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What’s New in Windows v.Next
Posted by Philip Elder on 07 October 2014 01:46 PM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: What’s New in Windows v.Next

Here are some resources relative to what may be in the next version of Windows. Note that this list is by far nowhere near complete and rather feature focused.

One can download the Windows 10 TP RSAT here.

Here are some quick snips of Windows Server TP:


Okay, so we’ve gone back to a “traditional” Start Menu format.


The Start Menu right click options:


I’m not convinced. :(

There are a number of us out here that actually _did_ like the Metro style Start Menu.

From what we understand there is a way to toggle between this style and the Metro style but it has not become a priority to figure out yet as we are somewhat buried with projects at the moment.

Here is a PowerShell Get-WindowsFeature output:

Display Name                                            Name                       Install State
————                                            —-                       ————-
[ ] Active Directory Certificate Services               AD-Certificate                 Available
    [ ] Certification Authority                         ADCS-Cert-Authority            Available
    [ ] Certificate Enrollment Policy Web Service       ADCS-Enroll-Web-Pol            Available
    [ ] Certificate Enrollment Web Service              ADCS-Enroll-Web-Svc            Available
    [ ] Certification Authority Web Enrollment          ADCS-Web-Enrollment            Available
    [ ] Network Device Enrollment Service               ADCS-Device-Enrollment         Available
    [ ] Online Responder                                ADCS-Online-Cert               Available
[X] Active Directory Domain Services                    AD-Domain-Services             Installed
[ ] Active Directory Federation Services                ADFS-Federation                Available
[ ] Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services     ADLDS                          Available
[ ] Active Directory Rights Management Services         ADRMS                          Available
    [ ] Active Directory Rights Management Server       ADRMS-Server                   Available
    [ ] Identity Federation Support                     ADRMS-Identity                 Available
[X] DHCP Server                                         DHCP                           Installed
[X] DNS Server                                          DNS                            Installed
[ ] Fax Server                                          Fax                            Available
[X] File and Storage Services                           FileAndStorage-Services        Installed
    [X] File and iSCSI Services                         File-Services                  Installed
        [X] File Server                                 FS-FileServer                  Installed
        [ ] BranchCache for Network Files               FS-BranchCache                 Available
        [ ] Data Deduplication                          FS-Data-Deduplication          Available
        [ ] DFS Namespaces                              FS-DFS-Namespace               Available
        [ ] DFS Replication                             FS-DFS-Replication             Available
        [ ] File Server Resource Manager                FS-Resource-Manager            Available
        [ ] File Server VSS Agent Service               FS-VSS-Agent                   Available
        [ ] iSCSI Target Server                         FS-iSCSITarget-Server          Available
        [ ] iSCSI Target Storage Provider (VDS and V… iSCSITarget-VSS-VDS            Available
        [ ] Server for NFS                              FS-NFS-Service                 Available
        [ ] Work Folders                                FS-SyncShareService            Available
    [X] Storage Services                                Storage-Services               Installed
[ ] Hyper-V                                             Hyper-V                        Available
[ ] MultiPoint Services                                 MultiPointServerRole           Available
[ ] Network Controller                                  NetworkController              Available

