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August 22, 2002—In this issue:
- Deploying Win2K SP3
2. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Microsoft Issues Second Office XP Service Pack
- Microsoft's Fall Lineup Targets Consumers
- Why Pay When You Can Get In-Person Security Expertise at No Charge?
- Take Our Survey and You Could Win a Free T-Shirt!
- Tip: Controlling Thumbnail-Image Size in Windows XP
- Featured Thread: Intermittent Sound Problems in Win2K Pro
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Fine-Tune Windows and IE
- Update to Button-Making Software Tool
6. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(David Chernicoff, News Editor, [email protected])
Lately, my Inbox has been peppered with questions from readers who want to know whether they should deploy Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3). Released August 1 with a significant lack of fanfare, SP3 is the usual rollup of existing patches and bug fixes, plus a few new additions. The following URLs will take you, respectively, to the Win2K SP3 download page and the Microsoft article "Some Windows 2000 Hotfixes May Cause a Conflict with Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows 2000," which contains a list of post-SP3 hotfixes:
Despite repeated promises not to use service packs to make feature changes, Microsoft has once again done just that. SP3 adds a Configure Programs option to the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet—a result of the company's wrangling with the Department of Justice (DOJ). Using functionality similar to that provided in Windows XP SP1, this feature lets you turn off the end-user availability of certain applications within the Win2K OS. You can remove user access to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0, Outlook Express 6.0, and Windows Media Player (WMP).
For a change, the Microsoft Win2K SP3 Web page includes a direct link to the Network Installation download, which lets you pull down a copy of the entire 125MB service pack for all versions of Win2K Server and Win2K Professional. The other choice is to do an Express installation, which requires an Internet connection and pulls down only the files necessary for the computer from which you are running the installation. In a corporate environment, Express installation is generally a bad idea because having client computers independently pulling down the installation files can quickly suck up all your Internet bandwidth.
Remember that SP3 is a rollup of SP1 and SP2 as well as the hotfixes and security patches Microsoft has released since SP2. You can find a complete list of what SP3 fixes at the following URL:
Because widespread deployment of the new service pack means testing it with every combination of computer and application in your environment, limiting your SP3 deployment is tempting. But keep in mind that future Microsoft hotfixes for Win2K will presume that you've installed SP3. Be sure that you read the release notes before deploying the new service pack; the release notes correct errors in the SP3 documentation.
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2. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
On Tuesday, Microsoft released Microsoft Office XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), a collection of bug fixes for the company's best-selling office productivity suite. Office XP SP2 is available as a Web download, on CD-ROM, or as a special version for corporate rollouts. SP2 fixes affect the Office XP Web Components and all major Office XP applications, including Microsoft Word 2002, Excel 2002, Outlook 2002, PowerPoint 2002, Access 2002, FrontPage 2002, and Publisher 2002.
"The SP2 update contains significant security enhancements as well as stability and performance improvements," Microsoft states on its Web site. "Some of the fixes included with SP2 have been previously released as separate updates. This service pack combines them into one update."
To download the client version of Office XP SP2, you must first install SP1. For details and links to the free downloads, read the Microsoft article "OFFXP: Overview of the Office XP Service Pack 2 (SP-2)" at the following URL:
To order Office XP SP2 on CD-ROM, go to this Microsoft Web page:
Administrators who want to roll out SP2 can do so several ways, such as using a slipstreaming feature that adds the SP2 fixes to an Office XP installation share on a network. For more information about installing SP2 in a corporate environment, refer to the Microsoft Office XP Web site at the following URL:
Microsoft unveiled a slew of new consumer-oriented products this week. The products, which will be available this fall (in time for the holiday buying season), include an online gaming service for the Xbox video-game console, a new Windows XP version targeted at digital-media lovers, a new Windows Media Player (WMP), an attractive new version of Microsoft's online service, several new PC games, and some interesting hardware products.
- MSN 8. The most recent release of Microsoft's online service will include a dramatically improved browser interface with extensive Web and Web-services links. MSN 8 will be available to MSN broadband and modem subscribers and to users of other ISPs for a low monthly fee. The service includes a new junk-mail service, email-management tools, virus protection, firewall, better personalization, and many other features. Microsoft is planning an ad campaign aimed at converting AOL users to MSN.
- Xbox Live. The online gaming service for Microsoft's Xbox game console will debut on November 15, the company says. Subscribers to the service can use the Xbox Live Starter Kit's headset to find other gamers, play games online, and communicate with other players. The Xbox Live Starter Kit also includes a 1-year subscription to the service, the necessary installation software, and a free mini-game. Several Xbox Live-compatible game titles will be available by year's end.
