Windows Client UPDATE, March 13, 2003

Windows Client UPDATE--brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network http://www.winnetmag.net

********************

~~~~ THIS ISSUE SPONSORED BY ~~~~

Intuitive Desktop Management...Free Download! http://www.AutoProf.com/Update_Client_HotR_2003_03_13.html

HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas (below COMMENTARY)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~ SPONSOR: INTUITIVE DESKTOP MANAGEMENT...FREE DOWNLOAD! ~~~~ Visually map network drives, shared and TCP/IP printers, copy files, create folders and shortcuts. Install Windows service packs and MSI packages. Create, replace, update, delete and migrate Outlook Profiles. Set Office & IE application settings. Free Trial! http://www.AutoProf.com/Update_Client_HotR_2003_03_13.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 13, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - Virtual Machine Software

2. READER CHALLENGE - February 2003 Reader Challenge Winners - March 2003 Reader Challenge

3. NEWS & VIEWS - New Code Red Variant Spreading

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Microsoft Mobility Developer Conference - Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Win a Florida Vacation

5. RESOURCES - Tip: Disabling the Prefetcher Component in Windows XP - Featured Thread: Preventing Network Software Installation

6. NEW AND IMPROVED - Administer Systems in a Blue Screen - Plug In Internet Filtering - Submit Top Product Ideas

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

********************

1.

COMMENTARY

(David Chernicoff, [email protected])

* VIRTUAL MACHINE SOFTWARE

I've always thought that it makes sense for IT staff to use virtual machine (VM) software. Creating a virtual computer that will behave like one of your typical client workstations is the perfect way to test new applications and configurations before you roll them out to users. Add the ability to virtualize network behavior, and IT techs can get a good feel for how applications will behave and run in the network environment without having to set up hundreds of test computers or affect production networks and computers.

About 2 years ago, I wrote about a corporate client I worked with that selected VM software: The client decided to use Connectix VM software on its corporate sales force's notebook computers. Since then, VMware, Connectix's primary competitor and the largest market-share holder in the VM world, has made great strides with its virtual server software, targeting corporate server-side customers and their need to concatenate multiple servers on one machine. Performing operations such as running a half-dozen Windows NT servers and their applications on one SMP Windows 2000 computer in a production environment is well within the capabilities of the VMware software. Connectix made plans to announce its own server-side VM software when an interesting thing happened.

About 3 weeks ago, Microsoft announced that it had acquired Connectix's VM technology. The Microsoft press release discusses the current Connectix product line and emphasizes the Virtual PC for Macintosh product, which, according to the press release, demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to the Mac product line. (I'm not sure what kind of commitment Microsoft really has to the Mac. The Connectix software lets you transform a Mac into a Windows PC, but this subject is best left to another column.)

More important is that Microsoft is making a commitment to the Connectix Virtual Server software, with, I presume, plans to go head-to-head with VMware. The Microsoft software won't ship until the end of 2003 (although a beta should be available on the Microsoft Web site on April 15). That timetable gives the VMware folks an opportunity to point out to current and potential customers that the VM idea for server concatenation is the same idea Microsoft is trying to bring to the table and that VMware has many years of production use behind it. I expect this approach will bring additional business to VMware. I'll be interested in whether Microsoft does with the Connectix technology what it's done with so many other key technologies: roll the technology into a future version of the base Windows OS. In any case, I don't think we'll see VM technology bundled for free in a desktop OS anytime soon, but it's one very powerful tool that any systems administrator should consider for inclusion in the administrative toolbox.

~~~~ SPONSOR: HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW ~~~~ JOIN THE HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW! Now is the time to start thinking of storage as a strategic weapon in your IT arsenal. Come to our 10-city Network Storage Solutions Road Show, and learn how existing and future storage solutions can save your company money--and make your job easier! There is no fee for this event, but space is limited. Register now! http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas

2.

