Microsoft TechNet Fortnightly Newsletter
Microsoft TechNet Fortnightly Newsletter
Volume 12, Issue 45

1 October 2009
Dear Subscriber,
 
Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have heard that I went on a road-trip up to Newcastle University last week to be an IT pro for the day in the University’s Windows Infrastructure team.

I managed to combine my trip with attending the VBUG event hosted by Andrew Westgarth and Jonathan Noble. There were two great presentations: one by Richard Diver on troubleshooting, and the other from Dr Dan on the optimised desktop. Here are a few of the tools and resources from Richard’s presentation on implementing a black box for Windows server, included in Windows Server 2008 and R2, as there are some great ones for helping you manage your servers.

1. Sysinternals Live is a service that enables you to execute Sysinternals tools directly from the web without hunting for and manually downloading them. Simply enter a tool’s Sysinternals Live path into Windows Explorer or a command prompt as http://live.sysinternals.com/<toolname> or \\live.sysinternals.com\tools\<toolname>

2. Shane Creamer, a premier field engineer, is a guru on Perfmon. You can hear more from Shane on performance monitor in this RunAs radio interview: Shane Creamer Goes Deep on Performance Monitor

3. Windows Internals, 5th edition, the update to Windows Internals, 4th edition, covers Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit). It was written by Mark Russinovich, a Technical Fellow in Microsoft’s Windows Core Operating System Division, David Solomon, an operating systems expert and Windows internals teacher, and with contributions from Alex Ionecsu, who specialises in OS internals and security.

4. Improve XP Perfmon, a few KB articles for common problems:
- Vertical lines are displayed in the Sysmon (Perfmon) tool that obscure the graph - KB283110
- Display Comma Separators in the Windows Performance Tool - KB300884
- The Process Object in the System Monitor Tool Displays Related Product Identification Codes - KB281884

As part of my visit to Newcastle University we got to see a new cluster of Windows 7 machines from the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering. The IT manager Ian, and his team, built the machine from scratch and, with the help of Adčle from the Windows Infrastructure team, used Windows Deployment Services (WDS) to replicate across all 90 machines. See this issue’s feature article for how it was done.

Finally, a couple of things: you may have received an email from Ipsos entitled ‘Help Microsoft focus on customers and partners’. This is our biannual satisfaction survey, which we use to understand what we are doing well and where we can improve. If you can, please can you complete it? We’re also running a very short survey on internet browsers. Do you have an opinion? We want to hear it.

All the best,

Alexandria Ball  
Alexandria Ball
Editor of TechNet Flash
alexandria.ball@microsoft.com
Twitter.com/alex_ball

Twitter and Microsoft Technet

Twitter.com/ASKTechNetUK - ask us whatever you want!


Events

Microsoft Events Live:

7 to 8 October 2009, Earls Court London: Microsoft at IP Expo

9 October 2009, London: Eurodata Systems Plc Presents ‘Wake Up to Windows 7 Plus Your Microsoft Road-map for 2010’

12 October 2009, London: BT Engage IT Presents ‘Make a Significant Dent in Your IT Costs’

13 October 2009, Liverpool: Exchange 2010 – Preview Event

15 October 2009, Reading: ICS Solutions Presents ‘SharePoint – From On-Premise to the Cloud’

15 October 2009, Chesterfield: BT Engage IT Presents ‘Make a Significant Dent in Your IT Costs’

15 October 2009, Reading: ICS Solutions Presents ‘SharePoint – From On-Premise to the Cloud’

20 October 2009, Edinburgh: BT Engage IT Presents ‘Make a Significant Dent in Your IT Costs’

28 October 2009, Reading: Igroup Ltd Presents ‘Drive Automation – Electronic Forms and Workflow’

3 November 2009, Basingstoke: ICS Solutions Presents ‘SharePoint – From On-Premise to the Cloud’

5 November 2009, Reading: Qubic Presents ‘IT’s So Easy to Be Green’

6 November 2009, London: ClearPeople Presents ‘SharePoint 2007, 2010 & Beyond, Seminar and Lunch’

10 November 2009, Basingstoke: ICS Solutions Presents ‘Microsoft BPOS Seminar’

9 to 13 November 2009, Berlin: Tech.Ed Europe
The sooner you sign up, the more you save.

