Friday, July 30, 2010

Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 SP 1 Beta Note and Download

Have you downloaded the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP Beta yet?

Changes specific to Windows Server 2008 R2

Dynamic Memory

Dynamic Memory allows for memory on a host machine to be pooled and dynamically distributed to virtual machines as necessary. Memory is dynamically added or removed based on current workloads, and is done so without service interruption.

Virtual machines running a wide variety of operating systems can use Dynamic Memory; for a complete list, see the “Dynamic Memory Evaluation Guide” at The guide also discusses Dynamic Memory settings and usage in detail.

Microsoft RemoteFX

Businesses are increasingly looking to leverage the efficiency and cost savings that can come from a virtualized desktop infrastructure. With the addition of Microsoft RemoteFX in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, a new set of remote user experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual desktops, session-based desktops and remote applications is introduced. Harnessing the power of virtualized graphics resources, RemoteFX can be deployed to a range of thick and thin client devices, enabling cost-effective, local-like access to graphics-intensive applications and a broad array of end user peripherals, improving productivity of remote users.

RemoteFX can function independently from specific graphics stacks and supports any screen content, including today’s most advanced applications and rich content (including Silverlight and Adobe Flash), ensuring that end users maintain a rich, local-like desktop experience even in a virtualized thin-client environment.

RemoteFX also adds mainstream USB device support to virtual desktop computing, including support for USB drives, cameras and PDAs connected to the client device. RemoteFX also provides a platform for hardware and software partners to enhance RemoteFX capabilities in a variety of possible host, client and network configurations.

Enhancements to scalability and high availability when using DirectAccess

DirectAccess is a new feature in the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems that gives users the experience of being seamlessly connected to their corporate network any time they have Internet access. In Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, improvements have been made to enhance scalability and high availability when using DirectAccess, through the addition of support for 6to4 and ISATAP addresses when using DirectAccess in conjunction with Network Load Balancing (NLB).

Support for Managed Service Accounts (MSAs) in secure branch office scenarios

SP1 enables enhanced support for managed service accounts (MSAs) to be used on domain-member services located in perimeter networks (also known as DMZs or extranets).

Support for increased volume of authentication traffic on domain controllers connected to high-latency networks

As a greater volume of IT infrastructure migrates to cloud-based services, there is a need for higher thresholds of authentication traffic to domain controllers located on high-latency networks (such as the public Internet). SP1 allows for more granular control of the maximum number of possible concurrent connections to a domain controller, enabling a greater degree of performance tuning for service providers.

Enhancements to Failover Clustering with Storage

SP1 enables enhanced support for how Failover Clustering works with storage that is not visible for all cluster nodes. In SP1, improvements have been made to the Cluster Validation and multiple Failover Cluster Manager wizards to allow workloads to use disks that are shared between a subset of cluster nodes.

Changes specific to Windows 7

Additional support for communication with third-party federation services

Additional support has been added to allow Windows 7 clients to effectively communicate with third-party identity federation services (those supporting the WS-Federation passive profile protocol). This change enhances platform interoperability, and improves the ability to communicate identity and authentication information between organizations.

Improved HDMI audio device performance

A small percentage of users have reported issues in which the connection between computers running Windows 7 and HDMI audio devices can be lost after system reboots. Updates have been incorporated into SP1 to ensure that connections between Windows 7 computers and HDMI audio devices are consistently maintained.

Corrected behavior when printing mixed-orientation XPS documents

Prior to the release of SP1, some customers have reported difficulty when printing mixed-orientation XPS documents (documents containing pages in both portrait and landscape orientation) using the XPS Viewer, resulting in all pages being printed entirely in either portrait or landscape mode. This issue has been addressed in SP1, allowing users to correctly print mixed-orientation documents using the XPS Viewer.

Changes common to both client and server platforms

Change to behavior of “Restore previous folders at logon” functionality

SP1 changes the behavior of the “Restore previous folders at logon” function available in the Folder Options Explorer dialog. Prior to SP1, previous folders would be restored in a cascaded position based on the location of the most recently active folder. That behavior changes in SP1 so that all folders are restored to their previous positions.

