Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Configuration Manager 2012: Query for Machines without Client and Show Last Machine Logon Time with Operating System

The title is a mouthful but this is a quick way to get a list of machines that may be potential clients. This query assumes that Active Directory system discovery is enabled with the default attributes.

select SMS_R_System.Name, SMS_R_System.LastLogonTimestamp, SMS_R_System.OperatingSystemNameandVersion from  SMS_R_System where SMS_R_System.Client = "0"

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

PowerShell: Export Computer Accounts with Last Account Password Change

When looking for machines sometimes it is nice to know if they have even talked to the domain recently. Here is some quick PowerShell to get you on your way.

Get-ADComputer -Filter 'ObjectClass -eq "Computer"' -Properties PasswordLastSet | FT Name,PasswordLastSet > output.txt

FYI: Make sure to install the Active Directory Module for PowerShell

UE-V Throws an Exception on Install

Now that I've been using UE-V lately for customer environments I've noticed a very bizarre error that can pop up when installing the UE-V 2.0 agent or tools. As you can see below the error message that comes up is rather frightening and suggests that there is something very wrong with the installation.

If I navigate to the %temp% folder on the machine I am attempting to install the UE-V agent on you will notice that the Microsoft_User_Experience_Virtualization_Agent_<YYYYMMDDHHMMSS>.log isn't exactly making the issue obvious.

