September, 2009

  • And so Bob Caswell is working on Digital Courseware (MOC). Microsoft Certified Trainers will be familiar with the format but we will add additional tools that make life as an MCT easier. For students, digital MOC offers you more choice: work with the printed book, an electronic version, or just print parts of the book. For our partners it will be easier and faster to order digital MOC. But you do not have to, printed MOC is not going away, we are just adding choice.

    Bob will have more news next week, I walked by his office this afternoon for an sneak peek:

  • |

    We’re pleased to announce that Windows 7 Inside Out by Ed Bott, Carl Siechert, and Craig Stinson, is now available for purchase in bookstores (Microsoft Press, 2010; ISBN: 9780735626652; 1056 pages)!

     9780735626652f

    In a previous post, we included the Foreword, written by Microsoft Windows Division President, Steven Sinofsky. Here, we provide an excerpt of two chapters from the book.

    Excerpt from Chapter 1

    Chapter 1

    What’s New in Windows 7

    IS Windows 7 a major upgrade or just a collection of refinements? The answer depends on your starting point. If you’ve been using Windows Vista, the upgrade to Windows 7 should be relatively straightforward. Windows 7 is built on the same foundation as Windows Vista, so you’ve already sorted out compatibility hassles with programs and devices. After you learn the basics of the revamped Windows 7 desktop and adapt to changes in search and file management, you should feel right at home.

    For those who are moving to Windows 7 from Windows XP, the learning curve will be steeper. You’ll find fundamental changes in nearly every aspect of the operating system, and many of the expert techniques that you’ve learned through the years won’t work any longer. Three feature sets that were originally introduced in Windows Vista will be of particular interest to anyone upgrading from Windows XP:

    • Search capabilities are a key part of just about every Windows task. In Windows XP, this capability is available as an add-on that installs a search box on the taskbar. In Windows 7, you’ll find a search box on the Start menu, in the upper right corner of any window or dialog box based on Windows Explorer, and in Control Panel.
    • For anyone obsessed with performance and troubleshooting (we suspect most of our readers fall into this group), Windows 7 includes an impressive set of diagnostic and monitoring tools. Collectively, they offer a level of detail about system events that can be eye-opening and overwhelming.
    • User Account Control was one of the most controversial and misunderstood additions to Windows Vista. This feature has been greatly modified in Windows 7, but anyone upgrading from Windows XP might be surprised by the extra layer of consent dialog boxes required for some common administrative tasks.

    ---

    Introducing the Windows 7 Family

    When you begin to delve into details about how Windows 7 works, the discussion can quickly become complicated. The primary reason for confusion is because the operating system is actually distributed and sold in multiple editions. Compared to Windows Vista, the lineup of available editions is less complicated, but you can still get tripped up if you read about an advanced feature and don’t realize that it’s missing from your edition.

    How can you tell which Windows 7 edition is installed on your PC? The easiest way is to look at the top of the System applet in Control Panel—click System in Control Panel; right-click the Computer icon on the Start menu and then click Properties; or use the keyboard shortcut Windows logo key+Break. Under the Windows Edition heading, you will see the current installed edition, as shown in Figure 1-1.

    clip_image002

    Figure 1-1 System in Control Panel shows which Windows 7 edition is installed.

    In this book, we concentrate on the three Windows 7 editions you are most likely to encounter on a mainstream home or business PC:

    • Windows 7 home premium This is the edition you are most likely to find installed on a new PC in the computer section at your local warehouse store or consumer electronics specialist. It includes roughly the same mix of features as its predecessor, Windows Vista Home Premium.
    • Windows 7 professional This edition is the successor to Windows Vista Business and incorporates the same features as that operating system, notably advanced networking features that work with networks based on the Windows Server family. In a noteworthy change, however, Windows 7 Professional is a superset of Home Premium and thus includes all features (including Windows Media Center) found in the lesser edition.
    • Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 enterprise These editions are essentially identical, with the names reflecting the sales channel of each: Ultimate is available on retail and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) editions; Enterprise is distributed only to large customers who buy volume licenses of Windows. This edition contains all features found in the Home Premium and Professional editions plus some advanced networking features, BitLocker encryption, and support for multiple languages.

    All of these editions are available in x86 (32-bit) and x64 (64-bit) options. When we wrote the previous edition of this book, 64-bit Windows was still a fairly exotic choice for most Windows users. Within just a few years, thanks in no small measure to the plummeting price of memory chips, that balance has shifted dramatically. Today, Windows 7 x64 is commonly installed on new computers, especially on systems with 4 GB or more of RAM.

    note

    The default settings we describe in this book are those you will see if you perform a clean install of Windows 7 using a shrink-wrapped retail copy. If you purchase a new PC with Windows 7, your settings might be different. Computer manufacturers have the right to customize Windows when they install it on a new system; they can change default settings, customize desktop backgrounds and screen savers, tweak the home page and Favorites list in Windows Internet Explorer, install third-party software, and configure the system so that it uses a different media player or browser than the Microsoft defaults.

    Excerpt from Chapter 4

    Chapter 4

    Personalizing Windows

    ONE of the most obvious changes that Microsoft made in moving from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is the taskbar, which has a bold new look, lots of new functionality, and new ways to customize, all of which we explain in this chapter. We also cover the many new techniques that make it easier to perform various window tasks, such as maximizing, resizing, and so on. A subtler change is the inclusion of the word Personalize prominently in the user interface of the new operating system. Certainly, earlier versions of Windows could be tailored, customized, and modified to suit a user’s needs and preferences—in a word, personalized. But the P word itself was missing. Now, when you right-click your desktop, the shortcut menu that pops up features an icon-festooned Personalize command. Personalize Windows is also one of the items that appear in the new operating system’s Getting Started task list. So the message is clear: It’s your operating system; make it reflect your tastes, your needs, your style. Make it work for you. More than any previous version of Windows, Windows 7 provides myriad tools for doing just that—tools that we survey in this chapter.

    What’s in Your Edition?

