Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing

As of today Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing (RTM)!

  • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
  • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
  • August 16th:Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
  • August 20th:Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.

Windows Server 2012 Arrives September 4

Windows Server 2012 has been released to manufacturing, too. That means the final code is complete and Microsoft will deliver the “brand new OS” to hardware and software vendors & partners this week. Good news for MSDN and TechNet subscribers and MS Partners, as Microsoft will also make the software available to their volume licensing customers in the next couple of weeks.


SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 Now Available

The SQL Server team has released SQL 2008 R2 SP2!

See here for more details:

SQL Server Team

As part of our commitment to delivering and supporting high-quality software to our customers, Microsoft is pleased to announce SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2. Customers with existing investments on SQL Server 2008 R2 are encouraged to explore Service Pack 2. Service Pack 2 for SQL Server 2008 R2 includes product improvements based on requests from the SQL Server community and hotfix solutions provided in SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Cumulative Updates 1 to 5. A few highlights are as follows:

  • Reporting Services Charts Maybe Zoomed & Cropped
    Customers using Reporting Services on Windows 7 may sometime find charts are zoomed in and cropped. To work around the issue some customers set ImageConsolidation to false.
  • Batch Containing Alter Table not Cached
    In certain situations with batch files containing the alter table command, the entire batch file is not cached.
  • Collapsing Cells or Rows, If Hidden Render Incorrectly
    Some customers who have hidden rows in their Reporting Services reports may have noticed rendering issues when cells or rows are collapsed. When writing a hidden row, the Style attribute is opened to write a height attribute. If the attribute is empty and the width should not be zero.

Customers are highly encouraged to stay on a supported service pack to ensure they are on the latest and most secure version of SQL Server 2008 R2.

Download today!

· SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2

· SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 Express

· SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 Feature Packs

Windows 8 and Windows 2012, is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM) the first week of August

At the World Partner Conference, Microsoft has provided details about the release dates for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

More details about Windows 8 here:

Windows 8 RTM, first week of August with general availability in late October.

More details about Windows 2012 here:

Windows 2012 RTM, first week of August and generally available to customers through multiple channels in September.

System Center 2012 SP1 CTP2 Virtual Machines

The following Virtual Machines are now available for System Center 2012 SP1 CTP2 evaluation:

App Controller :

Operations Manager :

Orchestrator :

Service Manager :

Virtual Machine Manager :

Windows Server 2012 Editions

Microsoft has released the Windows 2012 editions, see this link for more details :

Windows Server 2012 Editions

Licensing Overview

Windows Server 2012 delivers a dramatically simplified licensing experience. Shaped by feedback from customers and partners, the new Windows Server licensing approach will help make choosing the right Windows Server easier while delivering the following benefits.


It’s easier than ever to determine the right Windows Server edition for you. Choose from just four editions of Windows Server 2012, based on the size of your organization and your requirements for virtualization and cloud computing.


All editions of Windows Server 2012 deliver excellent economics and ROI for your business. For example, Datacenter edition with unlimited virtualization rights provides the benefits of cloud-level scale with predictable, lower costs. Standard edition now offers all of the same enterprise-class features as Datacenter and is differentiated only by virtualization rights.


Businesses today are rapidly adopting a hybrid approach across private and public cloud computing. Windows Server 2012 offers the right edition for you, no matter where you are on your path to the cloud; Datacenter edition for highly virtualized cloud environments, Standard edition for lightly virtualized environments progressing toward cloud, or Essentials edition for an ideal cloud-connected first server.

Editions Overview

Edition Ideal for… High Level Feature
Licensing Model
Datacenter Highly virtualized
private & hybrid
cloud environments
Full Windows
Server functionality
with unlimited
virtual instances
Processor + CAL
Standard Low density or non-
Full Windows
Server functionality
with two virtual
Processor + CAL
Essentials Small business
Simpler interface,
connectivity to
cloud based services; no
virtualization rights
Server (25 User
Account Limit)
Foundation Economical general
purpose server
General purpose
server functionality
with no
virtualization rights
Server (15 User
Account Limit)

Windows PowerShell 3.0 and Server Manager Quick Reference Guides

Microsoft has released some quick reference guides from PowerShell Magazine ; see for more information.

Quickly learn tips, shortcuts, and common operations in the new Windows Powershell 3.0, Windows PowerShell Workflow, Windows PowerShell ISE, Windows PowerShell Web Access, Server Manager for Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate, WinRM, WMI, and WS-Man.