[ ] Network Policy and Access Services                  NPAS                           Available
[ ] Print and Document Services                         Print-Services                 Available
    [ ] Print Server                                    Print-Server                   Available
    [ ] Distributed Scan Server                         Print-Scan-Server              Available
    [ ] Internet Printing                               Print-Internet                 Available
    [ ] LPD Service                                     Print-LPD-Service              Available
[ ] Remote Access                                       RemoteAccess                   Available
    [ ] DirectAccess and VPN (RAS)                      DirectAccess-VPN               Available
    [ ] Routing                                         Routing                        Available
    [ ] Web Application Proxy                           Web-Application-Proxy          Available
[ ] Remote Desktop Services                             Remote-Desktop-Services        Available
    [ ] Remote Desktop Connection Broker                RDS-Connection-Broker          Available
    [ ] Remote Desktop Gateway                          RDS-Gateway                    Available
    [ ] Remote Desktop Licensing                        RDS-Licensing                  Available
    [ ] Remote Desktop Session Host                     RDS-RD-Server                  Available
    [ ] Remote Desktop Virtualization Host              RDS-Virtualization             Available
    [ ] Remote Desktop Web Access                       RDS-Web-Access                 Available
[ ] Volume Activation Services                          VolumeActivation               Available
[ ] Web Server (IIS)                                    Web-Server                     Available
    [ ] Web Server                                      Web-WebServer                  Available
        [ ] Common HTTP Features                        Web-Common-Http                Available
            [ ] Default Document                        Web-Default-Doc                Available
            [ ] Directory Browsing                      Web-Dir-Browsing               Available
            [ ] HTTP Errors                             Web-Http-Errors                Available
            [ ] Static Content                          Web-Static-Content             Available
            [ ] HTTP Redirection                        Web-Http-Redirect              Available
            [ ] WebDAV Publishing                       Web-DAV-Publishing             Available
        [ ] Health and Diagnostics                      Web-Health                     Available
            [ ] HTTP Logging                            Web-Http-Logging               Available
            [ ] Custom Logging                          Web-Custom-Logging             Available
            [ ] Logging Tools                           Web-Log-Libraries              Available
            [ ] ODBC Logging                            Web-ODBC-Logging               Available
            [ ] Request Monitor                         Web-Request-Monitor            Available
            [ ] Tracing                                 Web-Http-Tracing               Available
        [ ] Performance                                 Web-Performance                Available
            [ ] Static Content Compression              Web-Stat-Compression           Available
            [ ] Dynamic Content Compression             Web-Dyn-Compression            Available
        [ ] Security                                    Web-Security                   Available
            [ ] Request Filtering                       Web-Filtering                  Available
            [ ] Basic Authentication                    Web-Basic-Auth                 Available
            [ ] Centralized SSL Certificate Support     Web-CertProvider               Available
            [ ] Client Certificate Mapping Authentic… Web-Client-Auth                Available
            [ ] Digest Authentication                   Web-Digest-Auth                Available
            [ ] IIS Client Certificate Mapping Authe… Web-Cert-Auth                  Available
            [ ] IP and Domain Restrictions              Web-IP-Security                Available
            [ ] URL Authorization                       Web-Url-Auth                   Available
            [ ] Windows Authentication                  Web-Windows-Auth               Available
        [ ] Application Development                     Web-App-Dev                    Available
            [ ] .NET Extensibility 3.5                  Web-Net-Ext                    Available
            [ ] .NET Extensibility 4.5                  Web-Net-Ext45                  Available
            [ ] Application Initialization              Web-AppInit                    Available
            [ ] ASP                                     Web-ASP                        Available
            [ ] ASP.NET 3.5                             Web-Asp-Net                    Available
            [ ] ASP.NET 4.5                             Web-Asp-Net45                  Available
            [ ] CGI                                     Web-CGI                        Available
            [ ] ISAPI Extensions                        Web-ISAPI-Ext                  Available