    The ability to personalize your computing environment by changing desktop backgrounds, window colors, and sounds is not available in Windows 7 Starter edition. Lack of Aero support in Starter edition means you can’t get transparent window frames, live taskbar previews, and other visual effects, and Aero Peek is unavailable. And Starter edition does not support the use of multiple monitors. All other features described in this chapter are available in all editions.

    Working with the New Taskbar and Start Menu

    The taskbar is that strip of real estate along one screen edge (bottom by default) that contains the Start menu button, program buttons, and status icons. The taskbar made its first appearance in Windows 95. In the years since, it has slowly evolved: installing Internet Explorer 4 in Windows 95 also added a Quick Launch toolbar and other toolbars; Windows XP reduced clutter by introducing taskbar grouping; and Windows Vista added taskbar previews, small window representations that increased your chances of clicking the correct taskbar button for the program you want to bring to the front.

    The evolution continues in Windows 7, but at a generation-skipping pace. The Windows 7 taskbar (see Figure 4-1) continues to serve the same basic functions as its progenitors— launching programs, switching between programs, and providing notifications—but in a way that makes these basic tasks easier and more efficient.

    clip_image002[6]

    Figure 4-1 Although the taskbar designs in Windows XP (top), Windows Vista (center), and Windows 7 (bottom) comprise the same basic elements, the appearance has evolved a bit—and the functionality has advanced by leaps and bounds.

    Opening and Monitoring Programs from Taskbar Buttons

    As in previous Windows versions, the taskbar houses the Start menu button, a button for each running program, and the notification area. You can use these task buttons to switch from one running program to another. You can also click a task button to minimize an open window or to restore a minimized window. But in a departure from earlier Windows versions, which had separate bands dedicated to a Quick Launch bar (from which you can open programs) and to taskbar buttons (which represent programs that are currently running), the Windows 7 taskbar combines these functions. That is, buttons between the Start button and the notification area can be used both for opening programs and for switching between programs.

    Adding and Removing Pinned Programs, Documents, and Folders

    Programs that you use often (the ones that you might’ve had on the Quick Launch toolbar in the past) can be easily pinned to the taskbar so that a single click launches them. To open a program that is pinned to the taskbar, you don’t need to open the Start menu or dig down to find a desktop shortcut. To pin a program to the taskbar, simply drag its icon or a shortcut (from the desktop, from the Start menu, or from any other folder) to the taskbar. Alternatively, right-click a program icon wherever you find it and choose Pin To Taskbar. To remove a pinned program from the taskbar, right-click the pinned icon and choose Unpin This Program From Taskbar. This same command also appears on other shortcuts to the program, including those on the desktop and on the Start menu. You can also pin frequently used documents and folders to the taskbar, using similar methods:

    To pin a document to the taskbar, drag its icon or a shortcut to the taskbar. If the taskbar already has a button for the program associated with the document, Windows adds the document to the Pinned section of the program’s Jump List. (For more information about Jump Lists, see “Using Jump Lists on the Taskbar and Start Menu” on page 107.) If the document’s program is not on the taskbar, Windows pins the program to the taskbar and adds the document to the program’s Jump List.

    • To pin a folder to the taskbar, drag its icon or a shortcut to the taskbar. Windows adds the folder to the Pinned section of the Jump List for Windows Explorer.
    • To open a pinned document or folder, right-click the taskbar button and then click the name of the document or folder.
    • To remove a pinned document or folder from the Jump List, right-click the taskbar button and point to the name of the document or folder to be removed. Click the pushpin icon that appears.

    INSIDE OUT

    Restore the Quick Launch toolbar

    Some habits die hard. If you just can’t bear to give up the Quick Launch toolbar, you can display it in Windows 7. To do so, add the hidden Quick Launch folder as you would any other folder. (For details, see “Using Additional Toolbars” on page 112.) In the New Toolbar dialog box, type %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch in the Folder box. To mimic the appearance of the Quick Launch toolbar in previous Windows versions, unlock the taskbar. (Right-click the taskbar and, if there’s a check mark by Lock The Taskbar, choose that command.) Right-click the Quick Launch toolbar and clear the Show Title and Show Text commands. Then drag the handle (the dotted line) on the left side of the Quick Launch toolbar so that it’s next to the Start button, and drag the handle on the right side of the toolbar to set the width you want. Then relock the taskbar. If you later decide you don’t need the Quick Launch toolbar after all, right-click the taskbar and select Toolbars, Quick Launch to remove the check mark and the toolbar.

    ---

     

    To download the full sample chapters plus additional sample chapters from other Windows 7 books, as well as learning snacks and online clinics, be sure to visit the Microsoft Learning Windows 7 Training Portal.

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/training/windows.aspx.

  • I’ve mentioned that I’m technologically illiterate in previous posts. I know some of you have been thinking “how can that be true—she works at Microsoft after all". Sadly, it’s true, and I’m willing to rise above my embarrassment and share proof because I found something totally awesome on the Born to Learn site today. Well, actually Tjeerd showed me because I doubt I ever would have found it on my own (seriously)…

    Check out the the Get on the Bus home page. Just below the Born to Learn tabs, there are links to details about the trip in the dark blue line. All this time, I’ve been watching the RSS feeds and checking the main GOTB page, waiting to find out what events are planned, where we were going, who’s going with us, etc. Basically, I’ve been looking for anything to feed my personal excitement frenzy for this tour. Today, pay dirt! I’m in nirvana.

    Want to know where we’re going?

    http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/thebus/tour-dates

    Want to know who’ll be on the bus? Curious about what we look like (even me)?

    http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/thebus/the-crew

    If you want to know more about someone who’ll be on the bus, click on their name on the right side of the picture for some fun facts about each of us.

    Want to track the bus as we journey across Europe?

    http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/thebus/bus-tracker

    Yes, I’ve been to GOTB home page every day, and no, I never noticed these links to the cool details about the tour. Sad really, and proof positive that I’m technologically illiterate, but at least now I know where to look when I need my quick fix of GOTB related information. Thanks, Tjeerd!

  • Check this http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/ :-)

  • Looking for all the Windows 7 events? Want to participate in live forums with Windows engineers? Attend events and join the conversation at Talkingaboutwindows.com.

