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Scott Dorman Microsoft MVP, Software Architect, Developer, Author June 2006 Entries
Tech·Ed 2006 Webcast series

For those of you who didn't get to go to Tech·Ed this year, Microsoft has made some of the webcasts and breakout sessions available free. It isn't everything that was presented at the conference, but it's what Microsoft considers the best (or most popular) topics. Unfortunately, for those of who did attend, the presentations from all of the breakouts aren't available yet on CommNet...still 3 weeks away.

Link here.

Posted On Wednesday, June 28, 2006 5:05 PM

.NET 3.0 - The next revolution
Since last years TechEd everyone has been hearing about .NET 3.0 and the cool features of LINQ, lambda expressions, and all of the other cool new language features. I don't know about you, but I was definitely looking forward to them. We were also hearing about WinFx and “Avalon“ and “Indigo“, InfoCard, Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF) and the other new technologies that looked like they would only be part of Vista. Fast-forward a year to this years TechEd and we're still hearing about .NET 3.0, ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 4:55 PM

Windows PowerShell - Unix comes to Windows
Windows PowerShell (formerly known as “Monad”) is a Microsoft's answer to the power and flexibility of the Unix command shells. It should finally complete the Windows management picture by providing a solid command line shell to administer Windows systems. PowerShell is part of Vista, but fortunately for all of us, it is being released separately and is available for Windows XP as well. PowerShell is a command line shell that is: as interactive and composable as bash/ksh (or any other Unix shell) ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 4:18 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - BitLocker, Code Integrity
BitLockerTM Drive Encryption BitLocker allows the entire OS volume to be encrypted as well as any other volumes. In order to do this, a 1.5 GB unencrypted system volume is required. BitLocker requires Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v1.2 or a USB device and USB-capable BIOS and is implemented as a file filter driver that sits just above the volume manager drivers. There are several supported modes for storing the decryption key: TPM locked with signature of boot files TPM locked with user-specified ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 2:18 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Shadows of Reliability, Performance and Scalability
Performance and Scalability Vista makes fewer and larger disk reads for page faults and system cache read-ahead and has removed the 64KB limit. Fewer, faster, and larger disk writes for the system page file and mapped file I/O reduce the page file fragmentation and allow a larger cluster size. The CPU usage has also been improved by providing improvements in the concurrency management within the kernel. Windows Error Reporting (WER) Vista is a more robust and resilient operating system that provides ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 1:59 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Kernel Transactions
Kernel Transaction Manager (KTM) Before Vista, applications had to do a lot of hard work to recover from errors during the modification of files and registry keys. Windows Vista implements a generalized transaction manager called the Kernel Transaction Manager (KTM) which provides “all or nothing” transaction semantics. This means that changes are committed only when the associated transaction is completed and commits. The KTM is extensible through third-party resource managers and coordinates between ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 1:38 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Wakeup, wakeup, wakeup!
Up until Vista, an application or a driver could prevent the system from entering a sleep mode (standby or hibernate) and was often caused by a bug or an overly aggressive power management policy. The problem with this was that the user might not know the system hasn't entered the appropriate sleep stat and eventually loose data. Vista no longer queries processes when entering sleep states like previous versions of Windows and has reduced the timeout for user-mode notifications to 2 seconds (down ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 1:24 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Can I get some service?
Delayed AutoStart Services There are a lot of services that are set to autostart that aren't needed by the boot process. Unfortunately these services start at boot time and login time, which can severely impact login performance. Vista solves this by allowing services that can request a delayed autostart. These services are started by the Service Control Manager (SCM) after the automatic start services. Delayed autostart services also start with the initial thread set to THREAD_PRIORITY_LOWEST and ......

Posted On Sunday, June 18, 2006 1:17 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Has any body seen Gina and what's a UAC?
Interactive Logon Architecture Vista changes the logon architecture and replaces GINAs with Credential Providers. Credential providers are easier to write than GINAs and plug in to the logonui.exe. The biggest advantage of Credential Providers (besides being easier to write) are that multiple concurrent providers are supported and can be user selected or event driven. Credential providers are used to capture elevation credentials and run as first-class citizens of the logon process. Credential providers ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 5:15 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Pre-Boot and Startup
Boot Configuration Database (BCD) Vista unifies the boot mechanism to be platform independent. The information stored in the boot.ini file is now replaced by the BCD, which abstracts the firmware and is unified across different OS installations. The BCD also uses Unicode strings to support internationalization. To help ensure the security of the boot environment, the BCD is stored in the registry in a binary format and is protected by registry key security. In order to edit the BCD data, Microsoft ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 4:42 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Here boy! Here boy! Fetch!
SuperFetchTM Everyone is probably familiar with Prefetch which was introduced in Windows XP. Prefetch really only handled single processes at process startup. In Vista, SuperFetchTM prefetches across a set of applications and takes in to account the frequency of page usgae and the usage of the page in the context of other pages in memory. It adapts to memory usage patterns, including complex usage scenarios and uses a low-prioirty I/O request for pre-fetching and pre-population. SuperFetchTM is implemented ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 4:16 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - UMDF and Dynamic System Address Space
User-Mode Driver Framework (UMDF) Everyone has seen at least one Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) when it comes to buggy kernel-mode drivers causing a crash or allowing privilege escalation. UMDF is Vista's attempt to solve at least some of these problems and supports migration of some USB, Bluetooth, and IP drivers to user mode. Why is this good? Bugs in the driver won't crash the operating system and user-mode drivers can be transparently “restarted“. Devices that are currently supporting UMDF are: ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:30 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - I/O, I/O, It's off to work I go...
I/O Completion Port Improvement I/O completion ports allow threads to wait efficiently for completion of multiple I/O requests. Before Vista, each completion caused a context switch to the issuing thread. Now, the I/O completion is deferred to when the thread pulls off the completion port, which avoids the context switch. I/O Scalability Improvements Vista adds a new extended version of the GetQueuedCompletionStatus API named GetQueuedCompletionStatusEx which can return multiple I/O results in a ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:26 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Resource Quotas and Symlinks
Resource Quotas Prior to Vista, quotas were system-wide. Vista supports per-user hard resource quotas that cover: CPU usage working set minimum page file usage nonpaged pool paged pool Process and thread creation have new extended attributes contained in the STARTUPINFOEX structure and new API functions: *ProcThreadAttributeList. Unfortunately, none of this information is documented yet, but keep an eye out. It promises to make quotas a lot more useful for the system administrators. Symbolic File ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:13 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes - Cycle Times, Class Schedulers and Synchronization
Cycle Time Counter Prior to Vista, the kernel accounted for CPU time based on the interval clock timer which had a resolution of between 10-15ms. This timing interval was not always fair or accurate since threads where charged for interrupts that occurred while they were running and a thread might not get a turn to execute or could get up to three turns to execute. Vista changes this timing mechanism by reading the Time Stamp Counter (TSC) at each context switch. This allows the CPU to charge the ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:08 PM

Windows Vista: Kernel Changes
Windows Vista is coming and will be here sooner than some might think. By now you have probably seen the graphical changes coming in Vista with the new Aero and Aero Glass user interfaces (and the associated hardware needed to support them) and heard all about the new user account controls in Vista that are designed to make the operating system more secure. But what about the “under-the-hood” changes in the Vista kernel? Lots of exciting changes in Windows Vista kernel are being made in the areas ......

Posted On Saturday, June 17, 2006 3:01 PM

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