Windows Client UPDATE, June 12, 2003

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Windows & .NET Magazine


1. Commentary: Singing the "Need a New Monitor" Blues 2. Reader Challenge - May 2003 Reader Challenge Winners - June 2003 Reader Challenge

3. News & Views - Microsoft Gears Up for Antivirus Efforts

4. Announcements - Assessing Security Risks in Exchange 2003 - Learn 10 Ways to Deal with Spam!

5. Resources - Tip: Fixing a Corrupt Edb.log File - Featured Thread: Copying User Folders to the Server at Logon

6. Events - Security 2003 Road Show

7. New and Improved - Monitor System Configurations - Delegate Directory Updating to Users - Submit Top Product Ideas

8. Contact Us - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. Commentary: Singing the "Need a New Monitor" Blues ==== by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

Over the years, I've faced many different kinds of hardware failure in the various computers I use. Hardware failures seem to occur at the most inopportune moments--usually right before a particular computer is needed for a project with a deadline that's only hours away. But in all the hardware failures I've had to deal with, I've never had a monitor drop dead. That is, until recently.

It's not that I haven't seen monitors die. Usually they failed because of hardware compatibility problems or died soon after deployment. But one of my 21" monitors recently failed completely unexpectedly after more than 7 years of use. Curiously enough, the monitor failed after having been turned off for a week--the longest period of inactivity it had endured in its 7 years of daily use (I rarely turn off my two primary computers).

So why am I writing about dead hardware? Because the problems I've encountered while trying to replace my monitor bear mentioning. Finding a new monitor at a reasonable price hasn't been an easy task.

The primary problem is that with high-end monitors, user subjectivity is important; that is, what does the screen image look like at the resolution at which you want to run? I run my main desktop at 1920 x 1440 x 32-bit resolution. This resolution gives me the flexibility I need when working on multiple documents and the size and color depth I require when editing digital images. What I've discovered is that no one in my local area (and Philadelphia is at least a fairly major metropolitan area) stocks 20" and 21" monitors that support high resolutions. So, buying on the Internet became the most viable option for me. I figured that if I couldn't check out the monitor, I might as well get the best price possible.

Deciding to solicit some recommendations, I posted a few questions about my monitor needs on some computer forums and Usenet. In response, I received plenty of recommendations. In fact, it seemed that dozens of possibilities existed and that each had adherents with the same high fervor. A Google search was of even less value: Even after I narrowed my search to the dozen monitors I decided to consider, I came up with tens of thousands of hits. And the various computer magazines were of little help. Few reviews were available of the current crop of high-end monitors.

Finally, help came from an unexpected source: photography Web sites. Given the nature of the photography business and hobby, digital imaging is a big deal to photographers, who provide a lot of valuable monitor data that appears to be unavailable from traditional computer resources. I still haven't made a decision about a replacement monitor: I'm planning to follow up with the four vendors that I've narrowed my choices down to. However, without the unexpected assistance I received from the digital-imaging crowd, I'd still be wading through far too much extraneous and unhelpful information on my quest for a new monitor.


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

May 2003 Reader Challenge Winners

The May Reader Challenge had no winners. I'm distressed (and disappointed--the questions in the May Reader Challenge came from my books, "Windows 2000: The Complete Reference" and "Windows Server 2003: The Complete Reference"). Many people tripped on question 3, which had four correct answers--most identified only three of the four. I must admit, it's fun for me to trip the experts. After all, so many of our readers are solid, talented IT professionals.

June 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 June 26, 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 software doesn't respond to a request for a receipt). Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on June 26, 2003.

Sometimes Amy logs on to her local computer, which is running Windows XP, instead of logging on to the company domain. She logs on locally when she wants to work on private, sensitive documents that she stores locally. As a member of the IT staff, Amy works at computers all over the building, so when she logs on to the domain, her roaming profile loads. Here are two questions that Amy can answer because of the way she works. Can you answer them?

Question 1

Sometimes Amy doesn't remember whether she logged on to the domain or to the local computer. This problem can be annoying because a local logon means she spends time staring at an hourglass or clicking OK in an error message dialog box if she wants to work on a document she saved on a server when she was logged on to the domain. What command-line tool quickly displays information that specifies whether a user is logged on locally or to a domain?

Question 2

One of Amy's administrative jobs is creating new users both for local computers and for the domain. One nifty practice is to work at a user's computer and copy an existing user's profile to create a new user who requires the same settings as the existing user. All Amy has to do is select a user profile from the list in the System Properties dialog box, click the Copy To button, and enter a new username. If you try this, you might find that the Copy To button isn't available (i.e., it's shaded), even if you're logged on with administrative permissions. What's the problem?

