Archive for June, 2013:

70-323: Administering Office 365

QUESTION 1
You work as a systems administrator at ABC.com. The company has an Active Directory Domain
Services (AD DS) domain. The company has 120 employees. Each employee has a desktop or
portable laptop computer running Windows 7 Professional.
The company has an Office 365 for professionals and small businesses subscription and each
user has an Exchange online mailbox.
Your manager informs you of a requirement to place a litigation hold on a number of mailboxes to
preserve the email messages past the company retention policy period and prevent them being
permanently deleted.
You discover that there is no option to place a mailbox on litigation hold.
How can you enable the litigation hold option?

A. By enabling the Enterprise Features of the Office 365 subscription.
B. By upgrading to an Office 365 for midsize business and enterprises subscription.
C. By creating a service request.
D. By moving to an on-premise Exchange 2010 server.

Answer: B

Explanation:


QUESTION 2
You work for a company named ABC.com. Your role of systems administrator includes the
management of the company’s Office 365 subscription.
Each of the company’s 300 employees has a mailbox hosted on Microsoft Exchange Online.
A new legal requirement requires all emails sent to and from a distribution group named Directors
to be recorded in a separate mailbox.
You need to configure Exchange Online to comply with the legal requirement.
What should you do?

A. You should configure a Retention Policy.
B. You should configure a Journal Rule.
C. You should configure a Litigation Hold.
D. You should configure a Managed Folder Policy.

Answer: B

Explanation:


QUESTION 3
You work for a company named ABC.com. Your role of systems administrator includes the
management of the company’s Office 365 subscription.
Each of the company’s 300 employees has a mailbox hosted on Microsoft Exchange Online.
A company policy states that all email messages sent from company users to external email
domains must have a disclaimer appended to the message.
You need to configure Exchange Online to comply with the company policy.
What should you do?

A. You should configure a Transport Rule.
B. You should configure a Journal Rule.
C. You should configure a Send Connector.
D. You should configure a Managed Folder Policy.

Answer: A

Explanation:


QUESTION 4
Users in your company have mailboxes hosted on Microsoft Exchange Online. Your role in the
company includes the management and administration of the Office 365 subscription.
You need to configure Exchange Online to prepend the subject of all internal emails with the word
“Internal” unless the recipient is a member of the Managers distribution group.
What should you configure?

A. You should configure a Journal Rule.
B. You should configure a Recipient Policy.
C. You should configure a Transport Rule.
D. You should configure a MailTip.

Answer: C

Explanation:


QUESTION 5
You work for a company named ABC.com. Your role of systems administrator includes the
management of the company’s Office 365 subscription.
Each of the company’s 100 employees has a mailbox hosted on Microsoft Exchange Online.
Each user has an email address in the ABC.com SMTP domain.
The company has a shared mailbox named Enquiries. The mailbox uses the SMTP email address
enquiries@ABC.com.
You need to ensure that all emails sent to enquiries@ABC.com are delivered to the mailbox
regardless of the spam content rating of the emails. Emails sent to all other mailboxes must
continue to be filtered for spam.
You plan to use the Set-ContentFilterConfig cmdlet to achieve the desired result.
Which parameter should you use with the Set-ContentFilterConfig cmdlet?

A. BypassedSenders
B. Bypassedrecipients
C. ExternalMailEnabled
D. InternalMailEnabled

Answer: B

Explanation:


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70-272: Supporting Users and Troubleshooting Desktop Applications


QUESTION 1
You work as the network administrator at ABC.com. ABC.com has a domain named ABC.com. All
servers on the ABC.com network run Windows Server 2003 and all client computers run Microsoft
Windows XP Professional SP2.
ABC.com has a Marketing and Finance division which requires using Microsoft Office XP to
perform their daily duties.
How would you instruct the Marketing and Finance user’s to run the Microsoft Office XP setup if
the setup fails and rolls backup without changing the user’s currently assigned privileges?

A. By adding the Marketing and Finance division to the Network Configuration Operators group
and accessing Microsoft Office Product Updates to scan the computer for updates.
B. By adding the Marketing and Finance division to the Power Users group and using Add or
Remove Programs in Control Panel to remove Office and re-install Microsoft Office XP.
C. By creating a remote connection to the Marketing and Finance group client computers and reinstalling
Microsoft Office XP using a network-based installation point with the required .msi file.
D. By adding the Marketing and Finance division to the local Administrators group and restarting
the browser and Workstation services before re-installing Microsoft Office XP from the Windows
Installer command-line utility.