    TalkingaboutWindows.com offers IT professional’s genuine insight into Windows 7 from the Microsoft engineers who helped build it. Listen as they talk about why decisions and trade-offs were made. Get real-world commentary from your peers as they share their Windows deployment and adoption experiences.  Participate in the forums to express your opinions, discuss Windows and share adoption stories.  Visit www.TalkingAboutWindows.com to find events near you and join the conversation.

  • On September 17, Microsoft received ANSI accreditation for two of our biggest Microsoft Certified Professional credentials!

    · Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Windows Server 2008 Server Administrator

    · Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Administrator

    Accreditation for these credentials certifies that they meet the ISO 17024 (Personnel Certification Bodies) requirements. ANSI accreditation is recognized as the highest standard in personnel certification accreditation and is the only accreditation that is recognized by governments around the world.

    Why is this so cool?

    Accreditation means that you (and your manager/organization) can trust that we’ve applied strict international industry standards and rigor to the process of creating and maintaining these credentials. You can count on high quality, valid, and reliable exams, as required under the ISO 17024 standard.

    Additionally, the US Government and other organizations are increasingly using ANSI accreditation to verify the quality of certification programs and to control fraud and misuse. In view of the proliferation of certification programs and the need to help the consumers make informed decisions, government agencies look to ANSI accreditation to differentiate quality programs and improve practices in industry. The ANSI accreditation process is designed to increase the integrity, confidence, and mobility of certified professionals.

    Finally, this is a differentiator for Microsoft credentials in comparison to other IT credentials in the market. These two Microsoft credentials are the FIRST two product specific IT certifications to receive the ANSI accreditation under ISO 17024.

    Clearly, accreditation is critical to the value of your certification. Because it puts an external stamp of approval on the rigor with which we develop and maintain exams, we plan to put more of our credentials through this process and are currently working on the MCSA--Security Specialization credential, which we hope will be accredited in December 2009. Keep watching this blog for more details.

  • If you’ve been watching this blog, then you know that we’ve recently opened the beta registrations for several Windows 7 and Exchange 2010 exams. All of the beta exams that we’ve announced in the past few months have filled at record speeds, and in most cases, we’ve increased the number of beta seats multiple times in order to accommodate your interest and excitement in wanting to participate in the beta process. Because of the Speedy Gonzales nature of these registrations, we’ve had a lot of questions/comments about limiting registrations in a variety of ways (e.g., to just those who hold the previous version of the credential, MCTs only/first, MCPs only/first, invite only, [insert your creative variation here], etc.). So, I thought I’d share a little insight into this process.

    We have three major types of beta exams: 1) open (public), 2) invite only (private), and 3) operational. I’ll save the operational beta for a different day because we only use it when we expect very low run rates (niche products or products with slow uptake)—so, it clearly is not part of this conversation.

    To get the best psychometric results, a lot of people with a wide range of skills on the technology must take the beta exam. After all, the whole point of a beta is to identify the good items and remove the bad ones. Simply put, I can’t tell if an item can discriminate between high and low performers or if it’s too easy or too hard if the beta sample includes only those who really know (or don’t know) their stuff.

    In addition, we want to reach as many people as possible with our certifications, and we want to get people excited about them. When its possible, we try to open the beta exam registrations to as many people as possible who are likely to have the core skill set. For very popular technologies that are largely unchanged from one version to the next, we use an “open” beta because the prevalence and popularity of the previous version of the technology means that most people who register will have some related skills either from the current version (these candidates are highly desired) or from the previous version (less desirable from a psychometric perspective but the reality when you’re dealing with new technology that isn’t commercially available). Open betas allow us to meet both of our goals—psychometric soundness of the beta results and reaching as many people as possible.

    For products that are less prevalent with fewer users or with significant changes from one version to the next, we use the “invite only” beta process because I have to be sure that those who take the beta have some passing familiarity with the technology. If I can’t be sure that I will get the sample I need with an “open” beta, the product planners use the “invite only” process. They identify participants using contacts that they have in the industry, product group, and from our SME database. Currently, most of our betas meet our requirements for open betas, but we still do invite only betas for some technologies although it may not seem like it.

    So, let’s cut to the chase. How do we ensure that our most loyal candidates—you—have the first shot at registering for a beta exam on a popular technology? Here’s our commitment to you around “open” betas. We will contact SMEs in our SME database who have related skills, indicated their desire to participate in beta exams, and have checked the box at the end of the survey saying that we can contact them FIRST. We will then post the beta code on Born to Learn and associated product specific blogs as appropriate. Remember, though, that seats are limited and registration will always be first come, first served; if you’re interested, register as soon as you see the announcement or invite for a beta. Thanks for your excitement about being part of the exam development process! I love it!

  • 9:00: Windows 7 Virtual Roundtable just started, join us at https://ms.istreamplanet.com/springboard

    ----update----

    9:30 Halfway, we are having a very interactive session, many people watching and we’re very happy with all the questions that are coming in!

    Your questions are presented to the panel and we have a team answering further  questions online. Now’s the time to ask, keep it coming!

     

    10:30 The event is over, we received over 150 questions, if you missed it you can still view the roundtable here https://ms.istreamplanet.com/springboard

    Afterwards, I met with Stephen Rose, Sr Community Marketing Manager, Erwin Visser, Sr Director of Marketing Windows Client. I apologize for the background noise as the crew was breaking down the studio around us as we talked :-)

  • |

    You might have seen the news already: we’re teaming up with O’Reilly Media to bring you guys even more Microsoft Press goodness!

    Starting November 30 in the U.S. (and expanding globally over time), O’Reilly will be co-publishing our line of Microsoft Press books, and they’ll be our distributor as well.

    We’ll still develop new MS Press books, and O’Reilly will too—which means that over time you should see more books, faster. And with O’Reilly distributing our titles, I’m sure you’ll see some sweet advances on our e-book front, too.

    Beyond that, how are you impacted as an MS Press customer today? Not at all: you’ll continue to see our books in physical and on-line book stores with the same look, ISBN#, etc. It’s all goodness!

