Windows Client UPDATE, February 13, 2003

Windows Client UPDATE--brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network



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February 13, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - What's the Problem with High Screen Resolutions?

2. READER CHALLENGE - January 2003 Reader Challenge Winners - February 2003 Reader Challenge

3. NEWS & VIEWS - Microsoft Preps Server, Desktop Upgrades

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Don't Miss Our 2 New Security Web Seminars in March! - Join the HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show!

5. RESOURCES - Tip: Designating an AD DNS Server as the Preferred DNS Server in Win2K - Featured Thread: Problems with Win2K SP3

6. NEW AND IMPROVED - Learn Desktop Administration - Back Up Desktops Securely - Submit Top Product Ideas

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




(David Chernicoff, [email protected])

* WHAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH HIGH SCREEN RESOLUTIONS? Am I the only user who runs his desktops in very high resolutions? It's not 1997 anymore, and high-end graphics cards and good monitors aren't expensive. On the two computers I use daily, one has a 21" monitor running in 1920 x 1440 x 32-bit screen resolution, and the other runs at 1600 x 1200 x 32-bit resolution on a 19" monitor. These resolution levels let me look at documents side-by-side in full-page views, keep a Web site open while I'm doing research, work with large spreadsheets with much greater ease, and in general make my computing experience more productive and enjoyable.

But I had a frustrating experience with a little software utility I purchased last week. I like to support shareware authors, and I buy a lot of inexpensive utilities that friends have recommended. Usually, these tools have one or two useful functions that I can apply to a task that I must accomplish on a regular basis, so I don't mind spending the money. A friend recommended that I try this particular tool because he thought it would solve a minor problem I've been having related to CD and DVD burning. After I bought and installed the software, I discovered that, for it to work properly, I had to set my screen resolution to 800 x 600 x 32. If you've ever changed your screen resolution, you know that when you resize the screen, all your open applications' screen coordinates change. I usually have anywhere from 15 to 20 applications running at all times, so having to change the screen resolution made the product I had purchased less than useful. I sent off a note to the product author, and I'll be interested in his feedback.

The problem doesn't lie only with shareware authors: The window that MSN Messenger 5.0 opens after it finishes loading doesn't display properly at high resolution. All sorts of applications I run have problems with high-resolution displays that range from odd font glitches to buttons that become inaccessible because they don't display correctly in modal dialogs. I've had more than one conversation with product managers (including some from Microsoft) in which I repeat the phrase, "Why are the fixed fonts so small?"

And don't get me started on Web site designers. The practice of shoehorning as much information as possible on a single home page has gone too far, particularly when fixed fonts in single-digit font sizes are used. I don't want to have to run the Windows Magnifier to read a Web page.

In the 1990s, when I first started running desktops in high resolution (1600 x 1200 x 24 with the release of Windows NT 3.51), I realized that I was on the cutting edge and was willing to put up with a few operational peccadilloes that were more than offset by the advantages of the extra screen real estate. But here we are, well into the next century, and I still can't count on a brand-new application displaying correctly if I set the screen resolution over 1280 x 1024. Are developers getting lazy? Are users buying larger monitors and running them in low resolutions? Let me know what resolution you run your desktop monitor at, and I'll pass the numbers along to the software vendors.



(contributed by Kathy Ivens, [email protected])

* JANUARY 2003 READER CHALLENGE WINNERS Congratulations to our January Reader Challenge winners. Ethan Lawrence of Toronto, Ontario, wins first prize, a copy of "Admin911: Windows 2000 Registry". John Moody of Melbourne, Florida, wins second prize, a copy of "Admin911: Windows 2000 DNS & WINS," by Dustin Sauter. Thanks to all who submitted correct answers, some of which were wonderfully amusing. Visit to read the answer to the January 2003 Reader Challenge.

* FEBRUARY 2003 READER CHALLENGE Solve this month's Windows Client problem, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by February 27, 2003. You must include your full name, street mailing address, and phone number (all required for shipping your prize).

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents. (My email software doesn't respond to a request for a receipt.) Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on February 27, 2003.


I've been watching Windows get better and stronger over the years in which I've been administering Windows networks and computers. Freezes, hangs, and crashes are certainly less common since Windows 2000, and my experiences with Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 have been almost crash-free.

Recently, a couple of us old-timers were engaging in conversation with some younger administrators (should I call them new-timers?) whose total IT experience consisted of working with Windows, and at that, only NT 4.0 and later.

The sages in the group were amusing ourselves with crash stories and expressing our gratitude for the diminished number of serious emergencies we have to deal with these days. The undertone of our conversation was aimed at the newbies: We presented the view that these kids don't know what it's like to work under the tension that afflicts you when you're always expecting a crash somewhere on the network. The young 'uns (you can tell I'm really old) didn't understand the jargon that flew around the room that day, which led me to devise this month's challenge.

See how many of the following questions about crashing computers you can answer.

