How-To: Obtain Windows Install Media

Lost that DVD? That USB key? Misplaced your ISO? Microsoft has you covered! Below are the official links to download media directly from the source.

Windows 7 – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows7

Windows 8.1 – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows8ISO

Windows 10 (Media Creation Tool) – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

NOTE: If you’re looking to upgrade an existing system, use the media creation tool. It will intelligently download the necessary bits and walk you through the Windows 10 upgrade process.

Windows 10 (ISO) – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO

 

Windows Home Server, 2007-2012

As I’m sure most of you heard, Windows Home Server is no more. Microsoft this past week announced the Windows Server lineup, and both Windows Home Server and Windows Small Business Server Standard were not on that list.

In a Frequently Asked Questions document, alongside the announcement of Windows Server 2012 Essentials (more on that soon), Microsoft answers the question of “Will there be a next version of Windows Home Server?”

No. Windows Home Server has seen its greatest success in small office/home office (SOHO) environments and among the technology enthusiast community. For this reason, Microsoft is combining the features that were previously only found in Windows Home Server, such as support for DLNA-compliant devices and media streaming, into Windows Server 2012 Essentials and focusing our efforts into making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use—offering an intuitive administration experience, elastic and resilient storage features with Storage Spaces, and robust data protection for the server and client computers.

I can’t say that I’m surprised by this decision. I’ve known about this for a few months now. However, it is disappointing.

Microsoft is right though. Windows Home Server is heavily adopted in home based businesses, and used in small businesses primarily for PC backup in conjunction with Small Business Server. What Microsoft saw as its primary market never fully materialized. Not many OEMs built a hardware product around it, marketing by the OEMs that did was iffy, and you could hardly find it in a brick and mortar store.

In some ways, the market killed the product. Not because the product sucked but because the feature set was championed by small business. This then led to Small Business Server Essentials, which really was Windows Home Server (minus Media Streaming) + Active Directory (what a lot of people wanted originally), and some hooks for integrating with Office 365. [Side note: Windows Home Server when it was designed initially used Active Directory, but it was cut after looking at the home market and finding that most home users were using Windows XP Home Edition.] There was also a NAS type version of Windows Home Server 2011 as well called Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. Why I call it a “NAS type version” is because it’s designed to be an embedded product (similar to an HP MediaSmart Server), it supports up to 25 computers, and can be joined to existing domains.

Small Business consultants used to install Windows Home Server but when Small Business Server 2011 Essentials arrived they moved to that because it provided a compelling feature set. With Active Directory and Group Policy they could manage customer networks with ease. The integration module for Office 365 meant that businesses could use cloud-based services with ease. Create a new account on the SBSe server and have that user automatically created in the Office 365 tenant.

Another nail in the coffin for Windows Home Server was the removal of Drive Extender.  I can’t tell you how many people I heard from that threw their arms up at that point and said they were done and moving to something else. However, now with Storage Spaces in Windows 8 / Server 2012 users can perform Drive Extender like tasks with ease.

Soon I’ll be able to talk more about the replacement to Windows Home Server, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, but until then I want to leave you with a thank you.

I want to thank the Windows Home Server community as a whole. Having been around the product since it was announced at CES in 2007, I’ve watched the community mature and develop over the last five years. During my time at Microsoft the part I loved most was interacting with the community through the beta program newsgroups, the forums, or at different events. Outside of Microsoft, I’ve loved blogging and writing the SharePoint on WHS guide. The thank you emails and the emails of encouragement are what keep me at it.

Expect a flurry of posts and other goodness about Windows Server 2012 Essentials in the coming days / weeks / months / years.

Until then may your children always ask, “Mommy, why is there a server in the house?”, and may your server continue to Stop Digital Amnesia.

Taking a bite out of the Big Apple

I’ve arrived in New York City for the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup. For those of you just joining us, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the premier student technology competition. I tend to tell people that it’s the Olympics of technology.

At the Imagine Cup, the top students from around the world come together to compete against each other in categories such as Software Design, Game Design, Embedded Development, and the Windows Phone 7 challenge just to name a few.

I’ll be here covering five teams and their progress throughout the Worldwide Finals. My teams are as follows:

The Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals begin this Friday, July 8th and end Wednesday, July 13th.

For more on Imagine Cup please visit www.imaginecup.com, or search for #ImagineCup on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter, @tziegmann, to follow along this week as well.

