Web page to search group policy’s from Microsoft

So.. have you ever tried to find the registry setting for a specific group policy setting, or just tried to actually find the group policy setting you needed and couldn’t quite remember where it was?

Under MSDN Microsoft has launched a new site called http://gps.cloudapp.net this site is awesome! The site will allow you to search for group policy settings, filter by Internet Explorer version, office version and others and browse by registry or by policy.

But this tool makes it much easier to find the right settings and apply them either with registry hacks or policy objects.

This is a quick example of a search on hide drives which is pretty commonly used but still..

image

Continue reading

IE9 will never run on Windows XP

Microsoft‘s new browser, Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), will not run on Windows XP, now or when the software eventually ships, the company confirmed Tuesday.

The move makes Microsoft the first major browser developer to drop support for XP, the world’s most popular operating system, in a future release.

Although Microsoft excluded Windows XP from the list for the IE9 developer preview, it sidestepped the question about which versions of Windows the final browser would support. In an IE9 FAQ, for example, Microsoft responded, “It’s too early to talk about features of the Internet Explorer 9 Beta” to the query, “Will Internet Explorer 9 run on Windows XP?”

 dialog box

This dialog box pops up during attempts to install IE9 Platform Preview on Windows XP.

That caused some users to demand a straight answer. “Please tell whether the final version will run on Windows XP SP3 or not,” said someone identified as “eXPerience” in a comment to a blog post by Dean Hachamovich, Microsoft’s general manager for the IE team. “If not, please be clear about it. Really, enough is enough of keeping users in the lurch about Windows XP support.”

Others bashed Microsoft on the assumption that IE9 would never run on XP. “Dropping Windows XP support is one of the worst decisions ever taken by [the] IE team, probably even worse than disbanding the IE team back in the IE6 days,” claimed an anonymous commenter.

Microsoft had offered up broad hints that IE9 was not in Windows XP’s future, however. Tuesday, a company spokeswoman said the new browser needs a “modern operating system,” a phrase that hasn’t been paired with Window XP for years. “Internet Explorer 9 requires the modern graphics and security underpinnings that have come since 2001,” she added, clearly referring to XP, which appeared that year.

Windows XP’s inability to run the Platform Preview or the final browser stems from, IE9’s graphics hardware acceleration, which relies on the Direct2D and DirectWrite DirectX APIs (applications programming interfaces). Support for those APIs is built into Windows 7, and was added to Vista and Windows Server 2008 last October, but cannot be extended to Windows XP.

Some users worried that by halting browser development for Windows XP, Microsoft would repeat a current problem, getting customers to ditch IE6 for a newer version. “Those who choose to stay with XP will be forced to [then] stay forever on IE8, which will become the new IE6,” said a user named Danny Gibbons in a comment on Hachamovich’s blog.

Tough, said Sheri McLeish, Forrester Research’s browser analyst. “This is the stick to get off XP,” she said. Windows XP users will solve the browser problem themselves when they upgrade, as most eventually will, to Windows 7. “What are they going to do, go to Linux or run XP forever?” she asked.

Still, IE9’s inability to run on Windows XP will prevent it from becoming widespread until the nearly-nine-year-old OS loses significant share to Windows 7. According to Web metrics company NetApplications’ most recent data, if IE9 was released today, it would be able to run on just over a quarter — 27% — of all Windows machines.

No other major browser maker has announced plans to stop supporting Windows XP, but several have dropped other operating systems or platforms. Last month, for instance, Mozilla said it would not support Apple’s Mac OS X 10.4, known as “Tiger,” in future upgrades to Firefox. Google‘s Chrome for the Mac, meanwhile, only runs on Intel-based Macs, not on the older PowerPC-based machines that were discontinued in 2006.

The IE9 Platform Preview can be downloaded from Microsoft’s site. It requires Windows 7, Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 or Windows 2008 R2.

Patch support for Windows XP SP2 ends tomorrow….

Windows XP, the stalwart OS that kept Microsoft chugging through the rollercoaster days of Windows Vista, will be officially taking versions of XP running SP2 off the patch schedule tomorrow. This comes as no surprise, as Microsoft has already laid out a clear timetable for gradually removing support from XP. The schedule has Microsoft completely pulling support from all XP products in 2014. While upgrading to SP3 is free and not too difficult, users running 64-bit versions of XP will be stuck with SP2, and their important security updates for programs like Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and Windows Media Player, are going to stop coming tomorrow.

According to Computerworld, however, you can still run XP SP2 while staying safe and secure, if you’re so inclined. First, they suggest getting rid of Internet Explorer altogether. While that browser won’t be getting any more security updates, other browsers, like Firefox and Chrome, will. They also suggest actively upgrading all your third party applications and plugins to their latest versions. Don’t depend on your software’s auto updating capabilities for this task. Many vulnerable and oft exploited programs, like Adobe Flash Player plugins, aren’t automatically updated, and constantly upgrading that software will require some diligence on the part of the user.

