Vol. 20, #19 - May 11, 2015 - Issue #1029
The latest on Windows 10
- Editor's Corner
- Ask Our Readers - What Microsoft Outlook *really* needs
- Ask Our Readers - How to support Java in the enterprise?
- The latest on Windows 10
- Windows Server 2003 migration resources
- Sky's the limit for Microsoft
- Building a datacenter with Lego
- Send us your feedback
- Recommended for Learning
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- This Week's Tips
- Clearing the Office Document Cache
- Show all icons in Notification area
- Scripts to audit your Active Directory
- Events Calendar
- Webcast Calendar
- MSExchange.org Webinar: Learn Best Practices for Migrating to Office 365 and Gaining Control of Your Email
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Amazon AWS
- Cloud computing
- Microsoft Azure
- SharePoint, Exchange and MSOffice
- System Center
- Recommended TechGenix Articles
- Recommended articles from websites in TechGenix Network
- Windows Server News
- Breaking down Google Compute Engine costs
- SDN, SDS and your virtual servers
- Server and VDI storage aren't the same
- How to integrate Macs into the enterprise
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- Slingshot For People
- Street Magician Smoothini at America's Got Talent
- San Diego State University Women's Golf Team Trick Shots
- "Welcome" - Funny Dutch Insurance Commercial
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Just released: Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE!
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
In this week's newsletter we look at some of the latest news about the upcoming Windows 10 release of Microsoft's client operating system. With Microsoft Build over and Microsoft Ignite underway at the time of writing this issue, there's lots of new stuff we could write about and we'll focus on couple of areas that administrators of Windows-based environments might be interested in learning more about. We also have lots of other news, tips, tools and fun stuff for you so make sure you read this issue from start to finish!
I'm not sure where the Microsoft Marketing Engine (or whatever it's called) gets ideas for naming their big conferences. Ignite? Personally I preferred TechEd as the name communicated something. And Build? Well that's just an open invitation to finding some Dilbert comic strips with that word in it. For example this one:
Does your HR department have a policy like that?
Ask Our Readers - What Microsoft Outlook *really* needs
In the previous Issue #1028 IT salaries: good, bad or ugly? a reader asked the following:
Regarding your published tip for disabling reply all in Outlook (Office 365) [in Issue #1027 Reader Feedback: Eyestrain solutions for IT pros] what we really need is a more configurable option (say, reply all with recipients > 10) that would solve the problem of the HR e-mails to the everyone list being responded back to everyone by responses, and the inevitable reply to all from good meaning (but misguided) individuals reminding users to NOT to click "reply to all"... But now that I think about it, what we really need more than that is a restriction on sending e-mail messages to large numbers of recipients on the "To" or "CC" lines, and require that such mailings be made using the bcc: line! That would fix the problem for good, and eliminate once and for all recipients responding back to everyone in their responses, and the inevitable reply to all from good meaning (but misguided) individuals reminding users to NOT to click "reply to all"!
We received a bunch of feedback in response to the above "ask" and here's a quick sampling:
I've started simply sending my "all users" type e-mails with "To All Users: " leading the subject line, but bcc:ing the actual all users group. I still get a number of "ok", "Thanks", etc., but only replying to me, not to everyone. --Peter, an IS Operations Manager in Birmingham, Alabama USA
We have a policy that any bulk email sent out must be sent using the BCC field, this is a simple solution if you have an email to which the 'reply all' option is undesirable. --David, an IT Services Manager for a high school in the UK
You could do a couple of things. One would be a nag message that when reply all is clicked it would make you verify that this is really what you want to do. I would rather see the large icon removed and the feature buried within the menu structure though. --Mark, a Senior Business Analyst for a U.S. government agency
WRT the issues of HR sending e-mails, which can then be "reply-alled". Mass e-mail's are not the realm of desktop e-mail applications, like Outlook. That's a job for e-mail list-servers, like LISTSERV. --Colin, a Computer and Communications Systems Manager for the medical department of a university
Ask Our Readers - How to support Java in the enterprise?
In the Mailbag section of the previous Issue #1028 IT salaries: good, bad or ugly? we included some reader suggestions for tools you can use to determine what's filling up the disk on a Windows client or server system. One of our readers named James recommended Java-based utility called JDiskReport but I responded that this wouldn't work for admins who have security concerns about having the Java JVM on systems they manage. When this week's issue of WServerNews appeared he sent us another email containing an important question that some of our readers may want to try and respond to:
Reading today's issue of WServerNews I noticed you mentioned my recommendation for a volume usage analyzer and concern over using Java in the enterprise. Sadly, as I'm sure is true for other readers, Java is a necessary evil as a number of standalone and web applications here at the university require this platform. Oracle has tried of late to mitigate security risks, which is great, but in the process has created new headaches for administrators and end users. Now that Google announced dropping support for NPAPI in version 45 of Chrome, things will only get worse. We're already fielding support calls as NPAPI is disabled in current version.
