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Win Client Update, Oct. 2006: Test Your Computer's Vista-Compatibility

Test Your Computer's Vista-Compatibility


Visit our sponsors, who bring you October's WinClient Update for free:

Addressing Operational Efficiencies in Branch Offices

Making the Case for E-mail Archiving and Litigation Readiness

Quest Software
Simplifying Identity Management


- Test Your Computer's Vista-Compatibility
- Editor's Note: Got Interoperability Challenges?

- September Reader Challenge Winners
- October Reader Challenge Contest

- Microsoft Details Activation Tech

- Tip: Removing a Windows Vista installation
- Thread: What's going on in the Windows XP forum this week?
- Featured white paper, Web & live events, announcements

- Unotron Waterproof Keyboard and Mouse Devices
- Tell Us About a Product; Get a Best Buy Gift Card!


==== Sponsor: IDC ==========================

Addressing Operational Efficiencies in Branch Offices

Branch offices need flexibility and autonomy in implementing IT solutions; corporate requirements require centralized management, security, and compliance initiatives. Learn to resolve these conflicts and reduce your operational costs for branch offices with limited IT resources. Download the free whitepaper today!


==== COMMENTARY: Test Your Computer's Vista-Compatibility ====

by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

With the easy availability of Release Candidate 1 (RC1), I’ve received an increase in email messages from readers asking my opinion about Windows Vista. Most of the readers are debating whether to try it out, and as always I suggest they do so with a computer reserved for that purpose (and not as a dual-boot installation on a computer they count on).

Readers also want to know whether they have sufficient computer hardware to run Vista. As Microsoft users, they've learned the difference between "minimum requirements" and what's necessary if they actually want to use the computer. Unfortunately, I can’t judge how well any specific combination of hardware will react to a Vista installation.

Microsoft has a Band-Aid solution for people who want to know whether their Windows XP-based PCs can run Vista: the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor RC Release, which can be found at the URL below. Upgrade Advisor is a small tool that scans your computer, reports any compatibility problems, and recommends ways to fix them. I suggested the site to several readers and received reports from them of mixed results, so I decided to try it on a few computers in my office.

The first candidate for scanning was my primary desktop computer, which was a leading-edge system when I had it built about 18 months ago. Unsurprisingly, Upgrade Advisor told me that my computer would run Vista, although the tool did report that my high-definition audio wouldn't function unless I obtained a Vista-compatible drive for that device. Other concerns included some software problems that would require a Vista upgrade, but there was nothing really unexpected--except the tool's response to the Intellipoint Software for my Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse. I was surprised to find that Vista didn’t support this natively and would require me to find an updated driver.

The second candidate for scanning was an older, dual-processor server box that currently has a fresh copy of XP on it. Upgrade Advisor reported no problems of any sort--it was as blandly vanilla an installation as you could find, with known hardware that was in excess of the requirements for a "Windows Vista Premium Ready PC."

The last system I checked was a computer that was cutting edge about four years ago. I still use this box daily, and it has lots of applications and peripherals installed. It’s a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 with 2GB of RAM and a terabyte of storage, so it's not exactly a crippled antique. However, Upgrade Advisor was very unhappy with it, finding a slew of hardware and software problems that ranged from the determination that the computer's video card wasn't sufficient (which I believe is more of a software glitch than actual hardware incompatibility) to a whole series of driver and application concerns, mainly dealing with products that Upgrade Advisor was unfamiliar with. So, although Upgrade Advisor is a reasonable starting point to determine whether you have a Vista-ready PC, you'll still need to do a lot of legwork on your own in many cases to determine just what you'll need to upgrade to the new OS.

Editor's Note: If you think compatibility's a challenge, try running a shop that's not exclusively Windows. Need some advice on interoperability? Spend the day with guys who've been there--nationally known experts Mike Otey, Gil Kirkpatrick, and others. TechX World is a one-day event coming to four cities between October 24 and November 2: Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and Washington DC. You'll pick up information about OS and data interoperability, directory and security integration, and virtualization. At $129 per person for four tracks and a full day of learning (plus breakfast, lunch, and some other good stuff), it's worth sending the entire team. For complete agenda and speaker details, go to

==== READER CHALLENGE ===========================

by Kathy Ivens, [email protected]

September 2006 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our September 2006 Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Learning Windows Server 2003, Second Edition," goes to Dale Cook, of Texas. Second prize, a copy of "Windows XP Annoyances for Geeks, Second Edition," goes to Edward Braiter, of Quebec. Both books are from O'Reilly & Associates Publishing.

October 2006 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by Oct. 16, 2006. You MUST include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct).

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on October 17, 2006.

The October 2006 Challenge:

A reader wrote with the following problem: "I want all the computers in my department to have the same desktop colors and settings because we create company documentation and I want the figures to look the same in every document. With Windows XP, I can copy the Theme file, but we have quite a few Windows 2000 computers, and I designed a complicated scheme that requires a lot of changes to settings. Do I have to go to each computer and change all the settings manually?"

