Microsoft is upping the ante when it comes down to desktop optimization for Windows clients. The public Beta program for Windows Intune is now live, the first step in the company’s vision to introduce new offerings designed to take desktop management into the Cloud. Designed to streamline the administration of Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP seats, Windows Intune is designed to ‘tune up’ Windows clients, boosting efficiency, security, while helping business customers cut down the TCO (total cost of ownership). In this regard, Windows Intune has been created for small and midsize businesses, with environments featuring anywhere from 25 to 500 PCs.

“Windows Intune simplifies how businesses manage and secure PCs using Windows cloud services and Windows 7—making it easier for IT staff to manage and secure PCs from virtually anywhere. In addition to the core cloud service in this offering, we’re also providing access to Windows 7 Enterprise upgrades as well as advanced on-premise management and virtualization tools (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack),” Brandon LeBlanc, Windows communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, revealed. More »

Debuted last week for customers worldwide, the Windows Upgrade Option Program is designed to deliver customers and small businesses that buy designated PCs with premium versions of Windows Vista pre-installed free upgrades to equivalent flavors of Windows 7 once the operating system becomes available. The initiative is meant to feed consumers’ appetite for Windows 7 that could hurt Windows Vista sales and to make waiting for the next iteration of the Windows client drop pointless.

1. What is the Program Eligibility Period?

June 26, 2009 to January 31, 2010 – Only PCs preinstalled with qualifying Vista editions have to be acquired starting with June 26, but no later than January 31, 2010, in order to be eligible for a free Windows 7 upgrade through the Upgrade Option Program.

2. What are the qualifying Vista SKUs? To which Windows 7 edition will free upgrades be possible?

– Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade
– Windows Vista Home Premium Full free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade More »

The Security Compliance Management Toolkit series builds on previous Solution Accelerators to provide you with expanded best practices and additional automation tools to help configure and deploy security settings for the following operating systems and applications: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Vista SP1, Windows XP Professional SP3, and 2007 Microsoft Office SP1.

After deploying the security settings, you can verify the accuracy of the setting policies and monitor policy changes by applying one or more of 26 Configuration Packs using the desired configuration management (DCM) feature of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1. This series includes the following toolkits:

  • Windows Server 2008 Security Compliance Management Toolkit
  • Windows Server 2003 Security Compliance Management Toolkit
  • Windows Vista Security Compliance Management Toolkit
  • Windows XP Security Compliance Management Toolkit
  • 2007 Microsoft Office Security Compliance Management Toolkit More »

Having taken Windows XP to Service Pack 3 in the first half of this year, Microsoft is continuing the evolution of the operating system. In this context, the Redmond company has made available for download the Media Pack update for the N variants of Windows XP SP3. The Media Pack is available through Windows Update, and is designed to integrate exclusively with the Windows XP Home Edition N SP3 and Windows XP Professional N. The other editions of Windows XP SP3 already contain by default the components delivered by the Media Pack.

“Different software programs and Web sites rely on some Windows files that are not included in Windows XP Home Edition N or in Windows XP Professional N. This update makes sure that these software programs and Web sites work correctly,” Microsoft revealed, informing that XP users would have to first install Windows Media Player and Service Pack 3 in order to be able to integrate the Media Pack.

The N versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista have been born as a necessity for Microsoft to comply with an antitrust decision of the European Union. In this regard, the Redmond company is offering in Europe versions of its Windows clients stripped of Windows Media Player. More »

Windows XP has less stringent Windows Product Activation algorithm compared with Windows Vista. For example, PC computers from branded OEM (original equipment manufacturer) is activated out-of-factory, and most hackers and pirates go for volume licensing (commonly known as VL or VOL) version of Windows XP Professional which when installed with a volume product key (VLK), does not require user to activate again online or by phone.

However, Windows XP does require product activation too. Doesn’t need (as in the case of when using OEM or VLK product key, which is instantly and automated activated) to perform steps to activate Windows XP doesn’t mean that Windows XP is not activated, and activated Windows XP is one of the requirement for the installed copy of operating system to be considered by genuine by Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Validation Tool.

To check, view or verify the Windows XP current activation status, open Run command from Start Menu, and run the following command: More »