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Personalise your Windows with Windows 8

Personalise your Windows with Windows 8

Personalise your Start screen

You can choose how your Start screen looks.

  • To change your background, colour and lock screen picture, open the Settings charm, select Change PC Settings and then select Personalise.
  • To rearrange tiles, drag them to where you want them.
  • To see all of the apps installed on your computer, swipe from the bottom of your Start screen or right-click. To pin an app, swipe downwards or right-click it.
  • To resize or unpin your tiles, swipe down or right-click them.

Bring your apps
to life

Windows comes with apps for Mail, Messaging, Calendar, People and all the things that you need most. Sign in with your Microsoft account, connect it to your social networks and watch the apps come to life.

 

 

 

Download apps

Explore the Windows Store and you’ll find thousands of apps available to download and try. New apps are added all the time.

 

 

 


Create a picture password

Sign in by drawing on your favourite photo instead of typing a password. It’s a fun way to make Windows your own.

Windows 8 Editions and Comparison

Windows 8 Edition Comparison chart

Comparison of Windows 8 editions

Features

Windows RT

Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro

Windows 8 Enterprise

Availability[14]

Pre-installed on devices

Most channels

Most channels

Volume License customers

Architecture

ARM (32-bit)

IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit)

IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit)

IA-32 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit)

Maximum physical memory (RAM)[15]

?

4 GB on IA-32
128 GB on x64

4 GB on IA-32
512 GB on x64

4 GB on IA-32
512 GB on x64

Trusted boot

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Picture password

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Touch and Thumb keyboard

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Language packs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Updated File Explorer

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Standard apps[a]

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

File History

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Refresh and reset of OS

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Play To

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Connected standby

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Update

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Defender

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Better multi-monitor support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

New Windows Task Manager

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

ISO image and VHD mounting

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Mobile broadband features

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Microsoft account integration

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Internet Explorer 10

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SmartScreen

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Store

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Xbox Live app (including Xbox Live Arcade)[16][17]

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Exchange ActiveSync

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Snap

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Can connect to a VPN?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Desktop

Partial

Yes

Yes

Yes

Supported third-party apps[4][18]

Windows Store apps only

Windows Store and desktop

Windows Store and desktop

Windows Store and desktop

Remote Desktop

Client only

Client only

Client and host

Client and host

Storage Spaces

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Media Player

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Encryption features

Device encryption

Unavailable

BitLocker and EFS

BitLocker and EFS

Sideload Windows Store apps

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Boot from VHD

No

No

Yes

Yes

Can join a Windows domain?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Group Policy

No

No

Yes

Yes

Hyper-V[22]

No

No

On 64-bit versions only with SLAT capable CPU

AppLocker

No

No

No

Yes

Windows To Go

No

No

No

Yes

DirectAccess

No

No

No

Yes

BranchCache

No

No

No

Yes

Can be virtualized by RemoteFX?

No

No

No

Yes

Services for Network File System[25]

No

No

No

Yes

Microsoft Office apps bundled with OS[e]

Yes

No

No

No

Windows Media Center

No

No

Via an add-in

No

Windows RT

Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro

Windows 8 Enterprise

10 Things That Windows 8 Has and Windows 7 Doesn’t

10 Things That Windows 8 Has and Windows 7 Doesn’t

Microsoft radical shift to touch-centric computing in Windows 8 is far from the only difference between the new operating system and its predecessor.
Other differences include better integrated use of the cloud, better security, more options for use of multiple monitors and more. Here’s a list of 10 key features Windows 8 offers that aren’t part of Windows 7.

