Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Microsoft suspends Windows 8.1 Update release to businesses

Bug prompts Microsoft to halt update’s delivery through WSUS, the standard enterprise update service

Microsoft on Tuesday suspended serving Windows 8.1 Update to businesses that rely on WSUS (Windows Server Update Services), saying that a bug would prevent devices from recognizing future updates.

WSUS is Microsoft’s standard corporate update service and is used by IT staffs to manage the distribution of bug fixes, security patches and other updates to Windows devices on a company’s network.

“There is a known issue which causes some PCs updated with the Windows 8.1 Update to stop scanning against Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 2 (WSUS 3.0 SP2 or WSUS 3.2) servers which are configured to use SSL and have not enabled TLS 1.2,” Microsoft wrote on its WSUS blog.

Microsoft released Windows 8.1 Update on Tuesday. The refresh was a follow-on to last October’s Windows 8.1, which in turn was a major update to 2012′s Windows 8.

The problem affected WSUS 3.2 running on Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2, and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 when HTTPS and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) were enabled but TLS 1.2 was not.

Until the Redmond, Wash., company comes up with a fix, customers that have already deployed Windows 8.1 Update can apply workarounds — enable TLS 1.2 or disable HTTPS — that will let PCs recognize future WSUS-delivered updates.

It’s unclear how many businesses were affected, and Microsoft did not provide an estimate. But neither HTTPS nor TLS 1.2 are enabled by default on WSUS.

Even so, Microsoft halted Windows 8.1 Update’s rollout via WSUS.

“Microsoft plans to issue an update as soon as possible that will correct the issue and restore the proper behavior for Windows 8.1 Update scanning against all supported WSUS configurations,” Microsoft said. “Until that time, we are temporarily suspending the distribution of the Windows 8.1 Update to WSUS servers.”

Microsoft has stumbled over updates numerous times in the past 12 months. Last September, Microsoft shipped several flawed updates, including one that emptied Outlook 2013′s folder pane and others that repeatedly demanded customers install them even after they had been deployed. In the months before that, Microsoft yanked an Exchange security update, admitting it had not properly tested the patches, and urged Windows 7 users to uninstall an update that crippled PCs with the infamous “Blue Screen of Death.”

Microsoft did not hint at a timetable for fixing the bug, but discouraged customers who rely on WSUS from manually deploying Windows 8.1 Update, which is also available from Windows Update, MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network) and the Microsoft download center.

“We recommend that you suspend deployment of this update in your organization until we release the update that resolves this issue,” Microsoft said.

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The greatest security story never told — how Microsoft’s SDL saved Windows

‘We actually had to bus in engineers.’

Microsoft has launched a new website to “tell the untold story” of something it believes changed the history of Windows security and indeed Microsoft itself – the Software Development Lifecycle or plain ‘SDL’ for short.

For those who have never heard of the SDL, or don’t have the remotest idea why it might be important, the new site offers some refreshingly candid insights to change their minds.

Without buying into the hype, the SDL can still fairly be described as the single initiative that saved Redmond’s bacon at a moment of huge uncertainty in 2002 and 2003. Featuring video interviews with some of its instigators and protagonists, the new site offers outsiders a summary of how and why Microsoft decided to stop being a software firm and become a software and security firm in order to battle the malware that was suddenly smashing into its software.

Few outside the firm knew of the crisis unfolding inside its campus but not everyone was surprised. Microsoft now traces the moment the penny dropped to the early hours of a summer morning in 2001, only weeks before it was due to launch Windows XP to OEMs.

“It was 2 a.m. on Saturday, July 13, 2001, when Microsoft’s then head of security response, Steve Lipner, awoke to a call from cybersecurity specialist Russ Cooper. Lipner was told a nasty piece of malware called “Code Red” was spreading at an astonishing rate. Code Red was a worm a malicious computer program that spreads quickly by copying itself to other computers across the Internet. And it was vicious.”

Others arrived in the following two years; the Blaster worm, Nimda, Code Red II, MyDoom, Sasser, and on and on. To a world and a Microsoft not used to the notion of malware being a regular occurrence, this was all a big shock.