Answer: C

Explanation: To try to recreate the error you have to run the installation in the users’ privileges so
running the installation on your computer with your privileges will not help you to solve the problem
(answer B and D). Visiting the Microsoft Office Product Updates Web site will not help the user in
any way as long as he doesn’t have Microsoft Office installed on his computer.


QUESTION 2
You work as the desktop support technician at ABC.com. ABC.com has a domain named
ABC.com. All servers on the ABC.com network run Windows 2000 Server and all client computers
run Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2.
ABC.com has a Marketing division which uses Microsoft Office 2003 for their daily duties. During
the course of the day Marketing division users reported that certain files of theirs have been deleted.
How would you configure the Marketing division client computers to track any attempts by
malicious users to alter or delete files on their computers?

A. By running the secedit /analyze command on the client computers.
B. By running the secedit /configure command on the client computers.
C. By configuring security access control lists for their disk drives by auditing the Everyone group
on the client computers.
D. By running the secedit /validate command on the client computers.

Answer: C

Explanation: You must track unauthorized attempts to modify or delete the files so auditing the
Everyone group is the correct choice.


QUESTION 3
You work as a desktop adminsitrator at ABC.com. ABC.com has a domain named ABC.com. All
servers run Microsoft Windows 2000 server and the client computers run Microsoft Windows XP
Professional.
ABC.com has a Marketing division which makes online purchases during work hours.
How would you configure the network firewall to stop these activities whilst allowing the Marketing
division to access the Internet?

A. By having port 110 blocked on the firewall.
B. By having port 443 blocked on the firewall.
C. By having port 143 blocked on the firewall.
D. By having port 21 blocked on the firewall.

Answer: B

Explanation: Port 443 is used for Secure Sockets Layer connections to Secure HTTP Web sites.
This port should be blocked.


QUESTION 4
You work as the network administrator at ABC.com. ABC.com has a domain named ABC.com. All
servers on the ABC.com network run Windows Server 2003 and all client computers run Windows
XP Professional.
ABC.com has a Finance division which uses Microsoft Office XP to perform their daily tasks.
How would you configure Microsoft Office XP to ensure opened documents display’s a toolbar
containing the Balloons button?

A. By accessing the Help menu and selecting the Detect and Repair… option.
B. By right-clicking the toolbar and selecting the Reviewing toolbar from the context menu.
C. By re-installing Microsoft Office XP and copying a Normal.dot file from the administrator’s
computer to the My Documents folder.
D. By accessing the tools menu from another user’s document and accessing the Tools menu to
select Shared Workspace.

Answer: B

Explanation: The Balloons button appears on the Reviewing Toolbar. Simply enabling this toolbar
will show this button. To enable the toolbar, right click any open spot in the toolbar area. From the
dropdown list, click Reviewing.


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70-247: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012

QUESTION 1
You work as an administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network consists of a single domain
named ABC.com.
You have been instructed to deploy a System Center 2012 infrastructure in ABC.com’s
environment. You are also instructed to create a service and deploy it to a Public Cloud.
You have already navigated to the System Center 2012 App Controller. You now want to start a
Windows Azure service deployment in such a way that the Windows Azure subscription is
automatically configured as the public cloud.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider starting a new Windows Azure service deployment from the Clouds page.
B. You should consider starting a Windows Azure service deployment from the Services page.
C. You should consider making use of the Library page.
D. You should not consider making use of any of the above.

Answer: A

Explanation:


QUESTION 2
You work as an administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network consists of a single domain named ABC.com.
ABC.com makes use of System Center 2012 Service Manager in their environment. You are in the
process of configuring the System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) connector.
You want to make sure that you obtain all types of objects from VMM.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider importing the System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) management packs into Service Manager.
B. You should consider importing the Windows Server Hyper-V management packs into Service Manager.
C. You should consider importing the System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) management packs into VMM Manager.
D. You should consider importing the Windows Server Hyper-V management packs into VMM Manager.

Answer: A

Explanation:


QUESTION 3
You work as an administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network consists of a single domain
named ABC.com. All servers on the ABC.com network have Windows Server 2008 R2 installed.
ABC.com makes use of System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and App Controller
in their environment. Subsequent to creating a private cloud, you access App Controller to add a
VMM connection. You then confirm that you are able to access the private cloud via the App
Controller portal.
When a user, named Kara Lang, complains that she is unable to access the private cloud via the
App Controller portal, you are instructed to rectify the issue.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider reconfiguring the VMM connection in App Controller.
B. You should consider creating an appropriate User Role for Kara Lang.
C. You should consider reconfiguring the private cloud as a public cloud.
D. You should consider reconfiguring the port setting on Kara Lang’s workstation.