PowerShell_LangRef_v3.pdf – This four-page reference describes operators, arrays, useful commands, methods, and other tips for using Windows PowerShell 3.0. Also included is a Windows PowerShell reading and tutorial resource list. This quick reference is provided by PowerShell Magazine.

PowerShell_ISE_v3.pdf – This two-page reference describes keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys that you can use to navigate Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) more quickly, and introduces the new ISE object model. Also included are tips for configuring $ps.ISE options, profiles, and properties. This quick reference is provided by PowerShell Magazine.

PowerShell_Examples_v3.pdf – This two-page reference describes how to perform popular IT management and scripting tasks by using Windows PowerShell 3.0, including how to fetch data by using Management OData IIS Services, how to schedule jobs, how to install Windows PowerShell Web Access by using Windows PowerShell cmdlets, and how to create new SMB file shares. This quick reference is provided by PowerShell Magazine.

Quick_Reference_SM_WS12.pdf – This two-page reference describes common tasks that you can perform in the new Server Manager console in Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate. Quickly learn how to manage remote servers that are running older versions of Windows Server by using the new Server Manager; how to run Server Manager deployment cmdlets for Windows PowerShell; how to save and export Server Manager settings, such as the servers you have added to the server pool, and custom server groups that you have created; where to find Server Manager log files; how to run popular WinRM commands such as creating a new listener; how to install roles and features on offline VHDs; and where to find documentation to help you manage multiple, remote servers by using Server Manager and Windows PowerShell.

WMI_CIM_PowerShell_v3.pdf – This two-page reference describes differences between Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) in Windows PowerShell 2.0 and 3.0. Included are examples of how to find namespaces and classes in WMI, detailed information about CimSession, CimInstance, CIM operations, and invoking a CIM method. The quick reference describes how to get a list of new CIM cmdlets, and defines associations, WQL, WS-Man, WinRM, and CIM indications.

Windows 2012 Jump Start Videos

Microsoft has released the Jump Start Videos for Windows 2012.

Links to Every Module from this Jump Start
The HD-quality video recordings of this course are published to TechNet Edge and are highly recommended. Windows Server 2012 is a game-changing release for so many reasons and this course will help experienced IT Pros truly understand why — check it out!

• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (01): Core Hyper-V
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (02a): Virtualization Infrastructure, Part 1
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (02b): Virtualization Infrastructure, Part 2
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (03a): Storage Architecture, Part 1
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (03b): Storage Architecture, Part 2
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (04): Continuous Availability
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (05a): Multi-Server Management, Part 1
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (05b): Multi-Server Management, Part 2
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (06a): Security and Access, Part 1
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (06b): Security and Access, Part 2
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (07): Remote Connectivity and Networking
• Windows Server 2012 Jump Start (08): IIS, DHCP and IPAM

SQL 2012 PowerShell script to detect CPU’s configured for licensing

SQL 2012 has changed the license model around CPUs/Cores. The below script can be used to help detect how many CPU’s are on the host and also configured in SQL. If you detect that you do not have the correct CPU’s, then you may need to reconfigure SQL.

Example outputs:

SQL Server CPU check
Checking server instance TESTSQL
Server Physical Cores : 4 ( 2399 mhz )
Server Logical Cores  : 4
SQL Server Cores      : 4
SQL Edition           : Standard Edition (64-bit)

SQL Server CPU check
Checking server instance TESTSQL
Server Physical Cores : 4 ( 2399 mhz )
Server Logical Cores  : 4
SQL Server Cores      : 2
SQL Edition           : Standard Edition (64-bit)


# Script: DetectCPUCores.ps1
# Author: Craig Wilson
# Date: 22/06/2012
# Version: v1.0.0
# This script will connect SQL and the WMI of then host to collect CPU core
# information

function DetectCPUCores ([string]$SQLINSTANCE, [string]$HOSTNAME)

    Write-Host "SQL Server CPU check"
    Write-Host " Checking server instance $SQLINSTANCE"
    Write-Host "---------------------------------------------------"    

    $SqlConnection = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection 
    $SqlConnection.ConnectionString = "Data Source=$SQLINSTANCE;Integrated Security=TRUE" 

