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End Of Days 2003: The End is Nigh!

In a couple of days we will be saying goodbye to 2014 and ringing in the New Year 2015.  Simple math should show you that if you are still running Windows Server 2003, it is long since time to upgrade.  However here’s more:

When I was a Microsoft MVP, and then when I was a Virtual Technical Evangelist with Microsoft Canada, you might remember my tweeting the countdown to #EndOfDaysXP.  That we had some pushback from people who were not going to migrate, I think we were all thrilled by the positive response and the overwhelming success we had in getting people migrated onto either Windows 8, or at least Windows 7.  We did this not only by tweeting, but also with blog articles, in-person events (including a number of national tours helping people understand a) the benefits of the modern operating system, and b) how to plan for and implement a deployment solution that would facilitate the transition.  All of us who were on the team during those days – Pierre, Anthony, Damir, Ruth, and I – were thrilled by your response.

Shortly after I left Microsoft Canada, I started hearing from people that I should begin a countdown to #EndOfDaysW2K3.  Of course, Windows Server 2003 was over a decade old, and while it would outlast Windows XP, support for that hugely popular platform would end on July 14th, 2015 (I have long wondered if it was a coincidence that it would end on Bastille Day).  Depending on when you read this article it might be different, but as of right now the countdown is around 197 days.  You can keep track yourself by checking out the website here

It should be said that with Windows 7 there was an #EndOfDaysXP Countdown Gadget for the desktop, and when I migrated to Windows 8 I used a third party app that sat in my Start Menu.  One friend suggested I create a PowerShell script, but that was not necessary.  I don’t remember exactly which countdown timer I used, but it would work just as well for Windows Server 2003 – just enter the date you are counting down to, and it tells you every day how much time is left.

The point is, while I think that migrating off of Server 2003 is important, it was not at that point (nor is it now) an endeavour that I wanted to take on.  To put things in perspective, I was nearing the end of a 1,400 day countdown during which I tweeted almost every day.  I was no longer an Evangelist, and I was burnt out.

Despite what you may have heard, I am still happy to help the Evangelism Team at Microsoft Canada (although I think they go by a different name now).  So when I got an e-mail on the subject from Pierre Roman, I felt it important enough to share with you.  As such, here is the gist of that e-mail:

1) On July 14, 2015 support for Windows Server will come to an end.  It is vital that companies be aware of this, as there are serious dangers inherent in running unsupported platforms in the datacenter, especially in production.  As of that date there will be no more support and no more security updates.

2) The CanITPro team has written (or re-posted) several articles that will help you understand how to migrate off your legacy servers onto a modern Server OS platform, including:

3) The Microsoft Virtual Academy (www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com) also has great educational resources to help you modernize your infrastructure and prepare for Windows Server 2003 End of Support, including:

4) Independent researchers have come to the same conclusion (IDC Whitepaper: Why You Should Get Current).

      5) Even though time is running out, the Evangelism team is there to help you. You can e-mail them at cdn-itpro-feedback@microsoft.com if you have any questions or concerns surrounding Windows Server 2003 End of Support.

      Of course, these are all from them.  If you want my help, just reach out to me and if I can, I will be glad to help! Smile  (Of course, as I am no longer with Microsoft or a Microsoft MVP, there might be a cost associated with engaging me Smile)

      Good luck, and all the best in 2015!

The Kobayashi Maru of Desktop Deployment

A couple of years ago I was asked to write an article on desktop deployment.  Back then Windows 7 was reasonably new, and there was a lot of chatter about the fact that you could not upgrade from a Windows XP machine directly to Windows 7.

Recently a lot of people have asked me about desktop deployment, what with Windows 8 becoming more widely accepted, and the end of support for Windows XP (#EndOfDaysXP) less than eight months away.  Although I am not doing a lot of deployment work these days, I reread this article that I wrote for the Springboard Series and decided it was still relevant.  I hope you like it!

The Kobayshi Maru of Desktop Deployment

Windows 8: Keeping it Clean!

