Firefox 4 final release on March 22!

After twelve betas, one release candidate and a year of development, Mozilla plans to release the final version of Firefox 4 on March 22 around 7AM PDT.

Tech blog ConceivablyTech spotted the date on Mozilla’s official release schedule yesterday and a message to developers from Mozilla senior engineering director Damon Sicore indicated the first and only Firefox 4 release candidate would likely ship as the final version of the browser. Firefox 4 RC1 was made available on March 9.

”As of now, there are no known issues that would stop us from shipping RC1 as final…March 22nd is the day we would ship.  Both IT and Marketing have indicated that March 22nd is an acceptable final launch date.  If at any time we discover issues that would block final release, we would issue an RC2 as soon as possible, reset the ship date, and communicate to everyone,” he said.

Despite Mr Sicore’s mention of the possibility of a second release candidate, Mozilla planning notes indicate the company would most likely push Firefox 4 out the door on March 22 and follow-up with an incremental update to fix any minor issues.

”Several issues have been identified as potential ridealongs, meaning we might do a 4.0.1 release,” the notes said.

The final version of Firefox 4 was originally scheduled to ship in November 2010, but repeated delays saw the release schedule revised on more than one occasion. Given that rather chequered history, it remains to be seen if Firefox 4 will actually ship on March 22 as planned.

Based on the Gecko 2.0 engine, Firefox 4 will bring an updated user interface, new ways to organize tabs, a revamped add-on manager, support for HTML5 video standards, multitouch support on Windows 7 and a range of performance and security enhancements.

Mozilla has indicated a desire to move to a faster release schedule following Firefox 4, with mozilla.org co-founder and Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich telling developers users could be running the fifth version of Firefox just months after Firefox 4 is released.

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Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (KB976932) and download

Service Pack 1 is now available on Technet for subscribers.

Consumer end-users can find general information about Windows 7 SP1 at the following Microsoft website:

http://windows.microsoft.com/windows7sp1

Public downloads will be here

Windows 7 Service Pack 1

To obtain Windows 7 SP1, visit the following Microsoft website:

http://windows.microsoft.com/installwindows7sp1 (http://windows.microsoft.com/installwindows7sp1)

Windows 2008 R2 Service Pack 1

To obtain Windows 2008 R2 SP1, visit the following Microsoft website:

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=199583

The following documentation for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 is provided here.

Deployment Guide for Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 and Windows 7 with SP1.doc 213KB Download

Hotfixes and Security Updates included in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1.xls 465KB Download

Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1.doc 94KB Download

Release Notes for Windows 7 with Service Pack 1.doc 87KB Download

Release Notes for Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1.doc 87KB Download

MS KB Information about Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and for Windows Server 2008 R2

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How to configure Citrix IMA to use a specified network Interface

source: http://www.doctor-citrix.com/

The purpose of these settings is to set up a specific NIC for IMA use when You have multi homed XenApp Servers.
Registry Values to Set;

Purpose(s) is specify if the server has several NICs or not;
Registry Hive : HKLM\Software\Citrix\IMA
Value : MultipleNICMySelf
Type : REG_DWORD
Data : 1 (1 = This Server has several NICs)

Purpose(s) is to specify the NIC to dedicate;
Registry Hive : HKLM\Software\Citrix\IMA
Value : NICToUse
Type : REG_SZ
Data : Mac adress of the desired NIC (example : 00-C0-4F-74-68-E5 )

If one of the previously specified reg values is set on any server you’llo have to set the following reg value to ALL SERVERS within the Farm.

Purpose(s) is to specify that IMA will try to communicate with all remote server NICs
Registry Hive : HKLM\Software\Citrix\IMA
Value : MultipleNICOtherServer
Type : REG_DWORD
Data : 1

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15 great information recources for Application Virtualization from Microsoft

Source; http://www.marcoblijenberg.nl/
Let’s start sharing some great information on Microsoft Application Virtualization alias APP-V or the old name softgrid.
Below is an overview of links with all kind of great information on APP-V.

