Windows has evolved over the years with various tools to diagnose and repair issues. Everyone probably remembers the in-box tools to repair wireless connections in Windows XP. They started getting better in Windows Vista, then Windows 7 comes along with PowerShell in-box and an engine to diagnose, repair, and validate fixes automatically. If you open “Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Troubleshooting” on a Windows 7 machine, you will see all of the in-box Troubleshooters to diagnose and repair things like network connections, Aero desktop effects, and audio playback. What you may not know is that you can build your own Troubleshooters, so they look and feel just like the in-box items and troubleshoot issues specific to your environment. You might have been doing this for a while with custom scripts, but now you can convert those so they look like the ones natively in Windows-in this article, I will tell you how. More »

Now that Microsoft has made Office 2010 RTM available to the public, it falls on customers to make sure that their products are kept up to date.

But the Redmond company is making it extremely simple for end users and businesses that embraced the latest iteration of the Office productivity suite to find the Service Packs and CU updates for Office products.

Hosted on TechNet, the Update Center for Office makes it simple for customers to find the latest Service Pack, latest Public Update, latest Cumulative Update and general guidance for Office 2010.

At the same time, the online resources (Update Center for Microsoft Office, Office Servers, and Related Products) hosted on TechNet are not limited to Office 2010, but in fact cover all Office releases, as long as they are still supported by Microsoft. More »

The Windows Time Service Technical Reference was published on TechNet earlier this year and is accessible free of charge to all IT professionals interested in getting a deeper insight into W32Time. According to the Redmond company, the Windows Time Service Technical Reference offers info on W32Time for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, but also older releases of Windows, including Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003. A member of the Directory Services team explained that the Technical Reference offered through TechNet was designed to consolidate the information available on Windows Time (w32time) in all of the company’s operating systems.

“The Windows Time service, also known as W32Time, synchronizes the date and time for all computers running in an AD DS domain. Time synchronization is critical for the proper operation of many Windows services and line-of-business applications. More »

Although customers can already download version 4.6 of Microsoft Application Virtualization, the Redmond-based company is now offering for download the second major upgrade to its predecessor. Application Virtualization (App-V) 4.5 Service Pack 2 (SP2) is now available through the Microsoft Download Center, bringing to the table the latest updates to App-V 4.5. The main changes highlighted by the software giant for the evolution of App-V 4.5 with the release of SP2 involve virtualization support of Office 2010 and of SQL Mirroring.

“This service pack provides the latest updates to Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5. Because Microsoft Application Virtualization service packs are cumulative, you do not have to install Service Pack 1 before you install Service Pack 2. Service Pack 2 includes all of the fixes that were included in Service Pack 1,” Microsoft revealed. More »

Microsoft is offering a range of free resources, from Solution Accelerators to volume activation tools in order to simplify the adoption of its latest technologies, including Windows 7 and Office 2010, especially as far as business customers are concerned. One particular offering from the Redmond company is the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) 2.0, which enables IT Professionals to centrally manage Windows 7 activations. Of course, the tool is by no means limited to the latest iteration of the Windows client.

“VAMT 2.0 also manages activations for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Office 2010 client suites and applications, Visio 2010 and Project 2010,” Microsoft’s Jodi Kogan revealed. “You can perform KMS, MAK and retail activations on remotely managed systems, all from a single VAMT console. The process is simple; VAMT first discovers the computers and installed products. Then, the product key is installed for the target systems to be activated.” More »