Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--What Microsoft's Windows 9x Licensing Moves Mean to You--January 27, 2004

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New Web Seminar: Email Is a Service--Manage It Like One


1. Commentary: What Microsoft's Windows 98 Licensing Moves Mean to You

2. Hot Off the Press
- Search This, Google: Microsoft Adds Free Toolbar, Pop-Up Ad Blocking to IE

3. Keeping Up with Win2K and NT
- A Terminal Services Print Fix, 2 Win2K AD Bug Fixes, a Chkdsk Problem, and More

4. Announcements
- Announcing a New eBook: "Content Security in the Enterprise--Spam and Beyond"
- Download a Free eBook--"A Guide to Group Policy"

5. Instant Poll
- Results of Previous Poll: Windows SFU
- New Instant Poll: Windows 9x Systems

6. Resources
- Tip: How can I determine which domain is the forest root domain?

7. Event
- New--Microsoft Security Strategies Roadshow! 8. New and Improved
- Eliminate Password Reset Calls to the Help Desk
- Protect Your Computer From Unauthorized Access
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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

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==== 1. Commentary: What Microsoft's Windows 98 Licensing Moves Mean to You ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

Two weeks ago, Microsoft extended the support cycle for Windows 98 and Win98 Second Edition (Win98SE) an additional 30 months to mid-2006, bringing that product family in line with the company's recent decision to move to a 7-year support cycle for its enterprise offerings. My initial reaction to the news was muted: Win98 seems like ancient history, and although I'm happy to see that the company will address any pressing security concerns for the foreseeable future, obviously Microsoft isn't going to be redirecting any programming talent from Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), the next Windows Server revision, or Longhorn (the next major client release). But the company's decision a week later to provide Windows Services for UNIX (SFU) 3.5 for free got me thinking: Perhaps we should recast all of Microsoft's moves in light of the threat from Linux. Is the software giant extending Win98 support to prevent Linux from making any desktop inroads?

Consider the facts. Win98 still comprises a healthy amount of the installed base in enterprises and small- and midsized businesses worldwide. Many of those installations are running on dated hardware that can't or shouldn't run XP, let alone Longhorn, which is due in late 2005 at the earliest (2006 is a more reasonable guess). Upgrading most of these machines will require a complete system purchase, associated custom software installations, and a support contract. And although most people agree that the cost of software is one of the least expensive aspects of a system's overall lifetime cost, Microsoft software is still expensive, especially for shops that are Microsoft-centric. Implementing key Microsoft technologies often requires you to invest in numerous Microsoft products, each with its own licensing costs and complications.

However, moving to Linux won't necessarily save you much money, unless you can economically train your employees to use Linux-based workstations running open-source software (OSS) such as and Mozilla. For many companies, this migration is quite doable, and more and more often we're seeing governments, both locally and around the globe, investigating or even beginning the move toward Linux-based solutions that replace Microsoft installations. And governments, from an IT perspective, are simply centrally run corporations, so the parallel is fairly obvious. The best-known example of a government moving to Linux is the city of Munich, Germany. Although the city has run into budgetary problems, its decision to move 14,000 desktops to Linux by 2006 is still widely cited and watched by OSS backers as a big win for free software solutions.

So how does Microsoft's Win98 licensing moves help keep customers running Windows? First, the extended support prevents many companies from jumping ship quickly; if Win98 support had ended this month, many companies would have started investigating alternatives, including XP. This process would likely escalate each time a new security vulnerability was announced and not fixed on Win98 systems. Resentment over this situation might have been enough to cause many to consider Linux solutions. But even a fully supported Windows version--XP--might not be enough to keep most Microsoft customers in line. Although the company regularly releases XP patches, Windows-based patch management is still a nightmare and likely will be well into 2004.

Now temporarily mollified by the extended support cycle, many customers who are still on the fence can take part in a bit of high-tech gambling. Using the past as a reference, it's pretty clear that Microsoft responds to customer licensing complaints, and the company has changed its licensing policies for the better at least a half dozen times since it announced its controversial Licensing 6.0 program. Going forward, customers still running Win98 can hold out for better terms or, at the least, for a Software Assurance (SA) plan that covers both XP and Longhorn. Better licensing terms can save companies money over time because they'll be able to milk their existing Win98 systems for another year or two.