TechNet Webcasts

2 October 2009, 11.00 a.m.: Windows Server 2008 R2 and Why it Matters to Your Business – opened again for registration.

TechNet Virtual Conference 
Access all the great content from the event on 19 June 2009. Topics range from Windows 7 deployment and management to Microsoft Office Communications Server.

Community News & Events

8 October 2009, Cardiff: First South Wales SQL User Group – Ensuring Business Continuity (Back-ups, Mirroring and Monitoring) and SQL 2008 Integration Services

14 October 2009, Gloucester: Silverlight 3 with Richard Costall

14 October, Reading: SQL Server User Group – Developer Session

15 October 2009, Manchester: SQL Server User Group – Reporting Services

21 October 2009, London: Edge UG Test Driven Development Followed by Unified Communications

22 October 2009, Fareham: Windows 7 What’s New?

28 October 2009, Dundee: SQL Server User Group SQL Injection Attacks and Tips on How to Prevent Them

29 October 2009, London: SQL User Group Business Intelligence - Chris Webb and Allan Mitchell Presiding

19 to 21 November 2009, Newport: SQL Bits

If you have an upcoming event for IT professionals that showcases Microsoft technologies, and you would like to feature it in this newsletter, please email me with a title and registration url.
Editor's Pick of the Fortnight

Editor’s Pick of the Fortnight – SQL Server

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Top Stories

TechNet Magazine has just published Windows 7: The 10 Things You Must Do First to help you prioritise and focus your learning curve.
Searching for a job? Looking for a promotion? Or trying to become indispensible in your existing IT role? We provide learning paths and guidance to help you get trained for some of the top IT job roles in the industry. These learning paths focus on some of the most popular applications, such as Microsoft Windows, SQL Server, Windows Server and Exchange Server. To help accelerate your next step in your career, we also provide discounts and special offers for certifications, e-learning, and classroom training.
Microsoft has announced that Microsoft Project 2010 beta will become available for testing later this autumn, but you can now pre-register for the Microsoft Project 2010 beta. Microsoft Project 2010 will be generally available in the first half of 2010.
Whether you want to start your career or move your career forward – we support you. From now on until 31 December 2009 we’re offering between 15 and 25 per cent off selected Microsoft Certification exams.
As you prepare to deploy Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, get a jump start with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010. It includes new features such as flexible driver management, optimised user interface workflow, and Windows PowerShell command line interface to help simplify deployment and make your job easier.
Brought to you by the Springboard Series, a 90-day trial can help you test and evaluate the final, released to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 7 Enterprise. Designed specifically for IT professionals, this 90-day trial is offered in English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese.
This IPD guide provides actionable guidance for designing a DirectAccess infrastructure. The guide's easy-to-follow, four-step process gives a straightforward explanation of the infrastructure required for clients to be connected from the internet to resources on the corporate network, whether or not the organisation has begun deploying IPv6.
This is a continuation and the final instalment in the series introducing new EMC functionality in Exchange 2010. Read
part 1 and part 2.
Find guidance for building collaborative applications that extend your LOB systems. This guidance helps architects and developers design, build and test intranet and enterprise-scale SharePoint applications. Two reference implementations demonstrate solutions to common issues.
This Silverlight demo shows how BizTalk Server 2009 enables seamless integration with external systems and services, business process automation through workflow and orchestrations, as well as agility of (and visibility into) business processes.
Ever wanted to test IIS7 software in a sandbox environment? Wouldn't it be great to be able to test new servers immediately, without formatting hard drives or dedicating one or more computers to the project? Check out the new 90-minute modules.
Mobile access to these web-based team sites connects your people, organisations, suppliers and customers no matter where they are. Also read the white paper on how to enable your mobile workforce.
Despite its usefulness, Paste doesn't always work like users expect it to. In the Office 2010 Engineering blog, Mirko Mandic walks you through the Paste Options gallery, including Live Preview which allows you to hover over each Paste item to preview the Paste formatting.
Feature Article

The Wonderful World Of WDS

The Windows domain Campus, at Newcastle University, is 10 years old this year. The university's Campus Common Desktop (now known as the Campus Managed Desktop) has also matured and evolved. The use of Group Policy and Remote Installation Services (RIS) have been fundamental to the great success and expansion of the domain and its myriad objects.