Enhanced support for additional identities in RRAS and IPsec

Support for additional identification types has been added to the Identification field in the IKEv2 authentication protocol. This allows for a variety of additional forms of identification (such as E-mail ID or Certificate Subject) to be used when performing authentication using the IKEv2 protocol.

Support for Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX)

There has always been a growing need for ever more computing power and as usage models change, processors instruction set architectures evolve to support these growing demands. Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) is a 256 bit instruction set extension for processors. AVX is designed to allow for improved performance for applications that are floating point intensive. Support for AVX is a part of SP1 to allow applications to fully utilize the new instruction set and register extensions.

The Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta helps keep your PCs and servers on the latest support level, provides ongoing improvements to the Windows Operating System (OS), by including previous updates delivered over Windows Update as well as continuing incremental updates to the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 platforms based on customer feedback, and is easy for organizations to deploy a single set of updates.

The public beta is best suited for IT pros, tech enthusiasts and developers who need to test the service pack in their organization or with the software they are developing.

In order to download and install the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta you must currently have a Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 already installed. The Beta is available in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

To learn more about piloting, deploying and managing Windows 7, visit the Springboard Series on TechNet.


This is a Post made up of information from the Microsoft Site and Notes about SP1.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Beta of Microsoft Security Essentials

Announced today was  Microsoft Security Essentials Beta a no-cost light weight anti-malware service. It’s designed to keep computers e protected from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.


New features in the beta of Microsoft Security Essentials include:

Windows Firewall integration – Manage firewall setting in during setup of Microsoft Security Essentials

Integrated with Internet Explorer to provide Enhanced protection for web-based threats –

The beta includes a updated anti-malware engine offers enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities.

Network inspection system Protection against network-based exploits is now built in to Microsoft Security Essentials.

To get on the beta, click


Monday, July 19, 2010

Arming Yourself Against Identity Theft

I wrote an article for Global Knowledge about fast growing issue of  Identity theft.

In the article I gave 15 Simple steps to prevent becoming a victim, here they are:

  1. Think security. If you are not sure about something, do not open or install it.
  2. If asked to download a file, and you are not sure what it does, do not download it.
  3. Get an anti-spyware program, keep it updated, and use it.
  4. Do not open e-mails from people you do not know.
  5. Do not open attachments if you are not positive you know what they are.
  6. If an e-mail offers something too good to be true, it probably is a scam.
  7. Use anti-virus software; update it at least once a day or more.
  8. Patch your computer's operating system (all vendors have updates).
  9. Patch you applications (word, games, mail programs, etc.).
  10. Be smart; know what services run on your computer, and what ports are open.
  11. Stay away from peer-to-peer sharing software programs.
  12. Think! Computer Security is about what you do as well as what you don't do.
  13. If your computer has a Trojan or worm, you can try to fix it BUT it probably has more than one Trojan or worm. It's better to rebuild if you want to be truly secure.
  14. Wipe out the hard drive when disposing of computers with utilities such as Active KillDisk (Free) WipeDisk, or BCwipe.
  15. Think before you click.

To read the full acticle go here


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Test Drive Windows 7, Take a Survey and Enter to Win a Toshiba Notebook

Visit the Windows 7 Test Drive site, check out our new content on IE8, MDOP and virtualization, try out the online resources, and then tell us about your experience in a short 2-minute survey to enter the prize drawing. Winners will be drawn from the completed survey entries once a week for seven weeks. Come back once a week through August 15 to enter and increase your chances to win.

Enter here

You can also download a free e-book on Deploying Windows® 7 Essential Guidance from the Windows 7 Resource Kit and Microsoft® TechNet Magazine


Get  the free E-book here

Useful Hacker Tips for IT Administration

This was posted about a session a friend did at TechEd and I thought I would share it here

Paula Januszkiewicz  talked with David Tesar about how hacking can help in efficient IT administration and then we also got into topics such as a world without passwords and web security.

Watch her session at TechEd

Open Betas for IPD Guides—Now Available for Download

As a Security pro this is great news, these docs can help you secure your Microsoft infrastructure

The Infrastructure Planning and Design team is working on two new guides and would like your feedback: Microsoft Forefront™ Identity Manager (FIM) 2010 and Active Directory® Certificate Services (AD CS). Get the betas by visiting the Connect Web site at

The Infrastructure Planning and Design guide for Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) 2010 provides actionable guidance for designing a FIM 2010 infrastructure. Follow this guide’s step-by-step process to determine the FIM components necessary for fulfilling your organization’s identity-management needs, and design an infrastructure with the right deployment topology for meeting your performance and availability requirements.

