ADMX Template For Windows 10 Creators Update (1703) Now Available

To coincide with the release of Windows 10 Creators Update (1703), the following tools to support this latest release has been made available, which includes Windows 10 Administrative Templates (.ADMX) and Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) as previously mentioned in this blog post. The previous Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) works just fine with Windows 10 Creators Update.

Windows 10 Administrative Template (.ADMX)

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 (RSAT)

Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)

Microsoft Office 2016 Administrative Templates and Office Customization Tool is also available for download.

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Windows 10 Creators Update Officially Announced

It’s April 11, 2017 and Microsoft has officially announced the availability of Windows 10 Creators Update which is being rolled out gradually to Windows 10 users in the upcoming weeks. For a list of what’s new in Windows 10 Creators Update, check out the list on Microsoft’s blog.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Windows Insider program, where you have the opportunity to test new builds and provide feedback to Microsoft but now would like to get started with Windows 10 Creators Update build as quickly as possible, you have a couple of options:

  1. Download and use the Microsoft Upgrade Assistant tool
  2. Download and use the official ISOs for a clean install

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Windows ADK 1703 For Windows 10 Now Available

With the release of Windows 10 version 1703, the following tool to support this latest Windows 10 build, Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) version 1703 is now available.
You can download it from: Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).

Note: You must use Windows 10 build 1703 with this version of the ADK.

Update: April 6, 2017
** Known Issues for ADK 1703 **
ADK Drivers don’t install on systems with secure boot enabled:
Drivers on the ADK Deployment tools will not install on systems with Secure Boot (SB) enabled.  To work around the issue, disable SB on these systems.This only impacts systems with Secure Boot enabled. More info here!

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ConfigMgr Tech Preview 1703 Released

March 30, 2017 brought us a brand new build of ConfigMgr Tech Preview (1703), which are now made available on a monthly basis. The Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) team has been rapidly implementing new features and improving the product following the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and using feedback from the community on the Microsoft Connect site, as well as paying close attention to feature and enhancement requests on the ConfigMgr UserVoice forum.

This update has a number of new features (as listed in the Enterprise Mobility & Security blogpost) which include:

    • Windows Analytics Commercial ID and Windows telemetry levels – You can specify the Windows Analytics Commercial ID and configure telemetry, commercial data, and Internet Explorer data collection settings in Client Settings for use with Upgrade Analytics.
    • In-place UEFI conversion – You can customize a Windows 10 in-place upgrade task sequence to include the Windows 10 UEFI conversion tool.
    • Collapsible task sequence groups – Groups in the task sequence editor can be collapsed or expanded.
    • Azure Services wizard – The Azure Services wizard provides a common configuration for the cloud Azure services you use with ConfigMgr. This is done by using Azure web apps to provide the common subscription and configuration details that administrators would otherwise have to re-enter for each additional cloud Azure cloud service you use.
    • Direct links to applications in Software Center – You can now provide end users with a direct link to an application in Software Center. This means they no longer must open Software Center and search for an application before they can install it.
    • Import PFX certificate feature for ConfigMgr clients – Import PFX certificate profiles are now supported on ConfigMgr clients running on Windows 10 desktops. See How to create PFX certificate profiles in System Center Configuration Manager and this blog post.
    • Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) enhancements – Support has been added to tag education vs business volume purchase program tokens, device licensing, and adding multiple volume purchase program tokens.

You can update to the 1703 Tech Preview release via the ConfigMgr console under the Updates & Servicing node. The baseline version of the Technical Preview branch will be updated to 1703 and available on the TechNet Evaluation Center.

Here’s my video tutorial which I did for version 1701. The steps are the same for 1703.

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MDOP Group Policy Templates v2.7 Now Available

New Group Policy Templates, version 2.7 (.admx and .adml) for Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) are now available from Microsoft to manage policies across the enterprise for the following MDOP technologies:

App-V 5.0
App-V 5.0 SP1
App-V 5.0 SP2
App-V 5.0 SP3
App-V 5.1
MBAM 1.0
MBAM 1.0 R1
MBAM 2.0
MBAM 2.0 SP1
MBAM 2.5
MBAM 2.5 SP1
UE-V 1.0
UE-V 1.0 SP1
UE-V 2.0
UE-V 2.1
UE-V 2.1 SP1

The download is available from the Official Microsoft Download Center.

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ConfigMgr Tech Preview 1701 Released

The Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) team has been doing a great job with implementing new features and improving the product on a regular basis following the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and using feedback from the community on the Microsoft Connect site, as well as paying close attention to feature and enhancement requests on the ConfigMgr UserVoice forum.