READER CHALLENGE

(contributed by Kathy Ivens, [email protected])

* FEBRUARY 2003 READER CHALLENGE WINNERS

Congratulations to our February Reader Challenge winners. Well, not so fast: I'm going to call them "almost winners" because out of the hundreds of entries I received, I couldn't really choose a winner. The first Challenge question had two correct answers, but out of hundreds of responses, only a few entries answered both questions correctly. None of those respondents included their addresses, so they can't win a prize. As a result, I redefined the pool of correct answers to include anyone who selected either of the correct answers and included their address. John Stenhouse of Scotland wins first prize, a copy of "Windows 2000: The Complete Reference." Stephen Fedorchak of Framingham, Massachusetts, wins second prize, a copy of "Admin911: Windows 2000 Registry." Visit http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38024 to read the answer to the February 2003 Reader Challenge.

* MARCH 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 March 27, 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 email software doesn't respond to a request for a receipt.) Look for the solutions to this month's problem at http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.dfm?articleid=38349 on March 27, 2003.

Problem:

A reader sent me a story, and it makes a good Reader Challenge. She works at a small company with 250 workstations, two domain controllers (DCs--DC-1 and DC-2), and 20 member servers for file and print services. The company employs two IT professionals--Mike and Judy--to maintain the system, and both of them use Windows XP on their personal workstations.

Mike and Judy worked out a plan for managing the tasks performed on the DCs. They split the DC roles between the two machines. Judy is in charge of DC-1, and Mike is in charge of DC-2.

Mike says that because of Microsoft's constant warnings about the dangers inherent in logging on to a computer with the Administrator account, he'll use the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Local Computer snap-in to create a local user on DC-2 with administrative permissions and will log on to the computer with that account. Judy says she'll install the Administrative Tools package on her XP computer and work on DC-1 remotely.

The reader who sent me the story works in the human resources (HR) department of this company. If you were she, to which IT pro would you suggest taking a class in administering Win2K networks, and why?

3.

NEWS AND VIEWS

(contributed by Mark Joseph Edwards, [email protected])

* NEW CODE RED VARIANT SPREADING

Russ Cooper reports that a new variant of the Code Red worm, called Code Red F, is spreading on the Internet. Cooper said in a message posted to the NTBugTraq mailing list that the worm was detected in Finland using the WormCatcher monitoring software. Security expert Roger Thompson developed WormCatcher and designed it to detect previously unknown worms.

Cooper said that protecting against the Code Red F variant is accomplished in the same way as protecting against the original Code Red worm: Remove Microsoft IIS from the box completely or remove script mappings, particularly .ida mappings, and apply the patch mentioned in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-033, "Unchecked Buffer in Index Server ISAPI Extension Could Enable Web Server Compromise."

4.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

* MICROSOFT MOBILITY DEVELOPER CONFERENCE

The premier 3-day developer event for building and bringing to market wireless applications for Microsoft Windows(r) Powered Pocket PC and Smartphone. Designed for developers, software vendors, wireless operators, and IT professionals, this event provides the tools/strategies to build and market mobile applications, content, and services. Register today quoting MDC819. http://www.microsoft.com/europe/mdc

* WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE CONNECTIONS: WIN A FLORIDA VACATION

Simply the best lineup of technical training for today's Windows IT Professional. Register now for this exclusive opportunity to learn in person from the Windows & .NET Magazine writers you trust. Attendees will have a chance to win a free Florida vacation for two. Register today and you'll also save $300. http://www.winconnections.com

5.

RESOURCES

* TIP: DISABLING THE PREFETCHER COMPONENT IN WINDOWS XP (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

One feature in Windows XP that can complicate application troubleshooting--particularly in applications that launch at start-up--is the XP prefetcher. This component exists to speed up application launching. However, because the prefetcher runs as a background process while other applications are running or loading, it can complicate the diagnosis of application problems, particularly if an application is causing the system to lock up or fail spectacularly in some other fashion. You can disable the prefetcher component by making a registry change. Take the following steps:


1. Launch regedit.
2. Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\ Memory Management\PrefetchParameters.
3. Double-click the EnablePrefetcher value name.
4. Write down and save the current value that EnablePrefetcher is set to. (Don't neglect this important step. If you decide that you need to reenable the prefetcher, you'll need to reenter the data value you wrote down.)
5. Set the value to 0 to disable the prefetcher.
6. Exit the registry editor.
7. Reboot the computer.

