imageWith four weeks to go before Windows 10 is generally available, Terry Myerson ‒ EVP, Windows and Devices Group (WDG) disclosed new information about customer upgrades, VL availability and a new Enterprise Trial download in his latest blog post:

News Summary:

imageThe question was asked recently:

What do we do to get to Windows 10 if we’re using Windows 7 Enterprise Edition?

I got the following information from Microsoft Devices Solution Specialist, Nathan Mercer:

Active Software Assurance customers have rights to Windows 10 Enterprise through new version rights. 

Customers on Enterprise Edition without active SA have three options:

  • Revert to underlying Windows Pro Edition, and take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.  This requires installing original OEM Pro media, or using the Volume Licensing “Pro” image if they have the rights and access.
  • Purchase Windows Upgrade & Software Assurance through Volume Licensing to access Windows 10 Enterprise Edition w/ full rights
  • Purchase a Windows 10 Enterprise Upgrade w/o SA for rights to the Windows 10 Enterprise Long Term Servicing Branch

Additional information including upgrade editions is available on the Windows 10 Specification page:

WANT.  Coming this July 29th…

imageToday, Lenovo announced their first compute stick, the Lenovo ideacentre Stick 300. Designed for consumer usage in the home and on-the-go, the new pocket-sized compute stick is powerful enough for entertainment and web browsing, while affordable enough for existing PC owners to justify owning a second or third mobile PC option. The ideacentre Stick 300 features an Intel Atom Processor Z3735F and the familiarity of Windows, initially shipping with Windows 8.1 but will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 starting July 29.

The ideacentre Stick 300 expands the mobile computing experience and options for savvy shoppers and is suitable for use in the home, dorm or office, while simultaneously offering portability and convenience for travelers. For the wallet friendly starting price of US $129, this plug and play technology can transform almost any HDMI compatible TV or monitor into a fully functioning Windows-based PC. The ideacentre Stick 300 does not look like a traditional computer, but it performs like one once a 2.4GHz wireless keyboard and mouse are added.

The Lenovo ideacentre Stick 300 will be available on and will hit retail shelves starting in July. Pricing will start at US $129.

Original article here:

As taken from the Lenovo post:

Worthy of being crowned the “mini-me” of the traditional desktop PC, the pocket-sized ideacentre™ Stick 300 measures only 15 mm thin, boasts Intel® Atom™ Processor Z3735F, 2G of memory and 32G of storage. It will initially ship with Windows 8.1 but will be available for a free upgrade to Windows 10 starting on July 29. Fully enabled with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, the ideacentre™ Stick 300 provides the connectivity you need to power up at any time.

If you’re like me, you’ve had to change the credit card number you’ve used for renewing your Xbox Live and other purchases a couple times.

The place to do this is not obvious.  You’d think it’d be off of, but it’s not. Instead it’s off some “” web site or something like that.  #rollseyes

If you want to change it, follow the instructions at this link below.  The page you ultimately need to go to is snapshotted below:


imageWe’re happy to announce the release of our newest free ebook, Microsoft System Center Data Protection for the Hybrid Cloud (ISBN 9780735695832), by Shreesh Dubey, Vijay Tandra Sistla, Shivam Garg, and Aashish Ramdas; Mitch Tulloch, Series Editor.

Here’s the intro:

If you are responsible for architecting and designing the backup strategy for your organization, especially if you’re looking for ways to incorporate cloud backup into your business continuity scenarios, this book is for you. With the increasing trends in virtualization as well as the move to the pubic cloud, IT organizations are headed toward a world where data and applications run in on-premises private clouds as well as in the public cloud. This has key implications for data protection strategy, and it is important to choose the solution that provides the same level of data protection you have afforded so far while allowing you to harness the power of the public cloud.

We will cover how the Azure Backup service has evolved into a first-class platform-as-a-service (PaaS) service in Microsoft Azure that integrates with the on-premises enterprise class backup product, System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM), to provide a seamless hybrid cloud backup solution. Current backup products treat the cloud as a storage endpoint, which we see as a limited-use case for the public cloud. The approach we describe in this book allows you to exploit the full power of the public cloud and gives you the flexibility to manage your backups in a hybrid world.

We have made a steady set of investments in DPM over the last 18 months, and, as of this writing, we have released six update rollups, including customer hot fixes as well as new features in the areas of private cloud protection, storage optimization, and workload support. The last chapter focusses on the most recently released protection for infrastructure-as-a- service (IaaS) virtual machines, which went to preview release in March 2015 and is expected to be generally available by Q3 of calendar year 2015.

This book covers improvements added in DPM 2012 R2 as well as the integration with Microsoft Azure Backup service and assumes you have working knowledge of the DPM 2012 version. To get familiar with older versions of DPM, refer to the following:

Grab the free eBook here:


If you own a Nokia phone or a Surface, you may want to check out a pair of these highly durable, well-made, and fashionable stereo headsets made by Nokia.