    I’m sure our Microsoft Press colleagues and authors will be commenting as our relationship progresses, so be sure to follow them here on our Microsoft Press page here on B2L and on Twitter. You can also read Tim O’Reilly’s blog post about the announcement for more background.

  • Just announced – a free Windows 7 Developer Boot Camp on November 16, open to PDC09 attendees and non-attendees.  Registered attendees can secure their spot by updating their registration record (contact pdc09@ustechs.com with questions).  Space is limited, so spread the word with your customers, partners and developer communities today!  (Full details here)

    Jump-start your Windows 7 experience by joining some of the top Windows 7 engineers, including Mark Russinovich, Landy Wang, and Arun Kishan, for an intense, high quality training session. Whether you are looking to create more performant, reliable, or secure applications, or you are an application developer looking to leapfrog past your competition, this FREE Boot Camp can get you from zero to hero in less than eight hours!

    This fast-paced Windows 7 marathon will cover it all:

    » Kernel  and architectural improvements

    » New shell integration points: taskbar, libraries, and search

    » Applied tips for getting the most out of today’s hardware with the sensor & location platform, multitouch, and the new graphics libraries (Direct2D, DirectX 11) that take advantage of the GPU

    Whether you’re a C++, C# or Visual Basic developer, building a .NET or a Win32 application, we’ll give you actionable tips to get the most out of the Windows platform.

  • These days my alarm clock rings even earlier than it usually does. The reason? We are setting tour dates for Get on the Bus!

    The 9 hour time difference means we’re liaising with our partners at the crack of dawn and still half our planning is done at times when our partners should really be enjoying dinner with their families. To prove a point, as I write this I can see e-mail come in from CompuTrain in The Netherlands, where I’m quite certain it is a 0:45 AM right now. The great thing is that nobody seems to mind, we are all driven by a strong passion for technology and we are going to deliver a fantastic series of events. Some great ideas were sent in, some involving soccer stadiums or cinemas. We’ll have great content, great speakers and we will not let you go home empty handed; There Shallt Be Goodies!

    Keep an eye on our ‘tour dates’, you will notice registration is already open for most of these. Oh, if you want to be ON the bus with us, the competition is still open :-)

  • Friendly reminder, don’t miss this!

    Date: Thursday, September 24    Time: 9:00am Pacific Time

    Where? https://ms.istreamplanet.com/springboard

    Hear from a panel of experts how virtualization tools can help you with application compatibility concerns whether you’re migrating from Windows Vista or Windows XP. Join us to discuss how presentation virtualization, desktop virtualization and application virtualization can reduce testing times, expedite deployment and ultimately help you streamline PC management. We’ll cover the latest desktop virtualization technologies from Microsoft, including App-V, MED-V and XP Mode for Windows 7. Plus we share tips and tricks and demonstrate free tools to analyze and fix applications while answering your questions live during the event. Join live on Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 9:00am Pacific Time. Missed Part 1? Watch the replay.

    For IT Pro tips, tricks and resources for Windows 7, visit the Springboard Series.

    As part of the “virtual” experience, you may submit your questions about Windows 7 Application Compatibility to the panel live during the event—or submit questions in advance to vrtable@microsoft.com.

  • gotb_crest_4

    If you tried to submit your contest entry and it bounced back, please submit again to gotb@microsoft.com.  We had the wrong email address when you clicked on the link.  In fact, if you re worried that we didn t get it, send it again just to make sure.

    And if you have no clue what we re talking about, we re giving away one amazing experience onboard the bus during our Europe tour in October (and one pass to TechEd!).  Read more about it here:

    http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/2009/09/do-you-want-to-get-on-the-bus

  • |

    We’re pleased to announce that Windows 7 Plain & Simple, by Jerry Joyce and Marianne Moon is now available in bookstores (Microsoft Press, 2010; ISBN: 9780735626669; 400 pages)!

    9780735626669f

    With this book, you get the fast facts that make learning Windows 7 plain and simple! To give you a taste of what you’ll find in the book, here are excerpts from the book.

    Excerpt from Chapter 1:

    About This Book

    In this section:

    • No Computerspeak!
    • A Quick Overview
    • What’s New in Windows 7?
    • A Few Assumptions
    • A Final Word (or Two)

    If you want to get the most from your computer and your software with the least amount of time and effort—and who doesn’t?—this book is for you. You’ll find Windows 7 Plain & Simple to be a straightforward, easy-to-read reference tool. With the premise that your computer should work for you, not you for it, this book’s purpose is to help you get your work done quickly and efficiently so that you can get away from the computer and live your life. Our book is based on the Windows 7 Home Premium edition running on a desktop, notebook, pen-based, or multi-touch-based computer that is, or can be, connected to the Internet. If you’re running another edition of Windows 7, you can still use all or most of the information you’ll find here. However, we do talk about some features that aren’t included in either the Starter or the Home Basic edition, and we don’t deal with some additional features that you’ll find in Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.

    ---

    Excerpt from Chapter 5:

    Personalizing

    In this section:

    • Changing the Overall Look
    • Enlarging Text
    • Setting Your Desktop Background
    • Customizing Your Desktop Icons, Mouse, Taskbar, Start Menu, and Folders
    • Using a Screen Saver
    • Controlling the User Account Control
    • Setting the Way a Removable Storage Device Starts
    • Using Alternative Ways of Working
    • Working in a Different Part of the World
    • Controlling Updates, Information Gathering, and Program Reporting

    You can customize just about everything on your computer to make it look and work exactly the way you want. It’s fun to experiment with the various themes, and to try out the cool transparent look in windows, the taskbar, the Start menu, and other parts of Windows 7. You can create a slide show for your Desktop background and for your screen saver. You can change the size and color of almost everything; set items to open with one click instead of two; and rearrange or hide the taskbar, toolbars, Start menu, and Desktop items. You can even customize your little friend the mouse. You can use a single window in which to open all your folders, or use a separate window for each folder; and you can choose the details—date, author, and so on—that you want to be shown in your folder windows. If you sometimes work in a different language, you can switch the layout of your keyboard to that language, and you can add clocks to check the time in other cities or countries. If you have problems with your vision, hearing, or manual dexterity—or if you just want to try a different way of working—the Ease Of Access Center presents an array of alternative tools you can try. You can also control just how much information you share with Microsoft, and you can control when and how you update your computer’s software.

