The new Resource Monitor (RESMON.EXE) in Windows 7

In Windows Vista Microsoft had a feature called reliability and performance monitor which helped us track on the usage of our computers resources such as hardware, software etc.

In Windows 7 this particular tool has been enhanced tremendously and named as resource monitor. You can start this tool by clicking on the windows button (start) and typing resmon in the search box.

The resource monitor gives detailed information on how your hard disk, memory, processor and network is being used.   

The Resource monitor is an advanced version of the traditional task manager and here you will get much more descriptive information. This information goes to an extent where you will be able to see detailed I/O information of your hard disks activity.

When you click on the Network tab in the Windows 7 Resource Monitor it gives you a very much detailed information where it shows the network processes, network activity, listening ports etc.

AppLocker in Windows 7

In today’s world one of the toughest tasks for an IT administrator is to protect his computers and network from viruses, worms, Trojans and other malicious software. Although there are ranges of antivirus solutions software, firewalls and other security software, and still the client computers get affected.

Mostly this happens due to improper management of the computers. For an example, there are millions and millions of freeware (free tiny software like toolbars, funny emoticons etc.) on the internet for so many different purposes. A normal user who does not have proper understanding about the security threats involved in IT, would easily without thinking twice will download any freeware which catches his or her attention and install it on their computers. This can cause a lot of problems to the computer as well as the administrator.

By enabling AppLocker in Windows 7, you will be able to have a peace of mind as the IT guy, because users will not be able to install or use any unauthorized software applications in your organization. This will lead you to have a standardized corporate desktop which has the same software applications in all the computers (nothing more or nothing less). With this IT pro’s like you and me will really appreciate because we understand the security issues that can be caused due to unidentified software installation.

BranchCache in Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows 7 Beta and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta comes with this amazing feature called BranchCache.

What is BranchCache?

Normally in a head office and branch office scenario the branch offices are connected to the head office using a slow WAN (Wide Area Network) connection. This connection is used for communication, file transfer, replication of servers etc. between the sites. Since these WAN links are slow (the more it is faster the more expensive it is) it takes a long time for the users to access network resources and other network related services from the head office. When the users experience the decrease in performance between the sites the pressure builds up for IT professionals like you and me. It’s always the case, when the link is slow your phone or extension doesn’t stop ringing.

So considering these issues we IT geeks in the organizations try to figure out on how to reduce the bandwidth utilization. As a solution for this issue once again Microsoft comes to the rescue this time with a new feature called BranchCache. Using a Windows 7 client when you connect to a head office server which is running Windows Server 2008 R2 and downloads some sort of a file or any content (HTTP, HTTPS or SMB protocols traffic) to the client machine for the first time and then a cache copy of the same is also stored somewhere in the branch office so the next time another client requests the same content form the head office the request will be redirected to the cached copy stored in the branch office and the content will be downloaded to the client from the branch office and not through the busy and slow wan link which connects to the head office.

 There are 2 types of BranchCache available

1)      The Distributed Cache Model

2)      The Hosted Cache Model

The distributed model is when there are no servers present in the branch office each and every individual client maintains a cache of the files and contents it has retrieved from the head office.

The hosted model is that there will be a server which will store all the cached contents from the head office. This happens as soon as the client downloads the content it will notify and send the cached copy to the server hence and subsequent client request for the same content will be directed to the server which stores the cached copy locally.

BranchCache is only supported by Windows Server 2008 R2 (server end) and Windows 7 (client end), both these operating systems are in its beta stage as of today. The steps to enable BranchCache on server and the client will follow on another post soonJ.         

Windows 7 Beta and BitLocker To Go

Windows 7 which is going to be the next Microsoft client operating system and the successor of Windows Vista is now in the Beta stage. The Beta 1 of Windows 7 was released earlier this year which is built on top of Windows Vista architecture.

When looking at Windows 7, especially on the performance and reliability aspect comparatively to Windows Vista is really high. The memory usage in Windows 7 is just marvelous.

There are lots of improvements and new features in Windows 7 and one of the features that impressed me was the BitLocker To Go feature introduced in it. BitLocker was introduced in Windows Vista, what BitLocker does is that it encrypts one whole volume so that the data stored in it will not be accessible without proper authentication and validation. When Microsoft released Windows Vista it only supported to encrypt one volume using BitLocker which was a limitation since it only gave us to encrypt the system volume (traditionally the C drive). When Microsoft released the service pack 1 for Windows Vista they enhanced BitLocker to encrypt multiple volumes and the limitation was broken. By having BitLocker enabled and configured in your computers and notebooks the users were in peace of mind even if there notebooks were stolen there were no possible way in decrypting or stealing your data which are precious and of significant value for each and every one of us. BitLocker was introduced in Windows as a component after considering the high laptop theft around the globe. With BitLocker enabled in your notebooks and even if the notebooks falls into the wrong hands what you lose is the hardware and not the data being ending up in the wrong hands which can cause a lot of trouble.

In the last four to five years the usage of USB data storage devices has rose significantly. You can find a USB storage device with anyone who is working on a computer. Let it be an IT pro like you and me or an ordinary office clerk who performs his or her routine day to day task on a computerized environment. All these storage devices have a massive storage space starting from 1GB to 32GB etc. (earlier it was like 32MB to 512MB), due to this most of us have our personal, official and confidential data stored in it as backup or sometimes only in it. These devices have become smaller and becoming smaller every day hence these devices are more towards vulnerability. A smaller storage device can be stolen and misplaced easily. Because of this Microsoft has enhanced the BitLocker feature which they introduced in Windows Vista with the capability in encrypting USB storage devices in Windows 7 (Microsoft rescues again). This particular feature is called BitLocker To Go!!

It’s an easy task to accomplish and even a non IT person can encrypt his or her USB storage devices in a jiffy by performing a couple of clicks. Once you encrypt your storage device using BitLocker To Go, to decrypt it you will need a computer running Windows XP, Windows Vista or a Windows 7 computer. With having BitLocker To Go even though you misplace your storage device, don’t worry about it!!!