Interestingly, even Microsoft's public statements about the support policy change hint that the company is concerned about the Linux threat. "Microsoft made this decision to accommodate customers worldwide who are still dependent upon these operating systems and to provide Microsoft more time to communicate its product lifecycle support guidelines in a handful of markets--particularly smaller and emerging markets," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. These smaller and emerging markets are typically even more cash-strapped than corporations in major economies and more likely to consider OSS solutions. And many countries are in the process of defining governmental IT purchasing policies and are looking increasingly hard at nonproprietary, low-cost Linux-based solutions.

If you're still running a large percentage of Win98-based PCs in your company, I'm interested in hearing why that's so and what your upgrade plans are for the future, if any. Have Microsoft's support changes affected your upgrade decisions? And does Linux pose a viable alternative, given your business needs? Let me know what you think.

Tip: Grab the Latest Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer

The security-minded will want to pick up the latest version of Microsoft's graphical security tool, the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) 1.2, which adds support for Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, various Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) and Microsoft XML Core Services (MSXML) versions, the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine (JVM), all versions of BizTalk Server, Commerce Server 2002 and Commerce Server 2000, Content Management Server (CMS) 2002 and CMS 2001, Host Integration Server (HIS) 2004 and HIS 2000, and SNA Server 4.0. MBSA 1.2 runs on Windows Server 2003, XP, and Windows 2000 and can scan all those platforms plus Windows NT 4.0. The utility doesn't run on or scan Windows Me or Win98 systems. You can download this crucial tool from the Microsoft Web site.


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==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Search This, Google: Microsoft Adds Free Toolbar, Pop-Up Ad Blocking to IE
Like Netscape before it, tiny Google has awakened a sleeping giant. Microsoft has unveiled a free MSN Toolbar add-on for the dominant Internet Explorer (IE) Web browser. The MSN Toolbar looks almost identical to the Google toolbar, which provides searching, pop-up ad blocking, and other functionality. Even the MSN Toolbar's download page looks almost identical to the Google toolbar download page. Analysts have been touting Microsoft's secretive moves into Google's search dominance, and the State of Massachusetts recently cited the danger to Google as the rationale behind its new investigation of Microsoft. But until today, the software giant has made few public moves against Google. But, like a lumbering military machine, Microsoft has now fired the first salvo in what could eventually be a multipronged attack on the lucrative Internet search market. Read the entire story at the following URL:

==== 3. Keeping Up with Win2K and NT ====
by Paula Sharick, [email protected]

A Terminal Services Print Fix, 2 Win2K AD Bug Fixes, a Chkdsk Problem, and More

Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Server Terminal Services Print Fix
The Terminal Services service on Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 servers becomes confused when two users log on and one user has a more recent driver for the same network printer than the other user. When the user with the older print driver attempts to print a document, the server responds with an error message instructing the user to install a new printer. If the user then follows the message's instructions for installing a printer, the Print and Apply buttons for the default printer aren't available. The problem occurs because when the user with the newer print driver logs on, the terminal server generates a new spool file for the first user (the user with the older print driver), formatted according to the second user's more current print-driver instructions. When the server attempts to print the spool file, the format isn't compatible with the older driver, which causes the server to respond with the error message "No printers installed" or a similar error message. Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) has a patch for both Windows 2003 and Win2K platforms. The patch updates 21 files, most of which have a file release date of November 20, 2003. This problem is documented in the Microsoft article "You receive an error message when you try to print to a shared network printer in a terminal server session" ( ).

WEB-EXCLUSIVE ARTICLES: The following items are posted on the Windows & .NET Magazine Web site. For the complete story, use the following link and scroll to the appropriate article.
- Win2K AD Bug Fix
- Win2K Chkdsk Utility Resets ACLs on High-Capacity Disks
- Win2K AD Index Bug Might Crash DCs
- Win2K Dell OpenManage System Failure

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

Announcing a New eBook: "Content Security in the Enterprise--Spam and Beyond"
This eBook explores how to reduce and eliminate the risks from Internet applications such as email, Web browsing, and Instant Messaging by limiting inappropriate use, eliminating spam, protecting corporate information assets, and ensuring that these vital resources are secure and available for authorized business purposes. Download this eBook now free!

