Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--Microsoft Preps Windows XP Professional x64 Edition--August 24, 2004

Make sure your copy of Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE doesn't get mistakenly blocked by antispam software! Be sure to add [email protected] to your list of allowed senders and contacts.

This Issue Sponsored By


Windows Scripting Solutions


1. Commentary
- Microsoft Preps Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

2. Hot Off the Press
- New IE Flaw Also Affects Windows XP SP2

3. Inside Windows Scripting Solutions
- September 2004 Issue
- Focus: Scripting and Programming Languages Similar??!

4. Resource
- Tip: Why is placing the Sysvol directory on a separate partition a good practice?

5. New and Improved
- Handle Large Amounts of Bandwidth
- Meet Service-Level Commitments
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

==== Sponsor: NetIQ ====

Free Download! Award-winning GROUP POLICY management tool Are auditors and compliance officers driving regulatory compliance down your throat? Did you know that Group Policy in Active Directory can help you meet those compliance requirements? Try NetIQ's award winning Group Policy Administrator for 30 days, and you'll see how you can more easily manage Group Policy to meet those compliance requirements.


==== 1. Commentary: Microsoft Preps Windows XP Professional x64 Edition ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

More than 3 years ago, I attended a Microsoft technical preview event featuring the company's first 64-bit Windows products, which ran on Intel's then-fledgling Itanium (IA-64) chips. The preview was an early indication that the software giant was serious about moving into the 64-bit world. However, since that time, both the IA-64 platform and Microsoft's 64-bit offerings have been less than stellar sellers. Indeed, some critics have started referring to the Itanium as the "Itanic."

Microsoft's 64-bit product road map needed an overhaul as well. Its Itanium-based products are confusingly named, seemingly rarely updated, and out of sync with its 32-bit Windows versions. Back in 2001, Microsoft announced something called Windows XP 64-Bit Edition; this product would run on Itanium-based workstations but offered only a subset of the features found in XP Professional Edition (32-bit). It was revived in March 2003 for the Itanium 2, and there is currently a service pack release in beta testing, which will confusingly be titled Windows XP 64-Bit Edition Version 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) when it ships next year at the same time as Windows Server 2003 SP1. No word yet on whether this release will include any of the 32-bit XP SP2 security features. I'm not hopeful. (If you think that naming scheme is confusing, consider Microsoft's IA-64 server versions. In 2001, the company shipped a product called Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition Version 2002, which was a pre-release version of Windows 2002 Advanced Server 64-bit Edition and was later rebranded as a version of Windows 2003.)

Despite a broad understanding that the computer industry was heading in a 64-bit direction, the technology had problems. One was Intel's decision--technically right though it might have been--to cocreate with HP a new 64-bit platform, the Itanium, which wouldn't be weighed down with the legacy problems of the 32-bit x86 platform. (I've discussed this topic in Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE, most recently in the February 24, 2004, commentary, "64-Bit Computing Gets More Interesting, More Complicated" at .) But some of the blame must be placed with Microsoft as well: The company just hasn't done a good job of getting 64-bit products to market. It also hasn't done a good job of keeping its 64-bit products in sync with its 32-bit products.

In early 2005, the 64-bit world will change, thanks to Microsoft embracing a new 64-bit platform that AMD originally introduced. Now adopted by Intel as well, the new platform, previously called AMD64, is officially titled x64 because of its complete backward compatibility with the x86 line of processors. That means that x64-based systems, whether running microprocessors from Intel or AMD, will be able to run 32-bit x86-based OSs and applications at full speed. They'll also be able to run 64-bit OSs and applications alongside 32-bit applications, all at full speed. Technically, the x64 design might seem relatively unsophisticated compared with Intel's all-new Itanium platform, but the x64 chips clearly will be the volume leader within months. And by this time next year, x64-based systems will be mainstream products in both the server and desktop markets.

To meet the expected demand for these x64 chips, Microsoft is ramping up production of its next-generation x64-based OSs and servers. This week, I focus on the x64 desktop, which will be represented by a new Windows version called XP Professional x64 Edition (previously called Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems). In a future column, I'll look at Microsoft's x64 server products.
Unlike the Itanium version of XP, XP Pro x64 will be functionally equivalent to the 32-bit version of XP Pro, with only minor differences. For example, XP Pro x64 won't support the 16-bit MS-DOS subsystem, so it won't run 16-bit DOS applications. It also won't support some legacy protocols, such as Apple Computer's AppleTalk and NetBEUI. Beyond that, everything you've come to expect from XP will be included, such as the Luna UI, the familiar bundled applications such as Windows Movie Maker and Windows Media Player (WMP), and all the security features from XP SP2. XP Pro x64 will also include all the technical capabilities from XP Pro SP2, such as hot-docking support, Bluetooth support, and the new wireless networking interface.

