Windows Client UPDATE, August 7, 2003

Windows Client UPDATE--August 7, 2003

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1. Commentary: Unintentional Spam Attacks
2. News & Views - Microsoft Gives Business Users Office Upgrade Incentive

3. Announcements - Need Help Managing Your Storage Investment? - Learn More About the Security Risks in Exchange 2003

4. Resources - Tip: Reinstalling IE or Outlook Express on XP - Featured Thread: DAX Error

5. Events - New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

6. New and Improved - Perform Backups in Service Mode - Gather Trace Files from Multiple Locations - Submit Top Product Ideas

7. Contact Us - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. Commentary: Unintentional Spam Attacks ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

Despite all the precautions I've been taking to keep spam out of my email Inbox, I was singularly unsuccessful last weekend. One of my work email accounts, which is usually pretty quiet over the weekend, contained well over 100 messages on Monday morning, and more than two-thirds of these messages were clearly spam. What had happened? Had the spammers invented new tricks to get past the antispam tools and email software rules I had in place? Were these messages harbingers of a new wave of spamming tricks destined to bring Internet email to its knees?

Nothing quite so sinister: I was being drowned in a flood of informational messages from email security tools. The attack, though unintentional, was coming from within an enterprise that I occasionally work for.

Because multiple versions of the virus W32.Mimail are inundating the Internet, this company's internal IT department configured its antivirus firewall to catch infected messages. (I won't comment on the 30 or so infected messages that came through to me before the protection was put in place; good thing my own prophylactic measures are designed for just such an event.) The problem is that this process is designed to deal with only the occasional infected email message and is configured to alert the intended recipient of every infected message it catches. As a result, I received an alert message for every one of the infected email messages (more than 200 at last count) that were directed to the email address at my account.

Even that wouldn't have been too bad if the messages didn't all display the same useless information in the subject line, requiring me to scan each message down to the last line to determine whether the email was from a real sender whom I needed to contact about the infected message. Viruses that attach themselves to files are still floating around, and I receive a lot of spreadsheet and text documents in the course of my work. If someone's machine harbors a virus and is sending out infected Microsoft Word documents, I need to let the sender know. I can't simply ignore alert messages in my Inbox.

The messages in question were actually worse than typical spam because I had to read each one and therefore couldn't simply perform a bulk delete. I find it amazing that this particular antivirus software can identify viruses but can't be configured to recognize that viruses spoof the sender's email address and therefore no reason exists to send an alert to email recipients. If 3500 users are on a company's internal email infrastructure, antivirus software becomes a miniature Denial of Service (DoS) attack, cluttering knowledge workers' Inboxes with messages that require the users' attention but that shouldn't have been sent in the first place. If every user on this particular company's network received 10 percent of the infected messages I was sent, more than 70,000 extraneous email messages were generated across the network.

I'm not implying that in this case the cure was worse than the disease: Letting viruses loose within a network would have far greater consequences. But I think this situation highlights something that happens a lot in the IT world: A good idea is implemented but not thought through completely (i.e., blocking an infected message and sending a notification to the sender puts the onus on the sender to resend a clean message). Alerting recipients, particularly when we know that many viruses spoof sender addresses, can come back and bite you where you least expect it.

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==== 2. News & Views ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Gives Business Users Office Upgrade Incentive

As an incentive to get businesses to upgrade to Office 2003 when Microsoft releases it this fall, Microsoft will offer its volume-license business customers a way to upgrade their Office XP Standard Edition applications to the versions found in Office 2003 Professional Edition at no extra cost, the company announced earlier this week. The Office 2003 Step-Up License is available to any customers who chose a volume license through Software Assurance (SA) or Upgrade Advantage, SA's predecessor. The full volume-license version of Office 2003 Professional includes various applications--Microsoft Access 2003, InfoPath 2003, Publisher 2003, and Outlook with Business Contact Manager 2003--that will not be made available to Step-Up customers. However, Office Standard users who want to upgrade to the full Professional Edition can do so simply by paying the price difference, Microsoft noted.

Microsoft said that the Step-Up License was made available because of the company's decision late in product development to make certain XML features available only through the Professional Edition of Office 2003. "We announced the differentiation of the Office versions after \[many\] customers ... made the decision to go with the Standard Edition," said Dan Leach, lead product manager for Microsoft Office. "Those customers may want those new features in Office Professional."

Microsoft will offer the Step-Up License for one year, beginning September 1, 2003. Office 2003 Standard Edition includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Customers who renew volume-licensed versions of Office before the end of March 2004 will receive perpetual rights to use the Office 2003 Professional Edition versions of those applications without extra charge.

==== 3. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Need Help Managing Your Storage Investment?

Planning and managing your storage deployment can be costly and complex. Check out Windows & .NET Magazine's Storage Administration Web site for the latest advice, news, and tips to help you make the most of your storage investment. You'll find problem-solving articles, eye-opening white papers, a technical forum, and much more!

Learn More About the Security Risks in Exchange 2003

Videotaped live at Microsoft TechEd 2003, this free archived Web seminar delivers an introduction to the new security features and enhancements of Exchange Server 2003, including the new security APIs that can minimize virus risk and spam traffic. Plus, you'll discover more about the future of the messaging industry and what's on the horizon in assessing risk. Register today!

==== 4. Resources ====

Tip: Reinstalling IE or Outlook Express on XP
(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

I've received many reader requests over the past month asking for details about how to reinstall Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) or Microsoft Outlook Express (or both) on Windows XP. Doing so is fairly complex and requires editing the registry. So, let me point you to the Microsoft article that outlines the procedure in detail: You can find the Microsoft article with instructions about reinstalling Outlook Express on Windows 2000 (which is a much simpler process) at:

Featured Thread: DAX Error

Forum member Jonesy has been having the same problem for a week or two: Every morning, his desktop displays a "DAX ERROR: Out of Memory" message. Jonesy has no idea what's causing the error, and the Event Viewer doesn't show any problems with his system. If he clicks OK, his system works normally. He'd like to know what the problem is. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:

==== 5. Events ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

Learn more about the wireless and mobility solutions that are available today! Register now for this free event!

==== 6. New and Improved ====
by Sue Cooper, [email protected]

Perform Backups in Service Mode

Novosoft released HandyBackup Pro 1.1, software that backs up data on individual computers or small networks to any type of storage media, including CD-RW devices and remote FTP servers. You can run the software as a service on Windows NT-based systems. HandyBackup Pro maintains strong file encryption and multichoice zip compression on the fly. A detailed log file records all backup activities. Supports Windows XP/2000/NT/Me/98/95. Handy Backup Pro 1.1 is priced at $57 for a single-user license; a 30-day evaluation version is available for download. Contact Novosoft on the HandyBackup Pro Web site at

Gather Trace Files from Multiple Locations

WildPackets announced PacketGrabber 2.0, a remote-packet capture utility that lets you gather trace files from multiple locations on the network and automatically forward them for analysis. Capture Templates let you trigger captures at a specified time and according to chosen filters and number of bytes. Multiple-NIC support lets you simultaneously capture packets on one or more LAN segments. You can use PacketGrabber as a capture engine or in a distributed Help desk environment for remote-segment analysis. Supports Windows XP/2000 with Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 5.5 or above. Contact WildPackets at 800-466-2447, 925-937-3200, or [email protected]

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 Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

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==== 7. Contact Us ====

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