Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Check Out the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

This week, I've been busy at the Microsoft MVP Summit, of which most is covered under our NDA. If you are following me on Twitter, you'll notice that I can talk the most about the food and the weather here in chilly Redmond and Bellevue, Washington!

However, the one thing I can share this morning is that Microsoft's Windows 8 site went live. It has a direct download to the ISO bits for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and over 300 pieces of new content.

Windows 8 has some great new features that you can review and see how they can complement your exisiting Windows 7 desktops. Visit to see what all the fuss is about!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where Will You Be on March 22nd and 23rd?

I hope you be joining me at the Pacific IT Professionals 2 day IT Professional conference in San Francisco - TechDays SF. We have a great lineup of speakers to present on current topics that IT Professionals won't want to miss, including me!

The speakers also include Microsoft MVP's Mark Minasi, Richard Hicks, Jessica DeVita, Steve Evans, Darren Mar-Elia and many more distinguished presenters. In addition, from Microsoft we will have Stephen Rose, Joey Snow, Chris Avis and Harold Wong.

Session abstracts are being posted as they become available. The conference agenda shows all the topics being covered for example, Best Practices for Group Policy Design, Beginner and Advanced PowerShell, Windows Failover Clustering and 10 Things to Know about Windows Server 2008.

To register for this incredible conference, please click here. The 2 day multi track conference is just $300 US dollars if you register before March 6th, after that it goes up to $400.

We bring the best IT Professional speakers and content to the SF Bay Area so come join us for two packed days of IT knowledge!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Microsoft End of Life Dates - Mark Your Calendars!

Where is 2012 going?  It seems like just yesterday I filed away my planner for 2011 and crack open that fresh page to January 2012. Now that we are racing towards Spring, you might want to highlight a few of these special dates for the future.

Here are some future "end of life" dates for some Microsoft products you might still have floating around on your network.  Some will be supported for several more years, but it never hurts to keep your eye on the horizon.

These dates are the end of support life for the product as a whole (no more extended support), so start thinking about your budget cycles and internal support needs for the next few years.

Windows XP - 4/8/2014
Server 2003 - 7/14/2015
Windows Vista - 4/11/2017

Exchange Server 2007 - 4/11/2017
SQL Server 2000 - 4/9/2013
SQL Server 2005 - 4/12/2016

Office 2003 - 4/8/2014
Office 2007 - 10/10/2017

These dates are for specific service packs for these products, so be sure to install the latest available service pack, if you haven't already.

SQL Server 2005 SP 3 -1/10/2012
Exchange 2010 SP 1 - 1/8/2013
Office 2007 SP 2 - 1/8/2013

For more information about other Microsoft Server products, check out the Lifecycle Info for Server Products list. -

** 11/21/14 Update **

For some current end of life dates - visit this post.  Interested in learning more about getting away from on-prem Exchange and Office?  Check out these courses from the Microsoft Virtual Academy -

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Customizing the Name of the Online Archive… Unfortunately Still Buggy.

With Exchange 2010 SP1, I have a lot more options for helping users manage their emails and help our company meet requirements regarding email retention policies, compared to past versions of Exchange. While the original Exchange 2010 RTM "Managed Folders" features are still available via PowerShell, the most current iteration of MRM involves Retention Tags and Retention Policies.

While our lawyers hammer out the details regarding how long we should be holding onto mail, I've been playing around with the tags and working out the most suitable way to implement the technology for our office. Part of this involves the use of the "Online Archive" feature as a way to eliminate the difficult to manage PST files and to ensure that the primary mailbox database remains small enough to restore quickly in the event of a system failure.

Online Archives act as an extension of the primary mailbox and the folders and mail within it are still subject to the retention tags that were applied to mail messages and folders. So for my needs, the "archive" is simply a place to automatically move the mail that is subject to our longer retention needs.

By default the label of the archive in OWA and Outlook is "Online Archive - User Name", however for my office I'd like to change the name from "Online Archive" to something more appropriate for our use of the feature, like "Retained Mail - User Name". 

The word "archive" seems to imply that any message put in that area will be saved indefinitely and I want to make sure it's clear that those messages are still subject to the retention rules. It's a cosmetic change and mostly semantics, I know, but I think it's important for the scope of our project.

Within EMC there is a spot on each users mailbox settings where you can customize the display name of the title. I changed my test account and was happy to see it reflected in OWA and Outlook 2007.  We'll be upgrading our users to Outlook 2010 in order to fully support the retention tag features, so I updated my lab workstation to Outlook 2010 as well.

Much to my dismay, I noticed the online archive title was not customized in Outlook 2010. It now read, "Archive - email address".  Curious.  I did a little search on the Internet and found a detailed posted describing the problem from fellow MVP, Tim Harrington.  The post dates back to December 2010, so I'm disappointed that the bug still exists after a year’s worth of Office 2010 patches and updates.  But there you have it.

Another quick note on Office 2010... If you launch Outlook during your Windows session, then close it and launch it again, it may hang on the "Loading Profile" step.  Switch over to Task Manager and you'll likely find several "agent" processes.  Kill them and Outlook will load properly when launched.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2 Days–$300–Dozens of Sessions

In March, I’m co-chairing a 2 day IT Professional conference hosted by Pacific IT Professionals called Techdays SF.  Join us in San Francisco on March 22 and 23rd. We already have a great lineup of speakers to present on topics that we hope IT Professionals will be interested in.

The speakers list so far include Microsoft MVP's Mark Minasi, Richard Hicks, Jessica DeVita, Steve Evans, Darren Mar-Elia and more. Additionally, from Microsoft we will have IT Pro Evangelists Chris Avis and Harold Wong, plus some other special MS guests.

The topics to be covered include: Windows Server 2008R2, Windows 8, Deployment, IIS, SharePoint, Hyper-V, AD/GPO, System Center, Exchange, Lync, Powershell and much more. You can see the current agenda at

We now have the registration site set up for the event so please sign up here. This 2 day multi-track conference will be $300 US dollars. The first 75 paid registrations will receive a copy of Windows 7.  Also, all attendees will be entered in a drawing to win a Kindle!

Please share this your colleagues and friends in the IT industry. If we are able to get sufficient attendance for the event we will consider doing these every 6 months on-going to try and bring the best IT Professional speakers and content to the SF Bay Area so please help us along to that goal and spread the word!