While I am usually fond of the extra apps that Microsoft puts into Windows 8, I know that for most IT environments they will be more of a hassle than anything.  The following is the PowerShell script that Ben Hunter (SOLUTION ARCHITECT, Desktop – Microsoft Corp.) uses to remove the built-in applications.  Of course, you are free to edit this script to pick and choose the ones you want to leave in; it is a great exercise in getting used to longer scripts for the uninitiated! (Scroll down to the bottom for a simpler but less adaptable version)

# This script removes the pre provisioned packages
# in Windows 8 RTM

if([IntPtr]::Size -eq 4){
# This is an X86 OS – remove for all users
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package  Microsoft.Bing_1.2.0.137_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingFinance_1.2.0.135_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingMaps_1.2.0.136_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingNews_1.2.0.135_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingSports_1.2.0.135_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingTravel_1.2.0.145_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingWeather_1.2.0.135_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.Camera_6.2.8514.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      microsoft.microsoftskydrive_16.4.4204.712_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.Reader_6.2.8516.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_16.4.4206.722_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      microsoft.windowsphotos_16.4.4204.712_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.XboxLIVEGames_1.0.927.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.ZuneMusic_1.0.927.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.ZuneVideo_1.0.927.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.Media.PlayReadyClient_2.3.1662.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
#Remove from Local Admin
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Bing_1.2.0.137_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingFinance_1.2.0.135_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingMaps_1.2.0.136_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingNews_1.2.0.135_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingSports_1.2.0.135_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingTravel_1.2.0.145_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingWeather_1.2.0.135_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Camera_6.2.8514.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package microsoft.microsoftskydrive_16.4.4204.712_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Reader_6.2.8516.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_16.4.4206.722_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package microsoft.windowsphotos_16.4.4204.712_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.XboxLIVEGames_1.0.927.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.ZuneMusic_1.0.927.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.ZuneVideo_1.0.927.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Media.PlayReadyClient_2.3.1662.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
# This is an X64 OS – remove for all users
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package  Microsoft.Bing_1.2.0.137_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingFinance_1.2.0.135_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingMaps_1.2.0.136_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingNews_1.2.0.135_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingSports_1.2.0.135_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingTravel_1.2.0.145_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.BingWeather_1.2.0.135_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.Camera_6.2.8514.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      microsoft.microsoftskydrive_16.4.4204.712_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.Reader_6.2.8516.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_16.4.4206.722_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      microsoft.windowsphotos_16.4.4204.712_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.XboxLIVEGames_1.0.927.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.ZuneMusic_1.0.927.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.ZuneVideo_1.0.927.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.Media.PlayReadyClient_2.3.1662.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -package      Microsoft.Media.PlayReadyClient_2.3.1662.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe -online
#Remove from Local Admin
remove-AppxPackage -package     Microsoft.Bing_1.2.0.137_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingFinance_1.2.0.135_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingMaps_1.2.0.136_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingNews_1.2.0.135_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingSports_1.2.0.135_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingTravel_1.2.0.145_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.BingWeather_1.2.0.135_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Camera_6.2.8514.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package microsoft.microsoftskydrive_16.4.4204.712_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Reader_6.2.8516.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_16.4.4206.722_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package microsoft.windowsphotos_16.4.4204.712_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.XboxLIVEGames_1.0.927.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.ZuneMusic_1.0.927.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.ZuneVideo_1.0.927.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Media.PlayReadyClient_2.3.1662.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
remove-AppxPackage -package Microsoft.Media.PlayReadyClient_2.3.1662.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe

Michael Niehaus (Senior Product Marketing Manager, Windows Commercial – Microsoft Corp.) piped in with a shorter solution.  He writes:

Import-Module DISM
Get-AppXProvisionedPackage -online | RemoveAppxProvisionedPackage –online
Get-AppXPackage | Remove-AppxPackage


Fair Winds and Following Seas…

For the last seven years I have been in awe of Michael Niehaus and the work that he has done on Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (nee Business Desktop Deployment).  When I met him five years ago I was in awe, and am glad to have had the opportunity to get to know him over the past few years.

Michael announced on his blog yesterday that he will be leaving the MDT team to join the Windows organization as a product marketing manager for enterprise deployment. (See post http://blogs.technet.com/b/mniehaus/archive/2012/08/02/one-journey-ends-another-begins.aspx)

I am sad that Michael is leaving the team, and wish him luck in his new role (where I expect I will still be able to work with him occasionally).  At the same time I want to wish him luck in his new role.  He is one of the good guys at Microsoft.

There was a time when my impression of Microsoft Deployment had two faces: Tim Mintner and Michael.  Tim left a couple of years ago, and then there was Michael.  And now there is a void.

Good luck to you Michael… I look forward to hearing all about the great new endeavours you will be working on… and I am glad you will still be blogging!

Everything you Wanted to Know and Ask about Windows Deployment!

