According to reports, Microsoft has quietly cut the number of product keys it hands out to TechNet subscribers from 10 to a maximum of five. Because this happened on the down low, some subscribers were caught off guard, including some of Microsoft's own employees, some of which told customers it was a bug in the system.
Long-term subscribers aren't affected as much, as they get to keep their current keys.
"We did not take away any keys. Just the amount of keys available 'ad hoc' via the portal has been reduced, all previously claimed keys are still available," Microsoft said. "The reduction is due to an updated anti-piracy policy. More information will be made available for all customers soon."
With the new policy in place, TechNet Professional ($349/year, $249 renewal) subscribers will have access to a maximum of five product keys, while TechNet Standard ($199/year, $149 renewal) subscribers get two. Those product keys can be used on full product titles, like Office 2010 and Windows 7, "licensed for evaluation purposes only -- not for use in production environments." In other words, you're good to use them at home for personal use, but not at work.
No power user runs Windows with just stock settings; the plethora of third-party PC utilities is an embarrassment of riches. But what about Microsoft's own contributions? Tools like SyncToy and Pro Photos are pretty well known, but there's actually a wealth of advanced tools buried in the Sysinternals section of Microsoft's Technet site for IT professionals.
The Sysinternals site hosts some of the most powerful Windows utilities you can find. Yet surprisingly, not too many people know about them, since TechNet is primarily a System Administrator resource. Whether you're looking for more powerful ways to find out what's under the hood of Windows, need help creating VHD images for use with virtualization hosts, or just wanting to play a joke on your co-workers, these little-known utilities have you covered. We cherry pick and explain the features of the ten most useful Sysinternals tools, and then show you the best of the rest.
Read on to dive into this awesome stash of Microsoft-sanctioned tools and tweakers for Windows XP, Vista, and 7!
Starting yesterday, MSDN and TechNet subscribers have been able to download the Release Candidate (RC) for Windows 7, Microsoft's upcoming operating system. This latest version represents the final phases of development and is geared towards giving hardware and software partners a headstart in coding device drivers and services.
"Listening to our partners and customers has been fundamental to the development of Windows 7," said Bill Veghte, senior VP for the Windows business at Microsoft. "We heard them and worked hard to deliver the highest quality Release Candidate in the history of Windows. We have more partner support than we've ever had for an RC and are pleased to say that the Windows 7 RC has hit the quality and compatibility bar for enterprises to start putting it through its paces and testing in earnest."
That should come as good news to everyone who plans on upgrading once Windows 7 starts shipping. By contrast, Vista's release was the polar opposite to what Microsoft is claiming we can expect out of Windows 7. Driver issues, particularly with Nvidia hardware, plagued Vista's release, as did several performance hampering bugs.
If you're not an MSDN or TechNet subscriber, you still won't have to wait long to get your hands on the RC. Microsoft says it will make Windows 7 RC available to the general public on May 5, which is next Tuesday.