    $SqlCmd = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand 
    $SqlCmd.CommandText = "select serverproperty('ProductVersion')" 
    $SqlCmd.Connection = $SqlConnection 
    $sql_ProductVersion = $SqlCmd.ExecuteScalar() 

    $SqlCmd = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand 
    $SqlCmd.CommandText = "select serverproperty('Edition')" 
    $SqlCmd.Connection = $SqlConnection 
    $sql_edition = $SqlCmd.ExecuteScalar() 

    $SqlCmd = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand 
    $SqlCmd.CommandText = "select count(*) from sys.dm_os_schedulers where status = 'VISIBLE ONLINE'" 
    $SqlCmd.Connection = $SqlConnection 
    $sql_schedulers = $SqlCmd.ExecuteScalar() 


    $property = "systemname","maxclockspeed","addressWidth","numberOfCores", "NumberOfLogicalProcessors"
    $cpu_info = Get-WmiObject -computername $HOSTNAME -class win32_processor -Property  $property | Select-Object -Property $property 

    Write-Host "Server Physical Cores :"$cpu_info.numberOfCores "("$cpu_info.maxclockspeed"mhz ) "
    Write-Host "Server Logical Cores :"$cpu_info.NumberOfLogicalProcessors
    Write-Host "SQL Server Cores : $sql_schedulers"
    Write-Host "SQL Edition : $sql_edition"
    Write-Host "SQL Product Version : $sql_ProductVersion"
    Write-Host "---------------------------------------------------"


DetectCPUCores "SQLInstance" "LOCALHOST"

For more information on how the licensing impact you check out the following blog posts

SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Editions

SQL Server 2012 Licensing (Resources Pane)

Windows Phone 8 at Windows Phone Summit

Today Microsoft released information about the new Windows Phone 8 platform.

The new Windows Phone 8 will use the same core of Windows 8.

Features will include;

  • Dual Core/Multi Core
  • Increased Screen resolution
  • Micro SD card support
    • Pictures
    • Video
    • Install Apps
    • Transfer content between phones and PC
  • Existing App from Windows Phone 7 will run on Windows Phone 8 (No sure if they will need to be recompiled or resubmitted to the market place)
  • Internet Explorer 10 (Same rendering between PC and Phone)
  • Extending support and performance for HTLM 5 and Jscript
  • Native Code Support
  • Native Code for Game Development!
  • Native support for NFC
  • Much much more!

Check out the following blog posts and video links to see more about the new Windows Phone 8

Today Microsoft gave a sneak preview of Windows Phone 8, highlighting the core OS elements shared with Windows 8, and the opportunities this release will create for developers, IT professionals and consumers.

Windows Phone 8 brings new hardware capabilities like multi-core chips, new screen resolutions, SD card support and NFC. Windows Phone 8 additionally delivers new features including a great new Start Screen, IE 10 and Wallet, as well as support for native development, and enterprise capabilities such as device encryption and management, and Company Hub. Existing Windows Phone customers will receive an update including new features in Windows Phone 8 like Start Screen and more.

We also announced growth in the number, variety and quality of apps in Marketplace, with 100,000 apps including new apps like Words with Friends, Draw Something, Audible, Chase and PayPal, and games including Asphalt 7: Heat, N.O.V.A. 3: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance, and Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.

Joe Belfiore’s blog post.

Windows Phone Summit

Windows Azure Training Kit – June 2012

The Windows Azure Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including hands-on labs and presentations that are designed to help you learn how to use the latest Windows Azure features and services.

The June 2012 update includes 42 step-by-step hands-on labs and 20 presentations covering the new Windows Azure features.  Some of the updates in this version include:

· 12 new hands-on labs for Windows Azure Virtual Machines

· 11 new hands-on labs for Windows Azure Web Sites

· 2 new hands-on labs that demonstrate Windows Azure with Windows 8 Metro-style applications

· New hands-on labs for Node.js and PHP using Mac OS X

· Updated content for the latest Windows Azure SDKs, tools, and new Windows Azure Management Portal

· New and updated presentations designed to support individual sessions to a full 3 day training workshops

Download Now

You can download the training kit from the download center here:


The Windows Azure Training Kit – June 2012 update includes technical content that can be used on Windows 7, Windows 8, or Mac OS X. The Windows and .NET hands-on labs are designed for use with either Visual Studio 2010 or the Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate.

After installing the trainining kit, please refer to the setup instructions and prerequisites for each individual hands-on lab for more details