For those of you who are interested in deploying Windows (and with 707 days left until #EndOfDaysXP who isn’t?) there are a couple of incredible webinars coming up that you definitely should not miss!  Stephen Rose will be holding a couple of discussions with MDT Product Manager Michael Niehaus (if you have ever heard me talk about him you know that I hold him in extremely high regard!) and Deployment guru Johan Arwidmark (a fellow MVP and a really nice guy).  They are in May and you should mark your calendars and register now because you should definitely not miss.  Here are the details… and tell them I sent you!

TechNet Webcast: Everything You Wanted to Know and Ask about Windows Deployment (Part 1)

Registration URL: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9807963  or  http://bit.ly/JLTQLM

Date/ Time:    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 – 9-10am (Pacific)

Abstract: In this demonstration-rich, question and answer webcast, Windows Product Manager Stephen Rose moderates an open conversation with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Product Manager Michael Niehaus and deployment guru Johan Arwidmark. They discuss the new Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 release as well as tips and tricks from the experts about using the Windows Deployment Toolkit.


TechNet Webcast: Everything You Wanted to Know and Ask about Windows Deployment (Part 2)

Registration URL: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9807964   or  http://bit.ly/Kgny8y

Date/ Time:    Thursday, May 17, 2012  – 9-10am (Pacific)

Abstract: In this demonstration-rich, question and answer webcast, Windows Product Manager Stephen Rose moderates an open conversation with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Product Manager Michael Niehaus and deployment guru Johan Arwidmark. They discuss the new Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 release as well as tips and tricks from the experts about using the Windows Deployment Toolkit.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Released!

Today at MMS Microsoft released MDT 2012. MDT 2012 is the newest version of Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, a Solution Accelerator for operating system and application deployment. MDT 2012 supports deployment of Windows 7, Office 2010 and 365, and Windows Server 2008 R2 in addition to deployment of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP. Once upon a time we called it BDD (Business Desktop Deployment).  To download it click on this link: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=25175&WT.mc_id=rss_windows_allproducts

Mastering Windows 7 Deployment–a Review

This week I was teaching the Deploying the Optimized Desktop class for the Microsoft Partner Network, and one of my students asked me if there was a good book on the Windows Automated Installation Kit.  While I am not aware of a book specific to that product, I told them about the book Mastering Windows 7 Deployment (SYBEX Publishing) by Aidan Finn, Darril Gibson, and Kenneth van Surksum.  It is, for my money, the most comprehensive book on desktop deployment available today.

While it is easy to look at Desktop Deployment and decide that it is the tools that deploy the operating system are most important, I disagree.  Planning is key to the process because without a proper plan it is easy to go astray.  This book discusses the planning and acknowledges that aspects such as application compatibility, licensing, and activation tools are just as much a component of the deployment process.  As I review the requirements for the exam 70-681 (TS: Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deploying) one of the skills measured is Configuring Activation (This objective may include but is not limited to: Windows 7, Office 2010, Key Management Service (KMS), Multiple Activation Key (MAK), Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT)) so if Microsoft thinks it is important, why wouldn’t you?

I do fewer deployment consulting mandates today than I did two years ago simply due to the amount of teaching I do, but this book should be required reading, in addition to a handy reference source, for anyone deploying Windows 7 to their environments, whether they do it once or twenty times.  Simply being able to flip to the Index and find what I am looking for – as I did last night when looking for information on the Windows AIK – makes it worth the price of admission.

The only thing I would change, and this is for purely selfish reasons, is I would love to have an e-book copy of it.  I don’t need it for the Kindle or whatever, but to have a PDF copy that I could keep with me all the time (as I do a plethora of others that I reference as needed) then it would be easier for me.  However I am a bit of a hypocrite with this, because I always want to have the physical book on my shelf… call me a modern quasi-traditionalist Smile

One of the great things about this book is that it covers the tools and the methodologies, so not only is it good for Windows 7, but a lot of what is discussed will also backwards-apply as far back as Windows XP, and from what I can tell a lot of it will apply to Windows 8 (as we are currently referring to it).  This book is useful for now, and should be for a long time to come.  Of course, I am sure they will refresh it for Windows 8, but the knowledge gained from this version should tide you over.

The price is right at $59.99 (Canadian) and it is available from Wiley at http://ca.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470600314.html, or of course from Amazon for as low as $1.49. (http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Windows-Deployment-Aidan-Finn/dp/0470600314/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321462510&sr=8-1).  If you are a Deployment pro, Windows pro, or interested in deploying Windows 7… pick it up!

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