James O'Neill's Blog

February 25, 2010

Retirement Planning (for service packs)

Yesterday I wrote about end-of-life planning for OSes and so it makes sense to talk about the end of a service pack, as retirement – it is after all the word that is used on the product lifecycle pages. Of course we don’t mean retirement in go and live by the seaside sense…

Special police squads — BLADE RUNNER UNITS — had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection,any trespassing Replicants.

This was not called execution. It was called retirement

that sense. Service packs, like OSes (and replicants) get an end date set well in advance, having explained OSes I want to move on to service packs (and if you want to know about Replicants you’ll have to look elsewhere).

The rule for service packs is simple. Two years after the release of a Service Pack we stop supporting the previous version. So although Windows Vista will be in mainstream support until 2012, and extended support until 2017, that doesn’t mean you can run the initial release , or Service Pack 1 and be supported until then. Lets use Vista as a worked example – I explained yesterday

Windows Vista [had] a General Availability date [of] Jan 2007.For Vista, five years after GA will be later than 2 years after Windows 7, so Vista goes from mainstream to extended support in or shortly after January 2012. We’ve set the date, April 10th 2012. The end of extended support will depend on when the next version of Window ships, but it won’t be before April 11th 2017.

Service pack 1 for Vista became available in April 2008, and Service Pack 2 became available in April 2009.
So, the life of the original Release to Manufacturing of (RTM) version of Windows Vista ends on April 14 2010.
In the same way the life of SP1 of Vista should end in April 2011, actually because we don’t retire things on the exact anniversary, SP1 gets an extension until July 12 2011.

If you are on Vista you must have upgraded to SP1 or SP2 (or Windows 7) by April 14 if you want to continue being supported.

So here’s the summary for what is supported with Vista, and when

Jan ‘07 – April ‘08  Only RTM release available

April ‘08 – April ‘09 RTM and Service Pack 1 supported

April ‘09 – April ‘10 RTM , Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2 supported

April ‘10  – July ‘11 Service pack 1 and Service Pack 2 Supported

July ‘11 – April ‘12 Service Pack 2 only supported

April ‘12 – April ‘17 Extended support phase on SP2 only.

To simplify things, that assumes there is no Service pack 3 for Windows Vista, and that the successor to Windows 7 ships before April 11 2015.

Vista SP1 coincided with the release of Server 2008, and  Windows XP service pack 3 came very shortly afterwards. The extra few days means the anniversary for XP SP2 falls after the cut off date for April retirement and the end of life for XP SP 2 is July 13th 2010 (the same as day Windows 2000 professional and server editions). Mainstream support for Windows XP (all service packs) has ended,  after July 13 XP is extended support ONLY on SP3 ONLY.

I should have included in yesterdays post that July 13th 2010 also marks the end of mainstream support for Server 2003 (and Server 2003 R2), the  RTM and SP1 versions are already retired. It would be very unusual to see a new service pack for something in extended support. If you still have 2003 servers, you need to decide what you will do about support / upgrades before Jul 13th

Server 2008 shipped as SP1 to sync up with Windows Vista  and SP2 for both came out on the same date, so there are no server service pack actions required until July 12 2011. I explained yesterday why I have sympathy with people who don’t plan, but if you are on Server 2008 SP1 don’t leave it till the last minute to choose between SP2 or upgrading to R2  and then implementing your choice.

Update – Fixed a few typos. 

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 24, 2010

End of life planning.

Filed under: Windows 7,Windows Server,Windows Vista,Windows XP — jamesone111 @ 4:57 pm

Click for a full size version No. I’m not talking about sorting out the music for one’s funeral* …

I think every manager I have had in my 10 years at Microsoft has grumbled that I’m not great with planning – it’s a fair criticism and I try to work on it. When the subject comes up a quote from a book by William Gibson comes into my head.  “I try to plan in your sense of the word, but that isn’t my basic mode, really. I improvise. It’s my greatest talent. I prefer situations to plans, you see…. Really, I’ve had to deal with givens.”  the speaker is actually an artificial intelligence, but I think that is how a lot of IT people work: improvise, deal with the situation at hand, then deal with the next situation. It may be what we prefer – but be it training plans or plans for rolling out new software you’ve got to do it.

We do try to help on the software side, by being both transparent and predictable. The rule for core things (like desktop and server operating systems) is at least 10 years of support. (Embedded operating systems have a different support model which runs for longer).
Mainstream support runs for 5 years from release OR until 2 years after the successor product releases whichever is later. Extended support runs for 5 years, or 2 years after the second successor product releases. After that those who can’t move forwards, but have deep pockets have the option on custom support. In order to be supported you have to be running a supported level of service pack, and I’ll cover that in a later post.

So let’s take a worked example.

  *  Windows 2000 professional’s General availability date was March 2000.

  *  The “n+1” release is Windows XP, which had a General availability date of December 2001.