By January 2002, with attacks on its baby XP humbling the biggest software firm on earth, Bill Gates sent his famous Trustworthy Computing (TwC) memo to everyone at Microsoft. From now on, security was going to be at the root of everything and so help us God.

That turned into the SDL, and it was given priority one to the extent that it took over the whole 8,500-person Windows development team for much of that year and the next. Its ambition was to completely change the way Microsoft made software so that as few programming errors were made that had to be fixed once customers were involved; “security could not continue to be a retroactive exercise.”

Users had also started complaining. Loudly.

“I remember at one point our local telephone network struggled to keep up with the volume of calls we were getting. We actually had to bus in engineers,” the site quotes its security VP Matt Thomlinson as saying.

The fruit of the SDL was XP’s first Service Pack in 2002, followed up by the even more fundamental security overhaul of SP2 in 2004. By then, XP had been equipped with a software firewall, an almost unthinkable feature for an OS three years eariler.

It’s arguable that despite the undoubted gains of the SDL since then, that the firm has yet to fully recover from the trauma of the period. Windows development has seemed less and less certain ever since, following up XP with the flawed Vista and more recent Windows 8 near-debacle. Microsoft still does operating systems but it’s not clear that all its users do.

Still, the SDL programme has proved hugely influential even if it’s not well known outside tech circles. It is now baked into everything. It has also influenced many other software houses and many have versions of the SDL of their own, many modelled on Microsoft’s published framework on how to run secure development.

Whatever mis-steps Microsoft has made in the last decade, security has turned into a bit of a success story right down to the firm’s pioneering and hugely important Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) that conducts the forensics necessary to track down the people who write malware in their caves. Both the SDL and DCU are seen as world leaders.

So let’s hear of for Redmond, the software giant that launched an operating system years behind the criminals but somehow clawed itself back from disaster. Most other firms would have wilted but somehow Gates’s memo rallied the cubicle army.


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70-332 Advanced Solutions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013


You are instructed to make sure that the prerequisites with regards to the site
and the creation of site collections are suitably met.
You have Setup My Sites setting for the User Profile service application to make use of the URL of
the My Site host site collection.
Which of the following actions should you take NEXT?

A. You should consider configuring the Explicit exclusion type.
B. You should consider configuring the Explicit inclusion type.
C. You should consider configuring the Wildcard exclusion type.
D. You should consider configuring the Wildcard inclusion type.

Answer: B


You are preparing to configure authentication for the site as per the
Which of the following actions should you take FIRST?

A. You should consider creating a new PerformancePoint target application.
B. You should consider creating a new Secure Store target application.
C. You should consider creating a new PerformancePoint target application.
D. You should consider creating a new Word Automation target application.

Answer: B


You have been instructed to make sure that language support meets the prerequisites.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider creating one label and setting the locale to English (US).
B. You should consider creating one label and setting the locale to Dutch (HOL).
C. You should consider creating one label and setting the locale to French (FRA).
D. You should consider creating two labels and setting the locale of one label to English (US) and
the other to Dutch (HOL).

Answer: A


You have been asked to make sure that developers are assigned the correct permissions as per
the prerequisites.

A. You should consider making use of the Set Metadata Store Permissions option to assign the
Full permissions.
B. You should consider making use of the Set Metadata Store Permissions option to assign the
Read permissions.
C. You should consider making use of the Set Metadata Store Permissions option to assign the
Edit permissions.
D. You should consider making use of the Set Metadata Store Permissions option to assign the
Write permissions.

Answer: C


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Hey Microsoft, where’s the next Mac Office?

Microsoft’s suite for OS X is overdue when compared to past development benchmarks

Where is the next Office for the Mac?

Microsoft is behind the schedule it used for the last several iterations, and has not breathed a word about its Mac intentions. In fact, the blog kept by the California-based development team that works on Office for Mac hasn’t been updated since Aug. 5, 2013, more than seven months ago.

That’s what those in the trade call stealth mode.
The last time Microsoft launched a new Office for OS X was October 2011, when it rolled out Office for Mac 2011. Prior to that, Microsoft issued upgrades in January 2008 (Office for Mac 2008), May 2004 (Office for Mac 2004) and November 2001 (Office v. X).

