Round Up: September Events and Windows Resources

As the summer draws to a close, here are a few thing that have caught my eye.  Check them out and see for yourself.

First up, a comprehensive article on by Greg Shields on “Avoiding Active Directory Disasters“, particularly with Windows 2000 and 2003 versions of AD.  It might just be time to do a little end of summer health check for an important component of your network.

PacITPros will be holding their monthly meeting tonight starting at 6pm.  It’s not to late to RSVP and get in on the action.  Compellent will be presenting on their data storage solutions and there will also be a presentation on the latest and greatest with Microsoft’s OCS.

On 9/30, don’t miss out on the Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable on migrating from IE6 to IE8 on Windows 7, starting at 9am.  This virtual, interactive discussion will cover migration strategies, standards, and support for organizations moving from Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 8.

Finally, check in with the folks at TechNet on 9/22 when they host an in-person event on Deploying Windows 7 at the Microsoft downtown office in San Francisco.  Learn more or register at TechNet Events Presents: Deploying Windows 7. This event will also be held in Irvine, CA on 9/20 and in Los Angeles on 9/21.


Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts

Came across some handy keyboard shortcuts for Windows 7, courtesy of Brainstorm, Inc.  Check out their website for some other free Windows 7 tips.

  • Windows Key – Opens and closes the Start menu, so its a quick way to get to Instant Search
  • Windows Key + Left or Right arrow – Snaps the active windows to the right or left side of the screen
  • Windows Key + Home – Minimizes all but the active window
  • Windows Key + M – Minimizes all open windows
  • Windows Key + Shift + M – Restores all open windows
  • Windows Key + D – Shows the desktop
  • Windows Key + R – Opens the RUN dialog window
  • Windows Key + U – Opens the Ease of Access Center
  • Windows Key + T – Scrolls through items on your Taskbar
  • Windows Key + (+/-) – Zooms in/out; opens Magnifier
  • Windows Key + L – Locks the computer

Some keyboard shortcuts use keys that are embedded on a laptop keyboard (like HOME), I tend to avoid.  It doesn’t seem like much of a shortcut when I have to deal with the “Fn” key.  As for that Windows + L combination?  It’s going to take a long time for me to break the habit of using Ctrl-Alt-Del.

Looking for User Training for Windows and Office? Check out ELF.

Looking for a way to provide tips about Windows 7 or Office at your office? The Microsoft Enterprise Learning Framework gives you fast access to information that you can share with users regarding the deployment and usage of Windows client operating systems and office applications.  Walk through a few steps, select the OS and applications that you need, and then review the list of articles and short videos that you can share as you deploy new software.
All the links lead to content that is available on online, but its neatly organized in a way you can share with information workers in your organization.  According to the Microsoft site, you can use ELF for a variety of purposes:

  1. As part of your deployment communication plan. Select the timeframe (for example, a month before deployment, a week after deployment) and category of employee (for example, Information Workers) and then generate a sample e-mail with topic recommendations for your employees.
  2. To identify a few key learning topics for a particular feature, such as Search. For example, you could include links to Windows Online Help topics about the Search feature on your corporate intranet site.
  3. Any time, to get ideas for tips-and-tricks topics for newsletters, your intranet support site or lunch-and-learn presentations. 

Finally, need documentation for some of your own applications so you can share tips with others?  Try using the Problem Steps Recorder that’s included with Windows 7.  Not only a great way to troubleshoot issues, you can use the tool to capture screen shots with captions that you can use as a starting point for your own instructional documents.

Check out the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta

Have you downloaded the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta yet?  What are you waiting for?  The public beta is best suited for IT pros, tech enthusiasts and developers who need to test the service pack in their organization or with the software they are developing.  It is not available for home users.

The Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta helps keep your PCs and servers on the latest support level, provides ongoing improvements to the Windows Operating System (OS), by including previous updates delivered over Windows Update as well as continuing incremental updates to the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 platforms based on customer feedback, and is easy for organizations to deploy a single set of updates.

