Scripting Central--Tell Us About Your Favorite Utility--September 1, 2006

Perspectives - Have a Favorite Tool? Tell Me About It and Possibly Win $100

This & That - Spend a Day With Some Technical Experts

Script Watch - HTA Lets You Install Printers in a Minute or Less - Stored Procedure Let's You Prove That the Database Isn't to Blame

Scripter's Toolkit - Get Rid of Unwanted WPA Balloons

Info to Go

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:: **** Perspectives **** by Karen Bemowski, [email protected]

Have a Favorite Tool? Tell Me About It and Possibly Win $100 In last month's issue of Scripting Central ( ), David Gray shared two freeware programs he created: WinDummy (which helps debug calls to external programs) and WWSimStatus (which lets you simulate any status code generated by an external program). Undoubtedly, many readers will find these utilities handy. The Internet is home to many other free utilities that are also helpful to scripters. However, because the Internet is so vast, scripters often don't know about the various tools available. To help bring to light handy utilities that scripters might want to add to their scripting toolkit, Scripting Central is running a contest. To participate, just send me an email message that includes a list of the utilities you often use in your scripting endeavors. Here are the conditions: - The utility must be freeware or shareware. - Because many people already know about the various Microsoft utilities, please don't include any Microsoft tools. - You must be able to use the utility in a script or code snippet (in any scripting language) or at the command line. - For each utility, please include the utility's title, where you can download the utility, and a short explanation of why you find the tool handy.

Don't put off sending me your list--I need to have it by Friday, September 15, at the very latest. After I receive your list of favorite utilities, your name will be entered in a drawing for $100. In the October 6 issue of Scripting Central, I'll share the results with you. Equally important, I'll announce the lucky winner of the drawing.

:: **** This & That ****

Spend a Day With Some Technical Experts Spend a day with technical experts Michael Otey, Gil Kirkpatrick, Dustin Puryear, and Randy Dyess. Designed specifically for IT professionals who work in a "Windows Plus" environment, TechX World is a four-track, one-day event featuring information about OS interoperability, data interoperability, directory and security integration, and virtualization. The content will focus on interoperability tips to help make disparate systems work well together. TechX World is brought to you by people who understand that the world you live in never fits the textbook IT infrastructure. The regional event series will visit four cities between October 24 and November 2, including Washington DC, Chicago , Dallas, and San Francisco. For a complete agenda and speaker details, go to

:: **** Script Watch ****

HTA Lets You Install Printers in a Minute or Less If you're looking for an automated way to install printers on a printer server, you'll want to check out an HTML Application (HTA) named Install_Printer. With this HTA, installing a printer is just a matter of specifying the printer's name, IP address, and printer driver. Learn more about this HTA in the Reader to Reader article "HTA Makes Installing Shared Printers Easy" in the October issue of Windows Scripting Solutions. When this article goes live in mid September, go to and enter 93233 in the InstantDoc ID box.

Stored Procedure Let's You Prove That the Database Isn't to Blame If you ever had users call to tell you that a SQL Server database is slow, you'll likely find sp_Now a handy tool. This stored procedure determines what processes are currently executing and consuming resources on a database server. This information is helpful when troubleshooting sporadic performance problems, especially in an environment in which applications span multiple servers. For example, if a user calls and complains that the database is slow, you can run sp_now to quickly determine what the database server is actually doing. Learn more about sp_Now in the Reader to Reader article "Prove That the Database Isn't to Blame" in the October issue of SQL Server Magazine. When this article goes live in mid September, go to and enter 93150 in the InstantDoc ID box.

:: **** Scripter's Toolkit ****

Get Rid of Unwanted WPA Balloons When you set up a temporary test Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP system, Windows continually displays Windows Product Activation (WPA) balloons that prompt you to activate the product. In this circumstance, you'll likely want to get rid of this activation reminder without activating the product. When I need to remove activation reminder balloons, I use a short Windows Script Host (WSH) script named DisableWpaNotification.vbs. I keep this script in my network tools collection so that I can quickly browse to it and use it to disable notifications when necessary. As the code

Set wpaColl = GetObject("winmgmts://./root/cimv2"). _ InstancesOf("Win32_WindowsProductActivation") For Each wpa in wpaColl wpa.SetNotification 0 Next

shows, DisableWpaNotification.vbs begins by creating an instance of the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Win32_WindowsProductActivation class. You set the Win32_WindowsProductActivation class's SetNotification method to a value of 0 to disable the notification prompts and remove the activation icon from the tray. After I'm done testing a Windows 2003 or XP system and I'm certain it's stable, I re-enable the notification balloons with the EnableWpaNotification.vbs script:

Set wpaColl = GetObject("winmgmts://./root/cimv2"). _ InstancesOf("Win32_WindowsProductActivation") For Each wpa in wpaColl wpa.SetNotification 1 Next

EnableWpaNotification.vbs is similar to DisableWpaNotification.vbs, except that EnableWpaNotification.vbs sets the SetNotification method to a value of 1. Setting the method to 1 enables the notification prompts and adds the activation icon to the tray. You can download DisableWpaNotification.vbs and EnableWpaNotification.vbs from the Windows Scripting Solutions Web site. Go to , enter 48312 in the InstantDoc ID text box, then click the "Download the Code Here" link. Note that these scripts work only on Windows 2003 and XP because the Win32_WindowsProductActivation class isn't available in earlier OSs. If you use DisableWpaNotification.vbs to suppress activation prompts, make sure you add to your calendar or personal planner a deadline for re- activation that's before the product's expiration date. There will be logon notification reminders beginning 7 days before product expiration, but I don't recommend that you rely on this final warning. If you run the system unattended or send it to a remote site, you might not see that reminder in time to prevent a crisis. Thanks to Alex K. Angelopoulos for writing and sharing his DisableWpaNotification.vbs and EnableWpaNotification.vbs scripts.

:: **** Info to Go ****

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