Windows Client UPDATE, June 5, 2003

Windows Client UPDATE--June 5, 2003

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1. Commentary: Multimedia Software Performance 2. News & Views - Microsoft Changes Licensing Program, Lowers Cost for Microsoft Office

3. Announcements - Cast Your Vote in Our Annual Readers' Choice Awards! - Get Exclusive VIP Web Site Access!

4. Resources - Tip: Removing the "Hide the 'Add Programs from Microsoft'" GPO Option from Windows Computers - Featured Thread: Compatibility with Display Themes

5. Events - Security 2003 Road Show

6. New and Improved - Inventory Networked Systems - Automatically Shut Down Systems - Submit Top Product Ideas

7. Contact Us - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. Commentary: Multimedia Software Performance ==== by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

Lately, I've found myself recommending Windows XP for, of all things, video editing. Windows Movie Maker is a user-friendly application, and combining it and a digital video camera with an IEEE 1394 connection to your computer affords a simple and easy to way to create video content for yourself, your friends, your Web site, or your business.

I've been creating extended-length content, averaging about an hour, for performance artists to use as part of their theatrical resumes. Even with a fast Pentium 4 processor, 1GB of memory, and Ultra SCSI hard disks, creating a .wmv file with a decent bit rate (usually 1.2Mbps) means I might as well go out for coffee and probably lunch if I want to use my fast computer with its state-of-the art multitasking OS for anything more than creating this content. What's worse is that if I work on this task on one of the SMP-capable computers in my office, I gain no appreciable increase in performance. Despite 10 years of developers writing applications for Windows NT and its derivative OSs, almost no progress has been made in leveraging the capabilities of the OS to use multiple processors for anything other than server-based applications such as Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Exchange Server.

Now that software for image and video editing is becoming commonplace, these applications need to offer the best possible performance. Microsoft isn't the only offender in this category--most of the top-selling video-editing tools share the single-CPU orientation. And don't get me started on CD- and DVD-burning tools. Not only do these applications want to be the only software running, some of the less-capable tools produce corrupted, useless discs if they don't get uninterrupted access to system resources.

Because I'm doing a lot of video and image editing and burning the results of my efforts to disc, I've dedicated a system to the task. But that's not a practical solution for most small office/home office (SOHO) users. Video is a powerful tool, whether you're creating a permanent record of a child's school graduation or applying the technology as a business or sales tool to give customers and clients a more interactive view of your work. But if video applications can't happily integrate with average office automation tools, customer acceptance of multimedia development as an everyday task will be slow.

As a user, all you can do is ask vendors to address the multimedia software performance problem. Using custom-edited multimedia in business presentations introduces a big "gee whiz" factor, which makes learning how to make use of multimedia worth your time and effort. Just keep in mind that creating your own custom video and burning discs is an all-consuming task for your computer.

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==== 2. News & Views ==== by Keith Furman, [email protected]

Microsoft Changes Licensing Program, Lowers Cost for Microsoft Office

Microsoft Licensing 6.0, the delayed and maligned licensing program that Microsoft finally introduced last summer, is about to undergo changes to add business value for corporations that purchase volume licensing for Microsoft software. According to many reports, Microsoft's most recent licensing program increased prices for about 60 percent of customers, as compared with the company's previous licensing programs. A Microsoft Volume Licensing option called the Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) program lets customers sign up for subscription-like payments over a 2- or 3-year period. SA gives customers access to the most recent versions of Microsoft software during the subscription period. Beginning in September, Microsoft will give SA subscribers new services that will make the subscription a better value. Depending on the program, product, and region, these new services will include home-use rights to let employees legally use their work copies of Microsoft Office products at home, access to online training resources, vouchers for employees to attend training courses at technical centers, access to Web-based technical support resources, and phone-based technical support during regular business hours. For more information about these new free services, visit the Microsoft Licensing Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing .

==== 3. Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Cast Your Vote in Our Annual Readers' Choice Awards!

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==== 4. Resources ====

Tip: Removing the "Hide the 'Add Programs from Microsoft'" GPO Option from Windows Computers (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

One way to remove the temptation from your users to add additional Microsoft-supplied features to their Windows computers is to use the Group Policy Object (GPO) option "Hide the 'Add programs from Microsoft,'" which you'll find in the Add/Remove Windows Components option in the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet. You can accomplish the same result by manually making the same registry change that the GPO does. Making this change stops users from adding to a computer Microsoft-supplied components that weren't installed when the computer was first configured. Take the following steps:


1. Launch regedit.
2. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Policies\Uninstall.
3. Add a NoAddFromInternet value of type REG_DWORD.
4. Set the data value to 1.
5. Exit the registry editor.

Featured Thread: Compatibility with Display Themes

Forum member droberpca recently installed Windows XP on his PC. He uses an older application that displays correctly when XP is set to the Windows Classic theme but that won't display correctly when XP is set to the Windows XP theme. On the Compatibility tab in the application's Properties dialog box, he can't find a combination of compatibility properties that lets the application display correctly in the Windows XP theme. He doesn't want to set the machine display for only one application. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=36&tid=59572

==== 5. Events ==== (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

Security 2003 Road Show

Join Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott as they deliver sound security advice at our popular Security 2003 Road Show event. http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/security2003

==== 6. New and Improved ==== by Sue Cooper, [email protected]

Inventory Networked Systems

Alchemy Lab released Asset Tracker for Networks, a tool to inventory your systems' hardware and software components over the network. You can configure the software on your network server and begin collecting data in 15 minutes. The tool collects data from network workstations. The data includes information about OSs, processors, memory, WinSock, hard disks, storage devices, printers, video subsystems, installed devices, and software packages. Asset Tracker for Networks runs on Windows XP/2000/NT/Me/9x. Pricing starts at $199. Contact Alchemy Lab at http://www.alchemy-lab.com

Automatically Shut Down Systems

Barefoot Productions announced AutoShutdown 4.1, a utility to let you control how and when your workstations shut down. You can use the tool to log off a user, restart Windows, or shut down a system either at a date and time that you determine, after a specific period of inactivity, or when you press a hot key that you've preconfigured. AutoShutdown can delete files, clean files by overwriting them, empty the recycle bin, delete temporary files, remove cookies, clear history files, clear the Internet cache, and run any program you specify before shutting down a computer. You can configure security options to prevent users from disabling the software. An option in the professional version lets AutoShutdown run in the background as a system service on Windows XP/2000 systems. AutoShutdown supports Windows XP/2000/Me/98. Contact Barefoot Productions at 303-665-7843 or [email protected] http://www.barefootinc.com

Submit Top Product Ideas

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

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==== 7. Contact Us ====

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