Windows Setup could not configure Windows on this computer’s hardware,” is an error message that some customers attempting to install Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 received before the deployment failed.

Microsoft confirmed the issue and also offered details on the source of the error message.

According to the Redmond company, the problem involves scenarios in which users try to install either Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 to an advanced 512-byte emulation (512e) format disk.

The drive also needs to be configured in such a way as to emulate RAID disk functionality in order for the error message to be presented, the software giant explained. More »

Microsoft is inviting early adopters to test the next version of a Solution Accelerator designed to streamline migrations to the latest of the company’s technologies.

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.5 Beta was initially made available for download in November 2010, but the testing Build is still live on Microsoft Connect, and the software giant appears to be welcoming new testers with open arms, still.

After all, it’s the testing data along with feedback from customers that will help the Redmond company wrap up version 5.5 of the MAP Toolkit, and make it available as soon as possible.

Now at v5.5, the MAP Toolkit simplifies the work that IT professionals have to put in when it comes down to upgrade scenarios involving such products as Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server R2, Internet Explorer 8 and 9, but also Windows Azure and SQL Azure. More »

Microsoft Press is offering no less than nine free ebooks for download on a variety of topics, from the latest iterations of the Windows client and the Office productivity suite to the first Windows Phone OS and to the company’s developer platform.

At the bottom of this article users will be able to find the complete list with all the free resources offered by the Redmond along with the links necessary to download all the goodies.

Of course, those familiar with Microsoft Press know that this is not the first time that the software giant has shared ebooks with the public, free of charge.

The latest resources are packaged in no less than nine books designed to help customers make the best out of a range of Microsoft products and technologies. More »

Although Microsoft doesn’t normally deliver support for pre-release software, there are exceptions to this rule, and an update designed to resolve issues related to Taskbar functionality in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Beta and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 is an illustrative example in this regard.

The Redmond company also offers support for pre-RTM products when it comes down to patching Critical security vulnerabilities that would put users at risk from attacks and exploits.

However, the update released in the second half of August 2010 is not intended to patch a security flaw.

Instead “this update addresses an issue in which the thumbnail controls for some applications are not displayed on the taskbar. After you install this update, you may have to restart your system,” Microsoft stated.

According to the little information provided by the software giant, the refresh is capable of enabling “the thumbnail controls of certain applications to be displayed correctly on the taskbar in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2.”

And although the company doesn’t mention Windows 7 SP1 Beta and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta in the Knowledge Base article, the releases on the Microsoft Download Center reveal that early adopters running the public Beta of the first upgrade for the two platforms should also deploy the update.

Windows 7 SP1 Beta was released to testers in the first half of July 2010, and continues to be available for download to the public.

As it released Windows 7 SP1 Beta, Microsoft made it clear that it planned to wrap up and deliver the RTM bits of the service pack in the first half of 2011, most probably in the first quarter of next year, rather than by the end of 2010, as previously speculated.

Following the release of Windows 7 Service Pack (SP1) Beta Build 7601.16562.100603-1800, work on the upgrade continued, with Microsoft having reportedly released a new interim version of the service pack to TAP and OEMs.

The software giant confirmed that Windows 7 SP1 Beta Refresh Build 7601.17077 indeed shipped to a select pool of testers.

Windows 7 Service Pack (SP1) Beta Build 7601.16562.100603-1800 is available for download here.

Here are the download links for KB2259539:

All supported x86-based versions of Windows 7

All supported x64-based versions of Windows 7

All supported x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 R2

All supported IA-64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 R2

Some media and storage devices can cause crashes of computers running the latest iteration of the Windows client, Microsoft informed.

The Redmond company did not offer a specific list of hardware products that have problems playing nice with Windows 7, but the software giant did deliver a few details.

Not only Windows 7 computers are impacted by this issue, but also Windows Server 2008 R2 machines.

According to reports from users, the crashes are associated with freshly installed third-party applications designed to be used in concert with devices relying on multiple transport Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) or on the Windows Portable Device (WPD).

Microsoft explained that Windows 7 PCs will crash when MTP or WPD devices are connected for the first time. More »