Microsoft extends Windows XP Security Essentials support to July 2015

Microsoft will kill support for Windows XP this April, but for those of you who are using antimalware products, Microsoft will continue supplying those signatures until July of 2015. This means that Microsoft’s Security Essentials will still be updated after the April cutoff date, but the underlying OS will remain vulnerable.

This is an interesting move as Microsoft has been pushing hard to get everyone off the aging OS. Seeing that they will continue to support Security Essentials past the support deadline sends mixed signals to consumers, as they will likely read that OS updates are no longer being distributed but that Security Essential support is still valid. Because the average consumer isn’t very tech savvy, he or she could easily confuse this to mean that XP is still a supported and safe product to use if Security Essentials is installed.

The announcement came on Microsoft’s Threat Research & Response Blog, though it does little to explain why they will provide additional support on XP after the April 2014 cutoff. In fact, they admit that “their research shows that the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited.”

Microsoft will also be supporting System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune running on Windows XP as well with antimalware support into July 2015 ts well. Again, this appears to undercut their push for the corporate entities to move off of XP as they will have supported products running on an unsupported OS.

Image via Microsoft

Source: Neowin.net

Free ebook: Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2

cover for Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2We’re happy to announce a new free ebook – Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 by Mitch Tulloch with Symon Perriman and the System Center Team.

DOWNLOAD LINKS

Download the  PDF – here

Download the Mobi file for Kindle – here

Download the ePub file – here

 

Introduction

Microsoft System Center is one of the three pillars of Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision that will transform the traditional datacenter environment, help businesses unlock insights in data stored anywhere, enable the development of a wide range of modern business applications, and empower IT to support users who work anywhere while being able to manage any device in a secure and consistent way. The other two pillars of the Cloud OS are, of course, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Azure, and Microsoft Press has recently released free Introducing books on these platforms as well.
Whether you are new to System Center or are already using it in your business, this book has something that should interest you. The capabilities of each component of System Center 2012 R2 are first described and then demonstrated chapter by chapter. Real-world and under-the-hood insights are also provided by insiders at Microsoft who live and breathe System Center, and those of you who are experienced with the platform will benefit from the wisdom and experience of these experts. We also included a list of additional resources at the end of each chapter where you can learn more about each System Center component.

New Disk2vhd V2.0 with vhdx support

Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk – Microsoft’s Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual tools is that you can run Disk2vhd on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows’ Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion. You can even have Disk2vhd create the VHDs on local volumes, even ones being converted (though performance is better when the VHD is on a disk different than ones being converted).

The Disk2vhd user interface lists the volumes present on the system:
Disk2vhd
It will create one VHD for each disk on which selected volumes reside. It preserves the partitioning information of the disk, but only copies the data contents for volumes on the disk that are selected. This enables you to capture just system volumes and exclude data volumes, for example.
Note: Virtual PC supports a maximum virtual disk size of 127GB. If you create a VHD from a larger disk it will not be accessible from a Virtual PC VM.
To use VHDs produced by Disk2vhd, create a VM with the desired characteristics and add the VHDs to the VM’s configuration as IDE disks. On first boot, a VM booting a captured copy of Windows will detect the VM’s hardware and automatically install drivers, if present in the image. If the required drivers are not present, install them via the Virtual PC or Hyper-V integration components. You can also attach to VHDs using the Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Disk Management or Diskpart utilities.
Note: do not attach to VHDs on the same system on which you created them if you plan on booting from them. If you do so, Windows will assign the VHD a new disk signature to avoid a collision with the signature of the VHD’s source disk. Windows references disks in the boot configuration database (BCD) by disk signature, so when that happens Windows booted in a VM will fail to locate the boot disk.
Disk2vhd runs Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1, and higher, including x64 systems.
Here’s a screenshot of a copy of a Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V system running in a virtual machine on top of the system it was made from:

(click image to zoom)
 

Command Line Usage

Disk2vhd includes command-line options that enable you to script the creation of VHDs. Specify the volumes you want included in a snapshot by drive letter (e.g. c:) or use “*” to include all volumes.
Usage: disk2vhd <[drive: [drive:]…]|[*]> <vhdfile>
Example: disk2vhd * c:vhdsnapshot.vhd
Note: Physical-to-virtual hard drive migration of a Windows installation is a valid function for customers with Software Assurance and full retail copies of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Software Assurance provides users valuable benefits—please contact Microsoft Corporation for further information. Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 installed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) using OEM versions of these products may not be transferred to a virtual hard drive in accordance with Microsoft licensing terms.
 
