Reducing runtime memory in Windows 8

Posted by bink on October 8 2011, 2:29 AM. Posted in Windows 8.

Some highlights of Windows 8 memory usage improvements:

 

Making room in Windows 8

We made hundreds of specific changes to minimize OS memory use in Windows 8. I’m going to call out a few specific areas that resulted in substantial memory savings.

Memory combining

When assessing the contents of RAM in a typical running PC, many parts of memory have the same content. The redundant copies of data across system RAM present an opportunity to reduce the memory footprint even for services and OS components.

How can this happen? Applications will sometimes allocate memory for future use and will initialize it all to the same value. The application may never actually use the memory as it may be there in anticipation of functionality that is the user never invokes. If multiple running applications are doing this at the same time, redundant copies of memory are in the system.

Memory combining is a technique in which Windows efficiently assesses the content of system RAM during normal activity and locates duplicate content across all system memory. Windows will then free up duplicates and keep a single copy. If the application tries to write to the memory in future, Windows will give it a private copy. All of this happens under the covers in the memory manager, with no impact on applications. This approach can liberate 10s to 100s of MBs of memory (depending on how many applications are running concurrently).

Service changes and reductions

OS services configured to run all the time are a significant source of ambient memory use. When assessing the set of OS services during Windows 8 planning, we decided to remove a number of them (13), move a different set of services to “manual” start, and also made some of the “always running” services move to a “start on demand” model. This is where a “trigger” in the OS (like device arrival or the availability of a network address) causes the following to occur:

  1. The service starts.
  2. The service does its thing (whatever that happens to be).
  3. It hangs around for a while to make sure there isn’t anything else to do, and
  4. The service goes away.

You’ll notice that Plug and Play, Windows Update, and the the user mode driver framework service are all trigger-started in Windows 8, in contrast to Windows 7, where these services were always running.

Of course we have added a ton of new functionality (and new code) to Windows 8. Some of this new functionality is packaged in the form of new services. Of these new services, two are auto-started; all others are manual or trigger-started.

 

Full Story At Source

SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3

Posted by bink on October 7 2011, 1:17 PM. Posted in SQL Server 2008.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 (SP3) is now available for download. While keeping product changes contained, we have made significant investments to ease deployment and management of Service Packs. A few key enhancements for customers in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 are :

  • Enhanced upgrade experience from previous versions of SQL Server to SQL Server 2008 SP3. In addition, we have increased the performance & reliability of the setup experience.
  • In SQL Server Integration Services logs will now show the total number of rows sent in Data Flows.
  • Enhanced warning messages when creating the maintenance plan if the Shrink Database option is enabled.
  • Resolving database issue with transparent data encryption enabled and making it available even if certificate is dropped.
  • Optimized query outcomes when indexed Spatial Data Type column is referenced by DTA (Database Tuning Advisor).
  • Superior user experience with Sequence Functions (e.g Row_Numbers()) in a Parallel execution plan.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 2 is not a prerequisite for installing SQL Server 2008 Service Pack3. These packages may be used to upgrade any of the following editions of SQL Server 2008:

  • Enterprise
  • Standard
  • Evaluation
  • Developer
  • Workgroup

SQL Server 2008 SP3 contains the cumulative updates of SQL Server 2008 SP2 cumulative update package 1 to 4, and fixes to issues that have been reported through our customer feedback platforms. These include supportability enhancements and issues that have been reported through Windows Error Reporting.Note: To obtain SQL Server 2008 SP3 for Express Edition or Express Edition with Advanced Services, please go here.For a detailed list of new features and improvements that are included in SQL Server 2008 SP3, review the Release Notes

MicrosoftSQLServer2008SP3Readme.htm 16 KB Download
SQLServer2008SP3-KB2546951-IA64-ENU.exe 364.0 MB Download
SQLServer2008SP3-KB2546951-x64-ENU.exe 371.0 MB Download
SQLServer2008SP3-KB2546951-x86-ENU.exe 304.0 MB Download

Updated System Center Monitoring Pack for Active Directory

Posted by bink on October 7 2011, 2:03 AM.

The Monitoring Pack for Active Directory (AD) provides both proactive and reactive monitoring of your Active Directory deployment. It monitors events that various Active Directory components and subsystems place in the Application, System, and Service event logs. It also monitors the overall health of the Active Directory system and provides alerts for critical performance issues. The monitoring that this monitoring pack provides includes monitoring of domain controllers and monitoring of health from the perspective of clients that use Active Directory resources. To monitor domain controllers, ADMP provides a predefined, ready-to-run set of processing rules, monitoring scripts, and reports that are designed specifically to monitor the performance and availability of domain controllers.