These Nokia COLOUD in-ear stereo headsets are very durable and put out great sound.  Most importantly, unlike bluetooth headsets, the audio is perfect for conference calls, and since the microphone is well positioned, your voice always comes through cleanly. 

Meanwhile, the headset is perfect for listing to podcasts, Audible audiobooks, or music.  And they wrap very nicely for portability & convenience.  And at $12.99 a pair, these are a nobrainer.  I like them so much, I bought 12 sets – 4 of each color.

It comes in cyan, yellow, and red.

Incidentally, Nokia also has two other items. 

Posted by: kurtsh | June 19, 2015

RELEASE: KMS Server Update for Windows 10

If your organization is using KMS to activate your currently deployed Windows systems, we’ve released a new patch to prepare your KMS server to activate Windows 10 installations.

Read more here:

Posted by: kurtsh | June 18, 2015

INFO: SQL Licensing for SCCM 2012 R2

imageThis week I was asked, “What is the proper SQL licensing for SCCM 2012 R2?”  SCCM 2012 R2 uses SQL Server as it’s backend so the question of licensing for SQL can be a concern.

According to Microsoft’s Licensing Desk:

Each license SCCM 2012 R2 license comes with a SQL standard 2014 edition server license included (yellow). It’s classified as SQL Technology in the universal license terms and may be used only to support SCCM (blue). If they already own the license for SCCM they just download SQL Standard 2014 edition from the VLSC in the downloads section. However If they require Enterprise Edition they would license per core separately.

Product Use Rights, April 2015 pg. 47

System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

       The license terms that apply to your use of this product are the Universal License Terms, the General License Terms for this Licensing Model, and the following:    

License Mobility Within Server Farms: No

Self-Hosting of Applications Allowed: Yes (See Appendix 2)

See Applicable Notices: Data Transfer, Bing Maps (See Appendix 1)

Included Technologies: SQL Server Technology, Windows Software Components (See Universal License Terms)

Product Use Rights, April 2015 pg.11

Products That Include SQL Server Technology

If your edition of the software includes a SQL Server database software product licensed under the Product-Specific license terms ("SQL Server Database") you may run that SQL Server Database in one or more physical or virtual operating system environments on any of your servers to support the software.  You may also use the same instances of SQL Server Database to support other products that include any version of SQL Server Database.  You do not need SQL Server CALs for such use.

You may not share that instance to support any product that is not licensed with SQL Server Database.

If your edition of the software includes SQL Server-branded components other than a SQL Server Database, such components are licensed to you under the terms of their respective licenses. Such licenses may be found:

· in the "legal", "licenses" or similarly named folder in the installation directory of the software, and may be contained in standalone license agreements or appended to the software’s license agreement; or

· through the software’s unified installer.

If you do not agree to a SQL Server-branded component’s license terms, you may not use the component.

This is the ridiculous demonstration we’ve got on the show floor of E3 2015.  There are 12 vs 12, with two lines formed on either side of our booth with people waiting to try it out. 

If you go to E3 and want to play, be prepared:  The wait time is 4 hours but it is clearly the best demo of E3.

Halo 5: Guardians – HoloLens Experience E3 2015

imageHere is my coworker Christian Burke’s consolidated Top-7 list of Skype for Business features that will not exist for users homed on the Lync 2013 servers:

1. Server Side Conversation History – currently historical conversations and notifications are client side only.  This has been a regulatory issue and is now solved.   Skype for Business moves to a server-side architecture so all conversations will appear the same across all devices

2. Cloud Meeting Recording – Moving from Lync 2013 Client-side recording to Server-side Recording not only satisfies the legal issues, but also provides a simpler way to distribute the meeting recordings through OneDrive and Office 365 Video.  This will exist in On-Prem and Cloud installations.

3. H.264 Screen Sharing – The Lync 2013 Desktop Sharing codec of RDP is being replaced by H.264.  This will allow for hugely improved desktop sharing performance, quality, setup.  It completely takes away the Cisco WebEx desktop sharing advantage.

4. Call Quality Dashboard – Introduced into the Skype for Business solution is a vastly improved diagnosis and troubleshooting tool that provides visibility into network and performance issues related to call quality.

5. Video Interop Server – Native integration with Cisco Tandberg video conferencing systems is a new feature of Skype for Business.

6. Automatic Meeting Rejoin – As simple as this feature is, it will automatically reconnect users to meetings when they have been inadvertently dropped. It’s a huge time saver and productivity enhancer.

7. Skype for Business Under the Hood Enhancements – Improved resiliency with SQL Server AlwaysOn, dramatically improved failover performance (more uptime) and a library of incremental improvements that only Skype for Business servers will have.

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