Answer: B

Explanation:


QUESTION 4
Your role of Systems Administrator at ABC.com includes the management of the company’s private and public clouds.
The ABC.com network includes four private clouds hosted on a System Center 2012 Virtual
Machine Manager (VMM) infrastructure.
A partner company named Weyland Solutions has three private clouds hosted on a System
Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) infrastructure.
The two companies each have two Windows Azure subscriptions to their public clouds.
You plan to deploy System Center 2012 App Controller at ABC.com. You want to manage the
Windows Azure subscriptions and private clouds of both companies from a single App Controller portal.
You need to determine the number of connections and subscriptions that you will need to
configure in the App Controller portal.
Which two of the following factors determine the number of required connections and
subscriptions? (Choose two).

A. You will need to configure one subscription for each company.
B. You will need to configure one subscription for each Windows Azure subscription.
C. You will need to configure one subscription for the two ABC.com Windows Azure subscriptions
one subscription for each of the Weyland Industries Windows Azure subscriptions.
D. You will need to configure one connection for each private cloud.
E. You will need to configure one connection for each VMM infrastructure.
F. You will need to configure one connection for the ABC.com VMM infrastructure and one
connection for each Weyland Industries private cloud.

Answer: B,E

Explanation:


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Microsoft’s $100k hacker bounty sounds great but has a lot of loopholes

Microsoft’s $100k hacker bounty sounds great but has a lot of loopholes
Winning vulnerabilities and exploits must be novel, generic, reasonable, reliable and impactful — whatever those mean

Microsoft is offering up to $100,000 for vulnerabilities found in Windows 8.1 that are paired with exploits, but it’s pretty much up to Microsoft to decide who gets paid how much based on a set of subjective criteria.

In order to pull down the full amount, a submission must be novel, generic, reasonable, reliable, impactful, work in user mode and be effective on the latest Windows OS, according to details of the new bounty program. Each of those criteria is subject to interpretation.

It will be up to Microsoft to convince potential participants in the program that their submissions will be treated fairly, says Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering for Rapid7.

“A lot of people don’t trust them,” Barrett says. Microsoft could find an attack technique good but not novel, and then patch the vulnerability without paying. “That’s paranoid, maybe, but that kind of paranoia tends to be par for the course in this industry,” he says.

“If I were Microsoft I would make a point of making sure that somebody gets this [$100,000]. It would do wonders for their reputation. It’s more about community relations.”

It’s also about economics, because $100,000 is “an almost insane amount of money” that will be hard to ignore, says Amol Sarwate, director of vulnerability labs at Qualys. In countries with weaker economies that amount would be even more significant, he says.

The sum is likely even more than researchers could make selling such exploits on the black market, he says, and submitting to the program doesn’t run the risk of getting caught by law enforcement.

These cash bounty programs have work pretty well since TippingPoint (now part of HP) set up its Zero Day Initiative in 2005, Sarwate says, with others forming similar programs. Google’s vulnerability program, for example, has paid out more than $800,000 since it started in 2010.

Many researchers are satisfied getting public credit for finding vulnerabilities, he says. Sarwate says this recognition is valuable to them — so much so that citations of these credits routinely show up on the resumes of researchers who received them.

The effectiveness of Microsoft’s big-payoff program is in luring in “ethically neutral” researchers who have discovered exploits and want credit for it immediately, says Barrett. For many researchers that is the true prize. But they may not want to take the option of responsible disclosure in which they submit the vulnerability to the company and wait for perhaps months for it to issue a patch and give credit because the process takes too long.

Instead, they may disclose irresponsibly — posting the vulnerability to a public site where they get immediate credit, but the vulnerability is also available for criminals to exploit. It is these impatient researchers Microsoft can hope to attract, Barrett says; they may be willing to wait for credit if they are paid as well.

“It’s aimed at people who go straight to the press with their exploits, and it tries to win them over,” he says.

 


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Microsoft criticized for botnet takedown tactics

Microsoft has come under fire for the recent takedown of the Citadel botnet, which some security researchers claim disrupted their legitimate operations while having no long-lasting impact on Internet security.

Last week, Microsoft announced that it had disrupted more than 1,400 botnets using the Citadel malware, which affected more than 5 million people worldwide. Microsoft called the action Operation b54.

The criminal operation distributed keylogging malware that recorded the victims’ usernames and passwords when logging into banking and other web sites. Losses tied to Citadel exceeded $500 million, said Microsoft.

Citadel was the seventh Microsoft-led operation against botnets. While some researchers commend the company for causing financial pain to cybercriminals, other researchers see the operations as public relations stunts that run roughshod over their work to battle botnets.

A Swiss researcher in the nonprofit organization abuse.ch said in a recent blog post that roughly a quarter of the 4,000 domain names seized by Microsoft and redirected to its server were actually pointed to the systems of researchers gathering information on Citadel.

“In my opinion, [Microsoft’s] operation didn’t have any big noteworthy impact on Citadel, rather than disturbing research projects of several security researchers and non-profit organizations, including abuse.ch,” the unidentified researcher said. “In my opinion, Operation b54 was nothing more than a PR campaign by Microsoft.”

Infected computers in a botnet use the domain names in communicating with command-and-control (C&C) servers that send back configuration files containing many settings, such as where to send stolen data. Researchers will often seize the domain names and redirect the infected computers to their servers, called sinkholes, to study the botnet.

[Also see: Latest Citadel scam sophisticated — except for the grammar]

In the case of abuse.ch, the information it gathers is handed over to another nonprofit research firm called the Shadowserver Foundation. The latter organization sends the information it receives from researchers to more than 1,500 organizations and 60 national Community Emergency Response Teams.

The data gathered by researchers include the IP addresses of infected systems. This is particularly important because organizations associated with Shadowserver can check whether any of the systems are on their networks.

Microsoft said it plans to send information from its sinkholes to “key researchers,” such as Shadowserver, so victims can be notified and their computers cleaned of malware.

“As stated from the outset, the goal of this operation was to protect the public by strategically disrupting Citadel’s operation, helping quickly release victims from the threat and making it riskier and more costly for the cybercriminals to continue doing business,” said Richard Boscovich, assistant general counsel for Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, on Wednesday.

Also irking some researchers are configuration files Microsoft sends to the computers of victims trapped in a botnet. In the case of Citadel, the files notified victims their systems were infected and freed the computers to download anti-virus software to remove the malware. Within the configuration files distributed by the botnet operators was a module preventing infected computers from downloading antivirus applications.

While supporting Microsoft’s operation in general, Chester Wisniewski, a senior security adviser for Sophos, said some security pros are against any vendor modifying a person’s computer without permission, even if the intention is good. “For some of the more hardcore security research people, that’s a very dangerous precedent to set,” he said.

Boscovich argued that Microsoft did not change victims’ computers, but rather brought them back to the state they were in before the infection. In addition, the federal court order that permitted Microsoft and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to disrupt the botnet also allowed the company to distribute configuration files to any infected computer checking into the “U.S.-based command and control structure for Citadel under the court’s jurisdiction.”

“For command-and-control infrastructure in other countries, we have relied on the voluntary assistance of CERTs in each country to determine the appropriate approach, pursuant to local law and considerations,” Boscovich said.

Rather than flashy botnet takedowns, some researchers believe stronger laws; tougher enforcement and designing security within the application, network and operating system layers of a computer would be more effective.

Microsoft’s strategy of seizing domain names to disrupt botnets can lead to cybercriminals taking more damaging action, according to the abuse.ch researcher. For example, in 2011 when researchers were aggressively shutting down the command-and-control domains of the ZeuS-Licat, also known as the Muorfet, botnet, the operators switched to a peer-to-peer architecture to distribute commands to infected systems.

Such an architecture made the botnet traffic harder to detect on the networks of Internet service providers and even harder to block, the blog said.

While experts agree that Microsoft damaged the Citadel botnet, they also say the operators will be back. “This is a big blow to the criminals, but it certainly isn’t going to put them out of business,” Wisniewski said.


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Will iOS 7 and iCloud changes meet post-PC needs for enterprise users?

At Apple WWDC, IT groups look for options, users for new classes of apps

One place where the post-PC era is in full swing is the enterprise. And enterprise IT groups will be watching when Apple unveils iOS 7 at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, June 10, to see if the new version improves its fit for business users.

iOS has achieved an astonishing acceptance in the enterprise, and is the basis for most companies’ mobile deployments. But increasingly, those iOS deployments are grappling with more complex tasks than email, PDFs, presentations and Web browsing. And in doing so, enterprise IT staff are looking for iOS changes that make the platform better suited to enterprise computing.

