Windows Client UPDATE, March 6, 2003

Windows Client UPDATE--brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network http://www.winnetmag.net

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March 6, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - Navigating the Waters of Wireless Networking

2. NEWS & VIEWS - Leaked Longhorn Build Shows Little Progress

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Join the HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show! - Start Your Spring Training with Windows & .NET Magazine Web Seminars!

4. RESOURCES - Tip: Disabling EFS in XP and Win2K - Featured Thread: Internet Explorer Service Packs and Hotfixes

5. NEW AND IMPROVED - Control Two Computers from One Console - Submit Top Product Ideas

6. CONTACT US See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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1.

COMMENTARY

(David Chernicoff, [email protected])

* NAVIGATING THE WATERS OF WIRELESS NETWORKING

Just when you thought it was safe to dive into the wireless networking world, it appears the waters aren't as calm as they seem. I hadn't received any email about problems with 802.11x wireless devices in quite a few months when suddenly a half-dozen messages from different readers popped into my Inbox, all asking similar questions. Each reader was having interoperability problems when moving between wireless networks with different vendor hardware, or performance problems with new wireless hardware.

My correspondents were all knowledgeable users, and their messages recounted tales of using the tips I've presented in the past, plus a few tricks I hadn't heard of, to no avail. A careful comparison of the details in all the messages revealed a common factor: All these readers were using equipment based on the 802.11g wireless standard. If you haven't been keeping up with wireless networking, the 802.11g specification is for 54Mbps wireless network--it's similar to the 802.11a standard but has the added benefit of compatibility with the 11Mbps 802.11b standard.

My discovery solved the performance problem question for me, so I quickly sent a message back to each reader. The responses I received confirmed my suspicions: Each reader was on a network that had users running 802.11b network adapters. When an 802.11g device senses the presence of 802.11b devices, it slows down to 11Mbps for compatibility. So, the readers who were attempting a gradual upgrade of their wireless networks weren't seeing any benefit from using new hardware, nor would they until all of the legacy wireless networking devices were off the networks. One reader replied that he would need to stop a corporatewide wireless upgrade; about 10 months previously, his company had upgraded its entire sales force to notebook computers with built-in 802.11b wireless networking. He had thought that he could gradually move to the faster wireless standard but now felt he had to reconsider the expense of doing so if his company wouldn't see any benefit until the next round of notebook upgrades, which was at least 18 months down the road.

Regarding the question of incompatibility among vendor hardware, these readers are bleeding edge and had purchased products according to the 802.11g draft specification, which is bound to change quickly over time. I don't know the specific differences the readers found between the different devices they were using, but the differences were enough to prevent communication between the devices. Testing for interoperability is happening industrywide; I expect the problems to be ironed out quickly.

On the plus side, the advent of 802.11a and 802.11g technologies have brought the price of reliable 802.11b products down sharply. If you haven't taken the plunge into wireless networking, you can start with 802.11b products without breaking the bank.

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2.

NEWS AND VIEWS

(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])

* LEAKED LONGHORN BUILD SHOWS LITTLE PROGRESS

A newly leaked build of Longhorn, the next Windows desktop version, shows little progress over previous builds I've evaluated, suggesting that the product is still many months away from completion. Longhorn build 4008 mysteriously showed up on Usenet on February 28, sending enthusiasts scrambling to download the prerelease code. Delivered in ISO form, the Longhorn build can upgrade an existing Windows XP installation or be installed from scratch in its own partition.

One advance in build 4008 is a setup routine that lets you install the product in less than 20 minutes with only one reboot--a major improvement over XP or Windows 2000, which generally take 45 minutes to an hour to install. How Microsoft achieved such a speedy installation time is unclear, but many previously configurable options are missing.

The basic Longhorn UI has changed little from previous builds, and build 4008 still uses the ugly and temporary "Plex" visual style. However, Plex is a placeholder and will be replaced by a visually stunning new UI. Missing in this build is Windows Future Storage (WinFS), the Microsoft SQL Server "Yukon"-based file system, although interesting improvements to search and file-display filtering perhaps hint at functionality to come.

3.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

* JOIN THE HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW!

Now is the time to start thinking of storage as a strategic weapon in your IT arsenal. Come to our 10-city Network Storage Solutions Road Show, and learn how existing and future storage solutions can save your company money--and make your job easier! There is no fee for this event, but space is limited. Register today! http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas

* START YOUR SPRING TRAINING WITH WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE WEB SEMINARS!

March is a great time to strengthen your knowledge of security and Active Directory. Register today for one of our Web seminars, and find out what our experts know that could be saving you hours of time and your company bundles of money. Sign up now! http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars

4.

RESOURCES

* TIP: DISABLING EFS IN XP AND WIN2K (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

A reader who supports traveling users dropped me a line to ask whether he could stop these casually connected users from using Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows XP and Windows 2000 to encrypt files and folders on their computers. A slight change to the registry can disable this OS feature. Take the following steps:


1. Launch regedit.
2. Open the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EFS registry subkey.
3. Create a subkey of type REG_DWORD and name it EfsConfiguration.
4. Set the data value to 1.
5. Exit the registry editor.
6. Reboot Windows.

* FEATURED THREAD: INTERNET EXPLORER SERVICE PACKS AND HOTFIXES

Forum member "smsadmin" would like to find a script to use with Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) to determine which Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) service packs and hotfixes are installed on specific PCs in his network. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=37&tid=55446

5.

NEW AND IMPROVED

(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])

* CONTROL TWO COMPUTERS FROM ONE CONSOLE

Belkin introduced the OmniView 2-Port KVM Switch with Built-In Cabling, which lets you control two PS/2 computers from one console. Features include PS/2 mouse and keyboard emulation for smooth booting and operation, and hot-key keyboard commands. Built-in 8-foot coaxial VGA cabling supports video resolution of as much as 2048 x 1536. The OmniView 2-Port KVM Switch supports Windows, DOS, Linux, and Novell NetWare OSs. Pricing is $49.99. Contact Belkin at [email protected] or Belkin's Web site. http://www.belkin.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 What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

6.

CONTACT US

Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

* ABOUT THE COMMENTARY -- [email protected]

* ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL -- [email protected] (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

* TECHNICAL QUESTIONS -- http://www.winnetmag.net/forums

* PRODUCT NEWS -- [email protected]

* QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION? Customer Support -- [email protected]

* WANT TO SPONSOR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE? -- [email protected]

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