Windows Client UPDATE, January 8, 2004

This Issue Sponsored By

Using Group Policy to manage desktops, with AutoProf Policy Maker

Exchange & Outlook Administrator


1. Commentary: Protecting Home Computers--A Site with Bite

2. Reader Challenge
- December 2003 Reader Challenge Winners
- January 2004 Reader Challenge

3. News & Views
- Microsoft: Get the Facts About Linux

4. Announcements
- The Windows & .NET Magazine Network VIP Web Site/Super CD Has It All!
- Announcing a New eBook: "Content Security in the Enterprise--Spam and Beyond"

5. Resources
- Tip: Improperly Registered DLLs in IE 6.x
- Featured Thread: Boot Error Message in Windows XP

6. Event
- New--Microsoft Security Strategies Roadshow!

7. New and Improved
- Repair, Speed Up, Maintain, and Protect Your PCs
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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

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==== 1. Commentary: Protecting Home Computers--A Site with Bite ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

I admit it--I dread phone calls and email messages from friends and relatives with new broadband connections who want to know how to protect their computers from being attacked over the Internet. Yes, it's a good thing that these people are aware of the potential problems with broadband connections. But what's bad is that, in most cases, these users won't understand my answers to their questions. This means I'll need to provide step-by-step instructions or, heaven forbid, hold their hands over the phone and help them configure the existing security features in Windows or suggest third-party products to provide necessary computer security.

Although many are quick to accuse Microsoft of being at the heart of the computer security problem, I think the company has provided a decent solution for nontechnical users who want to secure their PCs. That solution is the "Microsoft Security Protect your PC" Web site at . The Web site explains to the nontechnical (and non-networked) user how to use an Internet firewall, update the computer, and use antivirus software. Information on the site supports all current Windows desktop client OSs, in addition to the legacy 32-bit Windows OSs (Windows NT and Windows 9x). The scope of information the site provides gives you an idea about how important Microsoft thinks security is: Try finding new support tools for those legacy OSs anywhere else on Microsoft's site.

When you select your OS on the site's opening page, you can either print out the recommended steps to secure your system or let the site walk you through the process step by step. If your OS is Windows XP, you'll have the option of downloading and running an automatic configuration tool that will check your computer's current security settings and optimize them for securing Internet access. For other OSs, the site will provide links to downloadable third-party software that you can use to protect your computer. Special offers are available on the linked products, including a free 12-month subscription to Computer Associates' antivirus software.

To provide additional help in explaining security concepts and practices, the site offers three video streams. You'll find one stream each for firewall, update, and antivirus software information. Finally, for any users who are completely befuddled by the information presented on the site, Microsoft offers a free support hotline at 866-727-2338.

During the holiday season, I passed this Web site along to a half-dozen family members who received new computers for the holidays. With the exception of one person, who was trying to configure wireless networking between his new, his old, and his notebook computers, all of my guinea pigs reported successful results after running the XP automatic configuration tool. Two reported that they were able to secure Win98 computers by following the directions and downloading software available through the Web site.

As a technically savvy user, I can find some flaws with some of the information offered on the Protect your PC Web site, but for the average home user looking for a basic security configuration, the site has much to offer. Don't forget that it helps alleviate the friend-and-family-support headache, too.

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

December 2003 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to Tom Guyer of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, who wins first prize, a copy of "Admin911: Windows 2000 Registry." Bertha Fineman of Oak Park, Illinois, wins second prize; she requested a copy of my book "Running QuickBooks 2003 for Nonprofits" if she won. Visit to read the answer to the December Reader Challenge.

January 2004 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Windows Client problem, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by January 22, 2004. You must include your full name, street mailing address, and phone number (all required for shipping your prize).

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents. (I never respond to a request for a receipt.) Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on January 22, 2004.

A reader who works in his company's computer lab wrote to ask me a question, and I decided to use his question as this month's challenge. The reader's lab computers are used for testing in-house applications, configuration and policy settings, and tools the company is considering implementing for the enterprise. Many administrative staff members are encouraged to access the lab computers from their own workstations to test the applications and tools. They must use the Runas command to log on to the lab computers as administrators to perform their tests.

However, when new applications are installed or new settings are enabled, the lab folks want some time for internal testing before letting remote users access the lab computers. To keep remote users out during these times, the reader changes the Administrator's password, so the Runas command won't work. His domain is set up for strong passwords, and he wrote, "Creating new passwords is a pain in the neck, and the only way the lab employees can log on is to post a note containing the new password, which negates the whole point of passwords."

What did I tell him to do to make the Runas command fail without changing the password?

