General Microsoft

Four teams. Four charities. One mission – IT Grand Prix; TechEd 2010, New Orleans

Four teams of Microsoft Certified Professionals are revving their engines! From June 1 through June 4, 2010, they’ll race from Washington D.C. to TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, where the winning team will award a $10,000 check to the charity of their choice.

Along the way, they’ll overcome challenges and help local non-profits. But they need your help: pick your favorite team, join their virtual Pit Crew, and help them meet the challenges they’ll face during the race by solving on-line challenges to earn points for your team. It’s your opportunity to help four great causes in a way that only MCPs can!

NPower, a non-profit organization that matches technical volunteers with local non-profits requiring technical support, will match each team with a local non-profit in need of assistance on a specific project. Teams will not be aware of their objectives for the day until their morning meeting with David Elfassy, the IT Grand Prix host.

Help MCPs as they race in the IT Grand Prix to TechEd, facing technical tasks at local non-profits. Register for a virtual Pit Crew at and learn more about how to earn points for your team! As a Pit Crew member, you’ll compete in online challenges before and during the race. Take exams, publish a Virtual Business Card, and more… the online challenges are all within your reach!!

Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) to manage MAK

There’s a new Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) available from Microsoft to help administrators manage Multiple Activation Key (MAK) activation for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The way MAK activation works is that the key must be installed on the end system (there are a number of ways to do this – see the latest TechNet Webcast for more details and demos) and then that system is activated with the Microsoft-hosted activation and validation services either online or over the phone. If you are activating one system with MAK, the effort required is minimal. However, if you want to MAK activate multiple systems or transition between activation methods (i.e. MAK to KMS, KMS to MAK, etc.) it gets a bit more complicated. VAMT can help with that.

VAMT uses Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to communicate with end-systems and provides the following features to help manage activation:

  • Track and administer multiple MAK keys and remaining activations
  • Discover systems via IP address, computer name, Workgroup or Active Directory membership
  • View current activation status for Windows Vista (and later) and Windows Server 2008 (and later) operating systems – includes data such as license state, Windows edition, and the last 5 of the product key installed on the end system
  • Transition systems between MAK and KMS activation (and vice versa)
  • Perform activation/reactivation using cached data (i.e. local reactivation)

The current version of VAMT (1.2) is part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows 7. Unlike previous editions, VAMT 1.2 is only available in the Windows AIK and is not published as a standalone download.

The primary difference between VAMT 1.1 and 1.2 is the added support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. If you are using an earlier version of VAMT, you’ll need to install VAMT 1.2 to manage MAK keys and activations for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. You will first need to uninstall the older version of VAMT and then install VAMT 1.2 as part of the Windows AIK. Your current inventory/key data can be saved in a Computer Information List (CIL) file (XML) and opened in the new version. No need to re-enter any keys or rebuild your computer list.

An updated version of VAMT (VAMT 2.0) is currently in beta and expected to release in the first quarter of this year. VAMT 2.0 is a managed MMC plug-in and will offer a number of new features:

  • Support for the upcoming Office 2010 release
  • Support for additional product key types, such as KMS keys
  • Additional computer search capabilities (LDAP query)
  • Command Line Interface that can be scripted to run VAMT tasks without the interactive UI

Download the beta today and give it a try.

No matter the version you are using, VAMT can help with several management and tracking activities related to product activation in your environment.

Source: Windows Team Blog

General Microsoft

DISM How To Articles featured on TechNet Flash India

Hey Folks, Feels good to share the information that the DISM How-To articles written few days back has got featured on the TechNet flash online magazine(Volume: 1, Issue: 16, Feb 24, 2010) Today! 

Now, its gonna’ reach more people and spread the word!


These articles showcases the DISM How-Tos., a new command line tool which was introduced in Windows 7 for deployment. DISM can be used to service a Window image or to prepare a Windows Pre-installation Environment (Windows PE) image. DISM also supports more features and functionality than the other tools (Package Manager) supported in Windows Vista, including logging, inventory commands with parse-able output, detailed help, offline INF driver package installation, direct application of MS update packages, and integration of international settings.

