windows, including Windows Vista Business and Windows XP Pro. In addition to third-party product to host the four virtual machine environments, Volume Licensing customers have some flexibility in how they can deploy Windows 7 in their organizations. As a benefit of Software Assurance coverage for Windows desktops, customers may leverage virtualization use rights. This use right allows running the software in up to four local virtual machines. While a customer’s right to use Windows 7 Enterprise may survive the expiration of their Software Assurance coverage, the Virtualization Use Right does not.
Can I store my virtual machine in a .vhd file on removable storage media and open the .vhd file on another PC?
Yes, as long as both PCs are licensed for Windows VECD and are not already running more than three copies of the software.
Can other users remotely access virtual machines that I’m not using on my PC while I’m using my PC?
No. The use of the software is limited to one user at any given time.
How do I license my employee and contractor owned PCs so that they have access to my centralized desktop PC environment?
Employee- and contractor-owned devices can be licensed with Windows VECD, which enables them to remotely access your centralized desktop PC environment. Additionally, for devices with a pre-assigned Windows 7 Professional license, they may run the permitted instances locally in a virtual machine on the Windows VECD licensed device.
Go grab the document here (email it to your Licensing dude if you aren’t a licensing dude) and learn about Desktop Virtualisation
A very nice chap just wrote to Rachel asking for help with a problem* I think a few other people must have experienced so often so I thought I’d share how to fix it. I just hope I’ve got it right from the problem description. When clicking a link in an application, like your email program, you get an error that says “Application not found” and Internet Explorer doesn’t kick in to handle the link. Basically Internet Explorer isn’t known to the PC as the default browser and nor is anything else so you get the error. It’s simple to fix:
In Windows 7
Click Start and type default programs into the search, then select Set your default programs.
Then from the list select your broswer and click Set this program as default
Next select Set program access and computer defaults, select your browser under Choose a default web browser and click OK
That should sort things out.
If you’re on XP, it’s just a little different:
Then you should be fixed.
*people often writer to Rachel with problems, some of them are unprintable but she appreciated them all
Over Christmas I decided to have a really good read so I got hold of MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Microsoft Windows 7 by Ian McLean and Orin Thomas. Over the years I’ve read a ton of self paced study guides and I find them to be a really good way to learn, or in this case to consolidate knowledge, of a product. Having read lots of these books I can tell you that some really do suck. Sometimes they aren’t written in an engaging way. It’s not that they need to be a novel or have some kind of story line, really I just want the facts. But I do need the language to be accessible and a little bit conversational. Ian and Orin have delivered both the facts and the context.
The book’s structured in a very sensible way. It tells you what it’s going to tell you, tells you, then tells you what it’s told you. It’s a tried and tested technique that helps you revise as you go and beds the key points into your head. The summaries are written in a way that covers all the basics from the lesson and jogs your memory. There’s also constant questions that help you to make sure you understood what you just read. The companion DVD helps with practice exams and a few extra resources.
One of the best things though is that there are two scenario questions at the end of each chapter and they’re written in a way that really gets you thinking and applying what you’ve learnt.
So what’s bad? The answer is: not much. If I had one complaint about the book it would be about using it in ePub format. The issue is that it’s tricky to use the practice questions in the book using eBook because it means switching from, say, the middle of the book to the end of the book, finding the answers and then finding where you were again. Bookmarks help but it would be much better to have the answers just after the questions. It won’t stop me using eBooks from now on, but it would be a very welcome improvement.
One of my favourite features of the book is a the real world examples that Ian and Orin have thrown in. They give you some good examples of how what you’re about to learn is useful in the real world.
The proof however is in the pudding and this being an exam training kit the pudding is exam 70-680. So last Friday I went and did the exam, you can see how I found that here. The book though is really good preparation for the exam, but it’s not good enough on it’s own. There were questions that were not well covered in the book because they were quite tangential and that’s where an IT pros experience comes into play. If you haven’t deployed and administered Windows 7 yet you might struggle so I’d suggest grabbing another book like Troubleshooting Windows® 7 Inside Out by Mike Halsey to augment your experience. Or if you’re a book lover read the far too excellent for words Windows 7 Resource Kit (like I do when I need to sleep!).
To help you get through, you’ll need to get a free Windows 7 Enterprise trial.
Being a bit of a fan of exams (!) on Friday went to a lovely little training centre in Wokingham and sat a couple of hours worth of exams, 070-680 and 070-685. Thankfully I passed both and I can now report back on them, just like I did with the MTA exams. The first thing to say is that these were, just as you’d expect, much harder than the MTA exams requiring both depth and breadth of knowledge of Windows 7 and how to deploy, manage and troubleshoot it. Why are they worth it? How did I study? What’s next?