    clip_image002

    ---

    Excerpt from Chapter 10:

    Using Voice and Sounds

    In this section:

    • Controlling the Volume
    • Controlling the Sound System
    • Creating a Sound Theme
    • Directing Your Computer with Voice Commands
    • Dictating Text
    • Customizing Speech Recognition
    • Talking to the Mouse
    • Letting Your Computer Do the Talking
    • Creating a Sound File
    • Using Alternatives to Sound

    If the sound your computer emits to signal an event—the logon or logoff sound, for example—is an earsplitting assault, relief in the form of adjusting the volume is just a click or two away with volume control in Windows 7. And, if you can’t stand the startup sound, you can simply turn it off! You can also use the volume control to keep your music and other sounds muted so that you don’t disturb the people around you. If you’d like to command your computer verbally instead of typing and using the mouse, try Windows 7’s powerful speech recognition program. We must stress how important it is to go through the tutorial so that you learn the correct commands, and so that the program can recognize your voice and the way you pronounce words. Be patient! It can take a bit of trial and error, but you’ll know it was time well spent when you can dictate letters or long documents without touching the keyboard! Instead of saving your fingers, perhaps you want to save your eyes by using the Narrator program, which actually reads aloud to you. Using your sound system, Narrator can describe items on your screen and can read blocks of text to you. But what if you can’t—or don’t want to—hear any sounds from your computer? You can set it to give you visual cues, including flashes and captions, instead.

    clip_image004

    ---


    Be sure to visit the Microsoft Learning Windows 7 Training Portal, where you can download free sample chapters (previews) as well as learning snacks and online clinics.

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/training/windows.aspx.

  • |

    We’re pleased to announce that Windows 7 Step by Step by Joan Preppernau, Joyce Cox, and  Online Training Solutions, Inc., is now available for purchase in bookstores (Microsoft Press, 2010; ISBN: 9780735626676; 544 pages)!

    9780735626676f

    To give you a taste of what you’ll find in the book, here are excerpts of the Introduction and two sample chapters.

    Introducing Windows 7
    Windows 7 is the computer operating system we’ve all been waiting for!

    This latest version of the Windows operating system provides a deceptively simple computing experience; deceptive because on a Windows 7 computer, you can perform more—and more advanced—computing operations than ever before.

    One of the first things you might notice about Windows 7 is the elegant look of the user interface. If you’re accustomed to working with Windows Vista, you’ll find a refined and enhanced interface with only a few new navigational features to learn. If you have been using an earlier version of Windows, you’ll find there have been significant changes, and will quickly appreciate the high-quality visual effects of the Windows 7 interface. Windows 7 includes several new features that utilize the Aero functionality introduced with Windows Vista. Features such as animations, translucent glass window frames, Windows Flip, Windows Flip 3D, Aero Peek, and Aero Shake provide an amazing desktop computing experience.

    Beneath the attractive and efficient interface lies a powerful yet unobtrusive operating system. Windows 7 operates very efficiently, so your computing experience is faster than ever before—you’ll particularly notice this if you upgrade your computer from Windows Vista. Security features that were introduced with Windows Vista have been refined to maximize usability and minimize interruptions.

    A new view of the file storage structure, called a library, gives you access to multiple storage locations from one window. Locating files, programs, and utilities has never been easier, and various tools and gadgets make it simple to do the things you want and need to do with your computer. Certain programs that were formerly installed with Windows, such as the e-mail management program known, in its various versions, as Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, or Outlook Express, have been removed from the operating system to concentrate Windows 7 resources on managing your computer. These programs are now available to all Windows users as part of the Windows Live family of programs.

    You might have purchased a new computer with Windows 7 pre-installed or you might have already upgraded your existing computer from another operating system to Windows 7. If Windows 7 is already running on your computer, you can skip most of the information in this section. For readers who are still in the planning stages, this section provides information about the editions of Windows 7 that are available and the process of installing Windows 7 on a computer that is running Windows Vista, Windows XP, or another operating system.

     

    Excerpt from Chapter 1:

    Explore Windows 7

    In this chapter, you will learn how to

    • Log on to Windows 7.
    • Explore the desktop.
    • Use the Start menu.
    • Use the Windows Taskbar.
    • Explore Control Panel.
    • Find information about your computer system.
    • Update Windows system files.
    • End a computing session.

    This chapter will help you quickly become familiar with the Windows 7 user interface and the tools you’ll use to interact with your computer’s operating system.

    Each time you turn on your computer, it goes through a startup process during which it loads the system files necessary for you to interact with your computer and for your computer to interact with other devices, such as the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. When the startup process is complete, you log on to Windows 7 by providing identification information that uniquely identifies you to the system. After you log on, Windows 7 presents a working environment individually tailored to your preferences. The process might sound somewhat complicated, but in actual practice, it’s quite simple.

    When you first set up your computer, or if it’s been a while since you used it, it’s a very good idea to check for and install any updates released by Microsoft to keep your system running smoothly. You can configure Windows 7 to update itself with available updates at regularly scheduled intervals (provided your computer is on). By setting up automatic updating, you can be sure that your computer system always includes the most current features and security tools.

    When you finish working with your computer, you can either shut down the computer entirely or leave it running in various ways. For example, you can log off from Windows 7 to end your computing session, lock the computer to restrict access to your session, or put the computer into Sleep mode to conserve power.

    ---

    (Exploring the Desktop…) Another way icons might appear on your desktop is if you save or move files or folders there. For example, if you download a program or other file from the Internet that you’ll need to use only once, you might save it on your desktop so that you can quickly find it, use it, and then delete it. When you install a program on your computer, you often have the option of creating a shortcut to it on the desktop. (Some installation programs automatically create a desktop shortcut, but others give you the courtesy of choice.) If you created desktop shortcuts before upgrading your computer operating system to Windows 7, your existing desktop shortcuts are still available after you upgrade.

    clip_image002

    Pointing to an item on the desktop displays a ScreenTip indicating its function or properties.