  *  Two years after Windows XP would be December 2003 , less than the 5 year minimum so mainstream support for Windows 2000 runs to March 2005 when extended support begins. (In practice it got a mainstream June – products only go off the support list on particular days and they live on to the next one after the anniversary)

  *  The “n+2” release is Windows Vista with a General Availability date was Jan 2007.

  *  Two years Vista would be Jan 2009, again less than the 5 year minimum, so extended support support runs to June 2010. Again there is a few days extension.

So the cut off date for Windows 2000 professional is July 13th 2010. After that there will be custom support only for 2000 and if you are still running it you should understand that means we stop the routine distribution of security updates for it. 

As it happens the cut off dates for Windows 2000 Server mainstream support was 2 years after the release of Server 2003 – putting it in May 2005  -  so  2000 professional and server sync’d up. The 2 year point after Server 2008 and the 5 years of extended support take it to the same time, June 2010. So the cut off date for Windows 2000 Server is July 13th 2010.

I like to think that no-one reading this blog would still be running Windows 2000, but I know a good many are still running Windows XP. So let’s carve the dates on XPs tombstone:

5 years after XP’s GA date would be December 2006, but Vista had not shipped by then. So Mainstream support for XP ends two years after the GA date of Vista which takes us to Jan 2009 (In practice it was April 2009). Unless you have taken out a contract for extended support, you have only been getting security updates for XP since then.

5 Years after that is April 2014. Windows 7 had a GA date of October 2009, so 2 years on from there would be sooner. Extended support for XP ends on the later of the two dates, so April 2014.

For Vista, five years after GA will be later than 2 years after Windows 7, so Vista goes from mainstream to extended support in or shortly after January 2012. We’ve set the date, April 10th 2012. The end of extended support will depend on when the next version of Window ships, but it won’t be before April 11th 2017. Both dates for Windows 7 depend on future versions of Windows but won’t be sooner than January 13th 2015, and January 14th 2020. Put them in your diary now, with a reminder a long time in advance 🙂

You can get all the dates from the Product lifecycle page

* Strange Angels by Laurie Anderson if you must know.

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 23, 2010

Desktop virtualization update.

Filed under: Virtualization,Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 4:54 pm

On the MDOP blog there is an announcement  of new releases of both APP-V (which runs applications in a Virtualized “bubble” so they don’t clash with each other) and MED-V (which runs a centrally managed virtualized OS)

The major points App-V 4.6 is now compatible with 64-bit Windows client and server platforms, enabling IT to take advantage of x64 for client hardware refresh AND also deploy App-V to Windows Server 2008 R2 using remote desktop with scale advantages that come from 64 bit. The springboard site has a Q&A on App-V

MED-V adds support for Windows 7 (32bit and 64bit) – this is what large organizations should be using to deliver similar functionality to XP-Mode but with central management.

Bonus link:

On the Windows Team blog, Gavriella explains why this important to improving the Total Economic Impact – and Forrester have already published some very positive numbers on TEI for Windows 7

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

What is Windows Azure ?

Filed under: Azure / Cloud Services — jamesone111 @ 2:37 pm

"What is Windows Azure?" click for Video RNLI - Click for a larger version with readable text 

One of the things that seemed odd when I first came to Microsoft, was the way we put up posters for our own internal consumption. I’ve long since grown used to it: inevitably some of these are interesting, some are not, some are eye-catching and some are not. In the atrium of my building this week is a picture of a lifeboat and as a Scuba diver I have a bit of an interest in lifeboats, an organization I hope not to see when they are on duty but really want to be there. So a picture of one is bound to get my attention.

It turns out that the RNLI is one of the early customers using real world – sorry for being melodramatic – life and death applications on Windows Azure (the system handles man overboard alerts: email might seem like life and death at times, but getting this right is the difference between lives saved and lives lost.)  This is one of a set of posters around the place advertising the LiveOnAzure website using different case studies (you can go straight to the UK-Focused case studies themselves)

“Stuff in the cloud” is unknown territory for many people. There are those  run away with the idea and and start talking as if it means getting rid of all the IT in a business or the talk degenerates into  something like “Buzzword, Buzzword, cloud, Buzzword, utility, Buzzword, Buzzword, services Buzzword cloud cloud Buzzword, platform, Buzzword,pay as you go, Buzzword,Buzzword”

The LiveOnAzure site links to some great resources, including the 4  Minute video I’ve linked to here. If you want to cut through to quick understanding of what Azure is about, it’s 255 seconds well  spent, afterwards, if you’re interested, there is plenty more to study on the live on azure site.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 19, 2010

The Zombie cookie apocalypse (or how flash bypasses privacy)

Filed under: Internet Explorer,Security and Malware — jamesone111 @ 10:48 am

Earlier this week I went to “Oxford Geek Night” and the title of one of title of one of the sessions was “The Zombie Cookie apocalypse” delivered by David Sheldon (I wish his slides were on-line so you could read more and I could give him a proper credit), it wasn’t the only informative session – there were bunch of those -  but it was one which sent me away thinking “I should have known that”.