The Start screen
This is the Windows 8 answer to the Start menu that has been so familiar in Windows for years. Clicking on the Start button in the lower-left corner yielded the Start menu, a pop-up box listing apps that have been pinned there as well as quick access to search, Control Panel, Devices and Printers, photos, documents and importantly the Shut Down button to turn the machine off.
The Start menu is gone. It is replaced by the Start screen, a horizontally browsable collection of Windows 8 tiles that give one-tap access to the applications loaded on the device. Missing is Control Panel.
With a keyboard attached to a Windows 8 device, pressing Win X yields a popup box containing some of the Start menu items, but not all. You can also access some of the old Start menu features by swiping in from the left side of the screen to reveal the Charms menu, which contains a Settings charm that doesn’t lead to all the features that were contained in the Start menu.
This has caused much distress among longtime Windows users, so much so that third-party developers are selling Start Menu apps for Windows 8. These include SweetLabs’ Pokki, Lee-Soft’s ViStart 8 and Stardock’s Start8.

Snap apps
In Windows 8 users can display two applications at the same time, one occupying about three-quarters of the screen on either the left or right, the other app occupying the rest. With a touch screen, sliding the bar separating the two apps can make them larger or smaller. Both apps work.
Snap is handy if someone is working on a document, for example, and wants to draw information from a spreadsheet at the same time. But it is limited to just two apps being displayed at a time.
This differs from Windows 7 where apps can occupy as many windows as the user cares to open. Those windows can be adjusted to the exact size the user wants.

Picture password
Traditionally, users type in passwords in order to gain access to their locked computers. Windows 8 adds the picture password. When logging in, users are presented with a picture and by touching features in the photo in the right order they can unlock the device.
It’s a new password paradigm, but isn’t without criticism. One security expert calls it a “Fisher-Price toy” because swiping in the password can be stolen by videotaping it from a distance. It’s also tricky to back up in case users forget the right points and the sequence for touching them.

Refresh and reset
When Windows 8 gets corrupted, users now have two options: refresh and reset.
The first is the less extreme of the two. It reinstalls Windows 8 but preserves personal settings and personal data. It does this by saving the settings and data on a separate partition in the hard drive, installing a fresh copy of the operating system then restoring the data and settings.
It also preserves any Windows 8 modern apps that were installed on the machine. Traditional Windows apps, however, have to be manually reinstalled.
Reset lets users start over. It wipes away the operating system, settings, data and applications and reinstalls a factory-fresh copy of Windows 8. It’s as if the machine is fresh out of the box.
Windows 8 offers what it calls a thorough option for wiping out data during a reset. If the purpose of resetting was to erase sensitive data from the hard drive and make it unrecoverable, the thorough option writes random bits over all sectors of the hard drive. While it doesn’t make the data unrecoverable, it would require expensive gear that most people can’t afford, Microsoft says.

Windows Store
An important part of Windows 8 is Windows 8 applications, called modern applications, which are built to highlight the touch-centric nature of the operating system. They are available only through the Windows Store, an online market where developers can sell their apps once they have won Microsoft certification.
The idea is to encourage development of apps customers will want in order to promote sales of Windows 8 devices. The upside is that if the development community grows as it did for Apple and the App Store, customers will have a rich assortment of fun and useful software. Also, the store can send application updates directly to users’ machines.

Secure boot, trusted boot
Secure boot ensures the operating system being booted hasn’t been corrupted by verifying that the kernel is the one that was signed with a Microsoft certificate. Trusted boot calls for launching anti-malware before the operating system itself boots in order to thwart malware that might try to disable it.
This is all new for Windows and security experts say represents a significant improvement in maintaining the integrity of the system.

Skype
Skype, which is now owned by Microsoft, is integrated into Windows 8. That is, if customers buy the Skype application at the Windows Store, the app integrates with certain other apps such as the People app where the contact information for individuals is stored in the cloud and managed. Skype friends are automatically listed there. The Skype tile that appears on the Start screen is live and displays the most recent missed calls and pending messages.
Users can call others who have Skype clients or with a new dial pad in the application can call phones on the public network using prepaid minutes.

