The Windows Server Notebook

December 13, 2012  7:42 PM

Microsoft looks back on busy 2012 in new video

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Microsoft’s ambitious 2012 is coming to a close, and the company can’t help but be a little nostalgic.

The company today posted a video summing up the year in Microsoft releases, news and events into 12 key milestones. Check it out:

If you don’t like videos for some reason, this page has a convenient slideshow of the events.

Of course, there are the obvious hits with the Surface tablet and the Windows 8 launch, but it’s nice to see Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 being pinnacle achievements over the course of the last year.

But more importantly, the company rightly boasts about its giving campaigns. Its Youth Spark program intends to help 300 million youth with employment opportunities over the next three years.

The company also put out a list of top searches on Bing. Some of the top news stories: iPhone 5 and Kindle Fire. Absent from the list: the Surface (ouch).

Does any particular milestone stand out to you? What are you looking forward to in the year ahead? Let us know in the comments or send us a tweet @SearchWinServ.

December 6, 2012  7:15 PM

Last Patch Tuesday of 2012 to bring fixes to Windows Server and Office

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger

Microsoft will be spreading some holiday cheer to admins this month with increased protection against security threats.

In an advance security bulletin released this week, the company said December’s Patch Tuesday will include seven bulletins. Five bulletins are marked as critical and two are marked as important.

All of this month’s critical bulletins will address remote code execution vulnerabilities. Windows RT, Internet Explorer and multiple versions of Windows Server and Microsoft Office will be affected by these bulletins. Service packs for Windows Server and Office will also be affected by critical bulletins.

The important bulletins will address a remote code execution vulnerability and a security feature bypass vulnerability. These will affect Word Viewer and multiple versions of Office service packs.

This is the second month in which Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 will be affected by critical bulletins. November’s Patch Tuesday marked the first appearance of these OSs.

What do you think of this month’s patches? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.

December 3, 2012  5:17 PM

November in review: SearchWindowsServer’s top content, features and news

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger

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

For November, our most popular pieces involved the changes to the Windows Server 2012 interface, high availability with shared-nothing live migration and a two-part series about what Microsoft’s product releases this year mean for its future.

A tour of the Windows Server 2012 user interface

Admins may be hesitant to embrace the changes to the UI in Windows Server 2012, but this photo story walks through them and explains why they aren’t as scary as they seem.

Windows Server 2012: Microsoft offers everything but the kitchen sink  

The first part of this series looks Microsoft’s release of Windows Server 2012, its abundance of features and why some admins are waiting to make the upgrade or completely forego it.

Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft’s ‘Cloud OS’ ambitions

The second part of this series looks at Microsoft’s approach to creating a ‘Cloud OS’ and if its move will encourage its customers to accept the approach.

First patches issued for Windows 8, Windows Server 2012

For November’s Patch Tuesday, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 received their first patches for remote code execution vulnerabilities. Some patches were rereleased for signing errors. See also: our guide to 2012’s Patch Tuesdays.

High availability and shared-nothing live migration

This tip looks at what changes admins should expect with shared-nothing live migration, including some of the tradeoffs they may not anticipate after making the move.

What content of ours helped you in November? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.

November 29, 2012  5:30 PM

Windows Azure adds federation support for Windows Server Active Directory

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Microsoft is making strides in making Azure more accessible to hybrid infrastructures. This week, it rolled out a change that could benefit those who authenticate with Windows Azure.

The Azure Management Portal now integrates with Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD) and adds federation support for admins with on-premises Windows Server Active Directory, said Alex Simons, the director of  Microsoft’s Active Directory program in a blog post on the company’s site.

He said the immediate benefit for IT professionals is that the Azure subscription could be tied to an employee’s status at a company. If the employee leaves, deactivation on the local AD would be reflected in Azure.

The same is true of setting policies. Any change made to password requirements made through Windows Server AD would be passed on to WAAD.

Plus, for those weary of having to remember or manage a large number of passwords, this integration means that Single Sign-On (SSO) is possible. Passwords on Windows Server AD are never moved to the cloud; they are validated on-premises.

The blog post explains how to get all of these changes up and running.

Are you going to test federation support? Let us know if you have any success in the comments below or on Twitter @SearchWinServ

November 27, 2012  8:45 PM

Y2K + 12? Some Windows Server 2003 users experience time rollback glitch

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

November 19, 2000. The U.S. still didn’t know who the president-elect was and “hanging chads” were a relevant term. It was also the date some administrators saw last week when machines connected to a timeserver rolled back system clocks.

You could say it was a Y2K redux for some admins, with some adverse effects: this rollback caused processes like Active Directory replication to fail.

It was caused by a timeserver at USNO.NAVY.MIL providing the incorrect time after an issue with a routine upgrade, Mary Jo Foley reported this week.

If the forest contained domain controllers that were running Windows Server 2003 and were connected to that timeserver, it could have caused the problem.

Microsoft provided a guide to address the issue — and it’s no simple fix. A Microsoft team penned a blog post on the Ask Premier Field Engineering platforms blog detailing the steps to go through.

One of the most important: Don’t reboot — at least not right away. It goes against some of the conventional wisdom when doing troubleshooting (“Did you turn it off and turn it back on?” is quite a common refrain), but the team says it can exacerbate some of the issues.