            [ ] ISAPI Filters                           Web-ISAPI-Filter               Available
            [ ] Server Side Includes                    Web-Includes                   Available
            [ ] WebSocket Protocol                      Web-WebSockets                 Available
    [ ] FTP Server                                      Web-Ftp-Server                 Available
        [ ] FTP Service                                 Web-Ftp-Service                Available
        [ ] FTP Extensibility                           Web-Ftp-Ext                    Available
    [ ] Management Tools                                Web-Mgmt-Tools                 Available
        [ ] IIS Management Console                      Web-Mgmt-Console               Available
        [ ] IIS 6 Management Compatibility              Web-Mgmt-Compat                Available
            [ ] IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility            Web-Metabase                   Available
            [ ] IIS 6 Management Console                Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console          Available
            [ ] IIS 6 Scripting Tools                   Web-Lgcy-Scripting             Available
            [ ] IIS 6 WMI Compatibility                 Web-WMI                        Available
        [ ] IIS Management Scripts and Tools            Web-Scripting-Tools            Available
        [ ] Management Service                          Web-Mgmt-Service               Available
[ ] Windows Deployment Services                         WDS                            Available
    [ ] Deployment Server                               WDS-Deployment                 Available
    [ ] Transport Server                                WDS-Transport                  Available
[ ] Windows Server Essentials Experience                ServerEssentialsRole           Available
[ ] Windows Server Update Services                      UpdateServices                 Available
    [ ] WID Connectivity                                UpdateServices-WidDB           Available
    [ ] WSUS Services                                   UpdateServices-Services        Available
    [ ] SQL Server Connectivity                         UpdateServices-DB              Available
[ ] .NET Framework 3.5 Features                         NET-Framework-Features         Available
    [ ] .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)  NET-Framework-Core               Removed
    [ ] HTTP Activation                                 NET-HTTP-Activation            Available
    [ ] Non-HTTP Activation                             NET-Non-HTTP-Activ             Available
[X] .NET Framework 4.5 Features                         NET-Framework-45-Fea…        Installed
    [X] .NET Framework 4.5                              NET-Framework-45-Core          Installed
    [ ] ASP.NET 4.5                                     NET-Framework-45-ASPNET        Available
    [X] WCF Services                                    NET-WCF-Services45             Installed
        [ ] HTTP Activation                             NET-WCF-HTTP-Activat…        Available
        [ ] Message Queuing (MSMQ) Activation           NET-WCF-MSMQ-Activat…        Available
        [ ] Named Pipe Activation                       NET-WCF-Pipe-Activat…        Available
        [ ] TCP Activation                              NET-WCF-TCP-Activati…        Available
        [X] TCP Port Sharing                            NET-WCF-TCP-PortShar…        Installed
[ ] Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)      BITS                           Available
    [ ] IIS Server Extension                            BITS-IIS-Ext                   Available
    [ ] Compact Server                                  BITS-Compact-Server            Available
[ ] BitLocker Drive Encryption                          BitLocker                      Available
[ ] BitLocker Network Unlock                            BitLocker-NetworkUnlock        Available
[ ] BranchCache                                         BranchCache                    Available
[ ] Canary Network Diagnostics                          Canary-Network-Diagn…        Available
[ ] Client for NFS                                      NFS-Client                     Available
[ ] Data Center Bridging                                Data-Center-Bridging           Available
[ ] Direct Play                                         Direct-Play                    Available
[ ] Enhanced Storage                                    EnhancedStorage                Available
[ ] Failover Clustering                                 Failover-Clustering            Available
[X] Group Policy Management                             GPMC                           Installed
[ ] IIS Hostable Web Core                               Web-WHC                        Available
[ ] Ink and Handwriting Services                        InkAndHandwritingSer…        Available
[ ] Internet Printing Client                            Internet-Print-Client          Available
[ ] IP Address Management (IPAM) Server                 IPAM                           Available
[ ] iSNS Server service                                 ISNS                           Available
[ ] LPR Port Monitor                                    LPR-Port-Monitor               Available