* FEATURED THREAD: PREVENTING NETWORK SOFTWARE INSTALLATION

Forum member "nayler," a contractor, connects to his clients' networks with his Windows 98 laptop. Each client network enforces its policies on the laptop, including installing antivirus software, setting up Microsoft Outlook profiles, changing icons, and blocking access to certain areas of the laptop. Nayler uses NetSwitcher to easily log on to different networks, but the policy enforcement causes problems. Most of nayler's client networks are Windows 2000 domains. Nayler would like to know whether he can block the policies at his laptop, preferably without using third-party software. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=39&tid=55645

6.

NEW AND IMPROVED

(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])

* ADMINISTER SYSTEMS IN A BLUE SCREEN

O&O Software announced O&O BlueCon XXL Administrator's Suite, software that lets you administer Windows-based systems in a blue screen before Windows starts. You can repair crashed installations, save files from defective hard disks, deactivate bad drives and systems services, manipulate the registry and correct its entries, edit ASCII files, create rescuer disks, and access systems without an administrator password. New functionality includes UnErase, to restore data without starting the OS, and SafeErase, to securely delete files and folders. The product supports Windows XP/2000/NT. Pricing is $379 for an administrator's license. Contact O&O Software in Germany at (49) (30) 4303-4303 or [email protected] http://www.oo-software.com

* PLUG IN INTERNET FILTERING

St. Bernard Software announced iPrism 3.3, an Internet filtering appliance that monitors, blocks, and reports on users' Web activity. You can customize iPrism's filtering mechanisms and enforce policies by day, time, user group, IP address, and Web site category. The Auto-Login feature lets you apply filtering policies and view reports per user without requiring users to authenticate. The product supports NT LAN Manager (NTLM) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) user groups. IPrism 3.3 is a 1U (1.75"), rack-mountable network appliance sold with a filtering-subscription service. Contact St. Bernard at 800-782-3762, 858-676-2277, or [email protected] http://www.stbernard.com

* 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 What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

7.

CONTACT US

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

* ABOUT THE COMMENTARY -- [email protected]

* ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL -- [email protected] (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

* TECHNICAL QUESTIONS -- http://www.winnetmag.net/forums

* PRODUCT NEWS -- [email protected]

* QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION? Customer Support -- [email protected]

* WANT TO SPONSOR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE? -- [email protected]

Windows Client UPDATE--brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network http://www.winnetmag.net

