Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE--February 14, 2005

John Savill

February 13, 2005

9 Min Read
ITPro Today logo

Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE, February 14, 2005, —brought to you by the Windows IT Pro Network and the Windows 2000 FAQ site

Make sure your copy of Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE isn't mistakenly blocked by antispam software! Be sure to add [email protected] to your list of allowed senders and contacts.

This email newsletter comes to you free and is supported by the following advertisers, which offer products and services in which you might be interested. Please take a moment to visit these advertisers' Web sites and show your support for Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE.

Download a Tool that will Benefit any Sys Admin

AutoMate by Network Automation

Sponsor: Download a Tool that will Benefit any Sys Admin

Are you searching for an affordable real-time monitoring toolset that will support your proactive system management objectives? Start NOW and download ELM Enterprise Manger from TNT Software. Within an hour, you will experience for yourself why ELM is recognized as the tool that will benefit any System Administrator. Before the 30 Day full feature trial is completed, the Monitoring, Alerting and Reporting will have saved you time and provided you the data for prompt corrective action. Be Proactive; and download ELM Enterprise Manager from the link below:t


  • Q. What's the Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 Capacity Planner?

  • Q. How can I enable complex passwords on my Windows Server 2003 Active Directory (AD) domain?

  • Q. How can I check whether my installation was a fresh installation or was created via a Sysprep image?

  • Q. What's the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool?

  • Q. Why do I receive an "Access denied" error when I try to access Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 via the Virtual Server Administration Web site?

by John Savill, FAQ Editor, [email protected]

In this issue, I tell you all about the SMS 2003 Capacity Planner and the Malicious Software Removal Tool; I explain how to enable complex passwords on a Windows 2003 AD domain and how to check whether an installation was created via a Sysprep image; and I tell you about a solution to an Access denied error when trying to access Virtual Server 2005 via the Virtual Server Administration Web site.

Sponsor: AutoMate by Network Automation

AutoMate 5 is the leading software for automation of front and back-office IT tasks. Combining raw power with intelligent design, AutoMate enables IT professionals to build and deploy system automation projects in record time. AutoMate tasks are assembled via drag-and-drop, without writing a single line of code, this allows automated tasks to be developed rapidly and maintained at lower cost. AutoMate enables IT Professionals to build tasks that automate a wide variety of network and computing operations, such as: automated FTP file transfers, job scheduling, event log monitoring, data replication, data entry, application monitoring, SQL database transactions, and integration of disparate systems. Download a free 15-day fully functional trial version today!


Q. What's the Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 Capacity Planner?

A. A. Microsoft provides the SMS 2003 Capacity Planner tool, which supplements Microsoft's documentation and offers guidance for planning SMS 2003 site designs. You can download the Capacity Planner tool at . Double-click the self-compressing executable to extract the tool and user guide. The Capacity Planner is a Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet containing macros that use information that you enter about your environment and about how SMS will be used to calculate recommended site server placements and predict how much network traffic the design will generate. The tool also recommends the hardware needed for different site system options. The figure at shows some sample site planning data. The Capacity Planner tool analyzes the data and suggests SMS site topology configurations and corresponding hardware configurations for site servers and site systems. You can find more information about the Capacity Planner tool at .

Q. How can I enable complex passwords on my Windows Server 2003 Active Directory (AD) domain?

A. A. On a new Windows 2003 domain, complex password creation is enabled by default; however, to configure complex passwords for an upgraded domain or to simply modify the password settings, perform these steps: 1. Open the Group Policy Object (GPO) that's linked at the domain level. For example, open the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, right-click the domain, select Properties, select the Group Policy tab, select the GPO, then click Edit. Doing so opens Group Policy Editor (GPE). Remember that password policies are part of the Account Settings group and take effect only when you set them at domain level; they won't be implemented if you set them at site or organizational unit (OU) levels. 2. Select Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Account Policies, Password Policy. 3. Double-click the relevant settings and set them to the settings you want (e.g., Password must meet complexity requirements," "Minimum password length," "Maximum password age"). The figure at shows the default settings for a new Windows 2003 domain, which are a good baseline. 4. Close GPE.

Q. How can I check whether my installation was a fresh installation or was created via a Sysprep image?

A. A. To determine whether an installation was created via a Sysprep disk image, perform these steps (on Windows NT 4.0 or later): 1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe). 2. Go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMSetup registry subkey. 3. If the CloneTag subkey exists, your machine was created from a Sysprep image. The value of the CloneTag subkey is the date and time that the image was created. 4. You'll also see a CmdLine subkey, which is the command that runs on the machine's first start-up (e.g., "setup.exe -newsetup -mini," which tells the setup to perform a mini, GUI-based setup).

