Windows XP and 2000 Tips & Tricks UPDATE, July 15, 2002

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July 15, 2002—In this issue:



  • Q. What's Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)?
  • Q. How can I stop Windows Messenger from sending Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) discovery messages?
  • Q. What's Software Update Services (SUS) for Windows 2000 and later OSs?
  • Q. How can I force a user to use a machine-specific Group Policy rather than a user-specific Group Policy?
  • Q. Where is Microsoft NetMeeting in Windows XP?
  • Q. How can I rip MP3 files at high-quality data rates in Windows Media Player (WMP) 8?


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(contributed by John Savill, FAQ Editor, [email protected])

This week, I explain Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), tell you how to stop Windows Messenger from sending Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) messages, and describe Software Update Services (SUS). I also tell you how to force a machine-specific Group Policy, where to find Microsoft NetMeeting in Windows XP, and how to rip MP3 files at high-quality data rates in Windows Media Player (WMP) 8.

My new book, "The Windows XP/2000 Answer Book: A Complete Resource from the Desktop to the Enterprise" (Addison-Wesley), is now available for preorder on at the URL below. The book will be available at the end of September.


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  • Q. What's Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)?
  • A. UPnP is a peer-to-peer network architecture for connecting intelligent appliances, wireless devices, and PCs that are in close proximity. The architecture is based on TCP/IP and Web technologies that provide easy-to-use, flexible, standards-based connectivity to ad hoc or unmanaged home, small-business, public-space, and Internet-based networks.

    UPnP does more than just extend the Plug and Play (PnP) peripheral model. According to Microsoft's Web site, UPnP supports zero configuration, "invisible" networking, and automatic discovery for a breadth of device categories from a wide range of vendors. Through this design, a UPnP device can dynamically join a network, obtain an IP address, convey device capabilities, and learn about the presence and capabilities of other UPnP devices.

    UPnP leverages Internet components, including IP, TCP, UDP, HTTP, and XML. For example, UPnP establishes contracts based on wire protocols that are declarative, expressed in XML, and communicated through HTTP. UPnP is well suited for IP internetworking because it was explicitly designed to span different physical media, enable real-world multiple-vendor interoperation, and achieve synergy between the Internet and many home and office intranets. Further, UPnP can use a technique known as bridging to accommodate media that runs non-IP protocols.

    Because UPnP uses common protocols, instead of device drivers, UPnP networks can run on any media, including phone lines, power lines, Ethernet, radio frequency (RF), and FireWire. You can use any programming language on any OS to address UPnP devices. Windows XP and later OSs use two new services—the Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) discovery service and the UPnP device hosting service—to natively support UPnP.

    For more information about UPnP, visit the first URL below. For XP-specific information, visit the second URL below.

  • Q. How can I stop Windows Messenger from sending Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) discovery messages?
  • A. Windows XP and later OSs include the following services to support Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) devices:

    • the SSDP discovery service—discovers UPnP devices on your network
    • the UPnP device host service—provides support to host UPnP devices

    Disabling these services doesn't guarantee that SSDP discovery messages will stop, and you might still see traffic on UDP port 1900. This problem can occur if Windows Messenger uses SSDP to identify upstream Internet gateway devices because Windows Messenger formats and sends its own SSDP traffic instead of using the built-in UPnP services. To stop this SSDP discovery traffic, perform the following steps:

    1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DirectPlayNATHelp\DPNHUPnP subkey.
    3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
    4. Enter a name of UPnPMode and press Enter.
    5. Double-click the new value, set it to 2, then click OK.
    6. Close the registry editor.

  • Q. What's Software Update Services (SUS) for Windows 2000 and later OSs?
  • A. The current Windows Update site is ideal for home users because it automatically connects you to Microsoft's Web site, determines what updates you need, and downloads and installs the updates. For corporate users, however, this approach can be a nightmare for administrators, who would be unable to control what updates a user is applying and how much bandwidth the user is taking advantage of to download the updates.

    Although you as the administrator can disable Windows Update, go to the Windows Update Web site, create a "basket" of updates, save the updates to a local machine, and distribute the updates to many other machines, you lose the ability to automatically install the updates, which is one of the main benefits of Windows Update. Fortunately, Microsoft has created SUS for corporate users.

