Windows Client UPDATE, February 20, 2003

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February 20, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - More About High Screen Resolution

2. NEWS & VIEWS - Windows XP 64-Bit Edition 2003 Misnaming Causes Confusion

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Join the HP and Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show! - Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Real-World Technical Tips Here for You

4. RESOURCES - Tip: When Systems Boot Unexpectedly from Storage Devices - Featured Thread: Multiple Profiles for Logon IDs

5. NEW AND IMPROVED - Remotely Control and Manage Desktops - Store and Protect Your Personal Information - Submit Top Product Ideas

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




(David Chernicoff, [email protected])


Apparently, my commentary "What's the Problem with High Screen Resolution" in the February 13, 2003, issue of Windows Client UPDATE touched a nerve with readers. I started receiving reader responses within 5 minutes of the newsletter's release, and the responses continued at an average rate of 75 per hour for most of the day. As I write this, 5 days later, responses continue to trickle in.

I apologize that I haven't answered directly many of the questions readers posed in their responses. The volume of email I've received makes a personal reply difficult, although I will try to respond to as many of the messages that asked specific questions as I can.

Among the most common comments I've received is that I must be very young, have great eyesight, and not spend too much time in front of the computer. I'm 45, just got my first pair of bifocals, and spend about 10 hours a day, on average, in front of a computer screen. I work about 2 feet away from the monitor and haven't noticed any significant degradation of my vision over the past 7 years as I've used higher-resolution screens.

I modify applications while I work with them to take advantage of screen resolution. For example, I write this column in Microsoft Word, using a 12-point Times New Roman font displayed at 112 percent of standard size. Using just less than half the screen at a 1920 x 1440 resolution, I can see an entire page of text and have no problems making out the fonts or working for long periods of time (I use this same setup when I write books). When I work with spreadsheet data, I often go to the other extreme--I use a 6-point font and a full screen to display as much of the workbook as possible. If I need to examine a small section of the spreadsheet in detail, I use the application's capability to increase the font size.

I set system fonts to large (120 dpi), which is 125 percent of the standard size of system fonts. Adjusting system font size to the large setting can cause display problems, and many readers pointed out that switching the font size from large to standard often cures display problems. This solution is well and good, but I believe applications should support the OS on which they run. The ability to display system fonts in the large size has been available in Windows for many years-- that ability should be fully supported by now.

As I mentioned, I'm still receiving responses to my request for display-resolution information, but here is some of the representative information I've received so far.
1. The vast majority of respondents who run in higher screen resolutions have jobs with "developer" in the title. If you've seen the Visual Studio IDE, this news won't come as a surprise to you.
2. A surprisingly large number of respondents use the Windows multiple monitor feature and run a pair of smaller monitors in resolutions such as 1024 x 768 or 1280 x 1024. Doing so makes sense when you consider that the cost of monitors is a gating factor to many users.
3. I received way too many comments from IT support people who pointed out that their users leave their monitors in whatever screen resolution the vendor set. I heard quite a few moans from IT guys who said that they acquired good-quality 17" monitors with all their systems, but that 800 x 600 was the only resolution their users would run in. I even heard from a couple of readers whose businesses were moving back to 15" monitors fixed at 800 x 600. The saddest response along these lines was from an IT staff member who pointed out that his company purchased only 21" monitors, and users still ran them in 800 x 600.
4. Quite a few readers expressed surprise that I could see my screen at any resolution larger than 1024 x 768. On a contrasting note, I heard from many users who run in 1600 x 1200, which elicits a comment that I've heard quite often: "How can you read the text when it's that small?" Obviously, screen resolution involves personal opinion and comfort. A couple readers related stories about surreptitiously changing screen resolutions during OS upgrades: Some of these folks moved users who had previously complained that anything larger than 800 x 600 was unusable on their 17" screen to 1024 x 768. None of the users even noticed the difference.

I'll continue to collect data, then solicit input from software vendors for a follow-up report, which will appear in the print version of Windows & .NET Magazine later this year. I'll be sure to let you know when that article becomes available online.

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(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])


The inclusion of a bizarrely named "Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for the Workstation" in various Knowledge Base articles on the Microsoft Web site on February 14 had the rumor mills buzzing with talk of a new Windows client release that would fill the gap between Windows XP and Longhorn, now due in late 2004. As first reported on, several Knowledge Base articles mentioned the edition before Microsoft pulled them late in the day. A new Server edition was not to be, however. Microsoft told me late on February 14 that the name was a misprint, and that the product it refers to is actually Windows XP 64-Bit Edition 2003, which was announced last July. The product will ship alongside the various Windows Server 2003 editions in late April.

"Microsoft identified some naming inaccuracies in Knowledge Base articles that refer to a product listed as 'Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Workstation,'" a Microsoft representative told me. "These references are being corrected to refer to the actual product in question--which is Windows XP 64-bit Edition 2003. Basically, this is the 64-bit desktop product that will add support for Itanium 2, and be available \[only\] through OEMs."

Microsoft says that Windows XP 64-bit Edition 2003 is a high-performance platform enabling the next generation of powerful Windows-based workstation applications for Itanium 2. The platform is designed for business customers engaged in solving complex scientific problems, creating high-performance design and engineering applications, or creating 3-D animations.



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* TIP: WHEN SYSTEMS BOOT UNEXPECTEDLY FROM STORAGE DEVICES (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

I recently rebooted a Windows XP system that had been running for a few months without a problem. When the system came up, it hung just after the power-on self test (POST) and all the device BIOS loads were complete, presenting a blank screen with a blinking cursor.

Thinking that I had some sort of coincidental catastrophic hardware failure with the reboot, I started removing devices from the computer. Fortunately, that system had a number of external storage devices, and when I removed an external USB 2.0 hub, the computer booted normally. I reconnected the hub after the computer started and could easily access all the devices that were connected to it.

This situation confused me, so I took note of the devices attached to the hub. Two of them--a personal digital media player and a Compact Flash reader--were storage devices. I had a weird idea: Perhaps the computer was trying to boot from these devices.

Rebooting the computer and launching the BIOS program confirmed my suspicion: When the Compact Flash reader was attached, the Intel BIOS moved the reader to the first bootable device setting in the BIOS. When I moved the reader to the end of the setting, I solved the problem. If I hadn't left the reader attached during the boot process, I would never have discovered this problem.

These days, removable media devices are easy to attach to computers. You can prevent this type of problem by determining how your system's BIOS handles the storage devices you add.


Forum member "Zwick" would like to know whether Windows XP Professional lets users have multiple profiles for the same logon ID. For example, if a user logs on as "bill," will he have a choice between logging on to his home desktop and his work desktop, or will he need separate logon IDs? If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:



(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])


NetSupport released NetSupport Manager 8.0, remote control software with increased desktop management functionality. New capabilities include a client hardware inventory feature, the ability to collect information about installed hotfixes and realtime system status, an Internet gateway that lets NetSupport-enabled systems locate one another and communicate through HTTP, Delta file transfer, and integration with Windows Explorer. Contact NetSupport at 770-205-4456, 888-665-0808, or [email protected] .


DataViz announced Passwords Plus, software that features 128-bit Blowfish encryption to securely store your private information, such as passwords, PINs, credit card numbers, and frequent flyer information. Passwords Plus runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows ME, and Windows 98 and includes a Palm OS application to synchronize your PC with a Palm OS 3.0 or later handheld or smartphone. Priced at $29.95, Passwords Plus can be purchased from the DataViz Web site or from select retailers.


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] .



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