Monday, November 25, 2013

What's New in Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Server 2012 R2 brings a host of new features that greatly enhance the functionality of the operating system.

According to the NetworkWorld Windows Server 2012 R2 is "generally easier to use than Windows 2012 - fewer sharp edges - and 2012 R2 contains stronger networking, storage, and hypervisor skills." Check out the excellent review Microsoft takes off the gloves with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1  and 10 things we love about Windows Server 2012 R2.

In our previous blog article New Features in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V we covered Microsoft's announcements of the new features and improvements to Windows Server 2012 at TechEd  Conference in New Orleans.
Below, you will find some more information about Windows Server 2012 R2 new features.

TechNet Library:

My Top 10 New Features in Windows Server 2012 R2 Series by Scott M. Johnson

Free MVA Courses For Windows Server 2012 R2:

What's New in Windows Server 2012 R2 Jump Start

View this demo-rich Jump Start showing IT pros the new capabilities and features of Windows Server 2012 R2. Microsoft Senior Technical Evangelist Rick Claus and Lead Architect and President of holSystems Corey Hynes demonstrate these new capabilities via numerous scenarios and demos.

Windows Server 2012 R2: Networking

This course discusses what is new in the world of networking and how System Center 2012 R2 can help manage Windows Server 2012 R2. The course also provides insight into industry trends, performance levels, and network performance.

Windows Server 2012 R2: Server Management & Automation

This course contains four modules that provide an overview of Server Manager and Automation, as well as detailing new management capabilities, updates to Windows PowerShell, deployment options and methods, and MultiServer Management capabilities. This course provides education that will assist in getting started with Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Server 2012 R2 Management and Automation on Channel 9 by JeffKoch

Full course outline:

Windows Server 2012 R2 Server Networking on Channel 9 by JeffKoch

Full course outline:

Windows Server 2012 R2 Access and Information Protection on Channel 9 by JeffKoch

Full course outline:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Downloads: MAP Toolkit 9.0 Beta , Microsoft Security Essentials 4.4.304.0, Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 2.3 and MDOP 2013 R2

Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 9.0 Beta

Date Published: 11/11/2013

From Jeff Alexander's Weblog:
This version has been enhanced in the following areas:
  • New Server and Cloud Enrollment scenario helps to simplify adoption
  • New Remote Desktop Services Licensing Usage Tracking scenario creates a single view for enterprise wide licensing.
  • Support for software inventory via Software ID tags now available.
  • Improved Usage Tracking data collection for SQL Server Usage Tracking scenario

Download MAP  Toolkit 9.0 Beta and supporting materials

Use the following link to register for the MAP Toolkit beta program (requires a Microsoft Live ID):

Additional Information:

MAP Toolkit Team Blog

MAP Toolkit Best Practices  CANITPRO

MAP Toolkit: The Server and Cloud Enrollment Feature MAP Toolkit Team Blog

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit Best Practices  CANITPRO

Microsoft Security Essentials 4.4.304.0

Date Published: 11/10/2013

Microsoft Security Essentials is free fully functional antimalware software which provides real-time protection for your home or small business PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Your Microsoft Windows should be genuine to run Security Essential on your PC.

Download Link: Microsoft Security Essentials

Additional Information:

Microsoft Security Essentials Website

Microsoft Security Essentials 4.4.304.0 Now Available for Download  The Windows Administrator Center

Microsoft Security Essentials Updated  WindowsObserver

Microsoft Security Baseline Analyzer 2.3

Date Published: 11/12/2013

The Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer provides a streamlined method to identify missing security updates and common security misconfigurations. MBSA 2.3 release adds support for Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2012. Windows 2000 will no longer be supported with this release.

Download link: Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 2.3

To easily assess the security state of Windows machines, Microsoft offers the free Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) scan tool. MBSA includes a graphical and command line interface that can perform local or remote scans of Microsoft Windows systems.

Additional Information:

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 2.3 Adds Support for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2  WindowsITPro

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2013 R2 (MDOP)

Dare Published: 12/02/2013

MDOP is a suite of technologies available as a subscription for Software Assurance customers. MDOP virtualization technologies help personalize the user experience, simplify application deployment, and improve application compatibility with the Windows operating system.
Additionally, MDOP helps you manage and secure your device, enabling monitoring, and deployment of key Windows features.

Download link: MDOP

Additional Information:

Announcing MDOP 2013 R2  Springboard Series Blog

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2013 R2 now available ZDNet

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack Administrative Templates v2.0

Friday, November 8, 2013

Generation 2 Virtual Machines

Tommy Gunn wrote in his article:
In previous versions of Hyper-V there is only one type of virtual machine type. Starting with Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview there are two types of virtual machines generations that can be selected when a new virtual machine is created.
  • Generation 1 – This virtual machine generation provides the same virtual hardware to the virtual machine as in previous versions of Hyper-V.
  • Generation 2 – This Virtual machine generation provides the following new functionality to a virtual machine:
      • Secure Boot (enabled by default)
      • Boot from a SCSI virtual hard drive
      • Boot from a SCSI virtual DVD drive
      • PXE boot using a standard network adapter
      • UEFI firmware support
      • IDE drives and legacy network adapter support has been removed

John Howard :
The main reason for introducing generation 2 VMs is a strategic bet by the Hyper-V team to have a platform upon which we can build upon in future releases, while introducing a number of improvements in this release as well.
Hyper-V generation 2 VM conversion utility (Convert-VMGeneration) John Howard
Convert-VMGeneration converts a Hyper-V generation 1 virtual machine running on Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows 8.1 to generation 2.