Download
 
Run Disk2vhd now from Live.Sysinternals.com.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Test Lab Guide

This Microsoft Test Lab Guide (TLG) provides you with step-by-step instructions to create the Windows Base Configuration test lab, using computers running Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2, With the resulting test lab environment, you can build test labs based on other Windows Server 2012 R2 TLGs from Microsoft, TLG extensions in the TechNet Wiki, or a test lab of your own design that can include Microsoft or non-Microsoft products. For a test lab based on physical computers, you can image the drives for future test labs. For a test lab based on virtual machines, you can create snapshots of the base configuration virtual machines. This enables you to easily return to the base configuration test lab, where most of the routine infrastructure and networking services have already been configured, so that you can focus on building a test lab for the product, technology, or solution of interest.

Download

Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 TechNet Library documentation as a PDF

2012 & 2012 R2 TechNet libraries in 1 PDF (116Mb, 8000 pages)

 

Link

Small Businesses Go Mobile

Source: Microsoft

November Session Slides

As promised here are the slides of the November session:

 

TechNine – Windows 81 & RT- Erik Moreau

Technine – Server 2012 R2 Essentials – Bart Bultinck – V2

Check the service health of your Office 365 service on the go

 

As we discussed in a recent blog post,  Cloud services you can trust, “Transparency requires consistent communication.”  We’re working to improve the transparency of the Office 365 service by continuously improving our communication with customers on changes that impact the Office 365 environment. Recently we deployed the improved Message Center, which delivers messages targeted to your organization. Now we’re introducing another communication tool, one that was recently demoed on the November 6 episode of The Garage Series– a new app for on-the-go service health checks.

Starting today, Office 365 service administrators can connect to their organization’s Office 365 service status from wherever they are with the Office 365 Admin app. The new app enables administrators to view service health information and maintenance status updates from their mobile device. They can also filter information by service subscriptions and configure app data refresh intervals.

Administrators can use the Office 365 Admin app to check the overall health of their organization’s services, see the health of individual services, and set data refresh intervals.

To access service health data with the Office 365 Admin app, you must have an active Office 365 subscription with administrator user rights. Also, this app does not currently support Windows Azure Active Directory Multi-Factor Authentication.

The Office 365 Admin app is in the process of rolling out across multiple platforms, starting with Windows Phone 8 today and followed by Android (4.2.1 and up) and iOS 7 in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to this blog and your Message Center. You’ll be notified as soon as the app is available on Google Play and in the Apple App Store.

To access the frequently asked questions or to follow what the community has to say about the app, please click this link.

Download the app on the Windows Phone 8 Store.

Microsoft releases My Server 2012 R2 app for Windows Phone 8

While we are still waiting for Microsoft to release a full Windows 8.1 remote desktop app for Windows Phone users, the company did release an app this week that lets owners of those devices perform remote tasks on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials from their smartphone.

The My Server 2012 R2 app, currently available to download for free from the Windows Phone Store, has a pretty bare bones description from Microsoft. It states:

My Server for Windows Phone is an application designed to help you keep seamlessly connected to your server resources through Windows smart phones. With My Server, you can manage users, devices, alerts, and access shared files in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials.

Earlier this year, Microsoft released a similar My Server app for Windows 8 and RT PCs. It would appear that this new Windows Phone version is an extension of the work done with the Windows 8 app.

Microsoft has released full Windows 8.1 remote desktop apps for iOS and Android devices, along with Mac OS X PCs. The company has already stated it will release a similar app for Windows Phone owners but there’s no specific release date yet.

Source: Windows Phone Store | Image via Microsoft

Free ebook: Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2

Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 coverCheck out this new free ebook – Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 by Mitch Tulloch.

FORMATS LINKS
Download the PDF here
Download the ePub file here
Download the mobi file here
Print version for sale here

Introduction

This book is intended to provide you with an overview of the new features and enhancements introduced in Windows Server 2012 R2. The intended audience for this book is IT pros who deploy, manage, and maintain Windows Server workloads in data center, private cloud, and hosting provider environments.

We assume that you are at least somewhat familiar with the features and capabilities of the previous platform Windows Server 2012. If you are not familiar with all the new features and enhancements Microsoft introduced previously in Windows Server 2012, we recommend that you first read Introducing Windows Server 2012 RTM Edition (Microsoft Press, 2012).

A key feature of this book is the technical sidebars that have been contributed by Microsoft insiders. These sidebars were written by experts who have been closely involved in the Windows Server 2012 R2 development process and include Program Managers, Support Escalation Engineers, Technical Consultants, Data Center Specialists, and others who work at Microsoft in various capacities.

 

Source: Microsoft Press Blog