Posts tagged mcitp enterprise administrator

The Big Question Rises How To Become Microsoft, Cisco, ComTIA Certified

The big question rises how to become the Microsoft certified , All Microsoft certifications are acquired by simply taking a series of exams. If you can self-study for said exams, and then pass them, then you can acquire the certification for the mere cost of the exam (and maybe whatever self-study materials you purchase).

You’ll also need, at minimum (in addition to the MCTS), the CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ certs; as well as the Cisco CCNA cert.

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) – This is the basic entry point of Microsoft Certifications. You only need to pass a single certification test to be considered an MCTS and there are numerous different courses and certifications that would grant you this after passing one. If you are shooting for some of the higher certifications that will be discussed below, then you’ll get this on your way there.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) – This certification was Microsoft’s previous “Developer Certification” meaning that this was the highest certification that was offered that consisted strictly of development-related material. Receiving it involved passing four exams within specific areas (based on the focus of your certification). You can find the complete list of courses and paths required for the MCPD here.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) – This is Microsoft’s most recent “Developer Certification” which will replace the MCPD Certification (which is being deprecated / retired in July of 2013). The MCSD focuses within three major areas of very recent Microsoft development technologies and would likely be the best to persue if you wanted to focus on current and emerging skills that will be relevant in the coming years. You can find the complete list of courses and paths required for the MCSD here.

The Microsoft Certifications that you listed are basically all of the major ones within the realm of development. I’ll cover each of the major ones and what they are :

Most people, however, take some kind of course. Some colleges — especially career and some community colleges — offer such courses (though usually they’re non-credit). Other providers of such courses are private… some of them Microsoft Certified vendors of one type or another, who offer the courses in such settings as sitting around a conference table in their offices. Still others specialize in Microsoft certification training, and so have nice classrooms set up in their offices.

There are also some online (and other forms of distance learning) courses to help prepare for the exams.

The cost of taking classes to prepare can vary wildly. Some are actually free (or very nearly so), while others can cost hundreds of dollars. It all just depends on the provider.

And here’s a Google search of MCTS training resources (which can be mind-numbing in their sheer numbers and types, so be careful what you choose):

There are some pretty good, yet relatively inexpensive, ways to get vendor certificate training. Be careful not to sign-up for something expensive and involved when something cheaper — like subscribing to an “all the certificates you care to study for one flat rate” web site — would, in addition to purchasing a study guide or two at a bookstore, likely be better.

If you want a career in IT, then you need to have both an accredited degree in same (preferably a bachelors over an associates), and also a variety of IT certifications. The MCTS is but one that you will need.

You should probably also get the Microsoft MCSE and/or MCSA. The ICS CISSP. And the ITIL.

There are others, but if you have those, you’ll be evidencing a broad range of IT expertise that will be useful, generally. Then, in addition, if the particular IT job in which you end-up requires additional specialist certification, then you can get that, too (hopefully at the expense of your employer who requires it of you).

Then, whenever (if ever) you’re interested in a masters in IT, here’s something really cool of which you should be aware…

There’s a big (and fully-accredited, fully-legitimate) university in Australia which has partnered with Microsoft and several other vendors to structure distance learning degrees which include various certifications; and in which degrees, considerable amounts of credit may be earned simply by acquiring said certifications. It’s WAY cool.

One can, for example, get up to half of the credit toward a Masters degree in information technology by simply getting an MCSE (though the exams which make it up must be certain ones which correspond with the university’s courses). I’ve always said that if one were going to get an MCSE, first consult the web site of this university and make sure that one takes the specific MCSE exams that this school requires so that if ever one later decided to enter said school’s masters program, one will have already earned up to half its degree’s credits by simply having the MCSE under his/her belt. Is that cool, or what?

I wouldn’t rely on them over experience (which is far and away the most valuable asset out there) but they are worth pursuing especially if you don’t feel like you have enough experience and need to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to land a position as a developer.

