Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE--February 14, 2005

Windows Tips &amp Tricks UPDATE, February 14, 2005, —brought to you by the Windows IT Pro Network and the Windows 2000 FAQ site
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FAQs

  • Q. What's the Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 Capacity Planner?
  • Q. How can I enable complex passwords on my Windows Server 2003 Active Directory (AD) domain?
  • Q. How can I check whether my installation was a fresh installation or was created via a Sysprep image?
  • Q. What's the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool?
  • Q. Why do I receive an "Access denied" error when I try to access Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 via the Virtual Server Administration Web site?

Commentary
by John Savill, FAQ Editor, [email protected]

In this issue, I tell you all about the SMS 2003 Capacity Planner and the Malicious Software Removal Tool; I explain how to enable complex passwords on a Windows 2003 AD domain and how to check whether an installation was created via a Sysprep image; and I tell you about a solution to an Access denied error when trying to access Virtual Server 2005 via the Virtual Server Administration Web site.


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FAQs

Q. What's the Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 Capacity Planner?

A. A. Microsoft provides the SMS 2003 Capacity Planner tool, which supplements Microsoft's documentation and offers guidance for planning SMS 2003 site designs. You can download the Capacity Planner tool at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=009E0C30-BDED-4B95-A8F9-06037DE85C57&displaylang=en . Double-click the self-compressing executable to extract the tool and user guide. The Capacity Planner is a Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet containing macros that use information that you enter about your environment and about how SMS will be used to calculate recommended site server placements and predict how much network traffic the design will generate. The tool also recommends the hardware needed for different site system options. The figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/sms2003capplanner.gif shows some sample site planning data. The Capacity Planner tool analyzes the data and suggests SMS site topology configurations and corresponding hardware configurations for site servers and site systems. You can find more information about the Capacity Planner tool at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/sms/sms2003/deploy/spgsms03/spsms13.mspx .

Q. How can I enable complex passwords on my Windows Server 2003 Active Directory (AD) domain?

A. A. On a new Windows 2003 domain, complex password creation is enabled by default; however, to configure complex passwords for an upgraded domain or to simply modify the password settings, perform these steps: 1. Open the Group Policy Object (GPO) that's linked at the domain level. For example, open the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, right-click the domain, select Properties, select the Group Policy tab, select the GPO, then click Edit. Doing so opens Group Policy Editor (GPE). Remember that password policies are part of the Account Settings group and take effect only when you set them at domain level; they won't be implemented if you set them at site or organizational unit (OU) levels. 2. Select Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Account Policies, Password Policy. 3. Double-click the relevant settings and set them to the settings you want (e.g., Password must meet complexity requirements," "Minimum password length," "Maximum password age"). The figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/ad2003complexpasswords.gif shows the default settings for a new Windows 2003 domain, which are a good baseline. 4. Close GPE.

Q. How can I check whether my installation was a fresh installation or was created via a Sysprep image?

A. A. To determine whether an installation was created via a Sysprep disk image, perform these steps (on Windows NT 4.0 or later): 1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe). 2. Go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup registry subkey. 3. If the CloneTag subkey exists, your machine was created from a Sysprep image. The value of the CloneTag subkey is the date and time that the image was created. 4. You'll also see a CmdLine subkey, which is the command that runs on the machine's first start-up (e.g., "setup.exe -newsetup -mini," which tells the setup to perform a mini, GUI-based setup).

Q. Q. What's the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool?

A. A. The Malicious Software Removal Tool detects and removes high-profile viruses. The tool runs on all versions of Windows 2000 or later. This is not a real-time tool but rather an application you run periodically. You can obtain the tool via the Windows Update site; by default it will download, run in the background, then delete itself once a month. If you want to run the tool more frequently, download it at http://www.microsoft.com/security/malwareremove/default.mspx . Simply execute this file, called Windows-KB890830-ENU.exe, accept the license terms, and click Finish when the tool finishes running, as the figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/malremovaltool.gif shows. Remember, this tool doesn't connect to Microsoft to obtain new virus definitions each time it runs; the definitions are built into the tool. Therefore, it's important that you download the file every month when Microsoft releases a new version.

Q. Why do I receive an "Access denied" error when I try to access Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 via the Virtual Server Administration Web site?

A. A. The enhanced security features of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows XP SP2 cause a permissions problem with Virtual Server 2005 access via the Virtual Server Administration Web site, as the figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/virtservsperror.gif shows. To correct the problem, you need to grant the Authenticated Users group permissions in the Distributed COM (DCOM) configuration. To do so, perform these steps: 1. Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) DCOM Configuration snap-in (Start, Run, dcomcnfg.exe). 2. Expand Component Services, Computers, My Computer, DCOM Config. 3. Right-click Virtual Server in the right pane of the DCOM Configuration utility and select Properties from the displayed context menu. 4. Select the Security tab. 5. In the Launch and Activation Permission dialog box, select Customize and click Edit. 6. In the "Group or user names" section, select Authenticated Users. (If Authenticated Users isn't displayed, click Add and add the Authenticated Users group). 7. Enable Local Activation and Remote Activation by selecting the "Allow" check boxes, as the figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/images/virtservsperrfix.gif shows.

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