ARM
Before Windows 8, hardware for Windows machines had to be based on x86 processors — the old WinTel model. But that changes with Windows 8.
A special version of Windows 8 called Windows RT is not only designed for devices with ARM processors, the only way you can buy it is packaged with the ARM hardware. Microsoft itself is breaking its longstanding tradition of letting its OEM partners bundle Windows software with hardware by introducing Surface RT, a Windows 8 ARM tablet with an optional keyboard.
The upside of ARM is that it consumes less power than x86 chips, extending battery life for mobile use that takes users away from power outlets.
Surface RT seems aimed at consumers who want the functionality of a tablet but also want to use traditional Microsoft productivity applications. To that end, Windows RT includes an abbreviated version of Microsoft Office. One caveat: The version of Office that comes with Windows RT devices cannot be used for commercial purposes, so a separate commercial license is needed to use Windows RT at work.

SkyDrive
Like the name suggests, SkyDrive is cloud-based storage for Windows 8 documents, photos and PC settings. It can also integrate with Windows Phone, so a copy of pictures shot with the phone are automatically sent to the SkyDrive account. With an account, users can tap into their stored resources from whatever machine is available.
Also via SkyDrive, users can share whatever is stored there with others who have been authorized to do so, making it possible to conduct a form of collaboration. SkyDrive also has APIs that are available to developers who want to incorporate access to data in the cloud as part of the apps they write.

Multi-monitor options
For those who use more than one monitor with their desktops, Windows 8 has features earlier versions of Windows lack and oftentimes giving users several options for the same feature.
For example, where should the taskbar be displayed? Windows 8 doesn’t have a right answer, but offers the option of having it on all screens, having it on all screens but displaying icons only for the applications on that particular screen or only the screen where the open application is displayed.
Windows 8 features new multi-monitor keyboard shortcuts such as for moving applications from monitor to monitor, enables dragging and dropping applications from screen to screen and displaying a single image as wallpaper so it extends from one screen to another.

SharePoint Functionality & Licensing

SharePoint Functionality & Licensing

Share Point Functionality:

SharePoint 2010 has three levels of functionality, each with a set of corresponding licenses

  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 plus Standard CAL
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 plus Enterprise CAL (& Standard CAL)

Product

Description

Licensing Notes

SharePoint Foundation 2010

·Provides a platform for collaboration and a foundation for building Web-based applications.

·For small companies or departments that want a low-cost, entry-level, or pilot solution for secure, Web-based collaboration.

·All features in SharePoint Foundation are also available in Microsoft SharePoint Server

·Download at no cost.

·Companies using SharePoint Foundation must be properly licensed for Microsoft Windows Server.

SharePoint Server 2010 plus Standard CAL

·Delivers the core capabilities of SharePoint 2010

  1. Sites
  2. Communities
  3. Content
  4. Search (excludes FAST Search)
  5. Composites (excludes Access Services and InfoPath Services)

·Purchase SharePoint Server 2010.

·License the Standard feature set through Standard Client Access Licenses (CALs).

SharePoint Server 2010 plus Enterprise CAL (& Standard CAL)

·Delivers the full capabilities of SharePoint 2010

  1. Sites
  2. Communities
  3. Content
  4. Search (includes client access rights for FAST Search Server 2010)
  5. Composites (includes Access Services and InfoPath Services)
  6. Insights (includes PerformancePoint Services, Excel Services, and Visio Services)

·Purchase SharePoint Server 2010.

·License the Enterprise feature set through Enterprise CALs.

· For FAST Search, purchase FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint for each running instance of the software.

 

Share Point Licensing Model:

SharePoint has two licensing models to accommodate two groups of users

  • Server plus CAL, for internal users
  • Server-only, for external users
Licensing Model Use Cases Licenses
Server plus CA For internal users (employees).Can also be used for external users if they are countable and CALs can be assigned to specific people.

Both Server licenses and CALs are required

  • SharePoint Server 2010: For each running instance of the server software.
  • SharePoint Server 2010 Standard CAL: For each person or device accessing a SharePoint Server.

If Enterprise features are required

  • SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise CAL: For each person or device using the Enterprise features of a SharePoint Server.