[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:27]: Burn v3.6.3303.0, Windows v6.1 (Build 7601: Service Pack 1), path: D:\UE-V\Installers\2.0\AnyCPU\AgentSetup.exe, cmdline: '-burn.unelevated BurnPipe.{87244650-D62D-4444-979C-45197BB6BDD0} {4F666BD9-6261-485E-B93B-0C66CB718C68} 3676'
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:27]: Setting string variable 'WixBundleLog' to value 'C:\Users\ADMINI~1\AppData\Local\Temp\Microsoft_User_Experience_Virtualization_Agent_20140927104027.log'
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:27]: Setting string variable 'WixBundleOriginalSource' to value 'D:\UE-V\Installers\2.0\AnyCPU\AgentSetup.exe'
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:27]: Condition 'VersionNT >= v6.1' evaluates to true.
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:27]: Setting string variable 'WixBundleName' to value 'Microsoft User Experience Virtualization Agent'
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:28]: Loading managed bootstrapper application.
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:28]: Creating BA thread to run asynchronously.
[0E70:0EAC][2014-09-27T10:40:29]: Running WixBa
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:29]: Detect 2 packages
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:29]: Setting string variable 'ISNETFRAMEWORK40' to value '1'
[0E70:0EAC][2014-09-27T10:40:29]: Creating a UI
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:29]: Detected package: AgentSetupx86.msi, state: Absent, cached: None
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:29]: Detected package: AgentSetupx64.msi, state: Absent, cached: None
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:40:29]: Detect complete, result: 0x0
[0E70:0EAC][2014-09-27T10:44:03]: Setup has thrown an exception. Please check the log.
[0E70:0EAC][2014-09-27T10:44:03]: The service cannot be started, either because it is disabled or because it has no enabled devices associated with it. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070422)
[0E70:0EAC][2014-09-27T10:44:04]:    at WuApiTypeLib.IUpdateServiceManager2.get_Services()
   at Microsoft.Uev.Deployment.ManagedBootstrapperApplication.Views.RootView.CheckMuOptIn()
   at Microsoft.Uev.Deployment.ManagedBootstrapperApplication.Views.RootView.NextButton_Click(Object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
   at System.Windows.RoutedEventHandlerInfo.InvokeHandler(Object target, RoutedEventArgs routedEventArgs)
   at System.Windows.EventRoute.InvokeHandlersImpl(Object source, RoutedEventArgs args, Boolean reRaised)
   at System.Windows.UIElement.RaiseEventImpl(DependencyObject sender, RoutedEventArgs args)
   at System.Windows.UIElement.RaiseEvent(RoutedEventArgs e)
   at System.Windows.Controls.Primitives.ButtonBase.OnClick()
   at System.Windows.Controls.Button.OnClick()
   at System.Windows.Controls.Primitives.ButtonBase.OnMouseLeftButtonUp(MouseButtonEventArgs e)
   at System.Windows.UIElement.OnMouseLeftButtonUpThunk(Object sender, MouseButtonEventArgs e)
   at System.Windows.Input.MouseButtonEventArgs.InvokeEventHandler(Delegate genericHandler, Object genericTarget)
   at System.Windows.RoutedEventArgs.InvokeHandler(Delegate handler, Object target)
   at System.Windows.RoutedEventHandlerInfo.InvokeHandler(Object target, RoutedEventArgs routedEventArgs)
   at System.Windows.EventRoute.InvokeHandlersImpl(Object source, RoutedEventArgs args, Boolean reRaised)
   at System.Windows.UIElement.ReRaiseEventAs(DependencyObject sender, RoutedEventArgs args, RoutedEvent newEvent)
   at System.Windows.UIElement.OnMouseUpThunk(Object sender, MouseButtonEventArgs e)
   at System.Windows.Input.MouseButtonEventArgs.InvokeEventHandler(Delegate genericHandler, Object genericTarget)
   at System.Windows.RoutedEventArgs.InvokeHandler(Delegate handler, Object target)
   at System.Windows.RoutedEventHandlerInfo.InvokeHandler(Object target, RoutedEventArgs routedEventArgs)
   at System.Windows.EventRoute.InvokeHandlersImpl(Object source, RoutedEventArgs args, Boolean reRaised)
   at System.Windows.UIElement.RaiseEventImpl(DependencyObject sender, RoutedEventArgs args)
   at System.Windows.UIElement.RaiseTrustedEvent(RoutedEventArgs args)
   at System.Windows.UIElement.RaiseEvent(RoutedEventArgs args, Boolean trusted)
   at System.Windows.Input.InputManager.ProcessStagingArea()
   at System.Windows.Input.InputManager.ProcessInput(InputEventArgs input)
   at System.Windows.Input.InputProviderSite.ReportInput(InputReport inputReport)
   at System.Windows.Interop.HwndMouseInputProvider.ReportInput(IntPtr hwnd, InputMode mode, Int32 timestamp, RawMouseActions actions, Int32 x, Int32 y, Int32 wheel)
   at System.Windows.Interop.HwndMouseInputProvider.FilterMessage(IntPtr hwnd, WindowMessage msg, IntPtr wParam, IntPtr lParam, Boolean& handled)
   at System.Windows.Interop.HwndSource.InputFilterMessage(IntPtr hwnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wParam, IntPtr lParam, Boolean& handled)
   at MS.Win32.HwndWrapper.WndProc(IntPtr hwnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wParam, IntPtr lParam, Boolean& handled)
   at MS.Win32.HwndSubclass.DispatcherCallbackOperation(Object o)
   at System.Windows.Threading.ExceptionWrapper.InternalRealCall(Delegate callback, Object args, Int32 numArgs)
   at MS.Internal.Threading.ExceptionFilterHelper.TryCatchWhen(Object source, Delegate method, Object args, Int32 numArgs, Delegate catchHandler)
   at System.Windows.Threading.Dispatcher.LegacyInvokeImpl(DispatcherPriority priority, TimeSpan timeout, Delegate method, Object args, Int32 numArgs)
   at MS.Win32.HwndSubclass.SubclassWndProc(IntPtr hwnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wParam, IntPtr lParam)
   at MS.Win32.UnsafeNativeMethods.DispatchMessage(MSG& msg)
   at System.Windows.Threading.Dispatcher.PushFrameImpl(DispatcherFrame frame)
   at System.Windows.Threading.Dispatcher.PushFrame(DispatcherFrame frame)
   at Microsoft.Uev.Deployment.ManagedBootstrapperApplication.WixBa.Run()
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Shutting down, exit code: 0x6
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: ISNETFRAMEWORK40 = 1
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: VersionNT =
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: WixBundleAction = 4
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: WixBundleElevated = 1
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: WixBundleInstalled = 0
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: WixBundleLog = C:\Users\ADMINI~1\AppData\Local\Temp\Microsoft_User_Experience_Virtualization_Agent_20140927104027.log
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: WixBundleName = Microsoft User Experience Virtualization Agent
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: WixBundleOriginalSource = D:\UE-V\Installers\2.0\AnyCPU\AgentSetup.exe
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: WixBundleProviderKey = {e7f590ad-0947-4f42-8739-2d519a5f210e}
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: WixBundleTag =
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Variable: WixBundleVersion = 2.0.319.0
[0E70:0E74][2014-09-27T10:44:04]: Exit code: 0x6, restarting: No