Here’s the Gist. We all know about cookies, the little bits of information which web sites send to to your browser to make applications work, or to follow you round the web. Even IE6 knew that cookies could be bad and could reject the tracking ones. Adobe Flash keeps its own cookies, which bypass the normal rules.
Although it doesn’t seem to widely known (I was in a roomful of people where internet expertise was the top skill, and no one seemed to have heard of this before) – it is reasonably well documented – often using Adobe’s name of “Local stored objects. You can read more information in Wikipedia’s dispassionate style, or you can have it in they’ll suck out your brains style if you prefer (of course you do !)

This has 3 main impacts.

  1. If you run different browsers – say IE and Firefox (the demo I saw used Firefox and Chrome on Linux) each browser maintains (and can clear) its own Cookie store, so you can have different personas by using different browsers: but Flash is Flash wherever it runs so it uses a single store.
  2. Browsers don’t know about information held by add-ins (Flash or anything else) so it can’t clear their information. You might think you’ve killed off the cookies but flash ones will keep coming back (hence the Zombie reference).
  3. IE8 has “In Private Browsing”, so do Firefox and Chrome (I think chrome talks about Incognito Windows) .Adobe announced support for private modes recently, (you can read the IE team’s take on the this) but if you are running a version before 10.1 – and as I type this the current download is, so you are running something before 10.1 -  it uses the same store for browsing in Private that it uses for ordinary Browsing, and doesn’t clear cookies afterwards.

I thought “the handful of sites where I use In-Private Browsing aren’t flash sites.”, the flash handling the cookie is not always visible. When I did a quick search I found something from the Electronic Privacy Information Center which quotes one tracking platform vendor as saying "All advertisers, websites and networks use cookies for targeted advertising, but cookies are under attack. According to current research they are being erased by 40% of users creating serious problems.". Indeed: as EPIC puts a little later “By deleting cookies, consumers are clearly rejecting attempts to track them. Using an obscure technology to subvert these wishes is a practice that should be stopped”

So: How do you see, clear and block/allow Flash Cookies ? That announcement from Adobe suggests that in 10.1 you will be able to this by right clicking on flash in the browser and going to settings. Until you get 10.1, you have to visit a page on Adobe’s site –which isn’t espcially easy to find. 


Clearing the information from my computer I made a note of some of the sites which were leaving information on my PC which I was certain I hadn’t visited and got a little PowerShell script to get the title from their home page. (Which worked for most sites, some take a little fiddling). Here are the names and descriptions.

atdmt.com Atlas Solutions – Online Advertising: Advertiser and Publisher Ad Serving Solutions
Clearspring.com Your Content. Everywhere -connecting online publishers and advertisers to audiences on the social web.
feedjit.com Live Traffic Feed & Other Awesome Widgets
flashTalking.com Video and Rich Media Adserving
gigya.com Social Optimization for Online Business
ooyala.com Video Platform, Analytics and Advertising
quantServe.com It’s your audience. We just find it.™
tubemogul.com In-Depth Tracking, Analytics for Online Video | Web Video Syndication
videoegg.com VideoEgg "innovative ad products"
visiblemeasures.com Measure Online Video Advertising
http://www.vizu.com Digital Brand Advertising Measurement. Market Research.

You can see what business they are all in. I’ve added them to my list of sites blocked by InPrivate Filtering. Which reminds me, I must post part 2 of that.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

The Browser Choice Screen for Europe: What to Expect, When to Expect It

Filed under: Internet Explorer — jamesone111 @ 9:34 am

Dave Heiner, one of our Vice Presidents and our Deputy General Counsel has posted an explanation of exactly what will be happening.

I would expect something in due course to explain how organizations can prevent their users being presented with the choice screen (if you are using WSUS – and you should be – you should be able to choose not distribute that update. If you are distributing images apply the update and make your browser choice before creating the image, etc.) .

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 18, 2010

How to Kill IE 6

Filed under: Internet Explorer — jamesone111 @ 12:05 pm

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be talking about IE8  (and depending on what gets announced at Mix maybe IE9 as well). Whilst I don’t have the data to prove it I’m convinced a lot of people running Firefox are doing so as a way of getting a modern browser when their company still has something from the last century tying them to IE6.  I suspect a lot of those people have seen demos which prove IE7 is much better than 6 and that IE8 is better, but the demos are always simplified, and you see pages with a single issue conveniently fixed using a click of a button. But it is definitely not that easy. You could have thousands of apps, many of them packaged, or you could be prevented from accessing the code because it is part of a product you bought.  

Why is that last bit in italics ? It’s part of the session abstract for a webcasts which is being run different times of day, over the next few weeks.

