Today I’m excited to announce that the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2013 for Software Assurance is now available for download! When people think about MDOP, they often think about its virtualization tools that help personalize user experience, simplify app deployment, and improve app compatibility for Windows. MDOP is much more than that though, it also helps manage and deploy important Windows features like BitLocker and Group Policy, as well as saves time by helping to make desktop repair planning proactive instead of reactive.

We’ve been working for some time to optimize our MDOP products for Windows 8 with the goal of making them easier to adopt and take advantage of all the new Windows 8 platform capabilities. Last November, we took our first step by releasing MDOP 2012, in which Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0, and the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 8.0 supported Windows 8.

In addition, to help manage BitLocker and Group Policy in Windows 8, we released beta versions of Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) 2.0 and Advanced Policy Group Management (APGM) 4.0 SP1. With the release of MDOP 2013 today, we are continuing our commitment to making Windows 8 even easier to adopt and manage.

The biggest update you’ll notice in MDOP 2013 is the official release of MBAM 2.0. As a quick refresher, we first released MBAM 1.0 in response to customers asking for an easier way to manage BitLocker. The feedback on MBAM has been very positive and it’s clear that it’s a valuable tool that simplifies the provisioning and deployment of BitLocker encryption, while at the same time offering reduced costs, improved compliance, and reporting.

MBAM 1.0 has enabled BitLocker to quickly become one of the most popular Windows features that organizations are either using or evaluating. Since MBAM 1.0 was released, we’ve continued to garner feedback from organizations to ensure we’re continuing to deliver the innovative features that you need for your business. One of the primary goals for MBAM 2.0 was to help customers further reduce the costs associated with managing and supporting encrypted devices. We’ve done this through new features including the Self Service Portal, SCCM integration, reporting enhancements, and simplified provisioning for Windows 8.

With MBAM 2.0, organizations will have improved compliance and security mechanisms, along with streamlined integration across management solutions, resulting in long-term cost savings. 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.

Al Gillen, program vice president of System Software at IDC, shared his thoughts with us on the new updates: “MDOP 2013 provides a definitive value to Windows enterprise SA customers through the enablement of flexible work environments, improved operating system capability and enhanced IT cost savings. Now, with the upgraded features available via MBAM 2.0, organizations can be more effective in how PCs are managed to ensure constant compliancy and security in any business scenario.”

In addition to general quality improvements, we’ve also updated many of the other technologies in MDOP 2013, with enhanced features and benefits ideal for businesses using Windows 8. Key updates include:

  • AGPM 4.0 SP1: Brings powerful 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, a heavily requested addition. The product now supports 24 languages, allowing more organizations to use UE-V in their native language.

We’re so excited to have shipped MDOP 2013, I encourage you to download it for your own organization and let us know what you think. For those of you who are using MBAM Beta 2, you can easily migrate your existing deployment to the official release, enabling you to retain all existing reporting and recovery data.


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