The key to understanding this error is the call made to use the Windows Update engine.
[0E70:0EAC][2014-09-27T10:44:04]:    at WuApiTypeLib.IUpdateServiceManager2.get_Services()

And if you search on the Internet you can find more information on the call made.

The details in the article aren't terribly important but it gives us an idea what the issue is, as  a result I checked what was the current state of the Windows Update service. When this service was checked it was disabled  because this was one of my sequencing machines so following the App-V best practice I had the service turned off. UE-V will work fine if the service is disabled afterward but it must be running in order for the installation to work correctly. So far I have seen this issue on Windows 7 x64 and 8.1 x64 systems and assume it will fail on many others.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Summer Device Update

Here are some highlights from the summer device update from Kalvin Falconar at Microsoft.

Surface Family Flyer PDF
Windows Device Choices June 2014

Earlier in June the Surface Pro 3 was announced and Surface Authorized Device Resellers are already shipping the i5 version.  Surface Pro 3 will also be available in i3 and i7 sometime in August, along with a new Surface Pro 3 Dock.   See attached for general specifications on the Surface Pro 3 and the Surface 2.  The Surface Pro 3 is already making an impact on healthcare, see below for details.  For availability, pricing and details please contact any Surface Authorized Devices Reseller or drop by a Microsoft Store

Also this month Xplore Technologies launched their new rugged tablet named “Bobcat”.  And from Lenovo the fabulous new ThinkPad 10 started shipping!  All very cool devices.

Windows Phone
As Canadian cellular operators are getting prepared to push out the new Windows Phone 8.1 update out shortly, this an opportunity to review an extensive list of new features for WP 8.1.  Check out “what’s new”!

Also, check out some of the new apps for Windows Phone…
Project My Screen App for Windows Phone - If you want to project your phone screen to an external display, you can use a USB cable to connect to a Windows device.
Files App - Windows Phone now lets you browse your files

Surface Pro 3 is making an immediate impression in the healthcare market.  Check out the stories emerging in healthcare already…

The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Windows Tablets
Cost Savings And Business Benefits Enabled By Windows Tablets For The Enterprise

Forrester collected data from 60 enterprise organizations currently using Windows or non-Windows tablets the subsequent analysis found a solid 128% ROI and many benefits specific to Windows devices: 
·         46% improved productivity for “road warriors”
·         Device consolidation and reduced device purchase costs
·         Reduction in annual device licensing, management, and support costs
·         Reduction in annual costs related to device security
·         Reduced errors from users of Windows tablet devices

Computex 2014
June 3-7, leaders from all over the world gathered in Taipei for Computex 2014, Asia’s largest information and communication technologies (ICT) show. Featuring industry leaders like Acer, ASUS, Intel, and AMD as well as emerging manufacturers that are leading innovation, this is the perfect forum to communicate the One Microsoft strategy.
In past years, the event team designed breakthrough exhibit spaces to showcase devices.

Some notable tablets innovations launched include:
Industrial Tablet IP65 rated 10.1” from SEWOO TECH CO., LTD, and a few others from the same manufacturer.
Rugged Tablet PC760 from Sambest Corporation

We are seeing a vast number of tablet options from Asia now available to us in Canada, although many are consumer focused, there are many type of touchscreen and kiosk options that these low-priced devices can serve. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Problem Starting SQL Server: Unable to Initialize SSL Support

Today I ran into a bit of a surprise trying to start a SQL server up from a reboot. The server was working before the reboot so I had a bad feeling that this issue might be difficult. The first thing I did is check the SQL server log to see what happened.