********************

~~~~ THIS ISSUE SPONSORED BY ~~~~

Intuitive Desktop Management...Free Download! http://www.AutoProf.com/Update_Client_HotR_2003_03_13.html

HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas (below COMMENTARY)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~ SPONSOR: INTUITIVE DESKTOP MANAGEMENT...FREE DOWNLOAD! ~~~~ Visually map network drives, shared and TCP/IP printers, copy files, create folders and shortcuts. Install Windows service packs and MSI packages. Create, replace, update, delete and migrate Outlook Profiles. Set Office & IE application settings. Free Trial! http://www.AutoProf.com/Update_Client_HotR_2003_03_13.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 13, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - Virtual Machine Software

2. READER CHALLENGE - February 2003 Reader Challenge Winners - March 2003 Reader Challenge

3. NEWS & VIEWS - New Code Red Variant Spreading

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Microsoft Mobility Developer Conference - Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Win a Florida Vacation

5. RESOURCES - Tip: Disabling the Prefetcher Component in Windows XP - Featured Thread: Preventing Network Software Installation

6. NEW AND IMPROVED - Administer Systems in a Blue Screen - Plug In Internet Filtering - Submit Top Product Ideas

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

********************

1.

COMMENTARY

(David Chernicoff, [email protected])

* VIRTUAL MACHINE SOFTWARE

I've always thought that it makes sense for IT staff to use virtual machine (VM) software. Creating a virtual computer that will behave like one of your typical client workstations is the perfect way to test new applications and configurations before you roll them out to users. Add the ability to virtualize network behavior, and IT techs can get a good feel for how applications will behave and run in the network environment without having to set up hundreds of test computers or affect production networks and computers.

About 2 years ago, I wrote about a corporate client I worked with that selected VM software: The client decided to use Connectix VM software on its corporate sales force's notebook computers. Since then, VMware, Connectix's primary competitor and the largest market-share holder in the VM world, has made great strides with its virtual server software, targeting corporate server-side customers and their need to concatenate multiple servers on one machine. Performing operations such as running a half-dozen Windows NT servers and their applications on one SMP Windows 2000 computer in a production environment is well within the capabilities of the VMware software. Connectix made plans to announce its own server-side VM software when an interesting thing happened.

About 3 weeks ago, Microsoft announced that it had acquired Connectix's VM technology. The Microsoft press release discusses the current Connectix product line and emphasizes the Virtual PC for Macintosh product, which, according to the press release, demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to the Mac product line. (I'm not sure what kind of commitment Microsoft really has to the Mac. The Connectix software lets you transform a Mac into a Windows PC, but this subject is best left to another column.)

More important is that Microsoft is making a commitment to the Connectix Virtual Server software, with, I presume, plans to go head-to-head with VMware. The Microsoft software won't ship until the end of 2003 (although a beta should be available on the Microsoft Web site on April 15). That timetable gives the VMware folks an opportunity to point out to current and potential customers that the VM idea for server concatenation is the same idea Microsoft is trying to bring to the table and that VMware has many years of production use behind it. I expect this approach will bring additional business to VMware. I'll be interested in whether Microsoft does with the Connectix technology what it's done with so many other key technologies: roll the technology into a future version of the base Windows OS. In any case, I don't think we'll see VM technology bundled for free in a desktop OS anytime soon, but it's one very powerful tool that any systems administrator should consider for inclusion in the administrative toolbox.

~~~~ SPONSOR: HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW ~~~~ JOIN THE HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW! Now is the time to start thinking of storage as a strategic weapon in your IT arsenal. Come to our 10-city Network Storage Solutions Road Show, and learn how existing and future storage solutions can save your company money--and make your job easier! There is no fee for this event, but space is limited. Register now! http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas

2.

READER CHALLENGE

(contributed by Kathy Ivens, [email protected])

* FEBRUARY 2003 READER CHALLENGE WINNERS

Congratulations to our February Reader Challenge winners. Well, not so fast: I'm going to call them "almost winners" because out of the hundreds of entries I received, I couldn't really choose a winner. The first Challenge question had two correct answers, but out of hundreds of responses, only a few entries answered both questions correctly. None of those respondents included their addresses, so they can't win a prize. As a result, I redefined the pool of correct answers to include anyone who selected either of the correct answers and included their address. John Stenhouse of Scotland wins first prize, a copy of "Windows 2000: The Complete Reference." Stephen Fedorchak of Framingham, Massachusetts, wins second prize, a copy of "Admin911: Windows 2000 Registry." Visit http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38024 to read the answer to the February 2003 Reader Challenge.

* MARCH 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 March 27, 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 email software doesn't respond to a request for a receipt.) Look for the solutions to this month's problem at http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.dfm?articleid=38349 on March 27, 2003.


Problem:

A reader sent me a story, and it makes a good Reader Challenge. She works at a small company with 250 workstations, two domain controllers (DCs--DC-1 and DC-2), and 20 member servers for file and print services. The company employs two IT professionals--Mike and Judy--to maintain the system, and both of them use Windows XP on their personal workstations.

