The Windows Server Notebook

May 1, 2015  9:05 PM

The top Window Server tips and news of April 2015

Tayla Holman Tayla Holman Profile: Tayla Holman

For our monthly feature, we look at the most popular stories on in April and share them with our readers.

Last month, readers wanted to know more about Nano Server, a new installation option that will be available in Windows Server 2016, and were eager to learn how to configure their machines to their liking with PowerShell Desired State Configuration.

Microsoft strips down with Nano Server

The 2016 version of Windows Server will include a stripped-down installation option called Nano Server, which can only be run remotely through PowerShell. While Nano Server removes local logon, Remote Desktop, GUI and 32-bit support, it fully supports Visual Studio and API compatibility for certain components.

Patch Tuesday tackles IE and HTTP flaws

April’s Patch Tuesday included 11 bulletins addressing 25 vulnerabilities, including security flaws in Internet Explorer and HTTP.  Microsoft also rolled out Skype for Business as an update for Office 2013, and said all customers are expected to be transitioned by the end of May.

Get to know PowerShell Desired State Configuration

PowerShell Desired State Configuration uses standards-based Web services to allow admins to configure their machines the way they want. Since it is already included in Windows Server there are no additional expenses and no additional management overhead since it requires only PowerShell to be installed.

How to address SSL/TLS flaws on Windows Server

If you’re running one of the known vulnerable versions of SSL or TLS, your servers and sensitive data may be at risk for attacks. It is important to make sure the proper patches are installed and to determine whether your servers are accessible over an unsecured wireless network.

Test your Microsoft Azure knowledge

Think you know Microsoft Azure, the latest version of Microsoft’s Azure cloud software? This quiz will test your familiarity with the cloud hosting platform providers and its features.

What Windows Server content helped you last month? Was it something we didn’t include in our list? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

April 2, 2015  4:11 PM

The top Windows Server tips and news of March 2015

Tayla Holman Tayla Holman Profile: Tayla Holman

For our monthly feature, we look at the most popular stories on in March and share them with our readers.

Last month, our experts weighed the pros and cons of the free Hyper-V server, suggested five questions Windows administrator candidates could expect during an interview, and gave tips for fixing three security flaws that may affect Windows servers.

Patch Tuesday fixes issues in IE, Office 

Microsoft issued five critical updates for March’s Patch Tuesday, including fixes for vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer and Office. Last month’s patches also addressed issues with Remote Desktop and OWA.

Should you download the free Hyper-V server?

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 became available for download last month, but as a free product it does have limitations. One major drawback is the lack of support from Microsoft and paid third parties.

Five questions to expect during a Windows administrator interview

Candidates for a Windows administrator position will need to be prepared in order to stand out in a crowded field. Here are five questions you may be asked during an interview.

How to fix SSL/TLS security flaws 

There have been several SSL and TLS security flaws uncovered in the past year, but patching may not be enough to protect your servers. Here are three flaws and how to fix them.

Previewing the Network Controller role 

A new feature in the Windows Server technical preview, the Network Controller role gives admins the ability to manage physical and virtual network infrastructure, and to configure and manage  firewall rules. The Network Controller can also configure subnets, VLANS, NICs and more.

What Windows Server content helped you last month? Was it something we didn’t include in our list? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

March 2, 2015  6:27 PM

The top Windows Server tips and news of February 2015

Tayla Holman Tayla Holman Profile: Tayla Holman

For our monthly feature, we look at the most popular stories on in February.

With Windows Server 2003 reaching its end of life in five months, our readers wanted to know what options they have for moving to a new server and what they should expect to pay if they delay a migration.

Microsoft issues patches for Internet Explorer and Group Policy

For February’s Patch Tuesday, Microsoft issued critical updates for over three dozen Internet Explorer vulnerabilities, making up for a lack of fixes in January’s batch of patches. The company also issued a critical update for a Group Policy vulnerability in Windows Server that could allow remote code execution.

Don’t hesitate to migrate from Windows Server 2003

Delaying a migration from Windows Server 2003 could cost large IT shops hundreds of thousands of dollars in extended support fees. One Microsoft consultant suggests enterprise customers use a custom support agreement (CSA) in the first year to keeps costs down.

Windows Server 2003 migration options

IT shops that choose to stay on Windows Server 2003 past its end-of-life open themselves up to security attacks. Fortunately, there are on-premise and cloud-based options for migrating away from the aging platform.

Tips for strengthening Active Directory password policy settings

Weak passwords can seriously jeopardize your enterprise’s security. Mitigate possible threats by determining where your risks are and fine-tuning standards and policies across the board.