2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (SP1) - 11.0.3128.0 (X64) 
                Dec 28 2012 20:23:12 
                Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation
                Standard Edition (64-bit) on Windows NT 6.2 <X64> (Build 9200: ) (Hypervisor)

2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      (c) Microsoft Corporation.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      All rights reserved.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      Server process ID is 3704.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      System Manufacturer: 'VMware, Inc.', System Model: 'VMware Virtual Platform'.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      Authentication mode is WINDOWS-ONLY.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      Logging SQL Server messages in file 'E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Log\ERRORLOG'.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      The service account is 'DOMAIN\databaseservice'. This is an informational message; no user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      Registry startup parameters: 
                 -d E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA\master.mdf
                 -e E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Log\ERRORLOG
                 -l E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA\mastlog.ldf
                 -T 8295
                 -T 4199
2014-08-23 02:09:44.63 Server      Command Line Startup Parameters:
                 -s "MSSQLSERVER"
2014-08-23 02:09:44.77 Server      SQL Server detected 1 sockets with 2 cores per socket and 2 logical processors per socket, 2 total logical processors; using 2 logical processors based on SQL Server licensing. This is an informational message; no user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.77 Server      SQL Server is starting at normal priority base (=7). This is an informational message only. No user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.77 Server      Detected 8191 MB of RAM. This is an informational message; no user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.77 Server      Using conventional memory in the memory manager.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.82 Server      This instance of SQL Server last reported using a process ID of 4828 at 23/08/2014 2:05:00 AM (local) 22/08/2014 6:05:00 PM (UTC). This is an informational message only; no user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.82 Server      Node configuration: node 0: CPU mask: 0x0000000000000003:0 Active CPU mask: 0x0000000000000003:0. This message provides a description of the NUMA configuration for this computer. This is an informational message only. No user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.83 Server      Using dynamic lock allocation.  Initial allocation of 2500 Lock blocks and 5000 Lock Owner blocks per node.  This is an informational message only.  No user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.84 spid4s      Starting up database 'master'.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.93 Server      CLR version v4.0.30319 loaded.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.97 Server      Common language runtime (CLR) functionality initialized using CLR version v4.0.30319 from C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\.
2014-08-23 02:09:44.99 spid4s      3 transactions rolled forward in database 'master' (1:0). This is an informational message only. No user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.00 spid4s      0 transactions rolled back in database 'master' (1:0). This is an informational message only. No user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.21 Server      Software Usage Metrics is enabled.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.29 spid4s      SQL Server Audit is starting the audits. This is an informational message. No user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.29 spid4s      SQL Server Audit has started the audits. This is an informational message. No user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.32 spid4s      SQL Trace ID 1 was started by login "sa".
2014-08-23 02:09:45.42 spid4s      Server name is 'SERVERNAME'. This is an informational message only. No user action is required.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     The server could not load the certificate it needs to initiate an SSL connection. It returned the following error: 0x8009030e. Check certificates to make sure they are valid.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     Error: 26014, Severity: 16, State: 1.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     Unable to load user-specified certificate [Cert Hash(sha1) "A2489BCC04B0E33E4564C32D59E758B9E672280C"]. The server will not accept a connection. You should verify that the certificate is correctly installed. See "Configuring Certificate for Use by SSL" in Books Online.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     Error: 17182, Severity: 16, State: 1.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     TDSSNIClient initialization failed with error 0x80092004, status code 0x80. Reason: Unable to initialize SSL support. Cannot find object or property. 
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid4s      Failed to verify Authenticode signature on DLL 'E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Binn\ftimport.dll'.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     Error: 17182, Severity: 16, State: 1.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     TDSSNIClient initialization failed with error 0x80092004, status code 0x1. Reason: Initialization failed with an infrastructure error. Check for previous errors. Cannot find object or property. 
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     Error: 17826, Severity: 18, State: 3.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     Could not start the network library because of an internal error in the network library. To determine the cause, review the errors immediately preceding this one in the error log.
2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     Error: 17120, Severity: 16, State: 1.

2014-08-23 02:09:45.43 spid14s     SQL Server could not spawn FRunCommunicationsManager thread. Check the SQL Server error log and the Windows event logs for information about possible related problems.