You can read this featured article to know more on this!

Microsoft Virtualization Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

64-bit version of App-V 4.6 and MDOP 2010 Launches!

Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5Earlier today, the Microsoft Team announced important updates for IT pros considering Windows 7 deployment. Specifically, we released Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2010, which includes App-V 4.6, supporting Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 for RDS and Office 2010. The App-V support for Office 2010 means you can do a one-touch deployment and don’t have to wait for Office 2010 to deploy Windows 7.

Additionally the MED-V 1.0 SP1 Release Candidate was also released, which creates managed virtual machines running previous versions of Windows and Internet Explorer so users can upgrade to Windows 7. The RTM version of MED-V 1.0 service pack 1 will be available in April, but you can start today by downloading the release candidate.

Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 4.6 is now available!

App-V 4.6 with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Office 2010 delivers a seamless user experience, streamlined application deployment, and simplified application management.

  • App-V now supports 32-bit and 64-bit apps on 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.
  • Office 2010 virtualized with App-V 4.6 delivers key productivity enhancements, a seamless user experience with SharePoint, Outlook, and more.
  • Optimizes Server Disk Storage when using App-V in VDI with a shared cache reduces storage requirements on SANs.
  • App-V integrates seamlessly with AppLocker, BranchCache, AppLocker, and BitLockerToGo, Hence providing, increased IT control, user productivity, and security.

App-V 4.6 can be deployed immediately to production environments and is available as part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack and Microsoft Application Virtualization for Terminal Services, and via MSDN.

You to check out the new App-V Videos and App-V Online Labs!

For more information about App-V and MED-V, check out the following Blogs,

Courtesy: From the Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog

Microsoft Virtualization Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Free Ebook – Understanding Microsoft Virtualization R2 Solutions from Microsoft Press

The book is intended to be read from cover to cover and will give you a good understanding of the capabilities, features, and operation of Microsoft virtualization technologies. You can also read individual chapters to gain an understanding of a particular product or technology.

Understanding Microsoft Virtualization R2 Solutions - Free Ebook from Microsoft PressChapter 1: Why Virtualization?

This chapter provides an overview of Microsoft’s integrated virtualization solution and how it plays a key role in Dynamic IT, Microsoft’s strategy for enabling agile business. The chapter also describes the benefits businesses can achieve through virtualization and how Microsoft’s virtualization platforms, products and technologies can help these businesses move their IT infrastructures toward the goal of Dynamic IT.

Chapter 2: Server Virtualization

This chapter covers the Hyper-V role of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and how these platforms can be used to manage virtualization server workloads in the datacenter. The chapter explores features of Hyper-V including the new Live Migration feature of Windows Server 2008 R2. It also describes the benefits of deploying Hyper-V, and various usage scenarios.

Chapter 3: Local Desktop Virtualization

This chapter describes various Microsoft virtualization technologies that enable client operating systems and applications to run within a virtualized environment hosted on the user’s computer. The platforms and products covered in this chapter include Windows Virtual PC and the Windows XP Mode environment, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), and Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V).

Chapter 4: Remote Desktop Virtualization

This chapter describes various Microsoft virtualization technologies that enable client operating systems and applications to run within a virtualized environment hosted on a server located in the datacenter. The platforms and products covered in this chapter include Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and App-V for Remote Desktop Services.

Chapter 5: Virtualization Management

This chapter describes how System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 can be used to centrally manage all aspects of a virtualized IT infrastructure. The chapter explains how VMM works and explores how to use the platform to manage virtual machines running on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V servers. The chapter also describes the benefits of the other members of the System Center family of products.

Chapter 6: Cloud Computing

This chapter examines Microsoft’s emerging cloud computing platform, how it works, and what benefits businesses can obtain from it. The chapter examines both private and public cloud solutions including Windows Azure, and describes how Microsoft’s Dynamic Data Center Toolkit can be used to integrate cloud computing as a part of your virtualized IT infrastructure.

You can now download Understanding Microsoft Virtualization R2 Solutions in XPS format here and in PDF format here.

