Archive for News

Why Windows 10 and not Windows 9?

This week Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows would be called Windows 10. Many of us (myself included) wondered “why did they skip calling it Windows 9”?

Today I read of one plausible explanation.

It suggests that there may be plenty of third party Windows programs still in use that have lines of code in their software to perform specific tasks if it was running on a legacy version of Windows (specifically Windows 95 or Windows 98). If so, those programs could include code similar to this:



True? False? I don’t know. But being a long time programmer, I could be convinced. Just look back to the “Y2K” fears 15 years ago:

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, we only stored the last two digits of the year in computer records. So, “12” meant “1912”. None of us programming back then ever envisioned that our software would still be running 30 or 40 years later, past the year 2000. Suddenly, we weren’t sure if ‘12’ was meant to be 1912 or 2012?

I keep thinking to myself … the more things change, the more things remain the same.

Windows 10 Preview Video

Here is a video of Microsoft’s VP, Joe Belfiore (Microsoft VP) introducing the next version of Windows – Windows 10!

Windows 10 for 2015


Microsoft announced today (Oct 30, 2014) that the next release of Windows will be called Windows 10. Their main goal is to have a single, common operating system that runs on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones. Windows 10 will be in various stages of internal and beta testing thru 2015, with an anticipated general release date sometime in the second half of 2015.

If you want to get a running commentary, with photos, of today’s release, click here.


Here is a quick summary of new features and changes to Windows 10:

  • The Start menu will look more like Windows 7, although there is an area on the start menu to show “live tiles” like what was on the Windows 8 metro screen
  • Newer style “apps” will work in more traditional windows, with ability to minimize, move or click X to close as expected. It will not feel like two different worlds which Windows 8 feels like.
  • It will have the ability to have multiple “desktops” with different apps and windows running in each desktop (nice way to separate work and home) and the ability to flip through the desktops.
  • The “charm” bar is still on the right side of the screen like in Windows 8.
  • There will be a “Touch UI” tool to allow operation similar to Windows 8 for those who like that.. and will also be good for two-in-ones (laptop/tablets) to still operate like a touch tablet. They call the new tool “Continuum” that will help users switch between touch and keyboard modes for the two-in-one convertible devices.
  • They’ll be releasing the Technical “Preview” version soon. The Windows Insider program opens tomorrow  – there’s a video there now showing a few of the new features.
  • The actual Windows 10 operating system is expected to ship in 2015 “mid to later in the year” as they will still be previewing new consumer aspects and new “universal apps” in April.
  • Windows 10 is also the next version of the phone operating system.. will run the same operating system family on all devices from 4″ to 80″. However phone version does not have a ‘desktop’.

Microsoft’s EMET 5.0

In case you missed it, Microsoft rolled out version 5.0 of their Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) in July 2014. This follows on the heels of EMET 4.0 (Nov 2013) and EMET 4.1 (May 2014).


What is EMET?

You may be asking yourself What is EMET? Why should I install it? Where or when should I install it? Susan Bradley has written an in-depth article on EMET, covering all of these questions. I highly recommend reading her article.

EMET helps defend against zero-day threats. It is a standalone security application, but that does not mean that it should be installed on every workstation. The basic guideline is to install EMET on this systems where you do any online tasks that involve sensitive personal information, purchases and online banking.

EMET: A Customer’s Perspective

Installing EMET

EMET can be installed standalone, which is what I am showing here. The EMET manual offers additional information and guidance for businesses and domain-based networks.

If you have a previous version of EMET installed, you will need to uninstall it first and reboot before installing EMET 5.0.

If you wish, go ahead and download and install EMET 5.0 now! Installation is straightforward, and does not require a reboot of the workstation. EMET 5.0 supports Window clients Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8/8.1, as well as Windows Server 2008 SP2, 2008 R2 SP1, 2012 and 2012 R2.

The only suggestion I would make when installing EMET 5.0 is to select “Use Recommended Settings”:


After installing EMET 5.0, you will find a new Padlock icon in your list of notification-area icons in your taskbar.


Right click on the Padlock icon, and select Open EMET to view the EMET Settings.


MVP Roadshow Tampa FL

The “Transform the Datacenter” MVP Roadshow was held at the Microsoft office in Tampa FL on Monday Sept 22, 2014. Many kudos to Adnan Cartwright. Due to an illness in the family with our first presenter (Telmo Sampaio), Adnan had to step in at the last minute to do both the first and second presentations.