The presenter is Chris Jackson, Principal Consultant and the Technical Lead of the Windows Application Experience SWAT Team, Microsoft Corporation (a widely recognized expert in the field of Windows Application Compatibility) . Although I haven’t had a chance to watch it myself, I’ve seen the scores for the first run which said the audience rated it very highly. So if you still have IE6 in place and want to do something about it, this seems like a good place to start. 

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 17, 2010

Free ebook: Understanding Microsoft Virtualization R2 Solutions

Filed under: Virtualization,Windows Server 2008-R2 — jamesone111 @ 9:28 am

Over on the MSPress blog they have an announcement

Mitch Tulloch has updated his free ebook of last year. You can now download Understanding Microsoft Virtualization R2 Solutions in XPS format here and in PDF format here.

I’ve worked with Mitch on a couple of books, including the first release of this one, and seen a couple of others they’ve all been good (poor books from MS press are very few and far between). If this was a paper book which you had to pay for I’d suggest it is well worth looking at – but it’s a free download (print it or view it on screen : your choice) so, seriously, if you expect to be working  with Hyper-V in the foreseeable future you’d have to be daft not to download it.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 16, 2010

Desktop Virtualization Hour

I had a mail earlier telling me about desktop virtualization hour , planned for 4PM (GMT) on March 18th. (That’s 9AM Seattle time, 5PM CET … you can work out the others I’m sure). More information and a downloadable meeting request are Here.

Some effort seems to be going into this one, which makes me think it is more than the average web cast.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Windows Phone (again)

Filed under: Mobility — jamesone111 @ 10:23 pm

In theory I was supposed to be taking a day off on Monday to look after my children on half term. (Note for parents, making hot cross buns at home is a fantastic way to occupy the kids.). A spot of car trouble killed off our trip to go swimming so I ended up spending a fair chunk of the day following the announcement of Windows Phone 7 series and the reactions to it.

Blogging about my experience with my new 6.5 phone so close the launch of Window Phone 7 Series was setting up a hostage to fortune. I had 3 factors in mind when I decided to get it.

(1) Windows Phone 7 Series (as we now know it) was in the works.

(2) It always takes time from the announcement of a new release of Windows CE / Windows Mobile / Windows Phone to get new devices to market.

(3) My old phone was falling apart, and needed to be replaced.

Past experience tells me to allow of six months from release of software to device makes, to device availability, with potentially another couple of months before they are available as my corporate phone.We’re setting an expectation of “Holiday season” for general availability of the Windows Phones with the  7 Series software on them.  One article I read said the prototypes on show in Barcelona this week are made by Asus, but Dell, Garmin, HP, HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba are all listed as launch partners. Qualcomm are listed as the partner we are working with on the silicon. Orange supply phones to Microsoft UK and were given special prominence as a launch carrier, with Vodafone, T-mobile and Telefonica (who own o2) also named.

If “holiday season” is right it’s quite possible that ordinary phone users inside Microsoft won’t get the new phones until January next year: I couldn’t wait that long. Whether it is cameras, PCs or phones – you know that whatever you get today, there will be something better (and probably cheaper) in a year’s time.  This looks like being true here in spades, I have the latest version of Pocket PC phone edition which has changed in small increments since 2001, and the next generation will be a big change – but there was no sensible alternative.  The upside of having a 6.5 phone for roughly a year before 7 is available set against the downside of having it for roughly a year after compromise I’m happy with.

One thing that amused me about what came out in the launch is that every Windows Phone 7 series will be a Zune. Having heard my colleagues in Redmond saying over and over “Microsoft is not going to manufacture a Zune phone”  the answer turns out to be that lots of people are going to Manufacture Zune phones.  How long before rumours start that Asus, Dell and the rest will be able to make non-phone devices based on this software (i.e. Zunes) ? [No, I have not heard any such thing, and I’m not trying to start the rumour] Beyond that – there is hardly anything I’ve seen internally which isn’t viewable externally. This is perhaps the best demo. (Found among other places on the Windows Blog)

Get Microsoft Silverlight


There’s more at http://www.windowsphone7series.com/.  I like what I have seen, no two ways about it. I didn’t see anything much in the way of negative commentary – though a few people were reserving their final judgement until questions like “How will the Marketplace work ?”, “What exactly is the Multi-tasking model ?”,  “How much app rewriting is needed ?”  There’s an intriguing point on the last two in a tweet by Charlie Kindle, but the real answers will have to wait for Mix.

Gizmodo seemed blown away saying  “Windows Phone 7 is almost everything anyone could’ve dreamed of in a phone, let alone a Microsoft phone. It changes everything”  – although I found  their comparison of philosophies with the iPhone more interesting. Engadget were similarly enthused starting “Forget everything you know about Windows Mobile. Seriously, throw the whole OS concept in a garbage bin or incinerator or something” and ending “for the first time in a long time, we’re excited about Microsoft in the mobile space.” Techland were just as excited “it’s a brand new decade, and Microsoft is about to leapfrog Apple and every other player in the mobile space with Windows Phone 7”

Sharon picked up that beyond the headline grabbing UI, Zune and Xbox live hook-ups, this is a useful business platform not just with Exchange ActiveSync for mail and mobile office apps but Sharepoint integration.

