Microsoft has officially announced that Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be released to the general public on February 22, 2011.
Volume License customers, TechNet and MSDN subscribers will get access to the download on February 16. OEM and other Microsoft partners got access to the bits yesterday.
For server admins, one of the more interesting features of Service Pack 1 is Dynamic Memory. From the Windows Server Blog:
Our first new feature, Dynamic Memory, takes Windows Server’s Hyper-V feature to a whole new level. Dynamic Memory lets you increase virtual machine density with the resources you already have—without sacrificing performance or scalability. In our lab testing, with Windows 7 SP1 as the guest operating system in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) scenario, we have seen a 40% increase in density from Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM to SP1. We achieved this increase simply by enabling Dynamic Memory.
For desktop users, RemoteFX will be a boost for users who frequently RDP into their clients, or are running desktops in virtual machines.
RemoteFX is an exciting technology that lets you virtualize the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) on the server side and deliver next-generation rich media and 3D user experiences for VDI.
Get ready to start patching systems, according to Tom Warren at Winrumors, Windows 7 Service Pack 1 will be released on Tuesday and is being pushed out for last minute testing to OEMs today. Tom explains:
In a blog posting on Thursday, Microsoft’s Russian Windows Virtualization team confirmed that the final build of Windows 7 SP1 is 7601.17514.win7sp1_rtm.101119-1850. The Russian site also explains that the Service Pack will be available publicly today. Microsoft generally releases Service Packs on a Tuesday so it’s not clear whether the Russian technet post is referring to a public release to select partners or a full web release. WinRumors understand the software giant will ship the release to its OEM partners today but that a web release is expected at a later date.
Along with Windows 7, Microsoft will likely release Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 at the same time, as the code base is the same and testing for that update has been inline with the client version.
Microsoft has unleashed the release candidate bits to Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Since they’re both based on the same kernel and code base they get most of their major patches together.
Weighing in at 514MB for the 32-bit version and 865MB for 64-bit, these are not light updates. It includes all hotfixes and patches released in the last year. You also have the option of installing a small patch to tell Windows Update to automagically do the downloading for you, but the effect on your Internet connection will be the same.
A couple of new features introduced in Service Pack 1 include:
RemoteFX introduces a new set of remote user experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual and session-based desktops. RemoteFX can be deployed to a range of thick and thin client devices, enabling cost-effective, local-like access to graphics-intensive applications. RemoteFX also supports a broad array of USB peripherals to improve the productivity of users of virtual desktops.
SP1 also includes Dynamic Memory, which enables servers running Hyper-V for server virtualization, to be more efficient in the use of memory. Dynamic Memory pools and distributes memory among the virtual machines running on a physical host, enabling higher consolidation ratios, increasing server utilization rates, and providing more flexible workload management.
It’s not recommended to run the RC on production systems, as you have to uninstall it prior to installing the final version and that just makes your system all kinds of unhappy. The final bits should be released in first quarter 2011.
via Windows Server Division Weblog
The folks over at the ISO group are none too happy with Microsoft’s implementation of the OOXML document specification in the upcoming version of Microsoft Office 2010. Due to delays in the final approval and recent changes to the strict specification, Microsoft was not able to include full support for creating new OOXML documents in 2010, and will only include transitional support. However, Redmond has stated that they intend to have full support for the creation of OOXML-Strict documents by the next version of office… what is not clear is if that means Office 2010 will be patched for full support or it will not be 2010 at all and users will need to wait until Office “15” for support.
Microsoft has released MED-V 1.0 SP1 and App-V 4.6. The big update to MED-V is full support for 32-bit & 64-bit Windows 7 hosts, but it also includes support for Japanese versions of Windows. Chances to App-V are mostly centered around language support. MED-V is an enterprise desktop virtualization management system that allows administrators to deploy and control Windows XP or Windows 2000 deployments running inside Windows 7 or Windows Vista host operating systems.
For all five of our readers with a Zune HD, you’ll be happy to know the Zune 4.5 firmware was released last week. It features an new Smart DJ mix with personalized recommendations, Zune Marketplace for TV, and better video codec support. Microsoft will also be releasing a new Zune HD 64GB model soon. To get the update, plug it in and sync with the Zune software on your desktop.
For all five of our readers running Windows Server on Itanium processors, you’ll be disappointed to know that after Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft will no longer be releasing versions for Itanium processors, and will focus on the x64 platform going forward. There was no 2008 R2 version released for 32-bit processors, either. Microsoft will no longer develop other software for Itanium, and SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 are also the last versions to support it. Mainstream support for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems (and R2) will end, in accordance with that policy, on July 9, 2013, while extended support will continue until July 10, 2018. That’s roughly eight more years of support.
Just so that our entire update isn’t focused on Microsoft today… If you’ve been living under a rock since last week, we just wanted to remind you that the iPad came out on Saturday. It’s magical, especially when you watch Harry Potter on it.
Looking to upgrade your infrastructure to Exchange 2010, then Microsoft has a tool to help make the process a little smoother. They’ve published an updated version of their Exchange 2010 Deployment Assistant, which now supports migration paths from Exchange 2007 as well as help with new 2010 installs. Previously, the assistant would only advise users of Exchange 2003.
The Deployment Assistant allows administrators to create Exchange 2010 deployment instructions that are customized to their environment. The Deployment Assistant asks a small set of questions, and based on your answers, it provides a set of instructions that are designed to get you up and running on Exchange 2010. Instead of reading dozens of topics in the Exchange 2010 library, you simply answer a few questions, and the Deployment Assistant gives you customized content to install Exchange 2010.
The assistant is strictly web based, and does not require you to run anything on your systems. It does require you to have intimate knowledge of your Exchange environment for the results to be very helpful. You can find it over at Technet.
Just a reminder, Windows 2000 will reach it’s end of life in July. Microsoft has outlined July 13, 2010 as the date Windows 2000 will no longer be supported by Microsoft. There are already a variety of security threats in the wild where Microsoft has said they will not be releasing updates to protect Windows 2000 because they say it is not feasible. After next July, no support or new updates (except for online self-help) will be available.
In a related bit of news, Microsoft is addressing an issue latest Forefront antimalware client update won’t install on Windows 2000 when the installation is run via Automatic Updates. When this issue occurs, the update uninstalls the previous version of the antimalware client, and then tries to install the new version and fails, leaving the system without the antimalware service. Microsoft’s published workarounds are to decline the updates for Windows 2000 systems (976669 is the FCS slipstream client) and make sure that the previous FCS antimalware updates are approved (971026 and original FCS client), or run the install interactively as a logged on user.
My workaround… stop using a 11 year old operating system and upgrade to at least Windows 2003.
This patch Tuesday will be one of the lightest ones for security in recent memory. According to the Security Bulletin Advance Notification for this month, Microsoft will only be releasing one patch for Windows, and none for Internet Explorer or Office. The patch will be issued on Tuesday, January 12, and will be followed on January 13 by a 90 minute webcast at 11:00 AM Pacific. In addition to the one patch for Windows, Microsoft will also release an updated version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool.
The patch is considered critical for Windows 2000 users, and low for all other versions, and relates to a remote code execution venerability. Effected operating system versions include every currently supported edition both on the client and server side:
- Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 [Critical]
- Windows XP Service Pack 2 & Service Pack 3
- Windows XP x64 Edition Service Pack 2
- Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (32-bit, 64-bit & Itanium)
- Windows Vista Service Pack 1 & Service Pack 2 (32-bit & 64-bit)
- Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 (32-bit, 64-bit & Itanium – except Server Core installs)
- Windows 7 (32-bit & 64-bit)
- Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit & Itanium – except Server Core installs)
Microsoft will still be releasing one or more non-security but high-priority update through Windows Update and Windows Server Update Services, but has not yet disclosed details.
There are many less than glamorous roles that a Windows server can take on. Not all of them are born to be an Exchange server, a domain controller, or even a web server. Some are destined to take on the role of managing printers. And for every role in Windows server, there is a team of programmers and engineers behind it, and they need your help.
If use the Print Server role in your environment, Microsoft is looking for your feedback, especially if you’re using the print server management packs for System Center Operations Manager 2007. Your input will help form the future manageability plans for the print server role in Windows Server. If you deal with printers like I do, you probably know how frustrating they can be so you’ve probably got a lot of feedback to give. (Although truthfully none of my issues are really Microsoft’s fault — I’m looking at you Xerox)
Head over to the OpsMgr public site on Microsoft Connect and fill out the “Print Server Management Survey” You’ll need to login to Connect using your Windows Live ID but Microsoft claims the survey is anonymous and should take about 5 minutes to fill out the 11 questions.
Microsoft has posted a little bit of light reading, a document titled Changes in Functionality in Windows Server 2008 R2 that outlines exactly that, the differences between the R2 release and the original 2008 release. It only weighs in at 1.1MB and 211 pages. You can grab it from the Microsoft Download Center in Microsoft Word format or browse the document online through Technet.
Topics such as new features in Active Directory, DNS (including DNSSEC), Group Policy, iSCSI, IIS, clustering, Windows Deployment Server and many other elements are all covered in great detail. If you’re looking at a server wondering if you’d see any significant benefit to upgrading, other then getting the latest guts of Windows, this is a helpful guide.
Windows Server 2008 was released in February 2008, followed by R2 which was released in October 2009. R2 is Microsoft’s first 64-bit only operating system release and is based on many of the same core programming as Windows 7.
Windows administrators, mark your calendar for the drop dead date to get those old servers upgraded. Microsoft has outlined July 13, 2010 as the date Windows 2000 will no longer be supported by Microsoft. There are already a variety of security threats in the wild where Microsoft has said they will not be releasing updates to protect Windows 2000 because they say it is not feasible. After next July, no support or new updates (except for online self-help) will be available.
These changes were posted by Crissy House, the Windows Server operations manager, on their team’s blog.
House also announced that there would be no more service packs for Windows 2003 or Windows 2003 R2. Both 2003 releases will move to extended-support on July 13, 2010, which means only security updates will be published for these operating systems. Non-security hotfixes developed during this phase will be provided only to customers who enroll in Extended Hotfix Support (EHS).
Microsoft released Windows Server 2000 in February 2000, Windows Server 2003 was released in April 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 was released in February 2006. In February 2008, Microsoft released Windows Server 2008 which was developed along side Windows Vista, but will quickly supplant it with Windows Server 2008 R2 which was developed along side Windows 7 and will be released along side the client OS on October 22, 2009.
Windows Server 2008 R2 will only be avaliable in x86-64 and Itanium editions, so administrators needing to run 32-bit implementations of 2008 will need to use the original 2008 release.