I would be interested in hearing how other enterprise admins are handling Java and other high risk third party software. We have been able to uninstall on a handful of system but in general our strategy has been protect workstations (firewall/IPS, blacklists, EMET, GPO's, virus protection) and keep Java up to date using App Deployment Toolkit through SCCM. Speaking of keeping Java updated… Is it just me or is Oracle intentionally making Java more difficult to support in an enterprise?
If any of you readers have any suggestions concerning the above, please send your recommendations to us at [email protected]
Ask Our Readers: WServerNews has almost 100,000 subscribers worldwide. That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at [email protected]
The latest on Windows 10
From an administrator's perspective, Windows 10 isn't just a new client operating system, it's also part of a whole ecosystem. While end users simply get to use Windows 10, administrators have to concern themselves with deploying, securing, managing, maintaining and troubleshooting the new operating system on the PCs, laptops and other computing devices that are connected to or able to access their corporate network. So when I said I'll be looking at the latest news about Windows 10 from Build and Ignite, I also mean news about the ecosystem that supports the new platform. Let's look at security and manageability in particular since the major work of IT staff after a new client OS is deployed is to manage the platform and make sure it stays secure.
Manageability and security
A big part of the administrator's job is to ensure that systems are kept updated with the latest security updates, hotfix rollups and other patches released by vendors. This can include patching Windows operating systems and Microsoft applications, patching third-party applications like Adobe products, installing updated device drivers, flashing BIOS updates, and so on. If we consider only Windows and Microsoft applications like Office, admins already have Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) for doing this. WSUS has been around a while and is widely used by corporate IT departments for keeping Windows systems up to date.
Starting with Windows 10 however, Microsoft is making some changes to how Windows-based devices will be updated. I first heard about Windows Update for Business as it will be called from an article titled "Microsoft wants to automatically install more software on business computers" on the popular news site called Business Insider:
Now if that headline doesn't grab your attention by instilling fear into the heart of the sysadmin who reads it, I don't know what will. Fortunately Microsoft's official Blogging Windows blog has a bit more information about the coming changes but it still seems vague in several areas:
What Microsoft seems to be saying here is that the existing approach of having organizations use WSUS to download updates from Windows Update so IT can thoroughly test them before rolling them out to production systems is a bad thing because it "impedes innovation and creates quality problems with apps... and is an expensive, thankless task for IT professionals". They also seem to suggest that in-house testing before deploying updates is unnecessary since they "rigorously test the platform as an integrated whole".
Well, excuse me. What world does Microsoft live in? Is their memory so short that they can't remember past occasions when updates they released caused significant problems for some users? A few recent examples might remind them:
- KB 2965295, KB 2965270 freeze Calendar and syncing, cause lockouts (InfoWorld, 16 April 2015)
- Botched KB3033929 Update Pushes Windows 7 PCs into Infinite Reboot Loop (Softpedia, 12 March 2015)
- Microsoft update blunders going out of control (ZDNet, 15 Dec 2014)
- The new KB 2919355 Windows 8.1 Update causes more problems than it fixes (InfoWorld, 6 May 2014)
I could list many more examples like this from the last few years suggesting that Microsoft has been having difficulty maintaining quality control over the software updates they release for their operating systems and applications. Maybe this is because of the increasing pace of innovation coming out of Redmond as they try and grab some of the mindshare that iOS and Android have gained control over mostly in the consumer world but increasingly in the corporate segment as well. I also take issue with their statement that they "rigorously test the platform as an integrated whole". How can they possibly test the astronomical number of possible interactions that can occur between the range of third-party and in-house developed applications used all across the global corporate world?
Fortunately, the above post on the Blogging Windows blog says that Windows Update for Business will be a "new option" available for organizations that deploy Windows 10. In other words, it sounds to me like they're saying WSUS can still e used by enterprises that don't want to take advantage of the so-called benefits provided by Windows Update for Business such as distribution rings, maintenance windows, peer to peer delivery, and so on. But the technical details of Windows Update for Business are not clear from this blog post and it just might be that it will include an updated version of WSUS that still allows enterprises to download and test updates before deploying them with even greater flexibility than with the current version of WSUS. In short, we just don't know yet how Windows Update for Business will work in enterprise environments. I suspect we'll have to wait until later builds of Windows Server "10" appear before we'll find out more details concerning the changes Microsoft is hoping to make in how enterprises keep their Windows systems patched and up to date. So let's keep our fingers crossed and watch closely for more information about Windows Update for Business as it becomes available in coming days.
