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January 9, 2003 — In this issue:
- Addressing DHCP Server Inaccessibility from Client Systems
2. READER CHALLENGE
- December 2002 Reader Challenge Winners
- January 2003 Reader Challenge
3. NEWS & VIEWS
- 2003 Begins with the End of NT 4.0 and Win95 Support
- Get "The Windows XP/2000 Answer Book"
- Tip: Saving Notepad Settings
- Featured Thread: Win2K Computer Displays Plain Blue Screen at Logon
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Use Outlook 2002 in Domino Environments
- Sync Open Files Without Disrupting Users
7. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(David Chernicoff, [email protected])
Every now and then I get email from readers who are having DHCP-related problems on their networks. Because this column targets client-side Windows OSs, I don't usually address DHCP problems here (although I do email a response to those readers). However, one relatively common DHCP problem—that of the DHCP server being down or inaccessible—is easily addressed on the client side in Windows XP. Many Windows Client UPDATE readers apparently use as few DHCP servers as possible to service large network enterprises; sometimes client systems can't reach a DHCP server, which means the client system loses access to network resources because the DHCP server hasn't been able to assign an IP address. My readers' messages tell me that the most common scenario is when 802.11b wireless clients can't reach a DHCP server on the wired side of the network.
Many network infrastructure problems can be responsible for disappearing DHCP servers. However, XP offers a client-side feature that lets you keep your clients running even if they can't find a DHCP server. If you've booted up an XP or Windows 2000 computer that wasn't attached to a network but was configured for DHCP, you undoubtedly noticed that the OS assigned the computer an IP address in the 169.254.xxx.xxx address block. This address is known as an automatic private address (officially, it's an Automatic Private IP Addressing—APIPA—address); the address assignment is the default XP and Win2K behavior when the client system can't find a DHCP server. In XP, you can use the TCP/IP Alternate Configuration tab in the TCP/IP Properties dialog box to change this default behavior by configuring an alternate IP address. Because the automatic private address doesn't let the OS configure gateway or DNS information, using the Alternate Configuration tab to configure an alternate address is the only way you can automate an IP address assignment that allows continued network access beyond the local subnet in the event of a DHCP server failure.
Many people configure an alternate IP address for wireless networking and mobile computing; doing so provides a simple way to let users move between different wireless networks without having to reconfigure the IP address every time they switch networks. For wireless use, it's important to note that configuring an alternate IP address doesn't affect the security model that each network uses; the primary security model setup for the client system's wireless card will be in effect. Because of this limitation, you might want to maintain multiple wireless PC Cards if you switch between highly secure wireless networks. Each network's security configuration is specific to the network adapter. Because each adapter is unique (i.e., is identified to the OS by its media access control—MAC—address), you can configure adapters of the same brand specifically for each of your secure wireless networks.
To access the Alternate Configuration tab, go to My Computer, open View Network Connections, right-click the connection you want to modify, and click Properties on the context menu. Select Internet Protocol on the General tab and click Properties, then click the Alternate Configuration tab. If you typically use DHCP, you can exclude an IP address range from the DHCP server's control and use that address range to provide alternate IP addresses. Doing so will help prevent duplicate IP address error messages.
2. READER CHALLENGE
(contributed by Kathy Ivens, [email protected])
Congratulations to our December Reader Challenge winners. Brad Ernst of Harlingen, Texas, wins first prize, a copy of "Admin911: Windows 2000 Registry." Richard K. McDonald of Lexington, Kentucky, wins second prize, a copy of "Admin911: Windows 2000 Group Policies," by Roger Jennings. Visit http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=27563 to read the answer to the December 2002 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 January 23, 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 answers. 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 solution to this month's problem at http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=37620 on January 23, 2003.
Let's pretend. You're a Help desk professional, and the IT administrator has loaded your computer—as well as the computers of the other four Help desk staff members at your company—with tools and a database in which you keep records of Help desk activities. Every computer is running a single OS (there are no dual-booting computers), which is either Windows XP or Windows 2000. No startup menu appears when you boot. You have the OS CD-ROM.
The administrator just came into the Help desk area and announced, "You need to keep your computers up and running, and you must recover from startup problems as quickly as possible. This means you must be able to get into Safe Mode or the Recovery Console quickly. The first person who shows me a startup menu with these options wins a month in the VIP parking space."
