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Microsoft Releases Desktop Optimization Pack 2014

A suite of six tools for IT, called Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2014, was released on Thursday.

The last release of the toolkit was MDOP 2013 R2, in December, which added Windows 8.1 support for all of the tools. This release, announced today, addresses a few customer requests, particularly with regard to the Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) tool.

MDOP consists of three virtualization tools, namely Microsoft App-V for application virtualization, Microsoft User Experience Virtualization and Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V). The MED-V product is being phased out by Microsoft, although it's still a supported product through April 13, 2021. In addition, MDOP has two management tools (Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management and MBAM), plus a PC recovery tool (Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit).

MBAM 2.5 Highlights
MBAM is a tool used for managing BitLocker drive encryption on devices. The new MBAM 2.5 release is the highlight of this new MDOP 2014 suite, succeeding MBAM 2.0 Service Pack 1. MBAM 2.5 includes a few improvements, based on customer requests, as described by a Microsoft Springboard blog post:

  • Support for Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS 140-2)
  • Improved compliance and enforcement policies
  • Support for enterprise scenarios and topologies

Users can recover their devices after losing their personal identification numbers via a portal used with MBAM. However, this new release now prohibits those users from creating "obvious" new passwords, such as "1234" or "1111." MBAM 2.5 also allows organizations to prevent the postponement of encryption on devices by end users.

MBAM 2.5 also has a couple of technical enhancements. It now works for organizations with domain names that exist across "two or more trusted forests." It's also supported across SQL Server failover clusters.

App-V 5.0 SP2 Enhancements
Microsoft added four improvements to the current App-V 5.0 Service Pack 2 release with the new MDOP 2014 suite. According to a second Springboard blog post, the four improvements include:

  • App publishing that can include user profile technology, such as Microsoft User Experience Virtualization
  • App upgrade "parallel deployment," enabling virtualized apps to be upgraded while also retaining access to the original virtualized app
  • Package conversion improvements, plus support for "a VFS write mode sequencer setting"
  • New deployment performance guides, which are available here.

MDOP 2014 can be downloaded from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center at this page. It's just for organizations with Software Assurance licensing. Alternatively, MDOP is available for an extra cost to organizations with Windows Intune subscriptions or Virtual Desktop Access licensing.

 

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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