The other manageability highlight concerning Windows 10 that was announced at Ignite is the availability of System Center Configuration Manager and System Center Endpoint Protection Technical Preview 2 which will allow administrators to deploy Windows 10 in their environments once it (and the new version of SCCM) are released. One cool thing is that SCCM will not only support existing refresh (wipe and load) deployments but also support in-place upgrades. You can read more about this on the System Center Configuration Manager Team Blog here:
You can find out more about System Center Technical Preview 2 here:
And if you'd like to try out ConfigMgr TP2, you might want to follow the installation walkthrough on Eswar Koneti's blog here:
But you don't need ConfigMgr TP2 to manage Windows 10, you can now do it with Windows Intune too:
In addition to being concerned about the security and manageability of PCs, laptops and other devices running Microsoft Windows, administrators also need to remember the people who will be using the systems they deploy and administer. That's because if a computing device isn't usable in the way users need it to be, two things will happen. First, helpdesk will get tons of complaints and this will fall back on the administrators as the ultimate source of user frustration. Second, users will try to find ways to make an end run around the difficulties they're experiencing by installing unapproved third-party software on their systems, using unapproved cloud-based apps, or doing anything else they can do to alleviate their pain.
What's new in Windows 10 that can make devices running it more usable than the previous version Windows 8.x? And perhaps more importantly, is there anything in it that can provide users with a more productive experience than Windows 7 or even Windows XP? We'll probably know better concerning these things a year from now after organizations that are early adopters have given their users a chance to really put Windows 10 through the paces in the workplace. But I'm guessing as far as corporate deployments of Windows 10 are concerning that the Return of the Start Menu will be the main "pain relief" point here. WinBeta has some photos from Ignite that show what the Start menu and taskbar currently look like on the latest builds of Windows 10:
But how corporate users who are currently using Windows 7 or (ack!) Windows XP will take to the new Start menu is anyone's guess.
The new Settings app in Windows 10 that may or may not entirely replace the Control Panel in current Windows versions might fare better however. I pretty much gave up on using the Control Panel when we migrated our own PCs to Windows 7 because I found it a lot easier to simply click Start and type "background" when I wanted to change my desktop background instead of clicking Start > Control Panel > Personalization > Desktop Background > and so on. But sometimes I just don't know what to type to find the setting I need to configure, and in this regard the Settings app of Windows 10 seems a whole lot easier to browse than the Control Panel of previous Windows versions. Check out this post on WinBeta from a couple of months ago and see yourself what you think:
As far as the other bells and whistles in Windows 10 are concerned, I don't think Cortana will generate much interest for corporate environments except perhaps for certain accessibility scenarios. After all, who wants to overheard the employee sitting next to you as he says things like "Launch Microsoft Word" or "Open new tab in browser" out loud all day long? I'd rather listen to someone talking on their cellphone. And Windows 10 is bringing back the Aero Glass theme from Windows 7? This Garfield comic strip from way back on 3 April 1979 says it all concerning this:
Of course there's lots more coming soon in Windows 10 (and next year in Windows Server "10") and my above comments have only scratched the surface, so we'll definitely be revisiting the platform in future issues of this newsletter. Meanwhile, what do you readers feel are the most (or least) significant changes coming in Windows 10? Email us at [email protected]
And now on to a couple more items that may be of interest and/or amusement to our readers...
Windows Server 2003 migration resources
CANITPRO, the team that writes the Canadian IT Pro Connection blog, has put together a helpful list of resources for enterprises still holding out on migrating away from Windows Server 2003. They published their list in the recent issue of the Canadian edition of the TechNet Flash Newsletter and we're excerpting it here so our readers around the world can benefit:
- TechEd Session - It's the End of the World As You Know It… Windows Server 2003 End of Life: Infrastructure Migration http://www.wservernews.com/go/1431441563828
- MVA Course - Windows Server 2003 End of Support Migration Overview
- MVA Course - How to Assess Your Windows Server 2003 Environment
- MVA Course - Migrating Legacy Windows Server to 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure
- IDC Whitepaper - Windows Server 2003: Why You Should Get Current (PDF download, 320 KB)
- CANITPRO.NET Blog Posts on Windows Server 2003
Sky's the limit for Microsoft
Two years ago Microsoft had to stop using SkyDrive for their personal cloud storage service because of a trademark violation complaint by Sky, the British satellite TV broadcaster. Now The Verge reports that the European court has ruled that their product name Skype is also too similar to the Sky broadcaster:
It seems that Sky's the limit for Microsoft, at least as far as product names are concerned. Does this mean I'll have to cancel my subscription to Sky & Telescope Magazine? Or throw my DVD copy of the movie Vanilla Sky in the trash? Or stop listening to sky.fm Internet radio? Or stop eating at the Sky 360 Restaurant and Lounge when I visit Calgary? Or give up golfing at Big Sky Golf Club when I vacation in Whistler, BC? Or...
