CHKDSK Fans Rejoice

CHKDSK, short for Check Disk, has been around since MS-DOS (I'm not sure if it actually came from California Software's Q-DOS). If you were worried that in losing things like the Start Menu you'd lose other important vestiges of the PC past, rest assured -- CHKDSK is safe and sound in Windows 8.

That is good news for old fuddy duddies and those that like tight control. You can still get at the utility from your handy command line.

For those that want things to just work, the good news is while CHKDSK is still there, you probably won't ever see it. And if you need it but aren't the command line type, the new version can be found in the new action center.

Whether you use commands or the action center, CHKDSK works precisely the same in Win 8 and Windows Server 2012.

In terms of seeing it, CHKDSK is apparently worlds faster --  so you don't see it at boot up. And disk fixes are more or less invisible, occurring in the background while the machine in online, and not during boot.

On the server side, IT decides when repairs are made.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/14/2012 at 1:19 PM1 comments


Sharing SharePoint 15's Spicy Specs

SharePoint is on a huge roll. Already a majority of Redmond magazine readers have some instances of SharePoint, and it's been that way for a good half decade. And here at Redmond, we use it to drive our CMS and to help us produce TechNet magazine, which we now produce for Microsoft.

SharePoint has taken hold in IT for a bunch of reasons: For one, Microsoft used to have bewildering array of collaboration tools (remember when Exchange was supposed to be groupware?), but shortly after buying Groove and deciding it was barely worth talking about, Microsoft put its considerable document sharing muscle squarely behind SharepPoint -- and nearly only on SharePoint.

Also, Microsoft is stubborn, and when it sticks with something it almost always turns out well. And with Microsoft working on version 15, it is a solid and mature product.

If the rumors are correct, the now 11-year-old product is keeping up the times. SharePoint 15 is rumored for release early next year.

SharePoint 2010 has rudimentary social media, but the next version is supposed to stand up well to the Twitters and the Facebooks of the world.

It appears that the new SharePoint will be aimed at the cloud first, servers second. Not just that, right now the cloud version of SharePoint is an inferior sibling to the on-premise software.

This cloud-first strategy makes sense. Out of all of Microsoft's server apps, maybe with the exception of CRM, SharePoint makes the most sense in the cloud. It is all about sharing, and split-second performance is not essential.

What are your thoughts on SharePoint? Think of a point and share it at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/14/2012 at 1:19 PM3 comments


Free TechEd Pass Giveaway!

Are you attending TechEd 2012 in Orlando this year? Do you want to go, but can't get budget approval?

Redmond magazine believes in, supports and provides ongoing IT technical training. As a thank you to our loyal readers, we are offering one full conference pass to TechEd 2012 -- one of the biggest Microsoft training events of the year.

To register for a chance to win the free pass, simply "like" us on our new Facebook page. One winner will be notified on Friday, May 18, 2012 based on a random drawing of all participants.

"Like" us today!

The winner will receive one full conference attendee pass good for TechEd North America 2012 sessions and events, except for Pre-Conference sessions. The winner will be responsible for all lodging, travel and incidental expenses associated with the event.

Be sure to stop by our booth #1820 at TechEd. We will be giving away a pass to our new Live! 360 conference December 10-14, 2012, also in Orlando. Never stop learning!

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/14/2012 at 1:19 PM0 comments


PHP Hole Exploited by Hackers

Hackers really have no conscience. Why else would they attack PHP? What did PHP ever do to them? But yet, that's exactly what they did. They found flaws in the revered Web scripting language and gone right after them.

One flaw lets these creepbags install their own malware (probably just a slight rework of something some other creepbag wrote -- which was, itself, just a rework of something some other creepbag found and fiddled with) or rip off your source code.

These jerks are out and about with this attack, as Trustwave SpiderLabs found direct evidence in its honeypot earlier this week.

The PHP Group Web site has info on how you can to see if your Web site is vulnerable and has already released emergency fixes.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/11/2012 at 1:19 PM0 comments


Is This Microsoft vs. Netscape All Over Again?

What happens when one of the world's most powerful companies is given a slap on the wrist? It waits for the pain to subside in a few seconds -- then it's business as usual.
In the case of Microsoft, the slap on the wrist was the rather weak 2001 DOJ antitrust settlement which centered largely on Redmond's ill treatment of Netscape and Navigator.

Microsoft was not broken into two pieces and was instead allowed to keep bundling IE with Windows 95 and 98 (the company had essentially burned the browser into the OS, though it was technically possible for the technically savvy to extricate it), but had to make the playing field almost equal for other browsers.

Eleven years later, it seems Microsoft may be up to its old tricks.

The Mozilla Foundation, which is really the remnants (healthy as it is) of Netscape, is complaining that the playing field for browsers in Windows RT is about at level with K2.
Apparently, outfits other than Microsoft can go ahead and write a Windows RT browser -- it just won't work very well and won't "perform many of the advanced computing functions vital to modern browsers in terms of speed, stability and security to which users have grown accustomed," a Mozilla lawyer argued.