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 | Part 2: Installation

In Part 1 of this series, I introduced you to Windows MultiPoint Server 2011. Today, in Part 2, I’ll show you just how easy it is to get setup with MultiPoint Server 2011.

System Requirements (minimum)

  • 2 GHz 64-bit processor with at least two cores
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 32GB Hard Drive space
  • DVD Drive for installation

For more on system requirements, I recommend reviewing the Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 Planning Guide.

Installation

The initial setup for MultiPoint Server 2011 is straight forward. Starts out with the ever familiar Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 setup process and then leads into a customized Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE) for MultiPoint Server 2011.

Step1Step2Step3Step1Step2Step3Step4Step5

Post-Install

After installation and OOBE have completed, display drivers need to be installed as well as any other drivers necessary for the proper function of the MultiPoint Server. After drivers and Windows Updates were installed, I rebooted and was greeted by the MultiPoint Manager. MultiPoint Manager is the central console for managing any and all MultiPoint servers on the network.

HomeTabDesktopsTabStationsTabUsersTab

In part 3, we’ll take a deeper look at MultiPoint Manager.

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 | Part 1: Introduction

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 is an awesome product from Microsoft. MultiPoint Server is designed as a solution to provide what I’ll call “one-to-many” or “shared” computing. By “one-to-many” I mean that MultiPoint Server runs on one server and provides the computing power for up to 20 users at the same time.

What are some of the possible usage scenarios? With the ever shrinking education budgets here in the United States, schools are having to find new ways to do more with less. Instead of buying a lab full of workstations, schools can buy MultiPoint Server and thin client hardware at a fraction of the cost. Another example is a small business looking to keep their costs low, can deploy MultiPoint and thin clients to all their employees. The possibilities are endless.

I’ve included below a slide listing the cost of MultiPoint Server. Note that this is for the software only and does not include server hardware or client hardware and is based on Volume License channel pricing.

WMS2011_Pricing

In Part 2, I’ll walkthrough the initial installation and setup of MultiPoint Server 2011.

Tech-Ed North America 2011: Day 0 – Recap

After following the very poor directions given to me about finding the shuttle to bring me to the hotel, and being lied to and ripped off for 20 bucks (yes, I’m bitter.), I made it to my hotel, the Marriott Marquis in Downtown Atlanta. Check in was fairly effortless, and I’ve got a very nice room on an upper floor of the hotel with a great view of the city. For the week, Microsoft has invested in custom room keys, sponsored by Windows Intune, with an attached map of the downtown area.

After getting settled in my room, I met up with Randy Guthrie, Academic Developer Evangelist and some Imagine Cup USA Finals winners as well as other invited students, and had a quick bite to eat while waiting for everyone to arrive. Once everyone arrived, we made the 15 minute walk over to the Georgia World Congress Center, and along the way passed by CNN Center, World of Coca-Cola, and the Phillips Arena. While at the GWCC, took a quick walking tour of where keynote would be, the exhibit hall, bloggers lounge, etc. After the tour was over, we went out to dinner and then made final arrangements for the morning.

On Day 1 we’ll see announcements from Jason Zander and Robert Wahbe and from what I’m hearing these announcements will be interesting.

Here are some photos from Day 0:

TechEd North America 2011–Day 0

(Disclosure: Like most things Microsoft related, I am attending TechEd as a guest of the Microsoft Corporation. Flight, hotel, meals, and conference pass have been provided by Microsoft.)

I’m writing this post from 10,000 feet above the ground using GoGo Inflight Internet as I fly from Phoenix to Atlanta. (So cool!) I’m on my way to Atlanta for Microsoft’s TechEd North America conference.

TechEd is one of the premier conferences for IT professionals and developers alike. Obviously since it is being put on by Microsoft, it focuses on Microsoft technologies. This year, Robert Wahbe and Jason Zander will be keynoting the event and as my friend Mary Jo Foley has noted on her blog, we’ll probably see some cool stuff around SQL Server, Visual Studio (I hear there is a Kinect + VS demo!), and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some more info about the future of System Center and its role in facilitating public / private cloud interaction as well as management and consolidation in the datacenter.

I’ll be spending most of my time in sessions this week and will do my best to update everyone with the highlights. Also, I’ll be bringing a preview of what will be seen at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals this summer.