[ ] Management OData IIS Extension                      ManagementOdata                Available
[ ] Media Foundation                                    Server-Media-Foundation        Available
[ ] Message Queuing                                     MSMQ                           Available
    [ ] Message Queuing Services                        MSMQ-Services                  Available
        [ ] Message Queuing Server                      MSMQ-Server                    Available
        [ ] Directory Service Integration               MSMQ-Directory                 Available
        [ ] HTTP Support                                MSMQ-HTTP-Support              Available
        [ ] Message Queuing Triggers                    MSMQ-Triggers                  Available
        [ ] Multicasting Support                        MSMQ-Multicasting              Available
        [ ] Routing Service                             MSMQ-Routing                   Available
    [ ] Message Queuing DCOM Proxy                      MSMQ-DCOM                      Available
[ ] Multipath I/O                                       Multipath-IO                   Available
[ ] MultiPoint Connector                                MultiPoint-Connector…        Available
[ ] Network Load Balancing                              NLB                            Available
[ ] Peer Name Resolution Protocol                       PNRP                           Available
[ ] Quality Windows Audio Video Experience              qWave                          Available
[ ] RAS Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK)    CMAK                           Available
[ ] Remote Assistance                                   Remote-Assistance              Available
[ ] Remote Differential Compression                     RDC                            Available
[X] Remote Server Administration Tools                  RSAT                           Installed
    [ ] Feature Administration Tools                    RSAT-Feature-Tools             Available
        [ ] SMTP Server Tools                           RSAT-SMTP                      Available
        [ ] BitLocker Drive Encryption Administratio… RSAT-Feature-Tools-B…        Available
            [ ] BitLocker Drive Encryption Tools        RSAT-Feature-Tools-B…        Available
            [ ] BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer      RSAT-Feature-Tools-B…        Available
        [ ] BITS Server Extensions Tools                RSAT-Bits-Server               Available
        [ ] Failover Clustering Tools                   RSAT-Clustering                Available
            [ ] Failover Cluster Management Tools       RSAT-Clustering-Mgmt           Available
            [ ] Failover Cluster Module for Windows … RSAT-Clustering-Powe…        Available
            [ ] Failover Cluster Automation Server      RSAT-Clustering-Auto…        Available
            [ ] Failover Cluster Command Interface      RSAT-Clustering-CmdI…        Available
        [ ] IP Address Management (IPAM) Client         IPAM-Client-Feature            Available
        [ ] Network Load Balancing Tools                RSAT-NLB                       Available
        [ ] SNMP Tools                                  RSAT-SNMP                      Available
        [ ] WINS Server Tools                           RSAT-WINS                      Available
    [X] Role Administration Tools                       RSAT-Role-Tools                Installed
        [X] AD DS and AD LDS Tools                      RSAT-AD-Tools                  Installed
            [X] Active Directory module for Windows … RSAT-AD-PowerShell             Installed
            [X] AD DS Tools                             RSAT-ADDS                      Installed
                [X] Active Directory Administrative … RSAT-AD-AdminCenter            Installed
                [X] AD DS Snap-Ins and Command-Line … RSAT-ADDS-Tools                Installed
            [ ] AD LDS Snap-Ins and Command-Line Tools  RSAT-ADLDS                     Available
        [ ] Hyper-V Management Tools                    RSAT-Hyper-V-Tools             Available
            [ ] Hyper-V GUI Management Tools            Hyper-V-Tools                  Available
            [ ] Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell   Hyper-V-PowerShell             Available
        [ ] Remote Desktop Services Tools               RSAT-RDS-Tools                 Available
            [ ] Remote Desktop Gateway Tools            RSAT-RDS-Gateway               Available
            [ ] Remote Desktop Licensing Diagnoser T… RSAT-RDS-Licensing-D…        Available
            [ ] Remote Desktop Licensing Tools          RDS-Licensing-UI               Available
        [ ] Windows Server Update Services Tools        UpdateServices-RSAT            Available
            [ ] API and PowerShell cmdlets              UpdateServices-API             Available
            [ ] User Interface Management Console       UpdateServices-UI              Available
        [ ] Active Directory Certificate Services Tools RSAT-ADCS                      Available
            [ ] Certification Authority Management T… RSAT-ADCS-Mgmt                 Available
            [ ] Online Responder Tools                  RSAT-Online-Responder          Available
        [ ] Active Directory Rights Management Servi… RSAT-ADRMS                     Available