Luckily this wasn't so bad, if I look through the log the following error popped out:
The server could not load the certificate it needs to initiate an SSL connection. It returned the following error: 0x8009030e. Check certificates to make sure they are valid.
I took a quick look at the certificate store for the machine and noticed that the SQL Server identification certificate was missing. To browse the certificate store for the machine launch MMC.EXE, select File then Add/Remote Snap-in...
Select Certificates then Add.

Select Computer Account then Next.

Click Finish.

Expand the Certificates node, expand Personal and select Certificates.

Below is a screenshot of the certificate that should be present.

To regenerate the certificate open the IIS 7 control panel and select the server then double click Server Certificates.

On the right hand side of the screen select Create Self-Signed Certificate.

Enter in the FQDN of the local server.

You should see a certificate for your server name and the Issued By field should match.

Open SQL Configuration Manager, expand the SQL Server Network Configuration node then right click Protocols for MSSQLSERVER. Select Properties to continue.

Select the Certificate tab and use the drop down to select the self-signed certificate you created. You can double check this by making sure the Issued By field matches the server name.

The following warning should appear, click OK.

Select the SQL Server  Services node, right click SQL Server and select Start.

If everything goes as planned your SQL server should be up an running. Also if you wish you can opt for a different certificate if you have PKI infrastructure in place but I kept this post simple since the certificate that comes with your Configuration Manager 2012 installed on top of SQL server is self-signed.

Take a look at the following article if you want to use a PKI to deploy a better certificate for this purpose.


I recently found an unusual way that this error can manifest itself in a site. I was deploying sites successfully except one of them cropped up with the SMS_HEIRARCHY_MANAGER_ERROR 3353. If you look at the error message below it makes the issue out to be a SQL communication issue with through a firewall.

What made the situation unique was that the secondary site experiencing issues had the Windows firewall service disabled. Once we turned on the Windows firewall and disabled all profiles (to match the other servers in this environment) the status messages went away. To be clear we didn't need to add the firewall exceptions we just needed to disable the firewall but leave the service running. I assume this error is being triggered because CM can't properly determine the firewall state when the service is disabled.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Troubleshooting the Migration Manager: Configuration Manager failed to gather data from .

Recently I was working on setting up a migration manager connection from a Configuration Manager 2012 site of questionable health to a clean site. In the process I got hung up on an error message that suggested several potential causes for my issue but wasn't terribly concise.

The next step was to figure out what the text logs have to say about this because I thought I had covered off all the culprits listed above. When I checked the migmctl.log on the site server I was performing the migration to I noticed there was something SQL related I wasn't expecting.

[MigrationManager]: Set the schedule item 16777217 to Failed.
ERROR: [MigrationManager]: Error occurred when trying to make sql connection to Contact product support for help. Error Information -2146232060, Login failed. The login is from an untrusted domain and cannot be used with Windows authentication.

I didn't really troubleshoot why the authentication was not happening in depth because the account to be used for the SQL connection was in the same domain as the SQL server. As I result I opted to create a local account on the source server and give it SA rights to SQL. This in turn resolved the issue and I could continue on to making migration jobs.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Disabling SMB 1.0

So some of you might be curious about SMB 1.0 and weather you can turn off the protocol. The bad news is that if you are still running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 there is a need to still run that protocol. If you are running filers it would be important to double check the support and configuration of these devices. In some cases Unix devices using Samba may require this protocol as well.

Ideally from a security perspective this protocol is dated and on its death bed so it should be disabled. The performance and security is better with the newer implementations and this should be an incentive to make sure your environment is specifically configured to use SMB 2.0 or better. I've been surprised at how many environments still run SMB 1.0 on their filers just because they never got around to applying updates or changing the infrastructure configuration.

To perform a quick test you can use the following Powershell 3.0+ command line to disable SMB 1.0.
Set-SmbServerConfiguration –EnableSMB1Protocol $false 

If you are running Powershell 2.0 you can achieve the same result with the following Powershell command line.
Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters" SMB1 -Type DWORD -Value 0 -Force

For more guidance you should also reference the following Microsoft KB for disabling SMB protocols.

