Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--Windows NT Heads Quietly into the Night--Now What?--February 3, 2004

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1. Commentary: Windows NT Heads Quietly into the Night--Now What?

2. Hot Off the Press
- Intel Releases Faster Pentium 4 Generation

3. Announcements
- Register for Windows & .NET Magazine Connections!
- Check Out the Latest Web Seminar--A Practical Guide to Selecting the Right IM Security Solution

4. Instant Poll
- Results of Previous Poll: Windows 9x Systems
- New Instant Poll: Magazine Content

5. Resources
- Featured Thread: Logon Scripts
- Tip: How can I enable two concurrent sessions in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later?

6. Event
- New Web Seminar--Realizing the Return on Active Directory 7. New and Improved
- Close Security Holes in Your Network
- Stop Unwanted Applications
- 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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==== 1. Commentary: Windows NT Heads Quietly into the Night--Now What?
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

Last week, I discussed Microsoft's plans to extend the support life cycle for Windows 98, giving businesses worldwide some breathing room as they plan desktop upgrades and migrations. But in the same way that Win98 is still widely used on the desktop, servers based on Microsoft's Windows NT 4.0 systems are still widely distributed on small and midsized servers, and NT is set for retirement on December 31, 2004. Coincidentally, just as last week's issue of Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE hit the streets, Microsoft announced plans for migrating its remaining NT customers to newer versions of Windows Server. So I spoke with Microsoft's Jim Hebert, general manager of the Windows Server Product Management Group, and Troy Zaboukos, product manager of the Windows Server Product Management Group, to discuss NT migration scenarios.

As the men noted, a lot has changed since Microsoft first released NT 4.0 in 1996. Back then, most enterprises used high-end, proprietary server systems based on UNIX; many small and midsized businesses used Novell NetWare or ad-hoc peer-to-peer networks. NT machines were popular with businesses of all sizes because they were inexpensive and leveraged the PC pricing model that Microsoft rode to fame and fortune with its Windows-based products. On the low end, companies rolled out NT openly, embracing the low-cost, easy-to-use solution. Higher up the IT chain, however, NT found a foothold in larger companies literally through the back door, with many NT boxes installed outside of corporations' centralized IT departments. Today, Linux enjoys this sort of grass roots support in various companies, and it will be interesting to see whether that platform later enjoys mainstream support similar to that which NT (and Windows 2000) fostered.

During Win2K's active lifetime (2000 to 2003), Microsoft was somewhat surprised to see many companies choosing to keep their NT 4.0 servers in place rather than upgrading them to Win2K. The upgrade was often complicated and expensive, and NT performed well enough to keep pace when Win2K arrived. When developing Windows Server 2003, Microsoft decided to make the NT 4.0 migration easier, so the company shipped that product with several migration and upgrade tools, prescriptive guidance, and other documentation. By the time Windows 2003 shipped in April 2003, many of the old arguments for NT were beginning to wear thin as those servers fell further and further behind the times, and Windows Server became more powerful and feature-packed. By 2003, NT customers were starting to move away from the old OS in appreciable numbers.

So what does the NT 4.0 migration and upgrade picture look like today? "Companies are saving 20 to 30 percent of their total cost of ownership \[TCO\] when moving from NT 4.0 to Windows 2003," Hebert told me, "so the migration actually pays for itself in most cases." He said that typically, customers see their costs returned in 6 to 18 months. These costs are offset in many ways, including server consolidation, in which the jobs of numerous aging, single-purpose NT servers can be combined into one easily managed and more available multiprocessor Windows 2003 box; increased productivity; reduced security risks (Windows 2003 has a 60 percent smaller "attack surface," in Microsoft parlance); and through better migration tools and documentation. And in the near future, Microsoft will finally ship its Virtual Server product, based on technology acquired last year from Connectix. This virtualization solution will let administrators host several virtual NT environments on one server box, giving them the benefits of centralized management combined with the 100-percent compatibility that comes from running crucial software in a true NT environment. Virtual Server is, in my opinion, one of the major missing pieces of the package that Microsoft needs to deliver to truly offer a complete upgrade strategy for NT.

To aid customers migrating from NT 4.0, Microsoft is providing customers with a wide range of deployment tools and prescriptive guidance, and partners are providing end-to-end services that can help smaller companies plan and implement their NT migrations and upgrades. Until recently, learning about all these resources and where to find them was difficult, so Microsoft set up a new Upgrading from Windows NT 4.0 Web site (see the URL below) that provides links to these resources, along with customer success stories and other online tools.