Topics covered new features in Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V 4.0, migrating from  Windows 2003, public/private/hybrid clouds, Azure and more. More than half of the presentations were live demos, with lots of questions throughout. One comment from an attendee: “I can’t wait to get into Azure!”.

WP_20140922_002_cropped     WP_20140922_006-cropped

Windows Update Advisory

Last week Microsoft rolled out a large set of updates that cover both the Windows operating system and Microsoft Outlook. In my testing, the updates have installed fine. However, Microsoft has indicated that they have since removed some of the Windows OS updates from distribution on Friday – based on early feedback from users that they may cause a “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD) situation.

The most sever case is with MS14-045. For details on the updates in question, check out this ZDNet article.

For I.T. personnel, Ed Langley (Naked PowerShell) has written a  series of PowerShell scripts (click here) to determine if any of the relevant updates are installed on a system.

  1. If you, tend to periodically run Windows Updates on your own workstations, I would advise against doing so until I hear more from Microsoft.
  2. The Microsoft Office updates are not involved, and can be applied as desired.
  3. Finally, it’s because of situations like these that I recommend that servers are NOT configured to have updates automatically applied.

There is nothing you need to do as a response to this email. This is simply an advisory – unless of course you have encountered a workstation that has had a BSOD.

Windows 8.1 August Update Rollup

Microsoft released the August 2014 update rollup (KB 2975719) on Tuesday August 12, 2014. This is an optional update, but does provide two new feature enhancements:

  • Precision touch pad improvements
  • More information on the Windows Update tab in PC Settings

Although these don’t seem to be significant at first reading, they are certainly improvements that I have been waiting for.

More importantly, this appears to indicate a change in how new features are released. Until now, new update rollups might come out a couple of times a year, containing a slew of new features and enhancements. But, it looks as if Microsoft will release new features and enhancements on a monthly basis, in smaller chunks.

I like that!

If you want to read more about the August update rollup, check out Ed Bott’s writeup on ZDNet.

Fix for Windows Server Essentials 2012R2 and Multi-DC released

Microsoft released an update (KB 2974308) today to address the issue where integrating Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 with Microsoft Office 365 or Windows Azure Active Directory is blocked when you are in a multiple domain controller environment.

Until now, you could only integrate Windows Server Essentials with O365/Azure AD in a single domain controller environment.


Attempting to run the integration in a multiple DC environment would fail:


I’m proud of the work that our MVP group did in identifying this issue soon after the release of Essentials 2012 R2 last year.

Netgear Backup Appliance using StorageCraft ShadowProtect

imageStorageCraft and Netgear are teaming up to release a new set of products called ReadyRECOVER Backup Appliance. It’s designed for small and medium-sized businesses, and leverages the legendary reliability of StorageCraft ShadowProtect to simplify backup and recovery of Windows systems.

With ReadyRECOVER, incremental snapshots, taken as often as every 15 minutes, generate full backups instantly.  Each point in time backup is ready to quickly and reliably recover Windows systems, including Microsoft SQL, Exchange, and SharePoint servers, into production mode on any platform – physical or virtual.  Each backup is also ready for fast, simple recovery of files or folders.

Cloud-based Web Protection from GFI now available

imageGFI recently rolled out their new Web Protection solution allowing KW Support & Consulting to deliver web security, web filtering and web bandwidth monitoring to its clients. Web Protection is integrated into the GFI RemoteManagement dashboard and is based on GFI’s award-winning GFI WebMonitor product.

Features include:

  • Web security – stop client’s end-users from accidentally visiting malicious sites pushing malware, phishing, proxies, spyware, adware, botnets, etc.
  • Web filtering – help end-suers stay productive with common-sense web browsing policies designed for the workplace. Protects the business from legal liability and reduce the risk of a security breach through proactive internet access controls.
  • Bandwidth Monitoring – automatic alerts when excessive bandwidth activity on a network is identified, so you can remediate quickly and maintain productivity.

With Web Protection integrated into the GFI RemoteManagement platform, there is no software to install at the client site, no DNS name records to create or modify, and all settings and policies are managed right from the RMM dashboard.

If a user goes to a malicious web site, this is the type of warning screen they will receive: