Windows Client Update: February 2, 2006

Windows OneCare Worth (At Least) One Look

Windows Client UPDATE--Windows OneCare Worth (At Least) One Look

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LeftHand Networks ====================

1. Commentary
- Windows OneCare Worth (At Least) One Look

2. Reader Challenge
- January 2006 Reader Challenge Winners
- February 2006 Reader Challenge

3. News & Views
- Microsoft Lashes Out at EU

4. Resources
- Tip: Preventing Password Caching
- Featured Blog: Can You Hear Me Now?

5. New and Improved
- Keep Track of Personal Information in Windows
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: Windows OneCare Worth (At Least) One Look ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

Spending the last month or so advising clients and friends about how to set up new computers and dealing with various pieces of software, whether pre-installed or those the users wanted to add, has strongly reinforced my belief that configuring a system is much harder than it should be. Part of the problem with configuring systems successfully is that a high number of applications need to be installed, including utility suites that provide dubious value because usually only one component is a high-quality tool.

Windows lacks baseline requirements for acceptable third-party system utilities. Such a baseline would help users determine whether a particular third-party utility is worth their investment. Windows Firewall is an example of a utility that provides such value. Although it's not a world-class product, Windows Firewall meets the needs of most Windows users and doesn’t require them to learn the intricacies of a third-party firewall that might give more control but just adds unneeded complexity for the average user.

The Windows AntiSpyware beta is another good example. Installed on a clean system, it does an excellent job of keeping the system free of spyware. Although it can't do all the things that third-party power tools do, especially if spyware problems exist on the machine before it’s installed, Windows AntiSpyware provides users with an easy-to-use solution that will rarely conflict with other applications.

Back in May 2005, Microsoft announced a tool designed to keep a user’s computer healthy and running optimally. The Windows OneCare system combines automated monitoring and wizard-guided assistance for existing Windows OS tools. With its antivirus and backup capabilities, Windows OneCare might be the application that provides the baseline functionality that Windows users need.

You don’t have to take my word for it: Windows OneCare has reached the public beta stage after more than 6 months of internal beta testing and is currently available. The free beta offers the ability to test-drive the software, and the managed beta program requires users to participate in the beta process by providing feedback to Microsoft. For more information, go to the Windows OneCare Live home page at

It's unlikely that OneCare will provide world-class, best-of-breed services in all of its functions; however, from my brief experience using it, I think it's worth evaluating. At the very least, it will provide an easy-to-use way to get the basic set of services that every Windows computer should have.


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

January 2006 Reader Challenge Winners
Congratulations to the winners of our January 2006 Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Home Networking Annoyances," (O’Reilly & Associates Publishing) goes to Jon Gebener of Berlin, Germany. Second prize, a copy of "Running QuickBooks in Nonprofits," (CPA911 Publishing), goes to Bernard McCormick of California.

February 2006 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 February 15, 2006. 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 February 16, 2006.

The February 2006 Challenge:

A reader sent me the following message: "I've read several of your books and you always neglect to tell your readers about a dangerous security problem. When you wrote about router firewalls, you didn’t specify that the router firewall only works if the computers are connected directly to the router. If you connect the computers to a switch, and then connect the switch to the router, you MUST install a firewall on each computer because the router’s firewall won’t work."

Is the reader correct? Amplifying your answer beyond "Yes" or "No" will enhance your chance for a prize.

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

Microsoft Lashes Out at EU

Stung by European Union (EU) regulator comments during the past week, Microsoft officials on Wednesday charged that the EU has not provided the company with the information it needs to effectively defend itself against antitrust charges. As a result, the company is now asking for a second extension so that it can mount its defense. Previously, Microsoft had been given an extension to February 15, 2006.

"All Microsoft is asking for is access to our file," a Microsoft spokesperson said Wednesday. "This is a basic question of fairness and transparency." While we might cynically view the, ahem, transparency of this request, let's examine Microsoft's complaint: Microsoft says that 71 of the 100 documents in the EU's case file against the software giant are categorized as internal or confidential and thus can't be turned over to the company. Too, Microsoft says it should be allowed to view the correspondence between the company's rivals and the EU.

"The absence of access \[to these documents\] is seriously prejudicing Microsoft's right of defense," a Microsoft lawyer wrote in a letter to the EU this week. "The position taken by the \[European\] Commission \[EC, the EU's antitrust body\] is particularly troubling because it contradicts the Commission's stated commitment to increased transparency and due process in antitrust investigations."

An EU spokesperson says that the EC is considering Microsoft's request. "It is ... premature for Microsoft to claim that the Commission has prejudiced their rights of defense," he said, noting that the companies who discussed Microsoft with the EU expected that communication to remain confidential. "Microsoft is very attached, as you know, to business secrets," he added, "Its own business secrets."

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==== 4. Resources ====

Tip: One concern that comes up in my conversations with readers is the problem of caching passwords with Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Some users love caching, some hate it, and administrators don’t usually want any passwords related to their internal corporate intranet cached. You can prevent passwords from being cached by making the following changes to the registry:

1. Launch a registry editor.
2. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\
Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings
3. Right-click in the right pane and create a subkey of type REG_DWORD
and name it DisablePasswordCaching.
4. Set the value of the new entry to 1.
5. Exit the registry editor.

To restore password caching, set the value of DisablePasswordCaching to 0.
(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

Featured Thread: Can You Hear Me Now?
There's a vulnerability in one of the most popular multimedia players out there. Mark Joseph Edwards tells you more at the Security Matters blog:

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==== 5. New and Improved ====
by Dianne Russell, [email protected]

Keep Track of Personal Information in Windows

TGS Labs announced WinOrganizer 3.1, personal information manager (PIM) software. WinOrganizer lets you combine notes, bookmarks, appointments, reminders, task lists, passwords, and contacts in a tree outline that you can customize. The software includes sorting and filtering options, HTML printing, automatic dialing, and integrates with your email client and Web browser. The product's many features include customizable alarms, document protection, import and export options, date and event tracking, document linking, and graphical images storage. You can password-protect your WinOrganizer data to prevent unauthorized access. WinOrganizer minimizes to fit the Windows system tray and supports Windows XP/Win2K/Me/9x. Cost is $55 for one personal license, $65 for one business license, and $95 for one family license. WinOrganizer is available at a discount in two bundled packages: with Softshape Development's Chameleon Clock and PicaJet's Photo Organizer. A free evaluation version of WinOrganizer is available for download from the TGS Labs Web site at or visit the main Web site at

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