"We're positioning Windows XP Professional x64 Edition as an extension of the XP Professional product family," Brian Marr, product manager for Microsoft's Windows Client Group, told me last week. "You can expect to find just about everything in x64 that's available today in \[32-bit\] XP Pro. The goal is feature and architectural parity with XP Pro."

A beta version of XP Pro x64 is available today for free download from the Microsoft Web site (see URL below). Microsoft plans to ship a release candidate (RC) in late 2004, then release the product alongside Windows 2003 SP1 in the first half of 2005 (XP Pro x64 is based on the Windows 2003 SP1 codebase, Marr said). The product runs on top of any x64-based system, including those based on AMD Athlon 64 or Opteron chip, or Intel's latest 64-bit Xeon. The final version won't be sold at retail, but PC makers will bundle it with new systems. Customers who purchase x64 systems today will be able to use Microsoft's technology exchange program to deactivate their 32-bit OS and receive XP Pro x64 with a new product key when the final version ships next year. That means you can safely evaluate and purchase x64 desktops now, then move to the new OS when it ships next year.

Of course, even when XP Pro x64 does ship, you might want to hold off a bit. Though Marr told me that the driver set included with XP Pro x64 will rival that included with XP SP2, driver compatibility is sure to be a concern with the new system. To that end, Microsoft is working with its partners to ensure that device drivers are ported to the new OS, which can't use today's wellspring of 32-bit drivers. "Customers may see various out-of-the-box device support problems," he admitted. "Maybe your scanner works in 32-bit Windows, but not in x64, and there are no drivers on the scanner company's Web site. We've made a call to action to the device-driver community. We have the usual porting labs on campus. And OEMs and our biggest customers are working with partners to makes sure they're getting the right drivers out there."

Also, XP Pro x64 won't support upgrade installations, so you'll need to wipe out existing installations to install the new system, which might limit the product's appeal to early corporate adopters. But make no mistake, x64, not Itanium, is the future of 64-bit computing on the PC. As Marr said, "Look at it this way: XP \[Pro\] x64 is a major new release, but the Itanium release is only a service pack. We see XP Pro x64 as being a fantastic OS for our customers. It's reliable because it's based on the Windows Server 2003 codebase. It's more secure, thanks to the SP2 security features. It's functionally compatible with 32-bit XP. It's a fantastic OS."

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Customer Preview Program


==== Sponsor: Windows Scripting Solutions ====

Try a Sample Issue of Windows Scripting Solutions
Windows Scripting Solutions is the monthly newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that shows you how to automate time-consuming, administrative tasks by using our simple downloadable code and scripting techniques. Sign up for a sample issue right now, and find out how you can save both time and money. Click here!


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

New IE Flaw Also Affects Windows XP SP2
A newly discovered flaw in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) affects various IE releases, including the version in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), leaving users of the buggy browser open to attack. The flaw, which security firm Secunia disclosed this weekend, affects IE 6.0, IE 5.5, IE 5.01, and XP SP2 and SP1. To read the complete story, visit the following URL:

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

Do You Find Monitoring Windows Servers a Daunting Task?
In this free eBook, we'll examine four main types of monitoring crucial to any network: performance, capacity, availability, and security. For each area, you'll find out the most important events and conditions to monitor to maximize performance, manage capacity, ensure availability, and stay on top of security. Download this free eBook today!

Achieving Service Management May Be Your Destination, but Do You Have the Road Map That Will Take You There?
During this expert panel discussion, you'll get real-world perspectives about how to make the move from the traditional systems-management practice of monitoring individual IT elements to mapping the interdependencies and managing the elements as a single complete service. Register now for this free Web seminar!