And if you are up for some reading Microsoft has a wonderful 394 page document on the V2 and V3 specifications.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

April / May Windows Devices

Here is the latest list of devices:

A Note from the Author: Kalvin Falconar @ Microsoft
The attached Windows Device Choices – April 2014 spreadsheet contains many new mobile devices.  It has been reorganized with tabs for Device Choices (Commercial Tablets & Phones), Rugged + Specialized, Retail and Healthcare specific.  When I discover specific unique devices, or accessories, I will continue to update this spreadsheet.

Windows Phone 8.1 – Cool New Features
Last week Windows Phone 8.1 was announced – more personal and even smarter than Windows Phone is today. Some of the cool things showcased:
·         Cortana - your personal digital assistant. With a name inspired by the popular AI character from Halo, Cortana builds a relationship with you by learning about your interests and habits and then brings information to you as you need it. You can talk to Cortana through your voice or your keyboard, and when she replies you’ll notice she has a real personality!
·         An enhanced Start screen: Between the ability to customize your Start background with a photo and the option for a third row of tiles on all phones, Windows Phone 8.1 provides you with an even bolder canvas for expressing your individuality
·         Delighters such as Action Center, which lets you see notifications from any app, a new Calendar with week view and integrated weather like you get in Outlook, and the new Word Flow keyboard that lets you glide quickly over the keys to type and learns your writing style too
·         A new Skype app, split Music, Video and Podcast apps, and cool features that help you get the most your data allowance, battery life and storage: Data Sense, Wi-Fi-Sense, Storage Sense and Battery Saver
·         Amazing new ways that Windows and Windows Phone work together: Synced tabs and favourites with Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone, newer apps that let you purchase once and use on both your phone and PC, and theme colour changes that follow you across all your Windows devices!

And with Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has made it easier to connect with business apps and services with suite of new features, such as VPN and S/MIME support and customizable Mobile Device Management (MDM) enrollment. With great new features for consumers and businesses, Windows Phone will become THE #1 phone choice for Enterprise.

Note that Windows Phone 8.1 availability for customers is dependent on the mobile operator or phone manufacturer, and will vary by country, region, and hardware capabilities. Cortana will launch shortly here in the US first as a “beta,” and then will launch in the US, the UK and China in the second half of 2014 with other countries to follow afterwards into 2015.

Initial Reviews here:

Windows 8.1 Update - Enhancements and Improvements
Windows 8.1 Update represents a great collection of improvements that give people even more familiar and convenient experiences. Microsoft has delivered easier access to your favourite apps and controls:
·         The ability to pin both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store to your desktop taskbar
·         Power and search buttons in the upper-right hand corner so you can more quickly shut down and do a search right from the Start screen

Some of our biggest Windows fans are diehard keyboard and mouse users, so while we think touch is the future, for people using a PC without touch or folks who just prefer to mouse/keyboard we made Windows 8.1 Update easier with enhancements such as:
·         Right-click on an app tile to get a menu
·         Scrolling to the top of a Windows Store app to see the familiar Close and Minimize buttons
·         Moving the mouse to the bottom of the screen in a Windows Store app to make the taskbar appear

Apps continue to be a focus area from the standpoint of making even more apps available to customers as well as making them easier to find. With Windows 8.1 Update, we’ve made improvements in the discoverability of apps:
·         The Windows Store is now pinned on the taskbar for fast app discovery
·         Apps in the Windows Store show up in Bing Smart Search results.

One of the best new features for Windows 8.1 Update is Internet Explorer 11 Enterprise Mode that enables Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11, allowing enterprises to run their existing web-based applications seamlessly on Windows 8.1 devices. If you find users are installing Chrome or Firefox for compatibility, you have to check this out immediately and test it in your environment.  Available now, for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

Windows 8.1 Update is available for consumers on April 8th via Windows Update and Windows Store, for developers on MSDN/TechNet it was available , with full media published on April 8th, and for enterprise customers via VLSC on April 14th.  

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

New Windows Tablets for March (yes, I',m late)

Just a FYI here is another list of new Windows tablets being made available.