The average spread between Office for Mac editions — going back as far as Office v. X — has been 1,088 days. But as of Thursday, it had been 1,213 days since the launch of Office for Mac 2011.

Historically, Microsoft has hewn to a three-year development cycle for both Office on the Mac and the far-more-popular Office suite for Windows, with a new version of the former following the newest of the latter by several months at a minimum.

Office for Mac 2011, for instance, followed Office 2010 on Windows by 134 days, or just over four months. Office for Mac 2008, however, came 351 days, or nearly a year, after the debut of its Windows sibling, Office 2007. But even the longer lag time of the latter has now been exceeded: Office 2013 for Windows launched Jan. 29, 2013, 13 months ago.

The development team responsible for Office on the Mac, dubbed Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU), requires the lag time to incorporate changes that other engineering groups made to the Windows predecessor. The Windows and OS X Office development teams don’t work in tandem, but in sequence, with Windows taking the lead and OS X following.

What odd is Microsoft’s silence about the next Office for the Mac. The last cycle — for Office for Mac 2011 — the company was comparatively loquacious, announcing its intentions to craft the suite about 14 months before shipping the software, and it gave semi-regular updates on its MacBU blog.

News of the next Office for Mac? Nothing.
There’s no chance that Microsoft will pull Office for the Mac from its portfolio: The company has touted Office 365, the rent-not-own subscription plans for both consumers and businesses, as providing up to five licenses for either Windows or OS X editions of the suites’ desktop applications. To dump the Mac suite, even though its sales are Lilliputian in comparison to that for Windows, would be an embarrassment at least, and seen as a betrayal by those who committed to subscriptions rather than buy traditional “perpetual” licenses.

Still, Microsoft looks out over a different landscape than 40 months ago when it launched Office for Mac 2011.

Last fall, Apple set free its rival suite, iWork, giving away the three OS X applications of Pages, Numbers and Keynote to every new Mac buyer. In households — but not businesses — with multiple Macs, that effectively means all the machines can be equipped with iWork for free.

How Microsoft will deal with a free iWork is unknown. Currently, Microsoft charges $140 for the single-license Home & Student edition, $220 for a one-license copy of Home & Business, and $100 annually for an Office 365 subscription. Even that third option, with its five licenses, may seem pricy to Mac owners used to the free iWork and satisfied with its fewer features.

Also important is the ticking clock on Office for Mac 2011.
Microsoft supports Mac editions of Office for just five years, half the support lifecycle of the Windows’ suite, and Office for Mac 2011′s retirement date is not that far away: Jan. 12, 2016. Microsoft could extend support for Office for Mac 2011 — it did that for Office for Mac 2004 — but if it does not, it needs to provide a replacement soon to give customers time to migrate.

In the past, Microsoft has used the Macworld trade show and conference to demo its upcoming Office for Mac. This year, Macworld, now called “Macworld/iWorld,” is slated to run March 27-29 in San Francisco. (The Macworld/iWorld conference is run by IDG, the parent company of Computerworld and its sister publication and website, Macworld.) However, Microsoft is not on this year’s exhibitors’ list for the trade show.

The next Office for Mac is already overdue by Microsoft’s past practice of following the latest version for Windows within a year.


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Microsoft offers multifactor authentication to Office 365 users

Since June last year, users with administrative roles had the facility

Microsoft is offering multifactor authentication free as an option to all users of the enterprise versions of Office 365 suite, a hosted set of Microsoft Office tools and applications. It will be available to users of Office 365 Mid-Size Business, Enterprise, and other plans, but not to consumer or small business editions.

The company also plans to add multifactor authentication for Office 2013 client applications, with native multifactor support for applications such as Outlook, Lync, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PowerShell, and OneDrive for Business, planned for release later this year, Paul Andrew, technical product manager on the Office 365 team, wrote in a blog post Monday.

Microsoft also plans to integrate third-party multifactor authentication systems and smart cards such as the Common Access Card of the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. federal Personal Identity Verification card.

Multifactor authentication has been available for Office 365 administrative roles since June last year.