Tim Anderson had – let’s call it “an interesting take” – on Microsoft’s partner model and how it plays in the phone world,  translating one set of Steve Ballmer’s words as “we are being hammered by OEMs who wreck our product with poor quality hardware and add-on software”. Ouch: it is a charge that some – including Tim have levelled at PC suppliers; once we might have had the ability to say what software should or shouldn’t be on a machine, but courts decided we abused that ability and took it away. Having a smaller market share in phones we mean we can be much more prescriptive about the hardware and what the OEMs can change in the software. Some Microsoft cloud services (notably Bing search, but also Xbox live and Zune) can’t easily be removed without changing the character of the phone, so those seem to be fixed points: the words that Tim translated were “We want to lead and take complete accountability for the end user experience”. The danger doing that is reaching a point when things are so nailed down when everyone says “Wouldn’t it make more sense for Microsoft to take charge of making and selling the thing – as with Xbox.”. But things have gone too far in the opposite direction and what is available on the devices vary so widely that developers can’t be sure that what they write will work on two different devices which supposedly run the same OS, and we’ve moving back from that.

Tim also responded to a statement from Andy Lees “[Mobile operators] have tremendous value to add. They are not just dumb pipes” I know from my time working on Mobile Information Server (the forerunner of Exchange ActiveSync) that Mobile Operators hate the idea of being a dumb pipe, but I don’t think Tim is alone in thinking “I find it hard to think of tremendous added value from the operators”. I  recall a time when Orange reduced the value of the phone (adding applications which killed the battery, blocking installation of apps they had not signed). The iPhone has shown that a platform is better for developers of it (a) is one consistent platform, and (b) it bypasses the carriers for sale of applications.  Today my phone has Orange Maps and other services which only work if you are connecting over Orange’s network, not over WiFi for example. A service I have to disconnect from my WiFi to use ? Forget it, I’ll use Bing Maps (or Google Maps or whichever other Map provider I use on my desktop computer). It will be interesting to see how the operators change their game as phones get smarter.

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Giant Deepzoom mosaic, in a good cause.

Filed under: Photography — jamesone111 @ 2:32 pm

I’ve been sorting out photos recently, and came across a ton of miniature Formula one images which I turned into a Mosaic which ran to about 60MegaPixels. That was in 2002 and I haven’t done much with mosaics for several years and keep meaning to try  out the Mosiac software that is available today.

One of our partners is making a name for themselves with Mosaics and Silverlight DeepZoom. , the latest is for Fauna & flora international and their campaign for the Sumatran tiger. The mosaic is made up of pictures of endangered species and habitats – according to Steve 180,000 for them which makes this the biggest Deep Zoom to date. Fascinating stuff, and since we are now in the Chinese year of the tiger it seems suitable cause to be promoting.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 15, 2010

Windows Phone announcement this afternoon.

Filed under: Mobility — jamesone111 @ 12:18 pm


Our press site says Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will host a press conference at Mobile World Congress 2010. Watch the live Webcast  Recording here on Feb. 15 starting at 6 a.m. PST/3 p.m. CET.  That’s 2PM UK time, and thanks to other commitments I’m going to have to watch the recording which should show up in the same place.

Commercial sensitivity means the detail of what Steve will say has not been shared widely within Microsoft (though having him make an announcement suggests it is important, and MWC is the place to announce phone-related things : that much is obvious) . We have had a small amount of information about the topics areas which will be left for another day*, and the correct and incorrect way to write product names when the time comes. This came from Charlie Kindle, who has a new blog which may be worth keeping an eye on. Charlie is also on twitter. 

* Update. Charlie now has a post on-line which says

There’s a whole bunch of stuff we did not announce today. Specifically we did not announce anything about building applications & games for the new Windows Phone 7 Series operating system. We did this because

(a) The new phone user experience we are talking about is so hugely cool we want people to be able to absorb it for a while, and…

(b) We are working on being able to tell the full story in March at the MIX10 conference in Las Vegas.  We have at least 12 sessions lined up and attendees will be the first to get access to the bits.

Which is what were told. That and “Windows Phone” – capital P – for devices in general – and Windows Phone 7 Series for the new release is the proper naming.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

PowerShell and HyperV

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 8:30 am

An update of the PowerShell library for Hyper-V has been posted to Codeplex.

This is the R2 version which takes advantage of PowerShell 2 which is available on R2 versions of Hyper-V server and Core installations of Windows Server. It will manage Hyper-V on the original release of Server 2008 provided it is running in a the V2 of PowerShell.