Mike and Judy worked out a plan for managing the tasks performed on the DCs. They split the DC roles between the two machines. Judy is in charge of DC-1, and Mike is in charge of DC-2.

Mike says that because of Microsoft's constant warnings about the dangers inherent in logging on to a computer with the Administrator account, he'll use the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Local Computer snap-in to create a local user on DC-2 with administrative permissions and will log on to the computer with that account. Judy says she'll install the Administrative Tools package on her XP computer and work on DC-1 remotely.

The reader who sent me the story works in the human resources (HR) department of this company. If you were she, to which IT pro would you suggest taking a class in administering Win2K networks, and why?

3.

NEWS AND VIEWS

(contributed by Mark Joseph Edwards, [email protected])

* NEW CODE RED VARIANT SPREADING

Russ Cooper reports that a new variant of the Code Red worm, called Code Red F, is spreading on the Internet. Cooper said in a message posted to the NTBugTraq mailing list that the worm was detected in Finland using the WormCatcher monitoring software. Security expert Roger Thompson developed WormCatcher and designed it to detect previously unknown worms.

Cooper said that protecting against the Code Red F variant is accomplished in the same way as protecting against the original Code Red worm: Remove Microsoft IIS from the box completely or remove script mappings, particularly .ida mappings, and apply the patch mentioned in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-033, "Unchecked Buffer in Index Server ISAPI Extension Could Enable Web Server Compromise."

4.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

* MICROSOFT MOBILITY DEVELOPER CONFERENCE

The premier 3-day developer event for building and bringing to market wireless applications for Microsoft Windows(r) Powered Pocket PC and Smartphone. Designed for developers, software vendors, wireless operators, and IT professionals, this event provides the tools/strategies to build and market mobile applications, content, and services. Register today quoting MDC819. http://www.microsoft.com/europe/mdc

* WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE CONNECTIONS: WIN A FLORIDA VACATION

Simply the best lineup of technical training for today's Windows IT Professional. Register now for this exclusive opportunity to learn in person from the Windows & .NET Magazine writers you trust. Attendees will have a chance to win a free Florida vacation for two. Register today and you'll also save $300. http://www.winconnections.com

5.

RESOURCES

* TIP: DISABLING THE PREFETCHER COMPONENT IN WINDOWS XP (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

One feature in Windows XP that can complicate application troubleshooting--particularly in applications that launch at start-up--is the XP prefetcher. This component exists to speed up application launching. However, because the prefetcher runs as a background process while other applications are running or loading, it can complicate the diagnosis of application problems, particularly if an application is causing the system to lock up or fail spectacularly in some other fashion. You can disable the prefetcher component by making a registry change. Take the following steps:


1. Launch regedit.
2. Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\ Memory Management\PrefetchParameters.
3. Double-click the EnablePrefetcher value name.
4. Write down and save the current value that EnablePrefetcher is set to. (Don't neglect this important step. If you decide that you need to reenable the prefetcher, you'll need to reenter the data value you wrote down.)
5. Set the value to 0 to disable the prefetcher.
6. Exit the registry editor.
7. Reboot the computer.

* FEATURED THREAD: PREVENTING NETWORK SOFTWARE INSTALLATION

Forum member "nayler," a contractor, connects to his clients' networks with his Windows 98 laptop. Each client network enforces its policies on the laptop, including installing antivirus software, setting up Microsoft Outlook profiles, changing icons, and blocking access to certain areas of the laptop. Nayler uses NetSwitcher to easily log on to different networks, but the policy enforcement causes problems. Most of nayler's client networks are Windows 2000 domains. Nayler would like to know whether he can block the policies at his laptop, preferably without using third-party software. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=39&tid=55645

6.

NEW AND IMPROVED

(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])

* ADMINISTER SYSTEMS IN A BLUE SCREEN

O&O Software announced O&O BlueCon XXL Administrator's Suite, software that lets you administer Windows-based systems in a blue screen before Windows starts. You can repair crashed installations, save files from defective hard disks, deactivate bad drives and systems services, manipulate the registry and correct its entries, edit ASCII files, create rescuer disks, and access systems without an administrator password. New functionality includes UnErase, to restore data without starting the OS, and SafeErase, to securely delete files and folders. The product supports Windows XP/2000/NT. Pricing is $379 for an administrator's license. Contact O&O Software in Germany at (49) (30) 4303-4303 or [email protected] http://www.oo-software.com

* PLUG IN INTERNET FILTERING

St. Bernard Software announced iPrism 3.3, an Internet filtering appliance that monitors, blocks, and reports on users' Web activity. You can customize iPrism's filtering mechanisms and enforce policies by day, time, user group, IP address, and Web site category. The Auto-Login feature lets you apply filtering policies and view reports per user without requiring users to authenticate. The product supports NT LAN Manager (NTLM) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) user groups. IPrism 3.3 is a 1U (1.75"), rack-mountable network appliance sold with a filtering-subscription service. Contact St. Bernard at 800-782-3762, 858-676-2277, or [email protected] http://www.stbernard.com

* 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 What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

7.

CONTACT US

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

* ABOUT THE COMMENTARY -- [email protected]

* ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL -- [email protected] (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

* TECHNICAL QUESTIONS -- http://www.winnetmag.net/forums

* PRODUCT NEWS -- [email protected]

* QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION? Customer Support -- [email protected]

* WANT TO SPONSOR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE? -- [email protected]

Windows Client UPDATE--brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network http://www.winnetmag.net

********************

~~~~ THIS ISSUE SPONSORED BY ~~~~

Intuitive Desktop Management...Free Download! http://www.AutoProf.com/Update_Client_HotR_2003_03_13.html

HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas (below COMMENTARY)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~ SPONSOR: INTUITIVE DESKTOP MANAGEMENT...FREE DOWNLOAD! ~~~~ Visually map network drives, shared and TCP/IP printers, copy files, create folders and shortcuts. Install Windows service packs and MSI packages. Create, replace, update, delete and migrate Outlook Profiles. Set Office & IE application settings. Free Trial! http://www.AutoProf.com/Update_Client_HotR_2003_03_13.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 13, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - Virtual Machine Software

2. READER CHALLENGE - February 2003 Reader Challenge Winners - March 2003 Reader Challenge

3. NEWS & VIEWS - New Code Red Variant Spreading

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Microsoft Mobility Developer Conference - Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Win a Florida Vacation

5. RESOURCES - Tip: Disabling the Prefetcher Component in Windows XP - Featured Thread: Preventing Network Software Installation

6. NEW AND IMPROVED - Administer Systems in a Blue Screen - Plug In Internet Filtering - Submit Top Product Ideas

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

********************

1.

COMMENTARY

(David Chernicoff, [email protected])

* VIRTUAL MACHINE SOFTWARE

I've always thought that it makes sense for IT staff to use virtual machine (VM) software. Creating a virtual computer that will behave like one of your typical client workstations is the perfect way to test new applications and configurations before you roll them out to users. Add the ability to virtualize network behavior, and IT techs can get a good feel for how applications will behave and run in the network environment without having to set up hundreds of test computers or affect production networks and computers.

About 2 years ago, I wrote about a corporate client I worked with that selected VM software: The client decided to use Connectix VM software on its corporate sales force's notebook computers. Since then, VMware, Connectix's primary competitor and the largest market-share holder in the VM world, has made great strides with its virtual server software, targeting corporate server-side customers and their need to concatenate multiple servers on one machine. Performing operations such as running a half-dozen Windows NT servers and their applications on one SMP Windows 2000 computer in a production environment is well within the capabilities of the VMware software. Connectix made plans to announce its own server-side VM software when an interesting thing happened.

About 3 weeks ago, Microsoft announced that it had acquired Connectix's VM technology. The Microsoft press release discusses the current Connectix product line and emphasizes the Virtual PC for Macintosh product, which, according to the press release, demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to the Mac product line. (I'm not sure what kind of commitment Microsoft really has to the Mac. The Connectix software lets you transform a Mac into a Windows PC, but this subject is best left to another column.)

More important is that Microsoft is making a commitment to the Connectix Virtual Server software, with, I presume, plans to go head-to-head with VMware. The Microsoft software won't ship until the end of 2003 (although a beta should be available on the Microsoft Web site on April 15). That timetable gives the VMware folks an opportunity to point out to current and potential customers that the VM idea for server concatenation is the same idea Microsoft is trying to bring to the table and that VMware has many years of production use behind it. I expect this approach will bring additional business to VMware. I'll be interested in whether Microsoft does with the Connectix technology what it's done with so many other key technologies: roll the technology into a future version of the base Windows OS. In any case, I don't think we'll see VM technology bundled for free in a desktop OS anytime soon, but it's one very powerful tool that any systems administrator should consider for inclusion in the administrative toolbox.