Q. Q. What's the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool?

A. A. The Malicious Software Removal Tool detects and removes high-profile viruses. The tool runs on all versions of Windows 2000 or later. This is not a real-time tool but rather an application you run periodically. You can obtain the tool via the Windows Update site; by default it will download, run in the background, then delete itself once a month. If you want to run the tool more frequently, download it at . Simply execute this file, called Windows-KB890830-ENU.exe, accept the license terms, and click Finish when the tool finishes running, as the figure at shows. Remember, this tool doesn't connect to Microsoft to obtain new virus definitions each time it runs; the definitions are built into the tool. Therefore, it's important that you download the file every month when Microsoft releases a new version.

Q. Why do I receive an "Access denied" error when I try to access Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 via the Virtual Server Administration Web site?

A. A. The enhanced security features of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows XP SP2 cause a permissions problem with Virtual Server 2005 access via the Virtual Server Administration Web site, as the figure at shows. To correct the problem, you need to grant the Authenticated Users group permissions in the Distributed COM (DCOM) configuration. To do so, perform these steps: 1. Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) DCOM Configuration snap-in (Start, Run, dcomcnfg.exe). 2. Expand Component Services, Computers, My Computer, DCOM Config. 3. Right-click Virtual Server in the right pane of the DCOM Configuration utility and select Properties from the displayed context menu. 4. Select the Security tab. 5. In the Launch and Activation Permission dialog box, select Customize and click Edit. 6. In the "Group or user names" section, select Authenticated Users. (If Authenticated Users isn't displayed, click Add and add the Authenticated Users group). 7. Enable Local Activation and Remote Activation by selecting the "Allow" check boxes, as the figure at shows.

Events and Resources
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

  • Sensible Best Practices for Exchange Availability Web Seminar

If you're discouraged about not having piles of money for improving the availability of your Exchange server, join Exchange MVP Paul Robichaux for this free Web seminar and learn how to maximize your existing configuration. Survive unexpected outages, plan for the unplannable, and evaluate what your real business requirements are without great expense. Register now!

  • Get Ready for SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in a City Near You

Get the Facts about Migrating to SQL Server 2005. SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database computing environment. Receive a 1-year membership to PASS and 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!

  • Keeping Critical Applications Running in a Distributed Environment

Get up to speed fast with solid tactics you can use to fix problems you're likely to encounter as your network grows in geographic distribution and complexity and learn how to keep your network's critical applications, such as Active Directory and Exchange, running. Don't miss this exclusive opportunity--register now!

  • Fax Servers: Integrate. Automate. Communicate

Attend this free Web seminar and receive a complimentary 30-day software evaluation, industry whitepaper, and a Starbuck's gift card! Join industry expert David Chernicoff and learn how leading organizations are incorporating fax technologies to empower users and enhance existing investments in infrastructure and applications while providing substantial ROI. Register now!

  • Discover All You Need to Know About 64-bit Computing in the Enterprise

In this free Web seminar, industry guru Michael Otey explores the need for 64-bit computing and looks at the type of applications that can make the best use of it. He'll explain why the most important factor in the 64-bit platform is increased memory. Discover the best platform for high performance and learn how you can successfully differentiate, migrate, and manage between 32-bit and 64-bit technology. Register now!

(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

  • Try a Sample Issue of Exchange & Outlook Administrator!

If you haven't seen Exchange & Outlook Administrator, you're missing out on key information to help you migrate, optimize, administer, backup, recover, and secure Exchange and Outlook. Plus, paid subscribers receive exclusive online library access to every article we've ever published. Order now!

Sponsored Link

  • Argent versus MOM 2005

Experts Pick the Best Windows Monitoring Solution;13273616;8214395;i?

  • Quest Software

See Active Directory in a whole new light. And get a free flashlight!;13695556;8214395;t?

Contact Us
Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

This weekly email newsletter is brought to you by Windows IT Pro, the leading publication for Windows professionals who want to learn more and perform better. Subscribe today.

About the Author(s)

Sign up for the ITPro Today newsletter
Stay on top of the IT universe with commentary, news analysis, how-to's, and tips delivered to your inbox daily.

You May Also Like