     

    Below each icon on the desktop is the name of the item it represents. If the name is too long to fit onto two lines, it is truncated by an ellipsis (…) when not selected and displayed in full when you click it, or sometimes when you click the desktop. When you point to an icon, a ScreenTip containing identifying information appears. Pointing to a program shortcut, for example, displays the location of the file that starts the program. Pointing to a file displays the file name, type, size, and modification date. You can start a program, open a folder or file, or jump to a network location or Web site by double-clicking the associated icon or shortcut.

    Tip You can create your own shortcuts to programs, to specific folders or files, to other computers, or to Web sites, on the desktop or in any other folder. You can delete an item from the desktop as you would from any folder. When you delete a shortcut, however, you aren’t actually deleting the linked program, folder, or file—only the link to that item.

    See Also For information about creating desktop shortcuts, see “Creating Shortcuts” in Chapter 5, “Manage Folders and Files.”

    Excerpt from Chapter 4:

    Navigate Windows and Folders

    In this chapter, you will learn how to:

    • Work with windows.
    • Understand files, folders, and libraries.
    • Find your way around your computer.
    • Connect to network resources.
    • Find specific information.

    To simplify the way you work with files on your computer, Windows uses a hierarchical storage system to organize information on your computer in a way similar to the way you would organize information in an office. Instead of organizing pieces of paper in cardboard folders in filing cabinets, you organize electronic files in electronic folders on the storage disks accessible to your computer.

    You use Windows Explorer to look at the folders and files stored on your computer. With earlier versions of Windows, the Windows Explorer window could display the contents of only one folder at a time. With Windows 7, you can look at the contents of multiple folders in one window, by adding the folders to a library. This new feature allows you to easily access files while still maintaining an organizational system.

    No matter how organized you are and how skillful you become at working with libraries, sometimes you might not remember where you stored a particular file. No problem! Windows 7 includes powerful search features that can help you almost instantly locate files and other information on your computer.

    In this chapter, you’ll first learn how to size, arrange, hide, and otherwise manage windows on your desktop. You’ll learn about the standard file storage structure Windows 7 uses, and about the types of files you’ll find on your Windows 7 computer. Then you’ll explore the Windows 7 file storage structure. You’ll also experiment with searching for files by using the different search methods that are available.

    ---

    (Finding Specific Information) In this exercise, you’ll quickly locate items on your computer. You will then use advanced criteria in the Search Results folder to look for other files and will open the Preview pane to help identify the correct file.

    SET UP You need the practice files located in your Documents\Microsoft Press\Windows7SBS\Navigation folder to complete this exercise.

    1. Click the Start button.

    The Start menu opens with the cursor blinking in the Start menu Search box.

    2. In the Start menu Search box, type ice.

    As you type the search term, Windows filters the program files, folders, and e-mail messages stored on your computer.

    3. Point to each file in the search results in turn.

    A ScreenTip displays the properties of each file you point to.

    clip_image002[5]

    The properties shown in a ScreenTip vary based on the file type.

     

    If you get in the habit of entering properties for your files, this handy trick can help you quickly identify the file you want.

    See Also For information about file properties, see “Working with Folder and File Properties” in Chapter 5, “Manage Folders and Files.”

    4. At the bottom of the search results list, click See more results.

    The Search Results In Indexed Locations window opens, displaying the full list of results. You can change the view and sort the files the same way you would with any folder.

    ---

     

    Be sure to visit the Microsoft Learning Windows 7 Training Portal, where you can download free sample chapters (previews) as well as learning snacks and online clinics.

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/training/windows.aspx.

  • |

    After saying hooroo to Australia, author Orin Thomas moved on to New Zealand:

    Orin here. TechEd New Zealand came as something of a relief after TechEd
    Australia. Not because there is anything inherently scary about TechEd
    Australia, but because that event was the first one where I gave my
    sessions to a large audience. Speaking to a couple of hundred people
    is a lot different to speaking to 20 or 30 and you find parts of your
    presentation that work with a small audience don’t translate that well
    to a large one. That I had survived with relatively good session
    ratings (last time I looked I was still hovering in the top 10 for
    presenter effectiveness) lifted a weight off my shoulders. As a
    speaker at TechEd you can become so focused on getting your
    presentations right that you don’t have time to get into the groove of
    the event itself. Speakers take evaluations very seriously. There is
    also a friendly competitiveness to seeing just whose sessions are
    ranked the highest. The better your evals, the more likely that you
    are to get an invitation to speak at TechEd next year.

    The venue at TechEd New Zealand is smaller than the venue for TechEd
    Australia. The first photo shows the cavernous Arena 2 at the Gold
    Coast convention center; the second photo shows the more intimate
    Marlborough room at Auckland’s Sky City.

    In the case of TechEd New Zealand, I knew my lines and my
    presentations well, so I could afford to take in a few more sessions
    that I had really wanted to see but had been unable to due to my focus
    on my own stuff in Australia. This included Jason Buffington’s great
    session on how to protect data hosted on Exchange and SQL Server using
    System Center Data Protection Manager 2007.

     

    I also attended some great sessions from the Scott and Andrew from the
    Exchange Team. They talked about Exchange Server 2010, spending a
    significant amount of time showing the care and attention necessary to
    properly manipulate mail tips so that they can be used to their full
    effectiveness.

     

    Although both events are great and it is a privilege to present,
    another advantage that the NZ event has is that with a smaller number
    of speakers, there is greater opportunity to mingle with other
    speakers. At TechEd in Australia you can feel a little lost in the
    crowd. At the Australian event you might not even run into another
    speaker, in NZ it can be difficult to get away from them (just ask
    Corneliu, Vittorio, Scott, Andrew and Jason ;-).

    One of the great things of being a regular author at Microsoft Press is that
    it opens doors like having the ability to present at TechEd. For all
    the nerves involved in getting your presentation just right, there is
    an awesome sense of immediate accomplishment when you pull off a great
    session. I hope to speak at many more TechEds over the coming years,
    and I hope to see you one day as a member of the audience in one of my
    sessions.

  • |

    As we start to climb our way back out of this recession, it’s good to take stock of the state of the industry. Jobs may still be in short supply, but thankfully the technology industry has fared better than most.