The multifactor authentication requires the user to enter other authentication factors besides the basic password. These could include mobile phones, biometric verification or a personal identification number. “The multifactor authentication increases the security of user logins for cloud services above and beyond just a password,” Microsoft said. Office 365 administrators can enroll users for multifactor authentication through the Office 365 admin center.

The company said in September it was offering multifactor authentication on its Windows Azure cloud platform, whereby in addition to an user name and password, users can authenticate through an application on their mobile device, automated voice call, or a text message with a passcode.

The authentication for Office 365 ranges from acknowledging a phone call, entering a six-digit code sent by text message on the portal to confirmation through apps on smartphones, Microsoft said. “Only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied can a user sign in,” it added.

Microsoft is also adding App Passwords for users so they can authenticate from Office desktop applications as these are not yet updated for multifactor authentication. Once the users have logged in with multifactor authentication, they will be able to create one or more App Passwords, which are 16-character randomly generated passwords, for use in Office client applications.

The company is offering multifactor authentication for Office 365 to midsize business, enterprise plans, academic plans, nonprofit plans, and standalone Office 365 plans, including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. Organizations on these subscriptions can use the service for free.

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Microsoft’s long, messy, occasionally clumsy CEO search is about to end

Microsoft could name a new CEO within the next week, after making it clear that whoever gets the job at this point was a back-up choice.

Microsoft could be ready to announce a new CEO within the next week, and it looks to be an insider, after the lengthy outsider search failed to produce results.

Re/Code and Bloomberg both report that Satya Nadella, the head of the server and tools division and 22-year Microsoft, is now the leading choice, although Tony Bates and Stephen Elop remain in the running.

Whoever among this group ends up getting picked will be a second choice. Microsoft’s board chased a lot of outside people, and to pick Nadella or the others suggests the board gave up and just went with the inside guy.

Consider: first it was Allen Mulally of Ford and John Lawrie of CSC. Lawrie faded fast but Mulally hung in there for months before bowing out. Then came word that the job would go to former VMware CEO and ex-Microsoft exec Paul Maritz, who turned it down immediately. Then there was talk of Steve Mollenkopf, COO of Qualcomm, who ended up being promoted to CEO. Finally, there was Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, who also shot them down.

How would YOU feel to be the sixth choice for anything?
There is still the chance for an outsider. Re/Code boss Kara Swisher is still rooting for current VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, who would be a great choice, but there have been no hints about him in any direction.

Swisher says this protracted search is making a mess inside Microsoft. It’s disrupting the reorg announced prior to Ballmer’s announcement and has left the company in a state of uncertainty. On the one hand, you want the Microsoft board to make the right decision, but on the other hand, they can’t drag this on much longer.

Both Re/Code and Bloomberg report that Steve Ballmer will step down from the board, a wise decision, but there are conflicting stories between the two over Bill Gates. The founder and 800-pound gorilla is either going to become more involved or leave as Chairman. John Thompson would replace him.

Nadella would be wise to demand this. He needs those two out of the way to do what he must and should demand it as a condition of his acceptance.


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How Microsoft can save itself in the mobile world

Once upon a time, Microsoft encountered a foe in the PC market. What it did then is what it should do now in the mobile market.

Microsoft continues to pursue its fatal attraction to proprietary mobile devices, much like Michael Douglas pursued Glen Close in the 1987 movie Fatal Attraction.

Its earnings announcement last night exceeded analysts’ expectations, and seem to suggest that Microsoft doesn’t need to own the endpoint to thrive. But Microsoft’s odds of outflanking Apple and Google are slim.

With so many positive developments in Microsoft’s core businesses, what can possibly be gained from a small, tenuous share of the smartphone market at the risk of Nokia entering a BlackBerry-like downward spiral?

Though Nokia’s $7 billion acquisition cost is small relative to Microsoft’s wealth, competition with Apple and Google in the smartphone market confuses consumers, and likely confuses Microsoft. Microsoft should take a lesson from itself and accommodate Android and iOS in the same way it once accommodated Apple’s Mac in the PC market. It extended Office and Outlook to the Mac platform and made a great margin on every Mac that shipped to customers who needed document interoperability and email with Microsoft’s enormous base.