Microsoft may not be releasing any more patches, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to ignore XP altogether. In fact, many security bulletins posted before or on Microsoft’s patch Tuesday include information that’s applicable to many, if not all, versions of Windows, and can be fixed with manual workarounds in the absence of an official patch.

Announcing App-V 4.6 RC and integration with Office 2010 Beta!

Source: http://blogs.technet.com/softgrid/archive/2009/11/19/announcing-app-v-4-6-rc-and-integration-with-office-2010-beta.aspx

First of all, we are excited to announce the availability of App-V 4.6 RC! In August we announced the App-V 4.6 Beta. Since then we have taken in lots of customer feedback and continue to refine the App-V 4.6 release so that we can deliver a great product!  We invite you to check out the RC release by registering and downloading the App-V 4.6 RC release via Microsoft Connect, where you can also submit feedback directly to the team.

We’re not done though, in addition we’d like to share some great news and also announce our integration with Office 2010 Beta:

Microsoft Office 2010 Beta, Ready to be Sequenced With the Microsoft Office 2010 Beta Deployment Kit for App-V

As you know the Office team just completed a major milestone Microsoft Office 2010 Beta, congrats to the team!  Throughout the process of building Office 2010 the App-V and Office teams have been working very closely to make sequencing Office 2010 Beta possible with App-V 4.6 RC!  We have taken the feedback and requests from post-Office 2007 and App-V 4.5 releases, and have been hard at work implementing a solid integration experience for Office when App-V 4.6 releases in H1 2010.

So what’s Different when using Microsoft Office 2010 Beta and App-V 4.6 RC together?

Office 2010 has introduced a new piracy protection initiative, the Software Protection Platform (SPP) service.  This service uses a machine’s hardware characteristics and product key to activate the installation, which is performed during the first Office application launch.

Since the Office 2010 product activation is linked to the hardware on which Office is originally installed, customers who wish to deploy Office 2010 using App-V must physically install the SPP service on the sequencer machine before beginning the sequencing process – and on any client machines that will stream and run Office 2010.

Our engineering teams have collaborated to address the top customer issues that people were running into when virtualizing past versions of Office.   As a result, Office 2010 has a much more integrated user experience.  The Office 2010 integration delivers key productivity enhancements and a seamless user experience by enabling the following::

· Microsoft SharePoint Integration – You can open, edit, and save Microsoft Office documents using Microsoft SharePoint.

· Microsoft Outlook Fast Search – You can use Microsoft Windows Desktop Search to find specific messages in your inbox.

· MAPI Proxy – You can connect to your inbox using Microsoft Outlook Send To functionality.

· Microsoft Office Document Indexing – You can index your documents so that you can use Microsoft Windows Search to locate files.

· Virtual Mail Control Panel icon – You can use the Email icon in Control Panel to perform advance mail configuration.

· URL protocol handler – You can configure links in the browser and specify the appropriate associated Microsoft Office application.

· Send to Microsoft OneNote Printer driver – You can print documents to Microsoft OneNote.

To help customers facilitate this process, we have created the Microsoft Office 2010 Deployment Kit for App-V (Beta). The Deployment Kit contains both the required SPP licensing component and Office 2010 integration features.

And what’s even more exciting, you can get your hands on it now.

How Do I Sequence Microsoft Office 2010 Beta for App-V 4.6 RC?

1. Download Office 2010 Beta here

2. Download the Microsoft Office 2010 Deployment Kit for App-V (Beta)

3. Download App-V 4.6 RC on Microsoft Connect

4. Read the App-V recipe for sequencing Office 2010 Beta on Microsoft Connect.

For detailed information on whether your environment meets the requirements of Office 2010 and App-V 4.6 RC, please refer to the App-V recipe.

Please note: We are providing a recipe to support the sequencing and testing of these pre-release products on Microsoft Connect.  Please provide feedback via Microsoft Connect, by choosing FEEDBACK once logged into the App-V 4.6 Program.

We look forward to hearing about your App-V 4.6 RC and Office 2010 experience!

Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool v2.1 (VHD)

Source; http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/archive/2009/12/10/Offline-Virtual-Machine-Servicing-Tool-v2.1-.aspx

Virtualization affects how we plan, build, deploy, operate, and service workloads. Customers are creating large libraries of virtual machines containing various configurations. The patch-state of these virtual machines are not always known. Ensuring that offline virtual machines are properly patched and won’t become vulnerable the instant they come online is critical.

I am therefore very pleased to state that the Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool v2.1 has now been released!

Congratulations to the Solution Accelerator team for this release!

The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 2.1 has free, tested guidance and automated tools to help customers keep their virtualized machines updated, without introducing vulnerabilities into their IT infrastructure.

The tool combines the Windows Workflow programming model with the Windows PowerShell interface to automatically bring groups of virtual machines online, service them with the latest security updates, and return them to an offline state.

What’s New?