    SUS replaces the Windows Update Corporate Edition program and lets an administrator use a modified Windows Update interface to download fixes, test the fixes, and deploy them to a group of computers. The clients can then use a modified Windows Update client to automatically install the fixes. Microsoft has created a Macromedia Flash demo that explains the concept at the following URL:

    To use SUS, you need to download the server software and the client software (unless you use Windows XP Service Pack 1—SP1—or later or Win2K SP3 or later, which include SUS). You can download the software, along with white papers about deployment and a system overview, from the URL below. The deployment white paper is comprehensive and describes an advanced configuration—I urge you to read it.

    If you choose to use SUS, consider these caveats:

    • You can't use a domain controller (DC) as a SUS server, but you can use a DC as a client.
    • You can't use SUS to deploy service packs.
    • You can't use SUS to deploy your own updates (you can use this tool to deploy only Windows critical updates, Windows critical security updates, and Windows security rollups).

  • Q. How can I force a user to use a machine-specific Group Policy rather than a user-specific Group Policy?
  • A. Typically, the settings that the OS applies when a user logs on are based on the user's account container (e.g., a domain, a site, an organizational unit—OU), regardless of which container the user's machine belongs to. In some instances, you might want to forgo using this default behavior and instead associate a user's settings with the location of the user's computer within Active Directory (AD). For example, you might want to set a strict, defined set of policies for a publicly accessible computer, regardless of who logs on to that computer.

    To establish machine-specific settings, use Group Policy to set the computer's container to "loopback" mode—so that the computer's client settings take precedence—by performing the following steps:

    1. Start Group Policy Editor (GPE) and load the policy that affects the computer whose behavior you want to modify (alternatively, you can start the Microsoft Management Console—MMC—Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, right-click the container, select Properties, then select the Group Policy tab).
    2. Expand the Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, System, Group Policy branches.
    3. Double-click the "Loopback Policy" option (or "User Group Policy loopback processing mode" in Windows .NET Server—Win.NET Server).
    4. Select the Enabled option, then select the Mode:
    • Merge Mode—loads a user's usual settings first, then loads any settings based on the computer's location, thus overwriting any conflicting user settings
    • Replace Mode—loads only settings based on the computer's location
  • Click OK.
  • Q. Where is Microsoft NetMeeting in Windows XP?
  • A. NetMeeting is a standard XP component that's hidden until initial configuration. NetMeeting lets you participate in virtual meetings, work in shared applications, share data over the Internet or an intranet, and share live video with others in faraway places.

    To enable NetMeeting, perform the following steps:

    1. Go to the Start menu and select Run.
    2. Type
    3. Conf 

      and click OK.

    4. After the NetMeeting configuration wizard starts, click Next.
    5. Enter your personal details and click Next.
    6. Select listing directory options and click Next.
    7. Select your connection media and click Next.
    8. Configure the shortcut options to your liking and click Next.
    9. Click Next to configure volume options and click Next again to confirm that the microphone works.
    10. Click Finish.

    To begin a NetMeeting session, start NetMeeting (e.g., run conf.exe again to start the application or select the appropriate shortcut from the Start menu or desktop), click the Phone button, and enter the IP address of the machine you want to communicate with.

  • Q. How can I rip MP3 files at high-quality data rates in Windows Media Player (WMP) 8?
  • A. WMP 8 includes a built-in, high-quality Windows Media Audio (WMA) ripper but includes only a low-quality MP3 ripper that stores audio at 56Kbps. To enable high-quality MP3 ripping, perform the following steps (you don't need to perform these steps if you've purchased third-party MP3 ripping software):

    1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Settings\MP3Encoding subkey.
    3. Create or modify the following DWORD values:
    • LowRate - 64000 (decimal)
    • MediumRate - 128000 (decimal)
    • MediumHighRate - 192000 (decimal)
    • HighRate - 320000 (decimal)
  • Close the registry editor.
  • Log off and log back on for the change to take effect.
  • A complete list of available data-quality speeds is

    • 320Kbps DWORD:0004e200
    • 256Kbps DWORD:0003e800
    • 224Kbps DWORD:00036b00
    • 192Kbps DWORD:0002ee00
    • 160Kbps DWORD:00027100
    • 128Kbps DWORD:0001f400
    • 112Kbps DWORD:0001b580
    • 64Kbps DWORD:0000fa00
    • 56Kbps DWORD:0000dac0

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


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