Microsoft accidentally announces Windows 8 Release Preview availability to be May 31

Posted by bink on May 31 2012, 2:50 PM.

It looks like we're going to get what everyone's been waiting to get their hands on earlier than expected. A badly timed blog post (now deleted) today on the Windows Hardware and Driver Developer Blog pinned the release date of the next preview of Windows for May 31st.

The post was written by Chuck Chan, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Development team on a new blog called the "Windows Hardware and Driver Developer Blog" this morning. He says that the "Release Preview" has been "made available today" and then signs the date and his name at the end of the post as "Chuck Chan, May 31st."

More and screenshot at source:

Microsoft IT Replaces Siebel with Dynamics CRM

Posted by bink on May 31 2012, 2:36 PM.

By retiring Seibel and replacing with the Global Sales Experience (GSX) solution powered by Dynamics CRM, Microsoft IT has been able to introduce simplicity for IT, agility and value for the business. This document provides an overview of how Microsoft IT introduced new governance models to rationalize down and upstream applications, access policy management to provide the right data to the right

Microsoft IT has been able to introduce simplicity for IT, agility and value for the business. This document provides an overview of how Microsoft IT introduced new governance models to rationalize down and upstream applications, access policy management to provide the right data to the right people and increase the time to market of new sales programs.

Start download Whitepaper

Update Rollup 3 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 (KB2685289)

Posted by bink on May 30 2012, 5:09 AM.

Update Rollup 3 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 resolves issues that were found in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 since the software was released. This update rollup is highly recommended for all Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 customers.

For a list of changes that are included in this update rollup, see KB2685289.

Download Update Rollup 3 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 (KB2685289) - Microsoft Dow

Microsoft Skype OPK

Posted by bink on May 30 2012, 1:51 AM.

Enhance your Windows 7 installations with Skype. Skype is for doing things together, whenever people are apart. Skype’s text, voice, and video make it simple for people to share experiences with those who matter to them, wherever they are.

With Skype preinstalled, your customers can enjoy these features:

  • Skype-to-Skype calls. Talk to anyone else on Skype, anywhere in the world, for free.
  • Video calling on Skype. Talk face to face with live video for free.
  • Instant messaging. Send an instant message to anyone on Skype, for free.
  • Call phones and mobiles. Call mobile phones or landlines anywhere in the world with Skype Credit—or save even more with a subscription.
  • Group video calling. Share, celebrate, and collaborate from anywhere in the world. There’s so much they can do together over group video.
  • Screen sharing. Share their screens with anyone on Skype for free, or share with a group of friends or colleagues using Skype Premium.

Traditional OEM Preinstallation Kits (OPKs) for Windows and Office contain a wealth of technical information to address numerous scenarios; they are designed to meet the needs of the wide range of OEMs who build PCs. The OPK contains everything you need to deploy Skype 5.8, including the installer application and instructions on how to silently install Skype for your customers.

Download the Skype 5.8 OPK. .img 18 MB

OEM registration required

Active Directory Rights Management Service Client 2.0

Posted by bink on May 29 2012, 3:14 PM.

AD RMS Client 2.0 is software designed for your client computers to help protect access to and usage of information flowing through applications that use AD RMS whether installed on your premises or in a Microsoft datacenter.

The Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) Client 2.0 is software designed for your client computers to help protect access to and usage of information flowing through applications that use AD RMS whether installed on your premises or in a Microsoft datacenter.

The AD RMS Client ships as an optional download which can be, with acknowledgment and acceptance of its license agreement, freely distributed with your third-party software to enable client access content that has been rights protected by use and deployment of AD RMS servers in your environment.


Download AD RMS Client 2.0 - Microsoft Download Center - Download Details

Mitigating Risk: Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea (IDC White Paper)

Posted by bink on May 25 2012, 2:59 PM.

This IDC white paper (sponsored by Microsoft) discusses why remaining with Windows XP is no longer a good business decision.

This IDC white paper discusses the benefits associated with a move from Windows XP to Windows 7 and presents a case for the many reasons why remaining with Windows XP is no longer a good business decision. Costs tend to soar when older products are used beyond their intended lifecycle, and IDC research has clearly confirmed that trend.


Download Mitigating Risk Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea (IDC White Paper)

IIS Transform Manager 1.0 (RTW)

Posted by bink on May 25 2012, 2:57 PM.

Runs encoding tasks to convert media files to on-demand Smooth Streams for Silverlight clients and Apple mobile digital devices.

