Windows Client UPDATE, April 10, 2003

Windows Client UPDATE--brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network http://www.winnetmag.net

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April 10, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - Easing the Personal Desktop Upgrade Process

2. READER CHALLENGE - March 2003 Reader Challenge Winners - April 2003 Reader Challenge

3. NEWS & VIEWS - Microsoft Agrees to DOJ's Minor Change in Windows XP

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Join the HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show! - Get the eBook That Will Help You Get Certified!

5. RESOURCES - Tip: Confirming Installation of DVD Decoder Software - Featured Thread: File Security

6. NEW AND IMPROVED - Recover Encrypted Files - Automate Patch Management

7. CONTACT US See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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1.

COMMENTARY

(David Chernicoff, [email protected])

* EASING THE PERSONAL DESKTOP UPGRADE PROCESS

Every few years I face a daunting task: upgrading my personal desktop computer. I find this task so repugnant that I put it off as long as possible. And every time I attend to it, I take weeks to get back up to speed.

To give you an idea of how much time has passed since I last upgraded, the machine in question is a dual 550MHz Pentium III machine, which hasn't been state-of-the-art for quite a few years. I always have other computers around, so I use my primary desktop mainly for writing, Web browsing, developing HTML code, and image and video editing. Although this system might sound too slow to do much multimedia work, it has performed like a yeoman in that role. However, the combination of my need to add high-end imaging hardware to the system and instabilities that have resulted from the hundreds of applications I've run on the computer over the years were the final straws that motivated me to upgrade to a more current system.

Given the price of desktop hardware these days, putting together a fast Pentium 4 machine with a gigabyte of memory, half a terabyte of storage, and the latest video card wasn't that big a deal, especially since I migrated my 21" monitor to the new computer. The real pain was moving all the applications I use and their configurations to the new system. I simply installed major applications, such as Microsoft Office XP, on the new computer. I installed recently acquired applications from the OEM CD-ROMs, but I had at least two dozen shareware applications that I needed to move. For most of these applications, I had lost email messages with license keys or activated files in the gigabytes worth of backup data that are sitting around my office.

Enter PC Relocator from Eisenworld. This handy tool migrates users from one computer to another, moving applications, data files, settings, and user configurations. After I received an evaluation copy of the professional version of the product, I gave it a try. Designed for the PC support technician's toolbox, PC Locator Professional gives one licensed user unlimited use of the application's point-to-point upgrade technology. At $999.95, the software is pricey for the average small office/home office (SOHO) or small network support person. For SOHOs and small networks, Eisenworld offers a single-user version, Alohabob PC Relocator Ultra Control, at $69.95, and a fully automated personal edition, Alohabob PC Relocator, at $29.95. (For more information, go to the Eisenworld Web site at http://www.eisenworld.com/default.asp . You'll find many other PC upgrade products available. Two examples are V Communications' PC Upgrade Commander, available at http://www.v-com.com/product/pcuc_ind.html , and Detto Technologies' IntelliMover, available at http://www.detto.com/products/index.html .)

Using PC Locator's capability (through the TCP/IP network connection between the old computer and the new) to move selected applications and data, I carefully moved one application at a time to the new computer. I made sure that each application still worked correctly after I moved it. Most of the applications moved correctly, although a few required that I re-enter the license key information. I also had to manually recreate file associations for some of my editing tools.

With a machine loaded less heavily than mine was, letting PC Relocator simply migrate the computer would be easy. But even with the careful attention to detail I applied to the migration, I still took only a few hours to do what used to take me days to do. I considered the software's purchase price to be money well spent.

2.

READER CHALLENGE

(contributed by Kathy Ivens, [email protected])

* MARCH 2003 READER CHALLENGE WINNERS

Congratulations to our March Reader Challenge winners. I tried a subtle trick question, but it's hard to fool you, and I was surprised at how many readers "got it." Vince Streiff of Washington, D.C., wins first prize, a copy of "Windows 2000: The Complete Reference." Keith Stenger of Louisville, Kentucky, wins second prize, a copy of "Admin911: Windows 2000 Registry." Visit http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38349 to read the answer to the March 2003 Reader Challenge.

* APRIL 2003 READER CHALLENGE

Solve this month's Windows Client problem, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by April 24, 2003. You must include your full name, street mailing address, and phone number (all required for shipping your prize).

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents. (My email software doesn't respond to a request for a receipt.) Look for the solutions to this month's problem at http://www.winntmag.com/articles/index.dfm?articleid=38639 on April 24, 2003.

