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Microsoft has updated its Intune management suite, adding support for third party application patches and better hardware-management capabilities.

Launched seven months ago, the updated version of Intune allows IT managers to remotely install and update .EXE, .MSI, and .MSP files, with trial users getting 2GB of Azure cloud storage to store updates or applications. The software’s ability to account for code-licensing monitoring has also been updated.

The new management console also sets up remote tasks such as malware scanning or restarts, and an improved interface gives better reporting on network hardware by adding filters for manufacturer, chassis type, available disk space, memory installed, and CPU speed when searching for a network device.

“Our vision for Windows Intune is big – we want to take the best of the capabilities delivered through our on-premises solutions (like System Center Configuration Manager with Forefront Endpoint Protection, System Center Essentials, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, and Windows Enterprise management and security features) and enable them through the cloud,” blogged Eric Main, Microsoft director of Intune marketing. “Eventually, Windows Intune will deliver more management capabilities than the on-premises solutions but with less cost and higher productivity.”

Existing Intune users will be automatically upgraded over the next few weeks, and by November all of the original beta users should have upgraded – otherwise they will lose settings and data when the beta project shuts down. ®

To get Microsoft’s reseller network enthused about Intune, the company has announced a special promotion. Partners will get 12 percent off the Windows Intune fees during the first year once the purchased licenses are deployed, but if they start a new Windows Client Enterprise Agreement before June 30, 2012, then partners influencing the deployment of Windows Intune Add-On licenses purchased will receive 50 percent of the year one fees, back-dated to July 1, 2011.

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