----------------| Windows IT Pro UPDATE |----------------

In This Issue * Microsoft Extends Support for Some Legacy Products Indefinitely * From Windows IT Pro: Introducing Windows PowerShell * From the Community: Anti-Rootkit Tools * Display, Print, and Fax Documents from Your BlackBerry

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***Commentary: Microsoft Extends Support for Some Legacy Products Indefinitely
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

In an unexpected move, Microsoft last week revealed dramatic changes to its Custom Support Agreement (CSA) for legacy software products. Now, the software maker will allow businesses to obtain CSAs for a potentially indefinite amount of time, depending on the product. The changes were made in response to customer feedback. Many customers had told Microsoft that they needed more time to migrate to newer software versions, and they wanted to continue paying for support for certain legacy products until their migrations were complete.

Previously, Microsoft had offered a two-year CSA program for products that had reached the "end of life" stage in the support lifecycle, after 10 years on the market. Under the terms of these CSAs, businesses could pay Microsoft to receive critical software updates and support for the products in question. With the changes, customers can continue to purchase CSAs for retired products, but the programs won't expire after two years.

The idea is breathtakingly simple. Only those businesses that want to continue paying for support need do so, and then only on a per-device basis. Customers can even request additional nonsecurity hotfixes for newly discovered bugs for an extra fee.

If you're not familiar with Microsoft's product support life cycle, fear not; it's been updated a lot in the past few years. Today, Microsoft recognizes two distinct support phases for its business-oriented products. The first, mainstream support, occurs during the first five years of a product's lifetime. During this phase, Microsoft supports its products with security updates, nonsecurity hotfixes, and provides businesses with a variety of free and paid support options. The company also considers product design and feature changes during this time period.

During the second phase, extended support, Microsoft provides only security updates for free. Customers can pursue various paid support options during extended support, including access to nonsecurity hotfixes through an Extended Hotfix Support Agreement. But Microsoft won't entertain any product design changes or new features during this phase.

Technically, the mainstream support phase applies to all Microsoft products, whereas the extended support phase is applicable only to business and developer software, such as OSs, the Microsoft Office suite, Visual Studio, and various server products. (There are exceptions as well; annual products like Microsoft Money and Encarta receive only three years of mainstream support.) After the product's life cycle ends, customers can enter into specific paid CSA arrangements via Premium Support during migrations to new product versions. That last bit is important: CSA isn't designed to lengthen a product's lifecycle, but rather to recognize that businesses must follow their own schedule when upgrading and will sometimes need more time than is allotted in the support lifecycle.

There are some questions about the changes, however, and Microsoft is being a bit vague about which products are supported and how long, exactly, it will offer that support. Basically, the software maker says that if there's enough demand, there's no reason it can't offer CSAs for some products indefinitely. This opportunity might not be offered for products that aren't still in demand.

Washington D.C. This Week I'll be hosting a road show event called "Managing Your Cross-Platform Data: Solutions for Oracle and SQL Server Environments" this week in Washington D.C. If you're interested, check out the show's Web site and considering swinging by. We'll be in the Boston area the following week.
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***From Windows IT Pro: Introducing Windows PowerShell Are you a scripting "wannabe" but don't know where to start? With Microsoft's new Windows PowerShell scripting environment, you can ease into the technology and begin writing code that will simplify your administrative tasks. For a limited time, you can access Paul Robichaux's overview of the technology, "Introducing Windows PowerShell," and start learning about what PowerShell can offer you.
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***From the Community Need a tool that can detect and remove rootkits? Check out Mark Edwards' list of rootkit removal tools in his blog posting at
http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/93359/Antirootkit_Tools.html

------ The voting has closed in Windows IT Pro's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "What is your primary method of rolling out service packs?" Here are the results from the 403 votes:


- 43% Software Update Services (SUS) by itself
- 12% Systems Management Server (SMS) or SMS with SUS
- 7% Scripts and/or Group Policy
- 24% Windows Automatic Updates
- 14% Third-party tools

------ Tell us what you think in this month's Instant Poll: "How much time do you spend on application-development activities?" Visit http://www.windowsitpro.com and select a) Almost all of my time, b) About 75% of my time, c) About 50% of my time, or d). Little or none.

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***New and Improved
by Blake Eno, products@windowsitpro.com

Display, Print, and Fax Documents from Your BlackBerry
ThinPrint announced Content Beamer for BlackBerry 2.5, a mobile document output system that lets BlackBerry users print, fax, and view documents that they receive through email. In addition to printing via Bluetooth or network printers, this release also lets you send files to fax machines and to display and save compressed files on a laptop screen. Content Beamer for BlackBerry uses the BlackBerry Enterprise Server architecture for security measures. For example, all print jobs created are sent securely via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. For more information, contact ThinPrint at 303-487-1302.
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Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a Best Buy Gift Card!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Best Buy Gift Card if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to whatshot@windowsitpro.com.

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***Events and Resources: http://www.windowsitpro.com/events

ORACLE AND SQL ... BETTER TOGETHER? Attend the 2006 Cross Platform Data roadshows to learn about optimizing 64-bit database computing, business intelligence for SQL Server and Oracle, high-availability proof points for database computing, and implications of architectural differences between Oracle and SQL. Coming to 12 US cities in September and October.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/roadshows/sqloracle/?code=enews0906

Exchange & Office 2007 Roadshow Coming to EMEA! Get the facts about deploying Exchange and Office 2007! You'll come away witha clear understanding of how to implement a best-practices migration toExchange Server 2007 and how you and your end users can get the most out ofOffice 2007, and you'll learn more about Windows Vista.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/roadshows/exchange2007europe/?code=epromo081406

Windows Connections Conference Now in its seventh year, Windows Connections returns November 6-9 to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Don't miss your chance to interact with industry experts and hear the latest information on Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows XP Professional! Register, then attend sessions at Microsoft Exchange Connections FREE!
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Do you have visibility of and control over your software license use? Most organizations face serious challenges, including understanding vendor licensing models, cost overruns, missed deadlines and business opportunities, and lost user productivity. Learn to address these challenges and prepare for audits. Register for the free Web seminar! Live Event: Thursday, September 21
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