        [X] DHCP Server Tools                           RSAT-DHCP                      Installed
        [X] DNS Server Tools                            RSAT-DNS-Server                Installed
        [ ] Fax Server Tools                            RSAT-Fax                       Available
        [ ] File Services Tools                         RSAT-File-Services             Available
            [ ] DFS Management Tools                    RSAT-DFS-Mgmt-Con              Available
            [ ] File Server Resource Manager Tools      RSAT-FSRM-Mgmt                 Available
            [ ] Services for Network File System Man… RSAT-NFS-Admin                 Available
            [ ] Share and Storage Management Tool       RSAT-CoreFile-Mgmt             Available
        [ ] Network Controller Management Tools         RSAT-NetworkController         Available
        [ ] Network Policy and Access Services Tools    RSAT-NPAS                      Available
        [ ] Print and Document Services Tools           RSAT-Print-Services            Available
        [ ] Remote Access Management Tools              RSAT-RemoteAccess              Available
            [ ] Remote Access GUI and Command-Line T… RSAT-RemoteAccess-Mgmt         Available
            [ ] Remote Access module for Windows Pow… RSAT-RemoteAccess-Po…        Available
        [ ] Volume Activation Tools                     RSAT-VA-Tools                  Available
        [ ] Windows Deployment Services Tools           WDS-AdminPack                  Available
[ ] RPC over HTTP Proxy                                 RPC-over-HTTP-Proxy            Available
[ ] Simple TCP/IP Services                              Simple-TCPIP                   Available
[X] SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support                   FS-SMB1                        Installed
[ ] SMB Bandwidth Limit                                 FS-SMBBW                       Available
[ ] SMTP Server                                         SMTP-Server                    Available
[ ] SNMP Service                                        SNMP-Service                   Available
    [ ] SNMP WMI Provider                               SNMP-WMI-Provider              Available
[ ] Soft Restart                                        Soft-Restart                   Available
[ ] Telnet Client                                       Telnet-Client                  Available
[ ] TFTP Client                                         TFTP-Client                    Available
[X] User Interfaces and Infrastructure                  User-Interfaces-Infra          Installed
    [X] Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure   Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra          Installed
    [ ] Desktop Experience                              Desktop-Experience             Available
    [X] Server Graphical Shell                          Server-Gui-Shell               Installed
[ ] Windows Biometric Framework                         Biometric-Framework            Available
[X] Windows Defender                                    Windows-Defender               Installed
    [ ] GUI for Windows Defender                        Windows-Defender-Gui           Available
[ ] Windows Internal Database                           Windows-Internal-Dat…        Available
[X] Windows PowerShell                                  PowerShellRoot                 Installed
    [X] Windows PowerShell 5.0                          PowerShell                     Installed
    [ ] Windows PowerShell 2.0 Engine                   PowerShell-V2                    Removed
    [ ] Windows PowerShell Desired State Configurati… DSC-Service                    Available
    [X] Windows PowerShell ISE                          PowerShell-ISE                 Installed
    [ ] Windows PowerShell Web Access                   WindowsPowerShellWeb…        Available
[ ] Windows Process Activation Service                  WAS                            Available
    [ ] Process Model                                   WAS-Process-Model              Available
    [ ] .NET Environment 3.5                            WAS-NET-Environment            Available
    [ ] Configuration APIs                              WAS-Config-APIs                Available
[ ] Windows Search Service                              Search-Service                 Available
[ ] Windows Server Backup                               Windows-Server-Backup          Available
[ ] Windows Server Migration Tools                      Migration                      Available
[ ] Windows Standards-Based Storage Management          WindowsStorageManage…        Available
[ ] Windows TIFF IFilter                                Windows-TIFF-IFilter           Available
[ ] Windows Volume Replication                          WVR                            Available
[ ] WinRM IIS Extension                                 WinRM-IIS-Ext                  Available
[ ] WINS Server                                         WINS                           Available
[ ] Wireless LAN Service                                Wireless-Networking            Available
[X] WoW64 Support                                       WoW64-Support                  Installed
[ ] XPS Viewer                                          XPS-Viewer                     Available

