Windows Client UPDATE, April 24, 2003

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April 24, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - Understanding File-Size Limits on NTFS and FAT

2. NEWS & VIEWS - AMD Preps 64-Bit Product Launch

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Microsoft TechEd 2003, June 1-6, 2003, Dallas, TX - Sample Our Security Administrator Newsletter!

4. RESOURCES - Tip: Deleting Entries from the MRU List in Windows XP - Featured Thread: Microsoft Fax Service in Win2K

5. NEW AND IMPROVED - Perform Remote Administration Across Platforms - Use an Internet Service to Manage Desktop Assets

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




(David Chernicoff, [email protected])


In the April 17 Windows Client UPDATE, I wrote about the 4GB file-size limit in FAT32. In response, I've received dozens of email messages telling me that FAT32 isn't limited to 4GB but rather that the 4GB limit is a FAT16 artifact. I also received messages questioning my assertion that NTFS is appropriate for small office/home office (SOHO) and small business users, but my point didn't center on NTFS's general appropriateness. I stand by my conclusion that if you're doing video editing on Windows, you need to use NTFS.

I've run into the 4GB wall when creating files on FAT32 partitions. Because I realized that the problem might have been caused by the video-creation software I was using, I tried again with different software to create an AVI file larger than 4GB. No dice: As soon as the file size reached 4GB, the application failed.

With that 4GB figure stuck in my head, I went to my accustomed research tools and found plenty of references to the FAT32 4GB limit. To back up that number, I searched the Microsoft Web site and found numerous articles confirming that the file-size limit on FAT32 is (2^32)-1 bytes, or one byte less than a full 4GB.

The confusion about FAT file size seems to stem from the fact that FAT16 has a 4GB limit on partition size, whereas FAT32 has a 2TB limit on partition size. A large number of my respondents appear to have confused "partition" with "file." To add a little additional confusion, many respondents commented that they're running large drives as one partition on FAT32. In these days of inexpensive 120GB+ hard disks, I guess my definition of "large" differs from that of these readers.

Windows XP and Windows 2000 limit partition creation to no larger than 32GB on FAT32. This limitation is by design: Microsoft wants you to use NTFS for large drives. If you use Windows Me or Windows 98 to format a drive, XP and Win2K can use a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB; however, these OSs can't create the partition. Also, keep in mind that when you use ATA/IDE hard disks larger than 127GB, you might need to update your computer's or hard disk controller's BIOS to properly support those larger drives.

For more information about file-size limits, check out the following Microsoft articles:

"Limitations of FAT32 File System";en-us;184006

"Windows NT File Size and Partition Size Limits";en-us;93496

"Description of the FAT32 File System in Windows XP";en-us;310525

"Limitations of the FAT32 File System in Windows XP";en-us;314463

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(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])


On Tuesday in New York, AMD unleashed its 64-bit AMD Opteron and AMD Athlon 64 processors, the company's most concerted efforts yet to steal market share from microprocessor giant Intel. Unlike previous AMD designs, the Opteron and Athlon 64 represent a technological breakthrough of sorts and don't simply ape Intel chip technology. Rather, the AMD chips provide a new 64-bit runtime environment that's completely compatible with today's 32-bit x86-based OSs and applications. Because the new processors are true 64-bit designs, a new generation of specially written OSs and applications will be able to take advantage of the increased memory space that a 64-bit address space offers.

AMD's approach to 64-bit computing contrasts sharply with that of market leader Intel. Intel's new 64-bit design, the Itanium microprocessor, is incompatible with the x86-based software we use today. The Itanium provides an x86 virtual environment for some backward compatibility, but software runs slowly in the virtual environment. Also, Itanium products are expensive and control only the most powerful 64-bit servers and high-end workstations. The Opteron and Athlon 64 will target enthusiasts, workstations, and low-end servers, and AMD will use PC-style pricing to ensure that the chips are widely available. Because the new chips are x86-compatible, systems based on them will run x86 software at full speed, AMD says.

