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Free Office 365 Kindle Book on Amazon

Not sure why or how long it will last, but there is a free Office 365 right now on Amazon.

Get the book here.

Office 365: Migrating and Managing Your Business in the Cloud [Kindle Edition]

Written for the IT professional and business owner, this book provides the business and technical insight necessary to migrate your business to the cloud using Microsoft Office 365. This is a practical look at cloud migration and the use of different technologies to support that migration. Numerous examples of cloud migration with technical migration details are included.

Cloud technology is a tremendous opportunity for an organization to reduce IT costs, and to improve productivity with increased access, simpler administration and improved services. Those businesses that embrace the advantages of the cloud will receive huge rewards in productivity and lower total cost of ownership over those businesses that choose to ignore it.

The challenge for those charged with implementing Microsoft Office 365 is to leverage these advantages with the minimal disruption of their organization. This book provides practical help in moving your business to the Cloud and covers the planning, migration and the follow on management of the Office 365 Cloud services.


Microsoft Intune: New Intune Features Coming Next Week

Some new Intune features coming next week. Here is the list:

New Intune standalone (cloud only) features that will be made available as part of this update include:

  • Management of Office mobile apps (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) for Android tablets. (Management of Office Mobile app for Android phones made available in February 2015)
  • Ability to restrict access to Exchange on-premises for Exchange ActiveSync clients on Android devices
  • Ability to create WiFi profiles with pre-shared keys (PSK) for Android devices
  • Ability to resolve certificate chains on Android devices without the need to deploy each intermediate certificate individually
  • Deployment of .appx bundles to Windows Phone 8.1 devices (Support for .appx files made available in March 2015)
  • Managed Browser app for iOS devices that controls actions that users can perform, including allow/deny access to specific websites (Managed Browser app for Android devices made available in December 2014)
  • Management of Work Folders app for iOS devices
  • Updated Endpoint Protection agent for managing Windows PCs
  • Ability to manage Windows Defender on Windows 10 PCs running Windows 10 Technical Preview without need for separate Microsoft Intune Endpoint Protection agent to be installed
  • Combined Microsoft Intune Company Portal websites for PCs and mobile devices to provide a more consistent user experience across platforms
  • Added Windows and Windows Phone Company Portal apps to the Microsoft Download Center to provide an additional option for accessing these app downloads
  • Enhanced user interface for overview pages within Intune admin console

Reducing Windows Deployment Time Using Power Management

Great post over on The Deployment Guys blog. 

Read the full post here.

The following post was contributed by Benjamin Rampe a Senior PFE working for Microsoft.

While studying up on Windows 10, I came across a technique that has been shown to reduce the time it takes to apply an OS WIM to disk by 20 – 50%*.  That’s a fairly significant savings in time and the implementation of this technique is relatively easy and does not require you to change how you deploy Windows.  Believe it or not, the savings come from adjusting the OS power management settings during a deployment.  While there are multiple ways to implement these power management settings, below I’ve outlined what I consider the most non-intrusive to existing deployment methods.


Microsoft Intune: Certificates for Microsoft Intune

Excellent post by fellow MVP Jason Sandys. When certs are needed or not needed can be quite confusing and Jason has done a nice job of explaining the topic.

Read his full post here.

Certificates needed for using Intune and managing devices can be a very confusing topic whether in a hybrid or standalone configuration. If you are unfamiliar with the difference between hybrid and standalone, check out my previous post on this: Comparing the Two Modes of Microsoft Intune.


Free ebooks from Microsoft Press

If you haven’t seen this before, well here you go :)

Really great list of free ebooks in various format (PDF, EPUB and Kindle) that covers a wide range of topics. 

Download the books here.

The current list is as follows:

Microsoft System Center Deploying Hyper-V with Software-Defined Storage & Networking

Microsoft System Center Software Update Management Field Experience

Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2

Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure

Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure

Introducing Microsoft Azure HDInsight

Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals

Rethinking Enterprise Storage: A Hybrid Cloud Model

Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals

Creating Mobile Apps with Xamarin.Forms, Preview Edition

Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript

.NET Technology Guide for Business Applications

Microsoft System Center Deploying Hyper-V with Software-Defined Storage & Networking

Microsoft System Center Software Update Management Field Experience

Microsoft System Center Introduction to Microsoft Automation Solutions

Microsoft System Center Extending Operations Manager Reporting

Microsoft System Center: Integrated Cloud Platform

Microsoft System Center: Network Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Microsoft System Center: Building a Virtualized Network Solution

Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2

Microsoft System Center: Designing Orchestrator Runbooks

Microsoft System Center: Configuration Manager Field Experience

Microsoft System Center: Cloud Management with App Controller

Microsoft System Center: Troubleshooting Configuration Manager

Microsoft System Center: Optimizing Service Manager


ConfigMgr: Excluding Known Multi-Reboot Updates During a ZTI Deployment

Here is a fantastic post by Cliff Jones (Microsoft Consulting Services) with a great solution to address the ever cumbersome multiple issue while executing a Task Sequence. 