The original library allowed the creation and maintenance of VHD files, creating and deleing VMs, starting, stopping and saving them, managing their settings, taking and applying snapshots and configuration of the Hyper-V host. The following changes were made for the R2:

  • Implemented as a PowerShell V2 module, rather an script to get started type Import-Module Hyperv (or add that to your PowerShell profile)

  • Support for PowerShell on-line help (also new to V2). Get-Help command name works the same as it does for built-in commands

  • Support for Powershell common parameters (again, new in PowerShell V2). You can now use –whatif and –confirm switches if you are uncertain what a command will do

  • Greater flexibility for Piping the output of commands into other commands (previously some kinds of disk object could be piped, and some could not. This too leverages new stuff in PowerShell V2 See this blog post for more background). 

  • Support for a menu front end (see Screen shots below)

  • Language specific information has been moved to its own file, so the module can be localized easily.

In addition this “Gold” release adds support in two areas which were not in earlier R2 builds.

  • Support for Clustering – on server 2008 R2 only, if the FailoverClusters Module has been loaded

  • Support for PowerShell remoting [though this has had minimal testing to date]

There is a video showing the module in action on Technet Edge

There are now 122 functions, and 16 aliases for backwards compatibility so that any scripts written for V1 of the library should not break. V1 continues to be available for server 2008 customers who have not upgraded to PowerShell V2.  The RC has had a large number of downloads and very few bug reports (all of which have been fixed). The scope of changes between RC and this build meant it is designated as “Gold” rather than “Release”, it is expected that there minor errors in the on-line help, which will be properly proof read and corrected  before release is declared.

Feedback of all kinds is welcome (via codeplex or via this blog).


Top level menu. Note that Cluster networks for Live Migration and cluster shared volumes are displayed. [This allows the path to a CSV to be copied and pasted into the Create virtual machine part of the menu], and there is a menu Item to Live Migrate Virtual Machines.


VM menu, note that the cluster status of this machine shows as on-line. Machines can be moved between cluster nodes , or set as highly available. 




Disk management menu for a VM.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 11, 2010

How to deploy Windows 7 – 3 useful posts

Filed under: Deployment,Windows 7,Windows Server 2008-R2 — jamesone111 @ 8:31 pm

I mentioned a few days back that I was going to write some posts about deploying Windows 7, but there is some good material out there already and there is no sense re-inventing the wheel

So I’d like to recommend 3 posts from fellow evangelist and all-round good chap Alan Le Marquand,

Choosing the path to Windows 7

Building Windows 7 images

Deploying Windows 7

These are as useful as collections of links to other subject matter as they for the writing which Alan has done. I expect to be referring people to these via this post (if you see what I mean) for some time to come.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Windows 7 activation update.

Filed under: Security and Malware,Windows 7 — jamesone111 @ 6:11 pm

Over on the Windows blog there is a post talking about the update we are about to send out which is designed to catch some of the tricks being used by large scale pirates against Windows 7.  There was a time were an update to this technology would have me reaching for my tin hat and flame-proof underwear but I came read a Post on the subject from Ed Bott who (as I’ve said before) can be assumed to know what he is talking about.

I was a fierce critic of the initial [Windows Genuine Advantage] efforts, primarily because the user experience was so awful and the tools it used were inaccurate. Back in 2008, I gave Microsoft a C+ for its efforts, a significant improvement over the “big fat F” it earned in 2006 and 2007.
Over the past year, I have been visiting the Windows Genuine forums at least once per quarter to survey performance and have found that activation issues have become a non-issue. In every example I have found, the problem could be traced to malware or a major hardware change, or (surprisingly often) to a customer who had unknowingly purchased counterfeit software. Where false positive reports were on
ce a serious problem, they’re now practically nonexistent in my experience.

My experience backs this up. As a percentage the false positives were always small, but if you were affected it didn’t matter. And with an installed base as big as Windows a small percentage is a lot of people. There a story (which is widely told, but may be an urban legend)  of a major retailer whose repair operation always used the same key when reinstalling Windows: customers with licences hit problems later because their licences hadn’t been used and the one  which had was designated “pirated”. Those customers just had to enter their own product keys but the experience made many go ballistic. A repair shop wouldn’t do that today.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 9, 2010

Safer Internet day

Filed under: Internet Explorer,Security and Malware,Working at Microsoft — jamesone111 @ 8:06 am

I don’t often paste things from senior Microsoft folks into my blog, but I’d like to quote some things from our managing director here in the UK, Gordon Frazer

February 9th marks Safer Internet Day, a vital drive to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people.

For the second year in a row, Microsoft subsidiaries across Europe are organizing employee volunteering activities for Safer Internet Day 2010. Through local partnerships with NGOs, schools, customers and partners, around 650 Microsoft employees in 24 subsidiaries will train more than 50,000 people on online safety. Last year Microsoft UK educated 12,000 young people and 2000 parents in online safety

Through an accident of scheduling I’m going to be using one of the volunteering days Microsoft gives me today, but for a different cause.  Volunteering days are one of the distinct pluses about working at Microsoft and its great to see colleagues supporting things like this. I’ve also maintained for a long time when a company is Microsoft’s size it brings some responsibilities with it, and the protection of children has been an area we have concentrated on since before I joined the company 10 years ago.