The addition of Windows Defender as a regular part of the install leaves us a bit of cause for pause. We generally do _not_ put A/V endpoint clients on servers since the endpoints actively working with the data are the weak links in the chain. Plus, we sanitize all incoming mail to further reduce attack vectors.

We shall see if we run into a situation where servers go offline after an update due to the A/V client eating its own. We’ve seen A/V vendors of all stripes go through this problem thus reaffirming our position.

There’s a lot to learn folks. No doubt. There are most certainly new bits within the various Roles and Features as mentioned in the initial and very incomplete bullet list.

This time around we are being buoyed up by a wave of enthusiasm and support from within Microsoft itself. So, ride the wave and get to know the OS our solution sets will be built on soon!

Oh, and one more thing. We are working with really early release bits. That means that everything above may be wiped out in a single stroke of the pen/keyboard. Just because it’s there now does not mean that it will be there in the next release bits we see or in RTM for that matter!

EDIT: Added the link to the original post. Forgot that prior to posting!

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business

Read more »

Microsoft: Excitement Rekindled
Posted by Philip Elder on 06 October 2014 10:36 AM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Microsoft: Excitement Rekindled

Back in the day, heh ;) , I was privileged to work with the SBS team both
prior and post MVP award.

Many of us in SBS Land can remember just how active the team was around SBS
2003 RTM/R2, SBS 2008 Standard/Premium, and finally SBS 2011 Standard.

By the latter product release much of the old guard had moved on but the new
team and us SBS MVPs had a strong business relationship.

The key here is in the relationships and communication levels we were
experiencing with the teams.

For must of us both within the MVP realms but also in the public that came to
a full-stop when development of the then Windows Server 2012 pre-release cycle
became better known.

We were all held in the dark. This situation continued with the 2012 R2
development cycle.

Silence. Dead Silence *insert sound of crickets here*

For those of us both within the MVP community and outside the MVP community
that are truly passionate about the clients we serve, the products we work with,
and just all-around geeking out about tech the silence was deafening and

Tie that into the seemingly endless “Death to the IT Pro” messages coming out
of Microsoft over the last number of years and there were a lot of flames
snuffed out these last two product release cycles.

Change for the Good

One thing is for certain: Something has changed at Microsoft.

While I most certainly cannot provide “insight” into Microsoft’s motivations
for the recent change I can most certainly say that the change is welcome. Big

We now have a public release of Windows vNext bits. We have forums to discuss
these bits.

For many of us MVPs we have, and I can’t say “unprecedented” given previous
experience, an amazing amount of information flowing from our product teams.

The conversations we’ve been having with the team(s) lately have been
refreshing. Yes, they’ve been listening to us.

And, I’ll make no bones about it, I feel very excited about this upcoming
product release like I had been with the then new versions of SBS Standard!

So, hat’s off to you in Microsoft whoever you are that allowed the floodgates
of communication, shared tech passion, and business relationships to happen

And thanks to the Microsoft Teams that have been sharing your product
excitement. It is refreshing and invigorating for us to experience and work

We both stand to benefit greatly from this “new” openness from Microsoft.

Oh, and Cluster is definitely key to our company’s future. ;)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster

Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
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Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small

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Original blog post here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Microsoft Fails Long Term Open Licensing Customers with Office for iPad O365 Requirement

We received an inquiry from one of our clients about obtaining Office for their iPad. Obviously the paid version is required in order to edit Office documents.

We fired an e-mail off to our licensing contact at Synnex Canada and received the following:


The clear-cut answer is that Microsoft has seemingly set up a requirement for Open License customers to double pay.

How is that?

Well, in the case of our clients they have been on Open Value Agreements for quite a few cycles in some cases. When OVL hits the third renewal (years 7-9) the SA Only costs bring the overall cost of that license and SA close to the OEM costs.

For clients that have regular refresh rates of about 36 months for their equipment this makes sense on so many levels.

So, our clients have already purchased their Office Professional Plus or Office Standard licenses and are on SA Only for them.

To get Office for iPad for their devices there is no SKU to add to their existing agreement. They would have to purchase an Office 365 subscription either personally or for the organization in an O365 MidSize Business plan which on Open Value is $200/Year/User.


It looks like we’ve just been double billed.

IMNSHO this decision of Microsoft’s to force the Office 365 subscription for existing Open License clients is very poorly thought through.

This situation really begs the question as to whether Open License is a valued proposition going forward as Microsoft further segments products into the subscription side to force businesses that have already paid for their licenses to pay yet again … and again … and again.

Hopefully Microsoft will come up with something to remove the double billing.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business

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Surface and Surface Pro – FreedomCase
Posted by Philip Elder on 14 February 2014 02:55 PM

Original Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Surface and Surface Pro – FreedomCase

This product looks nothing short of awesome!

