Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Windows 7 Deployment Learning Portal from Springboard Series Team

Windows 7 LogoGet helpful tips and tricks from Bytes by TechNet host Keith Combs and Senior Community Manager Stephen Rose on how to use the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) to create a technical proof of concept to help you see how Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010-as part of the Microsoft Optimized Desktop-will work in your environment.

About this Portal – The Deployment Learning Portal is an online assessment and learning tool administered by The Test Factory on behalf of Microsoft Ltd. It requires a separate registration and login process than the Windows Live login process used by TechNet. By registering for this experience, you accept that your data will be sent to The Test Factory, which is located in the United Kingdom.

Register for this Portal here –

You will be interested in also reading these tips –

General Microsoft

Windows 7 completes One year with Record Breaking Numbers

Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. today outlined the strong momentum for Windows 7 since the launch of the operating system a year back.  Globally, over 240 mn licenses have been sold making it the fastest selling operating system in history.

In India too, over 7000 businesses are running Windows 7.  Further, a study conducted by the CIO Association of India reveals that over 80% are planning to deploy Windows 7 in less than 12 months time, highlighting the popularity of the operating system designed to make everyday life faster and easier. Windows 7 sales are already six times the sales of earlier Windows versions across retail stores. Leading businesses that have adopted Windows 7 include Cognizant Technologies, Dentsu Communications, GMR, Greenply, Infosys, L&T ECC, Manipal University, Microland, NTPC, Wipro and Tata Teleservicesto name a few.

Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate are the most versatile and powerful editions and are designed to address the needs of both enterprise customers and consumers who want every feature. This article briefs up on the different SKUs and versions available as a part of Windows 7.

Windows 7 LogoCommenting on this milestone Mr. Sumeet Khanna, Director – Windows Client Business Group, Microsoft India said, “It has been a momentous year for us and we are excited and humbled by the huge uptake of the operating system in the country. The numbers itself are a demonstration of the fact that consumers and businesses alike are seeing value in the unique experiences delivered by the operating system. Our customers and partners are core to everything we do and we remain steadfast in our commitment to bring to market, solutions that add value to their lives”.

A report by the CIO Association of India has revealed that businesses are finding value from features like Branchcache, BitLocker, federated search and power management. In fact, a survey by the CIO association of India reveals that 98% of CIOs who have already deployed Windows 7 have rated the operating system as excellent or satisfactory. Further, 57% of CIOs are evaluating Desktop Virtualization solutions. Highlighting some of the benefits that Windows 7 has provided to them, Mr. Subbarao Hegde , Head IT & Systems, GMR Infrastructure Limited pointed out, “Windows 7 is an outstanding operating system, which helps us to work faster and improve our productivity by two times. The enhanced built-in security features and excellent browsing options are added advantage for us.” Mr. Marcel Hungerbuehler, CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) added,”Overall, we found that Windows 7 increases convenience. Our colleagues experienced better system performance and responsiveness with Windows 7, helping to increase productivity by 10 percent.”

Worldwide, nearly 90% of companies have already started their formal migrations to Windows 7. Most of them are already seeing significant benefits and cost savings accruing from the features built in the operating system can help companies can save on average $140/PC/year and realize 131% ROI in just 12 months.

A study conducted by MSN India reveals that over 78% of consumers who have adopted Windows 7 like it because it is simple and fast. While 44% like the Windows search feature the most 64% rated Windows Taskbar as the most productive feature followed by Jump list 54%.  In terms of fun quotient, 54% rated ‘Aero peek’ as the most fun feature on Windows 7.

Congratulating Microsoft, Mr. Ajit Joshi, CEO and MD, Infiniti Retail Ltd. said, “Microsoft is one of our most valuable partners. We would like to offer our best wishes to them on the anniversary of Windows 7. Overall, Windows 7 has garnered strong support from the consumers.  The product has been a great asset to consumers which is reflected through positive feedback and enthusiasm expressed by them throughout the year. With Windows 7, customers have access to the broadest array of software and hardware options the industry has to offer, along with better security, compliance and data protection. Microsoft has set the foundation in driving access, adoption and awareness of original software in India making a paradigm shift. Croma has always endeavored to provide the latest and best to its consumers and partnering with Microsoft is a key step in this direction. We look forward to greater success in future through our continued partnership.”