App-V general information

APP-V Techcenter, your starting point when you need more information about APP-V| Microsoft Technet
APP-V whitepapers, part of APP-V Techcenter | Microsoft Technet
Tech forum with all App-V related information, not only limited to APP-V | Appvirtguru.com
App-V information, clear overview on APP-V components | app-vsupport.com
App-V FAQ overview | http://blog.stealthpuppy.com/appv-faqs

App-V learning resources

Some App-V learning video’s | Blogcastrepository
Application Virtualization (App-V) Video Series | Microsoft Technet
TechNet Virtual Labs: System Center | Microsoft Technet
App-V certification, there’s no “stand alone” APP-V certification. Skills being measured are based on MDOP | Microsoft Learning

App-V sequencing & recipes

Application Virtualization message-board, not only limited to App-V | Appdeploy.com
The Microsoft App-V Sequencing Recipe Forum | Microsoft Technet
Stealthpuppy recipe/sequence resources | App-V recipes
TMUrgent recipe/sequence resources | App-V recipes

App-V related blogs

App-V team blog | Microsoft Technet Blog
The Official Microsoft Virtual World Blog | http://blogs.technet.com/virtualworld/
The Official Microsoft MDOP(where App-V for Desktop is part of) blog | http://blogs.technet.com/mdop/
Kirx.org | http://www.kirx.org/app-v/app-v-en.html
Aaron Parker’s Stealthpuppy on application virtualization and more | http://blog.stealthpuppy.com/
Confessions of a Guru | tmurgent.com
Kevin Kaminski’s blog at MyITforum| myitforum.com
Application Distribution Blog by Nicke Källen, Microsoft MVP on App-V | Viridisit website
German App-V website maintained by Microsoft employee Sebastian Gernert | blogs.msdn.com/sgern
Independent App-V Blog | http://www.softgridblog.com/
DesktopControl Blog |http://www.desktopcontrol.info/

App-V Tools

App-V Best Practice Analyzer | Microsoft Download Center
App-V ADM Templates, also check-out the ADM add-ons from Login Consultants| Microsoft Downloads
App-V Resource Kit tool, you will need this when using Dynamic Suite Composition | Microsoft Technet
Great resource with tools and instant apps for your demo’s | virtualapp.net
The App-V tools from Login Consultants, you need to register before you can download the tools | Login Consultants Tools
Application Virtualization Central, with tools, training videos and much more | tmurgent.com
Download sequenced applications free | http://www.instantapp.net/

App-V troubleshooting

General troubleshooting App-V | Microsoft Technet Blogs
The Microsoft Online Help for Application Virtualization | Microsoft Technet

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Three Steps to a PXE-Free XenDesktop on Hyper-V

http://community.citrix.com/display/ocb/2010/04/13/Three+Steps+to+a+PXE-Free+XenDesktop+on+Hyper-V

I ran into an interesting situation last week while working with Tony Sanchez from our Global Microsoft Team. He was setting up XenDesktop 4 on Hyper-V 2008 R2. However, the lab he was at used a Windows Deployment Server (WDS) for image management and it relies extensively on PXE. Rather than modify the WDS to support the Provisioning Services PXE boot file, we decided the best solution was to make a boot ISO that will load the OS directly from the Provisioning Services host and then boot the guests from that ISO.

Background

Since not all my readers are familiar with using the Boot Device Manager, I will set the stage. When configuring a virtual machine to boot off of a CD-ROM image for PVS, you need to do three things:

  1. Add a Legacy network card on the host since the Synthetic network adapter is not created until the Operating System loads.
  2. Configure the BIOS boot order so that CD-ROM is first in the list.
  3. Assign a bootable ISO image to the CD-ROM/DVD drive.
Take Note
The PXE boot option is required in order for the NIC Option ROM to stay resident in memory during the pre-boot process. This way, UNDI will be available to the boot device to properly initialize the NIC. Otherwise, the “API not found” message would be displayed by the boot device.

In deployments of XenDesktop where you have more than about 15 machines, the XenDesktop Setup Wizard (XDSW) is normally used to create and link the XenDesktops with Hyper-V. Unfortunately, the XDSW does not support all the possible VM configuration options when duplicating the source virtual machine. One of the properties that is not transferred to the new virtual machine is the ISO in the DVD drive. Normally, this behavior is the preferred because Hyper-V needs a special configuration to support sharing an ISO across multiple guests simultaneously (See this Technet article), which if not configured correctly can cause startup issues.

If you do not want to configure ISO sharing, you can use the VMM server and VMM library to copy the boot ISO to each virtual machine’s folder. If the ISO was large, I would say spend time setting up the sharing configuration; however, in this case the file itself is only 300K and copying it will eliminate the possibility of file sharing/locking issues.

