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Windows Client UPDATE--Up and Running: Protect Your Power Supply--June 9, 2005

Windows Client UPDATE--Up and Running: Protect Your Power Supply--June 9, 2005

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1. Commentary
- Up and Running: Protect Your Power Supply

2. Reader Challenge
- May 2005 Reader Challenge Winners
- June 2005 Challenge

3. News & Views
- Microsoft Ships IE Tabbed-Browsing Upgrade for MSN Toolbar

4. Peer to Peer
- Tip: Wireless Desktops Need a Wired Alternative
- Featured Blog: As We See IT: News and Views From the Windows IT Pro Editors

5. New and Improved
- Manage Your IT Assets
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: Up and Running: Protect Your Power Supply ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

With the first heat wave of the year hitting, I made the annoying discovery that the power provided to the 100-year-old home I moved into at the end of last summer wasn't very consistent. My various pieces of UPS equipment, which had served me well for the past few years, were continually setting off alarms as the power brownouts tripped their circuitry. Repeated momentary power outages didn't help, either, and the multiple 500 VA UPS units were in danger of being overwhelmed by the power problems. I also had some concerns about the quality of the electricity being provided, and after one computer died after repeated power failures, I decided to upgrade my power protection.

Like many small business owners, I wasn't in the position to pay thousands of dollars for larger UPS units with good management and communication features--I just wanted to get some control of my power and be able to get information about what the UPS was doing. A search of the major online resellers led me to the Belkin 1500 VA Dual Form Factor Small Enterprise UPS ( ).

For less than $200 per unit, the Belkin 1500 VA UPS provides complete support and protection for three connected computers. The UPS lets its management software connect over USB, serial, and network connections and includes the cables to support the connection types. This setup gives me the confidence that the three attached computers can shut themselves down, as necessary, which is important to me because the computers are always left on and are often unattended.

The unit also supports what Belkin calls Automatic Voltage Regulation, which is its name for a line power conditioner that lets the unit provide cleaner power to attached computers. As I expected, this functionality has been quite active (as indicated by the front panel display); it doesn't run continually, but comes into play when the temperatures peak in the afternoons and the power quality in this old neighborhood is reduced.

I now use my older UPS units to provide power protection to my external storage devices and the monitors in my office, most of which I rarely turn on because I use RDP to access and manage them from my primary desktop, if at all possible. I attach my printers to the surge suppressor sections of two UPS units, but the printers don't get battery backup. The two flat-panel displays attached to my main desktop computer are also plugged into the Belkin UPS, meaning that I'm using five of the eight provided power connections and have three connections available for future growth.

This UPS provides a high level of power protection and battery backup with a useful set of features at a price point that is so low that any small office/home office (SOHO) user, as well as small business user, should give serious consideration to picking up a couple of these units for his or her office.


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==== 2. Reader Challenge ====
by Kathy Ivens, [email protected]

May 2005 Reader Challenge Winners
Congratulations to the winners of our May Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Running QuickBooks 2005 Premier Editions," from CPA911 Publishing, goes to Joseph Rancello of Florida. Second prize, a copy of "Windows Server 2003 in a Nutshell" from O'Reilly Associates Publishing, goes to Edward Braiter of Quebec, Canada. Visit to read the answer to the May Reader Challenge.

June 2005 Reader Challenge
Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by June 23, 2005. You must include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it's correct).
I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I'm a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on June 24, 2005.

The June 2005 Challenge:
A friend who just started as a technician at a corporate IT Help desk tells me he's surprised by the number of hours he spends troubleshooting display problems. The situation gets worse when the company rolls out new computers or updates the OS on existing computers. See whether you can solve a couple of the problems he had to manage.

Question 1:
Several computers in the accounting department are shared among multiple users. User A (who logs on to the computer to enter employee timesheets every morning) complains that every time she logs on to the computer, the resolution is set to 800 x 600. She changes the resolution to 1024 x 768. She knows that User B (who produces warehouse pickslips for orders every afternoon) is resetting the resolution. She asked to be given the same rights and permissions as User B so that her settings are retained in her profile. Both users have the same permissions, so what's going on?

Question 2:
A user spent hours customizing his GUI and loves the new look. He wants to duplicate the look on his home computer. In fact, he thinks it's so fabulous that other employees will want to use the same design. He started to create a document that enumerates every change he made but realized he couldn't remember them all. He asked the Help desk for a way to audit all the changes he made so that he could reproduce the changes on other computers. There's no audit log for display changes, but it's quite easy to duplicate a customized GUI on another computer. Tell me how to do this, and your answer must cover both Windows XP and Windows 2000 systems.

==== 3. News & Views ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Ships IE Tabbed-Browsing Upgrade for MSN Toolbar
Microsoft rereleased its MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search today after adding a key feature back into the product: tabbed browsing for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). The tabbed-browsing feature is available to IE users several months before Microsoft is expected to ship IE 7.0, the next major version of IE. Read the complete story at the following URL:

==== Events and Resources ====
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==== 4. Peer to Peer ====

Tip: Wireless Desktops Need a Wired Alternative
(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

Although I've always been an advocate of wireless desktops (wireless keyboard and mouse), I also keep a wired mouse and keyboard either attached to my system or handy. The reason for this setup becomes abundantly clear when I get requests for support assistance from users who have only wireless devices attached to their computers.
The biggest problems occur when a user needs to make changes to the system BIOS or when they start Windows in Safe Mode. In the former case, wireless connection software isn't running yet; in the latter, some types of wireless connections, such as Bluetooth, aren't supported in Safe Mode. The only workaround is to attach a wired keyboard and mouse to the affected computer.

Featured Blog: As We See IT: News and Views From the Windows IT Pro Editors
Check out the latest technology news on the new As We See IT blog at the following URL:

==== Announcements ====
(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

Calling All Windows IT Pro Innovators! Have you developed a solution that uses Windows technology to solve a business problem in an innovative way? Enter your solution in the Windows IT Pro Innovators Contest! Grand-prize winners will receive a host of great prizes and a write-up in the November 2005 issue. Contest ends June 24, 2005. To enter, go to

==== 5. New and Improved ====
by Gayle Rodcay, [email protected]

Manage Your IT Assets
New Boundary Technologies announces the July 2005 release of Prism Suite, an integrated desktop and server configuration-management solution designed especially for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs). Prism Suite provides asset management, software deployment, and patch management capabilities as part of an integrated solution or as individual modules for customers seeking specific point solution functionality. Prism Suite includes Prism Asset Manager, which delivers a detailed, up-to-date knowledge base of an organization's IT assets that identifies what software is on any computer and how it's configured. Prism Suite is currently undergoing beta testing. Organizations interested in participating in beta testing can contact New Boundary Technologies at 800-747-4487.

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
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