Adding to Microsoft’s first anniversary celebrations for Windows 7, a team of 22 employees at Microsoft’s Hyderabad campus have stormed into the Limca Book of Records. These employees had created a dazzling display of the Windows 7 logo using 7000 wooden dominoes during launch last year, for the first-of-its-kind dominoes display in India/world.  Led by Archis Gore, the team placed 7000 dominoes, each weighing 12 gms  and placed barely 0.2 inches apart side-wise and 0.5 inches lengthwise, to create a Windows 7 logo.

Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

First Steps to Windows 7 Migration: Application Inventory and Remediation – Webinar

App-DNA and Scalable Software are doing this educational webinar which will introduce the implementation lifecycle for migrating your enterprise estate to Windows 7.

Topics covered in this webinar include,

  • Identifying and prioritizing candidate applications, machines and users
  • Assessing application and environment compatibility
  • Remediation and migration options
  • Zero-touch migration

Registration is free and is available here

Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CDT

App-DNA and Scalable have many years experience in the planning, assesement and execution of application migration to newer Operating Systems. Their skills and tooling have been used on many occassions to effect successful migration; on-time and and within budget. This webinar represents an opportunity to benefit from some of lessons which they have learned from many customer engagements!

Enterprise Tech General Microsoft

Difference between Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise and other SKUs

Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate are the most versatile and powerful editions and are designed to address the needs of both enterprise customers and consumers who want every feature of Windows 7.

While the features in these editions are the same, Windows 7 Enterprise includes volume activation capabilities and is only available to customers with a Microsoft Software Assurance Agreement.

Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate help make you productive anywhere, enhance security and control, and streamline PC management. They also offer remarkable ease of use with the entertainment features of Home Premium and the business features of Professional, plus the flexibility to work in many different languages. Quite simply, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate include everything Windows 7 has to offer.

In addition to the below mentioned features, these editions include the following:

  • Microsoft BitLocker™ and BitLocker To Go™ drive encryption and data protection on internal and external drives and storage devices
  • DirectAccess, which helps give you a more secure connection to your corporate network over the Internet
  • Microsoft BranchCache™, which helps provide faster access to content from remote file and Web servers at branch locations
  • Microsoft AppLocker™, which helps prevent unauthorized software from running on workers’ PCs
  • Enterprise Search Scopes, which make it easy to discover and search content on intranet portals
  • Multilingual user interface packs, which let you work in any of 35 languages

Summing up, the other SKUs –

Windows 7 Starter Edition is the entry-level edition for small notebook PCs and other PCs with limited hardware. It makes using your PC simpler. Key features that you will find in the Starter edition include the following::

Windows 7 Home Basic makes the things you do every day faster and easier. This edition is designed for value PCs in emerging markets. Home Basic includes the following:

  • Live thumbnail previews
  • Advanced networking support (ad hoc wireless networks and Internet connection sharing)
  • Ability to extend your screen across multiple monitors

Windows 7 Home Premium is the best entertainment experience on your PC. This edition provides full functionality on the latest hardware, easy ways to connect, and a visually rich environment. you’ll also get the following:

  • Advanced window navigation and personalization with several new Microsoft Aero® desktop improvements
  • The ability to create a homegroup, so you can easily share files between your networked PCs and devices
  • The ability to watch Internet TV and record TV on your PC with Windows Media Center
  • Remote Media Streaming and improved support for different media formats

Windows 7 Professional is everything you need for work and home.This business-focused edition is great for small- and medium-sized companies, and people who have networking, backup, and security needs and multiple PCs or servers. You’ll also get the following:

  • Domain Join, which gives you the ability to join a managed Windows Server network
  • Advanced Backup and Restore to help you back up your entire system to a home or business network,
  • Encrypted File System to help protect your data
  • Windows XP Mode for running older productivity applications that require Windows XP
  • Location Aware Printing, which helps you set different default printers for your home and work networks

Courtesy: Windows 7 Product Overview Notes

Enterprise Tech How-to Microsoft Tools

How to Enable Data Collection (RACTask) for Reliability Monitor Tool

Reliability Monitor is an advanced tool that measures hardware and software problems and other changes to your computer. Reliability Analysis Component (RAC) aggregates, analyzes and correlates problems at the operating system and application levels. The location of Reliability Monitor data files is stored in the registry. If the monitor does not show data to you, then you will need to Enable the Data Collection Task.

To learn more on How you can measure Hardware and Software problems using Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 – Read this article

Reliability Monitor uses data provided by the RACTask scheduled task. Reliability Monitor will start displaying a Stability Index rating and specific event information 24 hours after system installation.

The RACTask scheduled task runs by default after the operating system is installed. If it is disabled, it must be enabled manually from the Task Scheduler snap-in for Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

Step 1: Start the Task Scheduler. you can run taskschd.msc in the searchbox, and then press ENTER (or) Right click on the My Computer, and then select the Manage option. Choose Task Scheduler.

Computer Management

Step 2: In the navigation pane, expand Task Scheduler Library, expand Microsoft, expand Windows, and click RAC.
Choose RAC in Task Scheduler
Step 3: Right-click RAC, click View, and click Show Hidden Tasks.
Show Hidden Tasks for RAC - Task Scheduler
Step 4: Click RACtask in the results pane. On the Action menu, click Enable.
How to Enable Data Collection for Reliability Monitor Tool

To learn more on How you can measure Hardware and Software problems using Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 – Read this article

Enterprise Tech How-to Microsoft Tools

Analyze Hardware and Software problems in Windows 7

Reliability Monitor is an advanced tool that measures hardware and software problems and other changes to your computer. This helps IT professionals better manage the stability of machines in their organization. Reliability Analysis Component (RAC) aggregates, analyzes, and correlates problems at the operating system and application levels. It calculates a stability index that indicates overall system stability over time. RAC also keeps track of any important changes to the system that are likely to affect stability, such as Windows updates, application installations, and driver installations.

The Reliability Monitor is intended for advanced computer users, such as software developers and network administrators.

You can Invoke Reliability Monitor perfmon /rel and pressing ENTER in the command prompt.

Invoking Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 using Command Prompt

You can also search for Reliability monitor in the Control Panel.

When you click on the ‘View Reliability history’, you will get this below dialog. This is actually refreshing and generating the report.

Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 - Report Being Generated

This will open the Reliability Monitor. Users can view RAC data via the Reliability Monitor, which displays data collected from RAC in a stability chart and correlates the computer’s stability index with important events that are likely to affect stability, such as driver failures and software installation.

Reliability Monitor in Windows 7

When you double click on any of the events, it would give you the detailed information on how that event occured. For eg: I  see a WindowsExplorer event, which gives the Summary information that the ‘User canceled a hung navigation’. When I double-click it, you can see this below detailed information.

WindowsExplorer Hung Error Information

Another example for an Successful Message – Let us look the details of the VirtualBox USB Driver Installation message.

Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 - View Technical Details and Summary

Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 - View Technical Details of Virtual Box ErrorIf some applications events triggers an error, you can check for a solution online and also send the report to Microsoft. If the solution is not found online, they will appear in the Action Center when the information in available later.

In Windows 7, Reliability Monitor uses data provided by the RACTask (Reliability Analysis Component scheduled task). Once enabled, This tool will start displaying a Stability Index rating and specific event information 24 hours after system installation. Find the detailed instruction on how to enable this task.


