Still Crazy Useful to IT Pros After All These Years

15 years later, independent perspective still helps IT pros do their jobs

New products rarely make it through the first 5 years, let alone 15 years—especially a magazine printed on paper. But with this issue, we’re celebrating our 15th year of providing technical information to IT professionals who have Windows machines and related technology somewhere in their organizations. As our founding publisher Mark Smith writes in this issue, the magazine was borne of necessity. An IT administrator at a computer publishing company, Smith and his colleagues—frustrated with Novell NetWare—needed information about whether the Windows NT platform would be a viable alternative. He couldn’t find the information he needed, so he and others launched the publication that started as Windows NT Magazine and now lives on—in print, online, and in person with our websites, email newsletters, and events that cover Microsoft technologies from Windows Server to SQL Server, Exchange Server, SharePoint, and developer topics.

 The magazine’s mission since inception was to provide an independent view of the Windows platform, focus on Windows as an enterprise platform, and make IT professionals’ lives easier. The introduction to the first (September 1995) issue’s Focus section started with a classic scenario of an IT pro solving a business problem: “The marketing guy walks into your office and says, ‘We need to get on the Internet now! Our competitors have just put up their own Web site! When can you have it done?’” (InstantDoc ID 2228). A couple of paths to the goal were outlined, including a quick-and-dirty method that involved getting SLIP access, downloading the EMWAC Web Server (the what?), and setting up a home page with HTTP.

The September 1995 issue’s Focus articles grappled with such topics as connecting to the Internet and securing the Internet connection (some problems never truly go away). The magazine’s premiere issue also included an article or two targeting developers, providing some guidelines for leveraging a burgeoning platform. Photos of a boyish-looking Bob Muglia accompanied the interview in which he spelled out the future, as he saw it, of Windows versus UNIX: “In two years, I’m not sure there will be such a thing as a workstation market. But right now, Windows NT Workstation is outselling any version of UNIX.”

Five years later, in the September 2000 issue, one author pondered good wireless Exchange solutions, a reader speculated that Microsoft didn’t release source code because of security concerns, and one reader reported that he sincerely appreciated a recent article about fax servers. The September 2000 issue was a beefy 224 pages and featured special sections focusing on Exchange Server, Active Directory, and scripting. (Fervent interest in Microsoft’s database platform had prompted the launch of SQL Server Magazine the previous year.) The beloved CTRL+ALT+DEL column, complete with humorous screen captures, was in full swing. Paul Thurrott declared Windows 2000 Datacenter Server “Microsoft’s first legitimate stab at a market dominated by big iron.”

Fast forward another five years: In the September 2005 issue, a reader complained about the difficulty of upgrading to Small Business Server, the annual Readers’ Choice Awards recognized several line-of-business applications, and a special section addressed securing Windows systems—patch management, hardware firewall appliances, and antispyware tools. Also in the Readers’ Choice Awards, the HP iPAQ Pocket PC beat RIM’s BlackBerry as the most popular handheld device—one blip on the screen of the churning mobile device war that rages on today. (In this month’s “Need to Know,” Paul Thurrott assesses Microsoft’s current mobile device strategy; see InstantDoc ID 125579.)

With this 15th anniversary issue, some of our longtime authors speculate on Microsoft’s milestones and misfires. Check out Michael Otey’s Top 10 column for his picks of the most significant Windows Server innovations. Also in this issue, Mark Smith recounts a conversation with Mark Russinovich in which they discussed some of the dramatic twists and turns in the Windows Server saga. And Mark Minasi—ever-prescient—gives us a look back at the next 15 years (read his article and you’ll understand what I mean). Although the technology certainly will change, and industry watchers will continue to place bets for and against Microsoft and its competitors, Windows IT Pro will continue giving you the straight scoop about Microsoft’s products and other technologies. To our longtime subscribers, thanks for keeping the magazine at your side all these years—and keep giving us the straight scoop on how we can give you the information you need.

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