Now you understand some of the challenges, I can tell you the three steps to a PXE-free Hyper-V deployment.:

  1. Create a PVS Boot ISO using the Boot Device Manager
  2. Import that PVS Boot ISO into the VMM Library
  3. Execute a PowerShell script

Step 1: Create a PVS Boot ISO

The Provisioning Services Boot Device Manager is a three-dialog wizard that lets you pre-configure the boot environment just like a PXE server would, except you can then write that to a drive or CD-ROM media. The Boot Device Manager is found on the Start menu of any provisioning server at All Programs >> Citrix >> Provisioning Services >> Provisioning Services Boot Device Manager.

I do not want to spend a lot of time discussing the various options or provide a tutorial on this utility; however, I will provide a few pointers. First, be sure to enable the “Citrix PVS Two-Stage Boot Service” and set it to start automatically on any servers you will use as the targets for the ISO image. Second, if you are using Windows 7, be sure to enable the PAE Mode on the second page of the wizard, like this:

Third, be sure to select Citrix ISO Recorder as the boot device (shown below) before burning the ISO image, lest you accidentally wipe out your local hard disk. For a complete guide on using the Boot Disk Manager, see this Citrix Support Article CTX121331.

Step 2: Import the ISO into the SCVMM Library

Take the ISO you created in Step 1 and save it to the folder where the SCVMM library stores are located. I created a new folder called ISOs at the same level as VHDs and placed the ISO in that folder. Next start the SCVMM Administrative Console and go to the Library tab. Select the MSSCVMMLibrary node and click Refresh on the context-menu to add the ISOs to the library as shown here:

Step 3: Execute the PowerShell Script

Next, you can copy the contents of the PowerShell script below and save it to a file called AttachISO.PS1. I realize that I am not yet a PowerShell guru, so I am aware that several optimizations and error checks could be made to this script. Feel free to modify it for your own use. My goal was provide a working example to help with this issue. The PowerShell script below does the following:

  1. Sets the boot order to CD, PXE (Legacy NIC), IDE, Floppy
  2. Copies the ISO image from the library to the VM’s folder
  3. Creates a DVD drive object at the IDE bus 1:0 if no DVD drive is found
  4. Removes any existing ISO and sets the ISO image to the one specified on the command-line
  5. For larger environments, it lets you know how many VMs it has left to process
AttachISO PowerShell Script
# Purpose:      Attach ISO image from VMM Server Library to Guest Virtual Machine
# Date Written: 12 April 2010
# Author:       Paul Wilson (no implied or expressed warranties)
# Usage:        AttachISO [UNC Path to ISO in Library] [VM Name to Match Criteria]

# Check for the two required arguments and offer command-line assistance if not found

if ($args -eq $null -or $args.Count -lt 2)
{
   write-output "Usage: AttachISO.ps1 UNC_fileName_ISO_File VMNameMatches"
   write-output "Example: .\AttachISO.ps1 ""\\SCVMM\MSSCVMMLibrary\ISOs\pvbt.iso"" ""Desktop"" "
   exit 1
}

# Grab the arguments and store them for later use

$ISOPath = $args[0]
$VMNameMatches = $args[1]

# Get the name of the SCVMM server we are running this on.
# The VMM server could be passed as a parameter as well.

$VMMServer = Get-VMMServer -Computername "localhost"

# Get the ISO image reference object using the ISO path provided earlier. 
# Using the full path guarantees the right object is found. 

$ISOImage = Get-ISO -VMMServer $VMMServer | where { $_.SharePath -eq "$ISOPath" }

if ($ISOImage -eq $null)
{
   write-output "Unable to find ISO: $ISOPath"
   exit 1
}

# Get the collection of VMs that match the name parameters supplied and output that information

$VMs = Get-VM | where { $_.Name -match "$VMNameMatches" }
if ($VMs -eq $null)
{
   write-output "No VMs match the pattern: $VMNameMatches"
   exit 1
}
else
{
   $LeftToGo = $VMs.Count
   if ($LeftToGo -eq $null)
   {
      $matchString = "Only one VM matched the pattern: {0}" -f $VMNameMatches
      $LeftToGo = 1
    }
    else
    {
      $matchString = "{0} VMs match the pattern: {1}" -f $VMs.Count, $VMNameMatches
    }
    write-output $matchString
}