FreedomCase for Surface and Surface Pro

We will be tossing our 2bits into this project. :)

Their KickStarter site is here: FreedomCase

For those of us that are using a Surface or Surface Pro this product is definitely one not to miss.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business

Read more »

Microsoft Phone, Tablet and PC Buy Back Program
Posted by amy on 13 December 2013 12:42 PM

Did you know that Microsoft is offering money for your old phone, tablet or PC? There’s a big range of devices that they are willing to pay for.

It works like this. Go to the link above. Use the form to get a quote for how much your client can get for the old device. Now let’s be honest here old electronics aren’t worth a lot individually, but if you have a client with a bunch of them laying around? They add up.

Here’s how you do it. Very simple. Just select your device from the drop down list. At the top of the page (which you can’t see in this clip) it tells me that my old Focus S is work $14. I’ve got 3 of them in the drawer so that’ll be a Visa Gift card of $42 for me. 



The procedure is pretty simple and when you go to the site you’ll see that you can also turn in PC, Laptops and Tablets too.

So who wrote this blog and what do they do for a living anyway?
We’re Third Tier. We provide advanced Third Tier support for IT Professionals. This means you. Need a hand getting unstuck on a problem? Need to get a project implemented efficiently?

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Some Thoughts on Microsoft in the SMB Space
Posted by Reprinted Article on 28 August 2013 06:31 PM

If one approaches this post from an emotional level, that is built on all of the angst, struggles, and pain born of the Cloud drums out of Microsoft, that is their message but also the many products and services cancellations, over these last three or so years then it would not be hard to go down a very not-so-happy path.

So many bridges between Microsoft and us IT Solution Providers that work on the front lines of the SMB IT space (by our definition SMB is 1-75 seats or so) have been burned or even out-right blown up.

Many of us have struggled with the angst over where we were going to take our business and what kind of business model we would have two, five, and even ten years down the road. After all, we are in it for the long-haul right?

Why We Do IT

This post is more a reflection of the SMB IT Provider that is in the business out of passion for the products and services we get to work with. But, most especially for the joy it brings us to have a set of very happy clients on the other end of our IT practices.

That is our greatest reward. That is clients whose businesses are in the business to make money and do so as efficiently as possible on their IT because of what we do for them.

For us, the reality has come home to roost that Microsoft is much less a partner today than a competitor.

Yes, we are still building our solutions on the Microsoft stack and will continue to do so. Our solutions absolutely rock utilizing the products we do. We will continue building solutions that our competitors, like Microsoft and other large IT Solutions providers, could hardly hope to develop for their clients.


Because we as small business IT Solutions Providers live, breath, and work in the SMB Trenches. We understand small business in a way that a Gartner Survey or any other such knowledge peddlers could never hope to. This is because we _are_ a small business.

We small businesses are _not_ consumers, pro-sumers, or any other such "consumer" of goods and services.

We _produce_ products and services for others to consume. Or, we develop and sell products and services for other businesses to utilize in their _production_ of goods and services (Business to Business).

Microsoft's Value in SMB

So, what value do we see in Microsoft in today's SMB IT marketplace?