Of the 16,500 computer and server objects that currently exist within the domain, 15,300 of these have, at some time, been created using RIS or WDS. A fully automated network installation of the operating system is the minimum expectation of any computing officer who currently works at Newcastle University – and there are some 100 of these!

RIS has always been the sensible choice for automated installations of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 in an enterprise environment, and WDS has simply built on that – with improvements – to provide the same great service for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 installations. However, in the School Of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering (EECE), they've got a little ahead of the game recently. As their new intake of students were enjoying a manic Freshers’ Week, the computing officers in EECE were busy deploying the 92 new Windows 7 student desktops that make up their open-access and teaching PC labs.

That's some 92 desktops with nearly 40GB of software pre-installed, deployed to a range of hardware, in a single weekend, using a WDS image lovingly created and configured with the aim of removing even the smallest avoidable manual configuration after the build.

How was it done?
Simply, EECE computing officers made themselves a reference computer with all their standard and academic software installed and correctly configured, their own branding applied (this is a Windows 7 EECE Student Desktop you're sitting at folks!), their own Windows settings applied, their own security settings in place, joined to the Campus domain... and from this machine, they created a WDS image, uploaded it on to the university's central WDS servers, and then used it to deploy another 91 identically configured machines. Painless!

And, by the way, Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8 formed the base because EECE computing officers figured that this was what the largest amount of their user-base would be running on their personal machines by Christmas 2009.

So what's needed to create a WDS image that can be painlessly deployed on to thousands of PCs?
Newcastle University's Windows Infrastructure Team (WIT – part of Information Systems and Services) run three mixed-mode WDS servers on Windows Server 2003 on HP Proliant DL380 servers, serving images for Windows XP, Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (with and without R2). The WDS system offers menus via the PXE boot environment for delivering and capturing a range of system images. With WDS, images (and associated answerfiles) can also include software installations and configuration settings, such as those described above for EECE. In addition to supporting operating-system images for all their supported desktop and server hardware, Newcastle University have also developed a 'Vista Managed Desktop' with a whole host of basic software plus the 2007 Microsoft Office system pre-installed for some 600 staff employed in central administration.

So, what's next on the WDS agenda?
During the next couple of months, the university will be moving two of its mixed-mode WDS servers to Windows Server 2008 R2 and WDS Native mode, meaning that Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 will no longer be supported on all three systems. This is part of a drive to move forward with the deployment of Windows Vista and 7 desktops, taking advantage of the new technologies within these operating systems, and making a timely move away from Windows XP as Microsoft support for what has so far been a favourite o/s comes to a close.

In addition to the native status, the new Windows Server 2008 set-up aims to support multicasting to facilitate mass deployment of Windows 7 with the most efficient use of network resources.


Adčle Davison, Computing Officer, WIT, Newcastle University
September 2009

IT Manager

Windows 7 and Why it Matters to Your Business
Watch this recording of a recent webcast with Laurence Painell, Windows Product Manager in the UK.

Thursday, 8 October 2009, 7.00 p.m. BST: IT Manager Webcast – Information Security Using HBI Information Classification and Automation (Level 200)

 See What IDC Has to Say About Software Assurance Value and Best Practices

New: Licensing Presentations for Virtualization Technologies

Looking for Licensing Information? Launch the Microsoft Licence Advisor 
- See the Ways Your Business Can License Microsoft Products and Solutions 
- Read Emma’s ‘Licensing in Depth’ Blog 

To contact the UK Microsoft Business Team with your product or licensing questions:

- Email AskBusiness@microsoft-contact.co.uk

- Phone 0870 60 80 800

- Find a Microsoft Partner on Pinpoint

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