Microsoft delivers powerful desktop tools for Windows admins

Admins seeking meaningful virtualization, management, and restoration tools will welcome Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2012

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Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM)
In any large organization, Group Policies can spin out of control quickly. Every change you make to a Group Policy can affect huge chunks of users and/or computers.

With AGPM, there's a controlled workflow model for making Group Policy changes, and it includes advanced audit logging. You check out a GPO (Group Policy Object), make changes, test those changes, and approve or reject them before going live with the new GPO. Given that the traditional workflow for Group Policies is to make a change and that's it, AGPM gives you much better control over Group Policy management.

Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 8
DaRT helps you be more proactive with system failures. There are 14 different tools in the DaRT toolset to help you to repair a system even if it won't boot normally.

With DaRT, you can recover deleted files, analyze crash dumps, and remove malware while the system is offline (thereby protecting other systems on the network). A Solution Wizard will help guide you through system problems and point you toward the tool you need.

Tools include Computer Management, Crash Analyzer Wizard, Defender, Disk Commander, Disk Wipe, Explorer, File Restore, File Search, Hotfix Uninstall, Locksmith, Registry Editor, SFC Scan, and TCP/IP. The Locksmith Wizard lets you change a password for local accounts -- always handy to have in your arsenal.

Microsoft BitLocker Adminsitration and Monitoring (MBAM)
MBAM helps with enterprise use of BitLocker and BitLocker to Go encryption. It simplifies deployment and the key recovery process. Through MBAM you can determine whether you want to use BitLocker as part of a Windows 7 upgrade process or if you want to wait until after the upgrade is complete to provision with BitLocker. Additional Group Policy controls are provided to help deploy BitLocker properly, and compliance reporting is built in to MBAM, as is audit logging for recovery key access.

It should be easy to see how powerful the MDOP toolset is for organizations that have Microsoft Software Assurance as part of Volume Licensing. Each stands well on its own in terms of the functionality it delivers, but what they do collectively in providing greater virtualization, management, and restoration to your Windows environment is where the real power of MDOP comes to bear. Plus, they work with existing Microsoft tools or extended tools such as System Center to provide a holistic solution set for your desktop environments.

This story, "Microsoft delivers powerful desktop tools for Windows admins," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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