The Surface Pro…finally available in 20+ countries

The Surface Pro is available in several countries at the moment, in a couple of days it also will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In some of the countries it’s already available at the time of this blog.

In the Netherlands Microsoft has already opened it’s Windows Brand Store again, from May 30th you can come in and check the Surface Pro. I’m not sure yet where it will be sold, but I ask my contact at Microsoft Netherlands if this info is already available, but it will probably be sold in the same stores you can already buy the Surface RT (Dixons, Media Markt, Mycom and Saturn), and off course you can also order it in the online Microsoft Store.

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Since I’m very happy with my Surface RT, I’m not sure if I will buy the Pro…. I really love the battery life of the Surface RT, but I also love the Windows 8 Pro on my tablet. Maybe I have to play with the device first, let’s see if we can make this happen…..

What do the Dutch experts think of Windows 8?

On November 7th 2012 Microsoft Netherlands had invited 8 Dutch experts to share their experiences with Windows 8. In the presentation below (sorry, it is in Dutch) you can see what they had to say. I would like to say thanks to Microsoft Netherlands to invite us and have a discussion with us about the pro’s and con’s of Windows 8.


Source : SlideShare Microsoft NL

So, what do you think of Windows 8?

How-to Refresh your Windows 8 PC

Windows 8 doesn’t only bring the Windows 8 Interface (formerly known as Metro), but also a couple of nice new features. One of the new features is called  “Refresh your pc”.

When you refresh your pc, the following happens:

  • Your files and and personal settings stay unchanged
  • The computer settings will be reset to their defaults
  • Apps which were installed from the Windows Store won’t be removed
  • Installed Desktop applications (which were installed manually) will be removed
  • A list of removed applications will be saved on the desktop.

It can be quiet a job to reinstall all applications after a Refresh action. With the command RecIMG an new base image can be created very easily. If you choose to refresh your pc again, all applications which were installed before the new base image is created will not be removed.

Just follow the next few steps to create a new base image:

  • Step 1: Install your pc with all applications which should be available in the base image
  • Step 2: start an administrative command prompt and create a folder where the image can be saved.
    (C:RefreshImage in the example below)
    Click for a larger image
  • Step 3: Create a new base image: ‘RecImg /CreateImage C:RefreshImage’
    The image will be created, this can take a while.
    RecImg /CreateImage C:RefreshImage
  • Step 4: Check if the image created is also the active base image : ‘RecImg /showcurrent’
    RecImg /showcurrent

The base image is ready and can be used.

Use the Base Image
To refresh your pc, just follow the next steps:

  • Step 1: Press the Windows-key and enter ‘Refresh’. Select ‘Refresh your PC’
    Click to view a larger imageNote :  Only Administrators can refresh the pc!
  • Step 2: Click Next in the wizard Refresh your PC
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  • Step 3: Click on Refresh
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  • Step 4 : The PC will be restarted to be refreshed, this process can take several minutes. After a few minutes the PC will be refreshed and all applications which were available when creating the base image are still available.
    Click for a larger image
  • Step 5: If necessary the task bar (or desktop) icons have to be recreated.
    Click for a larger image

Conclusion
To recovery your pc, it’s not necessary to create a backup or reinstall your entire pc. Just create a refresh image and save a lot of time!

Please leave a comment if you have questions.

Windows 8 : Disable access to the Windows Store with GPO

When you use Windows 8 in the Enterprise I can imagine that you (the IT Administrator) wants to disable some features. One of the first features (just like Windows Media Center in the Windows 7) I expect customers want to disable will probably be access to the Store.

Windows 8 Group Policies
I downloaded the proper Group Policy Settings Reference Sheet from Microsoft.com and the correct policy to disable access to the store could be a User Policy or a Computer Policy. So you can disable access to the store for the normal users and leave it accessible for the IT Administrator or Management (if you like).

Two different GPO’s at “SystemInternet Communication ManagementInternet Communication Settings”:

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With the following Help Text:

“This policy setting specifies whether to use the Store service for finding an application to open a file with an unhandled file type or protocol association.When a user opens a file type or protocol that is not associated with any applications on the computer, the user is given the choice to select a local application or use the Store service to find an application.If you enable this policy setting, the “Look for an app in the Store” item in the Open With dialog is removed.If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, the user is allowed to use the Store service and the Store item is available in the Open With dialog.”

And two different GPO’s at “Windows ComponentsStore”:

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With the following Help Text:

“Denies or allows access to the Store application.If you enable this setting, access to the Store application is denied. Access to the Store is required for installing app updates.If you disable or do not configure this setting, access to the Store application is allowed.”

What’s the difference?
So with the first Policy you can enable or disable the Store for finding an application to open a file with an unhandled file type or protocol association. The second Policy actually disabled access to the Store.

Click for full size

When you disable access to the store you will still see the Store tile on your Start Screen, but when you open the store you will see the following message:

Click for full size

Remove the Store Tile
To entirely remove the Store tile from your Start Screen, just remove the Store shortcut in “C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms” (thanks to Roel Janssen for posting this solution).

Update : The 2nd Windows 8 exam (71-688) is not available anymore

Update (Oct 17th) : Around 14:00 (CET) today I read on Tweakers that all the beta-slots are filled up. I’m curious if, just like with the Windows 7 beta’s, MS Learning will open up some more slots for the peers who were sleeping at the time the mail was received.

I know…some of you (including me) are still waiting for the final results of the Windows Server 2012 exams, but MS Learning just sent out an invite for a new (Windows 8) beta exam : the 70-688 : Managing and maintaining Windows 8. Too bad the exam information page is not yet available, but they told me it will be online soon.

Note : To be clear…I do not share the promotional code with you. If you want to be invited, just create a SME (Subject Matter Expert) profile here.

I received the message below earlier today. So if you normally would get the invites and didn’t already receive it, check your spam folder!

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When you pass both the 687 and the 688 you’ll receive the MCSA Windows 8 Certification!

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Continue reading “Update : The 2nd Windows 8 exam (71-688) is not available anymore” »

Windows 8 App Update : SkyDrive

On October 5th Steven Sinofsky announced that the built-in Apps for Windows 8 will receive an update. The strange thing is that he announced that the Bing App would be the first one, but strangely enough I already received an update for the SkyDrive App. For now I don’t see an update for the Bing App arriving, but the day (Saturday) isn’t over yet…

Check out the differences below (click on the image for a larger view).

Old version’

New version’

Skydrive 02

SkyDrive Update 03

Skydrive 03

SkyDrive Update 04

Skydrive 04

SkyDrive Update 04b

And there are also a few ‘New features’  available with this update:

  • Search within SkyDrive
  • Rename and move folders and files
  • New first-run experience (see the upper right screenshot)
  • Custom sort order

I also discovered a feature from which I’m not sure if it was already available in the ‘old version’. Please leave a comment if you have also found it in the old one…

SkyDrive Update 06
Access ‘Recent’ and ‘Shard’ documents

SkyDrive Update 07
Open documents with Office Web App

SkyDrive Update 08
Search within SkyDrive

SkyDrive Update 09
Rename and Move file and folders

I couldn’t find the Custom sort order yet, but the Search within SkyDrive also didn’t work just right after the update (indexing?). If you have found the feature, please let me know through the comments!

On October 5th Steven Sinofsky announced that the built-in Apps for Windows 8 will receive an update. The strange thing is that he announced that the Bing App would be the first one, but strangely enough I already received an update for the SkyDrive App. For now I don’t see an update for the Bing App arriving, but the day (Saturday) isn’t over yet…

Check out the differences below (click on the image for a larger view).

Old version’

New version’

Skydrive 02

SkyDrive Update 03

Skydrive 03

SkyDrive Update 04

Skydrive 04

SkyDrive Update 04b

And there are also a few ‘New features’  available with this update:

  • Search within SkyDrive
  • Rename and move folders and files
  • New first-run experience (see the upper right screenshot)
  • Custom sort order

I also discovered a feature from which I’m not sure if it was already available in the ‘old version’. Please leave a comment if you have also found it in the old one…

SkyDrive Update 06
Access ‘Recent’ and ‘Shard’ documents

SkyDrive Update 07
Open documents with Office Web App

SkyDrive Update 08
Search within SkyDrive

SkyDrive Update 09
Rename and Move file and folders

I couldn’t find the Custom sort order yet, but the Search within SkyDrive also didn’t work just right after the update (indexing?). If you have found the feature, please let me know through the comments!

UPDATE : The first Windows Server 2012 (and Windows 8) results appear on Prometric!

It has been some time since you could attend the Configuring Windows 8 (70-687), Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 (70-410), Administering Windows Server 2012 (70-411) and the Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services (70-412), but the results are finally there. Although not all the results are yet visible at Prometric.

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I’ve seen Erik Bakker and Martijn Brant tweeting they passed the 70-410! The strange thing is, I already know I passed the 410 (and the 687), but the results are still not visible for me at the Prometric website. I did fail the 414, but I already rescheduled it for this Friday…so I could earn the MCSA Windows Server 2012 just before the weekend starts.

Just talked to my contact at MSLearning and she told me that all the results should be available in the next few hours (if everything goes the way it should, that’s one thing you never know for sure if Prometric is involved if you ask me).

So if you are still seeing Tested at one of the exams named above, please leave a comment! The results of the 70-413, 70-414, 70-415 and 70-416 are still about a month away, for know the schedule I blogged about earlier seems to be precise!

UPDATE (Sept 24th, 2012) : I finally received my score of the 687 and 410. This afternoon they were both still showing ‘Tested’, but just a few moments ago (when I checked it again after my MS Learning contact told me it should say ‘Passed’) it did indeed say ‘Passed’.

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Windows 8 & first three Windows Server 2012 Available at Prometric

Earlier today Guido tweeted about the availability of the Windows 8 and the (first three) Windows Server 2012. I checked…and indeed they are available, so start preparing for the exams so you’re able to pass the exams!

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This also means that we can start F5-ing on the Prometric website next monday, since the beta results should be available just after the general availability of exams. My contact at Microsoft Learning told me earlier that we should expect the results on September 17th. Please leave a comment if you don’t have the results by the end of next week (September 21st), so I could forward them to my friends over at Microsoft Learning.

It has been 8 weeks…since the first Windows Server 2012 Beta Exam!

This week it has been 8 weeks since you were able to attend the first (out of seven) Windows Server 2012 beta exams. I  attended the 70-410 allong with the Configuring Windows 8 beta (70-687) on June 25th, this week about 8 weeks ago.

During a normal beta period, the time between attending the exam and the day you receive the results is about eight weeks. Earlier this year, during the two Private Cloud beta’s (70-246 & 70-247) we all had to wait about 12 weeks before we received the results! I looks like Microsoft (and Prometric) are going to set a new record. If you have attended the 70-410 during TechEd North-America, you can add two more weeks…

MS Learning
I just spoke to a contact of mine at MS Learning, asking her when I could expect the results of the two beta’s I attended at TechEd Europe. She told me the result should probably  become available when the exam goes Live : September 17th! So it looks like we have to wait for another four weeks for the results become available.

In the weeks after TechEd Europe (attended the two final exams earlier today) I attended 6 more Windows Server 2012 beta exams. For some of them the results will also become available around September 17th. The results of the last four exams will be available around October 16th, just within the normal period of eight weeks.

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overview of the Windows 8 & Windows Server 2012 exams I attended last months

When can we expect the results?
Check out the schedule below for the (expected) result dates of the Windows Server 2012 (and Windows 8) exams:

Exam Exam name Expected Exam Result
70-687 Configuring Windows 8 September 17th, 2012
70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 September 17th, 2012
70-411 Administering Windows Server 2012 September 17th, 2012
70-412 Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services September 17th, 2012
70-413 Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure October 16th, 2012
70-414 Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure October 16th, 2012
70-415 Implementing a Desktop Infrastructure October 16th, 2012
70-416 Implementing Desktop Application Environments October 16th, 2012

What do you think?
So if you’re, just like me, waiting for the (first) results of the Windows Server 2012 beta exams….just wait a little more! The first results won’t be available for another 4 weeks.

Please leave your comments below….

Windows 8 is available on TechNet and MSDN!

Just a few minutes ago, when I was just checking some things on TechNet to prepare to download Windows 8, I discovered that the download is there….

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And it’s also available through MSDN, although the Subscriber Download page is still showing the Release Preview….image

Just Enter Windows 8 in the search field…and press Go to start searching…..next you will see Windows 8 appearing in the list…

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Download Windows 8 from MSDN

Download Windows 8 from TechNet