Category: Windows 10

Lync no more

Skype for Business‘ is here. After Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype 4 years ago this month they have been (slowly) integrating it with their own live communications offering Lync (previously ‘Live Communications Server’) as well as with their Outlook online mail client and with the upcoming Windows 10 (watch those EU legal hawks circle around this one, much like IE integration with Windows this may be deemed to be abusing a monopoly too against the likes of Google Hangouts etc.)

I only noticed it while downloading some ISOs via my technet subscription, so bye bye Lync and hello Skype.

skype for business 2015
Skype for business 2015

The end user client will look more like Skype as it will take on some of the blue branding elements. Although administrators on either on-premise or Office 365 can change the skin to match the previous Lync client thereby reducing end user chaos during any transition.

Here’s the l(y)nc for more info:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn913785.aspx

I’ll probably run a lab migration and a blog post will hopefully follow.

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Will Microsoft get it right with Windows 10?

Quick Background

You might be surprised to hear there are a fair number of people out there who were/are very happy with Windows 8. You will be even more surprised to know that some of them are not using a touchscreen or tablet interface, yes indeed they are happy with just the good old keyboard and mouse.

However the majority were not. I believe it was a bit of arrogance from Microsoft in making large assumptions about what people wanted in Windows 8. Maybe they should have learned from the Vista failure, perhaps they did as that was a different problem related to speed (or lack of) and reliability and driver issues.

There is no denying that Windows 8 is fast and relatively stable but the biggest mistake was assuming user would have a touch biased interface available across all systems – particularly among Desktop PCs and non-touchscreen Laptops. As an IT professional when I first came across Window 8 I had it setup in virtual environment to ‘test drive’ it, that initial test drive put me off Windows 8 almost permanently. The frustration at the wholesale changes and inability to intuitively do what I needed was enough for me to tell all and sundry to avoid Windows 8. The culture shock with the UI was that significant.

Microsoft OS 1 Year sales figures
Microsoft OS 1 Year sales figures

It was inevitable however that newer PCs would eventually drop support for Windows 7 drivers, becoming Windows 8.0 only and then 8.1. Once they did so it forced the OS upon people as opposed to being a consumer choice. I suspect Linux, Apple and Google (ChromeOS) reaped some of that frustration.

So what now for Windows 10 and what advice to those thinking of buying a new Windows device, should they wait for Windows 10 General Release?

I have been using Windows 10 Technical Preview for a few months now and I have to say I love it. It is a natural progression from Windows 7, with the speed and – as development continues hopefully – the reliability of Windows 8. There are plenty of changes but it really does feel like a true successor to Windows 7 rather than 8 or 8.1.

Now the interesting part, when will Windows 10 be ready and available? There are no firm dates as it’s too early but end of 2015 or early 2016 is probably a good guess. Sales of PCs have been relatively flat in recent years and a release of a desirable new OS from Microsoft can often provide a boost to PC manufacturers such as Dell, HP or Acer. There is rumour that licenses may actually be free for specific versions of Windows 10, however I doubt very much if Microsoft will try to levy a subscription charge instead. That would be a fatal mistake for consumers.

What about Business and Enterprise users?

The good news rumour of free licenses for Windows 10 will not apply to business users at all. In fact the cost to business may be the winning formula for Microsoft in terms of its share price and profit forecast!

The bad news however is your business applications. Most large companies I know and have worked within are either already using or migrating to Windows 7. Huge efforts have been made to rewrite & redeploy these important applications to work with Windows 7. Sadly Microsoft will probably only support applications written for or that work on Windows 8.1.

The move to Windows 10 is inevitable, so I strongly urge you to dig out the ‘Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant’ and run it in your environment today. That will go some way in telling you if your Windows 7 apps will work with 10. Starting early means less headache later. Good Luck.

Conclusion

Sales of the Windows Operating System and its close cousin the Office Suite continue to be a huge revenue stream for Microsoft with little sign of it shifting significantly over the next 3-5 years. Often the lock-in is due to corporate IT strategy based around a Windows client and the Office suite, which extends to influence users to seek the same familiarity on their personal devices.

It is still hard for me to use an on-screen keyboard as well as I can the traditional mechanical clunk, click. I’m getting there and Google Apps are immense in providing ease of use via multiple devices. I suspect the traditional PC will still be around as the workhorse for corporate and fixed domestic use, however mobile tablet and cellular devices will allow easier and more expansive capability and multi-device working. Enabling that seamlessly and securely is the key, so Windows 10 with OneDrive is a move in the right direction as is Office 365.

Windows 10 will complement those products and enhance mobility, it will be the true client Cloud OS just as Server 2012 R2 is touted as the server Cloud OS! People will take to it, corporate decision makers may decide to try flavour of the month but most will stick to tried, tested and invested. I expect Windows 10 to be as successful as Windows 7.