When I started my IT career just over 10 years ago I met a bunch of guys who had their NT4 MCSE and I also had a boss who knew his onions, the guys he hired with MCSEs knew their onions too, they didn’t just have the bit of paper. They formed my view of why it’s important to be well trained and why it’s worth getting the cert. What I learnt was that studying Microsoft’s products according to the official curriculum helps you flesh out all the facets and features of a product that you might not necessarily see in your day to day life. Overall the biggest thing that certifications do is make sure you cover all the bases and widen your knowledge.
Some people expect that when they get a certification they should suddenly earn more money. Wrong. Some people expect that when you get a certification you should suddenly get a promotion. Wrong. It’s about how you apply the skills you’ve learnt to your business and add value, not about a bit of paper. There’s one place that certs matter and that’s when you’re getting hired as a contract employee. In my experience certifications get you past the junior recruitment consultants who vet CVs. When you’re passed there you are back to how you’ve applied your skills again.
So why are they worth it? Studying for a cert improves your knowledge and that improves the skills that you apply to your day to day life as an IT Professional. I think of extra skills as extra tools in the kit bag, making me more capable in more situations.
Over the years I’ve developed a pretty good understanding of how I learn, every IT Pro probably has. The way I do it is to grab a nice thick study guide, in this case I used MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Microsoft Windows 7 by Ian McLean and Orin Thomas (review here tomorrow) and I grabbed it in eBook format from Safari Books Online downloaded it to my Kindle and took it away with me to Tenerife over Christmas. There I proceeded to read it all, including all the bits I thought I knew. As always in those sections I picked up new nuggets of knowledge that I’d never picked up before. When I got back to the UK I sat down a couple of days before the exam and did all the exercises that I don’t do all the time…I use MDT quite a lot so I skipped those. Finally I read all the chapter summaries over again in one sitting. Essentially I was packing my brain with focused information about what I needed at a particular time.
I could not have done the exam with just that information.
If I hadn’t had experience to apply to the scenario questions in the exams there is no way I’d have made it. In fact I didn’t think I had made it on either exam until I got the results. The current crop of exams are really taxing. They aren’t as taxing as the Windows NT to Windows 2000 upgrade exam but they really aren’t easy.
For me certifications are also a matter of professional pride and I don’t under estimate what that professional pride will drive me to. I used to work in a team (of contractors) where certification was a competitive sport and that’s still with me.
So what’s next? I’ll be doing Exam 70-686 next but I’m currently proofing some books and reading previews of others so it’ll probably be a few months.
Office 365 Beta gives you automatic access to Forefront Online Protection for Exchange to protect the mail flow into your Office 365 environment. We recently released a guidance document that includes some of the known issues and some of the scenarios for more advanced mail flows. The document discusses the following scenarios in depth but there’s also a video available if that’s more your cup of tea.
Fully hosted scenario—Email flows exclusively through the cloud (Internet), without any interaction with on-premises servers. For more information, see Fully Hosted Scenario.
Shared address space with on-premises relay scenario—Email is hosted partially in the cloud (Internet) and partially on-premises, and mail flow is controlled on-premises.
Internal mail flow scenario—Both the sender and the recipients are within the same organization, and the organization has mailboxes both in the cloud and on-premises. However, unlike the previous scenario, not all mail is controlled by the on-premises mail server. In this scenario, email is sent between the cloud and the on-premises server without being sent to the Internet and FOPE skips all filtering operations.
Outbound smart host scenario—FOPE acts as a smart host, redirecting outbound mail to an on-premises server that applies additional processing before delivering mail to its final destination. However, incoming mail goes straight to the Exchange Online servers without passing through an on-premises server. You may want to consider this option for your organization if you have an on-premises application or other compliance solution you use to filter outgoing mail and you also want the benefits of FOPE edge, virus, policy, and spam filtering.
Inbound safe listing scenario—Email is sent inbound through FOPE to Microsoft Exchange Online from a trusted organization. In this scenario, FOPE is configured to skip IP address filtering on inbound mail sent from IP addresses specified in a safe list. You can also configure FOPE to skip policy and spam filtering.
Regulated partner with forced TLS scenario—Forced inbound and outbound transport layer security (TLS) is used to secure all routing channels with business regulated partners.
There’s no way to get access to the Office 365 Beta right now but you can get a BPOS trail if you’d like to see how exchange online works.