Windows Client UPDATE, April 17, 2003

Windows Client UPDATE--brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network



Active Directory Webcast Featuring Mark Minasi

HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show (below COMMENTARY)


~~~~ SPONSOR: ACTIVE DIRECTORY WEBCAST FEATURING MARK MINASI ~~~~ Want to separate fact from fiction when it comes to managing Active Directory in a Windows Server 2003 world? If you're running Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, or a combination of the two, tune in on May 6th to get the real-world expertise you need during NetIQ's free webcast, "Managing Active Directory in a Windows Server 2003 World". Join Windows guru Mark Minasi and experts from NetIQ, Microsoft and FullArmor to discover what's new in Active Directory with Windows Server 2003 and how it impacts your Active Directory strategy. Register now.


April 17, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - Leverage the Advantages of NTFS

2. NEWS & VIEWS - Intel Recalls New Pentium 4 Processor

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Couldn't Make the Microsoft Mobility Tour Event? - Sample Our Security Administrator Newsletter! 4. RESOURCES - Tip: Turn Off XP's Error Reporting Service - Featured Thread: Listing Contents of the Desktop Heap in NT

5. NEW AND IMPROVED - Package and Deploy Software to Windows Clients - One-Stop Asset Management - Submit Top Product Ideas

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




(David Chernicoff, [email protected])


Recently, I got a call from a local company that has started doing its own inhouse video editing to prepare training videos for its products. I had done some consulting for this company during its migration from Windows NT and Windows 98 to Windows 2000 and Windows XP, so I was pretty familiar with the computing environment. Although the company was set up with new computers, lots of memory, up-to-date video technology, and the latest DirectShow version, the system was blowing up whenever a technician tried to build a master video from the MiniDV source material.

I located the problem on a quick trip over to the site: Although the company had brand new XP Professional Edition systems dedicated to the video editing project with Fast SCSI drives for editing and large Fast ATA drives for data storage, the vendor who had sold the hardware first partitioned, then formatted the drives as FAT32. FAT32 drives have a 4GB file-size limit. At high resolution, a DirectShow AVI file eats up 4GB in less than 20 minutes of video, and this company was attempting to save a 45-minute training class in one AVI file.

Because the company's systems were brand new, with little accumulated user data, completely reinstalling XP and changing the partitioning to take advantage of NTFS was simple to do. NTFS has a theoretical file-size limit of 16EB, although 2TB is more realistic. In another situation, I would have suggested using the Convert command to change over the FAT32 partitions to NTFS. However, for some reason, the vendor had configured multiple small partitions, so the simpler course was to reformat and reinstall. If the machines had contained lots of user-specific information, I would have recommended using a third-party partition management tool.

This little adventure prompted me to make some phone calls to other local clients. Amazingly, quite a few of these small businesses (each has fewer than 100 computers) have systems that are running on FAT32 partitions. From a user's standpoint, FAT32 and NTFS differ little, but NTFS brings many desirable features to the table (including enhanced security and increased file-size capacity) that FAT32 doesn't.

I routinely recommend the use of file compression and the Encrypting File System (EFS), so I tell my clients to use NTFS. I was surprised that a vendor selling hardware for business use would format its computers with FAT32, if only because doing so introduces a lack of security. The traditional argument that only FAT32 allows access from DOS holds little water--utilities are available to let you read NTFS drives from a DOS boot. And don't forget the existence of an entire generation of computer users who don't even know what DOS is.

If you run a small or small office/home office (SOHO) business, let your hardware vendors know that you want computer drives formatted with NTFS, not FAT32. If you're buying new hardware, you're paying for the capability to leverage NTFS and its enhanced security features and increased file space--make sure you get the most from your investment.

~~~~ 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. Attend the HP & Microsoft 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!