If you are going to pursue a certification, I would recommend going after the MCSD (Web Applications Track) as it is a very recent certification that focuses on several emerging technologies that will still be very relevant (if not more-so) in the coming years. You’ll pick up the MCTS along the way and then you’ll have both of those under your belt. MCPD would be very difficult to achieve based on the short time constraints (passing four quite difficult tests within just a few months is feasible, but I don’t believe that it is worth it since it will be “retired” soon after).

No job experience at all is necessary for any of the Microsoft Certifications, you can take them at any time as long as you feel confident enough with the materials of the specific exam you should be fine. The tests are quite difficult by most standards and typically cover large amounts of material, but with what it sounds like a good bit of time to study and prepare you should be fine.

Certifications, in addition to degrees, are so important in the IT field, now, that one may almost no longer get a job in that field without both. The certifications, though, are so important that one who has a little IT experience can get a pretty good job even without a degree as long as he has all the right certs. But don’t do that. Definitely get the degree… and not merely an associates. Get the bachelors in IT; and make sure it’s from a “regionally” accredited school.

Then get the certs I mentioned (being mindful, if you think you’ll ever get an IT masters, to take the specific exams that that Strut masters program requires so that you’ll have already earned up to half the credit just from the certs).

If you already have two years of experience in working in the .NET environment, a certification isn’t going to guarantee that you will get employed, a salary increase or any other bonuses for achieving the honor. However, it can help supplement your resume by indicating that you are familiar with specific technologies enough to apply them in real-world applications to solve problems.

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70-647 PRO: Windows Server 2008,Enterprise Administrator


QUESTION 1
You work as an enterprise administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network has a domain named
ABC.com. All servers in the ABC.com network run Windows Server 2008.
The ABC.com network has a file server named ABC-SR07 that hosts a shared folder named
ABCDocs. Several Microsoft Word documents are stored in the ABCDocs share. You want to
enable document version history on these documents. You also want the documents in the
ABCDocs share to be accessed through a Web page.
Which of the following roles or services would you install on ABC-SR07 to achieve the desired
results cost effectively?

A. FTP Server role.
B. Application Server role.
C. Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0.
D. File and Print Services role.
E. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007.
F. SMTP Server role.

Answer: C

Explanation:
To achieve the desired results without requiring any additional cost, you need to use Microsoft
Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0.
Reference: Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and the Mobile Workplace

http://download.microsoft.com/download/b/b/6/bb6672dd-252c-4a21-89de-

78cfc8e0b69e/WSS%20Mobile%20Workplace.doc


QUESTION 2
You work as an enterprise administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network has a domain named
ABC.com with a single site named Site
A. All servers in the ABC.com network run Windows Server
2008.
You reorganize the Active Directory infrastructure to include a second site named SiteB with its
own domain controller.
How would you configured the firewall to allow replication between SiteA and SiteB?

A. Enable IPSec traffic to pass through the firewall.
B. Enable RPC traffic to pass through the firewall.
C. Enable SMTP traffic to pass through the firewall.
D. Enable NNTP traffic to pass through the firewall.
E. Enable FTP traffic to pass through the firewall.

Answer: B

Explanation:
You should permit RPC traffic through the firewall to enable the domain controllers to replicate
between the two sites because the Active Directory relies on remote procedure call (RPC) for
replication between domain controllers. You can open the firewall wide to permit RPC’s native
dynamic behavior.
Reference: Active Directory Replication over Firewalls

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727063.aspx


QUESTION 3
You work as an enterprise administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network has a domain named
ABC.com. All servers in the ABC.com network run Windows Server 2008.
ABC.com runs a critical application that accesses data that is stored in a Microsoft SQL Server
2005 database server named ABC-DB02. Which of the following options would you choose to
ensure that the database is always available?

A. Two Windows Server 2008 servers running MS SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition in a
Network Load Balancing (NLB) cluster.
B. Two Windows Server 2008 servers running MS SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition in a
Network Load Balancing (NLB) cluster
C. Two Windows Server 2008 servers running MS SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition in a failover
cluster.
D. Two Windows Server 2008 servers running MS SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition in a
failover cluster.