Generation 2 Virtual Machines In Windows 8.1 Hyper-V Mark O'Shea

Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V - Generation 2 VMs  Aidan Finn

Introducing Generation 2 virtual machines VirtualizationAdmin

Generation 2 VMs - The new type of virtual machine CroftComputers

What impact will the new Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs have on data storage  SearchVirtualStorage

Hyper-V 2012 R2: Pros and Cons of Generation 1 vs. Generation 2 VMs ServerWatch

Generation 2 Virtual Machines on Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 plus other nice new features  When Software Attacks!

Comparison of Generation 1 and 2 VMs in Windows Server 2012 R2 System Center Central

Debugging a Generation 2 Virtual Machine  Ntdebugging Blog

Convert to generation 2 on a VM in Hyper-V 2012 R2 with Powershell vNiklas Virtualization Blog

Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V MDT 2013 Deployment Comparing Gen 1 to Gen 2 Legacy/Synthetic Network Boot  ITVCE

How to create a GEN2 VM with SCVMM 2012 R2  Kristian Nese

Generation 2 Virtual Machines in Hyper-V  Samuel Betts

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Free MVA Courses

New free courses available at Microsoft Virtual Academy
Check out free MVA Courses on Virtualization

Windows Server and System Center Courses:

This course covers Automation and Self service in the Datacenter and looks into the primary components of Service Manager and Orchestrator and the capabilities that are used to build out the infrastructure within the environment. This course specifically addresses the R2 updates, including the new integration stack for SharePoint, and provides patch solutions from Service Manager.
In this course you will learn about the role Service Manager plays in the broader story of Microsoft’s management solution on top of Windows Server 2012 R2. This course dives into topics such as SLA Insights and Analysis, Standardize Service Delivery, Manage Multiple Processes, and OLA Insights and Analysis.
Learn more about Automated Tiering, Data Deduplication, Scale-Out File Server, shared VHDX files and Hyper-V live migration over the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol (SMB Direct and SMB Multichannel). This Jump Start assumes a familiarity with Windows Server 2012 storage concepts; take the Windows Server 2012: Storage course to learn more. And you’ll get the most out of the Jump Start if you’ve already taken this one: What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2 Jump Start.
This course will address deployment of compute, storage, and networking resources, and how to construct all of the different resources that we have and construct them together into a private cloud. Finally the course will delve into day-to-day operations to keep the infrastructure up and running, and deploying services to the end users as well as the architecture behind it all.
This course covers new monitoring capabilities and opportunities offered in Systems Center 2012 R2. Moving away from physical boxes being monitored only by individual teams, this course goes over all monitoring opportunities, including Private Cloud Monitoring, Public Cloud Monitoring, Hybrid Cloud Monitoring, OS and Workload Monitoring. Also included in this course is information about proactive monitoring integrated through System Center Advisor, and an overview of the new customized widget dashboard

Other new free courses:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 is a Solution Accelerator for operating system and application deployment. MDT 2013 supports deployment of Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013  Date Published: 10 / 16 / 2013

MDT 2013 requires the use of the Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 which is also available for download.

What's New in MDT 2012 (download)
MDT includes several improvements that add new features and improve user experience with MDT, including support deployment of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

MDT Quick Start Guides (download)

Feature Summary
Deploy Windows and Office with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013. MDT is the recommended process and toolset for automating desktop and server deployment. MDT provides you with the following benefits:
  • Unified tools and processes, including a set of guidance, for deploying desktops and servers in a common deployment console.
  • Reduced deployment time and standardized desktop and server images.
Some of the key changes in MDT 2013 are:
  • Support for the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1.
  • Support for deployment of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • Support for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.
  • Improved support x86-based Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) systems.

Additional Resources:

Friday, November 1, 2013

What's New in Windows 8.1: New Features, Tweaks and How To's

With Windows 8, Microsoft has tried to do something that hasn't been done before - create hybrid system software that works for desktop, mobile and everything in between.

Windows 8.1 adds many useful tweaks and fixes to the OS, including Start button, better searching, Lock Screen, multitasking, the ability to boot directly to the desktop, and a much-improved app store.

The New Windows

 25 hidden features and little extras buried deep in Windows 8.1  PCWorld

Windows 8 and 8.1 Hidden Secret Features and Useful Hotkeys  ASKVG


Tips on upgrading to Windows 8.1  USA Today

A New Windows 8.1 Enterprise feature: Start screen Control  Springboard Series Blog

Improved Windows still torn between tablet future and PC past  CNET

Work Folders in Windows 8.1 The Windows Club

How to Sync Any Folder With SkyDrive on Windows 8.1  How-To Geek

How to Enable Hibernation on Windows 8.1 Start Button Menu  Techken

Windows 8.1 Tips and Tricks: How to boot to desktop Ed Glogowski

Windows 8.1 Enterprise Now Allows Admins To Control Start Screen Layout  Microsoft -

Configure the Default Location of a User Profile in Windows 8.1  Petri

Download Microsoft Office, Windows 8.1 Pro, and more for free - if you're a student  IT World

How to setup Assigned Access in Windows 8.1 (Kiosk Mode!)  Server & Tools Blogs

5 Tips for Using Windows 8.1 Like a Boss  PCmag

The Metro hater's guide to Windows 8.1 ZDNet

What's new in Windows 8.1  ZDNet

Free ebook: Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals Microsoft Press Blog

Windows 8.1: What a difference a year makes ars technica

Windows 8.1 Review: Little Changes Make a Big Difference  Gizmodo

How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1  TechHelpMadeEasy

Quick Tip: Change Microsoft live to a local account in Windows 8.1  TechRepublic

 Step-by-step: Update to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store  TechRepublic

 Pro tip: Track down the Create a System Image tool in Windows 8.1  TechRepublic

Windows 8.1: 8 Essential Tips, Tricks  InformationWeek

Step-By-Step: Installing Windows 8.1 From A USB Key CANITPRO

Who really knows Windows 8.1? TechNet