Monday 28 February 2011

Windows 7 SP1 - Application Compatibility Update

I should have done this a little while ago - I had meant to blog about the coming Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update a few months ago, but got caught up a little with this whole IE8  application compatibility thing...  Caught up, being an understatement... Ala Tony Hayward of BP, "I'd like my life back".

OK - the focus here today is the update to Windows 7 - known as Service Pack 1. I have been working with the Microsoft product teams for a little while now. My primary focus was potential compatibility issues. I have been assured by all of the engineering teams and the product teams that really, really, there should not be any application level compatibility issues with the release of windows 7 Service Pack 1.

Our initial research suggests that this is the case - with one exception; Dynamic Memory. From some of our testing, we encountered a small number of issues - all related to SQL Server. But, more on that later.

If you are interested the new featured in Windows 7 Service Pack 1, you will want to look here for;

Which according to the description from Microsoft's TechNet web page has the following features;

"RemoteFX delivers a rich user experience for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) by providing a 3D virtual adapter, intelligent codecs, and the ability to redirect USB devices in virtual machines. RemoteFX is integrated with the RDP protocol, which enables shared encryption, authentication, management, and device support."

And here is some information on Microsoft's Dynamic Memory;

"Dynamic Memory is a new Hyper-V feature that helps you use physical memory more efficiently. With Dynamic Memory, Hyper-V treats memory as a shared resource that can be reallocated automatically among running virtual machines. Dynamic Memory adjusts the amount of memory available to a virtual machine, based on changes in memory demand and values that you specify"

One of the features that I will really appreciated is the GPU virtualization feature offered by Remote FX. This feature should greater graphics performance per server GPU - which when we worked with clients was one of the greater stumbling blocks for rolling out VDI solutions. Also, I wonder how this going to look on my IPAD via my RDP/RDC connection?

Back to the SQL Server issues.... We are meeting up (virtually) with some of the Windows SP1 team this evening and will review some of our experiences with SQL Server and dynamic memory - so, I will keep you posted. Once we have worked out exactly what is going on, I will post a blog update.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Microsoft Management Summit: AOK will be there

We will be attending the Microsoft Management Summit this year at Las Vegas. You can find the link here; 

On a personal note: Not too sure about this one. While I am tremendously excited about meeting up with some old friends and talking application compatibility, I am not so sure about Las Vegas.  Let's see if this trip turns out better than last time with much less "Taxi Trouble". 

We will demonstrating some of our new technology including our IE8 compatibility assessment tools and of course showing how can help drive Windows 7 migrations and Office 2010 adoption.

We will be exhibiting throughout the entire week - so, if you want to come over for a chat, demo or submit your questions and applications - feel free.

See you there...

Monday 21 February 2011

Microsoft TechReady 12 Round-Up

It's kinda good to be back in London after a week in Seattle. If you looked outside, you would not notice that much different though. Bar the beautiful pan-Pacific and snow-capped mountain views, it's just like London.

The internal Microsoft conference (TechRead 12 or TR12) was a real blast as I was able to catch-up with some old friends and meet a slew of new people.

Ironically, one the people that I met and was able to spend some time with was from the UK. Simon and I have similar jobs (both technology evangelists) and seemed to enjoy a well-crafted cocktail after labouring through a conference hall of chock-full of technology buffs.

Simon blogs for Microsoft and has posted some good stuff. Have a look here: and specifically his excellent coverage on the Microsoft Cloud briefing located here:

I am going to be busy this week - I have a day to job to catch-up on.

And, speaking of day-job, we are changing our weekly webinar format slightly this week. We will be taking submissions for desktop applications and web-based applications. Once submitted, we are hoping to walk through some real-life compatibility examples (both desktop and web-based) and see what results the AOK Browse-It generate.

I will post an update tomorrow on the exact format/structure for the webinar. See you soon.

Friday 18 February 2011

What's Hot in App Compat

Check out my interview with Computer Weekly's Cliff Saran. We're talking about what's hot in the appcompat space, including Windows 7, AppV and now, IE8.

Saturday 12 February 2011

IE9: The Rumors and the reality. Industry news update.

My colleague Carl has done another great round-up of the latest and interesting industry (application compatibility and browser compatibilityreading and so I thought that I should include some of his links.

Here they are;

Platform News
Configure and lock down your Win7 and IE environment The United States Government way
Windows Home Server 2011 Release Candidate now available.  This is the server offering for families.  Not everyone is happy.
New Windows 7 themes to spice up your desktop, or to make it look broken
Microsoft have compiled a list of their most popular fixes for broken windows
Interesting picture showing Office and Windows and a silly computer support story

Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer 9 Reaches 23 Million Downloads and 1.82% Share on Windows 7. 
It is rumoured that the release candidate will be ready on Thursday. Now true!
Testing Multiple Versions of IE on One PC (using XP mode)
Get up to speed on all the latest terms and web technologies using this children’s book by Google.  Don’t be put off by the presentation style, this is an excellent read.
Get ready for Firefox 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 in 2011
A hotfix for all versions of IE

The first automated migration testing tools for Azure are out !!!
Connect your printer to the cloud with Google
Facebook is 7 years old and is worth $83 Billion
Hotmail adds mailbox aliases bringing a feature Gmail had 10 years ago.   

My favorite link is Google explanation of the web and HTML. It's in comic book form but if you want to explain these concepts and technologies to anyone, this is a great way to do it.

Mobile Computing
Linux based Android is now the world’s most popular smartphone OS, and its tablets are making fast gains against the iPad.

My favorite link is Google's explanation of web technologies and HTML. Don't be put off by the comic book form. If you need to explain HTML 5 to someone this is a great way to do it.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Patch Tuesday February 2011 - Potential Compatibility Issues

Monday 7 February 2011

IE9: Microsoft crowd-sources application compatibility

I don't normally subscribe to rumours but it does look like we are going to see a final cut of Microsoft Internet Explorer's 9 Release Candidate.

Have a read here:

And hey, it's on the web - it must be true, eh?

More importantly, and more on topic with application compatibility, Microsoft has changed the way the Compatibility View (CV) button works from IE8 to IE9.

Quoting from the site

 "before adding a site to the IE9 CV List we (Microsoft) verify that it is incompatible with IE9. We also verify what Document Mode it works best in. This will help us make sure that we ship with the smallest CV List possible at Beta, RC and RTM. 
The CV List continues to be community-data-driven. For the IE9 Beta CV List, we use data from site compat testing and internal usage to determine what sites go on the list. For the RC and RTM CV Lists, we’ll rely more on data from Beta and RC self-hosters. 

For more detailed information on these changes, you can find a Microsoft IE team blog posting here;

What I find interesting is the vast difference between the number of websites that are currently listed as non-compatibility with Internet Explorer 8 and the now very much larger number of sites listed as having (through a crowd-source lens) compatibility issues.

You can find out more about the IE8 compatibility view list here:

And, if you have installed IE8, you can download and view the XML results by entering the following URL in the navigation pane: res://iecompat.dll/iecompatdata.xml

The last time I looked, (last Friday) there were 173 items on this list. So, good news for Microsoft, only a few items on the CB list now compared to 1800 items that were on the list 18 months ago.

Now, to view the IE9 Compatibility List you can navigate to the following location:

And whoa! This list is rather big. Now the IE9 compatibility list contains 1111 items. That's right, over 1,000 sites are deemed not compatibility by the self-selected IT community who has tested the IE9 BETA.

Friday 4 February 2011

Migrating to Windows 7 Seminar: Feb 10th

I do loads of webinars and online meetings, but I every once in a while,  I have the chance to meet real people, in a real place. If Houten, Netherlands is a real place.

I am presenting a technology demonstration and how migrate to Windows 7, Office 2010 and Internet Explorer 8 faster with automated compatibility reporting and remediation software. This of course, means AOK.

We are presenting from 13:30 (GMT +1) to 17:00 which means we should get plenty of time to walk through any questions on Windows 7, App-V or Internet Explorer 8.

If you are in the Netherlands (or nearby - hey, it's Europe), feel free to stop by for this FREE session.

You can find out more here:

Hope to see you there...

Thursday 3 February 2011

Win7 Webinar: Come Join us Feb 9th 3 pm

I am running a webinar on Windows 7 Compatiblity and Migration issues on Feb 9th at 3 pm GMT

We will cover the functionality of AOK and run through a demo of loading application packages, reporting compatibility issues for;
  • Windows 7 (64-bit as well)
  • Microsoft App-V
  • Office 2007/Office 2010
  • Internet Explorer 8 
In addition, the basic business level agenda for the session includes;

1. The enhanced features and functionality of Windows 7
2. How Windows 7 is already helping global organisations achieve competitive advantage
3. How you can sample test your application portfolio for Windows 7 in minutes
4. How you can automatically remediate 95%+ of application compatibility issues in minutes
5. Avoiding unnecessary costs and reducing organisation risk

If you would like to join us, here are the online GotoMeeting details;

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Patch Tuesday February 2011

If you were wondering if you could sneak in a bit of skiing in Chamonix next week instead of manning the IT support desk, you may want to think again.

Last year (2010) Microsoft released 17 security bulletins in December that affected 40 vulnerabilities across Microsoft Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, SharePoint and Exchange. January was very quiet with 2 updates.

I have my suspicions that Microsoft's Security Release cycle is roughly 30 days long as you can quite often work your way back from a high-profile "Security" event and then see a subsequent Security update from Microsoft - 30 days later. Or, a simple thing like the Christmas holidays may cause a drop in updates released in January.

So, building up from this thinking, January was a busy month on the US-CERT Security updates website (found here: which may cause a sharp rise in related Microsoft updates for February.

Here is small snippet of some of the recent posting that we may need to focus on;

From the look of these updates, I think that we are going to have a hefty February update with circa 8-10 Security updates from Microsoft.

I will keep you posted on our progress as the ChangeBase AOK team works through the Advance Security notification information