Microsoft's goal is to get as many NT 4.0 holdouts as possible to move to Windows 2003, Win2K, or Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 by the end of 2004, when support for NT Server 4.0 ends. According to market researchers at IDC, this migration is already under way: The installed base of NT Server 4.0-based servers dropped from 2.6 million units in 2002 to 2 million in early 2004 and could drop to 1.3 million units by the end of 2004. If you're in the middle of such a migration or simply planning one, you should take advantage of Microsoft's admittedly self-serving programs, tools, and documentation. As with the Win98 installed base I discussed last week, I'm interested in hearing from anyone facing an NT migration and the reasons why this migration is--or isn't--happening. I'll discuss the feedback from both articles next week.

Upgrading from Windows NT Server 4.0

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

Intel Releases Faster Pentium 4 Generation
On Monday, microprocessor giant Intel unleashed its first next-generation Pentium 4 chips, ushering in a new chip design that lets the processors scale to new speeds. Intel released four new Pentium 4 chips based on its Prescott family of processors, including versions that run at 3.4GHz, 3.2GHz, 3GHz, and 2.8GHz, all with an 800MHz bus speed. Additionally, a new 3.4GHz version of the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition microprocessor based on the Prescott technology is now the fastest desktop processor in the world. To read the complete story, visit the following URL:

==== 3. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Register for Windows & .NET Magazine Connections!
Windows & .NET Magazine Connections will be held April 4-7, 2004, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Complete details about workshops, breakout sessions, and speakers are now online. Save $200 if you hurry and register before the early bird discount expires. Register now on the Web or by calling 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201.

Check Out the Latest Web Seminar--A Practical Guide to Selecting the Right IM Security Solution
Deploying an IM security solution is the only way to gain control over your IM security. In this free Web seminar, you'll learn about IM authentication, encryption, support for and interoperability between different IM networks, auditing, automatic legal disclaimers, virus and worm scanning, and more. Register now!

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==== 4. Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Windows 9x Systems
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "What percentage of your organization's computers are Windows 9x systems?" Here are the results from the 693 votes:
- 45% None
- 28% Less than 10 percent
- 8% 10 to 30 percent
- 6% 30 to 50 percent
- 12% More than 50 percent

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

New Instant Poll: Magazine Content
The next Instant Poll question is, "If you subscribe to Windows & .NET Magazine, which article type do you value most?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Strategic technology overviews, b) How-to articles, c) Product announcements, d) Product reviews, or e) I value all article types equally.

==== 5. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Logon Scripts
User malar runs a Windows Server 2003 environment with Windows XP clients. He wants to know where to store logon scripts so that they replicate correctly. If you can help, visit the following URL:

Tip: How can I enable two concurrent sessions in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later?
by John Savill,

Microsoft plans to include a new feature in XP SP2 that lets you run two sessions (one local console and one remote desktop) concurrently. You must use a different user for each session. To enable concurrent sessions, perform the following steps:
1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Licensing Core registry subkey.
3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
4. Enter the name EnableConcurrentSessions, then press Enter.
5. Double-click the new value, then set it to 1.

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

New Web Seminar--Realizing the Return on Active Directory
Join Mark Minasi and Indy Chakrabarti for a free Web seminar and discover how to maximize the return on your Active Directory investments and cut the cost of security exposures with secure task delegation, centralized auditing, and Group Policy management. Register now and receive NetIQ's free "Layered Security Architecture" white paper.

==== 7. New and Improved ====
by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Close Security Holes in Your Network
ElcomSoft released Proactive Windows Security Explorer, a password audit and security test tool that lets systems administrators identify and close security holes in their networks. Proactive Windows Security Explorer executes a comprehensive audit of account passwords and exposes all insecure passwords. The program audits passwords by analyzing user password hashes and recovering plain-text passwords. Pricing starts at $299 for networks with as many as 20 user accounts. Contact ElcomSoft at [email protected]

Stop Unwanted Applications
Anfibia Software released Watchman 6.0, an application monitoring and system-protection tool. The software can protect your system by stopping unwanted applications, protect documents from being tampered with, protect system settings, and monitor application usage. You can receive protection notification through email. Watchman runs silently in the background. Watchman runs on Windows 2003/XP/2000/NT/Me/98 systems. A single license costs $45. Contact Anfibia Software 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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==== 8. 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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