~~~~ SPONSOR: HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW ~~~~ JOIN THE HP & MICROSOFT NETWORK STORAGE SOLUTIONS ROAD SHOW! Now is the time to start thinking of storage as a strategic weapon in your IT arsenal. Come to our 10-city Network Storage Solutions Road Show, and learn how existing and future storage solutions can save your company money--and make your job easier! There is no fee for this event, but space is limited. Register now! http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/nas

2.

READER CHALLENGE

(contributed by Kathy Ivens, [email protected])

* FEBRUARY 2003 READER CHALLENGE WINNERS

Congratulations to our February Reader Challenge winners. Well, not so fast: I'm going to call them "almost winners" because out of the hundreds of entries I received, I couldn't really choose a winner. The first Challenge question had two correct answers, but out of hundreds of responses, only a few entries answered both questions correctly. None of those respondents included their addresses, so they can't win a prize. As a result, I redefined the pool of correct answers to include anyone who selected either of the correct answers and included their address. John Stenhouse of Scotland wins first prize, a copy of "Windows 2000: The Complete Reference." Stephen Fedorchak of Framingham, Massachusetts, wins second prize, a copy of "Admin911: Windows 2000 Registry." Visit http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38024 to read the answer to the February 2003 Reader Challenge.

* MARCH 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 March 27, 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 email software doesn't respond to a request for a receipt.) Look for the solutions to this month's problem at http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.dfm?articleid=38349 on March 27, 2003.


Problem:

A reader sent me a story, and it makes a good Reader Challenge. She works at a small company with 250 workstations, two domain controllers (DCs--DC-1 and DC-2), and 20 member servers for file and print services. The company employs two IT professionals--Mike and Judy--to maintain the system, and both of them use Windows XP on their personal workstations.

Mike and Judy worked out a plan for managing the tasks performed on the DCs. They split the DC roles between the two machines. Judy is in charge of DC-1, and Mike is in charge of DC-2.

Mike says that because of Microsoft's constant warnings about the dangers inherent in logging on to a computer with the Administrator account, he'll use the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Local Computer snap-in to create a local user on DC-2 with administrative permissions and will log on to the computer with that account. Judy says she'll install the Administrative Tools package on her XP computer and work on DC-1 remotely.

The reader who sent me the story works in the human resources (HR) department of this company. If you were she, to which IT pro would you suggest taking a class in administering Win2K networks, and why?

3.

NEWS AND VIEWS

(contributed by Mark Joseph Edwards, [email protected])

* NEW CODE RED VARIANT SPREADING

Russ Cooper reports that a new variant of the Code Red worm, called Code Red F, is spreading on the Internet. Cooper said in a message posted to the NTBugTraq mailing list that the worm was detected in Finland using the WormCatcher monitoring software. Security expert Roger Thompson developed WormCatcher and designed it to detect previously unknown worms.

Cooper said that protecting against the Code Red F variant is accomplished in the same way as protecting against the original Code Red worm: Remove Microsoft IIS from the box completely or remove script mappings, particularly .ida mappings, and apply the patch mentioned in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-033, "Unchecked Buffer in Index Server ISAPI Extension Could Enable Web Server Compromise."