Release 2.1 is a direct response to customer and Microsoft field requests to support the R2 wave. Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 2.1 now supports the following products:
· Hyper-V-R2
· VMM 2008 R2
· SCCM 2007 SP2
· WSUS 3.0 SP2
· OVMST 2.1 also supports updates to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual machines.

Download here; Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool  2.1
More info; http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc501231.aspx

PowerShell 2.0 Is Available For Download (XP and Windows 2003 Also!)

Following quickly on the heels of the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 launches (they have PowerShell 2.0 built in), Microsoft has released version 2.0 for all flavors of Windows since XP:

Windows Management Framework, which includes Windows PowerShell 2.0, WinRM 2.0, and BITS 4.0, was officially released to the world this morning. By providing a consistent management interface across the various flavors of Windows, we are making our platform that much more attractive to deploy. IT Professionals can now easily manage their Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 machines through PowerShell remoting – that’s a huge win!

PowerShell v2 has finally been released for ‘legacy’ OSes (Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008)! I’m saying legacy OSes because the latest OSes are Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. You could also say the out-of-band releases have been released. This happened somewhere in the end of October 2009.

If you are having a hard time finding those, that’s because it is in included in the Windows Management Framework.

The Windows Management Framework includes:

  • Windows Remote Management (WinRM) v2.0
  • Windows PowerShell v2.0
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) v4.0

Read more about it here.

Windows Management Framework Core (WinRM 2.0 and Windows PowerShell 2.0)

Windows Management Framework BITS (BITS 4.0)

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 2.1.1

The Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer provides a streamlined method to identify missing security updates and common security misconfigurations. MBSA 2.1.1 is a minor upgrade to add support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

To easily assess the security state of machines in an environment, 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.

MBSA 2.1.1 builds on previous versions by adding support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. As with the previous MBSA 2.1 release, MBSA includes 64-bit installation, security update and vulnerability assessment (VA) checks, improved SQL Server 2005 checks, and support for the latest Windows Update Agent (WUA) and Microsoft Update technologies. More information on the capabilities of MBSA 2.1 and 2.1.1 is available on the MBSA Web site.

MBSA 2.1.1 runs on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP and Windows 2000 systems and will scan for missing security updates, rollups and service packs using Microsoft Update technologies. MBSA will also scan for common security misconfigurations (also called Vulnerability Assessment checks) using a known list of less secure settings and configurations for all versions of Windows, Internet Information Server (IIS) 5.0, 6.0 and 6.1, SQL Server 2000 and 2005, Internet Explorer (IE) 5.01 and later, and Office 2000, 2002 and 2003 only.

To assess missing security updates, MBSA will only scan for missing security updates, update rollups and service packs available from Microsoft Update. MBSA will not scan or report missing non-security updates, tools or drivers.
Choose the appropriate download below for English (EN), German (DE), French (FR) and Japanese (JA) for x86 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) platforms.

Download details Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 2.1.1 (for IT Professionals)
Source: http://bink.nu/news/microsoft-baseline-security-analyzer-2-1-1.aspx

New tool Sysinternals, disk2vhd!

I am a big fan of sysinternals tools and I use these tools quite often to debug OS related issues. These tools are quite useful when you want to understand internals of OS. Mark and his team has been doing a great job in keeping these tools up to date and adding new features once in a while. One such new tool that got released yesterday is Disk2VHD. You can download it here. Here is how TechNet link decribes this new tool.

Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk – Microsoft’s Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual tools is that you can run Disk2vhd on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows’ Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion. You can even have Disk2vhd create the VHDs on local volumes, even ones being converted (though performance is better when the VHD is on a disk different than ones being converted)

disk2vhd

I downloaded this tool in the morning and experimented a bit on my Windows 7 system. Usage of this tool is straight forward. You see a dialog with all disk partitions as listed in the screen shot here. All you need to do is select all the partitions you want to export to a VHD and click “Create”. The VHD export will take sometime based on the overall disk size you selected. For my experiments, I just selected first two partitions. This is because I have all the BCD information on partition 1 and without that my new VHD will be meaningless. You may see lot of CPU/memory utilization while the export is in progress. On my system, it looked something like this.

Once the export is complete, I rebooted my system in to Windows Server 2008  R2 and created a virtual machine and attached the exported VHD. That is it. My virtual machine is ready with installed OS and all the applications I was running on the physical Windows 7 system.

As I powered on the VM, the first screen showed me the boot menu I usually see on my physical machine. This is because I never removed the additional multi-boot entries I had in the BCD stored on first partition.  This entries — if selected — won’t work because I did not export the partitions containing those OS images to the VHD.

resmon

At this point, I continued selecting the Windows 7 entry and started booting OS. Within a few seconds, I could see the user selection screen and after I logged in using my regualr user account, I could see all the applications working as usual. I also have Windows Virtual PC with WinXP mode in the VHD image. But — as I expected — that did not work as it requires hardware assisted virtualization which is something that will not be availble inside a virtual machine.

vmbootmenu