Download a Free eBook--"A Guide to Group Policy"
Find essential information for understanding and using Group Policy in Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 networks such as rolling out network security settings, controlling client desktops, deploying software, and performing a variety of other vital administrative functions. Download this eBook today!

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==== 5. Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Windows SFU
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Will your organization be taking advantage of Microsoft's new, free Windows Services for UNIX (SFU) tool?" Here are the results from the 223 votes:
- 26% Yes
- 58% No, we have no use for such a tool
- 16% I don't know

New Instant Poll: Windows 9x Systems
The next Instant Poll question is, "What percentage of your organization's computers are Windows 9x systems?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) None, b) Less than 10 percent, c) 10 to 30 percent, d) 30 to 50 percent, or e) More than 50 percent.

==== 6. Resources ====

Tip: How can I determine which domain is the forest root domain?
by John Savill,

Determining which domain is the forest root domain isn't simple in all cases. In a forest with one tree, the domain at the top of the tree namespace is the tree root. However, if your forest has multiple trees, determining which tree root is the forest root isn't so easy--no simple GUI view can give you this information. However, you can identify the forest root by performing either of the following series of steps on a machine that's a member of the forest:
1. Start Notepad and copy the following commands into the application:

Set objSysInfo = CreateObject("ADSystemInfo") Wscript.Echo "Forest DNS Name: " & objSysInfo.ForestDNSName

2. Save the file as forestroot1.vbs.
3. Exit Notepad, then double-click forestroot1.vbs in Windows Explorer.
4. Windows will display the DNS name of the forest root.

Or, you can perform the following steps:
1. Start Notepad and copy the following commands into the application:

Set objRootDSE = GetObject("LDAP://RootDSE") Wscript.Echo "Root Domain: " & objRootDSE.Get("RootDomainNamingContext")

2. Save the file as forestroot2.vbs.
3. Exit Notepad, then double-click forestroot2.vbs in Windows Explorer.
4. Windows will display the distinguished name (DN) of the forest root.

Because both files are VBScript files, you can also use CScript to run them from the command line. For example, when I type

cscript forestroot1.vbs

my computer returns the following information:

Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.6 Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 1996-2001. All rights reserved.

Forest DNS Name:

Likewise, when I type

cscript forestroot2.vbs

my computer returns the following information:

Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.6 Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 1996-2001. All rights reserved.

Root Domain: DC=savilltech,DC=com

==== 7. Event ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Microsoft Security Strategies Roadshow!
We've teamed with Microsoft, Avanade, and Network Associates to bring you a full day of training to help you get your organization secure and keep it secure. You'll learn how to implement a patch-management strategy; lock down servers, workstations, and network infrastructure; and implement security policy management. Register now for this free, 20-city tour.

==== 8. New and Improved ====
by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Eliminate Password Reset Calls to the Help Desk
Protocom Development Systems released SecureLogin Self Service Password Reset (SSPR) 1.6, companion technology to SecureLogin Single Sign-On (SSO). SecureLogin SSPR integrates with SecureLogin SSO to eliminate all network-related password reset calls to the Help desk. SecureLogin SSO provides one password to the network while SecureLogin SSPR lets users reset that one password when necessary. To reset their network password with SecureLogin SSPR, users access the SecureLogin SSPR interface through the corporate intranet, enter their email address or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) username, and answer the passphrase question correctly to reset password. SecureLogin Self Service Password Reset costs $17 per user license. Contact Protocom Development Systems at 800-581-3502.

Protect Your Computer From Unauthorized Access
DMVsoft released ActiveScreenLock, software that lets users protect their computers from unauthorized access. The program adds a password-protected window placed on top of all the others. To remove the window, a user needs to enter a correct password. The software blocks key combinations such as Alt+F4, Ctrl+Alt+Del, Alt+Tab, and WinKey. The program logs all invalid access attempts and wrong passwords entered. Pricing is $24.95 for a license. Contact DMVsoft at [email protected]

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

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==== 9. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]


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TAGS: Security
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