System Center 2012 SP1 CTP2 adds support for managing Windows Server 2012 RC

by Shijaz Abdulla on 17.06.2012 at 11:54

On the Server & Cloud blog, the System Center team announced that the second Community Technology Preview (CTP2) of System Center Service Pack 1 as being available for download.


Here are the top capabilities that SP1 brings:

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate
The System Center 2012 SP1 update enables System Center to run on and manage the Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate. System Center 2012 SP1 scales management to complement the scaling in Windows Server and also adds System Center manageability to the new capabilities in Windows Server 2012 such as virtual networking.

Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Last week the Windows Azure team announced the release preview of “Windows Azure Virtual Machines”, enabling you to move virtual hard disks (VHDs) between on-premises and cloud. (That’s IaaS from Azure!)

System Center 2012 SP1 integrates with the Azure virtual machines enabling you to:

  • Move on-premise virtual machines to Azure using App Controller.
  • Manage Azure virtual machines from your on-premises System Center using App Controller and Orchestrator using the new Azure Integration Pack.

Global Service Monitor
A new cloud enabled capability called “Global Service Monitor” (GSM) extends the application monitoring in System Center 2012 to enable you to add “outside-in” testing to incorporate a true reflection of users’ experience of your web site or web application. Through the System Center 2012 Operations Manager console you schedule the GSM cloud service, hosted in Windows Azure, to issue synthetic transactions against your web facing application from Azure points of present around the globe.

GSM reports back the results (availability, performance, functionality) to your on-premises operations manager dashboard. You can integrate this perspective with other monitoring data from the same application, taking action as soon as any issues are detected in order to achieve your SLA. To evaluate System Center 2012 SP1 with GSM, sign up for the customer preview of GSM.

Hosted Clouds
System Center 2012 helps you optimize your organization’s use of both private cloud and Windows Azure resources through the App Controller component. System Center 2012 SP1 extends App Controller’s capabilities to include cloud resources offered by Hosting Service Providers, giving you the option of consuming a wide range of custom and commodity IaaS cloud services from your Service Provider.

For Service Providers, System Center 2012 SP1 adds the new “Service Provider Foundation” (SPF) API. SPF is an extensible OData REST API that can be easily integrated with the hoster’s customer portal and is automatically integrated with customers’ on-premises App Controller. A simple exchange of credentials enables enterprises to add the Service Provider cloud to App Controller for consumption alongside private and public cloud resources. SPF also has multi-tenancy built-in and can operate at massive scale, controlling multiple scale-units built around Virtual Machine Manager.

Threat Management Gateway Service Pack 2 now available

by Shijaz Abdulla on 10.10.2011 at 21:31

Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 Service Pack 2 is now available for download.

The service pack includes the following new functionality and feature improvements:

New Reports

  • The new Site Activity report displays a report showing the data transfer between users and specific websites for any user.

Error Pages

  • A new look and feel has been created for error pages.
  • Error pages can be more easily customized and can include embedded objects.

Kerberos Authentication

  • You can now use Kerberos authentication when you deploy an array using network load balancing (NLB).

To read the release notes, see the Forefront TMG Release Notes (SP2).

Exchange Server 2010 SP1 Beta and Exchange Server 2007 SP3 released

by Shijaz Abdulla on 08.07.2010 at 23:29

Exchange Server 2010 SP1 Beta incorporates a number of feature updates including archiving and discovery enhancements, a faster Outlook Web App (OWA), upgraded mobility features, and several improvements in the management UI. The SP1 beta is available to the public and can be downloaded today.

Recently, Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 3 was also made available to customers in 11 languages for both 32 and 64 bit. As highlighted in the recent post on the Exchange Server Team Blog,  this service pack was created in response to strong customer demand for Windows Server 2008 R2 supportability for Exchange Server 2007. In addition to the newly supported OS, this service pack also provides updates to a number of core components and the reintroduction of the password reset functionality within OWA for customers using Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Forefront Threat Management Gateway Service Pack 1 released

by Shijaz Abdulla on 24.06.2010 at 11:50

This is a repost from the TMG Team Blog.

