Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2015 Now Available

The latest suite of desktop management tools for enterprises, called "Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2015" was released today.

The five tools in the pack have been updated to support Windows 10. MDOP 2015 can be downloaded from Microsoft's Volume Licensing Service Center or via the MSDN subscriber download page. In addition MDOP Group Policy administrative templates are available here.

Microsoft last released this suite of tools back in December as MDOP 2014 R2. The tools are available with Software Assurance licensing, or they are optionally available at extra cost for Windows Intune subscribers or Virtual Desktop Access licensees.

MDOP 2015 Improvements
The tools in MDOP 2015 include a number of improvements, as noted in Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.1, which enables applications to run without conflicts, features Windows 10 support. Previous versions also have Windows 10 support, too, unless they are older than App-V 4.6 Service Pack 3. App-V 5.1 now no longer requires Silverlight as it's built with HTML 5 and JavaScript. Microsoft added a few management console improvements in App-V 5.1. For instance, it now shows the total number of error messages, instead of one at a time. Pages in the console can be bookmarked for quick access. Microsoft added new action buttons at the bottom of the packages page. Virtual registry keys now can be renamed without resulting in sequencer problems, among other improvements.

Microsoft Bitlocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) 2.1 Service Pack 1 is Microsoft's latest Windows security tool designed to provision and monitor BitLocker encryption on device drives. The new SP1 version supports Windows 10 and SQL Server 2014 SP1. It works now without having to "own" the Trusted Platform Module on the device. Also, you can just encrypt used disk space now. For Windows 10 systems, it's possible to set up a custom "preboot recovery message" that will display when a drive is locked. Microsoft now allows the self-service portal to be configured using either a wizard or PowerShell. There are also new PowerShell cmdlets for managing MBAM features, as listed in this TechNet library article.

Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) 2.1 is Microsoft's tool for roaming user settings across devices. It supports Windows 10 and now allows app and operating system settings to be synchronized with Microsoft Azure. It can roam network printer settings, as well as and taskbar settings. The taskbar settings roaming can only occur between Windows 10 devices, though.

The Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM) 4.0 Service Pack 3 tool, which tracks Group Policy Objects, supports Windows 10 systems. It comes with new PowerShell cmdlets to help automate administrative tasks. Possibly, it may be a little easier to upgrade from earlier versions.

The Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT) 10, which is a field tool for booting problematic PCs, has support for Windows 10, including Windows 10 Preinstallation Environment images, plus the Windows Assessment and Development Kit 10.0.

Other Tools
Microsoft has already released various Windows 10 management tools, including its Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 10, plus cumulative updates to the latest System Center Configuration Manager products to manage Windows 10 systems. Also recently released by Microsoft is its Group Policy Templates for Windows 10.

Microsoft promised to release its Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 this month, along with Preview 3 of Windows Server 2016. RSAT will be "available soon," according to Microsoft's announcement today.

Still to come is the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 Update 1 product with support for Windows 10, which is still at the preview stage. However, that toolkit also will be "coming soon," according to Microsoft.

Lastly, mobile device management (MDM) is a key target market, in Microsoft's view, for Windows 10. Microsoft has now turned on "automatic MDM enrollment" of Windows 10 devices when managed via Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory, as announced in a blog post late last week. After this capability is set up, automatic enrollment will happen for "both corporate owned and personally owned devices that are joined to Azure AD," according to the blog post.

About the Author

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

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