Learn more about the SP1 Beta on the details page and don’t forget to check out the SP1 Beta Reviewer’s Guide.In order to download and install the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta you must currently have a Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 already installed. The Beta is available in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

My TechEd Session Wish List

Had a great time at TechEd this year, do not get me wrong. But like all the other conferences of the past, there is often too much good stuff to get it all in.
This year, just about all the breakout sessions are available online. While some may think this reduces the value of actually attending the conference, I disagree. The more intimate sessions, like Birds-of-a-Feather and the “Interactive” style sessions were not recorded. So when I could, I attended those sessions over the traditional breakouts, chatted with Microsoft experts in the TLC areas, or spent time networking with others in the Expo and Community Lounge.
If I could have tailored TechEd to fit my schedule and I had more than 4 days, here are the sessions I would have attended. I did get to a few of them during the conference, they are marked with a (*). Since it will probably take me a while to view all the ones I missed, if you caught one of these and it’s especially good or bad, comment and let me know!
Management Track
MGT314* – Technical Introduction to Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010
Office & SharePoint
OSP314* – Microsoft Outlook and Exchange 2010: Better Together Overview
OSP208 – Microsoft Office 2010 for IT Professionals
OSP203 – (SharePoint) Designing Governance: How Information Management and Security Must Drive Your Design
Security, Identity & Access
SIA333 – Useful Hacker Techniques: Which Part of Hackers’ Knowledge Will Help You in Efficient IT Administration?
SIA230 – Why Security Fixes Won’t Fix Your Security
SIA306 – Night of the Living Directory: Understanding Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory Recycle Bin, Undeletion and Reanimation
Unified Communications
UNC303* – Upgrading from Microsoft Exchange Server 2003/2007 to Exchange Server 2010: Tips, Tricks and Lessons Learned
UNC307* – What’s New in Archiving, Retention, and Discovery in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1
UNC201 – Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1: An Overview of What’s Coming
UNC306 – Going Big! Deploying Large Mailboxes with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 without Breaking the Bank
UNC203 – What’s New in OWA, Mobility, and Calendaring in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1
UNC301 – Microsoft Exchange Server 2010: Sizing and Performance – Get It Right the First Time


VIR310 – Networking and Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V: Deployment Considerations
VIR403 – Virtualization FAQ, Tips and Tricks
VIR316 – Remote Desktop Session Host vs. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Smackdown
Windows Client
WCL304 – Best Practices Guide to Managing Applications
WCL205 – Windows 7 Deployment Tips from Early Adopters
Windows Server
WSV208* – Best Practices in Architecting and Implementing Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)
WSV333 – DNSSEC and Windows: Get Ready, ‘Cause Here It Comes!
WSV201 – 10 Hot Topics Every IT Admin Needs to Know about Windows Server 2008 R2
WSV303 – Death of a Network: Identify the Hidden Causes of Lousy Network Performance
WSV301 – Administrators’ Idol: Windows and Active Directory Best Practices
WSV307 – Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Developer Tools, Languages & Frameworks DEV211 – Microsoft Professional, Master and Architect Level Certifications: Notes from Those Who Have Conquered and Lived to Tell the Tale

Missing TechEd? Don’t Miss Springboard!

This week while attending TechEd, I’ll be spending some time at the Microsoft Springboard booth, chatting with other attendees about the TechNet resources available from the site.
Springboard is a one-stop shop for all things related to the Windows desktop client, so if you are just getting started with Windows 7, planning a deployment or figuring out how to manage this new OS in your environment, you’ll find guides and whitepapers, videos, featured bloggers and forums to help you along your way.
We are also handing out copies of the Technical Proof of Concept, which is a ready-to-go, out-of-the box test bed using Virtual 2007 SP1 to give you the chance to see how Windows 7, IE 8, and Office 2010 might work for you. If you aren’t at TechEd or misplaced your swag from your booth visit, you can easily order or download the Jumpstart Kit.
TechEd is a great week of learning and networking, but if you can’t be here, take a moment to checkout TechEd Online. Session recordings will be available, as well as today’s keynote. Or search Twitter for the hashtag #teched to see what everyone is talking about.

QuickBooks and Software Firewalls

I’ll admit that I don’t do much when it comes to tech support for small businesses, but I recently came across having to get a shared setup of Intuit Quickbooks 2010 working between two Windows 7 machines in a HomeGroup, using Trend Micro Internet Security 2010 protection for a small company.

First off, if you are using a third-party product for anti-virus/security/firewall, make sure to disable the Windows firewall. I expected Windows 7 to recognize that a firewall product was installed, but it didn’t, thus the OS firewall was conflicting with the settings from the Trend Micro.

Once that hurdle had been crossed, it was time to configure the Trend Micro firewall to let QuickBooks through. I started out creating an exception for the main executiable application, but that didn’t do the trick. A little research brought me to this knowledge base article from Intuit that lists out over a dozen file exceptions that need to be made. It was a little tedious to set up, but the multi-user mode of the application worked as expected once they were added.

Much safer than the work around the staff was using before – disabling the firewall whenever they wanted to work on the company finances!

Get on the Bus for Windows 7

Have you heard about the Microsoft Bus Tour? If you are on the east coast in late May/early June, don’t miss out on a chance to get on the bus and learn more about Windows 7, Office 2010 and optimizing your enterprise desktops. Not only will you learn a thing or two, they are giving away free software!

The team on the bus will be giving away 50 copies of Windows 7 Ultimate for the first 50 event attendees through the door at EVERY STOP! Don’t miss your chance to win a copy of Microsoft’s newest software offering – register today at

Legal Disclaimer from the folks at Microsoft:
*To receive your free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate, be one of the first 50 people who are US residents (includes D of C) or Canada 18+ to arrive at a Microsoft Get On the Bus Tour afternoon event. 50 copies of the software title are available. Limit one gift per person. This offer is non-transferable and cannot be combined with any other offer. This offer ends on June 4, 2010 while supplies last, and is not redeemable for cash. Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the recipient. There is no shipment of your gift – all gifts will be distributed onsite.

Techbunny at Windows Intelligence

If you were down in Burlingame, CA at the Windows Intelligence conference today, hopefully you enjoyed the event put on by Quickstart Intelligence. I did two presentations, Deploying Windows 7 and a server session on Remote Desktop Services and Terminal Services. You can download them by clicking on the links or in the find them in my “downloads” section in the sidebar. (Slides are in PDF format.)
There were also several sessions by Ed Horley and Steve Evans, as well as Chris Henley, Chris Avis and Harold Wong from the Microsoft’s Technet Evangelist Team. You can find out more about where to find Chris, Chris and Harold next at

Virtual Roundtable on Windows 7 Deployment

Just wanted to pass along some information about an upcoming online event from Microsoft. Check out this live broadcast on the 29th or stream it on-demand if you miss it. Details below!
On April 29th, join Microsoft Technical Fellow, Mark Russinovich, as he will be leading a discussion around the process of planning, testing, assessing and rolling out Windows 7 in an enterprise organization.
Mark will be joined by a panel of IT professionals who are currently in the piloting and deployment process, along with Microsoft subject matter experts who can speak in depth about the technologies.
The event will be broadcast live over the web at 9:00 am PDT, and will be available for on-demand viewing following the broadcast. The discussion will be open and candid, with the panel sharing insights, dispelling myths and getting down to the real story around technical adoption of Windows technologies. Specific topics will include the role of the pilot and the critical information it provides, best practices and tips & tricks for ensuring a successful effort, tools and technologies that will help automate the pilot and deployment processes, and conducting a frank post-pilot assessment. During the event, Mark will field questions coming in via the web from viewers across the globe.
Missed a previous Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable?
Gain insight, tips, and tricks from Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich, industry experts, and IT professionals from around the world from these recordings:

Access the VRT live at: