Late on Wednesday, as part of our commitment to deliver regular updates of Windows Server "Longhorn" to our communities, we released the April 2007 Community Technology Preview of Windows Server "Longhorn". This marks the last CTP we will release before Beta 3, and it is a late snapshot of what will be a very major milestone for us. Don't forget that Beta 3 will be our first public beta and IT professionals can sign up now to be notified of its availability.
So what's new in the April 2007 CTP? Well, most new features actually appeared in the February 2007 CTP, although we have been keeping some things back for Beta 3. In this build, you will see some more UI updates and performance improvements, but there are some interesting new enhancements. First of all, we now provide the ability to configure multiple password settings per domain. This fine-grained password "policy" (it's not technically a policy) is configured through ADSI Edit and already, one of our esteemed MVPs, Ulf B. Simon-Weidner, has posted some great information about it.
Other new stuff includes a much wider range of Remote Server Administration Tools for various roles (12 altogether) and features (6 including BitLocker and Failover Clustering); and speaking of features, you will now find Windows PowerShell listed as an available feature right out of the box (as announced just last week at MMS). We also provide some additional functionality if you go for a Server Core installation option – we now support a total of six roles: Active Directory Domain Services, Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services, DHCP, DNS, File and Print. You will also be able to install Windows Media Server and Windows Server Virtualization roles on a Server Core installation. Other Server Core installation bonuses include the ability to run regedit right there in the console, functional Open and Save dialogs for Notepad, and a new "/cli" switch for scregedit.wsf that prints out a syntax cheat sheet for most of the command line tasks you might want to run.
One other thing that you will see is that Windows Firewall is now enabled by default right out of the box. This continues our ongoing efforts to ensure that Windows Server is more secure at installation. But don't worry if you don't know your RAS from your LDAP when it comes to TCP and UDP ports – every time you use Server Manager (or the cool new servermanagercmd.exe command line version of Server Manager) to install a role or feature, Windows Firewall will be automatically configured to open only the ports necessary for basic functionality of that role or feature.
The April 2007 CTP is now available for our technical beta testers on the Connect web site and it will be available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers on their download site early next week. Go get it if you can but don't worry if you can't – Beta 3 is just around the corner!