I was chatting with a consultant the other day, and he told me he was planning to upgrade his laptop from Windows 98 to Windows XP to gain the Alternate Configuration feature for TCP/IP settings. This feature lets a computer automatically switch to a second, alternate, configuration for TCP/IP when the primary configuration doesn't work. It's a nifty way to take a laptop to another site and connect to a network at that site.

The consultant's office runs SDSL, and each computer on the network has a fixed IP address. At his client sites, he runs Windows 2000 domains with DHCP services. He told me he'll set up his laptop's NIC with the assigned TCP/IP address, then use the Alternate Configuration tab to enable the option "Obtain an IP Address Automatically," which will let him connect to his clients' networks with an IP address that the DHCP server gives. My response was "Yep, that Alternate Configuration feature is really nifty. Lotsa luck, I'll be happy to help when your plan fails." Why did I say that?

3.

NEWS AND VIEWS

(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])

* MICROSOFT AGREES TO DOJ'S MINOR CHANGE IN WINDOWS XP

On April 3, Microsoft said it had agreed to implement a small change in Windows XP that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) requested. The company will move its "Set Program Access and Defaults" icon, currently buried in the All Programs menu, to a more prominent position in the Start Menu so that users can more easily choose which Web browser to use. Users can also use this icon to change which media player, email program, Instant Messaging (IM) application, and Java Virtual Machine (JVM) they use, Microsoft says. In my tests of this feature, however, I've discovered it to be a mind-numbing and painful way to configure such programs. Surely there's a better way.

4.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

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* GET THE EBOOK THAT WILL HELP YOU GET CERTIFIED! The "Insider's Guide to IT Certification," from the Windows & .NET Magazine Network, has one goal: to help you save time and money on your quest for certification. Find out how to choose the best study guides, save hundreds of dollars, and be successful as an IT professional. The amount of time you spend reading this book will be more than made up by the time you save preparing for your certification exams. Order your copy today! http://winnet.bookaisle.com/ebookcover.asp?ebookid=13475

5.

RESOURCES

* TIP: CONFIRMING INSTALLATION OF DVD DECODER SOFTWARE (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

Recently, a friend sent me an email message complaining that something was wrong with his brand new computer. Every time he tried to play a DVD, an error message appeared, announcing a failure in the video subsystem. He was ready to take the computer back to where he had purchased it when I told him I thought I knew what the problem was: The machine had no Windows XP-compatible DVD decoder software. He thought the software was installed, so I walked him through the following simple process to determine whether a valid decoder exists:


1. Open a CMD prompt.
2. Type in "dvdupgrd /detect" (don't type the quotation marks).
3. A Windows dialog box will open with identifying information about the installed software. If "No decoders found" appears in the box, no decoder is installed.

You can purchase Windows DVD decoder software from the Windows Media Web site for less than $20. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/default.aspx .

* FEATURED THREAD: FILE SECURITY

Forum member "ekrum" would like to know how to let users create a folder and files but not allow the users to modify the folder and files. For example, if a user plugs in a digital camera and copies images from the camera to a location on a server, how can the user be allowed to view the images but not be allowed to modify them on the server? If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=37&tid=57280

6.

NEW AND IMPROVED

(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])

* RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES

ElcomSoft released Advanced EFS Data Recovery, an application that recovers (by decrypting) files encrypted on NTFS partitions in Windows 2000. The software can decrypt files on a system that can't be booted, in cases where encryption keys have been violated, and when Syskey is used to protect the system. Advanced EFS Data Recovery supports Windows XP/2000/NT and requires administrator privileges. Pricing is $99. Contact ElcomSoft at [email protected] http://www.elcomsoft.com

* AUTOMATE PATCH MANAGEMENT

St. Bernard Software announced UpdateEXPERT 6.0, an automated software solution that manages, tests, and validates patches on networked workstations and servers. New features include an optional client agent that lets you manage locked down and isolated machines and simultaneously manage multiple machines that might or might not have agents installed. The software supports user-defined validation criteria inside the Custom Fixes feature; adds patch-file-version management to the intelligent version-checking capability; and fully supports Active Directory (AD), letting you use organizational units (OUs) to manage machines. Pricing is based on 1- to 3-year subscriptions and starts at $1400 for 1-year support of as many as 100 workstations. Contact St. Bernard Software at 800-782-3762, 858-676-2277, or [email protected] http://www.stbernard.com

7.

CONTACT US

Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

* ABOUT THE COMMENTARY -- [email protected]

* ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL -- [email protected] (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

* TECHNICAL QUESTIONS -- http://www.winnetmag.net/forums

* PRODUCT NEWS -- [email protected]

* QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION? Customer Support -- [email protected]

* WANT TO SPONSOR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE? -- [email protected]

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