IIS Transform Manager 1.0 is an extensible media transform engine that enables "watch folder" job submission, queuing, management, integrated media transcoding/container format repackaging, and batch-encryption of on-demand audio and video files. One example of a media transform is transcoding Windows Media-formatted and MP4-formatted files, or other encoder-supported file formats, to on-demand Smooth Streams for delivery to Smooth Streaming-compatible clients (such as Microsoft® Silverlight®).

Another example is repackaging Smooth Streaming fragments encoded with H.264 (AVC) video and AAC-LC audio codecs to MPEG-2 Transport Stream (MPEG-2 TS) segments for delivery to Apple® mobile digital devices. Transform Manager can be integrated with the IIS Smooth Streaming feature in IIS Media Services, which delivers the converted content.



Download IIS Transform Manager 32 bit


Download IIS Transform Manager 64 bit

Windows 8 Problem, it boots to fast

Posted by bink on May 23 2012, 6:58 PM.

Windows 8 has a problem – it really can boot up too quickly.

So quickly, in fact, that there is no longer time for anything to interrupt boot. When you turn on a Windows 8 PC, there’s no longer long enough to detect keystrokes like F2 or F8, much less time to read a message such as “Press F2 for Setup.” For the first time in decades, you will no longer be able to interrupt boot and tell your PC to do anything different than what it was already expecting to do.

Fast booting is something we definitely want to preserve. Certainly no one would imagine intentionally slowing down boot to allow these functions to work as they did in the past. In this blog I’ll walk through how we’re addressing this “problem” with new solutions that will keep your PC booting as quickly as possible, while still letting you do all the things you expect.

Too fast to interrupt

It’s worth taking a moment to watch (again, if you’ve already seen it) the fast boot video posted by Gabe Aul in his previous post about delivering fast boot times in Windows 8. In this video you can see a laptop with a solid state drive (SSD) fully booting in less than 7 seconds. Booting this fast doesn't require special hardware, but it is a feature of new PCs. You'll still see much improved boot times in existing hardware, but in many PCs, the BIOS itself (the BIOS logo and set of messages you see as you boot up) does take significant time. An SSD contributes to the fast boot time as well, as you can imagine.

If the entire length of boot passes in just seven seconds, the individual portions that comprise the boot sequence go by almost too quickly to notice (much less, interrupt). Most of the decisions about what will happen in boot are over in the first 2-3 seconds – after that, booting is just about getting to Windows as quickly as possible. These 2-3 seconds include the time allowed for firmware initialization and POST (< 2 seconds), and the time allowed for the Windows boot manager to detect an alternate boot path (< 200 milliseconds on some systems). These times will continue to shrink, and even now they no longer allow enough time to interrupt boot as you could in the past.

On the Windows team, we felt the impact of this change first, and perhaps most painfully, with our own F8 behavior. In previous versions of Windows (as far back as Windows 95), you could press F8 at the beginning of boot to access an advanced boot options menu. This is where you’d find useful options such as Safe Mode and “Disable driver signing.” I personally remember using them when I upgraded my first PC from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. F8 helped me quickly resolve an upgrade issue and get started using Windows 95.


Continue at source:

Designing for PCs that boot faster than ever before - Building Windows 8 - Site Home - MSDN

SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 Customer Technology Preview (CTP) Available

Posted by bink on May 23 2012, 6:55 PM.

Microsoft is pleased to announce SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 CTP. Customers with existing investments on SQL Server 2008 R2 are encouraged to explore Service Pack 2 CTP. Service Pack 2 for SQL Server 2008 R2 includes product improvements based on requests from the SQL Server community and hotfix solutions provided in SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Cumulative Updates 1 to 5. A few highlights are as follows:

  • Reporting Services Charts Maybe Zoomed & Cropped Customers using Reporting Services on Windows 7 may sometime find charts are zoomed in and cropped.  To work around the issue some customers set ImageConsolidation to false.   
  • Batch Containing Alter Table not Cached In certain situations with batch files containing the alter table command, the entire batch file is not cached.   
  • Collapsing Cells or Rows, If Hidden Render Incorrectly Some customers who have hidden rows in their Reporting Services reports may have noticed rendering issues when cells or rows are collapsed.  When writing a hidden row, the Style attribute is opened to write a height attribute. If the attribute is empty and the width should not be zero.   

    SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 provides software solutions for these customer reported issues and more.  For more details please visit the KB article 2630455 accompanying the SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 CTP release. Customers running SQL Server 2008 R2 can now download and test the SP2 CTP and send feedback to Microsoft for continuous product improvement.

    To download the SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 release please select from the links below:

    Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 7.0 Beta Now Available

    Posted by bink on May 16 2012, 4:11 AM.

