The Windows Server Notebook

May 31, 2012  6:29 PM

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate now available for download

Ben Rubenstein Ben Rubenstein Profile: Ben Rubenstein

IT pros eager to get their hands on the latest build of Windows Server 2012 won’t have to wait until June. Today, Microsoft made the Release Candidate of its new server operating system available for download on its TechNet website today in both 64-bit ISO and VHD versions. The new version comes at least a few days earlier than expected based on comments the company made in April.

It’s unclear just what has changed since the beta version of the software was released at the end of February. As we dig into the latest release, check out what we know so far about Windows Server 2012 (aka Windows Server 8).

Also available today is the Windows 8 Release Preview, whose availability was leaked via a (subsequently deleted) Microsoft blog post yesterday. The new version of Windows 8 will reportedly include Flash in the new Metro-based Internet Explorer 10.

Will you download the Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate or the Windows 8 Release Preview? What do you hope has changed?

May 30, 2012  2:28 PM

Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 SP1 update fixes memory leak, other issue

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Three weeks after it released its first System Center 2012 Rollup update, Microsoft patched issues with Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 Service Pack 1.

It’s a light second Rollup update for the product, patching just two issues. One only affects a managed Hyper-V cluster that has HP Cluster Extension Software installed.

The second and last fix patches the Self-Service Portal, which in some cases would not display all virtual machines if the user had 50 or more machines assigned.

The VMM 2008 R2 SP1 was last patched in July of last year, and this Rollup includes those previous fixes.

Full release notes and download links can be found on Microsoft’s support site.

May 22, 2012  3:26 PM

Microsoft continues campaign of openness, adds FreeBSD support to Hyper-V

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Microsoft and the word “open” have a long history of being mutually exclusive, but that’s no longer the case.

Earlier this month, the company said it would support open-source operating system FreeBSD in its Windows Server Hyper-V products. According to a post on its Openness blog, Microsoft partnered with NetApp and Citrix to develop high-performance drivers for Hyper-V. It also enlisted the help of Insight Global, Inc., a technical staffing organization, to develop VMBUS drivers for the project.

Of course, this news came as a big plus for FreeBSD users, but the sole comment on the Microsoft Openness blog clamored for other platform support.

“Now, I’m waiting [for Microsoft to give] support to [D]ebian,” the commenter wrote.

The drivers will be released later this year in the vague “summer” window.

Earlier this year, Microsoft appeared for the first time on the top 20 list of Linux contributors, and OpenNebula, an open source project, gained final Hyper-V drivers.

May 17, 2012  2:37 PM

Microsoft releases updated MAP toolkit beta, security tool

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

When it comes to migration planning, Microsoft moves fast. Just six months after the release the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 6.5, the company has now put out a beta for MAP 7.0.

According to the Microsoft Connect website the toolkit will help users determine readiness for the Windows Server 2012 beta, virtualize Linux servers, size server hardware for desktop virtualization and help with VMware-to-Hyper-V virtual machine migration.

If you want to get your hands on the MAP toolkit 7.0 beta, sign up at this link.

Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit gets “supported” status, receives update

Redmond also recently released version 3.0 of its Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit.

The EMET is intended to protect against hackers overtaking a system – even if a patch for a legacy piece of software does not exist – by blocking against known vulnerabilities.

Microsoft’s download page touts the EMET’s ability to be deployed, configured and monitored from System Center Configuration Manager or via Group Policy.

May 9, 2012  2:31 PM

System Center 2012 gets first Rollup update

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Microsoft issued its first rollup update for System Center 2012, fixing bugs and performance issues. Products affected include: System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, System Center App Controller 2012 and System Center Operations Manager 2012.

The company tackled seven issues in VMM 2012, including fixing a behavior where a parent VHD wouldn’t be deleted when the virtual machine is deleted and performance issues that arise when creating or deleting virtual machines. The console update also fixes an issue where it would stop responding when sorting virtual machines.

Redmond fixed up a pair of issues in System Center App Controller 2012, including an incorrect single sign-on behavior and a bug with SQL database configuration.

System Center Operations Manager adds a new feature: support for Oracle Solaris 11. It also fixes 17 bugs with Windows monitoring and three issues with Linux and Unix monitoring.

Microsoft has complete release notes for the rollup update, with instructions on how to install. Applying the updates? Let us know if this fixes anything pressing for you in the comments or on Twitter @WindowsTT.

See also: Patch Tuesday brought 23 fixes in three critical bulletins.

May 3, 2012  9:04 PM

May 2012 Patch Tuesday includes 7 bulletins, 2 critical

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

IT pros can now get a glimpse of the future, as Microsoft teased its monthly patches in its Security Bulletin Advance Notification on Thursday.

There are three critical fixes planned for this month’s Patch Tuesday, which address vulnerabilities in Windows Server, the .NET framework, Silverlight and Microsoft Office.  Four bulletins — deemed important – deal with Microsoft Office and all versions of Windows.