# This loop goes through each VM found and does the following:
#   1. Sets the boot order to CD, PXE Nic, IDE, Floppy.
#   2. Gets the DVD/CD drive object.
#   3. The script will copy the ISO image from the library to the VM's folder.
#      The copy is part of the Set-VirtualDVDDrive and New-VirtualDVDDrive cmdlets.
#   4. Creates the DVD drive object if none found and sets it to the ISO.
#   5. Removes any existing ISO and sets the ISO image to the one specified.
#   6. Outputs the number of VMs remaining to process. Added for large deployments. 

foreach ($VM in $VMS)
{
   $LeftToGo = $LeftToGo - 1
   Set-VM -VM $VM -BootOrder CD,PXEBoot,IDEHardDrive,Floppy
   $current_dvd = get-VirtualDVDDrive -VM $VM
    
   if ($current_dvd -eq $null -or $current_dvd.count -eq 0)
   {
      $newDVD = New-VirtualDVDDrive -VM $VM -Bus 1 -LUN 0 -ISO $ISOImage
      $DVDResultMessage = "Created DVD Drive on {0}. {1} VMs left to go." -f $VM.Name, $LeftToGo 
   }
   else
   {
      if ($current_dvd.Connection -ne "None")
      {
         set-VirtualDVDDrive -VirtualDVDDrive $current_dvd -noMedia
         set-VirtualDVDDrive -VirtualDVDDrive $current_dvd -ISO $ISOImage 
         $DVDResultMessage = "Replaced existing media in DVD Drive on {0}. {1} VMs left to go." -f $VM.Name, $LeftToGo
       }
       else
       {
         set-VirtualDVDDrive -VirtualDVDDrive $current_dvd -ISO $ISOImage 
         $DVDResultMessage = "Successfully attached ISO to the DVD Drive of {0}. {1} VMs left to go." -f $VM.Name, $LeftToGo
       }
    }
    write-output $DVDResultMessage
}
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vSphere Client RDP Plug-in

Xtravirt has release another great tool; the vSphere Client RDP Plug-in.  It works like a charm, the installation is straight forward, after firing up the vSphere client the new RDP Plug–in is available at the vSphere Client plug-in manager.

When you jump to “Home” (I still have to get used to that) you’ll find the new RDP plug-in at the Solutions and Applications section.  Here you can configure the RDP behaviour like screen size, username, domain and port. When the setup of the global setting is done, it’s time to put the plug-in to test.

Just right click one of your virtual machines and check-out the context menu, you’ll see an extra option appears called Connect over RDP. Just select the new menu option and your RDP connection will initiate.

Password – you can now set a password to be used for all connections, allowing automatic logon.
Security Warning – Security Warnings can be disabled by ticking the relevant tick box.

Download is here;  http://xtravirt.com/vsphere-client-rdp-plug-in

They have created a little Jing movie which shows the new version of the Plug-in in action.

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Microsoft confirms Internet Explorer vulnerability will be patched out of band

Microsoft has issued a statement confirming that it plans to release a patch for a security vulnerability in Internet Explorer which saw Google fall victim to some targeted and sophisticated attacks recently.

George Stathakopoulos, Microsoft Security, confirmed the news in a company blog posting. “Given the significant level of attention this issue has generated, confusion about what customers can do to protect themselves and the escalating threat environment Microsoft will release a security update out-of-band for this vulnerability” said Stathakopoulos. He also added that Microsoft will share specific timing of the release tomorrow.

The vulnerability was unveiled when Google went public that they were targeted in a sophisticated cyber-attack. The breach, involving Internet Explorer 6, resulted in the theft of intellectual property. Due to the attack, and the background behind it, Google announced it will no longer be providing censored results for its Chinese Google search engine. Currently Google offers censored search results as part of an agreement with the Chinese government.

Since the news of the un-patched flaw broke, Microsoft has been on damage limitation. This week Microsoft began urging businesses and consumers to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8, explaining that the security benefits are far greater than that of Internet Explorer 6. Both the French and German governments warned their populations to cease using Internet Explorer due to the un-patched flaw. Currently the flaw exists in Internet Explorer versions 6, 7 and 8 but exploit code is only available for Internet Explorer 6. The patch, when released, will protect all affected versions of Internet Explorer.

Should you stop using Internet Explorer?

Microsoft has had a torrid time over the past week as governments and customers question the security of the popular web browser, Internet Explorer.

The issues began when Google went public that they were targeted in a sophisticated cyber-attack. The breach, involving Internet Explorer 6, resulted in the theft of intellectual property. Due to the attack, and the background behind it, Google announced it will no longer be providing censored results for its Chinese Google search engine. Currently Google offers censored search results as part of an agreement with the Chinese government.

