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May 7, 2002—In this issue:
- Administrative Scripting Saves the Day at Microsoft TechEd 2002
2. KEEPING UP WITH IIS
- IIS Security Rollup for XP, Win2K, and NT
- Results from Last Issue's Instant Poll: New Products
- This Issue's Instant Poll: Scripting and Group Policy
- Need 24 x 7 Availability?
- World's Leading Developers to Speak at XML EUROPE 2002
- Event Highlight: VSLive! Visual Studio Developer Conference
- Featured Thread: FTP User Account Permissions
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Change URLs on the Fly
- Disaster Protection for Web Servers
6. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
My company, InterKnowlogy, built the ASP.NET event application that helped the people in charge of Microsoft's recent TechEd 2002 manage the event's extranet and intranet, as well as the TechEd network's authenticated public site. My company also was responsible for deploying the network and the more than 600 computer kiosks that were available to the conference's attendees. I'll describe one of the many challenges my company faced in our effort to deploy an enterprise-class network and cutting-edge ASP.NET application within a few days.
One of our primary goals in deploying the system was to provide tools that would let attendees perform their "day jobs" remotely while attending the conference. We planned to provide terminal services access outside the firewall for TechEd attendees, and we hoped to provide Citrix access as well. However, an agreement allowing Citrix access didn't come through until just before the event began, which complicated my company's efforts to deploy the network.
InterKnowlogy developed the computer kiosk image (i.e., the standard software configuration for each computer) before TechEd began, and we planned to deploy the image to the machines onsite at the event center in New Orleans. The development team used Symantec Norton Ghost to blast the computer images to all the computer kiosks on the network, a process that took about 30 minutes. However, each kiosk required a technician's visit for testing, configuration, and manual logon to the network.
One of the technologies that we couldn't configure when we set up the network was the Citrix remote client connectivity software. We had learned from Microsoft that making Citrix software available on the computer kiosks was frequently requested by attendees of previous TechEd events. However, when we built the kiosk image, we didn't know whether Citrix software would be available to implement at TechEd. So, our network and deployment team included the Citrix software on the computer image in an unusable state. The day before TechEd opened, Citrix agreed to allow use of the software for the event. Unfortunately, Citrix's blessing came after we had blasted the computer images to all 600-plus machines.
The problem we then faced was how to configure the Citrix software to work on each machine within the limited time available. We needed to make sure that the software's icon was visible on each desktop so that attendees would see that the software was available for use. The Citrix software also required a unique and custom configuration of each machine's .ini file. Manually accomplishing these two tasks was simply impossible given the time frame and our team's staffing limitations.
The team solved the problem with two scripts, IconCheck.vbs and CitrixKioskMapping.vbs, which team members added to Windows 2000 Group Policy so that the scripts would execute upon logon during the usual testing process for each computer kiosk. IconCheck.vbs puts the Citrix icon on the desktop. The script uses the FileSystem Object to copy the Citrix icon to the desktop's All Users area. Here's the script:
Call objFSO.CopyFile("C:\Program Files\Citrix Program Neighborhood.*", "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop\")
CitrixKioskMapping.vbs creates a unique .ini file, wfcname.ini, on the root of each machine's hard disk. The script uses the FileSystem Object and the Network Object to create this .ini file, which contains the machine name of each computer on which the file is created and placed. Here's the script:
Set objFile = objFSO.CreateTextFile("C:\wfcname.ini", True) If Err.Number = 0 Then objFile.Write("\[WFClient\]" & vbCrLf & "ClientName=" & objNetwork.ComputerName) objFile.Close End If
As the machines were authenticated during the usual testing process, Group Policy and these two scripts configured the computers to run the Citrix remote client connectivity software. After testing, we removed the scripts from Group Policy because we no longer needed them.
In his session at TechEd, Chris George, the mastermind of the network deployment at TechEd, said, "Windows 2000 Group Policy is Bill Gates' gift to network administrators." He's right on the mark; I'm going to use that quote for a long time, giving Chris full credit, of course.
The solution we used at TechEd is a crafty way to handle an interesting one-time problem. I hope it stimulates you to think of creative ways to solve similar problems in your own shops.
Tim Huckaby, News Editor, [email protected]
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2. KEEPING UP WITH IIS
Microsoft released an extensive security rollup for Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.1 (Windows XP), IIS 5.0 (Windows 2000), and Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0 (Windows NT) on April 9. The update contains code fixes for eight new vulnerabilities, including three buffer overruns, one access violation, one potential Denial of Service (DoS) attack, and three cross-scripting issues, as well as all previously released IIS security patches.
The voting has closed in the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web
Solutions channel's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "What's the most exciting new product that Microsoft announced at TechEd 2002?" Here are the results (+/-1 percent) from the 27 responses.
- 19% Microsoft Commerce Server 2002
- 30% Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server XML Web Services Toolkit for Microsoft .NET
- 22% Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Notification Services
- 4% SQL Server Windows CE Edition 2.0
- 26% Microsoft MapPoint .NET 2.0
The next Instant Poll question is, "How often do you use administrative scripting with Windows 2000 Group Policy?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web Solutions home page and submit your vote for 1) Extensively, 2) From time to time, 3) Seldom, or 4) Never.
High-availability networks, systems, and applications are crucial to every business. Sign up for our free Webinar taking place on May 14 (sponsored by MKS), and find out how to achieve 24 x 7 availability on Windows 2000. Windows & .NET Magazine author Tim Huckaby shares his expertise on load balancing, monitoring, and more. Register today!
Developers and end users from more than 15 nations will conduct technical presentations at this year's XML Europe event. Held May 20 through 23, 2002, in Barcelona, Spain, this year's event will include breakthrough Web-based technologies. For complete details and to register, call 703-837-1070 or visit
June 16 through 19, 2002
VSLive! will feature updates about all the latest approaches to tools that developers need to make the leap to the Microsoft .NET platform. Sessions will identify the various development tools you'll need to work in a .NET environment, as well as how to integrate those tools with platforms such as the Windows .NET Server family, Yukon, and SQL Server 2000. You can also learn when and how to use tools ranging from ASP.NET to Visual Basic .NET to C#.
For other upcoming events, check out the Windows & .NET Magazine Events Calendar.
A user needs to upload artwork to an FTP server. The FTP user account needs Write permissions to upload, but the administrator doesn't want the user to see which files are in the directory or have read permissions to download. The administrator wonders which permissions to set for the user in the directory and in Microsoft IIS FTP. To see responses about this scenario or to lend a helping hand, visit the following URL:
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mascarenas, [email protected])
Qwerksoft released IISRewrite, a URL-rewriting filter for Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0 and Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0 that lets you change requested URLs on the fly. The Internet Server API (ISAPI) filter lets Webmasters control URLs that the client sees. IISRewrite enables the server to dynamically rewrite URLs that look static to a browser. The software can also catch IIS logging and reporting vulnerabilities. IISRewrite runs on Windows 2000 and Windows NT systems running IIS 5.0 and IIS 4.0 and costs $199. Contact Qwerksoft at [email protected]
SteelEye Technology released SteelEye Disaster Recovery Solution, software that provides disaster protection and automated recovery of data, servers, and applications across multiple geographically distributed sites. You can recover IT operations shortly after disruptive events. The software supports Microsoft IIS. For pricing, contact SteelEye Technology at 650-318-0108 or 877-319-0108.
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