Download Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta

The Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta helps keep your PCs and servers on the latest support level, provides ongoing improvements to the Windows Operating System (OS), by including previous updates delivered over Windows Update as well as continuing incremental updates to the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 platforms based on customer feedback, and is easy for organizations to deploy a single set of updates.

Update: 12th August 2010 – The TechNet Evaluation Center has started a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the recently released Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Beta. Find out such things as when SP1 will be released, how long you can run the beta, upgrade policies, and more!

The Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta will help you:

  • Keep your PCs supported and up-to-date
  • Get ongoing updates to the Windows 7 platform
  • Easily deploy cumulative updates at a single time
  • Meet your users’ demands for greater business mobility
  • Provide a comprehensive set of virtualization innovations
  • Provide an easier Service Pack deployment model for better IT efficiency

The public beta is best suited for IT pros, tech enthusiasts and developers who need to test the service pack in their organization or with the software they are developing.

In order to download and install the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta you must currently have a Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 already installed. The Beta is available in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

To learn more about piloting, deploying and managing Windows 7, visit the Springboard Series on TechNet.

Enterprise Tech How-to Microsoft

Open Command Window (cmd) / Program as an Administrator in Windows 7

Consider you have a situation where, you need to work with applications which needs administrator privileges. Just invoking the application shortcut / command window will not help in Windows 7, as you will be running in as a Standard User. (Read User Account Control to understand more in detail). You will need to launch the program in an elevated context to run it as an administrator. A simple right-click on the program/shortcut and choose ‘Run As Administrator’.

However, you cannot follow this method all-time. Especially, when you need to this more frequent. Here is a simple technique (using Application Shortcuts) which will help you in elevating programs.

If you want to implement this alongside the executable itself, you will need to create a RunasAdmin or RunAsInvoker Shim for this purpose. – Read this Article for more information.

Step 1: Create a Shortcut for the application. You can either use Pinning feature, where you can pin an application to the start-menu or the task-bar. You can also create it on the desktop.  In this example, Let’s choose a Command Window (cmd). (You can use this technique for any application)

Step 2: Right Click and goto the properties of the Command Prompt, Select the ‘Shortcut’ tab.

Step 3: Goto Advanced Tab, And select the ‘Run As Administrator’ checkbox in the Advanced Properties.

This will ensure that, this shortcut will run the program in elevated context all the time. You can always invoke the other default shortcut from the start menu, to launch the application in the standard User mode (if you really need to).

Guest Posts Microsoft

Top tips for utilizing AutoCAD LT 2011 and Windows 7 – Seven for 7

Hi Folks, after a long gap we are back with the Guest Posts on this weblog. Today, we have Kate Morrical who talks about the Top tips for utilizing AutoCAD LT 2011 on the Windows 7 platform. She explains on how a user can leverage the features available in Windows 7 and get the best experience while working on AutoCAD LT 2011.  As the Technical Marketing Manager for AutoCAD LT, Kate works closely with the AutoCAD LT Product Development & Marketing teams and with AutoCAD LT users through discussion groups, her blog, and events such as Autodesk University and AUGI CAD Camps.

Kate’s thoughts on msigeek weblog – “ is a great resource for learning more about making the most of MS technology, including design firms looking for the best ways to optimize the compatibility between Windows 7 and Autodesk products like AutoCAD LT 2011. Your How-To and Best Practices articles provide helpful, real-world ways to work smarter and faster. Thanks for putting all this valuable information in one place!”

Over to Kate’s article –

You know that the Windows 7 Professional operating system is designed to meet business needs by delivering better performance, helping you get more done faster, and safeguarding your work.  Here are seven tips for using features in Windows 7 to speed up everyday tasks in AutoCAD LT 2011.

1. Use thumbnail previews to navigate between open DWG files

Quickly locate and switch between open AutoCAD LT 2011 drawing files by hovering your cursor over the taskbar icon to display thumbnail images of each open drawing. Switch between drawings by clicking on thumbnails, or use the red X to quickly close a file from the thumbnail.

