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Thursday, April 11, 2013
Microsoft Extends Windows 8 Administration Capabilities With Updated Desktop Optimization Pack

Microsoft has released a new version of its Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) suite of IT management tools, an upgrade that deepens its ability to manage Windows 8 PC deployments.

MDOP 2013, available now via download for the company's Software Assurance licensing program subscribers, boosts the product's BitLocker administration capabilities and group policy management features for Windows 8, Microsoft said on Wednesday.

The biggest update you'll notice in MDOP 2013 is the official release of MBAM 2.0. Microsoft said it tried to help its ustomers further reduce the costs associated with managing and supporting encrypted devices. This was achieved with new features including the Self Service Portal, SCCM integration, reporting enhancements, and simplified provisioning for Windows 8.

Here's a closer look at the key MBAM 2.0 features found in MDOP 2013:

- Self Service Portal: The Self Service Portal helps end users perform the most common support tasks on their own without needing assistance from the help desk.

- MBAM integration into System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and 2012: System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) integration of MBAM enables organizations to integrate MBAM's compliance management and reporting capabilities within the SCCM management infrastructure that has already been deployed.

- Compliance reporting calculation improvements: Reporting has been updated so that devices are only listed as non-compliant when they're in a state that is less secure than the minimum requirements defined in policy. This differs from MBAM 1.0 where compliance was based on strict adherence to policy and resulted in devices appearing non-complaint even when they were in a more secure configuration than was required by policy.

- Simplified Provisioning: MBAM 2.0 includes the option to automate the provisioning of BitLocker encryption within your Windows 8 deployment and imaging process.

In addition to general quality improvements, Microsoft also updated many of the other technologies in MDOP 2013. Key updates include:

- AGPM 4.0 SP1: Brings change management for Group Policy to Windows 8, making it easier for organizations to keep enterprise-wide desktop configurations up to date, enabling greater control, less downtime, and lowering total cost of ownership (TCO).
- DaRT 8.0 SP1: Accelerates desktop repair by adding support for 10 additional languages. It also includes a new Defender engine to better assist organizations in discovering malware.
- App-V 5.0 SP1: Helps organizations use virtually any application anywhere by adding support for Office 2010. This will give end users a consistent experience with virtualized Office that they saw with previous versions of App-V. SP1 also adds support for the sequencer and client in 24 languages while App-V 5.0 server will be supported in 11 languages.
- UE-V 1.0 SP1: Makes it easier for users to change devices, but keep their experience with support for Office 2007. The product now supports 24 languages, allowing more organizations to use UE-V in their native language.

Those of who are using MBAM Beta 2 can migrate their existing deployment to the official release, enabling them to retain all existing reporting and recovery data.

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