Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--WinHEC 2004: The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades--May 11, 2004

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1. Commentary
- WinHEC 2004: The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Reward Program Plays Role in Arrest

3. Networking Perspectives
- Surviving the Sasser Worm

4. Resource
- Tip: Why can I use only the NetBIOS domain name and not the DNS domain name to join a computer to a domain that's been upgraded from Windows NT Server 4.0 to Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server?

5. New and Improved
- Track Support Problems
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: WinHEC 2004: The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

The Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) has historically been a big event for PC hardware driver developers, engineers, and other low-level technical workers, virtually guaranteeing a low attendee turnout and minimal press coverage--or so you'd think. However, beginning with last year's WinHEC, the conference has gained new prominence as Microsoft began using the show as a way to roll out new Longhorn features. And that strategy makes sense: With a long-term-development product such as Longhorn, low-level hardware developers are the first people who need to know how to target the system's revamped driver model. At this year's show, the hype was bigger than ever, and it wasn't all about Longhorn, although certainly that product received its fair share of coverage. Here's what I learned at the show.


WinHEC 2004 attendees received an alpha build of Longhorn, the first public release of that product since last October's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2003 preview release, which the company described as prealpha. The new version, Longhorn build 4074, is quite a bit more capable than its predecessor, with many newly implemented features. Some of the most-asked-about functionality, such as that built around the Windows Future Storage (WinFS) engine, is still quite slow performancewise; other functionality--such as the SyncManager that will one day provide a single synchronization conduit between Windows and a variety of portable devices, including laptops, PDAs, portable audio devices, and Portable Media Centers--is still missing from the release.

Future PC Directions

At WinHEC 2003, Microsoft and HP showed off an early concept PC design they called the Athens PC, which combines a widescreen-based PC system with integrated phone and messaging functionality. Over the ensuing months, HP worked to move this concept PC to shipping hardware, and though we're still years away from realizing the Athens PC concept, this year's entry combined shipping HP PC hardware with the Longhorn UI. Microsoft is working with its PC-maker partners earlier in the OS development cycle to ensure that a PC's hardware and software work together more closely. As a result, Longhorn will integrate seamlessly with computer-connected telephone equipment so, for example, the OS will silence all PC sounds while you're on a phone call or automatically trigger the answering machine when you set your Windows Messenger status to "busy."

For Tablet PCs, notebooks, and desktop PCs, Microsoft also foresees new auxiliary displays, built into the body of the PCs, that will supply pertinent at-a-glance information. For Tablet PCs and notebooks, this small display will sit on the unit's outside lid and provide battery status, wireless range, time, personal information manager (PIM) data, and digital-media playback information, even when the underlying PC is off. You could use this screen to view your next three scheduled events, for example, or control digital music playback. For desktop PCs, the auxiliary display will be even more subtle. To get an idea of what's in store, imagine future home PC designs that are more like stereo equipment, with subtle LCD lettering on the case's exterior that details the name of the currently playing song or alerts you when you receive a phone call.

Tomorrow's PCs will also be quieter, thanks to a move toward lower-power CPUs and other components and new advances in fan-less PC design. Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin has been calling on PC makers to embrace quiet computing for years, but it looks like this much-needed PC improvement is finally happening, if a random sampling of hardware makers at the show is any indication. Quiet PCs aren't just less annoying: In offices with numerous PCs, such advances can truly enhance productivity and lessen related physical problems, such as headaches and reduced concentration.

Web Services and Non-PC Devices

Microsoft doesn't get a lot of credit for its early backing of Web services standards, but the company's adoption of Web services for non-PC devices should silence some of its critics. Microsoft is now supporting the Devices Profile for Web Services, coauthored by Intel, Lexmark, and Ricoh. One of the first attempts to get Web services to work with non-PC devices, the Devices Profile for Web Services will enable a base level of interoperability between networkable devices and Web services. "Web services span heterogeneous environments and provide a consistent way to exchange information within home networks, corporate intranets, and across the Internet," Intel Vice President Gerald Holzhammer said. On a related note, Microsoft also released its first Network Connected Device Driver Development Kit (DDK), which hardware makers can use to help Windows systems automatically discover and configure network-attached devices of the future.


Contrary to reports I read last week, security was an often-discussed topic at WinHEC 2004, though Microsoft was eerily silent about the breakout of the Sasser worm. I suspect the recent delay of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), which contains the on-by-default Windows Firewall that would deflect many electronic attacks, played a big part in the silence. Microsoft's security product delays, as I noted last week, are becoming somewhat of an embarrassment to the company but, perhaps more important, they're also becoming problematic for its customers. At a show such as WinHEC, which by definition focuses exclusively on the future, current problems don't get a lot of attention. Given the security climate, however, that lack of attention might be a mistake.

