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Windows IT Pro UPDATE--Windows Vista in the Enterprise--April 25, 2006

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1. Commentary
- Windows Vista in the Enterprise

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Ships Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 2

3. Peer to Peer
- Featured Blog: WiFi Security: Westchester County In New York Doesn't Get It
- Tip: How can I list all domain controllers (DCs) for an Active Directory (AD) domain?

4. New and Improved
- Protect your Network From Internal Users

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==== 1. Commentary: Windows Vista in the Enterprise ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

I seem to have a habit of getting into trouble with Microsoft. The most recent example was a long-overdue (if somewhat cursory) examination of the ways in which the company has failed to live up to its promises for Windows Vista, the next-generation Windows version the company hopes to complete late this year. Posted as part of my Vista February Community Technology Preview (CTP)/Build 5342 review on the SuperSite for Windows, "Where Vista Fails" (see the URL below) is harsh but, I think, accurate. What I didn't address in this article, however, are Vista's enterprise features. Will this OS offer a compelling upgrade for business customers?

The answer is complex. Vista is a major Windows update with a plethora of new features. Many of the new features will require retraining both for business users and IT administrators, and Microsoft--as it often does in new Windows versions--had inexplicably chosen to move or rename common features throughout Vista. Rather than offer you a laundry list of Vista features, I'll touch on the top three issues that this release will raise. Some are good, some are bad, but mostly each is a mixed bag.

Vista has been thoroughly overhauled from a security standpoint. Consider the security changes Microsoft made in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), multiply that by about 100, and you'll be in the right place to understand how big the security enhancements in this release are. The most obvious security change is User Account Protection (UAP), which provides Windows with the sort of security protection that Linux/UNIX and Mac OS X have enjoyed for years. Under this system, all users, even administrator-level users, run with reduced privileges at all times. Any time you want to make a potentially dangerous change to the system, UAP pops up an authorization dialog box that forces you to provide administrator-level privileges to complete the action.

The dark side of UAP is that the dialog boxes pop up far too often. In fact, for certain seemingly innocuous actions, such as deleting shortcuts and other icons from the desktop, you'll be surprised by how many dialog boxes you need to wade through. Microsoft tells me that it's working to make this less painful, but my guess is that users will find UAP to be a major annoyance.

As I've discussed here previously, Vista introduces a disk image-based deployment scheme that offers two huge advantages over today's deployment tools. First, disk images are easy to build and maintain and can be quickly deployed to desktops. Second, Vista's disk images can be edited live. This means you can add (or remove) features from an image, including new hotfixes and service packs. Because Vista is far more modular than earlier Windows versions, it's also easier to create custom disk images, including those that vary only in the language used. This will be a huge boon to multinational companies. Unattended files are now XML based. What this all adds up to is big improvements, albeit with a high learning curve.

Hardware and Software Compatibility
Although many negative stories exist about Vista requiring incredible high-end hardware in order to get the best visual experience (what Microsoft calls Aero Glass, where application windows in Vista take on a translucent look), the truth is that most modern PCs should have no problem running Vista. The bigger problem is compatibility. Many hardware devices won't work natively in Vista, and some applications will have problems, though Vista's XP compatibility layer is decent and works similarly to the Application Compatibility feature in XP.

Underlying all of these changes, of course, is the fact that each will require a significant investment of time and effort on the part of any organization that chooses to migrate to Vista. For starters, there will be two Vista editions aimed squarely at businesses--Vista Business, which targets businesses of all sizes, including small businesses, and Vista Enterprise, which targets managed environments and adds features such as Virtual PC Express and Services for Unix (SFU) Applications. Vista Enterprise will be made available only to volume-licensing customers with Software Assurance (SA).

I've touched only the surface of the differences you can expect in Vista, and over the coming months, I'll be examining this OS much more closely. If your job is to support or migrate desktops, it's time to begin investigating Vista, even if you don't intend to rollout Vista for quite some time. If you're not part of a program that provides you with access to prerelease Vista versions, fear not. In late May, Microsoft will ship Beta 2, and the intention is to make it widely available to the public.

Windows Vista February 2006 CTP (Build 5308/5342) Review, Part 5: Where Vista Fails


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==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Ships Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 2
Yesterday, Microsoft shipped the Beta 2 version of Internet Explorer (IE), its upcoming Web browser. IE 7.0 Beta 2 features minor functional improvements over earlier Beta 2 public preview releases and adds support for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 in addition to XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2). Read the rest of the story at the following URL:

==== Events and Resources ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

Make sure that your DR systems are up to the challenge of a real natural disaster by learning from messaging survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Live Event: Tuesday, May 2

How do you ensure that your email system isn't vulnerable to a messaging meltdown? In this Web seminar, Exchange guru Paul Robichaux tells you what you should do before you have an outage to increase your chances of coming out of it smelling like roses.

Learn the best ways to manage your email security (and fight spam) using a variety of solutions and tips.

Expert Ben Smith describes the benefits of using server virtualization to make computers more efficient. Download this exclusive podcast today!

Ensure that you're being effective with your internal network security. Are your DIY options protecting you against worms, BotNets, Trojans, and hackers? Make sure! Live Event: Tuesday, May 23

==== Featured White Papers ====

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==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll:
The voting has closed in Windows IT Pro's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you plan to deploy Apple Computer's new Boot Camp dual-booting software in your organization?" Here are the results from the 133 votes:
- 14% Yes
- 83% No
- 4% I don't know

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

New Instant Poll
The next Instant Poll question is, "What are your vacation plans for this summer?" Go to the Windows IT Pro home page and submit your vote for a) Taking 1 week, b) Taking 2 weeks, c) Taking 3 weeks, d) Not taking any time off, or e) Taking my work to the beach.

==== 4. Peer to Peer ====

Featured Blog: WiFi Security: Westchester County In New York Doesn't Get It Read what Mark Edwards has to say in his most recent post to the Security Matters blog:

Tip: How can I list all domain controllers (DCs) for an Active Directory (AD) domain?
by John Savill,

Find the answer at the following URL:

==== Announcements ====
(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

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==== 5. New and Improved ====
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Protect your Network From Internal Users
GFI Software announced GFI EndPointSecurity, a solution that protects your network from malware, viruses, and data theft from within your own organization. EndPointSecurity provides network control for portable storage devices, removable media, and a variety of consumer electronic devices. With the product, you can provide read and write capabilities to groups or individual users for file-based media such as CD/DVD-ROMs and any media operated through USB, Bluetooth, FireWire, and Wi-Fi connections. Pricing for GFI EndPointSecurity starts at $625 to monitor up to 25 computers. For more information, contact GFI Software at 888-243-4329.

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Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to mailto:[email protected]

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