==== This Issue Sponsored By ====
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1. Commentary: The Group Policy Management Console
2. Reader Challenge
- November 2003 Reader Challenge Winners
- December 2003 Reader Challenge
3. News & Views
- Happy Holidays? Microsoft Issues No Critical Fixes in December
- Try a Sample Issue of Security Administrator
- 2004 Dates Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections
- Take Our Print Publications Survey!
- Tip: Restoring System Tray Icons in XP Notebooks
- Featured Thread: Problems with Disk Partitions in NT 4.0
- New--3 Microsoft Security Road Shows!
7. New and Improved
- Control Processes and Services on Remote Machines
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
8. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
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==== 1. Commentary: The Group Policy Management Console ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]
Every now and then, readers send me email pointing out that many of the registry editing tips I offer in this commentary can be replaced with Group Policies. I usually respond to these reader messages by pointing out that about 30 percent of Windows Client UPDATE's readers don't use Group Policies and find registry edits useful. However, for the 70 percent of readers who do use Group Policies, I dedicate this column to the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). Microsoft released GPMC last April. GPMC is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in you can use to manage Group Policies on Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 systems.
You install GPMC on either Windows 2003 OSs or on a Windows XP Professional Edition client running Service Pack 1 (SP1) and the Windows .NET Framework. You can use GPMC to manage Group Policy on a Win2K Active Directory (AD), but GPMC won't run on a computer running any version of Win2K. If you don't use GPMC in a Windows 2003 environment, some GPMC functionality that's available only with Windows 2003, such as Group Policy modeling, won't be available. You can download GPMC for free directly from Microsoft's Web site, but the license requires at least one copy of Windows 2003 somewhere in the user's enterprise.
GPMC replaces many administrative tools that Win2K Group Policy administrators need, including the MMC Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, the MMC Active Directory Sites and Services snap-in, and the MMC Resultant Set of Policy snap-in, in addition to the ACL editor and the Delegation Wizard. GPMC lets administrators perform all core Group Policy management tasks from one console. Although AD snap-ins still exist, systems administrators whose core responsibility is managing group policies won't need them. The familiar MMC Windows 2000 Group Policy snap-in, which lets you directly edit Group Policy Objects (GPOs), has been renamed GPO Editor. You can launch it directly from GPMC.
You can find complete details about GPMC, along with links to the download and to information about using GPOs, on the GPMC home page at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/gpmc/gpmcintro.mspx .
==== Sponsor: Windows Scripting Solutions ====
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==== 2. Reader Challenge ====
by Kathy Ivens, [email protected]
November 2003 Reader Challenge Winners
Congratulations to our November Reader Challenge winners, who win copies of "Admin911: Windows 2000 Registry." Robert Everson of British Columbia wins first prize. Brian E. Anderson of Trumbull, Connecticut, wins second prize. I enjoyed reading the answers from all the IT professionals who reported that they've had to deal with the problems outlined in the November Reader Challenge many times. Visit http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=40842 to read the solutions to the November Reader Challenge.
December 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 December 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. (I never respond to a request for a receipt.) Look for the solutions to this month's problem at http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=41144 on December 24, 2003.
An IT administrator wrote to me with this problem. He has set up a small peer-to-peer (P2P) network as a test lab to beta-test documentation and Help files for an inhouse database. The lab has three Windows 2000 Professional computers. He reports that each of the computers can see the other two computers in My Network Places, but users are denied access when they attempt to access remote files or folders across the network. All network configuration options are correct, including TCP/IP settings and NTFS folder permissions. What's going on? ==== 3. News & Views ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]
Happy Holidays? Microsoft Issues No Critical Fixes in December
Microsoft alerted systems administrators this week that the company wouldn't be issuing its monthly critical security patch package for December, a sort of "Happy Holidays" message from the software giant. But lest anyone get too excited by the implications of this announcement, please be aware that there are currently several known security vulnerabilities in Microsoft's products, and the reason you're not getting a patch package has more to do with timing than anything else. This circumstance leads to some obvious questions about Microsoft's decision to move to a monthly patch package, which the company began implementing in October. What happens when security patches are released just after the date on which patches are supposed to be issued to the public?