Answer: D

Explanation:
To ensure the high availability of the data store, you need to use a Windows Server 2008 failover
cluster with shared storage.
Failover clustering can help you build redundancy into your network and eliminate single points of
failure.
Administrators have better control and can achieve better performance with storage than was
possible in previous releases. Failover clusters now support GUID partition table (GPT) disks that
can have capacities of larger than 2 terabytes, for increased disk size and robustness.
Administrators can now modify resource dependencies while resources are online, which means
they can make an additional disk available without interrupting access to the application that will
use it. And administrators can run tools in Maintenance Mode to check, fix, back up, or restore
disks more easily and with less disruption to the cluster
You should not use Network Load Balancing (NLB) because it only allows you to distribute TCP/IP
requests to multiple systems in order to optimize resource utilization, decrease computing time,
and ensure system availability.
Reference: High Availability

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/high-availability.aspx


QUESTION 4
You work as an enterprise administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network has a domain named
ABC.com. All servers in the ABC.com network run Windows Server 2008. ABC.com has its
headquarters in Chicago and sub-divisions in Boston, Atlanta, Miami and Dallas. All domain
controllers are currently installed in the Chicago.
You need to have new domain controllers installed in the Boston, Atlanta, Miami and Dallas subdivisions.
ABC.com issues a security policy for the new domain controllers that states the
following:
•Unauthorized user must not be able to access the Active Directory database.
•Unauthorized user must not be able to boot a domain controller from an alternate boot disk.
Which of the following options would you choose to implement the security policy?

A. Modify the permissions of the ntds.dat file.
B. Configure a read-only domain controller (RODC) in the Boston, Atlanta, Miami and Dallas.
C. Disable replication of the Sysvol folder on the new domain controllers.
D. Configure Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption (BitLocker) on the new domain controllers.
E. Disable the Global Catalog role on the new domain controllers.
F. Configure EFS encryption on the new domain controllers.

Answer: D

Explanation:
To configure domain controller at each branch office to ensure that no unauthorized user should
be allowed to copy the Active Directory database from a branch office domain controller by starting
the server from an alternate startup disk, you need to use Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption
(BitLocker)
BitLocker allows you to encrypt all data stored on the Windows operating system volume and use
the security of using a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that helps protect user data and to ensure
that a computer running Windows Vista or Server 2008 have not been tampered with while the
system was offline.
In addition, BitLocker offers the option to lock the normal startup process until the user supplies a
personal identification number (PIN) or inserts a removable USB device, such as a flash drive, that
contains a startup key. This process will ensure that users can only access all files on the servers
if they have the PIN. You cannot use an alternate startup disk to boot the server.
Reference: BitLocker Drive Encryption Technical Overview

http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/library/a2ba17e6-153b-4269-bc46-

6866df4b253c1033.mspx?mfr=true


QUESTION 5
You work as an enterprise administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network has a domain named
ABC.com that runs at the domain functional level of Windows Server 2008.
Which of the following options can be used for tracking any modification to Active Directory
Objections?

A. Configure a Group Policy to run the Security Configuration Wizard on all computers in the ABC
network.
B. Configure the Default Domain Controllers Group Policy to audit Directory Services.
C. Configure the Default Domain Group Policy to audit Directory Services.
D. Enable auditing of the ntds.dat file in the Default Domain Group Policy.
E. Enable auditing of the ntds.dat file in the Default Domain Group Policy.

Answer: B

Explanation:
To implement an audit and compliance policy and ensure that all changes made to Active
Directory objects are recorded, you need to configure a Directory Services Auditing policy in the
Default Domain Controller Policy
In Windows Server 2008, you can enable Audit Directory Service Access policy to log events in
the Security event log whenever certain operations are performed on objects stored in Active
Directory.
Enabling the global audit policy, Audit directory service access, enables all directory service policy
subcategories. You can set this global audit policy in the Default Domain Controllers Group Policy
(under Security Settings\Local Policies\Audit Policy).
Reference: Windows Server 2008 Auditing AD DS Changes Step-by-Step Guide

http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/library/a9c25483-89e2-4202-881cea8e02b4b2a51033.

mspx?mfr=true


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Kill rogue processes with taskkill in Microsoft Windows

There are times, regardless of your operating system, when you will need to manually kill a rogue process. Most of the time, this can easily be done with the help of the Microsoft Windows 7 Task Manager. There are times, however, when that tool doesn’t seem to have the ability to kill a rogue process. I have seen this plenty of times when trying to kill an Acronis process that has gone astray. When this happens, I have to employ a more powerful tool, taskkill, which is used from the command line.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download.

Note: In order to run the taskkill command, you will have to open the command window. To do this, click Start | Run and type cmd in the text field or just enter cmd in the Run dialog box (access Run dialog box by clicking Win+R) (Figure A).

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Figure A
Open the command window.

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Using taskkill
The general syntax of the command looks like this:

taskkill [OPTIONS] [PID]

As you might expect, there are plenty of options available for this command. Some of the more helpful options are:

* /s COMPUTER — (Where COMPUTER is the IP or address of a remote computer). The default is the local computer, so if you’re working with a command on the local machine, you do not have to use this option.
* /u DOMAIN\USER — (Where DOMAIN is the domain and USER is the username you authenticate to). This option allows you run taskkill with the account permissions of the specified USERNAME or DOMAIN\USERNAME.
* /p — If you use the /u option, you will also need to include the /p option, which allows you to specify the user password.
* /fi — Allows you to run the taskkill command with filters.
* /f — Forces the command to be terminated.
* /IM — Allows you to use an application name instead of the PID (Process ID number) of the application.

One of the most useful options is the help switch (Figure B):

taskkill /?

Figure B
Use the help switch for the taskkill command.
Killing with application name
The simplest way to kill a rogue application with taskkill is using the /IM option. This is done like so:

taskkill /IM APPLICATION_NAME

Where APPLICATION_NAME is the name of the application you want to kill. Say, for example, Outlook is refusing to close. To close this with taskkill, you would execute the command:

taskkill /IM outlook.exe

Killing with PID
Let’s say you do not know the name of the application, but instead you know the PID of the application. To kill a process with a PID of, say, 572, you would issue the command:

taskkill /PID 572

Killing all processes owned by a particular user
What if you want to kill all processes owned by a single user? This can come in handy if something has gone awry with a user account or if the user has logged out, but some of the processes owned by that user will not go away. To manage this you would issue the taskkill command like so:

taskkill /F /FI “USERNAME eq username”

In this case, the username is the actual username that owns the processes. Note: The USERNAME option must be used in order to tell the taskkill command a username will be specified.

Killing processes on a remote machine
This one is very handy. Say something has locked up your desktop and you know exactly what application is the culprit. Let’s stick with our Outlook example from earlier. You can hop onto another machine and remotely kill that application like so:

taskkill /s IP_ADDRESS /u DOMAIN\USERNAME /IM Outlook.exe

Where IP_ADDRESS is the address of the remote machine (Note: The hostname can be substituted if the machines are able to see one another by hostname), DOMAIN is the domain (if applicable), and USERNAME is the username used to authenticate to the remote machine.

Final thoughts
The ability and power that comes with the taskkill command can be a very valuable tool that might save you from having to forcibly reboot a machine. Having a solid grasp of this tool, in conjunction with using the Windows Task Manager, will help to keep your Windows machines enjoying longer uptime and, should the occasion strike, the ability to manage a task when a virus, rootkit, or trojan has taken over your machine.

Is Windows 7 Right for Your Business?

There may be a lot to switch to Windows 7 at home, but what about at work? Naturally, businesses big and small have been thinking about whether to upgrade to the new operating system. Some analysts say it’s inevitable for businesses that skipped Windows Vista and stuck with XP—if they want to keep up, they’ll have to consider Windows 7 as computers continue to age.

