Microsoft relaunched its Exam Discount Program.

December 19, 2006

With new exams for Windows Vista, Exchange 2007, Office 2007 and Microsoft Dynamics in the pipeline in the next few months, Microsoft has relaunched its popular exam discount program. Microsoft divides the discount among partner groups this way:

  • Registered members: 25 percent, limited to five vouchers per registered organization.
  • Certified Partners: 25 percent, limited to 25 vouchers per partner organization.
  • Gold Certified Partners: 30 percent, limited to 100 vouchers per partner organization.

Vouchers must be ordered by June 30, 2007, with redemption requirements based on the exam topic. For example, vouchers for SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, BizTalk, Live Communications Server and Windows Mobile expire August 31, 2007. Because Microsoft has yet to go live with the Windows Vista, Exchange 2007, Office 2007 and the new Microsoft Dynamics exams, vouchers for those exams won’t expire until Nov. 30, 2007.

The discounts are offered as part of the company’s Partner Skills Plus initiative, which provide Microsoft Certified Partners with exclusive benefits and savings on training and certification. To find out more about the discount program, click here. For more detail on Partner Skills Plus, click here.

Also making a slight return is Microsoft’s popular “second-shot” offer, but this time in a different form, which the company calls “Exam Insurance.”

Micrososoft’s exam retake policy, which they offered within the last two years, required registration into the program, with vouchers issued upon failure of qualifying exams. Microsoft is taking a new approach, with the company requiring that candidates pay up front to buy exam insurance. If a candidate buys exam insurance prior to taking any MCITP, MCPD or Microsoft Dynamics exam and then fails that exam, the retake comes free. If the candidate passes that exam, the next exams gets discounted 25 percent. In the U.S., exam insurance is $170 at most Certified for Learning Solution Partner companies. (Exams typically retail for $125.)
Exam Insurance is a limited time offer and must be purchased by May 30, 2007; vouchers issued through the program must be redeemed by June 30, 2007. To find out more, go to

Exam discounts and exam insurance cannot be combined. Both can be used at Prometric and Vue testing centers.



Piping with DSQUERY.

December 19, 2006

Command-line tools for AD modification require that you have the fully-qualified distinguished names for each user or computer object, which can be a pain to enter. For some modifications, you can get around this need to enter them all in manually by querying using the DSQUERY command and redirecting the results of that query to an action command. This is also called “piping” because the character used to do the redirection is the “” or pipe character.

For example, what if you need to update the description field for all Research groups in all OUs to read, “Used for Research Only”? If all your Research groups start with the word “Research,” you canquery on that word and pipe the results to DSMOD for updating the description field:

dsquery group domainroot -name Research* dsmod group -desc “Used for Research Only”

A useful way to use piping is to query for all inactive user accounts and immediately disable them. Want to disable any user account that’s gone inactive for at least half a year? It’s done like this:

dsquery user domainroot -inactive 26 dsmod user -disabled yes

Nearly the same command will work to locate computers that have gone MIA on your network:

dsquery computer domainroot -inactive 26 dsmod computer -disabled yes

The biggest benefit of any of these command-line tools is the ability to drop them into a batch file and set them to fire on a schedule. Now, you’ve got a verifiable and repeatable process for ensuring that aged users and computers regularly get disabled.



December 15, 2006

Redmond contributing editor Greg “Greggo” Shields pointed out a little blooper in the Vista RTM event log. Instead of “browser,” they talk about a “bowser” event type.

Shrink a fixed size virtual hard disk.

December 15, 2006

Read article…

WINDOWS TIP: FOR expressions to compact files.

December 15, 2006

We all know that the best practice is to set the compact attribute at the folder level. But this isn’t always practical. Some files just don’t compact well, while others do. You may find it more advantageous to compact specific files that you know have great compression ratios like text, bitmaps and Word docs, while leaving other files untouched.

Here is a single-line command to compact such files:

FOR /f “tokens=*” %x in (‘dir C:\*.txt,*.bmp,*.vbs,*.doc /s /b’)do @compact /C /I /Q “%x”

This command will find all .TXT, .BMP, .VBS and .DOC files on C:\ and
compact them.

/I ignores any errors
/Q displays only minimal information.

If you don’t want to see anything, simply redirect the entire expression to NUL.

FOR /f “tokens=*” %x in (‘dir C:\*.txt,*.bmp,*.vbs,*.doc /s /b’)do @compact /C /I /Q “%x” > NUL

Should you find yourself in need of reversing your decision, simply use /U instead of /C with the Compact command.

If you need to target some specific areas of your file servers to trim a little fat, this is a quick and easy method.


Unable to Install Panda Internet Security 2007after uninstalling Windows Onecare.

December 13, 2006

I had an issue installing Panda Internet Security 2007, because it said Windos Onecare was still installed even after I had uninstalled Onecare via XP’s Add Remove Programs applet.

Here is a solution from Microsoft that eventually resolved my problem:

From your description, I understand that after removing Windows Live
OneCare, Panda cannot be installed onto the system, indicating OneCare is
still installed.

This issue is caused by certain Windows Live OneCare registry keys that remaining in the system. I suggest we perform the following steps to delete them manually:

1. Restart your computer.

2. Click Start, click Run, type “regedit” (without quotation marks) in the
Open box, and then click OK.

3. In the left pane, expand to the following registry key:


Note: if the registry cannot be found, please go ahead to install Panda
again and check the result.

4. Right click on “MalwareProtection” and choose Permissions.

5. Select “Administrators” from the list and then check “Allow” next to the
“Full Control” entry.

6. Click OK. Right click on “MalwareProtection” and choose Delete.

7. Restart your computer and install Panda again.”

Corel What?

December 13, 2006

Amazing MS Paint, painter:

Watch Vid…