Because client computers in your Active Directory environment can experience connectivity and service issues even when domain controllers appear to be operating correctly, ADMP includes the Active Directory Client Management Pack, which can help you identify such issues. The Active Directory Client Management Pack monitors the services that domain controllers provide. It provides information—in addition to the information that is collected directly on the domain controllers—about whether domain controllers are available by running transactions, such as Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) binds and pings, against the directory service. The September 2011 revision of the Monitoring Pack for Active Directory includes the following additions:

  • Fixes to problems reported by customers
  • Fixes to architectural issues to facilitate future SCOM releases.
Feature Summary
  • Replication
  • Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
  • Domain Controller Locator (DCLocator)
  • Trusts
  • Net Logon service
  • File Replication Service (FRS)
  • Intersite Messaging service
  • Windows Time service
  • Key Distribution Center (KDC)
  • Service availability monitoring
  • Key performance data collection
  • Comprehensive reports, including reports about service availability and service health, plus reports that you can use for capacity planning
Known Issues for Localized Releases
  • For DEU language pack, data does not show in the following reports: "AD Domain Controllers", "AD Replication Site Links", and "AD Role Holders."
  • For FRA, RUS, DEU, ESN, and PTB language packs, some parameters for discoveries may not be displayed in override properties.
Release History
  • 3/23/2007 - Initial Release, version 6.0.5000.0
  • 1/15/2008 - Updated Guide - same version
  • 03/17/2008 - QFE, version 6.0.6278.3
  • 03/26/2008 - QFE, version 6.0.6278.10
  • 11/7/2008 - Initial release for 2000/2003/2008, version 6.0.6452.0
  • 11/3/2009 - Updated release, version 6.0.7065.0, with added Windows Server 2008 R2 support
  • 10/6/2011 - Updated release, version 6.0.7670.0, with fixes to bugs reported by customers and architectural issues to facilitate future Operations Manager's releases

 

Download Details - Microsoft Download Center - Monitoring Pack for Active Directory

8 Security Bulletins for next week (oct 2012)

Posted by bink on October 7 2011, 2:01 AM.

In this months advanced notification Microsoft announces the release of eight security bulletins, two Critical and six Important, to address 23 vulnerabilities across Internet Explorer, .NET Framework & Silverlight, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Forefront UAG, and Microsoft Host Integration Server.

As usual, the bulletin release is scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month, October 11, at approximately 10 a.m. PDT.

Steve Jobs RIP

Posted by bink on October 6 2011, 9:55 AM.

1955 – 2011

Press Release by Apple:

We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.

Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.

His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.

Response from Google:

image

Response from Steve Ballmer:

I want to express my deepest condolences at the passing of Steve Jobs, one of the founders of our industry and a true visionary. My heart goes out to his family, everyone at Apple and everyone who has been touched by his work.”

 

 

Response from Bill Gates:

 

Bill Gates

I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work. Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.

Windows 7 on a Slate Device

Posted by bink on October 6 2011, 1:50 AM. Posted in Windows 7.

Learn how to use Windows 7 features on a slate device, using touch-friendly features in IE9, the tablet input panel, speech inputs and more.

1841UsingWindows7OnSlate_WSG.docx 469 KB Download

Windows 8: Evolving the Startmenu

Posted by bink on October 4 2011, 8:56 PM.

How is the Start menu used?

….let’s discover how people are actually using it. We thought it would be interesting to see how the usage of the menu has changed over time. Figure 3 reveals the change in Start menu usage across the two versions of Windows.

Table listing Start menu features and their percent change in usage: Pictures: -61%, Documents: -56%, Control Panel:-54%, Pinned items: -51%, All Programs: -42%, Computer: -40%, MFU: -28%, Start menu open: -11%. Fig 3: Change in Start menu feature usage between Windows Vista and Windows 7

It is striking to see how dramatically different the use of the Start menu is in Windows Vista vs. Windows 7. Some of the Special Folders (what we call those items on the right side of the menu) dropped in use by over 50%. Likewise, people accessed pinned items on the Start menu half as often in Windows 7 than they did in Vista. People also access All Programs and the MFU far less often. Finally, we see an 11% drop in how often people are opening the Start menu at all. While 11% may seem like a small number at first, across our hundreds of millions of customers it is eye opening to see such a drop for a universally recognizable element of the Windows interface. We’re not talking about some hidden setting that is tweaked by a minority of people—we’re talking about a fundamental piece of Windows that people are using less and less.

So why the change in how people are using the Start menu? Here’s a hint—it has something to do with that bar at the bottom of your screen that was introduced in Windows 7.

The “Start bar”

The evolution of the Windows taskbar directly impacted the Start menu. What once was locked behind a menu suddenly came closer to you. The most obvious advancements were the introduction of Quick Launch by Internet Explorer 4.0’s Windows Desktop Update in 1997, as well as the more recent taskbar pinning in Windows 7.

Interesting side story: did you know that Quick Launch was initially disabled by default in Windows XP because some people believed the MFU list and pinning in the Start menu would suffice? We saw a volume of evidence to the contrary, and so we reversed the decision (though back then, the data upon which we based these decisions was limited, so we don't really know what a broad variety of customers were doing). What we took away from this was that it was important for you to be able to designate what apps you care about, see them all in one place, and have them be one click away, rather than trying to guess what is important through software heuristics or having important items mixed with less important items.

To really bring this all home, let’s take a look at where people are pinning their apps. Figure 4 reveals that 85% of people have three or more items pinned to the taskbar compared to a mere 23% who have the same number pinned to the Start menu. Although the taskbar and Start menu have different pinned defaults, many people do customize both of them when they want to. The message is clear that the majority of people want most of their apps on the taskbar rather than having to dig into Start.