(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])


On Tuesday, the same day that microprocessor maker Intel planned to introduce a new version of its 3GHz Pentium 4 chips, the company instead recalled the processors because of a bug that seems to affect only a small portion of the manufactured chips. The 3GHz Pentium 4 chip supports systems with 800MHz buses and Double Data Rate (DDR) memory that runs at 400MHz. PC makers such as Dell and Gateway were primed and ready yesterday to deliver systems based on the new processor and chipset and had sent out press releases before Intel released the news about the recall. Although the public-relations flap from this problem is unlikely to be as serious as two of Intel's other infamous episodes--the Pentium 90 arithmetic error and the process ID flag problem--this week's recall is nonetheless embarrassing. Because Intel discovered the problem at the last minute, the company decided to continue with yesterday's product launch. "We will still launch the product, but shipments will be delayed until we work out a few issues," said Georgine Lin, public relations manager at Intel Taiwan. The company said it will provide an update on the new shipping timetable in a week. "This is only a small problem," an Intel representative said yesterday.

When Intel makes the new Pentium 4 design available, people who buy systems based on the chip should experience better performance than current top-of-the-line PCs--which use 3.06GHz Pentium 4 processors but slower system bus and RAM--provide. Intel says the new bus is as much as 50 percent faster than the previous version, although how this improvement will affect overall system performance is unclear. One problem with Intel's speediest chips is that the rest of the system hasn't caught up; on most PCs, the system bus, hard disk, and other components are often a bottleneck.



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


If you were too busy to catch our Microsoft Mobility Tour event in person, now you can view the Webcast archives for free! You'll learn more about the available solutions for PC and mobile devices and discover the direction mobility marketplace is headed.


If you spend the better part of your day dealing with security concerns such as controlling user access, viruses, and tightening your network's permeability, then you can benefit from the type of information we publish each month in Security Administrator. Every issue shows you how to protect your enterprise with informative, in-depth articles, timely tips, and practical advice. Sample our most recent issue today!



TIP: TURN OFF XP'S ERROR REPORTING SERVICE (contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

I recently received a letter from a reader who had an interesting nonproblem: A legacy application that his corporation needed to use on Windows XP would leave an artifact every time the legacy application closed. The artifact was a dead dialog box; when users tried to close the dialog box, they would see a "This application is not responding" Windows message and be offered the choice to end the process. When a user ended the process, the Microsoft Error Reporting Service would launch automatically. After fielding 300 or 400 calls on the Help desk, the reader asked me, "Can I turn off the error-reporting feature?"

The answer, is "Yes, you can." And the fix doesn't require that you edit the registry. To turn off the Error Reporting Service so that it doesn't launch at startup, complete the following steps on XP client machines.

1. On the Start menu, select Run, enter "msconfig.exe" (don't type the quotation marks), and click OK.
2. Click the Services tab.
3. Make sure that the Hide All Microsoft Services box is clear.
4. Clear the Error Reporting Service check box.
5. Click OK.
6. Let msconfig reboot the computer.


Forum member "NTStarter" administers a Windows NT server that keeps filling up the desktop heap, resulting in a user32.dll error when he tries to start applications. He changed the secondary allocation to 1024, as Microsoft recommends, but all this seems to have done is postpone the point at which the heap fills up. NTStarter would like to know whether a way exists for him to identify what's in the heap, so that he can determine whether it contains an application running in error. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:



(contributed by Sue Cooper, [email protected])


New Boundary Technologies released Prism Pack 5.0, a software packaging tool for deploying software and patches to local or remote Windows-based systems. New features include Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) integration; Installation Rules, which let you control and automate package installation; configuration-based scripting, which gives you direct access to the hardware, software, and network configurations of target computers; and Windows Installer support, which lets you package, edit, and customize any type of file format. Prism Pack 5.0 runs on and supports Windows XP/2000/NT/Me/98/95. Pricing starts at $2750 for 100 seats and includes support for 1 year. Contact New Boundary Technologies at 800-747-4487, 612-379-3805, or [email protected]


Alloy Software announced Asset Navigator Enterprise Edition 4.0, an asset management, inventory tracking, and Help desk suite now built on Microsoft SQL Server 2000 for scalability and reliability in multiuser environments. Product enhancements include integration with Active Directory (AD); integration with applications such as VNC, Symantec's pcAnywhere, and Microsoft NetMeeting for facilitating remote management; Change History tracking for reporting changes in hardware configurations; and the New Technician's Web Help Desk for submitting, tracking, and resolving trouble tickets. Asset Navigator Enterprise Edition 4.0 supports Windows XP/2000/NT/98/95. Contact Alloy Software at 201-656-0404 or [email protected]


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] 6.


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)


* PRODUCT NEWS -- [email protected]



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