    Today, we published an article with perspectives from several of our executives on how and why technology careers remains so vital and important.

    Check it out—and then check out these new portals where you can find a wealth of resources to help boost your career!

    Certifications have always provided a career boost—and if ever there was a time for a career boost, this is it.

  • |

    One of the fun things about being the Microsoft Scripting Guy is reading all the e-mail sent to Scripter@Microsoft.Com. Each week, I attempt to answer the several hundred e-mails that I get, at times with varying success. One common form of e-mail I get goes something like this: I need a WMI script to swap the mouse buttons on 100 computers at work … or words to that effect. The easy answer to that particular question is, it cannot be done. You can detect if you have a right handed mouse, or a left handed mouse, but the handedness property is read-only on the Win32_PointingDevice WMI class.

    The long answer to the question of the mouse, is that while you cannot use WMI to solve the problem, you can write a script that uses P-Invoke and some of the new features of Windows PowerShell 2.0. The SwapMouseFunction.ps1 script illustrates this technique.

    # ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    # NAME: SwapMouseFunction.ps1
    # AUTHOR: ed wilson, Microsoft
    # DATE: 2/13/2009
    #
    # KEYWORDS: Add-Type, user32.dll, mouse, pinvoke
    #
    # COMMENTS: This script uses Add-Type to create a
    # function from user32.dll that allows you to swap the
    # mouse button.
    #
    #
    # ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    #Requires -Version 2.0
    Function Add-User32Mouse
    {
    $signature = @"
    [DllImport("user32.dll")]
    public static extern bool SwapMouseButton(bool fSwap);
    "@

    Add-Type -memberDefinition $signature -name "Win32SwapMouseButton" -namespace  Win32Functions -passThru
    } #End Add-User32Mouse

    # *** EntryPoint to script ***
    #$SwapMouse = Add-User32Mouse
    #[void]$SwapMouse::SwapMouseButton($False)
    [void](Add-User32Mouse)::SwapMouseButton($False)

    You see, the thing is, the person who sent the e-mail asking for a WMI script to change the mouse buttons assumed that because they used WMI to detect the primary and secondary mouse buttons, that they should also use WMI to change the mouse buttons. Such an assumption when working with scripting leads to tunnel vision, and convoluted scripts at best, and to misleading and inconsistent results at worst. Rather than assume what technology you will use to solve the problem in a script, it is best to clearly define the problem, and then choose the best approach from the available technology to solve your problem.

    Contrary to building buildings, in programming the form dictates which function you will use and not vice versa. Now we have both the long answer, and the short answer to the problem of the mouse.

  • With several successful Microsoft BizSpark Incubation Weeks (Win7 Reston, CRM Reston, CRM Boston, Win 7 Irvine, Mobility Mountain View) behind us, we are pleased to announce Microsoft BizSpark Incubation Week for Windows 7  in Boston, MA, the week of October 5th, 2009.

    The current economic downturn is putting many entrepreneurs under increasing pressure, making it critical to find new resources and ways to reduce costs and inefficiencies. Microsoft BizSpark Incubation Week for Windows 7 is designed to offer following assistance to entrepreneurs.

    • Learning and building next generation application utilizing new and unique Windows 7 capabilities with help of on-site advisors and off-shore development team
    • Getting entrepreneurs coaching from guest speakers and a panel of industry experts
    • Generating marketing buzz for your brand
    • Creating opportunity to be highlighted at upcoming Windows 7 launch

    We are inviting nominations from BizSpark Startups interested in developing Windows 7 applications that target one or more of the following scenarios:

    • Windows Touch, ink, gesture support, plus handwriting recognition enabling new input capabilities
    • Rich Animation Framework
    • Sensor and Location Framework (GPS, light, motion)
    • New taskbar, destinations, and shell integration enhancing discoverability and usability
    • New extensible Ribbon adding Office 2007-style controls, menus, and galleries to your application

    The Microsoft BizSpark Incubation Week for Windows 7 will be held at Microsoft Technology Center, Waltham, MA from Monday, 10/05/2009 to Friday, 10/09/2009. This event consists of ½ day of training, 3 ½ days of active prototype/development time, and a final day for packaging/finishing and reporting out to a panel of judges for various prizes.

    This is a no-fee event (plan your own travel expenses) and each team can bring 3 participants (1 business and 1-2 technical).

    To nominate a  team, please drop a note to Sanjay Jain (sanjai@microsoft.com). Nominations will be judged according to the strength of the founding team, originality and creativity of the idea, and ability to leverage new and unique Windows 7 features.

  • |

    Just published, available shortly at a Certified Partner for Learning Solutions near you:

    Course 6446, Implementing and Administering Windows Essential Business Server 2008

    This course is intended for value-added providers/resellers (VAP/VAR), service providers, system integrators, technology consultants, and in-house technology staff serving small and medium businesses.

    After completing this course, you’ll be able to:

    • Assess midsized business’ technology and business needs.
    • Design a Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008 network solution.
    • Install Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008.
    • Migrate to Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008.
    • Configure Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008.
    • Manage users and groups in Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008.
    • Manage messaging in Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008.
    • Manage and monitor Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008.
    • Secure a Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008 network.
    • Expand a Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008 network.

    Learn more or find a CPLS offering this class here.

  • |

    9780735627086f MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-680): Configuring Microsoft Windows 7 (Microsoft Press, 2010; ISBN: 9780735627086; 912 pages), by Ian McLean and Orin Thomas, is at the printer.  Congrats, Ian and Orin!

    About Ian McLean and Orin Thomas

    Ian McLean is the coauthor of numerous Microsoft Press SELF-PACED TRAINING KITs, covering the Windows Server, Windows Client, Exchange Server, and SQL Server technologies.

    Orin Thomas is a writer, teacher, and consultant whose books include the SELF-PACED TRAINING KITs for Windows Vista exam 70-620 and Windows Server 2008 exams 70-646 and 70-647.

    The book will be available via online retailers around October 21, 2009. You can preorder it here or here.

    Here’s information about Exam 70-680.