Does he have to do this manually? If you think he doesn’t, reveal the solution following the email directions above.


==== Sponsor: Symantec =======================

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==== NEWS & VIEWS: Microsoft Details Activation Tech =========

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft this week detailed how it will protect Windows Vista and Longhorn Server from software pirates. The upcoming operating systems will utilize a next-generation version of the controversial Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) and Product Activation technologies, rebranded under the Genuine Software Initiative (GSI) moniker, to limit the capabilities of pirated Vista versions.

The changes are detailed in a white paper Microsoft made public on Wednesday. In the document, Microsoft describes its anti-piracy technologies as "innovations" that "protect \[Microsoft's\] intellectual property and alert consumers to the presences of counterfeit software." But the anti-piracy features in Vista and Longhorn Server go far beyond similar features in Windows XP. And given the false positives that have appeared during XP's lifetime, it's hard to know whether this latest anti-piracy volley will do more than annoy actual customers and casual software thieves.

For more, please see the article at the Windows IT Pro Web site at

==== EVENTS AND RESOURCES =======================

(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

Windows Connections Conference
Come learn about Vista, Exchange, Office, SharePoint, and more in Las Vegas, November 6-9, 2006, at Windows Connections and Microsoft Exchange Connections. Microsoft will be making an announcement there that no one should miss! You'll find no better conference value in the USA this fall. See you in Vegas!

As an IT pro, chances are that you work in a Windows Plus environment--not an easy gig by any means. Learn from and meet industry experts who can help you--Gil Kirkpatrick, Mike Otey, Dustin Puryear, and Randy Dyess--in a single day of training on managing Windows, Linux, UNIX, Apache, MySQL, and more. Join TechX World--coming to Washington, DC, on October 24, Chicago on October 26, Dallas on October 31, and San Francisco on November 2.

Whether you're an outsourced IT provider, a member of an in-house IT service staff, or simply provide remote support, this can't-miss Web seminar will help you discover how the right technologies can expand your services. You'll learn how to tap into a $30 billion market for IT services and expand your geographic reach. Live Web seminar: Tuesday, October 17

How do you manage vulnerabilities? If you depend on vulnerability assessments to determine the state of your IT security systems, you'll need this Web seminar. Special research from Gartner indicates that deeper penetration is needed to augment your vulnerability management processes. Learn more today!

Do you have control over your software licenses? Most organizations face serious challenges, including understanding vendor licensing models, cost overruns, missed deadlines and business opportunities, and lost user productivity. Learn to address these challenges and prepare for audits. Register for the free Web seminar, available now!

===== FEATURED WHITE PAPER ======================

One common set of controls can help you manage compliance across multiple regulations and standards. Download this free IDC white paper and find out how to map these controls and save time and money in demonstrating compliance.

Special Offer: Download any white paper from Windows IT Pro before October 31 and enter to win a Casio Exilim Card Camera! The more you download, the more chances to win! For a list of whitepapers and contest rules, visit this URL:

==== TIPS AND THREADS ===========================

Tip--Removing a Windows Vista installation

If you’ve had enough of your Windows Vista experiments and want to remove the Vista installation from a computer dual-booting Vista and Windows XP, there's a good chance that XP won’t boot after you remove Vista. This situation comes about when you've installed Vista on the active disk partition; removing the Vista installation can also delete the information necessary for XP to boot.

But don’t worry, all is not lost—as long as you have an XP installation CD-ROM. Simply boot from the XP CD-ROM and follow the onscreen prompts until you reach "Repair the Windows XP installation." This option will reinstall all of the boot information necessary without affecting the data and applications installed on the computer, although you might be prompted to activate the copy of XP after you reboot the repaired installation.

Thread—-What's going on in the Windows XP forum today?
"I have a VPN user who receives a 'Password is not valid for (IP of DNS server) when trying to attach to shares.' The VPN connection is made. DNS seems to be fine."

Thread--Need a laugh? Orin Thomas relates a story about fingerprint readers and an alternative security solution in "Real Physical Security":

==== HOT RELEASE ================================

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==== ANNOUNCEMENTS ==============================

(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

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==== NEW AND IMPROVED: Unotron Waterproof Keyboards ===

by Caroline Marwitz, [email protected]

Unotron's standard wireless and corded keyboards, optical mouse devices, and smart card readers incorporate the company's patented SpillSeal technology and can be washed and disinfected. Devices are sealed against exposure to liquids and dust and can be wiped, sprayed, even submerged in liquid and rinsed under a tap. SpillSeal technology makes the devices waterproof and dustproof without affecting their usability. Mouse devices protected with SpillSeal start at $49, keyboards at $49.99, and smart card readers at $24.99. For more information, visit Unotron's Web site at

Tell Us About a Product and Get a Best Buy Gift Card!

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 Best Buy Gift Card if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

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