- Windows XP Media Center Edition. This new release is based on XP Professional Edition Service Pack 1 (SP1) but ships only with new Media Center PCs from Hewlett-Packard (HP). XP Media Center includes a new Media Center application that lets users interact with live and recorded TV, digital music, digital video, DVD movies, and other content by using a remote control and an attractive new interface. Media Center PCs are targeted to college students, apartment dwellers, and other people in confined living spaces.
- Windows Media 9 Series. The new generation of Microsoft's Windows Media products will ship by the end of the year, although public beta versions will be available September 4. Windows Media 9 Series includes WMP 9, several new audio and video coder/decoders (codecs), a new Windows Media Encoder, a new Windows Media Services component (part of Windows .NET Server—Win.NET Server), and a new software development kit (SDK).
- Windows Powered Smart Displays. This fall, Fujitsu, Intel, NEC, Philips, ViewSonic, and several other companies will begin selling 10" and 15" Windows Powered Smart Displays. Wi-Fi, the 802.11b wireless standard, and Windows CE .NET (formerly code-named Talisker) power the displays, which will let you wirelessly connect to PCs in your home office. "Smart Displays will liberate consumers from their home office through the convenience of anywhere-in-the-home access to their Windows XP PC," said Keith White, senior director of marketing for Microsoft's Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group. "Now people can enjoy experiences and services like the Internet, digital photos, email, and Windows based-applications in a variety of relaxed settings such as the kitchen, living room, back patio or bedroom."
- Pocket PC Smartphone Edition. New smart phones based on Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition will begin shipping this fall from companies such as AT&T and T-Mobile. The phones are the first to incorporate Pocket PC features such as personal information manager (PIM) integration, full-color screens, and advanced application support. These smart phones will also offer speaker phones, personalized ring tones, text messaging, and other advanced features.
- New PC games. This fall, Microsoft will ship several new PC games, including Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania; Combat Flight Simulator 3: Battle for Europe; and Age of Mythology.
- Microsoft PC hardware. Microsoft will extensively overhaul its keyboard and mouse products with new wired devices that will ship in October and Bluetooth-driven wireless devices that will ship in November. Microsoft will sell the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse together as a wireless desktop solution that also includes a Bluetooth USB Transceiver that lets users connect up to seven Bluetooth devices to one PC.
"Consumers will truly begin to realize the promise of the digital decade with the broad array of products Microsoft and our partners will release this fall," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "With the launches of MSN 8, Xbox Live, Windows Media 9, and a host of other new or improved technologies only weeks away, the coming months will be among the most exciting in years for consumers and the entire consumer-products industry, not to mention Microsoft."
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(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])
If you use a high-resolution monitor, certain features of the Windows XP OS might not appear the way that you like. One such feature is the size of the thumbnail images that Windows Explorer displays of image file types that it recognizes. The images tend to be too small to differentiate, especially if you have a lot of similar images. To resize the displayed thumbnails, follow these steps:
- Launch regedt32.
- Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer.
- Create a DWORD named ThumbnailSize.
- Set a decimal value between 32 (smallest) and 256 (largest).
- Exit regedt32.
Howard is running Windows 2000 Professional on his computer. Sometimes, Win2K Pro refuses to play any sound. The sound card, drivers, and speakers all seem to be working. The system often restores sound if he reboots. If you know how to restore the sound without a reboot, go to
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Judy Drennen, [email protected])
Tweak Now released Customizer XP 1.8.4 RC-1, a utility that lets you fine-tune Windows and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Customizer XP's integrated suite of programs can get your system running at peak performance levels. Eighty registry tweaks let you easily adjust your Start menu, system settings, Internet options, and IE preferences. Customizer XP runs on Windows XP and Windows 2000 and costs $26 per computer for a single-user license for one to two computers. Multi-user discounts are available. Contact Tweak Now at [email protected] or go to the Web site.
Kinetic Creations released eClick 1.2, an update to its button-making software utility. eClick creates button images for Web sites and presentations in six steps. You can select a button's style, size, color, shadow, and label and choose its output file format. eClick includes more than 900 button styles. Version 1.2 adds support for creating .gif files as well as supporting .jpg, .png, .bmp, and .pict files. The utility runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x and costs $24.95. Contact eClick at 814-382-3587 or go to the Web site.
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