Microsoft Ignite (2017) Community Reporter

I’m happy to announce that I’m honored to be selected as a Community Reporter for Microsoft Ignite at this year’s conference in Orlando from September 25-29, 2017. As a Community Reporter, I’ll be helping to bring the IT Pro community together in a series of interviews, recordings, live shows, social media, and much more. You will find my introduction and a Q&A on the Microsoft Tech Community site.

The Community Reporters are meticulously selected by Microsoft Ignite particularly as community influencers, Microsoft MVP, technical expertise, strong engagements with the IT Pro community, leadership, past conference planning experiences, and other unknown factors which is probably on a need to know only basis. 🙂

Here’s the announcement from Microsoft Ignite:

This year at Microsoft Ignite, we’re excited to have 10 MVPs serving as Community Reporters. Leading up to Orlando, they’ll be sharing tips and tricks for navigating Microsoft Ignite, what to pack, and a look at their session schedules. During Microsoft Ignite, the Community Reporters will be your go-to’s for live event updates. If you aren’t attending the conference this year, these reporters will be a great way to see what’s happening on-the-ground in Orlando. Check out their introductions and follow them on social to stay up-to-date on all things Microsoft Ignite!

I have the pleasure of being on the team of reporters comprised of a top notch crew (some of whom are good friends who I have known for a few years), and they are:

Check out their profiles, follow their social channels, and feel free to engage with any one of us. Thank you to the awesome folks at Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Tech Community teams for the great opportunity. See you in Orlando!

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Speaking Gig At Microsoft Ignite 2017

I was recently approached by the Microsoft Ignite team to submit some session topics for this year’s conference in Orlando taking place from September 25-29. As an MVP in the “Windows and Devices For IT” category, the team was interested in the Windows platform as I’m regarded as a subject matter expert in that arena, although I tend to work quite a bit with Systems Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr).

Well, today (August 18, 2017) I received confirmation from Microsoft Ignite that I have been accepted to speak at the conference covering two theater sessions. This couldn’t have come at a better time since I have plans to be in the area for some personal family activities, and it’s a great way to kill two birds or maybe three with one stone. My first session, “Hey Mom I’ll Fix Your Computer” (THR1073) will be on Monday, September 25 at 1:45PM at OCCC South, Expo Theater #7, and I will cover how you can solve computer issues and provide tech support remotely with a built-in tool in Windows 10.

My second session “Cool Microsoft Edge Tips and Tricks” (THR1072) will take place at 5:05PM at the same location and on Monday as well. In this session, I will show you how you can improve your browsing experience by leveraging some features in Microsoft Edge. If you are attending Microsoft Ignite in Orlando this year, feel free to sign up and check out my sessions. In case you haven’t heard of me, here’s my profile! 🙂

I am truly honored and grateful for this amazing opportunity to speak at the largest Microsoft conference in the world and I hope I meet everyone’s expectations and will do a great job. A big Thank you to Microsoft for this awesome opportunity, and to the MVP team and to my ever so appreciative IT Pro peers for your on-going support and encouragement always. Thank you Thank you Thanks you! Time to rock #MVPJit!

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Should You Care About Windows 10 S?

Windows 10 S was announced on May 2, 2017 at the MicrosoftEDU event, specifically targeted for the education market.

What Is Windows 10 S?

Windows 10 S is basically a locked-down version of Windows 10 Pro that has been streamlined for security and performance. The major difference between this new SKU of Windows 10 and others is that it is designed to run only those applications that can be procured from the Windows Store or those traditional desktop applications that developers have converted for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) using the Desktop Bridge tool (code-named Project Centennial).

You can read my detailed blog post on LinkedIn, as well as on vmblog.com where I wrote as a guest blogger for Adaptiva.

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Windows 10 S ISOs Now Available on MSDN

Microsoft announced today the availability of Windows 10 S ISO files for developers to test via a MSDN subscription. If you don’t already have a subscription, one will cost you anywhere from $539 to $2,999 per year depending on the features desired. For more information, you can check out the details on the Visual Studio Pricing site.

Windows 10 S was first announced at the MicrosoftEDU event on May 2, 2017 with an emphasis on the education industry. I have written a blog post covering some details on this new OS, titled “Should You Care About Windows 10 S?” which you can check out.

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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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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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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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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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