Microsoft® Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) got released on 23rd June 2010.

Microsoft® Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) introduces following new features and functionality to Forefront TMG 2010 Standard and Enterprise Editions.

New Reports

  • The new User Activity report displays the sites and site categories accessed by any user.
  • All Forefront TMG reports have a new look and feel.

Enhancements to URL Filtering

  • You can now allow users to override the access restriction on sites blocked by URL filtering. This allows for a more flexible web access policy, in that users can decide for themselves whether to access a blocked site. This is especially useful for websites that have been incorrectly categorized.
  • You can now override the categorization of a URL on the enterprise level; the override is then effective for each enterprise-joined array.
  • Denial notification pages can now be customized for your organization’s needs.

Enhanced Branch Office Support

  • Collocation of Forefront TMG and a domain controller on the same server, which can help reduce the total cost of ownership at branch offices.
  • When installed on a computer running Windows Server 2008 R2, SP1 simplifies the deployment of Branch Cache at the branch office, using Forefront TMG as the Hosted Cache server.

Support for publishing SharePoint 2010

  • Forefront TMG SP1 supports secure publishing of SharePoint 2010.

Additional resources:

Vista RTM support has ended

by Shijaz Abdulla on 14.04.2010 at 13:35

If you or your customers are running Windows Vista RTM version (without any service pack), please note that support for it has ended yesterday, April 13, 2010.

To continue receiving support for Windows Vista, you must install Service Pack 1 or Service Pack2, which is available as a free download from the Microsoft Download Center.

Follow this link, for information on how to obtain the latest service pack.

Attention: Important Information on SharePoint Server 2007 Service Pack 2

by Shijaz Abdulla on 23.05.2009 at 20:32

We at Microsoft take product quality seriously and make every effort to avoid and resolve issues that adversely impact our customers.  Unfortunately, a bug with MOSS 2o07 Service Pack 2 (SP2) has been discovered that affects all customers that have deployed it for SharePoint Server 2007.

During the installation of SP2, a product expiration date is improperly activated. This means SharePoint will expire as though it was a trial installation 180 days after SP2 is deployed. The activation of the expiration date will not affect the normal function of SharePoint up until the expiration date passes. Furthermore, product expiration 180 days after SP2 installation will not affect customer’s data, configuration or application code but will render SharePoint inaccessible for end-users.

Microsoft is working to release a hotfix to automatically fix this issue. A manual work-around is currently available and involves customers re-entering their Product ID number (PID) on the Convert License Type page in Central Administration.  For more information and detailed steps please read this KB article.

Microsoft wishes to assure their customers that this issue does not impact data integrity or their SharePoint deployment in any other way.

The team apologizes for any inconvenience this issue may cause you.

Q &A

Which products are affected by this?
Applying Service Pack 2 to any of the following products will result in this issue: Office SharePoint Server 2007, Project Server 2007, Form Server 2007, Search Server 2008 and Search Server 2008 Express.

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is not affected by this issue.

What can I do to fix it?
To work around this issue customers will need to re-enter their Product ID numbers (PID) on the Convert License Type page in Central Administration.  Please see this KB article for detailed steps.

Customers can also wait for the hotfix (available for free from to resolve this issue.

Product ID numbers (PIDs) can be retrieved by logging into the Volume Licensing Service Center.

Note: For Search Server 2008 Express the only way to resolve this issue is to apply the hotfix.

What is Microsoft doing to fix it?
Microsoft is working on a hotfix and public update for the product. We will update this blog post with details and a link to the hotfix as soon as it is available.

Do I need to update all of the servers in my farm?
No. The Product ID number only needs to be entered once.

What if I haven’t installed SP2 yet but want to? What should I do?
You can continue to plan for and install Service Pack 2 for SharePoint Server 2007 with the additional step of re-entering your Product ID number after the installation is complete by following the instructions in this KB article. (The KB link is not currently active, it will be available within the next 48hrs)

Does this issue impact anything else?
The issue only activates the product expiration date. The activation of the expiration date does not affect the normal function of SharePoint up until the expiration date passes, at which point SharePoint will be inaccessible for end-users. This issue does not affect customer’s data, configuration or application code.

