Windows Client UPDATE, October 2, 2003

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1. Commentary: Learn About Microsoft Software Update Services
2. Reader Challenge
- September 2003 Reader Challenge Winners
- October 2003 Reader Challenge


3. News & Views
- XP Security Rollup Package in Beta
4. Announcements
- Your Windows Registry May Have Errors and Need Repair!
- Check Out Our 2 New Web Seminars!


5. Resources
- Tip: Giving Notebook Users Access to XP's Power Management Tools
- Featured Thread: Windows Pop-up Informational Message


6. Events
- The Mobile & Wireless Road Show Is Coming to Tampa and Atlanta!


7. New and Improved
- Grab Your Data and Settings and Go
- 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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Editor's Note: To help reduce the amount of email our readers receive, we're changing the frequency of Windows Client UPDATE from once a week to two times a month. You'll still receive all the great commentary, news, tips, and, of course, the Reader Challenge, that you count on Windows Client UPDATE to provide. Beginning with this issue, look for us on the first and third Thursday of every month.

==== 1. Commentary: Learn About Microsoft Software Update Services ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

I've been getting a lot of email about keeping client computers updated with the latest security patches and bug fixes, so I think it's time to discuss Microsoft Software Update Services. SUS is a server-side application that lets network administrators configure local Update Servers to be used in lieu of Microsoft's Automatic Updates service. The SUS software is easy to set up. In an Active Directory (AD) environment, you can use a Group Policy Object (GPO) to configure SUS for your client computers. In a domain or workgroup environment, you'll need to make a client-side registry edit to configure SUS.

The SUS download is a little larger than 32MB and is available from Microsoft's Software Update Services Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/windowsupdate/sus/default.asp . SUS runs on Windows 2003 Server or Windows 2000. (I run SUS on a Windows 2003 server in my small office/home office--SOHO--network.) Running the executable download installs SUS and launches the Web configuration console.

If you're familiar with basic networking concepts and how Automatic Updates works, you can easily walk through SUS's configuration steps. You handle all configuration through a Web browser interface. You can configure SUS remotely, but the user who configures SUS must be a local administrator on the SUS server, even in a domain or AD environment.

The optimum SUS setup for most networks is configuring client computers to force updates on a regular schedule. With this configuration, all updates install automatically, and only users with local administrator rights on their client machines can stop an update from installing. Network administrators download updates from Microsoft Update servers to the local SUS server and approve the updates for distribution after making certain the update is safe to deploy. If you don't deem it necessary to test updates before releasing them to your clients, you can configure SUS to automatically make all new updates immediately available. You can configure your SUS server to automatically check for updates from Microsoft daily, on a schedule you specify, or only when you manually synchronize the SUS server with the Microsoft Update servers.

If you use Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS), you need to use the SMS 2.0 Software Update Services Feature Pack. This version of SUS is specific to SMS 2.0 (SUS is integrated in the soon-to-be released SMS 2003) but for all intents and purposes uses the basic SUS technology to distribute software updates to client computers that have SMS agents installed.

The most troublesome aspect of SUS is the original setup. When you first configure SUS, you need to download all available updates to distribute from your SUS server. When I configured a new SUS server last week, I needed to download 164 packages that totaled almost a gigabyte of data. Although my Internet connection is capable of significant download speeds, I was able to maintain a transfer rate of only about 140Kbps when I pulled the updates from the heavily used Microsoft Update servers.

I don't think any real downside to using SUS exists, even in fairly small environments. SUS doesn't require AD or a domain, so even users in large workgroups can benefit from SUS's centralized updating capabilities.

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==== 2. Reader Challenge ====
by Kathy Ivens, [email protected]

September 2003 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to our September Challenge winners! Louisa Volpe of Massachusetts wins first prize, a copy of "Admin911:Windows 2000 Registry." Robert Townsend of New Jersey wins second prize, a copy of "Admin911:Windows 2000 Group Policy." Visit http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=40248 to read the solution to the September Reader Challenge.

October 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 October 16, 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 (and 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=40429 on October 16, 2003.


Some companies like to make sure that all their users maintain the same desktop display settings as a way of ensuring that screen resolution and other settings are optimized for company applications. In addition, many companies just like to make sure that all corporate client desktops look the same. As a writer who specializes in computer subjects, I need to worry about settings and color schemes when I choose figures and illustrations for my books and articles. Each publishing company I work with has its own set of configuration options for graphics files and another set of configuration options for display settings on computers that supply screen shots and other illustrations. No two book publishers use the same combination of settings, so if you write for multiple publishers, you need to keep track of which publisher wants what. Some publishers send authors lengthy instructions for configuring the display settings on a computer used to supply figures. These instructions specify the color of individual entities such as application windows, active title bars, inactive title bars, and tooltips. After spending half an hour setting up the individual elements on a computer and naming the finished configuration (using the publisher's name), I have to repeat the process on one or more additional computers (e.g., to compare server and client tasks). I'm very lazy, so I want to configure only one Windows XP machine and one Windows 2000 machine. I then want to copy those settings to all the computers on my network. Tell me how to copy my configured and saved settings to other computers in both XP and Win2K.

==== 3. News & Views ====
by Mark Joseph Edwards, [email protected]

XP Security Rollup Package in Beta

Microsoft hasn't officially made an announcement yet, but according to Neowin.net, Microsoft has released a beta version of its forthcoming Security Rollup Package 1 (SRP1) for Windows XP.

Neowin.net posted a link from which users could download a copy of the SRP1 beta from Microsoft's Betaplace Web site, but Microsoft quickly requested that the link be removed. The release version of the security rollup package is expected to contain more than 20 security patches for XP that are currently available individually.

==== 4. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

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==== 5. Resources ====

Tip: Giving Notebook Users Access to XP's Power Management Tools
contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

Some Windows XP notebook users who aren't configured as local administrators on their computer might need to change their notebook's power management features when they're away from the office and the tender mercies of IT support. You can give users access to the power management tools without granting them elevated rights to anything else. To do so, take the following steps:
1. Log on to the notebook computer as an Administrator.
2. Launch the registry editor.
3. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Controls Folder\PowerCfg\GlobalPowerPolicy.
4. Grant the nonadministrator user Full Control over this registry subkey.
5. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Controls Folder\PowerCfg\PowerPolicies.
6. Grant the nonadministrator user Full Control over this registry subkey.
7. Exit the editor and log off the computer.

Featured Thread: Windows Pop-up Informational Message

Forum member jtra's company is looking for a third-party product that can display a list of weekly company events either before or after users log on to Windows or present the information as a pop-up when the user presses Ctrl+Alt+Del. The message to be displayed isn't a legal caption. In addition, the information displayed will change weekly or when necessary. If you know of such a product, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=36&tid=63818

==== 6. Events ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

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==== 7. New and Improved ====
by Sue Cooper, [email protected]

Grab Your Data and Settings and Go

Forward Solutions announced Migo, a key-sized USB flash memory device that includes Migo's PocketLogin synchronization and management software. Migo captures your PC environment and replicates it to a compatible Windows computer. Replicated data includes your desktop background image and personal settings, Internet favorites, Microsoft Outlook email accounts, video clips, presentations, and documents. Migo synchronizes your Outlook contacts and calendars, letting you send and receive email while you're away from your desktop. When you plug Migo into an Internet-connected PC, the device automatically detects software and hardware upgrades. Migo supports USB 1.1 and plans to support USB 2.0 this fall. Pricing is $149.95 for the 128MB version and $199.95 for the 256MB version. You can find a list of Migo resellers at http://www.4migo.com. http://www.forwardsolutions.info

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==== 8. Contact Us ====

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