The lawyer claims this violates European antitrust restrictions on the interplay between Windows and browsers. Microsoft is arguing back that Windows RT really isn't Windows. Huh? Time for the Redmond marketing aces to earn their keep with yet another name. The only credence to this argument is that Windows RT essentially is a new platform with a new UI, new back-end processor, (I assume) new APIs and a new application library. Maybe there are new rules.

With the iPad and cheap Android tablets, Windows RT is riskier than a Vince Neil left turn (Bing his driving record). Why would Microsoft do anything to throttle back (something Neil should have done) support for new software? You tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/11/2012 at 1:19 PM6 comments


Doug's Mailbag: Do You Use Microsoft's Media Center?

Readers chime in whether or not Microsoft's Media Center is worth paying for:

Media Center is the best application for one 10-ft view of music, photos and TV. I have a cable card and watch HDTV with full DVR of up to four channels. And with Windows Home Server, I can share that recorded TV content in any room of the house. I will not give up Windows 7 for 8, seeing that don't see any value in the Consumer preview.
-Larry

Personally, I use WMC every day on my home PC to record television programs and play them back using my Xbox 360 as a Media Center extender. I used it under Windows Vista and continued to use it after upgrading to Windows 7. If Microsoft doesn't offer it with Windows 8, I will not spend my hard-earned dollars on an upgrade.
-Mark

Media Center is a great product when used with a tuner that supports a cable card. Microsoft, once again, is making a mistake. It is dying a slow death. Instead, it should sell a version of Windows 8 that supports the DVD playback and Media Center for a price. I think users who love media center would pay a one-time license fee in addition to what the standard Windows cost. Maybe Apple's TV product will be all we can use.
-Joe

Let's face the facts. True WMC customers are few when compared to the total base, and it hardly justifies the millions spent in licensing fees for those users. Will it be available to those enthusiasts? Yes, but at a cost. I also have use WMC on occasion to watch TV but there are online alternatives -- and I can simply use VLC to view DVDs. Especially since Microsoft sponsored making sure it would work on Windows 8 (and it's free). While I would love to still have WMC in the Windows 8 SKU, I understand the thought and logic leading up to this decision.
-The K Man 

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to dbarney@redmondmag.com. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/11/2012 at 1:19 PM1 comments


Doug's Mailbag: Identity Crisis

Readers sound off on whether or not Microsoft goes a little overboard with its product name changes:

I agree with you. I'm sick and tired of Microsoft changing the names of the successors to their applications. I'm a MS guy all the way, but it's getting to the point where I'm hoping some new company will rise up and take the market away from it. I'm not crazy about Steve Ballmer's legacy and initiative to bring everything into the cloud either. I hope it backfires on him. I actually miss Bill Gate's legacy, which was just Windows.

Google sucks too. I don't like nor do I want my information publicly available or force to use their cloud services. My life is an open book and I have nothing to hide, but I don't like having my personal searching, profile, etc. available for everyone to see.
-Kevin

Microsoft needs part-time marketing people. Like full-time legislators in our federal and state governments, they have too much time on their hands and come up with these nutty ideas. I guess they like to stomp in the dirt and make a lot of dust -- going nowhere but in circles.
-Allen

I still love your work, even though, being Australian, I don't get many of your American sporting reference jokes (I hope they are as witty as I imagine). However, dude, you need to get over the MS naming thing! Does this annoy you so much because you have a dash of Monk's OCD? (note that I can handle a certain amount of American TV references).

As long as we know what Microsoft means, it doesn't really matter what the products are called. Also, if it picked a decent development nickname (a big 'if' for Microsoft, I know), we might continue to use it after release, like we are doing with Google's Ice Cream Sandwich. Does any actually remember what that version number is? Who cares, and that's the point.
-Tony

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to dbarney@redmondmag.com. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/09/2012 at 1:19 PM0 comments


Deleting Diskeeper, Installing Condusiv

Recently a group of Redmond magazine editors interviewed Jerry Baldwin, who took over at Diskeeper as CEO about a year ago.

Where Diskeeper was very much a California company, Jerry is very much a New York born-and-bred kind of guy.

Baldwin looked around and saw a company that hadn't changed much in recent years, perhaps even decades. Highly successful, it wasn't anywhere near realizing its full potential.

So Baldwin went through the company, which I always thought was terrific (they won the Redmond  Readers' Choice Awards as many times as anyone), and reorged each department.

He also looked at the company's mission. Diskeeper, formerly Executive Software, named itself after its main product, a hard drive defragger for PCs and servers. Baldwin saw more, and is reshaped the mission towards IT operational efficiency and hardware longevity.

To match the new mission comes a new company name: Condusiv. While that will take some getting used to, I'm looking forward to see what new areas Baldwin addresses.

To show there is much more to life than defrag, Diskeeper, I mean Condusiv, just announced a new version of Undelete for file recovery. This version is supposed to be easier to use, less IT skill needed and can restore multiple version.

If I lose a Word file (and who hasn't) I can recover the exact version I really want to recover. Of course, Word should do that, but it clearly doesn't.