Wolfgang Kandek, CTO at Qualys, notes that this year has been more consistent than past years, with an average of six to nine bulletins compared with the “more bursty release mode” of previous years. Including this month, Microsoft has released one fewer patch this year — 35, compared with 36 in 2011.

As an IT admin, do you like the consistent numbers of bulletins so far this year? Or, are you superstitious and wish no one would point it out? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @WindowsTT.

April 24, 2012  7:51 PM

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate expected in June 2012

Ben Rubenstein Ben Rubenstein Profile: Ben Rubenstein

Yesterday, IT pros learned that the Windows 8 Release Preview (aka the release candidate), would be released in the first week of June 2012. Here’s the announcement from Microsoft’s official Windows 8 Twitter account:

Now word comes that the release candidate for Windows Server 2012 – formerly known as Windows Server 8 – will be delivered “in the same timeframe,” according to a company blog post. This timing would keep it on track for a general release this year.

It also means that Windows Server 2012 will be an even hotter topic at Microsoft’s TechEd North America conference, to be held June 11-14 in Orlando. The keynote speakers for the event were announced last week, and include Satya Nadella, the president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business.

April 18, 2012  5:20 PM

System Center 2012 is now available, Windows Server 8 is now Windows Server 2012

Ben Rubenstein Ben Rubenstein Profile: Ben Rubenstein

IT pros got the official pitch from Microsoft on private cloud yesterday, as corporate vice president Brad Anderson announced the general availability of System Center 2012 during his opening keynote at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas.

Anderson and his fellow presenters offered many arguments for implementing cloud computing, and particularly using System Center 2012 in conjunction with Windows Server 2012, the new, official name for Windows Server 8 (which means that the product should be released this calendar year). Not everyone was convinced, though; we talked to a few people who still have reservations about re-tooling their environments. What about you:  Will you try out System Center 2012? Let us know your private cloud plans — or lack thereof — in the comments.

If you missed the keynote, check out our Storify of all the big announcements and reactions from the Twitter audience.

April 17, 2012  3:08 PM

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 released – and new Windows Intune is on the way

Ben Rubenstein Ben Rubenstein Profile: Ben Rubenstein

Ready, set…deploy.

Microsoft today released the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012, its product for automating deployment of Windows 7, Office 2010, Office 365 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

According to the company, the latest version of the toolkit has several updates, including self-service, user-customizable installation through System Center Configuration Manager 2012, one of the key products in the revamped management suite that is the focus of this week’s Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) in Las Vegas. Administrators can also expect integration with the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit, and support for testing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. MDT 2012 is available for both x86 and x64 platforms; download it here, along with supporting documentation.

The release was one of several announcements Microsoft has made over the past couple of days.

On Monday, the company made note of an upcoming new version of Windows Intune, its cloud-based desktop management service, which will reportedly support mobile devices including Windows Phone 7, iPads, iPhones, and Android-based phones and mobile devices (via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync). This matches with the recent updates to System Center Configuration Manager 2012, and like that product, Windows Intune 3.0 (not the official name just yet) will also feature a self-service portal for end users. Download the “Pre-Release Getting Started Guide” here, and stay tuned for more information on the official release during MMS.

Also on Monday, Microsoft detailed its plans for Windows 8 SKUs. In contrast to previous releases, there will be only three versions of the upcoming operating system: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT (previously Windows on ARM). Though the stripped-down structure is likely intended to reduce consumer confusion, some think the Windows RT name, which may refer to the Windows runtime library that supports the new Metro-style design, thwarts those efforts.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments, or via Twitter (@WindowsTT).

April 13, 2012  6:20 PM

What to expect at MMS 2012

Ben Rubenstein Ben Rubenstein Profile: Ben Rubenstein

This year’s Microsoft Management Summit will kick off in a few short days in Las Vegas, and we’ll be watching closely to find the new technologies and products that will impact IT pros in the coming months. Along with our Senior Executive Editor Ed Scannell, Jack Madden (from will be at the show, and he’s put together a list of topics he’ll be looking for from a desktop virtualization and consumerization perspective.

We’re expecting a lot of discussion about System Center 2012, which should officially launch next week. We’ll be paying particular attention to the updates to Configuration Manager and Virtual Machine Manager, any licensing information, and looking at how the revamped management suite ties into Microsoft’s overall cloud strategy. Of course, Windows Server 8, Hyper-V 3.0 and PowerShell v3 will be topics to keep an eye on, though there likely won’t be much news coming on these products during the show.

Are you attending MMS 2012? What are your plans – sessions you plan to attend, people to meet, parties to crash? What would you like us to cover? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter (@WindowsTT).

If you can’t make it to Vegas, you can still watch the live-streamed keynotes from Microsoft Management and Security Division vice president Brad Anderson on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and breakout sessions will be archived. Follow the #MMS2012 hashtag for updates all week long, and look out for our news coverage here and on

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