Use thumbnail previews to navigate between open DWG files

2. Locate recent files with jump lists

Right-click on a program icon in the taskbar to display a jump list of your ten most recently-opened files. Open an item on the list simply by clicking on it, or drag-and-drop files to attach them to e-mails or copy them to a different folder.  Use the pushpin icon to make sure that important files always stay on the list. Jump lists are also available for your frequently-used programs in the Start menu.

Locate recent files with jump lists

3. Pin your favorite programs for easy access

Pin AutoCAD LT and other programs you use on a regular basis to the taskbar with the option in the right-click menu,  and launch them with a single click. You can also store favorite programs on the Start menu. While your most frequently-used programs will show up there automatically, you can keep them there permanently by right-clicking on the program and selecting “Pin to Start Menu.”

Pin your favorite programs for easy access

4. Quickly resize program windows with Snap

Use Snap to display two programs side by side on your screen, without overlap, simply by dragging one window to the left of the screen and the other to the right.  Easily reference your email, spreadsheet, or other program while working in AutoCAD LT 2011. Drag a single program to the top of the screen to have it fill your entire display.

Quickly resize program windows with Snap

5. Find files faster with Instant Search

Search is faster in Windows 7—libraries and other popular file locations are indexed so results appear as soon as you type in the first few letters of your keyword, whether in the Start menu or in the search box available in every Windows Explorer window. To make your search even more efficient, matching files and folders are grouped by category, and keywords are highlighted to make the list even easier to scan. Filter your results by type, date, size, or author to further narrow your search.

6. Safeguard your work with Backup and Restore

No matter how much care you take with your files, accidents can happen—drives can fail, files can become corrupted, and “copy” can even become “delete.” That’s when you need Windows Backup to store copies of your important files on an external drive and update them periodically so they’re as current as possible. When you need to retrieve a file, the Restore function lets you select the entire backup file or specific files and folders. You can even specify whether to restore files to their original location or a new one.

7. Manage default printers with Location Aware Printing

When you run AutoCAD LT on a laptop, you can take your computer with you, but chances are you leave your printer behind. With Location Aware Printing, you can set a different default printer for every network you connect to. Then, when you change networks, Windows automatically sends documents to the correct printer.

Manage default printers with Location Aware Printing

About Kate Morrical – As the Technical Marketing Manager for AutoCAD LT, Kate works closely with the AutoCAD LT Product Development & Marketing teams and with AutoCAD LT users through discussion groups, her blog, and events such as Autodesk University and AUGI CAD Camps. She has over 10 years of experience with Autodesk products, starting with AutoCAD R14, and has been blogging about AutoCAD LT since April 2007. Kate is a licensed professional engineer in Maryland, and was employed as an engineer and CAD Manager for a 30-person office of a structural engineering firm before joining Autodesk. For the latest in AutoCAD LT news, tips and tricks check out Kate’s blog, LT Unlimited, at

Community Activities Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Moving Applications to Windows 7 and App-V | Flexera Software Webinar

Join Flexera Software™, the leading provider in Windows® 7 application readiness solutions, for a discussion of how you can automate and standardize OS migration and application virtualization projects to ensure a fast and successful application deployment. This Webinar will explore an end-to-end process for Windows 7 and App-V application migration projects, strategies to reduce the cost and complexity and also, how a continuous application readiness process creates a repeatable and reliable standard for your next migration project.

In this Webinar you learn the “6 Steps to Faster Windows 7 Application Migration” and how to:

  • Drive down the cost and complexity of preparing for a Windows 7 software deployment
  • Speed conversion of MSI packages to App-V and other virtualized formats
  • Shift from reactive to proactive application management
  • Better understand your application estate
  • Make sure your applications are ready to move when you are
  • Reduce manual migration to save time and resources

Date: Thursday, June 24, 2010, Time: 9:00 PT / 11:00 CT / 12:00 EST

Register for the Webinar here