It also includes the warning that admins should carefully read each step because of the complex situation and “don’t skip ahead or you’ll make the problem worse.”

Did you run into this issue and experience any adverse effects as a result? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServ

November 20, 2012  8:25 PM

Amazon AWS adds support for Windows Server 2012

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Admins evaluating running an instance of Windows Server 2012 have one more option: Amazon Web Services.

It’s a new addition to the popular cloud service, which already served Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, said Tom Rizzo, general manager for Amazon’s AWS Windows team and former Microsoft employee in a company blog post.

Users will be able to take advantage of all the new features in Windows Server 2012 in Amazon’s cloud infrastructure.

Amazon offers a free tier, so that users can evaluate Windows Server for 750 hours in a Micro instance. If a customer decides to use it in production, they can restart on a larger instance without any data loss, Rizzo said.

The company also added support for Windows Server 2012 to its Elastic Beanstalk feature. That means .NET applications crafted for Windows Server 2012 will run on the service and be deployed from the AWS Management console.

Microsoft, of course, offers its own cloud services with Azure (see how they compare).

Amazon will be holding Windows-focused sessions at its re:Invent conference next week in Las Vegas.

November 8, 2012  8:11 PM

Windows Server 2012 to receive its first critical fix in November Patch Tuesday

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger

For the first time since its release in September, Windows Server 2012 will receive critical patches during this month’s Patch Tuesday.

According to an advance security bulletin released this week, November’s Patch Tuesday has a total of six bulletins. Four of this month’s bulletins are marked at critical with one important bulletin and one moderate bulletin.

The critical bulletins, including the bulletins for Windows Server 2012, and the important bulletin address remote code execution vulnerabilities. Admins currently running Windows Server 2012 will keep an eye out for those critical patches.

The critical bulletins and the moderate bulletin affect older server and desktop versions as well as service packs for them.

The important bulletin affects Windows RT and service packs for multiple versions of Microsoft Office.

Internet Explorer is also named in one of the month’s critical bulletins. This is no surprise since critical vulnerabilities affecting the popular web browser have continued to be patched throughout this year. However, it is the first new patch for IE since August.

What do you think of this month’s patches? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.

November 7, 2012  7:22 PM

Windows Server 2012 Essentials hits general availability, trial available

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Small businesses and their IT departments looking to take advantage of Microsoft’s latest server operating system now have an option to try out.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials is now generally available, Jeffrey Snover wrote in a blog post on Microsoft’s Windows Server blog.

The Essentials product is a stripped-down version of the feature-rich, “kitchen sink” Windows Server 2012, which became generally available in September.

Essentials boasts a simpler set up process while maintaining low costs. It also brings over many of the same features from the Datacenter version. This includes data protection and backup, client computer health monitoring and simple VPN setup.

It supports up to 25 users and 50 devices and is primarily positioned as an on-premises option for companies.

A trial version is available from Microsoft for 180 days.

November 1, 2012  6:21 PM

October in review: top news, reviews and tips

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger

In this monthly feature, we round up the most popular content of the previous month and share it with you.

For October, our most popular pieces involved this year’s best ways to manage Windows Server, features in Windows Server 2012 and a busy Patch Tuesday.

Here are last month’s most popular stories on

October’s Patch Tuesday: vulnerabilities in Word and Kerberos, rereleases

Last month’s Patch Tuesday was a busy one with seven bulletins and cumulative updates for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. Although there was only one critical patch, vulnerabilities in Kerberos and Word caused concern. A certificate authentication error meant patches from August had to be rereleased.

Our five best tips for managing Windows Server

We put together this year’s five most popular tips for Windows Server management. Features in PowerShell, ReFS, IIS 8 and Remote Desktop Gateway are highlighted.

Clustering improvements in Windows Server 2012 ease administration

Up until Windows Server 2012, clustering had specific limitations and dependencies. In the latest version of Windows Server, these changes offer admins more flexibility and include read-only domain controller support, a lack of complicated scripts and no more Active Directory dependency to boot.

Windows Server 2012 and scale-out file servers

Continuous availability is the name of the game with Windows Server 2012. This tip tells admins the best way to set up scale-out file servers and make zero downtime a reality.

Make sure hardware is compatible when upgrading to Windows Server 2012

Before making the jump to Windows Server 2012, it’s important for admins to ensure hardware will still be compatible after the upgrade. Our expert offers admins some suggestions about what to look for.

What content of ours helped you in October? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServ.

October 24, 2012  2:29 PM

Microsoft rolls out third Hadoop preview for Azure and Windows Server

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Microsoft’s big data products inched closer to a public release today, as the company released refreshed previews of Hadoop products.

They also gained new names: Windows Azure HDInsight Service and HDInsight Server for Windows.

The products will help admins manage unstructured data “of any shape or size,” according to Microsoft’s big data page, where the HDInsight products are available for evaluation.

The feature list includes access privileges managed with Active Directory and the ability to manage HDInsight clusters with System Center 2012.

Late last year, Microsoft said it partnered with Hortonworks to deliver big data frameworks for the cloud and on-premises versions of its software.

Still up in the air: the official version 1 launch date of the HDInsight, as the company is keeping quiet on its release date.

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