Building a datacenter with Lego
Finally, here's something fun I found on the Twitter feed of Justin King (@vCenterGuy) who is a Technical Product Manager working in the Integrated Systems team at VMware. Check out this photo he tweeted (source unknown):
I've always wanted to manage a datacenter and now I can have one on my kitchen table.
Send us your feedback
Got feedback about anything in this newsletter? Let us know at [email protected]
Recommended for Learning
Experience your Microsoft Press e-books in a new way! Users are raving about the newly released Guided Tours app on Windows Store from Microsoft Press. It lets you explore technical topics in powerful new ways, mark up the content, and access external references. When you download the app, you'll get three free developer e-books on building cloud apps with Azure, Windows app development, and Microsoft Azure HDInsight, with more to come. Check it out!
Microsoft Virtual Academy
From the Microsoft Virtual Academy:
MCP Insider Series: Ask Me Anything (AMA), Featuring Jeffrey Snover
How many ties does Jeffrey Snover own? Find out, as we get a sneak peek at the new "Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Insider" series, which kicks off with an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) style Q&A session with Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and PowerShell inventor Jeffrey Snover, who fields questions and demos solutions with host and PowerShell MVP Jason Helmick. Check it out, on demand. Watch now!
Quote of the Week
"What if you mix the mayonnaise in the can, WITH the tunafish? Or... hold it! Chuck! I got it! Take LIVE tuna fish, and FEED 'em mayonnaise! Oh this is great. Call StarKist!" --Michael Keaton as Bill Blazejowski in the movie Night Shift
Until next week,
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Clearing the Office Document Cache
In Issue #1026 What's filling up your disk? I shared how I had used the free tool WinDirStat to discover that the hard drive on one of my laptops was filling up with FSD files, which are files stored in the Office Document Cache on my machine. These files are used by the Microsoft Office Upload Center to allow me to see the state of files I'm uploading to SharePoint sites I connect to with my machine. I discovered there were more than 16 GB of old FSD files on my machine and I tried using a procedure I found in a TechNet Forum thread to delete them. Unfortunately the procedure didn't work.
So I googled around (yes I've finally given up on Bing) and found the following post on 7tutorials.com:
- Fix Problems With The Microsoft Office Document Cache Being Corrupted
This procedure finally worked, and together with my earlier discovery of dozens of copies of the Exchange Offline Address Book (OAB) clogging up my drive (probably caused by a bug or misconfiguration in Microsoft's Office 365 cloud service that has apparently since been fixed--see the third tip in Issue #1022 Hybrid Exchange Deployment) I've now been able to reclaim almost 40 GB of space on this machine--though I should probably upgrade it to a large SSD and reimage it if I can find some time to do so.
Show all icons in Notification area
If you want users of Windows 7 or later to have all notification icons displayed on their taskbar by default, you could do this by scripting the following REG ADD command to run on their machines:
reg.exe ADD HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer /v EnableAutoTray /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
Or alternatively you could run this PowerShell command on their systems:
sp -Path HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer -Value 0 -Name EnableAutoTray
Even better, use Group Policy Preferences (GPP) to deploy the registry setting needed using the procedure outlined in this old TechNet blog post:
The Sysadmins has a more recent post on the same topic:
Scripts to audit your Active Directory
The TechNet Gallery has a couple of great scripts you can use to perform a quick audit of your Active Directory environment. Here are two that some of my colleagues have recommended:
- Active Directory Audit Report With Powershell
- List the Active Directory forest's milestones
FREE EVENT - Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference on May 14 and 15
Just one more reminder about the 2015 Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference, a virtual 2-day event that showcases how the best and brightest independent technology experts are using Microsoft technologies today. This event is taking place on Thursday, May 14th and Friday, May 15th from 11am to 9pm EST and is free and open to the public so tune in and see what the community of power users are saying about the mobile-first, cloud-first world of possibility with Microsoft re-imagined. You can register here:
Microsoft TechDays 2015 on May 28-29 in the Hague, Netherlands
Add Your Event
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
MSExchange.org Webinar: Learn Best Practices for Migrating to Office 365 and Gaining Control of Your Email
Live Webinar: Wednesday May 13th, 1PM EDT | 12N CDT | 10AM PDT | 6PM BST
Migrating to Office 365 offers many substantial benefits, but it also represents a significant undertaking. It is filled with potential landmines, particularly when it comes to managing emails and electronic information that can put the entire project at risk.