1. Which of the following terms that describes a Windows computer crash is technically the correct terminology?

A. Stop error B. BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) C. Bugcheck D. Non-recoverable failure

2. Your heart started beating faster because you saw the word ABEND on a monitor. Which network OS are you administering?

A. Windows 3.11 (Windows for Workgroups) B. BeOS C. NetWare D. Linux

3. Which one of the following terms tells you that a UNIX server has crashed?

A. Kernel Panic B. Kernel Failure C. General Kernel Fault D. General Kernel Protection Fault



(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])

* MICROSOFT PREPS SERVER, DESKTOP UPGRADES According to sources that Microsoft briefed last week, the company is using the iWave moniker internally as an umbrella marketing strategy for many of its desktop and server upgrades in 2003. Microsoft iWave desktop products include Microsoft Office 11 (shipping June 2), which incorporates InfoPath 2003 (code-named XDocs); Project 11 and Visio 11 (both shipping in late July); and SharePoint Team Services (which will ship concurrently with Office 11). On the server side, Microsoft is prepping Exchange Server 2003 (formerly code-named Titanium, which will also ship June 2) and SharePoint Portal Server. The company will soon announce various marketing and sales promotions for the iWave products.

The iWave product-release orchestration is apparently an attempt to capitalize on the so-called information worker, Microsoft's new substitute term for knowledge worker, a person who regularly needs to access distributed information in the course of the workday. By tying together Office desktop products with relevant server products, Microsoft hopes to make a compelling case for the integrated functionality of its total solutions. Naturally, these products run best on Windows Server 2003 on the server and Windows XP on the desktop.

Microsoft will complete the Office 11 beta 2 as early as this week, and users interested in testing Office 11 will be happy to hear that the company will issue a public preview release within 30 days. A Visio 11 public preview will be available in early March. Office 11's June 2 release date coincides nicely with Microsoft TechEd 2003, so I expect the company to promote its iWave rollout at that conference.



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

* DON'T MISS OUR 2 NEW SECURITY WEB SEMINARS IN MARCH! Windows & .NET Magazine has two new Web seminars to help you address your security concerns. There is no fee to attend "Selling the Importance of Security: 5 Ways to Get Your Manager's Attention" and "Building an Ultra Secure Extranet on a Shoe String," but space is limited, so register today!

* 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 now!



* TIP: DESIGNATING AN AD DNS SERVER AS THE PREFERRED DNS SERVER IN WIN2K (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected]) A friend of mine recently took over a large Windows 2000 environment, and he wanted to know what he could do about his traveling users' complaints that they couldn't always log on to the corporate Win2K domain when they were in the office. I pressed him for details, and he said that when his sales-force users try to log on to the domain when they're in the office, the logon appears to take forever. Most of the users get fed up and disconnect from the network, but every now and then someone starts the logon, goes out for coffee and, when she returns, discovers that she's connected.

This problem is actually a pretty simple one to diagnose. My friend's users had configured multiple DNS servers on their notebooks because the corporate network isn't always available to them. If a Win2K client doesn't see an Active Directory (AD) DNS server right away, it will spend a lot of time working its way through the DNS list looking for an AD server. The simple fix is to set the AD DNS server as the preferred DNS server on the client. To do so, take the following steps:

1. Open the Control Panel Network and Dial-up Connections applet. 2. Right-click the network connection that the client uses in the office and click Properties on the context menu. 3. Select "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and click Properties. 4. Select the "Use the following DNS server addresses" and enter the IP address of the AD DNS server in the "Preferred DNS server:" field. 5. Click OK. * FEATURED THREAD: PROBLEMS WITH WIN2K SP3 Forum member Joe Johnson recently applied Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) to more than 200 Win2K Professional machines on his network. After he applied the service pack, users who have Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 SP1 on their machines couldn't open links in new windows. Joe knows that this problem doesn't affect users who have administrative rights on their machines, nor does it affect Win2K servers with Citrix Metaframe 1.8 installed. If you can help Joe, join the discussion at the following URL:



(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])

* LEARN DESKTOP ADMINISTRATION released "The Definitive Guide to Windows Desktop Administration," a free eBook that will be published as it's written, chapter by chapter. Written by Bob Kelly and sponsored by ScriptLogic, the book outlines the life cycle of Windows desktop administration, from deployment to best practices. You can register for the book and download Chapter 1 at .

* BACK UP DESKTOPS SECURELY LIUtilities released WinBackup 1.70, software that can locate, compress, and encrypt specified files and folders on your PCs. You can organize and schedule backup jobs by project or by network user. A detailed log records all files that are successfully backed up and lets you restore the files from their CD-R or DVD-R backup archive to another location. WinBackup 1.70 supports Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 98. Pricing starts at $29.95 for a single license. Contact LI Utilities in Sweden at (46) (63) 108830 or [email protected]

* 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]



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)


* PRODUCT NEWS -- [email protected]



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