4.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

* MICROSOFT MOBILITY DEVELOPER CONFERENCE

The premier 3-day developer event for building and bringing to market wireless applications for Microsoft Windows(r) Powered Pocket PC and Smartphone. Designed for developers, software vendors, wireless operators, and IT professionals, this event provides the tools/strategies to build and market mobile applications, content, and services. Register today quoting MDC819. http://www.microsoft.com/europe/mdc

* WINDOWS & .NET MAGAZINE CONNECTIONS: WIN A FLORIDA VACATION

Simply the best lineup of technical training for today's Windows IT Professional. Register now for this exclusive opportunity to learn in person from the Windows & .NET Magazine writers you trust. Attendees will have a chance to win a free Florida vacation for two. Register today and you'll also save $300. http://www.winconnections.com

5.

RESOURCES

* TIP: DISABLING THE PREFETCHER COMPONENT IN WINDOWS XP (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

One feature in Windows XP that can complicate application troubleshooting--particularly in applications that launch at start-up--is the XP prefetcher. This component exists to speed up application launching. However, because the prefetcher runs as a background process while other applications are running or loading, it can complicate the diagnosis of application problems, particularly if an application is causing the system to lock up or fail spectacularly in some other fashion. You can disable the prefetcher component by making a registry change. Take the following steps:


1. Launch regedit.
2. Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\ Memory Management\PrefetchParameters.
3. Double-click the EnablePrefetcher value name.
4. Write down and save the current value that EnablePrefetcher is set to. (Don't neglect this important step. If you decide that you need to reenable the prefetcher, you'll need to reenter the data value you wrote down.)
5. Set the value to 0 to disable the prefetcher.
6. Exit the registry editor.
7. Reboot the computer.

* FEATURED THREAD: PREVENTING NETWORK SOFTWARE INSTALLATION

Forum member "nayler," a contractor, connects to his clients' networks with his Windows 98 laptop. Each client network enforces its policies on the laptop, including installing antivirus software, setting up Microsoft Outlook profiles, changing icons, and blocking access to certain areas of the laptop. Nayler uses NetSwitcher to easily log on to different networks, but the policy enforcement causes problems. Most of nayler's client networks are Windows 2000 domains. Nayler would like to know whether he can block the policies at his laptop, preferably without using third-party software. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=39&tid=55645

6.

NEW AND IMPROVED

(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])

* ADMINISTER SYSTEMS IN A BLUE SCREEN

O&O Software announced O&O BlueCon XXL Administrator's Suite, software that lets you administer Windows-based systems in a blue screen before Windows starts. You can repair crashed installations, save files from defective hard disks, deactivate bad drives and systems services, manipulate the registry and correct its entries, edit ASCII files, create rescuer disks, and access systems without an administrator password. New functionality includes UnErase, to restore data without starting the OS, and SafeErase, to securely delete files and folders. The product supports Windows XP/2000/NT. Pricing is $379 for an administrator's license. Contact O&O Software in Germany at (49) (30) 4303-4303 or [email protected] http://www.oo-software.com

* PLUG IN INTERNET FILTERING

St. Bernard Software announced iPrism 3.3, an Internet filtering appliance that monitors, blocks, and reports on users' Web activity. You can customize iPrism's filtering mechanisms and enforce policies by day, time, user group, IP address, and Web site category. The Auto-Login feature lets you apply filtering policies and view reports per user without requiring users to authenticate. The product supports NT LAN Manager (NTLM) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) user groups. IPrism 3.3 is a 1U (1.75"), rack-mountable network appliance sold with a filtering-subscription service. Contact St. Bernard at 800-782-3762, 858-676-2277, or [email protected] http://www.stbernard.com

* 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 What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

7.

CONTACT US

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* WANT TO SPONSOR WINDOWS CLIENT UPDATE? -- [email protected]

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