The 45th President of the United States of America was inaugurated on Friday, January 20th and on this day the ConfigMgr team released SCCM Tech Preview build 1701 which is the first new release of 2017. This update has a number of new features (as listed in the Enterprise Mobility & Security blogpost) which include:

  • UEFI inventory data – Hardware inventory can now determine whether the device is UEFI-enabled.
  • Express files support for Windows 10 Cumulative Update – Configuration Manager can support Windows 10 Cumulative Update using Express files. This functionality is only supported in Windows 10 version 1607 with a Windows Update Agent update included with the updates released on January 10, 2017 (Patch Tuesday). For more information see https://docs.microsoft.com/sccm/core/get-started/capabilities-in-technical-preview-1612#express-installation-files-support-for-windows-10-updates.
  • Validate Device Health Attestation Data via Management Point – You can now configure management points to validate health attestation reporting data for cloud or on-premises health attestation service.
  • Updated Content Library Cleanup Tool – The command line tool (ContentLibraryCleanup.exe) used to remove content that is no longer associated with any package or application from a distribution point (orphaned content) has been updated with fixes for known issues.
  • Host software updates on cloud-based distribution points – Beginning with this preview version, you can use a cloud-based distribution point to host a software update package.
  • Support for Microsoft Azure Government cloud added to Operations Management Suite (OMS) Connector feature – You can now configure an OMS connector for the OMS workspace on Microsoft Azure Government cloud.
  • Additional boundary groups improvements – Clients now find software update points using Boundary Group associations.

You can update to the 1701 Tech Preview release via the ConfigMgr console under the Updates & Servicing node. You will need the baseline version of Tech Preview 1610 if you are installing it brand new.

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Original Windows 10 v1507 Retires On March 26

March 26, 2017 marks the end of the line for the original Windows 10 release version 1507, which was released in July 2015. After this date, Windows 10 1507 will no longer be serviced as only two latest Current Branch for Business (CBB) releases are actively serviced. The following statement was posted in this Microsoft blogpost on January 19th:

With the availability of Windows 10, version 1607 to the VLSC on January 26th, the 60-day grace period for Windows 10, version 1507 will begin. That means, after March 26th, 2017, Windows 10, version 1507 will no longer be serviced as only the two most Current Branch for Business (CBB) versions are actively serviced.

1507: 15 = 2015 (year), 07 = July (month).
Serviced = Upgrades and Security Updates.

The following webpage provides a nice breakdown on the Windows 10 release information which helps you determine if your systems are up to date and running the latest feature upgrades and servicing updates. Basically, the N+2 equation is used, where N equals an earlier version, and 2 equals a +/- 60-day countdown, at which time (at the end of the 60 days) N drops off the supported list.

Example:
1607 = CBB
N = 1507 (July 2015)
N+1 = 1511 (November 2015)
N+2 = 1607 (July 2017)
Microsoft uses the VLSC availability date as the trigger for the 60-day countdown. Since, the availability of Windows 10 version 1607 to VLSC customers will be made on January 26, 2017, therefore, version 1507 support will end on March 26, 2017 which is two months from the January availability of version 1607 (CBB).

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Microsoft Security Updates Guide (Portal)

For the last 20 years, Microsoft has provided security bulletins as individual web pages which were available from the Microsoft Security Bulletin website, and January 10, 2017 was the last time this was made available. Going forward starting in February 2017, the new Security Update Guide portal will provide the security information via a dashboard. Knowledge Base (KB) number, CVE number, vulnerability, Windows version, or date of release can be searched on the online Security Update Guide (SUG) database.

According the the blogpost by the MSRC Team, using the new portal, you can:

  • Sort and filter security vulnerability and update content, for example, by CVE, KB number, product, or release date.
  • Filter out products that don’t apply to you, and drill down to more detailed security update information for products that do.
  • Leverage a new RESTful API to obtain Microsoft security update information. This eliminates the need for you to employ outdated methods like screen-scraping of security bulletin web pages to assemble working databases of necessary and actionable information.

If you have any feedback, you can send them to: portalfback@microsoft.com.

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Windows 10 Version 1607 Media Now Available

Windows 10, version 1607 was declared the Current Branch for Business (CBB) on November 29, 2016. The updated media for Windows 10 v1607 (Windows 10 Anniversary Update) is now available on Windows Update for Business (WUB), Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), and MSDN. Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) customers will receive the updated Windows 10 v1607 media on January 26, 2017.

FYI – No further action is needed if you have already installed the December cumulative update (KB3201845), or the most current cumulative update (CU), as that system is already running the CBB release.

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Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award [MVP]

I am truly honored and humbled to receive my first Microsoft Most Valuable Professional [MVP] award on January 1, 2017 in the Windows and Devices for IT category. It was a surreal moment when I received the email (see below) from Microsoft informing me that I was awarded this prestigious recognition. Wow!

My heartfelt Thank you to the MVP Award team, to my MVP Lead Betsy Weber, to my IT Pro peers who recognized my work and efforts in the IT Pro community with the abundance of nominations, and to everyone who has supported and encouraged me to be a valuable influencer and a technical evangelist. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Here’s an overview of the MVP program:

If you know of any IT Professionals who work with Microsoft technologies and should be recognized for their skills, influence, and valuable assistance to the IT Pro community, or if you want to nominate yourself, you can provide nominations on the MVP website.

The best Christmas / New Year / Birthday present!

Finally, here’s my vlog message for my 1st MVP award –

I also talk about the MVP Award on the Harjit & Prayer Show:

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