Getting Started with BitLocker on the QuickStart Blog

This month, I was asked to write a guest post for the folks at QuickStart Intelligence training center. I was excited that they remembered me fondly from their Windows training event this past April and was happy to help them out.
If you are looking to use BitLocker with a USB flash drive as your key storage, head over to their blog and check out what I’ve shared in Getting Started with BitLocker.

TechNet Events Presents: Deploying Windows 7

This week’s “TechNet Events Presents” event in downtown San Francisco was on deploying Windows 7.  I’ve attended sessions, blogged and presented on some of these topics in the past year and it’s still a hot topic.  There is clearly still a need to talk about the benefits and challenges of moving to Windows 7 and the tools available to overcome those challenges.

With the job market and the economy in its current questionable state, many businesses are truly doing as much as they can with less.  Sometimes that means delaying projects – if Windows XP is still doing it’s job, the deployment of Windows 7 might be waiting in the wings.

If you are just beginning to think about rolling out Windows 7 you’ll want to know about some of the tools like ACT and MDT.  Also, don’t forget about App-V, MED-V or XP Mode which may help you keep some legacy applications in play while taking advantage of the new features in Windows 7.

Here are some links to tools and resources you might like to check out:

The Springboard Series Tour takes on Europe!

Just wanted to share some information I regarding the Springboard Series Tour, scheduled to begin in late October in Europe.  If you happen to be in any of the cities listed below, don’t miss out.

Microsoft Windows, Office and MDOP Deployment Workshops 
  • Amsterdam – 25 Oct
  • Stockholm – 27 Oct
  • Helsinki – 29 Oct
  • Reading – 1 Nov
  • Rome – 3 Nov
  • Vienna – 4 Nov
The Microsoft Get On the Bus Tour is taking a winter hiatus to bring you a new tour – the Springboard Series Tour: Microsoft Windows, Office and MDOP Deployment Workshops!  Amsterdam marks our first stop on a 6-city European tour, en route to TechEd Europe, in Berlin, Germany. Are you looking to plan, pilot or deploy Windows and Office? Our workshops will cover the Office 2010, key deployment strategies for Windows 7, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, as well as show you the value of getting trained and certified in these key products. 

Learn why Windows 7 has received rave reviews from IT organizations and is setting records as the fastest selling operating system in history, and find out why so many IT Pros are ready to deploy Office 2010. Give us five hours, and you will have a clear understanding of the tools, tips and tricks you need now to jumpstart the successful deployment and management of your Windows desktop environment today. Come join members of the Windows and Office US Product Teams, as well as local Microsoft Technology Evangelists for technical training, professional networking, and real world guidance. Don’t miss your chance to attend a workshop in the 2010 Springboard Series Tour, register today at

Get your Tour updates first! Follow us on Twitter, @MSSpringboard

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.