Addendum

Since I drafted this blog post Microsoft have basically said anyone with Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 will get a free upgrade option to Windows 10 in the first year. Talk about kick-starting early adoption, a great move in my opinion – might stop me waiting for the first major service pack before upgrading to a newer OS. But hey habits are hard to break!

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It’s 2015, coming soon to my blog…

Right, another year gone. Another already started.

thank you

First I’d like to thank all those who have visited my blog, and especially those who have commented or provided feedback. I really do appreciate it, my stats have been steadily trending upwards which encourages me to share more.

Here I quickly outline my blogging plans for the new year:

More car stuff – by far the most popular post on my blog (by hits/month) is my post on the engine pump failure on my Vauxhall back in 2008. The blog post is here and was posted back in late 2010. I still have said Vauxhall and also have a Zafira, i’ve done bits of work on both and will post updates soon.

More technical stuff – this is both my job and passion, so expect lots more. Hopefully I’m aiming to restart my beginners Server 2008 courses, for Server 2012 of course – both online and classroom based. I’ll be covering AD, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL and PowerShell in lots more detail. Oh and lots on Windows 10 as I march on with my Technical Preview.

Birmingham – the city I live in. There is a tonne of stuff I wish to share, from activities through to infographics. What’s good, what could be better and in the words of Oliver Queen I must do what i can to “save my city” in these years of budgetary crises.

Personal Computing – the prevalence of the internet, gadgets, storage and phones means everyone is creating and using data. This is critical data (photos, tax information, licensing, bills, banking, passwords) and I’d like to share how I both store it (with resilience) and secure it (with confidence). This is domestic technology, not corporate.

Trading & Economics – another passion of mine. I will start to share my trading strategy, my actual trades and advice & tips on how to get started and crucially how to create the correct mindset for this. Mental toughness required. Although I concentrate on Forex i’ll be dipping into wider issues such as banking and personal finance where relevant.

CVs/Resumes, Job Hunting, Scam Hunting – as per usual I’ll continue along this path, the 2nd most popular blog post on my site is the CV site one found here. Exposing scams and helping people in their efforts to better their future prospects is something I love doing.

Islam – as my faith is currently under constant attack I believe it a responsiblity to add my input as and when I feel it may improve someones knowledge on an issue. I often find the basis of prejudice is lack of knowledge, educating people and doing it the right way counters bigotry.

There you go, some simple plans for 2015. The good Lord willing I hope to accomplish all of these.

[7 is my lucky number!]

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Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration

According to Microsoft they have invested heavily in making the process of moving from Windows 7 directly to Windows 10 as easy as possible. This is in clear recognition of those who have moved from XP to 7 in the last few years, and more so for medium to large enterprise businesses who require significant investment and incentive in any upgrade programme.

To this end, moving from Windows 7 SP1 to Windows 10 will be an in-place upgrade path. This means it will, more or less, retain all your user settings and customisations which currently exist within your Windows 7 profile. Things like your wallpaper, taskbar configuration, application customisations etc. etc. will all be retained once you complete an in-place upgrade to Windows 10.

That isn’t the only thing Microsoft have focussed on, they are trying hard to ensure that anyone who moves from 7 to 10 will not have to RTFM or search for You Tube videos on how to launch familiar programs or shutdown (what I really hate about Windows 8 – shutting down! Painful!). Familiarisation is key so expect the final release of Windows 10 to look and feel like much like Windows 7, with improvements and optimisations such as Live Tiles, multi-monitor application snap, any device application functionality and improved UI.

There is recognition that there are still a heck of a lot of people still using the traditional keyboard and mouse combination, that not everyone has touchscreen monitors and that many people use multiple devices and not just tablets. The traditional PC, despite declinging sales, is still going to be with us for a while longer and more so in the corporate world where change comes in much later than within the consumer channel.

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Windows 10 TP Enterprise Activation

For some reason the Technical Preview (TP) version of Windows 10 Enterprise arrives with a KMS activation setting. Type in slmgr /dlv to get this info:

slmgr /dlv
slmgr /dlv

This fails as it cannot find a relevant KMS server in your test network to validate against (you are using a testing network right??!!!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

To fix this, you need to force a conversion to a Retail key and use a Microsoft Recovery Key to do so, follow these short steps:

  • Open an Elevated command prompt
  • Type slmgr –ipk PBHCJ-Q2NYD-2PX34-T2TD6-233PK 
  • You see a pop notifcation advising Product Key installed succesfully
  • Windows will automatically activate
Activated!
Activated!

All sorted. Now check your activation status with slmgr /dvi again and you see this:

slmgr /dlv
slmgr /dlv
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