Get 2 Sample Issues of Windows & .NET Magazine (soon to be Windows IT Pro)!
In September, Windows & .NET Magazine will become Windows IT Pro! Act now to get our special charter issue that shows you how to plug DNS holes and select the best scripting editor, plus learn more about the business side of IT. And discover the top 10 PC trends we think you need to keep an eye on. Get two risk-free new and improved issues and a subscription at 40% off the cover price at

~~~~ Hot Release: (Advertisement) SAS ~~~~

Does IT Matter?
One of the liveliest debates in executive circles and at leading business schools today stems from the article "IT Doesn't Matter" by Nicholas Carr. Join the discussion with the author and SAS Senior VP Jim Davis in a video-streamed webcast sponsored by SAS on 8/25. Register today.

==== 3. Inside Windows Scripting Solutions ====

Windows Scripting Solutions is a monthly paid print newsletter loaded with news and tips to help you manage, optimize, and secure your Web-enabled enterprise. NONSUBSCRIBERS can access all the newsletter content in the online article archive from the premiere issue of Windows Scripting Solutions (December 1998) through the print issue released 1 year ago.

In addition to receiving the monthly print newsletter, SUBSCRIBERS can access all the newsletter content, including the most recent issue, at the Windows Scripting Solutions Web site ( ). Subscribe today and access all 2004 issues online!

September 2004 Issue
To access this issue of Windows Scripting Solutions, go to the following URL:

Focus: Scripting and Programming Languages Similar??!
On the surface, VBScript, Perl, C#, and Visual Basic .NET appear worlds apart. However, they use a surprisingly similar approach to performing certain tasks, such as creating AD accounts. Focusing on the similarities can help demystify these languages.

Scripting and Managed Code Demystified
Microsoft expects Windows systems administrators to grasp managed code, but the company has done a poor job of showing how easy it is to write. Here's how to get started.
--Ethan Wilansky 43317/ 43317.html

==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Mobile Devices
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Can you access enterprise applications from your mobile device?" Here are the results from the 86 votes:
- 20% Yes
- 80% No

New Instant Poll: 64-bit Systems
The next Instant Poll question is, "Does your organization run any 64-bit systems?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Yes or b) No.

==== 4. Resource ====

Tip: Why is placing the Sysvol directory on a separate partition a good practice?
by John Savill,

The Sysvol (Shared System Volume) directory is replicated to every domain controller (DC) in a domain via the File Replication Service (FRS). Here are a couple of good reasons for placing Sysvol on a separate partition:
- Sysvol's contents and its staging files might increase in size. Placing Sysvol on a separate partition contains the growth of the directory's contents and prevents them from consuming space on the boot partition, thereby preventing problems with other components and performance degradation.
- Placing Sysvol on its own NTFS partition minimizes disk I/O, thereby reducing the chances of receiving journal wrap errors. FRS uses the NTFS journal to monitor changes in the file system. The journal contains the update sequence number (USN) of the NTFS changes that are stored on each NTFS partition. If FRS can't keep up with the pace of disk I/O or if FRS is turned off for a period of time, the USN that's referenced in the FRS log might no longer exist in the NTFS volume journal. Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) increased the size of the NTFS journal from 32MB to 512MB by default (with a maximum configurable limit of 10GB) to help reduce the chance of the NTFS journal wrapping before FRS has replicated content.

==== Events Central ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine: )

New Web Seminar! Email Security and Compliance for Financial Services: What You Need to Know to Safeguard Your Organization
Are you a financial services company bogged down with email management? In this free Web seminar, learn how to make a case to purchase a reliable email security management solution to help you enforce email security, safeguard the privacy of your messages, and reduce potential liability or risk associated with email communications. Register now!

==== 5. New and Improved ====
by Angie Brew, [email protected]

Handle Large Amounts of Bandwidth
NETGEAR released the GS605 5-Port and GS608 8-Port 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet switches designed for bandwidth-intensive networked home or small-business applications. The switches are housed in stackable platinum casing and feature throughput capacity of up to 2000Mbps per port for bandwidth-intensive applications, such as high-end multimedia, large data file transfers, gaming, and Internet access. The standards-based switches let users seamlessly integrate 10Mbps, 100Mbps, and 1000Mbps devices on the same network, and the fanless design results in silent operation. The switches feature Auto Uplink technology that automatically adjusts for the use of straight-through or crossover cables. For pricing, contact NETGEAR at 408-907-8000 or 888-638-4327.

Meet Service-Level Commitments
NetIQ released AppManager 6.0, the foundation of its AppManager Suite, a systems-management solution for automating the service management life cycle. AppManager 6.0 features improved password support, improved authentication, and more flexibility in defining various AppManager users' roles. The product features Voice over IP (VoIP) management for Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks devices. AppManager 6.0 includes expanded platform support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8.2, Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 3.0, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES 3.0. AppManager 6.0 pricing starts at $600. Contact NetIQ at 408-856-3000.

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]

==== Sponsored Link ====

Comparison Paper: The Argent Guardian Easily Beats Out MOM;6480843;8214395;q?


==== 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]


==== Contact Our Sponsors ====

Primary Sponsor:
NetIQ -- -- 1-888-323-6768


This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

View the Windows & .NET Magazine Privacy policy at Windows & .NET Magazine a division of Penton Media, Inc. 221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538, Attention: Customer Service Department Copyright 2004, Penton Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.