Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beta in May: Windows 7, Configuring Exam

As Windows 7 gets nearer and nearer to a rumored release date this year, the Microsoft Learning Group will be close behind with an exam for the OS. Before that happens, the exam still must be put to the usual beta test cycle. The Born to Learn blog announced a few days ago that the Windows 7 beta test will take place from May 5 to 18, with registration opening up for the exam on April 27.

Beta in May: Windows 7, Configuring Exam



Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Running XP? You can’t upgrade to Windows 7

Microsoft has confirmed it isn't providing an upgrade path for Windows XP to Windows 7.

"We realized at the start of this project that the 'upgrade' from XP would not be an experience we think would yield the best results. There are simply too many changes in how PCs have been configured (applets, hardware support, driver model, etc) that having all of that support carry forth to Windows 7 would not be nearly as high quality as a clean install. This is something many of you know and already practice."

Read Running XP? You can’t upgrade to Windows 7

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Windows 7 Exams Development Under Way

With Windows 7 scheduled to be released later this year, Microsoft Learning is closing in on exam development. On the Born to Learn blog, the group announced some preliminary information on three new MCST-level exams for the upcoming OS.

  • 70-680, TS: Windows 7, Configuring
  • 70-685, MCITP: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician
  • 70-686, MCITP: Windows 7, Desktop Administrator

New Windows 7 Exams

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Windows Server 2008 R2: Not your father's R2 upgrade

If you've been around the IT block for more than a few years, then you probably remember Microsoft's last R2 upgrade. Windows Server 2003 R2 started out with a lot of promise but ended up adding relatively little in the way of compelling new features to the standard Windows Server 2003 platform. Long-desired updates, like Project Bear Paw for Terminal Services, didn't make the final cut into Windows Server 2003 R2, and a lot of the "new features" were of little interest to most IT shops. As a result, many organizations ultimately passed on the last R2 upgrade, choosing to wait for Microsoft's next whole-number release.

Windows Server 2008 R2: Not your father's R2 upgrade

Monday, February 09, 2009


Microsoft and its customers have one thing in common: Both are anxious to move on to Windows 7. Customers are doing their part by thoroughly testing the software and reporting bugs. And Microsoft is doing its share by fixing bugs and building tools to make the migration smoother.

That's where the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) toolkit comes in. This little beauty is being tweaked for Windows 7. The idea is to ping the entire network of PCs and see which are ready for a Windows 7 upgrade. Those that don't stand up will be given a list of upgrades.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Testing Begins for Vista SP2 Release Candidate

Microsoft has advanced to the next testing phase for its Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 operating systems by issuing Release Candidate "Escrow"-build versions of Service Pack 2. Various news accounts, published this week, suggest that the build is being made available for testing.

The releases apparently are only available to private testers via Windows Update. The Escrow build, reported as "6002.16659.090114-1728," represents a final bug-fixing stage. It signals that no new features are being planned for the forthcoming RC version, a near-final release.

Resource: Testing Begins for Vista SP2 Release Candidate

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Top 10 changes to security in Windows 7

Microsoft has released a public beta of its next client operating system, Windows 7. Everybody’s talking about the interface changes: the new taskbar, omission of the sidebar, a new look for Windows Explorer. Under the hood, there are more changes, including new and improved security features. Let’s look at 10 security features that have been changed or added in Windows 7.

The Windows 7 buzz encompasses a host of interface enhancements, but there are plenty of new and improved security features as well. Here’s a rundown of 10 key changes you should know about.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Resize a Vista partition without damaging data

There are many reasons why you might want or need to resize a partition, but generally speaking partitions can not be resized without damaging data. That is, until Microsoft Windows Vista. With Vista, resizing a partition that already contains data is not only possible, it's fairly simple. The only gotcha involved is that Microsoft has, with good reason, obfuscated the process from the untrained eye. Naturally I will give this warning. Although this method is tested and proven, that is not an absolute guarantee. Data can get lost when strange things occur. So with that in mind, your data is in your hands and you might want to do a data back up first. With that being said, let's get going.

Resize a Vista partition without damaging data

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vista: Still Heir to the Throne?

While much of the buzz about Windows Vista in the trade press and among analysts has been negative, a few numbers have popped up that seem to support the beleaguered operating system.

Windows XP has proven to be an unrelentingly popular operating system, but it wasn't always the star of the Windows show. Computerworld in August compiled numbers that showed that XP was running only 6.6 percent of corporate PCs in the United States and Canada in September 2003, almost two years after its October 2001 release. Vista, on the other hand, had an 8.8 percent worldwide enterprise market share at the end of June -- 19 months after its November 2006 release to enterprises -- according to Forrester Research Inc.

Of course, those comparisons aren't strictly apples-to-apples. For starters, the 2003 XP market share is a North American figure, while the Vista number is a worldwide percentage. Beyond that, the XP number originally came from AssetMatrix, a company Microsoft later bought.

Most notably, however, and perhaps most importantly, XP is much older now than its predecessor and primary competitor, Windows 2000, was in 2003. Windows 2000 debuted in February 2000 and was therefore not quite four years old in late 2003 when XP had only 6.6 percent market share. By comparison, XP will turn seven this month -- and, unless drastic changes happen before press time, Vista will still have less than 10 percent of the enterprise market.

In short, XP's market share is unprecedented for an OS of its advanced age.

"XP is the most mature operating system that has ever had 90 percent penetration in business," says Paul DeGroot, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft in Kirkland, Wash. "We're now talking about a system that's seven years old, and is still used by a majority of businesses."

That might not be the case forever, though. Forrester, in an August report, stated that Vista was gaining a foothold in the enterprise, and argued: "IT operations folks are at a critical inflection point and should deploy Windows Vista to:
  1. stay current with Microsoft's and independent software vendors' support lifecycles;
  2. help minimize today's security, management and productivity challenges; and
  3. better position your business to eventually embrace 'Windows 7.'"

Related article: So You've Decided to Skip Vista...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Secrets of Sysvol | Migrating Group Policy

You already know that Windows Server 2008 brings a lot of changes. You've probably heard about the product's Read Only Domain Controllers (RODCs), Server Core and fine-grained password policies. There's another factor that almost no one seems to know about: Server 2008 replaces a vital piece of Active Directory. This change is along the lines of replacing the engine in your car as you're driving 70 miles per hour down the highway: If done badly, it could shut down Group Policies and negate your log-on scripts.