Join Michael Osterman, Principal of Osterman Research, and Danny Milrad, Director, Product Marketing, of Barracuda Networks for an educational webinar that will outline the best practices for migrating to Office 365 that will put a spotlight on one of the top mistakes that organizations make when migrating to Office 365..
Attend this webinar to see how you can successfully complete the migration to Office 365 while delivering on the promise of cloud messaging, and gaining control of your emails and more in the process. You will discover:
- Best practices and tips for migrating to Office 365, including why properly addressing your electronic data and files in the migration is essential.
- Key features and limitations of native Office 365 archiving, and why you should consider a third party archive.
- How to ensure a smooth migration of your email and data to Office 365, without exposing your organization to eDiscovery and other information management risks.
- What you need to know about both native and third party search and eDiscovery capabilities, as well as indexing of different file types.
And you’ll have the opportunity to ask our expert presenters your top questions!
Register for Webcasts
Add your Webcast
PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
Improve IT Governance with AWS (Part 1) (InsideAWS.com)
Getting Started with AWS (Part 6) (InsideAWS.com)
Revisiting Compliance in the Cloud: Is it Risky Business? (Part 3) (CloudComputingAdmin.com)
Global Cloud Privacy Standard ISO/IEC27018 and the Public Cloud (CloudComputingAdmin.com)
Microsoft Azure How-To Video Series (MSDN)
Microsoft Azure High-Performance Storage for Virtual Machines (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
SharePoint, Exchange and MSOffice
The Azure RMS Connector (Part 1) (MSExchange.org)
Exchange Archiving: On-Premises vs Cloud-Based (Part 1) (MSExchange.org)
SCOM 2012 Maintenance Mode Scheduler 5.1 (scom2k7.com)
What is new and coming soon to the Microsoft monitoring world and helping a good cause (Catapult Systems)
Revisiting Compliance in the Cloud: Is it Risky Business? (Part 4)
Microsoft + AWS: A Winning Combo (Part 5)
Microsoft Azure High-Performance Storage for Virtual Machines
Developing and Assessing your DLP Strategy (Part 1)
Extend Your Wireless Network's Signal
Breaking down Google Compute Engine costs
Cost is an extremely important factor when it comes to choosing a cloud provider, and the pricing battle between major cloud providers is really heating up as the competitive cloud market's IaaS war ensues. Will Google Compute Engine fit your budget? This exclusive feature takes the mystery out of Google Compute Engine pricing.
SDN, SDS and your virtual servers
SDN and SDS are quickly shaping the future of the cloud by providing cloud users with the control mechanisms of a typical in-house data center, along with agility, rapid scaling, and cost effectiveness -- all without sacrificing firewalls, compliance or security. Find out more about how SDN and SDS offer huge savings and high scalability.
Server and VDI storage aren't the same
There are some major differences between how server and desktop virtualization use storage. One key difference is that server storage doesn't have a direct effect on user experience, but VDI storage certainly does. Check out the three ways server and VDI storage differ from each other in this helpful breakdown.
How to integrate Macs into the enterprise
Macs are slowly but surely making their way into corporate IT shops, forcing IT to figure out how to integrate them within their environment and determine what additional tools and systems they need. Don't fall behind – discover three ways your IT shop can easily manage Macs in the enterprise in this essential guide.
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
Slingshot For People
A millionaire builds a human slingshot at his home in Utah. Friends come over for their best ride ever:
Street Magician Smoothini at America's Got Talent
Smoothini gives a wildly entertaining show with his 'close-up' magic tricks that has the judges of America's Got Talent in awe:
San Diego State University Women's Golf Team Trick Shots
The San Diego State University women's golf team show us their amazing trick shot skills:
"Welcome" - Funny Dutch Insurance Commercial
Two burglars break into a modern mansion and find all the doors open. What is going on? Is this too good to be true?
WServerNews - Editors
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.