Vista review for administrators?
Well, this week I am going to have presentation about Vista - it will be however different from usual reviews (most usual can be found on www.winsupersite.com). It wont be focused on normal users, however on administrators.
I found just one problem - it is really hard to get any informations except TechNet site - it looks like there is no administrator interested in anything else except new flashy UI :(
Just to make a small list of things I would like to speak about:
- new Group Policy settings - now you can deny installation of USB flash disks, specify which devices can be installed and which cannot, you can "push" printers using GP based on OU or location and you can fully configure IE (so you dont need IEAK anymore). But there are really important changes under hood - for example policy templates are now in XML format! (instead of ADM you will work with ADMX files). Also what is important is that there are two ADM groups - language independent (ADMX) and language specific (ADML). This is really great for me (or from any administrator from non-english native country)!!! Also there is ONE central store for these files - right now you have all adm files in all GPOs (approx. 4MB per GPO). There is also important thing that it will be much easier to troubleshoot GP problems, because there is Group Policy Service (GP is finally NOT bind to Winlogon)! Also what is great (right now I am Citrix guy) is that you can use multiple Local GPO. Also important is network awareness - if GP failed, it will be automatically reapplied next time DC is available, not after specified time limit! Also, it is not based on ICMP protocol.
- NAP - looks really great, this is one of the features, where you can find many different informations. It is next version of NQAC from W2k3SP1.
- Deployment - MANY available informations about really GREAT WIM format - if you dont know about it, I HIGHLY recommend to check it out.
- Networking - MANY changes, the whole TCP/IP stack has been rewritten, there is Teredo, Windows Firewall and IPSec are in one console, WFW is inbound/outbound, IPv6 is native, etc etc....
- WMI classes - there are many new WMI classes, however there is NO document at all :( In next Scripting guy they promised to have a look on scripting in Vista - I am really looking forward!
- Stealth modding - this is quite simple - you should be able to change motherboard, CPU, memory etc. without famous BSOD. Havent tried yet, so I will trust Microsoft this will work ;)
- Windows PC Accelerator - there are three technologies under this name:
- SuperFetch - improved fetching from Windows XP, it will try to check which applications you are using often and it will cache them, so it should be much faster next time.
- ReadyBoost - you can use USB flash disk to speed up your computer. This is information you can find quite often, but what does it mean - this means that informations required for SuperFetch will be in fact cached on you USB drive. You want to see if it is working? Try to install Vista on machine with 512MB ram and enable ReadyBoost and you will see the difference!
- ReadyDrive - MUCH faster boot when using hybrid HDD. What is hybrid HDD? I am sure you heard about it before, it is HDD combined with flash memory.
- Transaction FS®istry - also no need to describe - something gone bad or your computer freezed? Nothing happens :)
- BitLocker technology - this is really great! For LONG time I was complaining that it is really easy to break winbox security using Linux or something like Offline NT Editor when you have physical access to computer. BitLocker is in fact fulldrive encryption based on TPM module or USB flash key (you DONT need TPM to use it in fact... Another on of myths about Vista).
- Power Management - improved - you can configure it using GP, there are different schemes and you can easily switch them. Also there is new term - Sleep. It is combination of standby and hibernation - computer first go to standby, later it will hibernate. This is really great mode, which allows you to have advantages of both modes - standby (fast resume) and hibernation (no power withdraw).
- Windows Backup - finally real backup solution for home users - if you have small company with one server, you can setup that your clients will automatically backup to you server, if you have company without server, you can setup backup that each computer will hold backup of another computer etc.!
- Auto Recovery - this is really great feature, it consist of many different technologies. There is for example Restart Manager, which should decrease restarts by about 50% (I think they CAN achieve it) - for example you are patching running application using windows installer package - normally it would use PFR (pending file rename) and replace file in use next time. Now RM will wait for that application to finish and then replace the file - and there is no need to restart. There are many different technologies using RM - for example autoupdate, windows installed and so on... Also the error reporting for improved (and it IS really useful now). When you report bug, you will get reply and ability to fix the problem. What is really great is that there is not just support for MS product - any vendor could provide solutions to his own problems!
- Highly improved scheduled tasks and event viewer - again, many informations available, so I would speak about this great improvements.
- for me personally not so important informations: WMP11, new UI, IE7, DVD maker, Windows Mail (ex. Outlook Express)...
- Windows Calendar - finally some integrated calendar with one really great feature - online. You can share your calendar, you can use it on many computers etc...
- RSS everywhere - this is quite sympatic, however I will still use my RSS Bandir ;)
- Windows Defender - also important, but for us professionals - we already use it :D However it is important that it is built-in, because finally it will be broadly applied. Same as with GPMC - it is installed by default. I know it is available for long time, but I know MANY administrators that dont even know about existence of this tool.
- Gadgets - we will see - the usability depends on available gadgets, right now it is quite useless (for administrators).
- Sidebar - you need compatible laptop - I dont have it, so I wasnt able to test it yet :(
- Windows Collaboration - really great implementation of P2P technology! You can create session in pub, share files, share desktops AND applications etc. I am going to pub with my IT colleagues quite often and this is one tool we will use for sure! :)
- Parental Control & UAC - FINALLY users are not administrators anymore. However there are many questions regarding this - will there be anything like new EPAL? How many administrators will really use it?
- XML files everywhere - many "strange" formats were changed to XML - for example adm files, inf file for usmt etc...
- Service hardening - permissions for services have been reviewed and changed (similar to XP SP2)
- Alternative Authentication - there is API support for alternative authentication - for example biometrics, smartcards etc...
- many drivers were moved from kernel mode to user mode = less BSOD :)
- Vista looks more like component-based OS (inspiration by *nix systems?) - it reminds me of XPe
- There is new Windows Vista Mobile - right now it is just new UI to ActiveSync 4.1, but I hope they will change more things
- built-in memory and HDD diagnostic - Microsoft have memory diagnostic tool available for long time (just google ;)), however now it is built-in in similar way as ScanDisk. Great - this can save a lot of work for technicians trying to found out problem.
- Build-in Performance diagnostic console - this have three main components:
- Resource overview - CPU, HDD, Ram and network
- Performance Monitor - similar to older PerfMon
- Reliability Monitor - this looks really nice - you can see overall stability of your system and see the points when it changed (driver installation, application installation etc.)
- Remote Assistance - it is faster, more reliable etc, however there are two features I am interested in:
- multishadowing (allow two professionals connected to one computer)
- Restart resistent - this means you will be autoconnected after restart
I will try to keep this list updated - if I forget to mention something (I surely did), please add comment about it and I will update this list.