Additional notes on the Server/CAL model:

  • CALs can be purchased on a per-user or per-device basis.
  • Enterprise CALs are additive To access the Enterprise features, a person/device must have both the Standard CAL and Enterprise CAL.
  • CALs must be for the same or later version of the server license(s).
  • While there are two levels of functionality (Standard and Enterprise), there is only one server SKU. During installation, you must decide whether to activate the Enterprise features of each server.
Server only
  • For external users (suppliers, customers, vendors, and the public).
  • Can be used for both anonymous and authenticated users.
Only server licenses are required, but they must be purchased for each running instance of the server software. There are two options

  • SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Standard
  • SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise

Additional notes on the Server only model

  • No CALs are required for users licensed through SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites.
  • The Server only licensing model is for external users only. Internal users can use this license only if all content, information, and applications are also accessible to external users. If the server has items that are for internal use only, those users require CALs, and their servers require licenses for SharePoint Server 2010.
  • People who create content for external access can use SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites. Server and CAL licensing is not required for people who use SharePoint only to author information.
  • SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites must be licensed on all servers (staging, application, index, front-end) that provide content to external users.
  • If connecting internal- and external-facing SharePoint deployments, you can purchase licenses for SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise, and assign them to the same running instances of the software.
  • You must purchase CALs for SharePoint Server 2010 for people/devices accessing content in any way not permitted under the use rights for SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites.
  • SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise, also includes the rights to FAST Search Server for use in Internet or Extranet scenarios. You can deploy a single server license of SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise, as SharePoint server or a FAST Search server—but not both concurrently.

Windows XP Mode

Windows XP Mode

It is the best of both worlds: Windows XP Mode lets you run older Windows XP business software right on your Windows 7 desktop.
Designed primarily with small- and medium-sized businesses in mind, Windows XP Mode comes as a separate download and works only with Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate. Windows XP Mode also requires virtualization software such as Windows Virtual PC. Both are available free on the Microsoft website.

Windows XP Mode, available for the Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows 7, helps prevent older business programs from becoming obsolete.

Install and use Windows XP Mode in Windows 7

Using Windows XP Mode, you can run programs that were designed for Windows XP on computers running Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate editions.

Programs can run in both Windows XP Mode and in Windows 7.

How does Windows XP Mode work?

Windows XP Mode works in two ways—both as a virtual operating system and as a way to open programs within Windows 7. Windows XP Mode runs in a separate window on the Windows 7 desktop, much like a program, except it’s a fully functional version of Windows XP. In Windows XP Mode, you can access your physical computer’s CD/DVD drive, install programs, save files, and perform other tasks as if you were using a computer running Windows XP.
When you install a program in Windows XP Mode, the program appears in both the Windows XP Mode list of programs and in the Windows 7 list of programs, so you can open the program directly from Windows 7.

Programs installed in Windows XP Mode in the Windows 7 Start menu

Notes

  •  Almost all programs compatible with Windows Vista, and the majority of Windows XP programs, run well in Windows 7. If a program doesn’t, first try the Program Compatibility troubleshooter. It can fix several problems and is included in all editions of Windows 7.
  • Some hardware and devices that work in Windows 7 might not work in Windows XP Mode. They might not be detected in Windows XP Mode.
  • Windows XP Mode was primarily designed to help businesses move from Windows XP to Windows 7. It isn’t optimized for graphic-intensive programs such as 3D games, nor is it well suited for programs with hardware requirements such as TV tuners.
  • If you’re playing music or video in Windows XP Mode using Windows Media Player, and you maximize or minimize the Windows XP Mode window, Windows Media Player will stop playing. This is due to the way Windows XP Mode works in Windows 7.

WinXPMode Brochure

Top 12 Features of SQL Server 2012

Top 12 Features of SQL Server 2012

Microsoft has introduced SQL Server 2012 to the world and it’s time for IT professionals to start to come to speed on what’s new.

Microsoft has introduced SQL Server 2012 to the world and it’s time for IT professionals to start to come to speed on what’s new in this highly anticipated version of SQL Server.