Read the full post here.

Today’s blog post goes behind the scenes to talk about how to prevent installing all published Windows Update’s which require multiple reboots to successfully install, during a ZTI deployment Task Sequence. These updates can cause issues as a result of the following behavior; the Task Sequence engine is aware the update requests the initial reboot. Upon boot-up, the Task Sequence engine never initializes and therefore can’t be aware that the same update is requiring a second reboot, and thus finally won’t make the necessary changes to restart the TS engine again. When the second reboot occurs, during the deployment, the TS will be in an erroneous state, and will cause an error similar to:

"Task Sequence environment not found"

Ideally, these updates should be injected using DISM during the Offline phase of installation, or added during the Build and Capture as the LTI process is not affected by these updates. Either way, a detection and blocking mechanism is needed for your ZTI deployment process.


Microsoft Intune: Conditional Access Now Available for Hybrid

In December, Microsoft Intune got a new feature that allowed for conditional access to email.  Until now this feature was only available in the cloud solution, not in hybrid (Configuration Manager + Intune).

This feature allows for restriction to Exchange Activesync (EAS) or Exchange Online to only those users who have enrolled their devices. You can configure an exception list as well, so it’s not all or nothing. 

This is one my favorite features, and it’s nice to see it roll over to hybrid now. The extension hasn’t shown up in my lab yet, otherwise I’d grab some screen captures.

View the full post over on the Microsoft Intune blog for a nice video overview, screenshots and configuration instructions.


Azure RMS: Office for Mac 2016 Preview

Microsoft announced recently that the Office for Mac 2016 Preview now has RMS (IRM) support. 

Office 2016 for Mac is powered by the cloud so you can access and share your documents on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint at anytime, anywhere. With Azure RMS, you can also secure and control your documents wherever they go.

The new Outlook (released), Word, PowerPoint and Excel for Mac support Azure RMS and AD RMS, which means that users can now send and receive IRM emails, as well as open and create IRM documents, and share them within and outside your organization.

Read the full article here.


ConfigMgr: Trouble Importing Windows 8/8.1 Drivers on Server 2008 R2

Recently had an issue while configuring some drivers for a client. I was unable to import any Windows 8/8.1 drivers into the site. Upon importing drivers through a script or through the console you will receive "driver is not applicable to any supported platforms"


Turns out it’s a known issue and there is a KB:

Installing the following hotfix resolved the issue for me.

After installing the hotfix and rebooting, I was able to import the Windows 8/8.1 drivers successfully.


Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite Webinar Series

Here is a very big and extensive list of the upcoming webinar’s focused around the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS):

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite Webinar Series

  • How Do I protect my data wherever it goes?
  • An analyst view of EMM trends
  • Extend your existing Active Directory to the cloud
  • Cloud Suites explained: EMS and ECS
  • Configure Azure Active Directory Premium features
  • Better Together: O365 and EMS
  • Secure O365 apps with Microsoft Intune
  • Compare point solutions for enterprise mobility to Microsoft EMS
  • Configure Azure RMS for secure sharing
  • Streamline new employee onboarding with EMS
  • Configure Azure AD Application Proxy
  • Enterprise mobility security with Azure RemoteApp, MFA, and RMS
  • Configure Azure RemoteApp to provide user access to applications

There is also a list of on-demand webcasts:

  • Control access to cloud resources with Enterprise Mobility Suite
  • Secure access to cloud resources with Enterprise Mobility Suite
  • How to deliver apps with Azure RemoteApp
  • How to secure BYOD scenarios with conditional access
  • How do I make e-mail and office secure on mobile devices?
  • Do I really need an integrated approach for mobility instead of compiling point solutions?
  • Protecting corporate data with Enterprise Mobility Suite
  • How do I know when I’m under attack – and then what do I do?
  • How to manage apps in BYOD scenarios