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

Microsoft: Get the Facts About Linux

If there was ever any doubt that Linux had made it to the software big leagues, consider the following: Microsoft, the industry's 800-pound gorilla, has just launched an advertising campaign aimed directly at the open-source software (OSS) solution. Dubbed "Get the Facts," the campaign seeks to directly attack technical, security, and cost assumptions people make about Linux, which has been something of a media darling in the years since Microsoft's US antitrust trial. The campaign will run for 6 months, according to the software giant, and print ads will appear in major IT publications, targeting administrators and IT decision makers who might have questions about the Linux alternative.

"Over the past year, software cost and value has been a common issue raised by IT customers," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "The 'Get the Facts' advertising campaign aims to bring some of this information to companies who are making decisions about their IT solutions." Responding to criticism that any campaign sponsored by Microsoft is sure to be one-sided, the company notes that a new Web site it has set up contains third-party "evidence" about the relative merits of Linux and Windows. Regardless, the new campaign is sure to stir a hornet's nest of opposition from the vocal Linux community, which doesn't respond well to any criticism of its prized product.

The ad campaign couldn't happen fast enough, with Microsoft seeing several governments migrating to Linux with high-profile announcements. The latest, Israel, is emblematic of the problem Microsoft faces: Israel doesn't want to stop using Microsoft software, but the Israeli government is concerned about the company's licensing practices and would like to be able to mix and match software installations according to its users' needs, not to Microsoft's accounting needs. But if Microsoft wants to argue that Windows is less costly than Linux, it's going to have to adjust its pricing model, which rewards customers who buy massive amounts of Microsoft software.

For more information about the Get the Facts campaign and Microsoft's efforts to compare Windows with Linux, please visit the " "Get the Facts on Windows and Linux" Web site at .

==== 4. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

The Windows & .NET Magazine Network VIP Web Site/Super CD Has It All!

With a VIP Web site/Super CD subscription, you'll get online access to all of our publications, a print subscription to Windows & .NET Magazine, and a subscription to our VIP Web site, a banner-free resource loaded with articles you can't find anywhere else. Click here to find out how you can get it all at 25 percent off!

Announcing a New eBook: "Content Security in the Enterprise--Spam and Beyond"

This eBook explores how to reduce and eliminate the risks from Internet applications such as email, Web browsing, and Instant Messaging by limiting inappropriate use, eliminating spam, protecting corporate information assets, and ensuring that these vital resources are secure and available for authorized business purposes. Download this eBook now free!

==== 5. Resources ====

Tip: Improperly Registered DLLs in IE 6.x
contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

I recently updated a few system utilities on my primary desktop and found that Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) no longer functioned properly. IE would appear to open a Web site but would display only a blank page. After some investigation, I discovered that this glitch is a known problem in IE 6.x versions that results from a product update improperly registering certain DLLs. To fix the problem, take the following steps:
1. Open a command-prompt window and type

resvr32 actxprxy.dll

2. Click Enter.
3. Type

regsvr32 urlmon.dll

4. Click Enter.
5. Close the command-prompt window.

Featured Thread: Boot Error Message in Windows XP

Forum member Thomas219 gets a black screen with the error message "PARSE ERROR at Line 173" when he boots his Windows XP computer. If he clicks OK on the error message, he can log in successfully. He was told that the black screen is the XP GUI and that he must reload or reimage his system to correct the problem. He'd like to know what the problem is and whether he needs to reinstall the entire XP OS from the installation disk to solve it. If you can help, please join the discussion at the following URL:

==== 6. Event ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Microsoft Security Strategies Roadshow!

We've teamed with Microsoft, Avanade, and Network Associates to bring you a full day of training to help you get your organization secure and keep it secure. You'll learn how to implement a patch-management strategy; lock down servers, workstations, and network infrastructure; and implement security policy management. Register now for this free, 20-city tour.

==== 7. New and Improved ====
by Dianne Russell, [email protected]

Repair, Speed Up, Maintain, and Protect Your PCs

Superlogix Software announced Super Utilities, an integrated suite of 19 utilities that enhance PC speed, security, and privacy. Super Utilities comprises four groups of specialized solutions. The System Cleaner group utilities let you optimize your computer hard disk, registry, memory, and applications to increase speed and efficiency. The Privacy Protector group utilities let you hide folders from unauthorized users, password-protect Windows executable programs, and permanently delete files. The System Maintenance group utilities let you automate computer maintenance tasks. The Special Utilities group includes tools that let you automatically shut down your system, back up folders, and store system drivers. Super Utilities supports Windows XP/2000/Me/9x. Pricing is $44.95 for the professional version and $29.95 for the standard version. A free trial download version of the software is available from the Superlogix Web site. Contact Superlogix Software at [email protected]

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

==== Sponsored Link ====

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==== 8. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]

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