That said, Microsoft talked up XP SP2 a lot, discussed some of the features in Windows Server 2003 SP1, and even mentioned Next Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB--code-named Palladium) a few times, despite being curiously quiet about the latter technology in recent months. Microsoft executives reiterated that Palladium will be an optional component of Longhorn and that the software will require specially built PCs that include secure microprocessors and other chips. According to Microsoft, the company is working to make it easier for developers to access Palladium's security features without having to completely rewrite their applications, which explains the silence of the past few months, Microsoft tells me.

For more information about the advances shown at WinHEC 2004, please visit the SuperSite for Windows ( ). The site has several screen-shot and photo galleries and articles derived from the show. I'll be updating the site throughout the week with new WinHEC content.


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==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Reward Program Plays Role in Arrest
On Saturday, Microsoft verified that its antivirus reward program, through which the company has pledged $5 million in reward money for information leading to the capture and conviction of electronic attackers, played a role in the capture of the Sasser worm's alleged author. The attacker allegedly created all four variants of the worm, which affected millions of computers last week. Microsoft commended law enforcement officers in Rotenburg, Germany, for the capture of the accused attacker, an 18-year-old teenager who allegedly also created the Netsky worm. For the complete story, visit the following URL:

==== 3. Networking Perspectives ====
by Alan Sugano, [email protected]

Surviving the Sasser Worm
I hope everyone survived the Sasser worm without too much pain. When the first reports about Sasser appeared last weekend, I wasn’t too concerned about the worm infecting any of our consulting clients because of the way that Sasser spreads: It randomly tries IP addresses and attempts to connect on TCP port 445. The worm then creates a remote shell on TCP 9996 and uses the shell to connect to an infected computer’s rogue FTP server running on port 5554. All our clients have firewalls in place that block these ports, and they have virus protection with automatic virus pattern updates. However, late last week, I received a call from a client, and I initially thought that the client had somehow become infected with the worm. After closer investigation, the problem turned out to be just a Lavasoft Ad-aware pop-up and was a false alarm. However, this incident got me thinking about precautions that companies should take for mobile users. To read more about protecting your laptops from threats such as the Sasser worm, visit the following URL:

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==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Sasser Patch
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Has your organization installed the patch that prevents the Sasser worm from invading your systems?" Here are the results from the 449 votes:
- 85% Yes
- 11% No
- 4% I don't know

New Instant Poll: Macintosh Systems
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==== 4. Resource ====

Tip: Why can I use only the NetBIOS domain name and not the DNS domain name to join a computer to a domain that's been upgraded from Windows NT Server 4.0 to Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server?
by John Savill,

After you've upgraded an NT-based domain to Active Directory (AD), you should be able to use either the domain's NetBIOS name (e.g., savilltech) or its DNS name (e.g., to join computers to the domain. If you can join a computer to the domain only by using its NetBIOS name, an incorrect DNS configuration might be the source of the problem. You can check a system's DNS configuration by entering the following lines at the command prompt. (The text that's enclosed in quotes represents messages that are displayed after you type the indicated commands.)

nslookup "Default Server: Address:"

set type=srv "Server: Address:"

" SRV service location: priority = 0 weight = 100 port = 389 svr hostname = internet address ="


Instead of, enter _ldap._tcp, followed by your DNS domain name. If the Nslookup command finds DNS records, your system's DNS configuration is probably correct. If Nslookup finds no DNS records, check your DNS entries and, if they're correct, check the DNS server itself.
If your DNS configuration is in order, your domain controllers (DCs) might have the NT4Emulator registry entry enabled, which means they're emulating NT 4.0 DCs and thus won't respond to AD-style requests. You can test whether NT4Emulator is enabled on your DCs by configuring the neutralize NT4Emulator option on the client you're trying to join to the domain, as follows:
1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe).
2. Go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet \Services\Netlogon\Parameters subkey.
3. From the Edit menu, select New and click DWORD Value.
4. Enter the name NeutralizeNT4Emulator and press Enter.
5. Double-click the value and set it to 1. Click OK.
6. Close the registry editor.

You don't need to restart the computer or log off; just try again to join the computer to the domain by using the DNS domain name. If the computer joins the domain successfully, you must either disable NT4Emulator on the DCs or configure the NeutralizeNT4Emulator value on all machines on which you want to use the DNS name for the domain.

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