1. AlwaysOn Availability Groups — This feature takes database mirroring to a whole new level. With AlwaysOn, users will be able to fail over multiple databases in groups instead of individually. Also, secondary copies will be readable, and can be used for database backups. The big win is that your DR environment no longer needs to sit idle.

2. Windows Server Core Support — If you don’t know what Windows Server Core is, you may want to come up to speed before Windows 8 (MS is making a push back to the command line for server products). Core is the GUI-less version of Windows that uses DOS and PowerShell for user interaction. It has a much lower footprint (50% less memory and disk space utilization), requires fewer patches, and is more secure than the full install. Starting with SQL 2012, it is supported for SQL Server.

3. Columnstore Indexes — This a cool new feature that is completely unique to SQL Server. They are special type of read-only index designed to be use with Data Warehouse queries. Basically, data is grouped and stored in a flat, compressed column index, greatly reducing I/O and memory utilization on large queries.

4. User-Defined Server Roles — DBAs have always had the ability to create custom database role, but never server wide. For example, if the DBA wanted to give a development team read/write access to every database on a shared server, traditionally the only ways to do it were either manually, or using undocumented procedures. Neither of which were good solutions. Now, the DBA can create a role, which has read/write access on every DB on the server, or any other custom server wide role.

5. Enhanced Auditing Features — Audit is now available in all editions of SQL Server. Additionally, users can define custom audit specifications to write custom events into the audit log. New filtering features give greater flexibility in choosing which events to write to the log.

6. BI Semantic Model — This is replacing the Analysis Services Unified Dimensional Model (or cubes most people referred to them). It’s a hybrid model that allows one data model will support all BI experiences in SQL Server. Additionally, this will allow for some really neat text infographics

7. Sequence Objects — For those folks who have worked with Oracle, this has been a long requested feature. A sequence is just an object that is a counter — a good example of it’s use would be to increment values in a table, based a trigger. SQL has always had similar functionality with identity columns, but now this is a discrete object.

8. Enhanced PowerShell Support — Windows and SQL Server admins should definitely start brushing up on their PowerShell scripting skills. Microsoft is driving a lot of development effort into instrumenting all of their server-based products with PowerShell. SQL 2008 gave DBAs some exposure to it, but there are many more in cmdlets in SQL 2012.

9. Distributed Replay — Once again this is answer to a feature that Oracle released (Real Application Testing). However, and in my opinion where the real value proposition of SQL Server is, in Oracle it is a (very expensive) cost option to Enterprise Edition. With SQL, when you buy your licenses for Enterprise Edition, you get everything. Distributed replay allows you to capture a workload on a production server, and replay it on another machine. This way changes in underlying schemas, support packs, or hardware changes can be tested under production conditions.

10. PowerView — You may have heard of this under the name “Project Crescent” it is a fairly powerful self-service BI toolkit that allows users to create mash ups of BI reports from all over the Enterprise.

11. SQL Azure Enhancements — These don’t really go directly with the release of SQL 2012, but Microsoft is making some key enhancements to SQL Azure. Reporting Services for Azure will be available, along with backup to the Windows Azure data store, which is a huge enhancement. The maximum size of an Azure database is now up to 150G. Also Azure data sync allows a better hybrid model of cloud and on-premise solutions

12. Big Data Support — I saved the biggest for last, introduced at the PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) conference last year, Microsoft announced a partnership with Hadoop provider Cloudera. One part of this involves MS releasing a ODBC driver for SQL Server that will run on a Linux platform. Additionally, Microsoft is building connectors for Hadoop, which is an extremely popular NoSQL platform. With this announcement, Microsoft has made a clear move into this very rapidly growing space.

SQL 2012 is a big step forward for Microsoft — the company is positioning itself to be a leader in availability and in the growing area of big data. As a database professional, I look forward to using SQL 2012 to bring new solutions to my clients.