The Infrastructure Planning and Design guide for Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) outlines the critical infrastructure design elements that are key to a successful implementation of Active Directory Certificate Services. Using this guide will result in a certificate services design that is optimized to meet the needs of your organization at the lowest cost.

The two guides can be used together to design a FIM certificate-brokering service that is integrated with AD CS to deliver identity-managed certificate services.

The Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) team is working on related guidance: the MOF Reliability Workbook for Active Directory Certificate Services. It provides knowledge, specific tasks, and schedules needed to keep Active Directory Certificate Services running smoothly.

Reduce time and planning costs by following the processes in these IPD guides to design a successful deployment of FIM and AD CS, and use the MOF Reliability Workbook to optimize monitoring and maintenance activities.

This is a repost of a Microsoft announcement

Microsoft® Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 Update

Deploy Windows 7 and Office 2010 quickly and reliably—while boosting user satisfaction

Microsoft® Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 Update 1 is now available! Download MDT 2010 Update 1 at:

As you prepare to deploy Windows® 7, Office 2010, and Windows Server® 2008 R2, get a jump start with MDT 2010 Update 1. Use this Solution Accelerator to achieve efficient, cost-effective deployment of Windows 7, Office 2010, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

This latest release offers something for everyone. Benefits include:

For System Center Configuration Manager 2007 customers:

New “User Driven Installation” deployment method. An easy-to-use UDI Wizard allows users to initiate and customize operating system and application deployments to their PCs that are tailored to their individual needs.

Support for Configuration Manager R3 “Prestaged Media.” For those deploying Windows 7 and Office 2010 along with new PCs, a custom operating system image can easily be preloaded and then customized once deployed.

For Lite Touch Installation:

Support for Office 2010. Easily configure Office 2010 installation and deployment settings through the Deployment Workbench and integration with the Office Customization Tool.

Improved driver import process. All drivers are inspected during the import process to accurately determine what platforms they really support, avoiding common inaccuracies that can cause deployment issues.

For all existing customers:

A smooth and simple upgrade process. Installing MDT 2010 Update 1 will preserve your existing MDT configuration, with simple wizards to upgrade existing deployment shares and Configuration Manager installations.

Many small enhancements and bug fixes. Made in direct response to feedback received from customers and partners all around the world, MDT 2010 Update 1 is an indispensible upgrade for those currently using MDT (as well as a great starting point for those just starting).

Continued support for older products. MDT 2010 Update 1 still supports deployment of Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista®, Windows Server 2008, and Office 2007, for those customers who need to be able to support these products during the deployment of Windows 7 and Office 2010.

Next steps:

Download Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010:

Learn more by visiting the MDT site on Microsoft TechNet:

This is a repost of a Microsoft announcement


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

Until now, there haven’t been enough certification programs that focus on fundamental IT and development skills.  Microsoft hope is  that the new (MTA) will fill this void.

Launched today, the MTA will offer students a certification in the fundamentals of IT and development. Unlike more advanced Microsoft certifications, the MTA targets students with no prior IT or development experience or employment. It is available exclusively in educational settings and is designed to easily integrate into the curricula of existing computer classes.

The MTA offers three IT certifications, three development certifications and one database certification. The IT section includes tests in Networking Fundamentals, Security Fundamentals and Windows Server Administration Fundamentals. The development certification offers tests in Software Development Fundamentals, Windows Development Fundamentals and Web Development Fundamentals. The database certification covers Database Administration Fundamentals. Students can pursue as many or as few certifications as they choose.

Participating teachers can continue to use their favorite courseware to teach fundamental technology concepts, and also use the included MTA Certification Exam Review Kits (ERKs) to complement existing textbooks. For each exam, 20 hours of instructional material is available. The MTA will eventually be available in thousands of high schools, vocational programs and colleges in the U.S. and other countries. Some colleges are considering making the MTA a mandatory part of their freshman curricula in IT and development. Testing will be conducted by Certiport, a commercial testing service, at participating schools.