The news created waves across the world and last week Microsoft admitted that an un-patched Internet Explorer 6 vulnerability was one of the vectors used in the targeted attacks against Google. To many the news wasn’t surprising. Internet Explorer 6, released in August 2001, is over eight years old. It has been subject to a number of high profile vulnerabilities over the years. The alternatives that exist in the marketplace today are not only much more improved in terms of features and standards support, but crucially, offer a greater safety net for online browsing. If you’re still using Internet Explorer 6 then quite frankly, you’re mad.

Ed Bott wrote, shortly after the admission by Microsoft, that any IT pro allowing IE6 use in a corporate setting is “guilty of malpractice” and I couldn’t agree more. However, unfortunately in a corporate setting it’s not always as easy as hitting an upgrade button. Most corporate infrastructure is based on a global directory, email and intranet websites as the core ways of communication between employees. Updating and maintaining internal only (intranet) websites is always a challenge for corporations as many will have been left untouched for years with code specific to aged Internet Explorer versions. Websites is only the beginning; there are also custom applications and systems that utilize Internet Explorer that could be incompatible with Microsoft’s latest versions.

This week Microsoft began urging businesses and consumers to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8, explaining that the security benefits are far greater than that of Internet Explorer 6. However, for corporations and web designers there’s a continued reminder that for many years Microsoft ignored emerging and defined web standards in Internet Explorer, especially in version 6. Developers originally griped about the lack of standards support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) after the introduction of Internet Explorer 6 in 2001. At the time the software giant dominated the browser marketplace and many would argue its actions slowed down web development. Flash forward to 2010 and it’s a whole different ball game. Microsoft’s market share is slowly ebbing away thanks to competitive and promising offerings from both Mozilla and Google. Microsoft improved its web standards support in Internet Explorer 7 and 8 and now it plans to extend that with 9, due later this year. But is it too little too late?

The question of whether to stop using Internet Explorer is one that many businesses and consumers are likely asking this week. Both the French and German governments warned their populations to cease using Internet Explorer due to the un-patched flaw. Currently the flaw exists in Internet Explorer versions 6, 7 and 8 but exploit code is only available for Internet Explorer 6. The reason IE 7 and 8 are both unaffected for now is due to the increased security of the software. Internet Explorer 7 introduced a phishing filter, protected mode to run the browser in a sandbox at low level security rights (vista only) and improved management of ActiveX controls. Microsoft improved security in IE8 by running the browser frame and tabs in separate processes and per-site ActiveX controls. Both IE 7 and 8 also include support for Data Execution Prevention (DEP) that prevents buffer overflow attacks.

So do these attacks mean you should stop using Internet Explorer? Simply put, no. Although it’s true that a vulnerability exists, Microsoft is currently working on a patch to resolve this as soon as possible. If you’re still running Internet Explorer 6 then it’s definitely time to upgrade. Neowin spoke to Cliff Evans, head of security and privacy for Microsoft in the UK yesterday. Evans urged consumers and businesses to “look at this vulnerability in a broader context and think about what the risk is.” He argued that although the vulnerability exists, it’s highly unlikely that the average business or consumer would be targeted by the type of attack Google experienced. Evans insisted that “normal organisations have little to fear” over the recent attacks and that Microsoft recommends all businesses and consumers upgrade to Internet Explorer 8, especially if they are currently using 6. I questioned Evans over corporations who may be stuck on Internet Explorer 6 for compatibility reasons but he urged them to look at their upgrade plans again. According to data from Net Applications (December 09), as a percentage of Internet Explorer use, IE6 maintains 36.57% and IE8 36.27%. Internet Explorer 7 lags behind with 27.11%. With Internet Explorer 6 still the most popular of all Internet Explorer variants, Microsoft is going to have a tough time convincing people to upgrade. Evans would not commit to a release date for the fix but said it was more likely that it would be distributed as an out of band patch shortly or as part of Microsoft’s monthly “patch Tuesday” which is due on February 9.

Source: http://www.neowin.net/

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Beta Office 2010 & Sharepoint 2010 on MSDN & Technet Plus!

Microsoft has release the beta versions of Office & Sharepoint 2010 on technet and MSDN

Microsoft Office 2010 will become available in a x86 and x64 version. Sharepoint 2010 will only be available in x64 version only.

Microsoft is planning to release the  Microsoft Office 2010 products in Q1 next year (2010).

More information about the Office 2010 products on http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/

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