How to make Windows security training work for you

career in information security is one of the best specialties out there for Windows admins. Capitalize on the growing demand by learning from pros in the field and putting your knowledge into practice in a test lab environment.

February 2, 2015  5:49 PM

Next version of Windows Server due out in 2016

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley
Windows Server, Windows Server 2012 R2

Microsoft last week disclosed its new roadmap for the next version of Windows Server. With this release, Microsoft will buck the trend of releasing both the server and client versions of the latest software, moving the expected release of Windows Server to 2016. Windows 10 is still on track to be delivered this year.

IT administrators can expect preview versions throughout the rest of 2015, with the next release coming in spring, the company said in a blog post. The next version of System Center Configuration Manager, however, will “ship in a timeframe that aligns with [client] Windows.”

The first Technical Preview is still available from Microsoft’s website for testing. The news came along with developments for Windows 10 in the enterprise. Microsoft is delivering “Long Term Servicing branches,” which will not introduce new features within the operating system, but will keep patches and security fixes up to date. This addresses a common problem with the rollout of Windows 8.1, which is seen as too fast-moving.

What do you think of these changes? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

February 2, 2015  4:47 PM

The top Windows Server content of January 2015

Tayla Holman Tayla Holman Profile: Tayla Holman

In our monthly feature, we look at the most popular content on

Microsoft started off 2015 with a new notification process for Patch Tuesday, as well as plans to lure developers away from Android and Apple.

Can SharePoint keep up with collaboration competition?

Although SharePoint has long been a staple in enterprise collaboration, it faces stiff competition from Google Drive and Dropbox, among others. To regain its place in the market, Microsoft is strengthening SharePoint with hybrid-cloud functionality and social content.

Internal memo reveals plans to spur Windows app development

An internal memo sent by Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft’s Developer Experience (DX) team, revealed the company’s plans to reach out to a wider set of developers. The DX team will target startups, traditional client/server developers, developers transitioning to mobile and cloud platforms, and developers native to mobile and cloud platforms.

Small changes make a difference in PowerShell 5.0

PowerShell 5.0 will have several new features and capabilities, such as the remote file-editing feature and a new parameter for Desired State Configuration. Microsoft has also revised how copy and paste works and allows text wrapping withing a shrunken window.

Microsoft patches one critical flaw, rolls out new notification process

Microsoft began using the myBulletins program to deliver Patch Tuesday security bulletins last month, allowing customers to customize reports to their personal or organizational preferences. While Microsoft cited customers’ changing habits as the reason for the change, some admins felt the company should stick to sending advance notifications.

Monitoring devices for free with OpManager

Geared toward small organizations with limited budgets, ManageEngine’s OpManager Free Edition monitoring program can be licensed to manage up 10 devices. Admins can manually run workflows, set them to run on  a schedule or to respond to an alarm.

January 5, 2015  6:38 PM

December in review: the top Windows Server content

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger
Google, Microsoft Patch Tuesday, Windows Server 2003

For our monthly feature, we take a look at the content most popular with our readers and round it up to share with you.

To close out 2014, Windows Server admins wanted to be updated on the latest Patch Tuesday updates and how to prepare for Windows Server 2003’s end of life.

Critical Patch Tuesday fixes for Office, IE
The last security fixes of 2014 involved seven Patch Tuesday updates, including critical updates for Internet Explorer, VBScript and Office. Important updates were rolled out for a graphics component and Exchange.

Three questions for a Windows Server 2003 migration
As support for Windows Server 2003 draws to a close, organizations still running the server must face the inevitable upgrade. These three questions can help you ensure a successful and seamless transition.

Windows Server 2003 upgrade mistakes to avoid
It’s important to know the risks that come with moving off of Windows Server 2003. By properly researching and planning out every step of the migration, admins can greatly increase their chance of success.

Google and Windows Server become unlikely bedfellows
Microsoft watchers were curious to learn more about Google’s move to have its Compute Engine cloud platform support Windows Server 2008 R2 for a few reasons, including how Google’s public cloud space position changes.

The top Windows Server tips of the year
Windows Server readers were curious about many things in 2014, but their curiosity about Windows Server 2003 migrations, work folders and Microsoft’s new CEO led to the most-read content of the year.

What Windows Server content helped you last month? Was it something we didn’t include in our list? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

December 4, 2014  6:57 PM

Critical updates for Windows, Office, IE in December Patch Tuesday

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger
Internet Explorer, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Patch Tuesday, Microsoft Windows

After November’s monstrous Patch Tuesday cycle, Microsoft’s holiday gift to admins will be fewer updates to implement this time around.