You want the VIP parking space because it's under a balcony and you're tired of scraping snow off your car. What steps do you take to create the startup menu?
3. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
We now face the first year without support for Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95, two milestone products that placed Microsoft at the forefront of server and desktop OS dominance. Microsoft retired mainstream support for NT 4.0 on December 31, 2002, effectively abandoning more than 4 million NT Server 4.0 and 10 million NT Workstation 4.0 machines in active use, unless individual IT decision makers choose to pay for continued support. For the more than 100 million Win95 users, the situation is even more grim: On December 31, Win95 (and all Windows 3.x products) reached what Microsoft calls End Of Life (EOL) status, which means the company will offer no more support—even for customers who will pay extra for it—and no more patches or security updates for Windows 3.x products.
To conspiracy-minded users, news of NT's and Win95's support status signal that Microsoft is trying to force users to upgrade to new products such as Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003 and Windows XP. But both NT and Win95 are more than 6 years old—an eon in the computer industry. When Microsoft first released Win95, for example, 16-bit software ruled the desktop, IBM's OS/2 was a viable desktop alternative, Novell NetWare dominated the server space, and Linux was in an embryonic state, typically distributed on floppy disk. Much has changed since then, and if the endless cavalcade of Windows desktop and server releases since 1996 hasn't caused users to upgrade, Win.NET Server or XP is unlikely to do so either. Computers and the software systems that drive them are more resilient and long-lasting than ever before, despite complaints to the contrary.
So what are your options? If you still run NT on desktops or laptops, Microsoft offers XP Professional Edition and Windows 2000 Professional. Both products offer advanced power management and offline capabilities, support for new hardware, Active Directory (AD) integration, and various other technologies that were only a gleam in some engineer's eye when NT shipped in mid-1996. Although I understand why some corporations continue using NT on the server for various reasons—especially in small organizations in which NT simply works and no business reason to upgrade exists—I have little patience for people who still run NT on desktop and laptop systems. My advice now, as it was when Win2K first shipped, is to upgrade your workforce to Win2K (or XP) before you upgrade any servers. Either OS will make people more productive through longer battery life, better stability, and more seamless integration with back-end services, networks, and the Internet. And modern desktop hardware is relatively inexpensive.
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)
"The Windows XP/2000 Answer Book," by John Savill, answers more than 1000 FAQs about the latest and most powerful versions of Windows. You'll discover key information about installation, customization, Active Directory, Internet support, security, and much more. Amazon.com readers are giving it five stars, so get your copy today!
(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])
Like many longtime Windows users, I employ the little Notepad application bundled in Windows. I use Notepad primarily to take notes or as a scratch pad when I'm working on other projects or sitting in meetings. Because I use the application a lot, I want it to always open files with the same window positioning and to remember how I configured program settings such as word wrapping and fonts. To make sure it does so, I make the following quick changes in the registry:
- Launch regedit.
- Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Notepad.
- To save configuration information, double-click fSavePageSettings and change the value to 1.
- To save window positioning, double-click fSaveWindowPositions and change the value to 1.
Forum member "looking4help" has a user whose Windows 2000 computer displays a plain blue screen, instead of her desktop, when she logs on to the network. The user has to press various keys before her desktop appears. When looking4help logs on to the user's machine as the administrator, the blue screen doesn't appear. He knows the problem probably has something to do with the user's profile, but he doesn't know where to start to find the solution. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])
Microsoft released the Microsoft Outlook 2002 Connector, a software add-on that lets Outlook 2002 users access an IBM Lotus Domino Release 5 (R5) server to accomplish messaging, calendar, and scheduling tasks. Users can use either Lotus Notes or Outlook 2002 in either a Domino email infrastructure or a mixed Lotus and Microsoft Exchange Server environment. The Microsoft Outlook 2002 Connector is free with an Outlook 2002 license and is available on the Office XP Resource Kit Web site at
Peer Software announced PeerSync Pro 7.0, software that synchronizes and backs up files. The product is now integrated with St. Bernard Software's Embedded Open File Manager software, a partner utility that synchronizes open files during backups, even if the files are locked or in use. PeerSync Pro 7.0 supports Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x. Contact Peer Software at 631-979-1770, or [email protected]
7. CONTACT US
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