Courtesy: Microsoft Press Publications

How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Download Selecting the Right Virtualization Technology Guide

There are several different forms of virtualization that need to be understood as a basis for making the right technology choice:

  • Server hardware virtualization. Also known as a hypervisor, server hardware virtualization runs a very lightweight core operating system. The hypervisor can host independent virtual machines (VMs). This form of virtualization requires hardware that has embedded virtualization awareness capabilities. Since the hypervisor is very lightweight, there is little overhead in the system, which allows for more scalability in the VMs.
  • Server software virtualization. An operating system, such as Windows Server® 2003 or Windows Server 2008 R2, runs an application that is able to host VMs. Each VM runs a completely separate operating system and application set.
  • Session virtualization. Centralized systems host multiple user workloads, and all processing is done on those host systems. Only the presentation information (such as keyboard and mouse inputs and video updates) is sent between the client and the host systems. The client can be a full Windows-based workstation or a Windows-based terminal device.
  • Application virtualization. An application is isolated from the underlying operating system by means of wrapper software that encapsulates it. This allows multiple applications that may have conflicting dynamic link libraries (DLLs) or other incompatibilities to run on the same machine without affecting each other.
  • Virtualization on the desktop. This is similar to server software virtualization, but it runs on client systems such as Windows® 7 and Windows Vista®. The client operating system runs a virtualization application that hosts VMs. This is often used when a specific person needs to run one or a limited number of legacy applications on a legacy operating system.

The Selecting the Right Virtualization Technology guide enables you to rapidly and accurately select which Microsoft virtualization technology or technologies to use for specific scenarios. There are several different forms of virtualization that need to be understood as a basis for making the right technology choice. This guide addresses the decision steps that need to be taken in order to select the best virtualization approach for specific application requirements.

Download Selecting the Right Virtualization Technology Guide to understand more on the Infrastructure Planning and Designing!!

The most effective decision points in the sequence are presented for determining which virtualization technology should be used. When considering virtualization for multiple applications, you should iterate through the entire process individually for each type of application.

How-to Microsoft Virtualization Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Download the Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Guide

Application Virtualization can best be described as running an application using a workstation or terminal server without installing the application on the client operating system. Instead of loading files into the program files directory and adding entries into the local registry, the application is loaded into an isolated virtual environment on the client.

Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5The Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 4.5 guide enables organizations to implement application virtualization and effectively respond to the associated challenges. This IPD guide takes you step-by-step through the process of planning your application virtualization infrastructure, and assists you in taking advantage of new features in App-V 4.5 such as streaming servers and support for Internet-based clients.

Download the Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Guide to understand and learn more!

Strategically planning your infrastructure can help you avoid problems before they begin, allowing you to serve your customers more accurately and reliably, as well as saving you time and money!

How-to Microsoft Tools

TechNet Virtual Lab: System Center Operations Manager 2007

System Center Operations Manager is the end-to-end service-management product that is the best choice for Windows because it works seamlessly with Microsoft software and applications, helping organizations increase efficiency while enabling greater control of the IT environment.

Register for these Virtual Labs to learn more on the SCOM 2007

TechNet Virtual Lab: System Center Operations Manager 2007- Introduction

After completing this lab, you will be better able to deploy an agent, import a management pack, create and use views, create and use tasks, monitor and override, create rules, use the web console, and use management pack templates.

TechNet Virtual Lab: System Center Operations Manager 2007- Advanced Topics

After completing this lab, you will be able to learn role-based security, active directory integration, distributed application modeling, notifications, client monitoring, reporting, and introduction to the Command Shell.

System Center Operations Manager has a lot of features, which include,

End-to-End Service ManagementSystem Center Operations Manager 2007

System Center Operations Manager provides end-to-end service management that is easy to customize and extend for improved service levels across your IT environment. This enables Operations and IT Management teams to identify, and resolve issues affecting the health of distributed IT services. End-to-end Service Management is not restricted to Microsoft-based environments. Support for WS-Management, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), and partner solutions allow for non-Microsoft systems and hardware to be included in service monitoring within Operations Manager 2007. Learn more by reading the End-to-End Service Monitoring datasheet.