We are part of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and Gordon’s mail also said This year as part of the “Click Clever Click Safe” campaign UKCCIS will be launching a new digital safety code for children– “Zip It, Block It, Flag It”.  Over 100 Microsoft volunteers will be out in schools in the UK teaching young people and parents alike about child online safety and helping build public awareness for simple safety tips.

Our volunteering activities today mark our strong commitment to child online safety. Online safety is not only core to our business, as exemplified by particular features in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) and our work in developing the Microsoft Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) which helps law enforcement officials collaborate and share information with other police services to manage child protection cases, but it is also an issue that our employees, many parents themselves, take very seriously. As a company we put a great deal of faith in our technology, however, we are also aware that the tools we provide have to be used responsibly. 

Indeed. I said in something else I was writing that there is an old phrase describing user issues  “PEBCAK  Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard”, and technology – however good – is no substitute for user education. We have a page of advice which you might find obvious but could be helpful to share with  friends and family that have children active online http://www.microsoft.com/uk/citizenship/safeandsecure/parentadvice/default.mspx

IE8 provides the best protection out there, and the Child Exploitation and On-line Protection Centre (CEOP) have launched their own branded version of it which provides ease of reporting access for young people www.ceop.gov.uk/ie8, which again may be worth installing at home if you have children or passing on to Friends and Family who are running older versions of IE.

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 8, 2010

IE6 Must Die

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 8:33 pm

Over the next few weeks I’m going to try to concentrate on some posts around deploying new technology (although I’ve got a few things to say about other bits, it’s not going be all deployment). I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets when I say that we watch our shares of the web browser market, and we’d like to see IE8 get as much share as possible. The thing I have to keep reminding people inside Microsoft is that the issue is not simply persuading people that IE8 meets their needs. A lot of organizations are stuck on IE6 and won’t move, despite things like the following:

“You may have recently heard about organizations including Google recommending that people update their browsers and move off older versions, such as the nearly decade-old Internet Explorer 6.  Think about what technology and the Internet were like in the year 2000 – and consider how they’ve evolved since then. In 2000, “phishing” was something that happened at the lake, not online. There was no social networking, no RSS feeds, and no real blogs. It was a different time – and people’s browsing needs were different. Today’s Internet calls for more. 
support this recommendation to move off Internet Explorer 6. Modern browsers such as Internet Explorer 8 bring benefits for customers and developers alike”

Brandon’s point about phishing is a key one. The weakest part of any browser is located, as the saying goes, “between chair and keyboard”, bodies like NSS labs do tests on how well different browsers block different kinds of Malware, their most recent test is  here, IE8 won. IE6 has no blocking. It’s like a car without seatbelts – which isn’t as far fetched as you might think.

According to WikiPedia Mosaic which is the ancestor of all modern browsers appeared release on 22nd April 1993, and IE6 released in 27th August 2001, 3049 days later. So, what date comes 3049 days after that ? By a staggering co-incidence it is 1st January 2010.  IE6 is closer to the first real browser than it is to today. Would you fly in a plane which is closer to the Sopwith Camel than an Airbus, or drive a car which is closer to the Model-T Ford of 1908 than today (that would be 1959, the year Saab introduced the first model to have seat belts as standard).

When I came across a story about IE6 no more, I did wondered if they had some Axe do they have to grind, but their home page says:
      Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 was released in late 2001. For its time, it was a decent browser, but in 2009, it is still in use by a significant portion of the web population, and its time is now up.

Apart from the need to update the year that’s a correct statement and about as neutral as I think it can be worded; this simply a campaign to get people to browse the web with something more modern. They don’t care if you replace IE6 with IE8, Firefox, Safari or Chrome – and the provide a little code snippet for site owners to put into their pages to create a “please upgrade” banner.  As it happens I have XP mode set up for demo purposes so I can fire up IE 6 along side IE 8, and I wanted to see that looked like. Is it me or does IE6 look horrible ?



Remember IE6 only runs on XP. Mainstream support of XP and IE6 came to an end in April 2009; it is now in extended support until 2014 – from July you’ll need to be on Service pack 3 I’m going to be talking a fair amount about deploying new software and anyone pinned on XP by IE6 isn’t going to be doing much of that.

Now: you might say “But we have a Crummy line of business application that is essential to the continued operation of the business – It is unmaintained because (a) no one is entirely sure how it works and (b) it was built on old technology and uses components from vendors that have long since gone out of business” [That’s a précis of the start of an article on XP mode from Ars Technica]. I have two answers to that – one technology advice:  MEDV (or XP mode for small companies) will allow you to run those applications in am XP Virtual machine. Don’t think that this is “free” MEDV is part of MDOP which has a licence cost, but even the “free” XP ode costs resources. And the other answer ? Your organisation has had four years to come up with a plan to get off IE6. Yes it involves spending money, but that is investing to make people more productive. When others were getting the benefits of new technology, your technology was frozen in 2001. Why are you still working in such a company? (And if you work in one those poorly run parts of the UK Government don’t even think telling me the taxpayer’s money isn’t there before you’ve read this)

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Installing Windows from a phone

Arthur : “You mean you can see into my mind ?”
Marvin: “Yes.”
Arthur: “And … ?”
Marvin: “It amazes me how you manage to live in anything that small”

Looking back down the recent posts you might notice that this is the 8th in a row about my new phone (so it’s obviously made something of an impression), this one brings the series to a close.