I can’t find/don’t know my original PID, where can I find it?
Product ID numbers (PIDs) can be retrieved by logging into the Volume Licensing Service Center.

Office 2007 Service Pack 2 released

by Shijaz Abdulla on 03.05.2009 at 10:34

Office 2007 SP2 was released just a few days ago. Some of the significant improvements are:

Office 2007 SP2 benefits :

  • Speeds up Outlook with Startup, Shutdown, Folder view and switch, and more!
  • Improves Outlook performance with using the MS Word editor (default editor)
  • Outlook Search reliability – Improves search reliability when you use SP2 with Windows Desktop Search 4 ( .
  • Improves the method by which Excel prints graphical content, especially when it prints to PCL printers
  • Improves SharePoint sync functionality with OneNote. This helps reduce the load on SharePoint servers, and it helps produce fewer sync errors.
  • Provides faster file resaves with PowerPoint
  • Improves image quality after files are saved in the .jpeg, .png, and .gif formats.

You can download Office 2007 SP2 from the Microsoft Download Center or get it installed via Windows Update.

Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP 2

by Shijaz Abdulla on 07.03.2009 at 14:22

The 32-bit and 64-bit release candidate versions of Windows Vista Service Pack 2, and Windows Server 2008 SP2 are available for download on the Microsoft website.

Below are some of the enhancements that are available with SP2:

  • Support for Bluetooth v2.1
  • Ability to write data to Blu-Ray discs
  • Includes Windows Search 4.0
  • Provides Hyper-V as a fully integrated feature of WS08, including one free guest OS with WS08 Standard Edition, 4 free licenses with Enterprise Edition, and unlimited free licenses with Datacenter Edition.
  • and more

DPM 2007 Service Pack 1

by Shijaz Abdulla on 21.12.2008 at 21:27

Service Pack 1 for System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 is now available for download.

Some of the improvements that have been included with this release:

  • Protection for Hyper-V virtualized environments (subject to Hyper-V hotfix)
  • Enhanced protection for SQL Server 2008 (supports mirroring, and simultaneous backup of multiple databases within same instance)
  • Protection of indexes in SharePoint Server 2007/WSS 3.0
  • Support for Exchange Server 2007 SCR (Standby Continuous Replication)
  • Local data source protection
  • Cross-forest protection for customers with multiple Active Directory forests
  • Support for protecting Windows XP and Windows Vista clients
  • Ability to work with third party vaulting

More information and download links are available here.

PS: I’m back!

ISA 2006 SP1 releasing tomorrow

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.07.2008 at 19:08

ISA Server 2006 Service Pack 1 will be released tomorrow (Wed, July 2, 2008)on the Microsoft Download Center. From July 22, the service pack will be available through the Microsoft Update channel.

This is a massive service pack with over 200 bug fixes and tons of new, visible features.

One of the most notable features is the change tracking feature, which is a much-awaited and highly requested feature from customers. ISA 2006 now keeps track of all changes done to the configuration and helps you track your actions all the way back. The ISA admin’s life just got better.

Here’s a preview of all the new features included in the service pack:

  • Configuration Change Tracking – explained above.
  • The "Test" button for Web publishing
  • Traffic Simulator – Simulates network traffic on the ISA rules engine and helps you visualize how your rules will be processed for the simulated traffic
  • Query on Diagnostic logging – For those who remember the ISA 2006 supportability pack – there was a diagnostic logging feature included. Now, SP1 adds a query feature on the diagnostic logging tool that helps you see only the log data relevant to the problem you are troubleshooting.
  • PLUS tons of improvements to existing features like support for certificates with multiple SAN (Subject Alternative Names), Multicast support for integrated NLB, etc.

I think this is really an exciting update as it contains much of the enhancements requested by customers. Microsoft is listening!


Update: Here is the download link.

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