    And here’s the book’s chapter-level TOC:

    Contents at a Glance

    Introduction xxiii

    CHAPTER 1 Install, Migrate, or Upgrade to Windows 7 1
    CHAPTER 2 Configuring System Images 53
    CHAPTER 3 Deploying System Images 113
    CHAPTER 4 Managing Devices and Disks 195
    CHAPTER 5 Managing Applications 255
    CHAPTER 6 Network Settings 297
    CHAPTER 7 Windows Firewall and Remote Management 381
    CHAPTER 8 BranchCache and Resource Sharing 421
    CHAPTER 9 Authentication and Account Control 477
    CHAPTER 10 DirectAccess and VPN Connections 513
    CHAPTER 11 BitLocker and Mobility Options 553
    CHAPTER 12 Windows Update and Windows Internet Explorer 599
    CHAPTER 13 Monitoring and Performance 647
    CHAPTER 14 Recovery and Backup 729

    Answers 783
    Glossary 843
    Index 847

    We’ll post detailed book excerpts closer to the book’s availability date.

  • We need to do some server maintenance so Born to Learn will be going offline today (Friday, 9/18) 9:00pm PDT (GMT-7).  It shouldn t take more than 15 minutes so we won t be out for long.

     

  • Many of you have been asking when the beta versions of exams 685 and 686 would be released. The good news is that both beta exams start next Monday.

    The bad news is that both beta exams are almost full up. You better move quick if you want a seat! I apologize in advance to those of you who won’t get a chance to read this announcement until it’s too late.

    Before you ask if we’re going to increase the limit on the number of beta seats, let me just say that we already did that. Twice. We did not anticipate the level of interest we have received for these two exams. Apparently you folks are very excited about Windows 7—so are we! [Note for those new to the mysteries of certification: For practical reasons, we have to limit the seats in each beta. So not everyone who wants to participate will get a seat.]

    Many of you may be wondering how these filled up so quick before this announcement on Born to Learn. If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ll know that we are starting to use a SME Profile survey to help connect folks who want to participate in MSL content development with opportunities that match their skills and interests. Here’s how it’s supposed to work for beta exams:

    1. Krista posts on Born to Learn reminding folks to fill out a SME profile if they are interested in a particular beta about a week before the registration start date.
    2. Krista searches for appropriate folks in the database and sends them an e-mail invitation with the beta code a few days before the registration start date.
    3. Sometime during the first registration day (more or less simultaneously):
      • Krista posts an announcement on the Born to Learn blog, including the beta code.
      • Product planner posts an announcement on the Beta Announcement blog, including the beta code.

    This time we didn’t quite follow the plan--the second bullet under Step 3 happened first. The next day I sent out e-mail invitations directly to SMEs from the database whose skills and interests matched this opportunity. Based on messages I received over the last few days, I’m pretty confident that most of the folks who received those invites have already registered. The reason that we didn’t post an announcement on Born to Learn sooner is that we wanted to make sure that those who went to the trouble of filling out a SME profile had a fair chance to get a seat.

    Going forward, we plan to invite SMEs from the database before we post notice to either the Beta Exam blog or this blog. [Translation—we won’t post announcements to the Beta Exam blog until after the invitations have gone out!] That said, you’ll have to act fast when you get an invitation to register. Receiving an invitation is no guarantee that you’ll get a seat. If you haven’t done so already, submit your SME profile now for your best chance of participating in future MSL content development projects--including beta exams. Make sure to select Take a Beta as one of the opportunities you’re interested in, and check that box at the very end of the survey. See this post for more information on how to complete a SME profile.

  • |

    Good news! William Stanek, who has written dozens and dozens of wonderful Microsoft Press books for IT professionals, will be writing for our blog regularly! With all the books William writes, we’re really glad he’s willing to find the time to contribute here. As William mentions below, he’ll keep his posts short and sweet, relevant and targeted. Take it, William!

    William R. Stanek (http://www.williamstanek.com/) is a leading technology expert, an award-winning author, and a pretty-darn-good instructional trainer. Over the years, his practical advice has helped millions of programmers, developers, and network engineers all over the world. He has written over 100 books. Current or forthcoming books include Active Directory Administrator’s Pocket Consultant, Windows Group Policy Administrator’s Pocket Consultant, Windows 7 Administrator’s Pocket Consultant, and Windows Server 2008 Inside Out.

    William here. Hi. You probably know me as that Microsoft Technology guy—and yeah if it’s about Windows, servers, or Internet technologies, I’ve probably written a book about it (or two or three or lots more). Writing’s what I do for work, and for fun. As a guest blogger here at the Microsoft Press blog, I’ll be writing about Microsoft technologies—anything and everything is fair game. If you send questions to williamstanek at aol dot com, I’ll gladly blog a response. If you want, you can follow me on Twitter at WilliamStanek or visit my web site at www.williamstanek.com.

    My blog posts will usually be short and sweet. I’ll aim for 200 to 500 words that are relevant and targeted to a specific subject. Next up I’ll blog about Group Policy Preferences available in Windows 7.

    Well, that’s it for a personal introduction. Now on to the good stuff. Hope you enjoy the posts! ;-)

    William R. Stanek

    williamstanek at aol dot com

  • |

    Mark RussinovichA week from today Mark Russinovich, Chris Jackson, Jeremy Chapman, and others will discuss “how virtualization tools can help you with application compatibility concerns whether you re migrating from Windows Vista or Windows XP” in a Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable: “Windows 7 Application Compatibility Part 2: Virtualization.”

    You can submit questions in advance to vrtable@microsoft.com.

    The full description for the roundtable is as follows:

    “Hear from a panel of experts how virtualization tools can help you with application compatibility concerns whether you re migrating from Windows Vista or Windows XP. Join us to discuss how presentation virtualization, desktop virtualization and application virtualization can reduce testing times, expedite deployment and ultimately help you streamline PC management. We ll cover the latest desktop virtualization technologies from Microsoft, including Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V), Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), and Windows XP Mode for Windows 7. Plus we share tips and tricks and demonstrate free tools to analyze and fix applications while answering your questions live during the event. Join live on Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 9:00am Pacific Time. Missed Part 1? Watch the replay.”