Apple is widely expected to show at least a partial redesign of the iOS user interface, creating a more consistent visual syntax and cues. But power users, especially in the enterprise, need more. [see “Will iOS 7 finally make traditional PCs irrelevant?”]

To achieve that, the UI changes need to be married with deeper changes that make the OS more capable when dealing with complex, long-durations tasks; and that give IT the ability to somehow fit together Apple’s mobile experience with business requirements for manageability and security.

“Apple famously likes to keep tight control over the UI and user experience,” says Avi Greengart, research director of consumer devices and platforms, Current Analysis, a Washington, D.C., competitive intelligence consulting firm. “But in doing so it has siloed most of its own apps: they don’t share data easily.”

A related issue is the way iOS currently handles, or doesn’t handle, multi-tasking. “You have a single app that commands your attention at all times,” says Greengart. “But if you’re bouncing around between tasks, or between related tasks, other mobile operating systems do a better job of moving users between them.”

Making it easier for iOS users to handle files and to leverage the platform’s multi-tasking capabilities would go a long way toward making iOS more effective in more complex tasks.

Many IT staff are in effect hoping for a subset of features that let them better administer hundreds and thousands of iOS devices. “I would like to see consideration for more enterprise needs such as device management, and [enterprise] app stores, that provide us with greater choice,” says Rich Adduci, senior vice president and CIO at Boston Scientific, Marlborough, Mass.

“An Apple-branded full mobile device management [system] would be great, as well as additional APIs for third-party MDM solutions to better manage iOS devices and [bridge] the gap between managing iOS and other platforms,” says a technology manager at a leading private university, who requested anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of the institution.

One new API would be one that lets MDM applications “globally restrict cut/copy/paste functions,” says James Gordon, vice president of IT for Needham Bank, Needham, Mass. It’s a small community bank that relies on iOS as its mobile platform. “This will drive greater adoption and innovation among enterprises that are still on the fence about [iOS] security,” Gordon says.

“One limitation of iOS devices compared to other corporate devices is the lack of administrator control, so that devices can easily be pre-configured, cloned, remote-controlled, and [so that] controls can be put in place to force or block iOS upgrades,” says Carl Maisonneuve, chief systems architect, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario. The hospital has widely and aggressively deployed several thousand iPhones and iPads for doctors, nurses and staff.

Large-scale deployments pose special challenges given how Apple currently handles AppleIDs and app purchasing. “My greatest hope would be a solid and easy to implement solution for corporate AppleIDs and volume purchases for apps,” says Benjamin Levy, a principal with Solutions Consulting, a Los Angeles firm that specializes in OS X and iOS deployments for business customers.

“At present we have two basic models for how a company can manage apps for its users: Either the user can own the apps or the company can own the apps,” Levy explains. “But in the current model it’s far easier for a company to decide to let the users own the apps, because of the management requirements for handling what might be thousands of AppleIDs and multiples of apps on top of that. This wasn’t so much of an issue with iOS apps because [in the past] few were significant in cost. But as more apps move to the Mac App Store with higher prices it becomes a real question.”

One example of an enterprise option that’s emerged in recent months is the interest in a secure “container” or virtualized workspace within iOS, where corporate apps and data can be fully protected and managed, entirely separate from the end user’s personal apps and information. “One of my biggest wishes is virtualization on iOS devices to allow separate sandboxed home and work environments, similar to what BlackBerry is doing on the Z10 smartphone [via the BlackBerry 10 operating system],” says the university IT manager.

“Customers would be joyous over this: a separate ‘dual persona’ capability so that the device could have separate areas with separate security characteristics,” agrees Ken Dulaney, vice president, mobile, at Gartner, the Stamford, Conn., technology research firm.

One area that’s not yet being addressed is Apple’s cloud-based data syncing, which is vital for future, complex, database-driven mobile apps, especially for the enterprise. But only the university technology manager mentioned, as his No. 1 “biggest wish,” the need for improvements to Apple’s Core Data sync service. It’s an illustration of the close relationship between the OS, app development and cloud services.

iCloud is the Apple-maintained online service that receives, stores and downloads data (music, photos, etc.) among multiple iOS and OS X clients logged into an iCloud account. Core Data is an application-level framework, supplied by both operating systems, that lets applications store items and data about those items in a single cloud database, without developers having to write a lot of their own SQL code and data persistence logic.