Nokia’s performance last quarter was dismal. Radio Free Mobile predicted smartphone revenues to grow by 12% in this last quarter. In comparison Nokia revenue declined by 2%.

Radio Free Mobile’s Richard Windsor noted four main problems described in Microsoft’s earning’s announcement.

“Android is getting better at the cheaper price points, making the Lumia 520 not such great value at $135. Low-end Lumia needs to be refreshed to re-extend the gap to Android.

“Microsoft continues to make a total mess of telling users why they should buy a Lumia device, meaning that there is very little pull for the ecosystem from the handset end.

“The app store is still woefully inadequate when compared to iOS and Android and this is a major turn off for prospective buyers of the devices.

“The change in ownership may have distracted the business from pushing the devices to the best of its ability. I am hopeful that this quarter will see this fix.”

Windsor also noted the truly bright side of Microsoft’s performance:

“Microsoft reported excellent results and guidance, confounding the PC skeptics.”

Revenues and earnings exceeded analysts’ expectations thanks to Microsoft’s strong performance in enterprise, cloud and even consumer segments. Xbox and Microsoft Office shipments were both strong, for example.

Windsor expects a rebound in the PC market due to the end of life and support for Windows XP. Corporations have limited alternatives to remaining on XP. Though locked down, proprietary configurations of XP images may prevail for some time within a well-defended enterprise perimeter, without security available after April of this year, this strategy is a ticking time bomb beyond the short-term transition to Windows 7.

The Nokia business will never produce great margins. If small initial margins were the price for dominating the world’s pockets with Nokia smartphones the way Microsoft once dominated the desktop, the endeavor would be worth it for Microsoft. It is hard to imagine a scenario where that will happen, though.

However, Microsoft could create its own bright mobile future if it would just follow what it learned with the Mac and extended all of its core businesses to integrate seamlessly with iOS.

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Microsoft will furnish malware assassin to XP users until mid-2015

Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) to scrub infected XP PCs for more than a year after Microsoft ends patches

Microsoft confirmed on Friday that it will continue to offer its malware scrubbing program to Windows XP users for more than a year after it stops patching the operating system.

“Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool is aligned with the company’s anti-malware engines and signatures, and as such the removal tool will continue to be provided for Windows XP through July 14, 2015,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email reply to questions.

The Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) is updated monthly as Microsoft targets specific major malware families it believes are the biggest threats at the time. It’s distributed through Microsoft’s Windows Update service and the business-grade Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) on “Patch Tuesday,” the date each month when the company ships security patches and other fixes to customers. The MSRT automatically installs and then runs in a seek-and-destroy mission.

Users can also manually download the MSRT from Microsoft’s website.

MSRT is not an antivirus program, but rather a cleanup utility designed to eradicate malware that has already wormed onto a Windows PC. The tool was first released in 2005.

The extension of MSRT’s availability for Windows XP was part of Microsoft’s decision last Wednesday to offer new anti-malware signatures to XP customers who run the company’s free Security Essentials antivirus (AV) software.

Originally, Microsoft had said it would stop shipping Security Essentials’ signature updates to XP PCs after April 8. But in a tacit nod to XP’s widespread use, Microsoft postponed the cut-off until July 14, 2015.

Microsoft will ship its final public security patches for Windows XP in less than three months, ending nearly 13 years of support for the ultra-successful OS.

Microsoft did not reply Saturday to follow-up questions asking what channels it will use to distribute the malware eraser between April 8, 2014, and July 14, 2015.

If Microsoft continued to deliver the MSRT via Windows Update, the tool would be a valuable weapon in containing infections on Windows XP PCs.

Say a new malware family popped up, or an older one began infecting large numbers of Windows PCs, including those still running XP. Microsoft would be able to revise MSRT so it targets the new or suddenly aggressive malware for detection and deletion, and automatically put it on XP systems. Not only would that keep the remaining XP owners safer, but it would also reduce the number of compromised computers that could in turn be used by hackers to infect machines running the still-supported Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems.

The impact of the MSRT extension would be more muted if Microsoft required users to download the tool themselves. Even so, MSRT is a very popular download — currently No. 2 on the company’s Download Center — indicating that large numbers of customers seek it out.