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So does Windows 7 make it worth giving up that well-known if not loved XP? What are the benefits and drawbacks specific to SMBs? Take a look at our reasons for and against the upgrade. The points that follow may help you make a decision that will make your work day a little bit better. First the reason for an upgrade.—Next: Yes, You Should Upgrade to Win 7 >

Google Researcher Uncovers Windows XP, Server 2003 Bugs

Tavis Ormandy, a security researcher for Google, on Thursday posted a vulnerability report to the Full-Disclosure mailing list, which detailed a vulnerability in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Later versions of Windows are unaffected.

The flaw is in the Help and Support Center, a relic of the time when Microsoft was trying to make everything on the computer a browser app. Help, Control Panel, Windows Update, and other components were browser or browser-like apps. In order to access remote help, the Help and Support Center supports remote links to help using hcp:// addresses.

Windows XP SP2 introduced a model whereby the program, when run with the /fromhcp parameter, runs in a special restricted mode where only links from addresses on a special whitelist can have privileged access. Ormandy’s vulnerability is an implementation error that allows the whitelist to be bypassed. Read the FD posting if you want all the gory details, but the end result is arbitrary code execution from links on the Web.


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Ormandy notified Microsoft about this bug on June 5, the Saturday before this last Patch Tuesday. Thursday afternoon the Microsoft Security Response Center responded with a blog entry, which criticized Ormandy for releasing the information without giving them a fair chance to evaluate it and provide a registry hack to remove all hcp support. That blocks the vulnerability as well as useful hcp links, such as those in the Control Panel.

Ormandy also created an unofficial hotfix of his own and linked to it from his post, but a Secunia analysis of the issue claims that the hotfix does not sufficiently address the problem.

If you run Windows XP (and that’s your first mistake) you will be much better off following Microsoft’s registry mitigation technique, although I think you could probably get away with renaming the key rather than deleting it. This should make it easier to undo when the patch is available.

Ormandy posted the vulnerability report using his personal e-mail and is probably acting in a private capacity, but don’t expect Microsoft to see it that way. Microsoft’s initial report on the bug referred to Ormandy as “a Google security researcher” and the tweet announcing it said that the “information on the Windows Help vulnerability [was] disclosed by Google.”

People can have reasonable disagreements about the limits of full disclosure vs. “responsible” disclosure, but I doubt Google would take kindly to a Microsoft researcher blind-siding them like this. For Ormandy to expect turnaround like this during a heavy Patch Tuesday is not reasonable. In fact, even Ormandy may be reconsidering the wisdom of his move.

Windows 7 Phones Home to ID New Piracy Tactics

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Microsoft has announced that an update will soon be released that will change the behavior of WAT (Windows Activation Technologies) in Windows 7. WAT determines whether a copy of Windows is, as Microsoft puts it, “genuine” (they used to call this Windows Genuine Advantage).

After the update is installed, WAT will check with Microsoft every 90 days for information on new activation hacks that Microsoft may have found. Therefore, if you buy a computer with a pirated copy of Windows (or hack activation yourself) and it’s not found at first, it may be found later.

If a system is found to be non-genuine it will display dialog boxes informing the user of the situation and giving them information on how they can get genuine. The desktop wallpaper will turn blank with a watermark reminding the user of the problem, and the dialog boxes will reappear periodically. The only updates they will be able to install are important security updates. Microsoft stresses that no user functionality will be lost.

The activation problem from Microsoft’s standpoint doesn’t come from individuals hacking their own copies of Windows to avoid buying a license. It comes from unscrupulous OEMs, mail-order and storefront computer shops I imagine, that sell Windows systems with hacked versions so that *they* don’t have to buy a license. In these cases, the consumer is usually unaware that they are buying pirated software (or maybe they just don’t want to know). If you’re actually curious about the genuiness of your Windows copy, go to Microsoft’s “How to Tell” site.

But this new approach raises the possibility that users won’t find out they have a problem until some time after they have been using their computer. Is this unfair to the consumer? Yes, but it’s not Microsoft being unfair, it’s the OEM. For consumers in this position Microsoft is happy to sell them a real license.

There has been some negative reaction to this move by Microsoft, such as this one by Lauren Weinstein. Weinstein is concerned about false positives, but in the main she argues that the fact that Microsoft is even checking such things on old customers is an offensive intrusion on privacy. Personally, I don’t understand her concern. I don’t feel violated at all by the check.

The update will be made available today, February 16, at http://www.microsoft.com/genuine for Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise. Tomorrow it will be available at the Microsoft Download Center, and later in the month it will be available as an “Important” update on Windows Update. As an Important update, most users will, per the default settings, download and install it automatically. But it is not mandatory, you can opt-out, and as long as you haven’t been busted by it yet, you can uninstall it.

Microsoft Issues Advisory for 64-Bit Windows 7, Server 2008

Microsoft has issued an advisory for a vulnerability in a component of a small number of Windows versions. The company judges the compromise as very difficult to pull off. Theoretically, it could result in remote code execution, but is much more likely to hang and then reboot the system.

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The 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, as well as the Itanium version of Windows Server 2008 R2, are vulnerable to an attack against the Canonical Display Driver (cdd.dll), part of the desktop composition components of Windows. The problem is that cdd.dll does not properly parse data copied from user mode to kernel mode. Because of ASLR (address space layout randomization) it would be very difficult to execute remote code using this attack. Microsoft has rated the exploitability of this vulnerability as “3” for “reliable exploit code unlikely.”

No patch is available yet for the issue. Microsoft is studying it and, based on today’s announcement, this would seem to be a low-priority problem. In the meantime, the advisory describes how users can disable Windows Aero, which blocks the problem.

Microsoft released the advisory after the vulnerability was publicly disclosed. They are not aware of any attacks using the vulnerability.

Windows Phone 7 Thwarts Jailbreakers

The yet-unknown number of people who’ve bought a Windows Phone 7 device this fall probably didn’t know of a hidden feature on their devices: jailbreak rollback.

The jailbreak rollback reverts a jailbroken WP7 back to its locked state. It was observed by the makers of ChevronWP7, the first known jailbreak application for WP7, during discussions with Microsoft earlier this month.

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As creators Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh, and Long Zheng wrote in a blog post:

“Contrary to circulating reports, Windows Phone 7 devices unlocked via ChevronWP7 are not being targeted by Microsoft. Instead, the phone is reverting back as a result of a periodic check. Simply put, the phone rings Microsoft and asks ‘Hey, am I supposed to be unlocked?’ If Microsoft responds with a ‘No, what are you thinking?’, the phone apologizes and initiates a lock down.”

“Unfortunately, while in this state, an unsigned application launch results in a misleading (and scary sounding) error message: “[application name] has been revoked by Microsoft. Please uninstall it.”

Launched in November, ChevronWP7 lets users side-load applications onto their phones without having to go through the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

On December 1, however, after “good faith” discussions with a Microsoft executive, the makers of ChevronWP7 agreed to discontinue the tool in order to show its support for Microsoft facilitating homebrew development.

Next Generation of Windows Will Run on ARM

LAS VEGAS—Microsoft did a rare thing today and gave a glimpse of the somewhat distant future of Windows: a world in which the venerable operating system is capable of running on almost any System on a Chip (SoC), including those from Intel, AMD and, more radically, ARM-based systems from Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Texas Instruments.


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In an unusual event before Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote event, Microsoft not only talked through the importance of Windows running lean and mean on relatively low-powered and seemingly ubiquitous small form factor SoCs, but showed unnamed early builds of the next-gen Windows operating system running on Tegra 2 and Qualcomm Snapdragon-based systems. Granted, these were not what regular people would call PCs or even mobile devices. They were essentially gigantic motherboards with the SoCs at their core. Microsoft engineers and developer and partners are using systems like these to make Windows and even partner peripherals work.