Best of Breed for Windows

System Center Operations Manager 2007 includes expertise from the Microsoft server, client, and application teams, providing you with knowledge and capabilities to drive greater efficiency. Improvements in Management Packs for Microsoft products have increased knowledge and reports based on the best practices of Microsoft IT and Product Support Services. Microsoft currently has more than 50 Management Packs for various Microsoft products, ranging from the Windows operating system to applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server and Internet Information Server. Learn more by reading these datasheets:

Increased Efficiency and Control

System Center Operations Manager 2007 automates routine, redundant tasks, and provides intelligent reporting and monitoring to help increase efficiency and enable greater control of your IT environment. Role-based security, Active Directory integration, and new infrastructure elements make it easier to monitor, configure and deploy in complex environments. Support for high-availability features such as clustering and failover ensure the IT environment is always monitored. Learn more by reading the Systems Center Operations Manager Overview white paper

You can read a few more Data Sheets and White Papers here to know more on the System Center Operations Manager 2007.

General Microsoft

Microsoft “How do I” videos available for Viewing and Download

Microsoft has recently assembled a list of “how do I” videos for customers to learn how to accomplish specific tasks with Microsoft products.  These videos provide step-by-step instructions to help you further develop your skillset.

how do IThe MS team currently offer videos for the following list of Microsoft products: 

Silverlight, Azure, Deployment, Internet Explorer, Exchange, Exchange Online, Forefront, Microsoft Online, Office Communications Server, Script Center, Security, SharePoint Server, SQL Server, System Center, Virtualization, Windows Client, Windows Mobile, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server Terminal Services and Windows SharePoint Services.

TechNet has assembled these short videos for customers to learn how to accomplish specific tasks with Microsoft products: step-by-step. You can also subscribe to the TechNet videos RSS feed to learn about new videos as they are released!

How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

How to make Windows 7 Deployment Easy? – Effective Guides

With the Windows 7 adoptions on the high, organizations are looking for key resources to deploy and monitor their IT Assets efficiently. This article provides you information on effective Guides which eases the Windows 7 Deployment process. I reckon, this article will especially be useful to a lot of IT Pros.

Choosing a Windows 7 Deployment Strategy

Looking to start you deployment of Windows 7? Not sure where to start or the resources available? Read this concise article on the recommended deployment strategies and the tools that support them.

Analysing your environment with Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

Do you want to know what is running in organization so you can plan a Windows 7 deployment? The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit is a free solution accelerator that can inventory you infrastructure.

Offline Servicing an OS Wim Image

This Article provides you information on how to Mount a Wim image, add and remove drivers to Images, Enable a feature in the mounted image offline, Unmount and cleanup a Wim Image.

Prepare your Applications for Windows 7

We all have this question in our mind. “Why does my application break when we change the Operating Systems?”

Windows 7 LogoTypically, whenever a new OS is released, Microsoft makes every effort to ensure application Compatibility. Unfortunately, as the OS evolves and when reliability, security and performance improvements are made, there are some comprises which are made that ends up breaking some applications. Thankfully, when the changes are decided to be made, there is some mitigation planned to address the applications which are broken.  Hence, Application Compatibility is one important which is on the top of everybody’s mind.

Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 Guides / How To Tutorials

These series of posts covers information on how the core changes of Windows 7 will affect the applications. Also, it covers some basic methods to mitigate these issues from the viewpoint of Developers, IT Pros and End-users.

A key consideration when moving to Windows 7 is whether your applications will run successfully. Download the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) to access the necessary tools and documentation to evaluate and mitigate application compatibility issues before deploying Windows 7

Five Steps to Windows 7 Application Readiness

Trying to decide if the applications you use in your organization will run on Windows 7? Follow these 5 steps to determine application Readiness.

Application Management and Preparing for a Windows 7 Deployments

Read this concise article that will walk you through the variety of approaches to addressing compatibility issues and the tools available to help you.

Commonly-used application shims here

Watch this video and see how to apply commonly-used shims to legacy application to enable them to work on Windows 7.

Understanding Application Compatibility

Why might your application not work on Windows 7? There are a few reasons such as enhanced security or retired components. This article walks you through the areas that might affect your applications.