Category Archives: Enterprise

Microsoft Managed Desktop lets Redmond handle your desktop devices

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Enlarge (credit: Thomas Claveirole / Flickr)

Just as the cloud freed many administrators from the day-to-day tedium of tending to Exchange servers and infrastructure like Domain Controllers, Microsoft Managed Desktop (MMD) could do the same for the corporate desktop. The new service combines Microsoft 365 Enterprise (a combined Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility bundle), hardware leasing, and cloud-based device management to deliver secured, updated, and maintained systems, all with software maintenance handled by Microsoft.

Redmond says that it’s offering the service in response to customer desire to hand off day-to-day device management tasks and spend more time addressing the needs of their organizations.

The new service will work on what the company calls “modern hardware”: systems with the right hardware security features and remote-management capabilities. This will include both first-party Surface systems and, in coming months, third-party machines from companies such as Dell and HP. With MMD, customers will be able to put their credentials into systems straight from the OEM. Machines will retrieve their configuration, enroll in device management, and install necessary applications using Windows AutoPilot. There should be no need for IT personnel to ever touch the machines.

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Microsoft lets companies pay for Windows 7 support until 2023

Microsoft must still be scarred by having to support Windows XP well past its expiry date, as it's drawing a line in the sand for Windows 7 users. Corporate and institutional customers can only pay for extended security update support through Januar…

$600 Chromebooks are a dangerous development for Microsoft


Among the new hardware launched this week at IFA in Berlin are a couple of premium Chromebooks. Lenovo’s $600 Yoga Chromebook brings high-end styling and materials to the Chromebook space, along with well-specced internals and a high quality screen. Dell’s $600 Inspiron Chromebook 14 has slightly lower specs but is similarly offering better styling, bigger, better quality screens, and superior specs to the Chromebook space.

These systems join a few other premium Chromebooks already out there. HP’s Chromebook x2 is a $600 convertible hybrid launched a few months ago, and Samsung has had its Chromebook Plus and Pro systems for more than a year now. And of course, Google’s Pixelbook is an astronomically expensive Chrome OS machine.

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StarVR’s latest enterprise headset features built-in eye tracking

StarVR has a new virtual reality headset, dubbed the "One." We haven't heard from the company — a division of Swedish game developer Starbreeze — since it was demoing its own The Walking Dead game back in 2015. Back then, what made its headset stan…

Another Windows 10 SKU is on its way, this time for remote desktops

Enlarge / A VT100 remote terminal, which is basically the same thing as Windows Remote Desktop. (credit: Wolfgang Stief)

Most of the Windows 10 builds published in the Insider program don’t come with ISO disk images, so the Windows 10 installer doesn’t get a ton of scrutiny. Every now and then, however, ISOs are published (in theory every time there’s a build pushed to the slow channel) allowing for fresh installs. Twitter user Tero Alhonen has spotted a new installation option in the latest ISO: Windows 10 Enterprise for Remote Sessions.

As the name rather implies, the Windows 10 variant supports multiple users logged in to multiple remote desktop sessions simultaneously, with at least 10 concurrent users allowed.

Some kind of remote desktop capability has been a part of Windows since Windows 2000 (and before that with third-party extensions), but Microsoft has always restricted it in various ways. Windows Server supports a single remote session for remote administration, or with suitable licensing, multiple remote sessions to provide desktops (or individual applications) for thin clients and remote workers. Desktop Windows (Pro or better) supports only a single remote session. Connecting to it locks the screen of the physical console, preventing multiple simultaneous users.

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Project Honolulu admin GUI out of preview as “Windows Admin Center”

Enlarge / Windows Admin Center

Announced last year as Project Honolulu, Microsoft today released Windows Admin Center, the new Web-based graphical administrative interface for Windows systems.

Admin Center is intended to provide a common interface for remote management of Windows machines running Windows Server (2012 or newer) or Windows 10, whether on physical hardware, virtual hardware, or in the cloud. Admin Center is built to offer a common remote admin interface that replaces the mess of MMC applets, control panels, settings apps, and dashboards that are currently used to graphically configure and maintain Windows machines. It operates at the server, failover cluster, and hyper-converged infrastructure level.

The intent behind Admin Center is that it should replace the mix of remote and local admin tools that are used for ad hoc administrative tasks, many of which might traditionally be done with Remote Desktop. To that end, it has interfaces for tasks such as registry editing, managing network settings, listing and ending processes, and managing hardware.

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Google brings ‘intelligent search’ to business users

Google's new Springboard search may be aimed at companies, but it's just the kind of AI-powered tech that can trickle down to consumers. The search giant describes it as a sort of digital assistant that helps employees search through piles of documen…

Uber Launches Insane “Pay-to-Work” Car Rental Program 

Uber is partnering with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and—as the slogan goes—they’ll pick you up! By “they” I mean the poor schmucks who sign up to pay around $1000 a month to work for Uber.

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux to become officially supported on Azure (at last)

Microsoft and Red Hat together announced that Red Hat’s software, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and the JBoss app server, will be fully supported on Azure.

While Azure has hitherto been an officially supported platform for other Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, Oracle Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE, RHEL has always been missing from this list. With Red Hat being arguably the most important distribution in the enterprise space, this has been a significant gap in Azure’s Linux support.

That gap is now closing. Azure will become a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Services Provider. In the coming months, Red Hat system images will become available to buy on a pay-as-you-go basis through the Azure Marketplace. In the meantime, Red Hat Cloud Access subscribers will be able to provide their own virtual machine images for running in Azure.

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New System Center Configuration Manager to be “as a service,” matching Windows 10’s pace

Microsoft is continuing to move away from infrequent major releases and towards a steadier stream of regular updates, with System Center Configuration Manager next to receive the “as a service” makeover, as described in a blog post by Brad Anderson.

The successor to System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 is simply System Center Configuration Manager—no calendar year, no “R2″-style suffix—to denote that instead of receiving periodic major updates, service packs, and cumulative updates, it will instead receive a steady stream of incremental updates. These updates will be named “vYYMM” (with v1510 being the current October 2015 build), and each update will be supported for 12 months. The first release of this new SCCM will be made by the end of the year.

This change will make it easier for SCCM to keep pace not only with Windows 10—set to receive its first major update in November—but also, for those using SCCM with Intune, iOS and Android developments. This will become increasingly important as the full range of Windows 10 streams—Current Branch, Current Branch for Business, and Long Term Servicing Branch—make their way into corporate deployments. Under the new release process, SCCM will be able to track Intune updates, and so can be used as the single management interface for the full range of PCs, phones, and tablets.

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