 

Planning for Windows Server 2012

Planning for Windows Server 2012

If you are planning to deploy Windows Server 2012, remember:

  •  Datacenter edition for highly-virtualized private clouds.
  •  Standard edition for lightly or non-virtualized environments.
  •  Essentials edition for small businesses with up to 25 users, running on servers with up to two processors.
  •  Foundation edition for small businesses with up to 15 users buying single processor servers from OEMs.
  • Renewing Software Assurance is the best way to protect investments while gaining access to new versions, technical assistance and Deployment Planning Services.
  • The Microsoft Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI) will continue to offer the best value for private cloud and datacenter management pricing.
  • Core CAL and Enterprise CAL Suites will continue to be the most cost effective way to purchase Windows Server CALs to access Windows Server 2012 Standard and Datacenter editions.
  • Find out how flexible payments can help you get the IT you need and stay on budget.

Edition comparison by feature

Here is a summary of key server features.

  • Full
  • Partial/Limited

 

Top Ten Reasons to Buy VS Team Foundation Server

Top Ten Reasons to Buy VS Team Foundation Server.

• Streamline The Flow of Data Across Your Entire Team
Project artifacts are stored in a central repository that facilitates in-context collaboration reducing waste in hand-over time between tasks and streamlines the development process allowing team members to focus on delivering value over transitioning information between roles.

• Reduce Risk with Real-time Visibility
Powerful reporting and dashboards provide historical trending and real-time visibility into overall project health. Real-time metrics give you early warnings of potential problems that enable you to be proactive and to make data-driven decisions and course corrections.

• End-to-end Traceability
Define, query and report on custom relationships between requirements, work items and test cases. Full traceability lets you track progress and quality back to business goals and customer requirements.

• Lightweight Agile Planning Tools
The new Excel Agile Planning Workbook makes it easy for teams to adopt Agile software development methodologies like SCRUM. Use it to create and manage user stories and product backlog, estimate the team’s velocity, and break the project down into iterations. The Iteration Backlog enables you to plan iterations and track progress.

• Project and Portfolio Management
Integration with Microsoft Project and Office Project Server enables business stake holders and project managers to gain insight into the health of inflight projects, understand how they support the business needs and help identify ways to improve existing processes.

• Simplified Installation for Smaller Teams
Smaller teams and individual developers can choose the new Basic Install option to leverage the power of Team Foundation Server 2010 without the footprint of the full installation.

• Understand Parallel Development
Reduce the complexity in branching and merging with powerful new visualization tools. Understand the scope, organization and maintenance of your source code and easily identify, track and manage changes across branches.

• Prevent Broken Builds
The new gated check-in feature helps teams working in the same branch to prevent costly and time consuming build breaks by testing code in isolation before it goes into the full repository.

• Flexible Build Automation
Windows Workflow-based builds with powerful features like build queuing and build agent pooling enable teams to easily customize, manage and scale out their build environments.

• Enterprise Scalability
Network Load Balancing, 64-bit server support and new project

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is Windows Server 2012 Essentials?

A: The latest version of Windows Small Business Server, Windows Server 2012 Essentials is a flexible, affordable, and easy-to-use server solution designed and priced for small businesses with up to 25 uses and 50 devices that helps them reduce costs and be more productive. Windows Server 2012 Essentials is an ideal first server, and it can also be used as the primary server in a multi-server environment for small businesses. Windows Server 2012 Essentials enables small businesses to protect, centralize, organize and access their applications and information from almost anywhere using virtually any device. Additionally, Essentials has the ability to grow as your business grows, providing an elastic solution that allows you to purchase and then perform an in-place conversion to

Windows Server 2012 Standard if your business needs change over time. Customers can use Windows Server 2012 Essentials as a platform to run critical line-of-business applications and

other on-premises workloads, as well as to provide an integrated management experience when running cloud based applications and services, such as e-mail, collaboration, online backup, and more. In addition, Windows Server 2012 Essentials enables businesses to better protect their data through automated backup and restore capabilities, which provides the ability to recover from accidentally deleted or overwritten files, and to quickly recover and continue operations in the event of a disaster. And as business needs grow and change, Windows Server 2012 Essentials is able to grow as well, including the ability to perform an in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Standard.