Also if you are curious about business cases I have a total economic impact report on using Windows tablets in retail.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

New Windows Tablets for February 2014

Kalvin Falconar over at Microsoft Canada sends out some regular updates as to new devices coming out in the Windows tablet category. Since the information is free to share you can find February's update over here.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Calgary: Cloud OS MVP Roadshow

On February 25th the Calgary IT Pro, Calgary Systems Management User Group and the Calgary Virtualization user group are getting together for the Cloud OS MVP Roadshow event in Calgary. There will be lunch, refreshments and an Xbox One giveaway. Below is an overview of the event content.

There are more apps, more devices, and now, more data than ever — all driven by the rise of cloud computing and the use of cloud services. With these technologies playing an ever present role in businesses, how can IT drive more efficiency and deliver new forms of value? Microsoft’s answer is the Cloud OS. Microsoft’s approach allows IT to get all the benefits of scale, speed, and agility while still protecting existing investments. This means IT can now rapidly build and deploy apps, flexibly manage IT services, and support real-time analytics across all forms of data. 
Welcome Reception: Windows Device Showcase
Join Kalvin Falconar from Microsoft to explorre some of the newest offerings from Microsoft and its partner ecosystem for the latest release of Windows operating systems.
Session 1: Helping with Compliance Through Access and Information Protection  
Capturing the business opportunities while managing the IT challenges presented by the consumerization of IT remains top of the agenda for many businesses.  Our people-centric IT session shows how Microsoft's vision helps businesses to enable their end users to be productive across devices and locations, keep data and corporate assets protected and build on top of existing investments.
Session 2: Enable Modern Work Styles with Microsoft VDI  
Remote Desktop Services and Virtual Desktops can help enable users to work on the device and from the location they want to, while still allowing IT to secure access to data and applications. Learn about the Microsoft offering for Remote Desktop and Virtual Desktop Infrastructures in this session. With Windows Server 2012 R2, the Microsoft VDI solution is efficient to manage and easy to deploy. It delivers a low cost solution by leveraging the capabilities of Windows Server R2 virtualization and storage technologies. It does all this while delivering a rich user experience that delivers a high fidelity experience across a range of devices and network conditions.

Application is also a hot topic as organizations look to deploy large application sets in a RDS and VDI environment. As a result the latest release of App-V 5 continues to include more features to make virtual application behave as if they were natively installed. Also explore the integration options when working with App-V in a RDS or VDI environment.

Session 3: Extend Your Datacenter with Virtualization and Networking 
Virtualization and networking are at the foundation of a hybrid cloud strategy. Today, Microsoft’s enterprise-grade virtualization solutions let you increase flexibility in the on-premises datacenter and move virtual machines from the datacenter to the cloud. Learn how continuing advances in these areas can help you extend the datacenter and connect to the cloud. 
Speaker BIOS
Evan Zaleschuk
Evan is a Technology Executive with over 21 years of experience in technology and a proven track record in moving organizations from vision to strategy through delivery and operational management. Evan is a recognized expert in the technology industry and had developed organizations by building high performance teams to deliver unique cutting edge solutions that have garnered industry rewards. Areas of expertise include unified communications, telecommunications, data center and network operation center design and management on a global scale.

Kevin Kaminski
With over thirteen years of systems management experience, Kevin Kaminski is no stranger to the headaches enterprises can experience when managing large deployments of Windows systems. As an independent consultant Kevin uses the opportunity to visit many diverse environments and see the challenges they face first hand.

Marcos Nogueira
With more than 15 years’ experience in Datacentre Architectures, Marcos is currently working as an Senior Infrastructure Architect at NeoStream Technologies. Expert in Private and Hybrid Cloud, with a focus on Virtualization and System Center. Marcos's is an MVP in System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management and he has 10+ years has a Microsoft Certified, with more than 70+ certifications (MCT, MCSE, MCITP, MCSA, MCTS and MCDBA among others). He is certified in ITIL, CompTia and VMware as well.

He had large experience in enterprise environments in several industries, including Gas-Oil Company in different countries and continents. He had directly collaborated with Microsoft in the development of workshops and special events with products such as Private and Hybrid Cloud, System Center, Windows Server, Windows client among others, and as a speaker at several TechNet events and TechEd Events (NORAM and EMEA).