Top bar chart shows 41% of users pin 0 apps to Start menu, 21% pin 1 app to Start menu, and 5% or less pin 5 or more apps to Start. Bottom bar chart shows 9% or less of users pin either 0, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9,or 10 apps to the taskbar, while  30% pin 3 apps to taskbar, 23% pin 4 apps to taskbar, and 15% pin 5 apps to taksbar. Fig 4: Number of pinned apps on the Start menu (top) vs. on the taskbar (bottom)

Full story at Windows 8 blog:

Evolving the Start menu - Building Windows 8 - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

Public Key Infrastructure at Microsoft

Posted by bink on October 3 2011, 3:53 PM.

Microsoft IT installed a public key infrastructure to implement a security-enhanced communications and remote authentication infrastructure. This enabled the use of S/MIME signatures and encryption, helped secure Web connections by using Secure Sockets Layer or Transport Layer Security, helped ensure the confidentiality of stored data by using Encrypting File System, helped ensure the confidentiality and integrity of transmitted data by using IPsec, and enabled strong network user authentication by using smart cards.

1750_PKI_TWP.docx Download

Server Virtualization at Microsoft

Posted by bink on October 3 2011, 3:52 PM.

At Microsoft, server virtualization has become a primary way to address data-center power consumption, to address space issues, and to rationalize server utilization. To optimize deployment and management of thousands of virtual machines, Microsoft Information Technology (Microsoft IT) has developed standards and best practices for configuring host servers, storage, and network infrastructure.

1956_Virtualization_QRG.docx Download

PI492_SharePointVirtualization_article.docx Download

Microsoft Security Compliance Manager 2.0

Posted by bink on September 30 2011, 8:30 PM.

This Solution Accelerator provides centralized security baseline management features, a baseline portfolio, customization capabilities, and security baseline export flexibility to accelerate your organization’s ability to efficiently manage the security and compliance process for the most widely used Microsoft technologies

The Microsoft Security Compliance Manager is the next evolution of the Microsoft Security Compliance Management Toolkit Series. We’ve taken our extensive guidance and documentation—including the previously stand-alone product-specific security guides—and incorporated it into this new tool, enabling you to access and automate all of your organization’s security baselines in one centralized location.

To access the security guidance for Windows client and server operating systems and Microsoft applications, simply download the tool, import your product baselines of choice, and select the "Attachments \ Guides" node within each product baseline tree.

Take advantage of the experience of Microsoft security professionals, and reduce the time and money required to harden your environment. This end-to-end Solution Accelerator will help you plan, deploy, operate, and manage your security baselines for Windows client and server operating systems, and Microsoft applications. Access the complete database of Microsoft recommended security settings, customize your baselines, and then choose from multiple formats—including XLS, Group Policy objects (GPOs), Desired Configuration Management (DCM) packs, or Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP)—to export the baselines to your environment to automate the security baseline deployment and compliance verification process. Use the Security Compliance Manager to achieve a secure, reliable, and centralized IT environment that will help you better balance your organization’s needs for security and functionality.

Key Features & Benefits

  • Centralized Management and Baseline Portfolio: The centralized management console of the Security Compliance Manager provides you with a unified, end-to-end user experience to plan, customize, and export security baselines. The tool gives you full access to a complete portfolio of recommended baselines for Windows® client and server operating systems, and Microsoft applications. The Security Compliance Manager also enables you to quickly update the latest Microsoft baseline releases and take advantage of baseline version control.
  • Security Baseline Customization: Customizing, comparing, merging, and reviewing your baselines just got easier. Now you can use the new customization capabilities of the Security Compliance Manager to duplicate any of the recommended baselines from Microsoft—for Windows client and server operating systems, and Microsoft applications—and quickly modify security settings to meet the standards of your organization’s environment.
  • Multiple Export Capabilities: Export baselines in formats like XLS, Group Policy objects (GPOs), Desired Configuration Management (DCM) packs, or Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) to enable automation of deployment and monitoring baseline compliance.
  • Security baselines (including security guides) for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP2, Hyper-V, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows XP SP3, BitLocker Drive Encryption, Windows Internet Explorer 9, Windows Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft Office 2010, and Microsoft Office 2007 SP2
Supporting Resources Additional information and supporting resources for SCM are available on the TechNet Wiki site:

 

Download Details - Microsoft Download Center - Security Compliance Manager

Microsoft Set To Launch Lync Mobile

Posted by sumeethevans on September 23 2011, 12:45 AM. Posted in OCS.

Collaboration and videoconferencing suite coming to Windows Phone 7, Google Android, and Apple iOS devices.

<!-- /KINDLE EXCLUDE -->Microsoft in the coming weeks will release a version of its Lync collaboration suite for a number of mobile platforms, a company executive said.

Kirk Gregersen, senior director for Lync in Microsoft's Office division, said the software maker plans to release Microsoft Lync Mobile for Windows Phone 7, as well as for rival offerings from Apple and Google. "We want to be where our users are," said Gregersen, in an interview Wednesday at Microsoft's New York City office.

Full Story At Source