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The 20 most useful Microsoft sites for IT professionals

Microsoft professionals have a lot to keep track of, and a lot of market noise to contend with. That's why we've compiled this list of the 20 best places on the Web to help you find what you need. The list includes technology-specific sites, worthy bloggers and safe resources to help you pass your next Microsoft cert or training course. Plus we'll reveal places for trustworthy free Microsoft software and the best sites to help you stay on top of the voluminous amount of news churned out by, and about, the folks in Redmond.

  1. WindowsNetworking.com

The name of this site says it all. The site hosts technical articles on all facets of Windows networking, plus blogs, tutorials, message boards. Of special interest is its Knowledgebase, which makes its archives easy to search.

  2. MSExchange.org

A site independent from Microsoft that is stocked full of technical information on Microsoft Exchange. It also features forums and video tutorials.

   3. TechLog

A group of independent Microsoft technology experts maintain this highly technical site as a labor of love. It focuses on System Center and hosts loads of tutorials including podcasts. Visitors beware, TechLog has a pro-Microsoft philosophy. But it is also heavy on the know-how and light on the IT politics.

  4. GPAnswers.com

GPOGUY.com Web site run by Darren Mar-Elia, president of SDMSoftware.)

When Jeremy Moskowitz isn’t touring the country giving seminars, he’s online leading Webinars. And when he does sit still he is updating his Web site. He’s a wealth of knowledge about the Group Policy features of Active Directory, which is sure to make life easier for any admin who takes the time to master its power. (A tip of the hat also goes out to the

 5. Glen's Exchange Dev Blog

Glen Scales writes about his life as a messaging developer and includes loads

of free scripts (particularly PowerShell) and code examples. From Windows Mobile Devices to Exchange tips, Scales offers practical technical advice.

  6. ISAserver.org

ISAserver.org is an independent site geared toward users and developers of Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration Server. (ISA is Microsoft's firewall for Windows). But even those who don't use the product will find something of interest here, particularly its lists of Windows Security Software and the advice of its expert bloggers.

 7. Kim Cameron's Identity Weblog:

Cameron authored the Seven Laws of Identity and is leading what can only be described as Microsoft's best effort to date to build an open platform -- in this case around identity. Although his work is top notch, Cameron's blog isn't about Microsoft. It's about building something that incorporates industry-wide input and development.

  8. WindowsNow

Robert McLaws admits he is a Microsoft fan and that one of his biggest thrills, he says, was shaking Bill Gates’s hand last year at CES. But he is also plugged in and when he has to poke the big Redmond machine with his words, he usually does it with gusto.

 9. MVPs.org

This independent site is dedicated to indexing the blogs and Websites of those graced with the title of Microsoft Most Valuable Professional. MVPs are people proclaimed by Microsoft to have superior technical knowledge and who volunteer their time to help others with Microsoft technologies. This site hosts a giant list of MVPs, organized by subject type.

  10. Microsoft TechNet

In any list of most useful sites, TechNet must be included. This is the ultimate source of technical info produced by Microsoft for IT pros. The site hosts blogs, tutorials, downloads, lists of resources. But we're talking about a Microsoft site, so registration is required.

  11. CertGuard braindump validation search tool

This site helps you make sure that you do not put your Microsoft certification in jeopardy by inadvertently becoming involved with braindump organizations. It also includes lists of  misspelled Web sites, plus unsafe blogs, forums and more. The CertGuard site also has lists of clean sites as well.

  12. ProProfs.com Academy

This is a free and open online resource that offers safe exam preparation materials on just about every Microsoft certification available.

 13. ExamForce

ExamForce produces practice test software, audio preparation tools, flash cards, electronic books to help students prepare for Microsoft certifications. This site has been rated as clean by CertGuard (see entry No. 11).

  14. Microsoft Learning

The Microsoft sanctioned hub for all things training. Check out the "Learning Plans" which offer an assessment of what training you might need to pass a specific exam and then give instructions on how to get that training.

 15. Cramsession.com

Cramsession.com is another cool site for those studying for Microsoft certifications (as well as Cisco and security certs). Besides some of the free manuals and whitepapers it offers, you can sign up for a "question of the day."

 16. The Road to Know Where

The ultimate independent list of free Microsoft-related software from trustworthy sources. Much of the software comes from Microsoft or is code recommended by Microsoft employees.

  17. CodePlex

This site hosts Microsoft's open source projects. Although some people may claim that the words "Microsoft" and "open source" don't belong in the same sentence, for the enterprise using Microsoft technology, many a spiffy project resides on CodePlex.

  18. Microsoft Download Center

The official site for Microsoft freebie software, add-ons, drivers and games. Check out the "download notifications" utility which provides you with a weekly e-mail of new downloads in the categories you specify.

 ActiveWin.com

19.

A news aggregator that publishes just about every tidbit of Microsoft news available from around the Web. What it lacks in analysis, it makes up in volume.

 20. Microsoft Subnet

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An independent news site filled with insightful blogs, security alerts, great free-stuff giveaways, lists of funny videos and useful Microsoft web sites. All this and more served with just the right amount of humility and plenty of humor. But you, dear reader, already knew all that …

Also see:

The 20 most useful sites for Cisco networking professionals

The 20 most useful Web sites for IT professionals

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