  • Products/Features
    • Hyper-V
      • Virtualization solutions have become affordable, both on VMware and Hyper-V, as a result of the competition between the two.
        • All one needs to do is watch VMware's stock and current restructuring efforts to see the impact Hyper-V has had on their margins.
      • Stack builds on a single box save our clients a lot on hardware, power consumption, cooling, and noise.
      • Clusters are very affordable for our clients when truly commodity based hardware (Intel Server Systems) are utilized over Tier 1.
    • Windows Server Essentials Experience Role
      • Finally, the Remote Web Access portal, RD Gateway, and other SBS-Like goodies can be dropped into a Windows Server Standard server setup.
    • Storage Spaces
      • Still new, but with lots of potential to impact how we do things for our clients with larger data sets.
    • Exchange
      • Despite the poor start to the product at what was probably Early Preview bits branded as RTM, Exchange Server 2013 is an awesome product with great potential for on-premises mail and BYOD management.
  • Partner Program
    • Loss of the Small Business Specialist program.
      • This is probably the "nail in the coffin" as far as the Cloud message to SMB IT Providers.
    • Competency Program structures drive us to expand or further distance ourselves from the Partner Program
      • Some of us are not comfortable with the idea of hiring on.
      • Plus, there are any number of other reasons for us to remain where we are at for now.
      • There are opportunities though. We just need the vision, time, and energy to pick them out and develop them.
    • Cloud, Cloud, Cloud, Cloud (Monty Python-esque theme here :) )
      • The drums are still beating.
      • The message is becoming all the clearer: Folks in SMB do not require any outside IT help. You can do it all yourself!
    • Cloud Essentials Program
      • Better get on board and start playing around with the freebie credit for Azure as this is one spot where we can develop some business opportunities.
  • TechNet
    • Now, keep in mind that folks that are Open Licensed will continue on with their TechNet subscriptions that are a Software Assurance benefit.
    • The loss of TechNet for lab use is most certainly of concern, but one has to wonder why it was terminated.
      • IMNSHO, we are at a point where the passionate SMB IT Provider, and Microsoft, have received yet another black eye due to the unscrupulous folks that abuse the system.

We are of the opinion that the current wave of Microsoft products, with the exception of Office 2013, are probably some of the best that we've seen in years.

Yes, mousers cried foul over the loss of the Start Button in Windows 8. But keyboarders never missed it. :) And yeah, there is a bit of a training struggle for folks to understand that there are two "rooms" if you will in Windows 8.

Microsoft "Partner"

With all of the changes that we've seen in Microsoft over these last two to three years we really have to wonder where they are going to be in two, three, or even five years.

Sadly the reality that the desktop PC is not really going to disappear in a business setting does not seem to phase anyone in stratosphere management at large corporations like Microsoft. :(

To top it all off, IMNSHO, the server is _not_ going to disappear in the SMB space.  Nor will the need for on-premises mail.

However, with the advent of so many failed/bad Microsoft product updates lately on so many products, some bringing down Hyper-V Failover Clusters, one really has to wonder how far off the vision has gone from providing a rock solid on-premises product experience from RTM to retirement?

Hopefully the bad patching situation that has been happening lately is only temporary and Microsoft moves some development back into actually testing those updates before deploying them to the world.

After all, being in business is about the products and services right? It's about providing the best possible value to the end-customer/client isn't it?

Can folks _really trust_ a company to provide a great Cloud experience when it seems like the on-premises products and services may be on their death-beds? Why develop patches and _test_ them if there is no will to keep the on-premises products alive?

And that begs this question: Can we SMB IT Solution Providers trust a company that has not come right out and said it, but has essentially drummed the message all the more clearly in these last 12-18 months that the "end is nigh" for the SMB IT Solution Provider? SMB belongs in the Cloud after all. Right?

Be straight with us. Be clear with us. If we knew where we truly stood as a "Partner" of Microsoft we would be better able to make decisions about where we are and where we need to go in the new era of competition _with_ Microsoft.

Trust is based on honesty between the parties. The messages out of Microsoft have been so mixed, and sometimes outright confusing, these last few years that one is never sure where we stand anymore.

Most certainly we need to be very aware, and wary, of what is happening both within the companies that produce the products we utilize and then within the product groups themselves.

Business Opportunities

On the flip-side the current state of SMB IT can provide an awesome opportunity for us to advance our on-premises and hybrid solution sets and skillsets. While it may seem daunting at first, we can indeed continue to build our SMB IT practice and triumph despite the naysayer's constant messages!

And, perhaps in the midst of all of this we could end up growing our businesses into that Microsoft Partner Competency holder that would get noticed and direct Partner support (note the absence of the quotes).

In the end, we may not reach those competency levels and/or even get noticed.

But, we can go home at the end of the day, maybe work a bit in the evening for our clients, knowing full well that there is a great group of folks, our clients, on the receiving end of our products and services that are very happy with us and what we do.

And that my friends is why, for the most part, we can sleep well at night eh? ;)

Well, maybe most nights. We are, after all, small business owners so the occasional sleepless night is a prerequisite! :D

Thanks for reading.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
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