It’s simple in concept. But for many developers the reality borders on nightmarish. For months, the complaints, accompanied by detailed analyses of Core Data shortcomings, have been growing.

iMore’s Rene Ritchie cataloged one group of complaints in a post headlined “iCloud gets kicked in the Core Data sync — totally had it coming.” Another catalog was put together by Jacqui Cheng, at Ars Technica: “Frustrated with iCloud, Apple’s developer community speaks up en masse.”

Developers complain that Core Data is opaque, poorly documented, without reliable mechanisms for troubleshooting problems, or even for identifying them. One of the Ars Technica sources was developer Rich Siegel, of Bare Bones Software. His own subsequent blog post on their Core Data travails describes a service that sounds like it was thrown together with bailing wire and spit. Some of his comments:

“In general, when iCloud data doesn’t synchronize correctly (and this happens, in practice, often), neither the developer nor the user has any idea why.”
“[W]e ran into a situation in which the baseline (a reference copy of the synchronization data) would become corrupted in various easily encountered situations. There is no recovery from a corrupted baseline, short of digging in to the innards of your local iCloud storage and scraping everything out, and there is no visible indication that corruption has occurred — syncing simply stops.”
“Finally, one of the most maddening issues: the iCloud-just-says-no problem. Sometimes, when initializing the iCloud application subsystem, it will simply return an opaque internal error. When it fails, there’s no option to recover — all you can do is try again (and again …) until it finally works.”

But Siegel’s most damning comment is this observation: “And we find it noteworthy that, to the best of our knowledge, none of Apple’s currently shipping products on Mac OS X use iCloud to sync Core Data [emphasis in original]. (One might think that Address Book or Calendars would, but in fact they use CardDAV and CalDAV, respectively. These are both HTTP-based protocols for communicating directly with a server, and do not rely on Core Data or the Ubiquity system.)”


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Dell announces XPS 11 hybrid, will ship with Windows 8.1

The device can be used as a tablet or laptop

Dell has expanded its range of hybrid devices with the XPS 11, which can transform from tablet to laptop with the flip of a screen.

The XPS 11 has a hinge that allows the panel holding its 11.6-inch screen to be folded almost 360 degrees so that the device can be used as a tablet. The design is similar to that of Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga hybrids, which are available with 11- and 13-inch screens.

Dell announced the hybrid on the sidelines of the Computex trade show being held in Taipei. It will ship later this year with Windows 8.1, code-named Blue. Pricing was not disclosed.

The XPS 11 keyboard is tightly integrated into the chassis, so the keyboard buttons don’t stick out when the device is being used in a tablet mode. The 2560 x 1440 pixel display has a Gorilla Glass layer for durability. The device will ship with an Intel Core i5 processor code-named Haswell.

Dell is beefing up its laptop, tablet and hybrid offerings as it tries to keep its XPS line of computers relevant in a poor market for Windows 8 and PCs. The XPS 11 augments a product line that includes the XPS 10 tablet and XPS 12 and XPS 13 hybrids.

The size of the screen matters less than the functionality, portability and battery life, said Kirk Schell, vice president of computing products at Dell, in an interview.

“The thickness, weight and resolution are critical and all of that has to fit in the right package,” Schell said.

Schell sees a diverse computing market ahead. Some consumers prefer tablets, while others will want hybrids with keyboards attached.

“Detachables, convertibles, two-in-ones will be part of the market,” Schell said. “For us, one-size-fits-all is not an answer.”

Dell is the third largest PC vendor in the world behind Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, but its shipments have been falling. Dell started off as a PC maker in the 1980s, but refocused in 2007 to concentrate on the high-margin enterprise market. But the PC division has gained importance again, with the hybrid device market being an area of opportunity for the company.

Whether or not the current proposal to take the company private succeeds, Schell said Dell will continue to expand its client product offerings. Dell once said it would focus on high-margin PC offerings, but Schell said the company will compete at multiple price points as it tries to increase product shipments. The company will try to differentiate by offering more security and support features, and it will also expand in the client computing market through its Wyse thin client division.

Dell will also continue to invest in Windows 8, and evaluate Windows RT and different processor architectures for tablets and laptops, Schell said. Dell today offers XPS 10 with Windows RT and has said it was developing a successor to that tablet.


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