I’ve said already that I bought at 16GB memory card for the new phone which is a lot – I had 1GB before, so… what will I do with all that space? I’m not going to use it for video and 16GB is room for something like 250 hours of MP3s or 500 hours of WMAs: I own roughly 200 albums, so it’s a fair bet they’d fit. Photos – well maybe I’d keep a few hundred MB on the phone. In any event, I don’t want to fill the card completely. After a trip out with no card in the my camera I keep a SD-USB card adapter on my key-ring so I always have both a USB stick and a memory card : currently this uses my old micro-SD card in an full size SD adapter. If I need more than 1GB I can whip the card out of the phone, pop it in the adapter and keep shooting 

However the phone has a mass storage device mode so I thought to myself why not copy the Windows installation files to it, and see if I can boot a Machine off it and install Windows from the phone ? That way one could avoid carrying a lot of setup disks.
Here’s how I got on.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

More tricks with the Windows phone. Remote desktop.

Filed under: Mobility — jamesone111 @ 12:02 am

Click for a larger version I’m getting on reasonably well with my new HTC Touch Pro2, and Windows Mobile 6.5 (a.k.a Windows Phone). There are places where it has adapted well to being operated as a touch device – chunky menus and big buttons are essential – the 480 pixel wide screen is as wide 3 of my fingers which puts about 20,000 pixels under my thumb –so big targets are good if you read my post about radio I was operating the device with gloves on On the other had there are some things which work better with a stylus. I still find myself occasionally caught in two minds whether to unholster the stylus or not.  Some of the older applications (3rd party ones or things like solitaire, which doesn’t feel like it has changed in the decade since I first saw it on a pocket PC) need the stylus. [This post from Mary Jo suggests that may change: I don’t know if what upgrade(s) will come to this phone in the future] .

Click for a larger version. Click for a larger version

A case in point (pun intended) for apps that need the stylus is remote desktop , and I’ve had a couple of instances where the easiest way to get something from my home (Vista) PC was by remoting into it. Remote desktop maps storage through – just like it does on a fully fledged PC. I’ll grant that the Pocket keyboard and screen aren’t ideal for a fully fledged VDI solution – indeed before I tried it I thought remote desktop on a 3.6 inch 800×480 screen would fit Dr Johnson’s quote, “like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all." Still as you can see, as a way of doing a quick check on or file transfer it works. In the first window you can see me checking on media center (you can tell this is the old machine – I wrote Back here about "My channel Logos” for Windows 7, which has prettied this up for my laptop)  and in the second to copy a file I needed without needing to install the Mobile bits on the home machine first.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

February 7, 2010

Another trick of the Touch-Pro 2: Radio.

Filed under: Mobility,RSS — jamesone111 @ 8:20 pm

imageThe more I explore the features of the Touch-Pro 2 (and Windows Mobile 6.5 – or “Windows Phone” as the marketing people have it), the more I find to like.

Being a Sunday I found myself with other parents from the village standing beside a freezing soccer pitch cheering on our offspring (since mine was only on the pitch for half the time I spent most the time I was there just freezing). It’s at these kinds of times that two of the greatest comforts are Radio 4 and a cup of coffee. 

When I first got the device I found it had an “RSS Hub” program – this credits Ilium software and appears to be their News Break in all but name. I’d set it up to download the podcast of From Our Own Correspondent , a programme I never seem to get to listen to when it is broadcast. The downloaded Mp3 just plays in Windows Media Player. After that… I hadn’t given the FM radio on the device a try; it needs headphones plugged in to provide an aerial : I use an adapter to connect standard ones – HTC provide “in-the-ear” ones which I never find comfortable – with them it works as well as any other pocket radio I’ve tried.

It does surprise me just how may radios there are in this device.

* Phone / Data (3G / HSDPA / Edge/GPRS)
* Bluetooth 
* WiFi (802.11 b/g)
* FM Radio

I might be showing my age, but I’m still comparing this device to my original iPAQ – that had a 950mAh battery (non-removable), no memory socket, no keyboard, no radios (although it did have Infra-Red), and a volume of 172cc. In its 118cc the Touch-Pro 2 packs in a 1500mAh battery, all those radios, a Micro-SD socket, two cameras and a Qwerty keyboard. I’m genuinely stumped how they the electronics in the tiny amount of space not occupied by screen, keyboard or battery. 

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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