Although Microsoft has been urging customers to drop XP before the April 8 deadline for a new OS or PC, millions of machines worldwide will continue to run the aged OS for months and maybe even years to come.

According to metrics company Net Applications, Windows XP’s user share — the percentage of all personal computer owners who went online with that OS — stood at 29% at the end of December 2014. Computerworld has forecast that at least 25% of all personal computers will be running the operating system at the end of April, and about 20% at the end of this year.

Those numbers were at the root of Microsoft’s recent moves to help out XP users: While the company has remained adamant that bug patches will be discontinued after April 8, some cracks in its “Death to XP” policy have appeared, including the continued availability of Security Essentials’ signatures and the lifespan extension for the MSRT.

The explanation: Microsoft has decided it best for all concerned — including itself and its reputation — that it throw some security bones, if only small ones, to those who can’t or won’t upgrade from XP.

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Microsoft to buy Parature to bulk up Dynamics CRM

Purchase brings self-service technology

Businesses customers of Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM will be able to offer their customers more self-service options, at least that’s the idea behind the company’s plan to buy up Parature, which specializes in cloud-based customer engagement.

Microsoft says it has reached a definitive agreement to buy the company for an undisclosed amount in order to boost customers’ ability to find answers to their questions without having to contact customer-service reps. Parature software also gives customers a range of options for reaching service reps when necessary.

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Bob Stutz, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Dynamics CRM says in a blog that the deal marks a significant milestone for his organization by expanding options for delivering customer care.

Parature cloud services include self-service customer care Web portals, access via Facebook, mobile customer care, live chat, and a strong knowledge base, Stutz says.

Parature customers include, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and IBM.

After the deal goes through Microsoft says it will continue selling Parature products and services and support all Parature customers.
Dynamics CRM competes against and Oracle.

Over the past year or so Microsoft has made two other purchases to enhance features of Dynamics CRM, MarketingPilot for automating marketing campaigns and Netbreeze for social-media sentiment analysis.

Earlier Microsoft bought Yammer and Skype, both of which have added new features to Dynamics CRM.

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70-492 Upgrade your MCPD: Web Developer 4 to MCSD: Web Applications

You have received instructions to make sure that the Views\CyclingLog\_CalculateSpeed.cshtml
partial view, from the Views\Cyclelog \GetLog.cshtml, is configured to show the cyclist’s average
speed per kilometer.
You need to write the necessary code to apply the view.
Which of the following is a method that should be included in your code?

A. The DisplayFor method.
B. The ExhibitFor method.
C. The PresentFor method.
D. The ConcealFor method.

Answer: A


You have been instructed to meet the business requirements with regards to security.
You are required to make changes to the CyclingLogController.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider adding code to assign users the Administrator role.
B. You should consider adding code to assign users the Advanced Operator role.
C. You should consider adding code to assign users the Author role.
D. You should consider adding code to assign users the Report Security Administrator role.

Answer: A


You have been instructed to insert a line of code into your existing code that allows for the
“Distance” header of the table to be displayed in bold in the Views/CyclingLog/GetLog.cshtml
Which of the following should be included in the line of code?

A. You should consider including the :first-child pseudo-class.
B. You should consider including the :last-child pseudo-class.
C. You should consider including the :nth-child pseudo-class.
D. You should consider including the :nth-last-child(n) pseudo-class.

Answer: C


You have been asked to make sure that the edit action of RunLogController is extended.
You start by writing the following lines of code:
[ActionName (“Editlog”)]
You are required to make use of a specific attribute next.
Which of the following is the attribute in question?

A. The [ValueProviderCollection] attribute.
B. The [ValidateInput] attribute.
C. The [ValidateAntiForgeryToken] attribute.
D. The [ValidatableObjectAdapter] attribute.

Answer: C


You have been tasked with making sure that the application is configured to make use of a custom
role provider, named CyclingLogRoleProvider.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider making changes to the machine.config file.
B. You should consider making changes to the app.config file.
C. You should consider making changes to the web.config file.
D. You should consider making changes to the client.config file.

Answer: C


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70-492 Exam at