Q: Why did Microsoft create Windows Server 2012 Essentials?

A: There are roughly 36 million small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) worldwide with more than one PC, and many see IT as a strategic imperative to grow their business. SMBs are typically short on IT resources, but need powerful technology solutions similar to those used by even the largest companies. Building on the design philosophy of the current, award-winning Windows Small Business Server product, Windows Server 2012 Essentials provides small businesses with a flexible, affordable server solution that will help save time and money while significantly increasing employee productivity. Windows Server 2012 Essentials is the simplest way for small businesses to unleash the power of Windows Server 2012 and cloud-enable their IT.

Q: Why did Microsoft change the name of Windows Small Business Server Essentials to Windows Server Essentials?

A: Microsoft, along with its customers and partners, has enjoyed great success with Windows Small Business Server, and we are committed to continuing that success into the future. By formalizing Essentials as a core edition of the Windows Server 2012 family, we more clearly communicate how it is positioned in the market relative to the other Windows Server editions, simplify our messaging to our customers and partners, and increase the level of visibility of the product and its unique value for the small business market.

Top 10 reasons to try Visio 2010

Top 10 reasons to try Visio 2010

Microsoft Visio 2010 advanced diagramming tools help you simplify complexity with dynamic, data-driven visuals and new ways to share on the Web in real time. Whether you’re creating an organizational chart, a network diagram, or a business process, the new tools and more intuitive interface in Visio 2010 make it easier to bring your diagrams to life.

1) Jump-start diagramming with templates.

With modern, pre-drawn shapes, intelligent templates, and sample drawings, Visio 2010 offers a wide variety of options to meet your diagramming needs for IT, business, process management, and more.

2) Find and access the tools you need quickly.

Every step in creating a diagram is more intuitive, with the logical groupings of features in Ribbon tabs, an enhanced Shapes window for easy access to shapes and stencils, and a new status bar that helps you move more efficiently within and between your diagrams.

3) Draw diagrams faster with improved automatic features.

Whether you are creating a diagram from scratch or modifying an existing one, Visio 2010 helps you add and align shapes easily and accurately, with features such as the Quick Shapes Mini Toolbar, enhanced dynamic grid, page Auto Size, and automatic alignment and layout adjustment.

4) Simplify large and complex diagrams.

Add clarity to diagrams using Subprocesses and Containers to group related shapes visually and logically. As a diagram grows larger or becomes more complex, Subprocesses and Containers help you to keep information more organized and understandable.

5) Make your diagrams professional-looking and appealing in seconds.

Visio 2010 helps you make diagrams look attractive with a wide range of formatting tools and design options, including modern shapes and visuals, a rich gallery of themes, and Live Preview.

6) Bring your diagrams to life with real-time data.

See the entire picture with dynamic, data-driven diagrams. Simply connect your diagram to one or more data sources such as Excel or SQL Server. Then, display real-time data right within your diagrams, based on conditions you define, using vibrant colors, icons, symbols, and data bars.

7) Share diagrams with others on the Web.

Easily share dynamic, data-linked Visio diagrams in Microsoft SharePoint Server. Online users can see your real-time information in their browsers at a high level, right on the diagram, or delve into the details—even if they don’t own Visio. They can pan and zoom in the diagram, follow hyperlinks in shapes, and refresh the data.

 

8) Ensure consistency and accuracy with diagram validation.

Check for common errors and support diagramming standards across your organization using diagram validation. With one click, you can validate a diagram against a set of rules to make sure it’s logical and properly constructed.

9) Model and monitor SharePoint workflows.

Create and monitor SharePoint workflows more easily than ever with a new, advanced template that contains SharePoint workflow rules and logic, and supports the ability to export and import workflows between Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 and Visio 2010.

10) Create visual mashups using Visio Services.

Publish and share visually compelling dashboards that contain interactive Visio diagrams and other application services. Visio Services and SharePoint Server integration supports visual mashups of actionable data and diagrams for an information-rich viewing experience.