Sunday, November 23, 2008

Microsoft Link Dump: Load #4


CC Photo Credit: by Choctopus on Flickr

That’s not just any dirt I’m leaving on your doorstep.  Nope.  It’s fresh Redmond brand dirt!

The Biggest Dirt Clod First

Let’s break this one apart into the good bits.

Updates: Process Explorer v11.3, Handle v3.42 | A new Mark’s blog post | 2 New Mark’s webcasts: Case of the Unexplained and Inside Windows Server 2008 R2 Virtualization and VHD Improvements - Sysinternals Site Discussion

  • Process Explorer v11.3 - (freeware) – Nice update that “includes numerous enhancements and bug fixes, including a physical memory history graph, options to configure memory tray icons, asyncronous thread symbol resolution and security ID lookup, dynamic recognition of new volume drive letters, multiple character matching in the process view, and a smaller memory footprint.” Stop and download it right away!

  • Case of the Unexplained – MS Tech-Ed EMEA 2008 - (video) – Mark Russinovich provides an updated presentation showing how some basic Sysinternals and Windows tools can help diagnose and resolve a myriad of confunding Windows system issues.  It’s a good review of foundational points that all good desktop support and system administrators should be familiar with.  I watched it with delight and relish.  Run time is just about an hour and fifteen minutes.  It goes by very fast.

  • Inside Windows Server 2008 R2 Virtualization and VHD Improvements - Microsoft Tech·Ed EMEA 2008 - (video) – A bit more technically specific for Virtualization geeks and admins, Mark Russinovich goes over a number of highlights including a demo of the new Windows native BHD and boot-from-VHD support.  This gets into features available in the coming Windows 7 release architecture.

While there, you might want to peek around at Mark’s other webcasts on TechNet.  Vista will still be kicking around for years to come, so some folks might find his presentation on Windows Vista User Account Control Internals particularly useful knowledge.

MS Blog Watch

The Microsoft blog machine was a bit lighter on material in the specific areas I follow.  Nonetheless, there were a few good finds.

Engineering Windows 7 : Disk Space – Fascinating technical post that attempts to address two questions before moving on to describing how Windows 7 manages disk space:

  • What does the WinSxS directory contains and why is it so big, and can I just delete it?
  • Where does all the disk space go for Windows components?

The post is a very long one and gets both technical and philosophical from a design standpoint, however I found it really illuminating both for current Vista system file caching and storage as well as the issues facing the Windows 7 build team as hardware (and storage devices in particular) force changes in OS design.

Engineering Windows 7 : The Windows 7 Taskbar – Another long post.  This isn’t quite as technical.  It touches on how users have been observed interacting with the Windows taskbar in the past and how the Windows 7 design team have been hard at work tweaking it.  It’s not just about eye-candy but trying to bring added efficiency and workflow to users.  I think these posts give me a better understanding the differences on how Windows was designed to work for me, and how I actually use it.

IEBlog : IE8: What’s After Beta 2 – Umm. Release Candidate 1.  Keep the testing coming.  I’m not planning on converting to the MS IE dark-side when IE8 is finally released, but I will relish it’s eventual deployment at work as a more secure “approved’ browser than IE 6 that remains the version of standard across most all of our systems.  Heck, I would be happy if we could bump to IE 7 before IE 8 final rolls out.

Third-Party MS Bits

Windows Live Sync to replace Windows Live FolderShare - Windows Experience Blog – Brandon drops a bomb on all you Windows Live Folder Share fans and users.  Sorry Charlie.  It’s getting yanked and replaced with Windows Live Sync.  The Windows Live FolderShare Team Blog lists all the information you need to know.

In December, we will release a new product called Windows Live Sync. You can think of it as FolderShare 2.0. It's going to look familiar and offer the same great features, plus:

  • More folders and files - sync up to 20 folders with 20,000 files each.
  • Integration with Windows Live ID - no more extra sign-in stuff to remember.
  • Integration with the Recyle Bin - no more separate Trash folder to fiddle with.
  • New client versions for both Windows and Mac. 
  • Unicode support - sync files in other languages.

A huge part of Sync's success story depends on FolderShare users like you. When Sync releases, FolderShare goes into retirement. That means your FolderShare software will stop working and will ask you to upgrade to Sync. Once you do, Sync will automatically rebuild your personal folders. We expect a lot of new users when Sync is released, so if you can't sign in right away, please give it a little time.

Here's the part you need to pay attention to: Sync will not be able to rebuild your shared libraries. If you have a lot of shared libraries, you should hop over to the FolderShare website while it's still available and copy all that information. You'll need it to rebuild your shared libraries in Sync.

You should also note that the Professional option is being retired with the FolderShare name. Sync has a single offer, which provides free synchronization for up to 20 libraries and 20,000 files. We'll be working to raise those numbers as our service grows.

No upgrades from XP to Windows 7?  - Ed Bott’s Windows Expertise.  Leave it to Ed to rain on XP users who like the in-place upgrade path to a new OS.  At least in the current version, it does not appear that users can upgrade their XP systems to W7 as an overlay.  It’s going to be a clean-install only, baby.  So plan on doing some major user-data collection and migration before attempting.  To be honest, it’s probably all for the best anyway.

What is the quickest/easiest way to open the Network Connections page in Vista/2008 – Off Campus blog. Great tip as when I was setting up Wi-Fi on the Vista notebook, it seemed like I had to navigate a number of links to get to where I wanted to go.  Solution? Go to the Vista Start orb and put in ncpa.cpl in either the search field or the Run field.  Bam!  There you go!

--Claus V.

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