In addition to showing off Undelete 11, Condusiv will demo Diskeeper V-locity 3 for virtual environments.

And perhaps most important, Condusiv is trying to get IT pros used to its new name!

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/09/2012 at 1:19 PM8 comments


Quickening the Quest for Office 365

If you've been reading this newsletter you are probably pretty well sick of hearing me talk about how many Office 365 users I've been talking to. And there is one thing I've learned: Setting up and migrating isn't always easy.

Quest must have been talking to the same folks since it just announced a new migration tool -- although it is pretty precise in focus. This tool moves on-premises e-mail to the cloud, either to Exchange Online or Office 365.

The Azure-based OnDemand Migration for Email from Quest migrates mailboxes for $10 bucks a shot.

While most customers are moving from in-house Exhange, some are hopping off Google Apps, says Michael Tweddle, senior director of product management at Quest.

Quest is also supporting Groupwise through "Coexistence Manager for GroupWise," which lets you run GroupWise (and Exchange) while you're moving to Office 365.
And later this quarter you'll be able to make this move with "GroupWise Migrator for Exchange."

What happens if you don't like Office 365? Quest has services that will move you right back!

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/09/2012 at 1:19 PM0 comments


Media Center Costs Extra

I have to admit I've only tried Windows Media Center once. I did hear a demo of the Media Player up at Redmond, but the sound system cost about 80 grand and the room, if I remember correctly, cost even more. It could have made a Sony TR-63 transistor radio sound awesome.

Maybe that's why I'm not broken up that Window 8 customers will have to reach a little deeper into their pockets if they want Media Center.

Consumers will still get Media Player for free -- so tunes and Web videos are no problem.

Apparently, the issue with Media Center is Microsoft has to pay for the decoders that make the DVDs play. Some OEMs, hoping to pitch media-ready machines, will swallow the costs, pre-install the software and just add it to the sticker.

It doesn't look like Media Center will be an option for enterprise versions of Windows 8 -- as businesses don't want workers wasting company recording HDTV or watching "21 Jump Street." But what's wrong with a little entertainment in the hotel room (rather than trying to write off a $18.95 movie on the expense report)? A little extra for Media Center is starting to sound like a pretty good deal.

Here's where things get weird: Apparently Media Player, still free and still pre-installed on Win 8, won't play back DVDs? Odd.

And Windows RT, a confusing name for Windows 8 on ARM (in my opinion, the latter is a more logical name) won't even get Media Player. Aren't tablets all about media? Doubly odd.

Was I a fool not to use Media Center? Feel free to make me feel bad about myself by writing to dbarney@redmond.mag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/07/2012 at 1:19 PM10 comments


Windows Live Is Dead

Microsoft power brokers either don't read this fine piece of work you have before you or simply don't care. Lately I've been complaining that it commonly changes product names, and even change what it calls test software -- all seemingly on a whim. And Microsoft doesn't strike me as a company usually driven by whim.

Apparently my views don't matter. Microsoft doesn't mind regularly confusing its customers by changing product names.

Now Windows Live, which I think sort of actually made sense, is being split into a bunch of different pieces -- and it is all, for some reason, because of Windows 8.

I guess the problem is that Windows Live has both online and offline content -- like Windows Live Essentials Movie Maker, which is good, old-fashioned hard drive-based software.

That just doesn't seem enough to throw the whole brand out.

One coming change is Windows Live ID, which used to be Passport, will now be just Windows Account. Hey, what was so wrong with Passport? That's what I still think of it as.

Windows Live Essentials, which are a bunch of add-ons (some Web, some not), will all be renamed for Windows 8 (and renamed again when Redmond marketers get bored).

Is this driving you as batty as it is me? Complain or set me straight at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

 

 

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/07/2012 at 1:19 PM6 comments


Windows 8 VDI Licensing Confusion

In the old days, Microsoft had a simple approach to announcing new things -- it just announced them. Now, in the age of blogs, it uses them to deliver little bits and pieces, or leak out things out here and there. Journalists, and often other bloggers, are left analyzing, speculating, guessing with limited information to go on.

I've waited nearly a full week to blog here about Microsoft's VDI licensing disclosures surrounding Windows 8, hoping it would all start to make sense. It still doesn't. The info is just too sketchy.

So I'll tell you what I know and when there's more, well, I'll tell you more.

The news, or semi-news, surrounds Windows 8 -- of which there will only be three editions planned for x86, down from the six versions of Windows 7 on sale today -- as well as new VDI licensing options planned for Software Assurance customers.

Here's where it gets confusing: Software Assurance (SA) is a program where customers pay extra to get extra benefits and qualify for software upgrades. But some of the new VDI licensing options may require a "Companion Device License" (CDL) and may cost extra on top of the extra cost of SA. Hmmm.

So what could be worth all those Benjamins? The CDL would let end users use mobile devices, in fact several of them, to access Windows 8 desktops remotely -- sort of like LogMeIn on steroids.

That's what I know, or think I know, but there are still missing details. Read more about what we do know here.

If you have insights, predictions or clarifications, e-mail them to me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 05/04/2012 at 1:19 PM0 comments


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