"In response to extensive customer feedback, Microsoft is implementing changes in the way security bulletins are released," the company announced earlier this year. "These changes will help enhance the manageability and predictability of the patch management process for customers. Security bulletins will normally be released on the second calendar Tuesday of every month." However, on its TechNet Web site this week, the company noted that "Microsoft had no security bulletins to release December 9, 2003, as part of its monthly release cycle for December. If the need arises for emergency patches, they will be issued outside the monthly releases."
And the need will likely arise. In addition to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) vulnerabilities discovered by security researchers in late November, Microsoft is investigating the possibility that hackers could use information in a previous security patch to unleash a Slammer-style attack on Windows in the near future. And the company hinted that some fixes were in the works but didn't make the December 9 cutoff date. "We have made a commitment to release \[monthly patch packages\] when we're ready, when we have quality patches," said Iain Mulholland, a program manager in Microsoft's Security Business Unit. "There is simply nothing that has passed the bar yet from a quality perspective for release in December."
==== 4. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)
Try a Sample Issue of Security Administrator
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2004 Dates Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections
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==== 5. Resources ====
Tip: Restoring System Tray Icons in XP Notebooks
contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected]
If you use a notebook that runs Windows XP, you've probably noticed that after you wake your system from the hibernation or standby mode, the system tray icons have either disappeared or no longer function. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy or a permanent way to fix this problem. To solve it, you need to recreate each icon from the application that supports it each time the icon disappears or becomes nonfunctional. This recreation means that if you can launch the application and configure it on the fly to use system tray notification, you need to disable the icon, then reenable it. For example, I have one system that always loses the volume icon from the system tray notification area. To restore the icon to the notification area, I take the following steps:
1. Open the Control Panel Sounds and Audio Devices applet.
2. Clear the "Place volume icon on the taskbar" check box.
3. Click Apply.
4. Select the "Place volume icon on the taskbar" check box.
5. Click OK.
Featured Thread: Problems with Disk Partitions in NT 4.0
Forum member mrrwr is administering a Windows NT 4.0 computer with Service Pack 6 (SP6). The computer has one physical disk with two partitions: C and D. Mrrwr needed to delete the C partition, and after he did so, the system renamed the D partition to C, which mrrwr didn't intend. After reinstalling NT, mrrwr used Disk Administrator to restore the C and D partitions to their original configuration. Now, when the computer boots each morning, an error message appears stating that Windows can't write to the partitions and that some data is being lost. Other than the error message, the computer functions without problem. The machine's boot.ini file outputs the following readings:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="C:\Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00" multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="C:\Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00 \[VGA mode\]" /basevideo /sos
scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="D:\Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00" scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="D:\Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00 \[VGA mode\]" /basevideo /sos
Mrrwr has several questions: First, is there a way to eliminate the error message without touching the D partition? Second, what's the difference between "multi" and "scsi" in the boot.ini file input? Third, can mrrwr change the partition letters to numbers (e.g., change C to 1 and D to 2) safely? If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=38&tid=65973
==== 6. Events ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)
New--3 Microsoft Security Road Shows!
Don't miss out on three new Security Road Show events in December. Join industry guru Mark Minasi, and learn more about tips to secure your Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 network. There is no charge for this event, but space is limited, so register today! http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/security2003dec
==== 7. New and Improved ====
by Dianne Russell, [email protected]
Control Processes and Services on Remote Machines
SmartLine announced Remote Task Manager (RTM) 3.7.7, software that lets systems administrators control a wide range of tasks on Windows computers. RTM lets you lock down, shut down, and reboot remote computers. You can remotely add, start, or stop services and devices and adjust security settings. The Event Viewer feature lets you view monitored events on the remote computer in real time on the local machine. The Performance Monitor feature displays a dynamic view of the remote computer's CPU and memory usage. RTM lets you monitor all open TCP/IP and UDP ports on a remote computer, mapping the ports to the local machine so that you can see which processes open specific ports. The Remote Install feature lets you remotely install the Remote Task Manager service on any Windows machine on your network. RTM runs on Windows 2003/XP/Win2K/NT 4.0. Pricing is $40 for a single-user license. A full-function demonstration version is available for free download from the SmartLine Web site. Contact SmartLine at 1-866-6-NTLOCK or [email protected] http://www.protect-me.com/rtm
Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
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==== 8. Contact Us ====
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