Windows Client Update, March 2, 2006: Here's a Troika of Security Tools Worth a Look

Windows Client UPDATE, March 2, 2006--Here's a Troika of Security Tools Worth a Look
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1. Commentary
- Here's a Troika of Security Tools Worth a Look

2. Reader Challenge
- March Reader Challenge
- February Reader Challenge Winners

3. News & Views
- Microsoft Finalizes Windows Vista Product Lineup

4. Resources
- Tip: Navigate Those Little Windows With This Little Workaround
- Featured Thread: They Posted WHAT on the Web Site???

5. New and Improved
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: Here's a Troika of Security Tools Worth a Look ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

It’s clear that Microsoft is taking OS safety and security very seriously. Although the company has often been accused of paying lip service to problems with Windows, it has made an excellent effort to solve these problems with its current offering of security tools.

I covered the Windows AntiSpyware beta when it was first released in 2005. Now the program has moved into Beta 2 and been renamed Windows Defender. Microsoft appears to have made some significant improvements to the original tool it acquired along with Giant Software and on which its antispyware product is based. Windows Defender builds on the information gathered in the first beta and now offers improved detection and removal tools. The interface has been simplified for non-technical users, and even technically competent users will appreciate its improved organization. You'll find the Windows Defender Web site found at the following URL:

Targeted at home and small office/home office (SOHO) users is the Windows Live Safety Center at This is a Web-based scanning service that automates many of the system cleanup tools that Windows XP includes. It also performs a virus scan and a port scan on the computer from which it's run. It’s not a precisely targeted computer repair tool because it supports only a full system scan or a limited scan targeted at a specific major area of the computer system.

Windows Live Safety Center, Windows Defender, and the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool make up a troika of free software tools that protects consumers' computers from attacks that result from careless use of the Internet. In addition, Windows OneCare Live will offer a fee-based service to provide additional security and maintenance to home and SOHO Windows users.

If you're a corporate IT pro, you're probably thinking, "What about the big corporate environments?" Microsoft Client Protection is a malware solution for protecting clients and servers in the enterprise environment. It provides a set of tools you can automate that integrate the capabilities in Windows Defender and the Malicious Software Removal Tool. The Client Protection beta isn't public, but Microsoft expects to have the open beta available by third quarter 2006. For more information, go to


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==== 2. Reader Challenge ====
by Kathy Ivens, [email protected]
February 2006 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our February 2006 Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Windows Server 2003 Network Administration," goes to Steve Giffen, of London. Second prize, a copy of "Windows XP Annoyances for Geeks, Second Edition," goes to Mark Finkle, of Florida. Both books are from O'Reilly & Associates Publishing.

March 2006 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by March 15, 2006. You MUST include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct). I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on March 16, 2006.

The March 2006 Challenge:

I've been doing some writing and editing for a large corporation, and one of the writers gave instructions for providing users with elevated permission levels that are required for a specific program. In this case, power user permissions are required to launch the software.

The directions include instructions to right-click My Computer and select Manage to get to the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) that lets you add users to the Power Users group. The writer also explained that if the computer is a domain controller (DC), taking these steps results in adding the user to the Domain Power Users group.

I've rewritten the paragraph to make it technically accurate. What did I change?


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

Taking a cue from its tag line for Windows Vista, Microsoft has finally introduced some clarity about its product lineup for the next major Vista release, which will include eight product editions (or rather seventeen, if you count 32-bit and 64-bit versions separately). The list and product edition feature set corresponds almost exactly with the Windows Vista product edition lineup I revealed last September. It's unclear why the company waited so long to finalize this information, although it has clearly struggled with which versions it should ship.

"We live in a digital world that is filled with more information, more things to do and more ways to communicate with others than ever," says Mike Sievert, the corporate vice president of Windows Product Management and Marketing at Microsoft. "The PC needs to give people the clarity and confidence to handle this 'world of more' so they can focus on what's most important to them. With our Windows Vista product line, we've streamlined and tailored our product lineup to provide what our customers want for today's computing needs."

And apparently what customers want, is indeed "more." More product editions than ever before. More confusion about which features are included in each product edition and about how they might upgrade from one version to the next. This isn't clarity; it's insanity. By comparison, there is only one Mac OS X product edition. When you get Mac OS X, you get all of the features that Apple offers for that system. That seems a bit clearer to me.

Some good news is that one of the product editions Microsoft was originally planning to foist on its unsuspecting customer base, Vista Small Business, has been dropped. This change leaves a wide range of product editions in place. On the low end of the spectrum is Windows Vista Starter (previously Windows Starter 2007), which will be offered only in emerging markets. For home users, Microsoft will offer Windows Vista Home Basic (and Home Basic N for the European Union--EU) and Windows Vista Home Premium. Business users can look forward to Windows Vista Business (and Business N for the EU) and Windows Vista Enterprise, the latter of which will be made available only through volume licensing.

At the high end of the chain is Windows Vista Ultimate, "the edition of Windows Vista that has it all." Windows Vista Ultimate combines all of the features and functions of Vista Home Premium with Vista Business. Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, Vista Ultimate, and Vista Business will be available as a fully packaged product at retail and on new PCs, Microsoft says.

All of the Vista product editions, except for Vista Starter, will be available for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, although it's still unclear how Microsoft will package those versions (Vista Starter is 32-bit only). All of the Vista editions, except for Vista Starter and Vista Home Basic, will include the new Windows Aero UI.

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==== 4. Resources ====

Tip –

Many Web sites I use for business purposes launch small informational or activity browser windows for specific actions. On many of these sites, the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) windows that open are unusable with the screen resolutions I work in or because of the site's coding. I end up with windows that are difficult if not impossible to navigate because I don't see the scroll bars and can't resize the window.

I’ve discovered a little workaround that lets me get past these windows in most situations. You might find it useful, too.

1. In the pop-up window, right-click and select Create Shortcut from the context menu. 2. Close the pop-up window. Click the shortcut you just created. This will usually launch the same window in a full-sized browser so that you have access to data entry fields and scroll bars.

Featured Thread:

They Posted WHAT on the Web Site??? See the latest from the IT trenches at the Hyperbole, Embellishment and Systems Administration blog:

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==== 5. New and Improved ====

by Dianne Russell, [email protected]

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