In its advance security notification, Microsoft provided details about the seven bulletins for the last Patch Tuesday cycle of the year. Three bulletins are marked as critical and four are marked as important.

All three critical bulletins address remote code execution vulnerabilities. The updates will affect multiple versions of Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer.

The important bulletins address elevation of privilege, information disclosure and remote code execution vulnerabilities. The updates will affect multiple versions of Exchange, Office and Windows.

Last month was the largest Patch Tuesday cycle of the year with 14 security updates, but two updates were pulled at the last minute. Microsoft rolled out one of the delayed updates the week after Patch Tuesday. The other delayed update, which affected Exchange, appears with this month’s round of updates.

What do you think of the latest Patch Tuesday security updates? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

December 1, 2014  6:07 PM

November in review: the top Windows Server content

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger
Microsoft Patch Tuesday, SharePoint 2013, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2012 R2

In our monthly feature, we round up the most popular content with our readers and share it with you.

For November, Windows Server admins were most interested in learning about the latest Patch Tuesday updates, managing SharePoint 2013 and why organizations should plan to upgrade their Windows Server 2003 deployments.

Four critical patches in largest Patch Tuesday of 2014

Microsoft delivered 14 security updates in November’s Patch Tuesday, the highest number of updates in a cycle so far this year. There were originally 16 updates scheduled for release, but two appeared to have been pulled at the last minute.

The top five tips for managing SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 includes a number of new features that can help admins and enterprises get the most out of the collaboration tool. Admins should take particular note of the features that can help with creating sites and increasing the capabilities of social media.

Get ready to upgrade your Windows Server 2003 setup

Microsoft will end its Windows Server 2003 support next July, so organizations still running it need to seriously consider their options to update their setups. This tip can be a starting point for admins who need to make a list of considerations and guidelines for the process.

Create a virtual training lab for your IT staff

Having a well-trained IT staff is a must for the success of an enterprise’s users. Hands-on training can be the most beneficial way for your IT staff to gain the necessary knowledge to help end users, so it’s important to know what to include in the training lab.

Preparations to make for a Windows Server 2012 R2 upgrade

To avoid problems during a migration, preparation is the key to your success. Follow these guidelines to prepare for your move to Windows Server 2012 R2 and to make sure the move is a success.

What content was most helpful to you in November? Was it something we didn’t include in our list? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

November 18, 2014  4:09 PM

Microsoft to roll out delayed security update

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger
Microsoft Patch Tuesday, Security updates, Windows Server

Microsoft will deliver an out-of-band security update today after the update was held back from last week’s Patch Tuesday cycle.

In its advance security notification for update MS14-068, the update will address a critical elevation of privilege vulnerability. The update will affect multiple versions of Windows Server and Windows.

Microsoft had its highest Patch Tuesday security patch count of the year this month with 14 updates. There were originally 16 updates scheduled for release, but the company pulled two at the last minute. This update is one of two held back during last week’s Patch Tuesday cycle.

The second pulled update, MS14-075, addresses vulnerabilities in Exchange Server. The update was pulled because of issues with Exchange Server 2013’s Installer package, which could corrupt Outlook Web App Files upon installation, the company said in a blog post. Microsoft has given no specific date on when admins can expect to see this update, although it set December for the update’s tentative release.

Patch MS14-066 also saw problems of its own: users are reporting TLS errors after patching.

What do you think of Microsoft’s pulled security updates? Did the pulled updates affect your organization? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

November 6, 2014  10:23 PM

Substantial updates coming for November Patch Tuesday

Tayla Holman Tayla Holman Profile: Tayla Holman
Microsoft Patch Tuesday, Windows Server

Microsoft will release its largest batch of security fixes in over three years for November’s upcoming Patch Tuesday.

The company’s advance notification contains 16 bulletins, the most in a month since June 2011. This cycle will see five critical updates, four of which address Remote Code Execution (RCE) issues in Windows and Internet Explorer. Bulletins 1 and 3 will affect all versions of Windows, and Bulletin 2 will cover all versions of Internet Explorer from IE 6 and up. Windows Technical Preview and Windows Server Technical Preview are also affected by Bulletins 1, 2 and 4.

November will also have nine important updates affecting Office, Windows, .NET, Server Software and Exchange, as well as two moderate bulletins impacting Windows and Office.

The important updates mostly address mainly elevation of privilege issues, but also security feature bypass and information disclosure problems. The two moderate bulletins address an elevation of privilege vulnerability in Windows and Office, as well as a denial of service issue in Windows.

What do you think about this month’s Patch Tuesday updates? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

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