Contrary to popular belief, 64-bit microprocessors such as the Itanium, Opteron, and Athlon 64 don't necessarily run faster than 32-bit chips with similar clock speeds. Rather, the big advantage of 64-bit chips is a virtually unlimited memory address space, as compared with the 4GB address space on most 32-bit systems. Itanium-based Windows Server 2003 systems, for example, can access as much as 512GB of RAM, and that amount is expected to grow. The increased memory address space is especially important for massive databases, which can often run in RAM on 64-bit systems, dramatically increasing performance.

The Opteron processor will likely become available within weeks, whereas the desktop-oriented Athlon 64 should ship this fall. If AMD is successful, its new processors will finally usher in an era of 64-bit computing, which, although inevitable, seems to be somewhat stalled due to lackluster adoption of the Itanium. The PC industry made two previous major architectural leaps, from 8/16-bit computing to true 16-bit computing when Intel released its 80286 processor, and from 16-bit computing to 32-bit computing when the company released the 80386. Intel's 486, Pentium family, Celeron family, Xeon family, and Pentium M processors are all 32-bit designs.

Key to AMD's success is software support, and Microsoft has pledged to release new 64-bit versions of Windows 2003 and Windows XP that run on AMD's new chips. AMD has said that it expects to see entertainment and gaming software titles take advantage of its 64-bit technology.

In what is no doubt a purely coincidental move, Intel announced this weekend that it's cutting the prices on its fastest 32-bit chips by as much as 38 percent. The 3GHz Pentium 4 now costs $401, down 32 percent from $589, whereas the 2.4GHz version is now available for $348, down 38 percent. A newer version of the 3GHz Pentium 4, which uses a faster system bus and RAM than other Pentium 4 designs, costs $417; Intel introduced this chip last week but delayed its release because of a small technical glitch that the company hopes to resolve soon.



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* TIP: DELETING ENTRIES FROM THE MRU LIST IN WINDOWS XP (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

Every time you use Windows XP's Remote Desktop Connection applet to connect to a remote computer from a local machine, XP adds the name and IP address of the remote computer to the most recently used (MRU) list on the local computer. Although this feature doesn't present a problem if the local machine is your own computer, IT staff members who access server consoles from any handy computer typically don't want to leave the server as the default name on the local machine's RDP connection. And if they've used Terminal Services to access multiple computers, all of those computers remain on the client's MRU list.

Luckily, there's an easy fix to this problem. To delete entries from the Terminal Services client MRU list, take the following steps:

1. Launch a registry editor on the local computer.
2. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Default.
3. In the right pane, delete any server entries titled MRUXX (where "XX" is a numerical identifier) that you don't want to leave on the MRU list. The DATA entry will identify which computer each server entry refers to.
4. Exit the registry editor.


Forum member "allanjc" would like to know how, when printing to send a fax with the Microsoft Fax Service in Microsoft Word, to use a Mail Merge field to bulk-send. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:



(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])


Tridia released DoubleVision for Windows (formerly known as TridiaVNC Pro) and DoubleVision Pro, software to remotely manage your distributed environments. Both applications include dial-up and network access and a firewall-friendly option to securely manage remote systems over the Internet. Features include remote control of Windows machines, remote file transfers, SSL-compatible encryption, VNC compatibility, and silent secure installation. DoubleVision for Windows supports Windows XP/2000/NT/Me/98. DoubleVision Pro supports Windows, AIX, HP-UX, SCO, Sun SPARC/Solaris, and Linux. Contact Tridia at 800-582-9337, 770-428-5000, or [email protected]


Automatos announced the Asset Wizard, a Web-based inventory application that provides detailed information about your company's desktop systems and gives you control over their configurations. The software lets you employ advanced queries or reports to discover which systems have specific software installed or which run the fastest processors. The global Change Management function reports changes made to systems within a period you specify. The Software Compliance function identifies systems with unauthorized copies of installed software. You must install an agent application on each target desktop before you log on to the Automatos Web site to run a system scan. Asset Wizard supports Windows XP/2000/NT. Contact Automatos at 800-887-7757, 408-725-7141, or [email protected]



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