    The latest release from the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) team provides organizations with tools to assess readiness for Windows and Windows Server 2012 Beta.

    Accelerate your move to the Private Cloud with MAP 7.0 Beta

    Thanks for your ongoing interest and participation in the MAP beta review program. We hope you’ll take the time to preview and provide feedback on MAP 7.0.

    The MAP Toolkit’s new capabilities help you to assess the readiness of your environment for deploying Windows as well as Windows Server 2012 Beta.  This update adds new scenarios specifically, the ability to plan for virtualization assessment of Linux servers and readiness assessment for desktop virtualization. Along with the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter and MAP 7.0, now you can easily migrate VMware VMs to Hyper-V for the best roadmap to the cloud. In addition to the above features, MAP 7.0 strengthens the SQL Server migration scenario with support for SQL Server 2012 discovery, and migration planning.

    Key features and benefits of MAP 7.0 Beta help you:

    · Understand your readiness to deploy Windows in your environment with hardware and device readiness assessments

    · Determine Windows Server 2012 Beta readiness

    · Investigate how Windows Server and System Center can manage your heterogeneous environment through VMware migration and Linux server virtualization assessments

    · Size your desktop virtualization needs for both Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and session-based virtualization using Remote Desktop Services

    · Ready your information platform for the cloud with the SQL Server 2012 discovery and migration assessment

    · Evaluate your licensing needs with usage tracking for Lync 2010,  active users and devices, SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 Beta

    Tell us what you think!

    We value your input. Download the beta on Connect and tell us what you think! Send your comments to the MAP


    This program is now open. The beta review period will run through July 5th, 2012.

    Tell your friends

    To join the beta review program for Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 7.0, visit Microsoft Connect:

    Learn more

    Visit the MAP home

    Get the latest news straight from the MAP team:

    MAP works with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Security Compliance Manager to help you plan, securely deploy, and manage new Microsoft technologies—easier, faster, and at less cost. Learn more

    Follow Solution Accelerators on Twitter to get the latest tips and updates:@MSSolutionAccel

    Download the beta materials on Connect:

    Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit v3.0

    Posted by bink on May 16 2012, 4:10 AM.

    The enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) is designed to help prevent hackers from gaining access to your system. Software vulnerabilities and exploits have become an everyday part of life. Virtually every product has to deal with them and consequently, users are faced with a stream of security updates. For users who get attacked before the latest updates have been applied or who get attacked before an update is even available, the results can be devastating: malware, loss of PII, etc. Security mitigation technologies are designed to make it more difficult for an attacker to exploit vulnerabilities in a given piece of software. EMET allows users to manage these technologies on their system and provides several unique benefits:

    1. No source code needed: Until now, several of the available mitigations (such as Data Execution Prevention) have required for an application to be manually opted in and recompiled. EMET changes this by allowing a user to opt in applications without recompilation. This is especially handy for deploying mitigations on software that was written before the mitigations were available and when source code is not available.

    2. Highly configurable: EMET provides a higher degree of granularity by allowing mitigations to be individually applied on a per process basis. There is no need to enable an entire product or suite of applications. This is helpful in situations where a process is not compatible with a particular mitigation technology. When that happens, a user can simply turn that mitigation off for that process.

    3. Helps harden legacy applications: It’s not uncommon to have a hard dependency on old legacy software that cannot easily be rewritten and needs to be phased out slowly. Unfortunately, this can easily pose a security risk as legacy software is notorious for having security vulnerabilities. While the real solution to this is migrating away from the legacy software, EMET can help manage the risk while this is occurring by making it harder to hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in the legacy software.

    4. Ease of use: The policy for system wide mitigations can be seen and configured with EMET's graphical user interface. There is no need to locate up and decipher registry keys or run platform dependent utilities. With EMET you can adjust setting with a single consistent interface regardless of the underlying platform.

    5. Ease of deploy: EMET comes with built-in support for enterprise deployment and configuration technologies. This enables administrators to use Group Policy or System Center Configuration Manager to deploy, configure and monitor EMET installations across the enterprise environment.

    6. Ongoing improvement: EMET is a living tool designed to be updated as new mitigation technologies become available. This provides a chance for users to try out and benefit from cutting edge mitigations. The release cycle for EMET is also not tied to any product. EMET updates can be made dynamically as soon as new mitigations are ready The toolkit includes several pseudo mitigation technologies aimed at disrupting current exploit techniques. These pseudo mitigations are not robust enough to stop future exploit techniques, but can help prevent users from being compromised by many of the exploits currently in use. The mitigations are also designed so that they can be easily updated as attackers start using new exploit techniques.


    Download EMET - Microsoft Download Center - Download Details