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

Microsoft Gears Up for Antivirus Efforts

Microsoft announced its intention to acquire the intellectual property and technology assets of Romanian-based antivirus software maker GeCAD Software. Since 1992, GeCAD has grown to serve more than 10 million users in more than 60 countries. GeCAD's line of antivirus software is well rounded and supports most popular platforms in use today, including Windows and Microsoft Exchange Server. GeCAD antivirus software also runs on servers such as Novell GroupWise; Linux-based mail servers; file servers such as Samba and Novell NetWare; and Instant Messaging (IM) clients including ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AOL IM, and Cerulean Studios' Trillian. However, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company will discontinue cross-platform support.

Microsoft recently formed a virus information alliance among several major antivirus software vendors, and the company also intends to build its own antivirus research team. But Microsoft hasn't yet divulged how broadly it will use GeCAD's technology. The company might use GeCAD technology to help enhance its future Windows File System (WFS) Filter Manager technology, which will be included in future versions of the Windows OS. Microsoft expects the new file system to "simplify antivirus software development and improve overall system reliability by providing an architecture into which antivirus software providers can plug mini-filter drivers. Simplification of the driver code should make it easier for vendors to write reliable drivers."

Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses constantly plague Microsoft products, so we'll probably see the company go beyond file-system filtering hooks for third-party vendors. Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Security Business Unit, said, "The acquisition of GeCAD's technology will help secure customers by helping us deliver antivirus solutions for Microsoft products and services." Microsoft hasn't released details about the impending antivirus solution, including its name, pricing, and time line for availability.

==== 4. Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Assessing Security Risks in Exchange 2003

Videotaped live at Microsoft TechEd 2003, this free archived Web seminar delivers an introduction to the new security features and enhancements of Exchange Server 2003, including the new security APIs that can minimize virus risk and spam traffic. Plus, you'll discover more about the future of the messaging industry and what's on the horizon in assessing risk. Register today!

Learn 10 Ways to Deal with Spam!

In this audiocast event, you'll discover simple but effective ways to fight spam, plus learn the common tricks spammers use to get your email address. You'll also receive a free white paper from NetIQ about controlling spam and the chance to download a free trial of NetIQ MailMarshal SMTP. Register today!

==== 5. Resources ====

Tip: Fixing a Corrupt Edb.log File (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

Recently, a friend in the IT department of a local company called me for help. His firm's CEO couldn't run Windows Update successfully on his notebook. The CEO expected my friend to solve the problem over the phone because the CEO was at a conference at a resort 3000 miles from home. The only information the CEO provided was that Windows Update would exit with a message that the operation couldn't be completed.

Fortunately for my friend, the problem was one that I've encountered before: The edb.log file had become corrupted. My friend was able to determine that this was the case in part because the edb.log file on the CEO's notebook had grown to 15MB. (Edb.log files rarely exceed 5MB in typical use.) Although a corrupt edb.log file isn't the only problem that can cause Windows Update to fail, it's one of the easiest to check. Here's how:
1. Open Windows Explorer.
2. Navigate to %systemroot%\system32\catroot2.
3. Delete the edb.log file. Doing so forces the catalog database on the computer to rebuild.

You can achieve the same result by typing "del %systemroot%\system32\catroot2\edb.log" at a command prompt (don't type the quotation marks).

Featured Thread: Copying User Folders to the Server at Logon

Forum member fatkid1 would like to know whether a program or script exists that will copy a user's My Documents folders to the server when the user logs on. (Some of his remote users don't log on directly to the network.) Fatkid1 has a Windows NT 4.0 domain. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:

==== 6. Events ==== (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine) Security 2003 Road Show

Join Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott as they deliver sound security advice at our popular Security 2003 Road Show event.

==== 7. New and Improved ==== by Sue Cooper, [email protected]

Monitor System Configurations

Configuresoft announced Enterprise Configuration Manager (ECM) 4.5, software that centrally and automatically audits and manages your Windows systems' hardware and software configurations. New features let you compare your machines with a properly configured sample to detect and correct out-of-compliance settings. ECM eliminates the need to modify firewall settings when you deploy machines in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between your network and the Internet. ECM 4.5 pricing starts at $995 per server and $30 per workstation. ECM supports Windows NT Server 4.0 or later, NT Workstation 4.0 or later, and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 or later. Contact Configuresoft at 719-447-4600 or [email protected]

Delegate Directory Updating to Users

Directory Wizards released Profiler 3.5.1, Web-based software that lets your end users update their directory information, such as telephone number and office location. Because you don't load the application on the client, users access the application through a URL or an intranet link. Profiler allows updates of group or distribution lists (DLs) and offers Web-based configuration, full Lightweight Directory Access Protocol version 3 (LDAPv3) support, and SMTP notification. Supported directories include Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5, Active Directory (AD)/Exchange 2000 Server, Novell Directory Services (NDS) 7.0 and later, and iPlanet. Contact Directory Wizards at [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 Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

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==== 8. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]

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