During the demonstration, we saw these ARM-based “systems” running a future Windows build, running Microsoft Word, playing HD movies, and even printing using a slightly altered Epson print driver. Despite showing Word running on these systems, Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live Division, said that X86 applications do not run on the ARM architecture right now. However, he added that the company will be talking about application support at some point in the future.
CES 2011

Sinofsky said that users do not expect compromises simply because they’re using their new SoCs. “Consumers have the right to demand everything from us as the providers of new technology for them,” said Sinofsky.

When asked why Microsoft decided to go forward with ARM architecture compatibility, Sinofsky explained that it saw the customer interest and felt “this was an investment we could make in the Windows engineering process.”

Sinofsky refused to call the demonstrated version of Windows “Windows 8.” In fact, Microsoft is not offering any details on when the next version of Windows will ship, though Sinofsky did say “For Windows: 24 and 36 months between releases seems about right.”

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Lineup with AT&T, T-Mobile

Microsoft officially unveiled its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system Monday, announcing that it will be available on a total of five devices in the U.S.

Windows Phone 7 handsets from AT&T and T-Mobile will begin shipping in November, while devices from Sprint and Verizon will be available next year. All the devices announced Monday will run a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Microsoft said.

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At a New York launch event, Microsoft chief executive characterized Windows Phone 7 as a means to keep in touch but not be tied to your phone 24-7. “Get in, out, and back to life,” Ballmer said. The experience should be “delightful.”

AT&T will support three Windows Phone 7 devices—the HTC Surround, the Samsung Focus, and the LG Quantum.

The HTC Surround includes a 3.8-inch touch screen, and is the first smartphone to include integrated Dolby Mobile and SRS surround sound speakers, AT&T said. It has 16GB on onboard storage, a kickstand on the back, and a 5-megapixel camera. It is the “perfect device for media and gaming enthusiasts,” Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, said at the event.

The LG Quantum (above) has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 3.5-inch screen, and 16GB of onboard storage. It also includes a pre-loaded app called Play To, which allows users to wirelessly stream videos, music, and pictures from the phone to DLNA-enabled TV, stereo, Windows 7 PCs, and other consumer electronics devices.
Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7

Finally, the Samsung Focus (right) will be the thinnest Windows Phone at 9.9mm. Its Super AMOLED touch screen will make the Focus the “best-looking screen on any Windows Phone,” de la Vega said. It also includes a 5-megapixel camera and 8GB of onboard storage.

AT&T Windows Phones will also include a U-verse app that allows users to download and watch TV shows on their devices, de la Vega said. The app has been an entertainment option on AT&T phones since earlier this year, but it will now be available on all Windows Phone 7 devices for a monthly fee. It will also work on Xbox 360.

The Samsung Focus will debut on Nov. 8; the Quantum and Surround will be available “for the holidays.” All AT&T phones will be sold in AT&T stores and online for $199.99 with a two-year contract.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, will release the HTC HD7 and the Dell Venue Pro.

The HTC HD7 includes a 4.3-inch, 800-by-480 LCD screen on the front and a kickstand on the back. The Venue Pro also looks big: it has a 4.1-inch screen and 5.1-megapixel camera.

In all, Microsoft announced nine Windows Phone 7 phones on Monday, the remainder of which will be available in Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Singapore, and Australia. It will debut in some European markets on Oct. 21.

Electronics Arts also announced the first wave of games coming to Windows Phone 7, including “Need for Speed Undercover,” “Tetris,” and “The Sims 3.” All EA games for Windows Phones will be Xbox Live-enabled.

The Windows Phone 7 interface, meanwhile, includes tiles on the home screen for People, Music and video, Photos, Games and Office. Facebook photos, music and contacts are pulled into the phone and distributed across Hubs. It also brings together many Microsoft products, like Xbox, Zune, Office, and Bing. Copy and paste functionality will be available as an update in early 2011, Microsoft said Monday.

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